Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1970 > June 1970 Decisions > G.R. No. L-27586 June 26, 1970 - ERNESTO C. CUENCA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHlL., ET AL.:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-27586. June 26, 1970.]

ERNESTO CUENCA Y CUEVAS, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHlLlPPlNES and COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.

Arsenio O. de Leon for Petitioner.

Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Isidro C. Borromeo and Trial Attorney Josefina Domingo-De Leon for Respondents.


SYLLABUS


1. CRIMINAL LAW, ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS: SECURITY GUARD ENTRUSTED WITH FIREARM AND AMMUNITIONS, NOT GUILTY OF CRIME; CASE AT BAR. — Appellant security guard of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency, which was duly licensed to operate as such security agency, cannot be held guilty of the crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions owing to the failure of the owner, manager and/or operator of the said security agency to comply with his duty to obtain such license before he got said firearm and ammunitions and delivered the same to his employee, herein Appellant.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; REASONS. — The reason is that appellant was entitled to assume that his employer had the requisite license to possess said firearm and ammunitions and to turn them over to him while he was on duty as one of the regular security guards of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency, the same being a duly licensed security agency. As such, those dealing with it, either as clients or as employees thereof, are entitled to presume, in the absence of indicia to the contrary — and there were none in the present case — that it has complied with pertinent laws, rules and regulations. What is more, Jose Forbes had told appellant that the firearm and ammunitions in question were duly licensed, and, as an employee of the agency, appellant could not be expected to demand from his employer proof of the veracity of the latter’s assertion before relying thereon.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; DECISION IN THIS CASE RESTRICTED IN APPLICATION. — This decision must be restricted in its application to duly licensed security agencies and to regular security guards thereof.

4. ID., ID.; ID., OWNER OR MANAGER OF LICENSED SECURITY AGENCY LIABLE. — The owner, manager and/or operator of the security agency who failed to secure the requisite license — in the case at bar, Jose Forbes, as the owner and operator of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency — should be prosecuted for illegal possession of firearms and/or such other crime as may have been committed in consequence of the breach of the laws and regulations regarding the operation of a security agency and use and issuance of firearms and ammunitions.


D E C I S I O N


CONCEPCION, C.J.:


Appeal, by certiorari, taken by defendant Ernesto Cuenca y Cuevas, from a decision of the Court of Appeals affirming that of the Court of First Instance of Manila, convicting him of the crime of illegal possession of a firearms and seven rounds of ammunition and sentencing him to imprisonment for one year also to pay the costs, as well as directing the confiscation and forfeiture of said firearm and ammunition.

The facts, as found by the trial court, and adopted by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"The accused was a special watchman and security guard of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency. In that agency, they were more than forty security guards. It was the practice in the agency that when the security guards reported for work, they were provided with firearms and ammunition, which they would return after their tour of duty.

"On January 3, 1963, the accused was detailed at the Philippine Savings Bank as security guard. He was wearing the uniform of the agency and was armed with a pistol, Ithaca, .45 cal., with Serial No. 1009738, which had a magazine containing seven rounds of ammunition. The firearm and the ammunition were provided by the agency. The firearm was not always used by him alone, as at other times the same firearm was used by the other security guards. On the date and at the place mentioned, Pat. Paul Sabate, who was stationed at Plaza Miranda as security officer of the stage show, arrested the accused for illegal possession of the said firearm and ammunition. When asked to produce his license to possess the firearm and ammunition, the accused told him that he was a special watchman and security guard of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency to which the firearm and ammunition belonged, and the license to possess the same was in the office of the agency. The accused told Pat. Sabate that the owner of the agency was one Mr. Forbes, who had the license for the said firearm and ammunition. According to Pat. Sabate, the agency was under the supervision of the Manila Police Department.

