Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 164815             February 22, 2008

SR. INSP. JERRY C. VALEROSO, petitioner,
vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

D E C I S I O N

REYES, R.T., J.:

THE law looks forward, never backward. Lex prospicit, non respicit. A new law has a prospective, not retroactive, effect.1 However, penal laws that favor a guilty person, who is not a habitual criminal, shall be given retroactive effect.1-a These are the rule, the exception and exception to the exception on effectivity of laws.

Ang batas ay tumitingin sa hinaharap, hindi sa nakaraan. Gayunpaman, ang parusa ng bagong batas ay iiral kung ito ay pabor sa taong nagkasala na hindi pusakal na kriminal.

We apply the exception rather than the rule in this petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA), affirming with modification that of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Quezon City, finding petitioner liable for illegal possession of a firearm.

The Facts

On July 10, 1996, at around 9:30 a.m., SPO2 Antonio M. Disuanco of the Criminal Investigation Division, Central Police District Command, received a dispatch order2 from the desk officer.3 The order directed him and three (3) other policemen to serve a warrant of arrest4 issued by Judge Ignacio Salvador against petitioner Sr. Insp. Jerry C. Valeroso in a case for kidnapping with ransom.5

After a briefing, the team conducted the necessary surveillance on petitioner, checking his hideouts in Cavite, Caloocan, and Bulacan.6 Eventually, the team proceeded to the Integrated National Police (INP) Central Station at Culiat, Quezon City, where they saw petitioner as he was about to board a tricycle.7 SPO2 Disuanco and his team approached petitioner.8 They put him under arrest, informed him of his constitutional rights, and bodily searched him.9 Found tucked in his waist10 was a Charter Arms, bearing Serial Number 5231511 with five (5) live ammunition.12

Petitioner was then brought to the police station for questioning.13

A verification of the subject firearm at the Firearms and Explosives Division at Camp Crame revealed that it was not issued to petitioner but to a certain Raul Palencia Salvatierra of Sampaloc, Manila.14 Epifanio Deriquito, the records verifier, presented a certification15 to that effect signed by Edwin C. Roque, chief records officer of the Firearms and Explosive Division.16

Petitioner was then charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1866,17 as amended. The Information read:

That on or about the 10th day of July, 1996, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused without any authority of law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in his/her possession and under his/her custody and control

One (1) cal. 38 "Charter Arms" revolver bearing Serial No. 52315 with five (5) live ammo. without first having secured the necessary license/permit issued by the proper authorities.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

Quezon City, Philippines, July 15, 1996.

(Sgd.)

GLORIA VICTORIA C. YAP
Assistant City Prosecutor18

With the assistance of his counsel de parte, Atty. Oscar Pagulayan, petitioner pleaded not guilty when arraigned on October 9, 1996.19 Trial on the merits ensued.

SPO2 Disuanco and Deriquito testified for the prosecution in the manner stated above.

Upon the other hand, the defense version was supplied by the combined testimonies of petitioner Sr. Insp. Jerry C. Valeroso, SPO3 Agustin R. Timbol, Jr. and Adrian Yuson.

Petitioner recounted that on July 10, 1996, he was fast asleep in the boarding house of his children located at Sagana Homes, Barangay New Era, Quezon City.20 He was roused from his slumber when four (4) heavily armed men in civilian clothes bolted the room.21 They trained their guns at him22 and pulled him out of the room. They then tied his hands and placed him near the faucet.23 The raiding team went back inside and searched and ransacked the room.24 SPO2 Disuanco stood guard outside with him.25 Moments later, an operative came out of the room and exclaimed, "Hoy, may nakuha akong baril sa loob!"26

Petitioner was told by SPO2 Disuanco that "we are authorized to shoot you because thereís a shoot to kill order against you, so if you are planning do so something, do it right now."27 He was also told that there was a standing warrant for his arrest.28 However, he was not shown any proof when he asked for it.29 Neither was the raiding group armed with a valid search warrant.30

