I WON FOR AUSSIE WOMAN VS 2 LIBELS IN LIPA CITY

I WON FOR AUSSIE WOMAN
VS 2 LIBELS IN LIPA CITY

I am sharing this victory of mine in defending a Fil-Aussie woman against libel cases filed against her by somebody over letters she sent to the Office of the President and the Office of then Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jessie Robredo complaining about corruption constituted by violations of the National Building Code, which violations were just allowed by building officials where the alleged violator has strong connections.

What caught the ire of the perceived violator was actually the fact that the Fil-Aussie complained that he even had the gall to pee on her property through a hole in a fence.

I raised the issue that the Lipa City RTC did not have any jurisdiction over the libel cases because the criminal informations did not state that it was in Lipa City where the two letters were printed and first published or that the offended party was a private person residing in Lipa.

The two libel cases were so significant for this Fil-Aussie woman because she was bodily carried by the police when she was arrested by burly police officers who served the warrant for his arrest.

I also raised the issue that liability for a libel crime is personal and if it was President P-Noy and Secretary Robredo who caused her letters to reach Lipa City because the Office of the Ombudsman, acting on the request of the President and the Secretary, furnished the Lipa officials concerned with copies of the letters, then the Fil-Aussie woman cannot be held liable to the acts of the President, Secretary and Ombudsman.

On 31 March 2015, I received a copy of the Order of the RTC of Lipa, Branch 85, Judge Wilfredo P. Castillo dismissing the libel cases.  I am sharing the same to all friends for them to learn some of the rudiments of libel.
















FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO READ MORE, HERE IS A COPY OF THE MOTION TO QUASH THAT I FILED:


Republic of the Philippines
National Judicial Capital Region
Regional Trial Court
Lipa City
Branch 85



PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
                             Plaintiff,


          -versus-                        Crim. Case Nos.0646-2012 & 0647-2012



LORNA SARMIENTO-SNELL,
                             Accused.
x------------------------------------x




Motion to Quash


Accused Lorna Sarmiento-Snell, by the undersigned counsel, respectfully move the Honorable Court to quash the two (2) information sheets for libel.



The Grounds



This motion is filed on the grounds: (1) that the the matters involved are absolutely privileged; (2) that Court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter; and (3) the fact that the two alleged defamatory statements are in one letter only one crime must be had assuming without conceding that the letter-complaint was libelous.



The Discussions


Absolutely privileged


          The subject matter of the case falls within the ABSOLUTE PRIVILEGE MANTLE covering the pleadings submitted to the judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.

          The subject of the instant complaint for two counts of libel is a letter- complaint filed by the accused to the Office of the President in Manila and the Office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Quezon City.

          It is a doctrine established by dozens of jurisprudential rulings that STATEMENTS WRITTEN IN ANY PLEADING FOR COURTS OR FOR QUASI-JUDICIAL BODY ARE ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED AS LONG AS THE STATEMENTS ARE MERELY RELEVANT. 

It is not even required for the statements to be material to be covered by the privilege.

Mere relevance, no matter how littile, is enough for the statements to be protected.

          In this case, THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE STATEMENTS BEING REFERRED TO ARE RELEVANT TO THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE LETTER-COMPLAINT FILED BEFORE THE PRESIDENT AND THE DILG SECRETARY.

          Without doubt, those matters that are deemed by the private complainants as defamatory are relevant to prove the assertions of the accused.  Those matters stated constitutes the proof of ill-motive in order to prove the claims of the accused.

          Ergo, the instant libel complaint must be quashed.

Lack of Jurisdiction


In criminal law, venue is jurisdictional.

          Now, jurisdiction cannot be presumed. They cannot be stipulated by the parties.  It can only be vested by the law.  In this case, jurisdiction as to venue is vested by Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code.

          Further, it is settled that lack of jurisdiction can be raised even after arraignment or anytime during the pendency of the case or even on appeal.

          Article 360 of the RCP vests jurisdiction to hear and decide Libel and other related libel crimes to the trial court of the following:

1.     The RTC of the city or province where the defamatory imputation was printed and first published; or

2.     The RTC of the city or province where the private offended party resided at the time of the commission of the crime; or

3.     The RTC of the city or province where the public officer as offended party held office at the time of the commission of the crime.

In Agbayani vs Sayo, G.R. No. L-47880, April 30, 1979, the Supreme Court laid down the rule to be followed in the writing of criminal informations for libel.

It says that for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction, the informations must state the following jurisdictional facts, which are either:

a.     The city or province where the libel was printed and first published if venue is to be based on this pair of facts, considering that the two facts must exist together due to the conjunction “and”; or

b.    WHETHER the offended party was a private person or a public officer at the time of the commission of the crime and EITHER the city/province of RESIDENCE of the offended party who was a private individual at the time of the commission of the crime of libel OR the city/province where the offended party held office at the time of the commission of the crime if the offended party was a public employee at that time.

If the information for libel or libel-class crimes failed to state the above-said jurisdictional fact, the information is quashed for lack of jurisdiction.

          To be clear, let this holding of the Supreme Court be stated:
In Bonifacio vs RTC of Makati, et al, G.R. No. 184500, May 5, 2010, the Supreme Court reiterated once more Agbayani vs Sayo, to wit:
In order to obviate controversies as to the venue of the criminal action for written defamation, the complaint or information should contain allegations as to whether, at the time the offense was committed, the offended party was a public officer or a private individual and where he was actually residing at that time. Whenever possible, the place where the written defamation was printed and first published should likewise be alleged. That allegation would be a sine qua non if the circumstance as to where the libel was printed and first published is used as the basis of the venue of the action. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
          In the instant Informations, there is nothing stated as to the above-said factual requisites to confer jurisdiction to the instant Court.


General Rules of Criminal Jurisdiction

          Now, it may be said that the instant libel cases involved letter-complaints and that it may be asserted that these are exempt from the coverage of Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code.

          And if it is so, then the general rule of criminal jurisdictional must rely on the theory of territoriality.

          It means, where the crime occurred there it can be tried.

          Now, it is undisputed that the letter-complaint to the President of the Philippines reached first the Malacañang Palace that is in Manila. 

So that if this is the case, the rule that where it was first published, in Malacañang, then it logically follows that the court that has jurisdiction over the instant case covering the letter-complaint to the President must be in Manila City.

