Essay: Time is Humanity’s Greatest Problem and Solution

Time is Humanity’s Greatest Problem and Solution

October na mamaya! Ang bilis ng panahon. Parang kailan lang, nag-ce-celebrate tayo ng New Year! Tapos, boom – Q4 na agad!

Some people might feel thrilled and excited about the matter. After all, if they are eagerly waiting for a future and certain event (or what we call as “period” in the legal sense), talagang mas gugustuhin nila na mapabilis ang panahon. On the otherhand, we have those who feel the opposite: they want the time to slow down because they do not want a specific day to arrive for some seemingly-complicated reasons. Case in point – kapag paparating na ang exam week, you will definitely wish to have all the time in the world to prepare. But then again, are you ever going to be prepared enough?

What I find to be really amazing and at the same time, frustrating, is that time is something that humans invented for themselves. Chronometry (or the science of accurate time measurement) has evolved from the dates that we have first formulated it, and that is with good reasons. It also has its very own scientific bases (that the Earth rotates around its axis 24 hours, or that the Earth revolves around the sun for +/- 365 days). It is a system that we have developed over generations, and eventually we let it become one of the unspoken rules in the realm of science and philosophy. Parang Math: It is the law and the language of the universe; it was not taught to us but it is definitely there, and the humanity just happened to find a way to read it.

Now the frustrating part is that since we have developed the concept of time for ourselves, one can now argue that time is a social construct. After all, it is the humanity that imposed the notions of a regular 8-hour workshift, or that a person acquires the full capability to think for himself and decide on the logic of his actions after the age of 18 years, or that a good age for a person to marry is more or less 30. The way I perceive it is that we have set, not just the standards of time as a unit of measurement, but also the factors as to how a regular man should live based on the society’s expectations.

Point is, the essence of time can make our daily lives stressful and demanding. But since we have imposed the concept on ourselves, one can also rebut and say that time is nothing but an illusion — that it is just a matter of mindset. The fact that we invented it means we can eradicate it, or at least, iyung concept lang.

Imagine a world that does not follow the rigors of time measurement. That might be a person’s version of utopia. After all, kahit saang angulong tingnan, mas masarap mabuhay kapag alam mong magigising ka na walang inaalalang deadline, o kaya naman ay hindi mo kailangang makagraduate at this age, o hindi mo kailangang alalahanin na makapagipon ng “x” amount of money at some point. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in that world? And sure, kahit batohin ka pa ng scientific explanation kung bakit ganoon ang time, you can also counter na it is not exactly a standard; that time differs in every place in the universe; that a year on Earth is not the same as a year on Mars, so nasaan ang standard doon?

But then again, the concept of time is deeply rooted and well-entrenched in our daily lives. To remove it is to break the system itself. And this can lead to extremes, mapa-good man or mapa-bad. Kapag inalis mo yan, when can you say na it is the harvesting season for a certain crop?; or when is the good time to prepare for the winter?; or when should a politician’s term expire to prevent him from abusing the power which was given to him by the public. And kahit pang sabihin natin na we can remove the illusion of time from our minds alone, one way or another, the society will force you to go back and follow the rules. Sure, pwede kang pumasok sa opisina ng 1PM and say that that is your definition of being early, but then again, do you have the authority to dictate the correct construction of “early”? No, and in fact, baka ma-terminate ka pa ng employer mo.

Ang essence lang naman ng post ko ay ganito: Why do we have to feel stressed about the passage of time, when in fact, we are the ones who imposed it on ourselves? And it is amazingly-weird kasi: 1) as I said, the measurement of time brought with it standards that make our lives orderly, so it’s good; and 2) along with it came the social constructs such as deadlines, which is not good. And sure, you can opt not to follow the system, but you have to prepare for the consequences of such action because attempting to break the system is most probably an exercise in futility.

