Recent Jurisprudence Jan 2013 - March 2014

October 19, 2017 | Author: Kim Carlo Tangian | Category: Commission On Elections (Philippines), Equal Protection Clause, Prosecutor, Discretion, Citizenship
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RECENT JURISPRUDENCE January 2013- March 2014

POLITICAL AND INTERNATIONAL LAW The consolidation of cases to a DOJ Special Panel under DO No. 182 does not violate equal protection of law and the right to speedy disposition of cases guaranteed by the Constitution. (SPOUSES AUGUSTO G. DACUDAO AND OFELIA R. DACUDAO v. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, G.R. No. 188056, January 08, 2013) The winning elected official in an election protest grants the local elected official the right to serve the unexpired portion of the term. (MAYOR ABELARDO ABUNDO, SR. v COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 201716, January 08, 2013) Cancellation proceedings involve the exercise of the quasi-judicial functions of the COMELEC which the COMELEC in division should first decide. The COMELEC en banc cannot short cut the proceedings by acting on the case without a prior action by a division because it denies due process to the candidate. (KAMARUDIN K. IBRAHIM v. COMELEC and ROLAN G. BUAGAS, G.R. No. 192289, January 08, 2013) Mandamus will issue only when the petitioner has a clear legal right to the performance of the act sought to be compelled and the respondent has an imperative duty to perform the same. (SPECIAL PEOPLE, INC. FOUNDATION v. NESTOR M. CANDA et al., G.R. No. 160932, January 14, 2013) Where personal liability on the part of local government officials is sought, they may properly secure the services of private counsel. (ROMEO A. GONTANG v. ENGR. CECILIA ALAYAN, G.R. No. 191691, January16, 2013) The express grant of power to the COMELEC to resolve election protests carries with it the grant of all other powers necessary, proper, or incidental to the effective and efficient exercise of the power expressly granted. Verily, the exclusive original jurisdiction conferred by the constitution to the COMELEC to settle said election protests includes the authority to order a technical examination of relevant election paraphernalia, election returns and ballots in order to determine whether fraud and irregularities attended the canvass of the votes. (GOVERNOR SADIKUL A. SAHALI AND VICE-GOVERNOR RUBY M. SAHALI, SR. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 201796, January 15, 2013) A statute having a single general subject, indicated in the title, may contain any number of provisions, no matter how diverse they may be, so long as they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the general subject, and may be considered in furtherance of such subject by providing for the method and means of carrying out the general subject. (HENRY R. GIRON v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 188179, January 22, 2013) Picture images of the ballots, as scanned and recorded by the PCOS, are likewise “official ballots” that faithfully captures in electronic form the votes cast by the voter, as defined by Section 2 (3) of R.A. No. 9369. As such, the printouts thereof are the functional equivalent of the paper ballots filled out by the voters and, thus, may be used for purposes of revision of votes in an electoral protest. (LIWAYWAY VINZONS-CHATO v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL, G.R. No. 199149, January 22, 2013) When there has been no valid substitution, the candidate with the highest number of votes should be proclaimed as the duly elected mayor. (RENATO M. FEDERICO v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 199612, January 22, 2013)

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The government has a right to ensure that only qualified persons, in possession of sufficient academic knowledge and teaching skills, are allowed to teach in such institutions, thus, the requirement of a masteral degree for tertiary education teachers is not unreasonable. (UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST v. ANALIZA F. PEPANIO AND MARITI D. BUENO, G.R. No. 193897, January 23, 2013) Gross inexcusable negligence, on one hand, and evident bad faith or manifest partiality, on the other hand, are not two highly opposite concepts that can result in a fatally defective information should the terms be conjoined in the information. The fact that the prosecution can properly allege these different modes alternatively in the information only means that the conviction may lie based simply on the evidence that is supportive of a particular mode. (EDNA J. JACA v. PEOPLE, G.R. No. 166967, January 28, 2013) An opposition to a petition for registration of a party-list is not a condition precedent to the filing of a complaint for cancellation of the same. (ANTONIO D. DAYAO, et al. v. COMELEC, G.R. Nos. 193643 and 193704, January29, 2013) No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law. A violation of this constitutional edict warrants the disallowance of the payment. However, the refund of the disallowed payment of a benefit granted by law to a covered person, agency or office of the Government may be barred by the good faith of the approving official and of the recipient. (BRENDA L. NAZARETH v. COMMISSIONERS of the COMMISSION on AUDIT, G.R. No. 188635, January29, 2013) Persons may lose the protection of the search and seizure clause by exposure of their persons or property to the public in a manner reflecting a lack of subjective expectation of privacy, which expectation society is prepared to recognize as reasonable. (DON DJOWEL SALES v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 191023, February 6, 2013) The state may not be sued without its consent. Likewise, public officials may not be sued for acts done in the perfomance of their official functions or within the scope of their authority. (DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, et al. v. PHIL PHARMAWEALTH, INC., G.R. No. 182358, February 20, 2013) The fact that the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) conducts public consultations or hearings does not mean that it is performing quasi-judicial functions. (SALVACION VILLANUEVA, et al. v. PALAWAN COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, et al., G.R. No. 178347, February 25, 2013) In an administrative proceeding, the quantum of proof required for a finding of guilt is only substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion and not proof beyond reasonable doubt which requires moral certainty to justify affirmative findings. (OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. RODRIGO MAPOY, et al., G.R. No. 197299, February 13, 2013) The language of Section 13 of the Constitution makes no reference to the nature of the appointment or designation, as such, the prohibition against dual or multiple offices being held by one official must be construed as to apply to all appointments or designations, whether permanent or temporary. (DENNIS FUNA v. ACTING SECRETARY OF JUSTICE ALBERTO C. AGRA, et al., G.R. No. 191644, February 19, 2013) Due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their side of the controversy or an opportunity to move for a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. (PACIFICO C. VELASCO v. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 169253, February 20, 2013) There is simply no double jeopardy when the subsequent information charges another with a different offense, although arising from the same act or set of acts. Prosecution for the same act is not prohibited. What is forbidden is the prosecution for the same offense. (ISABELO A. BRAZA v. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN, G.R. No. 1950, February 20, 2013)

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A change of residence requires an actual and deliberate abandonment, and one cannot have two legal residences at the same time, otherwise the residence of origin should be deemed to continue. (SVETLANA P. JALOSJOS v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al., G.R. No. 193314, February 26, 2013) The decision of the Office of the Ombudsman is immediately executory, and an appeal therefrom does not stop the decision from being executory. (OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. SAMSON G. DE LEON, G.R. No. 154083, February 27, 2013) A person who has reached the compulsory retirement age of 65 may still be appointed in a government position provided that it is a coterminous or primarily confidential position. The tenure of a confidential employee is coterminous with that of the appointing authority, or is at the latter’s pleasure. The position of a General Manager (GM) in a water district is considered as a confidential position due to the intimate relationship between the GM and the Board of Directors (BOD) of the water district and the power of the BOD to terminate the services of the GM on the ground of loss of confidence. (CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. PILILLA WATER DISTRICT, G.R. No. 190147, March 5, 2013) When there is reorganization conducted pursuant to an authority granted to the Board of Directors (BOD) of a government-owned and controlled corporation, an officer reassigned to a new position cannot claim that she was illegally removed from the previous one on the claim that the BOD has no authority to conduct reorganization. The BOD of a government-owned and controlled corporation may be granted by law the authority to effect reorganization therein. Thus, a reorganization undertaken pursuant to a specific statutory authority by the Board of Directors of a government-owned and government-controlled corporation is valid. (ATTY. MA. ROSARIO MANALANG-DEMIGILLO v. TRADE AND INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (TIDCORP) et al., G.R. No. 168613 & G.R. No. 185571; G.R. No. 185571, March 5, 2013) Where the law allows its Board of Directors to create its own staffing pattern, it may hire a person even if the position being filled does not exist in the compensation and classification system of the Civil Service Commission. The rules that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) formulates should implement and be in harmony with the law it seeks to enforce. This is so since the CSC cannot enforce civil service rules and regulations contrary to, and cannot override, the laws enacted by Congress. (TRADE AND INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, G.R. No. 182249, March 5, 2013) In case of dishonesty, the individual intentionally makes a false statement of any material fact, practicing or attempting to practice any deception or fraud in order to secure his examination, registration, appointment, or promotion. Given the fact that respondent government officer was able to successfully overcome the onus of demonstrating that he does not possess any unexplained wealth and that the omissions (he did not disclose any business interest and/or financial connection, but showed a steady increase of his net worth) in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) did not betray any sense of bad faith or the intent to mislead or deceive on his part considering that his SALNs actually disclose the extent of his and his wife’s assets and business interests, respondent is merely culpable of Simple Negligence instead of the more serious charge of Dishonesty. (OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. ARNEL A. BERNARDO, ATTORNEY V, BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE (BIR) G.R. No. 181598, March 6, 2013) The ballot images in the compact flash (CF) cards, as well as the printouts of such images, are the functional equivalent of the official physical ballots filled up by the voters, and may be used in an election protest. Both are original documents and carry the same evidentiary weight as official physical ballot. Where the party received, through his counsel, notices from the COMELEC of an examination requested by the opposing party and filed a motion for reconsideration against the same examination; he cannot claim that his right to due process was violated. In administrative proceedings, due process is the opportunity to explain one’s side or the opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. (MAYOR EMMANUEL L. MALIKSI v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and HOMER T. SAQUILAYAN, G.R. No. 203302, March 12, 2013)

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Suspension from service of the Judge cannot be used as justification for undue delay in the resolution of cases as well as the claim of the Clerk of Court that the non-recording of the cases filed in court was due to lack of supplies. The honor and integrity of the judicial system is measured not only by the fairness and correctness of decisions rendered, but also by the efficiency with which disputes are resolved. The delay in deciding a case within the reglementary period constitutes a violation of Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct which mandates judges to perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with promptness. (OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. HON. ROSABELLA M. TORMIS, PRESIDING JUDGE, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT IN CITIES (MTCC), BRANCH 4, CEBU CITY AND MR. REYNALDO S. TEVES, BRANCH CLERK OF COURTA.M. No. MTJ-12-1817, March 12, 2013) The purpose of the non-impairment clause of the Constitution is to safeguard the integrity of contracts against unwarranted interference by the State. Section 47 of R.A. No. 8791 did not divest juridical persons of the right to redeem their foreclosed properties but only modified the time for the exercise of such right by reducing the one-year period originally provided in Act No. 3135. There is likewise no retroactive application of the new redemption period because Section 47 exempts from its operation those properties foreclosed prior to its effectivity and whose owners shall retain their redemption rights under Act No. 3135. Further, the equal protection clause is directed principally against undue favor and individual or class privilege. Equal protection permits of reasonable classification. The difference in the treatment of juridical persons and natural persons was based on the nature of the properties foreclosed – whether these are used as residence, for which the more liberal one-year redemption period is retained, or used for industrial or commercial purposes, in which case a shorter term is deemed necessary to reduce the period of uncertainty in the ownership of property and enable mortgagee-banks to dispose sooner of these acquired assets. (GOLDENWAY MERCHANDISING CORPORATION v. EQUITABLE PCI BANK, G.R. NO. 195540, MARCH 13, 2013) The existence of a valid certificate of candidacy (COC) is a condition sine qua non for a disqualified candidate to be validly substituted. If the COC is thereby cancelled or denied due course, the candidate cannot be validly substituted. (SILVERIO R.TAGOLINO v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL AND LUCY MARIE TORRES GOMEZ, G.R. No. 202202, March 19, 2013) A protesting candidate cannot file a petition with the Supreme Court when the COMELEC decision is equally divided and a rehearing is not conducted; otherwise the petition shall be considered premature and shall be dismissed. When the COMELEC En Banc is equally divided in an opinion and the necessary majority cannot be had, there shall be a rehearing. To break the legal stalemate in case the opinion is equally divided among the members of the Comelec en banc, Section 6, Rule 18 of the Comelec Rules of Procedure mandates a rehearing where parties are given the opportunity anew to strengthen their respective positions or arguments and convince the members of the Comelec en banc of the merit of their case. It is provided also that when the Commission en banc is equally divided in opinion, or the necessary majority cannot be had, the case shall be reheard, and if on rehearing no decision is reached, the action or proceeding shall be dismissed if originally commenced in the Commission; in appealed cases, the judgment or order appealed from shall stand affirmed; and in all incidental matters, the petition or motion shall be denied. (MAMERTO T. SEVILLA, JR. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND RENATO R. SO, G.R. No. 203833, March 19, 2013) A person cannot file an action with the Supreme Court questioning the findings of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) except when it committed a grave abuse of discretion. The abuse must, as contemplated by the law, be so gross that it amounts to evasion of duty. (MARIA LOURDES B. LOCSIN v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL AND MONIQUE YAZMIN MARIA Q. LAGDAMEO, G.R. No. 204123, March 19, 2013) A candidate whose Certificate of Candidacy is cancelled or denied cannot be substituted by another on the claiming that the former was merely disqualified. In case of disqualification, there can be substitution because a candidate’s disqualification does not automatically result to the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy. However, when the certificate of candidacy of a person is denied or is cancelled, substitution

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cannot be had because the effect of cancellation is as if there is no candidate at all. (SILVERIO R. TAGOLINO v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL AND LUCY MARIE TORRES-GOMEZ, G.R. No. 202202, March 19, 2013) Where a foreigner seeking to be granted of Philippine citizenship does not follow the rule on the period to file his petition, the action must be dismissed. The opportunity given to a foreigner to become a citizen is a mere privilege and the absence of one requirement is fatal to the petition of the foreigner. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LI CHING CHUNG, a.k.a. BERNABE LUNA LI, a.k.a. STEPHEN LEE KENG, G.R. No. 197450, March 20, 2013) The clear intent, express wording, and party-list structure ordained in Section 5(1) and (2), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution cannot be disputed: the party-list system is not for sectoral parties only, but also for non-sectoral parties. Thus, the party-list system is composed of three different groups: (1) national parties or organizations; (2) regional parties or organizations; and (3) sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations are different from sectoral parties or organizations. National and regional parties or organizations need not be organized along sectoral lines and need not represent any particular sector. Under the party-list system, an ideology-based or cause-oriented political party is clearly different from a sectoral party. A political party need not be organized as a sectoral party and need not represent any particular sector. There is no requirement in R.A. No. 7941 that a national or regional political party must represent a "marginalized and underrepresented" sector. It is sufficient that the political party consists of citizens who advocate the same ideology or platform, or the same governance principles and policies, regardless of their economic status as citizens. While the major political parties are those that field candidates in the legislative district elections. Major political parties, however, cannot participate in the party-list elections since they neither lack "well-defined political constituencies" nor represent "marginalized and underrepresented" sectors. Thus, the national or regional parties under the party-list system are necessarily those that do not belong to major political parties. This automatically reserves the national and regional parties under the party-list system to those who "lack well-defined political constituencies," giving them the opportunity to have members in the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court cannot engage in socio-political engineering and judicially legislate the exclusion of major political parties from the party-list elections in patent violation of the Constitution and the law." The experimentations in socio-political engineering have only resulted in confusion and absurdity in the partylist system. Such experimentations, in clear contravention of the 1987 Constitution and R.A. No. 7941, must now come to an end. The High Court is sworn to uphold the 1987 Constitution, apply its provisions faithfully, and desist from engaging in socio-economic or political experimentations contrary to what the Constitution has ordained. Judicial power does not include the power to re-write the Constitution. Thus, in this case the Supreme Court remanded the present petitions to the COMELEC not because the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying petitioners, but because petitioners may now possibly qualify to participate in the coming 13 May 2013 party-list elections under the new parameters prescribed by the Supreme Court. (ATONG PAGLAUM, INC., represented by its President, Mr. Alan Igot v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 203766, April 2, 2013) When a government officer is subject to an administrative action, there must be a formal charge against him/her and an investigation to give him/her ample opportunity to be heard. A formal charge issued prior to the imposition of administrative sanctions must conform to the requirements set forth in Section 16, Rule II of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. If the purported “formal charge” does not contain the requirements set forth in Section 16, it cannot be said that the employee concerned has been formally charged, rendering the dismissal from service invalid. A memorandum directing the person to explain within a given period of time does not constitute as a formal charge. Such wanton disregard of the proper procedure in administrative investigations under the civil service rules cannot be countenanced. For a valid dismissal from the government service, the requirements of due process must be complied with. (TERESITA L. SALVA v. FLAVIANA M. VALLE, G.R. No. 193773, April 2, 2013) The Commission on Elections has to authority to effect the re-clustering of precincts when the act shall prevent failure of elections and promote a free, orderly and honest elections. Unless they are clearly

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illegal or constitute grave abuse of discretion, the Court cannot interfere with the actions of the COMELEC. (SALIC DUMARPA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 192249, April 2, 2013) Simple neglect of duty is defined as the failure of an employee to give proper attention to a required task or to discharge a duty due to carelessness or indifference. On the other hand, gross neglect of duty is characterized by want of even the slightest care, or by conscious indifference to the consequences, and in cases involving public officials, by flagrant and palpable breach of duty. It is the omission of that care that even inattentive and thoughtless men never fail to take on their own property. Where a bank officer wilfully disregards the bank procedures, the act constitutes gross, not a simple, neglect of duty. This is so since the banking business is one impressed with public trust and a higher degree of diligence is imposed on banks compared to an ordinary business enterprise in the handling of deposited funds; the degree of responsibility, care and trustworthiness expected of their officials and employees is far greater than those imposed on ordinary officers and employees in other enterprises. (LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARTEMIO S. SAN JUAN, JR., G.R. No. 186279, April 2, 2013) A government officer subject of an administrative action cannot claim that his right to due process was violated when he was made known of the charges against him and when he was able to file a counteraffidavit to refute the allegations against him. In an administrative case, due process is the opportunity to explain one’s side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. (CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. ARLIC ALMOJUELA, G.R. No. 194368, April 2, 2013) No position demands greater moral righteousness and uprightness from the occupant than does the judicial office. The safekeeping of funds and collections is essential to the goal of an orderly administration of justice. The act of misappropriating judiciary funds constitutes dishonesty and grave misconduct which are grave offenses punishable by dismissal upon the commission of even the first offense. (THE OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. DEVELYN GESULTURA, A.M. No. P-041785, April 2, 2013) Consistent with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution, the Court deems it a sound judicial policy not to interfere in the conduct of preliminary investigations, and to allow the Executive Department, through the Department of Justice, exclusively to determine what constitutes sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for the prosecution of supposed offenders. By way of exception, however, judicial review may be allowed where it is clearly established that the public prosecutor committed grave abuse of discretion, that is, when he has exercised his discretion “in an arbitrary, capricious, whimsical or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, patent and gross enough as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. Hence, in matters involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, mandamus may only be resorted to in order to compel respondent tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person to take action, but it cannot be used to direct the manner or the particular way discretion is to be exercised, or to compel the retraction or reversal of an action already taken in the exercise of judgment or discretion. (DATU ANDAL AMPATUAN JR. v. SEC. LEILA DE LIMA, as Secretary of the Department of Justice, CSP CLARO ARELLANO, as Chief State Prosecutor, National Prosecution Service, and PANEL OF PROSECUTORS OF THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE, headed by RSP PETER MEDALLE, G.R. No. 197291, April 3, 2013) When an elected official refuses to recognize a legitimate operation of a government agency and wilfully intervenes to lead the said operation to failure, grave misconduct is committed. It is characterized by a clear intent to violate the law, or a flagrant disregard of established rules, which must all be supported by substantial evidence. (FRANKLlN ALEJANDRO v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN FACT-FINDING AND INTELLIGENCE BUREAU, represented by Atty. Maria Olivia Elena A. Roxas, G.R. No. 173121, April 3, 2013) The Office of the Ombudsman was created by no less than the Constitution. It is tasked to exercise disciplinary authority over all elective and appointive officials, save only for impeachable officers. The Ombudsman has primary jurisdiction to investigate any act or omission of a public officer or employee who is under the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. The Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction extends only to public officials occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 and higher. Consequently, any act or

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omission of a public officer or employee occupying a salary grade lower than 27 is within the concurrent jurisdiction of the Ombudsman and of the regular courts or other investigative agencies. The Ombudsman also has the power to impose administrative sanctions. Section 15 of RA 677027 reveals the manifest intent of the lawmakers to give the Office of the Ombudsman full administrative disciplinary authority. This provision covers the entire range of administrative activities attendant to administrative adjudication, including, among others, the authority to receive complaints, conduct investigations, hold hearings in accordance with its rules of procedure, summon witnesses and require the production of documents, place under preventive suspension public officers and employees pending an investigation, determine the appropriate penalty imposable on erring public officers or employees as warranted by the evidence, and, necessarily, impose the corresponding penalty. These powers unmistakably grant the Office of the Ombudsman the power to directly impose administrative sanctions; its power is not merely recommendatory. The maintenance of peace and order in the community is a general function undertaken by the punong barangay. It is a task expressly conferred to the punong barangay under Section 389(b) (3) of RA 7160. The peace and order function of the punong barangay must also be related to his function of assisting local executive officials (i.e., the city mayor), under Section 389(b), Chapter III of the Local Government Code. Local executive officials have the power to employ and deploy police for the maintenance of peace and order, the prevention of crimes and the arrest of criminal offenders. However, police authority is superior to the punong barangay’s authority in a situation where the maintenance of peace and order has metamorphosed into crime prevention and the arrest of criminal offenders. (FRANKLlN ALEJANDRO v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN FACT-FINDING AND INTELLIGENCE BUREAU, represented by Atty. Maria Olivia Elena A. Roxas, G.R. No. 173121, April 3, 2013) The constitutional guarantee of local autonomy in the Constitution [Art. X, Sec. 2] refers to the administrative autonomy of local government units or, cast in more technical language, the decentralization of government authority. It does not make local governments sovereign within the State. Administrative autonomy may involve devolution of powers, but subject to limitations like following national policies or standards, and those provided by the Local Government Code, as the structuring of local governments and the allocation of powers, responsibilities, and resources among the different local government units and local officials have been placed by the Constitution in the hands of Congress under Section 3, Article X of the Constitution. The Local Government Code did not fully devolve the enforcement of the small-scale mining law to the provincial government, as its enforcement is subject to the supervision, control and review of the DENR, which is in charge, subject to law and higher authority, of carrying out the State's constitutional mandate to control and supervise the exploration, development, utilization of the country's natural resources. Further, he DENR Secretary has the power to review and, therefore, decide, in this case, the issue on the validity of the issuance of the Small-Scale Mining Permits by the Provincial Governor as recommended by the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board, is a quasi-judicial function, which involves the determination of what the law is, and what the legal rights of the contending parties are, with respect to the matter in controversy and, on the basis thereof and the facts obtaining, the adjudication of their respective rights. (LEAGUE OF PROVINCES OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT and NATURAL RESOURCES and HON. ANGELO T. REYES, in his capacity as Secretary of DENR, G.R. No. 175368, April 11, 2013) The Commission on Audit (COA) has been granted by the Constitution the authority to establish a special audit group when a transaction warrants the formulation of the same and the authority to determine the scope of its audit and examination as well as the methods and techniques to be used therefor. (THE SPECIAL AUDIT TEAM, COMMISSION ON AUDIT v. COURT OF APPEALS and GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM, G.R. No. 174788, April 11, 2013) The subsequent reconciliation of the parties to an administrative proceeding does not strip the court of its jurisdiction to hear the administrative case until its resolution. Atonement, in administrative cases, merely obliterates the personal injury of the parties and does not extend to erase the offense that may have been committed against the public service. The subsequent desistance by the complainant does not free the public officer from liability, as the purpose of an administrative proceeding is to protect the public service

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based on the time-honored principle that a public office is a public trust. (CARLITO C. ENCINAS v. PO1 ALFREDO P. AGUSTIN, JR. and PO1 JOEL S. CAUBANG, G.R. No. 187317, April 11, 2013) Where another person takes the civil service examination on behalf of another, the said act constitutes dishonesty which is punishable by dismissal from service. The said public officer or government employee’s length of service in the judiciary is inconsequential. The CSC’s discovery of the perfidy in her acquisition of her civil service eligibility and her insistence in stating that she is civil service eligible in her Personal Data Sheet when she had been already found guilty of an administrative charge even after the finality of the CSC Resolution and even after her seeking clemency tell that she has not and does not live up to the high standards demanded of a court employee. (CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. MERLE RAMONEDA-PITA, Clerk III, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Danao City, A.M. No. P-08-2531, April 11, 2013) Despite the equal probative weight accorded to the official ballots and the printouts of their picture images, it does not authorize the courts, the COMELEC, and the Electoral Tribunals to quickly and unilaterally resort to the printouts of the picture images of the ballots in the proceedings had before them without notice to the parties. Without the said notice, there will be a violation of the party’s right to due process which cannot be brushed aside by the invocation that the said party was able to file, after all, a motion for reconsideration. Without the written order or notice, the party was deprived of the chance to seek any reconsideration or even to assail the irregularly-held recount through a seasonable petition for certiorari. In that context, he had no real opportunity to assail the conduct of the recount proceedings. (MAYOR EMMANUEL L. MALIKSI v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND HOMER T. SAQUILAYAN, G.R. No. 203302, April 11, 2013) The act of using a foreign passport does not divest one of his Filipino citizenship, which he acquired by repatriation. However, by representing himself as a foreign citizen, he voluntarily and effectively reverted to his earlier status as a dual citizen. Such reversion was not retroactive; it took place the instant he represented himself as a foreign citizen by using his foreign passport. Dual citizens by naturalization are required to take not only the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines but also to personally renounce foreign citizenship in order to qualify as a candidate for public office. If by the time an aspiring candidate filed his certificate of candidacy, he was a dual citizen enjoying the rights and privileges of Filipino and foreign citizenship. He was qualified to vote, but by the express disqualification under Section 40(d) of the Local Government Code, he was not qualified to run for a local elective position. By being barred from even becoming a candidate, his certificate of candidacy is thus rendered void from the beginning. Being a non-candidate, the votes cast in his favor should not have been counted. This leaves the qualified candidate who obtained the highest number of votes. Therefore, the rule on succession under the Local Government Code will not apply. (CASAN MACODE MAQUILING v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL ARNADO y CAGOCO, LINOG G. BALUA, G.R. No. 195649, April 16, 2013) A reading of the 1987 Constitution would reveal that several provisions were indeed adjusted as to be in tune with the shift to bicameralism. It is also very clear that the Framers were not keen on adjusting the provision on congressional representation in the JBC because it was not in the exercise of its primary function – to legislate. In the creation of the JBC, the Framers arrived at a unique system by adding to the four (4) regular members, three (3) representatives from the major branches of government. In so providing, the Framers simply gave recognition to the Legislature, not because it was in the interest of a certain constituency, but in reverence to it as a major branch of government. Hence, the argument that a senator cannot represent a member of the House of Representatives in the JBC and vice-versa is, thus, misplaced. In the JBC, any member of Congress, whether from the Senate or the House of Representatives, is constitutionally empowered to represent the entire Congress. (FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ v. JUDICIAL AND BAR COUNCIL, SEN. FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO and REP. NIEL C. TUPAS, JR., G.R. No. 202242, April 16, 2013) When a government employee undisputedly lacked CES eligibility, he did not hold his managerial position, within the coverage of the CES, in a permanent capacity or acquire security of tenure in that position. Otherwise stated, his appointment was temporary and "co-terminus with the appointing authority.

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One who holds a temporary appointment has no fixed tenure of office; his employment can be terminated at the pleasure of the appointing power, there being no need to show that the termination is for cause. (EMMANUEL A. DE CASTRO v. EMERSON S. CARLOS, G.R. No. 194994, April 16, 2013) Courts cannot certainly give primacy to matters of procedure over substance in a party-list group’s Constitution and By-Laws, especially after the general membership has spoken. (SAMSON S. ALCANTARA, ROMEO R. ROBJSO, PEDRO T. DABU, JR., LOPE E. FEBLE, NOEL T. TIAMPONG and JOSE FLORO CRISOLOGO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, JONATHAN DE LA CRUZ, ED VINCENT ALBANO and BENEDICT KATO, G.R. No. 203646, April 16, 2013) The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal was in no way estopped from subsequently declaring that the integrity of the ballot boxes was not preserved opposed to its initial findings, after it had the opportunity to exhaustively observe and examine in the course of the entire revision proceedings the conditions of all the ballot boxes and their contents, including the ballots themselves, the Minutes of Voting, Statements of Votes and Election Returns. (LIWAYWAY VINZONS-CHATO v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL and ELMER E. PANOTES, G.R. No. 204637, April 16, 2013) Section 444(b)(1)(vi) of the LGC requires that, while the authorization of the municipal mayor need not be in the form of an ordinance, the obligation which the said local executive is authorized to enter into must be made pursuant to a law or ordinance. When the said obligation was approved through a mere resolution, it shall not confer any right to a person. The distinction between ordinances and resolutions is well-perceived. While ordinances are laws and possess a general and permanent character, resolutions are merely declarations of the sentiment or opinion of a lawmaking body on a specific matter and are temporary in nature. As opposed to ordinances, "no rights can be conferred by and be inferred from a resolution." (LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDUARDO M. CACAYURAN, G.R. No. 191667, April 17, 2013) We note that the Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause does not prohibit discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate. The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences, that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. (AMELIA AQUINO, RODOLFO TAGGUEG, JR., ADELAIDA HERNANDEZ and LEOPOLDO BISCOCHO, JR. v. PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY, G.R. No. 181973, April 17, 2013) The constitutional proscription against the admissibility of admission or confession of guilt obtained in violation of Section 12, Article III of the Constitution is applicable only in custodial interrogation. Custodial interrogation means any questioning initiated by law enforcement authorities after a person is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant manner. A written statement given by an employee during an administrative inquiry conducted by his employer in connection with an anomaly/irregularity he allegedly committed in the course of his employment, is not a statement given by a person under custodial investigation, hence, not falling under the proscription provided in Section 12, Article III of the Constitution. (CARLOS L. TANENGGEE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 179448, June 26, 2013) An individual’s right to privacy under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code should not be confined to his house or residence as it may extend to places where he has the right to exclude the public or deny them access. The phrase "prying into the privacy of another’s residence," therefore, covers places, locations, or even situations which an individual considers as private, including a business office. In this day and age, video surveillance cameras are installed practically everywhere for the protection and safety of everyone. The installation of these cameras, however, should not cover places where there is reasonable expectation of privacy, unless the consent of the individual, whose right to privacy would be affected, was obtained. Simply put, a person have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in his property, whether he uses it as a business office or as a residence and that the installation of video surveillance cameras directly facing his

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property or covering a significant portion thereof, without his consent, is a clear violation of their right to privacy. (SPOUSES BILL AND VICTORIA HING v. ALEXANDER CHOACHUY, SR. and ALLAN CHOACHUY, G.R. No. 179736, June 26, 2013) Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, provides that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal has the exclusive jurisdiction to be the "sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications" of the Members of the House of Representatives. To be considered a Member of the House of Representatives, there must be a concurrence of all of the following requisites: (1) a valid proclamation, (2) a proper oath, and (3) assumption of office. Absent any of the foregoing, the COMELEC retains jurisdiction over the said contests. (REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN, G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013) Where an officer or employee in the civil service incurs unauthorized absences exceeding the allowable 2.5 days monthly leave credit for at least (3) months in a semester or at least (3) consecutive months during the year, his act constitutes habitual absenteeism. If it is the second offense of the employee, the proper penalty is dismissal from service. Nonetheless, in several administrative cases, the Court refrained from imposing the actual penalties in the presence of mitigating facts. The Court have considered the employee’s length of service, acknowledgment of his or her infractions and feelings of remorse, advanced age, family circumstances and other humanitarian and equitable considerations in determining the appropriate penalty. The Court also ruled that where a penalty less punitive would suffice, whatever missteps may be committed by the employee ought not to be visited with a consequence so severe. (JUDGE MA. MONINA S. MISAJON, Municipal Trial Court (MTC), San Jose, Antique vs. JERENCE P. HIPONIA, Clerk II, ELIZABETH B. ESCANILLAS, Stenographer I, WILLIAM M. YGLESIAS, Process Server, and CONRADO A. RAFOLS, JR., Utility Aide, all of the same court, A.M. No. P-08-2439, June 25, 2013) R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws, for the following reasons: a.) R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions. The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more likely than men to be victims of violence; and the widespread gender bias and prejudice against women all make for real differences justifying the classification under the law. b.) The classification is germane to the purpose of the law. The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to address violence committed against women and children. c.) The classification is not limited to existing conditions only, and apply equally to all members. The application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it was promulgated, but to future conditions as well, for as long as the safety and security of women and their children are threatened by violence and abuse. R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. (JESUS C. GARCIA v. THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod City, and ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA, for herself and in behalf of minor children, namely: JO-ANN, JOSEPH EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed GARCIA, G.R. No. 179267, June 25, 2013) The failure to designate the offense specifically and with precision is of no moment in this administrative case. The essence of due process in administrative proceedings is that a party be afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard and to submit any evidence he may have in support of his defense. The law simply requires that the civil servant is informed of the nature and cause of accusation against him in a clear and concise manner to give the person a chance to answer the allegations intelligently.( PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT and GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR) v. ARIEL R. MARQUEZ, G.R. No. 191877, June 18, 2013) The COMELEC is mandated to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election. It is the COMELEC’s duty to cancel motu proprio the Certificate of Candidacy of a candidate who is clearly disqualified under the law to run for public office, notwithstanding the absence of any petition initiating a quasi-judicial proceeding for the resolution of the same. (ROMEO G. JALOSJOS v. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, MARIA ISABELLE G. CLIMACO-SALAZAR, ROEL B. NATIVIDAD, ARTURO N. ONRUBIA, AHMAD NARZAD K. SAMPANG, JOSE L. LOBREGAT, ADELANTE ZAMBOANGA PARTY, AND ELBERT C. ATILANO, G.R. No. 205033, June 18, 2013)

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The right to information allows the public to hold public officials accountable to the people and aids them in engaging in public discussions leading to the formulation of government policies and their effective implementation. By itself, it does not extend to causing the award of the sale of government assets in failed public biddings. Thus, assuming that a bidder, in a public bidding for the sale of government assets, may access the records for the purpose of validating the indicative price under the right to information, it does not follow that the said bidder is entitled to the award. (PRIVATIZATION and MANAGEMENT OFFICE v. STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT and/or PHILIPPINE ESTATE CORPORATION, G.R. No. 200402, June 13, 2013) Where the respondent is absolved of the charge, and in case of conviction where the penalty imposed is public censure or reprimand, suspension of not more than one month, or a fine equivalent to one month salary, the Ombudsman’s decision shall be final, executory, and unappealable. But of course, the said principle is subject to the rule that decisions of administrative agencies which are declared final and unappealable by law are still "subject to judicial review if they fail the test of arbitrariness, or upon proof of grave abuse of discretion, fraud or error of law, or when such administrative or quasi-judicial bodies grossly misappreciate evidence of such nature as to compel a contrary conclusion, the Court will not hesitate to reverse the factual findings." (FREDERICK JAMES C. ORAlS v. DR. AMELIA C. ALMIRANTE, G.R. No. 181195, June 10, 2013) When a public school teacher is subject of an administrative action, concurrent jurisdiction exists in the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Board of Professional Teachers-Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC). Hence, the body that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others. (ALBERTO PAT-OG, SR. v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, G.R. No. 198755, June 5, 2013) Where the Executive Department implements a relocation of government center, the same is valid unless the implementation is contrary to law, morals, public law and public policy and the Court cannot intervene in the legitimate exercise of power of the executive. The rationale is hinged on the principle of separation of powers which ordains that each of the three great government branches has exclusive cognizance of and is supreme in concerns falling within its own constitutionally allocated sphere. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by ABUSAMA M. ALID, Officer-in-Charge, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - REGIONAL FIELD UNIT XII (DA-RFU XII) v. ABDULWAHAB A. BAYAO, OSMEÑA I. MONTAÑER, RAKMA B. BUISAN, HELEN M. ALVAREZ, NEILA P. LIMBA, ELIZABETH B. PUSTA, ANNA MAE A. SIDENO, UDTOG B. TABONG, JOHN S. KAMENZA, DELIA R. SUBALDO, DAYANG W. MACMOD, FLORENCE S. TAYUAN, in their own behalf and in behalf of the other officials and employees of DA-RFU XII, G.R. No. 179492, June 5, 2013) Acts may constitute Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service as long as they tarnish the image and integrity of his/her public office. Where a professor in a state university directly sells books to her students, the acts shall constitute Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service taking into account that the said act is prohibited by the institution, her moral ascendancy over her students. the book/compilation was overpriced, and that the students’ refusal to buy the book/compilation could result in their failure in the subject. (DR. ZENAIDA P. PIA v. HON. MARGARITO P. GERVACIO, JR., OVERALL DEPUTY OMBUDSMAN, FORMERLY ACTING OMBUDSMAN, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, DR. OFELIA M. CARAGUE, FORMERLY PUP PRESIDENT, DR. ROMAN R. UANNUG, FORMERLY DEAN, COLLEGE OF ECONOMICS, FINANCE AND POLITICS (CEFP), NOW ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, CEFP POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES (PUP), STA. MESA, MANILA, G.R. No. 172334, June 5, 2013) It is well-settled that, in expropriation of properties, the amount of just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the taking. (HENRY L. SY v. LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF QUEZON CITY, G.R. No. 202690, June 5, 2013) When a private property is taken for public use and there is a dispute as to the amount of just compensation, it is the value of the property at the time of taking that is controlling. Compensation must be just not only to the property owner, but also to the public which ultimately bears the cost of expropriation. (SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS and

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DISTRICT ENGINEER CELESTINO R. CONTRERAS v. SPOUSES HERACLEO and RAMONA TECSON, G.R. No. 179334, July 1, 2013) When the government takes property pursuant to PD No. 27, but does not pay the landowner his just compensation until after RA No. 6657 has taken effect in 1998, it becomes more equitable to determine just compensation using RA No. 6657 and not EO No. 228. Hence, the valuation of the GSP of palay should be based on its value at the time it was ordered paid by the SAC. It more equitable to determine just compensation due the petitioners using values pursuant to the standard laid down in Section 17 of RA No. 6657, considering that the tenant-beneficiaries have already benefited from the land, while the landowners wait in vain to be paid. (THE HEIRS OF SPOUSES DOMINGO TRIA AND CONSORCIA CAMANO TRIA v. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES AND DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, G.R. No. 170245, July 1, 2013) It is hornbook doctrine, however, that "what determines the real nature and cause of the accusation against an accused is the actual recital of facts stated in the information or complaint and not the caption or preamble of the information or complaint nor the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they being conclusions of law." (FERNANDO M. ESPINO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 188217, July 3, 2013) Where the Office of the Ombudsman fails to investigate a case in an expedient manner through its own fault, the right of the accused to a speedy disposition of cases is deemed violated. Such constitutional right is not limited to the accused in criminal proceedings but extends to all parties in all cases, be it civil or administrative in nature, as well as all proceedings, either judicial or quasi-judicial. (RAFAEL L. COSCOLLUELA v. SANBIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 191411; EDWIN N. NACIONALES, ERNESTO P. MALVAS, and JOSE MA. G. AMUGOD v. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, G.R. No. 191871, July 15, 2013) It is a standing rule that every public official is entitled to the presumption of good faith in the discharge of official duties, such that, in the absence of any proof that a public officer has acted with malice or bad faith, he should not be charged with personal liability for damages that may result from the performance of an official duty. Good faith is always presumed and he who alleges the contrary bears the burden to convincingly show that malice or bad faith attended the public officer’s performance of his duties. Case law also exhorts that although a public officer is the final approving authority and the employees who processed the transaction were directly under his supervision, personal liability does not automatically attach to him but only upon those directly responsible for the unlawful expenditures. (ROSALINDA DIMAPILIS-BALDOZ, in her capacity as then administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, represented by CHAIRMAN REYNALDO A. VILLAR AND COMMISSIONER JUANITO G. ESPINO, JR., G.R. No. 199114, July 16, 2013) The President’s discretion in the conferment of the Order of National Artists should be exercised in accordance with the duty to faithfully execute the relevant laws. The faithful execution clause is best construed as an obligation imposed on the President, not a separate grant of power. It simply underscores the rule of law and, corollarily, the cardinal principle that the President is not above the laws but is obliged to obey and execute them. This is precisely why the law provides that "administrative or executive acts, orders and regulations shall be valid only when they are not contrary to the laws or the Constitution." (NATIONAL ARTIST FOR LITERATURE VIRGILIO ALMARIO, ET. AL. v. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ET. AL., G.R. No. 189028, July 16, 2013) Unquestionably, the twin requirements of due notice and hearing are indispensable before the COMELEC may properly order the cancellation of the registration and accreditation of a party-list organization. Hence, the due process violation was committed when a party-list group was not apprised of the fact that the term-sharing agreement entered into by the nominees of the said party-list group in 2010 would be a material consideration in the evaluation of the organization’s qualifications as a party-list group for the May 13, 2013 elections. As it were, said party-list group was not able to answer this issue squarely. In other words, they were deprived of the opportunity to adequately explain their side regarding the termsharing agreement and/or to adduce evidence, accordingly, in support of their position. (COALITION OF

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ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (SENIOR CITIZENS PARTY-LIST), represented herein by its Chairperson and First Nominee, FRANCISCO G. DATOL, Jr. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. Nos. 206844-45; COALITION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE PHILIPPINES, INC. (SENIOR CITIZENS), represented by its President and Incumbent Representative in the House of Representatives, ATTY. GODOFREDO V. ARQUIZA v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 206982, July 23, 2013) Congress has the power and prerogative to introduce substantial changes in the statutory public office or position and to reclassify it as a primarily confidential, non-career service position. Flowing from the legislative power to create public offices is the power to abolish and modify them to meet the demands of society; Congress can change the qualifications for and shorten the term of existing statutory offices. When done in good faith, these acts would not violate a public officer’s security of tenure, even if they result in his removal from office or the shortening of his term. Modifications in public office, such as changes in qualifications or shortening of its tenure, are made in good faith so long as they are aimed at the office and not at the incumbent. (THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF CAMARINES NORTE, represented by GOVERNOR JESUS O. TYPOCO, JR. v. BEATRIZ O. GONZALES, G.R. No. 185740, July 23, 2013) Under the present law (Section 43 of RA 9369), the COMELEC and other prosecuting arms of the government, such as the DOJ, now exercise concurrent jurisdiction in the investigation and prosecution of election offenses. With this, where there is Joint Panel created to investigate over an alleged commission of election fraud and is granted a concurrent jurisdiction with the COMELEC over the offense, the accused cannot claim that the constitution of the Joint Committee is invalid for violating the mandate of the COMELEC. Notwithstanding the grant of concurrent jurisdiction, the COMELEC and the DOJ nevertheless included a provision in the assailed Joint Order whereby the resolutions of the Joint Committee finding probable cause for election offenses shall still be approved by the COMELEC in accordance with the COMELEC Rules of Procedure. With more reason, therefore, that we cannot consider the creation of the Joint Committee as an abdication of the COMELEC’s independence enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. (JOSE MIGUEL T. ARROYO v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ET. AL., G.R. No. 199082; BENJAMIN S. ABALOS, SR. v. HON. LEILA DE LIMA, ET. AL., G.R. No. 199085; GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ET. AL.,G.R. No. 199118, July 23, 2013) In order for an entity to legally undertake a quarrying business, he must first comply with all the requirements imposed not only by the national government, but also by the local government unit where his business is situated. The permit to extract sand, gravel and other quarry resources shall be issued exclusively by the provincial governor, pursuant to the ordinance of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. (PROVINCE OF CAGAYAN, represented by HON. ALVARO T. ANTONIO, et al. v. JOSEPH LASAM LARA, G.R. No. 188500. July 24, 2013) Where there is a dispute as to the amount of just compensation, the method to be used in the determination of the value of the land must result to a fair and reasonable amount and must not drastically reduce the said value. Just compensation refers to full and fair equivalent of the property taken from the owner and to be "just," the compensation must be real, substantial, full and ample. (LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANUEL O. GALLEGO, JR., JOSEPH L. GALLEGO and CHRISTOPHER L. GALLEGO, G.R. No. 173226, July 29, 2013) The law (Section 8 of RA No. 7941) expressly requires the submission of a list containing at least five qualified nominees. Failure to submit the list of five nominees before the election warrants the cancellation of its registration. The requirement of submission of a list of five nominees is primarily a statutory requirement for the registration of party-list groups and the submission of this list is part of a registered party’s continuing compliance with the law to maintain its registration. A party-list group’s previous registration with the COMELEC confers no vested right to the maintenance of its registration. In order to maintain a party in a continuing compliance status, the party must prove not only its continued possession of the requisite qualifications but, equally, must show its compliance with the basic requirements of the law. (COCOFED-PHILIPPINE COCONUT PRODUCERS FEDERATION, INC. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 207026, August 6, 2013)

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If circumstances warrant it, the Monetary Board may forbid a bank from doing business and place it under receivership without prior notice and hearing. Due process does not necessarily require a prior hearing; a hearing or an opportunity to be heard may be subsequent to the closure. This is considering that the "close now, hear later" doctrine has already been justified as a measure for the protection of the public interest. Swift action is called for on the part of the BSP when it finds that a bank is in dire straits. Unless adequate and determined efforts are taken by the government against distressed and mismanaged banks, public faith in the banking system is certain to deteriorate to the prejudice of the national economy itself, not to mention the losses suffered by the bank depositors, creditors, and stockholders, who all deserve the protection of the government. (ALFEO D. VIVAS, ON HIS BEHALF AND ON BEHALF OF THE SHAREHOLDERS OF EUROCREDIT COMMUNITY BANK v. THE MONETARY BOARD OF THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS AND THE PHILIPPINE DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, G.R. No. 191424, August 7, 2013) Dishonesty, being in the nature of a grave offense, carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service even if committed for the first time. (OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. DONABEL M. SAVADERA, ET. AL., A.M. No. P-04-1903, September 10, 2013) Factual findings of administrative bodies will not be disturbed by the courts of justice except when there is absolutely no evidence or no substantial evidence in support of such findings should be applied with greater force when it concerns the COMELEC, as the framers of the Constitution intended to place the COMELEC – created and explicitly made independent by the Constitution itself – on a level higher than statutory administrative organs. The COMELEC has broad powers to ascertain the true results of the election by means available to it. For the attainment of that end, it is not strictly bound by the rules of evidence. The COMELEC may motu proprio cancel, after due notice and hearing, the registration of any party-list organization if it violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections. (ALLIANCE FOR NATIONALISM AND DEMOCRACY (ANAD) v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 206987, September 10, 2013) The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. In the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded is not lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he was not denied due process. (ENGINEER MANOLITO P. MENDOZA v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, G.R. No. 195395, September 10, 2013) Cessation from office of a public official by resignation or retirement neither warrants the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against him while he was still in the service nor does it render said administrative case moot and academic. The jurisdiction that was this Court’s at the time of the filing of the administrative complaint was not lost by the mere fact that the public official had ceased in office during the pendency of his case. A public official’s resignation does not preclude the finding of any administrative liability to which he shall still be answerable. (OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. DESIDERIO W. MACUSI, A.M. No. P-13-3105, September 11, 2013) No actual taking of the building is necessary to grant consequential damages. Consequential damages are awarded if as a result of the expropriation, the remaining property of the owner suffers from impairment or decrease in value. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS (BPI), G.R. No. 203039, September 11, 2013). An ordinance is deemed approved upon failure of the Sangguniang Panlungsod to declare the same invalid within 30 days after its submission in accordance with Section 56 of the LGC. (RAMONITO O. ACAAC, ET. AL. v. MELQUIADES D. AZCUNA, ET. AL., G.R. No. 187378, September 30, 2013) A Petition for judicial declaration of Philippine citizenship is different from judicial naturalization under CA 473. In the first, the petitioner believes he is a Filipino citizen and asks a court to declare or confirm his status as a Philippine citizen. In the second, the petitioner acknowledges he is an alien, and seeks judicial approval to acquire the privilege of becoming a Philippine citizen based on requirements required under

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CA 473. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. AZUCENA SAAVEDRA BATUGAS, G.R. No. 183110, October 7, 2013) The HRET is the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the Members of the House of Representatives. (REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS AND JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN, G.R. No. 207264, October 22, 2013) Track record is a record of past performance often taken as an indicator of likely future performance. There is no basis in law and established jurisprudence to insist that groups seeking registration under the party-list system still need to comply with the track record requirement. Nowhere in R.A. No. 7941 is it mandated that groups seeking registration thereunder must submit evidence to show their track record as a group. (ABANG LINGKOD PARTY-LIST ABANG LINGKOD v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 206952, October 22, 2013) Misconduct is intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of a rule of law or standard of behavior. To constitute an administrative offense, misconduct should relate to or be connected with the performance of the official functions and duties of a public officer. A government employee who is found guilty of grave misconduct may be dismissed from the service even upon the first offense. (ROLANDO GANZON v. FERNANDO ARLOS, G.R. No. 174321, October 22, 2013) The proclamation of a congressional candidate following the election divests the COMELEC of jurisdiction over disputes relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the proclaimed representative in favor of the HRET. The phrase "election, returns and qualifications" refers to all matters affecting the validity of the contestee’s title. (WIGBERTO R. TAÑADA, JR. v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS ANGELINA D. TAN, AND ALVIN JOHN S. TAÑADA, G.R. Nos. 207199-200, October 22, 2013) The Constitution grants the COMELEC the power to enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum and recall. The COMELEC has exclusive charge of the enforcement and administration of all laws relative to the conduct of elections for the purpose of ensuring free, orderly and honest elections. It is thus not novel for the Supreme Court to uphold the COMELEC’s broad power or authority to fix other dates for a plebiscite to enable the people to exercise their right of suffrage. (MARC DOUGLAS IV C. CAGAS v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS et. al, G.R. No. 209185, October 25, 2013) Under Commonwealth Act No. 327, as amended by Section 26 of Presidential Decree No. 1445, it is the Commission on Audit which has primary jurisdiction over money claims against government agencies and instrumentalities. The scope of the COA’s authority to take cognizance of claims is however circumscribed to mean only liquidated claims, or those determined or readily determinable from vouchers, invoices, and such other papers within reach of accounting officers. (THE PROVINCE OF AKLAN v. JODY KING CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORP, G.R. Nos. 197592 & 20262, November 27, 2013) The power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies. The Court, as a rule, will decline to exercise jurisdiction over a case and proceed to dismiss it when the issues posed have been mooted by supervening events. Mootness intervenes when a ruling from the Court no longer has any practical value and, from this perspective, effectively ceases to be a justiciable controversy. While the Court has recognized exceptions in applying the "moot and academic" principle, these exceptions relate only to situations where: (1) there is a grave violation of the Constitution; (2) the situation is of exceptional character and paramount public interest is involved; (3) the constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public; and (4) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review. (BANKERS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES and PERRY L. PE v. THE COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, G.R. No. 206794, November 26, 2013) Doctrine of conclusiveness of administrative findings of fact is not absolute. It is well settled that findings of fact by the administrative or quasi-judicial agencies are conclusive only when supported by substantial evidence.

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Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer. The misconduct is considered as grave if it involves additional elements such as corruption or wilful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules, which must be proven by substantial evidence; otherwise, the misconduct is only simple. Corruption, as an element of grave misconduct, consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others. (PRIMO C. MIRO, in his capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas v. MARILYN MENDOZA VDA. DE EREDEROS, CATALINA ALINGASA and PORFERIO I. MENDOZA, G.R. Nos. 172532 172544-45, November 20, 2013) The Civil Service law and rules do not give a concrete description of what specific acts constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, but the Court defined such an offense in Ito v. De Vera as acts or omissions that violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or tend to diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary, thereby prejudicing the best interest of the administration of justice. In Government Service Insurance System v. Mayordomo, the Court further declared that the administrative offense of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service need not be related to or connected with the public officer’s official functions. As long as the questioned conduct tarnishes the image and integrity of his public office, the corresponding penalty may be meted on the erring public officer or employee. (HEIRS OF CELESTINO TEVES v. AUGUSTO J. FELICIDARIO, A.M. No. P-12-3089, November 13, 2013) Retirement from the service during the pendency of an administrative case does not render the case moot and academic. (OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. MARCELINO A. DECHAVEZ, G.R. No. 176702, November 13, 2013) Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. The essence of due process is simply to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one’s side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. (RAY PETER O. VIVO v. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAME CORPORATION (PAGCOR), G.R. No. 187854, November 12, 2013) No question involving the constitutionality or validity of a law or governmental act may be heard and decided by the Court unless there is compliance with the legal requisites for judicial inquiry, namely: (a) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (b) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; (c) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case. Legislators have been, in one form or another, authorized to participate in “the various operational aspects of budgeting,” including “the evaluation of work and financial plans for individual activities” and the “regulation and release of funds”, in violation of the separation of powers principle [The Court cites its Decision on Guingona, Jr. v. Carague (Guingona, Jr., 1991)]. From the moment the law becomes effective, any provision of law that empowers Congress or any of its members to play any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law violates the principle of separation of powers and is thus unconstitutional [The Court cites its Decision on Abakada Guro Party List v. Purisima (Abakada, 2008)]. That the said authority is treated as merely recommendatory in nature does not alter its unconstitutional tenor since the prohibition covers any role in the implementation or enforcement of the law. The 2013 PDAF Article violates the principle of non-delegability since legislators are effectively allowed to individually exercise the power of appropriation, which is lodged in Congress. The power to appropriate must be exercised only through legislation, pursuant to Section 29(1), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution. Under the 2013 PDAF Article, individual legislators are given a personal lump-sum fund from which they are able to dictate (a) how much from such fund would go to (b) a specific project or beneficiary that they themselves also determine. Since these two acts comprise the exercise of the power of appropriation and

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given that the 2013 PDAF Article authorizes individual legislators to perform the same, undoubtedly, said legislators have been conferred the power to legislate which the Constitution does not, however, allow. Under the 2013 PDAF Article, the amount of P24.79 Billion only appears as a collective allocation limit since the said amount would be further divided among individual legislators who would then receive personal lump-sum allocations and could, after the GAA is passed, effectively appropriate PDAF funds based on their own discretion. As these intermediate appropriations are made by legislators only after the GAA is passed and hence, outside of the law, it means that the actual items of PDAF appropriation would not have been written into the General Appropriations Bill and thus effectuated without veto consideration. This kind of lump-sum/post-enactment legislative identification budgeting system fosters the creation of a “budget within a budget” which subverts the prescribed procedure of presentment and consequently impairs the President’s power of item veto. As petitioners aptly point out, the President is forced to decide between (a) accepting the entire P24. 79 Billion PDAF allocation without knowing the specific projects of the legislators, which may or may not be consistent with his national agenda and (b) rejecting the whole PDAF to the detriment of all other legislators with legitimate projects. Even without its post-enactment legislative identification feature, the 2013 PDAF Article would remain constitutionally flawed since the lump-sum amount of P24.79 Billion would be treated as a mere funding source allotted for multiple purposes of spending (i.e. scholarships, medical missions, assistance to indigents, preservation of historical materials, construction of roads, flood control, etc). This setup connotes that the appropriation law leaves the actual amounts and purposes of the appropriation for further determination and, therefore, does not readily indicate a discernible item which may be subject to the President’s power of item veto. To a certain extent, the conduct of oversight would be tainted as said legislators, who are vested with post-enactment authority, would, in effect, be checking on activities in which they themselves participate. Also, this very same concept of post-enactment authorization runs afoul of Section 14, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution which provides that: “[A Senator or Member of the House of Representatives] shall not intervene in any matter before any office of the Government for his pecuniary benefit or where he may be called upon to act on account of his office.” Allowing legislators to intervene in the various phases of project implementation renders them susceptible to taking undue advantage of their own office. Section 26, Article II of the 1987 Constitution is considered as not self-executing due to the qualifying phrase “as may be defined by law.” In this respect, said provision does not, by and of itself, provide a judicially enforceable constitutional right but merely specifies a guideline for legislative or executive action. The Court, however, finds an inherent defect in the system which actually belies the avowed intention of “making equal the unequal” (Philconsa, 1994). The gauge of PDAF and CDF allocation/division is based solely on the fact of office, without taking into account the specific interests and peculiarities of the district the legislator represents. As a result, a district representative of a highly-urbanized metropolis gets the same amount of funding as a district representative of a far-flung rural province which would be relatively “underdeveloped” compared to the former. To add, what rouses graver scrutiny is that even Senators and Party-List Representatives – and in some years, even the Vice-President – who do not represent any locality, receive funding from the Congressional Pork Barrel as well. Considering that Local Development Councils are instrumentalities whose functions are essentially geared towards managing local affairs, their programs, policies and resolutions should not be overridden nor duplicated by individual legislators, who are national officers that have no law-making authority except only when acting as a body. Regarding the Malampaya Fund: The phrase “and for such other purposes as may be hereafter directed by the President” under Section 8 of PD 910 constitutes an undue delegation of legislative power insofar as it does not lay down a sufficient standard to adequately determine the limits of the President’s authority with respect to the purpose for which the Malampaya Funds may be used. As it reads, the said phrase gives the President wide latitude to use the Malampaya Funds for any other purpose he may direct and, in effect, allows him to unilaterally appropriate public funds beyond the purview of the law.

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As for the Presidential Social Fund: Section 12 of PD 1869, as amended by PD 1993, indicates that the Presidential Social Fund may be used “to [first,] finance the priority infrastructure development projects and [second,] to finance the restoration of damaged or destroyed facilities due to calamities, as may be directed and authorized by the Office of the President of the Philippines.” The second indicated purpose adequately curtails the authority of the President to spend the Presidential Social Fund only for restoration purposes which arise from calamities. The first indicated purpose, however, gives him carte blanche authority to use the same fund for any infrastructure project he may so determine as a “priority“. Verily, the law does not supply a definition of “priority infrastructure development projects” and hence, leaves the President without any guideline to construe the same. To note, the delimitation of a project as one of “infrastructure” is too broad of a classification since the said term could pertain to any kind of facility. Thus, the phrase “to finance the priority infrastructure development projects” must be stricken down as unconstitutional since – similar to Section 8 of PD 910 - it lies independently unfettered by any sufficient standard of the delegating law. (BELGICA et al. v. OCHOA JR.; SJS v. DRILON et al.; NEPOMUCENO v. PRESIDENT AQUINO III, G.R. No. 208566, G.R. No. 208493, G.R. No. 209251, November 19, 2013) For a court to exercise its power of adjudication, there must be an actual case or controversy. Thus, in Mattel, Inc. v. Francisco we have ruled that "where the issue has become moot and academic, there is no justiciable controversy, and adjudication thereof would be of no practical use or value as courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest however intellectually challenging." (HADJI HASHIM ABDUL v. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIFTH DIVISION) and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 184496, December 2, 2013) Traditional distinctions exist between police power and eminent domain. In the exercise of police power, a property right is impaired by regulation, or the use of property is merely prohibited, regulated or restricted to promote public welfare. In such cases, there is no compensable taking, hence, payment of just compensation is not required. On the other hand, in the exercise of the power of eminent domain, property interests are appropriated and applied to some public purpose which necessitates the payment of just compensation therefor. (MANILA MEMORIAL PARK, INC. AND LA FUNERARIA PAZ-SUCAT, INC. v. SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT and THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, G.R. No. 175356, December 3, 2013) The tests to determine if an ordinance is valid and constitutional are divided into the formal (i.e., whether the ordinance was enacted within the corporate powers of the LGU, and whether it was passed in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law), and the substantive (i.e., involving inherent merit, like the conformity of the ordinance with the limitations under the Constitution and the statutes, as well as with the requirements of fairness and reason, and its consistency with public policy). As to substantive due process, Ordinance No. 1664 met the substantive tests of validity and constitutionality by its conformity with the limitations under the Constitution and the statutes, as well as with the requirements of fairness and reason, and its consistency with public policy. Considering that traffic congestions were already retarding the growth and progress in the population and economic centers of the country, the plain objective of Ordinance No. 1664 was to serve the public interest and advance the general welfare in the City of Cebu. Its adoption was, therefore, in order to fulfill the compelling government purpose. With regard to procedural process the clamping of the petitioners’ vehicles was within the exceptions dispensing with notice and hearing. As already said, the immobilization of illegally parked vehicles by clamping the tires was necessary because the transgressors were not around at the time of apprehension. Under such circumstance, notice and hearing would be superfluous. (VALENTINO L. LEGASPI v. CITY OF CEBU, et al./ BIENVENIDO P. JABAN, SR., et al. v. COURT OF APPEALS, et al., G.R. No. 159110/G.R. No. 159692. December 10, 2013) Speedy disposition of cases under Section 16 of Article III of the Constitution applies to all cases pending before all judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative bodies. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HON. SANDIGANBAYAN FIRST DIVISION and THIRD DIVISION, HERNANDO BENITO PEREZ, ROSARIO PEREZ, RAMON ARCEO and ERNEST ESCALER, G.R. No. 188165/G.R. No. 189063. December 11, 2013)

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A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense. This is an arrest in flagrante delicto. The overt act constituting the crime is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. The elements must be complied strictly since if the arrest was illegal, the search and seizure that resulted therefrom was likewise illegal. (GEORGE ANTIQUERA Y CODES v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 180661, December 11, 2013) The constitutional limitation of “just compensation” is considered to be a sum equivalent to the market value of the property, broadly defined as the price fixed by the seller in open market in the usual and ordinary course of legal action and competition. The amount of just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the taking, which usually coincides with the commencement of the expropriation proceedings. Where the institution of the action precedes entry into the property, the amount of just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the filing of the complaint. Further, the Court has consistently ruled that just compensation cannot be arrived at arbitrarily; several factors must be considered such as, but not limited to, acquisition cost, current market value of like properties, tax value of the condemned property, its size, shape, and location. But before these factors can be considered and given weight, the same must be supported by documentary evidence. (NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. YCLA SUGAR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, G.R. No. 193936. December 11, 2013) Under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the court, he or she should have availed himself or herself of all the means of administrative processes afforded him or her. Hence, if resort to a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be made by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his or her jurisdiction, then such remedy should be exhausted first before the court's judicial power can be sought. The premature invocation of the intervention of the court is fatal to one’s cause of action. However, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is not absolute as it admits exceptions. One exception which is relevant to the case is where no administrative review is provided by law. The case falls squarely under the aforementioned exception since the law per se provides no administrative review for administrative cases whereby an employee like petitioner is covered by Civil Service law, rules and regulations and penalized with a suspension for not more than 30 days. (MARK JAMES S. MAGLALANG v. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR), as represented by its incumbent chairman, EFRAIM GENUINO, G.R. No. 190566, December 11, 2013) The authority to represent the State in appeals of criminal cases before the Supreme Court and the CA is solely vested in the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).Section 35 (1), Chapter 12, Title III, Book IV of the 1987 Administrative Code explicitly provides that the OSG shall represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of lawyers. It must be noted that the private complainant or the offended party may question such acquittal or dismissal only insofar as the civil liability of the accused is concerned. Section 21, Article III of the Constitution provides that no person shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. The rule is that a judgment acquitting the accused is final and immediately executory upon its promulgation, and that accordingly, the State may not seek its review without placing the accused in double jeopardy. Such acquittal is final and unappealable on the ground of double jeopardy whether it happens at the trial court or on appeal at the CA. Thus, the State is proscribed from appealing the judgment of acquittal of the accused to this Court under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court but such may be assailed by the People in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court without placing the accused in double jeopardy. (DENNIS T. VILLAREAL v. CONSUELO C. ALIGA G.R. No. 166995. January 13, 2014)

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The determination of just compensation is fundamentally a judicial function. To guide the RTC-SAC in the exercise of its function, Section 17 of R.A. No. 6657 enumerates the factors required to be taken into account to correctly determine just compensation. The law (under Section 49 of R.A. No. 665728) likewise empowers the DAR to issue rules for its implementation. The DAR thus issued DAR AO 5-98 incorporating the law’s listed factors in determining just compensation into a basic formula that contains the details that take these factors into account. (LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. YATCO AGRICULTURAL ENTERPRISES, G.R. No. 172551. January 15, 2014) Public service requires integrity and discipline. For this reason, public servants must exhibit at all times the highest sense of honesty and dedication to duty. By the very nature of their duties and responsibilities, they must faithfully adhere to, hold sacred and render inviolate the constitutional principle that a public office is a public trust; that all public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. (ATTY. VIRGILLO P. ALCONERA v. ALFREDO T. PALLANAN, A.M. No. P-12-3069. January 20, 2014) The grant of a Temporary Protection Order ex parte cannot be challenged as violative of the right to due process. Just like a writ of preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and hearing because the time in which the hearing will take could be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or dispose of his property, in the same way, the victim of VAWC (Violence Against Women and their Children) may already have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice and hearing were required before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due process must yield to the necessities of protecting vital public interests, among which is protection of women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security. Further, the essence of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's defense. "To be heard" does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. (RALPH P. TUA v. HON. CESAR A. MANGROBANG, PRESIDING JUDGE, BRANCH 22, RTC, IMUS, CAVITE; AND ROSSAN HONRADO-TUA, G.R. No. 170701. January 22, 2014) Section 26, Chapter 5, Title I-A, Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 lists the personnel actions that may be taken in the government service, namely: (1) appointment through certification; (2) promotion; (3) transfer; (4) reinstatement; (5) reemployment; (6) detail; and (7) reassignment. Reassignment should not be confused with a transfer. Reassignment has been defined as – movement of an employee from one organizational unit to another in the same department or agency which does not involve a reduction in rank, status or salary. Under Rule III of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 40, Series of 1998 (Revised Omnibus Rules on Appointments and Other Personnel Actions) it includes reassignment in the enumeration of personnel movements that do not require the issuance of a new appointment (but shall nevertheless require an office order from a duly authorized officer). It is presumed to be regular and made in the interest of public service unless proven otherwise or if it constitutes constructive dismissal. Moreover, under the Administrative Code of 1987, the CSC has the power and function to prescribe, amend and enforce rules and regulations for carrying into effect the provisions of the Civil Service Law and other pertinent laws. The reassignment of a government employee which is undoubtedly a “personnel” and “Civil Service” matter to be properly addressed in accordance with the rules and guidelines prescribed by the CSC. (MARICHU G. EJERA v. BEAU HENRY L. MERTO AND ERWIN VERGARA, G.R. No. 163109. January 22, 2014) The Office of the Ombudsman is envisioned to be the “protector of the people” against the inept, abusive, and corrupt in the Government, to function essentially as a complaints and action bureau. Its independence was expressly and constitutionally guaranteed. Section 8(2) of RA No. 6770 vesting disciplinary authority in the President over the Deputy Ombudsman violates the independence of the Office of the Ombudsman and is thus unconstitutional. By constitutional design, the Special Prosecutor is by no means an ordinary subordinate but one who effectively and directly aids the Ombudsman in the exercise of his/her duties, which include investigation and prosecution of officials in the Executive Department. What is true for the Ombudsman must be

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equally true, not only for her Deputies but, also for other lesser officials of that Office who act directly as agents of the Ombudsman herself in the performance of her duties. (EMILIO A. GONZALES III v. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, ET AL./ WENDELL BARERAS-SULIT v. ATTY. PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR., ET AL., G.R. No. 196231/G.R. No. 196232. January 28, 2014) Under Section 2(1) of Article IX-D of the Constitution, the COA was vested with the “power, authority and duty” to “examine, audit and settle” the “accounts” of non-governmental entities receiving subsidy or equity, directly or indirectly, from or through the government. Complementing this power is Section 29(1) of the Audit Code, which grants the COA visitorial authority over non-governmental entities required to pay levy or government share. The MECO is not a GOCC or government instrumentality. It is a sui generis private entity especially entrusted by the government with the facilitation of unofficial relations with the people in Taiwan without jeopardizing the country’s faithful commitment to the One China policy of the PROC. However, despite its non-governmental character, the MECO handles government funds in the form of the “verification fees” it collects on behalf of the DOLE and the “consular fees” it collects under Section 2(6) of EO No. 15, s. 2001. Hence, under existing laws, the accounts of the MECO pertaining to its collection of such “verification fees” and “consular fees” should be audited by the COA. (DENNIS A.B. FUNA v. MANILA ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL OFFICE AND COA, G.R. No. 193462, February 4, 2014) Section 8 of RA 6713, requires all public officials and employees to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of their SALN. In this relation, the same provision mandates full disclosure of the concerned public official's (a) real property, its improvements, acquisition costs, assessed value and current fair market value, (b) personal property and acquisition cost, (c) all other assets such as investments, cash on hand or in banks, stocks, bonds, and the like,(d) liabilities, and(e) all business interests and financial connections. (ANGELITO R. MARQUEZ, ET AL. v. JUDGE VENANCIO OVEJERA AND SHERIFF IV LOURDES COLLADO, A.M. No. P-11-2903, February 5, 2014) While the law and justice abhor all forms of abuse committed by public officers and employees whose sworn duty is to discharge their functions with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, accountability and loyalty; the court must protect them against unsubstantiated charges that tend to adversely affect, rather than encourage, the effective performance of their duties and functions. (MICHAELINA RAMOS BALASBAS v. PATRICIA B. MONAYAO, G.R. No. 190524. February 17, 2014) The Constitution and the Local Government Code grants Local Government Units the power to create its own sources of revenue even if not provided in the NIRC or the LGC, so long as such are not oppressive and confiscatory. If the generation of revenue was the primary purpose and regulation was merely incidental, the imposition is a tax; but if regulation is the primary purpose, the fact that incidentally revenue is also obtained does not make the imposition a tax. If the main purpose of the ordinance is to regulate certain construction activities of the identified special projects, which included “cell sites” or telecommunications towers, the fees (charges fixed by law or Ordinance for the regulation or inspection of a business or activity) imposed in the said ordinance are primarily regulatory in nature, and not primarily revenue-raising. (SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. v. MUNICIPALITY OF MALVAR, BATANGAS, G.R. No.204429, February 18, 2014) Cybercrime Law - Sec. 4 (c) (3) Penalizing posts of unsolicited commercial communications or SPAM. Unsolicited advertisements are legitimate forms of expression. Commercial speech though not accorded the same level of protection as that given to other constitutionally guaranteed forms of expression; it is nonetheless entitle to protection. The State cannot rob one of these rights without violating the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression. Sec. 12- Authorizing the collection or recording of traffic data in real-time. If such would be granted to law enforcement agencies it would curtail civil liberties or provide opportunities for official abuse. Sec. 12 is too broad and do not provide ample safeguards against crossing legal boundaries and invading the right to privacy.

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Informational Privacy which is the interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters has two aspects, specifically: (1) The right not to have private information disclosed; and (2) The right to live freely without surveillance and intrusion. Sec. 12 applies to all information and communications technology users and transmitting communications is akin to putting a letter in an envelope properly addressed, sealing it closed and sending it through the postal service. Another reason to strike down said provision is by reason that it allows collection and recording traffic data “with due cause”. Section 12 does not bother to relate the collection of data to the probable commission of a particular crime. It is akin to the use of a general search warrant that the Constitution prohibits. Likewise it is bit descriptive of the purpose for which data collection will be used. The authority given is too sweeping and lacks restraint which only be used for Fishing Expeditions which will unnecessarily expose the citizenry to leaked information or worse to extortion from certain bad elements in these agencies. Sec. 19 Authorizing the DOJ to restrict or block access to suspected computer data. Computer data produced by its author constitutes personal property regardless of where it is stored. The provision grants the Government the power to seize and place the computer data under its control and disposition without a warrant. The DOJ order cannot substitute to judicial search warrants. Content of the computer data also constitute speech which is entitle to protection. If an executive officer be granted such power to acquire data without warrants and declare that its contents violates the law that would make him the judge, jury and executioner all rolled in one. Section 19 also disregards jurisprudential guidelines established to determine the validity of restrictions on speech: 1.) Dangerous tendency doctrine; 2.) Balancing of interest test; and 3.) Clear and present danger rule. It merely requires that the data be blocked if on its face it violate any provision of the cybercrime law. Section 4(c)(4) that penalizes libel in connection with section 5 which penalizes aiding or abetting to said felony. Section 4 (c)(4) is valid and constitutional with respect to the original author of the post but void and unconstitutional with respect to other who simply receive the post and react to it. With regards to the author of the post, Sec. 4 (c) (4) merely affirms that online defamation constitutes “similar means” for committing libel as defined under the RPC. The internet encourages a freewheeling, anything-goes writing style. Facebook and Twitter were given as examples and stated that the acts of liking, commenting, sharing or re- tweets, are not outright considered to be “aiding or abetting.” Such if compared to the physical world would be mere expressions or reactions made regarding a specific post. The terms “aiding or abetting” constitute a broad sweep that generates a chilling effect on those who express themselves through cyberspace posts, comments, and other messages. If such means are adopted, self-inhibition borne of fear of what sinister predicament awaits internet users will suppress otherwise robust discussion of public issues and democracy will be threatened together with all liberties. Charging offenders of violation of RA 10175 and the RPC both with regard to libel; likewise with RA 9775 on Child pornography constitutes double jeopardy. The acts defined in the Cybercrime Law involve essentially the same elements and are in fact one and the same with the RPC and RA 9775. (JOSE JESUS M. DISINI, Jr., ET AL v. THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, ET AL., G.R. No. 203335. February 18, 2014) Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code states that the false representation in the contents of the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) must refer to material matters in order to justify the cancellation of the

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COC. Material misrepresentation under the Omnibus Election Code refers to “Qualifications for elective office” (residency, age, citizenship, or any other legal qualifications necessary to run for local elective office as provided in the Local Government Code) coupled with a showing that there was an intent to deceive the electorate. (LUIS R. VILLAFUERTA v. COMELEC and MIGUEL VILLAFUERTE, G.R. No. 206698. February 25, 2014) The constitutional right of freedom of speech or right to privacy cannot be used as a shield for contemptuous acts against the Court. However, mere criticism should be distinguished from insult. (MARC DOUGLAS IV C. CAGAS v. COMELEC, ET AL., G.R. No. 209185, February 25, 2014) The administrative disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman (OMB) does not end with a recommendation to punish. Further, clearly then, as early as August 17, 2000, when AO 14-A was issued, the OMBimposed penalties in administrative disciplinary cases were already immediately executory notwithstanding an appeal timely filed. (FLOR GUPILAN-AGUILAR and HONORE R. HERNANDEZ v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN REPRESENTED BY HON. SIMEON V. MARCELO, ET AL., G.R. No. 197307. February 26, 2014) The 60-day prescriptive period provided under Section 28 of the Public Service Act can be availed of as defenses only in criminal proceedings and not in proceedings that pertain to regulatory or administrative aspects of a public service utility’s observance of the terms and conditions of his permit to operate. (GMA NETWORK, INC. v. NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, G.R. No. 196112, February 26, 2014) Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. Taking of private property without just compensation is a violation of a person’s property right. In situations where the government does not take the trouble of initiating an expropriation proceeding, the private owner has the option to compel payment of the property taken, when justified. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH) v. ORTIGAS AND COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, G.R. No. 171496. March 3, 2014) Administrative agencies may exercise quasi-legislative or rule-making powers only if there exists a law which delegates these powers to them. Accordingly, the rules so promulgated must be within the confines of the granting statute and must involve no discretion as to what the law shall be, but merely the authority to fix the details in the execution or enforcement of the policy set out in the law itself, so as to conform with the doctrine of separation of powers and, as an adjunct, the doctrine of non-delegability of legislative power. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE BUREAU OF FOOD AND DRUGS (NOW FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION) v. DRUGMAKER'S LABORATORIES, INC. AND TERRAMEDIC, INC., G.R. No. 190837. March 5, 2014) Jurisprudence has required that an applicant for registration of title acquired through a public land grant must present incontrovertible evidence that the land subject of the application is alienable or disposable by establishing the existence of a positive act of the government, such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order; an administrative action; investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators; and a legislative act or a statute. (SPS. ANTONIO FORTUNA AND ERLINDA FORTUNA v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 173423. March 5, 2014) Dishonesty is a malevolent act that has no place in the judiciary, as no other office in the government service exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness from an employee than a position in the judiciary. An administrative case for dishonesty against a court employee is cognizable by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) pursuant to Sec. 6 Article VIII of the Constitution. (CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. NENITA C. LONGOS, CLERK II, MUNICPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT, DEL CARMENNUMANCIA-SAN ISIDRO-SAN BENITO, SURIGAO DEL NORTE, A.M. No. P-12-3070, March 11, 2014) No money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law. The Constitution vests COA, as guardian of public funds, with enough latitude to determine, prevent and disallow irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant or unconscionable expenditures of government funds. The COA is generally accorded complete discretion in the exercise of its constitutional duty and the Court generally sustains its decisions in recognition of its expertise in the laws it is entrusted to enforce.

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On the issue whether the TESDA officials should refund the excess EME granted to them, the Court applied the ruling in the case Casal v. COA where the Court held that the approving officials are liable for the refund of the incentive award due to their patent disregard of the law of and the directives of COA. Accordingly, the Director-General's blatant violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution, the 20042007 GAAs and the COA circulars is equivalent to gross negligence amounting to bad faith. He is required to refund the EME he received from the TESDP Fund for himself. (TECHNICAL EDUCATION AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY v. THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT CHAIRPERSON MA. GRACIA PULIDO TAN, COMMISSIONER JUANITO G. ESPINO, JR. AND COMMISSIONER HEIDI L. MENDOZA, G.R. No. 204869. March 11, 2014) Constitution requires our courts to conscientiously observe the time periods in deciding cases and resolving matters brought to their adjudication, which, for lower courts, is three (3) months from the date they are deemed submitted for decision or resolution. (SPOUSES RICARDO and EVELYN MARCELO v. JUDGE RAMSEY DOMINGO G. PICHAY, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 78, PARANAQUE CITY, A.M. No. MTJ-13-1838, March 12, 2014) Applicants for registration of title must establish and prove: (1) that the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain; (2) that the applicant and his predecessors-ininterest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the same; and (3) that his possession has been under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier. Each element must necessarily be proven by no less than clear, positive and convincing evidence; otherwise the application for registration should be denied. (MINDA S. GAERLAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 192717. March 12, 2014) Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. The measure is not the taker’s gain, but the owner’s loss. It must not be arrived at arbitrarily, but determined after an evaluation of different factors. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES REPRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS v. ASIA PACIFIC INTEGRATED STEEL CORPORATION, G.R. No. 192100. March 12, 2014) The sale, disposition, etc. of private lands that Section 6 of R.A. No. 6657 contextually prohibits and considers as null and void are those which the original owner executes in violation of this provision, i.e., sales or dispositions executed with the intention of circumventing the retention limits set by R.A. No. 6657. Consistent with this interpretation, the proscription in Section 6 on sales or dispositions of private agricultural lands does not apply to those that do not violate or were not intended to circumvent the CARL’s retention limits. (HEIRS OF TERESITA MONTOYA, et al. v. NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al., G.R. No. 181055. March 19, 2014) Trial courts have no jurisdiction to determine who among the parties have better right over the disputed property which is admittedly still part of the public domain. (HEIRS OF PACIFICO POCIDO, et al. v. ARSENIA AVILA AND EMELINDA CHUA, G.R. No. 199146. March 19, 2014) The Constitutional mandate of the courts in our triangular system of government is clear, so that as a necessary requisite of the exercise of judicial power there must be, with a few exceptions, an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of legal rights or an assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution, not merely a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute. As Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution provides, "judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government." The power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies. Courts decline to issue advisory opinions or to resolve hypothetical or feigned problems, or mere academic questions. The limitation of the power of judicial review to actual cases and controversies defines the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power, to assure that the courts will not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government. (PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING

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CORPORATION v. THUNDERBIRD PILIPINAS HOTELS AND RESORTS, INC., et al., G.R. No. 197942-43/G.R. No. 199528. March 26, 2014)

LABOR LAW While Bankard’s Manpower Rationalization Program might have affected the number of union membership because of the employees’ voluntary resignation and availment of the package, it does not necessarily follow that the company indeed purposely sought such a result. It must be recalled that the subject program was implemented as a valid cost-cutting measure, well within the ambit of the so-called management prerogatives. Bankard contracted an independent agency to meet business exigencies. In the absence of any showing that Bankard was motivated by ill will, bad faith or malice, or that it was aimed at interfering with its employees’ right to self-organize, it cannot be said to have committed an act of unfair labor practice. Bankard, Inc. v NLRC-First Division, et al., G.R. No. 171664 (2013) An employer has the right to dismiss an employee by reason of willful breach of the trust and confidence reposed in him. To temper the exercise of such prerogative, the law imposes the burden of proof upon the employer to show that the dismissal of the employee is for just cause failing which would mean that the dismissal is not justified. The law mandates that before validity can be accorded to a dismissal premised on loss of trust and confidence, two requisites must concur, viz: (1) the employee concerned must be holding a position of trust; and (2) the loss of trust must be based on willful breach of trust founded on clearly established facts. Torres v Rural Bank of San Juan, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 184520 (2013) Article 279 of the Labor Code mandates that an employee’s full backwages shall be inclusive of allowances and other benefits or their monetary equivalent. It is the obligation of the employer to pay an illegally dismissed employee or worker the whole amount of the salaries or wages, plus all other benefits and bonuses and general increases, to which he would have been normally entitled had he not been dismissed and had not stopped working. Tangga-an v Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 180636 (2013) Employee’s transfer without basis, resulting to her demotion is tantamount to constructive dismissal. The fact that the employee continued to report for work does not necessarily suggest that constructive dismissal has not occurred, nor does it operate as a waiver. Constructive dismissal occurs not when the employee ceases to report for work, but when the unwarranted acts of the employer are committed to the end that the employee’s continued employment shall become so intolerable. The Orchard Golf and Country Club v Francisco, G.R. No. 178125 (2013) The fact that Inocencio's sickness was later medically declared as not work-related does not prejudice his right to receive sickness allowance, considering that he got ill while on board the ship and was repatriated for medical treatment before the end of his 10-month employment contract. Moreover, at the time of his repatriation, his illness was not yet medically declared as not work-related by company physician; thus, the presumption of work-relation of the illness in the POEA Contract applies. As such, the seafarer is entitled to illness allowance pending the assessment of the company-designated doctor that the illness is not work-related. Transocean Ship Management, Inc., et al. v Vedad, G.R. Nos. 194490-91; G.R. Nos. 194518 & 194524 (2013) Even if the medical opinion on non-work-relatedness was issued at an early stage, but the seafarer duly contests the opinion of the company-designated doctor by presenting a second opinion from the former’s doctor, then he should still be entitled to illness allowance pending the determination of a third doctor as

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to work-relation of the illness. Nevertheless, such entitlement shall not exceed 120 days illness allowance. Transocean Ship Management, Inc., et al. v Vedad, G.R. Nos. 194490-91; G.R. Nos. 194518 & 194524 (2013) For illness to be compensable, it is not necessary that the nature of the employment be the sole and only reason for the illness suffered by the seafarer. It is sufficient that there is a reasonable linkage between the disease suffered by the employee and his work to lead a rational mind to conclude that his work may have contributed to the establishment or, at the very least, aggravation of any pre-existing condition he might have had. There is a reasonable work connection between respondent’s condition at work as pastryman (cook) and the development of his hyperthyroidism. His constant exposure to hazards such as chemicals and the varying temperatures, like the heat in the kitchen of the vessel and the coldness outside, coupled by the stressful tasks in his employment caused, or at least aggravated, his illness. Magsaysay Maritime Services, et al. v Laurel, G.R. No. 195518 (2013) The principle against diminution of benefits is applicable only if the grant or benefit is founded on an express policy or has ripened into a practice over a long period of time which is consistent and deliberate. It presupposes that a company practice, policy and tradition favorable to the employees has been clearly established; and that the payments made by the company pursuant to it have ripened into benefits enjoyed by them. Company practice, just like any other fact, habits, customs, usage or patterns of conduct, must be proven by the offering party who must allege and establish specific, repetitive conduct that might constitute evidence of habit or company practice. Certainly, a practice or custom is, as a general rule, not a source of a legally demandable or enforceable right. In the instant case, there is no substantial evidence to prove that the grant of sales management incentives to all retired District Sales Supervisors, regardless of whether or not they qualified for the same, had ripened into company practice. Vergara v Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 176985 (2013) An employee entitled to reinstatement shall either be admitted back to work under the same terms and conditions prevailing prior to his dismissal or separation. An illegally dismissed employee is entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and to other established employment privileges, and to his full back wages. The boarding house privilege, being an established perk accorded to petitioner, ought to have been granted him if a real and authentic reinstatement to his former position as general manager is to be posited. Bañares v Tobaco Women’s Transport Service Cooperative, et al., G.R. No. 197353 (2013) Backwages and reinstatement are separate and distinct reliefs given to an illegally dismissed employee in order to alleviate the economic damage brought about by the employee’s dismissal. “Reinstatement is a restoration to a state from which one has been removed or separated” while “the payment of backwages is a form of relief that restores the income that was lost by reason of the unlawful dismissal.” Therefore, the award of one does not bar the other. Reyes, et al. v RP Guardian’s Security Agency, Inc., G.R. No 193756 (2013) The decision of the management to remove the operators’ chairs from the production/manufacturing lines of its bottling plants was made in good faith and did not intend to defeat or circumvent the rights of the workers. The removal of the chairs was designed to increase work efficiency. Moreover, the operators’ chairs cannot be considered as one of the employee benefits covered in Article 100 of the Labor Code. In the Court’s view, the term "benefits" mentioned in the non-diminution rule refers to monetary benefits or privileges given to the employee with monetary equivalents. Royal Plant Workers Union v Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., - Cebu Plant, G.R. No. 198783 (2013)

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Loss of trust is a legal ground for terminating the services of an employee particularly for employees holding managerial positions. The discovery of a falsehood of a managerial employee where she claimed to be a CPA but in fact was not is a ground constituting loss of trust. But having a sufficient ground for termination is not enough– the Supreme Court emphasized the need for performing the proper procedure for termination. If the dismissal is based on just cause, then the noncompliance with non-procedural due process should not render the termination from employment illegal or ineffectual. Instead, the employer must indemnify the employee in the form of nominal damages. Mendoza v HMS Credit Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 187232 (2013) Every seaman and the vessel owner (directly or represented by a local manning agency) are required to execute the POEA Standard Employment Contract (SEC) as a condition sine qua non prior to the deployment for overseas work. The POEA SEC is supplemented by the CBA between the owner of the vessel and the covered seaman. The POEA-SEC and the CBA govern the employment relationship between them. They are bound by their terms and conditions, particularly in relation to this case, the mechanism prescribed to determine liability for a disability benefits claim. Philippine Hammonia Ship Agency, Inc., et al. v Dumadag, G.R. No. 194362 (2013) Abandonment as a fact and a defense can only be claimed as a ground for dismissal if the employer follows the procedure set by law. In line with the burden of proof set by law, the employer who alleges abandonment “has the burden of proof to show a deliberate and unjustified refusal of the employee to resume his employment without any intention of returning.” Fianza v National Labor Relations Commission, et al., G.R. No. 163061 (2013) Having established that the issue of the legality of dismissal of the respondent was in fact necessarilyalbeit not explicitly- included in the Submission Agreement signed by the parties, the voluntary arbitrator rightly assumed jurisdiction to decide the said issue. Consequently, the voluntary arbitrator may award backwages upon a finding of illegal dismissal, even though the issue of entitlement thereto is not explicitly claimed in the Submission Agreement. Backwages in general, are awarded on the ground of equity as a form of relief that restores the income lost by the terminated employee by reason of his illegal dismissal. The failure of the parties to limit the issues specifically to that which was stated allowed the arbitrator to assume jurisdiction over the related issue. In the present case, there is no indication that the issue of illegal dismissal should be treated, as a two-tiered issue whereupon entitlement to backwages must be determined separately. Besides, "since arbitration is a final resort for the adjudication of disputes," the voluntary arbitrator in the present case can assume that he has the necessary power to make a final settlement. Thus, the voluntary arbitrator correctly assumed jurisdiction over the issue of entitlement of respondent to backwages on the basis of the former's finding of illegal dismissal. 7K Corporation v Albarico, G.R. No. 182295 (2013) Generally, the Supreme Court looks with disfavor at quitclaims executed by employees for being contrary to public policy. Where the person making the waiver, however, has done so voluntarily, with a full understanding of its terms and with the payment of credible and reasonable consideration, the Court has no option but to recognize the transaction to be valid and binding. In the instant case, all the seafarers executed the quitclaim with a full understanding of their import and consequences. Likewise, the amounts given to them in exchange for the quitclaims were reasonable considering that they received more than what they were entitled to under the POEA Contract. Under the POEA Contract, in case of termination of employment due to discontinuance of voyage, termination pay is given to the seafarer equivalent to his one month of his basic wage. Poseidon International Maritime Services, Inc. v Tamala, et al., G.R. No. 186475 (2013) The loss of trust and confidence, to be a valid ground for dismissal, must be based on a wilful breach of trust and confidence founded on clearly established facts. “A breach is wilful if it is done intentionally, knowingly and purposely, without justifiable excuse, as distinguished from an act done carelessly, thoughtlessly, heedlessly or inadvertently. It must rest on substantial grounds and not on the employer‘s arbitrariness, whims, caprices or suspicion; otherwise, the employee would eternally remain at the mercy of the employer. An ordinary breach is not enough. Moreover, the loss of trust and confidence must be

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related to the employee‘s performance of duties. In this case, as a selling teller, respondent held a position of trust and confidence. Although the act complained of – the unauthorized cancellation of the ticket was related to her work as a selling teller, petitioner did not establish that the cancellation of the ticket was intentional, knowing and purposeful on her part in order for her to have breached the trust and confidence reposed in her by petitioner, instead of being only out of an honest mistake. Manila Jockey Club, Inc. v Trajano, G.R. No. 160982 (2013) The employment of seafarers, including claims for death benefits, is governed by the contracts they sign at the time of their engagement. As long as the stipulations therein are not contrary to law, morals, public order, or public policy, they have the force of law between the parties. Nonetheless, while the seafarer and his employer are governed by their mutual agreement, the POEA Rules and Regulations require that the POEA-Standard Employment Contract be integrated in every seafarer’s contract. The prevailing rule under the 1996 POEA-SEC was that the illness leading to the eventual death of seafarer need not be shown to be work-related in order to be compensable, but must be proven to have been contracted during the term of the contract. Neither is it required that there be proof that the working conditions increased the risk of contracting the disease or illness. Inter-Orient Maritime, Inc. v Candava, G.R. No. 201251 (2013) Loss of confidence applies to: (1) employees occupying positions of trust and confidence, the managerial employees; and (2) employees who are routinely charged with the care and custody of the employer’s money or property which may include rank-and-file employees. Examples of rank-and-file employees who may be dismissed for loss of confidence are cashiers, auditors, property custodians, or those who, in the normal routine exercise of their functions, regularly handle significant amounts of money or property. Century Iron Works, Inc. v Bañas, G.R. No. 184116 (2013) A seafarer has the right to seek the opinion of other doctors under Section 20-B(3) of the POEA Standard Employment Contract but this is on the presumption that the company-designated physician had already issued a certification as to his fitness or disability and he finds this disagreeable. Under the same provision, it is the company-designated physician who is entrusted with the task of assessing a seafarer’s disability and there is a procedure to contest his findings. Magsaysay Maritime Corporation v National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. NO. 19190 (2013) To constitute abandonment, two elements must concur, to wit: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason; and (2) a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship, with the second element as the more determinative factor and being manifested by some overt acts. Abandonment is a matter of intention and cannot lightly be presumed from certain equivocal acts. To be a valid cause for dismissal for abandonment, there must be clear proof of deliberate and unjustified intent to sever the employer employee relationship. Clearly, the operative act is still the employee's ultimate act of putting an end to his employment. Settled is the rule that mere absence or failure to report for work is not tantamount to abandonment of work. Even the failure to report for work after a notice to return to work has been served does not necessarily constitute abandonment. Concrete Solutions, Inc. v Cabusas, G.R. No. 177812 (2013) The power of the employer to terminate a probationary employee is subject to three limitations, namely: (1) it must be exercised in accordance with the specific requirements of the contract; (2) the dissatisfaction on the part of the employer must be real and in good faith, not feigned so as to circumvent the contract or the law; and (3) there must be no unlawful discrimination in the dismissal. In this case, not only did petitioner fail to show that respondent was apprised of the standards for regularization but it was likewise not shown how these standards had been applied in his case. Pursuant to well-settled doctrine, petitioner‘s failure to specify the reasonable standards by which respondent‘s alleged poor performance was evaluated as well as to prove that such standards were made known to him at the start of his employment, makes respondent a regular employee. In other words, because of this omission on the part of petitioner, respondent is deemed to have been hired from day one as a regular employee. Univac Development, Inc. v Soriano, G.R. No. 182072 (2013)

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Since the subject CBA provision is an insurance contract, the rights and obligations of the parties must be determined in accordance with the general principles of insurance law. Being in the nature of a non-life insurance contract and essentially a contract of indemnity, the CBA provision obligates the employer to indemnify the covered employees’ medical expenses incurred by their dependents but only up to the extent of the expenses actually incurred. This is consistent with the principle of indemnity which proscribes the insured from recovering greater than the loss. Indeed, to profit from a loss will lead to unjust enrichment and therefore should not be countenanced. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Salaried Employees Union v Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation, G.R. No. 175773 (2013) PD No. 1638 is the law that governs the retirement and separation of military officers and enlisted personnel. With respect to the retirement of military officers and enlisted personnel, the law provides for two kinds: compulsory retirement and optional retirement. Both kinds of retirements contemplate the satisfaction of a certain age or length of service requirement by, or the fulfillment of some other conditions on the part of, a military officer or personnel. Petitioner’s civilian service at the DILG should and ought to be included as part of his active service in the military for purposes of computing his retirement benefits under PD No. 1638. Reblora v Armed Forces of the Philippines, G.R. No. 195842 (2013) The nature of work of a bus conductor involves inherent or normal occupational risks of incurring money shortages and uncollected fares. A conductor’s job is to collect exact fares from the passengers and remit his collections to the company. Evidence must, therefore, be substantial and not based on mere surmises or conjectures for to allow an employer to terminate the employment of a worker based on mere allegations places the latter in an uncertain situation and at the sole mercy of the employer. Alps Transportation v Rodriguez, G.R. No. 186732 (2013) Farm workers generally fall under the definition of seasonal employees. The Court has consistently held that seasonal employees may be considered as regular employees. Regular seasonal employees are those called to work from time to time. The nature of their relationship with the employer is such that during the off season, they are temporarily laid off; but reemployed during the summer season or when their services may be needed. They are in regular employment because of the nature of their job, and not because of the length of time they have worked. This rule, however, is not absolute. Seasonal workers who have worked for one season only may not be considered regular employees. Also when seasonal employees are free to contract their services with other farm owners, then the former are not regular employees. For regular employees to be considered as such, the primary standard used is the reasonable connection between the particular activity they perform and the usual trade or business of the employer. Gapayao v Fulo, et al., G.R. No. 193493 (2013) Not every sale or transfer of Agricultural Land would warrant DAR Adjudication Board's jurisdiction. When a suit does not involve an agrarian dispute it does not fall under the jurisdiction of DARAB. There must be a tenancy relationship between the party litigants or, the controversy must relate to "tenurial arrangements" for the DARAB to validly take cognizance of the controversy. An allegation to declare null and void a certain sale involving an agricultural land does not ipso facto make the case an agrarian dispute. While the Court recognizes the legal requirement for clearances in the sale and transfer of agricultural lands, the DARAB's jurisdiction over such dispute is limited by the qualification that the land involved is under the administration and disposition of the Department of Agrarian Reform and Land Bank or, under the coverage of the CARP or other agrarian laws. Laguna v Paramount Holdings-Equities, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 176838 (2013) Reinstatement or payment of separation pay and award of backwages is proper only in cases of illegal dismissal. Nevertheless, the Court, in exceptional cases, has granted financial assistance to legally dismissed employees as an act of “social justice” or based on “equity” so long as the dismissal was not for serious misconduct, does not reflect on the employee’s moral character, or would involve moral turpitude.

