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CASE 2018-0019: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. BENITO PALARAS Y LAPU-OS (G.R. NO. 219582, 11 JULY 2018, MARTIRES, J.) (SUBJECT/S: DRUG CASE DISMISSED BY SC; WARRANTLESS ARREST VOIDED AND AS A CONSEQUENCE ITEMS SEIZED WRE NOT CONSIDERED AS EVIDENCE; WITNESSES DISCREDITED BECAUSE OF DISTANCE)  (BRIEF TITLE: PEOPLE VS PALARAS)

  

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the Court of Appeals Decision, dated 29 January 2015, in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 01758,affirming the 14 November 2013 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 69, Silay City, in Criminal Case Nos. 8561-69 and 8562-69, and ACQUITS accused-appellant BENITO PALARAS y LAPU-OS of the crimes charged in Criminal Case Nos. 8561-69 and 8562-69 on the ground of reasonable doubt. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is hereby ORDERED to immediately release accused-appellant BENITO PALARAS y LAPU-OS from custody unless he is being detained for some other lawful cause.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

IS THE NON-PRESENTATION OF THE POSEUR-BUYER FATAL IN DRUG CASE?

 

FATAL ONLY IF THERE IS NO OTHER EYEWITNESS.

 

IN THIS CASE THERE WERE EYEWITNESSES WHO WERE MEMBERS OF THE BUY-BUST TEAM. DID  THEIR TESTIMONY CURE THE NON-PRESENTATION OF THE POSEUR-BUYER.

 

NO BECAUSE THEIR DISTANCE RAISES DOUBT THAT THEY COULD CONFIRM THE ALLEGED SALE THAT TRANSPIRED.

 

“While it is true that the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer is fata only if there is no other eyewitness to the illicit transaction, 19 P02 Bernil and the other members of the buy-bust team cannot be considered as eyewitnesses to the illegal sale of drugs because their distance raises doubt that they could confirm whether what transpired was actually a sale, considering the legal characterizations20 of the act constituting the crime.

 

In People v. Amin,21 this Court did not deem as eyewitness account the testimony of the prosecution witnesses who were ten ( 10) meters away from the transaction. Similarly, in People v. Guzon,22 a police officer who admitted that he was seven (7) to eight (8) meters away from the actual transaction was not considered an eyewitness to the crime.”

 

WHAT DOES CONVICTION FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF ILLEGAL DRUGS REQUIRE?

 

IT REQUIRES THE FOLLOWING:

 

 ( 1) THAT THE ACCUSED WAS IN POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS;

 

 (2) THAT SUCH POSSESSION WAS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW; AND

 

(3) THAT THE ACCUSED WAS FREELY AND CONSCIOUSLY AWARE OF BEING IN POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS

 

WAS THERE BASIS FOR THE WARRANTLESS ARREST?

 

NO BECAUSE THE SALE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS COULD NOT BE ATTRIBUTED TO ACCUSED.

 

WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE OF AN INVALID WARRANTLESS ARREST?

 

ANY ITEM IT YIELDED COULD NOT, THEREFORE, BE USED AS EVIDENCE AGAINST THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT.27

 

WAS ACCUSED GUILTY OF POSSESSION OF THE DRUGS?

 

NO BECAUSE HIS ALLEGED POSSESSION WAS PREMISED ON HIS SALE WHICH WAS NOT PROVEN.

 

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SCD-2018-0019-People of the Philippines Vs. Benito Palaras y Lapu-Os

 

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CASE 2018-0018: RE: SHOW CAUSE ORDER IN THE DECISION DATED MAY 11, 2018 IN G.R. NO. 237428 (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY SOLICITOR GENERAL JOSE C. CALIDA V. MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO) (A.M. NO. 18-06-01-SC. JULY 17, 2018, TIJAM, J.)

 DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Maria Lourde A. Sereno is found guilty of violating CANON 13, Rule 13.02, and CANON 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Sections 3, 7, and 8 of CANON 1, Sections 1 and 2 of CANON 2, Sections 2 and 4 of CANON 3, and Sections 2 and 6 of CANON 4 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary. Thereby, after deep reflection and deliberation,in lieu of suspension, respondent is meted the penalty of REPRIMAND with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of a similar offense or any offense violative of the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility shall merit a heavier penalty of a fine and/or suspension or disbarment.

 

This judgment is final and executory. No further motions for reconsideration or any further pleadings shall hereafter be entertained.

 

Let a copy of this Decision be entered in the personal records of respondent as a member of the Bar, and copies furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

HOW SHALL THE COURT EXERCISE ITS DISCIPLINARY AUTHORITY IN ADMINISTRARIVE MATTERS?

 

In exercising its disciplinary authority in administrative matters,

however, this Court has always kept in mind that lawyers should not be

hastily disciplined or penalized. In administrative proceedings against

lawyers, this Court is always guided by this principle, that is:

The power to disbar or suspend ought always to be exercised on

the preservative and not on the vindictive principle, with great caution and

only for the most weighty reasons and only on clear cases of misconduct

which seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an

officer of the court and member of the Bar. Only those acts which cause

loss of moral character should merit disbarment or suspension, while those

acts which neither affect nor erode the moral character of the lawyer

should only justify a lesser sanction unless they are of such nature and to

such extent as to clearly show the lawyer’s unfitness to continue in the

practice of law.

