Lui v. Sps Matillano : 141176 : May 27, 2004 : J. Callejo Sr : Second
Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 141176 : May
ELI LUI and LEO ROJAS, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES EULOGIO and PAULINA MATILLANO, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 44768 which reversed and set aside
the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Branch 21.2
Sometime in September 1987, then seventeen-year-old Elenito
Lariosa visited his aunt, his fathers older sister, Paulina Lariosa Matillano,
at Lily Street, Poblacion Bansalan, Davao del Sur. On May 2, 1988, Lariosa was
employed as a laborer at the Davao United Products Enterprise store, with a
monthly salary of
store was owned by Leong Shiu Ben and King Kiao and was located at the corner
of Monteverde and Gempesaw Streets, Davao City. Lariosa was tasked to close the
store during lunchtime and after store hours in the afternoon.
Ben himself opened the store in the mornings
and after lunchtime. Adjacent to the said store was another store owned by
Kiaos son, Eli Lui, who also happened to be Bens nephew.
Aside from Lariosa, Ben and Kiao employed
Maximo Pagsa and Rene Malang.
Lariosa chose to live in the house of Kiao. Lariosa fed the dogs
of his employer every morning before going to work and in the afternoon, in
exchange for free meals and lodging.
There were occasions when Lariosa stayed in the house of Pagsa and
Malang and left some of his things with them.
Lariosa deposited his savings with the Mindanao Savings Bank in
On October 17, 1988, Lariosa was taken ill and was permitted to
take the day off.
He went to the house
of his aunt, Paulina Matillano, and her husband Eulogio Matillano in Bansalan
City, where he rested until the next day, October 18, 1988.
Lariosa reported for work the day after, or
on October 19, 1988, but Kiao told him that his employment was terminated.
Lariosa was not paid his salary for the
month of October. Kiao warned Lariosa not to report the matter to the
Department of Labor.
Lariosa decided to
return to Bansalan without retrieving his things from Kiaos house.
On October 27, 1988, Lariosa returned to Davao City and was able
to collect his backwages from Ben in the amount of
withdrew his savings from the Mindanao Savings Bank in Bansalan City and on
November 1, 1988, applied for a job at his cousins place, at Quimpo Boulevard,
He bought a radio cassette
for P2,500.00 and a pair of Rayban sunglasses for P900.00.
On November 3, 1988, Lariosa went to the house of his fiancee,
Nancy, at New Matina, Davao City, but returned to Bansalan on the same
On November 4, 1988, he returned
to Nancys house and stayed there until the next day, November 5, 1988.
That day, Ben informed his nephew, Eli Lui, that he had lost
in cash at the store.
Ben reported the
matter to NBI Senior Agent Ruperto Galvez, and forthwith executed an affidavit
wherein he alleged that after Lariosas employment was terminated on October
19, 1988, he discovered that he had lost P45,000.00 in cash. He
suspected that Lariosa was the culprit because the latter, as a former
employee, had a duplicate key to the side door of the United Products
At 9:00 a.m. on November 6, 1988, a Sunday, Lariosa went to the
house of Pagsa and Malang to retrieve his things.The two invited Lariosa to go with them to the beach, and when
Lariosa agreed, they borrowed Luis Ford Fierra for their transportation.
The vehicle stopped at the Almendras Hall
where Pagsa alighted on the pretext that he was going to buy fish. Lariosa,
Rene, and his wife remained in the Fierra.
Pagsa contacted Lui and informed the latter that Lariosa was with him.
After about an hour, Lui arrived on board a vehicle. With him
were Pagsa and two others, Alan Mendoza and Henry Tan.
Lui told Lariosa that he wanted to talk, and
asked the latter to go with him. Pagsa urged Lariosa to go along with Lui.
Lariosa agreed and boarded Luis
The car stopped in front of
Luis house, where the latter alighted and went inside, while his companions
and Lariosa remained in the car. When Lui returned, he was armed with a 9 mm.
caliber gun and poked Lariosa with the weapon.
He warned Lariosa not to run, otherwise, he would be killed.
The group went to Bens house to get the
keys to the store.
Ben joined them as
they drove towards the store.
Lui mauled Lariosa and tried to force the latter to admit that he
had stolen Bens money. Lariosa refused to do so.Lui then brought Lariosa to the comfort room of the store and
pushed his face into the toilet bowl, in an attempt to force him into
confessing to the crime.
refused to admit to anything.
made a telephone call to the Metrodiscom (PNP) based in Davao City.
Sgt. Alberto Genise of the Metrodiscom (PNP) issued Mission Order
No. MRF-A-004-88 dated November 6, 1988, directing Pat. Leo Rojas to follow up
a theft case committed in Davao City from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Rojas was
directed to coordinate with the nearest PNP headquarters and/or stations.
He was authorized to carry his firearm for
He then left the police
station on board a police car and proceeded to the corner of Magsaysay and
In the meantime, a police car arrived at the store with two
policemen on board.
One of them
handcuffed Lariosa at gunpoint and ordered him to open the store with the use
of the keys. As Lariosa opened the lock as ordered, one of Luis companions took
Another picture was taken
as Lariosa held the door knob to open the door.Lariosa was then boarded in the police car and brought to the
corner of Magsaysay and Gemphesaw Streets where he was transferred to the
police car driven by Rojas.
brought to the Metrodiscom headquarters.
Lui once more mauled Lariosa, still trying to force the latter to
confess that he stole
P45,000.00 from his uncle and to reveal what he
did with the money.