It is also undisputed that the letter-complaint addressed to the DILG Secretary was first read in the Office of the DILG Secretary that is in Quezon City.

So that it is undisputed that the libel case owing to the same letter but addressed to the DILG secretary must be tried in Quezon City only.

The prosecution cannot assert that the Lipa court has jurisdiction because the same letters reached the hands of several officials of Lipa City.

But the truth remains that IT WAS NOT THE ACCUSED WHO SENT THE LETTERS TO LIPA BUT THE OFFICIALS IN CHARGE OF ACTING ON THE COMPLAINTS STATED IN THE LETTERS.

Criminal liabilities are personal.  Accused Sarmiento-Snell cannot be held liable for the acts of the Ombudsman and the DILG officials in sending the letters-complaint to Lipa City.  It should be the officials of the Ombudsman and the DILG who should be charged by the private complainants.

And if the private complainants wanted to charge, they must charge the accused before Manila and Quezon City and not in Lipa City where they can enjoy the home court advantage.

          Clearly, the instant libel cases must be quashed, without delay.
One Criminal Resolution


          It is noted that the two pieces of information for libel filed by the Office of the City Prosecutor concern the contents found in only only letter.

          Be it noted that the letter for the President has the same content with the letter to the DILG secretary.

          As such, the two letters were done by the accused when she had that single criminal resolution in mind, assuming without conceding that the two letters-complaint are libels.

          So that only one information must be filed.


The Prayer


          WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court that the instant informations for libel be quashed.

          Other reliefs just and equitable are also prayed for.  October 16, 2013, Manila for Lipa City.
         
RENTA PE CAUSING SABARRE CASTRO & ASSOCIATES
Unit 1, 2368 JB Roxas St. corner Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila
Emails: totocausing@yahoo.com, berteni.causing@gmail.com; Telephone No.: +632-3105521


By:

BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
IBP No. 894664 / 03-20-2012 / Manila
PTR No. 0675267 / 03-27-2012 / Manila
Roll No. 60944/ MCLE Compliance No. IV-0007338, August 10, 2012


Cc:

Office of the City Prosecutor
Hall of Justice, Lipa City

Explanation
Distance and lack of manpower compelled the service of this motion for reconsideration to the other parties by registered mails.

BERTENI C. CAUSING


NOTICE OF HEARING

THE BRANCH CLERK OF COURT
RTC, of Lipa, Branch 85
Hall of Justice, City Hall Compound,
FB Harrison St., Pasay

OFFICE OF THE CITY PROSECUTOR
Hall of Justice, Lipa City

KARENB O. AMURAO-DALANGIN
Counsel for private complainants
2/F J. Humarang Bldg., Ilustre Ave., Lemery, Batangas

Please be notified that the undersigned submits the foregoing motion for the consideration of the Honorable Court on October ___, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.


BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING






HERE IS THE VERY LONG REPLY I WROTE AGAINST THE OPPOSITION OF THE PRIVATE PROSECUTOR:

Republic of the Philippines
Fourth Judicial Region
Regional Trial Court
Lipa City
Branch 85


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
                                                Plaintiff,


            - versus -                               CRIM. CASE NOs. 0646-2012 & 0647-2012


LORNA SARMIENTO-SNELL,     
                                                Accused.
x-------------------------------------------x


Reply to Comment
with
Leave of Court


            The accused, by the undersigned counsel, respectfully files this Reply to the Comment of the private prosecutor and for this the Leave of Court is earnestly being sought.


The Leave of Court


            The accused respectfully seeks the indulgence of the Court to admit this Reply albeit late.

            The undersigned counsel has been so preoccupied with long pleadings for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as well as with trial courts whose deadlines begged to be attended to first. 

            After all, the private prosecutor was also late in filing her Comment that should have been due on October 26, 2013 but was able to do so only on November 4, 2013.

            But the higher interest of justice is the very end of this Reply to the Comment that it needed to be admitted to give light to the arguments being raised by the private prosecutor.

            Let be noted, however, that the Comment was not signed by the public prosecutor, who should first give consent to whatever filings any private prosecutor would do.  It is so raised because the rule that the authority to prosecute criminal cases is lodged in the public prosecutor.

            Nevertheless, the accused is willing to stipulate that the Comment had the implied approval by the public prosecutor and this stands unless the public prosecutor says otherwise.


The Refutations


The Letter is
Absolutely
Privileged


            Contrary to the arguments of the private prosecutor, the two letters addressed to President Aquino and the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo are absolutely privileged.

            They are absolutely privileged and hence cannot serve as a basis for libel action, civil or criminal.

            In matters that are absolutely privileged, there are two parameters: (a) the occasion where the subject speech or communication is used; and (b) the circumstances surrounding the communication.

            As to the word “occasion,” it refers to what occasion is it?  It is an occasion that its purpose by nature can only be served as a matter of policy by unregulated speeches or communications.

            As to the circumstances surrounding the speech, it refers to the circumstances availing in such occasion.

            As in privileged speeches delivered in the halls of the Congress, these can never be effective if the occasion for it is to be regulated that any statement of falsity shall be punished. 

The circumstances show that by the nature of the purpose of the privilege speeches that is for expositions of evils in the government so that the public composed by the citizens will be fully served and be made fully aware of whatever there may be, then it calls for complete immunity to all speeches delivered, even if these are completely malicious. 

For example, it is a must that all evil deeds and schemes are known by the citizens in order to educate the citizenry of the goings on in the government to make them knowledgeable to make intelligent decisions in elections or other democratic actions like rallies, petitions to redress grievances, initiative and referendum or plebiscite.

As a mere creation by the people through their collective will the government must naturally be answerable to its creator, the people.

If privilege speeches are regulated how can this policy purpose or public policy be served? 

The occasion for privilege speeches shows that the State’s indispensable interest as a public policy outweighs whatever injury caused on certain persons, who may be officials or private persons, for the State is always greater than the President, the Vice-President, Senators, Representatives, any other officials or private persons.

With this, it is easy to see that the occasion for the delivery of privilege speeches, including the publications of the reports about the proceedings of such speeches, must be protected absolutely.

Another occasion that can only be served with unregulated speeches or communications is the occasion for judicial proceedings in courts to resolve issues presented therein.

