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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
 

   
December-2015 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 212058, December 07, 2015 - STAR ELECTRIC CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. R & G CONSTRUCTION DEVELOPMENT AND TRADING, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210445, December 07, 2015 - NILO B. ROSIT, Petitioner, v. DAVAO DOCTORS HOSPITAL AND DR. ROLANDO G. GESTUVO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 195547, December 02, 2015 - MA. CORAZON M. OLA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 209418, December 07, 2015 - W.M. MANUFACTURING, INC., Petitioner, v. RICHARD R. DALAG AND GOLDEN ROCK MANPOWER SERVICES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 197763, December 07, 2015 - SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC., MR. NAPOLEON L. NAZARENO, AND MR. RICKY P. ISLA, Petitioners, v. JOSE LENI Z. SOLIDUM, Respondent.; G.R. No. 197836 - JOSE LENI Z. SOLIDUM, Petitioner, v. SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC., MR. NAPOLEON L. NAZARENO, AND MR. RICKY P. ISLA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 207633, December 09, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JOHNLIE LAGANGGA Y DUMPA, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 203115, December 07, 2015 - ISLAND OVERSEAS TRANSPORT CORPORATION/PINE CREST SHIPPING CORPORATION/CAPT. EMMANUEL L. REGIO, Petitioners, v. ARMANDO M. BEJA, Respondent.

  • G.R. Nos. 216007-09, December 08, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. LUZVIMINDA S. VALDEZ AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIFTH DIVISION), Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 204275, December 09, 2015 - LILIOSA C. LISONDRA, Petitioner, v. MEGACRAFT INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION AND SPOUSES MELECIO AND ROSEMARIE OAMIL, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 201652, December 02, 2015 - HEIRS OF SIMEON LATAYAN, NAMELY: LEONIDES Q. LATAYAN, ARIEL Q. LATAYAN, AND ETHEL Q. LATAYAN-AMPIL, REPRESENTED BY THEIR ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, LEONIDES Q. LATAYAN, Petitioners, v. PEING TAN, JOHNNY TAN, HERMTNIGILDO CASALAN, WEBINO VILLAREAL, DIOSCOROMOLO, DAMACINO BAYAWA, EDGAR NARITA, YOLANDA NARITA, POLICRONIA CAPIONES, ANDRES LOZANO, GREGORIO YAGAO, EMILIANO GUMATAY, JESUS ALCONTIN, ADAM DULAUON, MARIO PEREZ, LARRY CEMAFRANCA, FELIXBERTO BULADACO, CIPRIANOAHIT, BUENAVENTURA B ACALSO AND SALDE ESPIA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 196415, December 02, 2015 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. TOLEDO POWER COMPANY, Respondent.; G.R. No. 196451 - TOLEDO POWER COMPANY, Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 221318, December 16, 2015 - KABATAAN PARTY-LIST, REPRESENTED BY REPRESENTATIVE JAMES MARK TERRY L. RIDON AND MARJOHARA S. TUCAY; SARAH JANE I. ELAGO, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES; VENCER MARI E. CRISOSTOMO, CHAIRPERSON OF THE ANAKBAYAN; MARC LINO J. ABILA, NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE EDITORS GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES; EINSTEIN Z. RECEDES, DEPUTY SECRETARY- GENERAL OF ANAKBAYAN; CHARISSE BERNADINE I. BAÑEZ, CHAIRPERSON OF THE LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS; ARLENE CLARISSE Y. JULVE, MEMBER OF ALYANSA NG MGA GRUPONG HALIGI NG AGHAM AT TEKNOLOHIYA PARA SA MAMAMAYAN (AGHAM); AND SINING MARIA ROSA L. MARFORI, Petitioners, v. COMMISSION ELECTIONS, ON, Respondent.

  • G.R. Nos. 197096-97, December 07, 2015 - ANTONIO Z. KING, HEREIN REPRESENTED BY HIS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, EDGARDO SANTOS, Petitioner, v. FRANCISCO A. ROBLES, ANTONIO T. DATU, RENE A. MASILUNGAN, RESTITUTO S. SOLOMON, RODRIGO MENDOZA, ROMEO MENDOZA REYNALDO DATU, JOSEPH TIU, TERESITA TIU, ROGELIO GEBILAGUIN AND PRESCILLA GEBILAGUIN, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 207112, December 08, 2015 - PILIPINAS TOTAL GAS, INC., Petitioner, v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210855, December 09, 2015 - ROLANDO S. ABADILLA, JR., Petitioner, v. SPOUSES BONIFACIO P. OBRERO AND BERNABELA N. OBRERO, AND JUDITH OBRERO-TIMBRESA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 199314 [Formerly UDK No. 14553], December 07, 2015 - TAMBLOT SECURITY & GENERAL SERVICES, INC., Petitioner, v. FLORENCIO ITEM, LEONARDO PALM A, RTCARDO UCANG, FLORENCRO AMORA, REYNALDO DANO, APOLLO JOTOJOT, TEODORO BARONG, JUAN T. CUSI, TEODORO DE LOS REYES, EFREN ESCOL, JOVANNE COSE, DARIO S. GEALON, JULIO ESPADA AND DARIO PAJE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 192659, December 02, 2015 - PHILIPPINE RACE HORSE TRAINER'S ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner, v. PIEDRAS NEGRAS CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 218787, December 08, 2015 - LEO Y. QUERUBIN, MARIA CORAZON M. AKOL, AND AUGUSTO C. LAGMAN, Petitioners, v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS EN BANC, REPRESENTED BY CHAIRPERSON J. ANDRES D. BAUTISTA, AND JOINT VENTURE OF SMARTMATIC-TIM CORPORATION, TOTAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, SMARTMATIC INTERNATIONAL HOLDING B.V. AND JARLTECH INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, REPRESENTED BY PARTNER WITH BIGGEST EQUITY SHARE, SMARTMATIC-TIM CORPORATION, ITS GENERAL MANAGER ALASTAIR JOSEPH JAMES WELLS, SMARTMATIC CHAIRMAN LORD MALLOCH-BROWN, SMARTMATIC-ASIA PACIFIC PRESIDENT CESAR FLORES, AND ANY OR ALL PERSONS ACTING FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE JOINT VENTURE, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 179814, December 07, 2015 - WILFRED N.CHIOK, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND RUFINA CHUA, Respondents.; G.R. No. 180021 - RUFINA CHUA, Petitioner, v. WILFRED N. CHIOK, AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES (AS AN UNWILLING CO-PARTY PETITIONER), Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 209324, December 09, 2015 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, Petitioner, v. PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 213832, December 07, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GILBERT MERCADO A.K.A. "BONG", Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 198270, December 09, 2015 - ARMILYN MORILLO, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND RICHARD NATIVIDAD, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 215201, December 09, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MARK ANTHONY ROAQUIN Y NAVARRO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 203918, December 02, 2015 - SPOUSES AMADOR C. CAYAGO, JR. AND ERMALINDA B. CAYAGO, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES EVELITO CANTARA AND SOLEDAD CANTARA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 203397, December 09, 2015 - AUGUSTO ONG TRINIDAD II, AUGUSTO ONG TRINIDAD III FOR HIMSELF AND REPRESENTING LEVY ONG TRINIDAD AND ROHMEL ONG TRINIDAD, MARY ANN NEPOMUCENO TRINIDAD FOR HERSELF AND ASSISTING HER MINOR CHILDREN JOAQUIN GERARD N. TRINIDAD IV, JACOB GABRIEL N. TRINIDAD, AND JERED GYAN N. TRINIDAD, Petitioners, v. SPOUSES BONIFACIO PALAD AND FELICIDAD KAUSAPIN, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 202215, December 09, 2015 - VICMAR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND/OR ROBERT KUA, OWNER, AND ENGR. JUANITO C. PAGCALIWAGAN, MANAGER, Petitioners, v. CAMILO ELARCOSA, MARLON BANDA, DANTE L. BALAMAD, RODRIGO COLANSE, CHIQUITO PACALDO, ROBINSON PANAGA, JUNIE ABUGHO, SBLVERIO NARISMA, ARMANDO GONZALES, TEOFILO ELBINA, FRANCISCO BAGUIO, GELVEN RHYAN RAMOS, JULITO SIMAN, RECARIDO PANES, JESUS TINSAY, AGAPITO CANAS, JR., OLIVER LOBAYNON, SIMEON BAGUIO, JOSEPH SALCEDO, DONIL INDINO, WILFREDO GULBEN, JESRILE TANIO, RENANTE PAMON, RICHIE GULBEN, DANIEL ELLO, REXY DOFELIZ, RONALD NOVAL, NORBERTO BELARGA, ALLAN BAGUIO, ROBERTO PAGUICAN, ROMEO PATOY, ROLANDO TACBOBO, WILFREDO LADRA, RUBEN PANES, RUEL CABANDAY, AND JUNARD ABUGHO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 188638, December 09, 2015 - PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC. AND NORTHERN MARINE MANAGEMENT, Petitioners, v. JOSELITO A. CRISTINO, DECEASED AND REPRESENTED BY HIS WIFE SUSAN B. BERDOS, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 211543, December 09, 2015 - DOMINGO G. PANGANIBAN, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 209039, December 09, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. MIRAFLOR UGANIEL LERIO, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 209559, December 09, 2015 - ENCHANTED KINGDOM, INC., Petitioner, v. MIGUEL J. VERZO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 160399, December 09, 2015 - THE CITY OF ILOILO, REPRESENTED BY HON. MAYOR JERRY P. TREÑAS, Petitioner, v. HON. JUDGE RENE B. HONRADO, PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 29, ILOILO CITY, AND JPV MOTOR VEHICLE EMISSION TESTING & CAR CARE CENTER, CO., REPRESENTED BY JIM P. VELEZ, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 159979, December 09, 2015 - CAPITAL INSURANCE AND SURETY CO., INC., Petitioner, v. DEL MONTE MOTOR WORKS, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 213696, December 09, 2015 - QUANTUM FOODS, INC., Petitioner, v. MARCELINO ESLOYO AND GLEN MAGSILA, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 209040, December 09, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RODOLFO PATEÑO DAYAPDAPAN, Accused-Appellant.