"It appears that the agency has no license to possess the firearm and ammunition in question; hence, neither the accused nor the agency is a licensed possessor of said firearm and ammunition. The accused claimed that he was made to believe in the agency that Mr. Forbes had license to possess them."cralaw virtua1aw library

The issue in this case is whether appellant is guilty of the offense charged, considering that, at the time above-mentioned, he was a regular security guard of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency, which was duly licensed to operate as such security agency; that, in the course of its regular operation, the same provides its security guards, who are in the discharge of their duties as such, with the usual firearms and ammunitions, which, at the end of their respective shifts, are either kept in the proper locker or returned to the agency and then delivered by the latter to the security guards assigned to the next shift: that the firearm and ammunitions in question were found in appellant’s possession at the time when, and at the place where, he was actually discharging his duties, wearing the corresponding uniform, arm band and badge; that upon being asked by Patrolman Paul Sabate to produce the requisite license, appellant stated that the same was in the possession of Jose Forbes, the owner and operator of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency, of which he (appellant) is, and has been, since April, 1961, one of its approximately forty (40) security guards; and that, soon thereafter, Jose Forbes confirmed, in the police station, the statements made by appellant, but added that he (Forbes) was still in the process of getting the said license.

The trial court and the Court of Appeals convicted appellant herein, despite his protests of good faith, upon the ground that the crime of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition is not malum in se, but malum prohibitum, and that it, accordingly, requires neither malice nor evil purpose or intent. It should be noted, however, that the Bataan Veterans Security Agency is duly licensed to operate as such. Consequently, it may legally engage the service of competent persons to discharge the duties of special watchmen and security guards, and provide them, as such, with the corresponding firearms and ammunitions. The agency is thus supposed to obtain the license necessary therefor. Had it done so, there would be no question about the absence of any criminal liability on the part of appellant herein for the possession of the firearm and ammunition in question, even though the license were not in his name, but in that of the agency or its owner and operator, Jose Forbes. Hence, the query boils down to whether or not appellant is guilty of the crime charged owing to the failure of Jose Forbes to comply with his duty to obtain such license, before he got said firearm and ammunition and delivered the same to his aforementioned employee.

Upon mature deliberation, the Court feels and so holds that the answer must be in the negative. The reason is that appellant was entitled to assume that his employer had the requisite license to possess said firearm and ammunition and to turn them over to him while he was on duty as one of the regular security guards of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency, the same being a duly licensed security agency. As such, those dealing with it, either as clients or as employees thereof, are entitled to presume, in the absence of indicia to the contrary — and there were none in the present case — that it has complied with pertinent laws, rules and regulations. What is more, Jose Forbes had told appellant that the firearm and ammunition in question were duly licensed, and, as an employee of the agency, appellant could not be expected to demand from his employer proof of the veracity of the latter’s assertion before relying thereon.

We are not unmindful of the danger posed by the possibility or probability of abuse or misuse of the license of security agencies to operate as such. The danger arises, however, when said license is granted improvidently, without taking the necessary precautions therefor — prior to and subsequently to the issuance of said license — in terms of adequate measures to see to it, inter alia, that the agency is a trustworthy and responsible one; that it is properly managed by persons possessed of the moral character necessary therefor; that only those having the requisite qualifications are engaged as security guards; that suitable rules are adopted and enforced governing their discipline, and the assignment, care and custody of firearms and ammunitions, as well as the keeping of registers and the entry therein of annotations or memoranda setting forth, at all times, the locations and/or disposition of each one of the aforementioned firearms and ammunition that the operation of the agency is effectively supervised by the Government.

Needless to say, this decision must be deemed restricted in its application to duly licensed security agencies and to regular security guards thereof. Moreover, the owner, manager and/or operator of the security agency, who failed to secure the requisite license — in the case at bar Jose Forbes, as the owner and operator of the Bataan Veterans Security Agency — should be prosecuted for illegal possession of firearms and/or such other crime as may have been committed in consequence of the breach of the laws and regulation above referred to.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed and herein appellant, Ernesto Cuenca y Cuevas, accordingly, acquitted, with costs de oficio. Let a copy of this decision be served upon the City Fiscal of Manila for appropriate action in accordance with the preceding paragraph, with due advise to this Court of the action taken hereon. It is so ordered.

Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee and Villamor, JJ., concur.

Barredo, J., did not take part.




Back to Home | Back to Main


chanrobles.com



ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc.