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In this case, the dismissal of the 13 non-licensees was due to their failure to possess teaching licenses. It was not due to any serious misconduct or infraction reflecting their moral character. This being the case, the Court, in keeping with equity and social justice, grants the award of financial assistance to the 13 nonlicensees equivalent to one-half (1/2) month’s pay for every year of service rendered with the school. St. Joseph Academy of Valenzuela Faculty Association v St. Joseph Academy of Valenzuela, et al., G.R. No. 182957 (2013) The claim of petitioner for two (2) sets of retirement benefits under R.A. 1568 is not, strictly speaking, a claim for double compensation prohibited under the first paragraph of Section 8, Article IX-B of the Constitution. Claims for double retirement benefits fall under the prohibition against the receipt of double compensation when they are based on exactly the same services and on the same creditable period. In this case, petitioner is not claiming two (2) sets of retirement benefits for one and the same creditable period. Rather, petitioner is claiming a set of retirement benefits for each of her two (2) retirements from the Energy Regulatory Board. Commission on Audit, G.R. No. 188716 (2013) Decisions, resolutions or orders of the NLRC shall become final and executory after ten (10) calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties, and entry of judgment shall be made upon the expiration of the said period. Judicial review of decisions of the NLRC may be sought via a petition for certiorari before the CA under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court; and petitioners are allowed sixty (60) days from notice of the assailed order or resolution within which to file the petition. Hence, in cases where a petition for certiorari is filed after the expiration of the 10-day period but within the 60-day period under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, the CA can grant the petition and modify, nullify and reverse a decision or resolution of the NLRC. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc. v Legaspi, G.R. No. 202791 (2013) In cases where the complaint for violation of labor standard laws preceded the termination of the employee and the filing of the illegal dismissal case, it would not be in consonance with justice to charge the complainants with engaging in forum shopping when the remedy available to them at the time their causes of action arose was to file separate cases before different fora. Kapisanang Pangkaunlaran ng Kababaihang Portero, Inc., et al. v Barreno, et al., G.R. No. 175900 (2013) In legitimate job contracting, the principal employer becomes jointly and severally liable with the job contractor only for the payment of the employees' wages whenever the contractor fails to pay the same. On the other hand, in labor-only contracting, the principal employer becomes solidarily liable with the labor-only contractor for all the rightful claims of the employees. In this case, the releases, waivers and quitclaims executed by employees in favor of the labor-only contractor redounded to the benefit of the principal. Vigilla, et al. v Philippine College of Criminology, Inc., G.R. No. 200094 (2013) Illegal recruitment is committed by persons who, without authority from the government, give the impression that they have the power to send workers abroad for employment purposes. To prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that appellant gave complainants the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send complainants abroad for work such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed. People of the Philippines v Guevarra, et al., G.R. No. 197049 (2013) Jurisprudence dictates that it is not enough that the employee is given an “ample opportunity to be heard” if company rules or practices require a formal hearing or conference. In such instance, the requirement of a formal hearing and conference becomes mandatory. The rationale behind this mandatory characterization is premised on the fact that company rules and regulations which regulate the procedure and requirements for termination, are generally binding on the employer. Records reveal that while Gonzaga was given an ample opportunity to be heard within the purview of the foregoing principles, SURNECO, however, failed to show that it followed its own rules which mandate that the employee who is sought to be terminated be afforded a formal hearing or conference. As above-discussed, SURNECO remains bound by – and hence, must faithfully observe – its company policy embodied in Section 16.5 of its own Code of Ethics. Accordingly, since only an informal inquiry was conducted in investigating Gonzaga’s alleged cash shortages, SURNECO failed to comply with its own company policy, violating the proper termination procedure altogether. In this relation, case law states that an employer who terminates an employee for a valid cause but does so through invalid procedure is liable to pay the latter nominal damages. Hence,

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although the dismissal stands, the Court deems it appropriate to award Gonzaga nominal damages in the amount of P30,000.00. Surigao Del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. v Gonzaga, G.R. No. 187722 (2013) The list of illnesses/diseases in Section 32-A of the 2000 POEA Standard Employment Contract does not preclude other illnesses/diseases not so listed from being compensable. The POEA-SEC cannot be presumed to contain all the possible injuries that render a seafarer unfit for further sea duties. In this case, the Supreme Court finds that psoriasis was work related. Maersk Filipinas Crewing, Inc. v Mesina, G.R. No. 200837 (2013) As a general rule, an employee who has been dismissed for any of the just causes enumerated under Article 282 of the Labor Code is not entitled to a separation pay. In exceptional cases, however, the Court has granted separation pay to a legally dismissed employee as an act of “social justice” or on “equitable grounds.” In both instances, it is required that the dismissal (1) was not for serious misconduct; and (2) did not reflect on the moral character of the employee. In this case, the transgressions were serious offenses that warranted employees’ dismissal from employment. Hence, employee is not entitled to separation pay. Unilever Philippines v Rivera, G.R. No. 201701 (2013) The civil status of the employee as either married or single is not the controlling consideration in order that a person may qualify as the employee’s legal dependent. What is rather decidedly controlling is the fact that the spouse, child, or parent is actually dependent for support upon the employee. The continuity in the grant of the funeral and bereavement aid to regular employees for the death of their legal dependents has undoubtedly ripened into a company policy. With that, the denial of Alfante's qualified claim for such benefit pursuant to Section 4, Article XIII of the CBA violated the law prohibiting the diminution of benefits. Philippine Journalists, Inc. v Employees Union, G.R. No. 192601 (2013) The bond requirement on appeals involving monetary awards may be relaxed in cases where there was substantial compliance of the Rules or where the appellants, at the very least, exhibited willingness to pay by posting a partial bond. In the instant case, the Labor Arbiter in his decision ordered PNCC to pay petitioner back wages amounting to P422,630.41 and separation pay of P37,662 or a total of P460,292.41. When PNCC filed an appeal bond amounting to P422,630.41 or at least 90% of the adjudged amount, there is no question that this is substantial compliance with the requirement that allows relaxation of the rules. Pasos v Philippine National Construction Corporation, G.R. No. 192394 (2013) Project employee is deemed regularized if services are extended without specifying duration. While for first three months, petitioner can be considered a project employee of PNCC, his employment thereafter, when his services were extended without any specification of as to the duration, made him a regular employee of PNCC. And his status as a regular employee was not affected by the fact that he was assigned to several other projects and there were intervals in between said projects since he enjoys security of tenure. Pasos v Philippine National Construction Corporation, G.R. No. 192394 (2013) Permanent and total disability means disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same kind of work or work of a similar nature that he was trained for or accustomed to perform, or any kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainment can do. Disability need not render the seafarer absolutely helpless or feeble to be compensable; it is enough that it incapacitates to perform his customary work. Esguerra v United Philippines Lines, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 199932 (2013) As a privilege inherent in the employer’s right to control and manage its enterprise effectively, its freedom to conduct its business operations to achieve its purpose cannot be denied. The respondents are justified in moving the petitioner to another equivalent position, which presumably would be less affected by her habitual tardiness or inconsistent attendance than if she continued as a Category Buyer, a “frontline position” in the day-to-day business operations of a supermarket such as Robinsons. Pecskon v Robinsons Supermarket Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 198534 (2013) Fundamental is the rule that an employee can be dismissed from employment only for a valid cause. Serious misconduct is one of the just causes for termination under Article 282 of the Labor Code. Not

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every form of misconduct can be considered as a just cause for termination. For misconduct to be serious and therefore a valid ground for dismissal, it must be (1) of grave and aggravated character and not merely trivial or unimportant and (2) connected with the work of the employee. PNOC-Energy Development Corp., et al. v Estrella, G.R. No. 197789 (2013) Employees who take steps to protest their dismissal cannot logically be said to have abandoned their work. A charge of abandonment is totally inconsistent with the immediate filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal. The filing thereof is proof enough of one’s desire to return to work, thus negating any suggestion of abandonment. Fernandez, et al. v Newfield Staff Solutions, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 201979 (2013) The test to determine the existence of independent contractorship is whether one claiming to be an independent contractor has contracted to do the work according to his own methods and without being subjected to the control of the employer, except only to the results of the work. Petitioner cannot rightly claim that DGMS was an independent job contractor inasmuch as respondents were subjected to the control and supervision of petitioner while they were performing their job. First Philippine Industrial Corporation v Calimbas, et al., G.R. No. 179256 (2013) In the present case, the CBA contains specific provisions which effectively bar the availment of retirement benefits once the employees have chosen separation pay or vice versa. Section 2 of Article XIV explicitly states that any payment of retirement gratuity shall be chargeable against separation pay. Clearly, respondents cannot have both retirement gratuity and separation pay, as selecting one will preclude recovery of the other. To illustrate the mechanics of how Section 2 of Article XIV bars double recovery, if the employees choose to retire, whatever amount they will receive as retirement gratuity will be charged against the separation pay they would have received had their separation from employment been for a cause which would entitle them to severance pay. These causes are enumerated in Section 3, Article XIV of the CBA (i.e., retrenchment, closure of business, merger, redundancy, or installation of labor-saving device). However, if the cause of the termination of their employment was any of the causes enumerated in said Section 3, they could no longer claim retirement gratuity as the fund from which the same would be taken had already been used in paying their separation pay. Put differently, employees who were separated from the company cannot have both retirement gratuity and separation pay as there is only one fund from which said benefits would be taken. Inarguably, Section 2 of Article XIV effectively disallows recovery of both separation pay and retirement gratuity. Consequently, respondents are entitled only to one. Since they have already chosen and accepted redundancy pay and have executed the corresponding Release and Quitclaim, they are now barred from claiming retirement gratuity. Zuellig Pharma Corporation v Sibal, et al., G.R. NO. 173587 (2013) To validly dismiss an employee on the ground of loss of trust and confidence under Article 296(c) of the Labor Code, the following guidelines must be observed: (1) the employee concerned must be holding a position of trust and confidence; and (2) there must be an act that would justify the loss of trust and confidence. Petitioner's failure to properly account for his shortage of a significant amount is enough reason for respondent to lose trust and confidence in him. Martinez v Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative, Inc., G.R. No. 192306 (2013) The non-inclusion in the complaint of the issue of dismissal did not necessarily mean that the validity of the dismissal could not be an issue. The rules of the NLRC require the submission of verified position papers by the parties should they fail to agree upon an amicable settlement, and bar the inclusion of any cause of action not mentioned in the complaint or position paper from the time of their submission by the parties. In view of this, respondent’s cause of action should be ascertained not from a reading of his complaint alone but also from a consideration and evaluation of both his complaint and position paper. Samar-Med Distribution v National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 162385 (2013) A change in the corporate name does not make a new corporation, whether effected by a special act or under a general law. It has no effect on the identity of the corporation, or on its property, rights, or liabilities. The corporation, upon such change in its name, is in no sense a new corporation, nor the successor of the original corporation. It is the same corporation with a different name, and its character is in no respect changed.

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In short, Zeta and petitioner remained one and the same corporation. The change of name did not give petitioner the license to terminate employees of Zeta like respondent without just or authorized cause. The situation was not similar to that of an enterprise buying the business of another company where the purchasing company had no obligation to rehire terminated employees of the latter. Petitioner, despite its new name, was the mere continuation of Zeta’s corporate being, and still held the obligation to honor all of Zeta’s obligations, one of which was to respect respondent’s security of tenure. The dismissal of respondent from employment on the pretext that petitioner, being a different corporation, had no obligation to accept him as its employee, was illegal and ineffectual. Zuellig Freight and Cargo Systems v NLRC, et al., G.R. No. 157900 (2013) A different procedure is applied when terminating a probationary employee; the usual two-notice rule does not govern. Section 2, Rule I, Book VI of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code states that “[i]f the termination is brought about by the x x x failure of an employee to meet the standards of the employer in case of probationary employment, it shall be sufficient that a written notice is served the employee, within a reasonable time from the effective date of termination.” In this case, respondent’s dismissal was effected through a letter dated May 19, 2005 which she received on May 23, 2005 and again on May 27, 2005. Stated therein were the reasons for her termination, i.e., that after proper evaluation, Abbott determined that she failed to meet the reasonable standards for her regularization considering her lack of time and people management and decision-making skills, which are necessary in the performance of her functions as Regulatory Affairs Manager. Undeniably, this written notice sufficiently meets the criteria set forth above, thereby legitimizing the cause and manner of respondent’s dismissal as a probationary employee under the parameters set by the Labor Code. Nonetheless, despite the existence of a sufficient ground to terminate respondent’s employment and Abbott’s compliance with the Labor Code termination procedure, it is readily apparent that Abbott breached its contractual obligation to respondent when it failed to abide by its own procedure in evaluating the performance of a probationary employee. Veritably, a company policy partakes of the nature of an implied contract between the employer and employee. Abbott Laboratories, Phils., et al. v Alcaraz, G.R. No. 192571 (2013) A certification election is the sole concern of the workers, except when the employer itself has to file the petition pursuant to Article 259 of the Labor Code, as amended, but even after such filing its role in the certification process ceases and becomes merely a bystander. The employer clearly lacks the personality to dispute the election and has no right to interfere at all therein. Inclusion of supervisory employees in a labor organization seeking to represent the bargaining unit of rank-and-file employees does not divest it of its status as a legitimate labor organization. Holy Child Catholic School v Hon. Sto Tomas, et al., G.R. No. 179146 (2013) Contracting out of services is not illegal per se. It is an exercise of business judgment or management prerogative. Absent proof that the management acted in a malicious or arbitrary manner, the Court will not interfere with the exercise of judgment by an employer. BPI’s policy of contracting out cashiering and bookkeeping services was considered as a valid exercise of management prerogative which is further authorized by the Central Bank in CBP Circular No. 1388, Series of 199. BPI Employees union-Davao City-FUBU v Bank of the Philippine Islands, et al., G.R. No. 174912 (2013) A seafarer who was repatriated due to a finished contact and not for medical reasons, is not entitled to disability benefits. Villanueva v Baliwag Navigation, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 206505 (2013) One of the prerogatives of management is the decision to close the entire establishment or to close or abolish a department or section thereof for economic reasons, such as to minimize expenses and reduce capitalization.

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While the Labor Code provides for the payment of separation package in case of retrenchment to prevent losses, it does not obligate the employer for the payment thereof if there is closure of business due to serious losses. Closure or cessation of business is the complete or partial cessation of the operations and/or shut-down of the establishment of the employer. It is carried out to either stave off the financial ruin or promote the business interest of the employer. Unlike retrenchment, closure or cessation of business, as an authorized cause of termination of employment, need not depend for validity on evidence of actual or imminent reversal of the employer's regardless of the underlying reasons and motivations therefore, be it financial losses or not. Manila Polo Club Employees’ Union FUR-TUCP v Manila Polo Club, Inc., G.R. No. 172846 (2013) The employment of seafarers, including claims for death and disability benefits, is governed by the contracts they sign every time they are hired or rehired, and as long as the stipulations therein are not contrary to law, morals, public order, or public policy, they have the force of law between the parties. It must be shown that the injury or illness was contracted during the term of the employment contract. The unqualified phrase “during the term” covered all injuries or illnesses occurring during the lifetime of the contract. In this case, since Enrique failed to comply with the required post-employment medical examination within 3 days from his arrival and there was no showing that he was physically incapacitated to do so to justify his non-compliance. Since the mandatory reporting is a requirement for a disability claim to prosper, Enrique's non-compliance thereto forfeits petitioners' right to claim the benefits as to grant the same would not be fair to respondents. Manota, et al. v Avantgarde Shipping Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 179607 (2013) An employer who is found guilty of unfair labor practice in dismissing his employee may not be ordered so to pay backwages beyond the date of closure of business where such closure was due to legitimate business reasons and not merely an attempt to defeat the order of reinstatement. Polymer Rubber Corporation v Salamunding, G.R. No. 185160 (2013) It is settled that the extension of the employment of a project employee long after the supposed project has been completed removes the employee from the scope of a project employee and makes him a regular employee. In this regard, the length of time of the employee’s service, while not a controlling determinant of project employment, is a strong factor in determining whether he was hired for a specific undertaking or in fact tasked to perform functions vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business or trade of the employer. Verily, the principal test for determining whether an employee is a project employee, as distinguished from a regular employee, is whether or not he is assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration and scope of which are specified at the time he is engaged for the project. D.M. Consunji Corporation v Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 159371 (2013) It is well-settled that workers’ and employers’ organizations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules to elect their representatives in full freedom, to organize their administration and activities and to formulate their programs. In this case, RPNEU’s Constitution and By-Laws expressly mandate that before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the court, it is a pre-condition that he should have availed of all the internal remedies within the organization. Petitioners were found to have violated the provisions of the union’s Constitution and By-Laws when they filed petitions for impeachment against their union officers and for audit before the DOLE without first exhausting all internal remedies available within their organization. This act is a ground for expulsion from union membership. Thus, petitioners’ expulsion from the union was not a deliberate attempt to curtail or restrict their right to organize, but was triggered by the commission of an act, expressly sanctioned by Section 2.5 of Article IX of the union’s Constitution and By-Laws. Baptista, et al. v Villanueva, et al., G.R. No. 194709 (2013) “Such a ‘floating status’ is lawful and not unusual for security guards employed in security agencies as their assignments primarily depend on the contracts entered into by the agency with third parties. Cañedo v Kampilan Security and Detective Agency, et al., G.R. No. 179326 (2013)

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To warrant removal from service, the negligence should be gross and habitual. Although it was her second time to commit misposting (i.e., the first misposting was in 1995 while the second misposting was committed in 1998), Arcobillas’s act cannot be considered as gross as to warrant her termination from employment. Gross neglect of duty “denotes a flagrant and culpable refusal or unwillingness of a person to perform a duty.” It “refers to negligence characterized by the want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally, with a conscious indifference to consequences insofar as other persons may be affected.” In the instant case, the misposting was not deliberately done as to constitute as gross negligence. Rather, it was a case of simple neglect brought about by carelessness which, as satisfactorily explained by Arcobillas, was the effect of her heavy workload that day and the headache she was experiencing. Philippine National Bank v Arcobillas, G.R. No. 179648 (2013) The employer's act of tearing to pieces the employee's time card may be considered an outright - not only symbolic - termination of the parties' employment relationship. Thus, when Ang tore the respondents’ time cards to pieces, he virtually removed them from Virose’s payroll and erased all vestiges of respondents’ employment; respondents were effectively dismissed from work. Ang v San Joaquin, et al., G.R. No. 185549 (2013) A local union may disaffiliate at any time from its mother federation, absent any showing that the same is prohibited under its constitution or rule. Such, however, does not result in it losing its legal personality altogether. In the case at bar, there is nothing shown in the records that the union was expressly forbidden to disaffiliate from the federation nor were there any conditions imposed for a valid breakaway. This being so, PEMA is not precluded to disaffiliate from NUBE after acquiring the status of an independent labor organization duly registered before the DOLE. National Union Bank Employee v Philnabank Employees Association, et al., G.R. No. 174287 (2013) The recomputation of the consequences of illegal dismissal upon execution of the decision does not constitute an alteration or amendment of the final decision being implemented. The illegal dismissal ruling stands; only the computation of monetary consequences of this dismissal is affected, and this is not a violation of the principle of immutability of final judgments. Nacar v Gallery Frames, G.R. No. 189871 (2013) In termination cases either by retrenchment or closure, the burden of proving that the termination of services is for a valid or authorized cause rests upon the employer. Not every loss incurred or expected to be incurred by an employer can justify retrenchment. The employer must prove, among others, that the losses are substantial and that the retrenchment is reasonably necessary to avert such losses. And to repeat, in closures, the bona fides of the employer must be proven. In this case, there was no valid retrenchment. Nor was there a closure of business. A lull caused by lack of orders or shortage of materials must be of such nature as would severely affect the continued business operations of the employer to the detriment of all and sundry if not properly addressed. Sanoh asserts that cancelled orders of wire condensers led to the phasing out of the Wire Condenser Department, which triggered retrenchment. Sanoh presented the letters of cancellation given by Matsushita and Sanyo as evidence of cancelled orders. The evidence presented by Sanoh barely established the connection between the cancelled orders and the projected business losses that may be incurred by Sanoh. Sanoh failed to prove that these cancelled orders would severely impact on their production of wire condensers. The losses must be supported by sufficient and convincing evidence and the normal method of discharging this is by the submission of financial statements duly audited by independent external auditors. Petitioner failed to present proof of the extent of the reduced order and its contribution to the sustainability of its business. Sanoh Fulton Phils., Inc., et al. v Bernardo, et al., G.R. No. 187214 (2013) The Court has ruled, time and again, that financial assistance, or whatever name it is called, as a measure of social justice is allowed only in instances where the employee is validly dismissed for causes

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other than serious misconduct or those reflecting on his moral character. Considering that Daabay was dismissed on the grounds of serious misconduct, breach of trust and loss of confidence, the award based on equity was unwarranted. Daabay v Coca Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc., G.R. No. 199890 (2013) In illegal dismissal cases, the employer bears the burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause, in the present case, however, the facts and the evidence do not establish a prima facie case that the employee was dismissed from employment. Before the employer must bear the burden of proving that the dismissal was legal, the employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of his dismissal from service. If there is no dismissal, then there can be no question as to the legality or illegality thereof. MZR Industries, et al. v Colambot, G.R. No. 179001 (2013) Section 20(A) of the POEA Contract require in granting death benefits, seafarer must have suffered a work-related death during the term of his contract. Here, the seafarer died six months after his repatriation. Thus, on the basis of Section 20(A), his beneficiaries are precluded from receiving death benefits. Sea Power Enterprises, Inc., et al. v Salazar, G.R. No. 188595 (2013) As a general rule, an illegally dismissed employee is entitled to reinstatement (or separation pay, if reinstatement is not viable) and payment of full backwages. In certain cases, however, the Court has carved out an exception to the foregoing rule and thereby ordered the reinstatement of the employee without backwages on account of the following: (a) the fact that dismissal of the employee would be too harsh of a penalty; and (b) that the employer was in good faith in terminating the employee. Integrated Microelectronics, Inc. v Pionilla, G.R. No. 200222 (2013)

Petitioner is not entitled to separation pay. Payment of separation pay cannot be justified by his length of service. It must be stressed that Moya was not an ordinary rank-and-file employee. He was holding a supervisory rank being an Officer-in-Charge of the Tire Curing Department. The position, naturally one of trust, required of him abiding honesty as compared to ordinary rank-and-file employees. When he made a false report attributing the damage of five tires to machine failure, he breached the trust and confidence reposed upon him by the company.

In the case of supervisors or personnel occupying positions of responsibility, loss of trust justifies termination. Loss of confidence as a just cause for termination of employment is premised on the fact that an employee concerned holds a position of trust and confidence. This situation holds where a person is entrusted with confidence on delicate matters, such as the custody, handling, or care and protection of the employer’s property. But, in order to constitute a just cause for dismissal, the act complained of must be "work-related" such as would show the employee concerned to be unfit to continue working for the employer. Moya v First Solid Rubber Industries, Inc., G.R. No. 184011 (2013)

A repetition of the same offense for which one has been previously disciplined and cautioned evinces deliberateness and willful intent; it negates mere lapse or error in judgment. The NLRC and the CA were thus correct in applying the totality of infractions rule and in adjudging that the petitioner's dismissal was grounded on a just and valid cause. Alvarez v Golden Tri Bloc, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 202158 (2013)

Where the deceased was diagnosed of leukemia and died because of the said illness, the surviving spouse cannot claim death benefits as a member of the Government Service Insurance System under Employees’ Compensation death benefits. Though the said illness is occupational, it, however, does not thereby result in compensability in view of the fact that petitioner’s wife (the deceased) was not an operating room personnel, as provided under the Implementing Rules of P.D. No. 626. The coverage of leukemia as an occupational disease relates to one’s employment as an operating room personnel

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ordinarily exposed to anesthetics. In the case of petitioner’s wife, the nature of her occupation does not indicate exposure to anesthetics nor does it increase the risk of developing Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. There was no showing that her work involved frequent and sufficient exposure to substances established as occupational risk factors of the disease. Lorenzo v GSIS and Department of Education, G.R. No. 188385 (2013)

While resignation letters containing words of gratitude may indicate that the employees were not coerced into resignation, this fact alone is not conclusive proof that they intelligently, freely and voluntarily resigned. To rule that resignation letters couched in terms of gratitude are, by themselves, conclusive proof that the employees intended to relinquish their posts would open the floodgates to possible abuse. In order to withstand the test of validity, resignations must be made voluntarily and with the intention of relinquishing the office, coupled with an act of relinquishment. Therefore, in order to determine whether the employees truly intended to resign from their respective posts, we cannot merely rely on the tenor of the resignation letters, but must take into consideration the totality of circumstances in each particular case. SME Bank, Inc., et al. v De Guzman, et al., G.R. No. 184517 (2013)

While Legacy Consolidated enjoyed wide latitude in evaluating Atty. Chuanico’s work and attitude and in terminating his employment on the ground of loss of trust and confidence, these are broad principles that do not themselves show when, where, and how Atty. Chuanico betrayed the trust that Legacy Consolidated gave him as in-house counsel. To be a valid cause for dismissal, the loss of trust must be based on a willful breach of such trust and founded on clearly established facts. The company charged him with having mishandled two things that were assigned to him, the drafting of an answer in one and the preparation of a complaint affidavit in the other. It failed to present proof, however, of such mishandling. Chuanico v Legacy Consulted Plans, Inc., G.R. No. 181852 (2013)

The act of HBV Law Firm of moving the effectivity date of Atty. Matorre’s resignation from September 30, 2008 to September 15, 2008 is not an act of harassment. The 30-day notice requirement for an employee’s resignation is actually for the benefit of the employer who has the discretion to waive such period. Its purpose is to afford the employer enough time to hire another employee if needed and to see to it that there is proper turn-over of the tasks which the resigning employee may be handling. The rule requiring an employee to stay or complete the 30-day period prior to the effectivity of his resignation becomes discretionary on the part of management as an employee who intends to resign may be allowed a shorter period before his resignation becomes effective. Hechanova Bugay Vilchez Lawyers v Matorre, G.R. No. 198261 (2013)

While the bond may be reduced upon motion by the employer, this is subject to the conditions that (1) the motion to reduce the bond shall be based on meritorious grounds; and (2) a reasonable amount in relation to the monetary award is posted by the appellant, otherwise the filing of the motion to reduce bond shall not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal. The qualification effectively requires that unless the NLRC grants the reduction of the cash bond within the 10-day reglementary period, the employer is still expected to post the cash or surety bond securing the full amount within the said 10-day period. If the NLRC does eventually grant the motion for reduction after the reglementary period has elapsed, the correct relief would be to reduce the cash or surety bond already posted by the employer within the 10-day period. Mcburnie v Ganzon, et al., G.R. No. 178034 (2013)

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It is a well-settled rule that before the employer must bear the burden of proving that the dismissal was legal, the employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of his dismissal from service. Bare allegations of constructive dismissal, when uncorroborated by the evidence on record, cannot be given credence. In the instant case, the records are bereft of substantial evidence that will unmistakably establish a case of constructive dismissal. An act, to be considered as amounting to constructive dismissal, must be a display of utter discrimination or insensibility on the part of the employer so intense that it becomes unbearable for the employee to continue with his employment. Here, the circumstances relayed by Gemina were not clear-cut indications of bad faith or some malicious design on the part of Bankwise to make his working environment insufferable. Gemina v Bankwise Inc., et al., G.R. No. 175365 (2013)

COLA is not in the nature of an allowance intended to reimburse expenses incurred by officials and employees of the government in the performance of their official functions. It is not payment in consideration of the fulfillment of official duty. As defined, cost of living refers to "the level of prices relating to a range of everyday items" or "the cost of purchasing those goods and services which are included in an accepted standard level of consumption." Based on this premise, COLA is a benefit intended to cover increases in the cost of living. Thus, it is and should be integrated into the standardized salary rates. Maynilad Water Supervisors Association v Maynilad Water Services, Inc., G.R. No. 198935 (2013)

Under Article 286 of the Labor Code, the bona fide suspension of the operations of a business or undertaking for a period not exceeding six months shall not terminate employment. Article 286 provides:

ART. 286. When employment not deemed terminated. – The bona fide suspension of the operations of a business or undertaking for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or the fulfillment by the employee of a military or civic duty shall not terminate employment.

In all such cases, the employer shall reinstate the employee to his former position without loss of seniority rights if he indicates his desire to resume his work not later than one (1) month from the resumption of operations of his employer or from his relief from the military or civic duty.

In this case, the respondents were already considered illegally dismissed since petitioner failed to recall them after six months, when its bona fide suspension of operations lapsed. We stress that under Article 286 of the Labor Code, the employment will not be deemed terminated if the bona fide suspension of operations does not exceed six months. But if the suspension of operations exceeds six months, the employment will be considered terminated. SKM Art Craft Corporation v Bauca, et al., G.R. No. 171282 (2013)

The respondents’ jobs and undertakings are clearly within the regular or usual business of the employer company and are not identifiably distinct or separate from the other undertakings of the company. There is no denying that the manning of the operations center to air commercials, acting as transmitter/VTR men, maintaining the equipment, and acting as cameramen are not undertakings separate or distinct from the business of a broadcasting company.

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Petitioner’s allegation that respondents were merely substitutes or what they call pinch-hitters (which means that they were employed to take the place of regular employees of petitioner who were absent or on leave) does not change the fact that their jobs cannot be considered projects within the purview of the law. Every industry, even public offices, has to deal with securing substitutes for employees who are absent or on leave. Such tasks, whether performed by the usual employee or by a substitute, cannot be considered separate and distinct from the other undertakings of the company. While it is management’s prerogative to device a method to deal with this issue, such prerogative is not absolute and is limited to systems wherein employees are not ingeniously and methodically deprived of their constitutionally protected right to security of tenure.

As regular employees, they are entitled to security of tenure and therefore their services may be terminated only for just or authorized causes. Since petitioner failed to prove any just or authorized cause for their termination, we are constrained to affirm the findings of the NLRC and the Court of Appeals that they were illegally dismissed. GMA Network, Inc. v Pabriga, et al., G.R. No. 176419 (2013)

After being informed of the expired accreditation of Intra Strata, NLRC Commissioners (respondents) should have refrained from allowing Intra Strata to transact business or to post a bond in favor of the employer. It is not within respondents' discretion to allow the filing of the appeal bond issued by a bonding company with expired accreditation regardless of its pending application for renewal of accreditation. Respondents cannot extend Intra Strata's authority or accreditation. Neither can it validate an invalid bond issued by a bonding company with expired accreditation, or give a semblance of validity to it pending this Court's approval of the application for renewal of accreditation. Cawaling, et al. v Menese, et al., A.C. No. 9698 (2013). In Lopez v. Keppel Bank Philippines, Inc., the Court repeated the guidelines for the application of loss of confidence as follows: (1) loss of confidence should not be simulated; (2) it should not be used as a subterfuge for causes which are improper, illegal or unjustified; (3) it may not be arbitrarily asserted in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary; and (4) it must be genuine, not a mere afterthought to justify an earlier action taken in bad faith. As applied to the dismissal of managerial employees, employers – as a rule – enjoy wider latitude of discretion. The employer is not required to present proof beyond reasonable doubt as the mere existence of a basis for believing that such employee has breached the trust of the employer would suffice for the dismissal. Thus, as long as the employer “has reasonable ground to believe that the employee concerned is responsible for the purported misconduct, and the nature of his participation therein renders him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded of his position,” the dismissal on this ground is valid. Baguio Central University v Gallente, G.R. No. 188267 (2013)

The Writ of Execution in the instant case was procedurally irregular, as it pre-empted the NLRC Rules which require that where further computation of the award in the decision is necessary during the course of the execution proceedings, no Writ of Execution shall be issued until after the computation has been approved by the Labor Arbiter in an order issued after the parties have been duly notified and heard on the matter. When the writ was issued, there was as yet no order approving the computation made by the NLRC Computation and Examination Unit, and there was a pending and unresolved Motion to Recompute filed by Club Filipino. A cursory examination of the motion reveals that it raised valid issues that required determination in order to arrive at a just resolution, so that none of the parties would be unjustly enriched. Araullo v Office of the Ombudsman, et al., G.R. No. 194169 (2013)

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In the absence of any certification, the law presumes that the employee remains in a state of temporary disability. Should no certification be issued within the 240 day maximum period, as in this case, the pertinent disability becomes permanent in nature. Considering that respondent has suffered for more than the maximum period of 240 days in light of the uncompleted process of evaluation, and the fact that he has been certified to work again or otherwise, the Court affirms his entitlement to the permanent total disability benefits awarded him by the CA, the NLRC and the LA. Jebsens Maritime, Inc., et al. v Babol, G.R. No. 204076 (2013)

Closure of business is the reversal of fortune of the employer whereby there is a complete cessation of business operations and/or an actual locking-up of the doors of establishment, usually due to financial losses. Closure of business, as an authorized cause for termination of employment, aims to prevent further financial drain upon an employer who cannot pay anymore his employees since business has already stopped. In such a case, the employer is generally required to give separation benefits to its employees, unless the closure is due to serious business losses.

In this case, considering that SPI closed down its operations due to serious business losses and that said closure appears to have been done in good faith, the Court deems it just to reduce the amount of nominal damages to be awarded to each of the minority employees from P50,000.00 to P10,000.00. To be clear, the foregoing award should only obtain in favor of the minority employees and not for those employees who already received sums equivalent to separation pay and executed quitclaims "releasing [SPI] now and in the future any claims and obligation which may arise as results of [their] employment with the company." For these latter employees who have already voluntarily accepted their dismissal, their executed quitclaims practically erased the consequences of infirmities on the notice of dismissal, at least as to them. Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. v Sangwoo Philippines, Inc. Employee Union, G.R. No. 173154 (2013)

Petitioner claims tenancy relationship between him and DBP, however it must be emphasized that in order for a tenancy agreement to arise, it is essential to establish all its indispensable elements, viz.: (1) the parties are the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2) the subject matter of the relationship is an agricultural land; (3) there is consent between the parties to the relationship; (4) the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural production; (5) there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural lessee; and (6) the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee. All these requisites are necessary to create a tenancy relationship, and the absence of one or more requisites will not make the alleged tenant a de facto tenant. Jopson v Mendez, et al., G.R. No. 191538 (2013)

In labor cases, strict adherence to the technical rules of procedure is not required. Time and again, we have allowed evidence to be submitted for the first time on appeal with the NLRC in the interest of substantial justice. Thus, we have consistently supported the rule that labor officials should use all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively, without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, in the interest of due process.

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However, this liberal policy should still be subject to rules of reason and fairplay. The liberality of procedural rules is qualified by two requirements: (1) a party should adequately explain any delay in the submission of evidence; and (2) a party should sufficiently prove the allegations sought to be proven. The reason for these requirements is that the liberal application of the rules before quasi-judicial agencies cannot be used to perpetuate injustice and hamper the just resolution of the case. Neither is the rule on liberal construction a license to disregard the rules of procedure. Loon, et al. v Power Master, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 189404 (2013)

The nature of the employment does not depend solely on the will or word of the employer or on the procedure for hiring and the manner of designating the employee. Rather, the nature of the employment depends on the nature of the activities to be performed by the employee, considering the nature of the employer’s business, the duration and scope to be done. Accordingly, Acibo, et al. are neither project nor seasonal employees. Acibo, et al. were made to perform tasks that does not pertain to milling operations of URSUMCO. However, their duties are regularly and habitually needed in URSUMCO’s operation. Moreover, they were regularly and repeatedly hired to perform the same tasks. Being repeatedly hired for the same purpose makes them regularized employees. Universal Robina Sugar Milling Corporation, et al. v Acibo, et al., G.R. No. 186439 (2014)

Under the Rule VI, Section 6 of the 2005 NLRC Rules, "[a] cash or surety bond shall be valid and effective from the date of deposit or posting, until the case is finally decided, resolved or terminated, or the award satisfied." Hence, it is clear that a bond is encumbered and bound to a case only for as long as 1) the case has not been finally decided, resolved or terminated; or 2) the award has not been satisfied. Therefore, once the appeal is finally decided and no award needs to be satisfied, the bond is automatically released. Since the money is now unencumbered, the employer who posted it should now have unrestricted access to the cash which he may now use as he pleases – as appeal bond in another case, for instance. Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation v Icao, G.R. No. 196047 (2014)

Despite the charge against the respondent of qualified theft, the mere filing of a formal charge, to our mind, does not automatically make the dismissal valid. Evidence submitted to support the charge should be evaluated to see if the degree of proof is met to justify respondents’ termination. The affidavit executed by Montegrico simply contained the accusations of Abis that respondents committed pilferage, which allegations remain uncorroborated. "Unsubstantiated suspicions, accusations, and conclusions of employers do not provide for legal justification for dismissing employees.” The other bits of evidence were also inadequate to support the charge of pilferage. Grand Asian Shipping Lines, Inc., et al. v Galvez, et al., G.R. No. 178184 (2014)

The grant of separation pay to a dismissed employee is determined by the cause of the dismissal. The years of service may determine how much separation pay may be awarded. It is, however, not the reason why such pay should be granted at all. Manila Water Company v Del Rosario, G.R. No. 188747 (2014)

Gross inefficiency falls within the purview of “other cause analogous to the foregoing,” and constitutes therefore, just cause to terminate an employee under Article 282 of the Labor Code. It is closely related to “gross neglect”, for both involve specific acts of omissions on the part of the employee resulting in damage to the employer or to his business. It has been settled that failure to comply with the prescribed standards of work, or to fulfill reasonable work assignment due to inefficiency may constitute just cause for dismissal. International School Manila v International School Alliance of Educators and Members, G.R. No. 167286 (2014)

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The mere fact that Cosare was a stockholder and an officer of Broadcom at the time the subject controversy developed failed to necessarily make the case an intra-corporate dispute. Although he is an officer of Broadcom for being its AVP for Sales, he was not a “corporate officer” as the term is defined by law. There are two circumstances which must concur in order for an individual to be considered as such, namely: (1) the creation of the position is under the corporation’s charter or by-laws; and (2) the election of the officer is by the directors or stockholders. Furthermore, following the “controversy test” which enunciates that the status or relationship of the parties and the nature of the question that is the subject of the controversy must be taken into account, the instance case cannot be deemed intra-corporate. Clearly, the pending dispute particularly relates to Cosare’s rights and obligations as a regular officer of Broadcom, instead of as a stockholder of the corporation. Cosare v Broadcom Asia, Inc., et al. G.R. No. 201298 (2014) Considering that he continued working as President for UTP for about one (1) year and five (5) months and since it is not covered by another fixed term employment contract, his employment after the expiration of his fixed term employment is already regular. Therefore, he is guaranteed security of tenure and can only be removed from service for cause and after compliance with due process. This is notwithstanding the company’s insistence that they merely tolerated his “consultancy” for humanitarian reasons. United Tourist Promotions (UTP) v Kemplin, G.R. No. 205453 (2014) Cabiles was not eligible to receive his retirement benefits as he failed to meet the required ten years length of service when he resigned from Intel Phil. and moved to Intel HK. Resignation is the formal relinquishment of an office, the overt act of which is coupled with an intent to renounce. This intent could be inferred from the acts of the employee before and after the alleged resignation. Cabiles’ contention that his employment with Intel HK is a continuation of his service with Intel Phil alleging that it was but an assignment by his principal employer, similar to his assignments to Intel Arizona and Intel Chengdu is untenable First, he still accepted the offer of Intel HK despite a non-favorable reply to his retirement concerns. Thus, such acceptance meant letting go of the retirement benefits he now claims. Clearly, it was his choice to forego his tenure with Intel Phil., with all its associated benefits, in favor of a more lucrative job for him and his family with Intel HK. Second, the court does not agree with his argument that his employment in Hong Kong is an assignment or extension of his employment with Intel Phil. The continuity, existence or termination of an employeremployee relationship in a typical secondment contract or any employment contract for that matter is measured by the following yardsticks: first, the selection and engagement of the employee; second, the payment of wages; third, the power of dismissal; and fourth, the employer’s power to control the employee’s conduct. When he assumed duties with Intel HK, the latter became the new employer. It provided his compensation. He then became subject to Hong Kong labor laws, and necessarily, the rights appurtenant thereto, including the right of Intel HK to fire him on available grounds. Lastly, it had control and supervision over him as its new Finance Manager. Evidently, Intel Phil. no longer had any control over him. Third, although in various instances, his move to Hong Kong was referred to as an “assignment,” it bears stressing that it was categorized as a “permanent transfer.” It is clear that his decision to move to Hong Kong required the abandonment of his permanent position with Intel Phil. in order for him to assume a position in an entirely different company, with a different employer, rank, compensation and benefits. Intel Technology Philippines, Inc. v National Labor Relations Commission, et al., G.R. No. 200575 (2014) Where the petitioner was repatriated twenty days after the expiration of his contract of employment, there is no automatic renewal of the contract. It is a settled rule that seafarers are considered contractual employees. Their employment is governed by the contracts they sign every time they are rehired and their employment is terminated when the contract expires. Their employment is contractually fixed for a certain period of time. Thus, when petitioner's contract ended on October 25, 2000, his employment is deemed automatically terminated, there being no mutually-agreed renewal or extension of the expired contract. Unica v Anscor Swipe Ship Management Corporation, G.R. No. 184318 (2014)

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For a disability to be compensable, the seafarer must establish that there exists a reasonable linkage between the disease suffered by the employee and his work to lead a rational mind to conclude that his work may have contributed to the establishment or, at the very least, aggravation of any pre-existing condition he might have had. Ayungo v Beamko Ship Management Corporaiton, et al., G.R. No. 203161 (2014) Under Article 281 of the Labor Code, however, "an employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period shall be considered a regular employee." When an employer renews a contract of employment after the lapse of the six-month probationary period, the employee thereby becomes a regular employee. No employer is allowed to determine indefinitely the fitness of its employees. While length of time is not the controlling test for project employment, it is vital in determining if the employee was hired for a specific undertaking or tasked to perform functions vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business of trade of the employer. Malicdem v Marulas Industrial Corporation, G.R. No. 204406 (2014) The test of whether an employer has interfered with and coerced employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization, is, whether the employer has engaged in conduct which, it may reasonably be said, tends to interfere with the free exercise of employees’ rights; and that it is not necessary that there be direct evidence that any employee was in fact intimidated or coerced by statements of threats of the employer if there is a reasonable inference that the anti-union conduct of the employer does have an adverse effect on self-organization and collective bargaining. T&H Shopfitters Corporation/Gin Queen Corporation, et al. v T&H Shopfitters Corporation Corporation/Gin Queen Workers Union, et al., G.R. No. 191714 (2014)

The company-designated physician must arrive at a definite assessment of the seafarer's fitness to work or permanent disability within the period of 120 or 240 days, pursuant to Article 192 (c)(l) of the Labor Code and Rule X, Section 2 of the Amended Rules on Employees Compensation (AREC). If he fails to do so and the seafarer's medical condition remains unresolved, the latter shall be deemed totally and permanently disabled. On the other hand, an employee's disability becomes permanent and total even before the lapse of the statutory 240-day treatment period, when it becomes evident that the employee's disability continues and he is unable to engage in gainful employment during such period because, for instance, he underwent surgery and it evidently appears that he could not recover therefrom within the statutory period. Fil-Pride Shipping Company, Inc., et al. v Balasta, G.R. No. 193047 (2014)

An injury or illness is compensable when, first, it is work-related and, second, the injury or illness existed during the term of the seafarer’s employment contract. Section 32(A) of the 2000 POEA Amended Standard Terms and Condition further provides that for an occupational disease and the resulting disability to be compensable, the following need to be satisfied: (1) the seafarer's work must involve the risks described; (2) the disease was contracted as a result of the seafarer's exposure to the described risks; (3) the disease was contracted within a period of exposure and under such other factors necessary to contract it; and (4) there was no notorious negligence on the part of the seafarer. Vetyard Terminals & Shipping Services, Inc. v Suarez, G.R. No. 199344 (2014)

The Non-Diminution Rule found in Article 100 of the Labor Code explicitly prohibits employers from eliminating or reducing the benefits received by their employees. This rule, however, applies only if the benefit is based on an express policy, a written contract, or has ripened into a practice. To be considered a practice, it must be consistently and deliberately made by the employer over a long period of time. An exception to the rule is when "the practice is due to error in the construction or application of a doubtful or difficult question of law." The error, however, must be corrected immediately after its discovery; otherwise, the rule on Non-Diminution of Benefits would still apply. In this case, respondent was able to present substantial evidence in the form of affidavits to support its claim that there are two

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retirement plans. Wesleyan University-Philippines v Wesleyan University-Philippines Faculty and Staff Association, G.R. No. 181806 (2014) The respondent’s failure to attach the required certification of non-forum shopping does not render the immediate dismissal of the petition. Llamas adequately explained, in his motion for reconsideration, the inadvertence and presented a clear justifiable ground to warrant the relaxation of the rules. While the requirement as to the certificate of non-forum shopping is mandatory, this requirement should not, however, be interpreted too literally and thus defeat the objective of preventing the undesirable practice of forum-shopping. Diamond Taxi v Llamas, Jr., G.R. No. 190724, 2014 Even the most reasonable employee would consider quitting his job after working for three months and receiving only an insignificant fraction of his salaries. There was, therefore, not an abandonment of employment nor a resignation in the real sense, but a constructive dismissal, which is defined as an involuntary resignation resorted to when continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely. It is impossible, unreasonable or unlikely that any employee, such as Johnson would continue working for an employer who does not pay him his salaries. Applying the Court’s pronouncement in Duldulao v. CA, the Court construes that the act of the petitioners in not paying Johnson his salaries for three months has become unbearable on the latter’s part that he had no choice but to cede his employment with them. Dreamland Hotel Resort and Westley Prentice v Johnson, G.R. No. 191455 (2014) The Regional Trial Court, acting as a Special Agrarian Court, has jurisdiction to determine just compensation at the very first instance, and the petitioner need not pass through the DAR for initial valuation. The determination of just compensation is essentially a judicial function, which is vested in the Regional Trial Court acting as a Special Agrarian Court. The Special Agrarian Court is not an appellate reviewer of the DAR decision in administrative cases involving compensation. The Special Agrarian Court has jurisdiction over the complaint for determination of just compensation, despite the absence of summary administrative proceedings before the DAR Adjudication Board. Spouses Estacion v Hon. Secretary, Department of Agrarian Reform, et al., G.R. No. 163361 (2014) Control in employer-employee relationships addresses the details of day to day work like assigning the particular task that has to be done, monitoring the way tasks are done and their results, and determining the time during which the employee must report for work or accomplish his assigned task. Franchising involves the use of an established business expertise, trademark, knowledge, and training. As such, the franchisee is required to follow a certain established system. Accordingly, the franchisors may impose guidelines that somehow restrict the petitioners’ conduct which do not necessarily indicate “control.” The important factor to consider is still the element of control over how the work itself is done, not just its end result. Tesoro, et al. v Metro Manila Retreaders, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 171482 (2014) The NWPC had the authority to prescribe the rules and guidelines for the determination of the minimum wage and productivity measures, and the RTWPB-NCR had the power to issue wage orders. Pursuant to its statutorily defined functions, the NWPC promulgated NWPC Guidelines No. 001-95 (Revised Rules of Procedure on Minimum Wage Fixing) to govern the proceedings in the NWPC and the RTWPBs in the fixing of minimum wage rates by region, province and industry. Section 1 of Rule VIII of NWPC Guidelines No. 001-95 recognized the power of the RTWPBs to issue exemptions from the application of the wage orders subject to the guidelines issued by the NWPC. The National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), et al. v The Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), et al., G.R. No. 150326 (2014) Under the POEA-SEC, the employer is liable for a seafarer's disability, resulting from a work-connected injury or illness, only after the degree of disability has been established by the company- designated physician and, if the seafarer consulted with a physician of his choice whose assessment disagrees with that of the company-designated physician, the disagreement must be referred to a third doctor for a final assessment.

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The facts of the case show that the absence of a disability assessment by the company-designated physician was not of the doctor's making, but was due to respondent’s refusal to undergo further treatment. In the absence of any disability assessment from the company-designated doctor, seaman's claim for disability benefits must fail for his obvious failure to comply with the procedure under the POEAStandard Employment Contract which he was duty bound to follow. Splash Philippines, Inc., et al. v Ruizo, G.R. No. 193628 (2014) Pursuant to existing jurisprudence, if the dismissal is by virtue of a just or authorized cause, but without due process, the dismissed workers are entitled to an indemnity in the form of nominal damages. In the present case, the evidence on hand substantially shows that the company closed down due to serious business reverses, an authorized cause for termination of employment. The failure to notify the respondents in writing of the closure of the company will not invalidate the termination of their employment, but the company has to pay them nominal damages for the violation of their right to procedural due process. Navotas Shipyard Corporation, et al. v Montallana, et al., G.R. No. 190053, (2014) The failure to faithfully comply with the company rules and regulations is considered to be a just cause in terminating one’s employment, depending on the nature, severity and circumstances of non-compliance. “An employer ‘has the right to regulate, according to its discretion and best judgment, all aspects of employment, including work assignment, working methods, processes to be followed, working regulations, transfer of employees, work supervision, lay-off of workers and the discipline, dismissal and recall of workers.” Sutherland Global Services, Inc. v Labrador, G.R. No. 193107 (2014) In labor cases, the written statements of co-employees admitting their participation in a scheme to defraud the employer are admissible in evidence. The argument that the said statements constitute hearsay because the authors thereof were not presented for their cross-examination does not persuade, because the rules of evidence are not strictly observed in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), which are summary in nature and decisions may be made on the basis of position papers. Castillo, et al. v Prudential Life Plans, Inc., et al., G.R. No. 196142 (2014) The posting of a bond is indispensable to the perfection of an appeal in cases involving monetary awards from the decisions of the Labor Arbiter. Moreover, the filing of the bond is not only mandatory, but a jurisdictional requirement as well, that must be complied with in order to confer jurisdiction upon the NLRC. Non-compliance therewith renders the decision of the Labor Arbiter final and executory. Olores v Manila Doctors College, G.R. No. 201663 (2014)

TAXATION LAW Section 173 of the 1997 National Internal Revenue Code (1997 NIRC) states that the persons primarily liable for the payment of the DST are the person (1) making; (2) signing; (3) issuing; (4) accepting; or (5) transferring the taxable documents, instruments or papers. Should these parties be exempted from paying tax, the other party who is not exempt would then be secondarily liable. The assignee or transferee of a promissory note is not liable for the payment of DST as this transaction is not taxed under the law. The Court can safely conclude that among the covered transactions liable for DST, where the law did not specify that the transfer and/or assignment of promissory note is to be taxed, there would be no basis to recognize an imposition. PHILACOR CREDIT CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 169899 (2013). In claiming a tax refund or tax credit over an excess input VAT, the 30-day period of appeal to the CTA need not necessarily fall within the two-year prescriptive period, as long as the administrative claim before

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the CIR is filed within the two-year prescriptive period. This is because Sec. 112 (D) of the 1997 Tax Code mandates that a taxpayer can file the judicial claim: (1) only within thirty days after the Commissioner partially or fully denies the claim within the 120-day period, or (2) only within thirty days from the expiration of the 120-day period if the Commissioner does not act within the 120-day period. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. SAN ROQUE POWER CORPORATION; TAGANITO MINING CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE; PHILEX MINING CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. Nos. 187485/196113/197156 (2013). Documentary Stamp Tax (DST) is by nature, an excise tax since it is levied on the exercise by persons of privileges conferred by law. To charge DST on a transaction which was basically a compliance with a legislative mandate would go against its very nature as an excise tax. FORT BONIFACIO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. Nos. 164155 & 175543 (2013). The 20% final tax withheld on a bank’s passive income should be included in the computation of the Gross Receipts Tax (GRT). Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has consistently ruled that the term gross receipts do not admit of any deduction. It emphasized that interest earned by banks, even if subject to the final tax and excluded from taxable gross income, forms part of its gross receipt for GRT purposes. The interest earned refers to the gross interest without deduction, since the regulations do not provide for any deduction. Absent a statutory definition of the term, the BIR had consistently applied it in its ordinary meaning, i.e., without deduction. CHINA BANKING CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 175108 (2013). The Court summarized the rules on the determination of the prescriptive period for filing a tax refund or credit of unutilized input VAT as provided in Section 112 of the 1997 Tax Code, as follows: (1) An administrative claim must be filed with the CIR within two years after the close of the taxable quarter when the zero-rated or effectively zero-rated sales were made and (2) The CIR has 120 days from the date of submission of complete documents in support of the administrative claim within which to decide whether to grant a refund or issue a tax credit certificate. MINDANAO II GEOTHERMAL PARTNERSHIP vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 193301/194637 (2013). Amusement taxes are percentage taxes. Provinces are not barred from levying amusement taxes even if amusement taxes are a form of percentage taxes. Section 140 of the LGC expressly allows for the imposition by provinces of amusement taxes on the proprietors, lessees, or operators of theatres, cinemas, concert halls, circuses, boxing stadia, and other places of amusement. Theatres, cinemas, concert halls, circuses, and boxing stadia are bound by a common typifying characteristic in that they are all venues primarily for the staging of spectacles or the holding of public shows, exhibitions, performances, and other events meant to be viewed by an audience. Accordingly, ‘other places of amusement’ must be interpreted in light of the typifying characteristic of being venues “where one seeks admission to entertain oneself by seeing or viewing the show or performances” or being venues primarily used to stage spectacles or hold public shows, exhibitions, performances, and other events meant to be viewed by an audience. Thus, resorts, swimming pools, bath houses, hot springs and tourist spots do not belong to the same category or class as theatres, cinemas, concert halls, circuses, and boxing stadia. It follows that they cannot be considered as among the ‘other places of amusement’ contemplated by Section 140 of the LGC and which may properly be subject to amusement taxes. PELIZLOY REALTY CORPORATION vs. THE PROVINCE OF BENGUET, G.R. No. 183137 (2013). Stipulations cannot defeat the right of the State to collect the correct taxes due on an individual or juridical person because taxes are the lifeblood of our nation so its collection should be actively pursued without unnecessary impediment. FIRST LEPANTO TAISHO INSURANCE CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 197117 (2013). The prescriptive period for filing a tax refund or credit of unutilized input VAT as provided in Section 112 of the 1997 Tax Code, are as follows: (1) an administrative claim must be filed with the CIR within two years after the close of the taxable quarter when the zero-rated or effectively zero-rated sales were made. (2) While a judicial claim must be filed with the CTA within 30 days from the receipt of the CIR’s decision denying the administrative claim or from the expiration of the 120-day period without any action from the

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CIR. From the foregoing, it is clear that the prescriptive period for filing an administrative claim is within two years after the close of the taxable quarter when the zero-rated or effectively zero-rated sales were made while for a judicial claim, it must be filed with the CTA within 30 days from the receipt of the CIR’s decision denying the administrative claim or from the expiration of the 120-day period without any action from the CIR (120+30). MINDANAO II GEOTHERMAL PARTNERSHIP vs. COMMISIIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE/ MINDANAO GEOTHERMAL PARTNERSHIP I v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. Nos. 193301 & 194637 (2013). In case of full or partial denial of the claim for tax refund or tax credit, or the failure on the part of the Commissioner to act on the application within the period prescribed above, the taxpayer affected may, within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the decision denying the claim or after the expiration of the one hundred twenty day-period, appeal the decision or the unacted claim with the Court of Tax Appeals. This is commonly referred to as the "120+30" period which is jurisdictional. NIPPON EXPRESS (PHILIPPINES) CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 196907 (2013). The requirement of a tax clearance under Section 52(C) of the Tax Code of 1997 is not applicable to rural banks undergoing liquidation proceedings ordered by the Monetary Board of the BSP under Section 30 of the New Central Bank Act. Thus, it is grave abuse of discretion to dismiss the petition for assistance in liquidation filed by a corporation undergoing liquidation on the ground of failure to secure tax clearance. PHILIPPINE DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION vs. BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 172892 (2013). Presidential Decree No. 464 otherwise known as "Real Property Tax Code" provides for the legal requirements to be complied with during a tax delinquency sale of properties. The requirements provided, which include notices and publication, are mandatory and that failure to comply therewith can invalidate the sale in view of the requirements of due process. Hence, a taxpayer questioning such delinquency sale has the burden to prove by preponderant evidence that the auction sale of the subject properties due to tax delinquency was attended by irregularities. VALBUECO, INC. vs. PROVINCE OF BATAAN, G.R. No. 173829 (2013). A perusal of Section 196 of the LGC reveals that in order to be entitled to a refund/credit of local taxes, the following procedural requirements must concur: first, the taxpayer concerned must file a written claim for refund/credit with the local treasurer; and second, the case or proceeding for refund has to be filed within two (2) years from the date of the payment of the tax, fee, or charge or from the date the taxpayer is entitled to a refund or credit. Failure of the taxpayer to file a written claim for refund/credit despite paying under protest is fatal to his cause of action. METRO MANILA SHOPPING MECCA CORP, ET AL. vs. MS. LIBERTY TOLEDO, in her official capacity as the City Treasurer of Manila, G.R. No. 190818 (2013). Indirect taxes are those which are demanded in the first instance from one person with the expectation and intention that he can shift the economic burden to someone else. In this regard, the statutory taxpayer can transfer to its customers the value of the excise taxes it paid or would be liable to pay to the government by treating it as part of the cost of the goods and tacking it on to the selling price. This shifting process, otherwise known as “passing on,” is largely a contractual affair between the parties. Section 204(c) of the NIRC provides that it is the statutory taxpayer which has the legal personality to file a claim for refund. Accordingly, in cases involving excise tax exemptions on petroleum products under Section 135, the Court has consistently held that it is the statutory taxpayer who is entitled to claim a tax refund based thereon and not the party who merely bears its economic burden. However, the abovementioned rule should not apply to instances where the law clearly grants the party to which the economic burden of the tax is shifted an exemption from both direct and indirect taxes. In which case, the latter must be allowed to claim a tax refund even if it is not considered as the statutory taxpayer under the law. In this case, PAL’s franchise grants it an exemption from both direct and indirect taxes on its purchase of petroleum products. Hence, PAL has the legal personality to file the claim for refund for the passed on excise taxes because of its franchise. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 198759 (2013).

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Double taxation means taxing the same property twice when it should be taxed only once; that is, “taxing the same person twice by the same jurisdiction for the same thing. There is indeed double taxation if a taxpayer is subjected to the taxes under both Sections 14 (Tax on Manufacturers, Assemblers and other Processors) and 21 (Tax on Business Subject to the Excise, Value-Added or Percentage Taxes under the NIRC) of Tax Ordinance No. 7794, since these are being imposed: (1) on the same subject matter – the privilege of doing business in the City of Manila; (2) for the same purpose – to make persons conducting business within the City of Manila contribute to city revenues; (3) by the same taxing authority – petitioner City of Manila; (4) within the same taxing jurisdiction – within the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Manila; (5) for the same taxing periods – per calendar year; and (6) of the same kind or character – a local business tax imposed on gross sales or receipts of the business. SWEDISH MATCH PHILIPPINES INC. vs. THE TREASURER OF THE CITY OF MANILA, G.R. No. 181277 (2013). A taxpayer claiming the refund must comply with the invoicing and accounting requirements mandated by the Tax Code, as well as the revenue regulations implementing them before an administrative claim for refund or tax credit will be granted. A change in the name of the corporation being unauthorized and without approval of the SEC, and the issuance of official receipts under that name, cannot be used to allow the grant of tax refund or issuance of a tax credit certificate. The absence of official receipts issued in its name is tantamount to non-compliance with the substantiation requirements provided by law. BONIFACIO WATER CORPORATION vs. THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 175142 (2013). The rule that tax deductions, being in the nature of tax exemptions, are to be construed in strictissimi juris against the taxpayer is well settled. Corollary to this rule is the principle that when a taxpayer claims a deduction, he must point to some specific provision of the statute in which that deduction is authorized and must be able to prove that he is entitled to the deduction which the law allows. An item of expenditure, therefore, must fall squarely within the language of the law in order to be deductible. A mere averment that the taxpayer has incurred a loss does not automatically warrant a deduction from its gross income. H. TAMBUNTING PAWNSHOP, INC. vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 173373 (2013). Basic is the principle that a contract is the law between the parties, and its stipulations are binding on them, unless the contract is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy. Indeed, paragraph V of the MOA obligates petitioner to pay the taxes due from the sale of the Genicon laparoscopic instrument. Hence, as between petitioner and respondent, petitioner bears the burden for the payment of VAT. While by agreement of the parties, petitioner bears the economic burden for paying the VAT, the legal liability to pay the same to the BIR falls on respondent. ROLANDO M. MENDIOLA vs. COMMERZ TRADING INT'L., INC., G.R. No. 200895 (2013). Tax conventions are drafted with a view towards the elimination of international juridical double taxation, which is defined as the imposition of comparable taxes in two or more states on the same taxpayer in respect of the same subject matter and for identical periods. A corporation who has paid 15% Branch Profit Remittance Tax (BPRT) has the right to avail (by way of refund) of the benefit of a preferential tax rate of 10% BPRT in accordance with the RP-Germany Tax Treaty despite non-compliance with an application with ITAD at least 15 days before the transaction for the lower rate. BIR must not impose additional requirements that would negate the availment of the reliefs provided for under international agreements. More so, when the RP-Germany Tax Treaty does not provide for any pre-requisite for the availment of the benefits under said agreement. Likewise, it must be stressed that there is nothing in RMO No. 1-2000, which would indicate a deprivation of entitlement to a tax treaty relief for failure to comply with the 15-day period. DEUTSCHE BANK AG MANILA BRANCH vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 188550 (2013). Case law dictates that in a claim for tax refund or tax credit, the applicant must prove not only entitlement to the claim but also compliance with all the documentary and evidentiary requirements therefor. An invoice must reflect, as required by law: (a) the BIR Permit to Print; (b) the TIN·-V of the purchaser; and (c) the word "zero-rated" imprinted thereon. Failure to comply with the said invoicing requirements provide sufficient ground to deny a claim for tax refund or tax credit. J.R.A. PHILIPPINES, INC. vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 171307 (2013).

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A corporation like the Philippine Airlines who has a franchise of its own cannot be subject to the minimum corporate income tax. The reason being- as provided in PD 1590, Section 13 of PAL's franchise, its taxation shall be strictly governed by two fundamental rules, to wit: (1) respondent shall pay the Government either the basic corporate income tax or franchise tax, whichever is lower; and (2) the tax paid by respondent, under either of these alternatives, shall be in lieu of all other taxes, duties, royalties, registration, license, and other fees and charges, except only real property tax. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. (PAL), G.R. No. 179259 (2013). Section 252 emphatically directs that the taxpayer/real property owner questioning the assessment should first pay the tax due before his protest can be entertained. As a matter of fact, the words “paid under protest” shall be annotated on the tax receipts. Consequently, only after such payment has been made by the taxpayer may he file a protest in writing (within thirty [30] days from said payment of tax) to the provincial, city, or municipal treasurer, who shall decide the protest within sixty (60) days from its receipt. In no case is the local treasurer obliged to entertain the protest unless the tax due has been paid. A claim for exemption from payment of real property taxes does not actually question the assessor’s authority to assess and collect such taxes, but pertains to the reasonableness or correctness of the assessment by the local assessor, a question of fact which should be resolved, at the very first instance, by the LBAA. By providing that real property not declared and proved as tax-exempt shall be included in the assessment roll, Section 206 of RA No. 7160 implies that the local assessor has the authority to assess the property for realty taxes, and any subsequent claim for exemption shall be allowed only when sufficient proof has been adduced supporting the claim. CAMP JOHN HAY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. CENTRAL BOARD ASSESSMENT APPEALS, et al., G.R. No. 169234 (2013). A claim for tax refund or credit, like a claim for tax exemption, is construed strictly against the taxpayer. One of the conditions for a judicial claim of refund or credit under the VAT System is compliance with the 120+30 day mandatory and jurisdictional periods. Thus, strict compliance with the 120+30 day periods is necessary for such a claim to prosper, whether before, during, or after the effectivity of the Atlas doctrine, except for the period from the issuance of BIR Ruling No. DA-48903 on 10 December 2003 to 6 October 2010 when the Aichi doctrine was adopted, which again reinstated the 120+30 day periods as mandatory and jurisdictional. Section 4 of the 1997 Tax Code provides that the "power to interpret the provisions of this Code and other tax laws shall be under the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Commissioner, subject to review by the Secretary of Finance," Section 7 of the same Code does not prohibit the delegation of such power. Thus, "the Commissioner may delegate the powers vested in him under the pertinent provisions of this Code to any or such subordinate officials with the rank equivalent to a division chief or higher, subject to such limitations and restrictions as may be imposed under rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner." COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. SAN ROQUE POWER CORPORATION; TAGANITO MINING CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE; PHILEX MINING CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 187485/G.R. No. 196113/G.R. No. 197156 (2013). For a taxpayer to be entitled to a tax credit or refund of creditable withholding tax, the following requisites must be complied with: First, The claim must be filed with the CIR within the two-year period from the date of payment of the tax; Second, It must be shown on the return of the recipient that the income received was declared as part of the gross income; and Third, The fact of withholding is established by a copy of the statement duly issued by the payor to the payee showing the amount paid and the amount of tax withheld. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. TEAM (PHILIPPINES) OPERATIONS CORPORATION, G.R. No. 185728 (2013). The two-year prescriptive period applies only to administrative claims and not to judicial claims. The 120day and 30-day periods are not merely directory but mandatory. The taxpayer will always have 30 days to file the judicial claim even if the Commissioner acts only on the 120th day, or does not act at all during the 120-day period. With the 30-day period always available to the taxpayer, the taxpayer can no longer file a judicial claim for refund or tax credit of unutilized excess input VAT without waiting for the Commissioner to decide until the expiration of the 120-day period. Failure to comply with the 120-day waiting period

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violates the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and renders the petition premature and thus without a cause of action, with the effect that the CTA does not acquire jurisdiction over the taxpayer’s petition. However, the San Roque case provides exception to the strict compliance with the 120-day period. Although the 120-day period is mandatory and jurisdictional, the BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 dated December 10, 2003 provided a valid claim for equitable estoppel under Section 246 of the Tax Code. BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 expressly states that the "taxpayer-claimant need not wait for the lapse of the 120day period before it could seek judicial relief with the CTA by way of Petition for Review. Thus, the BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 will shield the filing of a tax payer’s judicial claim from the vice of prematurity when such claim is filed during its effectivity. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. GST PHILIPPINES, INC., G.R. No. 190872 (2013). Section 229 of the NIRC, which provides for a two-year period, reckoned from the date of payment of the tax or penalty, for the filing of a claim of refund or tax credit, is only pertinent to the recovery of taxes erroneously or illegally assessed or collected. Thus, in claims for refund or a tax credit for the unutilized creditable input VAT, Section 112(A) of the NIRC is applicable and not Section 229. Furthermore, in claims for refund or issuance of tax credit certificate, the 120+30 day period is mandatory and jurisdictional. Where a taxpayer failed to wait for the requisite 120 days after the filing of its claim for refund with the BIR before elevating the case to the CTA, the judicial claim is considered prematurely filed and cognizance thereof cannot be taken. THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. VISAYAS GEOTHERMAL POWER COMPANY, INC., G.R. No. 181276 (2013). When the 120+30 day mandatory periods were already in the law and BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 had not yet been issued, a taxpayer has no excuse for not observing the 120+30 day period. Failure of the taxpayer to observe the mandatory 120-day period is fatal to its claim and will render the CTA devoid of jurisdiction over the judicial claim. APPLIED FOOD INGREDIENTS COMPANY, INC. vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 184266 (2013). Even though the sale of electricity by a power generation company is subject to zero-rated VAT, its claim for refund or tax credit cannot be granted where no VAT official receipts and VAT returns have been presented to prove that it actually made zero-rated sales of electricity. An entity claiming for refund or tax credit carries with it the burden of proving that not only is it entitled under the substantive law to the allowance of its claim for refund or tax credit but also that it met all the requirements for evidentiary substantiation of its claim before the administrative official concerned. LUZON HYDRO CORPORATION vs. COMMISSION ON INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 188260 (2013). Where the purchase and sale of identified assets between two companies under a Purchase and Sale Agreement does not constitute a merger as defined under Section 40 (C)(6)(b) of the Tax Code, the seller and the purchaser are considered entities different from one another. Thus, the purchaser company cannot be held liable for the payment of the deficiency Documentary Stamp Tax assessed against the seller company. COMMISSION OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. BANK OF COMMERCE, G.R. No. 180529 (2013). Nowhere in the language of the first sentence of Section 5 of RA 7678 does it expressly or even impliedly provide that petitioner’s real properties that are actually, directly and exclusively used in its telecommunications business are exempt from payment of realty tax. On the contrary, the first sentence of Section 5 specifically states that the petitioner, as the franchisee, shall pay the ‘same taxes on real estate, buildings, and personal property exclusive of this franchise as other persons or corporations are now or hereafter may be acquired by law to pay.’ DIGITAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINES, INC. v. JESSIE CANTOS, G.R. No. 180200 (2013). The 20% senior citizen discount and tax deduction scheme are valid exercises of police power of the State absent a clear showing that it is arbitrary, oppressive or confiscatory. The discount is intended to improve the welfare of the senior citizens who, at their age, are less likely to be gainfully employed, more prone to illnesses and other disabilities, and thus, in need of subsidy in purchasing commodities. As to its nature an effects, although the regulation affects the pricing, and, hence, the profitability of a private establishment, it does not purport to appropriate or burden specific properties, used in the operation or conduct of the business of private establishments, for the use or benefit of the public, or senior citizens for that matter, but merely regulates the pricing of goods and services relative to, and the amount of profits or

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income/gross sales that such private establishments may derive from, senior citizens. The State can employ police power measures to regulate the pricing of goods and services, and, hence, the profitability of business establishments in order to pursue legitimate State objectives for the common good, provided, the regulation does not go too far as to amount to “taking.”MANILA MEMORIAL PARK, INC. AND LA FUNERARIA PAZ-SUCAT, INC. vs. SECRETARY OF THE DSWD, G.R. No. 175356 (2013). The 120+30-day period in Section(d) (now subparagraph C) requires that upon the inaction of the CIR for 120 days after the submission of the documents in support of the claim, the tax payer has to file its judicial claim within 30 days from the lapse of the said period. The 120+30 day period under Sec. 112 is mandatory and jurisdictional that a judicial claim for refund must be denied if the same has been filed beyond the period prescribed as the Court of Appeals cannot validly acquire jurisdiction over the claim. Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Dash Engineering Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 184145 (2013). Taxpayers with pending tax cases are still qualified to avail themselves of the tax amnesty program. Neither the law nor the implementing rules state that a court ruling that has not attained finality would preclude the availment of the benefits of the Tax Amnesty Law. Thus, the exception issues and cases which were ruled by any court (even without finality) in favour of the BIR prior to amnesty availment of the taxpayer” under BIR RMC 19-2008 is invalid, as the exception goes beyond the scope of the provisions of the 2007 Tax Amnesty Law. CS GARMENT, INC. vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 182399 (2014). A taxpayer claimant only has a limited period of thirty days from the expiration of the 120-day period of inaction of the CIR to file its judicial claim. The non-compliance with the mandatory 30-day period for the filing of a judicial claim is fatal to its refund claim on the ground of prescription. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. SILICON PHILIPPINES INC., G.R. No. 169778 (2014). Section 267 of the Local Government Code of 1991, which relates to actions for annulment of tax sales, is not applicable in cases where the nullity of the auction was raised merely as a defense in a suit for injunction and damages. Raising such issue as a matter of defense does not convert the action to an action for annulment of tax sale. SPOUSES SILVESTRE AND ELENA PLAZA vs. GUILLERMO LUSTIVA, et al., G.R. No. 172909 (2014). The taxpayer who filed its judicial claims within the validity of BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 up to its reversal on October 6, 2010, when the Aichi Doctrine was promulgated, is in a position to claim the benefit of the ruling, which shields the filing of its judicial claim from the vice of prematurity. PROCTER & GAMBLE ASIA PTE LTD. vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 202071 (2014). The 30-day period was adopted precisely to do away with the old rule that the taxpayer may file the judicial claim without waiting for the Commissioner’s decision if the two-year prescriptive period is about to expire, so that under the VAT System the taxpayer will always have 30 days to file the judicial claim even if the Commissioner acts only on the 120th day, or does not act at all during the 120-day period. With the 30-day period always available to the taxpayer, the taxpayer can no longer file a judicial claim for refund or credit of input VAT without waiting for the Commissioner to decide until the expiration of the 120day period. SILICON PHILIPPINES vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. Nos. 184360 & 184361 (2014). The statutory taxpayer who is directly liable to pay the excise tax on its petroleum products, is entitled to a refund or credit of the excise taxes it paid for petroleum products sold to international carriers, the latter having been granted exemption from the payment of said excise tax under Sec. 135 (a) of the NIRC which embodies our compliance with our undertakings under the Chicago Convention and various bilateral air service agreements not to impose excise tax on aviation fuel purchased by international carriers from domestic manufacturers or suppliers. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. PETROLEUM CORPORATION, G.R. No. 188497 (2004).

Since the main purpose of Ordinance No. 18 is to regulate certain construction activities of identified special projects, which included "cell sites" or telecommunications towers, the fees imposed are primarily

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regulatory in nature, and not primarily revenue-raising. While the fees may contribute to the revenues of the Municipality, this effect is merely incidental. Thus, the fees imposed in Ordinance No. 18 are not taxes. Where the fees imposed in an ordinance issued by a municipality on an activity subject of government regulation are regulatory and not revenue-raising in nature, assailing its constitutionality is beyond the jurisdiction of the CTA. SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. vs. MUNICIPALITY OF MALVAR, BATANGAS, G.R. No. 204429 (2014).

The Taxpayer’s failure to comply with the 120-day mandatory period under Section 112(C) of the NIRC renders its petition for review with the CTA void. It is a mere scrap of paper from which the taxpayer cannot derive or acquire any right notwithstanding the supposed failure on the part of the CIR to raise the issue of the taxpayer’s non-compliance with the 120-day period in the proceedings before the CTA Division. Furthermore, a taxpayer can only rely on BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 for the filing of its claim from the time of its issuance on December 10, 2003 up to its reversal by the Aichi Doctrine on October 6, 2010, where it was held that the 120-day period under Section 112(C) of the NIRC is mandatory and jurisdictional. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. TEAM SUAL CORPORATION (FROMERLY MIRANT SUAL CORPORATION, G.R. No. 194105 (2014).

Strict compliance with the 120+30 day mandatory and jurisdictional periods can be dispensed with when the judicial claims are filed on December 10, 2003 (issuance of BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 which states that the taxpayer need not wait for the 120-day period to expire before it could seek judicial relief) to October 6, 2010 (promulgation of the Aichi doctrine). COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. TOLEDO POWER, INC., G.R. No. 183880 (2014).

The taxpayer can file his administrative claim for refund or credit at any time within the two-year prescriptive period. What is only required of him is to file his judicial claim within thirty (30) days after denial of his claim by CIR or after the expiration of the 120-day period within which the CIR can decide on its claim. TEAM ENERGY CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. No. 190928 (2014).

Pursuant to ruling in CIR v. San Roque Power Corporation, the mandatory and jurisdictional nature of the 120-30-day rule does not apply on claims for refund that were prematurely filed during the interim period from the issuance of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Ruling No. DA-489-03 on December 10, 2003 to October 6, 2010 when the Aichi doctrine was adopted. The exemption is premised on the fact that prior to the promulgation of the Aichi decision, there is an existing interpretation laid down in BIR Ruling No. DA489-03 where the BIR expressly ruled that the taxpayer need not wait for the expiration of the 120-day period before it could seek judicial relief with the CTA. Thus, where the taxpayer filed its judicial claim for refund or issuance of tax credit certificate prior to the date where the Aichi case was promulgated, even though the claim was prematurely filed without waiting for the expiration of the 120-day mandatory period, the CTA may still take cognizance of the same as it was filed within the period exempted from the 120-30day mandatory period. TEAM ENERGY CORPORATION vs. CIR, G.R. No. 197760 (2014).

Section 112(D) speaks of two periods: the period of 120 days, which serves as a waiting period to give time for the CIR to act on the administrative claim for refund or credit, and the period of 30 days, which refers to the period for interposing an appeal with the CTA. The 30-day period applies not only to instances of actual denial by the CIR of the claim for refund or tax credit, but to cases of inaction by the CIR as well. Therefore, notwithstanding the timely filing of administrative claims, the CTA does not have jurisdiction over the case where the taxpayer’s judicial claim was filed beyond the 30 day period, the

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nature of such time requirement being mandatory. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE vs. MINDANAO II PARTNERSHIP, G.R. No. 191498 (2014). Under Section 112(A) of the NIRC, for VAT-registered persons whose sales are zero-rated or effectively zero-rated, a claim for the refund or credit of creditable input tax that is due or paid, and that is attributable to zero-rated or effectively zero-rated sales, must be filed within two years after the close of the taxable quarter when such sales were made. The reckoning frame would always be the end of the quarter when the pertinent sale or transactions were made, regardless of when the input VAT was paid. Also, in the filing of judicial claims, the 30-day period to appeal to the CTA is dependent on the 120-day period, compliance with both periods is jurisdictional. The period of 120 days is a prerequisite for the commencement of the 30-day period to appeal to the CTA. CBK POWER COMPANY LIMITED vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, G.R. Nos. 198729-30 (2014). Prior payment of taxes is not necessary before a taxpayer could avail of the 8% transitional input tax credit. All that is required from the taxpayer is to file a beginning inventory with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). A transitional input tax credit is not a tax refund per se but a tax credit. Section 112 of the Tax Code does not prohibit cash refund or tax credit of transitional input tax. The grant of a refund or issuance of tax credit certificate in this case would not contravene the above provision. The refund or tax credit would not be unconstitutional because it is precisely pursuant to Section 105 of the old NIRC which allows refund/tax credit. FORT BONIFACIO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, et al., G.R. No.173425 (2014).

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CIVIL LAW The grant of temperate damages is drawn from equity to provide relief to those definitely injured. Therefore, it may be allowed so long as the court is convinced that the aggrieved party suffered some pecuniary loss. On the other hand, in order to obtain exemplary damages under Article 2232 of the Civil Code, the claimant must prove that the assailed actions of the defendant are not just wrongful, but also wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent.(RENO R. GONZALES, ET. AL. v. CAMARINES SUR II ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC, G.R. No. 181096, March 6, 2013) In a judicial confirmation of title under original registration proceedings, applicants may obtain the registration of title to land upon a showing that they or their predecessors-in-interest have been in (1) open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession and occupation of (2) agricultural lands of the public domain, (3) under a bona fide claim of acquisition or ownership, (4) for at least 30 years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title, except when prevented by war or force majeure. The burden of proof in land registration cases rests on applicants who must show clear, positive and convincing evidence that their alleged possession and occupation were of the nature and duration required by law. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARTIN T. NG, G.R. No. 182449, March 6, 2013)

Under Article 448 pertaining to encroachments in good faith, as well as Article 450 referring to encroachments in bad faith, the owner of the land encroached upon – petitioner herein – has the option to require respondent builder to pay the price of the land. According to jurisprudence, the price must be fixed at the prevailing market value, reckoned at the time that the landowner elected the choice, and not at the time that the property was purchased. (MERCY VDA. DE ROXAS v. OUR LADY’S FOUNDATION, INC., G.R. No. 182378, March 6, 2013) The real estate mortgage over the machineries and equipment is in full accord with the classification of such properties by the Civil Code of the Philippines as immovable property. Article 415 of the Civil Code provided that the following are immovable property: the Land, buildings, roads and constructions of all kinds adhered to the soil; xxx Machinery, receptacles, instruments or implements intended by the owner of tenement for an industry or works which may be carried on in a building or on a piece of land, and which tend directly to meet the needs of the said industry or works. (STAR TWO (SPV-AMC), INC. v. PAPER CITY CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 169211, March 6, 2013) For abandonment to exist, the following requisites must concur: (1) a clear intent to abandon; and (2) an external act showing such intent. The term is defined as the “willful failure of the ARB, together with his farm household, to cultivate, till, or develop his land to produce any crop, or to use the land for any specific economic purpose continuously for a period of two calendar years.” It entails, among others, the relinquishment of possession of the lot for at least two (2) calendar years and the failure to pay the amortization for the same period. “What is critical in abandonment is intent which must be shown to be deliberate and clear.” The intent must be established by the factual failure to work on the landholding absent any valid reason as well as a clear intent, which is shown as a separate element. (HEIRS OF LORENZO BUENSUCESO v. LOVY PEREZ, G.R. No. 173926, March 6, 2013)

A contract of sale is perfected at the moment there is a meeting of minds upon the thing which is the object of the contract and upon the price. Thus, for a contract of sale to be valid, all of the following essential elements must concur: a) consent or meeting of the minds; b) determinate subject matter; and c) price certain in money or its equivalent. In this case, there is no perfected contract of sale between PELA and Al-Amanah for want of consent and agreement on the price. After scrutinizing the testimonial and documentary evidence in the records of the case, it is found that the parties did not agree on the price and no consent was given, whether express or implied. (ROBERN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET. AL. v. PEOPLE’S LANDLESS ASSOCIATION, G.R. No. 173622, March 11, 2013)

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Squatters have no possessory rights over the land intruded upon. The length of time that they may have physically occupied the land is immaterial; they are deemed to have entered the same in bad faith, such that the nature of their possession is presumed to have retained the same character throughout their occupancy. (PILAR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. RAMON DUMADAG, ET. AL., G.R. No. 194336, March 11, 2013) Contracts are obligatory no matter what their forms may be, whenever the essential requisites for their validity are present. In determining whether a document is an affidavit or a contract, the Court looks beyond the title of the document, since the denomination or title given by the parties in their document is not conclusive of the nature of its contents. In the construction or interpretation of an instrument, the intention of the parties is primordial and is to be pursued. If the terms of the document are clear and leave no doubt on the intention of the contracting parties, the literal meaning of its stipulations shall control. If the words appear to be contrary to the parties’ evident intention, the latter shall prevail over the former. In this case, the terms of the Joint Affidavit of Undertaking executed by the parties readily discloses that it contains stipulations characteristic of a contract. (RODOLFO G. CRUZ AND ESPERANZA IBIAS v. ATTY. DELFIN GRUSPE, G.R. No. 191431, March 13, 2013)

Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally came, and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant. The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the resolutory condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the reservee. The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property. He may alienate it subject to the reservation. The transferee gets the revocable and conditional ownership of the reservor. The transferee’s rights are revoked upon the survival of the reservees at the time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasible when the reservees predecease the reservor.

Under Articles 444 and 1942 of the old Civil Code, possession of real property is not affected by acts of a possessory character which are merely tolerated by the possessor, or which are due to his license. Granted that long, continued occupation, accompanied by acts of a possessory character, affords some evidence that possession has been exerted in the character of owner and under claim of right, this inference is unavailing to petitioners since Simplecio’s continued possession of the property after his defeat in the ejectment suit was clearly upon the tolerance of respondents’ predecessors-in-interest. (VEVENCIA ECHIN PABALAN, ET. AL. v. THE HEIRS OF SIMEON A.B. MAAMO, SR., G.R. No. 174844, March 20, 2013

The court ruled that the power to rescind the obligations of the injured party is implied in reciprocal obligations, such as in this case. On this score, the CA correctly applied Article 1191, which provides thus: the power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones, in case one of the obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him.The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation, with the payment of damages in either case. He may also seek rescission, even after he has chosen fulfillment, if the latter should become impossible.The court shall decree the rescission claimed, unless there be just cause authorizing the fixing of a period. ( ALILEO A. MAGLASANG v. NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, INC., G.R. No. 188986, March 20, 2013)

One of the circumstances provided for under Article 1602 of the Civil Code, where a contract shall be presumed to be an equitable mortgage, is "where it may be fairly inferred that the real intention of the parties is that the transaction shall secure the payment of a debt or the performance of any other obligation." In the instant case, it has been established that the intent of both petitioners and respondent is that the subject property shall serve as security for the latter's obligation to the former. The circumstances surrounding the execution of the disputed Deed of Transfer would show that the said

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document was executed to circumvent the terms of the original agreement and deprive respondent of her mortgaged property without the requisite foreclosure. Since the original transaction between the parties was a mortgage, the subsequent assignment of ownership of the subject lots to petitioners without the benefit of foreclosure proceedings, partakes of the nature of a pactum commissorium, as provided for under Article 2088 of the Civil Code. (SPOUSES MARTIRES v. MENELIA CHUA, G.R. No. 174240, March 20, 2013) The lack of a license to sell or the failure on the part of a subdivision developer to register the contract to sell or deed of conveyance with the Register of Deeds does not result to the nullification or invalidation of the contract to sell it entered into with a buyer. The contract to sell remains valid and subsisting. The intrinsic validity of the contract to sell is not affected by the developer’s violation of Section 5 of PD 957.Nevertheless, the respondent in this case is entitled to 50% refund under the Maceda Law. (MOLDEX RAELTY INC. v. FLORA A. SABERON, G.R. No. 176289. April 8, 2013) When one party enters into a covenant with another, he must perform his obligations with fealty and good faith. This becomes more imperative where such party has been given a grant, such as land, under the land reform laws. While the tenant is emancipated from bondage to the soil, the landowner is entitled to his just compensation for the deprivation of his land. (HEIRS OF LAZARO GALLARDO, ET AL. v. PORFERIO SOLIMAN, ET AL., G.R. No. 178952. April 10, 2013)

The evident purpose underlying P.D. 385 is sufficiently served by allowing foreclosure proceedings initiated by GFIs to continue until a judgment therein becomes final and executory, without a restraining order, temporary or permanent injunction against it being issued. But if a parcel of land is occupied by a party other than the judgment debtor, the proper procedure is for the court to order a hearing to determine the nature of said adverse possession before it issues a writ of possession.

