Archive for September, 2019


CASE 2019-0008: CHARBEN DUARTE Y OLIVEROS VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES (G.R. NO. 238971. AUGUST 28, 2019, PERLAS-BERNABE, J.) (SUBJECT/S: DRUGS; HOW TO GET ACQUITTAL) (BRIEF TITLE: DUARTE VS PEOPLE)

 

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petit10n is GRANTED. The Decision dated September 7, 201 7 and the Resolution dated April 4, 2018 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 39090 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, petit10ner Charben Duarte y Oliveros is ACQUITTED of the crime of violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is ordered to cause his immediate release, unless he is being lawfully held in custody for any other reason.

 

SO ORDERED.”

  

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

 

THE INVENTORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE ITEMS SEIZED FROM DUARTE WERE NOT CONDUCTED IN THE PRESENCE OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE DOJ AND THE MEDIA.

 

THUS THE CASE WAS DISMISSED.

 

 In this case, it appears that the inventory and photography of the items seized from Duarte were not conducted in the presence of representatives from the DOJ and the media, as evinced from the Receipt of Physical Inventory,44 which only showed a signature from an elected public official, i.e., Kgd. Ulderico, contrary to the mandatory procedure laid down in RA 9165. This is confirmed by the testimony of PO 1 Galauran on crossexamination, . . . . .

 

…………

 

As earlier stated, it is incumbent upon the prosecution to account for the aforesaid witnesses’ absence by presenting a justifiable reason therefor, or at the very least, by showing that genuine and sufficient efforts were exerted by the apprehending officers to secure their presence. Here, the defense lawyer, through the cross-examination of POI Galauran, had already pointed out that only an elected public official was present during the inventory and photography of the seized items. At this point, the prosecution should have already noted the absence of the representatives from the DOJ and the media and interrogated PO 1 Galauran, or any other witness for that matter, on whether or not earnest efforts were exerted in ensuring the presence of all the required witnesses during the conduct of the inventory and photography. Absent any determination of earnest efforts, the Court is constrained to hold that there was an unjustified deviation from the chain of custody rule, resulting in the conclusion that the integrity and evidentiary value of the items purportedly seized from Duarte were compromised. Perforce, his acquittal is warranted under these circumstances.

  

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SCD-2019-0026-Charben Duarte y Oliveros Vs. People of the Philippines

 

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CASE 2019-0025: MILA B. RECAMARA VS. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (G.R. NO. 211810. AUGUST 28, 2019, REYES, A., JR., J. (SUBJECT/S: RECONSTITUTION OF TITLE; COURT MUST EXAMINE THE GENUINENESS OF SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS) (BRIEF TITLE: RECAMARA VS REPUBLIC)

  

DISPOSITIVE:

 

 “WHEREFORE, the October 9, 2013 Decision and February 26, 2014 Resolution of the Court of Appeals m CA-G.R. CV No. 02859 are AFFIRMED.

 

SO ORDERED.”

 

 SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PROCEEDING FOR JUDICIAL RECONSTITUTION UNDER RA NO. 26?

 

THE RESTORATION OF A LOST OR DESTROYED TORRENS CERTIFICATE TO ITS ORIGINAL FORM AND CONDITION.

 

The purpose of the proceeding is to reproduce, after observing the procedures laid down by law, the subject certificate of title in the form it was prior to its loss or destruction.25 Such proceedings presuppose the prior existence of the certificate, seeking its reissuance. Sections 2 and 3 of RA No. 26 enumerate the source documents upon which judicial reconstitution may issue. The first provision applies to reconstitution of original certificates of title, while the second applies to reconstitution of transfer certificates of title.

 

HOW WILL ORIGINAL CERTIFICATES OF TITLE BE RECONSTITUTED?

 

Section 2 (of RA 26). Original certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available, in the following order:

 

(a) The owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title;

(b) The co-owner’s, mortgagee’s, or lessee’s duplicate of the certificate of title;

( c) A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof;

( d) An authenticated copy of the decree of registration or patent, as the case may be, pursuant to which the original certificate of title was issued;

( e) A document, on file in the registry of deeds, by which the property, the description of which is given in said document, is mortgaged, leased or encumbered, or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original had been registered; and

(f) Any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title.

 

HOW SHALL TRANSFER CERTIFICATES OF TITLE  BE RECONSTITUTED?

 

Section 3 (of RA 26). Transfer certificates of title shall be reconstituted from such of the sources hereunder enumerated as may be available, in the following order:

 

(a) The owner’s duplicate of the certificate of title;

(b) The co-owner’s, mortgagee’s, or lessee’s duplicate of the certificate of title;

( c) A certified copy of the certificate of title, previously issued by the register of deeds or by a legal custodian thereof;

( d) The deed of transfer or other document, on file in the registry of deeds, containing the description of the property, or an authenticated copy thereof, showing that its original had been registered, and pursuant to which the lost or destroyed transfer certificate of title was issued;

( e) A document, on file in the registry of deeds, by which the property, the description of which is given in said document, is mortgaged, leased or encumbered, or an authenticated copy of said document showing that its original had been registered; and

(f) Any other document which, in the judgment of the court, is sufficient and proper basis for reconstituting the lost or destroyed certificate of title.

 

WHAT WAS THE RULING OF CA?

 

In this case, the CA held that Mila was not able to present any of the documents mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e) of the above-shown Section 3.