Like all others, it has its own pros and cons. You can argue it from any sides of the coin, but you will eventually realize that it will not come to an end at all because the facts and theories surrounding it are limitless, inexhaustible, infinite.

For me, I could always say na I do not have to finish all these stuff on my plate on or before the deadline. But will I do it? Of course not. I do not want to fail the standards set forth by the society. I will always seek the balance between doing things in my own pace and meeting the period imposed by the community, but I will try to strategize and stick with a strict time schedule so as to mitigate the possible consequences should there be any.

And if in any case that the turnout is not good – well – I will just say na “time is an illusion” and as such, it is not necessarily the end. I will just try again and again even if it is the last thing that I do. Si Pia Wurtzbach nga, natalo 2 times bago nanalo sa Bb Pilipinas eh. Si JK Rowling, ilang beses binagsak ng mga publishers bago naging successful sa Harry Potter novels. Elon Musk became successful at a young age whereas Colonel Sanders got it when he was already in his 60s. These people tried to go along with the flow of time notwithstanding the deadlines and the failures, and ended up very well. I hope, ganoon din sa atin.

– And back to digesting.


Case Brief: Ocampo vs People

G.R. 163705
July 30, 2007


An Information was filed against Nomer Ocampo, Miranda, and Cruz for the crime of robbery with physical injuries when they, “helping one another, with intent of gain and by means of force and intimidation, grabbed the victim Misayah by neck, and armed with a bladed weapon, attacked and caused physical injuries upon him, and on the occasion thereof, carried away the victim’s personal properties amounting to P34, 345.00.” The Information was later amended to Robbery with Violence and Intimidation.

The prosecution interposed that while the victim was walking one night, the three accused immediately appeared. Cruz grabbed his neck and choked him, while Miranda held his shoulder and got his bag; Ocampo, meanwhile, was in the middle, holding a knight, warning him not to fight back. However, the victim still fought back and tried to parry their blows, which eventually led to the three running away with his shoulder bag, while victim being wounded in his hands caused by the bladed weapon of Ocampo.

RTC convicted the three of Robbery with Physical Injuries under Art. 294 (5) of the RPC. The CA, on the otherhand, affirmed the conviction under the same article but classified the crime as robbery with violence against persons.

Issue #1:
Whether or not conspiracy and the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength are present.

Held #1: Conspiracy does not exist. Abuse of superior strength exists.

The existence of conspiracy cannot be presumed. The elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Conspiracy must be shown to exist as clearly and convincingly as the commission of the offense itself. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. It may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime. All taken together, however, the evidence therefor must be reasonably strong enough to show a community of criminal design.

In the case at bar, there is no convincing evidence that all of the accused had resolved to rob Misayah prior to the actual robbery. What is evident is that the robbery that transpired was a spur of the moment decision among the three accused. There was no evidence that all of the accused knew beforehand that Misayah would be passing by the street where the robbery occurred that fateful evening. Neither was it shown that the street was part of Misayahs regular route on his way home.

According to Misayah in his testimony, Cruz grabbed his neck and choked him while Miranda held his shoulder. Ocampo meanwhile was in the middle, holding a knife and warning him not to fight back. While the evidence did not prove the existence of conspiracy, it indelibly established that the accused took advantage of their superior strength.

Issue #2:
Whether or not Ocampo is guilty of Robbery with Physical Injuries under Art. 294 (5).

Held #2: Ocampo is guilty under Art. 294 (5), but the nomenclature of the crime is incorrect. It should be Simple Robbery, not Robbery with Physical Injuries

The variance in the assigned nomenclatures may give rise to the false impression that robbery with physical injuries under Article 294 (5) of the Revised Penal Code is distinct from robbery with intimidation as well as robbery with violence against persons. The title or heading of Article 294 reads Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons. Said heading is clearly the general nomenclature given to all five (5) types of robbery enumerated thereunder. Paragraphs 2 to 5 cover robbery with physical injuries. Paragraph 5, in particular, defines what is known as simple robbery. Simple robbery involves only slight or less serious physical injuries. For conviction under this paragraph, the injury inflicted should not fall within the categories provided for in paragraphs 1 to 4 of Article 294. Thus, over and above the dichotomy of the terms employed, it is certain and beyond dispute that the three accused were tried for the crime under Article 294 (5) of the Revised Penal Code.

