THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PEDRO PETILLA, Defendant-
Solicitor General Pompeyo Diaz and Solicitor Jaime de los Angeles for Appellant.
Arsenio A. Andaya for Appellee.
1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; INFORMATION, AMENDMENT OF; JEOPARDY. — Where the charge
contained in the original information was for slight physical injuries because at that time the fiscal
believed that the wound suffered by the offended party would require medical attendance for a
period of only 8 days, but when the preliminary investigation was conducted the justice of the peace
found that the wound would heal after a period of 30 days, the act which converted the crime into a
more serious one had supervened after the filing of the original information and this supervening
event can still be the subject of amendment or of a new charge without necessarily placing the
accused in double jeopardy (People v. Manolong, 47 Off. Gaz., 5104).
2. ID.; ID.; RES JUDICATA. — If such amended information was dismissed and the fiscal did not
timely appeal, but instead asked for the return of the case to the justice of the peace for trial on the
original information and filed a new information for serious physical injuries against the same
accused, dismissal of the new information is proper on the ground of res judicata.
D E C I S I O N
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J .:
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Quezon dated August 8, 1951,
sustaining the motion to quash interposed by the accused in criminal case No. 10758 and dismissing
the case with costs de oficio and the cancellation of the bond filed by him for his provisional release.
On August 31, 1949, an information charging Pedro Petilla with the crime of slight physical injuries
was filed in the Justice of the Peace Court of Gumaca, Quezon province. Upon petition of both
parties, this case was heard by the Justice of the Peace jointly with another for frustrated homicide
filed against the same accused. During the hearing, the Justice of the Peace found that the injuries
suffered by the offended party would require more than thirty (30) days to heal and so, believing that
the case was beyond his jurisdiction, he forwarded said case, together with that of frustrated
homicide, to the Court of First Instance for further proceedings. On December 17, 1949, the
provincial fiscal amended the information charging the accused with serious physical injuries and
praying that the Justice of the Peace be ordered to conduct the corresponding preliminary
investigation (criminal case No. 10620). This petition was favorably acted upon. The accused having
waived his right to preliminary investigation, the case was returned to the Court of First Instance
where on February 22, 1950, the accused filed a motion to quash alleging, among other grounds,
that if the case be continued he would be placed in jeopardy. On February 28, 1950, the court
granted the motion to quash and dismissed the case with costs de oficio.
His motion for reconsideration having been denied, the provincial fiscal, on March 22, 1950, moved
that the case be returned to the Justice of the Peace of Court of Gumaca for trial on the merits on
the original information contending that said Justice of the Peace committed a mistake in failing to
act upon the erroneous belief that he had no jurisdiction over the offense charged. This motion was
favorably acted upon and the record of the case was sent back to the Justice of the Peace. On June
17, 1950, however, the provincial fiscal asked for the provisional dismissal of the case alleging that
on that same date he was filing in the Court of First Instance an information for serious physical
injuries, and accordingly the Justice of the Peace dismissed the case provisionally and forwarded
the record to the Court of First Instance.
On June 17, 1950, as above stated, a new case was initiated in the Court of First Instance of
Quezon with the filing of a new information for serious physical injuries (criminal case No. 10758).
On July 7, 1950, the case was sent to the Justice of the Peace for preliminary investigation. After
this was held the record was forwarded to the Court of First Instance, and on July 6, 1951, the
accused again filed a motion to quash on the following grounds:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"1. That the above-entitled case has already been quashed by this Honorable Court in its order
dated February 28, 1950 (Annex A);
"2. That if the prosecution has not been satisfied with the order of the Court of 28 February 1950, he
should have appealed from said order within the time allowed by law;
"3. That the prosecution has exceeded and gravely abused its discretion in reviving once again a
case that has already been quashed by the Court thereby initiating and encouraging what the court
abhors, that of multiplicity of suits and endless litigation; and
"4. That it is submitted that ’rulings and orders of this Honorable Court must at least be binding upon
itself," (Page 36, criminal case record No. 10758.)
On August 8, 1951, the court sustained the motion and dismissed the case holding in part as
"It is the opinion of the court that the order of February 28, 1950, has become final and executory. If
the prosecution in criminal case No. 10620 believed that this court had committed an error in
ordering that the information in said case be quashed, with costs de oficio, it should have appealed
from said order within the period prescribed by the Rules of Court. Not having done so, this court
now is absolutely powerless to disregard said final order and proceed with this criminal case No.
10758 for the same crime which is charged in criminal case No. 10620. There is res adjudicata."
(Page 48, criminal case record No. 10758.)
The case is now before us by virtue of the appeal interposed by the Solicitor General.
