Case Brief: People v Baron

G.R. No. 185209  June 28, 2010

People of the Philippines


RENE BARON et. al.

At about 9 o’clock in the evening of June 28, 1995 at Hda. Sta. Ana, Brgy. Burgos, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, the accused Rene Baron, Rey Villatima, and alias “Dedong” bargo, conspiring, confederating and helping one another with evident premeditation and treachery and with intent to kill, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault, attack and stab to death one Juanito Berallo in order to rob, steal and take away the latter’s sidecar and motorcycle, wallet, and wristwatch; and inflicted multiple stabbed wounds which directly caused the victim’s death.
Appellant, Rene Baron, denied any participation in the crime. He claimed that on June 28, 1995, at around 7 o’clock in the evening, he bought rice and other necessities for his family and proceeded to the public transport terminal to get a ride home where he chanced upon the deceased and his two passengers who insisted that he came along for the trip. During said trip, the two passengers announced a hold-up and thereafter tied the driver’s hands and dragged him towards the sugarcane fields while Baron stayed in the tricycle. Baron was then accompanied by the two passengers back to his house where he and his wife were threatened at gunpoint not to report the incident to the authorities.
On February 12, 2002, the trial court rendered a Decision finding the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of robbery with homicide.
Before the appellate court, appellant alleged that the trial court erred in finding him guilty as charged and in not appreciating in his favor the exempting circumstance of irresistible force and/or uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater injury. However, the same was disregarded by the CA holding that all the requisites for said circumstances were lacking.

Is the appellant entitled to the exempting circumstances of irresistible force and/or uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater injury?

No. The appellant’s attempt to evade criminal liability by insisting that he acted under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of an equal or greater injury fails to impress. To avail of this exempting circumstance, the evidence must establish: (1) the existence of an uncontrollable fear; (2) that the fear must be real and imminent; and (3) the fear of an injury is greater than or at least equal to that committed. A threat of future injury is insufficient. The compulsion must be of such a character as to leave no opportunity for the accused to escape.
The Court found nothing in the records to substantiate appellant’s insistence that he was under duress from his co-accused in participating in the crime. In fact, the evidence was to the contrary. Villatima and Bargo dragged the victim towards the sugarcane field and left the appellant inside the tricycle that was parked by the roadside. While all alone, he had every opportunity to escape since he was no longer subjected to a real, imminent or reasonable fear. Surprisingly, he opted to wait for his co-accused to return and even rode with them to Kabankalan, Negros Occidental to hide the victim’s motorcycle in the house of Villatima’s aunt.
The appellant had other opportunities to escape since he traveled with his co-accused for more than 10 hours and passed several transportation terminals. However, he never tried to escape or at least request for assistance from the people around him. From the series of proven circumstantial evidence, the inescapable and natural conclusion was the three accused were in conspiracy with one another to kill the victim and cart away the motorcycle.


Case Brief: Baez v Valdevilla & Oro Marketing

Q: Whether or not the Labor Arbiter can award damages arising from tortious acts.

A: I qualify.  Generally, the Labor Arbiter cannot award damages arising from tortious acts. It is the RTC which has jurisdiction thereto. This is also true when the employer-employee relationship is merely incidental, and the cause of action comes from a different source of obligation.
However, if the damages arise directly from employer-employee relationship, Labor Arbiter can award damages arising therefrom.

GR No. 128024  May 9, 2000



Valdevilla and Oro Marketing, Inc

Baez was the sales operations manager of Oro Marketing Inc. In 1993, Oro Marketing indefinitely suspended Baez, prompting Baez to file for illegal dismissal. Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of Baez. Since Oro Marketing failed to timely file the appeal, both NLRC and SC dismissed the same.

Oro Marketing filed a complaint for damages before the RTC for loss of profit, cost of supplies, litigation expenses, and attorney’s fees. It alleged that due to Baez’ modus operandi, its sales decreased and reduced its profits.

Baez filed a motion to dismiss, interposing that the action for damages, having arisen from employer-employee relationship, was squarely under the exclusive original jurisdiction of NLRC under Art. 217(a) par. 4 of Labor Code, and is barred by reason of the final judgment in labor case. As such, he accused Oro Marketing of splitting causes of action, and that the latter should have included the claim in its counterclaim before the Labor Arbiter.