When a policeman
asked him where he slept the night before, Lariosa replied that he spent the
night in the house of his girlfriends parents at New Matina, Davao
City.The policemen brought Lariosa there, where they asked Nancy
if Lariosa had left anything while he slept thereat. Nancy replied that
Lariosa had left a radio cassette and a pair of sunglasses.
The policemen took these and brought Lariosa
back to the Metrodiscom headquarters where Lui and his two companions were
Lui asked Lariosa where he stayed when he went to Bansalan, and
Lariosa replied that he used to stay in the house of his aunt and uncle, the
Spouses Matillano, in Lily Street, Poblacion Bansalan.
Rojas and Lui then brought Lariosa, with his
hands still handcuffed, to a car.
companions, Alan Mendoza and Henry Tan boarded another car and proceeded to the
Without prior coordination with the Bansalan PNP, Rojas, who was
in civilian clothes, Lui, Tan and Mendoza arrived at the house of the Spouses
Matillano at about 3:00 p.m, with the
handcuffed Lariosa in tow.
handguns drawn, they kicked the door to the kitchen and gained entry into the
They then proceeded to the sala
where they found Lariosas aunt, Paulina Matillano. In the adjacent room were
Julieta, Lariosas sister, Paulinas daughter-in-law, Virginia, the latters
sister, Erlinda, and a seven-month-old baby.
Paulina was shocked.
Paulina, Mrs., we are authorities.
are here to get something. Paulina remonstrated, Why are you meddling (manghilabot) ?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Lui poked his gun at Paulina and warned her not to talk anymore
because something might happen.
said, All right, where is your aparador
because we are getting something. Paulina told Lui to wait for her husband
Lui ignored her protest and
told her that they were in a hurry.
Paulina was then impelled to bring Lui and his two companions, Mendoza
and Tan, to the second floor where her aparador
Rojas and the handcuffed
Lariosa remained in the sala.
his two companions then took two mats and two pairs of ladies shoes belonging
to Paulina and Eulogio, two pairs of pants, leather shoes, two t-shirts and two
polo shirts which belonged to the latters children.They also ordered Paulina to open a chest and when she did, Lui
and his companions took her old Bulova wristwatch, necklace, ring and old
Lui and his two companions then
went down to the ground floor.
Julieta went out of the room, one of Luis companions recognized her as Lariosas
Lui and his companions brought
her along with them as they left the house.
Paulina was so unnerved by the incident.
Her vision blurred, her stomach ached and
she was on the verge of losing consciousness.
Concerned, Erlinda massaged Paulinas stomach.However, Erlinda had to leave because she was worried about her
Paulina then went to the
kitchen, prepared hot water and put a soothing ointment on her stomach to
relieve the pain.
In the meantime, Lui and his companions proceeded to the Bansalan
Police Station and caused an entry in the police blotter at 3:20 p.m. that he
had recovered the following items from the Matillano residence -- one pair of
colored blue pants valued at
P89.00; one floor mat costing P290.00;
a pair of black ladies shoes worth P126.00; and another pair of ladies
shoes worth P69.00.
At 4:30 p.m., Paulina reported to the barangay captain that
persons identifying themselves as policemen had gained entry into their house
and took the following: two polo shirts; two t-shirts; two pairs of pants; two
floor mats; two pairs of ladies shoes; one Bulova wristwatch; one necklace; one
ring; and old coins.3 cralawred
At 7:35 p.m., Eulogio Matillano made an entry in the Bansalan
police blotter that earlier that day, at 4:00 p.m., Rojas took the following
from his house: two polo shirts; two t-shirts; 2 pairs of pants; two floor
mats; two pairs of ladies shoes; 1 Bulova wristwatch; 1 necklace; one ring;
and, old coins, without his and his wifes consent and without a search
warrant.4 In the meantime, Doroteo Barawan, officer-in-charge of the Office of the
Barangay Captain, filed a complaint against Kim Kiao, et al., based on the complaint of Paulina, docketed as Barangay
Case No. 168.5 cralawred
On November 8, 1988,
Lariosa executed an uncounselled confession where he stated that he stole
on October 15, 1988 from
the Davao United Products, and that he used part of the money to buy
appliances, a Sony cassette tape-recorder, two pairs of ladies shoes, a Seiko
wristwatch, two pairs of maong pants, Rayban sunglasses and floor mats.6 cralawred
On November 16, 1988,
an Information was filed in the Regional
Trial Court of
charging Lariosa with robbery with force upon things.The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 17,136,88.7 The trial court rendered judgment on June
14, 1989, acquitting Lariosa of the crime charged on reasonable
The trial court held that Lui
procured Lariosas confession through force and intimidation, in connivance
with police authorities.8 The trial court, likewise, found that Lui had an ulterior motive for charging
Lariosa of robbery:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
What would have been the possible motive of complainant in putting
the burden of this charged against the accused despite want of any appreciable
evidence, can be gathered in the record, as indicating the fear of complainant,
that the accused will file a complaint against him in the Department of Labor
for illegally dismissing him in his employment, without any sufficient legal
grounds and basis.
complaint was intended to support complainants ground against any possible
complaint, the accused might file against him with the Department of Labor by
way of anticipation.9 cralawred
On motion of Lariosa, the trial court ordered the return of the
Accordingly and conformably with the judgment of this court dated
June 14, 1989, one Eulogio Matillano, accuseds uncle, is hereby allowed to get
or to retrieve exhibits H, I, J, K, L, and M, consisting of Sony
Cassette with serial no. W3658; Rayban sunglasses; two
(2) bundles of floor mat; two (2) pairs of
pants; two (2) pairs of ladies shoes; and Seiko Actus wristwatch.10 cralawred
Meanwhile, Paulina Matillano filed a criminal complaint for
robbery against Lui, Peter Doe, John Doe and Alan Mendoza.