 

WAS THE CA CORRECT?

 

WRONG BECAUSE SECTION 3 REFERS TO RECONSTITUTION OF CTC WHILE MILA’S TITLE WAS AN ORIGINAL TITLE. THUS SECTION 2 SHOULD BE APPLIED.

 

In so ruling, the appellate court committed a reversible error.

 

Mila’s petition for reconstitution is anchored mainly on Decree No. 299019. Verily, such is not among the classes of documents contemplated by Section 3. However, this should not have had any bearing on the CA’s decision, as said provision applies to proceedings for the reconstitution of transfer certificates of title. Mila’s petition was one for the reconstitution of an original certificate of title, which is governed by Section 2.

 

It is significant to point out that Section 2( d) sanctions judicial reconstitution based on “[ a ]n authenticated copy of the decree of registration x x x pursuant to which the original certificate of title was issued.” In her petition for review, Mila contends that Decree No. 299019, pursuant to said provision, constitutes sufficient and proper basis for the reconstitution of OCT No. 0-10245.

 

IF SECTION 2 IS APPLIED WOULD MILA’S TITLE BE RECONSTITUTED?

 

NO BECAUSE THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE DOCUMENT SHE SUBMITTED WAS QUESTIONABLE.

 

Going back to the instant case, a simple perusal of the second page of Decree No. 299019 will reveal that the decree suffers from the same defects as that presented in Pasicolan. For one, there is a blank space above the name Enrique Altavas, indicated to be the Chief of the GLRO at the time. On that space should appear his signature, as he was tasked by law to issue decrees of registration.33 Instead, Decree No. 299019 bears the signature of the Deputy Chief of the GLRO, inscribed only for the purpose of certifying the decree as a true copy. Further, the signature of Hon. Francisco Soriano, the CFI judge who allegedly issued Decree No. 299019, is nowhere to be found. . . . .  (ADDITIONAL DEFECTS CITED)

 

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SCD-2019-0025-Mila B. Recamara Vs. Republic of the Philippines

 

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CASE 2019-0024: FREDERICK L. SURIAGA VS. COMMISSIONER ALICIA DELA ROSA-BALA AND ROBERT S. MARTINEZ (G.R. NO. 238191. AUGUST 28, 2019, REYES, A., JR., J.) (SUBJECT/S: IMMUNITY OF WITNESS FROM PROSECUTION)(BRIEF TITLE: SURIAGA VS COMMISSIONER BALA ET AL)

            

DISPOSITIVE:

 

“WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.

 

SO ORDERED.”

  

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

 

SURIAGA SAID HE ASKED BAGUION, WORKING AT BUREAU OF FIRE PROTECTION,  TO SECURE FOR HIM A CIVIL SERVICE ELIGIBILITY AND PAID THE LATTER P25K. WHEN SURIAGA ASKED FOR COPY OF HIS CIVIL SERVICE LIABILITY CSC FOUND OUT THAT HE SUBMITTED FRAUDULENT APPLICATION. INVESTIGATION ENSUED. SURIAGA ADMITTED HIS INFRACTION BUT MOVED THAT HE BE GIVEN IMMUNITY AS HE IS WILLING TO TESTIFY AGAINST BAGUION. CSC DENIED HIS MOTION. IS HE ENTITLED TO IMMUNITY?

 

NO BECAUSE HE IS THE MOST GUILTY.

 

As the party that is clearly the most guilty, having been caught red-handed to have a fraudulent issue with his application, the Court is convinced that Suriaga is not entitled to a grant of immunity as he was unable to show beyond a mere recitation of the requisites that he was eligible for the same. Aside from his self-serving statements, he failed to substantiate his claim that he should be granted immunity and that the CSC erred in denying his claim.

 

SURIAGA SAID IT IS HIS RIGHT TO BE GRANTED IMMUNITY. IS HE CORRECT?

 

HE IS WRONG. THE GRANT OF IMMUNITY IS NOT A RIGHT, BUT AN EXERCISE OF DISCRETION ON THE PART OR THE PROSECUTION.

 

 As explained in Quarto v. Hon. Ombudsrnan !’vlarcelo, et al. :29 The decision to grant immunity from prosecution forms a constituent part of the prosecution process. It is essentially a tactical decision lo forego prosecution of a person for government to achieve a higher objective. It is a deliberate renunciation of the right of the State to prosecute all who appear to be guilty of having committed a crime. Its justification lies in the particular need of the State to obtain the conviction of the more guilty criminals who, otherwise. will probably elude the long arm of the law. Whether or not the delicate power should be exercised, who should be extended the privilege. the timing of its grant. arc questions addressed solely to the sound judgment or the prosecution. The power to prosecute includes the right to determine who shall be prosecuted and the corollary right to decide whom not to prosecute. In reviewing the exercise of prosccutorial discretion in these areas. the jurisdiction of the respondent court is limited. For the business of a court of justice is to be an impm1ial tribunal, and not to get involved with the success or failure of the prosecution to prosecute. Every now and then. the prosecution may err in the selection of its strategics, but such errors arc not fi1r neutral courts to rectify. any more than courts should correct the blunders of the dcfcnsc. (Citation omitted)

 

 

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SCD-2019-0024-Frederick L. Suriaga Vs. Commissioner Alicia Dela Rosa-Bala and Robert S. Martinez 

 

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