  • G.R. No. 166581, December 07, 2015 - SOLIDBANK CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, AND DANILO H. LAZARO, Respondents.; G.R. No. 167187 - DANILO H. LAZARO, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION AND SOLIDBANK CORPORATION, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 200901, December 07, 2015 - SM INVESTMENTS CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. ESTELA MARFORI POSADAS, MARIA ELENA POSADAS AND AIDA MACARAIG POSADAS. Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 208113, December 02, 2015 - DOLORES DIAZ, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND LETICIA S. ARCILLA, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 182375, December 02, 2015 - HADJA RAWIYA SUIB, Petitioner, v. EMONG EBBAH AND THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, 22ND DIVISION, MINDANAO STATION, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 211210, December 02, 2015 - RADAR SECURITY & WATCHMAN AGENCY, INC., Petitioner, v. JOSE D. CASTRO, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 213814, December 02, 2015 - RAFAEL B. QUILLOPA, Petitioner, v. QUALITY GUARDS SERVICES AND INVESTIGATION AGENCY AND ISMAEL BASABICA, JR., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 193964, December 02, 2015 - ENGINEER BEN Y. LIM, RBL FISHING CORPORATION, PALAWAN AQUACULTURE CORPORATION, AND PENINSULA SHIPYARD CORPORATION, Petitioners, v. HON. SULPICIO G. GAMOSA, OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, NCIP REGIONAL HEARING OFFICE, REGION IV AND TAGBANUA INDIGENOUS CULTURAL COMMUNITY OF BARANGAY BUENAVISTA, CORON, PALAWAN, AS REPRESENTED BY FERNANDO P. AGUIDO, ERNESTO CINCO, BOBENCIO MOSQUERA, JURRY CARPIANO, VICTOR BALBUTAN, NORDITO ALBERTO, EDENG PESRO, CLAUDINA BAQUID, NONITA SALVA, AND NANCHITA ALBERTO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 197792, December 09, 2015 - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Petitioner, v. MADLAWI B. MAGOYAG, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 192947, December 09, 2015 - MELANIE E. DE OCAMPO, Petitioner, v. RPN-9/RADIO PHILIPPINES NETWORK, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 204172, December 09, 2015 - HON. HERMOGENES E. EBDANE, JR., IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS ACTING SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH), ATTY. JOEL L. JACOB, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, LEGAL SERVICE (DPWH), ATTY. OLIVER T. RODULFO, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS HEAD, INTERNAL AFFAIRS OFFICE, (DPWH), AND HON. JAIME A. PACANAN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS REGIONAL DIRECTOR, (DPWH), REGIONAL OFFICE NO. VIII, Petitioners, v. ALVARO Y. APURILLO, ERDA P. GABRIANA, JOCELYN S. JO, IRAIDA R. LASTIMADO, AND FRANCISCO B. VINEGAS, JR., Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 215424, December 09, 2015 - ADINA B. MANANSALA, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 179741, December 09, 2015 - HEIRS OF SPOUSES HILARIO MARINAS AND BERNARDINA N. MARINAS, Petitioners, v. BERNARDO FRIANEZA, RODRIGO FRIANEZA, ALEJANDRA FRIANEZA, HILARIO VILLENA, SATURNINO VILLENA, FEDERICO FLORES, PEDRO FLORES AND MARCELINA RAMOS, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 190482, December 09, 2015 - DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, REPRESENTED BY MS. FRITZI C. PANTOJA IN HER CAPACITY AS PROVINCIAL AGRARIAN REFORM OFFICER OF LAGUNA, Petitioner, v. IGMIDIO D. ROBLES, RANDY V. ROBLES, MARY KRIST B. MALIMBAN, ANNE JAMAICA G. ROBLES, JOHN CARLO S. ROBLES AND CHRISTINE ANN V. ROBLES, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 212825, December 07, 2015 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Petitioner, v. NEXT MOBILE, INC. (FORMERLY NEXTEL COMMUNICATIONS PHILS., INC.), Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 174387, December 09, 2015 - BF CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. WERDENBERG INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 209689, December 02, 2015 - MARISSA B. QUIRANTE, Petitioner, v. OROPORT CARGO HANDLING SERVICES, INC., ET AL. Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 202877, December 09, 2015 - NARRA NICKEL MINING AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, TESORO MINING AND DEVELOPMENT, INC., AND MCARTHUR MINING, INC., Petitioners, v. REDMONT CONSOLIDATED MINES CORPORATION, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 202947, December 09, 2015 - ASB REALTY CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. ORTIGAS & COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 213229, December 09, 2015 - FILINVEST ALABANG, INC., Petitioner, v. CENTURY IRON WORKS, INC., Respondent.

