Wednesday, October 29, 2014

case dgest

G.R. No. L-64261
December 26, 1984

Facts :                  On December 7, 1982 two search warrants were issued by respondent Judge Ernani Cruz-Pano, Executive Judge of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal [Quezon City], under which the premises known as No. 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business addresses of the "Metropolitan Mail" and "We Forum" newspapers, respectively, were searched, and office and printing machines, equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the said newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged to be in the possession and control of petitioner Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher-editor of the "We Forum" newspaper which have been allegedly used, and are being used as instruments and means of committing the crime of subversion penalized under P.D. 885 as amended, were seized.
The search warrants were issued by respondent judge upon application of Col. Rolando N. Abadilla Intelligence Officer of the P.C. Metrocom. The application was accompanied by the Joint Affidavit of Alejandro M. Gutierrez and Pedro U. Tango, members of the Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group under Col. Abadilla which conducted a surveillance of the premises prior to the filing of the application for the search warrants.
The petitioner herein then assailed the validity of the search warrants contending that the abovementioned documents could have not have provided sufficient basis for the finding of probable cause upon which a warrant may be validly issued in accordance with Section 3, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution .
Issue :  Whether or not the search warrant was validly issued upon probable cause.
Ruling :              We find petitioners' thesis impressed with merit. Probable cause for a search is defined as 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 sought to be searched. And when the search warrant applied for is directed against a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the publication of subversive materials, as in the case at bar, the application and/or its supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the alleged subversive material he has published or is intending to publish. Mere generalization will not suffice. Thus, the broad statement in Col. Abadilla's application that petitioner "is in possession or has in his control printing equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used and are all continuously being used as a means of committing the offense of subversion punishable under Presidential Decree 885, as amended ..." is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a finding of the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant and it was a grave error for respondent judge to have done so.
Equally insufficient as basis for the determination of probable cause is the statement contained in the joint affidavit of Alejandro M. Gutierrez and Pedro U. Tango, "that the evidence gathered and collated by our unit clearly shows that the premises above- mentioned and the articles and things above-described were used and are continuously being used for subversive activities in conspiracy with, and to promote the objective of, illegal organizations such as the Light-a-Fire Movement, Movement for Free Philippines, and April 6 Movement." 
Another factor which makes the search warrants under consideration constitutionally objectionable is that they are in the nature of general warrants. The search warrants describe the articles sought to be seized in this wise:
1] All printing equipment, paraphernalia, paper, ink, photo (equipment, typewriters, cabinets, tables, communications/recording equipment, tape recorders, dictaphone and the like used and/or connected in the printing of the "WE FORUM" newspaper and any and all documents communication, letters and facsimile of prints related to the "WE FORUM" newspaper.
2] Subversive documents, pamphlets, leaflets, books, and other publication to promote the objectives and piurposes of the subversive organization known as Movement for Free Philippines, Light-a-Fire Movement and April 6 Movement; and,
3] Motor vehicles used in the distribution/circulation of the "WE FORUM" and other subversive materials and propaganda….
                The description of the articles sought to be seized under the search warrants in question cannot be characterized differently. In view of the foregoing, the search warrants issued by respondent judge on December 7, 1982 are hereby declared null and void and are accordingly set aside.

A.M. No. 01-4-03-SC.  
June 29, 2001

Facts: On 13 March 2001, the Kapisanan ng mgaBrodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) sent a letterrequesting this Court to allow live media coverage of the anticipated trial of the plunder and other criminal cases filed against former President Joseph E. Estrada before the Sandiganbayan. The petitioners invoked other than the freedom of the press, the constitutional right of the people to be informed of matters of public concern which could only be recognized, served and satisfied by allowing live radio and television coverage of the court proceedings. Moreover, the live radio and television coverage of the proceedings will also serve the dual purpose of ensuring the desired transparency in the administration of justice.
However, in the Resolution of the Court on October 1991, in a case for libel filed by then President Corazon C. Aquino read that the Court resolved to prohibit live radio and television coverage of court proceedings in view of protecting the parties’ right to due process, to prevent distraction of the participants in the proceedings and to avoid miscarriage of justice.

Issue : Whether the constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and right to information of public concern be given more weight  than the fundamental rights of the accused.