Issue #3:
What should be the proper penalty for the crime.

Held #3:

Article 294, paragraph (5) of the Revised Penal Code fixes the penalty for simple robbery at prision correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its medium period, the range of which is from four (4) years, two (2) months and one (1) day to ten (10) years. Considering the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength, the penalty should be imposed in its maximum period while the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, which is arresto mayor maximum to prision correccional medium in any of its periods, the range of which is four (4) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and two (2) months.[57]
Accused Ocampo is sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional as minimum to eight (8) years of prision mayor as maximum.

Case Brief: Union Bank and Tomas vs People

G.R. No. 192565        February 28, 2012
Union Bank of the Philippines and Desi Tomas
People of the Philippines


Tomas was charged in court for perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for making a false narration in a Certificate against Forum Shopping. The accusation stemmed from petitioner Union Bank’s two (2) complaints for sum of money against several other persons. The first complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 98-0717, was filed before the RTC, Branch 109, Pasay City on April 13, 1998. The second complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 342-000, was filed on March 15, 2000 and raffled to the MeTC, Branch 47, Pasay City. Both complaints showed that Tomas executed and signed the Certification against Forum Shopping. Accordingly, she was charged of deliberately violating Article 183 of the RPC by falsely declaring under oath in the Certificate against Forum Shopping in the second complaint that she did not commence any other action or proceeding involving the same issue in another tribunal or agency.

Tomas filed a Motion to Quash, citing two grounds. First, she argued that the venue was improperly laid since it is the Pasay City court (where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was submitted and used) and not the MeTC-Makati City (where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was subscribed) that has jurisdiction over the perjury case. Second, she argued that the facts charged do not constitute an offense because: (a) the third element of perjury the willful and deliberate assertion of falsehood was not alleged with particularity without specifying what the other action or proceeding commenced involving the same issues in another tribunal or agency; (b) there was no other action or proceeding pending in another court when the second complaint was filed; and (c) she was charged with perjury by giving false testimony while the allegations in the Information make out perjury by making a false affidavit.

Whether the proper venue of perjury under Article 183 of the RPC should be Makati City, where the Certificate against Forum Shopping was notarized, or Pasay City, where the Certification was presented to the trial court.

MeTC-Makati City is the proper venue and court to try the perjury case against Tomas.

The elements of perjury under Article 183 are:

(a) That the accused made a statement under oath or executed an affidavit upon a material matter.

(b) That the statement or affidavit was made before a competent officer, authorized to receive and administer oath.

(c) That in the statement or affidavit, the accused made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood.

(d) That the sworn statement or affidavit containing the falsity is required by law or made for a legal purpose.

Where the jurisdiction of the court is being assailed in a criminal case on the ground of improper venue, the allegations in the complaint and information must be examined together with Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. On this basis, SC finds that the allegations in the Information sufficiently support a finding that the crime of perjury was committed by Tomas within the territorial jurisdiction of the MeTC-Makati City.

The first element of the crime of perjury, the execution of the subject Certificate against Forum Shopping was alleged in the Information to have been committed in Makati City. Likewise, the second and fourth elements, requiring the Certificate against Forum Shopping to be under oath before a notary public, were also sufficiently alleged in the Information to have been made in Makati City:

Tomas’ deliberate and intentional assertion of falsehood was allegedly shown when she made the false declarations in the Certificate against Forum Shopping before a notary public in Makati City, despite her knowledge that the material statements she subscribed and swore to were not true. Thus, Makati City is the proper venue and MeTC-Makati City is the proper court to try the perjury case against Tomas, pursuant to Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure as all the essential elements constituting the crime of perjury were committed within the territorial jurisdiction of Makati City, not Pasay City.