An Information was, thereafter, filed
against them in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Bansalan, Davao del Sur, and the case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 880-B.On December 13, 1988,
the court issued a warrant for the arrest of the accused therein.
Upon reinvestigation, however, the
Provincial Prosecutor issued a Resolution dated March
31, 1989, recommending that the case be dismissed for insufficiency
of evidence, but that the charges be forwarded to the Judge Advocate Generals
Office for possible administrative sanctions against Rojas.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is respectfully
recommended that the complaint against the
respondents Eli Lui be dismissed for insufficiencyof evidence.
that Pat. Leo Rojas is a member of the Integrated National Police, this office
is without jurisdiction to entertain the complaint against
him pursuant to Presidential Decree No.
Therefore, let the complaint
against Pat. Leo Rojas, together with its annexes, including a copy of the
resolution of the undersigned, be forwarded to the Judge Advocate Generals
Office at Camp Catitipan,
for whatever action it may take.11 cralawred
The complaint was docketed as Administrative Case No.
The National Police
Commission, thereafter, rendered a decision exonerating Rojas of administrative
liability for the complainants failure to substantiate the charges.12 The Commission held that Rojas was merely complying with the mission order
issued to him when he accompanied Lui and the latters two companions to the
In a Resolution dated August
25, 1989, then Secretary of Justice Silvestre H. Bello III dismissed
the Petition for Review of the Provincial Prosecutors resolution filed by
The Secretary of
Justice, likewise, denied a motion for reconsideration thereon.
In a parallel development, Lariosas parents, as well as Paulina
Matillano, filed a complaint for robbery, violation of domicile, unlawful
arrest and/or arbitrary detention against Leo Rojas, Eli Lui, et al., with the
Commission of Human Rights docketed as CHR Case No. RFO No. 88-0207-DS.
In a Resolution dated December
4, 1989, the Regional Office of the Commission recommended, thus:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
considered, we are recommending that there is sufficient prima facie evidence:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
1. to indict Eli Lui for unlawful arrest as defined under Art. 369
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended; andcralawlibrary
2. to indict both Eli Lui and Pat. Leo Rojas liable for Violation
of Domicile, as defined under Art. 128 of the same code.13
The Proceedings in the Trial Court
On January 11, 1990,
the spouses Eulogio and Paulina Matillano filed a civil complaint for damages
in the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur against Eli Lui, Leo Rojas, Alan
Mendoza and Henry Tan.
The case was
docketed as Civil Case No. G-XXI-47(90). The plaintiffs therein alleged the following:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
3. That plaintiffs are merchants by occupation and have been
residing in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, for several years now.
They are law-abiding and peaceful citizens
in the community;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
4. That at about 3:00 oclock in the afternoon of November 6, 1988,
while plaintiff husband was away from his residential house at Lily St.,
Bansalan, Davao del Sur, and plaintiff wife was there tending the house,
defendants, without any lawful search warrant, arrived and thru intimidation
succeeded in searching the house owned by the plaintiff after which they
brought with them two floor mats, two pairs of ladies shoes, two pairs of
pants, two polo shirts, two T-shirts, one Relova wrist watch, one necklace
one ring (sinubong) and several old coins, without the consent of
the plaintiffs and without even giving any receipt for the items taken;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
5. That the defendants allegedly wanted to recover the items taken
by one Elinito Lariosa but defendants thru the use of naked power and brute
force, illegally searched the house of the herein plaintiffs in gross violation
of plaintiffs constitutional rights;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
6. That what defendants did in conspiring and confederating to
illegally search the house of plaintiffs and then taking with them the items
mentioned above without even the benefit of any receipt is not only violative
of Article 19 in relation to Article 21 of the Civil Code but also of Article
32 of the Civil Code;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
7. That because of what defendants did, plaintiffs suffered mental
anguishes, wounded feelings, deprivation of the properties taken, besmirched
reputation, and fright for which reason defendants should be made to jointly
and severally pay moral damages in the amount of
8. That in order to deter others similarly bent and minded and by
way of example or correction for the public good, defendants should be made to
pay jointly and severally exemplary damages in the amount of
9. That in the protection of their rights, plaintiffs engaged the
services of counsel for an agreed attorneys fees equivalent to 25% of the
total award plus per diem of
P1,000.00 per court appearance;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
10. That plaintiffs are bound to incur litigation expenses in an
amount not less than
They prayed that, after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in
their favor, viz:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that after hearing
judgment issue ordering the defendants to jointly and severally pay plaintiffs:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
1. P500,000.00 as moral damages;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
2. P300,000.00 as exemplary damages;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
3. Litigation expenses of
4. Attorneys fees equivalent to 25% of the total award;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
5. Per diems to be proved during the trial of this case.
Plaintiffs pray for other reliefs consistent with equity.15 cralawred
In their Answer to the complaint, the defendants therein alleged,
inter alia, that they did not conduct
a search in the house of the plaintiffs and that plaintiff Paulina Matillano
allowed them to enter the house and even brought out pairs of pants.
They added that the other items were brought
out by Lariosas sister and that they took only one (1) floor mat, two (2)
pairs of ladies shoes, and one (1) pair of blue pants.16 cralawred
The defendants adduced evidence that plaintiff Paulina Matillano
allowed them to enter their house, and with Lariosas sister, voluntarily
turned over the items declared in the complaint.They testified that no violence, threats or intimidation were
even committed by them against
Defendant Rojas further testified
that he was merely complying with the Mission Order issued to him when he
entered the house of the plaintiffs in the company of the other defendants, and
that he remained in the ground floor while the other defendants retrieved the
goods from plaintiff Matillano in the second floor of the house.