The respondent RTC Judge Valdevilla ruled that it had jurisdiction over the subject matter, since the complaint did not ask for any relief under the Labor Code, but rather to recover damages as redress for Baez’s nefarious activities, causing damage and prejudice to Oro Marketing. Since this there was a breach of contractual obligation, which is within the realm of civil law, the jurisdiction belongs to the regular courts.

Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction over the claim for damages filed by Oro Marketing against Baez.
No. RTC had no jurisdiction over Oro Marketing’s complaint for damages.

RTC was incorrect in saying that the resolution of the issues presented by the complaint did not entail application of the Labor Code or other labor laws; the dispute was intrinsically civil. Article 217(a) of the Labor Code, as amended, clearly bestows upon the Labor Arbiter original and exclusive jurisdiction over claims for damages arising from employer-employee relations —in other words, the Labor Arbiter has jurisdiction to award not only the reliefs provided by labor laws, but also damages governed by the Civil Code.

It is clear that under Art. 217(a) par. 4 of Labor Code, the Labor Arbiter and NLRC have original and exclusive jurisdiction claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations. This provision is the result of the amendment by Section 9 of Republic Act (“R.A.”) No. 6715, which took effect on March 21, 1989, and which put to rest the earlier confusion as to who between Labor Arbiters and regular courts had jurisdiction over claims for damages as between employers and employees.

It will be recalled that years prior to R.A. 6715, jurisdiction over all money claims of workers, including claims for damages, was originally lodged with the Labor Arbiters and the NLRC by Article 217 of the Labor Code. On May 1, 1979, however, Presidential Decree (“P.D.”) No. 1367 amended said Article 217 to the effect that “Regional Directors shall not indorse and Labor Arbiters shall not entertain claims for moral or other forms of damages.” This limitation in jurisdiction, however, lasted only briefly since on May 1, 1980, P.D. No. 1691 nullified P.D. No. 1367 and restored Article 217 of the Labor Code almost to its original form. Presently, and as amended by R.A. 6715, the jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the NLRC in Article 217 is comprehensive enough to include claims for all forms of damages “arising from the employer-employee relations”.

By the designating clause “arising from the employer-employee relations”, Art. 217 should also apply with equal force to the claim of an employer for actual damages against its dismissed employee, where the basis for the claim arises from or is necessarily connected with the fact of termination, and should be entered as a counterclaim in the illegal dismissal case.

In this case, Oro Marketing’s claim against Baez for actual damages arose from a prior employer-employee relationship. In the first place, Oro Marketing’s would not have taken issue with Baez’s “doing business of his own” had the latter not been concurrently its employee. Thus, the damages alleged in the complaint were: first, those amounting to lost profits and earnings due to Baez’s abandonment or neglect of his duties as sales manager, having been otherwise preoccupied by his unauthorized installment sale scheme; and second, those equivalent to the value of Oro Marketing’s property and supplies which Baez used in conducting his “business”.

Second, contrary to Oro Marketing’s allegations, no business losses may be attributed to Baez as in fact, it was by reason of Baez’s sales operations that the sales reached its highest record level, and that the installment scheme was in fact with the knowledge of the management of Oro Marketing. In other words, the issue of actual damages has been settled in the labor case, which is now final and executory.

This is, of course, to distinguish from cases of actions for damages where the employer-employee relationship is merely incidental and the cause of action proceeds from a different source of obligation. Thus, the jurisdiction of regular courts was upheld where the damages, claimed for were based on tort, malicious prosecution, or breach of contract, as when the claimant seeks to recover a debt from a former employee or seeks liquidated damages in enforcement of a prior employment contract.

Notes: Taxation Laws and Customs Code

Note:  Document/contents are being updated every now and then.