This case is unfortunate in view of a series of mistakes committed by the officials who intervened in
its prosecution. The first error committed refers to the order of dismissal entered by the lower court
on February 28, 1950, wherein the court quashed the case on the ground that the filing of the
amended information charging the accused with serious physical injuries constituted double
jeopardy which barred the Government from prosecuting it. This is a mistake. The charge contained
in the original information was for slight physical injuries because at that time the fiscal believed that
the wound suffered by the offended party would require medical attendance only for a period of eight
days, but when the preliminary investigation was conducted the Justice of the Peace found that the
wound would not heal until after a period of thirty days, and so he forwarded the case to the Court of
First Instance for further action. It, therefore, appears that the act which converted the crime into a
more serious one had supervened after the filing of the original information. And this supervening
even can still be the subject of amendment or of a new charge without necessarily placing the
accused in double jeopardy, as held by this court in the recent case of People v. Manolong * G.R.
No. L-2288. Said the court:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The Constitution enjoins that ’no person shall be twice put in jeopardy or punished for the same
offense.’ (Art. III, section 120.) In an attempt to implement this constitutional mandate, the Rules of
Court (Rule 113, section 9) make conviction or acquittal of the accused a bar to his subsequent
prosecution, not only for the same offense, but also ’for any offense which necessarily includes or is
necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information.’ In the present
case there is no question that the offense of serious physical injuries charged in the last information
necessarily includes the lesser offense charged in the first complaint and of which the accused was
convicted in the justice of the peace court, and there should likewise be no question that, were we to
follow the doctrine laid down by this court in People v. Villasis, 46 Off. Gaz., 268 we would have no
alternative but to dismiss the present appeal. However, this court in its recent decision in the case of
Melo v. People Et. Al., 47 Off. Gaz., 4631, has already repealed the doctrine laid down in the Tarok
case as contrary to the real meaning of double jeopardy as intended by the Constitution and the
Rules of Court and ’obnoxious to the administration of justice,’ and has reverted to the rule that
’where after the first prosecution a new fact supervenes for which the defendant is responsible,
which changes the character of the offense and, together with the facts existing at the time,
constitutes a new and distinct offense’ (15 Am. Jur. 66), the accused cannot be said to be in second
jeopardy if indicted for the new offense." That rule applies to the present case where, after the first
prosecution for a lesser crime, new facts have supervened which together with those already in
existence at the time of the first prosecution, have made the offense graver and the penalty first
imposed legally inadequate."cralaw virtua1aw library
But the mistake which in the opinion of the court has thwarted the chance of the prosecution is the
failure of the provincial fiscal to appeal from the order of the lower court of February 28, 1950. Had
he done so the error committed would have been remedied. Instead, he asked for the return of the
case to the Justice of the Peace Court for trial on the merits under the original information. Such a
step was of no useful purpose, a fact which he later realized when he filed a motion for provisional
dismissal. Another mistake he committed was to file a new information for the same offense (criminal
case No. 10758) which was properly dismissed on the ground of res judicata. It is true that the order
of February 28, 1950, was erroneously entered for reasons which perhaps might be ascribed to the
conflicting decisions that had been rendered regarding the application of the principle of double
jeopardy, but the failure of the fiscal to appeal was unfortunate as it rendered said order stands and
cannot now be set aside or rendered ineffective. That order is binding upon the parties. That order
has the effect of res judicata upon the Government.
Wherefore, the order appealed from is affirmed, without costs.
Paras, C.J., Pablo, Bengzon, Padilla, Jugo and Labrador, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-10126 October 22, 1957
SALUD VILLANUEVA VDA. DE BATACLAN and the minors NORMA, LUZVIMINDA, ELENITA,
OSCAR and ALFREDO BATACLAN, represented by their Natural guardian, SALUD VILLANUEVA
VDA. DE BATACLAN, plaintiffs-appellants,
MARIANO MEDINA, defendant-appellant.
Lope E. Adriano, Emmanuel Andamo and Jose R. Francisco for plaintiffs-appellants.
Fortunato Jose for defendant and appellant.