Jurisprudence is abundant to state that all pleadings, affidavits, motions, briefs, memoranda, position papers, or any other paper filed before the courts, and those communications between lawyers or parties of both sides purposed for the settlement or compromise or for discovery procedures, and even meetings between parties are absolutely privileged.

The occasion in judicial proceedings calls for complete truth to be submitted so that the decisions will approximate what is just.   Of course, it is correct to state that truth and justice cannot be arrived at without allowing the participants to speak their mind without fear of getting liable for libel.

Since the only way to truth and justice is to allow the parties to speak freely, it is a must to encourage all parties to speak their mind without fear in the pursuance of these judicial proceedings.  And the only way to encourage is to get the liability away from speaking their minds.

Perhaps, it is necessary to cite a case law in order to increase understanding of the point about the occasion in judicial proceedings.

For this, the case of People of the Philippines vs Atty. Raul Sesbreno, GR No. L-62449, July 16, 1984, is being cited, to wit:

On March 5, 1981, the accused filed a MOTION TO QUASH INFORMATION. The main thrust of the motion is that on the face itself of the information, it is obvious that the allegedly libelous statements imputing that Atty. Ramon B. Ceniza is an irresponsible person, cannot be trusted, like Judas, a liar and irresponsible childish prankster are contained in a pleading filed in court and, therefore, covered by the DOCTRINE OF ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS; hence, no civil or criminal liability can arise therefrom.

A decision was rendered by the court a quo quashing the information and dismissing the case for lack of cause of action. On appeal, the Court of Appeals certified the same to us.

The doctrine of privileged communication that utterances made in the course of judicial proceedings, including all kinds of pleadings, petitions and motions, belong to the class of communications that are absolutely privileged has been expressed in a long line of cases (Us v. Salera, 32 Phil. 365; Us v. Bustos, 37 Phil. 732; Giler v. billiard, 43 Phil. 180; Santiago v. Calvo, 47 Phil. 919; People v. Flores, G.R. No. 7528, Dec. 18, 1957; Tupas v. Parreno, 105 Phil. 1304; Unrep., April 30, 1959; Smith Bell and Co. v. Ellis, 48 Phil. 475; People v. Valerio Andres, 107 Phil. 1046: Sison v. David, 1 SCRA 60; Tolentino v. Baylosis, 1 SCRA 396; People v. Aquino, 18 SCRA 555; Cuenco v. Cuenco, 70 SCRA 235; Elizalde v. Gutierrez, 76 SCRA 448; PCIB v. Philnabank Employees' Association, July 2, 1981, 105 SCRA 314),  The doctrine of privileged communication rests upon public policy, which looks to the free and unfettered administration of justice, though, as an incidental result it may in some instances afford an immunity to the evil disposed and malignant slanderer (People v. Castelo, 4 SCRA 947). While the doctrine is liable to be abuse and its abuse may lead to great hardships, yet to give legal action to such libel suits would give rise to greater hardships. (Tolentino v. Baylosis, supra). The privilege is not intended so much for the protection of those engaged in the public service and in the enactment and administration of law, as for the promotion of the public welfare, the purpose being that members of the legislature, judges of courts, jurors, lawyers, and witnesses may speak their minds freely and exercise their respective functions without incurring the risk of a criminal prosecution or an action for the recovery of damages (Deles v. Aragona, Jr., 27 SCRA 633). Lawyers, most especially, should be allowed a great latitude of pertinent comment in the furtherance of the causes they uphold, and for the felicity of their clients, they may be pardoned some infelicities of language (Deles v. Aragona, supra).

The doctrine of privileged communication, moreover, is explicitly provided for in the Revised Penal Code, as an exception to tile general principle that every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it is true, in the absence of "good intention" and "justifiable motive" (Elizalde v. Gutierrez, supra).

However, this doctrine is not without qualification. Statements made in the course of judicial proceedings are absolutely privileged — that is, privileged regardless of defamatory tenor and of the presence of malice — if the same are relevant, pertinent, or material to the cause in hand or subject of inquiry (Tolentino v. Baylosis, supra; People v. Alvarez, 14 SCRA 901; People v. Aquino, 18 SCRA 555). A pleading must meet the test of relevancy to avoid being considered libelous (Armovit v. Purisima, 118 SCRA 247).

As to the degree of relevancy or pertinency necessary to make alleged defamatory matters privileged, the courts are inclined to be liberal (People v. Alvarez, supra; Malit v. People, 114 SCRA 348). The matter to which the privilege does not extend must be so palpably wanting in relation to the subject matter of the controversy that no reasonable man can doubt its irrelevance and impropriety (Malit v. People, supra). In order that a matter alleged in a pleading may be privileged, it need not be in every case material to the issues presented by the pleadings, It must, however, be legitimately related thereto, or so pertinent to the subject of the controversy that it may become the subject of the inquiry in the course of the trial (Tolentino v. Baylosis, supra; People v. Alvarez, supra).

Similarly, the wisdom is the same behind why there are lawyer-client privilege, priest-confessor privilege, doctor-patient privilege, spousal privilege, etc. That wisdom is that the privilege is the only way for the client to tell the truth to the lawyer, the only way to tell the truth to the priest, the only way to tell the truth to the doctor, the only way to tell the truth to the spouse, etc. With the privilege, it means that the lawyer is not allowed to tell or reveal the secrets of the clients; similar to all others.

This absolute privilege extends to the church brethren complaining against their priest that the brethren cannot be held liable for the contents of their complaint letter to the archbishop of Manila who had the power to investigate, decide the issues and sanction the priest. This is what happened in the case of US vs Canete, et al, GR No. L-11612, June 21, 1918.

This absolute privilege extends to a group of people who filed a complaint-letter against a judge and that letter was addressed to the administrative superior who had authority to investigate, decide the issues against that judge, and sanction the judge.  This is what happened in US vs Bustos, GR No. L-12592, March 8, 1918, where in declaring that the complaints of the accused were absolutely privileged Justice Malcolm stated:

Public policy, the welfare of society, and the orderly administration of government, have demanded protection for public opinion. The inevitable and incontestable result has been the development and adoption of the doctrine of privilege.