On August 18, 1993,
the RTC rendered judgment, ordering the dismissal of the complaint for
plaintiffs failure to prove their claims.
The trial court also dismissed the defendants counterclaims.
The trial court gave credence to the
collective testimonies of the defendants, that plaintiff Paulina Matillano
voluntarily allowed them to enter her house, and that the latter voluntarily
turned over the subject items to them.
The trial court took into account the findings of the Provincial
Prosecutor, the Secretary of Justice, the National Police Commission, as well
as the order of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Bansalan, dismissing
Criminal Case No. 880-B.
The Case on Appeal
The decision of the trial court was elevated to the Court of
Appeals where the appellants contended, thus:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
1. THE LOWER COURT
ERRED IN FINDING THAT APPELLANT PAULINA MATILLANO VOLUNTARILY ALLOWED APPELLEES
TO ENTER THE HOUSE BECAUSE OF THE PRESENCE OF HER NEPHEW ELINITO LARIOSA WHO
2. THE LOWER COURT
ERRED IN FINDING THAT MRS. PAULINA MATILLANO WAS THE ONE WHO REPORTED THE
MATTER TO THE BANSALAN POLICE STATION.
3. THE LOWER COURT
ERRED IN DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT DESPITE CLEAR PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE
AGAINST THE DEFENDANTS APPELLEES.17 cralawred
On April 22, 1999,
the Court of Appeals rendered judgment reversing the decision of the RTC.
The decretal portion of the decision reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new one entered ordering defendants-appellees
jointly and severally:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
1. To pay plaintiffs-appellants the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos
as moral damages
and Fifteen Thousand Pesos ( P15,000.00) as exemplary damages; andcralawlibrary
2. Ten Thousand Pesos
as attorneys fees; andcralawlibrary
3. To pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.18 cralawred
The appellate court denied the appellees motion for
reconsideration of the said decision.
The appellees Mendoza and Tan no longer appealed the decision.
Petitioners Eli Lui and Leo Rojas now assail the decision of the
Court of Appeals contending that:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DISREGARDED THE TIME-HONORED
DOCTRINE LAID DOWN BY THIS HONORABLE COURT THAT FINDINGS OF TRIAL COURT ARE
BINDING AND CONCLUSIVE AND DESERVE A HIGH DEGREE OF RESPECT, WHEN IT SET ASIDE
THE FINDINGS OF FACTS AND ASSESSMENT OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT THAT TRIED THE
II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRONEOUSLY CONCLUDED THAT AN
ILLEGAL SEARCH WAS CONDUCTED IN MRS. MATILLANOS RESIDENCE, IN DISREGARD OF THE
EXCULPATORY FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT MRS. MATILLANO HAD VOLUNTARILY
ALLOWED PETITIONERS ENTRY INTO HER HOUSE.19
The issues in this case may be synthesized, thus: (a) whether or
not respondent Paulina Matillano consented to the petitioners entry into her
house, as well as to the taking of the clothes, shoes and pieces of jewelry
owned by her and her family; (b) whether or not the petitioners are liable for
damages to the respondents; and, (c) if so, the extent of the petitioners liability
to the respondents.
Considering that the assignments of errors are interrelated, this
Court shall delve into and resolve them simultaneously.
The Courts Ruling
The petition has no merit.
Admittedly, the issues in the case at bar are factual. Under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court, only questions of law may be raised in this Court in
a Petition for Review on Certiorari .
However, the rule admits of some exceptions, such as a case where the
findings of facts of the trial court are substantially different from those of
the appellate court, and the resolution of such issues are determinative of the
outcome of the petition.20 cralawred
The petitioners aver that the Court of Appeals committed a
reversible error in discarding the factual findings of the trial court. Contrary
to the disquisitions of the appellate court, the petitioners assert that the
inconsistencies between the testimonies of Rojas and Lui are peripheral.
Lui did not conduct any search in the second
floor of the respondents house and even if he did so, respondent Paulina
Matillano waived her right against unreasonable search when she allowed the
petitioners to enter.
According to the
Petitioners, the respondents failed to prove that they forced their way into the
house of the respondents, and that the facts and circumstances which the
appellate court found the trial court to have overlooked are not, in fact,
substantial enough to warrant a reversal of the factual findings of the court a quo.
According to the Petitioners, the appellate court failed to discern that
the action filed by the respondents with the trial court was merely a leverage
to the charge of robbery against Lariosa, the respondents nephew.
On the other hand, the Court of Appeals gave credence and full
probative weight to the evidence of the respondents.It stated in its decision that the trial court erred in giving
credence and probative weight to the testimonies of the petitioners (the
appellants therein). Moreover, the
appellate court found that the trial court had overlooked facts and
circumstances of substance, which, if considered, would have altered the
The appellate court
gave weight to the findings of the trial court in Criminal Case No. 17,136,88.21 cralawred
We agree with the Court of Appeals.
The evidence of the respondents show that the Petitioners, Tan
and Mendoza, guns drawn and with
the handcuffed Lariosa in tow, kicked the kitchen door and barged into the
house of the respondents.
proceeded to the sala where respondent Paulina Matillano was.
Over her vehement protests, and because of
petitioner Luis warning that she might be harmed, respondent Paulina Matillano
was forced to accompany the petitioner and his cohorts to the second floor of
The foregoing was
testified to by respondent Paulina Matillano, thus:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
QMrs. Matillano, do you
know the person of Eli Lui?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI know him.