Considering that the agreement between the parties was not circumscribed by a definite period, its termination was subject to a condition – the happening of a future and uncertain event. The prevailing rule in conditional obligations is that the acquisition of rights, as well as the extinguishment or loss of those already acquired, shall depend upon the happening of the event that constitutes the condition. Furthermore, quantum meruit should apply in the absence of an express agreement on the fees. (International Hotel Corporation v. Francisco B. Joaquin, Jr., et al. G.R. No. 158361. April 10, 2013)

The binding effect of any agreement between parties to a contract is premised on two settled principles: (1) that any obligation arising from contract has the force of law between the parties; and (2) that there must be mutuality between the parties based on their essential equality. Any contract which appears to be heavily weighed in favor of one of the parties so as to lead to an unconscionable result is void. Any stipulation regarding the validity or compliance of the contract which is left solely to the will of one of the parties, is likewise, invalid. (Spouses Ignacio F. Juico and Alice P. Juico v. China Banking Corporation, G.R. No. 187678 . April 10, 2013)

Consignation is necessarily judicial. Article 1258 of the Civil Code specifically provides that consignation shall be made by depositing the thing or things due at the disposal of judicial authority. The said provision clearly precludes consignation in venues other than the courts.Spouses Oscar and Thelma Cacayorin v. Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc., G.R. No. 171298. April 15, 2013 A trust by operation of law is the right to the beneficial enjoyment of a property whose legal title is vested in another. A trust presumes the existence of a conflict involving one and the same property between two

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parties, one having the rightful ownership and the other holding the legal title. There is no trust created when the property owned by one party is separate and distinct from that which has been registered in another’s name. In this case, the Caparas survey plan and the deed of sale between the petitioners and Miguela showed that the parcel of land sold to the petitioners is distinct from the consolidated parcels of land sold by Caparas to the spouses Perez. (Ricardo Chu, Jr. and Dy Kok Eng v. Melania Caparas and Spouses Ruel and Hermenegilda Perez, G.R. No. 175428. April 15, 2013) In suits to recover properties, all co-owners are real parties in interest. However, pursuant to Article 487 of the Civil Code and the relevant jurisprudence, any one of them may bring an action, any kind of action for the recovery of co-owned properties. Therefore, only one of the co-owners, namely the co-owner who filed the suit for the recovery of the co-owned property, is an indispensable party thereto. The other coowners are not indispensable parties. They are not even necessary parties, for a complete relief can be afforded in the suit even without their participation, since the suit is presumed to have been filed for the benefit of all co-owners. (Rey Castigador Catedrilla v. Mario and Margie Lauron, G.R. No. 179011. April 15, 2013) It is a recognized principle that a person dealing on a registered land need not go beyond its certificate of title, it is also a firmly settled rule that where there are circumstances which would put a party on guard and prompt him to investigate or inspect the property being sold to him, such as the presence of occupants/tenants thereon, it is expected from the purchaser of a valued piece of land to inquire first into the status or nature of possession of the occupants. The burden of proving good faith lies with the second buyer (petitioners herein) which is not discharged by simply invoking the ordinary presumption of good faith. After an assiduous assessment of the evidentiary records, this Court holds that the petitioners are NOT buyers in good faith as they failed to discharge their burden of proof. (Spouses Vallido v. Spouses Pono, et al., G.R. No. 200173. April 15, 2013) The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country. In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. They cannot decide on the "family rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacity" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus, Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nationalii expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code. (MINORU FUJIKI v. MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY, G.R. No. 196049, June 26, 2013) Petitioner’s liability under the suretyship contract is different from its liability under the law. There is no question that as a surety, petitioner should not be made to pay more than its assumed obligation under the surety bonds. However, it is clear from the above-cited jurisprudence that petitioner’s liability for the payment of interest is not by reason of the suretyship agreement itself but because of the delay in the payment of its obligation under the said agreement. (J PLUS ASIA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. UTILITY ASSURANCE CORPORATION, G.R. No. 199650, June 26, 2013) Where the person making the waiver, however, has done so voluntarily, with a full understanding of its terms and with the payment of credible and reasonable consideration, we have no option but to recognize the transaction to be valid and binding. Absence of any evidence showing that fraud, deception or misrepresentation attended the execution of the waiver and quitclaim, the court is sufficiently convinced that a valid transaction took place. (POSEIDON INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SERVICES, INC. v. TITO R. TAMALA ET AL., G.R. No. 186475, June 26, 2013) A contract of sale is defined under Article 1458 of the Civil Code: By the contract of sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay therefore a price certain in money or its equivalent. The elements of a contract of sale are: (a) consent or meeting of the minds, that is, consent to transfer ownership in exchange for the price; (b) determinate subject matter; and (c) price certain in money or its equivalent. The Deed of Sale

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executed by the petitioner and the respondent is a perfected contract of sale, all its elements being present. (ALI AKANG v. MUNICIPALITY OF ISULAN, G.R. No. 186014. June 26, 2013) Since the contract between the parties is an ordinary one for services, the standard of care required of respondent is that of a good father of a family under Article 1173 of the Civil Code. This connotes reasonable care consistent with that which an ordinarily prudent person would have observed when confronted with a similar situation. The test to determine whether negligence attended the performance of an obligation is: did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. (CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS v. JUANITA REYES, ET AL., G.R. No. 185891, June 26, 2013) Thus, an individual’s right to privacy under Article 26(1) of the Civil Code should not be confined to his house or residence as it may extend to places where he has the right to exclude the public or deny them access. The phrase "prying into the privacy of another’s residence," therefore, covers places, locations, or even situations which an individual considers as private. And as long as his right is recognized by society, other individuals may not infringe on his right to privacy. The CA, therefore, erred in limiting the application of Article 26(1) of the Civil Code only to residences. (SPOUSES HING v. ALEXANDER CHOACHUY, SR. G.R. No. 179736. June 26, 2013) Article 1491, paragraph 5 of the Civil Code prohibits court officers such as clerks of court from acquiring property involved in litigation within the jurisdiction or territory of their courts. For the prohibition to apply, the sale or assignment of the property must take place during the pendency of the litigation involving the property. Where the property is acquired after the termination of the case, no violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the Civil Code attaches. A thing is said to be in litigation not only if there is some contest or litigation over it in court, but also from the moment that it becomes subject to the judicial action of the judge. A property forming part of the estate under judicial settlement continues to be subject of litigation until the probate court issues an order declaring the estate proceedings closed and terminated. The rule is that as long as the order for the distribution of the estate has not been complied with, the probate proceedings cannot be deemed closed and terminated. The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only after the payment of all the debts and the remaining estate delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the same. (RODOLFO S. SABIDONG v. NICOLASITO S. SOLAS, A.M. No. P-01-1448 June 25, 2013) When a piece of land is in the actual possession of persons other than the seller, the buyer must be wary and should investigate the rights of those in possession. Without making such inquiry, one cannot claim that he is a buyer in good faith. When a man proposes to buy or deal with realty, his duty is to read the public manuscript, that is, to look and see who is there upon it and what his rights are. A want of caution and diligence, which an honest man of ordinary prudence is accustomed to exercise in making purchases, is in contemplation of law, a want of good faith. The buyer who has failed to know or discover that the land sold to him is in adverse possession of another is a buyer in bad faith. ( HOSPICIO D. ROSAROSO v. LUCILA LABORTE SORIA, G.R. No. 194846, June 19, 2013) Temperate or moderate damages avail when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount cannot from the nature of the case, be proved with certainty In this case, it cannot be denied that the heirs of Magdua suffered pecuniary loss, although the exact amount was not proved with certainty. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PERCIVAL DELA ROSA Y BAYER G.R. No. 201723. June 13, 2013 The real purpose of the Torrens system is to quiet title to land and to stop forever any question as to its legality. Once a title is registered, the owner may rest secure, without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting on the "mirador su casa," to avoid the possibility of losing his land. A Torrens title is generally a conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land referred to therein. A strong presumption exists that Torrens titles are regularly issued and that they are valid. In this case, (DEOGENES O. RODRIGUEZ v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND PHILIPPINE CHINESE CHARITABLE ASSOCIATION, INC., G.R. No. 184589, June 13, 2013

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Estoppel is based on the grounds of public policy, fair dealing, good faith, and justice and its purpose is to forbid one to speak against his own act, representations or commitments to the injury of one to whom they were directed and who reasonably relied on it. Thus, in order for this doctrine to operate, a representation must have been made to the detriment of another who relied on it. In other words, estoppel would not lie against one who, in the first place, did not make any representation. ( SPOUSES RUBIN AND PORTIA HOJAS v. PHILIPPINE AMANAH BANK AND RAMON KUE .R. No. 193453, June 5, 2013) The petitioner may vindicate its rights in the property through an action for quieting of title, a common law remedy designed for the removal of any cloud upon, or doubt, or uncertainty affecting title to real property. The action for quieting of title may be brought whenever there is a cloud on title to real property or any interest in real property by reason of any instrument, record, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding that is apparently valid or effective, but is, in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and may be prejudicial to said title. This Court holds that the DARAB decision in favor of Cabral satisfies all four elements of a cloud on title. (GREEN ACRES HOLDINGS, INC. v. VICTORIA CABRAL ET AL., G.R No. 175542, June 5, 2013) All statutes, including those of local application and private laws, shall be published as a condition for their effectivity, which shall begin fifteen days after publication unless a different effectivity date is fixed by the legislature. The publication must be in full or it is no publication at all since its purpose is to inform the public of the contents of the laws. As correctly pointed out by the petitioners, the mere mention of the number of the presidential decree, the title of such decree, its whereabouts (e.g., "with Secretary Tuvera"), the supposed date of effectivity, and in a mere supplement of the Official Gazette cannot satisfy the publication requirement.( NAGKAKAISANG MARALITA NG SITIO MASIGASIG, INC. v. MILITARY SHRINE SERVICES – PHILIPPINE VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE ET AL., G.R. No. 187587, June 5, 2013) Obligations arising from contracts, after all, have the force of law between the contracting parties who are expected to abide in good faith with their contractual commitments, not weasel out of them. Moreover, when the terms of the contract are clear and leave no doubt as to the intention of the contracting parties, the rule is settled that the literal meaning of its stipulations should govern. In such cases, courts have no authority to alter a contract by construction or to make a new contract for the parties. Since their duty is confined to the interpretation of the one which the parties have made for themselves without regard to its wisdom or folly, it has been ruled that courts cannot supply material stipulations or read into the contract words it does not contain. Indeed, courts will not relieve a party from the adverse effects of an unwise or unfavorable contract freely entered into. (HEIRS OF MANUEL UY EK LIONG v. MAURICIA MEER CASTILLO ET AL., G.R. No. 176425, June 5, 2013) In a contract to sell, the seller retains ownership of the property until the buyer has paid the price in full. A buyer who covertly usurps the seller's ownership of the property prior to the full payment of the price is in breach of the contract and the seller is entitled to rescission because the breach is substantial and fundamental as it defeats the very object of the parties in entering into the contract to sell. In the case at bar, the court finds that respondent Rowena’s act of transferring the title to the subject land in her name, without the knowledge and consent of petitioners and despite non-payment of the full price thereof, constitutes a substantial and fundamental breach of the contract to sell. (SPOUSES DELFIN O. TUMIBAY AND AURORA T. TUMIBA-DECEASED ET AL. v. SPOUSES MELVIN A. LOPEZ, G.R. No. 171692, June 3, 2013) The law only requires (1) the posting of notices of sale in three public places, and (2) the publication of the same in a newspaper of general circulation. Personal notice to the mortgagor is not necessary. However, the parties to the mortgage contract are not precluded from exacting additional requirements. Precisely, the purpose of the foregoing stipulation is to apprise respondent of any action which petitioner might take on the subject property, thus according him the opportunity to safeguard his rights. When petitioner failed to send the notice of foreclosure sale to respondent, he committed a contractual breach sufficient to render the foreclosure sale on November 23, 1981 null and void.( Lim vs. Development Bank of the Philippines, G.R. No. 177050, July 1, 2013)

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Rent is a civil fruit that belongs to the owner of the property producing it by right of accession. The rightful recipient of the disputed rent in this case should thus be the owner of the subject lot at the time the rent accrued. It is beyond question that Spouses Marañon never lost ownership over the subject lot. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. SPS. BERNARD AND CRESENCIA MARAÑON, G.R. No. 189316, July 1, 2013. When a property is taken by the government for public use, jurisprudence clearly provides for the remedies available to a landowner. The owner may recover his property if its return is feasible or, if it is not, the aggrieved owner may demand payment of just compensation for the land taken. For failure of respondents to question the lack of expropriation proceedings for a long period of time, they are deemed to have waived and are estopped from assailing the power of the government to expropriate or the public use for which the power was exercised. (SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS ET AL. v. SPOUSES HERACLEO AND RAMONA TECSON, G.R. No. 179334. July 1, 2013) Benjamin and Sally cohabitated without the benefit of marriage. Thus, only the properties acquired by them through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. Thus, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly excluded the 37 properties being claimed by Sally which were given by Benjamin’s father to his children as advance inheritance. SALLY GO-BANGAYAN v. BENJAMIN BANGAYAN, JR., G.R. No. 201061, July 3, 2013) The payment made to Caltex as the insured being thereby duly documented, respondent became subrogated as a matter of course pursuant to Article 2207 of the Civil Code. In legal contemplation, subrogation is the "substitution of another person in the place of the creditor, to whose rights he succeeds in relation to the debt;" and is "independent of any mere contractual relations between the parties to be affected by it, and is broad enough to cover every instance in which one party is required to pay a debt for which another is primarily answerable, and which in equity and conscience ought to be discharged by the latter." (VECTOR SHIPPING CORPORATION, et al. v. AMERICAN HOME ASSURANCE CO., ET AL., G.R. No. 159213) Petitioner claims to have had an oral contract of attorney’s fees with the deceased spouses, Article 1145 of the Civil Code allows him a period of six (6) years within which to file an action to recover professional fees for services rendered. Respondents never asserted or provided any evidence that Spouses de Guzman refused petitioner’s legal representation. For this reason, petitioner’s cause of action began to run only from the time the respondents refused to pay him his attorney’s fees. (RANCISCO L. ROSARIO, JR. v. LELLANI DE GUZMAN, et al., G.R. No. 191247. July 10, 2013) The prescription of actions for the reconveyance of real property based on implied trust is 10 years. Verily, the reckoning point for purposes of the Dicos’ demand of reconveyance based on fraud was their discovery of the fraud. Such discovery was properly pegged on the date of the registration of the transfer certificates of title in the adverse parties’ names, because registration was a constructive notice to the whole world. (SPOUSES ANGELES DICO AND CELSO DICO, SR. v. VIZCAYA MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, et al., G.R. No. 161211. July 17, 2013) The nature of reconstitution proceedings under RA 26 denotes a restoration of the instrument, which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed, in its original form and condition. On this score, it bears stressing that the nature of reconstitution proceedings under RA 26 denotes a restoration of the instrument, which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed, in its original form and condition. As such, reconstitution must be granted only upon clear proof that the title sought to be restored had previously existed and was issued to the petitioner. Strict compliance with the requirements of the law aims to thwart dishonest parties from abusing reconstitution proceedings as a means of illegally obtaining properties otherwise already owned by other parties. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RICORDITO N. DE ASIS, JR.G.R. No. 193874, July 24, 2013) Tender of payment "is the manifestation by the debtor of a desire to comply with or pay an obligation. If refused without just cause, the tender of payment will discharge the debtor of the obligation to pay but

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only after a valid consignation of the sum due shall have been made with the proper court." Consignation is the deposit of the proper amount with a judicial authority in accordance with rules prescribed by law, after the tender of payment has been refused or because of circumstances which render direct payment to the creditor impossible or inadvisable. Tender of payment, without more, produces no effect. To have the effect of payment and the consequent extinguishment of the obligation to pay, the law requires the companion acts of tender of payment and consignation. (SPS. NAMAEL AND LOURDES BONROSTRO v. SPS. JUAN AND CONSTACIA LUNA, G.R. No. 172346. July 24, 2013) A valid contract of sale requires: (a) a meeting of minds of the parties to transfer ownership of the thing sold in exchange for a price; (b) the subject matter, which must be a possible thing; and (c) the price certain in money or its equivalent. In this case, all the elements were present. However, there is no evidence to show that the other co-owners consented to Alejandro’s sale transaction with the petitioner. Hence, for want of authority to sell Lot No. 3, Alejandro only sold his aliquot share of the subject property to the petitioner. (REMAN RECIO v. HEIRS OF SPOUSES AGUEGO and MARIA ALTAMIRANO, G.R. No. 182349. July 24, 2013) As a general rule, a contract of agency may be oral. However, it must be written when the law requires a specific form. Specifically, Article 1874 of the Civil Code provides that the contract of agency must be written for the validity of the sale of a piece of land or any interest therein. Otherwise, the sale shall be void. A related provision, Article 1878 of the Civil Code, states that special powers of attorney are necessary to convey real rights over immovable properties. Further the special power of attorney mandated by law must be one that expressly mentions a sale or that includes a sale as a necessary ingredient of the authorized act. Such power must be must express in clear and unmistakable language. In the present case, the pieces of documentary evidence by Sally did not convince the Court as to the existence of agency. Necessarily, the absence of a contract of agency renders the contract of sale unenforceable. Joy Training effectively did not enter into a valid contract of sale with the spouses Yoshizaki. (SALLY YOSHIZAKI v. JOY TRAINING CENTER OF AURORA, INC., G.R. No. 174978. July 31, 2013)

Article 1544 of the Civil Code does not apply to sales involving unregistered land. Suffice it to state that the issue of the buyer’s good or bad faith is relevant only where the subject of the sale is registered land, and the purchaser is buying the same from the registered owner whose title to the land is clean. In such case, the purchaser who relies on the clean title of the registered owner is protected if he is a purchaser in good faith for value. Act No. 3344 applies to sale of unregistered lands. What applies in this case is Act No. 3344, as amended, which provides for the system of recording of transactions over unregistered real estate. Act No. 3344 expressly declares that any registration made shall be without prejudice to a third party with a better right. (SPOUSES CLEMENCIO C. SABITSANA, JR v. JUANITO F. MUERTEGUI, G.R. No. 181359 August 5, 2013)

The presumption under Article 160 of the New Civil Code, that property acquired during marriage is conjugal, does not apply where there is no showing as to when the property alleged to be conjugal was acquired. The presumption cannot prevail when the title is in the name of only one spouse and the rights of innocent third parties are involved. Moreover, when the property is registered in the name of only one spouse and there is no showing as to when the property was acquired by same spouse, this is an indication that the property belongs exclusively to the said spouse. Moreover, the presumption may be rebutted only with strong, clear, categorical and convincing evidence. There must be strict proof of the exclusive ownership of one of the spouses, and the burden of proof rests upon the party asserting it. (BOBBY TAN, v. GRACE ANDRADE, ET AL. v. BOBBY TAN, G.R. No. 172017 / G.R. No. 171904 August 7, 2013)

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Compensation is a mode of extinguishing to the concurrent amount, the debts of persons who in their own right are creditors and debtors of each other. The object of compensation is the prevention of unnecessary suits and payments through the mutual extinction by operation of law of concurring debts. (ADELAIDA SORIANO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 181692, August 14, 2013)

In the absence of an express stipulation as to the rate of interest that would govern the parties, the rate of legal interest for loans or forbearance of any money, goods or credits and the rate allowed in judgments shall no longer be twelve percent (12%) per annum - as reflected in the case of Eastern Shipping Lines but will now be six percent (6%) per annum effective July 1, 2013, pursuant to Monetary Board Resolution No. 796. It should be noted, nonetheless, that the new rate could only be applied prospectively and not retroactively. Consequently, the twelve percent (12%) per annum legal interest shall apply only until June 30, 2013. Come July 1, 2013 the new rate of six percent (6%) per annum shall be the prevailing rate of interest when applicable. (DARIO NACAR, v. GALLERY FRAMES AND/OR FELIPE BORDEY, JR., G.R. No. 189871, August 13, 2013)

A co-owner cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co-owners, absent any clear repudiation of the co-ownership. In order that the title may prescribe in favor of a co-owner, the following requisites must concur: (1) the co-owner has performed unequivocal acts of repudiation amounting to an ouster of the other co-owners; (2) such positive acts of repudiation have been made known to the other co-owners; and (3) the evidence thereof is clear and convincing. (ANTIPOLO INING (DECEASED), SURVIVED BY MANUEL VILLANUEVA ET. AL. v. LEONARDO R. VEGA ET. AL, G.R. No. 174727, August 12, 2013)

As a general rule and pursuant to the Regalian Doctrine, all lands of the public domain belong to the State and are inalienable. Lands that are not clearly under private ownership are also presumed to belong to the State and, therefore, may not be alienated or disposed; The following are excepted from the general rule, to wit:

(a) Agricultural lands of the public domain are rendered alienable and disposable through any of the exclusive modes enumerated under Section 11 of the Public Land Act. If the mode is judicial confirmation of imperfect title under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act, the agricultural land subject of the application needs only to be classified as alienable and disposable as of the time of the application, provided the applicant’s possession and occupation of the land dated back to June 12, 1945, or earlier. Thereby, a conclusive presumption that the applicant has performed all the conditions essential to a government grant arises, and the applicant becomes the owner of the land by virtue of an imperfect or incomplete title. By legal fiction, the land has already ceased to be part of the public domain and has become private property.

(b) Lands of the public domain subsequently classified or declared as no longer intended for public use or for the development of national wealth are removed from the sphere of public dominion and are considered converted into patrimonial lands or lands of private ownership that may be alienated or disposed through any of the modes of acquiring ownership under the Civil Code. If the mode of acquisition is prescription, whether ordinary or extraordinary, proof that the land has been already converted to private ownership prior to the requisite acquisitive prescriptive period is a condition sine qua non in observance of the law (Article 1113, Civil Code) that property of the State not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. (HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 179987, September 3, 2013)

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Under Article 2194 of the Civil Code, joint tort-feasors are solidarily liable for the resulting damage. Joint tort-feasors are each liable as principals, to the same extent and in the same manner as if they had performed the wrongful act themselves. It is likewise not an excuse for any of the joint tort-feasors that individual participation in the tort was insignificant as compared to that of the other. To stress, joint tortfeasors are not liable pro rata. The damages cannot be apportioned among them, except by themselves. They cannot insist upon an apportionment, for the purpose of each paying an aliquot part. They are jointly and severally liable for the whole amount. Thus, as joint tort-feasors, Malvar and the respondents should be held solidarily liable to the Intervenor. (CZARINA T. MALVAR v. KRAFT FOOD PHILS., INC., ET. AL. G.R. No. 183952, September 9, 2013) Commercial and industrial activities which are lawful in themselves may become nuisances if they are so offensive to the senses that they render the enjoyment of life and property uncomfortable. The fact that the cause of the complaint must be substantial has often led to expressions in the opinions that to be a nuisance the noise must be deafening or loud or excessive and unreasonable. The determining factor when noise alone is the cause of complaint is not its intensity or volume. It is that the noise is of such character as to produce actual physical discomfort and annoyance to a person of ordinary sensibilities, rendering adjacent property less comfortable and valuable. If the noise does that it can well be said to be substantial and unreasonable in degree, and reasonableness is a question of fact dependent upon all the circumstances and conditions. There can be no fixed standard as to what kind of noise constitutes a nuisance. (SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC., v. ARSENIO ALDECOA, ET. AL., G.R. No. 166330, September 11, 2013)

In a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage, pieces of documentary evidence issued by the NSO were offered but the NSO records custodian certifying the authenticity and due execution of the public documents did not testify in court. There is no question that the documents submitted by petitioner as evidence are all public documents. As provided in Article 410 of the Civil Code, the books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be considered public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained.

As public documents, they are admissible in evidence even without further proof of their due execution and genuineness. Thus, the RTC erred when it disregarded said documents on the sole ground that the petitioner did not present the records custodian of the NSO who issued them to testify on their authenticity and due execution since proof of authenticity and due execution was not anymore necessary. Moreover, not only are said documents admissible, they deserve to be given evidentiary weight because they constitute prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. And in the instant case, the facts stated therein remain unrebutted since neither the private respondent nor the public prosecutor presented evidence to the contrary. (YASUO IWASAWA v. FELISA CUSTODIO GANGAN ET AL., G.R. No. 204169, September 11, 2013)

The two conditional deeds of sale entered into by the parties are contracts to sell, as they both contained a stipulation that ownership of the properties shall not pass to the vendee until after full payment of the purchase price. In a conditional sale, as in a contract to sell, ownership remains with the vendor and does not pass to the vendee until full payment of the purchase price. The full payment of the purchase price partakes of a suspensive condition, and non-fulfillment of the condition prevents the obligation to sell from arising. To differentiate, a deed of sale is absolute when there is no stipulation in the contract that title to the property remains with the seller until full payment of the purchase price.

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Articles 1191 and 1592 of the Civil Code are applicable to contracts of sale, while R.A. No. 6552 applies to contracts to sell. R.A. No. 6552, otherwise known as the Realty Installment Buyer Act, applies to the subject contracts to sell. R.A. No. 6552 (Maceda Law) recognizes in conditional sales of all kinds of real estate (industrial, commercial, residential) the right of the seller to cancel the contract upon non-payment of an installment by the buyer, which is simply an event that prevents the obligation of the vendor to convey title from acquiring binding force. (MANUEL UY & SONS, INC. v. VALBUECO, INCORPORATED, G.R. No. 179594. September 11, 2013) The settled rule is that novation is never presumed, but must be clearly and unequivocally shown. In order for a new agreement to supersede the old one, the parties to a contract must expressly agree that they are abrogating their old contract in favor of a new one. Thus, the mere substitution of debtors will not result innovation, and the fact that the creditor accepts payments from a third person, who has assumed the obligation, will result merely in the addition of debtors and not novation, and the creditor may enforce the obligation against both debtors. If there is no agreement as to solidarity, the first and new debtors are considered obligated jointly. (S.C. MEGAWORLD CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. ENGR. LUIS U. PARADA, G.R. No. 183804, September 11, 2013)

It is a well-known doctrine that the issue as to whether the certificate of title was procured by falsification or fraud can only be raised in an action expressly instituted for the purpose. A Torrens title can be attacked only for fraud, within one year after the date of the issuance of the decree of registration. Such attack must be direct, and not by a collateral proceeding. The title represented by the certificate cannot be changed, altered, modified, enlarged, or diminished in a collateral proceeding. The certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. (HILARIA BAGAYAS v. ROGELIO BAGAYAS, ET. AL., G.R. Nos. 187308 and 187517, September 18, 2013) In novation, a subsequent obligation extinguishes a previous one through substitution either by changing the object or principal conditions, by substituting another in place of the debtor, or by subrogating a third person into the rights of the creditor. Novation requires (a) the existence of a previous valid obligation; (b) the agreement of all parties to the new contract; (c) the extinguishment of the old contract; and (d) the validity of the new one. There cannot be novation in this case since the proposed substituted parties did not agree to the PRA’s supposed assignment of its obligations under the contract for the electrical and light works at Heritage Park to the HPMC. The latter definitely and clearly rejected the PRA’s assignment of its liability under that contract to the HPMC. (PHILIPPINE RECLAMATION AUTHORITY (FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE PUBLIC ESTATES AUTHORITY) v. ROMAGO, INC./ROMAGO, INC. v. PHILIPPINE RECLAMATION AUTHORITY, G.R. Nos. 174665 and 175221, September 18, 2013) Article 147 of the Family Code applies to the union of parties who are legally capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract marriage, but whose marriage is nonetheless declared void under Article 36 of the Family Code, as in this case. Under this property regime, property acquired during the marriage is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through the couple’s joint efforts and governed by the rules on co-ownership. In the present case, Salas did not rebut this presumption. In a similar case where the ground for nullity of marriage was also psychological incapacity, we held that the properties acquired during the union of the parties, as found by both the RTC and the CA, would be governed by coownership. (JUAN SEVILLA, JR. v. EDEN VILLENA AGUILA, G.R. No. 202370, September 23, 2013) The general rule is that heirs are bound by contracts entered into by their predecessors-in-interest except when the rights and obligations arising therefrom are not transmissible by (1) their nature, (2) stipulation or (3) provision of law. In the subject Contract of Lease, not only were there no stipulations prohibiting any transmission of rights, but its very terms and conditions explicitly provided for the transmission of the rights of the lessor and of the lessee to their respective heirs and successors. The contract is the law between the parties. The death of a party does not excuse nonperformance of a contract, which involves a property right, and the rights and obligations thereunder pass to the successors or representatives of the deceased. Similarly, nonperformance is not excused by the death of the party when the other party has a property interest in the subject matter of the contract. (ANALITA P. INOCENCION, SUBSTITUTING

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FOR RAMON INOCENCION (DECEASED) v. HOSPICIO DE SAN JOSE, G.R. No. 201787, September 25, 2013) To note, while the quality of contingency inheres in a contract to sell, the same should not be confused with a conditional contract of sale. In a contract to sell, the fulfillment of the suspensive condition will not automatically transfer ownership to the buyer although the property may have been previously delivered to him. The prospective seller still has to convey title to the prospective buyer by entering into a contract of absolute sale.On the other hand, in a conditional contract of sale, the fulfillment of the suspensive condition renders the sale absolute and the previous delivery of the property has the effect of automatically transferring the seller’s ownership or title to the property to the buyer. (FREDERICK VENTURA, MARITES VENTURA-ROXAS v. HEIRS OF SPOUSES EUSTACIO T. ENDAYA and TRINIDAD L. ENDAYA, G.R. No. 190016, October 2, 2013)

Under the pari delicto doctrine, the parties to a controversy are equally culpable or guilty, they shall have no action against each other, and it shall leave the parties where it finds them. As a doctrine in civil law, the rule on pari delicto is principally governed by Articles 1411 and 1412 of the Civil Code. It must be stressed that Article 1412 of the Civil Code that breathes life to the doctrine speaks of the rights and obligations of the parties to the contract with an illegal cause or object which does not constitute a criminal offense. It applies to contracts which are void for illegality of subject matter and not to contracts rendered void for being simulated, or those in which the parties do not really intend to be bound thereby. (OSCAR CONSTANTINO, MAXIMA CONSTANTINO and CASIMIRA MATURINGAN v. HEIRS OF PEDRO CONSTANTINO, JR., G.R. No. 181508, October 2, 2013)

It is not enough for a seller to show that he is capable of delivering the goods on the date he agreed to make the delivery. He has to bring his goods and deliver them at the place their agreement called for, i.e., at the Ajinomoto Pasig River wharf. A stipulation designating the place and manner of delivery is controlling on the contracting parties. The thing sold can only be understood as delivered to the buyer when it is placed in the buyer’s control and possession at the agreed place of delivery. Cargill presented no evidence that it attempted to make other deliveries to complete the balance of Contract 5026. (SAN FERNANDO REGALA TRADING, INC. v. CARGILL PHILIPPINES, INC., G.R. No. 178008, October 9, 2013)

A person dealing with a registered land has the right to rely on the face of the Torrens title and need not inquire further, unless the party concerned has actual knowledge of facts and circumstances that would impel a reasonably cautious man to make such an inquiry. The indefeasibility of a Torrens title as evidence of lawful ownership of the property protects buyers in good faith who rely on what appears on the face of the said certificate of title. Moreover, a potential buyer is charged with notice of only the burdens and claims annotated on the title. There has been no showing that Spouses Fernandez were aware of any irregularity in Carlos’ title that would make them suspicious and cause them to doubt the legitimacy of Carlos’ claim of ownership, especially because there were no encumbrances annotated on Carlos’ title. Hence, the current possessor, shall remain to be so until such time that his possession is successfully contested by a person with a better right. (VIRGILIO G. CAGATAO v. GUILLERMO ALMONTE, G.R. No. 174004, October 9, 2013)

To recover moral damages in an action for breach of contract, the breach must be palpably wanton, reckless and malicious, in bad faith, oppressive, or abusive. Hence, the person claiming bad faith must prove its existence by clear and convincing evidence for the law always presumes good faith. Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence; hence, it is a question of intention, which can be inferred from one’s conduct and/or contemporaneous statements. The inappropriate dealings of Adriano

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to acquire financial gain at the expense of respondents, with the approval or acquiescence of the Board; the hiring of unqualified personnel being used as a ground for termination despite the fact that such hiring was upon their recommendation; and the repeated allegations of non-compliance even if respondents had corrected already what were complained of, constituted unjust and dishonest acts schemed by the petitioners to provide an appearance of validity to the termination. These acts constituted bad faith on part of petitioner. (JAIME P. ADRIANO and LEGASPI TOWERS 300, INC. v. ALBERTO LASALA and LOURDES LASALA, G.R. No. 197842, October 9, 2013)

The general rule is that rescission of a contract will not be permitted for a slight or casual breach, but only for such substantial and fundamental violations as would defeat the very object of the parties in making the agreement. It must be pointed that in the absence of a stipulation, a party cannot unilaterally and extra judicially rescind a contract. A judicial or notarial act is necessary before a valid rescission can take place.

Even if Article 1191 were applicable, petitioner would still not be entitled to automatic rescission. Under Article 1191of the Civil Code, the right to resolve reciprocal obligations, is deemed implied in case one of the obligors shall fail to comply with what is incumbent upon him. But that right must be invoked judicially. Consequently, even if the right to rescind is made available to the injured party, the obligation is not ipso facto erased by the failure of the other party to comply with what is incumbent upon him. The party entitled to rescind should apply to the court for a decree of rescission. The right cannot be exercised solely on a party’s own judgment that the other committed a breach of the obligation. The operative act which produces the resolution of the contract is the decree of the court and not the mere act of the vendor. (EDS MANUFACTURING, INC. v. HEALTHCHECK INTERNATIONAL INC. G.R. No. 162802, October 9, 2013)

In a contract of Sale, one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership of and to deliver a determinate thing while the other party obligates himself to pay therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent. There was no sale on credit in this case because ownership of the items did not pass from one party to the other. There is also no novation made. The acceptance of partial payments, without further change in the original relation between the complainant and the accused, cannot produce novation. There must be proof of intent to extinguish the original relationship, and such intent cannot be inferred from the mere acceptance of payments on account of what is totally due. (NARCISO DEGAÑOS vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 162826. October 14, 2013)

Trust is the legal relationship between one person having an equitable ownership in property and another person owning the legal title to such property, the equitable ownership of the former entitling him to the performance of certain duties and the exercise of certain powers by the latter. A trust fund refers to money or property set aside as a trust for the benefit of another and held by a trustee. Under the Civil Code, trusts are classified as either express or implied. An express trust is created by the intention of the trustor or of the parties, while an implied trust comes into being by operation of law. (GERSIP ASSOCIATION, INC., LETICIA ALMAZAN, ANGELA NARVAEZ, MARIA B. PINEDA, LETICIA DE MESA AND ALFREDO D. PINEDA v. GOVERNMENT INSURANCE SERVICE SYSTEM, G.R. No. 189827, October 16, 2013)

A marriage, contracted for the sole purpose of acquiring American citizenship is NOT void ab initio on the ground of lack of consent. Under Article 2 of the Family Code, consent is an essential requisite of

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marriage. Article 4 of the same Code provides that the absence of any essential requisite shall render a marriage void ab initio. Under said Article 2, for consent to be valid, it must be (1) freely given and (2) made in the presence of a solemnizing officer. A "freely given" consent requires that the contracting parties willingly and deliberately enter into the marriage. Consent must be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor rendered defective by any of the vices of consent under Articles 45 and 46 of the Family Code, such as fraud, force, intimidation, and undue influence. Consent must also be conscious or intelligent, in that the parties must be capable of intelligently understanding the nature of, and both the beneficial or unfavorable consequences of their act. Their understanding should not be affected by insanity, intoxication, drugs, or hypnotism. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LIBERTY D. ALBIOS, G.R. No. 198780. October 16, 2013) Under Article 2206 of the Civil Code, the heirs of the victim are entitled to indemnity for loss of earning capacity. Compensation of this nature is awarded not for loss of earnings, but for loss of capacity to earn money. The indemnification for loss of earning capacity partakes of the nature of actual damages which must be duly proven by competent proof and the best obtainable evidence thereof. Thus, as a general rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity. By way of exception, damages for loss of earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of documentary evidence when (1) the deceased is self-employed and earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws, or (2) the deceased is employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current labor laws. (ROBERT DA JOSE, ET AL. vs. CELERINA R. ANGELES, ET AL., G.R. No. 187899. October 23, 2013) A tenancy relationship is a juridical tie that arises between a landowner and a tenant once they agree, expressly or impliedly, to undertake jointly the cultivation of a land belonging to the landowner, as a result of which relationship the tenant acquires the right to continue working on and cultivating the land. The relationship cannot be presumed. Mere occupation or cultivation of an agricultural land does not automatically convert the tiller into an agricultural tenant recognized under agrarian laws. (HEIRS OF FLORENTINO QUILO v. DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES-DAGUPAN BRANCH, ET AL., G.R. No. 184369. October 23, 2013) Under the abuse of rights principle found in Article 19 of the Civil Code, a person must, in the exercise of legal right or duty, act in good faith. He would be liable if he instead acted in bad faith, with intent to prejudice another. Good faith refers to the state of mind which is manifested by the acts of the individual concerned. It consists of the intention to abstain from taking an unconscionable and unscrupulous advantage of another. Malice or bad faith, on the other hand, implies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral obliquity. (CALIFORNIA CLOTHING, INC. AND MICHELLE S. YBANEZ v. SHIRLEY G. QUINONES, G.R. No. 175822. October 23, 2013) Based on Section 14(1) of P.D. No. 1529, applicants for registration of land title must establish and prove: (1) that the subject land forms part of the disposable and alienable lands of the public domain; (2) that the applicant and his predecessors-in-interest have been in open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of the same; and (3) that it is under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12, 1945, or earlier. The foregoing requisites are indispensable for an application for registration of land title, under Section 14(1) of P.D. No. 1529, to validly prosper. The absence of any one requisite renders the application for registration substantially defective. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LUIS MIGUEL O. ABOITIZ, G.R. No. 174626. October 23, 2013)

Well-settled is the rule that rescission will not be permitted for a slight or casual breach of the contract. The question of whether a breach of contract is substantial depends upon the attending circumstances. Also, Article 1191 of the Civil Code expressly provides that rescission is without prejudice to the rights of third persons who have acquired the thing, in accordance with Article 1385 of the Civil Code. In turn, Article 1385 states that rescission cannot take place when the things which are the object of the contract are legally in the possession of third persons who did not act in bad faith. (PLANTERS DEVELOPMENT

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BANK V. SPS. ERNESTO LOPEZ AND FLORENTINA LOPEZ, ET AL., G.R. NO. 186332. OCTOBER 23, 2013) As proof that the subject property is alienable and disposable, Tensuan presented a Certification dated July 29, 1999 issued by the CENRO-DENR which verified that "said land falls within alienable and disposable land under Project No. 27-B L.C. Map No. 2623 under Forestry Administrative Order No. 41141 dated January 3, 1968." However, the Supreme Court have declared unequivocally that a CENRO Certification, by itself, is insufficient proof that a parcel of land is alienable and disposable. The CENRO is not the official repository or legal custodian of the issuances of the DENR Secretary declaring public lands as alienable and disposable. The CENRO should have attached an official publication of the DENR Secretary’s issuance declaring the land alienable and disposable. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LYDIA CAPCO DE TENSUAN, represented by CLAUDIA C. ARUELO, G.R. No. 171136, October 23, 2013) Article 1956 of the Civil Code, which refers to monetary interest, specifically mandates that no interest shall be due unless it has been expressly stipulated in writing. Thus, the collection of interest in loans or forbearance of money is allowed only when these two conditions concur: (1) there was an express stipulation for the payment of interest; (2) the agreement for the payment of the interest was reduced in writing. Absent any of these two conditions, the money debtor cannot be made liable for interest. Thus, petitioner is entitled only to the principal amount of the loan plus the allowable legal interest from the time of the demand, at the rate of 6% per annum. (TING TING PUA v. SPOUSES BENITO LO BUN TIONG and CAROLINE SIOK CHING TENG, G.R. No. 198660, October 23, 2013) A buyer in good faith is one who buys the property of another without notice that some other person has a right to or interest in such property. To prove good faith, the following conditions must be present: (a) the seller is the registered owner of the land; (b) the owner is in possession thereof; and (3) at the time of the sale, the buyer was not aware of any claim or interest of some other person in the property, or of any defect or restriction in the title of the seller or in his capacity to convey title to the property. All these conditions must be present, otherwise, the buyer is under obligation to exercise extra ordinary diligence by scrutinizing the certificates of title and examining all factual circumstances to enable him to ascertain the seller's title and capacity to transfer any interest in the property. (SPOUSES ELISEO R. BAUTISTA AND EMPERA TRIZ C. BAUTISTA vs. SPOUSES MILA JALANDONI AND ANTONIO JALANDONI, G.R. No. 171464, November 27, 2013)

The rate of interest declared illegal and unconscionable does not entitle petitioners-spouses to stop payment of interest. It should be emphasized that only the rate of interest was declared void. The stipulation requiring petitioners-spouses to pay interest on their loan remains valid and binding. They are, therefore, liable to pay interest from the time they defaulted in payment until their loan is fully paid. (SPOUSES BAYANI H. ANDAL AND GRACIA G. ANDAL v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, ET AL., G.R. No. 194201. November 27, 2013) An unconstitutional law produces no effect and confers no right upon any person. Not only the parties but all persons are bound by the declaration of unconstitutionality, which means that no one may thereafter invoke it nor may the courts be permitted to apply it in subsequent cases. It is, in other words, a total nullity. (ORETO MIRALLOSA and all persons claiming rights and interests under him v. CARMEL DEVELOPMENT INC. G.R. No. 194538, Novemeber 27, 2013, A pure/simple donation is the truest form of donation as it is based on pure gratuity. The remuneratory/compensatory type has for its purpose the rewarding of the donee for past services, which services do not amount to a demandable debt. A conditional/modal donation, on the other hand, is a consideration for future services; it also occurs where the donor imposes certain conditions, limitations or charges upon the donee, whose value is inferior to the donation given. Lastly, an onerous donation imposes upon the donee a reciprocal obligation; this is made for a valuable consideration whose cost is equal to or more than the thing donated. (CERILA J. CALANASAN, REPRESENTED BY TEODORA J.

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CALANASAN AS ATTORNEY-IN-FACT v. SPOUSES VIRGILIO DOLORITO AND EVELYN C. DOLORITO, G.R. No. 171937, November 25, 2013) Only the redeeming co-owner and the buyer are the indispensable parties in an action for legal redemption, to the exclusion of the seller/co-owner A party who is not the co-owner of a land subject of a compromise agreement cannot claim that he was defrauded when the parties in the compromise agreement entered into the same. As a third party to the agreement, he is not indispensable for the agreement to materialize. (VIRGINIA Y. GOCHAN, FELIX Y. GOCHAN III, LOUISE Y. GOCHAN, ESTEBAN Y. GOCHAN, JR., and DOMINIC Y. GOCHAN v. CHARLES MANCAO, G.R. No. 182314, November 13, 2013) . A party to a loan agreement cannot claim that the promissory note is void as to him on the ground of fraud if the same was not employed to deceive him into obtaining his consent. Jurisprudence has shown that in order to constitute fraud that provides basis to annul contracts, it must fulfill two conditions. First, the fraud must be dolo causante or it must be fraud in obtaining the consent of the party. Second, this fraud must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. The records showed that petitioner had been unjustly excluded from participating in the management of the affairs of the corporation. This exclusion from the management in the affairs of Sterling Shipping Lines, Inc. constituted fraud incidental to the performance of the obligation. (ALEJANDRO V. TANKEH v. DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, STERLING SHIPPING LINES, INC., RUPERTO V. TANKEH, VICENTE ARENAS and ASSET PRIVATIZATION TRUST, G.R. No. 171428, November 11, 2013) It is an established rule that a Torrens certificate of title is not conclusive proof of ownership. Verily, a party may seek its annulment on the basis of fraud or misrepresentation. However, such action must be seasonably filed, else the same would be barred. In this relation, Section 32 of PD 1529 provides that the period to contest a decree of registration shall be one (1) year from the date of its entry and that, after the lapse of the said period, the Torrens certificate of title issued thereon becomes incontrovertible and indefeasible. (LAURA E. PARAGUYA vs. SPOUSES ALMA ESCUREL-CRUCILLO ET AL., G.R. No. 200265, December 2, 2013) Well settled is the rule that the elements of laches must be proven positively. Laches is evidentiary in nature, a fact that cannot be established by mere allegations in the pleadings and cannot be resolved in a motion to dismiss. At this stage therefore, the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of laches is premature. Those issues must be resolved at the trial of the case on the merits, wherein both parties will be given ample opportunity to prove their respective claims and defenses. (MODESTO SANCHEZ vs. ANDREW SANCHEZ, G.R. No. 187661, December 4, 2013) The full payment of the purchase price in a contract to sell is a suspensive condition, the non-fulfillment of which prevents the prospective seller’s obligation to convey title from becoming effective, as in this case. (OPTIMUM DEVELOPMENT BANK vs. SPOUSES BENIGNO V. JOVELLANOS and LOURDES R. JOVELLANOS, G.R. No. 189145, December 4, 2013) A party in a contract cannot claim that his obligation to pay to another is extinguished for the reason that his debtor failed to pay him and that the other party was witness to the same. Such is not a mode of extinguishment of an obligation. (METRO CONCAST STEEL CORPORATION, ET AL. vs. ALLIED BANK CORPORATION, G.R. No. 177921, December 4, 2013) The elements necessary to establish a quasi-delict case are: (1) damages to the plaintiff; (2) negligence, by act or omission, of the defendant or by some person for whose acts the defendant must respond, was guilty; and (3) the connection of cause and effect between such negligence and the damages. ( Dra. Leila A. Dela Llana vs. Rebecca Biong, Doing Business Under the Name and Style of Pongkay Trading, G.R. No. 182356, December 04, 2013) While the petitioner claims that it was not obliged to pay any surplus because the balance from the proceeds was applied to the respondent’s other obligations and to those of her attorney-in-fact, it failed, however, to show any supporting evidence showing that the mortgage extended to those obligations. The petitioner, as mortgagee or purchaser, cannot just simply apply the proceeds of the sale in its favor and

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deduct from the balance the respondent’s outstanding obligations not secured by the mortgage. Thus, there is no reason to depart from the CA’s ruling that the balance or excess, after deducting the mortgage debt plus the stipulated interest and the expenses of the foreclosure sale, must be returned to the respondent. (PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS VS. MARY ANN O. YEUNG, G.R. No. 179691, December 04, 2013) There is unjust enrichment “when a person unjustly retains a benefit to the loss of another, or when a person retains money or property of another against the fundamental principles of justice, equity and good conscience.” The principle of unjust enrichment requires two conditions: (1) that a person is benefited without a valid basis or justification, and (2) that such benefit is derived at the expense of another. (ANTONIO LOCSIN II VS. MEKENI FOOD CORPORATION, G.R. No. 192105, December 09, 2013) Thus, mere absence of the spouse (even for such period required by the law), lack of any news that such absentee is still alive, failure to communicate or general presumption of absence under the Civil Code would not suffice. This conclusion proceeds from the premise that Article 41 of the Family Code places upon the present spouse the burden of proving the additional and more stringent requirement of “ wellfounded belief” which can only be discharged upon a showing of proper and honest-to-goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain not only the absent spouse’s whereabouts but, more importantly, that the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. The law did not define what is meant by “well-founded belief.” It depends upon the circumstances of each particular case. Its determination, so to speak, remains on a case-to-case basis. To be able to comply with this requirement, the present spouse must prove that his/her belief was the result of diligent and reasonable efforts and inquiries to locate the absent spouse and that based on these efforts and inquiries, he/she believes that under the circumstances, the absent spouse is already dead. It requires exertion of active effort (not a mere passive one). (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. MARIA FE ESPINOSA CANTOR, G.R. No. 184621, December 10, 2013) A contract of sale is classified as a consensual contract, which means that the sale is perfected by mere consent. No particular form is required for its validity. Upon perfection of the contract, the parties may reciprocally demand performance, i.e., the vendee may compel transfer of ownership of the object of the sale, and the vendor may require the vendee to pay the thing sold. In contrast, a contract to sell is defined as a bilateral contract whereby the prospective seller, while expressly reserving the ownership of the property despite delivery thereof to the prospective buyer, binds himself to sell the property exclusively to the prospective buyer upon fulfillment of the condition agreed upon, i.e., the full payment of the purchase price. A contract to sell may not even be considered as a conditional contract of sale where the seller may likewise reserve title to the property subject of the sale until the fulfillment of a suspensive condition, because in a conditional contract of sale, the first element of consent is present, although it is conditioned upon the happening of a contingent event which may or may not occur. (ACE FOODS, INC. VS. MICRO PACIFIC TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD., G.R. No. 200602, December 11, 2013) The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis cannot be said to be unforeseeable and beyond the control of a business corporation, especially a corporation engaged in real estate enterprise. Such corporation is considered a master in projections of commodities and currency movements and business risks. It has the ability to foresee such situation. Thus, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis is not an instance of caso fortuito. (FILESTATE PROPERTIES, INC. AND FIL-ESTATE NETWORK, INC., v. SPOUSES CONRADO AND MARIA VICTORIA RONQUILLO, , G.R. NO.185798. January 13, 2014) The principle of quantum meruit allows a party to recover the reasonable value of the thing or services rendered despite the lack of a written contract, in order to avoid unjust enrichment. The principle states that a person must be paid with an amount that he deserves. It aims to prevent undue enrichment based on the equitable postulate that it is unjust for a person to retain any benefit without paying for it. In the instant case, since First Sta. Clara already performed certain works on the project with an estimated value of, to completely deny it payment for the same would result in Rivelisa Realty’s unjust enrichment at the First Sta. Clara’s expense. Hence, it is only proper that First Sta. Clara must be paid on a quantum meruit

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basis. (RIVELISA REALTY, INC., v. FIRST STA. CLARA BUILDERS CORPORATION, G.R. NO. 189618 January 15, 2014) In sales with the right to repurchase, the title and ownership of the property sold are immediately vested in the vendee, subject to the resolutory condition of repurchase by the vendor within the stipulated period. Once the conditions for the repurchase are complied with, the ownership of the subject property is reverted back to the original vendor. Since, Eduardo fulfilled the conditions for the exercise of the right to repurchase, he cannot be denied of acquiring the property by exercising his right to repurchase the same. (ROBERTO R. DAVID v. EDUARDO C. DAVID G.R. NO. 162365. January 15, 2014) Loans are often secured by a mortgage. However, a mortgage contract is an accessory contract, dependent upon the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of the principal contract, which is the contract of loan. The mortgage contract cannot be enforced unless the obligation in the contract of loan is due and demandable but left unpaid. (DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GUARIÑA AGRICULTURAL AND REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION G.R. NO. 160758. January 15, 2014.) The degree of diligence required of common carriers is extraordinary diligence. The extraordinary responsibility of the common carrier lasts from the time the goods are unconditionally placed in the possession of, and received by the carrier for transportation until the same are delivered, actually or constructively, by the carrier to the consignee, or to the person who has a right to receive them. Owing to this high degree of diligence required of them, common carriers, as a general rule, are presumed to have been at fault or negligent if the goods they transported deteriorated or got lost or destroyed. (EASTERN SHIPPING LINES, INC. v. BPI/MS INSURANCE CORP., AND MITSUI SUMITOMO INSURANCE CO., LTD., G.R. NO. 193986. January 15, 2014) Registration is the operative act which gives validity to the transfer or creates a lien upon the land. A certificate of title serves as evidence of an indefeasible and incontrovertible title to the property in favor of the person whose name appears therein. Since the spouses Vilbar did not cause the transfer of the certificate title in their name, or at the very least, annotate or register such sale in the original title in the name of Dulos Realty, have no indefeasible and incontrovertible title over Lot 20 to support their claim . (SPOUSES BERNADETTE AND RODULFO VILBAR v. ANGELITO L. OPINION, G.R. No. 176043. January 15, 2014) The presumption under Article 160 of the New Civil Code applies when the property in question was acquired during the lifetime of the husband and the wife and the subsistence of the marriage. It is not overcome by the fact that the property is registered in the name of the husband or the wife alone. The consent of both spouses is required before a conjugal property may be mortgaged. However, since the nature of the property was never alleged in the complaint or raised during trial by the petitioner, the court cannot apply such. presumption in the instant case. (FRANCISCO LIM v. EQUITABLE PCI BANK, NOW KNOWN AS THE BANCO DE ORO UNIBANK, INC., G.R. No. 183198. January 15, 2014 Sps. Sarili purchased the subject property from Ramos on the strength of the latter’s ostensible authority to sell under the subject SPA. The said document, however, readily indicates flaws in its notarial acknowledgment since the respondent’s community tax certificate (CTC) number was not indicated thereon. The due execution and authenticity of the subject SPA are of great significance in determining the validity of the sale entered into by Victorino and Ramon since the latter only claims to be the agent of the purported seller. The rule that even if the procurement of a certificate of title was tainted with fraud and misrepresentation, such defective title may be the source of a completely legal and valid title in the hands of an innocent purchaser for value is not applicable to the Sps. Sarili. A higher degree of prudence is required from one who buys from a person who is not the registered owner, although the land object of the transaction is registered. Since Sps. Sarili’s claim over the subject property is based on forged documents, no valid title had been transferred to them and, in turn, to petitioners. (THE HEIRS OF VICTORINO SARILI v. PEDRO F. LAGROSA, REPRESENTED IN THIS ACT BY HIS ATTORNEY-INFACT, LOURDES LABIOS MOJICA, G.R. No. 193517. January 15, 2014) There is an exception to the rule that accessory follows the principal. Where it can be duly established that the owner of the accessory is different from the owner of the principal, the two properties should be

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treated separately. Hence, when there are factual and evidentiary evidence to prove that the building and the lot on which it stands are owned by different persons, they shall be treated separately. (MAGDALENA T. VILLASI v. SPOUSES FILOMENO GARCIA AND ERMELINDA HALILI-GARCIA, G.R. No. 190106. January 15, 2014) Unjust enrichment exists, according to Hulst v. PR Builders, Inc., “when a person unjustly retains a benefit at the loss of another, or when a person retains money or property of another against the fundamental principles of justice, equity and good conscience.” The prevention of unjust enrichment is a recognized public policy of the State, for Article 22 of the Civil Code explicitly provides that “[e]very person who through an act of performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter without just or legal ground, shall return the same to him.” (DOMINGO GONZALO v. JOHN TARNATE, JR., G.R. No. 160600. January 15, 2014) Marriage may be proven by any competent and relevant evidence. Hence, when one of the parties to the marriage or one of the witnesses to the marriage testifies that the marriage took place, it has been held to be admissible to prove the fact of such marriage. Thus, the testimony of Tecla (wife) and Adelina, who was present during the marriage ceremony, serves as an admissible evidence to prove the fact of marriage between Tecla and Eustaquio. (PEREGRINA MACUA VDA. DE AVENIDO v. TECLA HOYBIA AVENIDO, G.R. No. 173540. January 22, 2014) A constructive trust having been constituted by law between respondents as trustees and petitioner as beneficiary of the subject property, may respondents acquire ownership over the said property? The Court held in the same case of Aznar, that unlike in express trusts and resulting implied trusts where a trustee cannot acquire by prescription any property entrusted to him unless he repudiates the trust, in constructive implied trusts, the trustee may acquire the property through prescription even if he does not repudiate the relationship. It is then incumbent upon the beneficiary to bring an action for reconveyance before prescription bars the same. An action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust must perforce prescribe in ten years and not otherwise. A long line of decisions of this Court, and of very recent vintage at that, illustrates this rule. Undoubtedly, it is now well-settled that an action for reconveyance based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in ten years from the issuance of the Torrens title over the property. (IGLESIA FILIPINA INDEPENDIENTE v. HEIRS OF BERNARDINO TAEZA, G.R. No. 179597, February 03, 2014) “Psychological incapacity,” as a ground to nullify a marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, should refer to no less than a mental – not merely physical – incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as so expressed in Article 68 of the Family Code, among others, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of “psychological incapacity” to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RODOLFO O. DE GRACIA G.R. No. 171577, February 12, 2014)

An illegitimate child may use the surname of his father if the latter has expressly recognized their filiation. However, the child is under no compulsion to use his father’s surname. When Antonio recognized Andre Lewis and Jerard Patrick as his sons, the two children had the right to use the surname of Antonio. However, they were under no compulsion or mandate to use the same. The law uses the word ‘may’, which dictates that it is merely permissive. (GRACE M. GRANDE v. PATRICIO T. ANTONIO, G.R. No. 206248. February 18, 2014) In a contract to sell, the seller retains ownership of the subject property. Thus, the seller may still enter into a valid contract of mortgage. However, when the contract to sell ripens to an absolute contract of

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sale, the mortgagor and mortgagee must respect the rights of the buyer over the subject property. Such buyer is not privy to the contract between the mortgagor and mortgagee; hence, the buyer can make the necessary actions to protect her rights over the property. Despite the apparent validity of the mortgage between the petitioner and PEPI, the former is still bound to respect the transactions between respondents PEPI and Dee. (PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. TERESITA TAN DEE, ET AL., G.R. No. 182128, February 19, 2014) In a contract executed by an agent for a principal, the contract must upon its face purport to be made, signed and sealed in the name of the principal. When the Real Estate Mortgage, explicitly shows on its face, that it was signed by Concepcion, the agent, in her own name and in her own personal capacity, and without indicating that he is signing for and in behalf of his principal, the mortgage is only binding upon her, the agent, and not upon the principal. (NICANORA G. BUCTON (DECEASED), SUBSTITUTED BY REQUILDA B. YRAY, PETITIONER, VS. RURAL BANK OF EL SALVADOR, INC., ET AL, G.R. No. 179625, February 24, 2014) A contract where there is no mutuality between the parties partakes of the nature of a contract of adhesion. Any obscurity will be construed against the party who prepared the contract; the latter being presumed the stronger party to the agreement, and who caused the obscurity. Moreover, in an increase of interest rate, the creditor, as in the case of PNB, cannot validly increase the interest rate unilaterally. Even if the borrower paid the increased interest without protest, such cannot be construed to mean that the borrower is estopped from assailing the unilateral increase of interest rate. (PHILIPPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. SPOUSES ENRIQUE MANALO & ROSALINDA JACINTO, ET AL, G.R. No. 174433, February 24, 2014) Even if on the outset, a party is a mortgagee in good faith, if he subsequently purchases the property with notice of lis pendens, he cannot claim to have a better right over the said property by interposing the argument that he is a mortgagee in good faith. (HOMEOWNERS SAVINGS AND LOAN BANK v. ASUNCION P. FELONIA AND LYDIA C. DE GUZMAN, REPRESENTED BY MARIBEL FRIAS MARIE MICHELLE P. DELGADO, ET AL G.R. No. 189477, February 26, 2014) Pursuant to Section 108 of PD No. 1529, in an action for the cancellation of memorandum annotated at the back of a certificate of title, the persons considered as indispensable include those whose liens appear as annotations. As indispensable parties, they must be given the proper notice of any proceeding involving the subject properties. Thus, in a case where two (2) parcels of land were attached by various creditors and the levies are annotated on the back of the titles of the subject properties, one creditor cannot file an action for cancellation of lien without giving notice to all parties-in- interest, like other creditors whose lien over the subject properties appear on the back of the titles of the subject properties. (JESUS G. CRISOLOGO AND NANETTE B. CRISOLOGO v. JEWM AGRO-INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, G.R. No. 196894. March 03, 2014) Where a bank was merely a purchaser or transferee of the property that has a pending forcible entry case, it cannot be made liable for nominal damages since it has not violated or invaded a right. It is not prohibited from acquiring the property even while the forcible entry case was pending, because as the registered owner of the subject property, the seller may transfer his title at any time and the lease merely follows the property as a lien or encumbrance. (ONE NETWORK RURAL BANK, INC., PETITIONER, v. DANILO G. BARIC, RESPONDENT., G.R. No. 193684, March 05, 2014) In order to allow resort to the of res ipsa loquitur, the following essential requisites must first be satisfied, to wit: (1) the accident was of a kind that does not ordinarily occur unless someone is negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency that caused the injury was under the exclusive control of the person charged; and (3) the injury suffered must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution of the person injured. Where the lack of oxygen causing the patient’s bradycardia during the operation could have been triggered by the vago-vagal and not the negligence of his attending physicians, res ipsa loquitur cannot

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apply, the first requisite being wanting. (DR. FERNANDO P. SOLIDUM v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 192123. March 10, 2014) An applicant for registration of title’s mere reliance on a surveyor-geodetic engineer’s notation in Survey Plan indicating that the survey was inside alienable and disposable land to prove that the land in question formed part of the alienable and disposable lands of the public domain is not sufficient to prove such fact. Such notation does not constitute a positive government act validly changing the classification of the land in question. A mere surveyor has no authority to reclassify lands of the public domain. Thus, applicant’s failure to prove that the subject land has been classified as alienable and disposable lands of the public domain, the application for registration of title must be denied. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. ROSARIO DE GUZMAN VDA. DE JOSON, G.R. No. 163767. March 10, 2014) The Regional Trial Court, acting as a Special Agrarian Court, has jurisdiction to determine just compensation at the very first instance, and the petitioner need not pass through the DAR for initial valuation. The determination of just compensation is essentially a judicial function, which is vested in the Regional Trial Court acting as a Special Agrarian Court. (SPOUSES JOSE M. ESTACION, JR. AND AGELINA T. ESTACION v. HON. SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, ET AL., G.R. NO. 163361. March 12, 2014) Where a debtor obtained a loan six months after the execution of a Continuing Suretyship, such obligation of the debtor is still covered by such Continuing Suretyship. This is further bolstered when the contract clearly states that the surety is liable for all credit accommodations extended to the debtor, both present and future obligations. The debtor is will still be liable for the principal of the loan, together with the interest and penalties due thereon. (MARIANO LIM v. SECURITY BANK CORPORATION, G.R. No. 188539. March 12, 2014) CENRO Certification stating that Lot 4342 falls within the alienable and disposable area is inadequate to prove that the subject lot is alienable and disposable. Aside from the CENRO certification, an application for original registration of title over a parcel of land must be accompanied by a copy of the original classification approved by the DENR Secretary and certified as a true copy by the legal custodian of the official records in order to establish that the land is indeed alienable and disposable. (MINDA S. GAERLAN, PETITIONER, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENT, G.R. No. 192717, March 12, 2014) It is incumbent upon the respondent Malarayat Rural Bank to be more cautious in dealing with the spouses Guia, and inquire further regarding the identity and possible adverse claim of those in actual possession of the property, especially since the spouses Guia were not the registered owners of the land being mortgaged. Since the subject land was not mortgaged by the owner thereof and since the respondent Malarayat Rural Bank is not a mortgagee in good faith, said bank is not entitled to protection under the law. (MACARIA ARGUELLES AND THE HEIRS OF THE DECEASED PETRONIO ARGUELLES v. MALARAYAT RURAL BANK, INC., G.R. No. 200468, March 19, 2014) An application for registration of land must be accompanied by evidence showing that the land in question was within an area expressly declared by law either to be the patrimonial property of the State, or to be no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth. Otherwise, the Court is left with no alternative but to deny the respondent’s application for registration. (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ZURBARAN REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, G.R. No. 164408. March 24, 2014)

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REMEDIAL LAW The CA dismissed Castigador’s complaint on the ground that there was no allegation that the petition is based on extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. Under Section 5, Rule 47 of the Rules of Court, it is incumbent that when a court finds no substantial merit in a petition for annulment of judgment, it may dismiss the petition outright but the “specific reasons for such dismissal” shall be clearly set out. The petition need not categorically state the exact words extrinsic fraud; rather, the allegations in the petition should be so crafted to easily point out the ground on which it was based. LORNA CASTIGADOR v. DANILO M. NICOLAS. G.R. No. 184023, March 4, 2013 Cailipan, et al. filed a petition for certiorari assailing the RTC’s order of default and a Notice of Appeal questioning the RTC’s decision. It is well-settled that the remedies of appeal and certiorari are mutually exclusive and not alternative or successive. The simultaneous filing of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 and an ordinary appeal under Rule 41 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure cannot be allowed since one remedy would necessarily cancel out the other. The existence and availability of the right of appeal proscribes resort to certiorari because one of the requirements for availment of the latter is precisely that there should be no appeal. The Court observes that Cailipan, et al. should have (a) withdrawn their certiorari petition and instead raised the jurisdictional errors stated therein in their appeal or (b) at the very least, informed the CA’s Twenty-First Division of the Decision rendered on the main case and the filing of their Notice of Appeal on January 22, 2011. IRENE VILLAMAR-SANDOVAL v. JOSE CAILIPAN, et al.G.R. 200727, March 4, 2013 An order declared that the Republic was deemed to have abandoned one of the cases of a consolidated case but trial proceeded for the consolidated cases. There is no rule or law prohibiting the appeal of a judgment or part of a judgment in one case which is consolidated with other cases. Further, severance is within the sound discretion of the court for convenience or to avoid prejudice. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES REP. BY THE REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DENR, REGION III v. HEIRS OF ENRIQUE ORIBELLO, JR., et al. G.R. No. 199501, March 6, 2013. The prosecution needs to establish the identity of the prohibited drugs which constitute the corpus delicti of the offense. The chain of custody of the seized items must be presented by the prosecution as unbroken starting from the time the items were confiscated and eventually marked until the time they are

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presented in court. It is the burden of the defense, meanwhile, to prove that the chain of custody was broken. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JAIME FERNANDEZ Y HERTEZ. G.R. No. 188841, MARCH 6, 2013. A motion to file a demurrer was granted after the prosecution’s presentation of the testimonies of the apprehending officers because the prosecution failed to present the testimony of the confidential informant. It has long been settled that the grant of a demurrer is tantamount to an acquittal. An acquitted defendant is entitled to the right of repose as a direct consequence of the finality of his acquittal. This rule, however, is not without exception. The rule on double jeopardy is subject to the exercise of judicial review by way of the extraordinary writ of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The Supreme Court finds and so holds that the grant of the demurrer for this reason alone was not supported by prevailing jurisprudence and constituted grave abuse of discretion. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JUDGE RAFAEL R. LAGOS, et al. G.R. No. 184658, March 6, 2013. Cuenca, et al. filed a complaint for damages sustained by the wrongful issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and the taking of the properties of Arc Cuisine, Inc. There is no dispute that the properties subject to the levy on attachment belonged to Arc Cuisine, Inc. alone, not to Cuenca, et al. in their own right. They were only stockholders of Arc Cuisine, Inc., which had a personality distinct and separate from that of any or all of them. The damages occasioned to the properties by the levy on attachment, wrongful or not, prejudiced Arc Cuisine, Inc., not them. As such, only Arc Cuisine, Inc. had the right under the substantive law to claim and recover such damages. This right could not also be asserted by Cuenca, et al. unless they did so in the name of the corporation itself. But that did not happen herein, because Arc Cuisine, Inc. was not even joined in the action either as an original party or as an intervenor. STRONGHOLD INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. v. TOMAS CUENCA, et al. G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013. Lt. Gen. Ligot, et al. filed a petition for certiorari when the CA extended the freeze order against their properties. Ligot, et al. should have filed a petition for review on certiorari, and not a petition for certiorari, to assail the CA resolution which extended the effectivity period of the freeze order over their properties. RET. LT. GEN. JACINTO C. LIGOT, et al. v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES REPRESENTED BY THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL G.R. No. 176944, March 6, 2013. Senador asserted that the person named as the offended party in the Information is not the same person who made the demand and filed the complaint. In case of an error in the designation of the offended party in crimes against property, Rule 110, Sec. 12 of the Rules of Court mandates the correction of the information, not its dismissal.

If the subject matter of the offense is generic and not identifiable, an error in the designation of the offended party is fatal and would result in the acquittal of the accused. However, if the subject matter of the offense is specific and identifiable, an error in the designation of the offended party is immaterial. RAMONCITA O. SENADOR v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 201620, March 6, 2013

It is essential in the prosecution of drug cases that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond reasonable doubt. This means that on top of the elements of possession or illegal sale, the fact that the substance illegally sold or possessed is, in the first instance, the very substance adduced in court must likewise be established with the same exacting degree of certitude as that required sustaining a conviction. The chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts respecting the identity of the evidence are minimized if not altogether removed. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDGARDO ADRID Y FLORES. G.R. No. 201845, March 6, 2013

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Gerry Centeno, Spouses Centeno’s son, bought the property from his parents and remained in possession. The Bank petitioned the RTC for the issuance of a writ of possession after title to the property was consolidated in its name. After consolidation of title in the purchaser’s name for failure of the mortgagor to redeem the property, the purchaser’s right to possession ripens into the absolute right of a confirmed owner. At that point, the issuance of a writ of possession, upon proper application and proof of title, to a purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale becomes merely a ministerial function, unless it appears that the property is in possession of a third party claiming a right adverse to that of the mortgagor. RURAL BANK OF STA. BARBARA (ILOILO), INC. v. GERRY CENTENO. G.R. No. 200667, March 11, 2013. The practice of requiring convicts to appear before the trial courts for promulgation of the affirmance or modification by this Court or the CA of judgments of conviction in criminal cases is no longer allowed. Hence, the absence of the convicts on the day of promulgation of judgment did not affect its validity. The RTC did not err in denying the Motion for Repromulgation of its judgment. EFREN S. ALMUETE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 179611, March 12, 2013. The writ of amparo does not envisage the protection of concerns that are purely property or commercial in nature. Hence, the writ of amparo filed by Spouses Nerio, et al. after Barangay officials raided their ampalaya farm to search for marijuana plants cannot be issued. SPOUSES NERIO AND SOLEDAD PADOR AND REY PADOR v. BARANGAY CAPTAIN BERNABE ARCAYAN, et al. G.R. No. 183460, March 12, 2013

The CA dismissed Indoyon’s petition for review on certiorari under Rule 43 for being non-compliant with the Rules of Court and various Supreme Court Circulars. Under Section 1, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the proper remedy to question the CA’s judgment, final order or resolution is a petition for review on certiorari. The petition must be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment, final order or resolution appealed from; or of the denial of petitioner’s motion for reconsideration filed in due time after notice of the judgment.

Under Supreme Court Circular 2-90, an appeal taken to the Supreme Court or to the CA by a wrong or an inappropriate mode merits outright dismissal. Certiorari cannot be allowed when a party to a case fails to appeal a judgment despite the availability of that remedy. Certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal. SURIGAO DE SUR v. COURT OF APPEALSG.R. No. 193706, March 12, 2013. What controls is not the title of the Information or the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited in the Information. In other words, it is the recital of facts of the commission of the offense, not the nomenclature of the offense, which determines the crime being charged in the information. Hence, the fact that Pielago was charged with acts of lasciviousness did not preclude his conviction of rape by sexual assault. MIKE ALVIN PIELAGO Y ROS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 202020, March 13, 2013

Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction when the concurrence of the following factors obtain: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as would prove the crime beyond reasonable doubt. These circumstances and facts must be absolutely incompatible with any reasonable hypothesis propounding the innocence of the accused. However, in the present case, the circumstances presented by the prosecution do not form a solid and cohesive narrative that proves with moral certainty its contention that Soriano perpetrated these heinous acts. To synthesize, the only circumstances cited to implicate him in the crime are the following: (a) he passed through the shortcut to Wao around 3:00 p.m. on 31 December 1998; (b) Vicky did not see anyone else use that road from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on that day; and (c) the soiled garments confiscated from him were identified to have been the same ones he was wearing then. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GERALD SORIANO ALIAS “PEDRO”. G.R. No. 191271, March 13, 2013.

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For the successful prosecution of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the following essential elements must be established: (a) the accused is in possession of an item or object that is identified to be a prohibited or dangerous drug; (b) such possession is not authorized by law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. As regards the failure of the police to strictly comply with the provisions of Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165, it is settled that the failure to strictly follow the directives of this section is not fatal and will not necessarily render the items confiscated from an accused inadmissible. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. BENEDICTO MARQUEZ Y RAYOS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 197207, March 13, 2013

Isabel filed 3 motions for reconsideration which were denied by the RTC. The CA dismissed her petition on the ground that she lost her right to appeal when she filed a second motion for reconsideration. When the RTC issues its decision and orders, in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the proper remedy therefrom is a Rule 42 petition for review. A second motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading pursuant to Section 5, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court and the right to appeal is lost.

The RTC ruled on the issue of Isabel’s transfer of rights even if it was not raised as an error. Under Section 18, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, the RTC is mandated to decide the appeal based on the entire record of the MTC proceedings and such pleadings submitted by the parties or required by the RTC. Nonetheless, even without this provision, an appellate court is clothed with ample authority to review matters, even if they are not assigned as errors on appeal, if it finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case, or is closely related to an error properly assigned, or upon which the determination of the question raised by error properly assigned is dependent.

The RTC also denied the motions for reconsideration on the ground that a notice of hearing was not attached. A motion unaccompanied by a notice of hearing is considered a mere scrap of paper that does not toll the running of the period to appeal. The requirement of notice of hearing is an integral component of procedural due process that seeks to avoid "surprises that may be sprung upon the adverse party, who must be given time to study and meet the arguments in the motion before a resolution by the court. ISABEL N. GUZMAN v. ANIANO N. GUZMAN AND PRIMITIVA G. MONTEALTO. G.R. No. 172588, March 13, 2013

Before an action can properly be commenced, all the essential elements of the cause of action must be in existence, that is, the cause of action must be complete. All valid conditions precedent to the institution of the particular action, whether prescribed by statute, fixed by agreement of the parties or implied by law must be performed or complied with before commencing the action, unless the conduct of the adverse party has been such as to prevent or waive performance or excuse non-performance of the condition. Failure to make a sufficient allegation of a cause of action in the complaint, such as the failure to allege exhaustion of all legal remedies in the complaint warrants dismissal. ANCHOR SAVINGS BANK (FORMERLY ANCHOR FINANCE AND INVESTMENT CORPORATION) v. HENRY H. FURIGAY, ET. AL. G.R. No. 191178, March 13, 2013.

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NLC filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with the CA without filing a motion for reconsideration before the RTC. Before a petition for certiorari can prosper, the petitioner must be able to show, among others, that he does not have any other "plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law." This remedy referred to in Section 1 of Rule 65 is a motion for reconsideration of the questioned order. NOVATEKNIK LAND CORPORATION v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK AND THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MANILA CITY. G.R. No. 194104, March 13, 2013.

Tigaz filed three pleadings assailing the Ombudsman’s decision finding probable cause to indict him for violation of Sec. 3(b) of R.A. 3019 and the Sandiganbayan’s resolution denying his motion to quash the information and suspending him pendent lite.

In the determination of probable cause, absolute certainty of evidence is not required, for opinion and reasonable belief are sufficient. Besides, any other defense contesting the finding of probable cause that is highly factual in nature must be threshed out in a full-blown trial, and not in a special civil action for certiorari before this Court.

A Rule 65 petition is an inappropriate remedy to question the refusal of the Sandiganbayan to quash an information and, its imposition of suspension pendente lite. The remedy is not the filing of a special civil action for certiorari, but the continuance of the case in due course. ROLANDO Z. TIGAZ v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN. G.R. No. 180681, March 18, 2013

Villareal was arrested by PO3 de Leon while holding a plastic sachet and because PO3 de Leon recognized him as someone he arrested for illegal possession before. A previous arrest or existing criminal record, even for the same offense, will not suffice to satisfy the exacting requirements provided under Section 5, Rule 113 in order to justify a lawful warrantless arrest. "Personal knowledge" of the arresting officer that a crime had in fact just been committed is required. To interpret "personal knowledge" as referring to a person’s reputation or past criminal citations would create a dangerous precedent and unnecessarily stretch the authority and power of police officers to effect warrantless arrests based solely on knowledge of a person’s previous criminal infractions, rendering nugatory the rigorous requisites laid out under Section 5. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NAZARENO VILLAREAL y LUALHATI. G.R. No. 201363, March 18, 2013

Section 6, Rule 110 and Section 11, Rule 110 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that when the date given in the complaint is not of the essence of the offense, it need not be proven as alleged; thus, the complaint will be sustained if the proof shows that the offense was committed at any date within the period of the statute of limitations and before the commencement of the action. Hence, the fact that the Information did not state the precise date of the commission of the crime did not automatically render the charge against Engr. Zapanta for qualified theft invalid. ENGR. ANTHONY V. ZAPANTA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 170863, March 20, 2013

The RTC dismissed the application for land registration of AFP-RSBS for failure to prosecute after it presented all its evidence and after it decided in its favor. An action may be dismissed for failure to prosecute in any of the following instances: (1) if the plaintiff fails to appear at the time of trial; or (2) if he

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fails to prosecute the action for an unreasonable length of time; or (3) if he fails to comply with the Rules of Court or any order of the court. Once a case is dismissed for failure to prosecute, this has the effect of an adjudication on the merits and is understood to be with prejudice to the filing of another action unless otherwise provided in the order of dismissal. In other words, unless there be a qualification in the order of dismissal that it is without prejudice, the dismissal should be regarded as an adjudication on the merits and is with prejudice.

AFP-RSBS presented Ms. Alma Aban as its witness but her testimony was not considered because she did not present an authorization to testify from AFP-RSBS. There is no substantive or procedural rule which requires a witness for a party to present some form of authorization to testify as a witness for the party presenting him or her. No law or jurisprudence would support the conclusion that such omission can be considered as a failure to prosecute on the part of the party presenting such witness. All that the Rules require of a witness is that the witness possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided therein. ARMED FORCES OF THE PHIL. RETIREMENT AND SEPARATION BENEFITS SYSTEM v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 188956, March 20, 2013

Courts do not reverse the Secretary of Justice’s findings and conclusions on the matter of probable cause except in clear cases of grave abuse of discretion. The CA correctly ruled that no prima facie evidence existed that sufficiently indicated Philip and Teodora’s involvement in the commission of the crime. The circumstantial evidence linking Philip to the killing of Chase was derived from the bare recollections of Ariane, and of Guray and Corpus. For circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances must be consistent with one another and must constitute an unbroken chain leading to one fair and reasonable conclusion that a crime has been committed and that Philip and Teodora are probably guilty thereof.

Out of the total of 16 statements/affidavits corresponding to the respective witnesses, only nine were sworn to before a competent officer. The lack of the requisite certifications from the affidavits of most of the other witnesses was in violation of Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court. The rule was designed to avoid self-serving and unreliable evidence from being considered for purposes of the preliminary investigation, the present rules for which do not require a confrontation between the parties and their witnesses; hence, the certifications were mandatory. MARIE CALLO-CLARIDAD v. PHILIP RONALD P. ESTEBAN AND TEODORA ALYN ESTEBAN. G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013

The chain of custody provided for in Section 21(1), Art. II of R.A. 9165, to wit: (1) there must be a showing that a physical inventory was conducted in the presence of the accused or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official; and (2) there must be photograph(s) of the seized items taken in the presence of the aboveenumerated representatives. It was ruled that omission(s) in strictly following the provision are not fatal to the prosecution’s case as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved and established with moral certainty. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ZENAIDA SORIANO AND MYRNA SAMONTE. G.R. No. 189843, March 20, 2013.

The Republic has been actively involved in the trial for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth for two decades but was absent for one hearing. Due to this single absence, the Sandiganbayan dismissed the case. Rule 17, Section 3 of the Rules of Court, provides that the court may dismiss a complaint in case there are no justifiable reasons that explain the plaintiff's absence during the presentation of the evidence in chief. The

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word "may" in Rule 17, Section 3 of the Rules of Court, operates to confer on the court the discretion to decide between the dismissal of the case on technicality vis-à-vis the progressive prosecution.

The Sandiganbayan denied the Republic’s Motion for Reconsideration on the ground that it failed to observe the three day notice requirement. Rule 15, Section 4 of the Rules of Court, does not require that the court receive the notice three days prior to the hearing date. Rule 13, Section 3 of the Rules of Court, states that the date of the mailing of motions through registered mail shall be considered the date of their filing in court, it follows that the Republic filed the motion to the court 10 days in advance of the hearing date. In so doing, it observed the 10-day requirement under Rule 15, Section 5 of the Rules of Court, which provides that the time and date of the hearing must not be later than ten days after the filing of the motion. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. TRINIDAD DIAZ-ENRIQUEZ, ET. AL. G.R. No. 181458, March 20, 2013

In rape cases, the moral character of the victim is immaterial. Physical resistance need not be established in rape when threats and intimidation are employed, and the victim submits herself to her attacker because of fear. Physical resistance is not an essential element of rape. Also, delay in revealing the commission of a crime such as rape does not necessarily render such charge unworthy of belief. This is because the victim may choose to keep quiet rather than expose her defilement to the cruelty of public scrutiny. Only when the delay is unreasonable or unexplained may it work to discredit the complainant. Neither does an inconclusive medical report negate the finding of rape. A medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape inasmuch as the victim’s testimony alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict the accused of the crime and the medical certificate will then be rendered as merely corroborative. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GILBERT PENILLA Y FRANCIA G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013

Spouses Martires filed a Second Motion for Reconsideration and reckoned the 15 day period for filing an appeal with the Supreme Court from the date the CA denied the Second Motion for Reconsideration.

Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court provides that a petition for review on certiorari under the said Rule "shall be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order or resolution appealed from or of the denial of the petitioner's motion for new trial or reconsideration filed in due time after notice of the judgment." Relative thereto, Section 2, Rule 52 of the same Rules provides that "no second motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final resolution by the same party shall be entertained." Since a second motion for reconsideration is not allowed, then unavoidably, its filing does not toll the running of the period to file an appeal by certiorari.

The validity of the contents and the regularity of the notarization of the Deed of Transfer were challenged. A defective notarization will strip the document of its public character and reduce it to a private instrument. When there is a defect in the notarization of a document, the clear and convincing evidentiary standard normally attached to a duly-notarized document is dispensed with, and the measure to test the validity of such document is preponderance of evidence. While indeed a notarized document enjoys the presumption of regularity, the fact that a deed is notarized is not a guarantee of the validity of its contents. The validity of the contents and execution of the subject Deed of Transfer were challenged in the proceedings where its prima facie validity was subsequently overthrown by the questionable circumstances attendant in its supposed execution. SPOUSES LEHNER AND LUDY MARTIRES v. MENELIA CHUA. G.R. No. 174240, March 20, 2013.

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Spouses Dinglasan filed an action for cancellation of title involving real property valued at Php. 4,000.00 with the RTC. Where the ultimate objective of the plaintiffs is to obtain title to real property, it should be filed in the proper court having jurisdiction over the assessed value of the property subject thereof. Since the amount alleged in the Complaint by Spouses Dinglasan for the disputed lot is only P4,000.00, the MTC and not the RTC has jurisdiction over the action. Therefore, all proceedings in the RTC are null and void. EDITHA PADLAN v. ELENITA DINGLASAN and FELISIMO DINGLASAN. G.R. No. 180321, March 20, 2013

It is to be noted that in case of substituted service, there should be a report indicating that the person who received the summons in the defendant's behalf was one with whom the defendant had a relation of confidence, ensuring that the latter would actually receive the summons.

It was not shown that the security guard who received the summons in behalf of Chu was authorized and possessed a relation of confidence that Chu would definitely receive the summons. This is not the kind of service contemplated by law. Thus, service on the security guard could not be considered as substantial compliance with the requirements of substituted service. SIXTO N. CHU v. MACH ASIA TRADING CORPORATION. G.R. No. 184333, April 1, 2013. It is necessary for the petitioning government agency or its authorized representatives to certify against forum shopping, because they, and not the OSG, are in the best position to know if another case is pending before another court. If the OSG is compelled by circumstances to verify and certify the pleading in behalf of a client agency, the OSG should at least endeavor to inform the courts of its reasons for doing so, beyond simply citing cases where the Court allowed the OSG to sign the certification. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION v. ARLIC ALMOJUELA. G.R. No. 194368, April 2, 2013 A petition for mandamus was filed to compel the Secretary of Justice to charge Dalandag for multiple murder in relation to the Maguindanao massacre despite his admission to the Witness Protection Program of the DOJ. In matters involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, mandamus cannot be used to direct the manner or the particular way the judgment and discretion are to be exercised. Consequently, the Secretary of Justice may be compelled by writ of mandamus to act on a letter-request or a motion to include a person in the information, but may not be compelled by writ of mandamus to act in a certain way, i.e., to grant or deny such letter-request or motion. DATU ANDAL AMPATUAN, JR. v. SEC. LEILA DE LIMA, AS SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, et al. G.R. No. 197291, April 3, 2013. Under the established jurisprudence on litis pendentia, the following considerations predominate in the ascending order of importance in determining which action should prevail: (1) the date of filing, with preference generally given to the first action filed to be retained; (2) whether the action sought to be dismissed was filed merely to preempt the later action or to anticipate its filing and lay the basis for its dismissal; and (3) whether the action is the appropriate vehicle for litigating the issues between the parties. There can be no doubt Civil Case No. CEB-35529 is the appropriate vehicle to determine the rights of FDCP and SM Prime. FILM DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC. G.R. No. 197937, April 3, 2013.

The mere failure to attach copies of the pleadings and other material portions of the record as would support the allegations of the petition for review is not necessarily fatal as to warrant the outright denial of due course when the clearly legible duplicate originals or true copies of the judgments or final orders of both lower courts, certified correct by the clerk of court of the RTC, and other attachments of the petition

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sufficiently substantiate the allegations. SEGUNDINA A. GALVEZ v. SPS. HONORIO C. MONTAÑO AND SUSANA P. MONTAÑO, et al. G.R. No. 157445, April 3, 2013.

It has been consistently ruled that an accused is estopped from assailing any irregularity of his arrest if he fails to raise this issue or to move for the quashal of the information against him on this ground before arraignment. Any objection involving a warrant of arrest or the procedure by which the court acquired jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be made before he enters his plea; otherwise, the objection is deemed waived. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WELVIN DIU y KOTSESA, et al. G.R. No. 201449, April 3, 2013.

Spouses Ugay filed an action for quieting of title while Firaza, Jr. filed a counterclaim. Such counterclaim is a permissible direct attack to the validity of the adverse party’s torrens title. As such counterclaim, it involves a cause of action separate from that alleged in the complaint; it has for its purpose the vindication of a right in as much as the complaint similarly seeks the redress of one. NEMESIO FIRAZA, SR., v. SPS. CLAUDIO AND EUFRECENA UGAY. G.R. No. 165838, April 3, 2013.

A case which has been suspended for 8 years due to LBP’s opposition to the admission of an amended and supplemental complaint may be continued. It is incumbent that trial should continue to settle the issues between the parties once and for all. Court litigation which is primarily a search for truth must proceed; and a liberal interpretation of the rules by which both parties are given the fullest opportunity to adduce proofs is the best way to ferret out such truth. SPS. WELTCHIE RAYMUNDO AND EMILY RAYMUNDO v. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES., substituted by ASSET ASIA PACIFIC (SPVAMC) 2, INC. G.R. No. 195317, April 3, 2013.

In administrative cases involving the concurrent jurisdiction of two or more disciplining authorities, the body where the complaint is filed first, and which opts to take cognizance of the case, acquires jurisdiction to the exclusion of other tribunals exercising concurrent jurisdiction. In instances where a complaint against a Punong Barangay is filed with the Ombudsman first, the Office of the Ombudsman exercises jurisdiction over the complaint to the exclusion of the Sandiganbayan, which exercises concurrent jurisdiction. FRANKLIN ALEJANDRO v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN FACT-FINDING AND INTELLIGENCE BUREAU. G.R. No. 173121, April 3, 2013.

Under the 1964 Rules of Court, notice of the execution sale to the judgment obligor was not required, or was merely optional; publication and posting sufficed. It was only in 1987 that the Court, via Circular No. 8 amending Rule 39, Section 18 of the Rules of Court, required that written notice be given to the judgment debtor. MARCELINO AND VITALIANA DALANGIN v. CLEMENTE PEREZ, et al. G.R. No. 178758, April 3, 2013.

Objection to evidence cannot be raised for the first time on appeal; when a party desires the court to reject the evidence offered, he must so state in the form of an objection. Without such objection, he cannot raise the question for the first time on appeal. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GERRY OCTAVIO y FLORENDO and REYNALDO CARIÑO y MARTI. G.R. No. 199219, April 3, 2013.

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The purchaser remains entitled to a writ of possession, without prejudice, of course, to the eventual outcome of the pending annulment case. Otherwise stated, the issuance of the writ of possession remains the ministerial duty of the RTC until the issues raised in the annulment case are, once and for all, decided by a court of competent jurisdiction. SPS. MONTANO T. TOLOSA AND MERLINDA TOLOSA v. UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK. G.R. No. 183058, April 3, 2013.

The testimony of a rape victim must be given weight and credence. When the issue focuses on the credibility of the witnesses or the lack of it, the assessment of the trial court is controlling because of its unique opportunity to observe the witness and the latter’s demeanor, conduct, and attitude especially during the cross-examination unless cogent reasons dictate otherwise. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDMUNDO VITERO. G.R. No. 175327, April 3, 2013.

The indeterminateness of the identities of the individuals who could have handled the sachet of shabu after PO1 Dimla’s marking broke the chain of custody, and tainted the integrity of the shabu ultimately presented as evidence to the trial court. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALBERTO GONZALES y SANTOS aka TAKYO. G.R. No. 182417, April 3, 2013

The non-joinder of indispensable parties is not a ground for the dismissal of an action. At any stage of a judicial proceeding and/or at such times as are just, parties may be added on the motion of a party or on the initiative of the tribunal concerned. If the plaintiff refuses to implead an indispensable party despite the order of the court, that court may dismiss the complaint for the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the order. The remedy is to implead the non-party claimed to be indispensable. HEIRS OF FAUSTINO MESINA and GENOVEVA S. MESINA, rep. by NORMAN MESINA v. HEIRS OF DOMINGO FIAN, SR., rep. by THERESA FIAN YRAY, et al. G.R. No. 201816, April 8, 2013

An order for extrajudicial foreclosure given by an executive judge in the exercise of her administrative function is not a civil action of the Regional Trial Courts that may be the proper subject of an action for annulment of judgment under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.

A petition for the issuance of a writ of possession cannot be consolidated with an action for annulment of mortgage where title to the property has already been consolidated in favor of the mortgagor following the expiration of the one year redemption period except when title has not yet consolidated in favor of the mortgagor and this presumed right of ownership is contested and made the basis of another action, in which case, the actions must be consolidated.

It suffices, according to Altres v. Empleo, that the verification and certification was signed by at least one of Ingles, et al.who was competent to do so. The certiorari petition was verified by Josefina and Hector F. Ingles—both of whom the Court finds competent to attest to the truth of the allegations of their petition, considering that they are unquestionably principal parties-in-interest to their certiorari petition. JOSEFINA

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F. INGLES, et al. v. HON. ESTRELLA T. ESTRADA, etc., et al./JOSEFINA F. INGLES, et al. v. HON. ARSENIO J. MAGPALE, etc., et al./JOSEFINA F. INGLES, et al. v. CHARLES J. ESTEBAN G.R. No. 141809/G.R. No. 147186/G.R. No. 173641, April 8, 2013

Findings of fact of the trial court are not to be disturbed on appeal since conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape cases depends heavily on the sound judgment of the trial court which is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANUEL TOLENTINO y CATACUTAN. G.R. No. 187740, April 10, 2013.

In instances where appeals are filed out of time, appeal fees paid on the day of promulgation of a resolution, or when issues not raised in the pleadings are admitted, the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service themselves provide that administrative investigations shall be conducted without strict recourse to the technical rules of procedure and evidence applicable to judicial proceedings. FRANCISCO C. ADALIM v. ERNESTO TANINAS, et al. G.R. No. 198682, April 10, 2013.

The Heirs of Lazaro Gallardo are immediate relatives, who share a common interest in the property subject of the action and the fact that only one of the heirs executed the verification or certification of nonforum shopping will not deter the court from proceeding with the action. HEIRS OF LAZARO GALLARDO, et al. v. PORFERIO SOLIMAN, et al.G.R. No. 178952, April 10, 2013. Boardwalk’s appeal was not perfected because of its failure to timely file the Petition and to pay the docket and other lawful fees before the proper court which is the CA. The perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period set by law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional as well, hence failure to perfect the same renders the judgment final and executory. BOARDWALK BUSINESS VENTURES, INC. v. ELVIRA A. VILLAREAL (deceased) substituted by REYNALDO P. VILLAREAL, JR., et al. G.R. No. 181182, April 10, 2013.

The obligation of a court to issue a writ of possession in favor of the purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale ceases to be ministerial, once it appears that there is a third party who is in possession of the property and is claiming a right adverse to that of the debtor/mortgagor. ROYAL SAVINGS BANK, formerly COMSAVINGS BANK, now GSIS FAMILY BANK v. FERNANDO ASIA, et al. G.R. No. 183658, April 10, 2013

Although the RTC has legal basis under A.M. No. 01-10-5-SC-PHILJA in relation to Section 5, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court to order the dismissal of the case, the Court finds this sanction too severe to be imposed on PMMA where the records of the case is devoid of evidence of willful or flagrant disregard of the rules on mediation proceedings. SANDOVAL SHIPYARDS, INC., and RIMPORT INDUSTRIES, INC., represented by ENGR. REYNALDO G. IMPORTANTE v. PHILIPPINE MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY (PMMA) G.R. No. 188633, April 10, 2013. No appeal can be had of the trial court's judgment in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. It goes without saying, however, that an aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari to question abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROBERT P. NARCEDA. G.R. No. 182760, April 10, 2013

Non-compliance with Sec. 21, R.A. 9165 does not necessarily render the arrest illegal or the items seized inadmissible because what is essential is that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are

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preserved which would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LOLITA QUESIDO y BADARANG. G.R. No. 189351, April 10, 2013 To allow the presentation of evidence on a piece-meal basis, thereby needlessly causing a delay in the resolution of the case would be anathema to the purpose of delivering justice. ALBERT CHUA, JIMMY CHUA CHI LEONG and SPOUSES EDUARDO SOLIS and GLORIA VICTA v. B.E. SAN DIEGO, INC./LORENZANA FOOD CORPORATION v. B.E. SAN DIEGO, INC. G.R. No. 165863/G.R. No. 165875. April 10, 2013

Jurisprudence dictates that an affidavit is merely hearsay evidence where its affiant/maker did not take the witness stand. The affidavit was not identified and its averments were not affirmed by affiant Ignacio. Accordingly, Exhibit "3" must be excluded from the judicial proceedings being an inadmissible hearsay evidence. Exhibit "4," on the other hand, is considered secondary evidence being a mere photocopy which, in this case, cannot be admitted to prove the contents of the purported undated handwritten receipt. ROGELIO DANTIS v. JULIO MAGHINANG, JR. G.R. No. 191696, April 10, 2013.