"The doctrine of privileged communications rests upon public policy, which looks to the free and unfettered administration of justice, though, as an incidental result, it may in some instances afford an immunity to the evil-disposed and malignant slander." (Abbot vs. National Bank of Commerce, Tacoma [1899], 175 U.S., 409, 411.)

The doctrine of absolutely privileged communication also extends to a private person who wrote two letters to the President of the United States of America detailing numerous details about the character and conduct as well as previous conduct of a nominee to a position of United States Attorney.  The libel filed by the nominee after he was not appointed was struck down because the two letters were ruled to be absolutely privileged.  This is the lesson of David Smith vs Robert McDonald, 895 F.2nd 147, February 2, 1990. (See URL http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/895/147/47133/)

In so ruling, Smith vs McDonald looks at the occasion that calls for exercise of judgment as to who to appoint is classed as a judicial nature in the broader sense, although legal technicality limits judicial functions to courts alone.  The importance of the decision on appointment cannot be underestimated.  The President had the obligation to make the best choice as to who to appoint.  So that there was a compelling reason for the President as the appointing authority to gather all information and welcome all such coming his way for the purpose of giving him a wealth of information upon which to decide who to appoint among the nominees.

In arriving at this conclusion, Smith vs McDonald cited the coverage of the absolute privilege to the following: (a) statements made in the course of administrative proceedings; (b) statements made in evaluating and selecting a nominee for an important public position; (c) statements made by a private citizen’s letter to the federal government employee’s supervisor who was collecting evidence to support a decision to terminate the employee; and (d) statements made by a stockbroker against a corporation seeking to market stock saying, “this company looks like an attempt to bilk the public via the securities market—it has a smell similar to all such.” 

The common thing in all these circumstances of absolute privilege that is not purely judicial is that the occasion calls for the exercise of quasi-judicial discretions, that refer to the action or discretion of public officers required to investigate facts, or ascertain the existence of facts, and draw conclusions therefrom as a basis of official action, and to exercise a discretion that is of a judicial nature.

The bottom line therefore, in the simplest term, if the occasion is one that there is no other way to produce a solution but the reception of speeches or communications that are even to the point with malice that these were false yet the speaker or the communicator spoke or communicated the same despite the knowledge of the falsities, the speeches or communications made are absolutely privileged.

Now, let the present two letters of Mrs. Lorna Sarmiento-Snell be tested against these doctrines announced by the Philippine Supreme Court as well the Federal Court of Appeals of the United States of America.

In sum, the two letters presented facts of her complaints and she sought from the Office of the President the reliefs as stated by her in her prayer portion, to wit:

“In view of this, I am now left with no option but to seek your kind assistance regarding the following:

“1. That the corrugated iron sheet (yero) that was put on the 5th of June 2011 on the 1/3 of the firewall opening be removed ASAP.  This is an unsafe structure.  The strong wind can blow it and break our glass window and cause injury to the occupants of my house.  It shows the insincerity of the words of the City Engineer, as well as the mayor and his entourage.

“2. That the safety, as well as the drainage, of this illegal building be assessed by the proper authorities of the building industry.  The Lipa City Engineer’s Office can’t be trusted.  On the basis of that it is an unsafe structure, it should be demolished ASAP for public safety.  Surely, illegal buildings should not be tolerated.

“3.  Should this illegal building be allowed to remain, I request that I be provided with an official certification regarding its safety, that it conforms with the building requirements of the National Building Code of the Philippines.

“4.  That this firewall opening (where Anoy Malitao urinates and masturbates) be entirely and properly enclosed in accordance with the building requirements (proper hollow blocks and concrete) of the National Building Code of the Philippines. That I be provided with the plans and specifications in this regard because it has been proven that the authorities of the Mayor’s Office, City Engineer’s Office of Lipa City Hall, Marawoy, Lipa City can’t be trusted.

“Thank you very much for your kind assistance in this matter of importance.

“I apologize for the length of this letter.  I couldn’t condense it any further because the issues that I raised in this letter are essential to the case.

“Looking forward to hearing from you. Regards and God bless.

“Yours faithfully,

“(Mrs.) Lorna Sarmiento-Snell.”

There is no dispute that the contents of the letters need investigation to establish the facts and exercise the discretion of judging so that actions or sanctions can be meted out by the Office of the President or the DILG.

True enough, in his exercise of discretion, President Aquino sent his copy of the letter to the Office of the Ombudsman and, in turn, the latter wrote the Office of the City Engineer’s to act on the complaint.

Hence, there is now no issue that THE LETTERS ARE ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS.

Drawing from the doctrine of absolutely privileged communication, the speeches or communications delivered therein lose the status of the privilege if these are not relevant to the issues at hand.

As stated above, while the first parameter of absolute privilege is the existence of the occasion and circumstances that necessitate the cover of absolute privilege, the second parameter needed to keep the privilege is about the circumstances surrounding the communications.

Let’s look at the contents.

To reiterate, reading the two letters of Mrs. Snell show that these have identical contents except for the addressee: in one it had the President of the Philippines as the addressee while in the other it had the late DILG Secretary Jessie Robredo.

Examination of the contents of the two letters—without yet considering that statements about the mentioned acts of Anoy Malitao in urinating and masturbating through the hole in the firewall—readily shows that Mrs. Snell narrated her long-unresolved grievance that started sometime in the period of four years that started on 28 September 2006 “Typhoon Milenyo.”

That problem that she has been crying out for justice is what she told in these letters as the act of Anoy and Melinda Malitao, her immediate neighbors, in building their two-storey concrete structure on of her unsafe fence that was built only as a fence in 1975 and that the fence was not designed to hold the deadweight of the structure concentrated on the line of the same fence.

She narrated in the same letters that for the period of more than one year she had exerted and exhausted all remedies available in Lipa and in the City Hall there but her problem has never been attended to until the very time she wrote the same letters on 29 June 2011 and sent the same, separately, to the President of the Philippines in Malacanang, Manila and to the Secretary of the DILG in Quezon City.

Literally, she had filed before the City Engineer’s Office or the Office of the Building Official her complaint about the said structure and the lack of the corresponding building permit thereof.  In the said complaint, she invokes the high risks the said structure posed on the occupants of her house that is only right next to the Malitao’s, as well as the danger to the public in the event that structure collapses due to weak foundation.  No action was done.