According to petitioner, the search done in the boarding house was illegal. The gun seized from him was duly licensed and covered by necessary permits. He was, however, unable to present the documentation relative to the firearm because it was confiscated by the police. Petitioner further lamented that when he was incarcerated, he was not allowed to engage the services of a counsel. Neither was he allowed to see or talk to his family.31

Petitioner contended that the police had an axe to grind against him. While still with the Narcotics Command, he turned down a request of Col. Romulo Sales to white-wash a drug-related investigation involving friends of the said police officer. Col. Sales was likewise subject of a complaint filed with the Ombudsman by his wife. Col. Sales was later on appointed as the head of the unit that conducted the search in his boarding house.32

SPO3 Timbol, Jr. of the Narcotics Command testified that he issued to petitioner a Memorandum Receipt dated July 1, 199333 covering the subject firearm and its ammunition. This was upon the verbal instruction of Col. Angelito Moreno. SPO3 Timbol identified his signature34 on the said receipt.35

Adrian Yuson, an occupant of the room adjacent to where petitioner was arrested, testified that on July 10, 1996, two (2) policemen suddenly entered his room as he was preparing for school.36 They grabbed his shoulder and led him out.37 During all those times, a gun was poked at him.38 He was asked where petitioner was staying. Fearing for his life, he pointed to petitionerís room.39

Four (4) policemen then entered the room.40 He witnessed how they pointed a gun at petitioner, who was clad only in his underwear.41 He also witnessed how they forcibly brought petitioner out of his room.42 While a policeman remained near the faucet to guard petitioner, three (3) others went back inside the room.43 They began searching the whole place. They forcibly opened his locker,44 which yielded the subject firearm.45

RTC and CA Dispositions

On May 6, 1998, the trial court found petitioner guilty as charged, disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 as amended by Republic Act No. 8294 and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period or from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day as minimum to 6 years as maximum and to pay the fine in the amount of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000.00).

The gun subject of this case is hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the government. Let the same be put in trust in the hands of the Chief of the PNP.

SO ORDERED.46

Petitioner moved to reconsider47 but his motion was denied on August 27, 1998.48 He appealed to the CA.

On May 4, 2004, the appellate court affirmed with modification the RTC disposition. The fallo of the CA decision reads:

Verily, the penalty imposed by the trial court upon the accused-appellant is modified to 4 years and 2 months as minimum up to 6 years as maximum.

WHEREFORE, with the foregoing MODIFICATION as to the penalty, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects.

SO ORDERED.49

His motion for reconsideration50 having been denied through a Resolution dated August 3, 2004,51 petitioner resorted to the present petition under Rule 45.

Issues

Petitioner raises the following issues for Our consideration:

I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE CONVICTION OF PETITIONER DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS OF FACT AND LAW IN SUSTAINING THE LEGALITY OF THE SEARCH AND THE VALIDITY AND ADMISSIBILITY OF THE EVIDENCE OBTAINED THEREFROM DESPITE THE OVERWHELMING PROOF THAT THE SAME IS THE FRUIT OF THE POISONOUS TREE.

III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW IN NOT UPHOLDING THE REGULARITY AND VALIDITY SURROUNDING THE ISSUANCE OF THE MEMORANDUM RECEIPTS (SIC) IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER WHICH PROVES HIS INNOCENCE OF THE CRIME CHARGE (SIC).52 (Underscoring supplied)

Our Ruling

In illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, the prosecution has the burden of proving the twin elements of (1) the existence of the subject firearm and ammunition, and (2) the fact that the accused who possessed or owned the same does not have the corresponding license for it.53

The prosecution was able to discharge its burden.

The existence of the subject firearm and its ammunition was established through the testimony of SPO2 Disuanco.54 Defense witness Yuson also identified the firearm.55 Its existence was likewise admitted by no less than petitioner himself.56

As for petitionerís lack of authority to possess the firearm, Deriquito testified that a verification of the Charter Arms Caliber .38 bearing Serial No. 52315 with the Firearms and Explosives Division at Camp Crame revealed that the seized pistol was not issued to petitioner. It was registered in the name of a certain Raul Palencia Salvatierra of Sampaloc, Manila.57 As proof, Deriquito presented a certification signed by Roque, the chief records officer of the same office.58

The Court on several occasions ruled that either the testimony of a representative of, or a certification from, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Firearms and Explosive Office attesting that a person is not a licensee of any firearm would suffice to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element of possession of illegal firearms.59 The prosecution more than complied when it presented both.