  • NIRC Powers
  • Bar Questions under Title 1
  • TaxPayers:  General Classifications
  • Tax List
  • Final Withholding Tax vs. Creditable Withholding Tax
  • Indirect Tax and VAT vs Direct Tax
  • Expanded Withholding Tax
  • Top 20000 Taxpayers
  • Sec 23. General Principle of Income Taxation: Territoriality
  • Tax Credit vs Tax Refund vs Carryover (Sec 29, 204C, 229)
  • De Minimis Benefits vs 13th Month Pay and Other Benefits vs Fringe Benefits
  • Passive Income

Download Here: taxation-notes-2017

Essay: Of People and Government

Moreover, the recent advancements in technology open a lot of possibility such decentralisation of power in one entity (which usually is prone to corruption). As unorthodox as it may seem, taking down political representation (e.g. Congress) and placing such power at the hands of the masses may very well be feasible in the future. Imagine legislation via internet.

Tao o Gobyerno: Alin ba ang mas importante?

Noong ako ay nag-aaral, tinanong kami ng aming propesor: alin daw ba ang mas mahalaga: ang tao o ang gobyerno. Parehas silang importanteng elemento ng isang estado: With people being interpreted as “inhabitants, electors, or citizens” and government being “the institution by which the society carries out necessary rulesto enable men to live in a social state”. Kung wala ang isa, hindi kumpletong state ang isang bansa. Pundasyon mo iyun eh.

Nung kami ay nagdidiskusyon tungkol dito, nahati ang buong klase sa dalawa. Iyung isang grupo, naniniwala na mas mahalaga ang tao. Iyung isa naman, naniniwala na dapat, ang mas bigyan ng importansya ang gobyerno.

Kung sisimplehan natin ang tanong, eto yun: should the people work for the government, or should the government work for the people?

Nakakatuwa kasi noon, gobyerno ang pinili kong sagot. Noon, naniniwala ako na dapat, ang gobyerno ang magpalakad ng lahat; na maayos na bansa ay nakukuha kung maganda din ang kalakaran sa gobyerno at ang lahat ng tao, sumusunod dito. Conservative, ika nga.

Nung nagtapos iyung klase namin noon, ang sabi sa amin ng aming propesor: tanungin namin ang aming mga sarili pagkatapos ng mga isa o dalawang taon, at alamin kung parehas pa rin ang aming sagot.

And guess what. Eto ako ngayon, mas naniniwala na ako na mas makapangyarihan ang tao. Yes, I still think that you need both for a civilised society to function well. Pero mas inclined ako sa thought na dapat, ang kapangyarihan at pamamalakad, nagmumula sa tao o sa taong bayan; na dapat, ang stratehiya eh ang tao pa rin ang namumuno at ang gobyerno ay sumusuporta lamang. Iba pa din kasi kapag hinayaan mo iyung mga tao na humanap ng magandang malalagyan eh: you’re leading them to greater chances and opportunities. Lesser spoonfeeding and giving liberality in one’s actions may result to an exponentially-higher rate of growth and improvement.  Hindi restricted, kumbaga. Opinyon ko na dapat ang gobyerno, gumagawa ng paraan para makita ng taong-bayan ang importansiya nila sa mundo; na dapat, sila ang maglatag ng tamang daan para ang mga tao, maging prodaktibo.

Moreover, the recent advancements in technology open a lot of possibility as to decentralisation of power in one entity (which usually is subject to corruption). As unorthodox as it may seem, taking down political representation (e.g. Congress) and placing such power at the hands of the masses may very well be feasible in the future. Imagine legislation via internet.

But at the end of the day, dapat maging open-minded ka pa din na you need both to complement each other para payapa at masagana. Iyung pagkukulang ng gobyerno, dapat punan ng tao, and vice-versa. Walang lamangan; parang konsepto lang ng yin and yang. Change is constant. Iyung sagot ko nga, nagbago eh, pano pa kaya ang buong mundo. Pero dapat, kung ano man ang maging pagbabago sa pamamalakad, patuloy pa rin na nag-aadjust at nagbibigayan ang gobyerno at ang tao. That way, equilibrium is maintained.

Ikaw ba? Anong palagay mo?

PAUNAWA: Ito po ay hamak na opinyon lamang. Wala po akong intensyong masamain ang kahit ano mang tao o bagay. Feel free to comment and express your ideas if you have a different point of view.