Sidenote: SC discussed perjury as discussed in the conflicting decisions of Illusorio case and Sy Tiong case. The court also discussed the background as to how the crime of perjury has evolved in our jurisdiction.

Issue #2:
State the discussion of SC as to the crime of perjury.

Held #2:

SC mentioned that Art. 183 of the RPC, in fact, refers to either of two punishable acts (1) falsely testifying under oath in a proceeding other than a criminal or civil case; and (2) making a false affidavit before a person authorized to administer an oath on any material matter where the law requires an oath.

Under the circumstances, Article 183 of the RPC is indeed the applicable provision; thus, jurisdiction and venue should be determined on the basis of this article which penalizes one who make[s] an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires. The constitutive act of the offense is the making of an affidavit; thus, the criminal act is consummated when the statement containing a falsity is subscribed and sworn before a duly authorized person.

In the present case, the Certification against Forum Shopping was made integral parts of two complaints for sum of money against several people, who, in turn, filed a complaint-affidavit against Tomas for violation of Article 183 of the RPC. As alleged in the Information that followed, the criminal act charged was for the execution by Tomas of an affidavit that contained a falsity.

Based on these considerations, SC holds that its ruling in Sy Tiong is more in accord with Article 183 of the RPC and Section 15(a), Rule 110 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. To reiterate for the guidance of the Bar and the Bench, the crime of perjury committed through the making of a false affidavit under Article 183 of the RPC is committed at the time the affiant subscribes and swears to his or her affidavit since it is at that time that all the elements of the crime of perjury are executed. When the crime is committed through false testimony under oath in a proceeding that is neither criminal nor civil, venue is at the place where the testimony under oath is given. If in lieu of or as supplement to the actual testimony made in a proceeding that is neither criminal nor civil, a written sworn statement is submitted, venue may either be at the place where the sworn statement is submitted or where the oath was taken as the taking of the oath and the submission are both material ingredients of the crime committed. In all cases, determination of venue shall be based on the acts alleged in the Information to be constitutive of the crime committed.

Case Brief: Sevilla vs People

G.R. No. 194390 August 13, 2014


Sevilla, a former councilor of Malabon City, was charged with the felony of falsification of public document, penalized under Article 171(4) of the RPC, after he stated in his C.S. Form 212 or Personal Data Sheet, both official documents which were submitted to the Office of the Secretariat, Malabon City Council, that he “had no criminal case pending against him”, when in fact, he knew fully well that he is an accused in a pending criminal case entitled People vs Sevilla for the crime of assault upon an agent of a person in authority.

On the other hand, Sevilla admitted that he indeed marked the box corresponding to the “no” answer vis-à-vis the question on whether he has any pending criminal case. However, he averred that he did not intend to falsify his PDS. He claimed that it was a member of his staff, who actually prepared his PDS. He instructed Mendoza to copy the entries in the previous copy of his PDS which he filed with the personnel office. After the PDS was filled up and delivered to him by Mendoza, Sevilla claims that he just signed the same without checking the veracity of the entries therein. That he failed to notice that, in answer to the question of whether he has any pending criminal case, Mendoza checked the box corresponding to the “no” answer.

Sandiganbayan opined that Sevilla cannot be convicted of falsification of public document under Article 171(4) of the RPC since he did not act with malicious intent to falsify the aforementioned entry in his PDS. However, considering that Sevilla’s PDS was haphazardly and recklessly done, which resulted in the false entry therein, the Sandiganbayan convicted Sevilla of falsification of public document through reckless imprudence under Article 365 of the RPC.


Whether or not Sevilla can be convicted of falsification of public document through reckless imprudence, notwithstanding that the charge against him in the Information was for the intentional felony of falsification of public document under Article 171(4) of the RPC.
Held: NO. The proper designation of the felony should be reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of public documents, and not falsification of public documents through reckless imprudence.