On 1 March 2010 letter, she narrated that she sought the assistance of Atty. Villaruz in arranging a meeting with the City Engineer of Lipa about the 2-story structure of Anoy and Melinda Malitao.  The meeting was set for 5 March 2010 but this never happened because it was boycotted by Chairman Melchor Olan of Barangay Marawoy upon the advice of Spouses Antonio and Sofia Bautista, justice of the peace and treasurer of the said barangay.  She blamed Anoy and Melinda Malitao as the culprit for corrupting the couple.  

UNTIL HERE, ALL THE ALLEGATIONS OF MRS. SNELL ARE WITHOUT DOUBT RELEVANT TO THE ISSUE OF INACTION TO THE COMPLAINT ABOUT THE 2-STORY STRUCTURE. Giving the reasons why the meeting did not push through is without doubt also relevant.  At the same time, giving the reason why the scheduled meeting did not push through as the act of “corrupting” the spouses is no doubt relevant to the issue of the 2-story structure.

Then, Mrs. Snell stated:

“Further, Anoy and Melinda Malitao have boasted that they have nothing to worry about their illegal building as they are influential to the authorities of both the Brgy. Marawoy and Lipa City Hall because most of these authorities are borrowing money from them.  Anoy and Melinda’s business is lending money in a ‘last resort’ (5-6).  They (Anoy and Melinda) have also stated that most of these authorities are their colleagues in the ‘cockfighting’.  If it is the case, then surely, it would be a conflict of interest.”

This particular statement of Mrs. Snell is without doubt related or relevant to the main issue of the 2-story structure having no building permit because this particular statement furnished the evidence of ill-motive as the reason why her complaint had remained not acted upon.

On this score, the Information in Criminal Case No. 0647-2012 must be struck down because it is very clear, as will be explained below, to be relevant to the issues being contained in the letter-complaints sent to the Office of the President and the DILG.

Then Mrs. Snell stated in the same letters that in April of 2010 when she went back to Australia, she was assured by the officials of the City Engineer’s Office that they would have a thorough investigation and inspection of this illegal building.  She added that the City Engineer’s Office also gave her assurance that they would entirely and properly enclose the firewall opening of the same illegal building with the proper building requirement (hollow blocks and concrete) as it was wrong for a firewall to have an opening.  She added that it was emphasized that it would be enclosed because Anoy and Melinda, as well as the occupants of their apartments, were throwing their laundry water into her property through this firewall opening.  She said that to maintain peace, she put trust in the City Engineer’s Office and gave them ample time to make good with the promise.  BUT STILL, NOTHING HAD BEEN DONE UNTIL THIS POINT.  There is no doubt that these are relevant to the issue of why the issue of safety and security caused by the 2-story building had never been acted upon.  As will be explained below, this is an absolute privilege.

Further, Mrs. Snell stated:

“However, I learned that nothing had been done. Moreover, Anoy Malitao who is a ‘pig, sex-maniac, exhibitionist’ (my apology for my language), knowing that he can get away of all his wrongdoings abuses my generosity…he urinates into my backyard through this firewall opening and masturbates (my apology again…it is sickening!,…he should be locked in) at this firewall opening which upsets the dog in my backyard at 3:00 o’clock in the morning.”

This statement is no doubt still relevant to the issue why the 2-story problem had remained not acted upon and to the problem of the opening of the firewall.   

The act of urinating and masturbating emphasized the point of Mrs. Snell to the Office of the President and the DILG Secretary that there was an immediate need to enclose the said opening.

Additionally, these allegations of urinating and masturbating showed the legitimate point of Mrs. Snell that this Anoy was too powerful, influential and arrogant in Lipa City that his acts of peeing and masturbating manifested a behavior and boastfulness that nothing will happen to her complaint because he controlled the City Hall and the Barangay officials. 

In other words, in her bid to convince the President of the Philippines and the DILG Secretary to act on her complaint, she used these statements of exceeding immoral acts of Anoy, although admittedly it is intemperate, to stress the gravity of the problem that it cannot be resolved by the local officials of Lipa and that it required national intervention.

As will be stated below, this statement is also absolutely privileged.

At the same time, Mrs. Snell stated in the letters that she wrote to the Lipa City Mayor, Mr. Meynard Sabili, and this letter was dated 29 March 2011.  Then she said she went to the Philippines again for a visit.  On 18 April 2011, she said she had a meeting with the Chief of Staff, Atty. Macasaet, who advised her that her letter had already been forwarded to the new City Legal Officer, Atty. Mauhay, for his decision. She was then asked by Atty. Macasaet to see Atty. Mauhay on that same day but she was not able to see the latter because she was just asked to wait outside the office of Atty. Mauhay.  Thereafter, she said that she was advised by Atty. Mauhay to proceed to the City Engineer’s Office to get the report, only to be told there was no report.  Thereafter, she said she made numerous phone calls and text messages to Atty. Macasaet and Nahnie Virrey inquiring about the progress, but nothing happened.  She also stated in the letters that on 11 May 2011 she called up the office of Atty. Mauhay and she spoke to a staffer named Irene Lalusin where she learned that her 29 March 2011 letter was not in the list of their incoming communications so she could not advise her of the progress thereof.   She said she also requested for a return call but there was none that came.  

Thereafter, Mrs. Snell stated in the same letters that she sought an appointment with Mayor Sabili and she was booked on 13 May 2011 at 11:00 a.m.  But it was already 3:30 pm and she was not called as she was made to wait.  It was then that she discovered that her 29 March 2011 letter was thrown to the garbage.

At this point, Mrs. Snell complained in the same letters to the President and the DILG Secretary that she got tired of the things being made difficult for her.

To cut the long letter short, all narrations that followed are about narration of difficulties that until the very time these letters for the President and the DILG Secretary were written nothing happened.

Therefore, it is pretty clean to see that Mrs. Snell had been too diligent, prudent and always in good faith in seeking justice out of that 2-story problem but she had never been given any solution.

In sum, all the contents of the letter-complaints acted upon by the Office of the President and the DILG Secretary are without doubt relevant to the issues brought forth in the same letter-complaints.

ERGO, the instant communications are ABSOLUTELY PRIVILEGED.