ChanRobles Professional Review, Inc. : www.chanroblesprofessionalreview.com
ChanRobles On-Line Bar Review

ChanRobles Internet Bar Review : www.chanroblesbar.com
ChanRobles CPA Review Online

ChanRobles CPALE Review Online : www.chanroblescpareviewonline.com
ChanRobles Special Lecture Series

ChanRobles Special Lecture Series - Memory Man : www.chanroblesbar.com/memoryman





June-1970 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. Nos. L-30588-89 June 10, 1970 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMAN GALLEMA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-22636 June 11, 1970 - NICANOR DE GUZMAN, JR. v. DOLORES L. SANTOS

  • G.R. No. L-27706 June 16, 1970 - MARIA T. GUANZON v. MANUEL ARGEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-23232 June 17, 1970 - VICENTE DIRA v. PABLO D. TAÑEGA

  • G.R. No. L-28819 June 28, 1970 - PIONEER CERAMICS, INC. v. ELISEO O. SAMIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-30001 June 23, 1970 - DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, ET AL. v. ANG CHO KIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-31609 June 26, 1970 - RENEE AGUDO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27586 June 26, 1970 - ERNESTO C. CUENCA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHlL., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27006 June 30, 1970 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. CFI OF PAMPANGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27417 June 30, 1970 - CONSOLIDATED MINES, INC. v. EMIGDIO V. NIETES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-19573 June 30, 1970 - VICENTE ESTORQUE, ET AL. v. SIMPLICIO ESTORQUE

  • G.R. No. L-23014 June 30, 1970 - ESCUDERO ELECTRIC SERVICE COMPANY v. BENJAMIN N. TABIOS

  • G.R. No. L-24561 June 30, 1970 - MARINA DIZON-RIVERA v. ESTELA DIZON, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. L-27091-92 June 30, 1970 - CONRADO HABAÑA, ET AL. v. CIPRIANO VAMENTA, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-25619 June 30, 1970 - DOMINGO B. TEOXON v. MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ADMINISTRATORS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27972 June 30, 1970 - CENTRAL COOPERATIVE EXCHANGE, INC. v. CONCORDIO TIBE, SR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-26174 June 30, 1970 - CONSOLIDATED BANK AND TRUST CORPORATION, ET AL. v. UNION C. KAYANAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-21057 June 30, 1970 - RIZALINO SOSA, ET AL. v. DOMINGO YU CHU, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-21874 June 30, 1970 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. GUADALUPIO AQUIAS

  • G.R. No. L-22958 June 30, 1970 - ESTRELLA BENIPAYO RODRIGUEZ, ET AL. v. JUAN O. REYES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-23214 June 30, 1970 - OFELIA GOMEZ v. JOAQUIN P. LIPANA

  • G.R. No. L-26490 June 30, 1970 - SALVADORA G. GARCIA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-31501 June 30, 1970 - DATU BLAH SINSUAT v. SALIPADA K. PENDATUN, ET AL.

  • A.C. No. 130-J June 30, 1970 - CEFERINO P. AZUCENA v. EMMANUEL M. MUÑOZ

  • G.R. No. L-25846 June 30, 1970 - JUANITO MANUBAY v. FELIX MARTIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27488 June 30, 1970 - ELIGIO B. CHAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27825 June 30, 1970 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GERARDO RIVERA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-29467 June 30, 1970 - GENEROSO VILLANUEVA TRANS, CO., INC. v. DOLLY C. JAVELLANA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-23025 June 30, 1970 - CASIANO AGOLTO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-27281 June 30, 1970 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. GAUDENCIO CLORIBEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-24114 June 30, 1970 - IN RE: CLEMENTE M. SORIANO

  • G.R. No. L-26169 June 30, 1970 - NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION EMPLOYEES, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-26867 June 30, 1970 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO ALCANTARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-28332 June 30, 1970 - PACIENCIA LIM VDA. DE SERRANO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-29945 June 30, 1970 - BINGING HO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-21064 June 30, 1970 - J. M. TUASON & CO., INC. v. LAND TENURE ADMINISTRATION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-23714 June 30, 1970 - KAPISANAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA ALAK v. HAMILTON DISTILLERY COMPANY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. L-24771 June 30, 1970 - ALFONSO ACEDO, v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.