Under Section 17, Rule 132 of the 1997 Rules of Court, when part of a writing or record is given in evidence by one party, the whole of the same subject may be inquired into by the other, and when a detached writing or record is given in evidence, any other writing or record necessary to its understanding may also be given in evidence. EAGLERIDGE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, MARCELO N. NAVAL and CRISPIN I. OBEN v. CAMERON GRANVILLE 3 ASSET MANAGEMENT, INC. G.R. No. 204700, April 10, 2013.

A preliminary injunction is proper only when the plaintiff appears to be clearly entitled to the relief sought and has substantial interest in the right sought to be defended. Factually, there must exist a right to be protected and that the acts against which the writ is to be directed are violative of the said right. As the Supreme Court has previously ruled, while the existence of the right need not be conclusively established, it must be clear. THE SPECIAL AUDIT TEAM, COMMISSION ON AUDIT v. COURT OF APPEALS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM. G.R. No. 174788, April 11, 2013

The doctrine of res judicata applies only to judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, and not to the exercise of administrative powers. Administrative powers here refer to those purely administrative in nature, as opposed to administrative proceedings that take on a quasi-judicial character. CARLITO C. ENCINAS v. PO1 ALFREDO P. AGUSTIN, JR., and PO1 JOEL S. CAUBANG. G.R. No. 187317, April 11, 2013

A complaint for the consignation of a loan payment of a subdivision lot does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board. Consignation is necessarily judicial, as the Civil Code itself provides that consignation shall be made by depositing the thing or things due at the disposal of judicial authority. SPOUSES OSCAR AND THELMA CACAYORIN v. ARMED FORCES AND POLICE MUTUAL BENEFIT ASSOCIATION, INC. G.R. No. 171298, April 15, 2013.

A petition filed under Rule 45 required the evaluation of the factual findings of the RTC and the CA. The question, to be one of law, must rest solely on what the law provides on the given set of circumstances and should avoid the scrutiny of the probative value of the parties’ evidence. Once the issue invites a review of the factual findings of the RTC and of the CA, as in this case, the question posed is one of fact

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that is proscribed in a Rule 45 petition. RICARDO CHU, JR. and DY KOK ENG v. MELANIA CAPARAS and SPOUSES RUEL AND HERMENEGILDA PEREZ. G.R. No. 175428, April 15, 2013. A person who occupies the land of another at the latter’s tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is bound by an implied promise that he will vacate the same upon demand, failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against him. REY CASTIGADOR CATEDRILLA v. MARIO and MARGIE LAURON. G.R. No. 179011, April 15, 2013. An Arbitration Committee rendered a decision which was contested by the other party as a judgment or a final order under the Labor Code, hence the Rules of Court do not apply. A decision or award of a voluntary arbitrator is appealable to the CA via a petition for review under Rule 43. Upon receipt of the Voluntary Arbitrator’s Resolution denying RPWU’s motion for reconsideration, RPWU should have filed with the CA, within the fifteen (15)-day reglementary period, a petition for review, not a petition for certiorari. ROYAL PLANT WORKERS UNION v. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILIPPINES, INC. G.R. No. 198783, April 15, 2013

The writ of amparo’s curative role is an acknowledgment that the violation of the right to life, liberty, and security may be caused not only by a public official’s act, but also by his omission. Accountability may attach to Arroyo, et al. who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. The duty to investigate must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective. N THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE WRIT OF AMPARO AND HABEAS DATA IN FAVOR OF NORIEL RODRIGUEZ: NORIEL RODRIGUEZ v. GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, et al. G.R. No. 191805/G.R. No. 193160, April 16, 2013.

Intervention of a rival candidate in a disqualification case is proper when there has not yet been any proclamation of the winner. CASAN MACODE MAQUILING v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, ROMMEL ARNADO y CAGOCO, LINOG G. BALUA G.R. No. 195649, April 16, 2013.

A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction is allowed only when there are special and important reasons that are clearly and specifically set forth in a petition. A disregard of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts warrants, as a rule, the outright dismissal of a petition. EMMANUEL A. DE CASTRO v. EMERSON S. CARLOS. G.R. No. 194994, April 16, 2013 CJ Sereno

The Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to review decisions and orders of electoral tribunals is exercised only upon showing of grave abuse of discretion committed by the tribunal. Otherwise, the Supreme Court shall not interfere with the electoral tribunal’s exercise of its discretion or jurisdiction. AGAPAY NG INDIGENOUS PEOPLE RIGHTS ALLIANCE (A-IPRA) v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, et al. G.R. No. 204591, April 16, 2013

Issues raised for the first time in a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court are deemed waived, because these should have been brought up at the first opportunity. PAGLAUM MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT CORP. AND HEALTH MARKETING TECHNOLOGIES, INC. v. UNION BANK OF

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THE PHILIPPINES, NOTARY PUBLIC JOHN DOE, AND REGISTER OF DEEDS OF CEBU CITY AND CEBU PROVINCE; J. KING & SONS. CO., INC. G.R. No. 179018, April 17, 2013.

Funds coming from private sources become impressed with the characteristics of public funds when they are under official custody. In Mamba v. Lara, it has been held that a taxpayer need not be a party to the contract to challenge its validity; as long as taxes are involved, people have a right to question contracts entered into by the government. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDUARDO M. CACAYURAN. G.R. No. 191667, April 17, 2013

Under the Dead Man's Statute Rule, if one party to the alleged transaction is precluded from testifying by death, insanity, or other mental disabilities, the other party is not entitled to the undue advantage of giving his own uncontradicted and unexplained account of the transaction. Thus, the alleged admission of the deceased Pedro Caparas that he entered into a sharing of leasehold rights with Modesta Garcia and Cristina Salamat cannot be used as evidence against Dominga Caparas as the latter would be unable to contradict or disprove the same. APOLONIO GARCIA, in substitution of his deceased mother, Modesta Garcia, and CRISTINA SALAMAT v. DOMINGA ROBLES vda de CAPARAS. G.R. No. 180843, April 17, 2013.

Stare decisis simply means that for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. Thus, where the same questions relating to the same event have been put forward by the parties similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and decided by a competent court, the rule of stare decisis is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issue. AMELIA AQUINO, et al. v. PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY. G.R. No. 181973, April 17, 2013.

It is well-settled that the sole issue in ejectment cases is physical or material possession of the subject property, independent of any claim of ownership by the parties. The argument of Spouses Abacan that they subsequently acquired ownership of the subject property cannot be considered as a supervening event that will bar the execution of the questioned judgment, as unlawful detainer does not deal with the issue of ownership. HOLY TRINITY REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. SPOUSES CARLOS ABACAN AND ELIZABETH ABACAN. G.R. No. 183858, April 17, 2013

It must be stated that the purpose of an action of forcible entry and detainer is that, regardless of the actual condition of the title to the property, the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be turned out by strong hand, violence or terror. SPOUSES ARMANDO SILVERIO, SR. and REMEDIOS SILVERIO v. SPOUSES RICARDO and EVELYN MARCELO/SPOUSES EVELYN and RICARDO MARCELO v. SPOUSES ARMANDO SILVERI, SR. and REMEDIOS SILVERIO. G.R. Nos. 184079/184490, April 17, 2013.

The existence of doubt or obscurity in the title of the person or persons claiming ownership of the properties to be expropriated would not preclude the commencement of the action nor prevent the court from assuming jurisdiction thereof. The Rules merely require, in such eventuality, that the entity exercising the right of eminent domain should state in the complaint that the true ownership of the property cannot

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be ascertained or specified with accuracy. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DEPARTMENT FO THE PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS (DPWH) v. SPOUSES WILLIAM AND REBECCA GENATO. G.R. No. 187677, April 17, 2013.

The failure of police officers to mark the items seized from an accused in illegal drugs cases immediately upon its confiscation at the place of arrest does not automatically impair the integrity of the chain of custody and render the confiscated items inadmissible in evidence. Marking upon immediate confiscation contemplates even marking at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending team. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DANTE L. DUMALAG. G.R. No. 180514, April 17, 2013

The granduncle, or more specifically the brother of the victim’s grandfather, is a relative of the victim in the fourth civil degree, and is thus not covered by Article 266-B, paragraph 5(1) of the Revised Penal Code. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALBERTO DELIGERO y BACASMOT. G.R. No. 189280, April 17, 2013

Despite the failure of the apprehending officers to make an inventory of and to photograph the items seized from Aguilar, they were nevertheless able to prove that the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence had been preserved, the chain of custody of such items, having been adequately established in the case at bar. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARILYN AGUILAR y MANZANILLO. G.R. No. 191396, April 17, 2013

In the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all parties, a court may properly treat all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read into the record of a case pending before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing party, reference is made to it for that purpose, by name and number or in some other manner by which it is sufficiently designated; or when the original record of the former case or any part of it, is actually withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction, at the request or with the consent of the parties, and admitted as a part of the record of the case then pending. SPOUSES FELIX CHINGKOE and ROSITA CHINGKOE v. SPOUSES FAUSTINO CHINGKOE and GLORIA CHINGKOE. G.R. No. 185518, April 17, 2013.

Fujiki, Marinay’s first spouse, filed an action for recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying the second bigamous marriage of her marriage to Maekara. The recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new status, right and fact that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code. Moreover, under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, "the term of prescription of the crime of bigamy shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine archipelago." MINORU FUJIKI v. MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY, SHINICHI MAEKARA, LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY, and the ADMINISTRATOR AND CIVIL REGISTRAR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE. G.R. No. 196049, June 26, 2013 After Mercado was granted immunity and placed under the witness protection program, the Sandiganbayan refused to recognize his immunity by declining to discharge him from the information as a state witness. The authority to grant immunity is not an inherent judicial function. Indeed, Congress has

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vested such power in the Ombudsman as well as in the Secretary of Justice. Besides, the decision to employ an accused as a state witness must necessarily originate from the public prosecutors whose mission is to obtain a successful prosecution of the several accused before the courts. Courts should generally defer to the judgment of the prosecution and deny a motion to discharge an accused so he can be used as a witness only in clear cases of failure to meet the requirements of Section 17, Rule 119. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (FOURTH DIVISION), ANTONIO P. BELICENA, ULDARICO P. ANDUTAN, JR., RAUL C. DE VERA, ROSANNA P. DIALA and JOSEPH A. CABOTAJE. G.R. Nos. 185729-32, June 26, 2013. J. Abad For a question to be one of law, it must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties or any of them. Otherwise stated, there is a question of law when the issue arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts; there is a question of fact when the issue involves the truth or falsehood of alleged facts. In the present case, the controversy arises not from the findings made by Hammonia and Dorchester’s physicians which contradict the fit-to-work certification of the company-designated physician; it arises from the application of the law and jurisprudence on the conflicting assessments of the two sets of physicians. PHILIPPINE HAMMONIA SHIP AGENCY, INC. and DORCHESTER MARINE, LTD. v. EULOGIO DUMADAG. G.R. No. 194362, June 26, 2013. Abdul was convicted despite the evidentiary gaps in the testimonies of the police officers. The chain-ofcustody rule is a method of authenticating evidence, by which the corpus delicti presented in court is shown to be one and the same as that which was retrieved from the accused or from the crime scene. Two crucial links must be complied with. First, the seized illegal drug must be marked in the presence of the accused and immediately upon confiscation. This marking must be supported by details on how, when, and where the marking was done, as well as the witnesses to the marking. Second, the turnover of the seized drugs at every stage – from confiscation from the accused, transportation to the police station, conveyance to the chemistry lab, and presentation to the court  must be shown and substantiated. It was a grave error for the CA to rule that there was an unbroken chain of custody simply because the plastic sachet had been marked, inventoried, sent to the crime laboratory for analysis, and found positive for shabu, despite the fact that the integrity of the confiscated item throughout the entire process had never been established. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DATU NOT ABDUL. G.R. No. 186137, June 26, 2013. The CIAC rendered an arbitral award that was appealed to the CA through a Petition for Review under Rule 43. With the amendments introduced by R.A. No. 7902 and promulgation of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, the CIAC was included in the enumeration of quasijudicial agencies whose decisions or awards may be appealed to the CA in a petition for review under Rule 43. Such review of the CIAC award may involve either questions of fact, of law, or of fact and law. J PLUS ASIA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. UTILITY ASSURANCE CORPORATION. G.R. No. 199650, June 26, 2013. A petition was filed to assail a CA decision rendered under Rule 65 where it failed to pass upon the intrinsic correctness of the NLRC decision. In reviewing the legal correctness of a CA decision rendered under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, the Court examines the CA decision from the prism of whether it correctly determined the presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC decision before it, and not strictly on the basis of whether the NLRC decision under review is intrinsically correct. POSEIDON INTERNATIONAL MARITIME SERVICES, INC. v. TITO R. TAMALA, FELIPE S. SAURIN, JR. ARTEMIO A. BO-OC and JOEL S. FERNANDEZ. G.R. No. 186475, June 26, 2013 Under the requirements, it is clear that only fifteen (15) days may initially be requested, not the thirty (30) days petitioner requested. The petitioner cannot also assume that his motion has been granted if the CA did not immediately act.In any case, the late response cannot be used as an excuse to delay the filing of its pleading as a party cannot make any assumption on how his motion would be resolved. Precisely, a motion is submitted to the court for resolution and we cannot allow any assumption that it would be granted. WILSON T. GO v. BPI FINANCE CORPORATION. G.R. No. 199354, June 26, 2013

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The Supreme Court has been regular in its declaration that "inconsistencies in a rape victim’s testimony do not impair her credibility, especially if the inconsistencies refer to trivial matters that do not alter the essential fact of the commission of rape."Besides, the task of evaluating the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies is best left to the RTC, which had the opportunity to scrutinize the witnesses directly during the trial. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMAN ZAFRA y SERRANO.G.R. No. 197363, June 26, 2013. Determination of probable cause may be either executive or judicial. The first is made by the public prosecutor, during a preliminary investigation, where he is given broad discretion to determine whether probable cause exists for the purpose of filing a criminal information in court.The second is one made by the judge to ascertain whether a warrant of arrest should be issued against the accused. VIRGINIA DE LOS SANTOS-DIO, as authorized representative of H.S. EQUITIES, LTD., and WESTDALE ASSETS, LTD. v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, JUDGE RAMON S. CAGUIOA, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 74, Regional Trial Court, Olongapo City, and TIMOTHY J. DESMOND G.R. No. 178947, June 26, 2013PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. TIMOTHY J. DESMOND. G.R. No. 179079, June 26, 2013. When the witness rendered a clear and direct narration of the details of the buy-bust operation from the moment the team was organized, upon receipt of the information from the confidential informant, to the time the shabu was marked and turned over to the crime laboratory for examination, andabsent any showing of ill-motive or bad faith on the part of the arresting officers, as in this case where accusedappellant testified that he did not know any of the members of the team, the doctrine of presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty finds application. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PETER LINDA y GEROLAGA G.R. No. 200507, June 26, 2013 The defense of the accused that she was arrested without a valid warrant, thus making the seized items the fruit of the poisonous tree, should fail, especially when the arrest falls under the instances when a valid warrantless arrest can be made. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MONICA MENDOZA y TRINIDAD. G.R. No. 191267, June 26, 2013 We have reiterated in jurisprudence that when the credibility of a witness is in issue, the findings of fact of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions anchored on said findings are accorded high respect if not conclusive effect. This is more true if such findings were affirmed by the appellate court, since it is settled that when the trial court’s findings have been affirmed by the appellate court, said findings are generally binding upon this Court. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RAMIL MORES. G.R. No. 189846, June 26, 2013. A written admission, even if given without the assistance of counsel, can be admitted in evidence. More so in this case, as petitioner’s written statement was given during an administrative inquiry conducted by his employer in connection with an anomaly/irregularity he allegedly committed in the course of his employment, and not during custodial investigation. CARLOS L. TANENGGEE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 179448, June 26, 2013 The allegation of petitioners that they are not the owners of the subject property, thus making them unable to remove the installed surveillance cameras on the corporation’s building, cannot be upheld especially when the corporation who is managed by the family of petitioners. They are thus considered parties-ininterest in the present case. SPOUSES BILL AND VICTORIA HING v. ALEXANDER CHOACHUY, SR. and ALLAN CHOACHUY. G.R. No. 179736, June 26, 2013. Respondent had no right to claim prescription because a CLT had already been issued in favor of petitioner. The farm is considered expropriated and placed under the coverage of the land reform law. As such, respondent had neither the right to evict petitioner nor to claim prescription. RAYMUNDO CODERIAS, as represented by his Attorney-In-Fact, MARLON M. CODERIAS v. ESTATE OF JUAN CIDOCO, represented by its Administrator, DR. RAUL R. CARAG. G.R. No. 180476, June 26, 2013 It must be emphasized that the COMELEC is not bound to strictly adhere to the technical rules of procedure in the presentation of evidence. Under Section 2 of Rule I, the COMELEC Rules of Procedure "shall be liberally construed in order x xx to achieve just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every action and proceeding brought before the Commission." In view of the fact that the

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proceedings in a petition to deny due course or to cancel certificate of candidacy are summary in nature, then the "newly discovered evidence" was properly admitted by respondent COMELEC. REGINA ONGSIAKO REYES v. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JOSEPH SOCORRO B. TAN. G.R. No. 207264, June 25, 2013 In order for the Court to acquire jurisdiction over an administrative case, the complaint must be filed during the incumbency of the respondent. Once jurisdiction is acquired, it is not lost by reason of respondent’s cessation from office. Respondent’s cessation from office x x x does not warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against him while he was still in the service nor does it render said administrative case moot and academic. The Court’s jurisdiction at the time of the filing of the administrative complaint is not lost by the mere fact that the respondent had ceased in office during the pendency of the case. OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. RETIRED JUDGE GUILLERMO ANDAYA. A.M. No. RTJ-09-2181, June 25, 2013. Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains possessed of authority as a court of general original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds of cases whether civil, criminal, special proceedings, land registration, guardianship, naturalization, admiralty or insolvency. It is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality of a statute, "this authority being embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to determine what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the fundamental law." JESUS C. GARCIA v. THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod City, and ROSALIE JAYPEGARCIA, for herself and in behalf of minor children, namely: JO-ANN, JOSEPH EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed GARCIA. G.R. No. 179267, June 25, 2013. While the share was bought by Sime Darby and placed under the name of Mendoza, his title is only limited to the usufruct, or the use and enjoyment of the club’s facilities and privileges while employed with the company.Despite being informed by Sime Darby to stop using the facilities and privileges of the club share, Mendoza continued to do so. Thus, in order to prevent further damage and prejudice to itself, Sime Darby properly sought injunction in this case. SIME DARBY PILIPINAS, INC. v. JESUS B.MENDOZA. G.R. No. 202247, June 19, 2013 In a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, only questions of law may be put into issue while in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, only questions of jurisdiction may be inquired into. CENTURY IRON WORKS, INC. and BENITO CHUA v. ELETO B. BANAS. G.R. No. 184116, June 19, 2013. PD 27 encompasses only rice and corn land, i.e., agricultural lands primarily devoted to rice and corn under a system of sharecrop or lease-tenancy. In the instant case, since the landholdings cultivated by respondents are primarily devoted to vegetable production, it is definitely outside the coverage, and necessarily cannot properly be placed under the umbrella, of PD 27. Thus, as the RARAD found, the landholdings cultivated by respondents which are portions of the subject lot were improperly placed under PD 27 through OLT. CONRADA O. ALMAGRO v. SPS. MANUEL AMAYA, SR. and LUCILA MERCADO, JESUS MERCADO, SR., and RICARDO MERCADO G.R. No. 179685, June 19, 2013 The finding of the credibility of the testimonies of the arresting officers should prevail over the testimonies of the accused-appellant and his friend-witnesses especially so when their respective testimonies were inconsistent on material points. Even assuming that these were not substantial enough to doubt the credibility of the testimonies of the defense witnesses, we cannot simply disregard the contradicting testimonies of the accused-appellant on one hand and his witnesses on the other as to the place where

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the arrest was made. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FERDINAND CASTRO. G.R. No. 195777, June 19, 2013. The question as to what part of the body of the accused did the police officers recover the money does not dissolve the elements of illegal sale and possession as minor inconsistencies do not negate or dissolve the eyewitnesses’ positive identification of the appellant as the perpetrator of the crime. Minor inconsistencies in the narration of the arresting officers do not detract from their essential credibility as long as their testimony on the whole is coherent and intrinsically believable. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BENEDICT HOMAKY LUCIO. G.R. No. 191391, June 19, 2013. The law of the case has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. It means that whatever is once irrevocably established the controlling legal rule of decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case whether correct on general principles or not, so long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court. SPOUSES MANUEL SY AND VICTORIA SY v. GENALYN D. YOUNG. G.R. No. 169214, June 19, 2013. The clarification provided in A.M. 00-2-14-SC actually covers a situation where the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday. Precisely, what such clarification wanted to address is the erroneous claim that "the period of extension" in such a case "is to be reckoned from the next working day and not from the original expiration of the period." The correct rule, according to the clarification, is that "any extension of time to file the required pleading should x x x be counted from the expiration of the period regardless of the fact that said due date is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday." REINIER PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, INC. and NEPTUNE SHIP MANAGEMENT SVCS, PTE., LTD. v. CAPTAIN FRANCISCO B.GUEVARRA. G.R. No. 157020, June 19, 2013. The trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it denied the motion to dismiss filed by the respondent. Since respondent’s motion to dismiss was filed after petitioner has completed the presentation of its evidence in the trial court, we can say that the filing of the motion to dismiss was a mere ploy on the part of respondent to delay the prompt resolution of the case against her. BOSTON EQUITY RESOURCES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS AND LOLITA G. TOLEDO. G.R. No. 173946, June 19, 2013. In petitions for review under Rule 45, only questions of law must be raised.It is elementary rule that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts and this doctrine applies with greater force in labor cases. Here, the findings of the Labor Arbiter, on one hand, and the NLRC and the Court of Appeals, on the other, are conflicting, thus we are constrained to determine the facts of the case. CONCRETE SOLUTIONS, INC./PRIMARY STRUCTURES CORPORATION, represented by ANASTACIO G. ARDIENTE, JR. v. ARTHUR CABUSAS. G.R. No. 177812, June 19, 2013. The CA can grant a petition when the factual findings complained of are not supported by the evidence on record; when it is necessary to prevent a substantial wrong or to do substantial justice; when the findings of the NLRC contradict those of the LA; and when necessary to arrive at a just decision of the case. Thus, contrary to the contention of petitioner, the CA can review the finding of facts of the NLRC and the evidence of the parties to determine whether the NLRC gravely abused its discretion in finding that there was no illegal dismissal against respondent. UNIVAC DEVELOPMENT INC. v. WILLIAM M. SORIANO. G.R. No. 182072, June 19, 2013. The disputable presumptions provided under Rule 131, Sec. 3 operate against an adversary who has not

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introduced proof to rebut them. They create the necessity of presenting evidence to rebut the prima facie case they created, and which, if no proof to the contrary is presented and offered, will prevail. The burden of proof remains where it is but, by the presumption, the one who has that burden is relieved for the time being from introducing evidence in support of the averment, because the presumption stands in the place of evidence unless rebutted. HOSPICIO D. ROSAROSO, ANTONIO D. ROSAROSO, MANUEL D. ROSAROSO, ALGERICA D. ROSAROSO, and CLEOFE R. LABINDAO v. LUCILA LABORTE SORIA, SPOUSES HAM SOLUTAN and LAILA SOLUTAN, and MERIDIAN REALTY CORPORATION. G.R. No. 194846, June 19, 2013. Courts of law are precluded from disturbing the findings of public prosecutors and the DOJ on the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the purpose of filing criminal informations, unless such findings are tainted with grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The rationale behind the general rule rests on the principle of separation of powers. On the other hand, the courts could intervene in the Secretary of Justice’s determination of probable cause only through a special civil action for certiorari. That happens when the Secretary of Justice acts in a limited sense like a quasi-judicial officer of the executive department exercising powers akin to those of a court of law. But the requirement for such intervention was still for the petitioner to demonstrate clearly that the Secretary of Justice committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. IRIS KRISTINE BALOIS ALBERTO and BENJAMIN D. BALOIS v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ATTY. RODRIGO A. REYNA, ARTURO S. CALIANGA, GIL ANTHONY M. CALIANGA, JESSEBEL CALIANGA, and GRACE EVANGELISTA. G.R. No. 182130, June 19, 2013. THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE CITY PROSECUTOR OF MUNTINLUPA, THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MUNTINLUPA CITY, BENJAMIN D. BALOIS, and IRIS KRISTINE BALOIS ALBERTO v. ATTY. RODRIGO A. REYNA, ARTURO S. CALIANGA, GIL ANTHONY M. CALIANGA, JESSEBEL CALIANGA, and GRACE EVANGELISTA. G.R. No. 182132, June 19, 2013. The test for determining whether the supposed error was one of "law" or "fact" is not the appellation given by the parties raising the same; rather, it is whether the reviewing court can resolve the issues raised without evaluating the evidence, in which case, it is a question of law; otherwise, it is one of fact. In other words, where there is no dispute as to the facts, the question of whether or not the conclusions drawn from these facts are correct is a question of law. BASES CONVERSION DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY v. ROSA REYES, CENANDO, REYES and CARLOS REYES. G.R. No. 194247, June 19, 2013. As to the credibility of witnesses, the trial judge can better determine if witnesses are telling the truth, being in the ideal position to weigh conflicting testimonies. Unless certain facts of substance and value were overlooked which, if considered, might affect the result of the case, its assessment must be respected for it had the opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses while testifying and detect if they were lying. Moreover, even if there are no eyewitnesses to the commission of the crime, especially so if the crime is rape, circumstantial evidence may be resorted to by the courts. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BERNESTO DELA CRUZ @ BERNING. G.R. No. 183091, June 19, 2013. A finding of guilt in an administrative case would have to be sustained for as long as it is supported by substantial evidence that the respondent has committed the acts stated in the complaint or formal charge. As defined, substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion.PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT and GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR) v. ARIEL R. MARQUEZ. G.R. No. 191877, June 18, 2013. IRENEO M. VERDILLO v. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT and GAMING CORPORATION (PAGCOR). G.R. No. 192287, June 18, 2013.

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The distinction between an appeal under Rule 45 and a special civil action under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 could not be anymore overstated in remedial law. Indeed, by restricting the review of judgments or resolutions of the COA only thru a special civil action for certiorari before this Court, the Constitution and the Rules of Court precisely limits the permissible scope of inquiry in such cases only to errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion. Hence, unless tainted with grave abuse of discretion, simple errors of judgment committed by the COA cannot be reviewed—even by this Court. ROBERTO B. REBLORA v. ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 195842, June 18, 2013. There are two modes of appealing an RTC decision or resolution on issues of fact and law. The first mode is an ordinary appeal under Rule 41 in cases where the RTC exercised its original jurisdiction. It is done by filing a Notice of Appeal with the RTC. The second mode is a petition for review under Rule 42 in cases where the RTC exercised its appellate jurisdiction over MTC decisions. It is done by filing a Petition for Review with the CA. Simply put, the distinction between these two modes of appeal lies in the type of jurisdiction exercised by the RTC in the Order or Decision being appealed. DARMA MASLAG v. ELIZABETH MONZON, WILLIAM GESTON, and REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF BENGUET. G.R. No. 174908, June 17, 2013. Prosecution's failure to prove the second and third elements of the violation of BP 22, it can be deduced that the prosecution was able to establish the presence of the first and fourth elements, i.e., (1) a person draws and issues a check and (4) the check is dishonored by the bank for insufficiency of funds or credit. Hence, the fact that petitioner was proven to have drawn and issued a check and that the same was subsequently dishonored for inadequate funds leads to the logical conclusion that the fact from which her civil liability might arise, indeed, exists. As such, the RTC correctly entertained the respondent’s appeal of the civil aspect of the case. LUCILLE DOMINGO v. MERLINDA COLINA. G.R. No. 173330, June 17, 2013. A supervening event is an exception to the execution as a matter of right of a final and immutable judgment rule, only if it directly affects the matter already litigated and settled, or substantially changes the rights or relations of the parties therein as to render the execution unjust, impossible or inequitable. A supervening event consists of facts that transpire after the judgment became final and executory, or of new circumstances that develop after the judgment attained finality, including matters that the parties were not aware of prior to or during the trial because such matters were not yet in existence at that time. SIMPLICIA O. ABRIGO and DEMETRIO ABRIGO v. JIMMY F. FLORES, EDNA F. FLORES, DANILO FLORES, BELINDA FLORES, HECTOR. FLORES, MARITES FLORES, HEIRS OF MARIA F. FLORES, JACINTO FAYLONA, ELISA FAYLONA MAGPANTAY, MARIETTA FAYLONA CARTACIANO, and HEIRS of TOMASA BANZUELA VDA. DE FAYLONA. G.R. No. 160786, June 17, 2013. The fact that petitioner failed to account for, upon demand, the funds of the association of the year 2000 which were received by him in trust, already constitutes circumstantial evidence of misappropriation or conversion of said properties to petitioner’s own personal use. ABELARDO JANDUSAY v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 185129, June 17, 2013. The arrest of the appellants was lawful. Under Section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, "[a] person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant." The factual milieu of this case clearly shows that the search was made after appellants were lawfully arrested. Pursuant to the abovementioned rule, the subsequent search and seizure made by the police officers were likewise valid.

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Hence, appellants’ claim of unreasonable search and seizure must fail. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARCELINO COLLADO Y CUNANAN, MYRA COLLADO Y SENICA, MARK CIPRIANO Y ROCERO, SAMUEL SHERWIN LATARIO Y ENRIQUE, AND REYNALDO RANADA Y ALAS. G.R. No. 185719, June 17, 2013 The general rule is that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non before a certiorari petition 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. However, this rule is not absolute as jurisprudence has laid down several recognized exceptions permitting a resort to the special civil action for certiorari without first filing a motion for reconsideration. REPUBLIC GAS CORPORATION, ARNEL U. TY, MARI ANTONETTE N. TY, ORLANDO REYES, FERRER SUAZO and ALVIN U. TY v. PETRON CORPORATION, PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, and SHELL INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED. G.R. No. 194062, June 17, 2013 Res judicata exists when as between the action sought to be dismissed and the other action these elements are present, namely; (1) the former judgment must be final; (2) the former judgment must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and the parties; (3) the former judgment must be a judgment on the merits; and (4) there must be between the first and subsequent actions (i) identity of parties or at least such as representing the same interest in both actions; (ii) identity of subject matter, or of the rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and, (iii) identity of causes of action in both actions such that any judgment that may be rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration. HEIRS OF MARCELO SOTTO, REPRESENTED BY: LOLIBETH SOTTO NOBLE, DANILO C. SOTTO, CRISTINA C. SOTTO, EMMANUEL C. SOTTO, and FILEMON C. SOTTO; and SALVACION BARCELONA, AS HEIR OF DECEASED MIGUEL BARCELONA v. MATILDE S. PALICTE. G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013 The nature of the proceeding for reconstitution of a certificate of title under R.A. No. 26 denotes a restoration of the instrument, which is supposed to have been lost or destroyed, in its original form and condition. The purpose of such a proceeding is merely to have the certificate of title reproduced, after proper proceedings, in the same form it was in when its loss or destruction occurred. The same R.A. No. 26 specifies the requisites to be met for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction over a petition for reconstitution of a certificate of title. Failure to comply with any of these jurisdictional requirements for a petition for reconstitution renders the proceedings null and void. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDWARD M. CAMACHO. G.R. No. 185604, June 13, 2013 The ‘material inconsistencies’ asserted by the accused-appellant which allegedly create grave doubts are, on the contrary, too minor, trivial and inconsequential to affect the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, the inconsistencies having been fully and sufficiently explained during trial by the witnesses themselves, and their explanations having been accepted by the Trial Court. Besides, it has been held, time and again, that minor inconsistencies and contradictions in the declarations of witnesses do not destroy the witnesses' credibility but even enhance their truthfulness as they erase any suspicion of a rehearsed testimony. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEL REBOTAZO y ALEJANDRA. G.R. No. 192913, June 13, 2013. The assertion by petitioner that parts of onw of the witness’ testimony were inconsistent with that of the other witnesses cannot be given credence. It should be noted that the witnesses saw the incident from different vantage points, the former being a passive eyewitness, and latter being direct witnesses to the incident. As such, the latter were able to observe events that the latter might have overlooked or failed to see. JOSELITO RAMOS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 194384, June 13, 2013 Mandamus will not issue to control or review the exercise of discretion by a public officer on whom the law imposes the right or duty to exercise judgment in reference to any matter in which the officer is required to

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act. Neither can mandamus be issued unless a clear right of the bidder is shown. Mandamus does not lie if the right is doubtful.PRIVATIZATION and MANAGEMENT OFFICE v. STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT and/or PHILIPPINE ESTATE CORPORATION. G.R. No. 200402, June 13, 2013 While the provisions of the Rules of Court apply to Special Agrarian Court proceedings, it is clear that, unlike in expropriation proceedings under the Rules of Court, the appointment of a commissioner or commissioners is discretionary on the part of the court or upon the instance of one of the parties.And since neither party objected to the appointment of commissioners, the proper fees to be paid to them should likewise be governed by the Rules of Court. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ATTY. RICARDO D. GONZALEZ. G.R. No. 185821, June 13, 2013 The jurisdiction of the PARAD and the DARAB is only limited to cases involving agrarian disputes, including incidents arising from the implementation of agrarian laws. Basic is the rule that the "jurisdiction of a tribunal, including a quasi-judicial office or government agency, over the nature and subject matter of a petition or complaint is determined by the material allegations therein and the character of the relief prayed for irrespective of whether the petitioner or complainant is entitled to any or all such reliefs. DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, as represented by Fritzi C. Pantoja, in her capacity as the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer, DAR-Laguna v. PARAMOUNT HOLDINGS EQUITIES, INC., JIMMY CHUA, ROJAS CHUA, BENJAMIN SIM, SANTOS C. TAN, WILLIAM C. LEE and STEWART C. LIM. G.R. No. 176838, June 13, 2013 Denial is intrinsically a weak defense which must be buttressed by strong evidence of non-culpability to merit credibility. To be sure, it is negative, self-serving evidence that cannot be given evidentiary weight greater than that of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. Time-tested is the rule that between the positive assertions of prosecution witnesses and the negative averments of the accused, the former indisputably deserves more credence and evidentiary weight. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PERCIVAL DELA ROSA y BAYER. G.R. No. 201723, June 13, 2013 In a Rule 45 review, we consider the correctness of the assailed CA decision, in contrast with the review for jurisdictional error that we undertake under Rule 65. Furthermore, Rule 45 limits us to the review of questions of law raised against the assailed CA decision. ST. JOSEPH ACADEMY OF VALENZUELA FACULTY ASSOCIATION (SJA VFA)-FUR CHAPTER-TUCP v. ST. JOSEPH ACADEMY OF VALENZUELA and DAMASO D. LOPEZ. G.R. No. 182957, June 13, 2013 Although Rule 19 is explicit on the period when a motion to intervene may be filed, interventions have been allowed even beyond the period prescribed in the Rule, when demanded by the higher interest of justice. Interventions have also been granted to afford indispensable parties, who have not been impleaded, the right to be heard even after a decision has been rendered by the trial court, when the petition for review of the judgment has already been submitted for decision before the Supreme Court, and even where the assailed order has already become final and executory.DEOGENES O. RODRIGUEZ v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PHILIPPINE CHINESE CHARITABLE ASSOCIATION, INC. G.R. No. 184589, June 13, 2013 In the absence of any clear showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance that would have affected the result of the case, the trial court’s findings on the matter of credibility of witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ABEL DIAZ. G.R. No. 200882, June 13, 2013 The CA, therefore, could grant the petition for certiorari if it finds that the NLRC, in its assailed decision or resolution, committed grave abuse of discretion by capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily disregarding evidence that is material to or decisive of the controversy; and it cannot make this determination without looking into the evidence of the parties. PHILIPPINE TRANSMARINE CARRIERS, INC. v. LEANDRO LEGASPI. G.R. No. 202791, June 10, 2013 What is truly important to consider in determining whether forum shopping exists or not is the vexation caused the courts and parties-litigants by a party who asks different courts and/or administrative agencies to rule on the same or related causes and/or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs, in the process creating the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by different fora upon the same

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issues. KAPISANANG PANGKAUNLARAN NG KABABAIHANG POTRERO, INC. and MILAGROS H. REYES v. REMEDIOS BARRENO, LILIBETH AMETIN, DRANREV F. NONAY, FREDERICK D. DIONISIO and MARITES CASIO. G.R. No. 175900, June 10, 2013 Out-of-court identifications, when the same is not supported by detailed narrations, cannot be given weight. For no way exists for the courts to evaluate the factors used in determining the admissibility and reliability of out-of-court identifications, such as the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the identification; the length of time between the crime and the identification; and the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. The absence of an independent in-court identification by Zaldy additionally justifies our strict treatment and assessment of Lino’s testimony. That being said, there can be conviction if the prosecution can establish the appellants’ participation in the crime through credible and sufficient circumstantial evidence that leads to the inescapable conclusion that the accused, and none other, committed the imputed crime, and such was done in this case. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE ARMANDO CERVANTES CACHUELA and BENJAMIN JULIAN CRUZ IBANEZ, Accused. BENJAMIN JULIAN CRUZ IBANEZ, Accused-Appellant. G.R. No. 191752, June 10, 2013. The "equiponderance of evidence" rule states that when the scale shall stand upon an equipoise and there is nothing in the evidence which shall incline it to one side or the other, the court will find for the defendant. Under this principle, the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his evidence and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim; even if the evidence of the plaintiff may be stronger than that of the defendant, there is no preponderance of evidence on his side if such evidence is insufficient in itself to establish his cause of action. VALBUECO, INC. v. PROVINCE OF BATAAN, represented by its Provincial Governor ANTONIO ROMAN; EMMANUEL M. AQUINO, in his official capacity as Registrar of the Register of Deeds of Balanga, Bataan; and PASTOR P. VICHUACO, in his official capacity as Provincial Treasurer of Balanga, Bataan. G.R. No. 173829, June 10, 2013 It is the swearing of a person before the Notary Public and the latter’s act of signing and affixing his seal on the deed that is material and not the submission of the notarial report. Parties who appear before a notary public to have their documents notarized should not be expected to follow up on the submission of the notarial reports. They should not be made to suffer the consequences of the negligence of the Notary Public in following the procedures prescribed by the Notarial Law. Such notarization gives prima facie evidence of the due execution of the releases, waivers, and quitclaims; and since such were not refuted nor disputed by complainants herein, thus, we have no recourse but to uphold their due execution. BENIGNO M. VIGILLA, ALFONSO M. BONGOT, ROBERTO CALLESA, LINDA C. CALLO, NILO B. CAMARA, ADELIA T. CAMARA, ADOLFO G. PINON, JOHN A. FERNANDEZ, FEDERICO A. CALLO, MAXIMA P. ARELLANO, JULITO B. COST ALES, SAMSON F. BACHAR, EDWIN P. DAMO, RENA TO E. FERNANDEZ, GENARO F.CALLO, JIMMY C. ALETA, and EUGENIO SALINAS v. PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF CRIMINOLOGY INC. and/or GREGORY ALAN F. BAUTISTA. G.R. No. 200094, June 10, 2013 In termination cases, the burden of proof rests on the employer to show that the dismissal is for a valid cause. Failing in which, the law considers the matter a case of illegal dismissal. In this relation, the quantum of proof which the employer must discharge is substantial evidence which, as defined in case law, means that amount of relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, even if other minds, equally reasonable, might conceivably opine otherwise.SURIGAO DEL NORTE ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC., and/or DANNY Z. ESCALANTE v. TEOFILO GONZAGA G.R. No. 187722, June 10, 2013.

The solo performance by SPO1 Dela Victoria of all the acts necessary for the prosecution of the offense is unexplained and puts the proof of corpus delicti, which is the illegal object itself, in serious doubt. No definite answer can be established regarding the question as to who possessed what from the time of the alleged apprehension until the trial of the case. We are left in doubt whether or not the sachet of shabu allegedly seized from Calumbres was the very same object offered in court as the corpus delicti, or if a sachet of anything was in fact seized from Calumbres.SPO1 Dela Victoria’s claim that the sachet of shabu presented in court was the same one confiscated from Calumbres, cannot be taken at its face

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value, solely on the presumption of regularity of one’s performance of duty. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GLORIA CALUMBRES y AUDITOR. G.R. No. 194382, June 10, 2013 Appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43, in line with the regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from quasi-judicial agencies in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.Jurisprudence accords a different treatment with respect to an appeal in a criminal case filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and that remedy is to file with this Court a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. AMANDO P. CONTES v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN (VISAYAS), VICTORY M. FERNANDEZ, JULIO E. SUCGANG and NILO IGTANLOC. G.R. Nos. 187896-97, June 10, 2013 Concurrent jurisdiction is that which is possessed over the same parties or subject matter at the same time by two or more separate tribunals. When the law bestows upon a government body the jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving specific matters, it is to be presumed that such jurisdiction is exclusive unless it be proved that another body is likewise vested with the same jurisdiction, in which case, both bodies have concurrent jurisdiction over the matter. Where concurrent jurisdiction exists in several tribunals, the body that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others. ALBERTO PAT-OG, SR. v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. G.R. No. 198755, June 5, 2013 First level courts are clothed with the power to preliminarily resolve questions on the ownership of real property, if necessary, to arrive at the proper and complete determination of the question on physical possession or possession de facto. Thus, as correctly ruled by the CA, the MTCC should have taken cognizance of the complaint as it was well within its jurisdiction to do so. Moreover, considering that B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, has distinctly defined and granted the MTCC with jurisdiction, it is the trial court’s duty and obligation to exercise the same when properly invoked.. MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY vs. HEIRS OF SPOUSES DIONISIO DELOY and PRAXEDES MARTONITO, represented by POLICARPIO DELOY. G.R. No. 192893, June 5, 2013. Through estoppel, an admission or representation is rendered conclusive upon the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying on it. This doctrine is based on the grounds of public policy, fair dealing, good faith, and justice and its purpose is to forbid one to speak against his own act, representations or commitments to the injury of one to whom they were directed and who reasonably relied on it. Thus, in order for this doctrine to operate, a representation must have been made to the detriment of another who relied on it. In other words, estoppel would not lie against one who, in the first place, did not make any representation. SPOUSES RUBIN AND PORTIA HOJAS v. PHILIPPINE AMANAH BANK AND RAMON KUE. G.R. No. 193453, June 5, 2013 An action for declaration of nullity of title and recovery of ownership of real property, or re-conveyance, is a real action but it is an action in personam, for it binds a particular individual only although it concerns the right to a tangible thing. Any judgment therein is binding only upon the parties properly impleaded.No one shall be affected by any proceeding to which he is a stranger, and strangers to a case are not bound by any judgment rendered by the court. In the same manner, a writ of execution can be issued only against a party and not against one who did not have his day in court. Only real parties in interest in an action are bound by the judgment therein and by writs of execution and demolition issued pursuant thereto.GREEN ACRES HOLDINGS, INC. v. VICTORIA P. CABRAL, SPS. ENRIQUE T. MORAGA and VICTORIA SORIANO, FILCON READY MIXED, INC., DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATION BOARD (DARAB), and REGISTRY OF DEEDS OF BULACAN, MEYCAUA YAN BRANCH. G.R. No. 175542, June 5, 2013. VICTORIA P. CABRAL v. PROVINCIAL ADJUDICATOR, JOSEPH NOEL C. LONGBOAN I OFFICE OF THE AGRARIAN REFORM ADJUDICATOR, GREEN ACRES HOLDINGS, INC., SPOUSES ENRIQUE T. MORAGA and VICTORIA SORIANO and FILCON READY MIXED, INC. G.R. No. 183205, June 5, 2013 This Court has emphasized the import of Section 21 as a matter of substantive law that mandates strict compliance. It was laid down by Congress as a safety precaution against potential abuses by law enforcement agents who might fail to appreciate the gravity of the penalties faced by those suspected to be involved in the sale, use or possession of illegal drugs. Under the principle that penal laws are strictly

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construed against the government, stringent compliance therewith is fully justified. RODRIGO RONTOS y DELA TORRE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 188024, June 5, 2013 Settled is the rule that alibi and denial cannot prevail over the positive and categorical testimony and identification of an accused by the complainant. Positive identification where categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over a denial which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. They cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERNESTO GANI y TUPAS. G.R. No. 195523, June 5, 2013. The settled rule is that a motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the filing of a petition for certiorari. Its purpose is to grant an opportunity for the court to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by the re-examination of the legal and factual circumstances of the case. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by ABUSAMA M. ALID, Officer-in-Charge, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - REGIONAL FIELD UNIT XII (DA-RFU XII) vs. ABDULWAHAB A. BAYAO, OSMEÑA I. MONTAÑER, RAKMA B. BUISAN, HELEN M. ALVAREZ, NEILA P. LIMBA, ELIZABETH B. PUSTA, ANNA MAE A. SIDENO, UDTOG B. TABONG, JOHN S. KAMENZA, DELIA R. SUBALDO, DAYANG W. MACMOD, FLORENCE S. TAYUAN, in their own behalf and in behalf of the other officials and employees of DA-RFU XII. G.R. No. 179492, June 5, 2013 Jurisdiction over the person, or jurisdiction in personam –the power of the court to render a personal judgment or to subject the parties in a particular action to the judgment and other rulings rendered in the action – is an element of due process that is essential in all actions, civil as well as criminal, except in actions in rem or quasi in rem. Jurisdiction over the defendant in an action in rem or quasi in rem is not required, and the court acquires jurisdiction over an actionas long as it acquires jurisdiction over the resthat is thesubject matter of the action. The purpose of summons in such action is not the acquisition of jurisdiction over the defendant but mainly to satisfy the constitutional requirement of due process. ALLEN A. MACASAET, NICOLAS V. QUIJANO, JR., ISAIAS ALBANO, LILY REYES, JANET BAY, JESUS R. GALANG, AND RANDY HAGOS vs. FRANCISCO R. CO, JR. G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013 In administrative cases, the quantum of evidence necessary to find an individual administratively liable is substantial evidence. Section 5, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court defines substantial evidence as that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. The settled rule provides that factual findings of the Office of the Ombudsman are conclusive when supported by substantial evidence and are accorded due respect and weight, especially when they are affirmed by the CA. Furthermore, only questions of law may be raised in petitions filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court; the Court is not a trier of facts and it is not its function to review evidence on record and assess the probative weight thereof. DR. ZENAIDA P. PIA v. HON. MARGARITO P. GERVACIO, JR., Overall Deputy Ombudsman, Formerly Acting Ombudsman, Office of the Ombudsman, Dr. OFELIA M. CARAGUE, Formerly PUP President, Dr. ROMAN R. DANNUG, Formerly Dean, College of Economics, Finance and Politics (CEFP), now Associate Professor, CEFP Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Sta. Mesa, Manila. G.R. No. 172334, June 5, 2013 The ultimate purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to relieve a person from unlawful restraint. The writ exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint and as an effective defense of personal freedom. It is issued only for the lone purpose of obtaining relief for those illegally confined or imprisoned without sufficient legal basis. It is not issued when the person is in custody because of a judicial process or a valid judgment. MR. ALEXANDER "LEX" ADONIS, represented by the CENTER FOR MEDIA FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY (CMFR), through its Executive Director, MRS. MELINDA QUINTOS-DE JESUS; and the NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP), through its Chairperson, MR. JOSE TORRES, JR. v. SUPERENTENDENT VENANCIO TESORO, DIRECTOR, DAVAO PRISONS AND PENAL FARM, PANABO CITY, DIGOS DAVAO DEL NORTE. G.R. No. 182855, June 5, 2013 "AAA’s" momentary inaction will neither diminish nor affect her credibility. "The filing of complaints of rape months, even years, after their commission may or may not dent the credibility of witness and of testimony, depending on the circumstances attendant thereto." "It does not diminish the complainant’s credibility or undermine the charges of rape when the delay can be attributed to the pattern of fear

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instilled by the threats of bodily harm, specially by one who exercises moral ascendancy over the victim." PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GUILLERMO LOMAQUE. G.R. No. 189297, June 5, 2013

The chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. This rule is, however, not established solely by compliance with the prescribed physical inventory and photographing of the seized drugs in the presence of the enumerated persons. Though there are deviations from the required procedure, what is essential is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MYLENE TORRES. G.R. No. 191730, June 05, 2013

The Court has held that although there may be inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses on minor details, they do not impair their credibility where there is consistency in relating the principal occurrence and positive identification of the assailant. The prosecution witnesses’ positive identification prevails over the mere denial of appellant. Denial is an intrinsically weak defense. When unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, it is negative and self-serving and merits no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value than the testimony of credible witnesses who testified on affirmative matters. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARIEL CALARA. G.R. No. 197039, June 05, 2013

Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the court by acting in opposition to its authority, justice, and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the court’s order, but such conduct which tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or, in some manner, to impede the due administration of justice. To constitute contempt, the act must be done willfully and for an illegitimate or improper purpose. Respondent admittedly ceased or suspended the giving of monthly support pendente lite granted by the trial court, which is immediately executory. However,respondent’s act was not contumacious considering that he had not been remiss in actually providing for the needs of his children. SUSAN LIM-LUA v. DANILO Y. LUA. G.R. Nos. 175279-80, June 05, 2013

In a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis of the testimony of the victim that is credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. Moreover, it is well-settled that denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is a self-serving assertion that deserves no weight in law because denial cannot prevail over the positive, candid and categorical testimony of the complainant, and as between the positive declaration of the complainant and the negative statement of the appellant, the former deserves more credence. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ROMEO BUSTAMANTE. G.R. No. 189836, June 05, 2013

Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a girl, particularly if she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has in fact been committed. When the offended party is of tender age and immature, courts are inclined to give credit to her account of what transpired, considering not only her relative vulnerability but also the shame to which she would be exposed if the matter to which she testified is not true. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. Considering her tender age, AAA could not have invented a horrible story.

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As between a categorical testimony which has a ring of truth on one hand, and a mere denial and alibi on the other, the former is generally held to prevail. Moreover, for the defense of alibi to prosper, the appellant must prove that he was somewhere else when the offense was committed and that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have been physically present at the place of the crime or at its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. In the case at bar, accused-appellant was in the immediate vicinity of the locus criminis at the time of commission of the crime. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. RICARDO PIOSANG. G.R. No. 200329, June 05, 2013.

A claim of excusable negligence does not loosely warrant a relaxation of the rules. Verily, the party invoking such should be able to show that the procedural oversight or lapse is attended by a genuine miscalculation or unforeseen fortuitousness which ordinary prudence could not have guarded against so as to justify the relief sought. The standard of care required is that which an ordinarily prudent man bestows upon his important business. In this accord, the duty rests on every counsel to see to adopt and strictly maintain a system that will efficiently take into account all court notices sent to him. HENRY L. SY v. LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF QUEZON CITY. G.R. No. 202690, June 5, 2013. It is well settled that the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grilling examination. These are important in determining the truthfulness of witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face of conflicting testimonies. For, indeed, the emphasis, gesture, and inflection of the voice are potent aids in ascertaining the witness’ credibility, and the trial court has the opportunity and can take advantage of these aids. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MOISES CAOILE. G.R. No. 203041, June 5, 2013 Settled is the rule that a party who adopts a certain theory upon which the case is tried and decided by the lower courts or tribunals will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal, not because of the strict application of procedural rules, but as a matter of fairness. Basic considerations of due process dictate that theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the trial court would not ordinarily be considered by a reviewing court, except when their factual bases would not require presentation of any further evidence by the adverse party in order to enable him to properly meet the issue raised. JOSELITO C. BORROMEO v. JUAN T. MINA. G.R. No. 193747, June 5, 2013 The Court held that the original period for filing the petition for review may be extended for a period of fifteen (15) days, which for the most compelling reasons, may be extended for another period not exceeding fifteen (15) days. In other words, the reglementary period provided under Section 3, Rule 8 of the RRCTA is extendible and as such, CTA Division’s grant of respondents’ motion for extension falls squarely within the law. METRO MANILA SHOPPING MECCA CORP., SHOEMART, INC., SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC., STAR APPLIANCES CENTER, SUPER VALUE, INC., ACE HARDWARE PHILIPPINES, INC., HEALTH AND BEAUTY, INC., JOLLIMART PHILS. CORP., and SURPLUS MARKETING CORPORATION v. MS. LIBERTY M. TOLEDO, in her official capacity as the City Treasurer of Manila, and THE CITY OF MANILA. G.R. No. 190818, June 5, 2013. Prior demand is not a condition precedent to an action for a writ of replevin, since there is nothing in Section 2, Rule 60 of the Rules of Court that requires the applicant to make a demand on the possessor of the property before an action for a writ of replevin could be filed. SPOUSES DEO AGNER and MARICON AGNER vs. BPI FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, INC. G.R. No. 182963, June 3, 2013. The broader interests of justice and equity demand that we set aside procedural rules as they are, after all, intended to promote rather than defeat substantial justice. If the rigid and pedantic application of

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procedural norms would frustrate rather than promote justice, the Court always has the power to suspend the rules or except a particular case from its operation, particularly if defects of jurisdiction appear to be present. ERNESTO L. NATIVIDAD v. FERNANDO MARIANO, ANDRES MARIANO and DOROTEO GARCIA. G.R. No. 179643, June 3, 2013. It has been settled that affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony especially when it comes from the mouth of a credible witness. Absent clear and convincing evidence, alibi and denial are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. Further, for alibi to prosper, it must be proved, not only that the assailant was in another place when the crime was committed, but that it was physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission altogether. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REGGIE BERNARDO. G.R. No. 198789, June 3, 2013. The sole issue for resolution in an unlawful detainer case is physical or material possession of the property involved, independent of any claim of ownership by any of the parties. When the defendant, however, raises the defense of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession. Prior physical possession by the plaintiff is not an indispensable requirement in an unlawful detainer case brought by a vendee or other person against whom the possession of any land is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of a right to hold possession. WILLIAM T. GO v. ALBERTO T. LOOYUKO, substituted by his legal heirs TERESITA C. LOOYUKO, et. al. G.R. No. 196529, July 1, 2013. When there is only one witness to the crime and that he was familiar with both the victim and the accused, it can therefore be established that such witness is telling the truth. Finding of guilt based on the testimony of a lone witness is not uncommon. "For although the number of witnesses may be considered a factor in the appreciation of evidence, preponderance is not necessarily with the greatest number and conviction can still be had on the basis of the credible and positive testimony of a single witness. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEMARI JALBONIAN alias “BUDO.” G.R. No. 180281, July 01, 2013. When a party files an appeal bond amounting to at least 90% of the amount it was adjudged to pay, such payment can be considered as substantial compliance. The bond requirement on appeals may be relaxed when there is substantial compliance with the Rules of Procedure of the NLRC or when the appellant shows willingness to post a partial bond. ROY D. PASOS v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION. G.R. No. 192394, July 03, 2013 When the Office of the Ombudsman decides on a case, the Court of Appeals has no authority nor discretion to stay such decision as this would tantamount to an encroachment on the rule-making powers of the Ombudsman under the Constitution, and Sections 18 and 27 of R.A. No. 6770, which grants the Office of the Ombudsman the authority to promulgate its own rules of procedure. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. ERNESTO M. DE CHAVEZ, ROLANDO L. LONTOC, SR. et al. G.R. No. 172206, July 03, 2013 When a party fails to specify the assessed value of the property subject matter of the action, this court to which it was filed, will not acquire jurisdiction over the case. This is because what determines the nature of the action as well as which court has jurisdiction over it are the allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought. HEIRS OF JOSE FERNANDO v. REYNALDO DE BELEN. G.R. No. 186366, July 03, 2013 When the parties executed a compromise agreement, such agreement does not extinguish the obligation of the debtor; hence, the attachment to his property should continue to subsist such obligation is fully

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complied with. While the provisions of Rule 57 are silent on the length of time within which an attachment lien shall continue to subsist after the rendition of a final judgment, jurisprudence dictates that the said lien continues until the debt is paid, or the sale is had under execution issued on the judgment or until the judgment is satisfied, or the attachment discharged or vacated in the same manner provided by law . ALFREDO C. LIM, JR. v. SPOUSES TITO S. LAZARO and CARMEN T. LAZARO. G.R. No. 185734, July 03, 2013 When a witness takes participation in a case, it is only mandated that he possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided in the Rules of Court. There is no provision of the Rules disqualifying parties declared in default from taking the witness stand for non-disqualified parties. The law does not provide default as an exception. The specific enumeration of disqualified witnesses excludes the operation of causes of disability other than those mentioned in the Rules. LUISA NAVARRO MARCOS v. THE HEIRS OF THE LATE DR. ANDRESS NAVARRO, JR. G.R. No. 198240, July 03, 2013 The allegation that the petitioners are the lawful heirs is not sufficient to be entitled to the relief. There is a need to institute a separate special proceeding for heirship before the said heirs can be considered real parties-in-interest and without such, any complaint instituted by them shall not prosper for failure to state a cause of action. Cause of action is defined as the act or omission by which a party violates a right of another. It is wellsettled that the existence of a cause of action is determined by the allegations in the complaint. In this relation, a complaint is said to assert a sufficient cause of action if, admitting what appears solely on its face to be correct, the plaintiff would be entitled to the relief prayed for. HEIRS OF MAGDALENO YPON, NAMELY ALVARO YPON, et al. v. GAUDIOSO PONTERAS RICAFORTE, ETC, ET.AL. G.R. No. 198680, July 08, 2013 A party aggrieved by a decision of a court in an action for revival of judgment may appeal the decision, but only insofar as the merits of the action for revival is concerned. The original judgment, which is already final and executory, may no longer be reversed, altered, or modified. An action for revival of judgment is a new and independent action. It is different and distinct from the original judgment sought to be revived or enforced. HEIRS OF NUMERIANO MIRANDA, SR. v. PABLO R. MIRANDA. G.R. No. 179638, July 08, 2013 When there is a delay in the execution of the decision caused by the respondent for his own advantage, the five-year period to enforce the same shall be suspended. The Rules of Court provide that a final and executory judgment may be executed by motion within five years from the date of its entry or by an action after the lapse of five years and before prescription sets in. This Court, however, allows exceptions when execution may be made by motion even after the lapse of five years. These exceptions have one common denominator: the delay is caused or occasioned by actions of the judgment obligor and/or is incurred for his benefit or advantage.RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION v. FEDERICO A. SERRA. G.R. No. 203241, July 10, 2013 When petitioner files a claim for attorney’s fees, he may do such as an incident in the main action or have it instituted in a separate action. While a claim for attorney’s fees may be filed before the judgment is rendered, the determination as to the propriety of the fees or as to the amount thereof will have to be held in abeyance until the main case from which the lawyer’s claim for attorney’s fees may arise has become final. Otherwise, the determination to be made by the courts will be premature. FRANCISCO L. ROSARIO, JR. v. LELLANI DE GUZMAN, ARLEEN DE GUZMAN, et al. G.R. No. 191247, July 10, 2013 An independent civil action based on fraud initiated by the defrauded party does not raise a prejudicial question to stop the proceedings in a pending criminal prosecution of the defendant for estafa through falsification. This is because the result of the independent civil action is irrelevant to the issue of guilt or innocence of the accused. RAFAEL JOSE CONSING, JR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. NO. 161075. JULY 15, 2013 When the commission, having no knowledge of a prior dismissal, fixes the reckoning point of the period of disallowance at an erroneous date, it does not tantamount to a grave abuse of discretion. Not every error

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in the proceedings, or every erroneous conclusion of law or fact, constitutes grave abuse of discretion. The abuse of discretion to be qualified as "grave" must be so patent or gross as to constitute an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform the duty or to act at all in contemplation of law. ROSALINDA DIMAPILIS-BALDOZ, in her capacity as then Administrator of POEA v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT, represented by CHAIRMAN REYNALDO VILLAR and COMMISSIONER JUANITO G. ESPINO, JR.. G.R. No. 199114, July 16, 2013 When a party assails the legality of an official act, he must first establish that he has a direct and personal interest. Not only should they show that the act is invalid but they must sustain that they may suffer as a result of its enforcement. Standing is the determination of whether a specific person is the proper party to bring a matter to the court for adjudication. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. NATIONAL ARTIST FOR LITERATURE VIRGILIO ALMARIO, et. al. v. THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, et. al. G.R. No. 189028, July 16, 2013 Co-parties before the RTC and CA cannot be made adversary parties in a petition for review on certiorari. There is no basis to treat the co-parties as such when it cannot be shown that there was a cross-claim filed against said co-parties. Under Section 2, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court, a cross-claim which is not set up shall be barred. Thus, for failing to set up a cross-claim against her co-defendants before the RTC, petitioner is already barred from doing so in the present petition. JOYCE V. ARDIENTE v. SPOUSES JAVIER and MA. THERESA PASTORFIDE, CDO WATER DISTRICT and GASPAR GONZALEZ, JR. G.R. No. 161921, July 17, 2013

When a trial court merely denied a motion for being “unmeritorious” without further elaborating on the bases of its conclusion, it then fails to perform its bounden-duty to make an independent evaluation of the merits of the case. Such failure of the RTC constitutes grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. CAROLINA B. JOSE v. PURITA SUAREZ. G.R. No. 17611 July 17, 2013

When a party files a motion to quash information for bigamy based on the trial court’s declaration that his marriage is null and void ab initio, the same cannot be granted. A motion to quash information is the mode by which an accused assails the validity of a criminal complaint or information filed against him for insufficiency on its face in point of law, or for defects which are apparent in the face of the information." It is a hypothetical admission of the facts alleged in the information. The fundamental test in determining the sufficiency of the material averments in an Information is whether or not the facts alleged therein, which are hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crime defined by law. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDGARDO V. ODTUHAN. G.R. No. 191566, July 17, 2013 When a witness fails to positively identify the accused as the victims assailant and that there are inconsistencies between his affidavit and testimony, the same shall not affect his credibility. Discrepancies referring only to minor details and collateral matters – not to the central fact of the crime – do not affect the veracity or detract from the essential credibility of witnesses’ declarations, as long as these are coherent and intrinsically believable on the whole. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CHRIS CORPUZ y BASBAS. G.R. No. 191068, July 17, 2013 When there are inconsistencies with the testimonies of two witnesses, this does not exculpate the accused from criminal liability and does not ignore the fact that one witness was able to unequivocally identify the accused as the gunman. It cannot be denied that once a person gains familiarity of another, identification becomes quite an easy task even from a considerable distance. BOBBY “ABEL” AVELINO y BULAWAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 181444, July 17, 2013.

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The fact that the inventory was made at the accused-appellant’s house and not at the scene of the buybust operation did not adversely affect the chain of custody. If it is shown that the illicit drugs seized from accused-appellant are the same illicit drugs marked and subjected to physical inventory then the chain of custody was continuous and the identity, integrity and evidentiary value of the dangerous drugs seized from accused-appellant were preserved. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REYNALDO “ANDY” SOMOZA y HANDAYA. G.R. No. 197250, July 17, 2013 When the victim commits a mistake in remembering the dates when she was raped, such does not contradict the fact that she did not consent to the sexual act. A rape victim is not expected to make an errorless recollection of the incident, so humiliating and painful that she might in fact be trying to obliterate it from her memory. Thus, a few inconsistent remarks in rape cases will not necessarily impair the testimony of the offended party. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARVIN CRUZ. G.R. No. 201728, July 17, 2013

When a party is detained for legal reasons, she cannot avail of the writ of habeas corpus as a remedy. The object of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of the detention, and, if the detention is found to be illegal, to require the release of the detainee. Equally well-settled however, is that the writ will not issue where the person in whose behalf the writ is sought is out on bail, or is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge with jurisdiction or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record. ANITA MANGILA v. JUDGE HERIBERTO M. PANGILINAN, ET AL. G.R. No. 160739, July 17, 2013

When a party files motion for reconsideration which is not set for hearing, it renders the motion without no legal effect. It is considered a pro forma motion which shall not toll the reglementary period of the appeal. This requirement is mandatory Basic is the rule that every motion must be set for hearing by the movant except for those motions which the court may act upon without prejudice to the rights of the adverse party. DR. ROGER R. POSADAS and DR. ROLANDO P. DAYCO v. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 168651 & 169000, July 17, 2013

When the COMELEC reviews the registration of party lists, it must give the latter the opportunity to be heard and to adduce evidence as to their continuing compliance with the requirements for the accreditation. However, a formal or trial-type hearing is not at all times and in all instances essential; Rule 17 of the COMELEC’s Rules of Procedure defines the requirements for a hearing and these serve as the standards in the determination of the presence or denial of due process. COALITION OF ASSOCIATION OF SENIOR CITIZEN IN THE PHILIPPINES v. COMELEC. G.R. No. 206844-45/G.R. No. 206982, July 23, 2013 A plaintiff who files a case should provide a complete statement of the present status of any pending case if the latter involves the same issues as the one that was filed. If there is no such similar pending case, Section 5(a) of Rule 7 of the Rules of Court provides that the plaintiff is obliged to declare under oath that to the best of his knowledge, no such other action or claim is pending. ABBOTT LABORATORIES, PHILS., et al. v. PEARLIE ANN F. ALCARAZ. G.R. No. 192571, July 23, 2013 When a party to a case wishes to request for subpoena duces tecum, it must be established first that the records would have been offered as evidence for admission in court. Otherwise, such request is premature. Furthermore, Section 36, Rule 132, states that objections to evidence must be made after the offer of such evidence for admission in court. JOSIELEN LARA CHAN v. JOHNNY T. CHAN G.R. No. 179786, July 24, 2013 When a party fails to comply with a pre-requisite mandated by law, he does not therefore acquire any legal right to be protected by an injunction. Injunction is not designed to protect contingent or future rights. Where the complainant’s right is doubtful or disputed, injunction is not proper. The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of actual existing right is not a ground for an injunction. PROVINCE OF

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CAGAYAN, represented by HON. ALVARO T. ANTONIO, et. al. v. JOSEPH LASAM LARA. G.R. No. 188500, July 24, 2013

When a party causes a publication short of the thirty-day period preceding the hearing, there is a mandatory publication notice required under the Rules of Court. The law clearly requires that (a) notice of the petition should be published in two (2) successive issues of the Official Gazette; and (b) publication should be made at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of hearing. Substantial compliance with this jurisdictional requirement is not enough. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RICORDITO N. DE ASIS, JR. G.R. No. 193874, July 24, 2013

The victim’s mental retardation does not affect her credibility of her testimony. Mental retardation per se does not affect credibility. A mentally retarded may be a credible witness. The acceptance of her testimony depends on the quality of her perceptions and the manner she can make them known to the court. The acceptance of her testimony depends on the quality of her perceptions and the manner she can make them known to the court. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NINOY ROSALES y ESTO. G.R. No. 197537, July 24, 2013.

A deaf-mute may not be able to hear and speak but his/her other senses, such as his/her sense of sight, remain functional and allow him/her to make observations about his/her environment and experiences. The inability to hear and speak may prevent a deaf-mute from communicating orally with others but he/she may still communicate with others in writing or through signs and symbols and, as in this case, sketches. Thus, a deaf-mute is competent to be a witness so long as he/she has the faculty to make observations and he/she can make those observations known to others. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDWIN ALEMAN y LONGHAS. G.R. No. 181539, July 24, 2013

When a land dispute or problem is lodged before COSLAP, it is not assumed that it has jurisdiction over it. Under EO 561, the instances when the COSLAP may resolve land disputes are limited only to those involving public lands or those covered by a specific license from the government, such as pasture lease agreements, timber concessions, or reservation grants. Outside said scope, COSLAP has no authority to resolve the case before it. DREAM VILLAGE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC. v. BASES CONVERSATION DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY. G.R. No. 192896, July 24, 2013 When there are clear inconsistencies in the testimony or presentation of the facts of the prosecution, the accused cannot be convicted guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean such a degree of proof as, excluding possibility of error, produces absolute certainty. Moral certainty only is required, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind. If the prosecution fails to meet the required amount of evidence, the defense may logically not even present evidence on its own behalf, in which case, the presumption prevails and the accused should necessarily be acquitted. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE CLARA y BUHAIN. G.R. No. 195528, July 24, 2013

When the resolution of the issue in the civil action will not determine the criminal responsibility of the accused in the criminal action based on the same facts, or if there is no necessity that the civil case be determined first before taking up the criminal case, the civil case does not involve a prejudicial question. A prejudicial question generally comes into play in a situation where a civil action and a criminal action are both pending and there exists in the former an issue which must be preemptively resolved before the latter may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the civil action is resolved would be

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determinative juris et de jure of the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case. SPS ARGOVAN and FLORIDA GADEITANO v. SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION. G.R. No. 188767, July 24, 2013

When the agencies and their public records are involved and affected by any decision rendered in a petition for correction filed by a party, it is thus required that they are made parties to said proceeding. They are indispensable parties, without whom no final determination of the case can be had. An indispensable party is defined as one who has such an interest in the controversy or subject matter that a final adjudication cannot be made, in his absence, without injuring or affecting that interest. The absence of opposition from government agencies is of no controlling significance, because the State cannot be estopped by the omission, mistake or error of its officials or agents. POLICE SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT DIMAPINTO MACAWADIB v. THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE DIRECTORATE FOR PERSONNEL AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT. G.R. No. 186610, July 29, 2013.

When a party raises issues involving questions of facts, the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is not proper. Such petition covers only questions of law. In this relation, questions of fact are not reviewable and cannot be passed upon by the Court unless exceptions are found to exist.

The distinction between questions of law and questions of fact is well-defined. A question of law exists when the doubt or difference centers on what the law is on a certain state of facts. A question of fact, on the other hand, exists if the doubt centers on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SARABIA MANOR HOTEL CORPORATION. G.R. No. 175844, July 29, 2013

When courts appoint a receiver, it must not only consider the reasons given by the owners of the properties. Before appointing a receiver, courts should consider: (1) whether or not the injury resulting from such appointment would probably be greater than the injury ensuing if the status quo is left undisturbed; and (2) whether or not the appointment will imperil the interest of others whose rights deserve as much a consideration from the court as those of the person requesting for receivership. MILA CABOVERDE TANTANO and ROSELLER CABOVERDE v. DOMINILDA ESPINA-CABOVERDE, EVE CABOVERDA-YU, et al. G.R. No. 203585, July 29, 2013

When the PAC was appointed as commissioners for the determination of just compensation, there was no contravention to Rule 67 of the Rules of Court. Although the appointment of commissioners is mandatory, the Rules do not impose any qualifications or restrictions on the appointment, other than that the commissioners should not number more than three and that they should be competent and disinterested parties.NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION v. SPS. SALVADOR AND NENITA CRUZ, et al. G.R. No. 165386, July 29, 2013

When a person is not impleaded in a case, he cannot be bound by the decision therein and consequently, he was not given the opportunity to present his case. The principle that a person cannot be prejudiced by a ruling rendered in an action or proceeding in which he was not made a party conforms to the constitutional guarantee of due process of law. Not being a party to the case, he has the right to vindicate his claim in a separate action. TERESA C. AGUILAR, et al. v. MICHAEL J. O’PALLICK. G.R. No. 182280, July 29, 2013

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The daughter of the deceased may be entitled to the issuance of letters of administration as she is one of the preferred persons enumerated by law to such. An "interested party," in estate proceedings, is one who would be benefited in the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. Also, in estate proceedings, the phrase "next of kin" refers to those whose relationship with the decedent Is such that they are entitled to share in the estate as distributees. AMELIA GARCIA-QUIZON, et al. v. MA. LOURDES BELEN, for and in behalf of MARIA LOURDES ELISE QUIAZON. G.R. No. 189121, July 31, 2013

When a party files a second motion for reconsideration, it is considered as a prohibited pleading and as such, the Court will dismiss it. This rule, however, is not absolute. A second motion for reconsideration may be allowed if there are extraordinarily persuasive reasons therefor, and upon express leave of court first obtained. RE: LETTER DATED APRIL 18, 2011 OF CHIEF PUBLIC ATTORNEY PERSIDA RUEDAACOSTA REQUESTING EXEMPTION FROM THE PAYMENT OF SHERIFF’S EXPENSES. A.M. No. 1110-03, July 30, 2013

When there is a pending civil case challenging the validity of a mortgage or its foreclosure, such pendency does not bar the issuance of a writ of execution/writ of possession after said foreclosure, sale of the mortgaged properties and the lapse of the one-year period. As a ministerial function of the court, the judge need not look into the validity of the mortgage or the manner of its foreclosure, as these are the questions that should be properly decided by a court of competent jurisdiction in the pending case filed before it. DONNA C. NAGTALON v. UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK. G.R. No. 172504, July 31, 2013.

When a party resorts to a petition for certiorari under Rule 65, it must be shown that there is no plain, speedy and adequate remedy available to it other than such petition. If, however, the order partakes of a final adjudication, the proper remedy therefore should be appeal, under Rule 41. A petition for certiorari is not and cannot be a substitute for an appeal, especially if one’s own negligence or error in one’s choice of remedy occasioned such loss or lapse. When an appeal is available, certiorari will not prosper, even if the basis is grave abuse of discretion. FAUSTINO T. CHINGKOE and GLORIA CHINGKOE v. Republic of the Philippines, represented by THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS. G.R. No. 183608, July 31, 2013 When there is absence of direct evidence to prove that the appellant caused the crime charged of him, circumstantial evidence may be availed of. To justify a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the combination of circumstances must be interwoven in such a way as to leave no reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALAMANDA MACABANDO. G.R. No. 188708, July 31, 2013 When a petitioner wishes to file an action for unlawful detainer, there should first be a demand to pay or to comply with the terms of the lease and a demand to vacate. Mere failure to pay rents does not ipso facto make unlawful tenant's possession of the premises. It is the owner's demand for tenant to vacate the premises, when the tenant has failed to pay the rents on time, and tenant’s refusal or failure to vacate, which make unlawful withholding of possession. MARK ANTHONY ESTEBAN v. SPS. RODRIGO C. MARCELO and CARMEN T. MARCELO. G.R. No. 197725, July 31, 2013 When a witness commits discrepancies relating to minor details and collateral matters, such testimony does not affect the veracity of the witness’ declarations. It is an oft-repeated doctrine that the testimony of even “a single eyewitness is sufficient to support a conviction so long as such testimony is found to be clear and straight-forward and worthy of credence by the trial court. ARNEL ALICANDO y BRIONES v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 181119, July 31, 2013

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When a party is deprived of his day in court because of her counsel’s failure to notify him, such is not excusable and cannot be considered by the court. The failure of a party’s counsel to notify him on time of the adverse judgment to enable him to appeal therefrom is negligence, which is not excusable. Notice sent to counsel of record is binding upon the client, and the neglect or failure of counsel to inform him of an adverse judgment resulting in the loss of his right to appeal is not a ground for setting aside a judgment valid and regular on its face. RHODORA PRIETO v. ALPADI DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. G.R. No. 191025, July 31, 2013

When the court liberally allows the petitioner-spouses to file their petition five days after the extended period, there is no ground to believe that the court gravely abused its discretion when it subsequently dismissed the petition. Where a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court alleges grave abuse of discretion, the petitioner should establish that the respondent court or tribunal acted in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner in the exercise of its jurisdiction as to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. This is so because "grave abuse of discretion" is well-defined and not an amorphous concept that may easily be manipulated to suit one’s purpose. SPOUSES JESUS DYCOCO and JOELA E. DYCOCO v. COURT OF APPEALS, et al. G.R. No. 147257, July 31, 2013

Consolidation is a procedural device granted to the court as an aid in deciding how cases in its docket are to be tried so that the business of the court may be dispatched expeditiously while providing justice to the parties. When there are two criminal cases that are consolidated together, it must be for the purpose of expediency and speedy disposition of justice. If not, the same shall be denied. ROMULO L. NERI v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 202243, August 07, 2013 When the acts being prevented by a party have already been accomplished, a writ of prohibition is not proper. A prohibition is a preventive remedy seeking that a judgment be rendered which would direct the defendant to desist from continuing with the commission of an act perceived to be illegal. As a rule, the proper function of a writ of prohibition is to prevent the doing of an act which is about to be done. It is not intended to provide a remedy for acts already accomplished. ALFEO D. VIVAS, ON HIS BEHALF AND ON BEHALF OF THE SHAREHOLDERS OR EUROCREDIT COMMUNITY BANK v. THE MONETARY BOARD OF THE BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS and THE PHILIPPINE EPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION. G.R. No. 191424, August 07, 2013

When a court grants a motion to release founded on legal bases supporting its , it therefore did not gravely abuse its discretion. An act of a court or tribunal can only be considered to be tainted with grave abuse of discretion when such act is done in a capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. In order to be qualified as "grave," the abuse of discretion must be so patent or gross as to constitute an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform the duty or to act at all in contemplation of law. SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE v. COURT OF TAX APPEALS ET AL. G.R. No. 168137, August 07, 2013 A trial court judge may immediately dismiss a criminal case if the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. It must, however, be observed that the judge’s power to immediately dismiss a criminal case would only be warranted when the lack of probable cause is clear. The judge’s dismissal of a case must be done only in clear-cut cases when the evidence on record plainly fails to establish probable cause – that is when the records readily show uncontroverted, and thus, established facts which unmistakably negate the existence of the elements of the crime charged. THE LAW FIRM OF CHAVEZ MIRANDA AND ASEOCHE, ETC.v. ATTY. JOSEJINA C. FRIA. G.R. No. 183014, August 07, 2013 When a person commits a crime he offends two entities namely (1) the society in which he lives in or the political entity called the State whose law he has violated; and (2) the individual member of the society

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whose person, right, honor, chastity or property has been actually or directly injured or damaged by the same punishable act or omission. Furthermore, in Section 12, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court, it is reasonable to assume that the offended party in the commission of a crime, public or private, is the party to whom the offender is civilly liable, and therefore the private individual to whom the offender is civilly liable is the offended party. LEE PUE LIONG a.k.a. PAUL LEE v. CHUA PUE CHIN LEE. G.R. No. 181658, August 07, 2013 When the validity of a land title has long been settled in a previous case, an action to annul the same is already barred from being questioned in another case despite the fact that they are in different actions. Conclusiveness of judgment does not require identity of the causes of action for it to work. If a particular point or question is in issue in the second action, and the judgment will depend on the determination of that particular point or question, a former judgment between the same parties will be final and conclusive in the second if that same point or question was in issue and adjudicated in the first suit. NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY v. CORAZON B. BAELLO, ET AL. G.R. No. 200858, August 07, 2013

When the CA does not affirm the RTC’s findings of facts, such as when both have ruleddifferently on the identity of the lands in a case, the Supreme Court may then review the findings of fact of the appellate court. As a general rule, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in cases brought to it from the CA is limited to reviewing and revising the errors of law imputed to it, its findings of fact being conclusive. However, the Court enumerated the exceptional circumstances when the Supreme Court may review the findings of fact of the CA, such as when the lower courts’ findings of fact are conflicting. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANGELES BELLATE, ET AL. G.R. No. 175685, August 07, 2013 A Motion for Reconsideration is an indispensable condition before an aggrieved party can resort to the special civil action for certiorari. The rationale for the rule is that the law intends to afford the NLRC an opportunity to rectify such errors or mistakes it may have committed before resort to courts of justice can be had. It bears to stress that the filing of a Motion for Reconsideration is not a mere technicality of procedure. It is a jurisdictional and mandatory requirement which must be strictly complied with. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK v. MARY SHEILA ARCOBILLAS. G.R. No. 179648, August 07, 2013 When a party wishes to compel another do a duty expected of the latter, the same should be through a petition for certiorari and mandamus. However, to be entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction, the party must establish the following requisites: (a) the invasion of the right sought to be protected is material and substantial; (b) the right of the complainant is clear and unmistakable; and (c) there is an urgent and permanent necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. Accordingly, the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction presents a fourth requirement: it is justified only in a clear case, free from doubt or dispute. When the complainant’s right is thus doubtful or disputed, he does not have a clear legal right and, therefore, the issuance of injunctive relief is improper. FLORD NICSON CALAWAG v. UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES VISAYAS, ET AL./ MICAH P. ESPIA, ET AL. v. DR. CARLOS BAYLON, ET AL. G.R. No. 207412/207542, August 07, 2013 When a person wishes to correct or change the entries in the Civil Registrar regarding her name and status, it is required that the indispensable parties must be impleaded in the proceedings. The Rules of Court mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one given to the persons named in the petition and another given to other persons who are not named in the petition but nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties. Summons must, therefore, be served not for the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply with the requirements of fair play and due process to afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his interest if he so chooses. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DR. NORMA S. LUGSANAY UY. G.R. No. 198010, August 12, 2013 When a party wishes to appeal a decision rendered by the CSC, the CA has jurisdiction over the case and the proper recourse is a petition for review under Rule 43. The jurisdiction of the CA over petitions for

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review under Rule 43 is not limited to judgments and final orders of the CSC, but can extend to appeals from awards, judgments, final orders or resolutions issued by the latter. CITY GOVERNMENT OF MAKATI, AS REPRESENTED BY HON. MAYOR JEJOMAR C. BINAY v. EMERITA B. ODENA. G.R. No. 191661, August 13, 2013 A party who files a complaint against another need not show proof that the acts alleged of happened. It is sufficient that there is probable cause to file such case. The prosecutor’s findings on the existence of probable cause are not subject to review by the courts, unless these are patently shown to have been made with grave abuse of discretion.A finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry into whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a conviction. It is enough that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. MASAYUKI HASEGAWA v. LEILA F. GIRON. G.R. No. 184536, August 14, 2013 When there is a similarity of parties, subject matter and cause of action and that judgments were issued on the merits, a subsequent filing of an action involving the same elements are barred by the prior judgment. However, the identity of causes of action does not mean absolute identity. The test to determine whether the causes of action are identical is to ascertain whether the same evidence will sustain both actions, or whether there is an identity in the facts essential to the maintenance of the two actions. If the same facts or evidence would sustain both, the two actions are considered the same, and a judgment in the first case is a bar to the subsequent action. PILAR DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. COURT OF APPEALS. G.R. No. 155943, August 19, 2013 When there is a failure on the party to comply with Section 5, Rule 65, which is to implead other persons in the case, it is not a ground to have the case dismissed. It is stated in Section 11, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, states that neither the misjoinder nor the non-joinder of parties is a ground for the dismissal of an action. HADJI PANGSAYAN T. ABDULRAHMAN v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN FOR MINDANAO AND GUIAMALUDIN A. SENDAD. G.R. No. 175977, August 19, 2013

Settled is the rule that for the courts to exercise the power of judicial review, the following must be extant: (1) there must be an actual case calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the question must be ripe for adjudication; and (3) the person challenging must have the "standing." Hence, when a case is still ripe or premature, a party cannot pre-empt by prematurely seeking judicial intervention, like filing an action for prohibition. ROSENDO R. CORALES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MUNICPAL MAYOR OF NAGCARLAN, LAGUNA AND DR. RODOLFO R. ANGELES, IN HIS CAPACITY AS MUNICIPAL ADMINISTRATOR OF NAGCARLAN, LAGUNA V. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 186613, August 27, 2013 A party who, after complying with the requirements laid down by law, files a petition for continuing mandamus may institute the same with the RTC having jurisdiction of the place in controversy. Jurisdiction, which is the power and authority of the court to hear, try and decide a case, is conferred by law. It may either be over the nature of the action, over the subject matter, over the person of the defendants or over the issues framed in the pleadings. A special civil action for continuing mandamus shall be filed with the RTC exercising jurisdiction over the territory where the actionable neglect or omission occurred. MARICRIS D. DOLOT, CHAIRMAN OF THE BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYANSORSOGON v. HON. RAMON PAJE, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, ET AL. G.R. No. 199199, August 27, 2013

When a party files another petition while one that is identical to it is pending before another tribunal, there constitutes a ground for forum shopping since the relief sought is the same. Forum shopping is treated as an act of malpractice and, in this accord, constitutes a ground for the summary dismissal of the actions involved. To be sure, the rule against forum shopping seeks to prevent the vexation brought upon the courts and the litigants by a party who asks different courts to rule on the same or related causes and grant the same or substantially the same reliefs and in the process creates the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora upon the same issues. ASIAN CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. SUMITOMO CORPORATION / SUMITOMO CORPORATION v.

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ASIA CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. G.R. No. 196723/G.R. No. 196728, August 28, 2013

When a party files a motion for extension of time to file a petition for certiorari, the court should not admit the same due to non-compliance with the reglementary period prescribed by the court. It is wellsettled that procedural rules should be treated with utmost respect and due regard, since they are designed to facilitate the adjudication of cases to remedy the worsening problem of delay in the resolution of rival claims and in the administration of justice. From time to time, however, the Court has recognized exceptions to the strict application of such rules, but only for the most compelling reasons where stubborn obedience to the Rules would defeat rather than serve the ends of justice. However, despite the rigid wording of Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules, as amended by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC, which now disallows an extension of the 60-day reglementary period to file a petition for certiorari, courts may nevertheless extend the same, subject to its sound discretion. MARIA LOURDES D. CASTELLS AND SHALIMAR CENTI-MANDANAS v. SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES. G.R. No. 188514, August 28, 2013 When a trial court dismissed a case involving a rural bank, the same must be treated as a dismissal with the character of finality. That being a final decision, the proper recourse that petitioner should have availed of is the remedy under Rule 41, which is appeal, and not Rule 65. VIRGINIA M. VENZON v. RURAL BANK OF BUENAVISTA, INC., represented by Lourdesita E. Parajes. G.R. No. 178031, August 28, 2013

When the petitioners allege that the main purpose of their complaint is for collection of Agent’s Compensation, Commission and Damages, it is nonetheless principally for the collection of a sum of money representing the same and is thus not capable of pecuniary estimation. In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the Courts of First Instance would depend on the amount of the claim. ARACELI J. CABRERA v. ANGELO G. FRANCISCO, ET AL. G.R. No. 172293, August 28, 2013

In a case of reconveyance or recovery of ill-gotten wealth, it is sufficient that the Republic prove their demand through a preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence refers to the comparative weight of the evidence presented by the opposing parties. As such, it has been defined as "the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side," and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term greater weight of the evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence. It is proof that is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT v. LUZ REYES BAKUNAWA, ET AL. G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013

When an accused dies pending appeal of his conviction, such death extinguishes his criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon. Since the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused, the civil action instituted therein for recovery of civil liability ex delicto is ipso facto extinguished, grounded as it is on the criminal case. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANASTACIO AMISTOSO. G.R. No. 201447, August 28, 2013

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When the NLRC promulgates a decision, the proper recourse from such is not to file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 but instead, to file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The petitions from Rule 45 and Rule 65 are not the same. A petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is a special civil action that may be resorted to only in the absence of appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. As a general rule, a motion for reconsideration is a prerequisite for the availment of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. The filing of a motion for reconsideration before resort to certiorari will lie is intended to afford the public respondent an opportunity to correct any actual or fancied error attributed to it by way of re-examination of the legal and factual aspects of the case. MALAYANG MANGGAGAWA NG STAYFAST PHILS., INC. v. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, ET AL. G.R. No. 155306, August 28, 2013

When the petitioner filed other pending actions involving the same people, same reliefs prayed for and essentially the same issue, there exists forum shopping because the elements of litis pendentia are present. Litis pendentia requires the concurrence of the following requisites: (1) identity of parties, or at least such parties as those representing the same interests in both actions; (2) identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the reliefs being founded on the same facts; and (3) identity with respect to the two preceding particulars in the two cases, such that any judgment that may be rendered in the pending case, regardless of which party is successful, would amount to res judicata in the other case. LUCENA B. RALLOS v. CITY OF CEBU G.R. No. 202651, August 28, 2013

The testimony of a single witness may be sufficient to produce a conviction, if the same appears to be trustworthy and reliable. If credible and convincing, that alone would be sufficient to convict the accused. Testimonies of rape victims who are young and immature deserve full credence, considering that no young woman, especially of tender age, would concoct a story of defloration, allow an examination of her private parts, and thereafter pervert herself by being subject to public trial, if she was not motivated solely by the desire to obtain justice for the wrong committed against her. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. APOLIARIO MANALILI. G.R. No. 191253, August 28, 2013 When a party inappropriately files a petition for review instead of a required notice of appeal, the same shall be dismissed. Appeals to the CA in cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the latter court. FELY Y. YALONG v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 187174, August 28, 2013 Persons who are not parties to a case, either as petitioners, defendants or intervenors, they cannot participate in the proceedings of the same. Consequently, they also cannot be adversely affected by the outcome of such proceeding. A complaint-in-intervention cannot be treated as an independent action as it is merely an ancillary to and a supplement of the principal action. The complaint-in-intervention essentially latches on the complaint for its legal efficacy so much so that the dismissal of the complaint leads to its concomitant dismissal. B. STA. RITA & CO., INC. AND ARLENE STA. RITA KANAPI v. ANGELINE M. GUECO. G.R. No.193078, August 28, 2013

When the court ignored the fact that an objection was raised in the motion for reconsideration, it then proceeded to say that the defense was not pleaded during trial so that it cannot be considered on appeal. This is not correct. As principle that since the statement in the pleading is conclusive on the pleader, it is unaffected by any contrary proof submitted by the pleader, whether or not objection is interposed by any party. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BIENVENIDO CASTRO. G.R. No. 189125, August 28, 2013.