  • G.R. No. 210215, December 09, 2015 - ROGELIO S. NOLASCO, NICANORA N. GUEVARA, LEONARDA N. ELPEDES, HEIRS OF ARNULFO S. NOLASCO, AND REMEDIOS M. NOLASCO, REPRESENTED BY ELENITA M. NOLASCO Petitioners, v. CELERINO S. CUERPO, JOSELITO ENCABO, JOSEPH ASCUTIA, AND DOMILO LUCENARIO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 206942, December 09, 2015 - VICENTE C. TATEL, Petitioner, v. JLFP INVESTIGATION AND SECURITY AGENCY, INC., JOSE LUIS F. PAMINTUAN, AND/OR PAOLO C. TURNO, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 209271, December 08, 2015 - INTERNATIONAL SERVICE FOR THE ACQUISITION OF AGRI-BIOTECH APPLICATIONS, INC., Petitioner, v. GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA (PHILIPPINES), MAGSASAKA AT SIYENTIPIKO SA PAGPAPAUNLAD NG AGRIKULTURA (MASIPAG), REP. TEODORO CASIÑO, DR. BEN MALAYANG III, DR. ANGELINA GALANG, LEONARDO AVILA III, CATHERINE UNTALAN, ATTY. MARIA PAZ LUNA, JUANITO MODINA, DAGOHOY MAGAWAY, DR. ROMEO QUIJANO, DR. WENCESLAO KIAT, JR., ATTY. H. HARRY ROQUE, JR., FORMER SEN. ORLANDO MERCADO, NOEL CABANGON, MAYOR EDWARD S. HAGEDORN AND EDWIN MARTHINE LOPEZ, Respondents.; CROP LIFE PHILIPPINES, INC., Petitioner-in-Intervention.; G.R. No. 209276 - ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUREAU OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY AND FERTILIZER AND PESTICIDE AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Petitioners, v. COURT OF APPEALS, GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA (PHILIPPINES), MAGSASAKAAT SIYENTIPIKO SA PAGPAPAUNLAD NG AGRIKULTURA (MASIPAG), REP. TEODORO CASINO, DR. BEN MALAYANG III, DR. ANGELINA GALANG, LEONARDO AVILA III, CATHERINE UNTALAN, ATTY. MARIA PAZ LUNA, JUANITO MODINA, DAGOHOY MAGAWAY, DR. ROMEO QUIJANO, DR. WENCESLAO KIAT, JR., ATTY. H. HARRY ROQUE, JR., FORMER SEN. ORLANDO MERCADO, NOEL CABANGON, MAYOR EDWARD S. HAGEDORN AND EDWIN MARTHINE LOPEZ, RESPONDENTS. CROP LIFE PHILIPPINES, INC. Petitioner-in-Intervention.; G.R. No. 209301 - UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES LOS BANOS FOUNDATION, INC., Petitioner, v. GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA (PHILIPPINES), MAGSASAKAAT SIYENTIPIKO SA PAGPAPAUNLAD NG AGRIKULTURA (MASIPAG), REP. TEODORO CASINO, DR. BEN MALAYANG III, DR. ANGELINA GALANG, LEONARDO AVILA III, CATHERINE UNTALAN, ATTY. MARIA PAZ LUNA, JUANITO MODINA, DAGOHOY MAGAWAY, DR. ROMEO QUIJANO, DR. WENCESLAO KIAT, JR., ATTY. HARRY R. ROQUE, JR., FORMER SEN. ORLANDO MERCADO, NOEL CABANGON, MAYOR EDWARD S. HAGEDORN AND EDWIN MARTHINE LOPEZ, Respondents.; G.R. No. 209430 - UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. GREENPEACE SOUTHEAST ASIA (PHILIPPINES), MAGSASAKAAT SIYENTIPIKO SA PAGPAPAUNLAD NG AGRIKULTURA (MASIPAG), REP. TEODORO CASINO, DR. BEN MALAYANG III, DR. ANGELINA GALANG, LEONARDO AVILA III, CATHERINE UNTALAN, ATTY. MARIA PAZ LUNA, JUANITO MODINA, DAGOHOY MAGAWAY, DR. ROMEO QUIJANO, DR. WENCESLAO KIAT, ATTY. HARRY R. ROQUE, JR., FORMER SEN. ORLANDO MERCADO, NOEL CABANGON, MAYOR EDWARD S. HAGEDORN AND EDWIN MARTHINE LOPEZ, Respondents.

  • G.R. No. 169694, December 09, 2015 - MEGAWORLD PROPERTIES AND HOLDINGS, INC., EMPIRE EAST LAND HOLDINGS, INC., AND ANDREW L. TAN, Petitioners, v. MAJESTIC FINANCE AND INVESTMENT CO., INC., RHODORA LOPEZ-LIM, AND PAULINA CRUZ, Respondents.

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    G.R. Nos. 216007-09, December 08, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. LUZVIMINDA S. VALDEZ AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIFTH DIVISION), Respondent.

      G.R. Nos. 216007-09, December 08, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. LUZVIMINDA S. VALDEZ AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIFTH DIVISION), Respondent.

    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    EN BANC

    G.R. Nos. 216007-09, December 08, 2015

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. LUZVIMINDA S. VALDEZ AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIFTH DIVISION), Respondent.

    D E C I S I O N

    PERALTA, J.:

    This special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court (Rules) seeks to nullify and set aside the October 10, 2014 Resolution1 of public respondent Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, the dispositive portion of which states:

    WHEREFORE, the (i) Motion to Set Aside No Bail Recommendation and to Fix the Amount of Bail and the (ii) Urgent Supplemental Motion to the Motion to Set Aside No Bail Recommendation and to Fix the Amount of Bail with Additional Prayer to Recall/List Warrant of Arrest filed by accused Luzviminda S. Valdez, are GRANTED.

    Let the Order of Arrest issued in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0321, 0322 and 0324 adopting the "no bail" recommendation of the Office of the Ombudsman be RECALLED. Instead, let an Order of arrest in said cases be issued anew, this time, fixing the bail for each offense charged in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00).

    SO ORDERED.2ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    The case stemmed from the Joint Affidavit3 executed by Sheila S. Velmonte-Portal and Mylene T. Romero, both State Auditors of the Commission on Audit Region VI in Pavia, Iloilo, who conducted a post-audit of the disbursement vouchers (D.V.) of the Bacolod City Government. Among the subjects thereof were the reimbursements of expenses of private respondent Luzviminda S. Valdez (Valdez), a former mayor of Bacolod City, particularly:
    1. D.V. No. 6 dated January 8, 2004 amounting to P80,000.00;

    2. D.V. No. 220 dated March 24, 2004 amounting to P68,000.00;

    3. D.V. No. 278 dated April 13, 2004 amounting to P19,350.00; and

    4. D.V. No. 325 dated April 30, 2004 amounting to P111,800.00 for Cash Slip No. 193402.4
    Based on the verification conducted in the establishments that issued the official receipts, it was alleged that the cash slips were altered/falsified to enable Valdez to claim/receive reimbursement from the Government the total amount of P279,150.00 instead of only P4,843.25; thus, an aggregate overclaim of P274,306.75.

    The Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office (PACPO), Office of the Ombudsman - Visayas received the joint affidavit, which was thereafter resolved adverse to Valdez.

    Consequently, Valdez was charged with eight cases four of which (SB-14-CRM-0317 to 0320) were for Violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, while the remaining half (SB-14-CRM-0321 to 0324) were for the complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents under Articles 2175 and 171,6 in relation to Article 487 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). All the cases were raffled before public respondent.

    Since the Ombudsman recommended "no bail" in SB-14-CRM-0321, 0322, and 0324, Valdez, who is still at-large, caused the filing of a Motion to Set Aside No Bail Recommendation and to Fix the Amount of Bail.8 She argued that the three cases are bailable as a matter of right because no aggravating or modifying circumstance was alleged; the maximum of the indeterminate sentence shall be taken from the medium period that ranged from 18 years, 8 months and 1 day to 20 years; and applying Article 48 of the RPC, the imposable penalty is 20 years, which is the maximum of the medium period.

    Petitioner countered in its Comment/Opposition9 that the Indeterminate Sentence Law (ISL) is inapplicable as the attending circumstances are immaterial because the charge constituting the complex crime have the corresponding penalty of reclusion perpetua. Since the offense is punishable by reclusion perpetua, bail is discretionary. Instead of a motion to fix bail, a summary hearing to determine if the evidence of guilt is strong is, therefore, necessary conformably with Section 13, Article III of the 1987 Constitution and Section 4, Rule 114 of the Rules.

    Due to the issuance and release of a warrant of arrest, Valdez subsequently filed an Urgent Supplemental Motion to the Motion to Set Aside No Bail Recommendation and to Fix the Amount of Bail with Additional Prayer to Recall/Lift Warrant of Arrest.10 Petitioner filed a Comment/Opposition thereto.11 Later, the parties filed their respective Memorandum of Authorities.12

    As aforesaid, on October 10, 2014, public respondent granted the motions of Valdez. It recalled the arrest order issued in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0321, 0322 and 0324. In lieu thereof, a new arrest order was issued, fixing the bail for each offense charged in said cases in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00). Without filing a motion for reconsideration, petitioner elevated the matter before Us to resolve the lone issue of whether an accused indicted for the complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents involving an amount that exceeds P22,000.00 is entitled to bail as a matter of right.

    The Court shall first tackle Valdez's procedural objection. She avers that the petition must be dismissed outright on the ground that it was filed without first filing a motion for reconsideration before public respondent, and that, even if there are exceptions to the general rule, this case does not fall under any of them.

    We disagree.

    The general rule is that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non before a petition for certiorari may lie, its purpose being to grant an opportunity for the court a quo to correct any error attributed to it by a re-examination of the legal and factual circumstances of the case.