The certification is outside the scope of the hearsay rule.

The general rule is 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.60 Otherwise, the testimony is objectionable for being hearsay.61

On this score, the certification from the Firearms and Explosives Division is an exception to the hearsay rule by virtue of Rule 130, Section 44 of the Rules of Court which provides:

Sec. 44. Entries in official records. Ė Entries in official records made in the performance of his official duty by a public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specifically enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.

It may be true that the contents of said certification are only prima facie evidence of the facts stated there. However, the failure of petitioner to present controverting evidence makes the presumption unrebutted. Thus, the presumption stands.

Petitioner, however, raises several points which he says entitles him to no less than an acquittal.

The assessment of credibility of witnesses lies with the trial court.

First, petitioner says that the seizure of the subject firearm was invalid. The search was conducted after his arrest and after he was taken out of the room he was occupying.62

This contention deserves scant consideration.

Petitionerís version of the manner and place of his arrest goes into the factual findings made by the trial court and its calibration of the credibility of witnesses. However, as aptly put by Justice Ynares-Santiago in People v. Rivera:63

x x x the manner of assigning values to declarations of witnesses on the witness stand is best and most competently performed by the trial judge who had the unmatched opportunity to observe the witnesses and assess their credibility by the various indicia available but not reflected on record. The demeanor of the person on the stand can draw the line between fact and fancy or evince if the witness is telling the truth or lying through his teeth. We have consistently ruled that when the question arises as to which of the conflicting versions of the prosecution and the defense is worthy of belief, the assessment of the trial courts are generally viewed as correct and entitled to great weight. Furthermore, in an appeal, where the culpability or innocence of the accused depends on the issue of credibility of witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, findings of the trial court are given the highest degree of respect if not finality.64 (Underscoring supplied)

The trial court found the prosecution version worthy of credence and belief. We find no compelling reason not to accept its observation on this score.

Worth noting is the fact that petitioner is a ranking police officer who not only claims to be highly decorated,65 but have effected a number of successful arrests66 as well. Common sense would dictate that he must necessarily be authorized to carry a gun. We thus agree with the Office of the Solicitor General that framing up petitioner would have been a very risky proposition. Had the arresting officers really intended to cause the damnation of petitioner by framing him up, they could have easily "planted" a more incriminating evidence rather than a gun. That would have made their nefarious scheme easier, assuming that there indeed was one.

The pieces of evidence show that petitioner is not legally authorized to possess the subject firearm and its five (5) ammunition.

Second, petitioner insists that he is legally authorized to possess the subject firearm and its ammunition on the basis of the Memorandum Receipt issued to him by the PNP Narcotics Command.67

Although petitioner is correct in his submission that public officers like policemen are accorded presumption of regularity in the performance of their official duties,68 it is only a presumption; it may be overthrown by evidence to the contrary. The prosecution was able to rebut the presumption when it proved that the issuance to petitioner of the Memorandum Receipt was anything but regular.

SPO3 Timbol, Jr. testified that he issued the Memorandum Receipt to petitioner based on the verbal instruction of his immediate superior, Col. Moreno.69 However, a reading of Timbolís testimony on cross-examination70 would reveal that there was an unusual facility by which said receipt was issued to petitioner. Its issuance utterly lacked the usual necessary bureaucratic constraints. Clearly, it was issued to petitioner under questionable circumstances.

Failure to offer an unlicensed firearm as evidence is not fatal provided there is competent testimony as to its existence.

Third, petitioner claims that the subject firearm and ammunition should have been excluded as evidence because they were not formally offered by the prosecution71 in violation of Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.72

We note that petitioner contradicted himself when he argued for the validity of the Memorandum Receipt and, at the same time, for the exclusion in evidence of the subject firearm and its ammunition. Petitionerís act may result to an absurd situation where the Memorandum Receipt is declared valid, while the subject firearm and its ammunition which are supposedly covered by the Memorandum Receipt are excluded as evidence. That would have made the Memorandum Receipt useless.