MONTEMAYOR, J .:
Shortly after midnight, on September 13, 1952 bus no. 30 of the Medina Transportation, operated by
its owner defendant Mariano Medina under a certificate of public convenience, left the town of
Amadeo, Cavite, on its way to Pasay City, driven by its regular chauffeur, Conrado Saylon. There
were about eighteen passengers, including the driver and conductor. Among the passengers were
Juan Bataclan, seated beside and to the right of the driver, Felipe Lara, sated to the right of
Bataclan, another passenger apparently from the Visayan Islands whom the witnesses just called
Visaya, apparently not knowing his name, seated in the left side of the driver, and a woman named
Natalia Villanueva, seated just behind the four last mentioned. At about 2:00 o'clock that same
morning, while the bus was running within the jurisdiction of Imus, Cavite, one of the front tires burst
and the vehicle began to zig-zag until it fell into a canal or ditch on the right side of the road and
turned turtle. Some of the passengers managed to leave the bus the best way they could, others had
to be helped or pulled out, while the three passengers seated beside the driver, named Bataclan,
Lara and the Visayan and the woman behind them named Natalia Villanueva, could not get out of
the overturned bus. Some of the passengers, after they had clambered up to the road, heard groans
and moans from inside the bus, particularly, shouts for help from Bataclan and Lara, who said they
could not get out of the bus. There is nothing in the evidence to show whether or not the passengers
already free from the wreck, including the driver and the conductor, made any attempt to pull out or
extricate and rescue the four passengers trapped inside the vehicle, but calls or shouts for help were
made to the houses in the neighborhood. After half an hour, came about ten men, one of them
carrying a lighted torch made of bamboo with a wick on one end, evidently fueled with petroleum.
These men presumably approach the overturned bus, and almost immediately, a fierce fire started,
burning and all but consuming the bus, including the four passengers trapped inside it. It would
appear that as the bus overturned, gasoline began to leak and escape from the gasoline tank on the
side of the chassis, spreading over and permeating the body of the bus and the ground under and
around it, and that the lighted torch brought by one of the men who answered the call for help set it
That same day, the charred bodies of the four deemed passengers inside the bus were removed
and duly identified that of Juan Bataclan. By reason of his death, his widow, Salud Villanueva, in her
name and in behalf of her five minor children, brought the present suit to recover from Mariano
Medina compensatory, moral, and exemplary damages and attorney's fees in the total amount of
P87,150. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Cavite awarded P1,000 to the plaintiffs plus P600
as attorney's fee, plus P100, the value of the merchandise being carried by Bataclan to Pasay City
for sale and which was lost in the fire. The plaintiffs and the defendants appealed the decision to the
Court of Appeals, but the latter endorsed the appeal to us because of the value involved in the claim
in the complaint.
Our new Civil Code amply provides for the responsibility of common carrier to its passengers and
their goods. For purposes of reference, we are reproducing the pertinent codal provisions:
ART. 1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of public
policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods and for
the safety of the passengers transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each
Such extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further expressed in articles
1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while the extra ordinary diligence for the safety of
the passengers is further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756.
ART. 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care
and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due
regard for all the circumstances.
ART. 1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers are presumed to
have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed
extraordinary diligence as prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755
ART. 1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers through the
negligence or willful acts of the former's employees, although such employees may have
acted beyond the scope of their authority or in violation of the order of the common carriers.
This liability of the common carriers does not cease upon proof that they exercised all the
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees.
ART. 1763. A common carrier responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger on account of
the willful acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the common carrier's
employees through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family could have
prevented or stopped the act or omission.
We agree with the trial court that the case involves a breach of contract of transportation for hire, the
Medina Transportation having undertaken to carry Bataclan safely to his destination, Pasay City. We
also agree with the trial court that there was negligence on the part of the defendant, through his
agent, the driver Saylon. There is evidence to show that at the time of the blow out, the bus was
speeding, as testified to by one of the passengers, and as shown by the fact that according to the
testimony of the witnesses, including that of the defense, from the point where one of the front tires
burst up to the canal where the bus overturned after zig-zaging, there was a distance of about 150
meters. The chauffeur, after the blow-out, must have applied the brakes in order to stop the bus, but
because of the velocity at which the bus must have been running, its momentum carried it over a
distance of 150 meters before it fell into the canal and turned turtle.
There is no question that under the circumstances, the defendant carrier is liable. The only question
is to what degree. The trial court was of the opinion that the proximate cause of the death of
Bataclan was not the overturning of the bus, but rather, the fire that burned the bus, including himself
and his co-passengers who were unable to leave it; that at the time the fire started, Bataclan, though
he must have suffered physical injuries, perhaps serious, was still alive, and so damages were
awarded, not for his death, but for the physical injuries suffered by him. We disagree. A satisfactory
definition of proximate cause is found in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American jurisprudence, cited
by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as follows:
. . . 'that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient
intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have
occurred.' And more comprehensively, 'the proximate legal cause is that acting first and
producing the injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a
natural and continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its
immediate predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a
natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the
person responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person,
have reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some
person might probably result therefrom.