    However, the rule is not absolute and jurisprudence has laid down the following exceptions when the filing of a petition for certiorari is proper notwithstanding the failure to file a motion for reconsideration:
    (a) where the order is a patent nullity, as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction;

    (b) where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court;

    (c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the petitioner or the subject matter of the petition is perishable;

    (d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless;

    (e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief;

    (f) where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable;

    (g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process;

    (h) where the proceeding was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and,

    (i) where the issue raised is one purely of law or public interest is involved.13ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    The issue being raised here is one purely of law and all the argument, pros and cons were already raised in and passed upon by public respondent; thus, filing a motion for reconsideration would be an exercise in futility. Likewise, as petitioner claims, the resolution of the question raised in this case is of urgent necessity considering its implications on similar cases filed and pending before the Sandiganbayan. As it appears, there have been conflicting views on the matter such that the different divisions of the anti-graft court issue varying resolutions. Undeniably, the issue is of extreme importance affecting public interest. It involves not just the right of the State to prosecute criminal offenders but, more importantly, the constitutional right of the accused to bail.

    Now, on the main issue:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    The controversy is, in fact, not one of first impression. Mañalac, Jr. v. People14 already resolved that an accused charged with Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents where the amount involved exceeds P22,000.00 is not entitled to bail as a matter of right because it has an actual imposable penalty of reclusion perpetua.

    In Mañalac, Jr., the defendants argued that they should be allowed to post bail since reclusion perpetua is not the prescribed penalty for the offense but merely describes the penalty actually imposed on account of the fraud involved. It was also posited that Article 48 of the RPC applies "only after the accused has been convicted in a full-blown trial such that the court is mandated to impose the penalty of the most serious crime," and that the reason for the imposition of the penalty of the most serious offense is "only for the purpose of determining the correct penalty upon the application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law." This Court, through the Third Division, however, denied the petition and resolved in the affirmative the issue of whether the constitutional right to bail of an accused is restricted in cases whose imposable penalty ranges from reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion perpetua. Citing People v. Pantaleon, Jr., et al.,15 in relation to Section 13, Article III of the Constitution and Section 7, Rule 114 of the Rules, it was held that Mañalac, Jr. is not entitled to bail as a matter of right since he is charged with a crime whose penalty is reclusion perpetua.

    To recall, the amounts involved in Pantaleon, Jr. were manifestly in excess of P22,000.00. We opined that the Sandiganbayan correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua and that the ISL is inapplicable since it is an indivisible penalty. The Court's pronouncement is consistent with the earlier cases of People v. Conwi, Jr.,16People v. Enfermo,17 and People v. Pajaro, et al.18 as well as with the fairly recent case of Zafra v. People.19

    The rulings in Pantaleon, Jr. and analogous cases are in keeping with the provisions of the RPC. Specifically, Article 48 of which states that in complex crimes, "the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period." Thus, in Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents, the prescribed penalties for malversation and falsification should be taken into account. Under the RPC, the penalty for malversation of public funds or property if the amount involved exceeds P22,000.00 shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua, aside from perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled.20 On the other hand, the penalty ofprision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000.00 shall be imposed for falsification committed by a public officer.21 Considering that malversation is the more serious offense, the imposable penalty for Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents if the amount involved exceeds P22,000.00 is reclusion perpetua, it being the maximum period of the prescribed penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

    For purposes of bail application, however, the ruling in Mañalac, Jr. should be revisited on the ground that Pantaleon, Jr. (as well as Conwi, Jr., Enfermo, Pajaro, et al., and Zafra) was disposed in the context of a judgment of conviction rendered by the lower court and affirmed on appeal by this Court. As will be shown below, the appropriate rule is to grant bail as a matter of right to an accused who is charged with a complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents involving an amount that exceeds P22,000.00.

    Section 13, Article III of the 1987 Constitution states:
    SECTION 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.22ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    Pursuant thereto, Sections 4 and 7, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provide:
    SEC. 4. Bail, a matter of right; exception. - All persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this Rule (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment. (4a)

    SEC. 7. Capital offense of an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. - No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. (7a)23ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    The pivotal question is: How should We construe the term "punishable" under the provisions above-quoted?

    In Our mind, the term "punishable" should refer to prescribed, not imposable, penalty. People v. Temporada,24 which was even cited by petitioner, perceptibly distinguished these two concepts:
    The RPC provides for an initial penalty as a general prescription for the felonies defined therein which consists of a range of period of time. This is what is referred to as the "prescribed penalty." For instance, under Article 249 of the RPC, the prescribed penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal which ranges from 12 years and 1 day to 20 years of imprisonment. Further, the Code provides for attending or modifying circumstances which when present in the commission of a felony affects the computation of the penalty to be imposed on a convict. This penalty, as thus modified, is referred to as the "imposable penalty." In the case of homicide which is committed with one ordinary aggravating circumstance and no mitigating circumstances, the imposable penalty under the RPC shall be the prescribed penalty in its maximum period. From this imposable penalty, the court chooses a single fixed penalty (also called a straight penalty) which is the "penalty actually imposed" on a convict, i.e., the prison term he has to serve.25ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    Petitioner contends that the imposable penalty is the one provided by the RPC before conviction to determine whether the charge is bailable or not, while the penalty actually imposed pertains to the prison sentence upon conviction.26 Hence, it is maintained that the penalty imposable for the offense charged against private respondent is reclusion perpetua, which makes Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0321, 0322 and 0324 non-bailable.

    The argument is erroneous.

    Following Temporada, for the complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents involving an amount that exceeds P22,000.00, the "prescribed penalty" is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. After trial, should the commission of such crime be proven by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt, the "imposable penalty" is reclusion perpetua in view of the RPC mandate that the prescribed penalty of reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion perpetua shall be applied in its maximum.27 The falsification, which is the means used to commit the crime of malversation, is in the nature of a generic aggravating circumstance that effectively directs the imposition of the prescribed penalty in its maximum period.28 The phrases "shall be applied" and "shall impose," found in Articles 63 and 64, respectively, of the RPC, are of similar import as the phrase "shall be imposed" found in Article 48. Both Articles 63 and 64 refer to the penalty to be imposed after considering the aggravating or mitigating circumstance/s. Finally, the "penalty actually imposed" is still reclusion perpetua, considering that the ISL finds no application as the penalty is indivisible.29

    The October 10, 2014 Resolution of public respondent is spot on had it not confused imposable penalty with prescribed penalty. Nonetheless, reading through the text of the assailed Resolution reveals that the anti-graft court actually meant prescribed penalty whenever it referred to imposable penalty. Therefore, in essence, the ruling is correct. Respondent court held:
    If the complex crime of Malversation thru Falsification be imposed in its maximum period, there is no doubt that, in case of conviction, the penalty to be imposed is reclusion perpetua. The cases, however, are still at their inception. Criminal proceedings are yet to ensue. This is not the proper time, therefore, to call for the application of the penalty contemplated under Article 48 by imposing the same in its maximum period.

    For purposes of determining whether a person can be admitted to bail as a matter of right, it is the imposable penalty prescribed by law for the crime charged which should be considered and, not the penalty to be actually imposed. Illustrative cases such as Catiis v. Court of Appeals, et al. and People v. Hu Ruey Chun evidently confirm this to be so.

    x x x x

    In both cases, therefore, it is the penalty imposable for the offense charged that was considered for purposes of bail.

    A circumspect reading of substantive law validates this view. Section 13, Article III of the Constitution provides that: x x x x

    On the other hand, Section 4, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court, as amended, provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    x x x x

    Notably, the word used is ["punishable,"] which practically bears the same meaning as "imposable." It is only logical that the reference has a direct correlation with the time frame "before conviction" since trial is yet to begin; hence, it can only be the penalty imposable of the offense charged that can be considered for purposes of bail.

    In these cases, the offenses charged are the complex crimes of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents. In determining the penalty imposable, it is the penalty for the most serious crime which is considered. Between Malversation and Falsification, it is Malversation which provides the graver penalty. As thus provided under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, "[i]f the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua."

    The penalty, however, cannot be immediately applied in its maximum period, or reclusion perpetua, since this will already consider the application of the penalty in the event of a conviction.

    A clear perusal of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    x x x x

    The word used is "imposed," not imposable. Thus, the reference can only point to the time when a judgment of conviction is impending. If and when "the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period," is thus applied in the proper application of the penalty to be imposed on the accused. Certainly, this cannot be considered for purposes of bail.30ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    Indeed, the trial is yet to proceed and the prosecution must still prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. It is not amiss to point that in charging a complex crime, the information should allege each element of the complex offense with the same precision as if the two (2) constituent offenses were the subject of separate prosecutions.31 Where a complex crime is charged and the evidence fails to support the charge as to one of the component offenses, the defendant can be convicted of the offense proven.32

    At this point, there is no certainty that Valdez would be found guilty of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents involving an amount that exceeds P22,000.00. Falsification, like an aggravating circumstance, must be alleged and proved during the trial. For purposes of bail proceedings, it would be premature to rule that the supposed crime committed is a complex crime since it is only when the trial has terminated that falsification could be appreciated as a means of committing malversation. Further, it is possible that only the elements of one of the constituent offenses, i.e., either malversation or falsification, or worse, none of them, would be proven after full-blown trial.