Case Brief: Manchester v CA

To put a stop to this irregularity, henceforth all complaints, petitions, answers and other similar pleadings should specify the amount of damages being prayed for not only in the body of the pleading but also in the prayer, and said damages shall be considered in the assessment of the filing fees in any case. Any pleading that fails to comply with this requirement shall not be accepted nor admitted, or shall otherwise be expunged from the record.

G.R. No. 75919 May 7, 1987

Manchester contended that the filing fee must be assessed on the basis of the amended complaint, citing the case of Magaspi v. Ramolete. The environmental facts of Magaspi as compared to the current Manchester case were as follows:

Magaspi v. Ramolete

Manchester v. CA

Action for recovery of ownership and possession of parcel of land with damages. Action for torts and damages and specific performance, with prayer for temporary restraining order
Seeks not only the annulment of title of defendant to property, the declaration of ownership and delivery of possession to Magaspi;

But also for the payment of A/M/E damages and attorney’s fees arising therefrom with the amounts specified therein

Prayer is for the issuance of writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction during the pendency of action against defendant’s announced forfeiture of P3M paid by Manchester for the property in question;

To attach such property of defendant that may be sufficient to satisfy any judgment that may be rendered;

And after hearing, order defendants to execute contract of purchase and sale of property and annul defendant’s illegal forfeiture of Manchester’s money;

Ordering them to pay A/C/E damages and attorney’s fees;

And declaring the tender of payment of purchase price of Manchester valid and producing the effect of payment and to make injunction permanent.;

The amount of damages sought is not specified in the prayer, although the body of the complaint alleges the total amount of P78M as damages.

There was an honest difference of opinion as to nature of action. The complaint was considered an action for recovery of ownership and possession of parcel of land. Damages were treated as merely to the main cause of action. Thus, docket fee of P60 and P10 for sherrif’s fee were paid. No such honest difference of opinion.   As per complaint, it is both an action for damages and specific performance;

Docket fee paid upon filing of complaint P410 because the action is merely one for specific performance where the amount involved is not capable of pecuniary estimation is wrong, because the body of complaint totaling P78M should be the basis of assessment of filing fee.

RTC ordered Magaspi to pay P3k as filing fee covering the damages alleged in the original complaint, as it did not consider the damages to be merely an or incidental to the action for recovery of ownership and possession of real property;

The amended complaint was filed by Magaspi with leave of court to include the State as defendant and reducing the amount of damages and attorney’s fees to P100k. Such amendment was admitted.

When the under-reassessment of the filing fee in Manchester was brought to the attention of SC together with other similar cases, an investigation was immediately ordered by the Court.

Manchester, thru another counsel and with leave of court, filed an amended complaint for the inclusion of Philips Wire and Cable Corporation as co-plaintiff, and by emanating any mention of the amount of damages in the body of complaint.

RTC directed Manchester to rectify the amended complaint by stating the amounts which they are asking for. It was only then that Manchester specified the amount of damages in the body of complaint in the reduced amount of P10M.

Still, no amount of damages were specified in the prayer. Such amendment was admitted.

Action was not only one for recovery of ownership but also for damages, so that the filing fee for damages should be the basis of assessment.

Although docket fee of P60 was insufficient, SC held that the payment was the result of an honest difference of opinion as to the correct amount to be paid as docket fee.   As such, the court had acquired jurisdiction over the case, and the proceedings thereafter were proper and regular.

Hence, as amended complaint superseded the original complaint, the allegations of damages in the amended complaint should be the basis of the computation of filing fee.

No such honest difference of opinion is possible as the allegations of the complaint, the designation, and the prayer showed clearly that it is an action for damages and specific performance.

The docket fee should be assessed by considering the amount of damages as alleged in the original complaint.

In relation to docket fees as applied in Manchester case:
a) Must it be based in original complaint or in the amended complaint?
b) In which part of the pleading must the amount of damages being prayed for stated?
c) Is the court devoid of jurisdiction for failure to pay the correct docket fees?