It may be that ordinarily, when a passenger bus overturns, and pins down a passenger, merely
causing him physical injuries, if through some event, unexpected and extraordinary, the overturned
bus is set on fire, say, by lightning, or if some highwaymen after looting the vehicle sets it on fire,
and the passenger is burned to death, one might still contend that the proximate cause of his death
was the fire and not the overturning of the vehicle. But in the present case under the circumstances
obtaining in the same, we do not hesitate to hold that the proximate cause was the overturning of the
bus, this for the reason that when the vehicle turned not only on its side but completely on its back,
the leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not unnatural or unexpected; that the coming of the
men with a lighted torch was in response to the call for help, made not only by the passengers, but
most probably, by the driver and the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark (about
2:30 in the morning), the rescuers had to carry a light with them, and coming as they did from a rural
area where lanterns and flashlights were not available; and what was more natural than that said
rescuers should innocently approach the vehicle to extend the aid and effect the rescue requested
from them. In other words, the coming of the men with a torch was to be expected and was a natural
sequence of the overturning of the bus, the trapping of some of its passengers and the call for
outside help. What is more, the burning of the bus can also in part be attributed to the negligence of
the carrier, through is driver and its conductor. According to the witness, the driver and the conductor
were on the road walking back and forth. They, or at least, the driver should and must have known
that in the position in which the overturned bus was, gasoline could and must have leaked from the
gasoline tank and soaked the area in and around the bus, this aside from the fact that gasoline when
spilled, specially over a large area, can be smelt and directed even from a distance, and yet neither
the driver nor the conductor would appear to have cautioned or taken steps to warn the rescuers not
to bring the lighted torch too near the bus. Said negligence on the part of the agents of the carrier
come under the codal provisions above-reproduced, particularly, Articles 1733, 1759 and 1763.
As regard the damages to which plaintiffs are entitled, considering the earning capacity of the
deceased, as well as the other elements entering into a damage award, we are satisfied that the
amount of SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS would constitute satisfactory compensation, this to
include compensatory, moral, and other damages. We also believe that plaintiffs are entitled to
attorney's fees, and assessing the legal services rendered by plaintiffs' attorneys not only in the trial
court, but also in the course of the appeal, and not losing sight of the able briefs prepared by them,
the attorney's fees may well be fixed at EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS for the loss of
merchandise carried by the deceased in the bus, is adequate and will not be disturbed.
There is one phase of this case which disturbs if it does not shock us. According to the evidence,
one of the passengers who, because of the injuries suffered by her, was hospitalized, and while in
the hospital, she was visited by the defendant Mariano Medina, and in the course of his visit, she
overheard him speaking to one of his bus inspectors, telling said inspector to have the tires of the
bus changed immediately because they were already old, and that as a matter of fact, he had been
telling the driver to change the said tires, but that the driver did not follow his instructions. If this be
true, it goes to prove that the driver had not been diligent and had not taken the necessary
precautions to insure the safety of his passengers. Had he changed the tires, specially those in front,
with new ones, as he had been instructed to do, probably, despite his speeding, as we have already
stated, the blow out would not have occurred. All in all, there is reason to believe that the driver
operated and drove his vehicle negligently, resulting in the death of four of his passengers, physical
injuries to others, and the complete loss and destruction of their goods, and yet the criminal case
against him, on motion of the fiscal and with his consent, was provisionally dismissed, because
according to the fiscal, the witnesses on whose testimony he was banking to support the complaint,
either failed or appear or were reluctant to testify. But the record of the case before us shows the
several witnesses, passengers, in that bus, willingly and unhesitatingly testified in court to the effect
of the said driver was negligent. In the public interest the prosecution of said erring driver should be
pursued, this, not only as a matter of justice, but for the promotion of the safety of passengers on
public utility buses. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Department of Justice and the
Provincial Fiscal of Cavite.
In view of the foregoing, with the modification that the damages awarded by the trial court are
increased from ONE THOUSAND (P1,000) PESOS TO SIX THOUSAND (P6,000) PESOS, and from
SIX HUNDRED PESOS TO EIGHT HUNDRED (P800) PESOS, for the death of Bataclan and for the
attorney's fees, respectively, the decision appealed is from hereby affirmed, with costs.
Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L.,
Endencia, and Felix, JJ., concur.
G.R. No. L-6486 March 2, 1911
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,
RAFAEL B. CATOLICO, defendant-appellant.
B. Pobre for appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Harvey for appellee.
MORELAND, J .:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Cagayan, Hon.
Charles A. Low presiding, convicting the defendant of the crime of malversation of public funds and
sentencing him to two months' imprisonment, to perpetual disqualification to hold public office or
public employment of any kind, and to the payment of the costs.