    It would be the height of absurdity to deny Valdez the right to bail and grant her the same only after trial if it turns out that there is no complex crime committed. Likewise, it is unjust for Us to give a stamp of approval in depriving the accused person's constitutional right to bail for allegedly committing a complex crime that is not even considered as inherently grievous, odious and hateful. To note, Article 48 of the RPC on complex crimes does not change the nature of the constituent offenses; it only requires the imposition of the maximum period of the penalty prescribed by law. When committed through falsification of official/public documents, the RPC does not intend to classify malversation as a capital offense. Otherwise, the complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents involving an amount that exceeds P22,000.00 should have been expressly included in Republic Act No. 7659.33 If truly a non-bailable offense, the law should have already considered it as a special complex crime like robbery with rape, robbery with homicide, rape with homicide, and kidnapping with murder or homicide, which have prescribed penalty of reclusion perpetua.

    Just to stress, the inequity of denying bail as a matter of right to an accused charged with Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents involving an amount that exceeds P22,000.00 is palpable when compared with an accused indicted for plunder, which is a heinous crime punishable under R.A. No. 7080,34 as amended by R.A. No. 765935 and R.A. No. 9346.36 Observe that bail is not a matter of right in plunder committed through malversation of public funds, but the aggregate amount or total value of ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or acquired must be at least Fifty Million Pesos (P50,000,000.00). In contrast, an accused who is alleged to have committed malversation of public funds thru falsification of official/public documents, which is not a capital offense, is no longer entitled to bail as a matter of right if the amount exceeds P22,000.00, or as low as P22,000.01. Such distinction is glaringly unfair and could not have been contemplated by the law.

    The foregoing interpretation is more favorable to Valdez as an accused following the rule of lenity:
    Intimately related to the in dubio pro reo principle is the rule of lenity. The rule applies when the court is faced with two possible interpretations of a penal statute, one that is prejudicial to the accused and another that is favorable to him. The rule calls for the adoption of an interpretation which is more lenient to the accused.37ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    The time-honored principle is that penal statutes are construed strictly against the State and liberally in favor of the accused.38 When there is doubt on the interpretation of criminal laws, all must be resolved in favor of the accused.39 Since penal laws should not be applied mechanically, the Court must determine whether their application is consistent with the purpose and reason of the law.40

    For having ruled that an accused charged with the complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Official/Public Documents that involves an amount in excess of P22,000.00 is entitled to bail as a matter of right, a summary hearing on bail application is, therefore, unnecessary. Consistent with Miranda v. Tuliao,41 an affirmative relief may be obtained from the court despite the accused being still at-large. Except in petition for bail, custody of the law is not required for the adjudication of reliefs sought by the defendant (such as a motion to set aside no bail recommendation and to fix the amount of bail in this case) where the mere application therefor constitutes a waiver of the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused.42

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. Private respondent Luzviminda S. Valdez is entitled to bail, as a matter of right, in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0321, 0322 and 0324. Public respondent Sandiganbayan Fifth Division should be guided by the latest Bailbond Guide. In any case, the amount should correspond to the medium penalty multiplied by Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) for every year of imprisonment.

    SO ORDERED.

    Sereno, C. J., I join the Dissent of J. Villarama.
    Carpio,Velasco, Jr., Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, Del Castillo, Perez, Mendoza, Reyes, and Jardeleza, JJ., concur.
    Brion, J., on official leave.
    Villarama, Jr., J., pls. see Dissenting Opinion.
    Perlas-Bernabe, J., I join the Dissent of J. Villarama.
    Leonen, J., see separate Dissenting opinion.

    Endnotes:


    1 Penned by Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta, with Associate Justices Roland B. Jurado and Alexander G. Gesmundo, concurring; rollo, pp. 30-40.

    2Id. at 40.

    3Id. at 41-43.

    4Id. at 41.

    5 Art. 217. Malversation of Public Funds or Property; Presumption of Malversation. - Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same or shall take or misappropriate or shall consent, through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public funds, or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property, shall suffer:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    1. The penalty of prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved in the misappropriation or malversation does not exceed two hundred pesos.

    2. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the amount involved is more than two hundred pesos but does not exceed six thousand pesos.

    3. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal in its minimum period, if the amount involved is more than six thousand pesos but is less than twelve thousand pesos.

    4. The penalty of reclusion temporal, in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved is more than twelve thousand pesos but is less than twenty-two thousand pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

    In all cases, persons guilty of malversation shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled.

    The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use. (As amended by RA 1060)

    6 Art. 171. Falsification by Public Officer, Employee or Notary or Ecclesiastic Minister. —The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:
    1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature or rubric;

    2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate;

    3. Attributing to persons who have participated in any act or proceeding statements other than those in fact made by them;

    4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;

    5. Altering true dates;

    6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine document which changes its meaning;

    7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting to be a copy of an original document when no such original exists, or including in such a copy a statement contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original; or

    8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book.
    The same penalty shall be imposed upon any ecclesiastical minister who shall commit any of the offenses enumerated in the preceding paragraphs of this article, with respect to any record or document of such character that its falsification may affect the civil status of persons.

    7 Art. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. - When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.

    8 Rollo,  pp. 44-51.

    9Id. at 52-56.

    10Id. at 57-59.

    11Id. at 60-63.

    12Id. at 64-74.

    13Republic v. Lazo, G.R. No. 195594, September 29, 2014, 737 SCRA 1, 18-19.

    14 G.R. Nos. 206194-206207, July 3, 2013, Third Division Resolution.

    15 600 Phil. 186 (2009).

    16 223 Phil. 23 (1985).

    17 513 Phil. 1 (2005).

    18 577 Phil. 441 (2008).

    19 G.R. No. 176317, July 23, 2014, 730 SCRA 438.

    20 REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 217.

    21 REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 171.

    22Emphasis supplied.

    23Emphasis supplied.

    24 594 Phil. 680, 717-718 (2008).

    25Id.

    26Rollo, p.19.

    27 The duration of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua is 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to reclusion perpetua: The minimum period is 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to 18 years and 8 months; the medium period is 18 years, 8 months and 1 day to 20 years; and the maximum period is reclusion perpetua. (See Zafra v. People, supra note 19, at 456).

    28 See REVISED PENAL CODE, Art. 64 (3).

    29 The ISL is not applicable since the proper imposable penalty to be imposed upon the accused is already reclusion perpetua. (See Zafra v. People, supra note 19, at 458).

    30Rollo, pp. 34-37.

    31 See People v. Bulalayao, G.R. No. 103497, February 23, 1994, 230 SCRA 232, 240.

    32People v. Bulalayao, supra.

    33 AN ACT TO IMPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY ON CERTAIN HEINOUS CRIMES, AMENDING FOR THAT PURPOSE THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED, OTHER SPECIAL PENAL LAWS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, dated December 13, 1993.

    34 AN ACT DEFINING AND PENALIZING THE CRIME OF PLUNDER, dated July 12, 1991.

    35 ACT TO IMPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY ON CERTAIN HEINOUS CRIMES, AMENDING FOR THAT PURPOSE THE REVISED PENAL CODE, AS AMENDED, OTHER SPECIAL PENAL LAWS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, dated December 13, 1993.

    36AN ACT PROHIBITING THE IMPOSITION OF DEATH PENALTY IN THE PHILIPPINES, dated June 24, 2006.

    37Intestate Estate of Manolita Gonzales Vda. de Carungcong v. People et al., 626 Phil. 177 200 (2010).

    38Tan v. Philippine Commercial International Bank, 575 Phil. 485, 497 (2008); People v. Temporada, supra note 24, at 735; Maj. Gen. Garcia (Ret.) v. The Executive Secretary, et al., 692 Phil. 114, 142 (2012); and Renato M. David v. Editha A. Agbay, G.R. No. 199113, March 18, 2015.

    39Villareal v. People, 680 Phil. 527, 600 (2012).

    40Tan v. Philippine Commercial International Bank, supra note 38, at 497.

    41 520 Phil. 907 (2006).