1.a) It must be based in the original complaint (as compared from Magaspic case where the docket fee was based from amended complaint due to honest difference of opinion.
1.b) The amount of damages being prayed for must be stated in both the body of the pleading and the prayer. Such amount will be the basis of the filing fees.
1.c) Yes

In Magaspi case, SC declared that a case is deemed filed only upon payment of docket fee regardless of the actual date of filing in court. As such, in Manchester, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case by payment of only P410 as docket fee. Neither the amendment of complaint vested jurisdiction upon the court because in essence, there was no such original complained that was duly filed which could be amended. The orders admitting the amended complaint and all subsequent proceedings and actions taken by the RTC are null and void.

CA was correct in ruling that the basis of assessment of docket fee should be the amount of damages sought in the original complaint and not in the amended complaint.

SC frowns at the practice of counsel who filed the original complaint by omitting any specification of the amount of damages in the prayer, although the real amount is alleged in the body of the complaint. This is clearly intended for no other purpose than to evade the payment of correct filing fees or to mislead the docket clear in the assessment of filing fee. Such fraudulent practice was compounded when Manchester, through another counsel, filed an amended complaint, deleting all mention of the amount of damages being asked for in the body of complaint. It was only when in obedience to the order of the SC that the amount of damages be specified in the amended complaint, that Manchester wrote the damages in a reduced amount in the body of the complaint but not in the prayer thereof. The design to avoid payment of the required docket fee was obvious.

To put a stop to this irregularity, henceforth all complaints, petitions, answers and other similar pleadings should specify the amount of damages being prayed for not only in the body of the pleading but also in the prayer, and said damages shall be considered in the assessment of the filing fees in any case. Any pleading that fails to comply with this requirement shall not be accepted nor admitted, or shall otherwise be expunged from the record.

The Court acquires jurisdiction over any case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fee. An amendment of the complaint or similar pleading will not thereby vest jurisdiction in the Court, much less the payment of the docket fee based on the amounts sought in the amended pleading. The ruling in the Magaspi case in so far as it is inconsistent with this pronouncement is overturned and reversed.

Case Brief: Pepsi-Cola Products v Pagdanganan (Pepsi 349 case)

G.R. No. 167866   October 12, 2006




The respondents filed a complained against petitioners (Pepsi-Cola for brevity) for sum of money and damages.

The issue stemmed from the fact that Pepsi-Cola launched a DTI-approved and supervised under-the-crown promotional campaign entitled “Number Fever” in 1992. They undertook to give away cash prizes to holders of specially marked crowns and resealable caps of Pepsi-Cola softdrink products. Specially marked crowns and resealable caps were said to contain a) a three-digit number, b) a seven-digit alpha-numeric security code, and c) the amount of the cash prize. In doing so, they engaged in the services of a consultancy firm with experience in handling similar promotion, to randomly pre-select 60 winning three-digit numbers with their matching security codes out of 1000 three-digit numbers seeded in the market, as well as the corresponding artworks appearing on a winning crown and/or resealable cap.

On May 1992, Pepsi-Cola announced the notorious three-digit combination “349” as the winning number. On the same night, they learned of reports that numerous people were trying to redeem “349” crowns/caps with incorrect security codes “L-2560-FQ” and “L-3560-FQ.” Upon verification from the list of the 25 pre-selected winning three-digit numbers, Pepsi-Cola and DTI learned that the three-digit combination “349” was indeed the winning combination but the security codes “L-2560-FQ” and “L-3560-FQ” do not correspond to that assigned to the winning number “349”. As “goodwill” however, Pepsi-Cola offered to give the respondents a small sum of money.

Respondents demanded the payment of the corresponding cash prizes, but Pepsi-Cola refused to take heed. This prompted the respondents to file a collective coomplaint for sum of money and damages before the RTC.

RTC dimissed the same for lack of action, holding that the three-digit number must tally with the corresponding security code, and that it was made clear in the advertisements and posters put up by Pepsi-Cola that the defendants must acquire both.

After the motion for reconsideration was denied by the same tribunal, they elevated the case to Court of Appeals, which reversed the RTC’s order. Hence, the appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.