It appears from the proofs of the prosecution that the accused as justice of the peace of Baggao,
Province of Cagayan, on the 2d day of October, 1909, had before him sixteen separate civil cases
commenced by Juan Canillas against sixteen distinct individuals, each one for damages resulting
from a breach of contract; that said cases were all decided by the appellant in favor of the plaintiff;
that each one of the defendant in said cases appealed from the decision of the justice of the peace
and deposited P16 as required by law, at the same time giving a bond of P50, each one of which
was approved by the court; that on the 12th day of said month the plaintiff in said cases presented a
writing to the appellant as said justice of the peace, alleging that the sureties on the said bonds were
insolvent and later demonstrated this to the satisfaction of the appellant; that thereupon the latter
ordered the cancellation of the said bonds and, in the same order, required each of the appellants to
file another bond within fifteen days, that, inasmuch as none of the appellants in said causes
presented new bonds within the time fixed, the plaintiff in said causes applied to the appellant, as
said court, for an order declaring final the judgment entered in each of the said sixteen cases and
commanding the execution of the same, at the same time asking that the sums deposited by the
defendants in said actions be attached (so called in the record) and delivered to him in satisfaction of
said judgments; that the accused acceded to the petition of the plaintiff, ordered said sums attached
and delivered same to the plaintiff, at the same time requiring of the plaintiff a bond of P50 for each
attachment, conditioned that he would respond for the damages which should result from such
After this attachment (so called) the attorney for the defendants in the said sixteen cases presented
a complaint against the appellant to the Court of First Instance, by virtue of which said court ordered
that the plaintiff, Juan Canillas, deliver to the clerk of the Court of First Instance the sums deposited
by the defendants in said actions. Canillas obeyed the order of the court and made the delivery as
Upon these facts the Acting Attorney-General recommends the acquittal of the accused. We are in
entire accord with that recommendation. The case made against the appellant lacks many of the
essential elements required by law to be present in the crime of malversation of public funds. The
accused did not convert the money to his own use or to the use of any other person; neither did he
feloniously permit anybody else to convert it. Everything he did was done in good faith under the
belief that he was acting judicially and correctly. The fact that he ordered the sums, deposited in his
hands by the defendants — appellants in the sixteen actions referred to, attached for the benefit of
the plaintiff in those actions, after the appeals had been dismissed and the judgments in his court
had become final, and that he delivered the said sums to the plaintiff in satisfaction of the judgment
which he held in those cases, can not be considered an appropriation or a taking of said sums within
the meaning of Act No. 1740. He believed that, as presiding officer of the court of justice of the
peace, he had a perfect right under the law to cancel the bonds when it was clearly shown to him
that the sureties thereon were insolvent, to require the filing of new undertakings, giving the parties
ample time within which to do so, to dismiss the appeals in case said undertakings were not filed,
and to declare the judgment final. He believed that after said appeals had been dismissed and said
judgment had become final, the sums deposited were subject to be applied in payment of the
judgments in the actions in which said sums had been deposited and that he was acting judicially
and legally in making such applications.
To constitute a crime, the act must, except in certain crimes made such by statute, be accompanied
by a criminal intent, or by such negligence or indifference to duty or to consequences, as, in law, is
equivalent to criminal intent. The maxim is, actus non facit reum, nisi mens rea — a crime is not
committed if the mind of the person performing the act complained of be innocent.
In the case at bar the appellant was engaged in exercising the functions of a court of justice of the
peace. He had jurisdictions of the actions before him. He had a right and it was his duty to require
the payment by each appellant of P16, as well as the giving of a proper undertaking with solvent
sureties. While, in dismissing the appeals and delivering the P256 to the plaintiff in the said cases,
he may have exceeded his authority as such court and passed beyond the limits of his jurisdiction
and power, a question we do not now discuss or decide, it was, so far as appears from the record, at
most a pure mistake of judgment, an error of the mind operating upon a state of facts. Giving the act
complained of the signification most detrimental to the appellant, it, nevertheless, was simply the
result of the erroneous exercise of the judicial function, and not an intention to deprive any person of
his property feloniously. His act had back of it the purpose to do justice to litigants and not to
embezzle property. He acted that honest debts might be paid to those to whom they were legally
and justly due, and not to enrich himself or another by criminalmisappropriation. It was an error
committed by a court, not an act done by a criminal-minded man. It was a mistake, not a crime.