The designation of “falsification of public document through reckless imprudence” implies that reckless imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a modality of committing it. This is incorrect. Quasi-offenses under Art. 365 are distinct and separate crimes and not a mere modality in the commission of the crime. In explaining why this is so, SC explained:

The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that “reckless imprudence” is not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing it and merely determines a lower degree of criminal liability is too broad to deserve unqualified assent. There are crimes that by their structure cannot be committed through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious mischief, etc. In truth, criminal negligence in our Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere quasi offense, and dealt with separately from willful offenses. It is not a mere question of classification or terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in negligence or imprudence, what is principally penalized is the mental attitude or condition behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia punible.x x x
Were criminal negligence is but a modality in the commission of felonies, operating only to reduce the penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the mitigating circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory would require that the corresponding penalty should be fixed in proportion to the penalty prescribed for each crime when committed willfully. For each penalty for the willful offense, there would then be a corresponding penalty for the negligent variety. But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto mayor maximum, to prision correccional, if the willful act would constitute a grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all the way from prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the actual penalty for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful crime, but is set in relation to a whole class, or series, of crimes.

Anent the imposable penalty, under Article 365 of the RPC, reckless imprudence resulting in falsification of public document is punishable by arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period. In this case, taking into account the pertinent provisions of Indeterminate Sentence Law, the Sandiganbayan correctly imposed upon Sevilla the penalty of four ( 4) months of arresto mayor as minimum to two (2) years ten ( 10) months and twenty one (21) days of prision correccional as maximum.

Issue #2:

Whether or not Sevilla’s claim that his constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him was violated when the Sandiganbayan convicted him of reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of public documents, when the Information only charged the intentional felony of falsification of public documents, has merit.

Held #2: NO.

The rules on variance between allegation and proof are laid down under Sections 4 and 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court.

To stress, reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of public documents is an offense that is necessarily included in the willful act of falsification of public documents, the latter being the greater offense. As such, he can be convicted of reckless imprudence resulting to falsification of public documents notwithstanding that the Information only charged the willful act of falsification of public documents.

Case Brief: Santiago vs Garchitorena

G.R. No. 109266 December 2, 1993


Petitioner was charged in the Sandiganbayan with violation of Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, allegedly committed by her favoring “unqualified” aliens with the benefits of the Alien Legalization Program. Petitioner filed this case to enjoin Sandiganbayan from proceeding with the case, on the ground that it was intended solely to harass her as she was then a presidential candidate. After her petition was dismissed, she then filed a motion for inhibition of Presiding Justice Garchitorena.

[A lot of procedural issues and controversies were discussed, but for the purpose of limiting this digest to Criminal Law 1, the author did not include it.]

Petitioner next claims that the Amended Informations did not charge any offense punishable under Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 because the official acts complained of therein were authorized under Executive Order No. 324 and that the Board of Commissioners of the Bureau of Investigation adopted the policy of approving applications for legalization of spouses and unmarried, minor children of “qualified aliens” even though they had arrived in the Philippines after December 31, 1983. She concludes that the Sandiganbayan erred in not granting her motion to quash the informations.

In a motion to quash, the accused admits hypothetically the allegations of fact in the Information. Therefore, petitioner admitted hypothetically in her motion that: 1) she was a public officer; 2) she approved the application for legalization of the stay of aliens, who arrived in the Philippines after January 1, 1984; 3) those aliens were disqualified; 4) she was cognizant of such fact; and 5) she acted in evident bad faith and manifest partiality in the execution of her official functions; thereby constituting the elements of the offense defined in Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019.

It bears noting that the public prosecutors filed a total of 32 Informations against the petitioner for the violation of such law.

How is the violation of Sec. 3(e) of RA 3019 committed?

