Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1963 > December 1963 Decisions > G.R. No. L-19104 December 26, 1963 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL. v. HILARIO DE CHAVEZ, ET AL. :




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-19104. December 26, 1963.]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, NG KOK CORPORATION also known as World-Wide Corporation (WAPRO CO), Plaintiff-Appellant, v. HILARIO DE CHAVEZ, GREGORIO PROTACIO, and JUAN MENDEZ, Defendants-Appellees.

Solicitor General for Petitioner-Appellant.

De Mesa & De Mesa, Felino M. Magaling and Norma Chiong for Defendants-Appellees.


SYLLABUS


1. CIVIL LIABILITY; LOWER COURT’S FAILURE TO PROVIDE IN ITS DECISION; CASE REMANDED TO DETERMINE AMOUNT. — A case will be remanded to the trial court if failed to include in it decision the civil liability of an accused who pleaded guilty to the crime charged (here theft), where there is no showing that the offended party waived or reserved the presentation of the civil action, and despite the fact that its attention was drawn thereto in a motion for reconsideration of the complainant. Having considered the determination of the civil liability as evidentiary, the trial judge should have set the motion for reconsideration for hearing in order to receive evidence as to the value of the properties admittedly stolen by the accused, and ascertain the feasibility of ordering the return of the things stolen.


D E C I S I O N


PAREDES, J.:


On September 18, 1961, the accused appellees herein were charged in an Amended Complaint with Theft of five (5) different sizes of canvass, valued at P2,800.00, belonging to the offended party and appellant Ng Kok Corporation. On October 6, 1961, upon arraignment, all the accused pleaded guilty to the said Amended Complaint. Thereafter, the Municipal Court of Lucena City, rendered the following judgment —

"DAHIL DITO at dahil din sa dagling pagtanggap ng kasalanan at sa kanilang ginawang pagsuko sa may kapangyarihan ay ang mga nasasakdal na ito ay hinahatulan na mabilanggo ng tig-IISANG BUWAN (1 mo.) at ISANG ARAW (1 day) at magbayad ng gugol sa usapin ang bawa’t isa sa kanila. Sapagka’t ang kasalanang ito ay naganap sa Sariaya, Quezon, kung kaya’t ang mga nahatulan ay doon sa kulungan panlalawigan ng Quezon magdudusa."cralaw virtua1aw library

As the above judgment did not mention the civil liability of the accused, or order a restitution of the stolen goods, the offended party, by counsel, and within the reglementary period, presented a motion, asking the court to provide accordingly. In an Order of October 16, 1961, the municipal court denied the motion, stating —

"The plea of guilty in ore tenus by all the accused in this case has legal effects only within the confine of their admission of all the elements of the crime charged and does not traverse that legal demarcation for the Court to determine the nature and extent of civil liability of the accused to be founded solely on mere recitals in the complaint. Civil liability in this case being evidentiary, the Court cannot exercise discretion alone in determining the nature and extent of civil liability upon mere allegations in the Complaint."cralaw virtua1aw library

The decision and the Order denying the motion for reconsideration is now before Us on appeal on three (3) errors, supposedly committed by the Municipal Court of Lucena City, which converge on the proposition of whether or not under the facts obtaining in this case, the trial court was correct in denying the motion for reconsideration. The accused-appellees did not care to intervene. The Solicitor General asked to be relieved from filing brief as appellee, as he said, the government has no right or interest to protect.

There seem to be no conflict regarding the fact that the plea of guilty admits the material allegations of the information or complaint and that with the institution of the criminal action, the civil liability is deemed included therewith, except when there is a waiver or reservation on the part of the complainant, which was not done in the present case (Peo. v. Pabtig, L-8325, Oct. 25, 1955, cited in Peo. v. Miranda, L-17389, Aug. 31, 1962). The trial judge in not having included civil liability in the decision, stated that it cannot exercise discretion alone in determining the liability upon the mere allegations, the same being evidentiary. Considering, however, the fact that the trial court’s attention was drawn to the existence of a lapsus in the decision, in the motion for reconsideration filed by the complainant, within the reglementary period, and taking into account the petition to supply what had been omitted, the trial judge could have set the motion for reconsideration for hearing, in order to receive evidence, as to the value of the properties admittedly stolen by the accused, or to the return of the goods, if it was still feasible. In an identical case, where the lower court had failed to provide for the corresponding civil liability, this Court ordered the said case remanded to the court of origin, for the purpose of determining the civil liability of the accused (Peo. v. Ursua, 60 Phil. 252, citing U. S. v. Heery, 25 Phil. 600).

CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the Order appealed from, denying motion for reconsideration, is hereby set aside and the case is remanded to the Municipal Court of Lucena City, for further and appropriate proceedings. No costs.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.




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