It is true that a presumption of criminal intention may arise from proof of the commission of a criminal
act; and the general rule is that, if it is proved that the accused committed the criminal act charged, it
will be presumed that the act was done with criminal intention, and that it is for the accused to rebut
this presumption. But it must be borne in mind that the act from which such presumption springs
must be a criminal act. In the case before us the act was notcriminal. It may have been an error; it
may have been wrong and illegal in the sense that it would have been declared erroneous and set
aside on appeal or other proceeding in the superior court. It may well be that his conduct was
arbitrary to a high degree, to such a degree in fact as properly to subject him to reprimand or even
suspension or removal from office. But, from the facts of record, it was not criminal. As a necessary
result no presumption of criminal intention arises from the act.
Neither can the presumption of a criminal intention arise from the act complained of, even though it
be admitted that the crime, if any, is that of malversation of public funds as defined and penalized in
Act No. 1740. It is true that that Act provides that "In all prosecutions for violations of the preceding
section, the absence of any of the public funds or property of which any person described in said
section has charge, and any failure or inability of such person to produce all the funds and property
properly in his charge on the demand of any officer authorized to examine or inspect such person,
office, treasury, or depositary shall be deemed to be prima facie evidence that such missing funds or
property have been put to personal uses or used for personal ends by such person within the
meaning of the preceding section." Nevertheless, that presumption is a rebuttable one and
constitutes only a prima facie case against the person accused. If he present evidence showing that,
in fact, he has not put said funds or property to personal uses, then that presumption is at an end
and the prima facie case destroyed. In the case at bar it was necessary for the accused to offer any
such evidence, for the reason that the people's own pleading alleged, and its own proofs presented,
along with the criminal charge, facts which showed, of themselves, that said money had not been
put to personal uses or used for personal ends. In other words, the prosecution demonstrated, both
by the allegations in its information filed against the accused and by its proofs on the trial, that the
absence of the funds in question was not due to the personal use thereof by the accused, thus
affirmatively and completely negativing the presumption which, under the act quoted, arises from the
absence of the funds. The presumption was never born. It never existed. The facts which were
presented for the purpose of creating such presumption were accompanied by other facts which
absolutely prevented its creation.
On the other hand, if it be admitted that the crime, if any, is that of estafa, as defined in paragraph 5
of article 535 of the Penal Code, then the presumption just referred to does not arise. Mere absence
of the funds is not sufficient proof of conversion. Neither is the mere failure of the accused to turn
over the funds at any given time sufficient to make even a prima facie case. (U. S. vs. Morales, 15
Phil. Rep., 236; U. S. vs. Dominguez, 2 Phil. Rep., 580.) Conversion must be affirmatively proved,
either by direct evidence or by the production of facts from which conversion necessarily follows. (U.
S. vs. Morales, supra.)
The judgment of conviction is reversed and the defendant ordered discharged from custody
Arellano, C. J., Mapa and Trent, JJ., concur.
CARSON, J ., concurring:
I am strongly inclined to doubt the bona fides of the defendant in the transactions herein set out, but
in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt upon this point I concur in the judgment of
acquittal of the crime charged in the information.
G.R. No. 17933 March 23, 1922
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, plaintiff-appellee,
ATANASIO NANQUIL, defendant-appellant.
R. Monserrat for appellant
Attorney-General Villa-Real for appellee
ROMUALDEZ, J .:
A cart and a carabao belonging to Juan Rosas had disappeared. To recover them and find the
wrongdoer he requested the help of the Constabulary. A sergeant and two soldiers were then
commissioned to make investigation. During their investigation these Constabulary men called
Severino Ramiscal, and one of them, surnamed Masiglat, examined him, and not having obtained
from him any clear information, he turned him over to his companion, the other soldier, Atanacio
Nanquil, for examination by the latter. The sergeant who commanded that patrol had remained in
house in a neighborhood, as he was feeling ill. The soldier, Atanasio Nanquil was examining
Severino Ramiscal on a road, the other soldier, Masiglat, being about 20 brazas form them, when all
of a sudden, Masiglat heard a blow and saw Severino Ramiscal fall to the ground — he had been
struck by the soldier, Atanasio Nanquil with his gun, as a consequence of which, Severino Ramiscal
died after a few moments.
Atansio Nanquil was prosecuted for the crime of homicide and sentence by the trial court to fourteen
years, eight months and one day of reclusion temporal, with the accessory penalties, to indemnify
the heirs of the deceased in the sum of one thousand P1,000 and to pay the costs.
From the judgement the defendant, Atanasio Nanquil, has appealed, his counsel alleging that the
court below erred: (a) In giving more credit to the witnesses for the prosecution that those for the
defense; (b) in finding that the deceased was maltreated by the defendant and his companion,
Masiglat, on the night of the commission of the crime; (c) in holding that the crime was simple
homicide and in imposing the aforesaid penalty; (d) in finding that the crime was attended with the
aggravating circumstance of nocturnity; (e) in declaring that it was only at the trial of the case when
the accused alleged having acted in self-defense; and ( f ) in not finding the exempting circumstance
of self-defense to have been proven.