There are two ways of violating Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019. These are: (a) by causing undue injury to any party, including the Government; and (b) by giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.

Issue #2:
Whether or not the filing of 32 Amended Informations against petitioner was proper.

Held #2: NO.

Only one crime was committed in petitioner’s case, and hence, there should only be one Information to be filed against her.

The 32 Amended Informations charge what is known as delito continuado or “continued crime” and sometimes referred to as “continuous crime.” A delito continuado consists of several crimes but in reality there is only one crime in the mind of the perpetrator. See full text for the discussion and examples of delito continuado as discussed by SC.

In the case at bench, the original information charged petitioner with performing a single criminal act — that of her approving the application for legalization of aliens not qualified under the law to enjoy such privilege. The original information also averred that the criminal act : (i) committed by petitioner was in violation of a law — Executive Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988, (ii) caused an undue injury to one offended party, the Government, and (iii) was done on a single day, i.e., on or about October 17, 1988. The 32 Amended Informations reproduced in verbatim the allegation of the original information, except that instead of the word “aliens” in the original information each amended information states the name of the individual whose stay was legalized.

The 32 Amended Informations aver that the offenses were committed on the same period of time, i.e., on or about October 17, 1988. The strong probability even exists that the approval of the application or the legalization of the stay of the 32 aliens was done by a single stroke of the pen, as when the approval was embodied in the same document. Likewise, the public prosecutors manifested at the hearing the motion for a bill of particulars that the Government suffered a single harm or injury.

SC ordered the Ombudsman to consolidated the 32 Amended Informations into one Information charging only one offense.

Case Brief: People vs Campuhan

[G.R. No. 129433. March 30, 2000]


Campuhan was a helper in the business of the family of the victim, a 4-year-old girl. One time, the mother of the victim heard the latter cry, “Ayoko!”, prompting her to rush upstairs. There, she saw Campuhan kneeling before the victim, whose pajamas and pany were already removed, while his short pants were down to his knees. Campuhan was apprehended. Physical examination of the victim yielded negative results. No evident sign of extra-genital physical injury was noted. Her hymen was intact and its orifice was only .5 cm in diameter.

Trial court found him guilty of statutory rape and sentenced him to death.


Whether or not Campuhan is guilty of statutory rape.

Held: NO.

The gravamen of the offense of statutory rape is carnal knowledge of woman below 12 as provided in RPC 335(3). The victim was only 4 years old when the molestation took place, thus raising the penalty from “reclusion perpetua to death” to the single indivisible penalty of death under RA 7659 Sec. 11, the offended party being below 7 years old. In concluding that carnal knowledge took place, full penetration of the vaginal orifice is not an essential ingredient, nor is the rupture of hymen necessary; the mere touching of external genitalia by the penis capable of consummating the sexual act is sufficient to constitute carnal knowledge. But the act of touching should be understood as inherently part of the entry of penis into the labias of the female organ, and not mere touching alone of the mons pubis or the pudendum (the part instantly visible within the surface).

Absent any showing of the slightest penetration of the female organ, i.e., touching of either labia by the penis, there can be no consummated rape; at most, it can only be attempted rape, if not acts of lasciviousness.

Here, the prosecution failed to discharge its onus of proving that Campuhan’s penis was able to penetrate the victim’s vagina however slight. Also, there were no external signs of physical injuries on the victim’s body to conclude that penetration had taken place.

Issue #2:

What crime did Campuhan commit?


Under RPC 6 in relation to RPC 335, rape is attempted when the offender commences the commission of rape directly by overt acts, and does not perform all acts of execution which should produce the crime of rape by reason of some cause or accident other than his own spontaneous desistance. All the elements of attempted rape are present in this case.

The penalty of attempted rape is 2 degrees lower than the imposable penalty of death for the crime of statutory rape of minor below 7 years. Two degrees lower is reclusion temporal, which is 12 years 1 day to 20 years.