 

WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY PURPOSES OF DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS?

 

“. . . the primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings

are to protect the public; to foster public confidence in the Bar; to preserve

the integrity of the profession; and to deter other lawyers from similar

misconduct.” Disciplinary proceedings are means of protecting the

administration of justice by requiring those who carry out this important

function to be competent, honorable and reliable men in whom courts and

clients may repose confidence. While it is discretionary upon the Court to

impose a particular sanction that it may deem proper against an erring

lawyer, it should neither be arbitrary and despotic nor motivated by

personal animosity or prejudice, but should ever be controlled by the

imperative need to scrupulously guard the purity and independence of the

bar and to exact from the lawyer strict compliance with his duties to the

court, to his client, to his brethren in the profession and to the public.49

 

WAS THE COURT ACCOMMODATING CJ SERENO WHEN IT IMPOSED ON HER LIGHT SANCTIONS?

 

To be clear, however, this accommodation is not a condonation of

respondent’s wrongdoings but a second chance for respondent to mend her

ways, express remorse for her disgraceful conduct, and be forthright to set

an example for all law-abiding members of the legal profession. The legal

profession is a noble profession: as a former Member of this Court, it is

incumbent upon respondent to exemplify respect, obedience, and adherence

to this institution. This judicial temperance is not unprecedented as this

Court has in several cases reduced the imposable penalties so that erring

lawyers are encouraged to repent, reform, and be rehabilitated.

 

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SCD-2018-0018-Re Show cause order in the decision dated May 11 2018 in G.R. No. 237428

 

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CASE 2018-0017:  VALENTINO S. LINGAT AND APRONIANO ALTOVEROS VS. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILIPPINES, INC., ET AL. (G.R. NO. 205688, 04 JULY 2018, DEL CASTILLO, J.) (SUBJECT: PERMISSIBLE LABOR CONTRACTING VIS A VIS LABOR-ONLY CONTRACTING; WHEN WORK IS CONSIDERED DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE BUSINESS OF A COMPANY) (BRIEF TITLE: LINGAT AND OLIVEROS VS COCA-COLA BOTTLERS)

  

DISPOSITIVE:

  

“WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The July 4, 2012 Decision and January 16, 2013 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 112829 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the December 9, 2008 Decision of the Labor Arbiter is REINSTATED WITH MODIFICATIONS in that separation pay, in lieu of reinstatement, and attorney’s fees equivalent to 10% of the monetary grants are awarded to petitioners. All monetary awards shall earn interest at the l~ate of 6% per annum from the finality of this Decision until fully paid.

 

SO ORDERED.”

  

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LABOR-ONLY CONTRACTOR AND A LEGITIMATE JOB CONTRACTOR?

 

 In Diamond Farms, Inc. v. Southern Philippines Federation of Lahar (SPFL)-Workers Solidarity of DARBMUPCO/Diamond-SPFL,23 the Court distinguished a labor-only contractor and a legitimate job contractor in this wise:

 

The Omnibus Rules implenenting the Labor Code distinguishes between permissible job contracting (or independent contractorship) and labor-only contracting. Job contracting is permissible Wlder the Code if the following conditions are met:

 A)  The contractor carries on an independent business and Wldertakes the contract work on his own accoWlt Wlder his own responsibility according to his own manner and method, free from the control and direction of his employer or principal in all matters connected with ~e pe~ce of the work except as to the results thereof;

 B) The contractor has substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises, and other materials which are necessary in the conduct of his business.

 

In contrast, job contracting shall be deemed as labor-only contracting, an arrangement prohibited by law, if a person who undertakes to supply workers to an employer:

 

(1) Does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises and other materials; and

 

(2)  The workers recruited and placed by such person are performing activities which are directly related to the principal business or operations of the employer in which workers are habitually employed.

 

PETITIONERS WERE EMPLOYEES OF AN AGENCY ENGAGED BY COCA-COLA TO DO WAREHOUSING. CAN THEY BE CONSIDERED REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF COCA-COLA?

 

YES, BECAUSE WAREHOUSING IS PART OF THE BUSINESS OF COCA-COLA WHICH IS ENGAGED NOT ONLY IN PRODUCTION BUT ALSO IN DISTRIBUTION AND SALE.

 

 Here, based on their Warehousing Management Agreement, CCBPI hired MDTC to perform warehousing management services, which it claimed did not directly relate to its (CCBPI’s) manufacturing operations.24 However, it must be stressed that CCBPI’s business not only involved the manufacture of its products but also included their distribution and sale. Thus, CCBPI’ s argument that petitioners were employees ofMDTC because they performed tasks directly related to “warehousing management services,” lacks merit. On the contrary, records show that petitioners were performing tasks directly related to CCBPI’s distribution and sale aspects of its business.

 

To reiterate, CCBPI is engaged in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of its products; in turn, as plant driver and segregator/mixer of soft drinks, petitioners were engaged to perform tasks relevant to the distribution and sale of CCBPI’s products, which relate to the core business of CCBPI, not to the supposed warehousing service being rendered by MDTC to CCBPI. Petitioners’ work were directly connected to the achievement of the purposes for which CCBPI was incorporated. Certainly, they were regular employees ofCCBPI.

  

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW.

 

SCD-2018-0017-Valentino S. Lingat and Aproniano Altoveros Vs. Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., et al.

 

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