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When there is a single eyewitness, her testimony is sufficient to support a conviction so long as such testimony is found to be clear and straight-forward and worthy of credence by the trial court. Discrepancies referring only to minor details and collateral matters do not affect the veracity of the witness’ declarations. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOJIE SUANSING. G.R. No. 189822, September 02, 2013

When a party fails to file a motion for reconsideration or appeal, the decision shall become final and executory. Under the doctrine of immutability of judgment, a decision that has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable, and may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact and law, and whether it be made by the court that rendered it or by the Highest Court of the land. SANGGUNIANG BARANGAY OF PANGASUGAN, BAYBAY, LEYTE v. EXPLORATION PERMIT APPLICATION OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL OIL COMPANY. G.R. No. 162226, September 02, 2013. When a court has already ruled on a matter binding over an issue, another court cannot set aside the ruling of said court which is of co-equal and coordinate standing.The doctrine of judicial stability states that the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction may not be interfered with by any court of concurrent jurisdiction. The rationale for the same is founded on the concept of jurisdiction – verily, a court that acquires jurisdiction over the case and renders judgment therein has jurisdiction over its judgment, to the exclusion of all other coordinate courts, for its execution and over all its incidents, and to control, in furtherance of justice, the conduct of ministerial officers acting in connection with this judgment. FIRST GAS POWER CORPORATION v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL. G.R. No. 169461, September 02, 2013 When the drugs confiscated from the accused were properly accounted for and forthrightly submitted to the Crime Laboratory, there will be no suspicion as to the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized articles. The chain of custody rule is a method of authenticating evidence which requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered in evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FREDDY SALONGA Y AFIADO. G.R. No. 194948, September 02, 2013. The Heirs of Maximo Alvarez and Valentina Clave filed a complaint for quieting of title and damages against Margarita Prodon. They alleged that Prodon maliciously made an entry in the TCT of the property of the respondents, the entry states that the property had been sold to them with a right of repurchase. The deed of sale with the right of repurchase had been lost. The Best Evidence Rule applies only when the terms of a written document are the subject of the inquiry. In an action for quieting of title based on the inexistence of a deed of sale with right to repurchase that purportedly cast a cloud on the title of a property, therefore, the Best Evidence Rule does not apply, and the defendant is not precluded from presenting evidence other than the original document. HEIRS OF MARGARITA PRODON v. HEIRS OF MAXIMO S. ALVAREZ AND VALENTINA CLAVE. G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013 The Office of the City Prosecutor dismissed the complaints filed against the petitioners for lack of sufficient basis both in fact and in law. The respondents filed their separate petitions before the DOJ. The DOJ ordered the filing of separate informations against the respondents. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. The DOJ reconsidered its findings and ruled that there was no probable cause. The respondents elevated the matter to the CA. The CA annulled and set aside the recent Resolutions of the DOJ. ROSALINDA PUNZALAN, RANDALL PUNZALAN AND RAINIER PUNZALAN v. MICHAEL GAMALIEL J. PLATA AND RUBEN PLATA. G.R. No. 160316, September 2, 2013,

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It a sound judicial policy to refrain from interfering in the conduct of preliminary investigations and to leave the DOJ a wide latitude of discretion in the determination of what constitutes sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for the prosecution of the supposed offenders. The rule is based not only upon the respect for the investigatory and prosecutory powers granted by the Constitution to the executive department but upon practicality as well. The trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the questioned orders without giving HOLCIM the chance to be heard. Since HOLCIM was not given an opportunity to rebut the petitioners’ evidence, considering that the former’s Manifestation and Motion for Ocular Inspection was denied, justice will be better served if the trial court determines first the existence of documents relative to HOLCIM’s payments made to de Guzman, and if the same is not done, to receive further evidence, this time, from both parties. In the examination of a person, corporation, or other juridical entity who has the property of such judgment obligor or is indebted to him, and such person, corporation, or juridical entity denies an indebtedness, the court may only authorize the judgment obligee to institute an action against such person or corporation for the recovery of such interest or debt. Nothing in the Rules gives the court the authority to order such person or corporation to pay the judgment obligee and the court exceeds its jurisdiction if it orders the person who denies the indebtedness to pay the same. The Court held that an "execution of a judgment can only be issued against one who is a party to the action, and not against one who, not being a party thereto, did not have his day in court. Due process dictates that a court decision can only bind a party to the litigation and not against innocent third parties. LIGAYA ESGUERRA, ET AL. v. HOLCIM PHILIPPINES, INC. G.R. No. 182571, September 2, 2013 Rivera claimed that AAA was his girlfriend and that sexual intercourse was consensual. AAA went to the motel voluntarily. The sweetheart defense is an affirmative defense that must be supported by convincing proof. Such defense is "effectively an admission of carnal knowledge of the victim and consequently places on accused-appellant the burden of proving the alleged relationship by substantial evidence." Independent proof is required. It cannot be argued that because AAA voluntarily went with Rivera to the Ilang-Ilang Lodge, she consented to have sex with him. To presume otherwise would be non sequitur. It must be noted that AAA, who was not in good terms with a co-worker, wanted a change in employer. She easily believed Rivera who convinced her that he could help her look for a new job. Thus, she trusted Rivera and went along with him because of his assurance that he could help her find a new employment. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CHRISTOPHER RIVERA Y ROYO. G.R. No. 200508, September 4, 2013. Alberto Lagaray filed a complaint for estafa against Gilbert Reyes for allegedly placing orders over the phone and issuing a check with insufficient fund as payment. Alberto Ligaray expressly admitted that he did not personally meet the person with whom he was transacting over the telephone. The Bill of Rights guarantees the right of an accused to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. In order to overcome the presumption of innocence, the Prosecution is required to adduce against him nothing less than proof beyond reasonable doubt. Such proof is not only in relation to the elements of the offense, but also in relation to the identity of the offender. If the Prosecution fails to discharge its heavy burden, then it is not only the right of the accused to be freed, it becomes the Court’s constitutional duty to acquit him. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GILBERT REYES WAGAS. G.R. No. 157943, September 4, 2013 The pendency of an administrative case for specific performance brought by the buyer of residential subdivision lots in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to compel the seller to deliver the transfer certificates of title (TCTs) of the fully paid lots is properly considered a ground to suspend a criminal prosecution for violation of Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 on the ground of a prejudicial question. The administrative determination is a logical antecedent of the resolution of the criminal charges based on non-delivery of the TCTs. SAN MIGUEL PROPERTIES, INC. v. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, ET AL. G.R. No. 166836, September 4, 2013 The DARAB has jurisdiction over cases involving the cancellation of registered CLOAs relating to an agrarian dispute between landowners and tenants. However, in cases concerning the cancellation of CLOAs that involve parties who are not agricultural tenants or lessees – cases related to the administrative implementation of agrarian reform laws, rules and regulations - the jurisdiction is with the

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DAR, and not the DARAB. It is the DAR and not the DARAB that has jurisdiction. First, the issue of whether the CLOA issued to petitioners over respondent’s land should be cancelled hinges on that of whether the subject landholding is exempt from CARP coverage by virtue of two zoning ordinances. This question involves the DAR’s determination of whether the subject land is indeed exempt from CARP coverage – a matter involving the administrative implementation of the CARP Law. Second, respondent’s complaint does not allege that the prayer for the cancellation of the CLOA was in connection with an agrarian dispute. The complaint is centered on the fraudulent acts of the MARO, PARO, and the regional director that led to the issuance of the CLOA. RODULFO VALCURZA AND BEATRIZ LASAGA, ET AL. v. ATTY. CASIMIRO N. TAMPARONG, JR. G.R. No. 189874, September 4, 2013.

The CA issued a TRO in order to stop the demolition order. It is settled that a writ of preliminary injunction should be issued only to prevent grave and irreparable injury, that is, injury that is actual, substantial, and demonstrable. Here, there is no "irreparable injury" as understood in law. Rather, the damages alleged by the petitioner, namely," immense loss in profit and possible damage claims from clients" and the cost of the billboard which is "a considerable amount of money" is easily quantifiable, and certainly does not fall within the concept of irreparable damage or injury.

Damages are irreparable within the meaning of the rule relative to the issuance of injunction where there is no standard by which their amount can be measured with reasonable accuracy. "An irreparable injury which a court of equity will enjoin includes that degree of wrong of a repeated and continuing kind which produce hurt, inconvenience, or damage that can be estimated only by conjecture, and not by any accurate standard of measurement." An irreparable injury to authorize an injunction consists of a serious charge of, or is destructive to, the property it affects, either physically or in the character in which it has been held and enjoined, or when the property has some peculiar quality or use, so that its pecuniary value will not fairly recompense the owner of the loss thereof. Here, any damage petitioner may suffer is easily subject to mathematical computation and, if proven, is fully compensable by damages. Thus, a preliminary injunction is not warranted. HEIRS OF MELENCIO YU, ET AL. v. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL. G.R. No. 182371, September 4, 2013

Petitioner may still invoke the arbitration clause of the 2005 Lease Contract notwithstanding the fact that it assails the validity of such contract. This is due to the doctrine of separability. Under the doctrine of separability, an arbitration agreement is considered as independent of the main contract. Being a separate contract in itself, the arbitration agreement may thus be invoked regardless of the possible nullity or invalidity of the main contract. OPPEL, INC. v. MAKATI ROTARY CLUB FOUNDATION, INC. G.R. No. 198075, September 4, 2013

Plameras was found guilty of violation of RA 3019 by the Ombudsman. He appealed via petition for review under Rule 45. Petitioner insists that his transaction is related to the mother contract between the DECS and CKL Enterprises, which culminated in a case filed with the Office of the Ombudsman, where the Ombudsman absolved the DECS officials.

A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court should cover only questions of law. Questions of fact are not reviewable. A question of law exists when the doubt is on what the law is on a certain set of facts. A question of fact exists when the doubt is on the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. The Court reiterates the well-settled rule that, absent any clear showing of abuse, arbitrariness or capriciousness committed by the lower court, its findings of facts, especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are

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binding and conclusive upon this Court. JOVITO C. PLAMERAS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 187268, September 4, 2013

There can be no forum shopping in the instant case because the grounds cited by private respondent in its motions to dismiss filed in 1998 and in the present case are different. In 1998, the motion to dismiss is based on the argument that the final and executory decision in the Perez case serves as res judicata and, thus, bars the re-litigation of the issue of employer-employee relations between private respondent and petitioners. In the instant case, private respondent again cites res judicata as a ground for its motion to dismiss. This time, however, the basis for such ground is not Perez but the final and executory decision in RAB Case No. 06-09-10699-97. Thus, the relief prayed for in private respondent's motion to dismiss subject of the instant case is founded on totally different facts and issues. HERNANDO BORRA, JOHN PACHEO, ET AL. v. CA, 2ND AND 19TH DIVISIONS AND HAWAIIAN PHILIPPINE COMPANY. G.R. No. 167484, September 9, 2013

Jurisprudence dictates that the appellee’s role in the appeal process is confined only to the task of refuting the assigned errors interposed by the appellant. Since the appellee is not the party who instituted the appeal and accordingly has not complied with the procedure prescribed therefor, he merely assumes a defensive stance and his interest solely relegated to the affirmance of the judgment appealed from. Keeping in mind that the right to appeal is essentially statutory in character, it is highly erroneous for the appellee to either assign any error or seek any affirmative relief or modification of the lower court’s judgment without interposing its own appeal.

The CA committed a reversible error in sustaining the dismissal of the Pasig case on the ground of improper venue because the same was not an error raised by Cruz who was the appellant before it. The CA cannot take cognizance of MIAA’s position that the venue was improperly laid since, being the appellee, MIAA’s participation was confined to the refutation of the appellant’s assignment of errors. CORAZON S. CRUZ UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE, VILLA CORAZON CONDO DORMITORY v. MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY. G.R. No. 184732, September 9, 2013 In the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded is not lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he was not denied due process. As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he was not denied due process. Mendoza was afforded due process despite his claim that he had never personally received a copy of the Notice of Disallowance/s. He was able to file the Motion for Reconsideration. The Commission gave due course to the Motion and ruled on the merits. Petitioner Mendoza, therefore, has been duly afforded an opportunity to explain his side and seek a reconsideration of the ruling he assails, which is the "essence of administrative due process. ENGINEER MANOLITO P. MENDOZA v. COMMISSION ON AUDIT. G.R. No. 195395, September 10, 2013. Under the 1996 HLURB Rules of Procedure, as amended, an opposition to an application for a locational clearance for a cellular base station or a complaint for the revocation of a locational clearance for a cellular base station already issued, is within the original jurisdiction of the HLURB Executive Committee. There is no showing that respondents availed themselves of administrative remedies prior to instituting Civil Case No. Br. 23-632-2000 before the RTC. Ordinarily, failure to comply with the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the doctrine of primary jurisdiction will result in the dismissal of the case for lack of cause of action. However, the Court herein will not go to the extent of entirely dismissing Civil Case No. Br. 23-632-2000. The Court does not lose sight of the fact that respondents’ Complaint is primarily for abatement of nuisance; and respondents alleged the lack of HLURB requirements for the cellular base station, not to seek nullification of

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petitioner’s locational clearance, but to support their chief argument that said cellular base station is a nuisance which needs to be abated. SMART COMMUNICATIONS, INC. v. ARSENIO ALDECOA, ET AL. G.R. No. 166330, September 11, 2013

It is an established rule that when the dispositive portion of a judgment, which has meanwhile become final and executory, contains a clerical error or an ambiguity arising from an inadvertent omission, such error or ambiguity may be clarified by reference to the body of the decision itself. The very contents of the body of the Decision dated July 21, 2008 rendered by this Court in G.R. Nos. 167274-75 undoubtedly reveal that both CA G.R. SP No. 80675 and CA G.R. SP No. 83165 were the subject matter of the petition therein. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. FORTUNE TOBACCO CORPORATION/FORTUNE TOBACCO CORPORATION v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE. G.R. Nos. 167274-75& G.R. No. 192576, September 11, 2013

The discrepancies between the statements of the affiant in his affidavit and those made by him on the witness stand do not necessarily discredit him since ex parte affidavits are generally incomplete. As between the joint affidavit and the testimony given in open court, the latter prevails because affidavits taken ex-parte are generally considered to be inferior to the testimony given in court.

The chemistry report showing a positive result of the paraffin test is a public document. As a public document, the rule on authentication does not apply. It is admissible in evidence without further proof of its due execution and genuineness; the person who made the report need not be presented in court to identify, describe and testify how the report was conducted.

Section 14, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court permits a formal amendment of a complaint even after the plea but only if it is made with leave of court and provided that it can be done without causing prejudice to the rights of the accused. It is clear that consistent with the rule on amendments and the jurisprudence, the change in the date of the commission of the crime of homicide is a formal amendment - it does not change the nature of the crime, does not affect the essence of the offense nor deprive the accused of an opportunity to meet the new averment, and is not prejudicial to the accused. LETICIA I. KUMMER v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 174461, September 11, 2013

The elementary test for failure to state a cause of action is whether the complaint alleges facts which if true would justify the relief demanded. The inquiry is into the sufficiency, not the veracity of the material allegations. If the allegations in the complaint furnish sufficient basis on which it can be maintained, it should not be dismissed regardless of the defense that may be presented by the defendants. In this case, the Court finds that Consing, Jr.’s complaint properly states a cause of action since the allegations there insufficiently bear out a case for damages under Articles 19 and 26 of the Civil Code. UNICAPITAL INC., ET AL. v. RAFAEL JOSE CONSING, JR., ET AL./RAFAEL CONSING, JR. v. HON. MARISSA MACARAIG-GUILLEN, ETC., ET AL. G.R. Nos. 175277 & 175285, September 11, 2013

DPWH wanted to expropriate portions of the properties of BPI. BPI claimed for the inclusion of the value of its building in determining the just compensation although it was never taken by the government. The general rule is that the just compensation to which the owner of the condemned property is entitled to is the market value. The general rule, however, is modified where only a part of a certain property is expropriated. In such a case, the owner is not restricted to compensation for the portion actually taken; he is also entitled to recover the consequential damage, if any, to the remaining part of the property. No

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actual taking of the building is necessary to grant consequential damages. Consequential damages are awarded if as a result of the expropriation, the remaining property of the owner suffers from impairment or decrease in value. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES REPRESENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. G.R. No. 20303, September 11, 2013

Actions based upon a written contract must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues. Non-fulfillment of the obligation to pay on the due date, that is, on November 15, 1974, would give rise to an action by the vendor, which date of reckoning may also apply to any action by the vendee to determine his right under R.A. No. 6552. The vendee, respondent herein, filed this case on March 16, 2001, which is clearly beyond the 10-year prescriptive period; hence, the action has prescribed.

Even though the ground of prescription was raised only for the first time before the Supreme Court, the respondent’s right to due process was not violated as it was given the opportunity to oppose such defense. It is well within the authority and discretion of the Court to resolve such issue of prescription as provided under Section 1, Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Court. MANUEL UY & SONS, INC. v. VALBUECO, INCORPORATED. G.R. No. 179594, September 11, 2013

The verification and certification of non-forum shopping in the complaint is not a jurisdictional but a formal requirement, and any objection as to non-compliance therewith should be raised in the proceedings below and not for the first time on appeal.

Genlite Industries is merely the DTI-registered trade name or style of the respondent by which he conducted his business. As such, it does not exist as a separate entity apart from its owner, and therefore it has no separate juridical personality to sue or be sued. As the sole proprietor of Genlite Industries, there is no question that the respondent is the real party in interest who stood to be directly benefited or injured by the judgment in the complaint below. S.C. MEGAWORLD CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. ENGR. LUIS U. PARADA, REPRESENTED BY ENGR. LEONARDO A. PARADA OF GENLITE INDUSTRIES. G.R. No. 183804, September 11, 2013

It is axiomatic that a complaint or information must state every single fact necessary to constitute the offense charged; otherwise, a motion to dismiss or to quash on the ground that the complaint or information charges no offense may be properly sustained. The test does not require absolute certainty as to the presence of the elements of the offense; otherwise, there would no longer be any need for the Prosecution to proceed to trial. The informations in Criminal Case No. 28001 (corruption of public officials) and Criminal Case No. 28002 (violation of Section 4(a) of RA No.3019) have sufficiently complied with the requirements of Section 6, Rule110 of the Rules of Court. HERMINIO T. DISINI v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL./HERMINIO T. DISINI v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. Nos. 169823-24, September 11, 2013

The Court observes that grave abuse of discretion taints a public prosecutor’s resolution if he arbitrarily disregards the jurisprudential parameters of probable cause. In particular, case law states that probable cause, for the purpose of filing a criminal information, exists when the facts are sufficient to engender a

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well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty thereof. A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed by the suspects. It need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, not on evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and definitely not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. In determining probable cause, the average man weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of the rules of evidence of which he has no technical knowledge. ELISEO AGUILAR v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ET AL. G.R. No. 197522, September 11, 2013

When a supervening event renders the execution of a judgment impossible or unjust, the interested party can petition the court to modify the judgment to harmonize it with justice and the facts. A supervening event is a fact which transpires or a new circumstance which develops after a judgment has become final and executory. This includes matters which the parties were unaware of prior to or during trial because they were not yet in existence at that time. In this case, the sinking of M/V Pilar-I can be considered a supervening event. Petitioner, who did not have possession of the ship, was only informed of its destruction when Colorado filed its Manifestation, dated July 29, 2010, long after the September 11, 2009 Decision of this Court in Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Corporation v. M/V "Pilar-I" and Spouses Ernesto Dy and Lourdes Dy attained finality on January 19, 2010. During the course of the proceedings in the RTC, the CA and this Court, petitioner could not have known of the worsened condition of the vessel because it was in the possession of Colorado. ERNESTO DY v. HON. GINA M. BIBAT-PALAMOS. G.R. No. 196200, September 11, 2013 A high standard of proof is required to establish paternity and filiation. An order for recognition and support may create an unwholesome situation or may be an irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence. A certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evidence of paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the preparation of the certificate. Thus, if the father did not sign in the birth certificate, the placing of his name by the mother, doctor, registrar, or other person is incompetent evidence of paternity. Neither can such birth certificate be taken as recognition in a public instrument. It has no probative value to establish filiation to the alleged father. As to the Baptismal Certificate of Christian Paulo Salas also indicating petitioner as the father, we have ruled that while baptismal certificates may be considered public documents, they can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacraments on the dates so specified. They are not necessarily competent evidence of the veracity of entries therein with respect to the child’s paternity. NARCISO SALAS v. ANNABELLE MATUSALEM. G.R. No. 180284, September 11, 2013.

There is no eyewitness to the shooting of the victim. Prosecution’s key witness testified that he saw the respondents went to the house of the victim and he received a call from the victim asking for help. Likewise, the respondents tested positive for gunpowder nitrates. Nonetheless, jurisprudence tells us that direct evidence of the crime is not the only matrix from which a trial court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. The rules on evidence allow a trial court to rely on circumstantial evidence to support its conclusion of guilt. It is sufficient to sustain a conviction if (i) there is more than one circumstance; (ii) the facts from which the inference is derived are proven; and (iii) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SPO1 ALFREDO ALAWIG. G.R. No. 187731, September 18, 2013

Remulla is not a party to the compromise but he has the legal standing to file the petition before the Court either in his personal capacity as taxpayer or as then Vice-Governor and, hence, Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Cavite. As a taxpayer, he may be allowed to sue where there is a claim that public funds are illegally disbursed or that public money is being deflected to any improper purpose, or that public funds are wasted through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law or ordinance. As then Vice-Governor and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Cavite, he represents the interests of the province itself which is,

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undoubtedly, a real party in interest since it stands to be either benefited or injured by the execution of the compromise judgment. JUANITO VICTOR C. REMULLA v. ERINEO S. MALIKSI, ETC., ET AL. G.R. No. 171633, September 18, 2013

In rape cases, the law does not impose a burden on the rape victim to prove resistance because it is not an element of rape. Hence, the absence of abrasions or contusions in AAA’s body is inconsequential. What is necessary is that the force employed against her was sufficient to consummate the purpose which he has in mind. Sufficient force does not mean great or is of such character that is irresistible; as long as it brings about the desired result, all considerations of whether it was more or less irresistible are beside the point. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEY BACATAN. G.R. No. 203315, September 18, 2013

The CA set for hearing on January 4, 2005, the propriety of issuing a Writ of Preliminary Injunction. This hearing did not push through. Although the scheduled January 4, 2005 hearing on the propriety of issuing a Writ of Preliminary Injunction did not push through, the parties were nonetheless amply heard thru their pleadings. There is no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction where a party was not deprived of its day in court, as it was heard and had exhaustively presented all its arguments and defenses. SPOUSES CARMELITO AND ANTONIA ALDOVER v. THE COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. No. 167174, September 23, 2013

In our jurisdiction, the remedies available to the mortgage creditor are deemed alternative and not cumulative. Notably, an election of one remedy operates as a waiver of the other. For this purpose, a remedy is deemed chosen upon the filing of the suit for collection or upon the filing of the complaint in an action for foreclosure of mortgage, pursuant to the provision of Rule 68 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. In this case, respondent sought to extra-judicially foreclose the mortgage of the properties previously belonging to Sps. Maglasang (and now, their estates) and, therefore, availed of the third option. Lest it be misunderstood, it did not exercise the first option of directly filing a claim against the estate, as petitioners assert, since it merely notified, the probate court of the outstanding amount of its claim against the estate of Flaviano and that it was currently restructuring the account. Thus, having unequivocally opted to exercise the third option of extra-judicial foreclosure under Section 7, Rule 86, respondent is now precluded from filing a suit to recover any deficiency amount as earlier discussed. HEIRS OF THE LATE SPS. FLAVIANO MAGLASANG AND SALUD ADAZA-MAGLASANG, NAMELY, OSCAR A. MAGLASANG, ET AL. v. MANILA BANKING CORPORATION, NOW SUBSTITUTED BY FIRST SOVEREIGN ASSET MANAGEMENT (SPV-AMC). G.R. No. 171206, September 23, 2013 Respondents filed a petition for declaratory relief, assailing the constitutionality of certain sections of RA 9372. Private respondents only assert general interests as citizens, and taxpayers and infractions which the government could prospectively commit if the enforcement of the said law would remain untrammeled.

Private respondents’ petition for declaratory relief failed to demonstrate how they are left to sustain or are in immediate danger to sustain some direct injury as a result of the enforcement of the assailed provisions of RA 9372. Without any justiciable controversy, the petitions have become pleas for declaratory relief, over which the Court has no original jurisdiction. Then again, declaratory actions characterized by "double contingency," where both the activity the petitioners intend to undertake and the anticipated reaction to it of a public official are merely theorized, lie beyond judicial review for lack of ripeness. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HERMINIO HARRY ROQUE ET. AL. G.R. No. 204603, September 24, 2013

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While non-compliance with the prescribed procedural requirements will not automatically render the seizure and custody of the items void and invalid, this is true only when "(i) there is a justifiable ground for such non-compliance, and (ii) the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved." Thus, any divergence from the prescribed procedure must be justified and should not affect the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated contraband. Absent any of the said conditions, the non-compliance is an irregularity, a red flag that casts reasonable doubt on the identity of the corpus delicti. In the case at bar, not only was there no justifiable ground offered for the non-compliance with the chain of custody requirement, there was an apparent failure to properly preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items to ensure the identity of the corpus delicti from the time of seizure to the time of presentation in court. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARTURO ENRIQUEZ Y DE LOS REYES. G.R. No. 197550, September 25, 2013

P02 Aldea marked the seized items not at the crime scene but at the police station in the presence of Ocfemia. The "chain of custody" requires that the "marking" of the seized items – to truly ensure that they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator (2) immediately upon confiscation.". "Immediate confiscation" has no exact definition. To be able to create a first link in the chain of custody, then, what is required is that the marking be made in the presence of the accused and upon immediate confiscation. "Immediate confiscation" has no exact definition. In one case, the marking of the seized items at the police station and in the presence of the accused was sufficient in showing compliance with the rules on chain of custody. Marking upon immediate confiscation contemplates even marking at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending team. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GIOVANNI OCFEMIA Y CHAVEZ. G.R. No. 185383, September 25, 2013

The Rule on Examination of a Child Witness specifies that every child is presumed qualified to be a witness. To rebut this presumption, the burden of proof lies on the party challenging the child's competence. Petitioners’ flimsy objections on Rachel’s lack of education and inability to read and tell time carry no weight and cannot overcome the clear and convincing testimony of Rachel as to who killed her father.

On the other hand, Section 36 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court explicitly provided that a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge; that is, which are derived from his own perception, except as otherwise provided in these rules. Aniceta’s testimony is mainly hearsay, especially on the purported fight between Wilfredo and Jesus that ended in Wilfredo’s death. Aniceta’s testimony as such carries no probative weight. At best, Aniceta’s testimony is an independent relevant statement: offered only as to the fact of its declaration and the substance of what had been relayed to Aniceta by Marilou, not as to the truth thereof. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDWIN IBANEZ Y ALBANTE, ET AL. G.R. No. 197813, September 25, 2013

Petitioner did not receive a notice of the August 15, 1988 Decision of the RTC in LRC Case No. 10371. A land registration case is a proceeding in rem. In land registration proceedings, being in rem, there is no necessity to give personal notice to the owners or claimants of the land sought to be registered in order to vest the courts with power and authority over the res. Moreover, since no issue was raised as to Antonia Victorino's compliance with the prerequisites of notice and publication, she is deemed to have followed such requirements. As a consequence, petitioner is deemed sufficiently notified of the hearing of Antonia's application. Hence, petitioner cannot claim that she is denied due process. CRISANTA GUIDOENRIQUEZ v. ALICIA I. VICTORINO, ET AL. G.R. No. 180427, September 30, 2013

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The grant or denial of a Demurrer to Evidence is left to the sound discretion of the court, and its ruling on the matter shall not be disturbed in the absence of a grave abuse of such discretion. GREGORIO SINGIAN, JR., v. SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION). G.R. Nos. 195011-19, September 30, 2013

Section 252 emphatically directs that the taxpayer/real property owner questioning the assessment should first pay the tax due before his protest can be entertained. As a matter of fact, the words “paid under protest” shall be annotated on the tax receipts. Consequently, only after such payment has been made by the taxpayer may he file a protest in writing (within thirty [30] days from said payment of tax) to the provincial, city, or municipal treasurer, who shall decide the protest within sixty (60) days from its receipt. In no case is the local treasurer obliged to entertain the protest unless the tax due has been paid. A claim for exemption from payment of real property taxes does not actually question the assessor’s authority to assess and collect such taxes, but pertains to the reasonableness or correctness of the assessment by the local assessor, a question of fact which should be resolved, at the very first instance, by the LBAA. By providing that real property not declared and proved as tax-exempt shall be included in the assessment roll, Section 206 of RA No. 7160 implies that the local assessor has the authority to assess the property for realty taxes, and any subsequent claim for exemption shall be allowed only when sufficient proof has been adduced supporting the claim. CAMP JOHN HAY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. CENTRAL BOARD ASSESSMENT APPEALS, ETC., ET AL. G.R. No. 169234, October 2, 2013 A claim for tax refund or credit, like a claim for tax exemption, is construed strictly against the taxpayer. One of the conditions for a judicial claim of refund or credit under the VAT System is compliance with the 120+30 day mandatory and jurisdictional periods. Thus, strict compliance with the 120+30 day periods is necessary for such a claim to prosper, whether before, during, or after the effectivity of the Atlas doctrine, except for the period from the issuance of BIR Ruling No. DA-48903 on 10 December 2003 to 6 October 2010 when the Aichi doctrine was adopted, which again reinstated the 120+30 day periods as mandatory and jurisdictional. Section 4 of the 1997 Tax Code provides that the "power to interpret the provisions of this Code and other tax laws shall be under the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Commissioner, subject to review by the Secretary of Finance," Section 7 of the same Code does not prohibit the delegation of such power. Thus, "the Commissioner may delegate the powers vested in him under the pertinent provisions of this Code to any or such subordinate officials with the rank equivalent to a division chief or higher, subject to such limitations and restrictions as may be imposed under rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Secretary of Finance, upon recommendation of the Commissioner." COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. SAN ROQUE POWER CORPORATION/ TAGANITO MINING CORPORATION v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE/ PHILEX MINING CORPORATION v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE. G.R. No. 187485/G.R. No. 196113/G.R. No. 197156, October 8, 2013 For a taxpayer to be entitled to a tax credit or refund of creditable withholding tax, the following requisites must be complied with: First, The claim must be filed with the CIR within the two-year period from the date of payment of the tax; Second, It must be shown on the return of the recipient that the income received was declared as part of the gross income; and Third, The fact of withholding is established by a copy of the statement duly issued by the payor to the payee showing the amount paid and the amount of tax withheld. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. TEAM (PHILIPPINES) OPERATIONS CORPORATION [FORMERLY MIRANT (PHILIPPINES) OPERATIONS CORPORATION). G.R. No. 185728, October 16, 2013 The two-year prescriptive period applies only to administrative claims and not to judicial claims. The 120day and 30-day periods are not merely directory but mandatory. The taxpayer will always have 30 days to file the judicial claim even if the Commissioner acts only on the 120th day, or does not act at all during the 120-day period. With the 30-day period always available to the taxpayer, the taxpayer can no longer file a

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judicial claim for refund or tax credit of unutilized excess input VAT without waiting for the Commissioner to decide until the expiration of the 120-day period. Failure to comply with the 120-day waiting period violates the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and renders the petition premature and thus without a cause of action, with the effect that the CTA does not acquire jurisdiction over the taxpayer’s petition.

However, the San Roque case provides exception to the strict compliance with the 120-day period. Although the 120-day period is mandatory and jurisdictional, the BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 dated December 10, 2003 provided a valid claim for equitable estoppel under Section 246 of the Tax Code. BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 expressly states that the "taxpayer-claimant need not wait for the lapse of the 120day period before it could seek judicial relief with the CTA by way of Petition for Review. Thus, the BIR Ruling No. DA-489-03 will shield the filing of a tax payer’s judicial claim from the vice of prematurity when such claim is filed during its effectivity. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GST PHILIPPINES, INC. G.R. No. 190872, October 17, 2013. Petitioners filed review on certiorari under Rule 45 to the SC. Petitioners argue that the Breakdown of Account which the RTC used as a basis in awarding the claim, as affirmed by the CA , is hearsay since the person who prepared it was not presented in court to authenticate it. It is a settled rule that in the exercise of the Supreme Court's power of review, the Court is not a trier of facts and does not normally undertake the re-examination of the evidence presented by the contending parties during the trial of the case considering that the findings of facts of the CA are conclusive and binding on the Court. However, the Court had recognized several exceptions to this rule, to wit: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion.

The entries in the Breakdown of Account and their corresponding amounts are not supported by the respondent’s presented evidence. The itemized expenses, as repeatedly pointed out by the petitioners, were not proven, and the remaining indebtedness, after the partial payment of P600,000.00, was merely derived by the RTC from the Breakdown of Account. It is unacceptable for the RTC to simply come up with a conclusion that the payment of P600,000.00 did not extinguish the debt, or, assuming it really did not, that the remaining amount of indebtedness amounts exactly to P460,505.86, without any showing of how this balance was arrived at. To our mind, the RTC’s ruling, in so far as the determination of the actual indebtedness is concerned, is incomplete. NUCCIO SAVERIO AND NS INTERNATIONAL INC. v. ALFONSO G. PUYAT, G.R. No. 186433, November 27, 2013

The buy-bust team failed to take pictures of the seized drugs immediately upon seizure and at the site of accused-appellants’ apprehension, and to mark and make an inventory of the same in the presence of all the persons named in Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165.

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Jurisprudence has decreed that, in dangerous drugs cases, the failure of the police officers to make a physical inventory and to photograph the sachets of shabu, as well as to mark the sachets at the place of arrest, do not render the seized drugs inadmissible in evidence or automatically impair the integrity of the chain of custody of the said drugs. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ASIR GANI Y ALIH AND NORMINA GANI Y GALOS. G.R. No. 198318, November 27, 2013

King Construction filed a money claim against the Province of Aklan with the RTC of Marikina. Under Commonwealth Act No. 327, as amended by Section 26 of Presidential Decree No. 1445, it is the COA which has primary jurisdiction over money claims against government agencies and instrumentalities. Respondent’s collection suit being directed against a local government unit, such money claim should have been first brought to the COA. Hence, the RTC should have suspended the proceedings and refer the filing of the claim before the COA. Moreover, petitioner is not estopped from raising the issue of jurisdiction even after the denial of its notice of appeal and before the CA. THE PROVINCE OF AKLAN v. JODY KING CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. G.R. Nos. 197592 & 20262, November 27, 2013.

Atty. Enriquez filed with the SC a petition for review dated 19 August 2011 challenging the IBP Board of Governors’ 5 June 2008 and 26 June 2011 Resolutions. The Spouses Williams filed opposed the petition for review because it was filed out of time.

The IBP Board of Governors’ Resolutions did not become final. Resolutions of the IBP Board of Governors are only recommendatory and always subject to the Court’s review. The Supreme Court exercises exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law. It exercises such disciplinary functions through the IBP, but it does not relinquish its duty to form its own judgment. Disbarment proceedings are exercised under the sole jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and the IBP’s recommendations imposing the penalty of suspension from the practice of law or disbarment are always subject to this Court’s review and approval.SPOUSES DAVID AND MARISA WILLIAMS v. ATTY. RUDY T. ENRIQUEZ, A.C. No. 7329, November 27, 2013

The appellant argues that the police officers who apprehended her failed to strictly comply with the procedural requirements of Section 21(1), Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, specifically, the failure to take photographs and to make an inventory of the seized evidence, and the lack of participation of the representatives from the media, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official in the operation.

Despite the seemingly mandatory language used in the procedural rule at issue, a perusal of Section 21, Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9165 reveals the existence of a clause which may render non-compliance with said procedural rule non-prejudicial to the prosecution of drug offenses. Notwithstanding the procedural error, the integrity and the evidentiary value of the illegal drugs used in this case were duly preserved and the chain of custody of said evidence was shown to be

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unbroken.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARISSA CASTILLO Y ALIGNAY. G.R. No. 190180, November 27, 2013

Accused denied the charges against him and pointed out that during the times and dates the alleged criminal acts took place, he was working at the construction site with his nephew. Roderick Palconet, nephew of the accused, was presented in court in order to corroborate his alibi.

It is established by jurisprudence that in order for a corroboration of an alibi to be considered credible, it must necessarily come from disinterested witnesses. The testimony of appellant’s nephew, which is undoubtedly coming from a close relative, cannot, in any way, be described as disinterested and unbiased. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROBERTO VELASCO. G.R. NO. 190318, November 27, 2013

William Francisco filed a complaint for specific performance with RTC of Imus, Cavite to compel the petitioners to execute a Deed of Absolute Sale over the a lot situated in Makati covered by TCT No. 220530 Fernando’s name. Petitioner Fernando claimed that RTC Imus lacked jurisdiction over the case as it involved an adjudication of ownership of a property situated in Makati City.

Although the end result of the respondent’s claim was the transfer of the subject property to his name, the suit was still essentially for specific performance, a personal action, because it sought Fernando’s execution of a deed of absolute sale based on a contract which he had previously made. Section 2, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court then governs the venue for the respondent’s action. It provides that personal actions "may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff." Considering the respondent’s statement in his complaint that he resides in Imus, Cavite, the filing of his case with the RTC of Imus was proper.SPOUSES TEODORO and ROSATIO SARAZA and FERNANDO SARAZA v. WILLIAM FRANCISCO. G.R. No. 198718, November 27, 2013

Lilia Tulop filed an ejectment case against the Generoso Enesio with the MTC. MTC proceeded with the pre-trial conference and required the parties to submit position papers. Generoso posited that the MTC should have conducted a preliminary hearing and received evidence to determine the existence of a tenancy relationship between the parties.

As expressly provided in the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure, ejectment cases merely require the submission by the parties of affidavits and position papers. The rule directs courts to conduct hearings only when necessary to clarify factual matters. "This procedure is in keeping with the objective of the Rule of promoting the expeditious and inexpensive determination of cases." GENEROSO ENESIO v. LILIA TULOP. G.R. No. 183923, November 27, 2013

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The petitioner mortgaged the subject property to respondent bank. Upon maturity of the loan, petitioner failed to pay the loan despite demand. The property was foreclosed and sold in a public auction where respondent bank was the highest bidder. Spouses Sia filed suit questioning the validity of the extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage. Petitioner, however, failed to redeem the property within the one-year redemption period. Respondent bank consolidated its ownership over the property and a new title was issued in its favor. Hence, it became the ministerial duty of the court to issue the writ of possession applied for by respondent bank. Despite the pending suit for annulment of the mortgage and Notice of Sheriff’s Sale, respondent bank is entitled to a writ of possession, without prejudice to the eventual outcome of the said case. SPOUSES PIO DATO AND SONIA Y. SIA v. BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS G.R. No. 181873, November 27, 2013

The buy-bust team failed to make an inventory and to take photographs of the subject drug. The noncompliance with Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 which identifies the said requirements does not necessarily render the arrest illegal or the items seized inadmissible. What is essential is that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items which would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused are preserved. In this case, the defense failed to substantiate its claim that such integrity and evidentiary value of the subject drug was adversely affected by the police officers’ handling thereof. As the Court explained in People v. Mendoza:

This Court has, in many cases, held that while the chain of custody should ideally be perfect, in reality it is not, "as it is almost always impossible to obtain an unbroken chain." The most important factor is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items as they will be used to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. Hence, the prosecution’s failure to submit in evidence the physical inventory and photograph of the seized drugs as required under Article 21 of Republic Act No. 9165, will not render [the accused]’s arrest illegal or the items seized from her inadmissible. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FAISAL LOKS Y PELONYO, G.R. NO. 203433, NOVEMBER 27, 2013

The 23 respondents filed a petition for certiorari to the Court of Appeals but only nine of the respondents had signed the verification and certification against forum shopping attached to the petition.

The general rule that the certification against forum shopping must be signed by all the plaintiffs or petitioners in a case; otherwise, those who did not sign will be dropped as parties to the case. However, that under reasonable or justifiable circumstances, as when all the plaintiffs or petitioners share a common interest and invoke a common cause of action or defense, as in this case, the signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping substantially complies with the certification requirement. The verification signed by nine of the respondents substantially complied with the verification requirement since respondents share a common interest and cause of action in the case. The 23 respondents in G.R. No. 171282 were employed by petitioner SKM Art Craft Corporation which is engaged in the handicraft business. SKM ART CRAFT CORPORATION v. EFREN BAUCA ET AL. G.R. NO. 171282, November 27, 2013Sometime in 1995, petitioner took over Lot No. 32. . A written demand letter was sent sometime in April 2002 .On January 14 2003, respondent filed a Complaint for Unlawful Detainer before the MeTC.

The one-year prescriptive period for filing a case for unlawful detainer is tacked from the date of the last demand, the reason being that the other party has the right to waive the right of action based on previous demands and to let the possessor remain on the premises for the meantime. When respondent sent petitioner a demand letter in April 2002 and subsequently filed the Complaint in January 2003, it did so

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still within the one-year prescriptive period imposed by the rules. MORETO MIRALLOSA v. CARMEL DEVELOPMENT INC. G.R. No. 194538, November 27, 2013

Appellant claimed that he was at work at the time of the AAA was raped. This was corroborated by another defense witness Allan Talinghale. For the defense of alibi to prosper, the appellant must prove that he was somewhere else when the offense was committed and that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have been physically present at the place of the crime or at its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.

In the case at bar, we find that appellant’s alibi did not sufficiently establish that he was working at a construction site when AAA was raped and that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime when it was committed. Likewise, the corroborating testimony of defense witness Talinghale does not discount the possibility that appellant may have left the construction site to commit the dastardly act he was charged with and came back afterwards.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WELMO LINSIE Y BINEVIDEZ. G.R. No. 199494, November 27, 2013.

The RTC rendered a decision finding the appellant guilty of the rape. RTC took appellant’s silence and passiveness when he was confronted by "AAA" with the rape charge at the police station as an implied admission of guilt.

Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. Clearly, when appellant remained silent when confronted by the accusation of "AAA" at the police station, he was exercising his basic and fundamental right to remain silent. At that stage, his silence should not be taken against him. Thus, it was error on the part of the trial court to state that appellant’s silence should be deemed as implied admission of guilt. In fact, this right cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel and any admission obtained in violation of this rule shall be inadmissible in evidence. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JONAS GUILLEN Y ATIENZA. G.R. No. 191756, November 25, 2013

Pursuant to a court’s order respondent issued Warrants of Levy against several delinquent properties of the petitioner. These properties were advertised and sold at public auction. Digital Telecommunications made a request to the respondent to lift the warrant invoking the final Decision in Civil Case No. 3514 decreeing petitioner’s exemption from the payment of real property tax is binding upon respondent. Since the warrants remained unlifted, petitioner filed with the RTC a Petition for Indirect Contempt.

Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the court by acting in opposition to its authority, justice, and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the court’s order, but such conduct which tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or, in some manner, to impede the due administration of justice. It is a defiance of the authority, justice, or dignity of the court which tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice party-litigants or their witnesses during litigation. The acts of respondent in issuing the Warrants of Levy and in effecting the public auction sale of petitioner’s real properties, were neither

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intended to undermine the authority of the court nor resulted to disobedience to the lawful orders of Branch IX. He merely performed a ministerial function which he is bound to perform under Sections 176 and 177 of RA 7160. DIGITAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS PHILIPPINES, INC. v. JESSIE E. CANTOS. G.R. No. 180200, November 25, 2013

Natalio Hilarion was charged with statutory rape for raping AAA, a six (6) years old girl. AAA and her mother testified that AAA was six (6) years old at the time she was rape but no documentary evidence was presented to prove the same.

In the present case, the records are completely devoid of evidence that the certificates recognized by law have been lost or destroyed or were otherwise unavailable. The mother simply testified without prior proof of the unavailability of the recognized primary evidence. Thus, proof of the victim’s age cannot be recognized, following the rule that all doubts should be interpreted in favor of the accused. We stress that age is an essential element of statutory rape; hence the victim's age must be proved with equal certainty and clarity as the crime itself. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NATALIO HILARION Y LALIA. G.R. No. 201105, November 25, 2013

Roberto Garcia was charged with rape for raping AAA, a three (3) year old girl.

In People v. Arpon, the Court established the guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance, as follows:

1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party. 2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age. 3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim's mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances: a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years old; b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 12 years old; c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 years old. 4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victim's mother or relatives concerning the victim's age, the complainant's testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.

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5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him. In this case, there is nothing on record to prove the qualifying circumstance that "the victim is a child below 7 years old." The testimony of AAA anent her age and the absence of denial on the part of Garcia are not sufficient evidence of her age. On the other hand, the information regarding the age of AAA as indicated in Medico Legal Report No. M-4356-04 is not reliable because there was no showing who supplied the same. Lamentably, her age was not one of the subjects of stipulation during the pre-trial conference. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROBERTO GARCIA Y PADIERNOS. G.R. No. 206095, November 25, 2013 a. While it is true that a notarized document, like an SPA, carries the evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution, and has in its favor the presumption of regularity, this presumption, however, is not absolute. It may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. In brushing aside the expert witness’ testimony, it was observed that in order to bring about an accurate comparison and analysis, the standard of comparison must be as close as possible in point of time to the suspected signature. However, when the dissimilarity between the genuine and false specimens of writing is visible to the naked eye and would not ordinarily escape notice or detection from an unpracticed observer, resort to technical rules is no longer necessary and the instrument may be stricken off for being spurious. When so established and is conspicuously evident from its appearance, the opinion of handwriting experts on the forged document is no longer necessary. b. Ownership and real rights over real property are acquired by ordinary prescription through possession of ten years, provided that the occupant is in good faith and with just title. A prescriptive title to real estate is not acquired by mere possession thereof under claim of ownership for a period of ten years unless such possession was acquired with color of title and good faith. However, it must be stressed that possession by virtue of a spurious title, as the Spouses Go believed it to be, cannot be considered constructive possession for the purpose of reckoning the ten-year prescriptive period. The conclusion of the appellate court that prescription has already set in is erroneously premised on the absence of forgery and the consequent validity of the deed of sale. HEIRS OF THE LATE FELIX M. BUCTON v. SPOUSES GONZALO and TRINIDAD GO, G.R. No. 188395, November 20, 2013 In this relation, jurisprudence dictates that an answer fails to tender an issue if it does not comply with the requirements of a specific denial as set out in Sections 8 and 10, Rule 8 of the Rules, resulting in the admission of the material allegations of the adverse party’s pleadings.

As such, it is a form of judgment that is exclusively based on the submitted pleadings without the introduction of evidence as the factual issues remain uncontroverted. In this case, records disclose that in its Answer, GSIS admitted the material allegations of PGAI’s complaint warranting the grant of the relief prayed for. In particular, GSIS admitted that: (a) it made a request for reinsurance cover which PGAI accepted in a reinsurance binder effective for one year; (b) it remitted only the first three reinsurance premium payments to PGAI; (c) it failed to pay PGAI the fourth and final reinsurance premium installment; and (d) it received demand letters from PGAI. It also did not refute the allegation of PGAI that it settled reinsurance claims during the reinsured period. On the basis of these admissions, the Court finds that the CA did not err in affirming the propriety of a judgment on the pleadings. GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM v. PRUDENTIAL GUARANTEE AND ASSURANCE, INC., DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES and LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 165585, November 20, 2013

In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation, the Supreme Court has adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal

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action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the courts of first instance would depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable by Regional Trial Courts.

Although the causes of action of respondents pertains to the title, possession and interest of each of the contending parties over the contested property, the assessed value of which falls within the jurisdiction of the MTC, the complaint, however suggests that the nature of the suit, the allegations therein, and the reliefs prayed for, is within the jurisdiction of the RTC. GENESIS INVESTMENT, INC. v. HEIRS of CEFERINO EBARASABAL. G.R. No. 181622, November 20, 2013

Under Rule 41 of the Rules, an appeal from the RTC’s decision may be undertaken in three (3) ways, depending on the nature of the attendant circumstances of the case, namely: (1) an ordinary appeal to the CA in cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its original jurisdiction; (2) a petition for review to the CA in cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction; and (3) a petition for review on certiorari directly filed with the Court where only questions of law are raised or involved.

The first mode of appeal under Rule 41 of the Rules is available on questions of fact or mixed questions of fact and of law. The second mode of appeal, governed by Rule 42 of the Rules, is brought to the CA on questions of fact, of law, or mixed questions of fact and of law. The third mode of appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is filed with the Court only on questions of law. It is only where pure questions of law are raised or involved can an appeal be brought to the Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. The rule in this jurisdiction is that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. "The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in cases brought to it from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing and revising the errors of law imputed to it, its findings of fact being conclusive." However, when the petitioner questioned the RTC’s ruling, it was, in fact, raising the issues of falsity and of forgery of the signatures in the bail bond, which questions are purely of fact and must be resolved before the CA and not proper under Rule 45 certiorari petition. FAR EASTERN SURETY AND INSURANCE CO. INC. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 170618, November 20, 2013

The rule on conclusiveness of factual findings is not an absolute one. Despite the respect given to administrative findings of fact, the CA may resolve factual issues, review and re-evaluate the evidence on record and reverse the administrative agency’s findings if not supported by substantial evidence. Since, the CA found no substantial evidence to support the conclusion that the respondents are guilty of the administrative charges against them, the Ombudsman’s findings can be reversed, as mere allegation and speculation is not evidence, and is not equivalent to proof.

The theory of the hearsay rule is that when a human utterance is offered as evidence of the truth of the fact asserted, the credit of the assertor becomes the basis of inference, and, therefore, the assertion can be received as evidence only when made on the witness stand, subject to the test of cross-examination. However, if an extrajudicial utterance is offered, not as an assertion to prove the matter asserted but without reference to the truth of the matter asserted, the hearsay rule does not apply.

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The records show that not one of the complainants actually witnessed the transfer of money from Alingasa to Erederos and Mendoza. Nowhere in their affidavits did they specifically allege that they saw Alingasa remit the collections to Erederos. However, their testimonies are still "evidence not of what the witness knows himself but of what he has heard from others." PRIMO C. MIRO, in his capacity as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas v. MARILYN MENDOZA VDA. DE EREDEROS. G.R. Nos. 172532 172544-45, November 20, 2013

a. When the application is set by the court for initial hearing, it is then that notice (of the hearing), addressed to all persons appearing to have an interest in the lot being registered and the adjoining owners, and indicating the location, boundaries and technical description of the land being registered, shall be published in the Official Gazette for two consecutive times. It is this publication of the notice of hearing that is considered one of the essential bases of the jurisdiction of the court in land registration cases, for the proceedings being in rem, it is only when there is constructive seizure of the land, effected by the publication and notice, that jurisdiction over the res is vested on the court. Here, the Chabons did not make any mention of the ownership or occupancy by the Philippine Army and did not indicate any efforts or searches they had exerted in determining other occupants of the land. Such omission constituted extrinsic fraud.

b. Granting that the persons representing the government was negligent, the doctrine of estoppel cannot be taken against the Republic. It is a well-settled rule that the Republic or its government is not estopped by mistake or error on the part of its officials or agents. In any case, even granting that the said official was negligent, the doctrine of estoppel cannot operate against the State. As in the case, the subject lands, being part of a military reservation, are inalienable and cannot be the subjects of land registration proceedings. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANTONIO BACAS. G.R. No. 182913, November 20, 2013

The primordial policy is a faithful observance of procedural rules, and their relaxation or suspension should only be for persuasive reasons and only in meritorious cases, to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure prescribed. This is especially true with quasi-judicial and administrative bodies, such as the IPO, which are not bound by technical rules of procedure. While petitioner submitted mere photocopies as documentary evidence, it should be noted that the IPO had already obtained the originals in the related Cancellation Case earlier filed before it; hence, the IPO Director General’s relaxation of procedure was a valid exercise of his discretion in the interest of substantial justice. BIRKENSTOCK ORTHOPAEDIE GMBH AND CO. KG v. PHILIPPINE SHOE EXPO MARKETING CORPORATION. G.R. No. 194307, November 20, 2013

Decisions of administrative or quasi-administrative agencies which are declared by law final and unappealable are subject to judicial review if they fail the test of arbitrariness, or upon proof of gross abuse of discretion, fraud or error of law. When such administrative or quasi-judicial bodies grossly misappreciate evidence of such nature as to compel a contrary conclusion, the Court will not hesitate to reverse the factual findings. Thus, the decision of the Ombudsman may be reviewed, modified or reversed via petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, on a finding that it had no jurisdiction over the complaint, or of grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction. Since, the Office of the Ombudsman’s Decision exonerating respondents from the administrative charges had resolved all issues raised by petitioner, it is in a proper exercise of discretion when it found the

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evidence adduced by petitioner as wanting to support the administrative charges brought against respondents.

Further, considering that a special civil action for Certiorari is within the concurrent original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, such petition should be initially filed with the Court of Appeals in observance of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. WILLIAM C. DAGAN v. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN. G.R. No. 184083, November 19, 2013

But while it is true that the prosecution has the quasi-judicial discretion to determine whether or not a criminal case should be filed in court, once the case is filed, any disposition the prosecutor may afterwards deem proper should be addressed to the court for its consideration and approval. It is the court’s bounden duty to assess independently the merits of the same. The rule is that the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not by the caption of the information or the citation of the law allegedly violated but by the actual recital of facts in that information. Here the issue is whether the facts alleged in the informations in the subject criminal cases make out a case for the crime of technical malversation. However, the informations show that there is no allegation in the informations that the P2 million and P6 million grants to COCOFED had been earmarked for some specific expenditures. ROLANDO P. DE LA CUESTA v. THE SANDIGANBAYAN. G.R. Nos. 164068-69, November 19, 2013

Act No. 3135 has no requirement for the determination of the mortgaged properties’ appraisal value. Nothing in the law likewise indicates that the mortgagee-creditor’s appraisal value shall be the basis for the bid price. Neither is there any rule nor any guideline prescribing the minimum amount of bid, nor that the bid should be at least equal to the properties’ current appraised value. Under the circumstances, no necessity of determining the mortgaged properties’ current appraised value or any showing of the existence of any prejudicial question warrants the suspension of the foreclosure proceedings. It must be noted that a prejudicial question is a prior issue whose resolution rests with another tribunal, but at the same time is necessary in the resolution of another issue in the same case. SYCAMORE VENTURES CORPORATION v. METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY. G.R. No. 173183, November 18, 2013

A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts; or when the issue does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of the facts being admitted. Nevertheless, as an exception, when the lower courts grossly misunderstood the facts and circumstances that, when correctly appreciated, would warrant a different conclusion, a review of the lower courts' findings may be made. Nonetheless, an examination of the issues shows that the claimed errors primarily question the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the lower courts' conclusion that is proper for a question of fact. ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA v. CRESENCIASTA.TERESA RAMOS. G.R. No. 179181, November 18, 2013

In criminal cases, the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial judge whose conclusion thereon deserves much weight and respect because the judge had the direct opportunity to observe them on the stand and ascertain if they were telling the truth or not. This deference to the trial court’s appreciation of the facts and of the credibility of witnesses is consistent with the principle that when the testimony of a witness meets the test of credibility, that alone is sufficient to convict the accused. Since the eyewitness positively identified the accused as the perpetrator of the crime, no

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further defense could negate the lower court’s appreciation and finding of guilt. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BASILIO VILLARMEA Y ECHAVEZ. G.R. No. 200029, November 13, 2013 It is a settled rule that the Court examines only questions of law on appeal and not questions of facts. However, jurisprudence has recognized several exceptions in which factual issues may be resolved by the Court, such as when the factual findings of the courts a quo are conflicting. As there has been conflicting finding between RTC and CA, a review of facts necessitates question of fact.

Settled is the rule that a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge, which means those facts which are derived from his own perception. A witness may not testify as to what he merely learned from others either because he was told or read or heard the same. Such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has learned. When CIGI’s installation manager, testified a request in writing was made but no evidence was submitted, the testimony is a self-serving allegation, which is not equivalent to proof. However, it may be considered as an independently relevant statement and may be admitted to show that utterances were made. CONSOLIDATED INDUSTRIAL GASES, INC. v. ALABANG MEDICAL CENTER. G.R. No. 181983, November 13, 2013

Although Section 2 of Rule 47 provides that a petition for annulment may be based only on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction, jurisprudence has recognized denial of due process as an additional ground. An action to annul a final judgment is an extraordinary remedy, which is not to be granted indiscriminately. It is a recourse equitable in character, allowed only in exceptional cases as where there is no adequate or appropriate remedy available (such as new trial, appeal, petition for relief) through no fault of petitioner. The reason for the restriction is to prevent this extraordinary action from being used by a losing party to make a complete farce of a duly promulgated decision that has long become final and executory. A review of the evidence presented reveals that respondent failed to show any artifice or extrinsic fraud being committed against the Spouses Paray, hence CA’s decision of setting aside the compromise agreement is grounded on surmises or conjectures. Further, the approved compromise agreement serves as the final judgment that settles the controversy. VIRGINIA Y. GOCHAN v. CHARLES MANCAO. G.R. No. 182314, November 13, 2013

The Court looks with disfavor upon retractions of testimonies previously given in court. It is settled that an affidavit of desistance made by a witness after conviction of the accused is not reliable, and deserves only scant attention. The rationale for the rule is obvious: affidavits of retraction can easily be secured from witnesses, usually through intimidation or for a monetary consideration. Only when there exist special circumstances in the case which when coupled with the retraction raise doubts as to the truth of the testimony or statement given, can retractions be considered and upheld.

The unreliable character of the affidavit of recantation executed by a complaining witness is also shown by the incredulity of the fact that after going through the burdensome process of reporting to and/or having the accused arrested by the law enforcers, executing a criminal complaint-affidavit against the accused, attending trial and testifying against the accused, the said complaining witness would later on declare that all the foregoing is actually a farce and the truth is now what he says it to be in his affidavit of recantation. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. P/SUPT. ARTEMIO E. LAMSEN. G.R. No. 198338, November 13, 2013

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The issue of whether or not there was indeed a buy-bust operation primarily boils down to one of credibility. In a prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Law, a case becomes a contest of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies. When it comes to credibility, the trial court’s assessment deserves great weight, and is even conclusive and binding, if not tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence. The inconsistencies in the prosecution witnesses’ testimony does not negate positive finding of guilt specially, as in this case, where the inconsistencies pertains to minor details. Settled is the rule that discrepancies on minor matters do not impair the essential integrity of the prosecution’s evidence as a whole or reflect on the witnesses’ honesty. These inconsistencies, which may be caused by the natural fickleness of memory, even tend to strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of the prosecution witnesses because they erase any suspicion of rehearsed testimony. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARILYN SANTOS and ARLENE VALERA. G.R. No. 193190, November 13, 2013

The rule that the Court will not disturb the CA' s findings of fact is not an absolute rule that admits of no exceptions. A notable exception is the presence of conflict of findings of fact between or among the tribunals' rulings on questions of fact.

This Court cannot be any clearer in laying down the rule on the quantum of evidence to support an administrative ruling: In administrative cases, substantial evidence is required to support any findings. Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. The requirement is satisfied where there is reasonable ground to believe that the petitioner is guilty of the act or omission complained of, even if the evidence might not be overwhelming. An examination of the records shows that the Ombudsman's appreciation of the evidence is in accord with reason and common experience so that it successfully proved, Dechavez's dishonesty. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. MARCELINO A. DECHAVEZ. G.R. No. 176702, November 13, 2013

As a rule, a final judgment may no longer be altered, amended or modified, even if the alteration, amendment or modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law and regardless of what court, be it the highest Court of the land, rendered it. An exception to this rule is the existence of supervening events which refer to facts transpiring after judgment has become final and executory or to new circumstances that developed after the judgment acquired finality, including matters that the parties were not aware of prior to or during the trial as they were not yet in existence at that time. The presence of strained relations between petitioner and respondent, consisted the supervening event that justified the NLRC in modifying its final resolution.

Rule 45 limits us to the review of questions of law raised against the assailed CA decision. In ruling for legal correctness, we have to view the CA decision in the same context that the petition for certiorari it ruled upon was presented to it; we have to examine the CA decision from the prism of whether it correctly determined the presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC decision before it, not on the basis of whether the NLRC decision on the merits of the case was correct. BANI RURAL BANK INC. v. TERESA DE GUZMAN. G.R. No.170904, November 13, 2013

The sweetheart theory as a defense, however, necessarily admits carnal knowledge, the first element of rape. Effectively, it leaves the prosecution the burden to prove only force or intimidation, the coupling element of rape. When the accused raised the affirmative defense that sexual relations exist between him and the victim, it necessarily entails that evidence must be adduced to support the claim.

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Pursuant to number 4 of the guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance, however, in the absence of the foregoing documents (certificate of live birth or authentic document), the complainant’s testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused. In the case at bar, AAA testified that she was 13 years old on July 20, 1999 and that her birthday was in February. Further, when accused-appellant, insisted that the incident occurred on October 20, 1999, he admitted that AAA was still 13 years old when the rape was committed. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DANIEL ALCOBER. G.R. No. 192941, November 13, 2013

The rule is that inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses, when referring only to minor details and collateral matters, do not affect either the substance of their declaration, their veracity, or the weight of their testimony. Such minor inconsistencies even enhance their veracity as the variances erase any suspicion of a rehearsed testimony. Though inconsistent, the testimony of the prosecution witness was straightforward, hence minor inconsistencies that attended their testimony did not negate finding of guilt.

The defense of alibi, frame-up is an allegation that can easily be concocted. For this claim to prosper, the defense must adduce clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption of regularity of official acts of government officials. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. KENNETH MONCEDA. G.R. No. 176269, November 13, 2013

The nature of an action, as well as which court or body has jurisdiction over it, is determined based on the allegations contained in the complaint of the plaintiff, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the ones to be consulted. Once vested by the allegations in the complaint, jurisdiction also remains vested irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein.

Though denominated as an action for damages, an examination of the allegations made by respondent in his complaint shows that the case principally dwells on the propriety of the assessment made by petitioner against respondent as well as the validity of petitioner’s act in preventing respondent from participating in the election of the corporation’s Board of Directors. Being corporate in nature, the issues should be threshed out before the RTC sitting as a special commercial court. The issues on damages can still be resolved in the same special commercial court just like a regular RTC which is still competent to tackle civil law issues incidental to intra-corporate disputes filed before it. MEDICAL PLAZA MAKATI CONDOMINIUM CORPORATION v. ROBERT H. CULLEN. G.R. No. 181416, November 11, 2013

Certiorari is a remedy designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction, not errors of judgment. Further, when a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error committed while so engaged does not deprive it of the jurisdiction being exercised when the error is committed. Consequently, an error of judgment that the court may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction is not correctable through the original civil action of certiorari. What petitioner seeks to rectify pertain to the appellate court’s failure to uphold the findings of facts of the lower court. As such, the petition is simply a continuation of the appellate process proper for a petition under Rule 45.

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In any case, even if the Petition is one for the special civil action of certiorari, this Court has the discretion to treat a Rule 65 Petition for Certiorari as a Rule 45 Petition for Review on Certiorari. This is allowed if (1) the Petition is filed within the reglementary period for filing a Petition for review; (2) when errors of judgment are averred; and (3) when there is sufficient reason to justify the relaxation of the rules. ALEJANDRO V. TANKEH v. DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 171428, November 11, 2013

A core requisite before a warrant shall validly issue is the existence of a probable cause, meaning the existence of such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place to be searched. And when the law speaks of facts, the reference is to facts, data or information personally known to the applicant and the witnesses he may present. Absent the element of personal knowledge by the applicant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified, the warrant is deemed not based on probable cause and is a nullity, its issuance being, in legal contemplation, arbitrary. The application and the issuance of the search warrant is was coupled with the required probable cause as shown by the complainant’s trademark certificate. CENTURY CHINESE MEDICINE CO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and LING NA LAU. G.R. No. 188526, November 11, 2013

As can be gleaned, with respect to criminal actions for violation of BP 22, it is explicitly clear that the corresponding civil action is deemed included and that a reservation to file such separately is not allowed. The rule is that every act or omission punishable by law has its accompanying civil liability. If the accused, however, is not found to be criminally liable, it does not necessarily mean that he will not likewise be held civilly liable because extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the extinction of the civil action. This rule more specifically applies when (a) the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required; (b) the court declares that the liability of the accused is only civil; and (c) the civil liability of the accused does not arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused was acquitted.

A person acquitted of a criminal charge, however, is not necessarily civilly free because the quantum of proof required in criminal prosecution (proof beyond reasonable doubt) is greater than that required for civil liability (mere preponderance of evidence). In order to be completely free from civil liability, a person’s acquittal must be based on the fact he did not commit the offense. If the acquittal is based merely on reasonable doubt, the accused may still be held civilly liable since this does not mean he did not commit the act complained of. Though the accused has been acquitted from the criminal charge, the acquittal was just based on reasonable doubt and it did not change the fact that she issued the subject check which was subsequently dishonored upon its presentment. NISSAN GALLERY-ORTIGAS v. PURIFICACION F. FELIPE. G.R. No. 199067, November 11, 2013

Jurisprudence provides that an actual case or controversy is one which "involves a conflict of legal rights, an assertion of opposite legal claims, susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute. In other words, "there must be a contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence." Related to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of "ripeness," meaning that the questions raised for constitutional scrutiny are already ripe for adjudication.

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The intrinsic constitutionality of the "Pork Barrel System" is not an issue dependent upon the wisdom of the political branches of government but rather a legal one which the Constitution itself has commanded the Court to act upon. Scrutinizing the contours of the system along constitutional lines is a task that the political branches of government are incapable of rendering precisely because it is an exercise of judicial power.

The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. Unless a person is injuriously affected in any of his constitutional rights by the operation of statute or ordinance, he has no standing.

The focal point of res judicata is the judgment. The principle states that a judgment on the merits in a previous case rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction would bind a subsequent case if, between the first and second actions, there exists an identity of parties, of subject matter, and of causes of action. On the other hand, the focal point of stare decisis is the doctrine created. The principle, entrenched under Article 8 of the Civil Code, evokes the general rule that, for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be doctrinally applied to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent any powerful countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANDY ZULIETA a.k.a. "Bogarts," G.R. No. 192183, November 11, 2013. GRECO ANTONIOUS BEDA B. BELGICA v. HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY PAQUITO N. OCHOA JR. G.R. No. 208566, November 19, 2013

For a court to exercise its power of adjudication there must be an actual case or controversy. Thus, where the issue has become moot and academic, there is no justiciable controversy, and an adjudication thereof would be of no practical use or value as courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest however intellectually challenging. The acquittal of the accused from the criminal charge operated as a supervening event that mooted the petition and a resolution on validity of the order or suspension could no longer affect his rights as a ranking public officer. HADJI HASHIM ABDUL v. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN. G.R. NO. 184496, DECEMBER 2, 2013

Petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is a proper remedy for a denial of a motion to dismiss attended by grave abuse of discretion. While an order denying a motion to dismiss is interlocutory and nonappealable, certiorari and prohibition are proper remedies to address an order of denial made without or in excess of jurisdiction. The first paragraph of Section 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of Court provides for the period within which to file a motion to dismiss under the grounds enumerated. Specifically, the motion should be filed within the time for, but before the filing of, the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim. Equally important to this provision is Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court which states that defenses and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived, except for the following grounds: 1) the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter; 2) litis pendencia; 3) res judicata; and 4) prescription. Therefore, the grounds not falling under these four exceptions may be considered as waived in the event that they are not timely invoked. Where the respondent’s motion to dismiss was filed after the filing of an answer, the ground relied upon in the motion should have been raised as an affirmative defense, otherwise it is deemed waived. REBECCA PACAÑA-CONTRERAS and ROSALIE PACAÑA v. ROVILA WATER SUPPLY, INC. G.R. NO. 168979, DECEMBER 2, 2013

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Furthermore, well settled is the rule that the elements of laches must be proven positively. Laches is evidentiary in nature, a fact that cannot be established by mere allegations in the pleadings and cannot be resolved in a motion to dismiss. The affirmative defense of prescription does not automatically warrant the dismissal of a complaint under Rule 16 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. An allegation of prescription can effectively be used in a motion to dismiss only when the complaint on its face shows that indeed the action has already prescribed. If the issue of prescription is one involving evidentiary matters requiring a full-blown trial on the merits, it cannot be determined in a motion to dismiss. Those issues must be resolved at the trial of the case on the merits wherein both parties will be given ample opportunity to prove their respective claims and defenses. However, Contrary to petitioner’s contention, it is not apparent from the complaint that the action had already prescribed. Upon closer inspection of the complaint, it would seem that there are several possible scenarios that may have occurred given the limited set of facts. It is also apparent from the pleadings that both parties denied each other’s allegations. Hence, the outright dismissal of the action is not proper where there are factual matters in dispute, which require presentation and appreciation of evidence. MODESTO SANCHEZ v. ANDREW SANCHEZ. G.R. NO. 187661, DECEMBER 4, 2013

The thrust of the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies is that the courts must allow the administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of their respective competence. It is presumed that an administrative agency, if afforded an opportunity to pass upon a matter, will decide the same correctly, or correct any previous error committed in its forum. Furthermore, reasons of law, comity and convenience prevent the courts from entertaining cases proper for determination by administrative agencies. When DeGuzman’s filed his petition for certiorari and mandamus before the CA, there resulted a premature fling of the petition as the proper recourse is to seek relief before the CSC. Hence, premature resort to the courts necessarily becomes fatal to the cause of action of the petitioner.

Forum shopping consists of filing multiple suits involving the same parties for the same cause of action, either simultaneously or successively, for the purpose of obtaining a favorable judgment. There is forum shopping where there exist: (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as represent the same interests in both actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the identity of the two preceding particulars is such that any judgment rendered in the pending case, regardless of which party is successful would amount to res judicata. Since De Guzman pursued the remedies of petition for certiorari and appeal, that have long been held to be mutually exclusive, and not alternative or cumulative remedies, forum shopping was committed. It must be noted that the ultimate relief sought by De Guzman was the reversal of the resolution on his dismissal.

In order that res judicata may bar the institution of a subsequent action, the following requisites must concur: (a) the former judgment must be final; (b) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (c) it must be a judgment on the merits; and (d) there must be between the first and the second actions (i) identity of parties, (ii) identity of subject matter, and (iii) identity of cause of action. In this case, there was no judgment on the merits as the dismissal of the complaint against De Guzman was a result of a fact-finding investigation only for purposes of determining whether a prima facie case exists.PHILIPPINE POSTAL CORPORATION, v. COURT OF APPEALS AND CRISANTO G. DE GUZMAN. G.R. NO. 173590, DECEMBER 9, 2013

We have consistently held that an administrative or disciplinary complaint is not the proper remedy to assail the judicial acts of magistrates of the law, particularly those related to their adjudicative functions.

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Indeed, any errors should be corrected through appropriate judicial remedies, like appeal in due course or, in the proper cases, the extraordinary writs of certiorari and prohibition if the errors were jurisdictional. Having the administrative or disciplinary complaint be an alternative to available appropriate judicial remedies would be entirely un-procedural.

The issue of voluntary inhibition is primarily a matter of conscience and sound discretion on the part of the judge. This discretion is an acknowledgement of the fact that judges are in a better position to determine the issue of inhibition, as they are the ones who directly deal with the parties-litigants in their courtrooms. The decision on whether he should inhibit himself, however, must be based on his rational and logical assessment of the circumstances prevailing in the case brought before him. The rule does not give the judge the unfettered discretion to decide whether he should desist from hearing a case. The inhibition must be for just and valid causes. The mere imputation of bias, partiality and prejudgment will not suffice in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that the judge will undertake his noble role to dispense justice according to law and evidence and without fear or favor. The disqualification of a judge cannot be based on mere speculations and surmises or be predicated on the adverse nature of the judge’s rulings towards the movant for inhibition.RE: LETTERS OF LUCENA B. RALLOS, FOR ALLEGED ACTS/INCIDENTS/OCCURENCES RELATIVE TO THE RESOLUTION(S) ISSUED IN CA-G.R. SP No. 06676 BY COUIRT OF APPEALS EXECUTIVE JUSTICE PAMPIO ABARINTOS and ASSOCIATE JUSTICES RAMON PAUL HERNANDO and VICTORIA ISABEL PAREDES. IPI No. 12-203-CA-J, DECEMBER 10, 2013

The jurisdiction of the PARAD and the DARAB is only limited to cases involving agrarian disputes, including incidents arising from the implementation of agrarian laws. For the DARAB to have jurisdiction over a case, there must be a tenancy relationship between the parties. Since the dispute between the petitioner and respondent involved a non-agricultural property and no tenancy relation exists between them, the decisions made by DARAB were without force and effect. WELLER JOPSON v. FABIAN O. MENDEZ, JR. AND DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. NO. 191538 , DECEMBER 11, 2013.

When prosecuting the sale or possession of dangerous drugs like shabu, the State must prove not only the elements of each of the offenses. It must prove as well the corpus delicti, failing in which the State will be unable to discharge its basic duty of proving the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

To prove the corpus delicti, the prosecution must show that the dangerous drugs seized from the accused and subsequently examined in the laboratory are the same dangerous drugs presented in court as evidence to prove his guilt. To ensure that this is done right and that the integrity of the evidence of the dangerous drugs is safeguarded, Congress outlined in Sec. 21 of R.A. 9165 the mandatory procedure that law enforcers must observe following the seizure of such substance.

The Court has of course held that non-compliance with the procedural safeguards provided in Sec. 21 of R.A. 9165 and its IRR would not necessarily void the seizure and custody of the dangerous drugs for as long as there is a justifiable ground for it and the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved. As the buy-bust team did not show the that there was justifiable reason to deviate from the procedure, despite the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty, it must be stressed that the step-by-step procedure under R.A. 9165 is a matter of substantive law, which cannot be

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simply brushed aside as a simple procedural technicality. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FERDINAND BAUTISTA Y SINAON. G.R. NO. 198113, DECEMBER 11, 2013.

A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC dated February 19, 2008 which refer to the amendment of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. It deleted the Community Tax Certificate among the accepted proof of identity of the affiant because of its inherent unreliability. Nevertheless, the defective jurat in the Verification/Certification of Non-Forum Shopping is not a fatal defect because it is only a formal, not a jurisdictional, requirement that the Court may waive. Furthermore, we cannot simply ignore the millions of pesos at stake in this case. To do so might cause grave injustice to a party, a situation that this Court intends to avoid.

The rule is that failure to object to the offered evidence renders it admissible, and the court cannot, on its own, disregard such evidence. When a party desires the court to reject the evidence offered, it must so state in the form of a timely objection and it cannot raise the objection to the evidence for the first time on appeal. However, hearsay evidence whether objected to or not cannot be given credence for having no probative value. This principle, however, has been relaxed in cases where, in addition to the failure to object to the admissibility of the subject evidence, there were other pieces of evidence presented or there were other circumstances prevailing to support the fact in issue. However, since the testimony of Haw was based not on his personal knowledge as he was not present during the document’s preparation, his testimony was hearsay. Further, the documents does not fall under the exception to the hearsay rule, but for failure to timely object on the matter, the sales invoice formed part of the records of the case.

The issue of credibility of witnesses is to be resolved primarily by the trial court because it is in the better position to assess the credibility of witnesses as it heard the testimonies and observed the deportment and manner of testifying of the witnesses. Accordingly, its findings are entitled to great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that the trial court overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance which would have affected the result of the case. ADVANCE PAPER CORPORATION AND GEORGE HAW v. ARMA TRADERS CORPORATION. G.R. NO.176897, DECEMBER 11, 2013

Under the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies, before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the court, he or she should have availed himself or herself of all the means of administrative processes afforded him or her. Hence, if resort to a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be made by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his or her jurisdiction, then such remedy should be exhausted first before the court's judicial power can be sought.

However, the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is not absolute as it admits of the following exceptions: (1) when there is a violation of due process; (2) when the issue involved is purely a legal question; (3) when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; (4) when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency concerned; (5) when there is irreparable injury; (6) when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bears the implied and assumed approval of the latter; (7) when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be unreasonable; (8) when it would amount to a nullification of a claim; (9) when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings; (10) when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate remedy, and (11) when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention, and unreasonable delay would greatly prejudice the complainant; (12) where no

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administrative review is provided by law; (13) where the rule of qualified political agency applies and (14) where the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot.MARK JEROME S. MAGLALANG v. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION. G.R. NO. 190566, DECEMBER 11, 2013

If the redemption period expires without the mortgagor or his successor-in-interest redeeming the foreclosed property within one year from the registration of the sale with the Register of Deeds, the title over the property consolidates in the purchaser. The consolidation confirms the purchaser as the owner entitled to the possession of the property without any need for him to file the bond required under Section 7 of Act No. 3135. The issuance of a writ of possession to the purchaser becomes a matter of right upon the consolidation of title in his name, while the mortgagor, by failing to redeem, loses all interest in the property.

As with all equitable remedies, injunction must be issued only at the instance of a party who possesses sufficient interest in or title to the right or the property sought to be protected. It is proper only when the applicant appears to be entitled to the relief demanded in the complaint, which must aver the existence of the right and the violation of the right, or whose averments must in the minimum constitute a prima facie showing of a right to the final relief sought. Accordingly, the conditions for the issuance of the injunctive writ are: (a) that the right to be protected exists prima facie; (b) that the act sought to be enjoined is violative of that right; and (c) that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. An injunction will not issue to protect a right not in esse, or a right which is merely contingent and may never arise; or to restrain an act which does not give rise to a cause of action; or to prevent the perpetration of an act prohibited by statute. Indeed, a right, to be protected by injunction, means a right clearly founded on or granted by law or is enforceable as a matter of law. UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS BANK v. CHRISTOPHER LUMBO AND MILAGROS LUMBO. G.R. NO. 162757, DECEMBER 11, 2013

Consistently with the mandatory character of the pre-trial, the Rules oblige not only the lawyers but the parties as well to appear for this purpose before the Court, and when a party "fails to appear at a pre-trial conference be may be non-suited or considered as in default. The obligation in appear denotes not simply the personal appearance, or the mere physical presentation by a party of one’s self, but connotes as importantly, preparedness to go into the different subject assigned by law to a pre-trial.

Petitioner’s State Solicitors’ initial attendance during the pre-trial conference could not be equated to the personal appearance mandated by Section 4, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court. The duty to appear during the pre-trial conference is not by mere initial attendance, but taking an active role during the said proceedings.REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY (MERALCO), AND NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION (NPC), G.R. NO. 201715, DECEMBER 11, 2013

In the absence of any convincing justification, a petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 filed a month late from the lapse of the period to file the same will not warrant the relaxation of the Rules. Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is explicit in stating that certiorari should be instituted within a period of 60 days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be assailed. The 60-day period is inextendible to avoid any unreasonable delay that would violate the constitutional rights of parties to a speedy disposition of their case. While there are recognized exceptions to such strict observance, there should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious

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explanation for his/her failure to comply with the rules. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. THE HON. JUANITO CASTANEDA, JR., ET AL. G.R. NO. 208290; DECEMBER 11, 2013 Under Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas corpus is available, not only in cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, but also in cases involving the rightful custody over a minor. The general rule is that parents should have custody over their minor children. But the State has the right to intervene where the parents, rather than care for such children, treat them cruelly and abusively, impairing their growth and well-being and leaving them emotional scars that they carry throughout their lives unless they are liberated from such parents and properly counselled. IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF MINOR SHANG KO VINGSON YU SHIRLY VINGSON SHIRLY VINGSON DEMAISIP v. JOVY CABCABAN. UDK no. 14817, January 13, 2014 A warrant, such as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant, merely constitutes process. A search warrant is in the nature of a criminal process akin to a writ of discovery. It is a special and peculiar remedy, drastic in its nature, and made necessary because of a public necessity. Clearly then, an application for a search warrant is not a criminal action, hence, the conformity of the public prosecutor is not necessary before an aggrieved party moves for reconsideration of an order granting a motion to quash search warrants. When a finding of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant is made by a trial judge, the finding is accorded respect by reviewing courts. It is presumed that a judicial function has been regularly performed, absent a showing to the contrary. However, a trial judge’s finding of probable cause may be set aside and the search warrant issued by him based on his finding may be quashed if the person against whom the warrant is issued presents clear and convincing evidence that when the police officers and witnesses testified, they committed a deliberate falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth on matters that are essential or necessary to a showing of probable cause. On the other hand, innocent and negligent omissions or misrepresentation of witnesses will not cause the quashal of a search warrant. The things to be seized must be described with particularity. Technical precision of description is not required. It is only necessary that there be reasonable particularity and certainty as to the identity of the property to be searched for and seized, so that the warrant shall not be a mere roving commission. A search warrant fulfills the requirement of particularity in the description of the things to be seized when the things described are limited to those that bear a direct relation to the offense for which the warrant is being issued. WORLDWIDE WEB CORPORATION AND CHERRYLL L. YU v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY. G.R. NO. 161106, January 13, 2014

A judgment of acquittal may be assailed by the People in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court without placing the accused in double jeopardy. However, in such case, the People is burdened to establish that the court a quo, acted without jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction. No grave abuse of discretion may be attributed to a court simply because of its alleged misapplication of facts and evidence, and erroneous conclusions based on said evidence. Certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, and not errors or mistakes in the findings and conclusions of the trial court.

However, the rule against double jeopardy is not without exceptions, which are: (1) Where there has been deprivation of due process and where there is a finding of a mistrial, or (2) Where there has been a grave abuse of discretion under exceptional circumstances. In the case, there is no deprivation of due process or a mistrial committed against petitioner, and that no grave abuse of discretion could be attributed to the CA, hence the rule against double jeopardy operates making the judgment of acquittal final and no longer appealable. DENNIS T. VILLAREAL v. CONSUELO C. ALIGA. G.R. NO 166995, JANUARY 13, 2014

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While a motion for additional time is expressly permitted in the filing of a petition for review before the Court under Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, a similar motion seeking to extend the period for filing a motion for reconsideration is prohibited in all other courts. The 15-day period for filing a motion for new trial or reconsideration is non-extendible. Hence, the filing of a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration did not toll the 15-day period before a judgment becomes final and executory RIVELISA REALTY, INC. v. FIRST STA. CLARA BUILDERS CORPORATION. G.R. NO. 189618, JANUARY 15, 2014

Our law recognizes two kinds of acquittal, with different effects on the civil liability of the accused. First is an acquittal on the ground that the accused is not the author of the act or omission complained of. This instance closes the door to civil liability, for a person who has been found to be not the perpetrator of any act or omission cannot and can never be held liable for such act or omission. There being no delict, civil liability ex delicto is out of the question, and the civil action, if any, which may be instituted must be based on grounds other than the delict complained of. This is the situation contemplated in Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. The second instance is an acquittal based on reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused. In this case, even if the guilt of the accused has not been satisfactorily established, he is not exempt from civil liability which may be proved by preponderance of evidence only.

The acquittal of an accused does not prevent a judgment from still being rendered against him on the civil aspect of the criminal case unless the court finds and declares that the fact from which the civil liability might arise did not exist. DR. ENCARNACION C. LUMANTAS, M.D. v. HANZ CALAPIZ. G.R. NO. 163753, JANUARY 15, 2014

The general rule, nakedly and boldly put, is that legal conclusions announced on a first appeal, whether on the general law or the law as applied to the concrete facts, not only prescribe the duty and limit the power of the trial court to strict obedience and conformity thereto, but they become and remain the law of the case in all other steps below or above on subsequent appeal. Without the rule there would be no end to criticism, reagitation, reexamination, and reformulation. In short, there would be endless litigation.

The doctrine of law of the case simply means, therefore, that when an appellate court has once declared the law in a case, its declaration continues to be the law of that case even on a subsequent appeal, notwithstanding that the rule thus laid down may have been reversed in other cases. But the law of the case, as the name implies, concerns only legal questions or issues thereby adjudicated in the former appeal. DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GUARIÑA AGRICULTURAL AND REALTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. G.R. NO. 160758, January 15, 2014

The recognized rule in this jurisdiction is that the "assessment of the credibility of witnesses is a domain best left to the trial court judge because of his unique opportunity to observe their deportment and demeanor on the witness stand; a vantage point denied appellate courts-and when his findings have been affirmed by the Court of Appeals, these are generally binding and conclusive upon this Court." Besides, inaccuracies and inconsistencies in a rape victim’s testimony are generally expected. Rape is a painful experience which is oftentimes not remembered in detail. Since human memory is fickle and prone to the stresses of emotions, accuracy in a testimonial account has never been used as a standard in testing the credibility of a witness.

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Furthermore, settled is the rule that the testimony of a single witness may be sufficient to produce a conviction, if the same appears to be trustworthy and reliable. If credible and convincing, that alone would be sufficient to convict the accused. No law or rule requires the corroboration of the testimony of a single witness in a rape case.

A medical certificate is not necessary to prove the commission of rape, as even a medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape. Expert testimony is merely corroborative in character and not essential to conviction.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BERNABE PAREJA. G.R. NO. 202122, JANUARY 15, 2014.

A disbarment case is sui generis for it is neither purely civil nor purely criminal, but is rather an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers. Hence, an administrative proceeding for disbarment continues despite the desistance of a complainant, or failure of the complainant to prosecute the same, or in this case, the failure of respondent to answer the charges against him despite numerous notices. In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving, by substantial evidence, the allegations in the complaint.

The certified xerox copies of the marriage contracts, issued by a public officer in custody thereof, are admissible as the best evidence of their contents, as provided for under Section 7 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. The certified xerox copies should be accorded the full faith and credence given to public documents.ROSE BUNAGAN-BANSIG v. ATTY. ROGELIO JUAN A. CELERA. A.C. No. 5581, January 14, 2014

Under Section 34, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, it is clear that the court considers the evidence only when it is formally offered. The offer of evidence is necessary because it is the duty of the trial court to base its findings of fact and its judgment only and strictly on the evidence offered by the parties. A piece of document will remain a scrap of paper without probative value unless and until admitted by the court in evidence for the purpose or purposes for which it is offered. The formal offer of evidence allows the parties the chance to object to the presentation of an evidence which may not be admissible for the purpose it is being offered. However, there are instances when the Court relaxed the foregoing rule and allowed evidence not formally offered to be admitted, provided, the same must have been duly identified by testimony duly recorded and the same must have been incorporated in the records of the case. RODOLFO LABORTE and PHILIPPINE TOURISM AUTHORITY v. PAGSANJAN TOURISM CONSUMERS COOPERATIVE and LELIZA S. FABRICIO. G.R. NO. 183860, January 15, 2014

Clearly, the only thing the RTC was asked to do when the case was remanded to it by the CA was to determine the damages respondent is entitled to for the loss of the use and enjoyment of the property when the property was taken from it in 1974. Thus, when the case was remanded to the RTC for the purpose of computing the damages, the case was not considered a new case where an amendment of the complaint may still be allowed. Rather, it is merely a continuation of the trial of the original complaint filed in 1992 only for the purpose of receiving the evidence of the damages which respondent allegedly suffered as alleged in the original complaint, since no evidence proving damages was received and passed upon when the RTC issued its Order dated March 29, 1996. Therefore, the Section 2 and 3, Rule

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10, Rules of Civil Procedure on amendments of pleading find no applicability in this case. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. TETRO ENTERPRISES, INCORPORATED. G.R. NO. 183015, January 15, 2014

It is a basic principle of law that money judgments are enforceable only against the property incontrovertibly belonging to the judgment debtor, and if the property belonging to any third person is mistakenly levied upon to answer for another man’s indebtedness, such person has all the right to challenge the levy through any of the remedies provided for under the Rules of Court. Section 16, Rule 39 specifically provides that a third person may avail himself of the remedies of either terceria, to determine whether the sheriff has rightly or wrongly taken hold of the property not belonging to the judgment debtor or obligor, or an independent "separate action" to vindicate his claim of ownership and/or possession over the foreclosed property.

Indeed, the power of the court in executing judgments extends only to properties unquestionably belonging to the judgment debtor alone. An execution can be issued only against a party and not against one who did not have his day in court. The right of a third-party claimant to file a terceria is founded on his title or right of possession. Corollary thereto, before the court can exercise its supervisory power to direct the release of the property mistakenly levied and the restoration thereof to its rightful owner, the claimant must first unmistakably establish his ownership or right of possession thereon. However, the Spouses Garcia failed to prove that they have a bona fide title to the building as they were unable to present credible evidence to prove their ownership. All that the Spouses raised were their postulation as title holders of the land and the presumption of ownership over improvements built thereon; whereas Villasi, on the other hand, was able to show documentary proof of ownership. MAGDALENA T. VILLASI v. FILOMENO GARCIA G.R. NO. 190106, January 15, 2014

As a general rule, the Court’s jurisdiction in a Rule 45 petition is limited to the review of pure questions of law. The test in determining whether a question is one of law or of fact is "whether the appellate court can determine the issue raised without reviewing or evaluating the evidence, in which case, it is a question of law." Any question that invites calibration of the whole evidence, as well as their relation to each other and to the whole, is a question of fact and thus proscribed in a Rule 45 petition.

The taking of judicial notice is a matter of expediency and convenience for it fulfills the purpose that the evidence is intended to achieve, and in this sense, it is equivalent to proof. Generally, courts are not authorized to "take judicial notice of the contents of the records of other cases even when said cases have been tried or are pending in the same court or before the same judge." They may, however, take judicial notice of a decision or the facts prevailing in another case sitting in the same court if: (1) the parties present them in evidence, absent any opposition from the other party; or (2) the court, in its discretion, resolves to do so. In either case, the courts must observe the clear boundary provided by Section 3, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. YATCO AGRICULTURAL ENTERPRISES. G.R. NO.172551, JANUARY 15, 2014

For a question to be one of law, the same must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them. The resolution of the issue must rest solely on what the law provides on the given set of circumstances. Thus, the test of whether a question is one of law or of fact is not the appellation given to such question by the party raising the same; rather, it is whether the appellate court can determine the issue raised without reviewing or evaluating the evidence, in which case, it is a question of law; otherwise, it is a question of fact.

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Before entries made in the course of business may qualify under the exception to the hearsay rule and given weight, the party offering them must establish that: (1) the person who made those entries is dead, outside the country, or unable to testify; (2) the entries were made at, or near the time of the transaction to which they refer; (3) the entrant was in a position to know the facts stated therein; (4) the entries were made in the professional capacity or in the course of duty of the entrant; and, (5) the entries were made in the ordinary or regular course of business or duty. In the case, Land Bank neither identified the persons who made the entries in the passbooks nor established that they are already dead or unable to testify. While the deposit entries in the bank’s passbook enjoy a certain degree of presumption of regularity, they are mere prima facie proof of what are stated therein. LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EMMANUEL OÑATE. G.R. NO. 192371, JANUARY 15, 2014

Rule 16 treats of the grounds for a motion to dismiss the complaint. It must be distinguished from the grounds provided under Section 1, Rule 9 which specifically deals with dismissal of the claim by the court motu proprio. Section 1, Rule 9 provides for only four instances when the court may motu proprio dismiss the claim, namely: (a) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter; (b) litis pendentia ; (c) res judicata ; and (d) prescription of action.

It is so inferable from the opening sentence of Section 1 of Rule 9 stating that defense and objections not pleaded either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived. Failure to allege in the complaint that earnest efforts at a compromise has been made but had failed is not one of the exceptions. Upon such failure, the defense is deemed waived. HEIRS OF DR. MARIANO FAVIS SR v. JUANA GONZALES. G.R. NO. 185922, JANUARY 15, 2014

Any objection, defect or irregularity attending an arrest must be made before the accused enters his plea on arraignment. Having failed to move for the quashing of the information against them before their arraignment, appellants are now estopped from questioning the legality of their arrest. Any irregularity was cured upon their voluntary submission to the trial court’s jurisdiction.

This interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures, however, is not absolute and such warrantless searches and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in instances of (1) search of moving vehicles, (2) seizure in plain view, (3) customs searches, (4) waiver or consented searches, (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry search), and search incidental to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate if effected with a valid warrant of arrest, the Rules of Court recognize permissible warrantless arrest, to wit: (1) arrest in flagrante delicto, (2) arrest effected in hot pursuit, and (3) arrest of escaped prisoners.

Credence shall be given to the narration of the incident by prosecution witnesses especially so when they are police officers who are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there be evidence to the contrary. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DONALD VASQUEZ. G.R. NO. 200304, JANUARY 15, 2014

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A judgment in favor of the plaintiff in an ejectment suit is immediately executory, but the defendant, to stay its immediate execution, must: (1) perfect an appeal; (2) file a supersede s bond; and (3) periodically deposit the rentals becoming due during the pendency of the appeal. Since the Acbangs perfected an appeal but failed to file the required superseadeas bond, the immediate execution of the judgment in an ejectment suit cannot be stayed. The filing of the notice of appeal alone perfected the appeal but did not suffice to stay the immediate execution without the filing of the sufficient supersedeas bond and the deposit of the accruing rentals. HERMINIA ACBANG v. HON. JIMMY H.F. LUCZON. G.R. No. 164246, JANUARY 15, 2014

The propriety of the special civil action for certiorari as a remedy depended on whether the assailed orders of the RTC were final or interlocutory in nature. An interlocutory order deals with preliminary matters and the trial on the merits is yet to be held and the judgment rendered. The reason for disallowing an appeal from an interlocutory order is to avoid multiplicity of appeals in a single action, which necessarily suspends the hearing and decision on the merits of the action during the pendency of the appeals. Permitting multiple appeals will necessarily delay the trial on the merits of the case for a considerable length of time, and will compel the adverse party to incur unnecessary expenses, for one of the parties may interpose as many appeals as there are incidental questions raised by him and as there are interlocutory orders rendered or issued by the lower court. An interlocutory order may be the subject of an appeal, but only after a judgment has been rendered, with the ground for appealing the order being included in the appeal of the judgment itself. The remedy against an interlocutory order not subject of an appeal is an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65, provided that the interlocutory order is rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. Then is certiorari under Rule 65 allowed to be resorted to.