QWhy do you know Eli Lui?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ABecause he is from
6, 1988, where were you, Mrs. Matillano?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI was in our house.
QAt about 3:00
oclock in the afternoon of November
6, 1988, did you notice any unusual incident that took place in your
QWhat incident was that,
AThere were five (5)
persons who suddenly went inside our house.
QWhere did they enter?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThey entered through
QNow, where were you when
they entered suddenly in your house?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI was in our sala.
QNow, what did you do
when you saw these five (5) persons entered (sic) your house?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI was afraid.
QAside from fear, what
did you do?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AOne of them suddenly
said, Mrs., we are authorities.
Not responsive to the question, Your
She is responding the question because my
question is, Aside from fear, what did you do?and according to this witness, she was not able to do anything
because one of those who entered(not continued)
I think the answer is not responsive.
Just reform the question.
QWhat did these persons
do when they entered your house?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AOne of them said,
Mrs., we are authorities. We are here to get something from your house."chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
QDo you know who this
person was, this person who was talking that they were persons in authority?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThat person when he
first went to our house, I do not know him yet, but I know (sic) him later to
be Leo Rojas.
QWhy do you know him
later to be Leo Rojas?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWhen the case was
already being tried, he introduced himself as Leo Rojas.
QWhat was Leo Rojas
wearing at that time?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AHe was in civilian
QAside from Leo Rojas,
who were the other persons who entered your house?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAside from the two (2)
persons whom I do not know, my nephew was also with them in the name of Elinito
QWho else, Mrs.
At least, may we ask, Your Honor, that the
word manghilabot be incorporated.
So, the word is interfering or
You record the word manghilabot.
QWhen you said manghilabot,
what do you mean, Mrs. Matillano?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AYes, because they said
that they are taking some of our things and I said why are they doing that (manghilabot) ?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhen you said
those remarks, what else happened?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AIt was Eli Lui who
answered, Mrs., do not answer anymore because something might happen. (Basig
Madisgrasya, Your Honor, is more than something.
QWhen you heard those
words from Eli Lui, what else transpired?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AHe said, All right,
where is your aparador because we are getting something. And I even
told him that we should wait for my husband but they did not
agree because they said they are in a hurry.
QAnd after that, what
AI accompanied him
QYou accompanied him
upstairs, who are you referring to that you accompanied upstairs.
AEli Lui and his other
two (2) companions.
QThese two (2) companions
whom you said you do not know their names?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QNow, you said on November
6, 1988, five (5) men suddenly entered your house.
When you said suddenly, will you please
describe how did they enter the house?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThey passed through the
kitchen and suddenly appeared inside the house.
QYou mean to say that
they did not knock at the door?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThey did not.
QWho first entered the
house among the five (5) ?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWhat I first saw was
that they immediately converged in the sala and whom I recognized was Eli Lui
and my nephew who was in handcuffs.
QWas your door opened at
AIt was closed but it
was not locked. It can be kicked open.
QBut you can open it
without kicking the door?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QNow, you said that you
were afraid, why were you afraid?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWhy would you not be
afraid when they were armed?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWho were armed among the
five (5) ?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAll of them except the
one who was in handcuffs.
QYou are very sure of
AI am very sure.23 cralawred
Respondent Paulina Matillano, likewise, testified that petitioner
Lui and his cohorts took her personal things, and those of her familys, from
the second floor of the house:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
QNow, while you and Eli
Lui with two (2) other companions were upstairs, what happened upstairs?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AUpon reaching upstairs,
they immediately rolled the two (2) floor mats, the pair of leather shoes, 2
pairs of pants, two (2) polo-shirts. They also let me open the chest and when
it was already open they rummaged through it and they got my old Bulova watch,
my necklace, my ring and a coinsita, old gold coins.
QWhen you said
coinsita, what is coinsita?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QAfter taking all of
these things, what else happened?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThey went downstairs.24
QNow, you mentioned in
this affidavit that several properties were taken from your house, do you
confirm that there were two (2) polo-shirts that were taken?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QAnd there were also two
(2) floor mats?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AYes, that is true.
QOne (1) Bulova wristwatch?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QOne (1) necklace?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QTwo (2) pairs of lady
QTwo (2) pairs of pants?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QOne (1) ring?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWho owns these two (2)
pairs of ladys (sic) shoes?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThat was mine.
QWhat were the color of
ABlack and dirty white
(referring to the color of the rostrum).
QWhere did you buy that
QWhat store in Davao
QWhat particular date
when you bought that shoes?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI think it was in the
month of November.
QAnd who owns these two
QWhat are the names of
AAllan and Danilo.
QWhere is Allan residing?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ADuring the incident,
Allan was still schooling in Tacloban.
QSo, you mean to say, on November
6, 1988, he was no longer residing in Bansalan?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QHow about Danilo, where
was he residing in November 6, 1988?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AHe was living in Sta.
QHe has a family of his
own at Sta. Cruz?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AHe was still single
QBut he was residing in
QHow about these two (2)
pairs of pants, who owns these pants?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AMy children also.
QYou are referring to
Allan and Danilo?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ANo, because I still
so many children.
QSo, who owns these two
AAlso my children,
Eulogio, Jr. and Allan.
QNow, Eulogio, Jr. where
is (sic) he residing on November 6,
AIn our house.
QHow about these
two (2) t-shirts?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAlso owned by my
QAre you referring to
Allan and Danilo?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThey used to wear that.
QHow come that Allan has
a polo-shirt in your house when you said he was then residing in Tacloban?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
May we manifest, Your Honor, that he was
schooling in Tacloban.