Applying ISLAW, and in the absence of aggravating or mitigating circumstance, the maximum penalty shall be medium period of reclusion temporal (14 years 8 months 1 day to 17 years 4 months), while the minimum is the penalty next lower in degree – prision mayor (6 years 1 day to 12 years).

Issue #3:

May there be a crime of frustrated rape?

Held #3: NO.

In People vs Orita, SC finally did away with frustrated rape. Rape was consummated from the moment the offender had carnal knowledge of the victim. All elements of the offense were already present and nothing more was left for the offender to do. Perfect penetration was not essential; any penetration of the female organ by the male organ, however slight, was sufficient.

For attempted rape, there was no penetration of the female organ because not all acts of execution were performed or the offender merely commenced the commission of the felony directly by overt acts.

Case Brief – Saludaga vs FEU

JOSEPH SALUDAGA, petitioner,
FAR EASTERN UNIVERSITY and EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS in his capacity as President of FEU, respondents.
G.R. No. 179337 April 30, 2008

Petitioner Joseph Saludaga was a sophomore law student of respondent Far Eastern University (FEU) when he was shot by Alejandro Rosete (Rosete), one of the security guards on duty at the school premises.

Petitioner thereafter filed a complaint for damages against respondents on the ground that they breached their obligation to provide students with a safe and secure environment and an atmosphere conducive to learning. Respondents, in turn, filed a Third-Party Complaint against Galaxy Development and Management Corporation (Galaxy), the agency contracted by respondent FEU to provide security services within its premises to indemnify them for whatever would be adjudged in favor of petitioner.

RTC: FEU and its President was ordered to pay jointly and severally Saludaga damages. Galaxy and its President was ordered to indemnify jointly and severally FEU for such amount.

CA: Dismissed, ruling that: a) the incident was a fortuitous event; b) that respondents are not liable for damages for the injury suffered by the petitioner from the hands of their own security guard in violation of their built-in contractual obligation to petitioner, being their law student at the time, to provide him with a safe and secure educational environment; c) that Rosete, who shot petitioner, was not FEU’s employee by virtue of the contract for security services between Galaxy and FEU, notwithstanding the fact that petitioner, not being a party to it, is not bound by the same under the principle of relativity of contracts; and, d) FEU exercised due diligence in selecting Galaxy as the agency which would provide security services within the respondent FEU.

In his appeal, petitioner sued respondents for damages based on the alleged breach of student-school contract for a safe learning environment. Respondents aver that the shooting incident was a fortuitous event because they could not have reasonably foreseen nor avoided the accident caused by Rosete as he was not their employee; and that they complied with their obligation to ensure a safe learning environment for their students by having exercised due diligence in selecting the security services of Galaxy.

Issue #1:
Whether or not there is a contractual obligation between Saludaga and FEU.

Held #1: YES.
It is undisputed that petitioner was enrolled as a sophomore law student in respondent FEU. As such, there was created a contractual obligation between the two parties. On petitioner’s part, he was obliged to comply with the rules and regulations of the school. On the other hand, respondent FEU, as a learning institution is mandated to impart knowledge and equip its students with the necessary skills to pursue higher education or a profession. At the same time, it is obliged to ensure and take adequate steps to maintain peace and order within the campus.

Issue #2:
Whether or not FEU is guilty of culpa contractual.

Held #2: YES.
It is settled that in culpa contractual, the mere proof of the existence of the contract and the failure of its compliance justify, prima facie, a corresponding right of relief.

Here, petitioner was shot inside the campus by no less the security guard who was hired to maintain peace and secure the premises, there is a prima facie showing that respondents failed to comply with its obligation to provide a safe and secure environment to its students. Also, respondents failed to prove that they ensured that the guards assigned in the campus met the requirements stipulated in the Security Service Agreement. No evidence as to the qualifications of Rosete as security guard was presented. Respondents also failed to show that they undertook steps to ascertain and confirm that the security guards assigned to them actually possess the qualifications required in the Security Service Agreement.