Pepsi-Cola: In the previous Pepsi/”349″ cases, i.e., Mendoza, Rodrigo, Patan, and De Mesa, SC held that both the three-digit number and the security code must be acquired in order for the person to be entitled to such cash prize. Pepsi-Cola raised this, alleging that the principle of stare decisis should have been determinative of the outcome of the case at bar.

Respondents: They justified the non-application of stare decises by stating that it is required that the legal rights and relations of the parties, and the facts, and the applicable laws, the issue, and evidence are exactly the same. They contended that they are not similar nor identical with the previous cases, and that their basis of their action is Breach of Contract whereas the Mendoza case involved complains for Specific Performance.

Whether or not Pepsi-Cola is estopped from raising stare decisis as a defense.



SC held that the cases of Mendoza (and the other previous Pepsi/”349″ cases), including the case at bar, arose from the same set of facts concerning the “Number Fever” promo debacle of Pepsi-Cola. Like the respondents, Mendoza (and the other previous Pepsi/”349″ cases) were also the holders of supposedly-winning crowns, but were not honored for failing to contain the correct security code assigned to such winning combination. In those old cases, SC held that the announced mechanics clearly indicated the need for the authenticated security number in order to prevent tampering or faking crowns; that in those cases, the legal rights and relations of the parties, the facts, the applicable laws, the causes of action, the issues, and the evidence are exactly the same as those preceding cases.

The principle of stare decisis et non quieta movere (to adhere to precedents and not to unsettle things which are established) is well entrenched in Article 8 of the Civil Code, to wit: ART. 8. Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines. When a court has laid down a principle of law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to all future cases where the facts are substantially the same. In the case at bar, therefore, SC had no alternative but to uphold the ruling that the correct security code is an essential, nay, critical, requirement in order to become entitled to the amount printed on a “349” bearing crown and/or resealable cap.

The same judicial principle should also prevent respondents from receiving the money as goodwill compensation, as the respondents rejected the same and that Pepsi-Cola’s offer of small money had long expired.

The doctrine of stare decisis embodies the legal maxim that a principle or rule of law which has been established by the decision of a court of controlling jurisdiction will be followed in other cases involving a similar situation. It is founded on the necessity for securing certainty and stability in the law and does not require identity of or privity of parties.28 This is unmistakable from the wordings of Article 8 of the Civil Code. It is even said that such decisions “assume the same authority as the statute itself and, until authoritatively abandoned, necessarily become, to the extent that they are applicable, the criteria which must control the actuations not only of those called upon to decide thereby but also of those in duty bound to enforce obedience thereto.” Abandonment thereof must be based only on strong and compelling reasons, otherwise, the becoming virtue of predictability which is expected from this Court would be immeasurably affected and the public’s confidence in the stability of the solemn pronouncements diminished.

Case Brief: Escobal v Garchitorena

G.R. No. 124644     Feb. 5, 2004



Hon. Garchitorena


Petitioner 2Lt. Arnel Escobal is a member of the Intellegence Group of the PNP. On March 1990, while he was conducting a surveillance operation on drug trafficking he somehow got involved in a shooting incident resulting to the death of Rodney Nueca.  Thereafter, petitioner was arrested and tried in the RTC of Naga City Branch 21. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the case

Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the case reiterating that since he committed the crime in the performance of his duty, the Sandiganbayan has the exclusive jurisdiction over his case. Thus, the case was transferred to the Sandiganbayan.  However, respondent Justice Garchitorena which is the presiding justice of the case ordered the return of the records and that the case be remanded back to its court of origin, RTC 21.

Petitioner then filed a certiorari.


Whether or not the presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of his discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in remanding the case back to the RTC?


No.  According to the Supreme Court under P.D. 1606 as amended by R.A. 7975, even if the offender committed the crime charged in relation to his office but occupies a position corresponding to the salary grade below 27, the RTC or MTC as the case may be, shall have the exclusive jurisdiction over the case.

Here, the petitioner is occupying a position equivalent to a Police Senior Inspector which has a salary grade of 23 falling short to the requirement of the law, givingthe RTC the exclusive jurisdiction over the case.