Anent the first error, it should be noted that the appellant admits being the author of the homicide. It
was, therefore, incumbent upon him to establish by sufficient evidence his allegation of self-defense,
with all the elements constituting it. Even supposing that the court below had not attached more
credit to the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution, even if the evidence both for the
prosecution and the defense had been given equal weight on the controverted point, namely, that of
the self-defense alleged by the appellant, such an allegation cannot be held proven, as it must be
established by positive and sufficient proof. But the fact is that there exist sufficient reasons for
giving more credit to the witnesses for the prosecution than those of the defense, who, being
members of the same organization to which the accused belongs, were naturally interested in his
success in the present case, as most of them have sincerely admitted it in their testimony. And it not
having been proven, that the witnesses for the prosecution had any special interest against the
appellant, after weighing the evidence of both parties, we find no ground for holding that the first
error assigned by the defense was committed.
As to the second error assigned, it is of no importance to determine in this case whether or not the
soldier Masiglat, who is not accused in these proceedings, also maltreated the deceased. The fact is
that the accuse did, as is admitted by him to the extent of having caused the death of the unfortunate
Under the third assignment of error, the defense contends that the most that can be said to have
been proven by the evidence of record is the crime of homicide through reckless imprudence. We
find that the accused did not intend to commit so grave an evil as that which resulted, for such an
intention is incompatible with the purpose he had then in view, which was that of obtaining a proof
against the deceased if his declaration was a confession, or of using the deceased as a witness for
the prosecution, if his testimony was a substantial revelation. But whether he had that intention or
not, the fact is that he willfully maltreated the deceased, and such an act of willfully causing an evil
is, as the Attorney-General very properly observes, incompatible with reckless imprudence.
The fourth error is made to consist in the fact of the trial court having taken into account the
aggravating circumstance of nocturnity. We hold with the defense and the prosecution that such
circumstance cannot be taken into account in the present case to aggravate the penalty. To our
mind, the event took place in the nighttime due to the fact that the sergeant who commanded the
patrol of which the appellant formed a part fell sick, and if nocturnity was deliberately sought at all, it
was not in order to maltreat the deceased (which idea was not proven to have been conceived prior
to the deceased's refusal to tell anything about the theft which was under investigation), but rather to
take advantage of the secrecy of the night to render the investigation more effective.
With reference to the fifth error assigned, it is true that the witnesses for the defense have testified
that, shortly after the event, the accused alleged having acted in self-defense, but a serious doubt
arises from the record as to the truth of this statement of said witnesses, which doubt prevents us
from finding this allegation of the defense to have been sufficiently established.
The last assignment of error contains the whole theory of the appellant. From what we have
hereinbefore stated, it is seen that the defendant's allegation of self-defense cannot be held proven.
It was not sufficiently shown that the deceased was the aggressor, which, on the to her hand, is
highly improbable under the circumstances then attending his situation. There not having been, as
we find that there was not, any unlawful aggression, the accused had nothing to defend himself
against; wherefore we need not go into the question whether or not the means employed to repel the
aggression, which had not been made, was reasonably necessary. Neither do we need determine
whether or not the accused had sufficiently provoked the aggression, which was not sufficiently
We find no sufficient reason from the record for holding the allegation of self-defense to have been
established. We do not find that any aggravating circumstance has concurred in the commission of
the crime, but we do find that there was present the aforesaid mitigating circumstance of the
accused not having had the intention to cause the death of the deceased. For this reason the
penalty of reclusion temporal must be imposed in its minimum degree.
Wherefore, the judgment appealed from is modified, and the appellant sentenced to twelve years
and one day of reclusion temporal, to the accessory penalties provided by article 59 of the Penal
Code, to indemnify the heirs of Severino Ramiscal in the amount of one thousand pesos (P1,000),
and to pay the costs of both instances. So ordered.
G.R. No. 24084. November 3, 1926.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PEDRO
Vicente Llanes for Appellant.
Acting Attorney-General Reyes for Appellee.
1. CRIMINAL. LAW; HOMICIDE; HOMICIDE THROUGH RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE. — Where it
appears that the accused killed the deceased while hunting at night by shooting him in the belief that
he was a deer, after having left the deceased, who was his companion, at another place, he cannot
be convicted of the crime of homicide, no proof having been introduced as to the existence of enmity
between them, but of homicide through reckless imprudence, since he has not exercised due
diligence to avoid the accident.