The objective of the Rules of Court in requiring the inventory and appraisal of the estate of the decedent is “to aid the court in revising the accounts and determining the liabilities of the executor or the administrator, and in making a final and equitable distribution (partition) of the estate and otherwise to facilitate the administration of the estate.” Hence, the RTC that presides over the administration of an estate is vested with wide discretion on the question of what properties should be included in the inventory. There is no dispute that the jurisdiction of the trial court as an intestate court is special and limited. The trial court cannot adjudicate title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate but are claimed to belong to third parties by title adverse to that of the decedent and the estate, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the decedent. All that the trial court can do regarding said properties is to determine whether or not they should be included in the inventory of properties to be administered by the administrator. THELMA M. ARANAS v. TERESITA V. MERCADO. G.R. NO. 156407, JANUARY 15, 2014

A petition for annulment of judgment is a remedy in equity so exceptional in nature that it may be availed of only when other remedies are wanting, and only if the judgment, final order or final resolution sought to be annulled was rendered by a court lacking jurisdiction or through extrinsic fraud. The objective of the remedy of annulment of judgment or final order is to undo or set aside the judgment or final order, and thereby grant to the petitioner an opportunity to prosecute his cause or to ventilate his defense. If the ground relied upon is lack of jurisdiction, the entire proceedings are set aside without prejudice to the original action being refiled in the proper court. If the judgment or final order or resolution is set aside on the ground of extrinsic fraud, the CA may on motion order the trial court to try the case as if a timely motion for new trial had been granted therein.

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Given the extraordinary nature and the objective of the remedy of annulment of judgment or final order, Pinausukan must be mindful of and should closely comply with the following statutory requirements for the remedy as set forth in Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.

The first requirement prescribes that the remedy is available only when the petitioner can no longer resort to the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies through no fault of the petitioner.

The second requirement limits the ground for the action of annulment of judgment to either extrinsic fraud or lack of jurisdiction.

The third requirement sets the time for the filing of the action. The action, if based on extrinsic fraud, must be filed within four years from the discovery of the extrinsic fraud; and if based on lack of jurisdiction, must be brought before it is barred by laches or estoppel.

The fourth requirement demands that the petition should be verified, and should allege with particularity the facts and the law relied upon for annulment, as well as those supporting the petitioner’s good and substantial cause of action or defense, as the case may be.PINAUSUKAN SEAFOOD HOUSE, ROXAS BOULEY ARD, INC. v. FAR EAST BANK & TRUST COMPANY. G.R. NO. 159926 , JANUARY 20, 2014

The doctrine of res judicata by conclusiveness of judgment postulates that "when a right or fact has been judicially tried and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, or when an opportunity for such trial has been given, the judgment of the court, as long as it remains unreversed, should be conclusive upon the parties and those in privity with them." In the case, the judgment rendered in G.R. No. 167998 was rendered by the CA under its jurisdiction and was a judgment on the merits. Further, the parties involved in the previous case and the case at bar were the same parties raising the same relief.

The proceeding in a petition for a writ of possession is ex parte and summary in nature. It is a judicial proceeding brought for the benefit of one party only and without notice by the court to any person adverse of interest. It is a proceeding wherein relief is granted without giving the person against whom the relief is sought an opportunity to be heard.

By its very nature, an ex parte petition for issuance of a writ of possession is a non-litigious proceeding. It is a judicial proceeding for the enforcement of one's right of possession as purchaser in a foreclosure sale. It is not an ordinary suit filed in court, by which one party sues another for the enforcement of a wrong or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. LZK HOLDINGS AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION v. PLANTERS DEVELOPMENT BANK. G.R. NO. 187973, January 20, 2014

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It is an established rule that the purchaser in an extra-judicial foreclosure sale is entitled to the possession of the property and can demand that he be placed in possession of the same either during (with bond) or after the expiration (without bond) of the redemption period therefor.

It is thus settled that the buyer in a foreclosure sale becomes the absolute owner of the property purchased if it is not redeemed during the period of one year after the registration of the sale. As such, he is entitled to the possession of the said property and can demand it at any time following the consolidation of ownership in his name and the issuance to him of a new transfer certificate of title. The buyer can in fact demand possession of the land even during the redemption period except that he has to post a bond in accordance with Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended.

The issuance of a writ of possession to a purchaser in a public auction is a ministerial act. After the consolidation of title in the buyer’s name for failure of the mortgagor to redeem the property, the writ of possession becomes a matter of right. Its issuance to a purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale is merely a ministerial function. The trial court has no discretion on this matter. Hence, any talk of discretion in connection with such issuance is misplaced.

The ministerial issuance of a writ of possession in favor of the purchaser in an extra-judicial foreclosure sale, however, admits of an exception. Section 33, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court pertinently provides that the possession of the mortgaged property may be awarded to a purchaser in an extra-judicial foreclosure unless a third party is actually holding the property by adverse title or right. The issuance of a writ of possession in favor of Sps. Marquez, who had already consolidated their title over the extra-judicially foreclosed property, is merely ministerial in nature. SPOUSES NICASIO C. MARQUEZ AND ANITA J. MARQUEZ v. SPOUSES ALINDOG. G.R. NO. 184045, January 22, 2014

Considering the final nature of a small claims case decision, the remedy of appeal is not allowed, and the prevailing party may, thus, immediately move for its execution. Nevertheless, the proscription on appeals in small claims cases, similar to other proceedings where appeal is not an available remedy, does not preclude the aggrieved party from filing a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Verily, a petition for certiorari, unlike an appeal, is an original action designed to correct only errors of jurisdiction and not of judgment. Owing to its nature, it is therefore incumbent upon petitioner to establish that jurisdictional errors tainted the MTCC Decision. The RTC, in turn, could either grant or dismiss the petition based on an evaluation of whether or not the MTCC gravely abused its discretion by capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily disregarding evidence that is material to the controversy. A.L. ANG NETWORK, INC. v. EMMA MONDEJAR. G.R. NO. 200804, JANUARY 22, 2014

Some administrative cases against Justices of the Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan; judges of regular and special courts; and the court officials who are lawyers are based on grounds which are likewise grounds for the disciplinary action of members of the Bar for violation of the Lawyer’s Oath, the Code of Professional Responsibility, and the Canons of Professional Ethics, or for such other forms of breaches of conduct that have been traditionally recognized as grounds for the discipline of lawyers.

In any of the foregoing instances, the administrative case shall also be considered a disciplinary action against the respondent justice, judge or court official concerned as a member of the Bar. Judgment in

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both respects may be incorporated in one decision or resolution. AIDA R. CAMPOS, ALISTAIR R. CAMPOS AND CHARMAINE R. CAMPOS v. ATTY. ELISEO M. CAMPOS. A.C. NO. 8644, January 22, 2014.

The rule on chain of custody under the foregoing enactments expressly demands the identification of the persons who handle the confiscated items for the purpose of duly monitoring the authorized movements of the illegal drugs and/or drug paraphernalia from the time they are seized from the accused until the time they are presented in court. Moreover, as a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered in evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.

Although the Court has ruled that non-compliance with the directives of Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 is not necessarily fatal to the prosecution’s case, the prosecution must still prove that (a) there is a justifiable ground for the non-compliance, and (b) the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items were properly preserved. Further, the non-compliance with the procedures must be justified by the State’s agents themselves. The arresting officers are under obligation, should they be unable to comply with the procedures laid down under Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, to explain why the procedure was not followed and prove that the reason provided a justifiable ground. Otherwise, the requisites under the law would merely be fancy ornaments that may or may not be disregarded by the arresting officers at their own convenience. CARLITO VALENCIA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. NO. 198804, January 22, 2014

While a marriage certificate is considered the primary evidence of a marital union, it is not regarded as the sole and exclusive evidence of marriage. Jurisprudence teaches that the fact of marriage may be proven by relevant evidence other than the marriage certificate. Hence, even a person’s birth certificate may be recognized as competent evidence of the marriage between his parents.

The court confounded the execution and the contents of the document. It is the contents, which may not be proven by secondary evidence when the instrument itself is accessible. Proofs of the execution are not dependent on the existence or non-existence of the document, and, as a matter of fact, such proofs of the contents: due execution, besides the loss, has to be shown as foundation for the introduction of secondary evidence of the contents.

Evidence of the execution of a document is, in the last analysis, necessarily collateral or primary. It generally consists of parol testimony or extrinsic papers. Even when the document is actually produced, its authenticity is not necessarily, if at all, determined from its face or recital of its contents but by parol evidence. At the most, failure to produce the document, when available, to establish its execution may effect the weight of the evidence presented but not the admissibility of such evidence. Truly, the execution of a document may be proven by the parties themselves, by the swearing officer, by witnesses who saw and recognized the signatures of the parties; or even by those to whom the parties

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have previously narrated the execution thereof. The Court has also held that the loss may be shown by any person who knows the fact of its loss, or by anyone who has made, in the judgment of the court, a sufficient examination in the place or places where the document or papers of similar character are usually kept by the person in whose custody the document lost was, and has been unable to find it; or who has made any other investigation which is sufficient to satisfy the court that the instrument has indeed been lost. PEREGRINA MACUA VDA. DE AVENIDO v. TECLA HOYBIA AVENIDO. G.R. NO. 173540, January 22, 2014 The issue raised by accused-appellant involves the credibility of the witness, which is best addressed by the trial court, it being in a better position to decide such question, having heard the witness and observed his demeanor, conduct, and attitude under grueling examination. Verily, findings of the trial court on such matters will not be disturbed on appeal unless some facts or circumstances of weight have been overlooked, misapprehended or misinterpreted so as to materially affect the disposition of the case. Where there is no evidence that the witnesses of the prosecution were actuated by ill motive, it is presumed that they were not so actuated and their testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. Given the natural frailties of the human mind and its capacity to assimilate all material details of a given incident, slight inconsistencies and variances in the declarations of a witness hardly weaken their probative value. It is well-settled that immaterial and insignificant details do not discredit a testimony on the very material and significant point bearing on the very act of accused-appellants. As long as the testimonies of the witnesses corroborate one another on material points, minor inconsistencies therein cannot destroy their credibility. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARCELINO DADAO. G.R. NO. 201860, January 22, 2014

Res judicata refers to the rule that a final judgment or decree on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive of the rights of the parties or their privies in all later suits on all points and matters determined in the former suit. The elements of res judicata are as follows: (1) the former judgment or order must be final; (2) the judgment or order must be on the merits; (3) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; and (4) there must be, between the first and the second action, identity of parties, of subject matter and cause of action. The Bagano case has been settled by the court having jurisdiction and was based on the merits. Nonetheless, the Bagano case and the present controversy does not point to similarity of the parties or to the cause of action presented, hence res judicata cannot be raised to bar determination of the issue.

An independent controversy cannot be injected into a suit by intervention, hence, such intervention will not be allowed where it would enlarge the issues in the action and expand the scope of the remedies. It is not proper where there are certain facts giving the intervenor’s case an aspect peculiar to himself and differentiating it clearly from that of the original parties; the proper course is for the would–be intervenor to litigate his claim in a separate suit. Intervention is not intended to change the nature and character of the action itself, or to stop or delay the placid operation of the machinery of the trial. The remedy of intervention is not proper where it will have the effect of retarding the principal suit or delaying the trial of the action. Hence, the issue of double sale as alleged cannot be injected into the Bagano case, which is based on facts peculiar to the transaction between Bagano and petitioners. PEBLIA ALFARO AND THE HEIRS OF PROSPEROUS ALFARO v. SPOUSES EDITHO AND HERA DUMALAGAN. G.R. NO. 186622, January 22, 2014

A client has of course the right to dismiss and replace his counsel of record as provided in the second paragraph of Section 26 above. But this assumes that such client has given counsel a notice of dismissal so the latter could immediately cease to represent him. Indeed, it would have been more prudent for

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newly hired counsel to refrain from entering his appearance in the case until he has ascertained that the previous counsel has been dismissed from it.

Section 4, Rule VI of the 2005 Revised Rules of Procedure of the NLRC specifically requires that a) The appeal shall be: 1) filed within the reglementary period provided in Section 1 of this Rule; 2) verified by the appellant himself in accordance with Section 4, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, as amended; 3) in the form of a memorandum of appeal which shall state the grounds relied upon and the arguments in support thereof, the relief prayed for, and with a statement of the date the appellant received the appealed decision, resolution or order; 4) in three (3) legibly typewritten or printed copies; and 5) accompanied by i) proof of payment of the required appeal fee; ii) posting of a cash or surety bond as provided in Section 6 of this Rule; iii) a certificate of non-forum shopping; and iv) proof of service upon the other parties. b) A mere notice of appeal without complying with the other requisites aforestated shall not stop the running of the period of perfecting an appeal.

Insisting on such requirement even on appeal is a prerogative of the NLRC under its rule making power considering the great volume of appeals filed with it from all over the country. DIONES BELZA v. DANILO T. CANONERO. G.R. NO. 192479, January 27, 2014

Factual findings of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses, and its assessment of their probative weight are given great respect if not conclusive effect, unless it ignored, misconstrued, misunderstood, or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance which, if considered, would alter the outcome of the case.

Courts usually give greater weight to the testimony of a girl who is a victim of sexual assault, especially a minor, as in this case, because no woman would be willing to undergo a public trial and put up with the shame, humiliation and dishonor of exposing her own degradation were it not to condemn an injustice and have the offender apprehended and punished.

In ascertaining whether an out-of-court identification is positive or derivative, the Court has adopted the totality of circumstances test wherein the following factors are taken into consideration: (1) the witness’s opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) the witness’s degree of attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior description given by the witness; (4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the identification; (5) the length of time between the crime and the identification; and (6) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FLORO MANIGO. G.R. NO. 194612, January 27, 2014

Section 4 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides that an admission made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case does not require proof, and may be contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake. In relation thereto, Article 1431 of the Civil Code provides that through estoppel, an admission is rendered conclusive upon the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying thereon.

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Anent the best evidence rule, Section 3(d) of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides that when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except when the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office. Section 7 of the same Rule provides that when the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office, its contents may be proved by a certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof. Section 24 of Rule 132 provides that the record of public documents may be evidenced by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody or the record. The cadastral maps and the list of claimants, as certified true copies of original public records, fall under the exception to the best evidence rule.

As to the hearsay rule, Section 44 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court similarly provides that entries in official records are an exception to the rule. The rule provides that entries in official records made in the performance of the duty of a public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. The document's trustworthiness consists in the presumption of regularity of performance of official duty. Cadastral maps are the output of cadastral surveys. The DENR is the department tasked to execute, supervise and manage the conduct of cadastral surveys. As such, they are exceptions to the hearsay rule and are prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.THERESITA, JUAN, ASUNCION, PATROCINIA, RICARDO, and GLORIA, ALL SURNAMED DIMAGUILA v. JOSE AND SONIA A. MONTEIRO. G.R. NO. 201011, January 27, 2014

In order to perfect an appeal from the Decision of the Labor Arbiter granting monetary award, the Labor Code requires the posting of a bond, either in cash or surety bond, in an amount equivalent to the monetary award. Nonetheless, we have consistently held that rules should not be applied in a very rigid and strict sense. This is especially true in labor cases wherein the substantial merits of the case must accordingly be decided upon to serve the interest of justice. When there has been substantial compliance, relaxation of the Rules is warranted. In termination disputes, the burden of proving that the dismissal is for a just or valid cause rests on the employers. Failure on their part to discharge such burden will render the dismissal illegal. The quantum of proof which the employer must discharge is substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is that amount of relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, even if other minds, equally reasonable, might conceivably opine otherwise. Here, the mere filing of a formal charge, to our mind, does not automatically make the dismissal valid. Unsubstantiated suspicions, accusations, and conclusions of employers do not provide for legal justification for dismissing employees. However, the rule that the employer bears the burden of proof in illegal dismissal cases finds no application when the employer denies having dismissed the employee. The employee must first establish by substantial evidence the fact of dismissal before shifting to the employer the burden of proving the validity of such dismissal. GRAND ASIAN SHIPPING LINES, INC., EDUARDO P. FRANCISCO AND WILLIAM HOW v. WILFREDO GALVEZ. G.R. NO. 178184, January 29, 2014 The determination of probable cause for purposes of filing of information in court is essentially an executive function that is lodged, at the first instance, with the public prosecutor and, ultimately, to the Secretary of Justice. The prosecutor and the Secretary of Justice have wide latitude of discretion in the conduct of preliminary investigation; and their findings with respect to the existence or non-existence of probable cause are generally not subject to review by the Court. Consistent with this rule, the settled policy of non-interference in the prosecutor’s exercise of discretion requires the courts to leave to the prosecutor and to the DOJ the determination of what constitutes sufficient evidence to establish probable cause. Nevertheless, this policy of non-interference is not without exception. To justify judicial intervention, the abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law or to act at

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all in contemplation of law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. The determination of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not, a crime has been committed and there is enough reason to believe that it was committed by the accused. It need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. What is merely required is "probability of guilt." UNILEVER PHILIPPINES, INC. v. MICHAEL TAN a.k.a. PAUL D. TAN. G.R. NO. 179367, January 29, 2014

A petition for certiorari must be filed strictly within 60 days from notice of judgment or from the order denying a motion for reconsideration. This is in accordance with the amendment introduced by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC where no provision for the filing of a motion for extension to file a petition for certiorari exists, unlike in the original Section 4 of Rule 65 which allowed the filing of such a motion but only for compelling reason and in no case exceeding 15 days.

However, there are exceptions to the strict application of the 60-day period rule, such as (1) most persuasive and weighty reasons; (2) to relieve a litigant from an injustice not commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure; (3) good faith of the defaulting party by immediately paying within a reasonable time from the time of the default; (4) the existence of special or compelling circumstances; (5) the merits of the case; (6) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules; (7) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory; (8) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby; (9) fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence without appellant’s fault; (10) peculiar legal and equitable circumstances attendant to each case; (11) in the name of substantial justice and fair play; (12) importance of the issues involved; and (13) exercise of sound discretion by the judge guided by all the attendant circumstances. Thus, there should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable or meritorious explanation for his/her failure to comply with the rules. However, the counting 60 days from private respondent’s counsel’s receipt of the June 29, 2009 NLRC Resolution on July 8, 2009, private respondent had until September 7, 2009 to file her petition or a motion for extension, as September 6, 2009, the last day for filing such pleading, fell on a Sunday. However, the motion was filed only on September 8, 2009, which date is beyond the expiration of the period sought to be extended. THE NAMARIS PHILIPPINES, INC. vs. COURT OF APPEALS. G.R. NO. 191215, February 3, 2014

There is no dispute that the assailed Resolutions of the CA are in the nature of a final order as they disposed of the petition completely. It is settled that in cases where an assailed judgment or order is considered final, the remedy of the aggrieved party is appeal. Hence, in the instant case, petitioner should have filed a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, which is a continuation of the appellate process over the original case. A perusal of RA 9282 amending RA 1125 would show that, while it is clearly stated that the CTA has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over decisions, orders or resolutions of the RTCs in local tax cases originally decided or resolved by them in the exercise of their original or appellate jurisdiction, there is no categorical statement under RA 1125 as well as the amendatory RA 9282, which provides that the CTA has jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari assailing interlocutory orders issued by the RTC in local tax cases filed before it

The prevailing doctrine is that the authority to issue writs of certiorari involves the exercise of original jurisdiction which must be expressly conferred by the Constitution or by law and cannot be implied from the mere existence of appellate jurisdiction. On the strength of the constitutional provisions under Article

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VIII, it can be fairly interpreted that the power of the CTA includes that of determining whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the RTC in issuing an interlocutory order in cases falling within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the tax court. It, thus, follows that the CTA, by constitutional mandate, is vested with jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari in these cases. THE CITY OF MANILA vs. HON. CARIDAD H. GRECIA-CUERDO. G.R. NO. 175723 , February 4, 2014

It is settled that Rule 45 limits us merely to the review of questions of law raised against the assailed CA decision. The Court is generally bound by the CA’s factual findings, except only in some instances, among which is, when the said findings are contrary to those of the trial court or administrative body exercising quasi-judicial functions from which the action originated.

The steps on how to comply with procedural due process in terminating an employee:

(1) The first written notice to be served on the employees should contain the specific causes or grounds for termination against them, and a directive that the employees are given the opportunity to submit their written explanation within a reasonable period. (2) After serving the first notice, the employers should schedule and conduct a hearing or conference wherein the employees will be given the opportunity to: (a) explain and clarify their defenses to the charge against them; (b) present evidence in support of their defenses; and (3) rebut the evidence presented against them by the management. During the hearing or (c) After determining that termination of employment is justified, the employers shall serve the employees a written notice of termination indicating that: (1) all circumstances involving the charge against the employees have been considered; and (2) grounds have been established to justify the severance of their employment. Although letters were sent to Kemplin, such letters were lame attempt to comply with the notice requirement, for the charges against Kemplin were not specified. Further, it merely made a declaration on the expiration of the employment, without however, specifying the criminal suits filed against Kemplin. UNITED TOURIST PROMOTIONS vs. HARLAND B. KEMPLIN. G.R. No. 205453, February 5, 2014

As a rule, in civil cases, the procedure of calling the adverse party to the witness stand is not allowed, unless written interrogatories are first served upon the latter. This is embodied in Section 6, Rule 25.

One of the purposes of the above rule is to prevent fishing expeditions and needless delays; it is there to maintain order and facilitate the conduct of trial. It will be presumed that a party who does not serve written interrogatories on the adverse party beforehand will most likely be unable to elicit facts useful to its case if it later opts to call the adverse party to the witness stand as its witness. Another reason for the rule is that by requiring prior written interrogatories, the court may limit the inquiry to what is relevant, and thus prevent the calling party from straying or harassing the adverse party when it takes the latter to the stand. Thus, the rule not only protects the adverse party from unwarranted surprises or harassment; it likewise prevents the calling party from conducting a fishing expedition or bungling its own case. In the case, Metrobank’s officers were sought to be presented by the petitioner as its initial witness and to present documents in the possession of Metrobank, which move cannot be allowed in the petitioner’s presentation of its evidence-in-chief. SPOUSES VICENTE AFULUGENCIA and LETICIA AFULUGENCIA vs. METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST CO. G.R. NO. 185145, February 5, 2014

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In a buy-bust operation, the failure to conduct a physical inventory and to photograph the items seized from the accused will not render his arrest illegal or the items confiscated from him inadmissible in evidence as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the said items have been preserved. PEOPLE OF THE PIDLIPPINES vs. GLENN SALVADOR and DORY ANN PARCON G.R. NO. 190621, February 10, 2014 While we maintain that Rule 108 cannot be availed of to determine the validity of marriage, we cannot nullify the proceedings before the trial court where all the parties had been given the opportunity to contest the allegations of respondent; the procedures were followed, and all the evidence of the parties had already been admitted and examined. Respondent indeed sought, not the nullification of marriage as there was no marriage to speak of, but the correction of the record of such marriage to reflect the truth as set forth by the evidence. Otherwise stated, in allowing the correction of the subject certificate of marriage by cancelling the wife portion thereof, the trial court did not, in any way, declare the marriage void as there was no marriage to speak of. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MERLINDA L. OLAYBAR. G.R. NO. 189538, February 10, 2014 The nature of an action, as well as which court or body has jurisdiction over it, is determined based on the allegations contained in the complaint of the plaintiff, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the ones to be consulted. Once vested by the allegations in the complaint, jurisdiction also remains vested irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. All controversies on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), even though they raise questions that are also legal or constitutional in nature. TRINIDAD VALLEY REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, et al. vs. THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. NO.183191, February 11, 2014 Issues involving the finding of probable cause for an indictment and issuance of a warrant of arrest, as petitioners are doubtless aware, are primarily questions of fact that are normally not within the purview of a petition for certiorari, such as the petitions filed in the instant consolidated cases. SATURNINO C. OCAMPO vs. HON. EPHREM S. ABANDO, et al.G.R. No. 176830, February 11, 2014 The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to the judicial proceedings in order to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice. A violation of this rule may render one liable for indirect contempt under Sec. 3(d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. However, A public utterance or publication is not to be denied the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and press merely because it concerns a judicial proceeding still pending in the courts, upon the theory that in such a case, it must necessarily tend to obstruct the orderly and fair administration of justice. P/SUPT. HANSEL M. MARANTAN vs. ATTY. JOSE MANUEL DIOKNO and MONIQUE CUUNJIENG LA'O G.R. NO. 205956, February 12, 2014 In the case at bar, the evidence is unclear as to where the responsible police officer marked the seized substance and whether it was done in Merlita’s presence. In fact, it is also not clear from the evidence which police officer did the marking. This uncertainty concerning a vital element of the crime warrants overturning the judgment of conviction. Though Merlita's denial and alibi as a defense are weak, such cannot relieve the prosecution the burden of presenting proof beyond reasonable doubt that an illegal transaction actually took place. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MERLITA PALOMARES y COSTUNA. G.R. No. 200915, February 12, 2014 Non-payment of docket fees is a jurisdictional defect. Anent the counterclaims interposed by defendant for the collection of certain sum of money adverted earlier hereof, this Court could not exercise jurisdiction over the same as defendant did not pay the docket fees therefor. Although the counterclaims were denominated as compulsory in the answer, the matters therein alleged were not connected with the

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plaintiff’s complaint. The counterclaims could stand independently from the plaintiff’s complaint hence they are a sic permissive counterclaims. UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BIGNAY EX-IM PHILIPPINES, INC. G.R. NO. 171590, February 12, 2014 It has been repeatedly emphasized that in the case of natural persons, the certification against forum shopping must be signed by the principal parties themselves and not by the attorney. The certification against forum shopping must be signed by the plaintiff or any of the principal parties and not by the attorney. For such certification is a peculiar personal representation on the part of the principal party, an assurance given to the court or other tribunal that there are no other pending cases involving basically the same parties, issues and causes of action. Hence, the petition is dismissible outright for being accompanied by a defective certification of non-forum shopping having been signed by Atty. Agustin instead of the complainants as the principal parties. ATTY. EMMANUEL D. AGUSTIN, et al. vs. ALEJANDRO CRUZ-HERRERA. G.R. NO. 174564, February 12, 2014 The testimony of the offended party in crimes against chastity should not be received with precipitate credulity for the charge can easily be concocted. Courts should be wary of giving undue credibility to a claim of rape, especially where the sole evidence comes from an alleged victim whose charge is not corroborated and whose conduct during and after the rape is open to conflicting interpretations. While judges ought to be cognizant of the anguish and humiliation that a rape victim undergoes as she seeks justice, they should equally bear in mind that their responsibility is to render justice based on the law. The numerous inconsistencies in the testimony of private complainant have created reasonable doubt in Our mind. In view of the foregoing considerations, the presumption of innocence in favor of appellant must be upheld considering that the evidence brought forth in trial falls short of the quantum of proof to support a conviction. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. FELIMON PATENTES Y ZAMORA. G.R. NO. 190178, February 12, 2014. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred only by the Constitution or the law and cannot be acquired through a waiver or enlarged by the omission of the parties or conferred by the acquiescence of the court. The rule is well-settled that lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. Hence, questions of jurisdiction may be cognizable even if raised for the first time on appeal. RICARDO L. ATIENZA AND ALFREDO A. CASTRO vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. NO. 188694, February 12, 2014 The test to determine the existence of forum shopping is whether the elements of litis pendentia are present, or whether a final judgment in one case amounts to res judicata in the other. Thus, there is forum shopping when the following elements are present, namely: (a) identity of parties, or at least such parties as represent the same interests in both actions; (b) identity of rights asserted and reliefs prayed for, the relief being founded on the same facts; and (c) the identity of the two preceding particulars, such that any judgment rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is successful, amounts to res judicata in the action under consideration. There is no question that the ultimate objective of each of the actions was the return of the properties to the Estate in order that such properties would be partitioned among the heirs. In the other cases, the petitioners failed to attain the objective because Palicte’s right in the properties had been declared exclusivse. There was between Civil Case No. CEB-24293 and the other cases a clear identity of the parties, of subject matter, of evidence, and of the factual and legal issues raised. The Court saw through the petitioners’ "ploy to countermand the previous decisions’ sustaining Palicte’s rights over the properties." HEIRS OF MARCELO SOTTO vs. MATILDE S. PALICTE, Respondent. G.R. No. 159691, February 17, 2014 When the decision hinges on the credibility of witnesses and their respective testimonies, the trial court’s observations and conclusions deserve great respect and are often accorded finality, unless there appears in the record some fact or circumstance of weight which the lower court may have overlooked, misunderstood or misappreciated and which, if properly considered, would alter the result of the case. The straightforward, candid and intrepid revelation in coming forward to avenge the immoral defilement upon her person is more convincing and plausible compared to the weak and uncorroborated defense of

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petitioner. Despite the minor inconsistencies in her testimony, her general statements remained consistent throughout the trial as she recounted the sordid details of her tormenting experience in the hands of her own father. EMILIO RAGA y CASIKAT vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 200597, February 19, 2014 Without any prior order or at least a motion for exclusion from any of the parties, a court cannot simply allow or disallow the presentation of a witness solely on the ground that the latter heard the testimony of another witness. It is the responsibility of respondent's counsel to protect the interest of his client during the presentation of other witnesses. If respondent actually believed that the testimony of Kenneth would greatly affect that of Stephen's, then respondent's counsel was clearly remiss in his duty to protect the interest of his client when he did not raise the issue of the exclusion of the witness in a timely manner. DESIGN SOURCES INTERNATIONAL INC., et al. vs. LOURDES L. ERISTINGCOL G.R. No. 193966, February 19, 2014 Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the Court by acting in opposition to its authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the court’s orders, but such conduct which tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration of justice. Respondent’s willful disregard and defiance of this Court’s ruling on a matter submitted for the second time before his office cannot be countenanced. By acting in opposition to this Court’s authority and disregarding its final determination of the legal issue pending before him, respondent failed in his duty not to impede the due administration of justice and consistently adhere to existing laws and principles as interpreted in the decisions of the Court. CITY GOVERNMENT OF BAGUIO, et al. vs. ATTY. BRAIN S. MASWENG. G.R. No. 188913, February 19, 2014 Where a party was afforded the opportunity to participate in the proceedings, yet he failed to do so, he cannot be allowed later on to claim that he was deprived of his day in court. Notice and hearing is the bulwark of administrative due process, the right to which is among the primary rights that must be respected even in administrative proceedings. The essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard, or as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain one's side or an opportunity to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. LUCENA D. DEMAALA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and OMBUDSMAN. G.R. No. 173523, February 19, 2014. Settled is the rule that possession of dangerous drugs constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in the absence of a satisfactory explanation of such possession. As such, the burden of evidence is shifted to the accused to explain the absence of knowledge or animus possidendi. Evidently, the prosecution had established beyond reasonable doubt the appellant’s guilt for the offense of illegal sale of shabu in violation of Section 15, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VICENTE ROM. G.R. No. 198452, February 19, 2014 It is a fundamental principle in jurisprudence involving rape that the accused may be convicted based solely on the testimony of the victim, provided that such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. In this regard, we defer to the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of AAA’s testimony, most especially, when it is affirmed by the Court of Appeals. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MERVIN GAHI. G.R. No. 202976, February 19, 2014 In this case, the proceedings for indirect contempt have not been initiated. To the Court’s mind, the September 3, 2007 Resolution could be treated as a mere reiteration of the September 10, 2002 Order. It is not yet a "judgment or final order of a court in a case of indirect contempt" as contemplated under the Rules. The recourse provided for in the Rule 71 is clear enough: the person adjudged in indirect contempt must file an appeal under Rule 41 (Appeal from the Regional Trial Courts) and post a bond for its suspension pendente lite. Obviously, these were not done in this case. Instead, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules and did not post the required bond, effectively making the September 3, 2007 Resolution final and executory. CAPITOL HILLS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, INC., et al. vs. MANUEL O. SANCHEZ. G.R. No. 182738, February 24, 2014

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Attachment is defined as a provisional remedy by which the property of an adverse party is taken into legal custody, either at the commencement of an action or at any time thereafter, as a security for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered by the plaintiff or any proper party. Case law instructs that an attachment is a proceeding in rem, and, hence, is against the particular property, enforceable against the whole world. Accordingly, the attaching creditor acquires a specific lien on the attached property which nothing can subsequently destroy except the very dissolution of the attachment or levy itself. Applying these principles to this case, the Court finds that the CA erred in holding that the RTC did not gravely abuse its discretion in issuing the Assailed Orders as these issuances essentially disregarded, inter alia, Ligon’s prior attachment lien over the subject property patently anathema to the nature of attachment proceedings which is well-established in law and jurisprudence. LETICIA P. LIGON vs. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 56 AT MAKATI CITY, et al. G.R. No. 190028, February 26, 2014 While a government office may prohibit altogether the filing of a motion for reconsideration with respect to its decisions or orders, the fact remains that certiorari inherently requires the filing of a motion for reconsideration, which is the tangible representation of the opportunity given to the office to correct itself. Unless it is filed, there could be no occasion to rectify. Worse, the remedy of certiorari would be unavailing. Simply put, regardless of the proscription against the filing of a motion for reconsideration, the same may be filed on the assumption that rectification of the decision or order must be obtained, and before a petition for certiorari may be instituted.. PHILTRANCO SERVICE ENTERPRISES, INC. vs. PHILTRANCO WORKERS UNION-ASSOCIATION OF GENUINE LABOR ORGANIZATIONS (PWUAGLO). G.R. No. 180962, February 26, 2014 The disallowance of the notice of appeal signifies the disallowance of the appeal itself. A petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is a mode of appeal of a lower court’s decision or final order direct to the Supreme Court. However, the questioned Order denying her notice of appeal is not a decision or final order from which an appeal may be taken. The Rules of Court specifically provides that no appeal shall be taken from an order disallowing or dismissing an appeal. Rather, the aggrieved party can elevate the matter through a special civil action under Rule 65. Thus, in availing of the wrong mode of appeal in this petition under Rule 45 instead of the appropriate remedy of Rule 65, the petition merits an outright dismissal. CORAZON MACAPAGAL vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. No. 193217, February 26, 2014 The Ombudsman-imposed penalties in administrative disciplinary cases are immediately executory notwithstanding an appeal timely filed. An appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory. In case the penalty is suspension or removal and the respondent wins such appeal, he shall be considered as having been under preventive suspension and shall be paid the salary and such other emoluments that he did not receive by reason of the suspension or removal. Thus, no error can be attributed to the CA when it ruled that the penalties imposed by the Ombudsman against petitioners are immediately executory. Immediate execution argues against the outlandish notion that the Ombudsman can only recommend disciplinary sanctions. FLOR GUPILAN-AGUILAR and HONORE R. HERNANDEZ vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, et al. G.R. NO. 197307, February 26, 2014 Although strict compliance with the rules of procedure is desired, liberal interpretation is warranted in cases where a strict enforcement of the rules will not serve the ends of justice; and that it is a better rule that courts, under the principle of equity, will not be guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of laches when to do so, manifest wrong or injustice would result. Petitioners could not afford to engage the services of a private counsel and so were represented by the PAO. As has been repeatedly stated all over the records, PAO, SAC-PAO in particular, failed them, Hence, the Court, in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction, relaxed the rules and decides to allowed the action for the revival of judgment filed by petitioners. RUFA A. RUBIO, ET AL. vs. LOURDES ALABATA. G.R. NO. 203947, February 26, 2014 The force and violence required in rape cases is relative and need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied. For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation be so great or be of such

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character as could not be resisted – it is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind. In the case at bench, AAA’s categorical, straightforward and positive testimony revealed that the appellant was armed with a gun and the same was pointed at her while she was ordered to lie down and to take off her clothes, to which she acceded because of fear for her life and personal safety. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MANOLITO LUCENA y VELASQUEZ. G.R. NO. 190632, February 26, 2014. The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even to those present. Consequently, the proceedings before RTC-Br. 14 were null and void. To turn a blind eye to the said nullity and, in turn, rule as improper the recourse to Rule 65 by the lack of legal standing is to prolong the denial of due process to the persons whose interests are indispensible to the final disposition of the case. It will only result in a protracted litigation as Spouses Crisologo will be forced to rely on a petition for the annulment of judgment before the CA (as the last remaining remedy), which may again reach this Court. To prevent multiplicity of suits and to expedite the swift administration of justice, the CA should have applied liberality by striking down the assailed orders despite the lack of legal standing on the part of Spouses Crisologo to file the Rule 65 petition before it. Besides, this lacking requirement, of which Spouses Crisologo were not even at fault, is precisely the reason why this controversy arose.JESUS G. CRISOLOGO and NANETTE B. CRISOLOGO v. JEWM AGROINDUSTRIAL CORPORATION. G.R. NO. 196894, MARCH 3, 2014 Orders denying motions for reconsideration are not always interlocutory orders. A motion for reconsideration may be considered a final decision, subject to an appeal, if it puts an end to a particular matter, leaving the court with nothing else to do but to execute the decision. An appeal from an order denying a motion for reconsideration of an order of dismissal of a complaint is effectively an appeal of the order of dismissal itself. It is an appeal from a final decision or order. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ORTIGAS AND COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP G.R. NO. 171496, MARCH 3, 2014 It is entrenched in our jurisprudence that perfection of an appeal in a manner and within the period prescribed by law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional, and failure to perfect an appeal has the effect of making judgment final and executory. While dismissal of an appeal on technical grounds is frowned upon, Article 223 of the Labor Code which prescribes the appeal bond requirement, however, is a rule of jurisdiction and not of procedure. Hence, there is a little leeway for condoning a liberal interpretation thereof, and certainly none premised on the ground that its requirements are mere technicalities. The finding of the Labor Arbiter holding the petitioners liable for illegal dismissal is binding on them. Not having been timely appealed, this issue is already beyond our jurisdiction to resolve, and the finding of the Labor Arbiter can no longer be disturbed. CO SAY COCO PRODUCTS PHILS, INC., et al. v. BENJAMIN BALTASAR, ET AL. G.R. NO.188828, MARCH 5, 2014 When the creditor is in possession of the document of credit, he need not prove nonpayment for it is presumed. The creditor's possession of the evidence of debt is proof that the debt has not been discharged by payment. In this case, respondent's possession of the original copies of the subject Trust Indenture Certificates strongly supports his claim that petitioner Bank's obligation to return the principal plus interest of the money placement has not been extinguished. The TICs in the hands of respondent is a proof of indebtedness and a prima facie evidence that they have not been paid. PHILIPPINE COMMERCIAL INTERNATIONAL BANK (NOW BDO UNIBANK, INC.) v. ARTURO P. FRANCO, SUBSTITUTED BY HIS HEIRS, NAMELY: MAURICIA P. FRANCO, ET AL. G.R. NO. 180069, MARCH 5, 2014 The lower courts erred in giving weight to the presumption of regularity in the performance that a police officer enjoys in the absence of any taint of irregularity and of ill motive that would induce him to falsify his testimony. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt. It should be noted that the

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presumption is precisely just that – a presumption. Once challenged by evidence, as in this case, it cannot be regarded as binding truth. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JERRY CARANTO Y PROPETA. G.R. 193768, MARCH 5, 2014 The general rule that an assignment of error is essential to appellate review and only those errors assigned will be considered applies in the absence of certain exceptional circumstances. As exceptions to the rule, the Court has considered grounds not raised or assigned as errors in instances where: (1) grounds not assigned as errors but affecting jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) matters not assigned as errors on appeal but are evidently plain or clerical errors within the contemplation of the law; (3) matters not assigned as errors on appeal, whose consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision and complete resolution of the case or to serve the interest of justice or to avoid dispensing piecemeal justice; (4) matters not specifically assigned as errors on appeal but raised in the trial court and are matters of record having some bearing on the issue submitted which the parties failed to raise or which the lower court ignored; (5) matters not assigned as errors on appeal but are closely related to the assigned error/s; and (6) matters not assigned as errors on appeal, whose determination is necessary to rule on the question/s properly assigned as errors. The present case falls into the exceptions. We find no error by the CA in resolving the issues on the nature and duration of the petitioners’ possession and on the alienable character of the subject land. These issues were apparently not raised by the Republic in its appeal before the CA, but are crucial in determining whether the petitioners have registrable title over the subject land. SPOUSES MARIO AND JULIA CAMPOS v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. NO. 184371. MARCH 5, 2014 A writ of preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy; it is auxiliary, an adjunct of, and subject to the determination of the main action. It is deemed lifted upon the dismissal of the main case, any appeal therefrom notwithstanding. Upon the dismissal of the main case by the RTC, the question of issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction has become moot and academic. Upon the dismissal of the main action, the question of the non-issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction automatically died with it.SPOUSES SILVESTRE O. PLAZA AND ELENA Y. PLAZA v. GUILLERMO LUSTIVA, ELEODORA VDA. DE MARTINEZ AND VICKY SAYSON GOLOSENO. G.R. NO. 172909, MARCH 5, 2014 The defense points out that the prosecution failed to present direct evidence that the accused Enojas, Gomez, Santos, or Jalandoni took part in shooting PO2 Pangilinan dead. This may be true but the prosecution could prove their liability by circumstantial evidence that meets the evidentiary standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt. It has been held that circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if: 1) there is more than one circumstance; 2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and 3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Here the totality of the circumstantial evidence the prosecution presented sufficiently provides basis for the conviction of all the accused. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NOEL ENOJAS Y HINGIPIT, ET AL. G.R. NO. 204894. MARCH 10, 2014 A writ of preliminary injunction may be issued upon the concurrence of the following essential requisites, to wit: (a) the invasion of right sought to be protected is material and substantial; (b) the right of the complainant is clear and unmistakable; and (c) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. While a clear showing of the right is necessary, its existence need not be conclusively established. Hence, to be entitled to the writ, it is sufficient that the complainant shows that he has an ostensible right to the final relief prayed for in his complaint. In the present case, the Court finds the RTC grant of injunction to be in order. There is no question that when the Pagbilao Development Corporation bought the properties from the vendors, it had full knowledge that there were questions involving ownership of the parcels of land it bought. Likewise there is no question that Pagbilao Development Corporation did not take any step to have the annotation or encumbrance in each title cancelled. Inevitably, PDC is deemed to have obtained the properties subject to the outcome of the litigation among the heirs of Arsenio. PEDRO LUKANG v. PAGBILAO DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION AND EDUARDO T. RODRIGUEZ G.R. NO. 195374. MARCH 10, 2014

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The integrity of the evidence is presumed to be preserved unless there is a showing of bad faith, ill will or proof that the evidence has been tampered with and in such case, the burden of proof rests on the appellant. Here, appellant miserably failed to discharge this burden. Moreover, and as aptly observed by the CA, appellant did not seasonably question these procedural gaps before the trial court. Suffice it to say that objection to evidence cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SHERWON BIS Y AVELLANEDA. G.R. NO. 191360, MARCH 10, 2014 In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the RTCs would depend on the amount of the claim. But where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and, hence, are incapable of pecuniary estimation. These cases are cognizable exclusively by RTCs. The Court rules that the complaint to redeem a land subject of a free patent is a civil action incapable of pecuniary estimation. It is a well-settled rule that jurisdiction of the court is determined by the allegations in the complaint and the character of the relief sought. SURVIVING HEIRS OF ALFREDO R. BAUTISTA v. FRANCISCO LINDO AND WELHILMINIA LINDO, et al. G.R. NO. 208232. MARCH 10, 2014 Negligence is defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance that the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury. Reckless imprudence, on the other hand, consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do, without malice, an act from which material damage results by reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act. Ospital ng Maynila was not at all a party in the proceedings. Hence, its fundamental right to be heard was not respected from the outset. The RTC and the CA should have been alert to this fundamental defect. Verily, no person can be prejudiced by a ruling rendered in an action or proceeding in which he was not made a party. Such a rule would enforce the constitutional guarantee of due process of law. DR. FERNANDO SOLIDUM v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. NO. 192123, MARCH 10, 2014 In the present case, petitioner cannot make up his mind whether to question the judgment, or apply for probation, which is necessarily deemed a waiver of his right to appeal. While he did not file an appeal before applying for probation, he assailed the validity of the conviction in the guise of a petition supposedly assailing the denial of probation. In so doing, he attempted to circumvent P.D. No. 968, as amended by P.D. 1990, which seeks to make appeal and probation mutually exclusive remedies. ENRIQUE ALMERO Y ALCANTARA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, et al. G.R. NO. 188191. MARCH 12, 2014 Unfounded administrative charges against sitting judges truly degrade their judicial office, and interfere with the due performance of their work for the Judiciary. The complainant may be held liable for indirect contempt of court as a means of vindicating the integrity and reputation of the judges and the Judiciary. In the instant case, AMALI fell short of the requirements for establishing its charge of knowingly rendering an unjust judgment against respondent Justices. Hence, we now demand that AMALI’s authorized representative to show cause in writing why they should not be held in indirect contempt of court for bringing the unfounded and baseless charges against respondent Justices not only once but twice. RE: VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DISBARMENT OF AMA LAND INC. AGAINST COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE JUSTICES HON. DANTON Q. BUESER, HON. SESINANBO E. VILLON AND HON. RICARDO R. ROSARI A.M. OCA IPI NO. 12-204-CA-J. MARCH 11, 2014 Forfeiture proceedings, as we have already discussed exhaustively in our Decision, are actions considered to be in the nature of proceedings in rem or quasi in rem, such that: Jurisdiction over the res is acquired either (a) by the seizure of the property under legal process, whereby it is brought into actual custody of the law; or (b) as a result of the institution of legal proceedings, in which the power of the court is recognized and made effective. In the latter condition, the property, though at all times within the

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potential power of the court, may not be in the actual custody of said court. There is potential custody when, from the nature of the action brought, the power of the court over the property is impliedly recognized by law. While the subject properties are in the US, the the Republic’s interest over the Arelma assets has already been recognized in an earlier decision rendered by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR. v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES/ IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. NO. 189505 & G.R. NO. 189434, MARCH 12, 2014 Assuming that the prosecution witnesses failed to identify exactly who inflicted the fatal wounds on Joey during the commotion, Erwin’s liability is not diminished since he and the others with him acted with concert in beating up and ultimately killing Joey. Conspiracy makes all the assailants equally liable as coprincipals by direct participation.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERWIN TAMAYO Y BAUTISTA. G.R. NO. 196960, MARCH 12, 2014. While it is a basic rule of evidence that the original copy prevails over a mere photocopy, there is no harm if in a case, both the original and a photocopy thereof are authenticated, identified and formally offered in evidence by the party proponent. Hence, Respondent’s failure to present the original copy of the Acknowledgment during the taking of her testimony for the second time, and the presentation of a mere photocopy thereof at said hearing, does not materially affect the outcome of the case. Moreover, the rule that the genuineness and due execution of the instrument shall be deemed admitted, unless the adverse party specifically denies them under oath, applies only to parties to such instrument. Hence only Fernando may be held liable for the judgment amount of P1,456,000.00, since Ma. Elena was not a signatory to the Acknowledgment. SPOUSES FERNANDO AND MA. ELENA SANTOS v. LOLITA ALCAZAR, REPRESENTED BY HER ATTORNEY-IN-FACT DELFIN CHUA. G.R. NO. 183034, MARCH 12, 2014 In this jurisdiction, courts generally accord great respect and finality to factual findings of administrative agencies. These findings, however, are not infallible. This doctrine espousing comity to administrative findings of facts cannot preclude the courts from reviewing and, when proper, disregarding these findings of facts when shown that the administrative body committed grave abuse of discretion by capriciously, whimsically or arbitrarily disregarding evidence or circumstances of considerable importance that are crucial or decisive of the controversy. DIAMOND TAXI AND/OR BRYAN ONG v. FELIPE LLAMAS, JR. G.R. NO. 190724, MACRH 12, 2014 Petitioners’ admission that the five affiants were their former employees is binding upon them. While they claim that respondent was the employee of their suppliers Mayol and Apondar, they did not submit proof that the latter were indeed independent contractors; clearly, petitioners failed to discharge their burden of proving their own affirmative allegation. SOUTH EAST INTERNATIONAL RATTAN, INC. AND/OR ESTANISLAO AGBAY v. JESUS J. COMING. G.R. NO. 186621, MARCH 12, 2014 The procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only the real party-in-interest must initiate the suit does not apply in disbarment cases. The right to institute disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients nor is it necessary that the person complaining suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. Disbarment proceedings are matters of public interest and the only basis for the judgment is the proof or failure of proof of the charges. The Court found no merit in respondent’s contention that complainants have no personality to file a disbarment case against him as they were not his clients and that the present suit was merely instituted to harass him. NESTOR B. FIGUERAS AND BIENVENIDO VICTORIA, JR. v. ATTY. DIOSDADO B. JIMENEZ. A.C. NO. 9116, MARCH 12, 2014 In an appeal to the SC of a CA decision dismissing a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction under Rule 47 for lack of proof of authority and affidavit of service of filing as required by Section 13 of the 1997 Rules of Procedure, the court held that “While it is desirable that the Rules of Court be faithfully observed, courts should not be so strict about procedural lapses that do not really impair the proper administration of justice. If the rules are intended to ensure the proper and orderly conduct of litigation, it is because of the higher objective they seek which are the attainment of justice and the protection of substantive rights of the parties. Thus, the relaxation of procedural rules, or saving a particular case from the operation of technicalities when

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substantial justice requires it, as in the instant case, should no longer be subject to cavil.” DREAMLAND HOTEL RESORT AND WESTLEY J. PRENTICE v. STEPHEN B. JOHNSON. G.R. NO. 191455, MARCH 12, 2014 In an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, only questions of law may be raised. When there is no dispute as to the facts, the question of whether the conclusion drawn therefrom is correct or not, is a question of law. In the present case, there seems to be no dispute as to the facts, and the question presented before us calls for a review of the CA’s conclusion that the documents and evidence presented by petitioner are insufficient to support her application for registration of title. Hence, the petition is properly filed. MINDA S. GAERLAN v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. NO. 192717., MARCH 12, 2014 As a rule, a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court covers only questions of law. For a question to be one of law, the same must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them. The resolution of the issue must rest solely on what the law provides on the given set of circumstances. In this case, the only legal issue raised by petitioner is whether the trial court based its determination of just compensation on the factors provided under existing laws and jurisprudence. In this case, we find that the trial court did not judiciously determine the fair market value of the subject property as it failed to consider other relevant factors such as the zonal valuation, tax declarations and current selling price supported by documentary evidence. Indeed, just compensation must not be arrived at arbitrarily, but determined after an evaluation of different factors.REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ASIA PACIFIC INTEGRATED STEEL CORPORATION. G.R. NO. 192100. MARCH 12, 2014 A motion that does not comply with the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Rules of Court is a worthless piece of paper which the clerk of court has no right to receive and which the court has no authority to act upon. Nevertheless, the three-day notice requirement is not a hard and fast rule. When the adverse party had been afforded the opportunity to be heard, and has been indeed heard through the pleadings filed in opposition to the motion, the purpose behind the three-day notice requirement is deemed realized. In such case, the requirements of procedural due process are substantially complied with. MARYLOU CABRERA v. FELIX NG. G.R. NO. 201601, MARCH 12, 2014 The preventive suspension order is interlocutory in character and not a final order on the merits of the case. The aggrieved party may then seek redress from the courts through a petition for certiorari under Section 1, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Court. While it is true that the primary relief prayed for by Capulong in his petition has already been voluntarily corrected by the Ombudsman by the issuance of the order lifting his preventive suspension, we must not lose sight of the fact that Capulong likewise prayed for other remedies. There being a finding of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman, it was certainly imperative for the CA to grant incidental reliefs, as sanctioned by Section 1 of Rule 65. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. JOSE T. CAPULONG. G.R. NO. 201643, MARCH 12, 2014 There should be no inexplicable delay in the filing of a motion to set aside order of default. Even when a motion is filed within the required period, excusable negligence must be properly alleged and proven. The Regional Trial Court of Makati declared Lui Enterprises in default when it failed to answer the complaint within the required period. Lui Enterprises filed a motion to set aside order of default without an acceptable excuse why its counsel failed to answer the complaint. It failed to prove the excusable negligence. Thus, the Makati trial court did not err in refusing to set aside the order of default. LUI ENTERPRISES, INC. v. ZUELLIG PHARMA CORPORATION AND THE PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS. G.R. NO. 193494, MARCH 12, 2014 The almost four months that lapsed before the records reached the ponente’s office was caused by the gross incompetence and inefficiency of the division personnel at the CA. It was the height of injustice for the CA to dismiss a petition just because the motion for extension reached the ponente’s office beyond the last date prayed for.

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The petitioners could not also be faulted that the motion for extension of time was received by the CA on September 13, 2010. The rules allow parties to file a pleading by registered mail. They are not required to ensure that it would be received by the court on or before the last day of the extended period prayed for. Though no party can assume that its motion for extension would be granted, any denial thereof should be reasonable. HEIRS OF AMADA A. ZAULDA v. ISAAC Z. ZAULDA. G.R. NO. 201234, MARCH 17, 2014 The requirement that the complaint should aver, as jurisdictional facts, when and how entry into the property was made by the defendants applies only when the issue is the timeliness of the filing of the complaint before the MTC. However, the timeliness of the filing of the Complaint for unlawful detainer is not an issue in this case. Hence, the failure of the Complaint to allege when and how the spouses Capco came into possession of the property does not mean that the MeTC did not acquire jurisdiction over it. “The only issue in an ejectment case is the physical possession of real property, possession de facto and not possession de jure.” But “where the parties to an ejectment case raise the issue of ownership, the courts may pass upon that issue to determine who between the parties has the better right to possess the property.” Here, both parties anchor their right to possess based on ownership, i.e., the spouses Dela Cruz by their own ownership while the spouses Capco by the ownership of Rufino as one of the heirs of the alleged true owner of the property. Thus, the MeTC and the RTC correctly passed upon the issue of ownership in this case to determine the issue of possession. However, it must be emphasized that “the adjudication of the issue of ownership is only provisional, and not a bar to an action between the same parties involving title to the property.” SPOUSES EDMUNDO DELA CRUZ AND AMELIA CONCIO-DELA CRUZ v. SPOUSES RUFINO R. CAPCO AND MARTY C. CAPCO. G.R. NO. 176055, MARCH 17,2014. The contested deed of real estate mortgage was a public document by virtue of its being acknowledged before notary public. As a notarized document, the deed carried the evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution, and had in its favor the presumption of regularity. Hence, it was admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity, and was entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. To rebut its authenticity and genuineness, the contrary evidence must be clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant; otherwise, the deed should be upheld. Petitioners undeniably failed to adduce clear and convincing evidence against the genuineness and authenticity of the deed. Instead, their actuations even demonstrated that their transaction with respondents had been regular and at arms-length, thereby belying the intervention of fraud. METROPOLITAN FABRICS, INC., et al. v. PROSPERITY CREDIT RESOURCES, INC. et al. G.R. NO. 154390, MARCH 17, 2014

The petitioners essentially assail in this petition the validity of the NHA’s acquisition of the property, in view of the prohibition on sale or disposition of agricultural lands under E.O. No. 228, in relation to P.D. No. 27 and Section 6 of R.A. No. 6657. Resolution of this petition’s core issue requires the proper interpretation and application of the laws and the rules governing the government’s agrarian reform program, as well as the laws governing the powers and functions of the NHA as the property’s acquiring entity. As presented, therefore, this petition’s core issue is a question of law that a Rule 45 petition properly addresses. This notwithstanding, the resolution of this petition’s core issue necessitates the prior determination of two essentially factual issues, i.e., the validity of the property’s conversion and the petitioners’ claimed ownership of the property. As questions of fact, they are proscribed in a Rule 45 petition—The settled rule is that the Court’s jurisdiction in a petition for review on certiorari is limited to resolving only questions of law. HEIRS OF TERESITA MONTOYA, et al. v. NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, et al. G.R. NO. 181055, MARCH 19, 2014 While the determination of probable cause is primarily an executive function, the Court would not hesitate to interfere if there is a clear showing that Secretary of Justice gravely abused his discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in making his determination and in arriving at the conclusion he reached. When the Secretary of Justice concluded that there was planting of evidence based on the lone fact that the raiding team arrived ahead of the search team, he, in effect went into the merits of the defense. When he made a determination based on his own appreciation of the pieces of evidence for and against the

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accused, he effectively assumed the function of a trial judge in the evaluation of the pieces of evidence and, thereby, acted outside his jurisdiction. BARRY LANIER AND PERLITA LANIER v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G.R. NO. 189176, MARCH 19, 2014 The doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment states that a fact or question which was in issue in a former suit, and was there judicially passed on and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, is conclusively settled by the judgment therein, as far as concerns the parties to that action and persons in privity with them, and cannot be again litigated in any future action between such parties or their privies, in the same court or any other court of concurrent jurisdiction on either the same or a different cause of action, while the judgment remains unreversed or unvacated by proper authority. The. For res judicata in the concept of conclusiveness of judgment to apply, identity of cause of action is not required but merely identity of parties and identity of issues. As the issues of whether Lot J of Psd. 146880 is one of the properties donated by the spouses Cornelio and Nieves to Angel and whether such donation was valid have been necessarily settled in Civil Case No. 1185, they can no longer be relitigated in Civil Case No. 2735. HEIRS OF CORNELIO MIGUEL v. HEIRS OF ANGEL MIGUEL. G.R. NO. 158916, MARCH 19, 2014 J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. In a rape case filed by a mental retardate, the Court held that mental retardation per se does not affect a witness’ credibility. A mental retardate may be a credible witness. Only those whose mental condition, at the time of their production for examination, is such that they are incapable of intelligently making known their perception to others are disqualified. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JERRY OBOGNE G.R. NO. 199740, MARCH 24, 2014 The party alleging the negligence of the other as the cause of injury has the burden to establish the allegation with competent evidence. If the action based on negligence is civil in nature, the proof required is preponderance of evidence. Hence, the Lanuzo heirs, the parties carrying the burden of proof, who failed to establish by preponderance of evidence that the negligence on the part of the company was the proximate cause of the fatal accident of Balbino could not recover damages. BJDC CONSTRUCTION v. NENA E. LANUZO, ET AL. G.R. NO. 161151, MARCH 24, 2014 Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, confines this Court to a review of the case solely on pure questions of law. In ruling for legal correctness, we have to view the CA decision in the same context that the petition for certiorari it ruled upon was presented; we have to examine the CA decision from the prism of whether it correctly determined the presence or absence of grave abuse of discretion in the NLRC decision before it, not on the basis of whether the NLRC decision on the merits of the case was correct. In other words, we have to be keenly aware that the CA undertook a Rule 65 review, not a review on appeal, of the challenged NLRC decision. The CA gravely misappreciated the import of the evidence on record and can even be said to have disregarded it. The NLRC glossed over Labrador’s repeated violations that led the latter to request that he be allowed to resign to preserve his reputation for future employment, rather than be dismissed from the service. SUTHERLAND GLOBAL SERIVES (PHILIPPINES), INC. AND JANETTE G. LAGAZO v. LARRY S. LABRADOR. G.R. NO. 193107. MARCH 24, 2014 The Court agrees with petitioner's contention that private respondent's act of posting bail and filing his Motion for Consolidation vests the Sandiganbayan with jurisdiction over his person. The rule is well settled that the act of an accused in posting bail or in filing motions seeking affirmative relief is tantamount to submission of his person to the jurisdiction of the court. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HENRY T. GO. G.R. NO. 168539, MARCH 25, 2014 The supposed inaction of the SLU and its officials when the Olairez group visited the school to demand their compliance with the decision was not borne out of a contumacious conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to hinder the implementation of a judgment. A conduct, to be contumacious, implies willfulness, bad faith or with deliberate intent to cause injustice, which is clearly not the case here. On the contrary, SLU was well within its rights to appeal the decision and not immediately heed the demand of the Olairez group.

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Records reveal that the Olairez group violated the three-day notice rule on hearing of motions as provided in Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court when they scheduled the hearing on their “Very Urgent Motion to Cite Defendants In Contempt” just one day after they filed the said pleading. As a rule, any motion that does not comply with the requirements of Rule 15 should not be received for filing and, if filed, is not entitled to judicial cognizance, subject only to some exceptions, such as where a rigid application of the rule will result in a manifest failure or miscarriage of justice or if there was substantial compliance. BABY NELLIE M. OLAIREZ, et al. vs. SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY, INC., et al. G.R. NO. 174758, MARCH 26, 2014

Loafing is defined under the Civil Service rules as “frequent unauthorized absences from duty during office hours.” The word “frequent” connotes that the employees absent themselves from duty more than once. Respondent’s two absences from his post, being without authority, can already be characterized as frequent. It constitutes inefficiency and dereliction of duty, which adversely affect the prompt delivery of justice. Substantial evidence shows that respondent is guilty of loafing. The investigation conducted by the investigating lawyers of the OCA revealed at least two (2) instances when he was out of his assigned post/station during regular office hours. He failed to sufficiently refute these findings.OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. JOHNI GLENN D. RUNES. A.M. NO. P-12-3055, MARCH 26, 2014 Subject to Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 58 the, if the matter is of extreme urgency and the applicant will suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury, the executive judge of a multiple-sala court or the presiding judge of a single-sala court may issue ex parte a temporary restraining order effective for only seventy-two (72) hours from issuance, but he shall immediately comply with the provisions of the next preceding section as to service of summons and the documents to be served therewith. Thereafter, within the aforesaid seventy-two (72) hours, the judge before whom the case is pending shall conduct a summary hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order shall be extended until the application for preliminary injunction can be heard. In no case shall the total period of effectivity of the temporary restraining order exceed twenty (20) days, including the original seventy-two (72) hours provided herein. The Court does not now find that Judge Jurado acted in bad faith or with ill will or malicious motive when he granted the TRO extension and later the preliminary injunction. It would have been irregular and unreasonable for him to act on the extension of the 72-hour TRO on June 6, 2011 when the cases were first raffled to him, and besides, under Rule 58 he had 24 hours to act thereon. Moreover, PAGCOR is not justified in failing to file a requisite motion for reconsideration, and to observe the hierarchy of courts. While the question of whether to give due course to the petitions is addressed to the discretion of the Court, it behooves PAGCOR to observe the applicable rules and keep in mind that the Court will not take lightly any non-observance of our settled rules as if they are mere technicalities. A motion for reconsideration is a condition sine qua non for the special civil action of certiorari. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION v. THUNDERBIRD PILIPINAS HOTELS AND RESORTS, INC., et al. G.R. NO. 197942-43/G.R. NO. 199528, MARCH 26, 2014 A court employee who was charged with dishonesty cannot claim that the admission of documentary evidence which were mere photocopies and were obtained without her consent constitute a violation of her right to due process. Proceedings in administrative investigation are not strictly governed by the technical rules of evidence. They are summary in nature. Thus, administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial sense. It is enough that the party is given the chance to be heard before the case against him is decided. Otherwise stated, in the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded is not lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. Anonymous Complaint Against Otelia Lyn G. Maceda, Court Interpreter, Municipal Trial Court, Palapag, Northern Samar. A.M. No. P-12-3093, March 26, 2014 After a careful review, this Court is convinced that AAA’s unwavering narration of how she was raped, together with her positive identification of her own father as the one who raped her, are worthy of belief.

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For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at the time of the commission of the crime, but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus delicti or within its immediate vicinity. Physical impossibility refers not only to the geographical distance between the place where the accused was and the place where the crime was committed when the crime transpired, but more importantly, the facility of access between the two places. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JESUS BURCE. G.R. NO. 201732, MARCH 26, 2014 As a general rule, a writ of execution should strictly conform to every particular of the judgment to be executed, and not vary the terms of the judgment it seeks to enforce, nor may it go beyond the terms of the judgment sought to be executed; the execution is void if it is in excess of and beyond the original judgment or award. However, a writ of execution issued upon a final judgment adjudicating the ownership of land to a party may authorize putting her in possession although the judgment does not specifically direct such act. LEONORA A. PASCUAL v. JOSEFINO L. DAQUIOAG, ET AL. G.R. NO. 162063, MARCH 31, 2014

The petition for review of Limson projects issues of fact. It urges the Court to undo the findings of fact of the OCP, the Secretary of Justice and the CA on the basis of the documents submitted with her petition. But the Court is not a trier of facts, and cannot analyze and weigh evidence. Indeed, Section 1 of Rule 45, Rules of Court explicitly requires the petition for review on certiorari to raise only questions of law, which must be distinctly set forth. Accordingly, the petition for review of Limson is outrightly rejected for this reason. REVELINA LIMSON v. EUGENIO JUAN GONZALEZ. G.R. NO. 162205, MARCH 31, 2014 The rationale for the requirement of first filing a motion for reconsideration before the filing of a petition for certiorari is that the law intends to afford the tribunal, board or office an opportunity to rectify the errors and mistakes it may have lapsed into before resort to the courts of justice can be had. In the instant case, the NLRC had all the opportunity to review its ruling and correct itself. Hence, the CA erred in dismissing the Rule 65 petition filed by Olores. EMMANUEL M. OLORES v. MANILA DOCTORS COLLEGE AND/OR TERESITA O. TURLA. G.R. NO. 201663, MARCH 31, 2014

LEGAL ETHICS

In administrative proceedings where the charge equates to a criminal offense, the showing of culpability on the part of the judicial officer should be nothing short of proof beyond reasonable doubt, especially because the charge is penal in character. Knowingly rendering an adjust judgment constitutes a serious criminal offense. Thus, the complainant must not only prove beyond reasonable doubt that the judgment is patently contrary to law or not supported by the evidence but that it was also made with deliberate intent to perpetrate an injustice. In other words, the judge was motivated by hatred, revenge, greed or some other similar motive in issuing the judgment. Bad faith is, therefore, the ground for liability. The failure of the judge to correctly interpret the law or to properly appreciate the evidence presented does not necessarily render him administratively liable. Unfounded administrative charges against judges truly degrade the judicial office, and interfere with the due performance of their work for the Judiciary. Indeed, no judicial officer should have to fear or apprehend being held to account or to answer for performing his judicial functions and office because such performance is a matter of public duty and responsibility. RE: Verified Complaint of AMA Land, Inc. against Hon. Danton Q. Bueser, et al., A.M. OCA IPI No. 12202-CA-J, (2013) A notary public should not notarize a document unless the person who signed the same is the very same person who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and the truth of what are stated therein. Without the appearance of the person who actually executed the document in question, the notary public would be unable to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the party’s free act or deed. Respondent’s failure to perform his duty as a notary public resulted not only damage to those directly affected by the notarized document but also in undermining the integrity of a notary public and in degrading the function of notarization. He should, thus, be held liable for such negligence not only as a notary public but also as a lawyer. The responsibility to faithfully observe and respect the legal solemnity of the oath in an acknowledgment or jurat is more pronounced when the notary public is a lawyer because of his solemn oath under the Code of Professional Responsibility to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any. Lawyers commissioned as notaries public are mandated to discharge with fidelity the

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duties of their offices, such duties being dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. Patricio V. Agbulos v. Atty. Rosekker A. Viray, A.C. No. 7350 (2013) Once a lawyer agrees to take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his client’s rights, and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law, legally applied. A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his client, he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession. Augusto P. Baldado v. Atty. Aquilino A. Mejica, A.C. No. 9120 (2013) The following procedural requisites must be complied with before petitioner may be punished for indirect contempt: First, there must be an order requiring the petitioner to show cause why she should not be cited for contempt. Second, the petitioner must be given the opportunity to comment on the charge against her. Third, there must be a hearing and the court must investigate the charge and consider petitioner’s answer. Finally, only if found guilty will petitioner be punished accordingly. What is most essential in indirect contempt cases, however, is that the alleged contemner be granted an opportunity to meet the charges against him and to be heard in his defenses. Plainly, respondent Judge's obstinate disregard of established rules of procedure amounts to gross ignorance of the law or procedure, since he disregarded the basic procedural requirements in instituting an indirect contempt charge. Anna Liza ValmoresSalinas v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City, A.M. No. RTJ12-2335 (2013)

An attorney who conceals his inefficiency and lack of diligence by giving wrong information to his client regarding the matter subject of their professional relationship is guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer of the Court. He thereby violates his Lawyer's Oath to conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his client. Furthermore, he also violates Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, by which he is called upon to serve his client with competence and diligence. Every attorney owes fidelity to the causes and concerns of his clients. He must be ever mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the clients. His duty to safeguard the clients’ interests commences from his engagement as such, and lasts until his effective release by the clients. In that time, he is expected to take every reasonable step and exercise ordinary care as his clients’ interests may require. Johnny Pesto v. Marcelito Millo, Adm. Case No. 9612 (2013)

A lawyer engaged for his services regarding the recovery of a land title which the other party refuses to convey to his client cannot by himself lease the subject property to any third person and collect rentals as payment for expenses incurred in the process of the title transfer; more importantly when there is no valid showing that the said collections were actually used for the said transfer. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such as for the processing of transfer of land title, but not used for the purpose, should be immediately returned. A lawyer’s failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed to him by his client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. It impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment. Gloria P. Jinon v. Atty. Leonardo E. Jiz, A.C. No. 9615 (2013) Under the 1987 Constitution, trial judges are mandated to decide and resolve cases within 90 days from submission for decision or resolution. Corollary to this constitutional mandate, Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary requires judges to perform all judicial duties efficiently, fairly, and with reasonable promptness. The mandate to promptly dispose of cases or matters also applies to motions or interlocutory matters or incidents pending before the magistrate. Unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a pending incident is a violation of the norms of judicial conduct and constitutes gross inefficiency that warrants the imposition of an administrative sanction against the defaulting magistrate. An inexcusable failure to decide a case within the prescribed 90-day period

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constitutes gross inefficiency, warranting the imposition of administrative sanctions such as suspension from office without pay or fine on the defaulting judge. Office of the Administrator Court v. Judge Fernando G. Fuentes III, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2342/A.M. No. RTJ-12-2318 (2013) In order for the Court to acquire jurisdiction over an administrative proceeding, the complaint must be filed during the incumbency of the respondent public official or employee. This is because the filing of an administrative case is predicated on the holding of a position or office in the government service. However, once jurisdiction has attached, the same is not lost by the mere fact that the public official or employee was no longer in office during the pendency of the case. In fine, cessation from office by reason of resignation, death or retirement is not a ground to dismiss the case filed against the said officer or employee at the time that he was still in the public service or render it moot and academic. If after his retirement a judicial audit has been conducted and it was found that he is indeed liable, though the Court concedes that there are no promulgated rules on the conduct of judicial audit, the absence of such rules should not serve as license to recommend the imposition of penalties to retired judges who, during their incumbency, were never given a chance to explain the circumstances behind the results of the judicial audit. Office of the Court Administrator v. Jesus L. Grageda, A.M. No. RTJ-10-2235 (2013) Mere allegations of impartiality against the respondents cannot be the sole basis for the grant of a Motion for Inhibition against them. An inhibition must be for just and valid reason. The mere imputation of bias or partiality is not enough ground, especially when the charge is without basis. Jasper Junno F. Rodica v. Atty. Manuel “Lolong” M. Lazaro, et al, A.C. No. 9259 (2013) It is the duty of every judge to resolve the cases submitted before them promptly. The honor and integrity of the judicial system is measured not only by the fairness and correctness of decisions rendered, but also by the efficiency with which disputes are resolved. The delay in deciding a case within the reglementary period constitutes a violation of Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct which mandates judges to perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with promptness. A judge cannot simply take refuge behind the inefficiency or mismanagement of her court personnel, for the latter are not the guardians of the former’s responsibility. Unless the reins of control and supervision over the administrative aspect of the adjudicatory process are tightened, the swift and efficient delivery of justice will be impeded and rendered illusory. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Rosabella M. Tormis, Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 4, Cebu City and Mr. Reynaldo S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, A.M. No. MTJ-12-1818 (2013) The personal letters written by the respondent seeking for the mercy of the Supreme Court in order to lighten the penalties imposed upon her were treated as Motions for Reconsideration. Filing of multiple Motions for Reconsideration in the guise of personal letters to whoever sits as the Chief Magistrate of the Court, is trifling with the judicial processes to evade a final judgment. Carmen P. Edano v. Judge Fatima Gonzales-Asdala and Stenographer Myrla del Pilar Nicandro, A.M. No. RTJ-06-1974 (2013) The signing of the Complaint by the office secretary of the respondent upon his own instructions constituted an unauthorized practice of law as it is the lawyer’s duty and not that of his secretary. A lawyer’s duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in education and character. The permissive right conferred on the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency, personal or corporate. And, the law makes it misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law. Atty. Bancolo’s authority and duty to sign a pleading are personal to him. Although he may delegate the signing of a pleading to another lawyer, he may not delegate it to a non-lawyer. Further, under the Rules of Court, counsel’s signature serves as a certification that (1) he has read the pleading; (2) to the best of his knowledge, information and belief there is good ground to support it; and (3) it is not interposed for delay. Thus, by affixing one’s signature to a pleading, it is counsel alone who has the

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responsibility to certify to these matters and give legal effect to the document. Rodrigo E. Tapay and Anthony J. Rustia v. Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo and Atty. Janus T. Jarder, A.C. No. 9604 (2013) Employees of the judiciary should be very circumspect in how they conduct themselves inside and outside the office. It matters not that his acts were not work-related. Employees of the judiciary should be living examples of uprightness, not only in the performance of official duties, but also in their personal and private dealings with other people, so as to preserve at all times the good name and standing of the courts in the community. Any scandalous behavior or any act that may erode the people’s esteem for the judiciary is unbecoming of an employee. Professionalism, respect for the rights of others, good manners and right conduct are expected of all judicial officers and employees. Any transgression or deviation from the established norm of conduct, work related or not, amounts to a misconduct. However, respondent cannot be held liable for grave abuse of authority. Grave abuse of authority has been defined as a misdemeanor committed by a public officer, who under color of his office, wrongfully inflicts upon any person any bodily harm, imprisonment or other injury; it is an act of cruelty, severity, or excessive use of authority. In the present case, the acts complained of against the respondent are not connected to the performance of his duty as a sheriff. Antioco Bonono, Jr. and Victoria Ravelo-Camingue v. Jaime dela Pena Sunit, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 29, Surigao City, A.M. No. P-12-3073 (2013) Falsification of time records constitutes dishonesty. Dishonesty has been defined as the disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or betray. The conduct of court personnel, from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk, must always be beyond reproach and must be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility as to let them be free from any suspicion that may taint the judiciary. The Court condemns and would never countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice, which would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary. Judge Anastacio C, Rufon v. Manuelito P. Genita, Legal researcher II, Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, Bacolod City, A.M. No. P-12-3044 (2013)

Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court expressly prohibits sitting judges from engaging in the private practice of law or giving professional advice to clients. The prohibition is based on sound reasons of public policy, considering that the rights, duties, privileges and functions of the office of an attorney are inherently incompatible with the high official functions, duties, powers, discretion and privileges of a sitting judge. It also aims to ensure that judges give their full time and attention to their judicial duties, prevent them from extending favors to their own private interests, and assure the public of their impartiality in the performance of their functions. Thus, an attorney who accepts an appointment to the Bench must accept that his right to practice law as a member of the Philippine Bar is thereby suspended, and it shall continue to be so suspended for the entire period of his incumbency as a judge. The act of a judge coaching her daughter who is the counsel of the respondent during a hearing is considered as engaging in private practice of law. A judge may not involve himself in any activity that is an aspect of the private practice of law. His acceptance of an appointment to the Bench inhibits him from engaging in such practice, regardless of the beneficiary of the activity being a member of his immediate family. The judge’s act of doing so renders him guilty of conduct unbecoming of a judge. Sonia C. Decena and Rey C. Decena v. Judge Nilo Malanyaon, A.M. No. RTJ-10-2217 (2013)

Complainant’s complaint charging the respondent with Impropriety and Partiality cannot hold water on the basis that respondent is defendant’s second cousin by affinity since the former’s aunt is married to an uncle of the defendant. There is no affinity between the blood relatives of one spouse and the blood relatives of the other. A husband is related by affinity to his wife’s brother, but not to the wife of his wife’s brother. There is no affinity between the husband’s brother and the wife’s sister; this is called affinitas affinitatis. Thus, Judge Wacas is not disqualified under Sec. 1 of Rule 137 to hear Election Case No. 40. Johnwell W. Tiggangay v. Judge Marcelino K. Wacas, Regional Trial Court, Branch 25, Tabuk City, Kalinga, A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3243-RTJ (2013)

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Solemnizing marriages even if the requirements submitted by the couples were incomplete and of questionable character constitutes gross inefficiency. Failure to ensure the payment of solemnization fees constitutes neglect of duty. Solemnizing marriages where legal impediments existed during cohabitation such as the minority status of one party constitutes gross ignorance of the law. Ignorance of the law is a mark of incompetence, and where the law involved is elementary, ignorance thereof is considered as an indication of lack of integrity. Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, et al., A.M. No. MTJ-07-1691 (2013) The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice clearly disqualifies a notary public from notarizing a document where the affiants are related to him within the fourth civil degree of affinity. On the other hand, if the notary public knows the affiants personally, he need not require them to show their valid identification cards. Violation of the disqualification rule under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice is not a sufficient ground to disbar a notary public since he did not commit any deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct or gross immoral conduct, or any other serious ground for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Bernard N. Jandoquile v. Atty. Quirino P. Revilla, Jr. A.C. No. 9514 (2013) Respondents as security guards to the premises of the Hall of Justice cannot be fully exonerated from liability. While they may have been properly moved to call attention to an apparent irregularity, respondents’ acts of "shouting" while angrily pointing their fingers at the complainants in front and in the presence of so many court personnel and visitors, thus causing complainants shame and embarrassment, cannot be allowed or tolerated. This Court has consistently directed the employees of the judiciary to exercise self-restraint and civility at all times. Hence, court employees cannot engage in a shouting match, act with vulgarity or behave in such a way that would diminish the sanctity and dignity of the courts, even when confronted with rudeness and insolence. Respondents' breach of this mandate not only showed a paucity of professionalism but also unjustifiably embarrassed complainants. Hence, regardless of respondents' motivations, their transgression of the bounds of decency warrants the imposition of a penalty as provided by law. L.G Johnna E. Lozada and L.G Liza S. Millado v. Ma. Theresa G. Zerrudo, Clerk of Court IV, and Salvacion D. Sermonia, Clerk IV, both of the Office of the Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities of Iloilo City, A.M. No. P-13-3108 (2013) In misrepresenting himself as a notary public, respondent exposed party-litigants, courts, other lawyers and the general public to the perils of ordinary documents posing as public instruments. As noted by the Investigating Commissioner, respondent committed acts of deceit and falsehood in open violation of the explicit pronouncements of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Evidently, respondent's conduct falls miserably short of the high standards of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing required from lawyers. It is proper that he be sanctioned. The duties of notaries public are dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. Notarization is not a routinary, meaningless act, for notarization converts a private document to a public instrument, making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution. Efigenia M. Tenoso v. Atty. Anselmo S. Echanez, A.C. No. 8384 (2013) The Constitution has empowered the Supreme Court to promulgate rules concerning the integrated bar. Pursuant thereto, the Court wields a continuing power of supervision over the IBP and its affairs like the elections of its officers. It is not only an exercise of its constitutional and statutory mandated duty, but also of its symbolic function of providing guiding principles, precepts and doctrines for the purpose of steering the members of the bench and the bar to the proper path. Each region, as enumerated under Section 3, Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court, shall have the opportunity to have its representative elected as Executive Vice-President of the IBP, provided that, the election for the position of Executive Vice President shall be on a strict rotation by exclusion basis. A region, whose representative has just been elected as Executive Vice President, can no longer have its representative elected for the same position in subsequent elections until after all regions have had the opportunity to be elected as such. At the end of the rotational cycle, all regions, except the region whose representative has just served the immediately preceding term, may be elected for another term as Executive Vice-President in the new rotational cycle. The region whose representative served last in the previous rotational cycle may be elected Executive Vice-President only after the first term of the new rotational cycle ends, subject once more to the rule on exclusion. The order of rotation by exclusion shall be without prejudice to the regions entering into a consensus to adopt any pre-ordained sequence in the new rotation cycle provided each region will have its turn in the rotation. A violation of the rotation rule in any election shall be penalized by

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annulment of the election and disqualification of the offender from election or appointment to any office in the IBP. In the Matter of the Brewing Controversies in the Elections of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines: Atty. Marcial M. Magsino, et al v. Atty. Rogelio A. Vinluan, A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC/A.C. No. 8292 (2013) If a misconduct as a government official also constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer, then a lawyer may be disciplined by this Court as a member of the Bar. Generally speaking, a lawyer who holds a government office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government official. However, if said misconduct as a government official also constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer, then he may be disciplined by this Court as a member of the Bar. A member of the Bar who assumes public office does not shed his professional obligations. Lawyers in government are public servants who owe the utmost fidelity to the public service. Thus, they should be more sensitive in the performance of their professional obligations, as their conduct is subject to the everconstant scrutiny of the public. For a lawyer in public office is expected not only to refrain from any act or omission which might tend to lessen the trust and confidence of the citizenry in government, she must also uphold the dignity of the legal profession at all times and observe a high standard of honesty and fair dealing. Otherwise said, a lawyer in government service is a keeper of the public faith and is burdened with high degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than her brethren in private practice. Rosario Berenguer-Landers and Pablo Berenguer v. Atty. Isabel E. Florin, et al., A.C. No. 5119 (2013) All directives coming from the Court Administrator and his deputies are issued in the exercise of this Court’s administrative supervision of trial courts and their personnel, hence, should be respected. These directives are not mere requests but should be complied with promptly and completely. Indefensible disregard of the orders of the OCA for him to comment on the complaint and to explain his infractions, shows his disrespect for and contempt, not just for the OCA, but also for the Court, which exercises direct administrative supervision over trial court officers and employees through the OCA. His indifference to, and disregard of, the directives issued to him clearly constituted insubordination. Respondent’s failure to explain his side is tantamount to his admission of the charges against him. Auxencio Joseph B. Clemente, Clerk of Court, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 48, Pasay City v. Erwin Bautista, Clerk III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 48, Pasay City, A.M. NO. P-10-2879 (2013) Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining whether a lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting interest: One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for the other client. Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyer’s duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty. Still another test is whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment. The termination of the relation of attorney and client provides no justification for a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client. The reason for the rule is that the client’s confidence once reposed cannot be divested by the expiration of the professional employment. Consequently, a lawyer should not, even after the severance of the relation with his client, do anything which will injuriously affect his former client in any matter in which he previously represented him nor should he disclose or use any of the client's confidences acquired in the previous relation. Dr. Teresita Lee v. Atty. Amador L. Simando, A.C. No. 9537 (2013) Respondent's (security guard) act of hurling invectives on the complainants (clerks of court) during office hours and within the court premises was correctly held to be a case of simple misconduct. Respondent‘s foul and vulgar utterances, albeit not work related, constitute clear deviations from the established norms of conduct which ought to be followed by public officers. The conduct and behavior of every official and employee of an agency involved in the administration of justice, from the presiding judge to the most junior clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Their conduct must at all times be characterized by strict propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the public's respect for the judiciary. Any fighting or misunderstanding among court employees becomes a disgraceful sight reflecting adversely on the good image of the judiciary. Professionalism, respect for the rights of others, good manners, and right conduct are expected of all judicial officers and employees. This standard is applied with respect to a court employee's dealings not only with the public but also with his or her co-workers in the service. Conduct violative of this standard quickly and surely corrodes respect for the courts. Ria

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Pamela B. Abulencia and Blesse M. Burgonio v. Regino R. Hermosisima, Security Guard II, Sheriff and Security Division, Sandiganbayan, A.M. SB-13-20-P (2013) A judge’s retirement effectively barred the Court from pursuing the instant administrative proceeding that was instituted after his tenure in office, and divested the Court, much less the OCA, of any jurisdiction to still subject him to the rules and regulations of the judiciary and/or to penalize him for the infractions committed while he was still in the service. This Court concedes that there are no promulgated rules on the conduct of judicial audit. However, the absence of such rules should not serve as license to recommend the imposition of penalties to retired judges who, during their incumbency, were never given a chance to explain the circumstances behind the results of the judicial audit. Office of the Court Administrator v. Retired Judge Guillermo R. Andaya, A.M. RTJ-09-2181 (2013)

Article 1491, paragraph 5 of the Civil Code prohibits court officers such as clerks of court from acquiring property involved in litigation within the jurisdiction or territory of their courts. The rationale advanced for the prohibition is that public policy disallows the transactions in view of the fiduciary relationship involved. In so providing, the Code tends to prevent fraud, or more precisely, tends not to give occasion for fraud, which is what can and must be done. For the prohibition to apply, the sale or assignment of the property must take place during the pendency of the litigation involving the property. The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees mandates that public officials and employees shall remain true to the people at all times. They must act with justness and sincerity and shall not discriminate against anyone, especially the poor and the underprivileged. They shall at all times respect the rights of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest. Rodolfo C. Sabidong v. Nicolasito S. Solas, A.M. No. P-011448 (2013) A close-to-unbearable working condition under Judge Misajon is a mitigating circumstance to the fact that respondent as Process Server is guilty of habitual absenteeism. Judge Misajon’s act of humiliating the respondent in the presence of other court personnel, the parties or the public, gives way to the compassion of the court in the imposition of proper penalties. All judges should always observe courtesy and civility. They should be temperate, patient and courteous, both in conduct and in language. Indeed, Judge Misajon can hold her colleagues in the Bench and her staff to the efficient performance of their duties without being offensive in her speech, remembering always that courtesy begets courtesy. Judge Ma. Monina S. Misajon v. Jerence P. Hiponia, et al., A.M. No. P-08-2439 (2013)

A court stenographer’s representation that he himself took the Civil Service Examination when someone else took it for him constitutes Dishonesty. It bears noting that per CSC Memorandum Circular No. 15, Series of 1991, the use of spurious Civil Service eligibility constitutes dishonesty, among others. Dishonesty is a malevolent act that has no place in the judiciary. No other office in the government service exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness from an employee than a position in the judiciary. Civil Service Commission v. Ismael A. Hadji Ali, A.M. No. SCC-08-11-P (2013)

A Labor Arbiter who refused to issue a writ of execution without monetary compensation from the complainant, is guilty of gross immoral conduct and gross misconduct. The possession of good moral character is both a condition precedent and a continuing requirement to warrant admission to the Bar and to retain membership in the legal profession. This proceeds from the lawyer’s duty to observe the highest degree of morality in order to safeguard the Bar’s integrity. Consequently, any errant behavior on the part of a lawyer, be it in the lawyer’s public or private activities, which tends to show deficiency in moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor, is sufficient to warrant suspension or disbarment. Eduardo A. Abella v. Ricardo G. Barrios, Jr. Adm. Case No. 7332 (2013)

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A ground for revocation of a notary public's commission is failure of the notary to send the copy of the entries to the proper clerk of the RTC within the first ten days of the month next following or the failure of the notary to forward his notarial register, when filled, to the proper clerk of court. The failure of respondent to submit to the proper RTC Clerk of Court her Notarial Register/Report for the month of November 1986 and a copy of the Deed of Sale, which was notarized by her within that month, has farreaching implications and grave consequences, as it in effect suppressed evidence on the veracity of the said Deed of Sale and showed the deceitful conduct of respondent to withhold the truth about its authenticity. Anita C. Pena v. Atty. Christina C. Paterno, A.C. No. 4191 (2013)

A Clerk of Court is the court’s accountable officer. It was not the cash clerk. It was her duty to supervise and monitor her subordinate to ensure that the proper procedures were followed in the collection of the court’s funds. Being the custodian of the court’s funds, revenues, records, properties, and premises, she was liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of such funds and property. Time and again, the Court reminds that "those charged with the dispensation of justice, from the justices and judges to the lowliest clerks, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. A public servant is expected to exhibit, at all times, the highest degree of honesty and integrity, and should be made accountable to all those whom he serves. There is no place in the Judiciary for those who cannot meet the exacting standards of judicial conduct and integrity. The Court condemns and would never countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice which would violate the norm of public accountability and would diminish, or even just tend to diminish, the faith of the people in the Judiciary." Office of the Court Administrator v. Lorenza M. Martinez, A.M. No. P-06-2223 (2013)

The preparation of an extrajudicial settlement of estate constitutes practice of law. Not being a lawyer, a court stenographer had no authority to prepare and finalize an extrajudicial settlement of estate. Worse, respondent also admitted receiving money from complainant for her services. Being a court employee, respondent ought to have known that it was improper for her to prepare and finalize the extrajudicial settlement of estate, a service only a lawyer is authorized to perform, and to receive money therefore. It is true that respondent prepared and finalized the extrajudicial settlement of estate pursuant to a private agreement between her and complainant. However, respondent is an employee of the court whose conduct must always be beyond reproach and circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility as to let her be free from any suspicion that may taint the judiciary. She is expected to exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in the performance of her official duties but also in her personal and private dealings with other people to preserve the court’s good name and standing. In preparing and finalizing the extrajudicial settlement of estate and receiving compensation for the same even when she is not a lawyer, respondent is guilty of simple misconduct. Leticia A. Arienda v. Evelyn A. Montilla, A.M. No. P-11-2980 (2013)

Falsification of Daily Time Record constitutes dishonesty. Dishonesty refers to the disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud, deceive or betray. It is a grave offense penalized by dismissal from the service even for the first offense. Office of the Court Administrator v. Nelson P. Magbanua, A.M. P-12-3048 (2013)

Undue delay in the disposition of cases calls for administrative measures against the respondent judge as she fails to resolve the cases submitted before her within the time mandated by the Constitution. A judge should be prompt in disposing of all matters submitted to him, remembering that justice delayed is often justice denied. Prompt disposition of cases is attained basically through the efficiency and dedication to duty of judges. If judges do not possess those traits, delay in the disposition of cases is inevitable to the prejudice of litigants. Accordingly, judges should be imbued with a high sense of duty and responsibility in the discharge of their obligation to administer justice promptly. He should be punctual in the performance

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of his judicial duties, recognizing that the time of litigants, witnesses, and attorneys is of value and that if the judge is unpunctual in his habits, he sets a bad example to the bar and tends to create dissatisfaction with the administration of justice. Maricor L. Garado v. Judge Lizabeth Gutierrez-Torres, A.M. No. MTJ-11-778 (2013)

Failure to submit a written explanation for her continuous absence and failure to transcribe stenographic notes despite written and verbal warnings; as well as her failure to improve work performance, warrant the unsatisfactory rating of the respondent, a court stenographer. Public accountability essentially includes discharging one's duties as a public officer with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, loyalty, and efficiency. Incompetence and inefficiency have no place in public service, especially in the dispensation of justice. RE: Dropping from the Rolls of Joylyn R. Dupaya, Court Stenographer III, Regional Trial Court, Branch 10, Aparri, Cagayan, A.M. No. P-13-3115 (2013)

A process server, whose primary task is to serve court notices, is not authorized to collect or receive any amount of money from any party-litigant. The act of collecting or receiving money from a litigant constitutes grave misconduct in office. Thus, this kind of gross misconduct by those charged with administering and rendering justice erodes the respect for law and the courts. Respondent likewise violated Canon 1, Section 2 of the Code of Conduct of Court Personnel which provides that court personnel shall not solicit or accept any gifts, favor or benefit of any explicit or implicit understanding that such gift shall influence their official actions. Judge Antonio C. Reyes v. Edwin Fangonil, Process Server, Regional Trial Court, Branch 61 of Baguio City, A.M. No. P-10-2741 (2013)

It is a fundamental rule of ethics that an attorney who undertakes to conduct an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its conclusion. It was a lawyer’s bounden duty to see his cases through until proper completion; he could not abandon or neglect them in midstream. Rex Polinar Dagohoy v. Atty. Artemio V. San Juan, A.C. No. 7944 (2013)

Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in the administration of justice. They act as vanguards of our legal system, protecting and upholding truth and the rule of law. They are expected to act with honesty in all their dealings, especially with the court. Verily, the Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins lawyers from committing or consenting to any falsehood in court or from allowing the courts to be misled by any artifice. Moreover, they are obliged to observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. Thus, even at the risk of jeopardizing the probability of prevailing on his client’s application for a search warrant, respondent should have informed the court of the patent’s expiration so as to allow the latter to make an informed decision given all available and pertinent facts. Sonic Steel Industries, Inc. v. Atty. Nonnatus P. Chua, A.C. No. 6942 (2013)