No more need for trial
to see the letters as
absolutely privileged        


Contrary to the assertions of the private prosecutor, it is actually plain to see on the face of the letters that the contents therein are in the nature that the issues raised by the complaint need investigation and the exercise of quasi-judicial action.

At the same time, it is also patent on the face of the complaint-letters that the contents, including those cited in the two informations for libel, are relevant to the issue of why the 2-story structure complaint must be acted upon and why the opening in the firewall must be enclosed due to the immoral acts of urinating through that opening and masturbating there.

And while the undersigned respects that prosecutor in the exercise of its power to determine probable cause for libel, it is only for the purpose of deciding whether to file an information in court or not.  The function of the court, as dictated by the well-entrenched rule established by Crespo vs Mogul, GR No. L-53373, June 30, 1987, is to determine probable cause whether the case filed by the prosecutor has sufficient merit to be fair enough to sacrifice the presumption of innocence and to put the accused to prejudices.  The moment it is apparent that prejudice of trial is undue, as in where there is no WELL-FOUNDED BELIEF, to repeat, the belief must be WELL-FOUNDED, as the yardstick or measurement of evidence to be fair in hailing people to the court to undergo the prejudicial public trial, and in causing costs for lawyers and other expenses.

In other words, the Courts are dictated by the conscience of men to be careful in weighing whether the evidence submitted by the prosecution can never be revolting in sacrificing the accused to compel the latter to undergo prejudicial public trial and to suffer costs that are prohibitive in the case of Mrs. Snell because she has to travel between Australia and the Philippines if only this case is pursued.

The best and the fairest measurement of judicial probable cause is one based on the existence of prima facie evidence.

There is prima facie evidence when the evidence of a proposed fact can be sufficient to prove such proposed fact when not controverted by contrary evidence.

In the instant case, even without the evidence of Mrs. Snell, the proposal of the prosecutor that there is libel is exceedingly infirm, null and void.

There is no need for a magic wand or a power of Solomon to see that there is no prima facie evidence to begin with.  How can there be prima facie evidence of libel when it is clearly seen that the subject words being impugned are clearly absolutely privileged and all the statements are relevant to the issues of the unsafe 2-story structure and the opening on the firewall.

Libel has four (4) elements: (a) defamation; (b) identification of the target of the defamation; (c) malice; and (d) publication.

Talking of defamation, we concede that the words cited by the prosecution were defamatory and that the subject thereof were identified as Any and Melinda Malitao.

But there is no evidence submitted whether the same was published in Lipa City in order to confer jurisdiction on the RTC of Lipa.

On this score alone as to where should the crime of libel, assuming without admitting, be deemed to have occurred, the prosecution has no single evidence to show.  It is “zero.”

And if there is no evidence of the place of occurrence of the crime of libel, then it can never be said that there is prima facie evidence or even probable cause that the alleged crimes of libel occurred in Lipa City.

To the contrary, the evidence of the prosecution shows that the letters were received by President Aquino in Malacanang, Manila and by Robredo in Quezon City. 

In cases of letters, the publication thereof is deemed where it was opened and read.  So that the occurrence of libel must be deemed to be in Manila and Quezon City and NOT in Lipa City.

Letters are not covered by Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code because this article applies only to newspapers, serials, books and pamphlet.

Letters cannot be classified as a newspaper, a serial or a book or a pamphlet.

And there is also no evidence submitted to at least show a probable cause for the existence of actual malice, the kind of malice that is allowed in libel when the matter is at least qualifiedly privileged communication. 

Malice in this case, refers to the circumstance by which the imputations that are defamatory were false and that Mrs. Snell knew these were false before writing the letters.

Be it noted that Anoy and Melinda Malitao did not submit any evidence to show that they are not engaged in 5-6 lending and that it was not true that Anoy urinated and masturbated at the opening of the firewall.

So that even if it be conceded that the letters are only a qualifiedly-privileged communication, there is no probable cause of actual malice because the accusers did not submit any evidence that the defamatory imputations were false.

What is important, anyway, is that there are no any evidence showing that the items cited in the two criminal informations were not relevant to the issue of the 2-story structure and the opening in the firewall where Anoy peed and masturbated.


RTC of Lipa has
no jurisdiction


            The first statements in the two informations state: “That on or about 29th day of June, 2011 at Lipa City, Philippines…”

            This presupposes that on this day, the crimes of libel occurred in Lipa City.

            This betrays the prosecution.

            Even the prosecution that used the two letters should know that based on the letters they used as evidence, the date of writing on 29 June 2011 was done in Maclean, New South Wales, Australia.

            Now, the prosecutor’s office and the Court can take judicial notice of the distance between Lipa and Maclean, New South Wales and that it would take almost ONE MONTH FOR THE LETTERS TO ARRIVE IN THE PHILIPPINES.

            True enough, the same letters used by the prosecution in alleging that the crime of libel occurred in Lipa on 29 June 2012 shows that it is stamped as “RECEIVED” by Malacanang on JULY 18, 2010.

            In short, THERE WAS NO CRIME OF LIBEL THAT TOOK PLACE IN LIPA CITY ON JUNE 29, 2011 in so far as Mrs. Snell is concerned.

            So that even if we concede that the arrival of the letters in Manila and Quezon City occurred in July of 2011, then crimes of libel can be deemed to have occurred only in July of 2011—not 29 June 2011.

            So that when there was no crime of libel, then the RTC of Lipa has no jurisdiction.


            Let us assume, Article 360 of the RPC applies.

            If that is so, it is noted that the private prosecution agreed that the present two informations for libel suffer from the defect of failing to mention the residence of the offended parties.

Jurisdiction cannot be presumed. They cannot be stipulated by the parties.  It can only be vested by the law.  In this case, jurisdiction as to venue is vested by Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code.

            Also, it is settled that lack of jurisdiction can be raised even after arraignment or anytime during the pendency of the case or even on appeal.

            Article 360 of the RCP vests jurisdiction to hear and decide Libel and other related libel crimes to the trial court of the following:

1.     The RTC of the city or province where the defamatory imputation was printed and first published; or

2.     The RTC of the city or province where the private offended party resided at the time of the commission of the crime; or

3.     The RTC of the city or province where the public officer as offended party held office at the time of the commission of the crime.

In Agbayani vs Sayo, G.R. No. L-47880, April 30, 1979, the Supreme Court laid down the rule to be followed in the writing of criminal informations for libel.