In any case, petitionerís contention has no leg to stand on.

Contrary to petitionerís claim, the subject firearm73 and its five (5) live ammunition74 were offered in evidence by the prosecution.75 Even assuming arguendo that they were not offered, petitionerís stance must still fail. The existence of an unlicensed firearm may be established by testimony, even without its presentation at trial. In People v. Orehuela,76 the non-presentation of the pistol did not prevent the conviction of the accused.

The doctrine was affirmed in the recent case of People v. Malinao.77

As previously stated, the existence of the subject firearm and its five (5) live ammunition were established through the testimony of SPO2 Disuanco.78 Yuson also identified said firearm.79 Petitioner even admitted its existence.80

We hasten to add that there may also be conviction where an unlicensed firearm is presented during trial but through inadvertence, negligence, or fortuitous event (for example, if it is lost), it is not offered in evidence, as long as there is competent testimony as to its existence.

Penal and civil liabilities

Petitioner was charged with the crime of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition under the first paragraph of Section 1 of P.D. No. 1866, as amended. It provides that "[t]he penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any firearm, part of firearm, ammunition or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition."

P.D. No. 1866, as amended, was the governing law at the time petitioner committed the offense on July 10, 1996. However, R.A. No. 8294 amended P.D. No. 1866 on July 6, 1997,81 during the pendency of the case with the trial court. The present law now states:

SECTION 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. Ė The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any low-powered firearm, such as rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar firepower, part of firearm, ammunition, or machinery, tool or instrument used or intended to be used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided, That no other crime was committed. (Underscoring supplied)

As a general rule, penal laws should not have retroactive application, lest they acquire the character of an ex post facto law.82 An exception to this rule, however, is when the law is advantageous to the accused. According to Mr. Chief Justice Araullo, this is "not as a right" of the offender, "but founded on the very principles on which the right of the State to punish and the commination of the penalty are based, and regards it not as an exception based on political considerations, but as a rule founded on principles of strict justice."83

Although an additional fine of P15,000.00 is imposed by R.A. No. 8294, the same is still advantageous to the accused, considering that the imprisonment is lowered to prision correccional in its maximum period84 from reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua85 under P.D. No. 1866.

Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, prision correccional maximum which ranges from four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to six (6) years, is the prescribed penalty and will form the maximum term of the indeterminate sentence. The minimum term shall be one degree lower, which is prision correccional in its medium period (two [2] years, four [4] months and one [1] day to four [4] years and two [2] months).86 Hence, the penalty imposed by the CA is correct. The penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as minimum term, to six (6) years of prision correccional maximum, as maximum term, is in consonance with the Courtís ruling in Gonzales v. Court of Appeals87 and Barredo v. Vinarao.88

As to the subject firearm and its five (5) live ammunition, their proper disposition should be made under Article 45 of the Revised Penal Code89 which provides, among others, that the proceeds and instruments or tools of the crime shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the government.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated May 4, 2004 is AFFIRMED in full.

SO ORDERED.

RUBEN T. REYES
Associate Justice


WE CONCUR:

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
Chairperson

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice


A T T E S T A T I O N

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courtís Division.

CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
Chairperson


C E R T I F I C A T I O N

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairpersonís Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courtís Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice


Footnotes

1 New Civil Code, Art. 4.

1-a Revised Penal Code, Art. 22 provides: Retroactive effect of penal laws. Ė Penal laws shall have a retroactive effect in so far as they favor the person guilty of a felony, who is not a habitual criminal, as this term is defined in Rule 5 of Article 62 of this Code, although at the time of the publication of such laws a final sentence has been pronounced and the convict is serving the same.

