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CASE DIGEST: SATURNINO C. OCAMPO v. HON.

On 16 March 2007, petitioner Ocampo filed a special


EPHREM S. ABANDO, et al. From 1985 to 1992, at least 100 people had been civil action for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65
abducted, hog-tied, tortured and executed by members of of the Rules of Court seeking the annulment of the 6
FACTS: the CPP/NPA/NDF pursuant to Operation VD. March 2007 Order of Judge Abando and the Resolution
of Prosecutor Vivero.The petition prayed for the
On 26 August 2006, a mass grave was discovered by On the basis of the 12 letters and their attachments, unconditional release of petitioner Ocampo from PNP
elements of the 43rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Prosecutor Vivero issued a subpoena requiring, among custody, as well as the issuance of a temporary
Army at Sitio Sapang Daco, Barangay Kaulisihan, others, petitioners to submit their counter-affidavits and restraining order/ writ of preliminary injunction to
Inopacan, Leyte.1The mass grave contained skeletal those of their witnesses.Petitioner Ocampo submitted his restrain the conduct of further proceedings during the
remains of 67 individuals believed to be victims of counter-affidavit.Petitioners Echanisand Baylosis did not pendency of the petition.
"Operation Venereal Disease" (Operation VD) launched file counter-affidavits because they were allegedly not
by members of the Communist Party of the served the copy of the complaint and the attached Petitioner Ocampo argued that a case for rebellion
Philippines/New Peoples Army/National Democratic documents or evidence. Counsel of petitioner Ladlad against him and 44 others (including petitioners Echanis
Front of the Philippines (CPP/NPA/NDFP) to purge their made a formal entry of appearance on 8 December 2006 and Baylosisand Ladlad) was then pending before the
ranks of suspected military informers. during the preliminary investigation. However, petitioner RTC Makati, Branch 150 (RTC Makati).Putting forward
Ladlad did not file a counter-affidavit because he was the political offense doctrine, petitioner Ocampo argues
P C/Insp. Almaden of the (PNP) Regional Office 8 and allegedly not served a subpoena. that common crimes, such as murder in this case, are
Staff Judge Advocate Captain Allan Tiu (Army Captain already absorbed by the crime of rebellion when
Tiu) of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army In a Resolution, Prosecutor Vivero recommended the committed as a necessary means, in connection with and
sent 12 undated letters to the Provincial Prosecutor of filing of an Information for 15 counts of multiple murder in furtherance of rebellion.
Leyte through Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Rosulo U. against 54 named members of the CPP/NPA/NDFP,
Vivero (Prosecutor Vivero).The letters requested including petitioners herein While the proceedings were suspended, petitioner
appropriate legal action on 12 complaint-affidavits Echanis was arrested by virtue of the warrant of arrest
attached therewith accusing 71 named members of the Prosecutor Vivero also recommended that Zacarias issued by Judge Abando. On 1 February 2008,
Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Piedad, Leonardo Tanaid, Numeriano Beringuel and petitioners Echanis and Baylosis filed a Motion for
Army/National Democratic Front of the Philippines Glecerio Roluna be dropped as respondents and utilized Judicial Reinvestigation/ Determination of Probable
(CPP/NPA/NDFP) of murder, including petitioners as state witnesses, as their testimonies were vital to the Cause with Prayer to Dismiss the Case Outright and
herein along with several other unnamed members. success of the prosecution. Alternative Prayer to Recall/ Suspend Service of
Warrant.
Also attached to the letters were the affidavits of The Information was filed before the (RTC) of Hilongos,
Zacarias Piedad,Leonardo C. Tanaid, Floro M. Tanaid, Leyte, Branch 18 (RTC Hilongos, Leyte) presided by Judge Abando issued an Order denying the
Numeriano Beringuel, Glecerio Roluna and Veronica P. Judge Ephrem S. Abando (Judge Abando). motion.Petitioners Echanis and Baylosis filed a Motion
Tabara. They narrated that they were former members of for Reconsideration but before being able to rule
the CPP/NPA/NDFP.According to them, Operation VD On 6 March 2007, Judge Abando issued an Order thereon, Judge Abando issued an Order transmitting the
was ordered in 1985 by the CPP/NPA/NDFP Central finding probable cause "in the commission by all records of Criminal Case to the Office of the Clerk of
Committee.Allegedly, petitioners Saturnino C. Ocampo mentioned accused of the crime charged." He ordered Court, RTC Manila.
(Ocampo),Randall B. Echanis (Echanis),Rafael G. the issuance of warrants of arrest against them with no
Baylosis (Baylosis),and Vicente P. Ladlad (Ladlad)were recommended bail for their temporary liberty. Petitioner Ladlad and Baylosis filed an Urgent Motion to
then members of the Central Committee. Fix Bail and a Motion to Allow Petitioner to Post Bail