It says that for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction, the informations must state the following jurisdictional facts, which are either:

a.     The city or province where the libel was printed and first published if venue is to be based on this pair of facts, considering that the two facts must exist together due to the conjunction “and”; or

b.     WHETHER the offended party was a private person or a public officer at the time of the commission of the crime and EITHER the city/province of RESIDENCE of the offended party who was a private individual at the time of the commission of the crime of libel OR the city/province where the offended party held office at the time of the commission of the crime if the offended party was a public employee at that time.

If the information for libel or libel-class crimes failed to state the above-said jurisdictional fact, the information is quashed for lack of jurisdiction.

            To be clear, let this holding of the Supreme Court be stated:
In Bonifacio vs RTC of Makati, et al, G.R. No. 184500, May 5, 2010, the Supreme Court reiterated once more Agbayani vs Sayo, to wit:
In order to obviate controversies as to the venue of the criminal action for written defamation, the complaint or information should contain allegations as to whether, at the time the offense was committed, the offended party was a public officer or a private individual and where he was actually residing at that time. Whenever possible, the place where the written defamation was printed and first published should likewise be alleged. That allegation would be a sine qua non if the circumstance as to where the libel was printed and first published is used as the basis of the venue of the action. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
           
In the instant Informations, there is nothing stated as to the above-said factual requisites to confer jurisdiction to the instant Court.

            Now, if we were to apply the rule of first publication and place of printing, it is very clear from the evidence of the prosecution that the first reading of the letters occurred on July 18, 2011 in Malacanang, Manila and in Quezon City.  So that the instant libel should be filed there if this is the rule to be followed and if Article 360 of the RCP applies although letters are not newspapers or book or pamphlet.

            But the problem of the prosecution is compounded because it is not stated in the informations here.

            Now, assuming the rule applicable to private persons as offended party, the statement in the informations for libel must narrate the residence of the offended party and stated whether the offended party was a private person at the time of the occurrence of the libel.

            But it is also clear that the instant informations for libel do not state the character of the offended party whether private persons at the time of the occurrence of libel and it did not also state the residence of the offended party when the libel occurred.

            Ergo, it is very clear that the two informations for libel must be QUASHED.


Amendment cannot
cure informations


            It has been held by the Supreme Court that amendments by adding the jurisdictional facts cannot be allowed.

            In this case, the private prosecutor admitted in its Comment that the two informations for libel do not state the jurisdictional facts.

            However, the private prosecutor is proposing to cure the defect by amending the two informations for libel to state the fact of residence and the fact of the offended parties being private persons at the time of the publication of the two letters.

            This proposition of the private prosecution cannot stand.

This is so because in the instant case the theory of defense of Mrs. Snell that there is lack of jurisdiction will be altered if the two informations for libel will be allowed to be cured.

Section 14 of Rule 110 allows amendment of the information when it is a matter of form or substance without leave of court before the arraignment. The same provision allows amendment after arraignment only on form when leave of court is granted and when it cannot prejudice the accused. Substantive amendment cannot be done anymore when arraignment is already done because it prejudices the accused.

In People vs Casey, G.R. L-30146, February 24, 198, the Supreme Court put a test guideline in determining whether the amendment prejudices the accused, in this wise:

The test as to whether a defendant is prejudiced by the amendment of an information has been said to be whether a defense under the information as it originally stood would be available after the amendment is made, and whether any evidence defendant might have would be equally applicable to the information in the one form as in the other. A look into Our jurisprudence on the matter shows that an amendment to an information introduced after the accused has pleaded not guilty thereto, which does not change the nature of the crime alleged therein, does not expose the accused to a  charge which could call for a higher penalty, does not affect the essence of the offense or cause surprise or deprive the accused of an opportunity to meet the new averment had each been held to be one of form and not of substance – not prejudicial to the accused, and therefore, not prohibited by Section 13, Rule 110 (now Section 14) of the Revised Rules of Court.

In the instant case, the original informations cannot put the accused, Mrs. Snell, to prejudice because they do not confer jurisdiction and therefore cannot pose any threat that Mrs. Snell will be convicted.  And precisely, if these informations go to trial, the same defense will be used by the undersigned counsel.

But if the original informations are to be amended to state now the fact of residence of the offended party and the fact of their being private persons, Mrs. Snell now can be convicted and the undersigned cannot anymore use the theory of lack of jurisdiction as the defense.

So that the proposal of the private prosecutor to amend the instant informations CANNOT BE DONE.


One criminal resolution theory


            To push the argument that the instant libel informations should be dealt with only as one crime, it suffices to cite the case of Miriam Defensor Santiago vs Francis Garchitorena, GR No. 109266, December 2, 1993, to wit:

Re: Delito continuado

Be that as it may, our attention was attracted by the allegation in the petition that the public prosecutors filed 32 Amended Informations against petitioner, after manifesting to the Sandiganbayan that they would only file one amended information (Rollo, pp. 6-61). We also noted that petitioner questioned in her opposition to the motion to admit the 32 Amended Informations, the splitting of the original information (Rollo, pp. 127-129). In the furtherance of justice, we therefore proceed to inquire deeper into the validity of said plant, which petitioner failed to pursue with vigor in her petition.

We find that, technically, there was only one crime that was committed in petitioner's case, and hence, there should only be one information to be file against her.

The 32 Amended Informations charge what is known as delito continuado or "continued crime" and sometimes referred to as "continuous crime."

In fairness to the Ombudsman's Office of the Special Prosecutor, it should be borne in mind that the concept of delito continuado has been a vexing problem in Criminal Law — difficult as it is to define and more difficult to apply.

According to Cuello Calon, for delito continuado to exist there should be a plurality of acts performed during a period of time; unity of penal provision violated; and unity of criminal intent or purpose, which means that two or more violations of the same penal provisions are united in one and same instant or resolution leading to the perpetration of the same criminal purpose or aim
(II Derecho Penal, p. 520; I Aquino, Revised Penal Code, 630, 1987 ed.).

According to Guevarra, in appearance, a delito continuado consists of several crimes but in reality there is only one crime in the mind of the perpetrator (Commentaries on the Revised Penal Code, 1957 ed., p. 102; Penal Science and Philippine Criminal Law, p. 152).