2 Exhibit "D."

3 TSN, November 6, 1996, pp. 4-5, 9.

4 Exhibit "B."

5 TSN, November 6, 1996, pp. 4, 7, 9.

6 Id. at 11.

7 Id. at 3. INP is now Philippine National Police (PNP).

8 Id. at 4.

9 Id. at 5-6.

10 TSN, November 6, 1996, pp. 14-15; TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 10.

11 Exhibit "E."

12 Exhibits "E-1" to "E-5."

13 TSN, November 6, 1996, p. 6.

14 TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 21.

15 Exhibit "C."

PNPFED 12 Jul[y] 1996

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

This is to certify that [the] Revolver, Charter Arms, Cal. 38 with serial number 52315 is registered to RAUL PALENCIA SALVATIERA of Sampaloc, Manila, acquired thru transfer f[ro]m Wilburn Irwin Lucasan per index card d[a]t[e]d 10 December 1990.

This certification is issued for whatever legal purpose it may serve.

FOR THE CHIEF, FED:

EDWIN C[.] ROQUE (Sgd.)
P/Sr. Inspector
Chief, Records Br[.]

16 TSN, December 11, 1996, pp. 19-20.

17 Entitled "An Act Codifying the Laws on Illegal/Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunition or Explosives or Instruments Used in the Manufacture of Firearms, Ammunition or Explosives, and Imposing Stiffer Penalties for Certain Violations Thereof, and for Relevant Purposes." This law was issued by President Ferdinand E. Marcos on June 29, 1983. See Zuño, Sr. v. Dizon, A.M. No. RTJ-91-752, June 23, 1993, 223 SCRA 584, 598.

18 Rollo, p. 35.

19 Id. at 38.

20 TSN, February 19, 1997, pp. 19-21.

21 Id. at 21.

22 Id.

23 Id. at 22.

24 Id. at 3, 6.

25 TSN, March 17, 1997, p. 5.

26 Id. at 4.

27 Id. at 10.

28 Id. at 11.

29 Id. at 12.

30 Id. at 14.

31 Id. at 21-22.

32 TSN, March 17, 1997, pp. 22-26.

33 Exhibit "1."

34 Exhibit "1-A."

35 TSN, June 4, 1996, pp. 2-6.

36 TSN, August 4, 1997, p. 7.

37 Id. at 8.

38 Id.

39 Id. at 8-9.

40 Id. at 9.

41 Id. at 10.

42 Id.

43 Id. at 11.

44 Id. at 12.

45 Id.

46 Rollo, p. 44.

47 Exhibit "E."

48 Exhibit "F."

49 Rollo, p. 31.

50 Exhibit "I."

51 Exhibit "B."

52 Rollo, p. 125.

53 Padilla v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121917, March 12, 1997, 269 SCRA 402; Mallari v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 110569, December 19, 1996, 265 SCRA 456; People v. Damaso, G.R. No. 93516, August 12, 1992, 212 SCRA 547.

54 TSN, November 6, 1996, pp. 4, 7, 9.

55 TSN, August 4, 1997, p. 12.

56 TSN, March 17, 1997, pp. 14-15, 19.

57 TSN, December 11, 1996, p. 21.

58 Id. at 19-20.

59 People v. Taan, G.R. No. 169432, October 30, 2006, 506 SCRA 219; Ungsod v. People, G.R. No. 158904, December 16, 2005, 478 SCRA 282; People v. Lazaro, G.R. No. 112090, October 26, 1999, 317 SCRA 435, citing Padilla v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 121917, March 12, 1997, 269 SCRA 402; Rosales v. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 106229-30, March 15, 1996, 255 SCRA 123; People v. Orehuela, G.R. Nos. 108780-81, April 29, 1994, 232 SCRA 82. See also Mallari v. Court of Appeals, supra note 53; People v. Solayao, G.R. No. 119220, September 20, 1996, 262 SCRA 255.

60 Rules of Court, Rule 130, Sec. 36.

61 The United States Federal Rule of Evidence defines hearsay as "a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted." Cleary, E.W., McCormick on Evidence (1984), 3rd ed., p. 729, citing Federal Rule of Evidence 801(c). Accordingly, hearsay evidence is objected to due to the following reasons:

Oath. Among the earliest of the criticisms of hearsay, and one often repeated in judicial opinions down to the present, is the objection that the out-of-court declarant who made the hearsay statement commonly speaks or writes without the solemnity of the oath administered to witnesses in a court of law. The oath may be important in two aspects. As a ceremonial and religious symbol it may induce in the witness a feeling of special obligation to speak the truth, and also it may impress upon the witness the danger of criminal punishment for perjury, to which the judicial oath or an equivalent solemn affirmation would be a prerequisite condition. x x x

Personal presence at trial. Another objection early asserted and repeated of late is the want of opportunity, in respect to the out-of-court declarant, for observation of his demeanor, with the light that this may shed on his credibility, that would be afforded if he were a witness on the stand.