Issue #3:
Whether or not the presence of force majeure may absolve FEU from liability.

Held #3: NO.
In order for force majeure to be considered, respondents must show that no negligence or misconduct was committed that may have occasioned the loss. An act of God cannot be invoked to protect a person who has failed to take steps to forestall the possible adverse consequences of such a loss. One’s negligence may have concurred with an act of God in producing damage and injury to another; nonetheless, showing that the immediate or proximate cause of the damage or injury was a fortuitous event would not exempt one from liability. When the effect is found to be partly the result of a person’s participation – whether by active intervention, neglect or failure to act – the whole occurrence is humanized and removed from the rules applicable to acts of God.

Issue #4:
Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to indemnification for damages.

Held #4: YES. Petitioner is entitled to actual damages, moral damages, temperate damages, attorney’s fees, and litigation expenses. The petitioner is not entitled to exemplary damages.

Article 1170 of the Civil Code provides that those who are negligent in the performance of their obligations are liable for damages. Accordingly, for breach of contract due to negligence in providing a safe learning environment, FEU is liable to petitioner for damages. It is essential in the award of damages that the claimant must have satisfactorily proven during the trial the existence of the factual basis of the damages and its causal connection to defendant’s acts.

Petitioner spent expenses for his hospitalization and medical expenses. Since the case involved an obligation arising from a contract and not a loan or forbearance of money, the proper rate of legal interest is 6% per annum of the amount demanded. The interest shall continue to run from the filing of the complaint until the finality of the Decision. After the decision becomes final and executory, the applicable rate shall be 12% per annum until its satisfaction. Also, transportation expenses and those incurred in the hiring of a personal assistant while recuperating were not however supported by receipts. In the absence thereof, no actual damages may be awarded.

Nonetheless, Art. 2224 of the Civil Code states that temperate damages may be recovered where it has been shown that the claimant suffered some pecuniary loss but the amount thereof cannot be proved with certainty.

SC awarded petitioner moral damages for the “physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, and moral shock resulting from the shooting incident”. SC stressed that the moral damages are in the category of an award designed to compensate the claimant for actual injury suffered and not to impose a penalty on the wrongdoer.

Attorney’s fees and litigation expenses were also reasonable in view of Art. 2208 of Civil Code.

However, the award of exemplary damages is deleted considering the absence of proof that the respondents acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive, or malevolent manner.

Issue #5:
Whether or not the FEU President himself is vicariously liable.

Held: NO.
FEU President cannot be held liable for damages under Art. 2180 of CC because respondents are not employers of Rosete. The latter was employed by Galaxy. The instructions issued by respondents’ Security Consultant to Galaxy and its security guards are ordinarily no more than requests commonly envisaged in the contract for services entered into by a principal and a security agency. They cannot be construed as the element of control as to treat respondents as the employers of Rosete. Where the security agency recruits, hires and assigns the works of its watchmen or security guards to a client, the employer of such guards or watchmen is such agency, and not the client, since the latter has no hand in selecting the security guards. Thus, the duty to observe the diligence of a good father of a family cannot be demanded from the said client.

Issue #6:
Whether or not Galaxy and its President were liable for damages.

Held #6: YES.
For the acts of negligence and for having supplied respondent FEU with an unqualified security guard, which resulted to the latter’s breach of obligation to petitioner, it is proper to hold Galaxy liable to respondent FEU for such damages equivalent to the above-mentioned amounts awarded to petitioner.

Also, unlike the FEU President, SC deemed Galaxy President to be solidarily liable with Galaxy for being grossly negligent in directing the affairs of the security agency. It was the Galaxy President who assured petitioner that his medical expenses will be shouldered by Galaxy, but said representations were not fulfilled because they presumed that petitioner and his family were no longer interested in filing a formal complaint against them.