AThey used to have a
vacation during December and March and usually they left some of their clothes
inside our aparador.
QThese polo shirts were
QHow about the pants?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThe other one is
already used and the other one is new.
QHow about the floor
AThat is mine.
QNow, you claimed that
these clothes were taken from the cabinet or aparador, is that correct?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AYes, that is true.
QInside your aparador,
how many pieces of clothes were stored therein?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QCould you say one
AIt cannot be counted.
QCould you say three (3)
AIt is really full of
QWould you say it is more
than three (3) dozens?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QAnd these more than
three (3) dozens consists of polo shirts, t-shirts and pants?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QAnd inspite (sic) the
fact that there were more than three (3) dozens of clothes, pants, polo shirts
and t-shirts only these two (2) pants, two (2) polo shirts and two (2) t-shirts
w ere taken?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AOnly those things
because they only selected the ones which were still usable the good ones.
QNow, you mentioned also
in your affidavit that the group also searched your trunk?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI was ordered to open
QWho particularly ordered
you to open the trunk?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AEli Lui.25 cralawred
The respondents immediately reported the matter to the Office of
the Barangay Captain26 and filed a complaint against petitioner Lui and his cohorts.27 cralawred
The petitioners claim that respondent Paulina Matillano allowed
them and their cohorts inside the house and voluntarily gave their personal
belongings is belied by the unshaken testimony of respondent Paulina Matillano,
corroborated by Erlinda Clarin.
The petitioners attempt to project themselves to have acted with
civility and courtesy to respondent Paulina Matillano is implausible, taking
into account petitioner Luis state of mind before he and petitioner Rojas and
their cohorts left the Metrodiscom Headquarters in Davao
City, and proceeded to the house of
the respondents in Bansalan. Before they left Davao
City, Lui sadistically mauled
Lariosa with the acquiescence of the police authorities, and forced him to give
an uncounselled extrajudicial confession.
This was the finding of the RTC in Criminal Case No. 17,136,88:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Despite being mauled by Eli Lui and drowned in a toilet bowl,
accused denied having anything to do with the lost money of the complainant.
Later, he was turned over to the police for investigation and there without
affording accused with his right to counsel, he was interrogated orally and was
forced to admit that out of the money he stole, he bought items which the
police later recovered at Bansalan. They also returned the accused to the
complainants establishment and forced to do re-enactment of the act of
robbery, without accused again afforded the right to counsel.
Pictures were taken during the re-enactment
while accused was handcuffed, as shown in the pictures taken by the police.
Finally, the accused was forced to admit and sign his extrajudicial
statement (Exhibit A),
no longer able to bear the pain of the mauling to him by
Eli Lui, who has the temerity of maltreating the accused even in the presence
of the guards in the jail and seriously threatening accused to admit ownership
of the recovered items at Bansalan and at New Matina, SIR, Davao City,
otherwise he will be salvaged, along with the serious threatening words of
accuseds companion in the jail, that if he will refuse to sign his alleged
confession, he will be salvaged as directed by Eli Lui with the police.
Indeed, in the records, it can be deduced with sufficient basis,
that Eli Lui seems to have an open hand in the prosecution of the accused. He
was the one who called the police to arrest him, even without a warrant of
arrest. Before his statement was obtained, policeman relied on him in the
investigation and the filing of proper charges against accused.
They rode in a car of Eli Lui, in taking
accused from the Metrodiscom to the establishment of complainant during the
re-enactment in going to Bansalan, to recover the items allegedly bought by
accused out of the money allegedly stolen; all of these incidents shows the
police despite justification, that they do not have enough facilities, gone
astray in conducting an impartial investigation, by submitting to any possible
indiscretion of Eli Lui of making the scale of justice bend in his favor, by
manifesting control over the police power of investigation highly and seriously
pre-judicial to the rights, and interests of the accused.28 cralawred
If petitioner Lui was so brazen as to have mauled Lariosa in the
presence of police authorities, he would not have cared a whit in barging into
the respondents house with petitioner Rojas, a policeman of Davao
City, and his cohorts, and divesting
the respondents of their belongings.
The petitioners and their cohorts wanted to insure that their caper
Hence, they did not
coordinate with the Bansalan Police Station when they went to the respondents
house with their intention to divest them of their belongings.
Petitioner Rojas reliance on Mission Order No. MRF-A-004-98 issued
to him by Sergeant Alberto Genise is misplaced. It bears stressing that the
petitioner was merely tasked in the said order to follow up a theft case
within the area of responsibility of the Metrodiscom, Davao
City. The petitioner was not
authorized, under the said order, to commit or tolerate the commission of a
crime, such as violation of domicile as defined in Article 128 of the Revised
Penal Code, viz:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
ART. 128. Violation of
domicile The penalty of prision
correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any public officer
or employee who, not being authorized by judicial order, shall enter any
dwelling against the will of the owner thereof, search papers or other effects
found therein without the previous consent of such owner, or, having surreptitiously
entered said dwelling, and being required to leave the premises, shall refuse
to do so.
If the offense be committed in the nighttime, or if any papers or
effects not constituting evidence of a crime be not returned immediately after
the search made by the offender, the penalty shall be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.
Although petitioner Rojas did not follow petitioner Lui and his
cohorts to the second floor of the respondents house and himself conduct a
search therein, he allowed them to search the premises without a warrant.