    42 See Renato M. David v. Editha A. Agbay, G.R. No. 199113, March 18, 2015, citing Miranda v. Tuliao, 520 Phil. 907, 919 (2006).cralawlawlibrary




    DISSENTING OPINION

    VILLARAMA, JR., J.:



    Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 filed by the People of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Special Prosecutor, Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), assailing the Resolution1 dated October 10, 2014 of the Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0321, SB-14-CRM-0322 and SB-14-CRM-0324 entitled "People of the Philippines, plaintiff, versus Luzviminda S. Valdez, accused."

    Respondent Luzviminda S. Valdez (Valdez) is a former Mayor of Bacolod City. During a post-audit of disbursement vouchers of the City Government of Bacolod, the Commission on Audit found that the Cash Slips used for the reimbursement of expenses of Valdez under Disbursement Voucher Nos. 6, 220, 278 and 325 totalling P279,150.00 were falsified and that the actual amount due to her was only P4,843.25.2

    Subsequently, Valdez was indicted for three (3) counts of Malversation of Public Funds thru Falsification of Public Documents under Article 217, in relation to Article 171, paragraph 6, of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. An Order of Arrest was issued by the Sandiganbayan. However, Valdez remains at large and yet caused the filing of a Motion to Set Aside No Bail Recommendation and To Fix the Amount of Bail,3 arguing that since there are no aggravating or mitigating circumstances alleged in the Informations, the maximum of the indeterminate sentence shall be taken from the medium period, or from 18 years, 8 months and 1 day to 20 years, an imposable penalty which is bailable. She further emphasized that it is oppressive especially for the woman accused, to be jailed at this stage while she is presumed innocent.

    In its Comment/Opposition,4 the Office of the Special Prosecutor argued that the Indeterminate Sentence Law cannot be invoked by Valdez because reclusion perpetua is an indivisible penalty. It further asserted that since bail is discretionary in this case, the court cannot dispense with the requirement of a hearing.

    Valdez also filed an Urgent Supplemental Motion5 with the additional prayer for the recall/lifting of the warrants of arrest pending resolution of her motion to set aside the "No Bail" recommendation of the OMB and to fix the amount of bail.

    On October 10, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued the assailed Resolution granting Valdez's motion, as follows:
    WHEREFORE, the (i) Motion to Set Aside No Bail Recommendation and to Fix the Amount of Bail and the (ii) Urgent Supplemental Motion to the Motion to Set Aside No Bail Recommendation and to Fix the Amount of Bail with Additional Prayer to Recall/Li[f]t Warrant of Arrest filed by accused Luzvimi[n]da S. Valdez, are GRANTED.

    Let the Order of Arrest issued in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14-CRM-0321, 0322 and 0324 adopting the "no bail" recommendation of the Office of the Ombudsman be RECALLED. Instead, let an Order of arrest in said cases be issued anew, this time, fixing the bail for each offense charged in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00).

    SO ORDERED.6ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
    In ruling that Valdez is entitled to bail, the Sandiganbayan explained that in determining whether a person can be admitted to bail as a matter of right, it is the imposable penalty prescribed by law for the crime charged which should be considered and not the penalty to be actually imposed. Thus, it held that the penalty imposable for malversation cannot be immediately applied in its maximum period (reclusion perpetua) when the case is still at its inception since this will already consider the application of the penalty in the event of conviction.

    Hence, this petition raising the sole issue of whether malversation thru falsification of public documents is a bailable offense.

    First, we address the procedural flaw pointed out by Valdez as to the failure of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to comply with the requirement of a motion for reconsideration prior to the filing of the present petition.

    The well-established rule is that a motion for reconsideration is an indispensable condition before an aggrieved party can resort to the special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.7 However, the rule is not absolute and admits of exceptions entrenched in our jurisprudence:
    The general rule is that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non before a petition for certiorari may lie, its purpose being to grant an opportunity for the court a quo to correct any error attributed to it by re-examination of the legal and factual circumstances of the case. There are, however, recognized exceptions permitting a resort to the special civil action for certiorari without first filing a motion for reconsideration. In the case of Domdom v. Sandiganbayan, it was written:
    The rule is, however, circumscribed by well-defined exceptions, such as where the order is a patent nullity because the court a quo had no jurisdiction; where the questions raised in the certiorari proceeding have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised and passed upon in the lower court; where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question, and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the petitioner, or the subject matter of the action is perishable; where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be useless; where the petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency of relief; where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the grant of such relief by the trial court is improbable; where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process; where the proceedings were ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is involved. x x x8 (Emphasis supplied; emphasis in the original omitted)
    Here, we recognize the presence of two exceptions, as underscored above. Records confirm that the Sandiganbayan has categorically ruled that Valdez is entitled to bail as a matter of right and forthwith recalled the order of arrest it had issued. Also, the petition undeniably raised a lone question of law: whether an accused charged with malversation thru falsification of public documents may apply for bail. Petitioner is thus allowed by the Rules to file the present certiorari petition even if it had not first moved for reconsideration of the assailed resolution.

    The Sandiganbayan set aside the "No Bail" recommendation under the informations filed by the OMB based on its own interpretation of Article 48 that the "maximum period" of the most serious crime, which is reclusion perpetua for the more serious charge of Malversation, cannot be considered for purpose of bail because the law speaks of "penalty imposable" and not penalty actually imposed. Acknowledging a contrary position to the 2000 Bail Bond Guide issued by the Department of Justice where no bail is indicated for the complex crime of Malversation thru Falsification of Public Documents when the amount malversed is P22,000.00 or higher as alleged in the informations, the Sandiganbayan opined that this interpretation is more favorable to the accused.

    We disagree.

    Section 13, paragraph 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides that all persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released from recognizance as may be provided by law. Likewise, Rule 114, Section 7 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, provides that no person charged with a capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment when evidence of guilt is strong shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of the prosecution.

    We find no legal basis for making a distinction between imposable or prescribed penalty and penalty actually imposed and concluding that the maximum period mentioned in Article 48 cannot be considered for bail purposes before conviction. The term "punishable" in the Constitution and the Rules clearly refers only to the prescribed penalty. Ubi lex non distinguit nee nos distinguire debemus. When the law does not distinguish, we must not distinguish.9 Further, it is a cardinal rule in statutory construction that when the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity, there is no room for construction or interpretation. There is only room for application.10

    The question of actual imposable penalty of malversation thru falsification of public documents has been settled by this Court in People v. Pantaleon, Jr.,11 where we ruled:
    Article 217, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code imposes the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua when the amount malversed is greater than P22,000.00. This Article also imposes the penalty of perpetual special disqualification and a fine equal to the amount of the funds malversed or equal to the total value of the property embezzled. Falsification by a public officer or employee under Article 171, on the other hand, is punished by prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000.00.

    Since appellant committed a complex crime, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed in its maximum period, pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. This provision states:
    ART. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. - When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.
    The Sandiganbayan, therefore, correctly imposed on the appellants the penalties of reclusion perpetua and perpetual special disqualification for each count of malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents, and the payment of fines of P166,242.72, P154,634.27, and P90,464.21, respectively, representing the amounts malversed. The Indeterminate Sentence Law finds no application since reclusion perpetua is an indivisible penalty to which the Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply.12 (Additional Emphasis supplied)
    In the light of all the foregoing, we hold that Valdez is not entitled to bail as a matter of right since she is charged with a crime whose penalty is reclusion perpetua. The DOJ's 2000 Bail Bond Guide likewise sets no bail for the said offense where the amount involved exceeds P22,000.00. While not controlling, in view of the constitutional prohibition against excessive bail, the said guidelines should have been considered by the Sandiganbayan.13

    The Sandiganbayan thus gravely erred in setting aside the "No Bail" recommendation of the Special Prosecutor and fixing the amount of bail as prayed for by Valdez. It is settled that the grant of bail to an accused charged with an offense that carries with it the penalty of reclusion perpetua is discretionary on the part of the trial court, i.e., accused is still entitled to bail but no longer as a matter of right.14 Indeed, the determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong is a matter of judicial discretion. This discretion, by the nature of things, may rightly be exercised only after the evidence is submitted to the court at the hearing.15 The Prosecution must be given a chance to show strength of its evidence; otherwise, a violation of due process occurs.16 As the rule now stands, a hearing upon notice is mandatory before the grant of bail, whether bail is a matter of right or discretion.17

    I therefore VOTE:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    1. To GRANT the petition; and

    2. To ANNUL and SET ASIDE the Resolution dated October 10, 2014 of the Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division in Criminal Case Nos. SB-14- CRM-0321, SB-14-CRM-0322 and SB-14-CRM-0324.