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respectively.The OSG interposed no objection to the evidence before him if a respondent could not be
grant of aP100,000 cash bail to them. The Court granted subpoenaed. As long as efforts to reach a respondent Petitioner Ocampo alleges that Judge Abando did not
the motions of petitioners Ladlad and Baylosis and fixed were made, and he was given an opportunity to present comply with the requirements of the Constitution in
their bail in the amount ofP100,000, subject to the countervailing evidence, the preliminary investigation finding the existence of probable cause for the issuance
condition that their temporary release shall be limited to remains valid. of warrants of arrest against petitioners.
the period of their actual participation in the peace
negotiations In this case, the Resolution stated that efforts were Probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest has
undertaken to serve subpoenas on the named respondents been defined as "such facts and circumstances which
ISSUE: at their last known addresses. This is sufficient for due would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to
process. It was only because a majority of them could no believe that an offense has been committed by the person
Were petitioners denied due process during longer be found at their last known addresses that they sought to be arrested." Allado v. Diokno, G.R. No.
preliminary investigation and in the issuance of the were not served copies of the complaint and the attached 113630, May 5, 1994.Although the Constitution provides
warrant of arrest? documents or evidence. that probable cause shall be determined by the judge
Should the murder charges against petitioners be after an examination under oath or an affirmation of the
dismissed under the political offense doctrine? Petitioner Ladlad, through his counsel, had every complainant and the witnesses, we have ruled that a
opportunity to secure copies of the complaint after his hearing is not necessary for the determination thereof. In
HELD: counsels formal entry of appearance and, thereafter, to fact, the judges personal examination of the complainant
participate fully in the preliminary investigation. Instead, and the witnesses is not mandatory and indispensable for
A. Preliminary Investigation he refused to participate. determining the aptness of issuing a warrant of arrest.

"The essence of due process is reasonable opportunity to Neither can we uphold petitioner Ocampos contention It is enough that the judge personally evaluates the
be heard and submit evidence in support of one's that he was denied the right to be heard. For him to claim prosecutors report and supporting documents showing
defense." What is proscribed is lack of opportunity to be that he was denied due process by not being furnished a the existence of probable cause for the indictment and,
heard. Thus, one who has been afforded a chance to copy of the Supplemental Affidavit of Zacarias Piedad on the basis thereof, issue a warrant of arrest; or if, on
present ones own side of the story cannot claim denial of would imply that the entire case of the prosecution rested the basis of his evaluation, he finds no probable cause, to
due process. on the Supplemental Affidavit. The OSG has asserted disregard the prosecutor's resolution and require the
that the indictment of petitioner Ocampo was based on submission of additional affidavits of witnesses to aid
Majority of the respondents did not submit their counter- the collective affidavits of several other witnesses him in determining its existence. Delos Santos-Reyes v.
affidavits because they could no longer be found in their attesting to the allegation that he was a member of the Montesa, Jr. 317 Phil. 101
last known address, per return of the subpoenas. On the CPP/NPA/NDFP Central Committee, which had ordered
other hand, Saturnino Ocampo @ Satur, Fides Lim, the launch of Operation VD. The determination of probable cause for the issuance of
Maureen Palejaro and Ruben Manatad submitted their warrants of arrest against petitioners is addressed to the
Counter-Affidavits. However, Vicente Ladlad and B. Issuance of the Warrants of Arrest sound discretion of Judge Abando as the trial judge.
Jasmin Jerusalem failed to submit the required Counter
Affidavits in spite entry of appearance by their Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that ***
respective counsels. "no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except
upon probable cause to be determined personally by the Under the political offense doctrine, "common crimes,
Section 3(d), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, allows judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the perpetrated in furtherance of a political offense, are
Prosecutor Vivero to resolve the complaint based on the complainant and the witnesses he may produce." divested of their character as "common" offenses and

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assume the political complexion of the main crime of
which they are mere ingredients, and, consequently,
cannot be punished separately from the principal offense,
or complexed with the same, to justify the imposition of
a graver penalty." People v. Hernandez, 99 Phil. 515

Any ordinary act assumes a different nature by being


absorbed in the crime of rebellion.Thus, when a killing is
committed in furtherance of rebellion, the killing is not
homicide or murder. Rather, the killing assumes the
political complexion of rebellion as its mere ingredient
and must be prosecuted and punished as rebellion alone.

But when the political offense doctrine is asserted as a


defense in the trial court, it becomes crucial for the court
to determine whether the act of killing was done in
furtherance of a political end, and for the political motive
of the act to be conclusively demonstrated.

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Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Zamboanga Del


Norte v. CA, 401 Phil 905 if during trial, petitioners are
able to show that the alleged murders were indeed
committed in furtherance of rebellion, Section 14, Rule
110 of the Rules of Court provides the remedy of
Amendment or substitution.

Thus, if it is shown that the proper charge against


petitioners should have been simple rebellion, the trial
court shall dismiss the murder charges upon the filing of
the Information for simple rebellion, as long as
petitioners would not be placed in double jeopardy.