The petitioners and their cohorts were not
authorized to conduct a search in the house of the respondents, much less
divest the latter of their personal belongings.As a police officer, it was petitioner Rojas duty to prevent the
commission of crimes in his presence, and to arrest the persons committing such
The trial court rejected the testimony of respondent Paulina
Matillano on the following grounds: (a) she had known petitioner Lui for ten
years as a businessman doing business in Bansalan; (b) the occupants of the
respondents house when the petitioners and their cohorts arrived were all
women; (c) the respondents failed to report the incident to the Bansalan police
authorities; and, (d) the provincial prosecutors resolution recommending the
dismissal of Criminal Case No. 880-B for robbery against the Petitioners, which
was sustained by the Secretary of Justice, and the ruling of the National
Police Commission exonerating petitioner Rojas from any liability.
We find that the Court of Appeals was correct in overruling the
Matillano testified that petitioner Lui did not stay permanently in
He went there only to collect
money from a certain Matura and other businessmen.29 She also testified that there were many cases against the petitioner, one of
which was for arson.
The case was
dismissed, but one of her neighbors was rendered missing.30 If the petitioner, a businessman for ten years or so, had no qualms in
torturing Lariosa under the very noses of police officers, he would, likewise,
have no qualms about intimidating respondent Paulina Matillano and divesting
her of her personal belongings.
be stressed that petitioner Lui was in the company of petitioner Rojas, a
police officer from Davao City.
and their cohorts had no foreknowledge that the occupants of the respondents
house were all women.
They must have
believed that there were male occupants; hence, barged into the house with
As shown clearly
in respondent Paulina Matillanos sworn statement before the Bansalan Police
Station, she declared that the petitioners were armed with guns.
They threatened her life and, without any
search warrant therefor, divested her and her family of their personal
belongings against their will.31 cralawred
Fourth. In her complaint before the Office of the Barangay
Captain, respondent Paulina Matillano declared that the petitioners entered
their house, that petitioner Lui pointed a gun at her, and that the petitioners
and their cohorts searched the house and carted away their personal belongings.32 That the report made before the Barangay Captain and petitioner Paulina
Matillanos sworn statement are not as complete as her testimony before the
trial court is understandable. Affidavits are usually taken ex parte and are almost always
incomplete and inaccurate, but they do not detract from the credibility of the
witness.33 An entry in the police blotter is usually incomplete and inaccurate for want of
suggestions or inquiries, without the aid of which the victim may be unable to
recall the connected collateral circumstances necessary for the correction of
the first suggestion of his memory, and for his accurate recollection of all
that pertain to the subject.34 The same principle applies to entries in the barangay blotter.
Fifth. As correctly held by the trial court, the findings of
administrative and quasi-administrative agencies are not binding on the
In the present case, the Office
of the Provincial Prosecutor, as affirmed by the Secretary of Justice,35 found no probable cause for robbery against the petitioners because they had no
intent to rob, but merely to recover the properties from the house of the respondents
which petitioner Lui perceived to have been acquired by Lariosa with money
stolen from his uncle, Ben.36 The decision of the National Police Commission absolving petitioner Rojas of
grave misconduct was anchored on its finding that the petitioner was merely
performing his duty as ordered by his superior officer.37 It was inevitable for the City Prosecutor to dismiss the complaint for
violation of domicile filed against petitioner Rojas in I.S. No. 91-1488
because the crime of violation of domicile was committed in Bansalan and not in
Davao City.38 In contrast, the Commission on Human Rights recommended the indictment of
petitioner Lui for unlawful arrest and of petitioner Rojas for violation of
Sixth. Under Articles 19 and 32, in relation to Article 21 of the
New Civil Code, the dismissal of the complaint against the petitioners by the
Provincial and City Prosecutors, the Municipal Trial Court and the National
Police Commission are of no relevance to the civil complaint for damages filed
by the respondents against the petitioners.
The action of the respondents against the petitioners may still proceed
despite the dismissal of the criminal and administrative actions against them.
The petitioners contention that respondent Paulina Matillano waived
her right against unreasonable search and seizure deserves scant
Under Article III,
Section 2 of the Constitution, the right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures
of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable. This provision
protects not only those who appear to be innocent but also those who appear to
be guilty, who must nevertheless be presumed innocent until the contrary is
proved.40 The general rule is that a search and seizure must be carried through or with
judicial warrant; otherwise, such a search and seizure becomes unconstitutional
within the context of the constitutional provision41 because a warrantless search is in derogation of a constitutional right.
Peace officers who effect a warrantless
search cannot invoke regularity in the performance of official functions.42 cralawred
The right against unreasonable searches and seizures is a
personal right which may be waived expressly or impliedly.
But a waiver by implication cannot be
presumed.43 There must be clear and convincing evidence of an actual intention to
relinquish the right to constitute a waiver of a constitutional right.
There must be proof of the following: (a)
that the right exists; (b) that the person involved had knowledge, either
actual or constructive, of the existence of such right; and, (c) that the said
person had an actual intention to relinquish the right.44 The waiver must be made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently.
The Court indulges every reasonable
presumption against any waiver of fundamental constitutional rights.45 The fact that the aggrieved person did not object to the entry into her house
by the police officers does not amount to a permission to make a search
therein.46 A peaceful submission to search and seizure is not a consent or an invitation
thereto, but is merely a demonstration of regard for the supremacy of the law.47 cralawred
In this case, the petitioners failed to prove, with clear and
convincing evidence, that respondent Paulina Matillano waived her right against
unreasonable search and seizure by consenting thereto, either expressly or
impliedly. Admittedly, respondent Paulina Matillano did not object to the
opening of her wooden closet and the taking of their personal properties.
However, such failure to object or resist
did not amount to an implied waiver of her right against unreasonable search
The petitioners were armed
with handguns; petitioner Lui threatened and intimidated her.