    Endnotes:


    1Rollo, pp. 30-40. Penned by Associate Justice Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta with Associate Justices Roland B. Jurado and Alexander G. Gesmundo concurring.

    2 Id. at 41-43.

    3 Id. at 44-51.

    4 Id. at 52-56.

    5 Id. at 57-59.

    6 Id. at 40.

    7Republic of the Philippines v. Pantranco North Express, Inc., 682 Phil. 186, 193 (2012), citing Ag v. Mejia, 555 Phil. 348, 353 (2007).

    8Pineda v. Court of Appeals (Former Ninth Division), G.R. No. 181643, November 17, 2010, 635 SCRA 274, 281-282, cited in Medado v. Heirs of the Late Antonio Consing, 681 Phil. 536, 548-549 (2012).

    9Amores v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, 636 Phil. 600, 609 (2010).

    10 Id. at 608, citing Twin Ace Holdings Corporation v. Rufina and Company, 523 Phil. 766, 777 (2006).

    11600 Phil. 186 (2009). See also Mañalac, Jr. People of the Philippines, G.R. Nos. 206194-206207, July 3, 2013 (Unsigned Resolution).

    12 Id. at 228.

    13 See A.M. No. 12-11-2-SC promulgated on March 18, 2014.

    14Andres v. Beltran, 415 Phil. 598, 603 (2001).

    15Ocampo v. Bernabe, 77 Phil. 55, 58 (1946).

    16 Gacal v. Infante, 674 Phil. 324, 340 (2011).

    17 Id. at 338.cralawlawlibrary




    DISSENTING OPINION

    LEONEN, J.:



    I concur with the opinion of Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr. and, in addition to the points raised, add a few more of my own.

    I

    Respondent Luzviminda S. Valdez was charged with four (4) counts of Malversation of Public Funds through Falsification of Public Documents.1 Malversation of Public Funds is punished under Article 2172 of the Revised Penal Code while Falsification of Public Documents is punished under Article 1713 of the Revised Penal Code. The penalty for falsification under the law is prision mayor and a fine not to exceed P5,000. Since the amount allegedly malversed exceeds P22,000.00,4 the appropriate penalty under the law for malversation is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

    Malversation of Public Funds through Falsification of Public Documents, however, is considered-an ordinary complex crime under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code.5 Article 48 states:
    ARTICLE 48. Penalty for Complex Crimes. — When a single act constitutes two or more crimes, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.
    Justice Villarama is of the opinion that the crime is bailable as a matter of discretion, considering that Article 48 raises the imposable penalty to that of the most serious crime in its maximum period.6 The ponencia, however, disagrees and argues that Article 48 states the penalty to be actually imposed, or the penalty after a trial on the merits is conducted.7 In the ponente's view, the crime should be bailable as a matter of right.8

    Respondent was charged with Malversation of Public Funds through Falsification of Public Documents, not Malversation of Public Funds and Falsification of Public Documents. While it is true that "the information should charge each element of the complex offense with the same precision as if the two (2) constituent offenses were the subject of separate prosecutions[,]"9 the singularity of the criminal intent must be taken into account in order to determine its penalty. Respondent was charged with a single complex crime, not two separate crimes. The crime carries only one imposable penalty.

    The determination of an accused's liability in a complex crime is not new. In Intestate Estate of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong v. People, et al.,10 this court has stated that the complex crime of Estafa through Falsification of Public Documents is treated as one crime subject to a single criminal liability:
    In considering whether the accused is liable for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents, it would be wrong to consider the component crimes separately from each other. While there may be two component crimes (estafa and falsification of documents), both felonies are animated by and result from one and the same criminal intent for which there is only one criminal liability. That is the concept of a complex crime. In other words, while there are two crimes, they are treated only as one, subject to a single criminal liability.

    As opposed to a simple crime where only one juridical right or interest is violated (e.g., homicide which violates the right to life, theft which violates the right to property), a complex crime constitutes a violation of diverse juridical rights or interests by means of diverse acts, each of which is a simple crime in itself. Since only a single criminal intent underlies the diverse acts, however, the component crimes are considered as elements of a single crime, the complex crime. This is the correct interpretation of a complex crime as treated under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code.

    In the case of a complex crime, therefore, there, is a formal (or ideal) plurality of crimes where the same criminal intent results in two or more component crimes constituting a complex crime for which there is only one criminal liability. (The complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document-falls under this category.) This is different from a material (or real) plurality of crimes where different criminal intents result in two or more crimes, for each of which the accused incurs criminal liability. The latter category is covered neither by the concept of complex crimes nor by Article 48.

    Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, the formal plurality of crimes (concursus delictuorum or concurso de delitos) gives rise to a single criminal liability and requires the imposition of a single penalty:
    Although [a] complex crime quantitatively consists of two or more crimes, it is only one crime in law on which a single penalty is imposed and the two or more crimes constituting the same are more conveniently termed as component crimes.

    xxx     xxx    xxx

    In [a] complex crime, although two or more crimes are actually committed, they constitute only one crime in the eyes of the law as well as in the conscience of the offender. The offender has only one criminal intent. Even in the case where an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the evil intent of the offender is only one.
    For this reason, while a conviction for estafa through falsification of public document requires that the elements of both estafa and falsification exist, it does not mean that the criminal liability for estafa may be determined and considered independently of that for falsification. The two crimes of estafa and falsification of public documents are not separate crimes but component crimes of the single complex crime of estafa and falsification of public documents.

    Therefore, it would be incorrect to claim that, to be criminally liable for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document, the liability for estafa should be considered separately from the liability for falsification of public document. Such approach would disregard the nature of a complex crime and contradict the letter and spirit of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. It would wrongly disregard the distinction between formal plurality and material plurality, as it improperly treats the plurality of crimes in the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document as a mere material plurality where the felonies are considered as separate crimes to be punished individually.11 (Emphasis in the original)
    Thus, while a complex crime constitutes two or more offenses whose elements must be pleaded and proved, it is considered by law as a single crime committed through a single criminal intent and punishable by a single penalty. In determining whether a complex crime is bailable as a matter of right or of discretion, what is considered is not the penalties of the two or more separate offenses that compose the complex crime, but the single penalty imposed by law for the complex crime.

    II

    Our esteemed colleague Justice Diosdado M. Peralta now proposes that it is time to digress from settled canonical interpretations of the classification of the availability of bail for public officers charged with Malversation through Falsification. He now proposes that we change the long-standing interpretation of Article III, Section 1312 of the Constitution in relation to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. I regret that I could not bring myself to agree with the proposed approach.

    III

    The ponencia starts with creating a distinction between the concept of "prescribed" and "imposable" penalty. In the ponente's view, "prescribed" penalty is the penalty provided by law for the crime charged. The "imposable" penalty is the penalty that will be declared after trial.13Prescribed penalty refers to the crime as charged, the statute that punishes the offense, and the penalty in the statute. Imposable penalty considers in addition the totality of the evidence presented.

    Prescribed penalty, not imposable penalty, is what is considered for bail.

    To this extent, I agree with both Justice Villarama and the ponencia.

    This is precisely what the Constitution provides. When the prescribed penalty is reclusion perpetua, bail is granted only after a showing that evidence of guilt is not strong.

    Thus in Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution:
    SECTION 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.
    The purpose of bail is to ensure the accused's presence at trial.14 The underlying theory of denying bail irt capital offenses is not only to prevent the risk of flight by the accused, but also to protect the community from potential danger due to the heinousness of the crime charged and to avoid delays in the service of punishment.15 Regardless of these presumptions, determination of bail by the sovereign has already been fixed by the text of the Constitution. It is conclusive on courts. It cannot be reconsidered. The test of the Constitution reduces judicial discretion to a single variable: whether the evidence of guilt is strong.

    IV

    The ponencia posits that the penalty for the complex crime of Malversation through Falsification is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. It then concludes that because it starts with reclusion temporal, necessarily, bail automatically is a matter of right.16

    This would have been accurate except that Article 48 is as much a part of the Revised Penal Code as any other provision. The better interpretative approach is to allow all provisions to work together. Parsing pieces of legislation while backgrounding relevant provisions invites too much judicial discretion at the cost of undermining the results of legitimate constitutional processes in our political departments.