If the complainant feels aggrieved, she should resort to the available proper judicial remedy and exhaust it, instead of resorting to the unworthy disciplinary charge. Truly, disciplinary proceedings and criminal actions brought against any Judge or Justice in relation to the performance of official functions are neither complementary to nor suppletory of appropriate judicial remedies, nor a substitute for such remedies. To be clear, although we do not shirk from the responsibility of imposing discipline on the erring Judges or Justices and employees of the Judiciary, we shall not hesitate to shield them from baseless charges that only serve to disrupt rather than promote the orderly administration of justice. RE: Letter Complaint of Merlita B. Fabiana against Presiding Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr., et al., A.M. No. CA-13-51-J (2013)

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A judge who fails to promptly decide cases and resolve pending motions is guilty of gross inefficiency. As a frontline official of the Judiciary, a trial judge should at all times act with efficiency and probity. He is duty-bound not only to be faithful to the law, but also to maintain professional competence. The pursuit of excellence ought always to be his guiding principle. Such dedication is the least that he can do to sustain the trust and confidence that the public have reposed in him and the institution he represents. Nonetheless, the Court has been mindful of the plight of our judges and understanding of circumstances that may hinder them from promptly disposing of their businesses. Hence, the Court has allowed extensions of time to decide cases beyond the 90-day period. All that a judge needs to do is to request and justify an extension of time to decide the cases, and the Court has almost invariably granted such request. RE: Failure of Judge Antonio A. Carbonell to Decide Cases Submitted for Decision and to Resolve Pending Motions in the regional Trial Court, Branch 27, San Fernando, La Union, A.M. No. 08-5-305-Rtc (2013)

A lawyer who represented those who were victims of a pyramid scam against a corporation and then later on enters his appearance as counsel for the officers of such corporation for the criminal cases involving the same pyramid scam is guilty of misconduct. The lawyer’s highest and most unquestioned duty is to protect the client at all hazards and costs even to himself. The protection given to the client is perpetual and does not cease with the termination of the litigation, nor is it affected by the client’s ceasing to employ the attorney and retaining another, or by any other change of relation between them. It even survives the death of the client. The rule prohibiting conflict of interest was fashioned to prevent situations wherein a lawyer would be representing a client whose interest is directly adverse to any of his present or former clients. In the same way, a lawyer may only be allowed to represent a client involving the same or a substantially related matter that is materially adverse to the former client only if the former client consents to it after consultation. Knowledge and information gathered in the course of the relationship must be treated as sacred and guarded with care. It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client’s confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing, for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is paramount in the administration of justice. The nature of that relationship is, therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. Ferdinand Samson v. Atty. Edgardo Era, A.C. No. 6664 (2013)

A court stenographer who caused another to take the Civil Service Eligibility Examination in her stead is guilty of gross dishonesty. All court employees of the Judiciary, being public servants in an office dispensing justice, must always act with a high degree of professionalism and responsibility. Their conduct must not only be characterized by propriety and decorum, but must also be in accordance with the law and court regulations. They should be models of uprightness, fairness and honesty, for that is the only way to maintain the people's respect for and faith in the Judiciary. They should avoid any act or conduct that would diminish public trust and confidence in the courts. Concerned Citizen v. Nonita Catena, A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 02-1321-P (2013)

The relationship between an attorney and his client is one imbued with utmost trust and confidence. In this light, clients are led to expect that lawyers would be ever-mindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their affairs. Verily, a lawyer is expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. A lawyer's negligence in fulfilling his duties subjects him to disciplinary action. While such negligence or carelessness is incapable of exact formulation, the Court has consistently held that the lawyer’s mere failure to perform the obligations due his client is per se a violation. Josefina Caranza Vda. De Saldivar v. Atty. Ramon SG Cabanez, Jr., A.C. No. 7749 (2013) While it may be true that complainant herself is engaged in illicit activities, the complainant’s own complicity does not negate, or even mitigate, the repugnancy of respondent lawyer’s offense. Quite the contrary, his offense is made even graver. He is a lawyer who is held to the highest standards of morality,

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honesty, integrity, and fair dealing. Perverting what is expected of him, he deliberately and cunningly took advantage of his knowledge and skill of the law to prejudice and torment other individuals. It is clear that respondent committed gross misconduct, dishonesty, and deceit when he executed the revocations of SPAs and affidavits of recovery and in arrogating for himself the ownership of the seven (7) subject parcels when all the while he knew it belongs to his client. It is established in Jurisprudence that disbarment is proper when lawyers commit gross misconduct, dishonesty, and deceit in usurping the property rights of other persons. Lilia Tabang and Concepcion Tabang v. Atty. Glenn C, Gacott, A.C. No. 6490. (2013) The deputy sheriffs’ act of using levied properties constitute grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty. These are flagrant and shameful acts and should not be countenanced. They grossly neglected their duty to safely keep the levied property under their custody. Sheriffs are reminded that they are repositories of public trust and are under obligation to perform the duties of their office honestly, faithfully, and to the best of their abilities. Being frontline officials of the justice system, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs must always strive to maintain public trust in the performance of their duties." Office of the Court Administrator v. Noel R. Ong and Alvin A. Buencamino, A.M. No. P-09-2690 (2013) Complainants were assailing the propriety of the decision rendered by Judge Cabochan. Complainants should be reminded that unfavorable rulings are not necessarily erroneous. Should they disagree with the ruling, there are judicial remedies available for them under the Rules of Court. As a matter of public policy, a judge cannot be subjected to liability for any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. On the other hand, failure to decide cases and other matters within the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of administrative sanction against the erring magistrate. The penalty to be imposed on the judge varies depending on the attending circumstances of the case. In deciding the penalty to be imposed, the Court takes into consideration, among others, the period of delay; the damage suffered by the parties as a result of the delay; the number of years the judge has been in the service; the health and age of the judge; and the case load of the court presided over by the judge. Konrad A. Rubin and Conrad C. Rubin v. Judge Evelyn Corpus-Cabochan, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 98, Quezon City, OCA I.P.I No. 11-3589-RTJ (2013) A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest conflicts with that of his present or former client. It is only upon strict compliance with the condition of full disclosure of facts that a lawyer may appear against his client; otherwise, his representation of conflicting interests is reprehensible. Such prohibition is founded on principles of public policy and good taste as the nature of the lawyer-client relations is one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. The respondent should be reminded that lawyers are expected not only to keep inviolate their client’s confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is paramount in the administration of justice. Konrad A. Rubin and Conrad C. Rubin v. Judge Evelyn Corpus-Cabochan, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 98, Quezon City, OCA I.P.I No. 11-3589-RTJ (2013) While there is incongruity between a post office certification and the records of respondents’ law firm as to when the subject NLRC decision was actually received by the latter, there is no clear and convincing evidence presented by complainants that respondents maliciously made it appear that they received the decision on a date ten days later than what is reflected on the records of the post office. The burden of proof in disbarment and suspension proceedings always rests on the shoulders of the complainant. The Court exercises its disciplinary power only if the complainant establishes the complaint by clearly preponderant evidence that warrants the imposition of the harsh penalty. As a rule, an attorney enjoys the legal presumption that he is innocent of the charges made against him until the contrary is proved. An attorney is further presumed as an officer of the Court to have performed his duties in accordance with his oath. Jaime Joven and Reynaldo C. Rasing v. Attys. Pablo R. Cruz and Frankie O. Magsalin III, A.C. No. 7686 (2013) A sheriff’s failure to fully implement the writ should not be taken entirely against him. He could not fulfill his task solely by verbally telling the occupants to vacate the property as he encountered resistance from the informal settlers on the property who had built permanent structures thereon and refused to leave. He,

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however, cannot fully be excused for his failure to make periodic reports in the proceedings taken on the writ, as mandated by Section 14, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. The submission of the return and of periodic reports by the sheriff is a duty that cannot be taken lightly. It serves to update the court on the status of the execution and the reasons for the failure to satisfy its judgment. The periodic reporting also provides the court insights on how efficient court processes are after a judgment’s promulgation. Its overall purpose is to ensure speedy execution of decisions. A sheriff’s failure to make a return and to submit a return within the required period constitutes inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties; it is conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. Development Bank of the Philippines v. Damvin V. Famero, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, A.M. No. P-10-2789 (2013) Respondent, in sending a text message trying to mediate an alleged bribery, committed misconduct. A perusal of the said text message reveals that respondent acted contrary to the norms of conduct required of her position. As Branch Clerk of Court, she serves as a sentinel of justice and any act of impropriety on her part immeasurably affects the honor and dignity of the Judiciary and the people’s confidence in it. Respondent should be reminded that a public servant must exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity for no less than the Constitution mandates that a public office is a public trust and public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. This constitutionallyenshrined principles, oft-repeated in our case law, are not mere rhetorical flourishes or idealistic sentiments. They should be taken as working standards by all in the public service. The conduct of every court personnel must be beyond reproach and free from suspicion that may cause to sully the image of the Judiciary. They must totally avoid any impression of impropriety, misdeed or misdemeanor not only in the performance of their official duties but also in conducting themselves outside or beyond the duties and functions of their office. Court personnel are enjoined to conduct themselves toward maintaining the prestige and integrity of the Judiciary for the very image of the latter is necessarily mirrored in their conduct, both official and otherwise. Judge Roberto P. Buenaventura, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 63, Makati City v. Fe A. Mabalot, Clerk of Court III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 63, Makati City, A.M. No. P-09-2726 (2013)

The 90-day period within which a sitting trial Judge should decide a case or resolve a pending matter is mandatory. The period is reckoned from the date of the filing of the last pleading. If the Judge cannot decide or resolve within the period, she can be allowed additional time to do so, provided she files a written request for the extension of her time to decide the case or resolve the pending matter. Only a valid reason may excuse a delay. A judge who failed to resolve a motion within the 90-day period to resolve the same is not guilty of gross inefficiency where the surrounding circumstances would involve a heavy court docket and large volume of the judge’s official workload. This failure does happen frequently when one is too preoccupied with too much work and is faced with more deadlines that can be humanly met. Most men call this failure inadvertence. A few characterize it as oversight. In either case, it is excusable except if it emanated from indolence, neglect, or bad faith. This reiteration is our way of assuring all judicial officials and personnel that the Court is not an uncaring overlord that would be unmindful of their fealty to their oaths and of their dedication to their work. For as long as they act efficiently to the best of their human abilities and for as long as they conduct themselves well in the service of our Country and People, the Court shall always be considerate and compassionate towards them. Col. Danilo Lubaton v. Judge Mary Josephine Lazaro, A.M. No. RTJ-12-2320 (2013)

The Court has consistently impressed upon judges the need to decide cases promptly and expeditiously under the time-honored precept that justice delayed is justice denied. Every judge should decide cases with dispatch and should be careful, punctual, and observant in the performance of his functions for delay in the disposition of cases erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it into disrepute. Failure to decide a case within the reglementary period is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the imposition of administrative sanctions on the defaulting judge. At the same time, however, the Court is also aware of the heavy case load of trial courts. The Court has allowed reasonable extensions of time needed to decide cases, but such extensions must

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first be requested from the Court. A judge cannot by himself choose to prolong the period for deciding cases beyond that authorized by law. RE: Cases Submitted for Decision before Hon. Teofilo D. Baluma, Former Judge, Branch 1, Regional Trial Court, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2355 (2013) The errors committed by respondent with respect to the nature of the remedy adopted in the criminal complaint and the forum selected in the civil complaint were so basic and could have been easily averted had he been more diligent and circumspect in his role as counsel for complainant. A client pays his lawyer hard-earned money as professional fees. In return, every case a lawyer accepts deserves his full attention, skill and competence, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins a lawyer not to neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. He must constantly keep in mind that his actions or omissions or nonfeasance would be binding upon his client. He is expected to be acquainted with the rudiments of law and legal procedure, and a client who deals with him has the right to expect not just a good amount of professional learning and competence but also a wholehearted fealty to the client’s cause. Similarly, under Rule 18.04, a lawyer has the duty to apprise his client of the status and developments of the case and all other information relevant thereto. He must be consistently mindful of his obligation to respond promptly should there be queries or requests for information from the client. The honor bestowed on his person to carry the title of a lawyer does not end upon taking the Lawyer’s Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys. Rather, such honor attaches to him for the entire duration of his practice of law and carries with it the consequent responsibility of not only satisfying the basic requirements but also going the extra mile in the protection of the interests of the client and the pursuit of justice. Julian Penilla v. Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr., A.C. No. 9149 (2013) A client has the absolute right to terminate the attorney-client relationship at any time with or without cause. But this right of the client is not unlimited because good faith is required in terminating the relationship. The limitation is based on Article 19 of the Civil Code, which mandates that "every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith." The right is also subject to the right of the attorney to be compensated. A client may at any time dismiss his attorney or substitute another in his place, but if the contract between client and attorney has been reduced to writing and the dismissal of the attorney was without justifiable cause, he shall be entitled to recover from the client the full compensation stipulated in the contract. However, the attorney may, in the discretion of the court, intervene in the case to protect his rights. For the payment of his compensation the attorney shall have a lien upon all judgments for the payment of money, and executions issued in pursuance of such judgment, rendered in the case wherein his services had been retained by the client. In the absence of the lawyer’s fault, consent or waiver, a client cannot deprive the lawyer of his just fees already earned in the guise of a justifiable reason. The Court must thwart any and every effort of clients already served by their attorneys’ worthy services to deprive them of their hard-earned compensation. Truly, the duty of the courts is not only to see to it that attorneys act in a proper and lawful manner, but also to see to it that attorneys are paid their just and lawful fees. Czarina T. Malvar v. Kraft Foods Phils., Inc., et al., G.R. No. 183952 (2013) Unreasonable delay in deciding cases and resolving incidents and motions, and failure to decide the remaining cases before his compulsory retirement constitutes gross inefficiency, warranting the imposition of an administrative sanction on the defaulting judge. A judge is mandated to diligently discharge administrative responsibilities and maintain professional competence in court management. Furthermore, a judge should organize and supervise the court personnel to ensure the prompt and efficient dispatch of business, and require at all times the observance of high standards of public service and fidelity. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Santiago E. Soriano, A.M. No. MTJ-07-1683 (2013) It is explicit that a lawyer is prohibited from representing new clients whose interests oppose those of a former client in any manner, whether or not they are parties in the same action or on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is founded on the principles of public policy and good taste. It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice. It must, however, be noted that a lawyer’s immutable duty to a former client does not cover transactions that occurred beyond the lawyer’s employment with the client. The intent of the law is to impose upon the lawyer the duty to protect the client’s interests only on matters that he previously handled for the former client and not for matters that

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arose after the lawyer-client relationship has terminated. Josephine L. Orola, et al. v. Atty. Joseph Ador Ramos, A.C. No. 9860 (2013) Petitioner has been engaged in the practice of law for a period spanning more than 30 years, without having signed in the Roll of Attorneys as when he thought that what he had signed at the PICC entrance before the oath-taking was already the Roll of Attorneys; only to find out later on that it was nothing but a mere attendance sheet. That said, however, we cannot fully exculpate petitioner Medado from all liability for his years of inaction. When, in spite of this knowledge, he chose to continue practicing law without taking the necessary steps to complete all the requirements for admission to the Bar, he willfully engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law likewise transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provided that a lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of law. While an honest mistake of fact could be used to excuse a person from the legal consequences of his acts as it negates malice or evil motive, a mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful justification, because everyone is presumed to know the law and its consequences. IN RE: Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys Michael A. Medado, B.M. No. 2540 (2013) Justices are prohibited from sitting in any case in which he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling or decision is the subject of review. However, if the Decision is not in issue or under review and is merely incidental or part of the "history" of the case, the prohibition is inapplicable. Crisanta GuidoEnriquez v. Alicia I. Victorino, et al., G.R. No. 180427 (2013)

A lawyer who forges a court decision in consideration of a sum of money and represents it as that of a court of law is guilty of grave misconduct and deserves the supreme penalty of disbarment. The deliberate falsification of the court decision by the respondent was an act that reflected a high degree of moral turpitude on his part. Worse, the act made a mockery of the administration of justice in this country, given the purpose of the falsification, which was to mislead a foreign tribunal on the personal status of a person. He thereby became unworthy of continuing as a member of the Bar. No lawyer should ever lose sight of the verity that the practice of the legal profession is always a privilege that the Court extends only to the deserving, and that the Court may withdraw or deny the privilege to him who fails to observe and respect the Lawyer’s Oath and the canons of ethical conduct in his professional and private capacities. Verily, no lawyer is immune from the disciplinary authority of the Court whose duty and obligation are to investigate and punish lawyer misconduct committed either in a professional or private capacity. The test is whether the conduct shows the lawyer to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, and whether the conduct renders the lawyer unworthy to continue as an officer of the Court. Atty. Oscar Embido v. Atty. Salvador Pe, A.C. No. 6732 (2013)

A lawyer who commits overt acts of sexual harassment against a female client is guilty of reprehensible conduct that is unbecoming of a member of the Bar and may be condignly punished with suspension from the practice of law. Immoral conduct is gross when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree, or when committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the community’s sense of decency. The possession of good moral character is both a condition precedent and a continuing requirement to warrant admission to the Bar and to retain membership in the Legal Profession. Members of the Bar are clearly duty- bound to observe the highest degree of morality and integrity in order to safeguard the reputation of the Bar. Any errant behavior on the part of a lawyer that tends to expose a deficiency in moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor, be it in the lawyer’s public or private activities, is sufficient to warrant the lawyer’s suspension or disbarment. Jocelyn de Leon v. Atty. Tyrone Pedrena, A.C. No. 9401 (2013)

Section 7, Rule III of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. (RA) 10154, which requires retiring government employees to secure a prior clearance of pendency/non-pendency of administrative case/s from, among others, the CSC – should not be made to apply to employees of the Judiciary. To deem it otherwise would disregard the Court’s constitutionally-enshrined power of

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administrative supervision over its personnel. Besides, retiring court personnel are already required to secure a prior clearance of the pendency/non-pendency of administrative case/s from the Court which makes the CSC clearance a superfluous and non-expeditious requirement contrary to the declared state policy of RA 10154. It must, however, be noted that since the Constitution only accords the Judiciary administrative supervision over its personnel, a different treatment of the clearance requirement obtains with respect to criminal cases. As such, a clearance requirement which pertains to criminal cases may be imposed by the appropriate government agency, i.e., the Office of the Ombudsman, on retiring court personnel as it is a matter beyond the ambit of the Judiciary’s power of administrative supervision. RE: Request for Guidance/Clarification of Section 7, Rule III of Republic Act No. 10154 Requiring Retiring Government Employees to Secure a Clearance of Pendency/Non-Pendency of Cases from the Civil Service Commission, A.M. No. 13-09-08-SC (2013) Safe keeping of public and trust funds is essential to an orderly administration of justice. No protestation of good faith can override the mandatory nature of the circulars designed to promote full accountability of government funds. The Court has not hesitated to impose the ultimate penalty on those who have fallen short of their accountabilities. Any conduct that would violate the norms of public accountability and diminish, or even merely tend to diminish, the faith of the people in the justice system has never been tolerated or condoned by the Court. This ought to be so. Clerks of court are the chief administrative officers of their respective courts. As such, they are duty-bound to use skill and diligence in the performance of their officially designated functions. Clerks of court perform a delicate function as designated custodians of the court’s funds, revenues, records, properties and premises. As such, they are generally regarded as treasurer, accountant, guard and physical plant manager thereof. Thus, they are liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of such funds and property. Office of the Court Administrator v. Nancy R. Leal, Clerk of Court II, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Sta. Ignacia – Mayontoc-San Climente – San Jose, Tarlac, A.M. No. P-12-3047 (2013) By failing to afford his clients every remedy and defense that is authorized by the law, a lawyer falls short of what is expected of him as an officer of the Court. A lawyer "is expected to exert his best efforts and ability to preserve his client's cause, for the unwavering loyalty displayed to his client likewise serves the ends of justice." Once a lawyer agrees to take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in maintenance and defense of his client’s rights, and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law, legally applied. A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his client; he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession. A lawyer’s diligence and vigilance is more imperative in criminal cases, where the life and liberty of an accused is at stake. Verily, the entrusted privilege to practice law carries with it the corresponding duties, not only to the client, but also to the court, to the bar and to the public. Mary Ann T. Mattus v. Atty. Albert T. Villaseca, A.C. No. 7922 (2013) The rules on execution are comprehensive enough for a judge not to know how to apply them or to be confused by any auxiliary incidents. The issuance of a writ of execution for a final and executory judgment is ministerial. In other words, a judge is not given the discretion whether or not to implement the judgment. He is to effect execution without delay and supervise implementation strictly in accordance with the judgment. While judges should not be disciplined for inefficiency on account merely of occasional mistakes or errors of judgments, it is highly imperative that they should be conversant with fundamental and basic legal principles in order to merit the confidence of the citizenry. Respondent Judge has shown lack of familiarity with our laws, rules and regulations as to undermine the public confidence in the integrity of the courts. Jesus D. Carbajosa v. Judge Hannibal R. Patricio, Presiding Judge, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, President Roxas, Capiz, A.M. No. MTJ-13-1834 (2013) It is a core ethical principle that lawyers owe fidelity to their clients’ cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in them. They are duty-bound to observe candor, fairness, and loyalty in all their dealings and transactions with their clients. Irrefragably, the legal profession demands of attorneys an absolute abdication of every personal advantage conflicting in any way, directly or indirectly, with the interests of their clients. Lest it be forgotten, lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency, but also of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing. These unyielding

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standards respondent evidently failed to adhere to. Ma. Jeniffer Tria-Samonte v. Epifania “Fanny” Obias, A.C. No. 4945 (2013) Undoubtedly, the use of prohibited drugs by Castor, court personnel, violated the norms of conduct for public service. By indulging in the use of illegal drugs, he committed conduct unbecoming of court personnel, which tarnished the very image and integrity of the Judiciary. The image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct, official and otherwise, of the personnel who work thereat. The conduct of a person serving the Judiciary must, at all times, be characterized by propriety and decorum and above all else, be above suspicion so as to earn and keep the respect of the public for the Judiciary. The Court would never countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those in the administration of justice, which will violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary. RE: Administrative Charge of Misconduct relative to the Alleged Use of Prohibited Drug ("Shabu") of Reynard B. Castor, Electrician II, Maintenance Division, Administrative Services, A.M. No. 2013-08-SC (2013) The Court has repeatedly emphasized that the relationship between a lawyer and his client is one imbued with utmost trust and confidence. In this regard, clients are led to expect that lawyers would be evermindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their affairs. For his part, the lawyer is expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. To this end, he is enjoined to employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives. Maria Cristina Zabaljauregui Pitcher v. Atty. Rustico B. Gagate, A.C. No. 9532 (2013)

Sheriffs are not allowed to receive any payments from the parties in the course of the performance of their duties. They cannot just unilaterally demand sums of money from the parties without observing the proper procedural steps. Sheriffs, as officers of the court and agents of the law, play an important role in the administration of justice. They are in the forefront of things, tasked as they are to serve judicial writs, execute all processes, and carry into effect the orders of the court. As a front-line representative of the judicial system, sheriffs must always demonstrate integrity in their conduct for once they lose the people’s trust, they also diminish the people’s faith in the entire judiciary. There being no sufficient justification for his delay in serving the summons on the defendant in the said case, he clearly disregarded his duty to promptly serve the summons and should thus be held liable for simple neglect of duty. The Court cannot overemphasize that the conduct required of court personnel must always be beyond reproach and circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility as to let them be free from any suspicion that may taint the judiciary. They shall endeavor to discourage wrong perceptions of their roles as dispensers or peddlers of undue patronage. As a court employee, it therefore behooves respondent sheriff to act with more circumspection and to steer clear of any situation, which may cast the slightest suspicion on his conduct. Atty. Vladimir Alarique T. Cabigao v. Neptali Angelo V. Nery, Sheriff III, Branch 30, Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila, A.M. No. P-13-3153 (2013) Court personnel must at all times act with strict propriety and proper decorum so as to earn and rebuild the public’s trust in the judiciary as an institution. This Court will not tolerate the practice of asking for advance payment from litigants, much less the unauthorized acceptance of judicial fees. Section 11, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, specifically provides that payment for requests of copies of the TSN shall be made to the Clerk of Court. Clearly, therefore, payment cannot be made to respondent, as it is an official transaction, and, as such, must be made to the Clerk of Court. Respondent, being a stenographer, is not authorized to accept payment for judicial fees, even if two-thirds of those fees would be paid to her anyway. Court personnel must at all times act with strict propriety and proper decorum so as to earn and rebuild the public’s trust in the judiciary as an institution. Every employee of the judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness and honesty. Joefil Baguio v. Maria Fe V. Arnejo, A.M. No. P-13-3155 (2013) A vital administrative function of a judge is effective management of his court, and this includes control of the conduct of the court’s ministerial officers. He has the responsibility to see to it that his clerk of court performs his duties and observes the circulars issued by the Supreme Court and that includes the

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safekeeping and on-time remittance of the legal fees collected. A Clerk of Court, on the other hand, is primarily accountable for all funds that are collected for the court, whether personally received by him or by a duly appointed cashier who is under his supervision and control. Being the custodian of the court’s funds, revenues, and records, respondent is likewise liable for any loss, shortage, destruction, or impairment of said funds and property. Clerks of Court have always been reminded of their duty to immediately deposit the various funds received by them to the authorized government depositories for they are not supposed to keep funds in their custody. The non-remittance of said amounts deprived the Court of the interest that may be earned if the amounts were deposited in a bank, as prudently required. The failure of a public officer to remit funds upon demand by an authorized officer constitutes prima facie evidence that the public officer has put such missing funds or property to personal use. Thus, they are not only guilty of gross neglect of duty in the performance of their duty for their failure to timely turn over the cash deposited with them but also gross dishonesty. Report on The FinanciaL Audit Conducted in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Tagum City, Davao del Norte, Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Ismael Salubre, et al. A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3138-P/A.M. No. MTJ-05-1618 (2013) As a matter of public policy, not every error or mistake committed by judges in the performance of their official duties renders them administratively liable. Only errors that are tainted with fraud, corruption or malice may be the subject of disciplinary actions. For administrative liability to attach, respondent must be shown to have been moved by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred or some other similar motive. Gross ignorance of the law is the disregard of basic rules and settled jurisprudence. A judge may also be administratively liable if shown to have been motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption in ignoring, contradicting or failing to apply settled law and jurisprudence. Though not every judicial error bespeaks ignorance of the law and that, if committed in good faith, does not warrant administrative sanction, the same applies only in cases within the parameters of tolerable misjudgment. Where the law is straightforward and the facts so evident, not to know it or to act as if one does not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. With regard to inhibition of judges, it must be borne in mind that it is rooted in the Constitution which recognizes the right to due process of every person. Due process necessarily requires that a hearing be conducted before an impartial and disinterested tribunal because unquestionably, every litigant is entitled to nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. All the other elements of due process, like notice and hearing, would be meaningless if the ultimate decision would come from a partial and biased judge. Ma. Regina S. Peralta v. Judge George E. Omelio / Romualdo G. Mendoza v. Judge George E. Omelio / Atty. Asteria E. Cruzabra v. Judge George E. Omelio, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2259 / A.M. No. RTJ-11-2264 / A.M. No. RTJ-11-2273 (2013)

The Judge was very much concerned with following the proper conduct of trial and ensuring that the OneDay Examination of Witness Rule was followed; but at the same time, he was sensitive to the fact that the witness was already exhausted, having testified for almost three hours. The acts of the respondent judge were far from being ill-motivated and in bad faith as to justify any administrative liability on his part. Atty. Jerome Norman L. Tacorda for: Odel L. Gedraga v. Judge Reynaldo B. Clemens, A.M. No. RTJ-132359 (2013) It is the duty of clerks of court to perform their responsibilities faithfully, so that they can fully comply with the circulars on deposits of collections. They are reminded to deposit immediately with authorized government depositaries the various funds they have collected because they are not authorized to keep those funds in their custody. The fact that the collected amounts were kept in the safety vault does not reduce the degree of defiance of the rules. The Office of Court Administrator v. Ma. Theresa G. Zerrudo, Clerk of Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Iloilo City, A.M. No. P-11-3006 (2013) A judge’s acts of meeting with litigants outside the office premises beyond office hours constitute gross misconduct. Section 1, Canon 2 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary states that " Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach, but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer." Section 2, Canon 2 of the Code states that "The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary” Section 1, Canon 4 of the Code states that "Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of their activities". Atty. Jessie Tuldague and Atty. Alfredo Balajo, Jr. v. Judge Moises Pardo and Jaime

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Calpatura, Legal Researcher and Officer-In-Charge, Regional Trial Court Branch 32, Cabarroguis Quirino, A.M. No. RTJ-05-1962/A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-2243-P/A.M. No. 05-10-661-RTC (2013) In a nutshell, the rules are explicit that the filing of a bond for the perfection of an appeal is mandatory and jurisdictional. The whole essence of requiring the filing of bond is defeated if the bond issued turned out to be invalid due to the surety company's expired accreditation. Thus, without the approval of this Court, the bond issued by bonding companies produces no legal effect. Respondents, by allowing the bonding company with expired accreditation to post bonds, as a consequence, put the litigants at risk, in the event the Court denies the application for accreditation. It betrays the purpose of the required certification issued by this Court which seeks to protect the litigants from spurious surety companies. It is not within respondents' discretion to allow the filing of the appeal bond issued by a bonding company with expired accreditation regardless of its pending application for renewal of accreditation. Respondents cannot extend Intra Strata's authority or accreditation. Neither can it validate an invalid bond issued by a bonding company with expired accreditation, or give a semblance of validity to it pending this Court's approval of the application for renewal of accreditation. It must be the emphasized that it is only the Supreme Court, through the Office of the Court Administrator, which can give authority and accreditation to surety companies to be able to transact business involving judicial bonds. Rolando E. Cawaling, et. al. v. Napoleon M. Menese, et. al., A.C. No. 9698, (2013) The Supreme Court exercises exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law. It exercises such disciplinary functions through the IBP, but it does not relinquish its duty to form its own judgment. Disbarment proceedings are exercised under the sole jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and the IBP’s recommendations imposing the penalty of suspension from the practice of law or disbarment are always subject to this Court’s review and approval. In administrative cases, the only issue within the ambit of the Court’s disciplinary authority is whether a lawyer is fit to remain a member of the Bar. Other issues, like the issue of ownership of real properties, are proper subjects of judicial action. The Court can dismiss an administrative case without prejudice when it could not determine his fitness to remain a member of the Bar without delving into issues which are proper subjects of judicial action. Spouses David and Marisa Williams v. Atty. Rudy T. Enriquez, A.C. No. 7329 (2013) The fabrication of an order by Judge Pacalna constitutes dishonesty. Dishonesty, like bad faith, is not simply bad judgment or negligence, but a question of intention. In ascertaining the intention of a person accused of dishonesty, consideration must be taken not only of the facts and circumstances which gave rise to the act committed by the respondent, but also of his state of mind at the time the offense was committed, the time he might have had at his disposal for the purpose of meditating on the consequences of his act, and the degree of reasoning he could have had at that moment. Dishonest acts have no place in the judiciary and are even more detestable when perpetrated by a judge who is expected to be the visible representation of truth and justice. Having accepted the exalted position of a judge, he is expected to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with the laws and rules of procedure. The litigants will have faith in the administration of justice only if they believe that the occupants of the bench cannot be accused of deficiency in their grasp of legal principles. Mamasaw Sultan Ali v. Hon. Baguinda-Ali Pacalna, Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court Municipality of Balindong, Province of Lanao del Sur, et al., A.M. No. MTJ-03-1505 (2013) The rule clearly requires that the sheriff executing a writ shall provide an estimate of the expenses to be incurred, and such estimated amount must be approved by the court. Upon approval, the interested party shall then deposit the amount with the clerk of court and ex officio sheriff. The expenses shall be disbursed to the assigned deputy sheriff to execute the writ, subject to liquidation upon the return of the writ. Any amount unspent shall be returned to the interested party. Any amount received by the sheriff in excess of the lawful fees allowed by the Rules of Court is an unlawful exaction and renders him liable for grave misconduct and gross dishonesty. Eleanor P. Olivan v. Arnel Jose A. Rubio, Deputy Sheriff IV, Office of the Clerk of Court Regional Trial Court, Naga City, A.M. No. P-12-3063 (2013) When a lawyer takes a client's cause, he covenants that he will exercise due diligence in protecting the latter's rights. Failure to exercise that degree of vigilance and attention expected of a good father of a family makes the lawyer unworthy of the trust reposed on him by his client and makes him answerable not just to his client but also to the legal profession, the courts and society. Respondent's refusal to obey the orders of the IBP "is not only irresponsible, but also constitutes utter disrespect for the judiciary and his

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fellow lawyers. His conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer, for lawyers are particularly called upon to obey court orders and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with court directives being themselves officers of the court." Respondent should be reminded that – As an officer of the court, [he] is expected to know that a resolution of this Court is not a mere request but an order which should be complied with promptly and completely. This is also true of the orders of the IBP as the investigating arm of the Court in administrative cases against lawyers. Respondent should strive harder to live up to his duties of observing and maintaining the respect due to the courts, respect for law and for legal processes, and of upholding the integrity and dignity of the legal profession in order to perform his responsibilities as a lawyer effectively. Aurora H. Cabauatan v. Atty. Freddie A. Venida, A.C. No. 10043 (2013) Respondent lawyer admitted that he deliberately failed to timely file a formal offer of exhibits because he believes that the exhibits were fabricated and was hoping that the same would be refused admission by the RTC. If respondent truly believes that the exhibits to be presented in evidence by his clients were fabricated, then he has the option to withdraw from the case. Canon 22 allows a lawyer to withdraw his services for good cause such as when the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct with the matter he is handling or when the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of these canons and rules. Spouses George A. Warriner and Aurora R. Warriner v. Atty. Reni M. Dublin, A.C. No. 5239 (2013) As an officer of the court, a lawyer is expected to be circumspect in his language. While a lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his client full devotion to his client's genuine interest and warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his client's rights, as well as the exertion of his utmost learning and ability, he must do so only within the bounds of law. A lawyer is entitled to voice his criticism within the context of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech which must be exercised responsibly. The lawyer's fidelity to his client must not be pursued at the expense of truth and orderly administration of justice. It must be done within the confines of reason and common sense. Furtehrmore, Court orders are to be respected not because the judges who issue them should be respected, but because of the respect and consideration that should be extended to the judicial branch of the Government. This is absolutely essential if our Government is to be a government of laws and not of men. Respect must be had not because of the incumbents to the positions, but because of the authority that vests in them. Disrespect to judicial incumbents is disrespect to that branch the Government to which they belong, as well as to the State which has instituted the judicial system. Hon. Maribeth Rodriguez-Manahan, Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court, San Mateo, Rizal v. Atty. Rodolfo Flores, A.C. No. 8954 (2013) Failure to properly account for and duly return his client’s money despite due demand is tantamount to a violation of Rules 16.01 and 16.03, Canon 16 of the Code. Verily, a lawyer’s duty to his client is one essentially imbued with trust so much so that it is incumbent upon the former to exhaust all reasonable efforts towards its faithful compliance. Besides, the obligatory force of said duty should not be diluted by the temperament or occasional frustrations of the lawyer’s client, especially so when the latter remains unsatisfied by the lawyer’s work. Indeed, a lawyer must deal with his client with professional maturity and commit himself towards the objective fulfillment of his responsibilities. If the relationship is strained, the correct course of action is for the lawyer to properly account for his affairs as well as to ensure the smooth turn-over of the case to another lawyer. Except only for the retaining lien exception under Rule 16.03, Canon 16 of the Code, the lawyer should not withhold the property of his client. Azucena SegoviaRibaya v. Atty. Bartolome C. Lawsin, A.C. No. 7965 (2013) The Civil Service law and rules do not give a concrete description of what specific acts constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, but the Court defined such an offense as acts or omissions that violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or tend to diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary, thereby prejudicing the best interest of the administration of justice. The administrative offense of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service need not be related to or connected with the public officer’s official functions. As long as the questioned conduct tarnishes the image and integrity of his public office, the corresponding penalty may be meted on the erring public officer or employee. Respondent’s transgressions may not be related to his official duties and functions, but certainly reflect badly upon the entire Judiciary. Respondent failed to live up to the high ethical standards demanded by the office he occupies. However, since respondent was not acting in the performance of his official duties, he cannot be administratively liable for misconduct, whether grave or simple. Respondent is guilty of simple dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, but not of grave misconduct.

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Heirs of Celestino Teves represented by Paul John Teves Abad, et al., v. Augusto J. Felicidario, Sheriff IV, Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court of Manila, A.M. No. P-12-3089 (2013) Those charged with the dispensation of justice, from the justices and judges to the lowliest clerks, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Court personnel are expected to act in a manner free from reproach. Medical treatment of a sick husband does not excuse the actions of the respondent who repeatedly deceived this Court by misusing court funds, falsifying public documents, and failing to comply with orders. Clerks of Court are the custodians of the courts’ funds and revenues, records, properties, and premises. They are liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of those entrusted to them. Any shortages in the amounts to be remitted and the delay in the actual remittance constitute gross neglect of duty for which the clerk of court shall be held administratively liable. Respondent Acampado committed gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct when she failed to turn over the funds of the Judiciary that were placed in her custody within the period required by law. Such behavior should not be tolerated as it denigrates this Court’s image and integrity. Office of the Court Administrator v. Ms. Rosa A. Acampado, Clerk of Court II, Municipal Trial Court, Taft, Eastern Samar, A.M. Nos P-13-3116 & P-13-3112 (2013) In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Wellentrenched is the rule that substantial evidence, and not clear and convincing evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt, is sufficient as basis for the imposition of any disciplinary action upon the erring employee. The standard of substantial evidence is satisfied where the employer, in this case the Court, has reasonable ground to believe that the employee is responsible for the misconduct and his participation therein renders him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position. Executive Judge Henedino P. Eduarte, Regional Trial Court Branch 20, Cauayan Isabela v. Elizabeth T. Ibay, Clerk II, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Cauayan Isabela, A.M. No. P-12-3100 (2013) OCA Circular No. 49-2003 (Guidelines on Requests for Travel Abroad and Extensions for Travel/Stay Abroad) requires that a request must be made for an extension of the period to travel/stay abroad, and that the request be received by the OCA ten (10) working days before the expiration of the original travel authority. Failure to do so would make the absences beyond the original period unauthorized. Furthermore, Section 50 of Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 41, series of 1998, states that an official or an employee who is absent without approved leave shall not be entitled to receive the salary corresponding to the period of the unauthorized leave of absence. RE: Unauthorized Travel Abroad of Judge Cleto R. Villacorta III, Regional trial Court Branch 6, Baguio City, A.M. No. 11-9167-RTC (2013) Under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, the respondent s failure to make the proper entry or entries in his Notarial Register of his notarial acts, his failure to require the presence of a principal at the time of the notarial acts, and his failure to identify a principal on the basis of personal knowledge by competent evidence are grounds for the revocation of a lawyer s commission as a notary public. Canon 10, Rule 10.0 of the Code of Professional Responsibility expressly provides that a lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice. In the same vein, Canon 1, Rule 1.01 mandates that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Mariano Agadan, et al., A.C. No. 9385 (2013) While it is true that disbarment proceedings look into the worthiness of a respondent to remain as a member of the bar, and need not delve into the merits of a related case, the Court, in this instance, however, cannot ascertain whether the respondent committed acts in violation of his oath as a lawyer without going through the factual matters that are subject of the aforementioned civil cases. As a matter of prudence and so as not to preempt the conclusions that will be drawn by the court where the case is pending, the Court deems it wise to dismiss the present case without prejudice to the filing of another one, depending on the final outcome of the civil case. However, respondent's unjustified disregard of the lawful orders of this Court and the IBP is not only irresponsible, but also constitutes utter disrespect for the judiciary and his fellow lawyers. His conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer, for lawyers are particularly called upon to obey court orders and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with court directives being themselves officers of the court. As an officer of the court, respondent is expected

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to know that a resolution of this Court is not a mere request but an order which should be complied with promptly and completely. This is also true of the orders of the IBP as the investigating arm of the Court in administrative cases against lawyers. Nestor V. Felipe, et al. v. Atty. Ciriaco A. Macapagal, A.C. No. 4549 (2013) Failure to attend the scheduled conference hearings, despite due notice and without any proper justification, exhibits inexcusable lack of care and diligence in managing his client’s cause in violation of Canon 17 and Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code. The Court has repeatedly emphasized that the relationship between a lawyer and his client is one imbued with utmost trust and confidence. In this regard, clients are led to expect that lawyers would be ever-mindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their affairs. For his part, the lawyer is required to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He is likewise expected to act with honesty in all his dealings, especially with the courts. These principles are embodied in Rule1.01 of Canon 1, Rule 10.01 of Canon 10, Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code. Felipe C. Dagala v. Atty. Jose C. Quesada, Jr. and Atty. Amado T. Adquilen, A.C. No. 5044 (2013) The fact that Atty. Espejo obtained the loan and issued the worthless checks in her private capacity and not as an attorney of Victoria is of no moment. As held in several cases, a lawyer may be disciplined not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession but also for his misconduct outside of his professional capacity. While the Court may not ordinarily discipline a lawyer for misconduct committed in his non-professional capacity, the Court may be justified in suspending or removing him as an attorney where his misconduct outside the lawyer’s professional dealings is so gross in character to show him morally unfit and unworthy of the privilege which his licenses and the law confer. Victoria C. Heenan v. Atty. Erlina Espejo, A.C. No. 10050 (2013) The charges of ignorance of law is bereft of merit since it is clear that the respondent’s judge’s order was issued in the proper exercise of his judicial functions, and as such, is not subject to administrative disciplinary action; especially considering that the complainant failed to establish bad faith on the part of respondent judge. Well entrenched is the rule that a judge may not be administratively sanctioned for mere errors of judgment in the absence of showing of any bad faith, fraud, malice, gross ignorance, corrupt purpose, or a deliberate intent to do an injustice on his or her part. As a matter of public policy, a judge cannot be subjected to liability for any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. Narciso G. Dulalia v. Judge Afable E. Cajigal, RTC, Branch 96, Quezon City, A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 10-3492-RTJ (2013) Atty. Chaguile acted in a capacity as a de facto officer; one that is illegitimate but in effect. Thus, it is settled that the acts of the de facto officer are just as valid for all purposes as those of a de jure officer, in so far as the public or third persons who are interested therein are concerned. This is necessary so as to protect the sanctity of their dealings with those relying on their ostensible authority: third persons cannot always investigate the right of one assuming to hold an important office. They have a right to assume that officials apparently qualified and in office are legally such. RE: Nomination of Atty. Lynda Chaguile / RE: Alleged Nullity of Election of IBP Southern Luzon Governor Vicente M. Joyas / RE: LetterRequest of the National Secretary of the IBP RE Proposed Oath Taking, A.M. No. 13-04-03-SC/A.M. No. 13-05-08-SC/A.M. No. 13-06-11-SC (2013) This Court commiserates with Judge Lopez for the heart attack, other ailments, and personal tragedy that he suffered. However, these do not exonerate him from the consequences of his omissions that took place before he became ill and more than a decade after he had resumed reporting to work. In the absence of any showing that his medical and personal problems prevented him from working after his operation, Judge Lopez had no valid excuse for not giving due attention to the cases in his sala. At the very least, his health problems and personal crises would only mitigate his liability. Time and again, this Court reminds judges to decide cases with dispatch. The Court has consistently held that the failure of a judge to decide a case within the required period is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency, and non-observance of this rule is a ground for administrative sanction against the defaulting judge. Office of

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the Court Administrator v. Judge Raymundo Lopez and Edgar M. Tutaan, former Presiding Judge and Clerk of Court, respectively, MTC, Palo, Leyte, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1790, (2013) Respondent cannot be admonished for advising his client to institute an action instead of agreeing to a settlement of ten million pesos since such amount is measly compared to the thirty-five million pesos under the original agreement. Lawyers have a sworn duty and responsibility to protect the interest of their client and pursue the ends of justice. Any lawyer worth his salt would advise complainants against abuses under the circumstances. The Court cannot countenance an administrative complaint against a lawyer only because he performed a duty imposed on him by his oath. Conchita Baltazar, et al., v. Atty. Juan B. Banez, Jr., A.C. No. 9091 (2013) By attempting to mislead the court and failing to comply with the resolutions of the court showing indifference and has affected and protracted the investigation and resolution of an administrative matter, the respondents are guilty of violation of the Lawyer’s Oath which states, among others that a lawyer “will conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients.” Elpidio Sy, President, Systems Realty Development Corporation, Edgar Esponilla, legal Researcher and Officer-in-Charge, et al., A.M. No. P-06-2261 (2013) Instead of punishing the respondents, there is ample showing that their conduct and decision not to help the complainant were pursuant to the diligent performance of their sworn duties as elected officials of Palompon, Leyte since they truly believe that the complainants had no vested right to continue operating its quarries. It was also shown that Pheschem violated the terms and conditions of the ECC and quarry permit so the respondents are justified in protecting and preserving the environmental and natural resources of their municipality. Pheschem Industrial Corporation v. Atty. Lloyd P. Surigao and Atty. Jose A. Villardo III, A.C. No. 8269 (2013) The trial court is not bound to adopt the resolution of the secretary of Justice since it is mandated to independently evaluate or assess the merit of the case and the facts of the case show that the respondent judge did not act arbitrarily in denying the joint motion to withdraw informations. Since there is no showing of bad faith, malice or any corrupt purpose attended the denial, respondent judge cannot be admonished for refusing to order withdrawal of the joint Informations against Junio and Lorica. Sr. Remy Angela Junio, SPC and Josephine D. Lorica v. judge Marivic A. Cacatian-Beltran, Branch 3, Regional Trial Court, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, A.M. No. RTJ-14-2367 (2014) Champerty, along with maintenance (of which champerty is an aggravated form), is a common law doctrine that traces its origin to the medieval period. The doctrine of maintenance was directed against wanton and in officious intermeddling in the disputes of others in which the intermeddler has no interest whatever, and where the assistance rendered is without justification or excuse. Champerty, on the other hand, is characterized by the receipt of a share of the proceeds of the litigation by the intermeddler. Some common law court decisions, however, add a second factor in determining champertous contracts, namely, that the lawyer must also, at his own expense maintain, and take all the risks of, the litigation. In order to safeguard the administration of justice, instances of champerty and maintenance were made subject to criminal and tortuous liability and a common law rule was developed, striking down champertous agreements and contracts of maintenance as being unenforceable on the grounds of public policy. Any agreement by a lawyer to conduct the litigation in his own account, to pay the expenses thereof or to save his client therefrom and to receive as his fee a portion of the proceeds of the judgment is obnoxious to the law. The rule of the profession that forbids a lawyer from contracting with his client for part of the thing in litigation in exchange for conducting the case at the lawyer’s expense is designed to prevent the lawyer from acquiring an interest between him and his client. To permit these arrangements is to enable the lawyer to acquire additional stake in the outcome of the action which might lead him to consider his own recovery rather than that of his client or to accept a settlement which might take care of his interest in the verdict to the sacrifice of that of his client in violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to his client’s cause. The Conjugal Partnership of the Spouses Vicente Cadavedo and Benita ArcoyCadavedo (both deceased), Substituted by their Heirs v. Atty. Victorino T. Lacaya, G.R. No. 173188 (2014) Sheriffs are not allowed to receive any voluntary payments from parties in the performance of their dutes.

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Nor can a sheriff request or ask sums of money from a party-litigant without observing the proper procedural steps. Even assuming that such payments were indeed given and received in good faith, the fact alone would dispel the suspicion that such payments were made for less than noble purposes. Neither will the complainant’s acquiescence or consent to such expense absolve the sheriff for his failure to secure the prior approval of the court concerning such expense. Any amount received by sheriffs in escess of lawful fees is an unlawful exaction; it constitutes unauthorized fees. This renders them liable administratively. Atty. Marcos R. Sundian v. Erlito DS. Bacho, Sheriff IV, RTC Branch 124, Caloocan City, A.M. No. P-12-3043 (2014) The respondent’s contention is that the disbarment case cannot continue since he failed to answer the charges against him despite numerous notices. Respondent’s acts of deliberately making excuses for not receiving the complaint and merely disappearing constitures willful disobedience to the order of the court. Being sui generis in nature, it is immaterial whether the respondent was able to answer the charges against him since a disbarment case is an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers. A disbarment case is sui generis for it is neither purely civil nor purely criminal, but rather an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers. The Court has consistently held that clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the imposition of administrative penalty considering the serious consequence of disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar. Rose Bunagan-Bansig v. Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera, A.C. No. 5581 (2014) The conduct of a lawyer ought and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair and honest which is resorted to by lawyer, even pursuant to his client’s cause, is condemnable and unethical. Edgardo Areola v. Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza, A.C. No. 10135 (2014) A clerk of court is remiss in the performance of her duties as clerk of court since she failed to supervise Mapue and to properly manage the court funds entrusted to her thus enabling Mapue to misappropriate the funds. She is held liable for simple neglect of duty. A clerk of court has general administrative supervision over all the personnel of the court. The administrative functions of a clerk of court are as vital to the prompt and proper administration of justice as his judicial duties. As custodian of court funds and revenues, the clerk of court is primarily accountable for all funds that are collected for the court, whether personally received by him or by a duly appointed cashier who is under his supervision and control. The conduct of all court personnel is circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. The Court will not countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of those involved in the administration of justice which violates the norm of public accountability and diminishes the faith of the people in the Judiciary. As clerk of Court, the respondent is still liable for failing to exercise supervision over court funds enabling Mapue to misappropriate the funds. Office of the Court Administrator v. Atty. Mona Lisa A. Buencamino, et al./ RE: Report on the Financial Audit Conducted in the Metropolitan Trial Court, etc., A.M. No. P-05-2051/A.M. No. 05-4-118-MeTC (2014) A certificate is a written assurance or final representation that some act has or has not been done or some event occurred or some legal formality has been complied with. Without records to verify the truthfulness and authenticity of a document, no certification should be issued. The clerk of court should know that when she certified the finality in a special proceeding case, she did so under the seal of the court. Thus when the decision she certified turned out to be spurious and non-existent, she undoubtedly compromised the Judiciary and jeopardized the integrity of the court. The acts committed by respondent are so grave that they carry the extreme penalty of dismissal from service with forfeiture retirement benefits except accrued leave credits and perpetual disqualification from employment in the government service. Atty. Rhea R. Alcantara v. Mylene H. dela Cruz, et al., A.M. No. P-13-3141 (2014) The investigation conducted shows that respondent is guilty of delay in scheduling the various motions in the case. As the officer of the court next in line to the Presiding Judge, the clerk of court is tasked to regularly check not only the status of the cases but also the functions of the other court personnel and employees under his supervision. Respondent is remiss in the performance of his duties as clerk of court when he failed to supervise his subordinates well and to efficiently conduct the proper administration of justice thus causing delay in the hearing of various motions. Raul K. San Buenaventura v. Timoteo A. Migrino, Clerk of Court III, METC, Branch 69, Pasig City, A.M. No. P-08-2574 (2014)

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Sans any descriptive sophistry, what Eliseo did was to engage in a brawl with no less than his own children inside the chamber of a judge. The Court shall not countenance crude social behavior. The courtroom is looked upon by people with high respect and is regarded as a sacred place where litigants are heard, rights and conflicts settled, and justice solemnly dispensed. Misbehavior within or around the vicinity diminishes its sanctity and dignity. Although Alistair and Charmaine were not entirely faultless, a higher level of decorum and restraint was then expected from Eliseo, whose conduct failed to show due respect for the court and lend credit to the nobility of the practitioners of the legal profession in violation of Rule 7.03, Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Aida R. Campos, et al. v. Atty. Eliseo M. Campos, A.C. No. 8644 (2014) A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. He shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession and he shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. Furthermore, a lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the client’s interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client. Natividad P. Navarro and Hilda S. Presbitero v. Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr., A.C. No. 9872 (2014) By reason of the nature and functions of their office, officials and employees of the Judiciary must be role models in the faithful observance of the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust. Pursuant to this dictum, the Court issued Memorandum Circular No. 49-2003, dated December 1, 2003, reminding all government officials and employees to be accountable at all times to the people and exercise utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. They must give every minute of their prescribed official time in the service to the public and must work for every centavo paid to them by the government. This duty calls for the observance of prescribed office hours and the efficient use of official time for public service, if only to recompense the government, and ultimately, the people who shoulder the cost of maintaining the judiciary. Thus, to inspire public respect for the justice system, court officials and employees should at all times strictly observe official time. As punctuality is a virtue, absenteeism and tardiness are impermissible. RE: Habitual Tardiness of Cesar E. Sales, Cash Clerk III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Office of the Clerk of Court, Manila, A.M. No. P-13-3171 (2014) Respondent judge’s use of abusive and insulting words, tending to project complainant’s ignorance of the laws and procedure, prompted by his belief that the latter mishandled the cause of his client is obviously and clearly insensitive, distasteful, and inexcusable. In pending or prospective litigations before them, judges should be scrupulously careful to avoid anything that may tend to awaken the suspicion that their personal, social or sundry relations could influence their objectivity. Not only must judges possess proficiency in law, they must also act and behave in such manner that would assure litigants and their counsel of the judges’ competence, integrity and independence. Even on the face of boorish behavior from those he deals with, he ought to conduct himself in a manner befitting a gentleman and a high officer of the court. Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all the activities of a judge. It bears stressing that as a dispenser of justice, respondent should exercise judicial temperament at all times, avoiding vulgar and insulting language. He must maintain composure and equanimity. Any impression of impropriety, misdeed or negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided. Ma. Liza M. Jorda, City Prosecutor’s Office, Tacloban City v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7, Tacloban City / Prosecutor Leo C. Tabao v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7, Tacloban City, A.M. No. RTJ-14-2376/A.M. No. RTJ-14-2377 (2014) Disbarment is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction against a misbehaving member of the Integrated Bar. As such, the power to disbar is always exercised with great caution only for the most imperative reasons and in cases of clear misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the bar. A lawyer is not to be sanctioned for every perceived misconduct or wrong actuation. He is still to be presumed innocent of wrongdoing until the proof arrayed against him establishes otherwise. It is the burden of the complainant to properly show that the assailed conduct or actuation constituted a breach of the norms of professional conduct and legal ethics. Otherwise, the lawyer merits exoneration. Heinz R. Heck v. City Prosecutor Casiano A. Gamotin, Jr. A.C. No. 5329 (2014)

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A Judge who allowed his bodyguard to take possession of a firearm that is the subject of a criminal case pending before the court where he is presiding is administratively liable for gross misconduct for violating Sections 1 and 2 of Canon 2 and Section 1 of Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. He is guilty of misusing evidence entrusted to the court. The admonition that judges must avoid not only impropriety but also the appearance of impropriety is more sternly applied to lower court judges. Indeed, judges are reminded that after having accepted their exalted position in the Judiciary, they owe to the public to uphold the exacting standards of conduct demanded of them. The Court had defined gross misconduct as a “transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer. Gross misconduct involves corruption, or an act that is inspired by the intention to violate the law, or that is a persistent disregard of well-known rules. Needless to state, any gross misconduct seriously undermines the faith and confidence of the people in the Judiciary. P/Sr. Ins. Teddy M. Rosqueta v. Judge Jonathan A. Asuncion, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 2, Laoag City, A.M. No. MTJ-13-1823 (2014) Failure to join an indispensable party in a case is a manifest disregard of the basic rules and procedures and constitutes a grave abuse of discretion. The trial judge’s obstinate disregard of basic and established rule of law or procedure is an inexcusable abuse of authority. Such level of ignorance is not a mere error of judgement. It amounts to evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, or in essence, grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Needless to say, judges are expected to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural laws. They must know the laws and apply them properly in good faith as judicial competence requires no less. Jesus Crisologo and Nanette Crisologo v. Jewm Agro-Industrial Corporation, G.R. No. 196894 (2014) Every lawyer is an officer of the Court. He has the duty and responsibility to maintain his good moral character. In this regard, good moral character is not only a condition precedent relating to his admission into the practice of law, but is a continuing imposition in order for him to maintain his membership in the Philippine Bar. The Court unwaveringly demands of him to remain a competent, honorable, and reliable individual in whom the public may repose confidence. Any gross misconduct that puts his moral character in serious doubt renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law. A lawyer's issuance of a worthless check renders him in breach of his oath to obey the laws. To accord with the canon of professional responsibility that requires him to uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land, and promote respect for the law and legal processes, he thereby becomes administratively liable for gross misconduct. That this act involved a private dealing with Ong did not matter. His being a lawyer invested him—whether he was acting as such or in a non-professional capacity—with the obligation to exhibit good faith, fairness and candor in his relationship with others. There is no question that a lawyer could be disciplined not only for the malpractice of his profession, but also for the grave misconduct committed outside of his professional capacity. His being a lawyer demanded that he conduct himself as a person of the highest moral and professional integrity and probity in his dealings with others. Benjamin Ong v. Atty. William delos Santos, A.C. No. 10179 (2014) The practice of law is not a business. It is a profession in which duty to public service, not money, is the primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be a secondary consideration. The duty to public service and to the administration of justice should be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal interests or what they owe to themselves. A lawyer who, despite having accepted his acceptance fee, fails to perform his obligation to file the case for the titling of his client’s lot despite the lapse of five years breached his duty to serve his client with competence and diligence and is guilty of violating Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Stephan Brunet and Virgina Vrunet v. Atty. Ronald Gauren, A.C. No 10164 (2014) A lawyer who fails to file a complaint despite the lapse of four years is guilty of violating Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that: A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. Failure of complainant to remit the full payment of the filing fee and pay the 30% of the attorney’s fee is not a valid excuse that would exonerate him from liability. As stated, every case that is entrusted to a lawyer deserves his full attention whether he accepts this for a fee or free. Even assuming that complainant had not remitted the full payment of the filing fee, he should have found a way to speak to his client and inform

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him about the insufficiency of the filing fee so he could file the complaint. Atty. Agleron obviously lacked professionalism in dealing with complainant and showed incompetence when he failed to file the appropriate charges. Once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is duty bound to serve his client with competence, and to attend to his client’s cause with diligence, care and devotion regardless of whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him. Ermelinda Lad Vda. De Dominguez v. Atty. Arnulfo Agleron, Sr. A.C. No. 5359 (2014)

A court personnel who asked another person to take the Civil Service Professional Examination in her stead is guilty of dishonesty and, by reason of such, failed to take heed of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel, which regards all court personnel as sentinels of justice expected to refrain from any act of impropriety. It is beyond question that the act of fraudulently securing one’s appointment constitutes dishonesty. All public service must be founded on and sustained by character. With the right character, the attitude of judiciary employees is set in the right direction. It is then of utmost consequence that every employee of the judiciary exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity to preserve the good name and integrity of the courts of justice. Civil Service Commission v. Nenita Longos, A.M. No. P-12-3070 (2014)

While it has been held that a presiding judge shall at all times remain in firm control of the proceedings, he is nevertheless mandated to adopt a policy against unwarranted delays. In this case, Judge Pichay did not sufficiently explain the reasons as to why he failed to resolve the pending incidents on time, as well as to why he still had to set the same for hearing and repeatedly grant postponements therefor, either motu proprio or by motion, despite the summary nature of ejectment proceedings and the ministerial nature of the subsequent issuance of a writ of execution. These considerations he should have been fully aware of. Spouses Ricardo and Evelyn Marcelo v. Judge Ramsey Domingo Pichay, A.M. No. MTJ-13-1838, (2014) A notary public should not notarize a document unless the person who signs it is the same person executing it and personally appearing before him to attest the truth of its contents. This is to enable him to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the party’s free and voluntary act and deed. Licero Dizon v. Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr., A.C. No. 10185 (2004) A Clerk of Court is guilty of misconduct where she incurred delay in the remittance of the fiduciary collections in her custody and used the same for her own personal use. Clerks of Court perform a delicate function as designated custodians of the court’s funds, revenues, records, properties and premises. As such, they are generally regarded as treasurer, accountant, guard and physical plant manager thereof. They are the chief administrative officers of their respective courts. It is also their duty to ensure that the proper procedures are followed in the collection of cash bonds. Thus, their failure to faithfully perform their duties makes them liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of such funds and property. While the Court empathizes with the respondent in her predicament concerning her brother’s medical needs, her wrongdoing cannot be excused. As a custodian of the court’s funds and revenues, she was entrusted with the primary responsibility of correctly and effectively implementing regulations regarding fiduciary funds. She was an accountable officer entrusted with the great responsibility of collecting money belonging to the funds of the court. She was, therefore, liable for any loss, shortage, destruction, or impairment of said funds and property. She was not supposed to keep those funds in her possession or worse appropriate them for her personal use. The respondent’s subsequent restitution of the amounts did not alter the fact that she was remiss in the discharge of her duties. Shortages in amounts to be remitted and the years of delay in actual remittance constitute gross neglect of duty for which the clerk of court shall be administratively liable. By failing to timely remit the cash collections constituting public funds, she violated the trust reposed in her as disbursement officer of the Judiciary. Delay in the remittance of collection is a serious breach of duty. It deprives the Court of the interest that may be earned if the amounts are promptly deposited in a bank. It constitutes dishonesty which carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from service even if committed for the first time. The Office of the Court Administrator v. Clarita Perez, A.M. No. P-12-3074 (2014)

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A lawyer engaged to represent a client in a case bears the responsibility of protecting the latter’s interest with utmost diligence. In belatedly filing the first motion for extension of time to file appellants brief and thereby causing the dismissal of his client’s appeal, the lawyer had fallen far short of his duties as counsel as set forth in Rule 12.04, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which exhorts every member of the Bar not to unduly delay a case and to exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. Nestor Figueras and Bienvenido Victoria, Jr. v. Atty. Diosdado Jimenez, A.C. No. 9116 (2014) Where a lawyer was disbarred by committing a grossly immoral act, his plea to be readmitted to the Bar cannot be granted when the same are mere words that are hollow and bereft of any substance, such as when he continued to live with the woman for whose sake he abandoned his family. The practice of law is not a right but a privilege. It is only enjoyed by those who continue to display unassailable character. The Court, in deciding whether the respondent should indeed be readmitted to the practice of law, must be convinced that he had indeed been reformed; that he had already rid himself of any grossly immoral act which would make him inept for the practice of law. Julieta B. Narag v. Atty. Dominador M. Narag, A.C. No. 3405 (2014) A judge who unjustifiably failed to decide a case within the reglementary period is guilty gross inefficiency. The speedy disposition of cases the courts is a primary aim of the Judiciary, so that the ends of justice may not be compromised and the Judiciary will be true to its commitment to provide litigants their constitutional right to a speedy trial and speedy disposition of their cases. Under the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, a judge is obliged to perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness. To comply with his obligation, he must first display such interest in his office which stops not at the minimum of the day’s labors fixed by law, and which ceases not at the expiration of official seasons, but which proceeds diligently on holidays and by artificial light and even into vacation periods. Any unjustified failure to decide a case within the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency that deserves the imposition of the proper administrative sanctions. Furthermore, a judge who submitted false certificates of service certifying he did not have any unresolved cases and matters pending in his court docket is likewise guilty of grave misconduct pursuant to Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court. Thereby, he defrauded the Government. The certificates of services were not only the means to ensure his paycheck but were also the instruments by which the Court could fulfil the constitutional mandate of the people’s right to speedy disposition of cases. RE: Judicial Audit Conducted in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Occidental, A.M. No. 0-9-454-RTC (2014) As a rule, an attorney enjoys the legal presumption that he is innocent of the charges against him until the contrary is proved. The burden of proof in disbarment and suspension proceedings always rests on the complainant. Considering the serious consequence of disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar, this Court has consistently held that a clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the imposition of the administrative penalty. Atty. Clodualdo C. de Jesus v. Atty. Alicia Risos-Vidal, A.C. No. 7961 (2014) A lawyers act of receiving money as acceptance fee for legal services in handling the client’s case and, subsequently, failing to render the services, constitutes as an inexcusable negligence and is a clear violation of Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that: “A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.” The mere failure of the lawyer to perform the obligations due to the client is considered per se a violation. Ma. Elena Carlos Nebreja v. Atty. Benjamin Reonal, A.C. No. 9896 (2014) Loafing is defined under the Civil Service rules as “frequent unauthorized absences from duty during office hours. The word “frequent” connotes that the employees absent themselves from duty more than once. Respondent’s two absences from his post, being without authority, can already be characterized as frequent. It constitutes inefficiency and dereliction of duty, which adversely affect the prompt delivery of justice. Office of the Court Administrator v. John Glenn D. Runes, A.M. No. P-12-3055 (2014) Court employees who tamper case records done through the intercalation of the explanation in a Notice of Appeal in a pending Special Civil Action are guilty of grave misconduct. A court employee is not

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prohibited from helping individuals in the course of performing his official duties, but his actions cannot be left unchecked when the help extended places the integrity of the Judiciary in a bad light. Court employees are strictly instructed not to use their official duties to secure unwarranted benefits, privileges or exemptions for themselves or for others. The evident purpose of the instruction is precisely to free the court form suspicion of misconduct. Office of the Court Administrator v. Atty. Leah Espera Miranda, Clerk of Court V and Ms. Jocelyn Divinagracia, Clerk III, both of the RTC, Br. 38, Iloilo City, A.M. No. P-09-2648 (2014) An MTC Court Interpreter who falsified her Daily Time Records so that she could attend her law classes is guilty of dishonesty, notwithstanding the permission of the MTC Presiding Judge. Dishonesty is defined as the “disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to fraud, deceive or betray. Time and again, the OCA and Courts have underscored the importance of court employees truthfully and accurately recording in their DTRs the time of their arrival in and departure from office. Anonymous Complaint against Otelia Lyn G. Maceda, Court Interpreter, Municipal Trial Court, Palapag, Northern Samar, A.M. No. P-12-3093 (2014)

CRIMINAL LAW Article 68(2) of the Revised Penal Code provides that when the offender is a minor over 15 and under 18 years, the penalty next lower than that prescribed by law shall be imposed on the accused but always in the proper period. The rationale of the law in extending such leniency and compassion is that because of his age, the accused is presumed to have acted with less discernment. This is regardless of the fact that his minority was not proved during the trial and that his birth certificate was belatedly presented for our consideration, since to rule accordingly will not adversely affect the rights of the state, the victim and his heirs. It is also settled that “upon the death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction, the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused; the civil action instituted therein for recovery of civil liability ex delicto is ipso facto extinguished, grounded as it is on the criminal.” (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. FLORENCIO AGACER, et al. G.R. No. 177751. January 7, 2013) Notably, while it is required that the offender has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the offended woman, for RA 9262 to be applicable, it is not indispensable that the act of violence be a consequence of such relationship. As correctly ruled by the RTC, it is immaterial whether the relationship had ceased for as long as there is sufficient evidence showing the past or present existence of such relationship between the offender and the victim when the physical harm was committed. (KARLO ANGELO DABALOS Y SAN DIEO vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 59, ANGELES CITY, ETC., ET AL., G.R. NO. 193960, JANUARY 7, 2013) To establish the age of the minor victim, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance, the Court has set the guidelines in People v. Pruna, as follows: In order to remove any confusion that may be engendered by the foregoing cases, we hereby set the following guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance. 1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party. 2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age. 3. If the certificate of live

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birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim’s mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PEDRO BUADO, JR., Y CIPRIANO., G.R. No. 170634, January 8, 2013) In the prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the two essential elements are: “(1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.” R.A. No. 7659 provides that the unauthorized sale of 200 grams or more of shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos. But since the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death consists of two indivisible penalties, appellant was correctly meted the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua, conformably with Article 63(2) of the Revised Penal Code which provides that when there are no mitigating or aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed, the lesser penalty shall be applied. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. SIMPRESUETA M. SERASPE G.R. No. 180919, January 9, 2013) Mere possession of a regulated drug per se constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation of such possession – the onus probandi is shifted to the accused, to explain the absence of knowledge or animus possidendi. With the burden of evidence shifted to the petitioner, it was his duty to explain his innocence about the regulated drug seized from his possession. This, petitioner failed to do. (NELSON VALLENO vs. PEOPLE, G.R. No. 192050, January 09, 2013) It is material in illegal sale of dangerous drugs that the sale actually took place. What consummates the buy-bust transaction is the delivery of the drugs to the poseur-buyer and, in turn, the seller’s receipt of the marked money. While the parties may have agreed on the selling price of the shabu and delivery of payment was intended, these do not prove consummated sale. Receipt of the marked money, whether done before delivery of the drugs or after, is required. (PEOPLE vs. HONG YEN E AND TSIEN TSIEN CHUA, G.R. No. 181826, January 09, 2013) Then to raise the crime of simple rape to qualified rape under Article 266-B, paragraph (1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the twin circumstances of minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender must concur. The foregoing elements of qualified rape under Article 266-A, paragraph (1)(a), in relation to Article 266-B , paragraph (1), of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, are sufficiently alleged in the Information against Amistoso, viz: (1) Amistoso succeeded in having carnal knowledge of AAA against her will and without her consent; (2) AAA was 12 years old on the day of the alleged rape; and (3) Amistoso is AAA’s father. (PEOPLE vs. ANASTACIO AMISTOSO, G.R. No. 201447, January 09, 2013) The stepfather-stepdaughter relationship as a qualifying circumstance presupposes that the victim’s mother and the accused are married to each other. (PEOPLE vs. ROLANDO CABUNGAN, G.R. No. 189355, January 23, 2013) The crime committed was murder qualified by treachery. Records would show that Pablo was fifty-seven (57) years old at the time of his death. Admittedly, one’s thought processes and reflexes slow with age that Pablo did not readily understand the intentions of the appellants. The attack was, therefore, clearly sudden and unexpected. (PEOPLE vs. BENJAMIN PETELUNA AND ABUNDIO BINONDO, G.R. No. 187048, January 23, 2013) Appellant was apprehended inside the airport, as he was intending to board his flight bound for Davao City with a substantial amount or 196.63 grams of methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu in his possession, concealed in separate plastic bags inside his oversized Spicer rubber shoes. While it may be argued that appellant was yet to board the aircraft or travel some distance with the illegal drugs in his possession, it cannot be denied that his presence at the airport at that particular instance was for the

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purpose of transporting or moving the dangerous drugs from one place to another. (PEOPLE vs. CAMALODING LABA, G.R. No. 199938, January 28, 2013) Without doubt, carnal knowledge of a woman who is a mental retardate is rape under the provisions of law. Proof of force or intimidation is not necessary, as a mental retardate is not capable of giving consent to a sexual act. (PEOPLE vs. REY MONTICALVO, G.R. No. 193507, January 30, 2013) The failure of the victim to shout for help does not negate rape and even the victim’s lack of resistance especially when intimidated by the offender into submission does not signify voluntariness or consent. Furthermore, the Court has emphatically ruled that the failure of a rape victim to shout, fight back, or escape from the scoundrel is not tantamount to consent or approval because the law imposes no obligation to exhibit defiance or to present proof of struggle. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ANTONIO BASALLO, G.R. No. 182457, 30 January 2013) Sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 has three elements: (1) the accused commits an act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; (2) the said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and (3) the child is below 18 years old. All the elements of violation of Section 5(b), Article III of R.A. 7610 have been established. First, Rayon embraced AAA, parted her legs, touched her breasts, inserted his hand inside the victim’s underwear, and touched her vagina. Second, the appellant used his moral ascendancy over her daughter in order to perpetrate his lascivious conduct. Finally, AAA was below 18 years of age at the time of the incident, based on her birth certificate and on her mother’s testimony. Conviction for the qualified rape of the other daughter BBB stands. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. PATRICIO RAYON, SR.,G.R. No. 194236, 30 January 2013) The failure of the authorities to immediately mark the seized drugs raises reasonable doubt on the authenticity of the corpus delicti and suffices to rebut the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties, the doctrinal fallback of every drug-related prosecution. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. REYNALDO NACUA, G.R. No. 200165, 30 January 2013) The chain of custody of the drugs in a buy-bust operation had been sufficiently established when there was proof of the following: first, the seizuare and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; second, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; third, the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized from the forensic chemist to the court. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LINDA ALVIZ y YATCO and ELIZABETH DE LA VEGA y BAUTISTA, G.R. No. 177158, 6 February 2013) Mere possession of a prohibited drug, without legal authority, is punishable under Republic Act No. 9165. Since Manalao failed to adduce any evidence showing that he had legal authority to possess the seized drugs, then he was correctly charged with its illegal possession. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MALIK MANALAO y ALAUYA, G.R. No. 187496, 6 February 2013) The different links that the prosecution must prove in order to establish the chain of custody in a buy-bust operation, namely: First, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; Second, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; Third, the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and Fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized by the forensic chemist to the court. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SAIBEN LANGCUA y DAIMLA, G.R. No. 190343, 6 February 2013) R.A. No. 6235 (The Anti-Hijacking Law) authorizes search for prohibited materials or substances. To limit the action of the airport security personnel to simply refusing an accused into the aircraft and sending him home, and thereby depriving them of “the ability and facility to act accordingly, including to further search without warrant, in light of such circumstances, would be to sanction impotence and ineffectivity in law enforcement, to the detriment of society.

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Failure of the prosecution to show compliance with the procedural requirements provided in Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 and its IRR is not fatal and does not automatically render accused-appellant’s arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. As long as the chain of custody remains unbroken, the guilt of the accused will not be affected. (DON DJOWEL SALES y ABALAHIN vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 191023, 6 February 2013) A buy-bust operation has been recognized in this jurisdiction as a legitimate form of entrapment of the culprit. It is distinct from instigation, in that the accused who is otherwise not predisposed to commit the crime is enticed or lured or talked into committing the crime. While entrapment is legal, instigation is not. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. NOEL BARTOLOME y BAJO, G.R. No. 191726, 6 February 2013)SS Despite the rigid procedural rules under the law on the custody and disposition of confiscated, seized, and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, it was held, however, that a testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard as it is almost always impossible to obtain an unbroken chain. What is essential is to preserve the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. VICTOR DE JESUS y GARCIA, G.R. No. 198794, 6 February 2013) A valid warrantless arrest which justifies a subsequent search is one that is carried out under the parameters of Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court which requires that the apprehending officer must have been spurred by probable cause to arrest a person caught in flagrante delicto. Martinez’s warrantless arrest was based on his alleged violation of a city ordinance punishing breaches of the peace. Consequently, to justify a warrantless arrest based on the same, it must be established that the apprehension was effected after a reasonable assessment by the police officer that a public disturbance is being committed. It cannot be said that the act of shouting in a thickly populated place, with many people conversing with each other on the street, would constitute any of the acts punishable under the ordinance. Therefore, there was no probable cause to justify Martinez’s warrantless arrest and the warrantless search that resulted from it was also illegal. Thus the sachet of shabu which was purportedly seized from Martinez is inadmissible in evidence for being a fruit of the poisonous tree. (RAMON MARTINEZ y GOCO vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 198694, 13 February 2013) To prosecute illegal possession of dangerous drugs, there must be a showing that (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JAMES GALIDO Y NOBLE. G.R. No. 192231, February 13, 2013) The law does not impose a burden on the rape victim to prove resistance. What has to be proved by the prosecution is the use of force or intimidation by the accused in having sexual intercourse with the victim. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JONATHAN "UTO" VELOSO Y RAMA. G.R. No. 188849. February 13, 2013) Deceit is the false representation of a matter of fact whether by words or conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed which deceives or is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it to his legal injury. Only those who formed and manage associations that receive contributions from the general public who misappropriated the contributions can commit syndicated estafa. RAFAEL H. GALVEZ AND KATHERINE L. GUY vs. ASIA UNITED BANK/ASIA UNITED BANK VS. GILBERT, ET AL, GILBERT GUY, ET AL. VS. ASIA UNTIED BANK., G.R. Nos. 187919/G.R. No. 187979/G.R. No. 188030, February 20, 2013) The elements of statutory rape are that: (a) the victim is a female under 12 years or is demented; and (b) the offender has carnal knowledge of the victim. Considering that the essence of statutory rape is carnal knowledge of a female without her consent, neither the use of force, threat or intimidation on the female, nor the female’s deprivation of reason or being otherwise unconscious, nor the employment on the female of fraudulent machinations or grave abuse of authority is necessary to commit statutory rape. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. TOMAS TEODORO Y ANGELES, G.R. No. 175876, February 20, 2013)

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The commission of the offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, requires simply the consummation of the selling transaction, which happens at the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ARNOLD TAPERE Y POLPOL. G.R. No. 178065, February 20, 2013) “Physical impossibility” refers to the distance between the place where the appellant was when the crime transpired and the place where it was committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places. Where there is the least chance for the accused to be present at the crime scene, the defense of alibi must fail. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. MARK JOSEPH R. ZAPUIZ, G.R. No. 199713. February 20, 2013) It is settled that direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy as it may be inferred from the collective acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime. It can be presumed from and proven by acts of the accused themselves when the said acts point to a joint purpose, design, concerted action, and community of interests. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. P/SUPT. ARTEMIO E. LAMSEN, et al., G.R. No. 198338. February 20, 2013) Conspirators are persons who, under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), “come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.” Because witnesses are rarely present when several accused come to an agreement to commit a crime, such agreement is usually inferred from their “concerted actions” while committing it. On the other hand, accomplices, according to Article 18 of the RPC, are the persons who, not being included in Article 17 which identifies who are principals, “cooperate in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts.” Accomplices do not decide whether the crime should be committed; but they assent to the plan and cooperate in its accomplishment. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. Miriam Ruth T. Magsino Vs. PO1 Ricardo Eusebio, SPO2 Romeo Isidro, and Jojit George Contreras, G.R. No. 182152, February 25, 2013) Consistency with the "chain of custody" rule requires that the “marking” of the seized items – to truly ensure that they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence – should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator (2) immediately upon confiscation. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JOSE ALEX SECRETO Y VILLANUEVA, G.R. No. 198115. February 27, 2013) The intent to kill was shown by the continuous firing at the victim even after he was hit. Escamilla y Jugo vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 188551. February 27, 2013)

(Edmundo

The means employed by a person claiming self-defense must be commensurate to the nature and the extent of the attack sought to be averted, and must be rationally necessary to prevent or repel an unlawful aggression. (SIMON A. FLORES vs. PEOPLE, G.R. No. 181354, February 27, 2013) The only elements necessary to consummate the crime of illegal sale of drugs is proof that the illicit transaction took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as evidence. In buy-bust operations, the delivery of the contraband to the poseur-buyer and the seller’s receipt of the marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction between the entrapping officers and the accused. Unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper motive or were not properly performing their duty, their testimonies on the operation deserve faith and credit. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JUDGE RAFAEL R. LAGOS, ET. AL., G.R. No. 184658, March 6, 2013, CJ. Sereno) The Supreme Court finds that the accused San Mateo is not guilty of violation of BP 22. To be liable therefore, the following essential elements must be present: (1) the making, drawing, and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3) the subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment. In the present case, the second element was not duly proved. Section 2 of B.P. 22 creates the presumption that the issuer of the check was aware of the insufficiency of

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funds when he issued a check and the bank dishonored it. This presumption, however, arises only after it is proved that the issuer had received a written notice of dishonor and that, within five days from receipt thereof, he failed to pay the amount of the check or to make arrangements for its payment. In this case, there is insufficient proof that San Mateo actually received the notice of dishonor. It has been the consistent ruling of the SC that receipts for registered letters including return receipts do not themselves prove receipt; they must be properly authenticated to serve as proof of receipt of the letters, claimed to be a notice of dishonor. It is not enough for the prosecution to prove that a notice of dishonor was sent to the accused. The prosecution must also prove actual receipt of said notice, because the fact of service provided for in the law is reckoned from receipt of such notice of dishonor by the accused. (ERLINDA C. SAN MATEO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 200090, March 6, 2013, J. Abad) The Supreme Court lowered the penalty imposable for the violation of the accused of the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines. Although a final judgment (generally) may no longer be altered, amended or modified, even if the alteration, amendment or modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law and regardless of what court, rendered it, the Court recognized certain exceptions to the application of this rule. According to the Court, aside from matters of life, liberty, honor or property which would warrant the suspension of the Rules of the most mandatory character and an examination and review by the appellate court of the lower court’s findings of fact, the other elements that should be considered are the following: (a) the existence of special or compelling circumstances, (b) the merits of the case, (c) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules, (d) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, and (e) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby. In this case, there is a strong showing that a grave miscarriage of justice would result if the Court will not relax the application of the Rules. (EFREN S. ALMUETE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 179611, March 12, 2013, J. Del Castillo) The elements of qualified theft are: (a) the taking of personal property; (b) the said property belongs to another; (c) the said taking be done with intent to gain; (d) it be done without the owner's consent; (e) it be accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, nor of force upon things; and (f) it be done under any of the circumstances enumerated in Article 310 of the RPC, i.e., with grave abuse of confidence. All these elements are present in this case. The petitioner betrayed the trust and confidence reposed on him when he, as project manager, repeatedly took construction materials from the project site, without the authority and consent of the owner of the construction materials. (ENGR. ANTHONY V. ZAPANTA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 170863, March 20, 2013, J. Brion) In rape cases, the moral character of the victim is immaterial. Physical resistance need not be established in rape when threats and intimidation are employed, and the victim submits herself to her attacker because of fear. Physical resistance is not an essential element of rape. Also, delay in revealing the commission of a crime such as rape does not necessarily render such charge unworthy of belief. This is because the victim may choose to keep quiet rather than expose her defilement to the cruelty of public scrutiny. Only when the delay is unreasonable or unexplained may it work to discredit the complainant. Neither does an inconclusive medical report negate the finding of rape. A medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape inasmuch as the victim’s testimony alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict the accused of the crime and the medical certificate will then be rendered as merely corroborative. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GILBERT PENILLA Y FRANCIA, G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013, J. Perez) Not every instance of the laying of hands on a child constitutes the crime of child abuse under Section 10 (a) of R.A. No. 7610. Only when the laying of hands is shown beyond reasonable doubt to be intended by the accused to debase, degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of the child as a human being should it be punished as child abuse. The records showed that the laying of hands on Jayson has been done at the spur of the moment and in anger, indicative of accused’s being then overwhelmed by his fatherly concern for the personal safety of his own minor daughters who had just suffered harm at the hands of Jayson and Roldan. With the loss of his self-control, the accused lacked that specific intent to debase, degrade or demean the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being that was so essential in the crime of child abuse. As such, the accused’s act should instead be punished under the Revised Penal Code. (GEORGE BONGALON v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 169533, March 20, 2013, J. Bersamin)

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To prove the special complex crime of carnapping with homicide, there must be proof not only of the essential elements of carnapping, but also that it was the original criminal design of the culprit and the killing was perpetrated "in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof." (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARNEL NOCUM, ET AL., G.R. No. 179041, April 1, 2013, J. Del Castillo) The established principle is that possession of marijuana is absorbed in the sale thereof, except where the seller is further apprehended in possession of another quantity of the prohibited drugs not covered by or included in the sale and which are probably intended for some future dealings or use by the seller. The premise used is that the illegal possession, being an element of the illegal sale, was necessarily included in the illegal sale. The crime of unlawful sale of marijuana penalized under Section 4 of R.A. No. 6425 therefore, necessarily includes the crime of unlawful possession thereof. Any other illegal substance found in the possession of the accused that is not part of the subject of the illegal sale should be prosecuted under a distinct and separate information charging illegal possession; otherwise, the fundamental right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him would be flagrantly violated. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CHAD MANANSALA y LAGMAN, G.R. No. 175939, April 3, 2013, J. Bersamin) In robbery with homicide, the original criminal design of the malefactor is to commit robbery, with homicide perpetrated on the occasion or by reason of the robbery. The intent to commit robbery must precede the taking of human life. The homicide may take place before, during or after the robbery. It is only the result obtained, without reference or distinction as to the circumstances, causes or modes or persons intervening in the commission of the crime that has to be taken into consideration. The constitutive elements of the crime, namely, robbery and homicide, must be consummated. It is immaterial that the death would supervene by mere accident; or that the victim of homicide is other than the victim of robbery, or that two or more persons are killed or that aside from the homicide, rape, intentional mutilation, or usurpation of authority, is committed by reason or on the occasion of the crime. Likewise immaterial is the fact that the victim of homicide is one of the robbers; the felony would still be robbery with homicide. Once a homicide is committed by or on the occasion of the robbery, the felony committed is robbery with homicide. All the felonies committed by reason of or on the occasion of the robbery are integrated into one and indivisible felony of robbery with homicide. The word "homicide" is used in its generic sense. Homicide, thus, includes murder, parricide, and infanticide. When homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery would also be held liable as principals of the single and indivisible felony of robbery with homicide although they did not actually take part in the killing, unless it clearly appears that they endeavored to prevent the same. If a robber tries to prevent the commission of homicide after the commission of the robbery, he is guilty only of robbery and not of robbery with homicide. All those who conspire to commit robbery with homicide are guilty as principals of such crime, although not all profited and gained from the robbery. One who joins a criminal conspiracy adopts the criminal designs of his co-conspirators and can no longer repudiate the conspiracy once it has materialized. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WELVIN DIU y KOTSESA, ET AL, G.R. No. 201449, April 3, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro) The elements of qualified rape are as follows: (a) the victim is a female over 12 years but under 18 years of age; (b) the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim; and (c) the offender has carnal knowledge of the victim either through force, threat, or intimidation. All the elements of the crime charged were proved in this case. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDMUNDO VITERO, G.R. No. 175327, April 3, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro) AAA’s failure to shout for help, although her siblings were sleeping beside her and her parents were on the other room, does not detract from the credibility of her claims. She explained to the court’s satisfaction that appellant, while holding a knife, had threatened to kill her family if she reported the incident. An 11year old child like AAA can only cower in fear and submission in the face of a real threat to her life and her family’s posed by an armed assailant. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANUEL TOLENTINO y CATACUTAN, G.R. No. 187740, April 10, 2013, J. Perez)

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In the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, it matters not that no ransom was actually paid, it being sufficient that a demand for it was made. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BETTY SALVADOR y TABIOS, ET AL., G.R. No. 201443, April 10, 2013, J. Reyes) The essential elements of the crime of fencing are: (1) a crime of robbery or theft has been committed; (2) the accused, who is not a principal or on accomplice in the commission of the crime of robbery or theft, buys, receives, possesses, keeps, acquires, conceals, sells or disposes, or buys and sells, or in any manner deals in any article, item, object or anything of value, which has been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft; (3) the accused knew or should have known that the said article, item, object or anything of value has been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft; and (4) there is, on the part of one accused, intent to gain for oneself or for another. Fencing is malum prohibitum, and P.D. 1612 creates a prima facie presumption of fencing from evidence of possession by the accused of any good, article, item, object or anything of value, which has been the subject of robbery or theft. (JAIME ONG y ONG v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 190475, April 10, 2013, Sereno, CJ). Accused Sombol cannot avail of the justifying circumstance of self-defense. As Sombol failed to prove the existence of unlawful aggression, his plea of self-defense necessarily fails. Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for self-defense to be appreciated. For it to be present, jurisprudence dictates that there must be an actual physical assault, or at least a threat to inflict real imminent injury, upon a person. It presupposes actual, sudden, unexpected or imminent danger — not merely threatening and intimidating action. It is present only when the one attacked faces real and immediate threat to one's life. Without unlawful aggression, the accused has nothing to prevent or repel, and there is then no basis for appreciating the other two requisites. (SERGIO SOMBOL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 194564, April 10, 2013, CJ. Sereno) The accused cannot be convicted of usurpation of official functions when he issued permits to transport salvaged forest products. The DENR is not the sole government agency vested with the authority to issue permits relevant to the transportation of salvaged forest products, considering that, pursuant to the general welfare clause, LGUs may also exercise such authority. Also, as can be gleaned from the records, the permits to transport were meant to complement and not to replace the Wood Recovery Permit issued by the DENR. In effect, Ruzol required the issuance of the subject permits under his authority as municipal mayor and independently of the official functions granted to the DENR. The records are likewise bereft of any showing that Ruzol made representations or false pretenses that said permits could be used in lieu of, or at the least as an excuse not to obtain, the Wood Recovery Permit from the DENR. Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea. There can be no crime when the criminal mind is wanting. (LEOVIGILDO R. RUZOL v. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. Nos. 186739-960. April 17, 2013, J. Velasco, Jr.)

For a prosecution for illegal possession of a dangerous drug to prosper, it must be shown that (a) the accused was in possession of an item or an object identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug; (b) such possession is not authorized by law; and (c) the accused was freely and consciously aware of being in possession of the drug.