D E C I S I O N
VILLAMOR, J . :
The appellant was sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Norte, for the crime of
homicide, to the penalty of fourteen years eight months and one day of reclusion temporal, to
indemnify the mother of the deceased in the sum of P500 and to pay the costs. On the night of
February 18, 1923, one Bartolome Quiaoit invited Pedro Ramirez, the accused herein, Victoriano
Ranga, the deceased, and Agustin Menor to hunt in the mount Balitok of the municipality of Nueva
Era, Province of Ilocos Norte. The three last named proceeded to hunt, leaving Bartolome Quiaoit in
a hut approximately 1 kilometer from the place where the act complained of took place. Upon the
hunters having arrived at a place in mount Balitok, Pedro Ramirez, who was carrying the shotgun of
Bartolome Quiaoit with a lantern, happened to hunt a deer, and then he told his companions to stay
there and watch over the prey while he entered the forest to get it. Thus Victoriano Ranga and
Agustin Menor were waiting when suddenly the report of the shotgun was heard hitting Victoriano
Ranga in the eye and the right temple, who thereafter died on that night as a result of the wounds.
It does not appear that the matter was judicially investigated until the month of October, 1924, when
the complaint was filed which initiated this proceeding.
The only witness who could testify upon the act complained of is naturally Agustin Menor who was
near the deceased when the latter was shot. According to Agustin Menor, the defendant, after
having gotten the first prey, told his companions to stay there, while he (Pedro Ramirez) was leaving
them to go on hunting, and "when he was far away, he fired the shotgun," hitting the deceased
Victoriano Ranga. It must be noted that the witness Agustin Menor changed his first testimony that
"when he was far away, he fired the shotgun," by saying afterwards, "When Pedro Ramirez was a
little away, he turned toward us and fired." And to make it more specific, the defense moved that the
translation of the testimony of the witness be corrected and the interpreter of the court caused it to
be stated in the record that the true testimony of the witness was as follows: "Pedro Ramirez caused
me and Victoriano Ranga to stay in the mount, telling us: ’Brother you stay here and I am going up to
hunt with the lamp’ and then after he has gone away, he (Pedro Ramirez) turned toward us and
fired."cralaw virtua1aw library
On the other hand the defendant, testifying as witness in his behalf, admits being the author of the
shot which caused the death of Victoriano Ranga; that on that night after getting the first prey, he
told his companions to stay there, watching over the prey, while he was going away looking for
another; and so he did, because otherwise it would have been hard for them to find the prey, if no
one would have been left there; that being far away from his companions, he seemed to have seen
with his lantern something like the eyes of a deer about fifty meters from him and then he shot it; but
much to his surprise, on approaching what he thought was a deer, it proved to be his companion
Victoriano Ranga. The same witness says that he did not expect to find his companions in that spot,
for he had warned them not to leave, but they left, the place.
The testimony of the two witnesses as to the distance of the accused from them when he fired the
gun for the second time is contradictory. On the other hand, there is not in the record any
circumstance as to whether or not the deceased and the witness Agustin Menor were in the same
place where they were left by the defendant, when the latter fired. The night being dark like that
when the event took place, the hunter in the midst of a forest without paths is likely to get confused
as to his relative situation; and after walking around, he may think having gone very far, when in fact
he has not, from the point of departure. And so, judging the case from what the two witnesses
Agustin Menor and Pedro Ramirez have testified to, and taking into account that there existed no
motive whatever for resentment on the part of the defendant against the offended party, we are
compelled to conclude that the act complained of constitutes homicide through reckless imprudence.
The defendant, who was carrying a firearm to hunt at nighttime with the aid of a lantern, knowing that
he had two companions, should have exercised all the necessary diligence to avoid every
undesirable accident, such as the one that unfortunately occurred on the person of Victoriano
While the fact that the defendant, a few days after the event, has offered to the mother of the
deceased a carabao and a horse by way of indemnity, indicates on the one hand that the defendant
admitted the commission of the crime, on the other it shows that he performed the act without
criminal intent and only through a real imprudence.
The defense alleges that the trial court must have solved the reasonable doubt in favor of the
defendant. After considering carefully the evidence and all the circumstances of the case, we are of
the opinion and so hold that the defendant is guilty of the crime of homicide through reckless
imprudence, and must be punished under paragraph 1 of article 568 of the Penal Code.
Wherefore the penalty of one year and one day of prision correcional, with the accessories
prescribed by the law, must be imposed upon him, and with this modification, the judgment appealed
from is affirmed in all other respects, with the costs against the appellant. So ordered.
Avanceña, C.J., Street, Malcolm, Ostrand, Johns and Villa-Real, JJ., concur.