    Article 48 provides:
    ARTICLE 48. Penalty for Complex Crimes. — When a single act constitutes two or more crimes, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period.
    There is no doubt as to the prescribed penalty. It is "the penalty for the most serious crime" and "the same to be applied in its maximum period."

    What may understandably cause the apparent ambiguity is the phrase "shall be imposed" in this provision.

    The ponencia interprets this to mean that the penalty mentioned in Article 48 is post hoc, i.e., after trial.17 Justice Villarama reads this as ex ante, i.e., it is the penalty for the crime as charged.18

    The trial court, in determining whether a complex crime is bailable-as a matter of right or a matter of discretion, examines the penalty to be imposed in the complex crime charged. The court does not have the luxury of deciding which among the two component crimes the accused would be most guilty of. It considers the complex crime as two separate component crimes punishable by a single penalty. Respondent was charged with one complex crime of Malversation of Public Funds through Falsification of Public Documents. It is illogical to'determine bail on the basis only of the single simple crime of Malversation or on the single simple crime of Falsification.

    Article 48 is not only the penal provision that provides the penalty that "shall be imposed." Several offenses containing this phrase are listed in the Revised Penal Code, among them being: Violation of Domicile, Inciting to Sedition, Falsification, Perjury, Grave Scandal, Indirect Bribery, Infanticide, and Estafa:
    ARTICLE 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.

    . . . .

    ARTICLE 142. Inciting to Sedition. — The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine not exceeding 2,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, without taking any direct part in the crime of sedition, should incite others to the accomplishment of any of the acts which constitute sedition, by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, cartoons, banners, or other representations tending to the same end.

    . . . .

    ARTICLE 171. Falsification by Public Officer, Employee or Notary or Ecclesiastic Minister. — The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who, taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    . . . .

    ARTICLE 183. False Testimony in Other Cases and Perjury in Solemn Affirmation. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any person who, knowingly making untruthful statements and not being included in the provisions of the next preceding articles, shall testify under oath, or make an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires.

    Any person who, in case of a solemn affirmation made in lieu of an oath, shall commit any of the falsehoods mentioned in this and the three preceding articles of this section, shall suffer the respective penalties provided therein.

    . . . .

    ARTICLE 200. Grave Scandal. — The penalties of arresto mayor and public censure shall be imposed upon any person who shall offend against decency or good customs by any highly scandalous conduct not expressly falling within any other article of this Code.

    . . . .

    ARTICLE 211. Indirect Bribery. — The penalties of arresto mayor, suspension in its minimum and medium periods, and public censure shall be imposed upon any public officer who shall accept gifts offered to him by reason of his office.

    . . . .

    ARTICLE 255. Infanticide. — The penalty provided for parricide in Article 246 and for murder in Article 248 shall be imposed upon any person who shall kill any child less than three days of age.

    . . . .

    ARTICLE 315. Swindling (Estafa). — Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means mentioned hereinbelow shall be punished by:
    1st. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum period, if the amount of the fraud is over 12,000 pesos but doe's not exceed 22,000 pesos, and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional 10,000 pesos; but the total penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. In such cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose of the other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or rcclusion temporal, as the case may be.
    Even if these offenses state the penalty that "shall be imposed," there is no confusion as to what the prescribed penalties of these offenses are: the prescribed penalty is what is stated in the law.

    Bail under the Constitution considers the offense charged in the information, not the offense of which the accused will eventually be convicted. "Punishable" within the context of the Constitution means the penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged. When an accused is charged with a complex crime, the penalty is what is stated in the Revised Penal Code or in special penal laws in relation to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. A complex crime is a single offense comprised of two or more offenses but with a single penalty. While the prosecution must prove all the elements charged, it must only prove a single criminal intent. The splitting of the penalties according to its separate component crimes undermines the singularity of the criminal intent, which makes it a complex crime.

    V

    Finally, we must remember that there are two (2) aspects in criminal trial. First, there is the determination by the judge as to whether all the elements of the offense as well as the accused's alleged participation can be inferred or proven beyond reasonable doubt by the admissible evidence presented. This is the objective part of trial. Thereafter, and second, the judge determines the proper penalty from a range provided by law. This sentencing part involves a higher degree of discretion. The first part looks at the acts. The second looks at the. offender and his or her circumstances.

    The only allowable range for Malversation through Falsification as charged in the Information is reclusion perpetua.

    There is nothing inequitable in considering Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents of public funds exceeding P22,000.00 as an offense bailable only as a matter of discretion.

    Malversation of Public Funds, by itself, may be bailable as a matter of right since the prescribed penalty under the law is reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua. However, the law raises the prescribed penalty to that of the more serious crime in its maximum period if it is committed through Falsification. The conversion of the offense to a complex crime serves to underscore the gravity of the offense.

    Like Plunder under Republic Act No. 708019 and Graft and Corruption under Republic Act No. 3019,20 it is generally committed by public officers.21 "Public office is a public trust."22 Public officers are sworn to perform their duties with the highest fidelity. Malversation through Falsification, therefore, is a crime at par with Plunder and Graft and Corruption since it involves a public officer's betrayal of public trust. As an offense considered a violation of a constitutionally enshrined policy, it should be imposable with the highest penalty provided by law.

    ACCORDINGLY, I join the opinion of Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr. and vote to GRANT the Petition.

    Endnotes:


    1 Ponencia, p. 2.

    2 REV. PEN. CODE, art. 217, as amended by Rep. Act No. 1060 (1954), sec. 1, provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    ARTICLE 217. Malversation of Public Funds or Property — Presumption of Malversation. — Any public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or property, shall appropriate the same, or shall take or misappropriate or shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public funds or property, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of the misappropriation or malversation of such funds or property, shall suffer:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    . . . .

    4. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods, if the amount involved is more than 12,000 pesos but is less than 22,000 pesos. If the amount exceeds the latter, the penalty shall be reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua.

    3 Rev. Pen. Code, art. 171 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    ARTICLE 171. Falsification by Public Officer, Employee or Notary or Ecclesiastic Minister. — The penalty of prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon any public officer, employee, or notary who. taking advantage of his official position, shall falsify a document by committing any of the following acts:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    . . . .

    4 Ponencia, p. 2. The amount allegedly malversed was P274,306.75.

    5 See People v. Pantaleon, Jr., et al., 600 Phil. 186 (2009) [Per J. Brion, Second Division].

    6 J. Villarama, Jr., Dissenting Opinion on this case, p. 5.

    7 Ponencia, pp. 8-11.

    8 Id. at 10-11.

    9People v. Bulalayao, G.R. No. 103497, February 23, 1994, 230 SCRA 232, 240 [Per J. Padilla, Second Division]. This case was also cited in the ponencia (Ponencia, p. 10).

    10 626 Phil. 177 (2010) [Per J. Corona, Third Division].

    11 Id. at 206-208, citing FLORENZ REGALADO, CRIMINAL LAW CONSPECTUS 172, 176 (3rd ed., 2007), III RAMON AQUINO AND CAROLINA GRIÑO AQUINO, THE REVISED PENAL CODE 662 (1997), and LUIS B. REYES, REVISED PENAL CODE, Book I, 650 (15th ed. rev., 2001).

    12 CONST., art. III, sec. 13 provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

    SECTION 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

    13 Ponencia, pp. 8-11.

    14See Basco v. Judge Rapatalo, 336 Phil. 214, 219 (1997) [Per J. Romero, Second Division], citing ROLANDO V. DEL CARMEN, CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, LAW AND PRACTICE 31 (3rd ed., 1995).

    15See Leviste v. Court of Appeals, et al., 629 Phil. 587, 594 (2010) [Per J. Corona, Third Division].

    16See ponencia, pp. 8-10.

    17 Poneneia, p. 10.

    18 J. Villarama, Jr., Dissenting Opinion on this case, p. 5.

    19 An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder, July 12, 1991.

    20 Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, August 17, I960.

    21See People v. Pajaro, et al., 577 Phil. 441, 453-454 (2008) [Per J. Ynares-Santiago, Third Division].

    Malversation may be committed by private individuals if the private individual conspires with a public officer to commit the crime.

    22 CONST., art. XI, sec. 1.

    G.R. Nos. 216007-09, December 08, 2015 - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. LUZVIMINDA S. VALDEZ AND THE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIFTH DIVISION), Respondent.


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