In the prosecution for the crime of illegal sale of prohibited drugs, the following elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer and seller, object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment thereof. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually occurred, coupled with the presentation in court of the substance seized as evidence. The presentation of an informant in an illegal drugs case is not essential for the conviction nor is it indispensable for a successful prosecution because his testimony would be merely corroborative and cumulative." The informant's testimony is not needed if the sale of the illegal drug has been adequately proven by the prosecution. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DANTE L. DUMALAG, G.R. No. 180514, April 17, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro)

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The accused-appellant is liable only for simple rape. The unauthenticated photocopy of AAA’s baptismal certificate is not sufficient to prove the age of AAA. While it was alleged in the Information that accusedappellant is AAA’s grandfather, what was proven during the trial was that he was AAA’s granduncle, being the brother of AAA’s paternal grandfather. As such granduncle, or more specifically the brother of the victim’s grandfather, he is a relative of the victim in the fourth civil degree, and is thus not covered by Article 266-B, paragraph 5(1). (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALBERTO DELIGERO y BACASMOT, G.R. No. 189280, April 17, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro) Mere possession of a prohibited drug constitutes prima facie evidence of intent to possess, animus possidendi, sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation of such possession. The burden of evidence, thus, is shifted to the accused to explain the absence of intent to possess. Aguilar miserably failed to discharge such burden. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARILYN AGUILAR y MANZANILLO, G.R. No. 191396, April 17, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) It has been ruled, in a long line of cases,32 that “absence of external signs of physical injuries does not negate rape. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMAN ZAFRA Y SERRANO, G.R. No. 197363, June 26, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro) All the essential requisites for illegal sale of shabu were present in this case: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing. There is no iota of doubt that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized item were preserved. The Letter-Request for Laboratory Examination shows that it was PO2 Bernabe who personally delivered to the crime laboratory the specimens and that it was the very chemist who examined the specimens who brought the same to the court. Clearly, the chain of custody was not broken. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PETER LINDA Y GEROLAGA, G.R. No. 200507, June 26, 2013, J. Perez) It is significant to reiterate and emphasize that the elements necessary for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs were convincingly established. These are: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and consideration, and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MONICA MENDOZA Y TRINIDAD, G.R. No. 191267, JUNE 26, 2013, J. PEREZ) Famor was adjudged not guilty of the crime charged because his proximity and whispered communications to Mores moments before the grenade throwing incident occurred was deemed by the trial court as insufficient evidence to establish conspiracy between him and appellant. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RAMIL MORES, G.R. No. 189846, June 26, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro) The falsification of a public, official, or commercial document may be a means of committing estafa because before the falsified document is actually used to defraud another; the crime of falsification has already been consummated. Damage or intent to cause damage is not an element of the crime of falsification. Only when an existing falsified public, official or commercial document is used to defraud another, then that is estafa. (CARLOS L. TANENGGEE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 179448, June 26, 2013, J. Del Castillo) The identity of the sachets of shabu confiscated and the continuous chain of custody was established by the prosecution. An adequate foundation establishing a continuous chain of custody is said to have been established if the State accounts for the evidence at each stage from its acquisition to its testing, and to its introduction at trial. In this case, it was shown that after the three sachets of shabu were confiscated from appellant and that they were marked. At the police station, the seized drugs were the subject of a Request for Examination and were personally delivered to the PNP Crime Laboratory. Subsequently, qualitative tests were conducted and the test results, presented in evidence confirmed that the specimen contained shabu. During trial, the witness identified the plastic sachet marked presented as the same sachet of shabu which he bought from accused Castro. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FERDINAND CASTRO Y LAPENA, G.R. No. 195777, June 19, 2013, J. Perez)

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In illegal sale, what the prosecution needs to present is proof that a transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of the corpus delicti. The commission of illegal sale merely requires the consummation of the selling transaction while illegal possession is constituted by prima facie evidence of knowledge of the illegality or animus possidendi which is sufficient to convict him. Prior surveillance is not required for a valid buy-bust operation, especially if the buy-bust team is accompanied by their informant. It is not a prerequisite for the validity of an entrapment or a buy-bust operation, there being no fixed or textbook method for conducting one. When time is of essence, the police may dispense with the need for prior surveillance. The following elements are necessary in order to establish the chain of custody in a buy-bust operation: First, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; Second, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; Third, the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and Fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized by the forensic chemist to the court. Upon review, the Supreme Court is convinced that the prosecution had sufficiently proved all the elements to establish chain of custody of illegal drugs. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BENEDICT HOMAKY LUCIO, G.R. No. 191391, June 19, 2013, J. Perez) The DOJ erred in charging Gil for Rape in relation to Child Abuse under Section 5(b), Article III of RA 7610. Jurisprudence dictates that accused may be charged only for one and not both crimes. If the victim is 12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual abuse under RA 7610 or rape under Article 266-A of the RPC. The offender cannot be accused of both crimes for the same act because his right against double jeopardy will be prejudiced. A felony under the RPC cannot be complexed with an offense penalized under special law. (IRIS KRISTINE BALOIS ALBERTO AND BENJAMIN D. BALOIS v. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, ATTY. RODRIGO A. REYNA, ARTURO S. CALIANGA, GIL ANTHONY M. CALIANGA, JESSEBEL CALIANGA AND GRACE EVANGELISTA, G.R. Nos. 182130 and 182132, June 19, 2013, J. Perlas – Bernabe) The accused as the elected treasurer of CALAPUPATODA received and held money for administration and in trust for the association. He was thus under an obligation to turnover the same upon conclusion of his term as Treasurer. Instead, however, he misappropriated the same to the prejudice of the association and, despite demand, failed to account for or return them. Such failure to account, upon demand, of funds or property held in trust is circumstantial evidence of misappropriation. (ABELARDO JANDUSAY v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 185129, June 19, 2013, J. Reyes) In a buy-bust operation, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties must be upheld in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to overturn the same. While in case of violation of Section 14 of Article II, R.A. No. 9165, the accused must either have in his possession and under his direct control the said paraphernalia, There is no degree of participation to speak of, either one has possession and control over the paraphernalia or none. If there is none, then one must be acquitted. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARCELO COLLADO Y CUNANAN, MYRA COLLADO Y SENICA, MARK CIPRIANO Y ROCERO, SAMUEL SHERWIN LATARIO Y ENRIQU AND REYNALDO RANADA Y ALAS, G.R. No. 185719, June 17, 2013, J. Del Castillo) In the conduct of a valid buy-bust operation with regards to R.A. No. 9165, non-compliance with the requirements provided for in Section 21 to prove the chain of custody is not fatal as long as there is a substantial ground for the non-compliance presented in court; in which case, substantial compliance will do. Any minor inconsistencies with the details can be disregarded if such inconsistencies are fully explained by the prosecution and accepted by the Courts. Further, failure to mark the money or to present it in evidence is not material, since failure to do so will not necessarily disprove the sale. If at all, the marked money merely serves as corroborative evidence in proving appellant’s guilt. The failure to present the marked money does not affect the prosecution, as long as the sale of dangerous drugs is adequately proven and the drug subject of the transaction is presented before the court, as what has been satisfactorily shown in this case. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEL REBOTAZO Y ALEJANDRA, G.R. No. 192913, June 13, 2013, CJ. Sereno)

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Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode, method, and manner in which the offense was perpetrated; or inferred from the acts of the accused when those acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interests. Proof of a previous agreement and decision to commit the crime is not essential, but the fact that the malefactors acted in unison pursuant to the same objective suffices. The act of attacking the victim, boxing and stabbing, at the same time for the purpose of killing the victim is considered an act of conspiracy. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PERCIVAL DELA ROSA Y BAYER, G.R. No. 201723, June 13, 2013, J. Reyes) The accused’s alibi is worthless as his presence at a mere 30 meters away from the scene of the crime at the time of its commission definitely does not constitute a physical impossibility for him to be at Mara’s room at the time of the rape. On the contrary, it is an implied admission that there is facility of access for the accused Diaz to be at the place where the crime happened when it happened. ( PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ABEL DIAZ, G.R. NO. 200882, JUNE 13, 2013J. LEONARDO – DE CASTRO) When homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of a robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery would also be held liable as principals of the single and indivisible felony of robbery with homicide, although they did not actually take part in the killing, unless it clearly appears that they endeavored to prevent the same. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE ARMANDO CERVANTES CACHUELA AND BENJAMIN JULIAN CRUZ IBANEZ, G.R. No. 191752, June 10, 2013, J. Brion) Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated; or from the acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action and community of interest. Tendenilla and Rea together with Azul, conspired to commit the crime of illegal recruitment. Azul referred all private complainants to Tendenilla, who made representations that she could deploy them abroad. It was either Azul or Tendenilla who received the payment of placement fees. And as previously stated, Rea met some of the complainants at the training center, and accompanied some of them while in Thailand. Their actions showed unity of purpose and, taken all together, leave no doubt that they are coconspirators. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIA JENNY REA Y GUEVARRA AND ESTRELLITA TENDENILLA, G.R. NO. 197049, June 10, 2013, J. Perez) The presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions cannot by itself overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. Nothing less than evidence of guilt beyond reasonable doubt can erase the postulate of innocence. And this burden is met not by placing in distrust the innocence of the accused but by obliterating all doubts as to his culpability. The solo performance by SPO1 Dela Victoria of all the acts necessary for the prosecution of the offense is unexplained and puts the proof of corpus delicti, which is the illegal object itself, in serious doubt. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GLORIA CALUMBRES Y AUDITOR, G.R. NO. 194382, June 10, 2013, J. Perez) The elements of Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse are: (a) The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; (b) The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and, (c) The child is below 18 years of age. A minor child, even though not engaged in prostitution, who indulges in sexual intercourse or any lascivious conduct due to the coercion or influence of any adult is deemed to be a child exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse. Coercion and Influence by the adult of the child qualifies the act as that of the second element of the offense. (CHRISTIAN CABALLO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 198732, June 10, 2013, J. Perlas – Bernabe) An accused charged with violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 cannot be convicted if the identity and integrity of the drugs seized as well as the handling of the said items cannot be established. Section 21 is a matter of substantive law that mandates strict compliance as it is a safety precaution against potential abuses by law enforcement agents. Under the principle that penal laws are strictly construed against the government, stringent compliance therewith is fully justified and failure to do so without justifiable grounds are not excusable. It is clear that Section 21 was not observed, as in this case – no photograph or inventory of the confiscated items was taken or made. Such noncompliance brings to the fore the question of whether the illegal drug items were the same ones that were allegedly seized

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from petitioner. (RODRIGO RONTOS Y DELA TORRE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 188024, June 5, 2013, CJ. Sereno) When the victim of rape is under 18 years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim, such is considered as qualified rape. Both the minority of the victim and her relationship to the accused were sufficiently alleged in the Information and proved by the prosecution. AAA’s testimony that she was raped by her own uncle is worthy of belief as it was clear, consistent and spontaneously given. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERNESTO GANI Y TUPAS, G.R. No. 195523, JUNE 5, 2013, J. PERALTA) While the special qualifying circumstance of minority was alleged and proved, the circumstance of relationship of "AAA" was not clearly established. When one of the qualifying circumstances of relationship and minority is omitted or lacking, that which is pleaded in the Information and proved by the evidence may be considered as an aggravating circumstance. Therefore, AAA’s minority may be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GUILLERMO LOMAQUE, G.R. NO. 189297, June 5, 2013, J. Del Castillo) Although Section 21(1) of R.A. No. 9165 mandates that an immediate conduct of physical inventory of the seized items and photograph be made by the team, non-compliance is not fatal as long as there is a justifiable ground therefor, and as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending team. Nowhere in the prosecution evidence does it show the "justifiable ground" which may excuse the failure to make and inventory and to photograph the drugs confiscated. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MYLENE TORRES Y CRUZ, G.R. No. 191730, June 5, 2013, J. Perez) An accused who while in a fistfight with the victim, inflicts a fatal wound to the back is guilty of treachery. The position of the fatal wound is more than clear indication that the victim was stabbed in a defenseless state. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack on an unsuspecting victim by the perpetrator of the crime, depriving the victim of any chance to defend himself or repel the aggression, thus insuring its commission without risk to the aggressor and without any provocation on the part of the victim. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARIEL CALARA Y ABALOS, G.R. No. 197039, June 5, 2013, J. Perez) The elements of rape under Art. 335 of the RPC before it was amended by R.A. 8353 are: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of the victim; and (2) such act was either: a) accomplished through force and intimidation; or, b) when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or, c) when the victim is under 12 years of age. The testimony of the victim established both elements. That the offender had carnal knowledge of the victim and that the act was accomplished through force and intimidation. In rape committed by a close kin, such as the victim’s father (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ROMEO BUSTAMANTE Y ALIGANGA, G.R. NO. 189836. JUNE 5, 2013, J. LEONARDO – DE CASTRO) A statutory rape departs from the usual modes of committing rape. What the law punishes is carnal knowledge of a woman below twelve years of age. Thus, the only subject of inquiry is the age of the woman and whether carnal knowledge took place. The law presumes that the victim does not and cannot have a will of her own on account of her tender years. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RICARDO PIOSANG, G.R. No. 200329, June 5, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro) The fact that AAA did not sustain any injury in her sex organ does not ipso facto mean that she was not raped. Full penetration of the vaginal orifice is not an essential ingredient, nor is the rupture of the hymen necessary, to conclude that carnal knowledge took place; the mere touching of the external genitalia by a penis that is capable of consummating the sexual act is sufficient to constitute carnal knowledge. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RICARDO PAMINTUAN Y SAHAGUN, G.R. NO. 192239. JUNE 5, 2013, J. Leonardo- De Castro) Regardless of the perpetrator’s awareness of his victim’s mental condition, carnal knowledge of a woman who is a mental retardate is automatically a rape under Article 266-A paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code. This is because a mentally deficient person is incapable of giving consent to a sexual act. Thus,

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what needs to be proven are the facts of sexual intercourse between the accused and the victim, and the victim’s mental retardation. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MOISES CAOILE, G.R. No. 203041, June 5, 2013, J. Leonardo – De Castro) An accused who committed two separate crimes, Murder and Attempted Murder, can only be convicted of the complex crime of murder with attempted murder and not of two separate crimes because the information only contained one criminal actuation. An accused cannot be convicted of an offense, even if duly proven, unless it is alleged or necessarily included in the complaint or information. Any conviction contrary to the allegations made or necessarily included in the information is violative of the right of the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. A complex crime is only one crime. Although two or more crimes are actually committed, there is only one crime in the eyes of the law as well as in the conscience of the offender when it comes to complex crimes. Hence, there is only one penalty imposed for the commission of a complex crime (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REGGIE BERNARDO, G.R. No. 198789, June 3, 2013, J. Reyes) The crime committed is murder qualified by treachery. Murder is the unlawful killing by the accused of a person, which is not parricide or infanticide, committed with any of the attendant circumstances enumerated in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, one of which is treachery. ( PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEMARI JALBONIAN ALIAS "BUDO”, G.R. NO. 180281, JULY 1, 2013, J. DEL CASTILLO) In cases involving dangerous drugs, compliance with the requirements of Section 21, the chain of custody rule, is required to protect the procedures in keeping custody and disposition of dangerous drugs and as well as to avoid any abuse on the part of the authorities who conducted the operation. It is the prosecution who has the burden of establishing the chain of custody of the dangerous drugs seized from the accused. It should establish the following links in that chain of custody of the confiscated item: first, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; second, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; third, the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized from the forensic chemist to the court. Non-compliance with the chain of custody can only be allowed if (a) there is justifiable ground for non-compliance; and (b) the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMEO ONIZA Y ONG AND MERCY ONIZA Y CABARLE, G.R. NO. 202709, JULY 3, 2013, J. ABAD) A person who contracts a second marriage during the subsistence of a valid first marriage is liable for the crime of bigamy. The outcome of the civil case for annulment of the second marriage for being null and void have no bearing upon the determination of petitioner’s innocence or guilt in the criminal case for bigamy, because all that is required for the charge of bigamy to prosper is that there is a first marriage that is subsisting at the time the second marriage is contracted. It is what makes a person criminally liable for bigamy. A person may still be charged with the crime of bigamy, even if there is a subsequent declaration of the nullity of the second marriage because the crime of bigamy is consummated at the time of the celebration of the subsequent marriage without the previous one having been judicially declared null and void. The subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first marriage is immaterial because prior to the declaration of nullity, the crime had already been consummated. (JAMES WALTER P. CAPILI v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 183805. JULY 3, 2013, J. PERALTA) Malversation is committed either intentionally or by negligence. All that is necessary for conviction is sufficient proof that the accountable officer had received public funds, that he did not have them in his possession when demand therefor was made, and that he could not satisfactorily explain his failure to do so. Direct evidence of personal misappropriation by the accused is hardly necessary as long as the accused cannot explain satisfactorily the shortage in his accounts. (MAJOR JOEL G. CANTOS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 184908. JULY 3, 2013, J. VILLARAMA, JR.) The element of unlawful aggression is absent to warrant self-defense. The victim’s actuations did not constitute unlawful aggression to warrant the use of force employed by Vergara. The records reveal that

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the victim had been walking home albeit drunk when he passed by the accused. There is no indication of any untoward action from him to warrant the treatment that he had by Vergara’s hands. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GARRY VERGARA Y ORIEL AND JOSEPH INCENCIO Y PAULINO, ACCUSED, GARRY VERGARA Y ORIEL, ACCUSED-APPELANT G.R. NO. 177763, JULY 3, 2013, J. LEONARDO – DE CASTRO) When the information alleges the crime of estafa specified under paragraph 1(b) and yet what was proven was estafa under paragraph 2(a) of the same Art. 315 of the RPC, what determines the real nature and cause of the accusation against an accused is the actual recital of facts stated in the information and not the caption of the information. The information in this case may be interpreted as charging the accused with both estafa under paragraph 1 (b) and estafa under paragraph 2(a). It is a basic and fundamental principle of criminal law that one act can give rise to two offenses, all the more when a single offense has multiple modes of commission. (FERNANDO M. ESPINO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 188217. JULY 3, 2013, CJ. SERENO) When three men with a bolo each attack an unarmed person who was only holding a lemon and an egg, such action by the attackers constitute conspiracy in the execution of the crime and abuse of superior strength to ensure that they kill their target. The claim of self-defense or defense of family is untenable because there can be no unlawful aggression on the part of the victim when he was only holding a lemon and an egg as compared to the bolos of the attackers. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RONALD CREDO, ET AL., G.R. NO. 197360. JULY 3, 2013, J. PEREZ) In making the friendly gesture of offering a drink to a person whom the accused intended to kill, the court sees no other reason than to intentionally lure the victim into a false sense of security before attacking him, such act constitutes treachery on the part of the accused. The essence of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected manner, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape. The manner in which Gravo was stabbed by Hatsero has treachery written all over it. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LITO HATSERO, G.R. NO. 192179. JULY 3, 2013, J. Leonardo- De Castro) Public officers who act in conspiracy with one another and blatantly disregarding the rules and regulation prescribed by law resulting to a huge loss to the Local Government as well as resulting into unnecessary benefits to one of them all because their act was was "common practice" is definitely in violation of R.A. 7160; P.D. 1445; and the circulars issued by the COA. (BENILDA N. BACASMAS v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ALAN C. GAVIOLA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, EUSTAQUIO B. CESA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NOS. 189343/189369/189553. JULY 10, 2013, CJ. SERENO) For a conviction of qualified rape, the prosecution must allege and prove the ordinary elements of (1) sexual congress, (2) with a woman, (3) by force and without consent; and in order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty, the additional elements that (4) the victim is under eighteen years of age at the time of the rape, and (5) the offender is a parent of the victim. A father who rapes his own minor daughter do not need to use any physical force or intimidation because in rape committed by a close kin, such as the victim's father, it is not necessary that actual force or intimidation be employed; moral influence or ascendancy takes the place of violence or intimidation. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. VICENTE CADELLADA, G.R. NO. 189293, JULY 10, 2013, J. Leonardo- De Castro) In the present case, the crime of robbery remained unconsummated because the victim refused to give his money to appellant and no personal property was shown to have been taken. It was for this reason that the victim was shot. Accused can only be found guilty of attempted robbery with homicide. The fact of asportation must be established beyond reasonable doubt. Since this fact was not duly established, accused should be held liable only for the crime of attempted robbery with homicide. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSEPH BARRA, G.R. NO. 198020. JULY 10, 2013, J. Leonardo- De Castro) In an attempt to murder a person and the wounds inflicted are of such nature that it would not caused the victim’s death if not for timely medical intervention, the crime committed is attempted murder. In frustrated

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murder, there must be evidence showing that the wound would have been fatal were it not for timely medical intervention. If the evidence fails to convince the court that the wound sustained would have caused the victim’s death without timely medical attention, the accused should be convicted of attempted murder and not frustrated murder. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REGIE LABIA, G.R. NO. 202867. JULY 15, 2013, J. Carpio) The crime of arson is punished pursuant to Section 3(2) of P.D. No. 1613, the penalty to be imposed if the property burned is an inhabited house or dwelling is from reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua. Not being composed of three periods, however, such penalty should be divided into three equal portions of time, and each portion forms one period of the penalty. Yet, reclusion perpetua, being an indivisible penalty, immediately becomes the maximum period, leaving reclusion temporal to be divided into two in order to fix the medium and minimum periods of the penalty. Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law requires the court, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code, or its amendments, to sentence the accused "to an indeterminate sentence the maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the offense." Accordingly, the maximum of the indeterminate penalty in this case should be within the range of the medium period because neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstance attended the commission of the crime; and the minimum of the indeterminate sentence should be within the range of the penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed for the crime, without regard to its periods. (GILFREDO BACOLOD A.K.A. GILARDO BACOLOD v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 206236. JULY 15, 2013, J. Bersamin) What makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage. Parties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only when the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such declaration, the presumption is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy. (People of the Philippines v. Edgardo V. Odtuhan, G.R. No. 191566. July 17, 2013, J. Peralta) The qualifying circumstance of treachery or alevosia was properly appreciated in this case. The two elements that must be proven to establish treachery are: (a) the employment of means of execution which would ensure the safety of the offender from defensive and retaliatory acts of the victim, giving the victim no opportunity to defend himself; and (b) the means, method and manner of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the offender. These elements are established by the testimony of Manalangsang showing the unexpected attack by the petitioner on the unsuspecting Hispano whose vehicle was suddenly blocked by three men, at least one of whom was armed with a firearm. The victim was then unarmed and had no opportunity to defend himself. (BOBBY "ABEL" AVELINO Y BULAWAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 181444. JULY 17, 2013, J. VILLARAMA, JR.) Non-presentation of the entire amount of the marked money is not a mortal blow to the prosecution’s case. Further, the lack of pre-operation report has no effect on the legality and validity of the buy-bust operation as it is not indispensable in a buy-bust operation. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REYNALDO "ANDY" SOMOZA Y HANDAYA, G.R. NO. 197250. JULY 17, 2013, J. Leonardo- De Castro) In rape cases, the interpretation of the Supreme Court regarding the "sweetheart defense" is that love is not a license for lust. A love affair does not justify rape for a man does not have the unbridled license to subject his beloved to his carnal desires against her will. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARVIN CRUZ, G.R. NO. 201728. JULY 17, 2013, J. Reyes) The mere touching of the external genitalia by a penis capable of consummating the sexual act is sufficient to constitute carnal knowledge. The slightest penetration of the labia of the female victim's genitalia consummates the crime of rape. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. VICTORINO REYES, G.R. NO. 173307. JULY 17, 2013, J. Bersamin)

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There are two (2) ways by which a public official violates Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in the performance of his functions, namely: (a) by causing undue injury to any party, including the Government; or (b) by giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference. The accused may be charged under either mode or under both. In this case, the Court is convinced that the accused caused undue injury to the Government in appointing Dr. Posadas as TMC Project Director with evident bad faith while he is still part of the faculty of UP. (DR. ROGER R. POSADAS AND DR. ROLANDO P. DAYCO v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NOS. 168651 & 169000. JULY 17, 2013, J. VILLARAMA, JR.) Unlawful aggression is the indispensable element of self-defense, for if no unlawful aggression attributed to the victim is established, self-defense is unavailing as there is nothing to repel. The unlawful aggression of the victim must put the life and personal safety of the person defending himself in actual peril. A mere threatening or intimidating attitude does not constitute unlawful aggression. Also, Abacco’s act of going to their house and calling out Rogelio so they may talk can hardly be considered as unlawful aggression under the law. Even Abacco’s injuries which proved to be multiple and fatal reveal that it was Rogelio and Marissa who were truly the aggressors. Thus, the Court is convinced that Abacco was by no means the unlawful aggressor. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROGELIO RAMOS and MARISSA INTERO RAMOS, G.R. No. 190340, JULY 24, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

Under the aforementioned provisions, when rape is committed by an assailant who has knowledge of the victim’s mental retardation, the penalty is increased to death. This circumstance must be alleged in the information being a qualifying circumstance which increases the penalty to death and changes the nature of the offense from simple to qualified rape. Although appellant denied any knowledge about AAA’s mental condition, it was he himself who volunteered the information that he had been living with AAA for four (4) months in his house. It is therefore logical to assume that appellant was fully aware of the workings of AAA’s mental faculties. Furthermore, AAA’s mental condition was sufficiently established by medical findings, as well as the testimony of AAA’s mother. Considering the presence of the special qualifying circumstance of the appellant's knowledge of the victim's mental retardation, the same being properly alleged in the Information charging the appellant of the crime of rape and proven during trial, this Court imposes on the appellant the supreme penalty of death. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NINOY ROSALES Y ESTO, G.R. NO. 197537, JULY 24, 2013, J. PEREZ)

Although the Court, in numerous cases, has been inclined to uphold the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty of public officers the Court noted that this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Inconsistencies committed by the police officers amounting to procedural lapses in observing the chain of custody of evidence requirement effectively negated this presumption. Their inaccurate recall of events amounted to irregularities that affected the presumption and tilted the evidence in favor of the accused. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE CLARA Y BUHAIN, G.R. NO. 195528, JULY 24, 2013, J. PEREZ)

The material facts surrounding the civil case bear no relation to the criminal investigation being conducted by the prosecutor. The prejudicial question in the civil case involves the dishonor of another check. SMC is not privy to the nature of the alleged materially altered check leading to its dishonor and the eventual garnishment of petitioners’ savings account. The source of the funds of petitioners’ savings account is no longer SMC’s concern. The matter is between petitioners and Asia Trust Bank. On the other hand, the issue in the preliminary investigation is whether petitioners issued a bad check to SMC for the payment of beer products. Even if the trial court in the civil case declares Asia Trust Bank liable for the unlawful garnishment of petitioners’ savings account, petitioners cannot be automatically adjudged free from criminal liability for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, because the mere issuance of worthless checks with knowledge of the insufficiency of funds to support the checks is in itself the offense. (SPOUSES ARGOVAN AND FLORIDA GADITANO v. SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, G.R. NO. 188767, JULY 24, 2013, J. PEREZ)

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Unlike estafa under paragraph 1 (b) of Article 315 of the Code, estafa under paragraph 2( a) of that provision does not require as an element of the crime proof that the accused misappropriated or converted the swindled money or property. All that is required is proof of pecuniary damage sustained by the complainant arising from his reliance on the fraudulent representation. The prosecution in this case discharged its evidentiary burden by presenting the receipts of the installment payments made by Sy on the purchase price for the Club share. Petitioner and Ragonjan knew that the Club was a bogus project. (RALPH LITO W. LOPEZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 199294, JULY 31, 2013, J. Carpio)

Petitioners were property convicted of the crime of violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019 which has the following essential elements: (a) the accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; (b) he must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and (c) his action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government, or gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions. Having affixed their signatures on the disputed documents despite the glaring defects found therein, petitioners were properly found to have acted with evident bad faith in approving the "ghost" purchases. Their participation in facilitating the payment of non-existent CCIE items resulted to a loss on the part of the government. (SPO1 RAMON LIHAYLIHAY AND C/INSP. VIRGILIO V. VINLUAN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 191219. JULY 31, 2013, J. Perlas- Bernabe)

The elements of simple arson under Section 3(2) of P.D. No. 1613 are: (a) there is intentional burning; and (b) what is intentionally burned is an inhabited house or dwelling. Both these elements have been proven in the present case. The Information alleged that the appellant set fire to his own house, and that the fire spread to other inhabited houses. These allegations were established during trial through the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses which the trial and appellate courts found credible and convincing, and through the report of the Bureau of Fire Protection which stated that damaged houses were residential, and that the fire had been intentional. Moreover, the certification from the City Social Welfare and Development Department likewise indicated that the burned houses were used as dwellings. The appellant likewise testified that his burnt two-story house was used as a residence. That the appellant’s act affected many families will not convert the crime to destructive arson, since the appellant’s act does not appear to be heinous or represents a greater degree of perversity and viciousness when compared to those acts punished under Article 320 of the RPC. The established evidence only showed that the appellant intended to burn his own house, but the conflagration spread to the neighboring houses. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALAMADA MACABANDO, G.R. NO. 188708, JULY 31, 2013, J. Brion)

In a catena of cases, the Court held that mere possession of a regulated drug per se constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation of such possession - the onus probandi is shifted to the accused, to explain the absence of knowledge or animus possidendi. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RUPER POSING y ALAYON, G.R. NO. 196973. JULY 31, 2013, J. Perez)

The alleged self-defense has no leg to stand on. It is a statutory and doctrinal requirement that, for the justifying circumstance of self-defense, unlawful aggression as a condition sine qua non must be present. There can be no self-defense, complete or incomplete, unless the victim commits an unlawful aggression

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against the person defending himself. There is unlawful aggression when the peril to one’s life, limb or right is either actual or imminent. There must be actual physical force or actual use of a weapon.

Unlawful aggression on the part of the victim is the primordial element of the justifying circumstance of self-defense. Without unlawful aggression, there can be no justified killing in defense of oneself. The test for the presence of unlawful aggression under the circumstances is whether the aggression from the victim put in real peril the life or personal safety of the person defending himself; the peril must not be an imagined or imaginary threat. Accordingly, the accused must establish the concurrence of three elements of unlawful aggression, namely: (a) there must be a physical or material attack or assault; (b) the attack or assault must be actual, or, at least, imminent; and (c) the attack or assault must be unlawful.

In this case, the victim was only walking in the yard, unarmed. There was not the least provocation done by the victim that could have triggered the accused-appellant to entertain the thought that there was a need to defend himself. The victim did not exhibit any act or gesture that could show that he was out to inflict harm or injury. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WILSON ROMAN, G.R. NO. 198110, JULY 31, 2013, J. Reyes)

The Sandiganbayan correctly convicted the accused for violating Section 3 (e) of RA 3019. The failure of petitioner to validate the ownership of the land on which the canal was to be built because of his unfounded belief that it was public land constitutes gross inexcusable negligence.

Petitioner cannot hide behind the Arias doctrine, because it is not on all fours with his case. In Arias, six people comprising heads of offices and their subordinates were charged with violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. 3019. The accused therein allegedly conspired with one another in causing, allowing, and/or approving the illegal and irregular disbursement and expenditure of public funds. In acquitting the two heads of offices, the Court ruled that they could not be held liable for the acts of their dishonest or negligent subordinates because they failed to personally examine each detail of a transaction before affixing their signatures in good faith.

In the present case, petitioner is solely charged with violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019. He is being held liable for gross and inexcusable negligence in performing the duties primarily vested in him by law, resulting in undue injury to private complainant. The good faith of heads of offices in signing a document will only be appreciated if they, with trust and confidence, have relied on their subordinates in whom the duty is primarily lodged. (ANTONIO B. SANCHEZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 187340, AUGUST 14, 2013, CJ Sereno)

When both parties enter into an agreement knowing fully well that the return of the goods subject of the trust receipt is not possible even without any fault on the part of the trustee, it is not a trust receipt transaction penalized under Sec. 13 of PD 115 in relation to Art. 315, par. 1(b) of the RPC, as the only obligation actually agreed upon by the parties would be the return of the proceeds of the sale transaction. This transaction becomes a mere loan, where the borrower is obligated to pay the bank the amount spent for the purchase of the goods. (HUR TIN YANG v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 195117, AUGUST 14, 2013, J. Velasco Jr.)

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The non- presentation of the confidential informant is not fatal to the prosecution. lnformants are usually not presented in court because of the need to hide their identity and maintain their valuable service to the police. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RYAN BLANCO Y SANGKULA, G.R. NO. 193661, AUGUST 14, 2013, J. Perez)

Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon. [T]he death of the accused prior to final judgment terminates his criminal liability and only the civil liability directly arising from and based solely on the offense committed, i.e., civil liability ex delicto in senso strictiore."

Since the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused, the civil action instituted therein for recovery of civil liability ex delicto is ipso facto extinguished, grounded as it is on the criminal case. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANASTACIO AMISTOSO Y BROCA, G.R. NO. 201447, AUGUST 28, 2013, J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO)

Rape is essentially an offense of secrecy, not generally attempted except in dark or deserted and secluded places away from the prying eyes, and the crime usually commences solely upon the word of the offended woman herself and conviction invariably turns upon her credibility, as the prosecution’s single witness of the actual occurrence. As a corollary, a conviction for rape may be made even on the testimony of the victim herself, as long as such testimony is credible. In fact, the victim’s testimony is the most important factor to prove that the felony has been committed. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. APOLINARIO MANALILI y JOSE, G.R. NO. 191253, AUGUST 28, 2013, J. Perez)

For the charge of rape to prosper, the prosecution must prove that (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman, (2) through force or intimidation, or when she was deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or when she was under 12 years of age or was demented." From these requisites, it can thus be deduced that rape is committed the moment the offender has sexual intercourse with a person suffering from mental retardation. "[C]arnal knowledge of a woman who is a mental retardate is rape. A mental condition of retardation deprives the complainant of that natural instinct to resist a bestial assault on her chastity and womanhood. For this reason, sexual intercourse with one who is intellectually weak to the extent that she is incapable of giving consent to the carnal act already constitutes rape[,] without requiring proof that the accused used force and intimidation in committing the act." Only the facts of sexual congress between the accused and the victim and the latter’s mental retardation need to be proved.

In this case, the evidence presented by the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt the sexual congress between appellant and "AAA" and the latter’s mental retardation. "AAA" positively identified appellant as her rapist. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BRION, JOJIE SUANSING, G.R. No. 189822, September 2, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

AAA’s failure to shout or resist did not automatically mean voluntary submission to the act. In rape, the force and intimidation must be viewed in the light of the victim’s perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime. As already settled in our jurisprudence, not all victims react the same way.

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Some people may cry out, some may faint, some may be shocked into insensibility, while others may appear to yield to the intrusion. Some may offer strong resistance while others may be too intimidated to offer any resistance at all. Moreover, resistance is not an element of rape. A rape victim has no burden to prove that she did all within her power to resist the force or intimidation employed upon her. As long as the force or intimidation is present, whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the point. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CHRISTOPHER RIVERA Y ROYO, G.R. No. 200508, September 4, 2013, J. Mendoza)

In order to constitute estafa under this statutory provision, the act of postdating or issuing a check in payment of an obligation must be the efficient cause of the defraudation. This means that the offender must be able to obtain money or property from the offended party by reason of the issuance of the check, whether dated or postdated. In other words, the Prosecution must show that the person to whom the check was delivered would not have parted with his money or property were it not for the issuance of the check by the offender.

In every criminal prosecution, however, the identity of the offender, like the crime itself, must be established by proof beyond reasonable doubt. In that regard, the Prosecution did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that it was Wagas who had defrauded Ligaray by issuing the check. Hence, he cannot be convicted of estafa. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GILBERT REYES WAGAS, G.R. No. 157943, September 4, 2013, J. Bersamin)

To be held liable under Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, the following elements must concur: 1) the accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; 2) he must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and 3) that his action caused undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.

As correctly observed by the Sandiganbayan, certain established rules, regulations and policies of the Commission on Audit and those mandated under the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. No. 7160) were knowingly sidestepped and ignored by the petitioner which enabled CKL Enterprises/Dela Cruz to successfully get full payment for the school desks and armchairs, despite non-delivery – an act or omission evidencing bad faith and manifest partiality. (JOVITO C. PLAMERAS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 187268, September 4, 2013, J. Perez)

The allegations in the information in the two cases, if hypothetically admitted, would establish the essential elements of the crimes.

The elements of corruption of public officials under Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code are: 1) that the offender makes offers or promises, or gives gifts or presents to a public officer; and 2) that the offers or promises are made or the gifts or presents are given to a public officer under circumstances that will make the public officer liable for direct bribery or indirect bribery.

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The elements of the offense under Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 3019 are: 1) that the offender has family or close personal relation with a public official; 2) that he capitalizes or exploits or takes advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting or receiving any present, gift, material or pecuniary advantage from any person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government; 3) that the public official with whom the offender has family or close personal relation has to intervene in the business transaction, application, request, or contract with the government. (HERMINIO T. DISINI v. THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION, AND THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. Nos. 169823-24 & G.R. NOS. 174764-65, September 11, 2013, J. Bersamin)

Records bear out facts and circumstances which show that the elements of murder – namely: (a) that a person was killed; (b) that the accused killed him; (c) that the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Article 248 of the RPC; and (d) that the killing is not parricide or infanticide– are, in all reasonable likelihood, present in Dangupon’s case. As to the first and second elements, Dangupon himself admitted that he shot and killed Tetet. Anent the third element, there lies sufficient basis to suppose that the qualifying circumstance of treachery attended Tetet’s killing in view of the undisputed fact that he was restrained by respondents and thereby, rendered defenseless. Finally, with respect to the fourth element, Tetet’s killing can neither be considered as parricide nor infanticide as the evidence is bereft of any indication that Tetet is related to Dangupon. (ELISEO V. AGUILAR v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ET. AL., G.R. No. 197522, September 11, 2013, Per Curiam)

The Court found that the circumstances obtaining in this case (i.e. alleged pretense made by the appellant and cohorts that they were going to conduct a police operation regarding illegal drugs, as well as the telephone call made by the victim to his friend Reyes before the incident) do not constitute clear and positive evidence of outward acts showing a premeditation to kill. At most, these circumstances are indicative only of conspiracy among the accused. Settled is the rule that when it is not shown how and when the plan to kill was hatched or how much time had elapsed before it was carried out, evident premeditation cannot be considered. "It must appear not only that the accused decided to commit the crime prior to the moment of its execution but also that this decision was the result of meditation, calculation, reflection or persistent attempt." Notably, even the OSG admitted that the lapse of time from the moment the victim was fetched until the shooting cannot be considered sufficient for appellant to reflect upon the consequences of his act. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SPO1 ALFREDO ALAWIG, G.R. No. 187731, September 18, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

Forcible abduction is absorbed in the crime of rape if the real objective of the accused is to rape the victim. In this case, circumstances show that the victim’s abduction was with the purpose of raping her. Thus, after Cayanan dragged her into the tricycle, he took her to several places until they reached his sister’s house where he raped her inside the bedroom. Under these circumstances, the rape absorbed the forcible abduction. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARVIN CAYANAN, G.R. No. 200080, September 18, 2013, J. Reyes)

It must be emphasized that force as an element of rape need not be irresistible; it need but be present, and so long as it brings about the desired result, all considerations of whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the point. So must it likewise be for intimidation which is addressed to the mind of the victim and is therefore subjective. Intimidation includes the moral kind as the fear caused by threatening the girl with a knife or pistol. And where such intimidation exists and the victim is cowed into submission as a result thereof, thereby rendering resistance futile, it would be extremely unreasonable, to say the least, to expect the victim to resist with all her might and strength. If resistance would nevertheless be

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futile because of continuing intimidation, then offering none at all would not mean consent to the assault as to make the victim’s participation in the sexual act voluntary. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RYAN FRIAS Y GALANG A.K.A. "TAGALOG", G.R. No. 203068, September 18, 2013, J. Reyes)

In rape cases, the law does not impose a burden on the rape victim to prove resistance because it is not an element of rape. Hence, the absence of abrasions or contusions in AAA’s body is inconsequential. Also, not all victims react the same way. Some people may cry out, some may faint, some may be shocked into insensibility, while others may appear to yield to the intrusion. Some may offer strong resistance while others may be too intimidated to offer any resistance at all. The failure of a rape victim to offer tenacious resistance does not make her submission to accused’s criminal acts voluntary. What is necessary is that the force employed against her was sufficient to consummate the purpose which he has in mind.

Sufficient force does not mean great or is of such character that is irresistible; as long as it brings about the desired result, all considerations of whether it was more or less irresistible are beside the point. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEY BACATAN, G.R. No. 203315, September 18, 2013, J. Reyes)

For evident premeditation to be appreciated, the following elements must be proved: a) the time when the accused determined to commit the crime; b) an act manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his determination; and, c) sufficient lapse of time between the determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act. The essence of evident premeditation is that the execution of the criminal act must be preceded by cool thought and reflection upon the resolution to carryout the criminal intent during a space of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.

Accused-appellant, in razing Antonio Ardet’s house in order to drive him out and shooting him the moment he appears at his front door, clearly had a previously and carefully crafted plan to kill his victim. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GARY ALINAO, G.R. No. 191256, September 18, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

The elements of rape under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code are: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of the victim; and (2) such act was accomplished through force or intimidation; or when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or when the victim is under 12 years of age. There is ample evidence to prove that appellant had carnal knowledge of the then minor victim through the use of force and intimidation. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CARLITO ESPENILLA, G.R. No. 192253, September 18, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

Under Article 266-A (1)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, rape is committed when: (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (b) that the same was committed by using force and intimidation. In this case, the prosecution’s evidence established that Cedenio was able to forcibly have carnal knowledge of AAA after he poked her with a knife and threatened to kill her. Physical resistance need not be established in rape cases when intimidation is exercised upon the victim who submits against

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her will because of fear for her life and personal safety. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JIMMY CEDENIO y PERALTA, G.R. No. 201103, September 25, 2013, J. Reyes)

The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by an aggressor without the slightest provocation on the part of the victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend himself, thereby ensuring its commission without risk to the aggressor. Treachery attended the killing of the victim because he was unarmed and the attack on him was swift and sudden. He had not means and there was no time for him to defend himself. Indeed, nothing can be more sudden and unexpected than when petitioners Edwin and Alfredo attacked the victim. The latter did not have the slightest idea that he was going to be attacked because he was urinating and his back was turned from his assailants. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDWIN IBANEZ Y ALBANTE AND ALFREDO (FREDDIE) NULLA Y IBANEZ, G.R. No. 197813, September 25, 2013, J. Perez)

For one to be successfully prosecuted under Section 3(g) of RA 3019, the following elements must be proven: "1) the accused is a public officer; 2) the public officer entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of the government; and 3) the contract or transaction was grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government." However, private persons may likewise be charged with violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 if they conspired with the public officer. Thus, "if there is an allegation of conspiracy, a private person may be held liable together with the public officer, in consonance with the avowed policy of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which is ‘to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike which may constitute graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto.’” (SINGIAN, JR. v.SANDIGANBAYAN (3RD DIVISION), PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT, G.R. Nos.195011-19, September 30, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning a felony and decide to commit it. It has been a long standing opinion of this Court that proof of the conspiracy need not rest on direct evidence, as the same may be inferred from the collective conduct of the parties before, during or after the commission of the crime indicating a common understanding among them with respect to the commission of the offense. The testimonies, when taken together, reveal the common purpose of the accused-appellants and how they were all united in its execution from beginning to end. There were testimonies proving that (1) before the incident, two of the accused-appellants kept coming back to the victim’s house; (2) during the kidnapping, accused-appellants changed shifts in guarding the victim; and (3) the accused appellants were those present when the ransom money was recovered and when the rescue operation was conducted. To be a conspirator, one need not participate in every detail of the execution; he need not even take part in every act or need not even know the exact part to be performed by the others in the execution of the conspiracy. Once conspiracy is shown, the act of one is the act of all the conspirators. The precise extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all the conspirators are principals. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HALIL GAMBAO Y ESMAIL, EDDIE KARIM Y USO, EDWIN DUKILMAN Y SUBOH, TONY ABAO Y SULA, RAUL UDAL Y KAGUI, THENG DILANGALEN Y NANDING, JAMAN MACALINBOL Y KATOL, MONETTE RONAS Y AMPIL, NORA EVAD Y MULOK, THIAN PERPENIAN Y RAFON A.K.A LARINA PERPENIAN AND JOHN DOES, G.R. No. 172707, October 1, 2013, J. Perez)

If what is charged in the information is rape through carnal knowledge but during the trial what is proved is the crime of sexual assault, the accused cannot be found guilty thereof (rape by sexual assault although it was proven), without violating the accused’s constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. In this case, it is proper to convict the accused of acts of lasciviousness

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or abusos dishonestos as it is necessarily included in rape. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JADE CUAYCONG y REMONQUILLO, G.R. No. 196051, October 2, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

The loss of 45% or nearly half of the original weight of shabu brought for forensic test due to a supposed weighing error by the forensic chemist implies tampering with the evidence; hence, the Court did not accept the same as evidence against the accused. It would have been different if only a small amount thereof was lost and a reasonable explanation is offered therefore. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOVI PORNILLOS y HALLARE, G.R. No. 201109, October 2, 2013, J. Abad)

The Court found the accused guilty of two (2) counts of rape –rape by sexual intercourse and rape by sexual assault. This Court agrees with the trial and the appellate courts that the crime of rape by sexual assault was committed against Ana when a man’s sex organ was forcibly inserted into her mouth after poking a gun at her head and punching her. The crime of rape by sexual intercourse was committed against Ana when a man had carnal knowledge of her after delivering fist blows on her stomach, pointing a gun at her, and threatening to kill her.

Rape by sexual intercourse is a crime committed by a man against a woman. Rape by sexual assault, on the other hand, contemplates two situations. First, it may be committed by a man who inserts his penis into the mouth or anal orifice of another person, whether a man or a woman, under any of the attendant circumstances mentioned in Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code. Second, it may be committed by a person, whether a man or a woman, who inserts any instrument or object into the genital or anal orifice of another person, whether a man or a woman. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MICHAEL ESPERA y CUYACOT, G.R. No. 202868, October 2, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

Rape of a minor under 12 years of age is statutory rape. "The elements of statutory rape are that: (a) the victim is a female under 12 years or is demented; and (b) the offender has carnal knowledge of the victim. [N]either the use of force, threat or intimidation on the female, nor the female’s deprivation of reason or being otherwise unconscious, nor the employment on the female of fraudulent machinations or grave abuse of authority is necessary to commit statutory rape." (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RODOLFO DE JESUS y MENDOZA, G.R. No. 190622, October 7, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

In cases of frustrated homicide, the main element is the accused’s intent to take his victim’s life. The prosecution has to prove this clearly and convincingly to exclude every possible doubt regarding homicidal intent. And the intent to kill is often inferred from, among other things, the means the offender used and the nature, location, and number of wounds he inflicted on his victim. ( FE ABELLA y PERPETUA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 198400, October 7, 2013, J. Reyes)

The accused cannot be convicted of qualified rape for failure on the part of the prosecution to prove the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship. Upon closer scrutiny, it was noted that the Certificate of Live Birth of the victim was never presented or offered during the trial of the case. The same is true with respect to the other qualifying circumstance of relationship. The prosecution likewise miserably failed to establish “AAA’s” relationship with the appellant. Although the Information alleged that appellant is the common-law husband of “AAA’s” mother, “AAA’” referred to appellant as her step-father.

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The terms "common-law husband" and "step-father" have different legal connotations. For appellant to be a step-father to "AAA," he must be legally married to "AAA's" mother. Suffice it to state that qualifying circumstances must be proved beyond reasonable doubt just like the crime itself. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARCIANO CIAL y LORENA, G.R. No. 191362, October 9, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

The Court found the accused guilty of murder by appreciating the qualifying circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation. It has been established by the prosecution, and even confirmed by the defense, that the victims were sleeping when they were shot. To be precise, it was Emeterio who was asleep when he was shot, considering that the women were able to cry for help before the rapid firing that silenced them. In any case, it was clear that the women were in no position to defend themselves, having been rudely awakened by the shooting of their companion. The fact that they shouted for help also showed their loss of hope in the face of what was coming – rapid gunfire from long firearms. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RICARDO DEARO, PAULINO LUAGUE AND WILFREDO TOLEDO, G.R. No. 190862, October 9, 2013, CJ. Sereno)

For one (1) to be convicted of qualified rape, at least one (1) of the aggravating/qualifying circumstances mentioned in Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, must be alleged in the Information and duly proved during the trial. In the case at bar, appellant used a sharp- pointed bolo locally known as sundang in consummating the salacious act. This circumstance was alleged in the Information and duly proved during trial. Being in the nature of a qualifying circumstance, "use of a deadly weapon" increases the penalties by degrees, and cannot be treated merely as a generic aggravating circumstance which affects only the period of the penalty. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FLORENTINO GALAGAR, JR, G.R. No. 202842, October 09, 2013, J. Reyes)

There can be no self-defense, whether complete or incomplete, if no unlawful aggression from the victim is established. In self-defense, unlawful aggression is a primordial element, a condition sine qua non. If no unlawful aggression attributable to the victim is established, self-defense is not a defense, because there would then be nothing to repel on the part of the accused. The test for the presence of unlawful aggression under the circumstances is whether the aggression from the victim put in real peril the life or personal safety of the person defending himself; the peril must not be an imagined or imaginary threat. Accordingly, the accused must establish the concurrence of three elements of unlawful aggression, namely: (a) there must be a physical or material attack or assault; (b) the attack or assault must be actual, or, at least, imminent; and (c) the attack or assault must be unlawful. Unlawful aggression is of two kinds: (a) actual or material unlawful aggression; and (b) imminent unlawful aggression. Actual or material unlawful aggression means an attack with physical force or with a weapon, an offensive act that positively determines the intent of the aggressor to cause the injury. Imminent unlawful aggression means an attack that is impending or at the point of happening; it must not consist in a mere threatening attitude, nor must it be merely imaginary, but must be offensive and positively strong (like aiming a revolver at another with intent to shoot or opening a knife and making a motion as if to attack). Imminent unlawful aggression must not be a mere threatening attitude of the victim, such as pressing his right hand to his hip where a revolver was holstered, accompanied by an angry countenance, or like aiming to throw a pot. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RAMON PLACER, G.R. No. 181753, October 09, 2013, J. Bersamin) "A buy-bust operation is a legally effective and proven procedure, sanctioned by law, for apprehending drug peddlers and distributors." As in all drugs cases, compliance with the chain of custody rule is crucial in any prosecution that follows such operation. Chain of custody means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. The rule is imperative, as it is essential that the prohibited drug confiscated or recovered from the suspect is the very

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same substance offered in court as exhibit; and that the identity of said drug is established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. In drugs cases, the prosecution must show that the integrity of the corpus delicti has been preserved. This is crucial in drugs cases because the evidence involved – the seized chemical – is not readily identifiable by sight or touch and can easily be tampered with or substituted. "Proof of the corpus delicti in a buy-bust situation requires not only the actual existence of the transacted drugs but also the certainty that the drugs examined and presented in court were the very ones seized. This is a condition sine qua non for conviction since drugs are the main subject of the illegal sale constituting the crime and their existence and identification must be proven for the crime to exist." The flagrant lapses committed in handling the alleged confiscated drug in violation of the chain of custody requirement even effectively negate the presumption of regularity in the performance of the police officers’ duties, as any taint of irregularity affects the whole performance and should make the presumption unavailable. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GARYZALDY GUZON, G.R. No. 199901, October 09, 2013, J. Reyes)

Since the crime has already been qualified to murder by the attendant circumstance of treachery, the other proven circumstance of evident premeditation should be appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance. In this case, it was clearly shown that the two accused who were "riding in tandem" hatched the means on how to carry out and facilitate the commission of the crime. The time that had elapsed while the accused were waiting for their victim to pass by, is indicative of cool thought and reflection on their part that they clung to their determination to commit the crime; hence evident premeditation is duly proved. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALDRIN M. GALICIA, G.R. No. 191063, October 9, 2013, J. Perez)

Novation is not a ground under the law to extinguish criminal liability. Article 89 (on total extinguishment) and Article 94 (on partial extinguishment) of the Revised Penal Code list down the various grounds for the extinguishment of criminal liability. Not being included in the list, novation is limited in its effect only to the civil aspect of the liability, and, for that reason, is not an efficient defense in estafa.

The novation theory may perhaps apply prior to the filing of the criminal information in court by the state prosecutors because up to that time the original trust relation may be converted by the parties into an ordinary creditor-debtor situation, thereby placing the complainant in estoppel to insist on the original trust. But after the justice authorities have taken cognizance of the crime and instituted action in court, the offended party may no longer divest the prosecution of its power to exact the criminal liability, as distinguished from the civil. The crime being an offense against the state, only the latter can renounce it. (NARCISO DEGAÑOS v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, GR. No. 162826, October 14, 2013, J. Bersamin)

In cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers for they are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence to the contrary suggesting ill-motive on the part of the police officers. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HADJI SOCOR CADIDIA, G.R. No. 191263, October 16, 2013, J. Perez)

Where the acts of the accused collectively and individually demonstrate the existence of a common design towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident, and all the perpetrators will be liable as principals. 31 Stated otherwise, to hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of

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the complicity. Bulauitan’s overt acts indicate no less than his concurrence with Mangahas’ design to deprive Editha of her liberty for the purpose of extorting ransom. The existence of conspiracy and Bulauitan’s participation therein were evident. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALFREDO JOSE y LAGUA alias JOJO, JOEY JOSE y MATUSALEM ARNOLD MACAMUS alias KYAM or DIKIAM, FORTUNATO MANGAHAS alias NATO SANDIQUE, JOEL BULAUITAN MACAMUS and JOHN DOES, JOEL BULAUITAN y MACAMUS, G.R. No. 200053, October 23, 2013, J. Reyes)

Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstance of self-defense. Without it, there can be no self-defense, whether complete or incomplete, that can validly be invoked. "There is an unlawful aggression on the part of the victim when he puts in actual or imminent danger the life, limb, or right of the person invoking self-defense. There must be actual physical force or actual use of a weapon." It is present only when the one attacked faces real and immediate threat to one’s life. It must be continuous; otherwise, it does not constitute aggression warranting self-defense. Here, the accusedappellant, miserably failed to discharge his burden of proving that unlawful aggression justifying selfdefense was present when he killed Apolinario. The aggression initially staged by Apolinario was not of the continuous kind as it was no longer present when the accused-appellant injured Apolinario. When unlawful aggression ceases, the defender no longer has any justification to kill or wound the original aggressor. The assailant is no longer acting in self-defense but in retaliation against the original aggressor. Retaliation is not the same as self-defense. In retaliation, the aggression that was begun by the injured party already ceased when the accused attacked him; while in self-defense the aggression still existed when the aggressor was injured by the accused. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANTERO GAMEZ y BALTAZAR, G.R. No. 202847, October 23, 2013, J. Reyes)

As for the illegal delivery of dangerous drugs, it must be proven that (1) the accused passed on possession of a dangerous drug to another, personally or otherwise, and by any means; (2) such delivery is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused knowingly made the delivery. Worthy of note is that the delivery may be committed even without consideration.

For the prosecution of illegal possession of dangerous drugs to prosper, the following essential elements must be proven, namely: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object that is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possess the said drug. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MICHAEL MAONGCO y YUMONDA and PHANS BANDALI y SIMPAL, G.R. No. 196966, October 23, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

In incestuous rape cases, the father’s abuse of the moral ascendancy and influence over his daughter can subjugate the latter’s will thereby forcing her to do whatever he wants. In other words, in an incestuous rape of a minor, actual force or intimidation need not be employed where the overpowering moral influence of the father would suffice. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. RICARDO M. VIDAÑA, G.R. No. 199210, October 23, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

If the victim of kidnapping and serious illegal detention is a minor, the duration of his detention is immaterial. Likewise, if the victim is kidnapped and illegally detained for the purpose of extorting ransom, the duration of his detention is immaterial. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALLAN NIEGAS Y FALLORE, G. R. No. 194582, November 27, 2013, J. Leonardo- De Castro)

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The Court further finds that the arresting officers had substantially complied with the rule on the chain of custody of the dangerous drugs as provided under Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165. Jurisprudence has decreed that, in dangerous drugs cases, the failure of the police officers to make a physical inventory and to photograph the sachets of shabu, as well as to mark the sachets at the place of arrest, do not render the seized drugs inadmissible in evidence or automatically impair the integrity of the chain of custody of the said drugs. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ASIR GANI y ALIH and NORMINA GANI y GALOS, G.R. No. 198318, November 27, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 requires the prosecution to prove that the appointments of Dr. Posadas caused "undue injury" to the government or gave him "unwarranted benefits." The Court has always interpreted "undue injury" as "actual damage." What is more, such "actual damage" must not only be capable of proof; it must be actually proved with a reasonable degree of certainty. A finding of "undue injury" cannot be based on flimsy and non-substantial evidence or upon speculation, conjecture, or guesswork. The Court held in Llorente v. Sandiganbayan that the element of undue injury cannot be presumed even after the supposed wrong has been established. It must be proved as one of the elements of the crime. Here, the majority assumed that the payment to Dr. Posadas of P30 000.00 monthly as TMC Project Director caused actual injury to the Government. The record shows, however, that the P247 500.00 payment to him that the COA Resident Auditor disallowed was deducted from his terminal leave benefits. The prosecution also failed to prove that Dr. Dayco gave Dr. Posadas "unwarranted advantage" as a result of the appointments in question. The honoraria he received cannot be considered "unwarranted" since there is no evidence that he did not discharge the additional responsibilities that such appointments entailed. (DR. ROGER R. POSADAS and DR. ROLANDO P. DAYCO v. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. Nos. 168951 & 169000, November 27, 2013, J. Abad)

It is settled in jurisprudence that in a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis of the testimony of the victim that is credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. Furthermore, it is axiomatic that when it comes to evaluating the credibility of the testimonies of the witnesses, great respect is accorded to the findings of the trial judge who is in a better position to observe the demeanor, facial expression, and manner of testifying of witnesses, and to decide who among them is telling the truth. Lastly, in order for a discrepancy or inconsistency in the testimony of a witness to serve as a basis for acquittal, it must establish beyond doubt the innocence of the appellant for the crime charged since the credibility of a rape victim is not diminished, let alone impaired, by minor inconsistencies in her testimony. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROBERTO VELASCO, G.R. No. 190318, November 27, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) The Court had occasion to rule that treachery is not present when the killing is not premeditated, or where the sudden attack is not preconceived and deliberately adopted, but is just triggered by a sudden infuriation on the part of the accused as a result of a provocative act of the victim, or when the killing is done at the spur of the moment. In this case, there was no time for appellant and his companions to plan and agree to deliberately adopt a particular means to kill Claro. The first query of Claro was regarded as innocent enough and was given no attention. It was the second query that was considered impertinent, and witnesses testified that appellant and his companions went after Claro immediately after it was uttered. Even the choice of weapon, a beer bottle readily available and within grabbing range at the table as appellant followed outside, shows that the intent to harm came about spontaneously. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JAVIER CAÑAVERAS, G.R. No. 193839, November 27, 2013, CJ Sereno) The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by the aggressor on unsuspecting victims, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend themselves, thereby ensuring its commission without risk to the aggressor, and without the slightest provocation on the part of the victims." Two conditions must

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concur for treachery to exist, namely: (a) the employment of means of execution gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and (b) the means or method of execution was deliberately and consciously adopted. The established facts easily demonstrate the existence of treachery in this case. The perpetrators waited for the victims’ van in ambush, with Maglente standing at the corner with his gun drawn. Thereafter, a car blocked the van’s path and the perpetrators started shooting at the van and its passengers. The means employed by the perpetrators show that it was employed to discount any possibility of retaliation or escape, and that such means or method was deliberately employed. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HERMENIGILDO MAGLENTE y MEDINA alias "JUN MAGLENTE" and ROLANDO VELASQUEZ y GUEVARRA alias "RANDY," DAN MAGSIPOC CANCELER and PABLO INEZ alias "KA JAY," G.R. No. 201445, November 27, 2013, J. Reyes) In People v. Seraspe, the Court emphasized that in the prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the two essential elements of the offense must concur, namely: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. All these elements have been established in this case. The witnesses for the prosecution clearly showed that the sale of the drugs actually happened and that the shabu subject of the sale was brought and identified in court. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FAISAL LOKS y PELONYO, G.R. No. 203433, November 27, 2013, J. Reyes) The Court reiterated that rape victims are not expected to make an errorless recollection of the incident, so humiliating and painful that they might be trying to obliterate it from their memory, thus, a few inconsistent remarks in rape cases will not necessarily impair the testimony of the offended party. Likewise, appellant’s allegation that AAA did not "tenaciously" resist his sexual advances cannot be given credence. The victim’s testimony will bear out that she did exert efforts to refuse appellant’s carnal desires by slapping the accused, kicking him and trying to create noise but she was physically overpowered and intimidated by the threat of mortal harm posed by appellant’s knife as well as debilitated by illness. Nevertheless, we have in the past held that failure of a rape victim to shout, fight back, or escape from the scoundrel is not tantamount to consent or approval because the law imposes no obligation to exhibit defiance or present proof of struggle. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WELMO LINSIE y BINEVIDEZ, G.R. No. 199494, November 27, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) Failure of "AAA" to shout for help should not be taken against her. People react differently when confronted with a shocking or startling situation. Some may show aggressive resistance while others may opt to remain passive. The failure of "AAA" to shout for help and seek assistance should not be construed as consent, or as voluntarily engaging in an illicit relationship with the appellant, as implied by the defense. It would be recalled that appellant poked a knife at "AAA’s" neck. Such threat of immediate danger to her life cowed "AAA" to submit to the carnal desires of the appellant. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JONAS GUILLEN y ATIENZA, G.R. No. 191756, November 25, 2013, J. Del Castillo) In the absence of proof of AAA s minority in accordance with the guidelines set in People v. Pruna we concur with the CA s conclusion that he could not be properly found guilty of qualified rape. Indeed, his substantial right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him would be nullified otherwise. To reiterate, while AAA’s mother, BBB, testified that her daughter was six (6) years old at the time of the rape, it had not been previously established that the certificate of live birth or other similar authentic document such as the baptismal certificate or school records have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable. Even AAA’s own testimony on cross examination that she was six (6) years old at the time of the incident would not suffice to prove her minority since her age was not expressly and clearly admitted by the accused. We stress that age is an essential element of statutory rape; hence the victim's age must be proved with equal certainty and clarity as the crime itself. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NATALIO HILARION y LALIAG, G.R. No. 201105, November 25, 2013, J. Brion) Well-settled is the rule that qualifying circumstances must be specifically alleged in the Information and duly proven with equal certainty as the crime itself. The victim’s minority must be proved conclusively and indubitably as the crime itself. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him. In this case, there is nothing on record to prove the qualifying

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circumstance that "the victim is a child below 7 years old." The testimony of AAA anent her age and the absence of denial on the part of Garcia are not sufficient evidence of her age. It bears stressing that the prosecution did not adduce any independent and competent documentary evidence such as AAA’s original or duly certified birth certificate, baptismal certificate, school records or any authentic documents indicating her date of birth, to show that the commission of the crime was attended by the subject qualifying circumstance of minority. In the absence of any qualifying circumstance, the crime committed by Garcia is Simple Rape by Sexual Assault. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROBERTO GARCIA y PADIERNOS G.R. No. 206095, November 25, 2013)

The element in the crime of technical malversation that public fund be appropriated for a public use requires an earmarking of the fund or property for a specific project. For instance there is no earmarking if money was part of the municipality’s "general fund," intended by internal arrangement for use in paving a particular road but applied instead to the payrolls of different barangay workers in the municipality. That portion of the general fund was not considered appropriated since it had not been earmarked by law or ordinance for a specific expenditure. Here, there is no allegation in the information that the P2 million and P6 million grants to COCOFED had been earmarked for some specific expenditures. (ROLANDO P. DE LA CUESTA v. THE SANDIGANBAYAN, FIRST DIVISION and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. Nos. 164068-69, November 19, 2013; PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO JR., HERMENEGILDO C. ZAYCO, SALVADOR ESCUDERO III VICENTE B. V ALDEPENAS, JR., ROLANDO P. DE LA CUESTA and THE HON. SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION), G.R. Nos. 166305-06; REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES v. THE SANDIGANBAYAN and EDUARDO M. COJUANGCO, JR., ROLANDO P. DE LA CUESTA, HERMINIGILDO**C. ZAYCO, JOSE R. ELEAZAR, JR., FELIX V. DUENAS, JR., SALVADOR ESCUDERO III, and VICENTE B. V ALDEPENAS, JR., G.R. Nos. 166487-88, J. Abad)

Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, murder is committed by any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246, shall kill another with any of the enumerated qualifying circumstances – including treachery and conspiracy. In a litany of cases, this Court has consistently explained that there is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof, which tend directly and specially to ensure its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense that the offended party might make. In People v. Barde, we stated that the essence of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning, done swiftly and unexpectedly, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BASILIO VILLARMEA y ECHAVEZ, G.R. NO. 200029, November 13, 2013, J. Villarama, Jr.) The sweetheart theory as a defense, however, necessarily admits carnal knowledge, the first element of rape. Effectively, it leaves the prosecution the burden to prove only force or intimidation, the coupling element of rape. This admission makes the sweetheart theory more difficult to defend, for it is not only an affirmative defense that needs convincing proof; after the prosecution has successfully established a prima facie case, the burden of evidence is shifted to the accused, who has to adduce evidence that the intercourse was consensual. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DANIEL ALCOBER, G.R. No. 192941, November 13, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) To secure a conviction for illegal sale of shabu, the following essential elements must be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment thereof." People v. Nicolas adds that "[w]hat is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARILYN SANTOS and ARLENE VALERA, G.R. No. 193190, November 13, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

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In a charge of illegal sale of shabu, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt: (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller, (b) the identity of the object and the consideration of the sale; and (c) the delivery of the thing sold and of the payment made.26 What assumes primary importance is the proof clearly showing that an illegal transaction actually took place, and the presentation in court of what was sold as evidence of the corpus delicti. Prosecutions involving illegal drugs depend largely on the credibility of the police officers who conducted the buy-bust operations. We generally defer to the trial court’s assessment of the evidence as it had the opportunity to directly observe the witnesses, their demeanor, and their credibility on the witness stand. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. KENNETH MONCEDA y SY alias "WILLIAM SY" and YU YUK LAI alias "SZE YK LAI,"G.R. No. 176269, November 13, 2013, J. Brion) To warrant the conviction and, hence, imposition of the penalty for qualified theft, there must be an allegation in the information and proof that there existed between the offended party and the accused such high degree of confidence or that the stolen goods have been entrusted to the custody or vigilance of the accused. In other words, where the accused had never been vested physical access to, or material possession of, the stolen goods, it may not be said that he or she exploited such access or material possession thereby committing such grave abuse of confidence in taking the property. (RYAN VIRAY v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 205180, November 11, 2013, J. Velasco) The acquittal of the accused from the criminal charge of BP 22 was based on reasonable doubt does not relieve her of the corresponding civil liability. (NISSAN GALLERY-ORTIGAS v. PURIFICACION F. FELIPE, G.R. No. 199067, November 11, 2013, J. Mendoza) Sexual assault is committed by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object into the genital or anal orifice of another person. It is also called "instrument or object rape", also "gender-free rape", or the narrower "homosexual rape." (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DONEY GADUYON y TAPISPISAN, G.R. No. 181473, November 11, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.”

The essence of treachery is that the attack comes without a warning and in a swift, deliberate, and unexpected manner, affording the hapless, unarmed, and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape." Otherwise stated, an unexpected and sudden attack which renders the victim unable and unprepared to put up a defense is the essence of treachery. In this case, the victim Labando was totally unaware of the threat. He was merely sitting on the bench in front of a sari-sari store eating bananas when appellant, without any provocation or prior argument, suddenly stabbed him on his chest, piercing the right ventricle of his heart thus causing his instantaneous death. The stabbing was deliberate, unexpected, swift and sudden which foreclosed any escape, resistance or defense coming from the victim. This is a classic example of treachery. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANDY ZULIETA a.k.a. "Bogarts," G.R. No. 192183, November 11, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

There is no libel in this case because the remarks are privileged. The legal conclusion was arrived at from the fact that Co is a public figure, the subject matter of the libelous remarks was of public interest, and the context of Munoz’ statements were fair comments. Consequently, malice is o longer presumed and the prosecution has the burden of providing that Munoz acted with malice in fact. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILLIPINES v. ROGELIO MANICAT y DE GUZMAN, G.R. No. 205413, DECEMBER 2, 2013, J. BRION)

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In every prosecution for the illegal sale of shabu, under Section 5, Article II of RA 9165, the following elements must be proved: "(1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. x x x What is material in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti" or the illicit drug in evidence. On the other hand, in prosecuting a case for illegal possession of dangerous drugs under Section 11, Article II of the same law, the following elements must concur: "(1) the accused is in possession of an item or object, which is identified as a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JAY MONTEVIRGEN y OZARAGA, G.R. No. 189840, December 11, 2013, J. Del Castillo)

Non-compliance with the procedural safeguards provided in Sec. 21 of R.A. 9165 and its IRR would not necessarily void the seizure and custody of the dangerous drugs for as long as there is a justifiable ground for it and the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved. Here, however, the buybust team did not bother to show that they "intended to comply with the procedure but where thwarted by some justifiable reason or consideration." Accordingly, despite the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty, the Court stressed that the step-by-step procedure outlined under R.A. 9165 is a matter of substantive law, which cannot be simply brushed aside as a simple procedural technicality. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FERDINAND BAUTISTA y SINAON, G.R. NO. 198113, DECEMBER 11, 2013, J. ABAD)

The valid warrantless arrest gave the officers the right as well to search the living room for objects relating to the crime and thus seize the paraphernalia they found there. But the circumstances here do not make out a case of arrest made in flagrante delicto. [V]arious drug paraphernalia that the police officers allegedly found in the house and seized are inadmissible, having proceeded from an invalid search and seizure. Since the confiscated drug paraphernalia is the very corpus delicti of the crime charged, the Court has no choice but to acquit the accused. (GEORGE ANTIQUERA y CODES v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 180661, December 11, 2013, J. ABAD)

Roallos’ assertion that he is not liable for sexual abuse under Section 5(b), Article III of R.A. No. 7610 since AAA is not a child engaged in prostitution is plainly without merit. "[T]he law covers not only a situation in which a child is abused for profit but also one in which a child, through coercion or intimidation, engages in any lascivious conduct. The very title of Section 5, Article III (Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse) of R.A. No. 7610 shows that it applies not only to a child subjected to prostitution but also to a child subjected to other sexual abuse. A child is deemed subjected to "other sexual abuse" when he or she indulges in lascivious conduct under the coercion or influence of any adult. (VIVENCIO ROALLOS y TRILLANES v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 198389, December 11, 2013, J. Reyes)

The elements of qualified theft punishable under Article 310 in relation to Article 308 of the RPC are as follows: (1) there was a taking of personal property; (2) the said property belongs to another; (3) the taking was done without the consent of the owner; (4) the taking was done with intent to gain; (5) the taking was accomplished without violence or intimidation against person, or force upon things; and (6) the taking was done under any of the circumstances enumerated in Article 310 of the RPC, i.e., with grave abuse of confidence. All the elements of the crime were established in this case. Intent to gain oranimus lucrandi is an internal act that is presumed from the unlawful taking by the offender of the thing subject of asportation. Actual gain is irrelevant as the important consideration is the intent to gain.

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Grave abuse of confidence, as an element of the felony of qualified theft, must be the result of the relation by reason of dependence, guardianship, or vigilance, between the appellant and the offended party that might create a high degree of confidence between them which the appellant abused. The element of grave abuse of confidence is present in this case. Verily, the petitioner, as sales clerk/agent of PCS, is duty-bound to remit to Ingan the payments which she collected from the customers of PCS. She would not have been able to take the money paid by LACS if it were not for her position in PCS. In failing to remit to Ingan the money paid by LACS, the petitioner indubitably gravely abused the confidence reposed on her by PCS. (DELIA INES RINGOR v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 198904, December 11, 2013, J. Reyes)

The essence of the crime of kidnapping is the actual deprivation of the victim’s liberty, coupled with indubitable proof of the intent of the accused to effect the same. Moreover, if the victim is a minor, or the victim is kidnapped and illegally detained for the purpose of extorting ransom, the duration of his detention becomes inconsequential. Ransom is the money, price or consideration paid or demanded for the redemption of a captured person that will release him from captivity. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JONATHAN CON-UI and RAMIL MACA, G.R. No. 205442, December 11, 2013, J. Reyes)

Non-compliance with the procedural requirements under RA 9165 and its IRR relative to the custody, photographing, and drug-testing of the apprehended persons, is not a serious flaw that can render void the seizures and custody of drugs in a buy-bust operation. The courts a quo correctly rejected the accused-appellant’s contention that the chain of custody rule was not fulfilled. The arrest of an accused will not be invalidated and the items seized from him rendered inadmissible on the sole ground of non-compliance with Sec. 21, Article II of RA 9165. The Court emphasized that what is essential is "the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERLINDA MALI y QUIMNO, G.R. No. 206738, December 11, 2013, J. Reyes) What determines if there was, indeed, a sale of dangerous drugs in a buy-bust operation is proof of the concurrence of all the elements of the offense, to wit: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor, which the prosecution has satisfactorily established. The prosecution satisfactorily proved the illegal sale of dangerous drugs and presented in court the evidence of corpus delicti. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, v. ROSELITO TACULOD y ELLE, G.R. No. 198108, December 11, 2013, J. LeonardoDe Castro) AAA’s narration disclosed that she was not able to successfully resist appellant because she was simply overpowered by fear and by the physical force employed against her. Nevertheless, it matters not whether AAA strongly resisted appellant’s unwanted purpose for it is jurisprudentially settled that physical resistance need not be established when intimidation is brought to bear on the victim and the latter submits out of fear –the failure to shout or offer tenuous resistance does not make voluntary the victim’s submission to the criminal acts of the accused. Furthermore, we have previously held that force or violence required in rape cases is relative –it does not need to be overpowering or irresistible and it is present when it allows the offender to consummate his purpose. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DALTON LAURIAN, JR. y PUGSOT, G.R. No. 199868, December 11, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) Pursuant to Article 266-B(1)of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship must concur. As these circumstances raise the penalty of the crime to death, great caution must be exercised in their evaluation. For these circumstances to be appreciated, both must be specifically alleged in the information and duly proved during the trial with equal certainty as the crime

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itself. There seems to be no dispute as to the relationship of AAA and accused-appellant and as to the minority of AAA. During the pre-trial conference, parties stipulated that accused-appellant is the father of AAA and that AAA is only eight years old at the time the crime was committed. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LINO PALDO, G.R. No. 200515, December 11, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) Rape and acts of lasciviousness are crimes of the same nature. However, the intent to lie with the woman is the fundamental difference between the two, as it is present in rape or attempt of it, and absent in acts of lasciviousness. "Attempted rape is committed when the ‘touching’ of the vagina by the penis is coupled with the intent to penetrate; otherwise, there can only be acts of lasciviousness." The gauge in determining whether the crime of attempted rape had been committed is the commencement of the act of sexual intercourse, i.e., penetration of the penis into the vagina, before the interruption. Thus, for Banzuela to be convicted of the crime of attempted rape, he must have already commenced the act of inserting his sexual organ in the vagina of BBB, but due to some cause or accident, excluding his own spontaneous desistance, he wasn’t able to even slightly penetrate BBB as he still had his pants on. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FERDINAND BANZUELA, G.R. No. 202060, December 11, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) In order to be appreciated, the circumstance must not merely be premeditation; it must be "evident premeditation." To warrant a finding of evident premeditation, the prosecution must establish the confluence of the following requisites:(a) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (b) an act manifestly indicating that the offender clung to his determination; and (c) a sufficient interval of time between the determination and the execution of the crime to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act. Evident premeditation, like other circumstances that would qualify a killing as murder, must be established by clear and positive evidence showing the planning and the preparation stages prior to the killing. Without such evidence, mere presumptions and inferences, no matter how logical and probable, will not suffice. The prosecution’s evidence herein pertained merely to the actual commission by Sabangan of the crime. It did not submit any proof that Sabangan, at some prior time, determined to kill Felonia; that Sabangan performed an act manifestly indicating that he clung to his determination to kill Felonia; and that there was sufficient interval of time between his determination and execution which allowed Sabangan to reflect upon the consequences of his act. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GERRY SABANGAN, et al., G.R. No. 191722, December 11, 2013, J. Leonardo-De Castro) AAA’s conduct, i.e., acting like nothing happened, after being sexually abused by Pareja is also not enough to discredit her. Victims of a crime as heinous as rape, cannot be expected to act within reason or in accordance with society’s expectations. It is unreasonable to demand a standard rational reaction to an irrational experience, especially from a young victim. Moreover, it is wrong to say that there is a standard reaction or behavior among victims of the crime of rape since each of them had to cope with different circumstances. A medical certificate is not necessary to prove the commission of rape, as even a medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape. Expert testimony is merely corroborative in character and not essential to conviction. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BERNABE PAREJA y CRUZ, G.R. No. 202122, January 15, 2014, J. Leonardo-De Castro) The elements of a violation of B.P. 22 are the following: (1) making, drawing and issuing any check to apply on account or for value; (2) knowledge of the maker, drawer or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3) subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or dishonor of the check for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment. The SEC Order also created a suspensive condition. When a contract is subject to a suspensive condition, its birth takes place or its effectivity commences only if and when the event that constitutes the condition happens or is fulfilled. Thus, at the time private respondent presented the September and October 1997 checks for encashment, it had no right to do so, as there was yet no obligation due from

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petitioner. (NARI K. GIDWANI v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 195064, January 15, 2014, C.J. Sereno)

It is well-settled that in the prosecution of cases involving the illegal sale or illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the evidence of the corpus delicti which is the dangerous drug itself, must be independently established beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be established, and the chain of custody requirement under R.A. No. 9165 performs this function in buy-bust operations as it ensures that any doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSELITO BERAN y ZAPANTA, G.R. No. 203028, January 15, 2014, J. Reyes)

Where the accused is charged of illegal possession of prohibited drugs and now questioning the legality of his arrest as the same was done without a valid search warrant and warrant of arrest, the Court ruled that the accused was caught in flagrante delicto and had reiterated that warrantless searches and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in instances of (1) search of moving vehicles, (2) seizure in plain view, (3) customs searches, (4) waiver or consented searches, (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry search), and search incidental to a lawful arrest. The last includes a valid warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an arrest is considered legitimate [if] effected with a valid warrant of arrest, the Rules of Court recognize permissible warrantless arrest, to wit: (1) arrest in flagrante delicto, (2) arrest effected in hot pursuit, and (3) arrest of escaped prisoners. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN, G.R. No. 200304, January 15, 2014, J. Leonardo-de Castro)

In rape cases, where the victim was only a child and was able to narrate how the accused had been raping her since 2003 and describe in great detail the last rape that occurred on September 12, 2004, it is settled jurisprudence that testimonies of child victims are given full weight and credit, because when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was committed. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROEL VERGARA y CLAVERO, G.R. No. 199226, January 15, 2014, J. Leonardo-de Castro)

Judicial notice can be taken that when the tricycle driver is seated on the motorcycle, his head is usually higher or at the level of the roof of the side car which leaves his torso exposed to the passengers who are seated in the side car. Hence, there was no way for Jesus to even be forewarned of the intended stabbing of his body both from the people seated in the side car and those seated behind him. Thus, the trial court’s finding of treachery should be affirmed. There is treachery when the means, methods, and forms of execution gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and such means, methods, and forms of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person. What is decisive in an appreciation of treachery is that the execution of the attack made it impossible for the victim to defend himself. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEL AQUINO y CENDANA, G.R. No. 201092, January 15, 2014, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

The Court ruled that non-identification and non-presentation of the weapon actually used in the killing did not diminish the merit of the conviction primarily because other competent evidence and the testimonies of witnesses had directly and positively identified and incriminated accused as the assailant of victim. (RICARDO MEDINA, JR. y ORIEL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 161308, January 15, 2014, J. Bersamin)

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Clearly, the court is authorized to issue a TPO on the date of the filing of the application after ex parte determination that there is basis for the issuance thereof. Ex parte means that the respondent need not be notified or be present in the hearing for the issuance of the TPO. Thus, it is within the court’s discretion, based on the petition and the affidavit attached thereto, to determine that the violent acts against women and their children for the issuance of a TPO have been committed. (RALPH P. TUA v. HON. CESAR A. MANGROBANG, Presiding Judge, Branch 22, Regional Trial Court, Imus, Cavite, G.R. No. 170701, January 22, 2014, J. PERALTA)

The Court ruled that even if abuse of superior strength was properly alleged and proven in court, it cannot serve to qualify or aggravate the felony at issue since it is jurisprudentially settled that when the circumstance of abuse of superior strength concurs with treachery, the former is absorbed in the latter. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARCELINO DADAO, ANTONIO SULINDAO, EDDIE MALOGSI (deceased) and ALFEMIO MALOGSI, G.R. No. 201860, January 22, 2014, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

The Court ruled that the "uncertainty"(with respect to the object inserted) is so inconsequential and does not diminish the fact that an instrument or object was inserted into the victim’s private parts. This is the essence of rape by sexual assault. "[T]he gravamen of the crime of rape by sexual assault x x x is the insertion of the penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into another person’s genital or anal orifice." In any event, "inconsistencies in a rape victim’s testimony do not impair her credibility, especially if the inconsistencies refer to trivial matters that do not alter the essential fact of the commission of rape. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEL CRISOSTOMO y MALLIAR, G.R. No. 196435, January 29, 2014, J. Del Castillo)

In cases of seizures of prohibited drugs, where the police had conflicting testimonies and lack of evidence leading to a reasonable conclusion that no markings were actually made on the seized items, the accused must necessarily be acquitted. It is vital that the seized contraband is immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will use the markings as reference. The marking of the evidence serves to separate the marked evidence from the corpus of all other similar or related evidence from the time they are seized from the accused until they are disposed at the end of criminal proceedings, obviating switching, "planting," or contamination of evidence. (LITO LOPEZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 188653, January 29, 2014, J. Perez)

The Court ruled that any objection with regard to the evidence offered and/or chain of custody cannot be raised for the first time on appeal; when a party desires the court to reject the evidence offered, he must so state in the form of objection. Without such objection he cannot raise the question for the first time on appeal. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSELITO MORATE Y TARNATE, G.R. No. 201156, January 29, 2014, J. Leonardo–De Castro)

The accused contends that the mere act of driving the ambulance on the date he was apprehended is not sufficient to prove that he was part of a syndicated group involved in the illegal transportation of dangerous drugs. The Court ruled on the contrary stating that in conspiracy, it need not be shown that the parties actually came together and agreed in express terms to enter into and pursue a common design. The assent of the minds may be and, from the secrecy of the crime, usually inferred from proof of facts and circumstances which, taken together, indicate that they are parts of some complete whole. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JAVIER MORILLA Y AVELLANO, G.R. No. 189833, February 5, 2014, J. Perez)

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The justifying circumstance of self-defense cannot be appreciated for failure on the part of the accused to establish unlawful aggression. As the prosecution fully established, Erwin and David were just passing by the petitioners' compound on the night of November 8, 2000 when David was suddenly attacked by Joey while Erwin was attacked by Rodolfo. The attack actually took place outside, not inside, the petitioners' compound, as evidenced by the way the petitioners' gate was destroyed. The manner by which the wooden gate post was broken coincided with Erwin's testimony that his brother David, who was then clinging onto the gate, was dragged into the petitioners' compound. These circumstances, coupled with the nature and number of wounds sustained by the victims, clearly show that the petitioners did not act in self-defense in killing David and wounding Erwin. The petitioners were, in fact, the real aggressors. (RODOLFO GUEVARRA AND JOEY GUEVARRA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 170462, February 5, 2014, J. Brion)

It must be emphasized, however, that [appellant is] not eligible for parole pursuant to Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 which states that ‘persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentence will be reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4180, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended’. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. WILFREDO GUNDA ALIAS FRED, G.R. No. 195525, February 5, 2014, J. Del Castillo)

Sec. 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9165 provided that in a buy-bust situation, the marking of the dangerous drug may be done in the presence of the violator in the nearest police station or the nearest office of the apprehending team. Appellant should not confuse buy-bust situation from search and seizure conducted by virtue of a court-issued warrant. It is in the latter case that physical inventory (which includes the marking) is made at the place where the search warrant is served. Nonetheless, “non-compliance with the requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items.” (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GLENN SALVADOR Y BAL VERDE, AND DORY ANN PARCON Y DEL ROSARIO, G.R. No. 190621, February 10, 2014, J. Del Castillo)

The Court ruled against the petitioners and stated that the burden of demonstrating political motivation must be discharged by the defense, since motive is a state of mind which only the accused knows. The proof showing political motivation is adduced during trial where the accused is assured an opportunity to present evidence supporting his defense. SATURNINO C. OCAMPO v. HON. EPHREM S. ABANDO, ET AL. G.R. No. 176830/G.R. No. 185587/G.R. No. 185636/G.R. No. 190005, February 11, 2014, CJ. SERENO) Case law shows numerous instances of rape committed under indirect and audacious circumstances. The lust of a lecherous man respects neither time nor place. Neither the crampness of the room, nor the presence of people therein, nor the high risk of being caught, has been held sufficient and effective obstacle to deter the commission of rape. In the case at bar, the assertion of the accused that a rapist, under normal circumstances, will not indulge in sexual foreplay is not sufficient to cast a reasonable doubt on the guilt of the accused. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. AURELIO JASTIVA, G.R. No. 199268, February 12, 2014, J. Leonardo-De Castro)

To secure a conviction for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the following essential elements must be duly established: (1) identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and consideration; and (2) the

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delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. The delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer, as well as the receipt of the marked money by the seller, successfully consummates the buy-bust transaction. Hence, what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. VICENTE ROM, G.R. No. 198452, February 19, 2014, J. Perez)

In the case at bar, the Supreme Court ruled that a rape victim’s pregnancy and resultant childbirth are irrelevant in determining whether or not she was raped. What is important and decisive is that the accused had carnal knowledge of the victim against the latter’s will or without her consent, and such fact was testified to by the victim in a truthful manner. Furthermore, even assuming for the sake of argument that AAA had a romantic attachment with a person other than the accused at the time of the rape incidents or thereafter, this does not negate the truth that AAA was raped by her aunt’s husband. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MERVIN GAHI G.R. No. 202976, February 19, 2014, J. LeonardoDe Castro)

The death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability as well as civil liability ex delicto as provided under Art. 89 of the Revised Penal Code. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BENJAMIN SORIA Y GOMEZ, G.R. No. 179031, February 24, 2014, J. Del Castillo) The force and violence required in rape cases is relative and need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied. For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation be so great or be of such character as could not be resisted – it is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind. Further, it should be viewed from the perception and judgment of the victim at the time of the commission of the crime. What is vital is that the force or intimidation be of such degree as to cow the unprotected and vulnerable victim into submission. Force is sufficient if it produces fear in the victim, such as when the latter is threatened with death. failed to do so, he cannot be allowed later on to claim that he was deprived of his day in court. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANOLITO LUCENA Y VELASQUEZ, ALIAS “MACHETE”, G.R. No. 190632, February 26, 2014, J. Del Castillo) In "aid of armed men," the men act as accomplices only. They must not be acting in the commission of the crime under the same purpose as the principal accused, otherwise they are to be regarded as coprincipals or co-conspirators. The use of unlicensed firearm, on the other hand, is a special aggravating circumstance that is not among the circumstances mentioned in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code as qualifying a homicide to murder. The accused in this case may be held liable only for homicide, aggravated by the use of unlicensed firearms, a circumstance alleged in the information. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NOEL ENOJAS Y HINGIPIT, ARNOLD GOMEZY FABREGAS, FERNANDO SANTOS Y DELANTAR, AND ROGER JALANDONI Y ARI, G.R. NO. 204894, MARCH 10, 2014, J. ABAD) In the medical profession, specific norms or standards to protect the patient against unreasonable risk, commonly referred to as standards of care, set the duty of the physician to act in respect of the patient. Unfortunately, no clear definition of the duty of a particular physician in a particular case exists. Because most medical malpractice cases are highly technical, witnesses with special medical qualifications must provide guidance by giving the knowledge necessary to render a fair and just verdict. In this case, the prosecution presented no witnesses with special medical qualifications in anesthesia to provide guidance to the trial court on what standard of care was applicable. It would consequently be truly difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether the first three elements of a negligence and malpractice action were attendant. (DR. FERNANDO SOLIDUM v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 192123. MARCH 10, 2014, J. Bersamin)

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Probation is not a right but a mere privilege, an act of grace and clemency conferred by the State, and may be granted by the court to a deserving defendant. Accordingly, the grant of probation rests solely upon the discretion of the court. It is to be exercised primarily for the benefit of organized society, and only incidentally for the benefit of the accused. Probation is a special privilege granted by the state to a penitent qualified offender. It essentially rejects appeals and encourages an otherwise eligible convict to immediately admit his liability and save the state of time, effort and expenses to jettison an appeal. The law expressly requires that an accused must not have appealed his conviction before he can avail of probation. This outlaws the element of speculation on the part of the accused — to wager on the result of his appeal — that when his conviction is finally affirmed on appeal… he now applies for probation as an “escape hatch” thus rendering nugatory the appellate court’s affirmance of his conviction. ( ENRIQUE ALMERO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. NO. 188191. MARCH 12, 2014, CJ. Sereno Since about 15 men, including accused Erwin, pounced on their one helpless victim, relentlessly bludgeoned him on the head, and stabbed him on the stomach until he was dead, there is no question that the accused took advantage of their superior strength. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERWIN TAMAYO , G.R. NO. 196960. MARCH 12, 2014, J. ABAD) Statutory rape is committed by sexual intercourse with a woman below 12 years of age regardless of her consent, or the lack of it, to the sexual act. Proof of force, intimidation or consent is unnecessary as they are not elements of statutory rape, considering that the absence of free consent is conclusively presumed when the victim is below the age of 12. At that age, the law presumes that the victim does not possess discernment and is incapable of giving intelligent consent to the sexual act. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GUILLERMO B. CADANO, JR. G.R. NO. 207819. MARCH 12, 2014, J. PERLASBERNABE) The failure of the prosecution to establish the evidence’s chain of custody is fatal to its case as the Court can no longer consider or even safely assume that the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated dangerous drug were properly preserved. In this case, the prosecution is completely silent as to why PO3 Domingo, the poseur-buyer, despite having immediate custody of the two plastic sachets of shabu purchased from Constantino, failed to immediately mark the seized drugs before turning over the custody of the same to another police officer. This lapse in procedure opened the door for confusion and doubt as to the identity of the drugs actually seized from Constantino during the buy-bust and the ones presented before the trial court, especially considering that three different people, during the interval, supposedly received and marked the same. This omission diminished the importance of the markings as the reference point for the subsequent handling of the evidence. As a consequence, an objective person could now justifiably suspect the shabu ultimately presented as evidence in court to be planted or contaminated. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HERMANOS CONSTANTINO, JR. Y BINAYUG, A.K.A. "JOJIT" G.R. NO. 199689. MARCH 12, 2014, J. LEONARDO- DE CASTRO) Where the accused interposed the defense of alibi saying that it was impossible for him to be present at the date, time and place of the incident but the location where the incident took place was just right outside the bakery where the accused claims that he was working at the date and time of the incident, such defense cannot lie. In addition, the erroneous reference to Article 266-A 1(d) of the Revised Penal Code referring to a case where the offended party is demented, and the proper reference should have been Article 266-A 1(b) referring to a case where the offended party is deprived of reason, in the Information will not exonerate Ventura because he failed to raise this as an objection, and the particular facts stated in the Information were protestation sufficient to inform him of the nature of the charge against him. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERNESTO VENTURA, SR., G.R. NO. 205230, March 12, 2014, J. Reyes) It has been consistently ruled that for the successful prosecution of offenses involving the illegal sale of drugs under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, the following elements must be proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, object and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. In other words, there is a need to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused actually sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another, and that the former indeed knew that what he had sold and delivered to the latter was a prohibited drug.

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Contrary to the claim of accused, the prosecution was able to clearly recount how the buy-bust operation was conducted, and the eventual submission of the subject sachet of shabu as part of its evidence. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FREDDIE LADIP Y RUBIO, G.R. NO. 196146, March 12, 2014, J. Perez) When the Secretary of Justice concluded that there was planting of evidence based on the lone fact that the raiding team arrived ahead of the search team, he, in effect went into the merits of the defense. Such is no longer the duty of the Secretary of Justice. His duty involves the finding of whether there is probable cause to charge a party of a crime. Where the court has established that the presence elements of the crime of illegal possession of drugs by evidence, such is a sufficient ground to establish a well-founded belief that the crime of illegal possession of drugs has been committed. Having acquired jurisdiction over the case, the court is not bound by a resolution of the DOJ regarding the presence of probable cause, but is required to evaluate the evidence before proceeding farther with the trial. While the Secretary's ruling is persuasive, it is not binding on courts. (BARRY LANIER AND PERLITA LANIER v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 189176, March 19, 2014, J. Perez) Under Article 266-B (10) of the Revised Penal Code, knowledge by the offender of the mental disability, emotional disorder, or physical handicap at the time of the commission of the rape is the qualifying circumstance that sanctions the imposition of the death penalty. Hence, the mere fact that the rape victim is a mental retardate does not automatically render the crime as qualified rape. Where the Information fails to mention such qualifying circumstance, the crime committed remains to be simple rape. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JERRY OBOGNE G.R. No. 199740, March 24, 2014, J. Del Castillo) Where a private person has been charged of conspiracy in violating Section 3(g) of R.A. 3019 but the public officer, with whom he was alleged to have conspired, has died prior to the filing of the Information, the private person may be indicted alone. In crimes involving conspiracy, the moment it is established that the malefactors conspired and confederated in the commission of the felony proved, collective liability of the accused conspirators attaches by reason of the conspiracy. Even if one or more of the accused has died, or cannot be charged of the crime, if there is sufficient evidence, one of the conspirators may be charged alone of the crime. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HENRY T. GO, G.R. No. 168539, March 25, 2014, J. Peralta) Where the accused has been charged and tried with five charges of rape, and among the five, he was only convicted in one, it does not follow that his conviction is erroneous. The charges of rape are different and separate from one another. The evidence adduced in one case is different from that of the others. Thus, there is no logical, as well as legal, reason to say that when the accused has only been found guilty in one of the five charges against him, he should be acquitted in all the five charges, especially when the evidence against him in that one case is so strong that it leaves no room for reasonable doubt. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JESUS BURCE G.R. No. 201732, March 26, 2014, J. Leonardo-De Castro) A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment whereby ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreakers in the execution of their criminal plan. Thus, even in a case where an informant acts as a broker or agent between the poseur-buyer police officer and the accused, as long as the poseur-buyer police officer went through the operation as a buyer and his offer was accepted by appellant and the dangerous drugs delivered to the former, the crime is considered consummated by the delivery of the goods. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANUEL APLAT Y SUBLINO AND JACKSON DANGLAY Y BOTIL, MANUEL APLAT Y SUBLINO, G.R. No. 191727, March 31, 2014, J. Del Castillo)

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