Ruling :                The petition is denied.
                The courts recognize the constitutionally embodied freedom of the press and the right to public information.  It also approves of media's exalted power to provide the most accurate and comprehensive means of conveying the proceedings to the public and in acquainting the public with the judicial process in action; nevertheless, within the courthouse, the overriding consideration is still the paramount right of the accused to due process which must never be allowed to suffer diminution in its constitutional proportions.  
Due process guarantees the accused a presumption of innocence until the contrary is proved in a trial that is not lifted above its individual settings nor made an object of public's attention and where the conclusions reached are induced not by any outside force or influencebut only by evidence and argument given in open court, where fitting dignity and calm ambiance is demanded."Television can work profound changes in the behavior of the people it focuses on."The conscious or unconscious effect that such coverage may have on the testimony of witnesses and the decision of judges cannot be evaluated but, it can likewise be said, it is not at all unlikely for a vote of guilt or innocence to yield to it.
Although an accused has a right to a public trial but it is a right that belongs to him, more than anyone else, where his life or liberty can be held critically in balance.  A public trial aims to ensure that he is fairly dealt with and would not be unjustly condemned and that his rights are not compromised. A public trial is not synonymous with publicized trial; it only implies that the court doors must be open to those who wish to come, sit in the available seats, conduct themselves with decorum and observe the trial process.  In the constitutional sense, a courtroom should have enough facilities for a reasonable number of the public to observe the proceedings, not too small as to render the openness negligible and not too large as to distract the trial participants from their proper functions, who shall then be totally free to report what they have observed during the proceedings.

Hon. NUMERIANO G. ESTENZO, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Leyte, Ormoc City Branch V, BARANGAY COUNCIL of Valencia, Ormoc City, Barangay Captain MANUEL C. VELOSO, Councilmen GAUDENCIO LAVEZARES, TOMAS CABATINGAN and MAXIMINO NAVARRO, Barangay Secretary CONCHITA MARAYA and Barangay Treasurer LUCENA BALTAZAR, respondents.
G.R. No. L-53487
May 25, 1981

Facts:   The barangay council of Valencia, Ormoc City has adopted four resolutions regarding theannual celebration annual of their patron saint San Vicente Ferrer. Resolution No. 5 ,set the feast day of the patron saint of Valencia and provided for the acquisition of San Vicente Ferrer and construction of a waiting shed. On March 26, 1976, the barangay council passed Resolution No. 6 which specified thatthe Chairman or hermano mayor of the fiesta, would be the caretaker of the image of San Vicente Ferrer and that the image would remain in his residence for one year and until the election of his successor as chairman of the next feast day. It was further provided in the resolution that the image would be made available to the Catholic parish church during the celebration of the saint's feast day.
                The waiting shed was constructed and the wooden image was acquired by means of solicitations and cash donations of the barangay residents and those of the neighboring places of Valencia.
The image was then temporarily placed in the Catholic Church so that devotees could worship the saint during the mass for the fiesta. However, the petitioner Father Osmena  refused to return the image to the barangay council on the pretext that it was the property of the church because church funds were used for its acquisition. The respondent then enacted Resolutions No. 10 and 12 allowing the respondents to recover the image through a replevin case .
                In his answer to the complaint, he assailed the constitutionality of the said resolutions on the grounds that the barangay council was not duly constituted because the chairman of the Kabataang Barangay was not allowed to participate in its sessions and  that the resolutions contravene the constitutional provision of Sec. 8, Article IV and sec. 18[2], Article VIII, Constitution.
Issue : Whether or not the questioned resolutions were constitutional.

Ruling :              That contention is glaringly devoid of merit.
 Sec. 8, Article IV and sec. 18[2], Article VIII  respectively provides; “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion" and that "No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, paid, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such. Except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium”.The questioned resolutions do not directly or indirectly establish any religion, nor abridge religious liberty, nor appropriate public money or property for the benefit of any sect, priest or clergyman. The image was purchased with private funds, not with tax money. The construction of a waiting shed is entirely a secular matter.
The wooden image was purchased in connection with the celebration of the barrio fiesta honoring the patron saint, San Vicente Ferrer, and not for the purpose of favoring any religion nor interfering with religious matters or the religious beliefs of the barrio residents.
If there is nothing unconstitutional or illegal in holding a fiesta and having a patron saint for the barrio, then any activity intended to facilitate the worship of the patron saint (such as the acquisition and display of his image) cannot be branded as illegal.

HON. SIMEON. FERRER (in his capacity as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Tarlac, Branch I), FELICIANO CO alias LEONCIO CO alias "Bob," and NILO S. TAYAG alias Romy Reyes alias "Taba," respondents.
G.R. Nos. L-32613-14
 December 27, 1972
Facts:                   Two different cases was filed in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac against respondents Feliciano Co and NiloTayag and other five others in violation of the Anti- Subversion Act which outlaws the Communist Party of the Philippines and other “subversive associations” and punishes any person who "knowingly, willfully and by overt acts affiliates himself with, becomes or remains a member" of the Party or of any other similar "subversive" organization. The said respondents were said to be active members of the CCP. Both then moved to quash the informations against them on the ground that the Anti- Subversion Act is a bill of attainder. Resolving the constitutional issues raised, the trial court, in its resolution of September 15, 1970, declared the statute void on the grounds that it is a bill of attainder and that it is vague and overboard, and dismissed the informations against the two accused. The Government appealed.