The solemnity of the occasion and possibility of public disgrace can scarcely fail to impress the witness, and falsehood no doubt becomes more difficult if the person against whom directed is present.

Moreover, personal presence eliminates the danger that in the oral reporting of an out-of-court statement that the witness reporting the statement may do so inaccurately. It seems probable that the reporting of words spoken is subject to special dangers of inaccuracy beyond the fallibility common to all reproduction from memory of matters of observation, and this seems a substantial danger in the admission of hearsay. x x x

Cross-examination. It would be generally agreed today that noncompliance with the third condition is the main justification for the exclusion of hearsay. This is the lack of any opportunity for the adversary to cross examine the absent declarant whose out-of-court statement is reported by the witness. x x x In perhaps his most famous remark, Wigmore described cross-examination as "beyond any doubt the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth." (Underscoring supplied) (Id. at 727-728.)

62 Rollo, pp. 8, 136.

63 433 Phil. 343 (2002), citing People v. Sanchez, G.R. Nos. 121039-45, January 25, 1999, 302 SCRA 21; People v. Librando, 390 Phil. 543 (2000); People v. Deleverio, G.R. Nos. 118937-38, April 24, 1998, 289 SCRA 547; People v. Zaballero, G.R. No. 100935, June 30, 1997, 274 SCRA 627.

64 People v. Rivera, id. at 352.

65 Rollo, p. 61.

66 TSN, March 17, 1997, p. 25.

67 Rollo, pp. 11-12, 138.

68 Gutang v. People, 390 Phil. 805, 817-818 (2000), citing People v. William, G.R. No. 93712, June 15, 1992, 209 SCRA 808; People v. Rumeral, G.R. No. 86320, August 5, 1991, 200 SCRA 194. See also Rules of Court, Rule 131, Sec. 3(m).

69 TSN, June 4, 1997, pp. 3-6.

70 Id. at 7-11.

FISCAL: I am asking you why your office likewise issued [a] Memo Receipt if he [i.e., Colonel Angelito Moreno] normally issue (sic) a firearm for [an] officer of the PNP?

A.     Because our office has also authorized us to issue.

Q:     And who authorized your office?

A:     It is our Commanding Officer, Sir.

Q:     And who authorized the Commanding Officer?

INTERPRETER:

Witness cannot answer.

Q:     Where does the Commanding Officer derive his authority?

A:     What I know is that the Commanding Officer is authorized to [issue] firearm that will be issued to a PNP Officer but I do not know who gave the authority to our officer.

x x x x

Q:     As such, do you keep inventory of such supplies?

A:     Yes, Sir.

Q:     Do you have the inventory of this particular gun, the original?

A:     Yes, Sir.

Q:     Do you have that inventory with you, that inventory of such gun, the Memo Receipt?

A:     That firearm was not in my custody.

Q:     But you said a while ago it is with you, which is which, do you have or do you not have the listing of such inventory?

A:     None, Sir.

x x x x

FISCAL: Mr. Witness, other than this case, were there any instances where you issued Memo Receipt as verbally directed by your alleged Commanding Officer Moreno?

A:     Yes, Sir, Iím only a RSO since November 1993.

Q:     Precisely, 1991 to 1993, for a period wherein you claimed you hold an office of RSO, has (sic) this the only time you issued?

A:     Many time[s], Sir.

COURT: Letís clarify this. The Court understands to (sic) your previous answer that this is the first time that you have done this procedure of issuing guns to an officer. Are you changing that this is the first time and not many times?