Respondent Eulogio Matillano, her husband,
was out of the house when the petitioner and his cohorts conducted the search
He could, thus, not have
waived his constitutional right.
Furthermore, the petitioners claim that respondent Paulina
Matillano voluntarily handed over the articles to petitioner Lui is
There is no evidence that
there was foreknowledge on the part of the petitioners of the articles they
wanted to retrieve from the respondents house.Even if respondent Paulina Matillano did hand over the articles
to the petitioner, it was only because the petitioner and his cohorts had
earlier threatened and intimidated her into doing so.
We agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the
petitioners are liable to the respondents for moral and exemplary damages in
the amounts respectively awarded by it. Petitioner Rojas, a policeman of Davao
City, conspired with petitioner Lui
and, with drawn guns, gained entry into the respondents house, and threatened
and intimidated respondent Paulina Matillano.
Although petitioner Rojas did not himself conduct the search, he
assented thereto by allowing petitioner Lui and his cohorts to go up to the
second floor and divest the respondents of their belongings.
The petitioners even left together after the
In MHP Garments, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,48 we had the occasion to state:
In the case of Lim v. Ponce de Leon, we ruled for the recovery of damages for
violation of constitutional rights and liberties from public officer or private
ART. 32. Any public officer or employee,
or any private individual, who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats,
violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the following rights and
liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for damages.
(9) the rights to be
secure in ones persons, house, papers and
effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The indemnity shall include moral
damages. Exemplary damages may also be adjudged.
ART 2219. Moral damages may be recovered
in the following and analogous cases:
(6) Illegal search;
(1) Acts and actions referred to in
Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
Pursuant to the foregoing provisions, a
person whose constitutional rights have been violated or impaired is entitled
to actual and moral damages from the public officer or employee responsible therefor. In addition,
exemplary damages may also be awarded.
The very nature of Article 32 is that the
wrong may be civil or criminal. It is not necessary therefore that there should
be malice or bad faith. To make such a requisite would defeat the main purpose
of Article 32 which is the effective protection of individual rights.
Public officials in the past have abused their
powers on the pretext of justifiable motives or good faith in the performance
of their duties.
Precisely, the object
of the Article is to put an end to official abuse by plea of the good faith. In
the United States
this remedy is in the nature of a tort. (emphasis supplied)
In the subsequent case of Aberca v. Ver, the Court En Banc explained the liability of
persons indirectly responsible, viz:
[T]he decisive factor in this case, in
our view, is the language of Article 32. The law speaks of an officer or employee or person directly or indirectly responsible
for the violation of the constitutional rights and liberties of another. Thus,
it is not the actor alone (i.e., the one directly responsible) who must answer
for damages under Article 32; the person indirectly responsible has also to
answer for the damages or injury caused to the aggrieved party.
While it would certainly be too nave to
expect that violators of human rights would easily be deterred by the prospect
of facing damage suits, it should nonetheless be made clear in no uncertain
terms that Article 32 of the Civil Code makes the persons who are directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for the
transgression joint tortfeasors.
[N]either can it be said that only those
shown to have participated directly should be held liable. Article 32 of the
Civil Code encompasses within the ambit of its provisions those directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for its
violations. (emphasis supplied)
Applying the aforecited provisions and
leading cases, the respondent court correctly granted damages to private
Petitioners were indirectly involved in transgressing the
right of private respondents against unreasonable search and seizure. Firstly,
they instigated the raid pursuant to their covenant in the Memorandum Agreement
to undertake the prosecution in court of all illegal sources of scouting
supplies. As correctly observed by respondent court:
Indeed, the acts committed by the PC
soldiers of unlawfully seizing appellees (respondents) merchandise and of
filing the criminal complaint for unfair
competition against appellees (respondents) were for the protection and
benefit of appellant (petitioner) corporation. Such being the case, it is,
thus, reasonably fair to infer from those acts that it was upon appellant (petitioner) corporations instance that the PC
soldiers conducted the raid and effected the illegal seizure.
These circumstances should answer the trial
courts query posed in its decision now under consideration as to why the PC soldiers immediately turned
over the seized merchandise to appellant (petitioner) corporation.
The raid was conducted with the active participation of their
employee. Larry de Guzman did not lift a finger to stop the seizure of the boy
and girl scout items. By standing by and apparently
assenting thereto, he was liable to the same extent as the officers
themselves. So with the petitioner corporation which even received for
the goods unreasonable
seized by the PC raiding team and de Guzman, and refused to surrender them for
quite a time despite the dismissal of its complaint for unfair competition.49 cralawred
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE
FOREGOING, the petition is DISMISSED.
The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto.
Costs against the
Quisumbing, (Acting Chairman),
Austria-Martinez, and TINGA, JJ., concur.
Puno, J., (Chairman), on
1 Penned by Associate Justice Conrado M. Vasquez, Jr., with Associate Justices
Cancio C. Garcia and Teodoro P. Regino, concurring.
2 Penned by Judge Rodolfo A. Escovilla.
22 TSN, 23 September 1991, pp.
25 TSN, 3 December 1991, pp.
29 TSN, 23 September 1991, p.
33 People v. Padilla, 213 SCRA 631
34 People v. Tabao, 240 SCRA 758
40 MHP Garments, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,
236 SCRA 227 (1994)
41 People v. Barros, 231 SCRA 557
44 Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin, 65
Phil. 89 (1938).
46 Magoncia v. Palacio, 80 Phil. 770
47 Pasion Vda. de Garcia v. Locsin, supra;
People v. Cubcubin, Jr., supra.
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