Padilla views such offense as consisting of a series of acts arising from one criminal intent or resolution (Criminal Law, 1988 ed. pp. 53-54).

Applying the concept of delito continuado, we treated as constituting only one offense the following cases:

(1) The theft of 13 cows belonging to two different owners committed by the accused at the same time and at the same period of time (People v. Tumlos, 67 Phil. 320 [1939] ).

(2) The theft of six roosters belonging to two different owners from the same coop and at the same period of time (People v. Jaranillo, 55 SCRA 563 [1974] ).

(3) The theft of two roosters in the same place and on the same occasion (People v. De Leon, 49 Phil. 437 [1926] ).

(4) The illegal charging of fees for services rendered by a lawyer every time he collects veteran's benefits on behalf of a client, who agreed that the attorney's fees shall be paid out of said benefits (People v. Sabbun, 10 SCRA 156 [1964] ). The collection of the legal fees were impelled by the same motive, that of collecting fees for services rendered, and all acts of collection were made under the same criminal impulse (People v. Lawas, 97 Phil. 975 [1955] ).

On the other hand, we declined to apply the concept to the following cases:

(1) Two estafa cases, one of which was committed during the period from January 19 to December 1955 and the other from January 1956 to July 1956 (People v. Dichupa, 113 Phil. 306 [1961] ). The said acts were committed on two different occasions.

(2) Several malversations committed in May, June and July, 1936, and falsifications to conceal said offenses committed in August and October 1936. The malversations and falsifications "were not the result of only one purpose or of only one resolution to embezzle and falsify . . ." (People v. Cid, 66 Phil. 354 [1938] ).

(3) Two estafa cases, one committed in December 1963 involving the failure of the collector to turn over the installments for a radio and the other in June 1964 involving the pocketing of the installments for a sewing machine (People v. Ledesma, 73 SCRA 77 [1976] ).

(4) 75 estafa cases committed by the conversion by the agent of collections from customers of the employer made on different dates (Gamboa v. Court of Appeals, 68 SCRA 308 [1975]).

The concept of delito continuado, although an outcry of the Spanish Penal Code, has been applied to crimes penalized under special laws, e.g. violation of R.A. No. 145 penalizing the charging of fees for services rendered following up claims for war veteran's benefits (People v. Sabbun, 10 SCRA 156 [1964] ).

Under Article 10 of the Revised Penal Code, the Code shall be supplementary to special laws, unless the latter provide the contrary. Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may be applied in a supplementary capacity to crimes punished under special laws.

The question of whether a series of criminal acts over a period of time creates a single offense or separate offenses has troubled also American Criminal Law and perplexed American courts as shown by the several theories that have evolved in theft cases.

The trend in theft cases is to follow the so-called "single larceny" doctrine, that is, the taking of several things, whether belonging to the same or different owners, at the same time and place constitutes but one larceny. Many courts have abandoned the "separate larceny doctrine," under which there is a distinct larceny as to the property of each victim. Also abandoned was the doctrine that the government has the discretion to prosecute the accused or one offense or for as many distinct offenses as there are victims (annotation, 37 ALR 3rd 1407, 1410-1414).

The American courts following the "single larceny" rule, look at the commission of the different criminal acts as but one continuous act involving the same "transaction" or as done on the same "occasion" (State v. Sampson, 157 Iowa 257, 138 NW 473; People v. Johnson, 81 Mich. 573, 45 NW 1119; State v. Larson, 85 Iowa 659, 52 NW 539).

An American court held that a contrary rule would violate the constitutional guarantee against putting a man in jeopardy twice for the same offense (Annotation, 28 ALR 2d 1179). Another court observed that the doctrine is a humane rule, since if a separate charge could be filed for each act, the accused may be sentenced to the penitentiary for the rest of his life (Annotation, 28 ALR 2d 1179).

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 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.

At the hearing of the motion for a bill of particulars, the public prosecutors manifested that they would file only one amended information embodying the legalization of stay of the 32 aliens. As stated in the Order dated November 12, 1992 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division):

On the matter of the Bill of Particulars, the prosecution has conceded categorically that the accusation against Miriam Defensor Santiago consists of one violation of the law represented by the approval of the applications of 32 foreign nationals for availment (sic) of the Alien Legalization Program. In this respect, and responding directly to the concerns of the accused through counsel, the prosecution is categorical that there will not be 32 accusations but only one . . . (Rollo, p. 59).

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. The Sandiganbayan in its Order dated November 13, 1992 stated as follows:

. . . Equally, the prosecution has stated that insofar as the damage and prejudice to the government is concerned, the same is represented not only by the very fact of the violation of the law itself but because of the adverse effect on the stability and security of the country in granting citizenship to those not qualified (Rollo, p. 59).

WHEREFORE, the Resolution dated March 3, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division) is AFFIRMED and its Resolution dated March 11, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 is MODIFIED in the sense that the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman is directed to consolidate the 32 Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos. 18371 to 18402) into one information charging only one offense under the original case number, i.e., No. 16698. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on March 25, 1993 is LIFTED insofar as to the disqualification of Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena is concerned.

SO ORDERED.


            ERGO, granting arguendo that the instant libel cases were to be given imprimatur to continue, it is settled that only one information can be filed.



The Prayer



            ALL TOLD, it is respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court that the two informations for libel in this case be QUASHED.

            Other reliefs just and equitable are also prayed for.  Manila for Lipa City.  December 17, 2013.


            RENTA PE CAUSING SABARRE CASTRO & ASSOCIATES
Unit 1, 2368 JB Roxas St. corner Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila
Emails: totocausing@yahoo.com, berteni.causing@gmail.com; Tel:: +632-3105521


By:

BERTENI CATALUÑA CAUSING
IBP No. 876498 / Manila IV / 10-01-2013
PTR No. 1435314 / Manila / 10-01-2013
Roll No. 60944 / MCLE No. IV -0007338 / 08-10-2012 

Cc:

OFFICE OF THE CITY PROSECUTOR
Hall of Justice of Lipa City
City Hall Compound, Lipa City


KAREN O, AMURAO-DALANGIN
Counsel for the private complainants
Amurao Law Offices
2/F J. Humarang Bldg., Ilustre Ave., Lemery, Batangas
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