A:     That is the only first (sic) time, as instructed by the Commanding Officer, Your Honor. (Underscoring supplied)

71 Rollo, pp. 11, 137-138.

72 Sec. 34. Offer of evidence. Ė The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.

73 Exhibit "E."

74 Exhibits "E-1" to "E-5."

75 TSN, February 19, 1997, p. 14.

76 G.R. Nos. 108780-81, April 29, 1994, 232 SCRA 82, 95-96.

As Mr. Justice Feliciano held for the Court:

x x x Upon the other hand, we note also that the allegedly unlicensed murder weapon was not presented in evidence by the prosecution. What the prosecution did present to show absence of a license or permit to possess the firearm used to kill Teoberto, was a certification issued by the Bohol Regional Headquarters of the Integrated National Police, dated 20 December 1989, x x x:

x x x x

We consider that the certification was adequate to show that the firearm used by Modesta Orehuela in killing Teoberto Cañizares was a firearm which Orehuela was not licensed to possess and to carry outside his residence on the night that Teoberto Cañizares was shot to death. That that firearm was a .38 caliber pistol was shown by the testimony and report of NBI Ballistician Bonifacio Ayag. When the above circumstances are taken together with the testimony of the eye-witness that Modesto Orehuela was in fact in possession of a firearm and used the same to kill Teoberto Cañizares, we believe that accused Orehuela was properly found guilty of aggravated or qualified illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. (Underscoring supplied)

77 G.R. No. 128148, February 16, 2004, 423 SCRA 34. See also People v. Taan, supra note 59; People v. Taguba, 396 Phil. 366 (2000).

78 TSN, November 6, 1996, pp. 4, 7, 9.

79 TSN, August 4, 1997, p. 12.

80 TSN, March 17, 1997, pp. 14-15, 19.

81 People v. Lazaro, supra note 59.

82 Mejia v. Pamaran, G.R. Nos. L-56741-42, April 15, 1988, 160 SCRA 457, 472. An ex post facto law is one which:

1. Makes criminal an act done before the passage of the law and which was innocent when done, and punishes such an act;

2. Aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed;

3. Changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when committed;

4. Alters the legal rules of evidence, and authorizes conviction upon less or different testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense;

5. Assuming to regulate civil rights and remedies only, in effect imposes penalty or deprivation of a right for something which when done was lawful; and

6. Deprives a person accused of a crime of some lawful protection to which he has become entitled, such as the protection of a former conviction or acquittal, or a proclamation of amnesty.

83 People v. Moran, 44 Phil. 387, 408 (1923), citing Fiore, Irretroactividad e Interpretacion de las Leyes.

84 Reyes, L.B., The Revised Penal Code, Book II, 2001 ed., p. 1021. PRISION CORRECCIONAL IN ITS MAXIMUM PERIOD. Ė 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years

Minimum : 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 4 years, 9 months and 10 days

Medium : 4 years, 9 months and 11 days to 5 years, 4 months and 20 days

Maximum : 5 years, 4 months and 21 days to 6 years

85 Id. at 1026. RECLUSION TEMPORAL IN ITS MAXIMUM PERIOD TO RECLUSION PERPETUA. Ė 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to reclusion perpetua

Minimum : 17 years, 4 months and 1 day to 18 years and 8 months

Medium : 18 years, 8 months and 1 day to 20 years

Maximum : Reclusion perpetua

86 Id. at 1021. PRISION CORRECCIONAL IN ITS MEDIUM PERIOD. Ė 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months

Minimum : 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 2 years, 11 months and 10 days

Medium : 2 years, 11 months and 11 days to 3 years, 6 months and 20 days

Maximum : 3 years, 6 months 21 days to 4 years and 2 months.

87 343 Phil. 297 (1997).

88 G.R. No. 168728, August 2, 2007.

89 Art. 45. Confiscation and forfeiture of the proceeds or instruments of the crime. Ė Every penalty imposed for the commission of a felony shall carry with it the forfeiture of the proceeds of the crime and the instruments or tools with which it was committed.

Such proceeds and instruments or tools shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the Government, unless they be the property of a third person not liable for the offense, but those articles which are not subject of lawful commerce shall be destroyed. (Underscoring supplied)


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