Issue :  Whether the Anti- Subversive Act is a bill of attainder.

Ruling :  The court upheldthe validity of the Anti-Subversion Act.
                Article III, section 1 (11) of the Constitution states that "No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be enacted."A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without trial.Its essence is the substitution of a legislative for a judicial determination of guilt.The constitutional ban against bills of attainder serves to implement the principle of separation of powers by confining legislatures to rule-making and thereby forestalling legislative usurpation of the judicial function.
 In the case at bar, the Anti-Subversion Act was condemned by the court a quo as a bill of attainder because it "tars and feathers" the Communist Party of the Philippines as a "continuing menace to the freedom and security of the country; its existence, a 'clear, present and grave danger to the security of the Philippines.'" By means of the Act, the trial court said, Congress usurped "the powers of the judge," and assumed "judicial magistracy by pronouncing the guilt of the CCP without any of the forms or safeguards of judicial trial." Finally, according to the trial court, "if the only issue [to be determined] is whether or not the accused is a knowing and voluntary member, the law is still a bill of attainder because it has expressly created a presumption of organizational guilt which the accused can never hope to overthrow."
If the Anti-Subversion Act is a bill of attainder, it would be totally unnecessary to charge Communists in court, as the law alone, without more, would suffice to secure their punishment. But the undeniable fact is that their guilt still has to be judicially established. The Government has yet to prove at the trial that the accused joined the Party knowingly, willfully and by overt acts, and that they joined the Party, knowing its subversive character and with specific intent to further its basic objective, i.e., to overthrow the existing Government by force deceit, and other illegal means and place the country under the control and domination of a foreign power.
The questioned resolution of September 15, 1970 is set aside, and these two cases are hereby remanded to the court a quo for trial on the merits.

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant,
WILLY OBSANIA, defendant-appellee.
G.R. No. L-24447          
 June 29, 1968

Facts :                  On November 22, 1964, barely a day after the occurence of the alleged crime, ErlindaDollente, the 14-year old victim, and her parents, CiriacoDollente and Carmelita Lureta, filed in the municipal court of Balungao, Pangasinan a complaint for rape with robbery against the defendant Obsania. After the case was remanded to the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan for further proceedings, the assistant provincial fiscal filed an information for rape against the accused, embodying the allegations of the above complaint, with an additional averment that the offense was committed "with lewd designs".
The accused pleaded not guilty upon arraignment, and forthwith his counsel moved for the dismissal of the case, contending that the complaint was fatally defective for failure to allege "lewd designs" and that the subsequent information filed by the fiscal which averred "lewd designs" did not cure the jurisdictional infirmity. The court a quo granted the motion and ordered dismissal of the action, ruling that "the failure of the complaint filed by the offended party to allege that the acts committed by the accused were with 'lewd designs' does not give this Court jurisdiction to try the case." From this order, the fiscal brought the instant appeal.  The appeal was then questioned by the defendant on the grounds of double jeopardy.
Issue :  Does the appeal of the Government violated the constitutional right against double jeopardy.

Ruling :              The Court answered in the negative.
                                An appeal by the prosecution in a criminal case is not available if the defendant would thereby be placed in double jeopardy.Correlatively, section 9, Rule 117 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
When a defendant shall have been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or otherwise terminated without the express consent of the defendant, by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction, and after the defendant had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or acquittal of the defendant or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information.
In order that the protection against double jeopardy may inure in favor of an accused, the following requisites must have obtained in the original prosecution: (a) a valid complaint or information; (b) a competent court; (c) the defendant had pleaded to the charge; and (d) the defendant was acquitted, or convicted, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent.
The complaint filed with the municipal court in the case at bar was valid; the court a quo was a competent tribunal with jurisdiction to hear the case; the record shows that the accused pleaded not guilty upon arraignment. Hence, the only remaining and decisive question is whether the dismissal of the case was without the express consent of the accused.
The accused admits that the controverted dismissal was ordered by the trial judge upon his motion to dismiss.The controverted dismissal was predicated on the erroneous contention of the accused that the complaint was defective and such infirmity affected the jurisdiction of the court a quo, and not on the right of the accused to a speedy trial and the failure of the Government to prosecute. The appealed order of dismissal in this case now under consideration did not terminate the action on the merits.
The application of the sister doctrines of waiver and estoppel requires two sine qua non conditions: first, the dismissal must be sought or induced by the defendant personally or through his counsel; and second, such dismissal must not be on the merits and must not necessarily amount to an acquittal. Indubitably, the case at bar falls squarely within the periphery of the said doctrines which have been preserved unimpaired in the corpus of our jurisprudence.
The order appealed from is set aside.


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