Home of ChanRobles Virtual Law Library

 

Home of Chan Robles Virtual Law Library

www.chanrobles.com

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 45354. June 29, 1937. ]

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DEOGRACIAS CARIAGA, Defendant-Appellant.

Josue Soncuya for Appellant.

Undersecretary of Justice Melencio for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. CRIMINAL LAW; PLEA OF GUILTY; STATEMENT IN THE JUDGMENT OF PLEA OF THE ACCUSED TO THE INFORMATION. — The statement in the judgment that the accused had been arraigned and that he pleaded guilty is sufficient compliance with the provisions of sections 16 and 25 of General Orders, No. 58, inasmuch as it may be presumed from said statement that the law has been obeyed by causing the accused to appear before the court, and it is shown thereby that he has really been arraigned, his plea entered personally being that of guilty.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; A CONCLUSION IS AN AVERMENT OR DENIAL. — Generally a conclusion is the averment or denial of a fact deduced from some evidence, or the averment or denial of a point of law derived from a law or principle of law. The court’s averment in the judgment that the accused was arraigned and that he pleaded guilty, is not a conclusion but a positive statement of facts.

3. ID; RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED TO HAVE COUNSEL. — The fact that the record fails to disclose affirmatively that the judge advised the accused of his right to have counsel does not constitute a reversible error (People v. Lim Tiam, G. R. No. 44936, October 31, 1936; People v. Del Rosario, G. R. No. 44239, January 8, 1936).

4. ID.; HABITUAL DELINQUENCY; INSUFFICIENCY OF THE ALLEGATIONS. — Although the appellant has not raised any question relative to his habitual delinquency, which has been taken into consideration by the court may, in justice to him refrain from taking said circumstance into consideration in this case on the ground that the allegations of the complaint that the accused had already been previously convicted twice of the same crime of theft, to wit: on October 6, 1933, one month and one day, and on November 3, 1933, one month and one day, are insufficient, in accordance with the doctrine laid down in the case of People v. Venus ([1936], 63 Phil., 435), and in other subsequent cases decided by this court.


D E C I S I O N


CONCEPCION, J.:


This an appeal taken by the accused from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila, sentencing him for the crime of theft to one month and one day of arresto mayor, to indemnify the offended party in the sum of P1.20, with the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to the additional penalty of two years, four months and one day of prision correccional, the accused being a habitual delinquent, with costs.

The appellant assigns the following alleged errors as committed by the trial court, to wit: (1) having found him guilty of the crime with which he had been charged; (2) having sentenced him to the above- stated penalty, and (3) not having dismissed the case.

The first assignment of alleged error is based upon the fact that the appealed judgment states: "Upon arraignment, he entered a plea of guilty." The appellant, without denying the fact itself, contends that the record does not show when, where or how he was arraigned. According to him, neither does it appear of record that he was waived the right to be arraigned. However, this court is of the opinion that the statement in the judgment that the accused had been arraigned and that he pleaded guilty is sufficient compliance with the provisions of sections 16 and 25 of General Orders, No. 58, inasmuch as it may be presumed from said statement that the law has been obeyed by causing the accused to appear before the court, and it is shown thereby that he has really been arraigned, his plea entered personally being that of guilty. All this is not a mere conclusion as the appellant gratuitously contends, because this court is of the opinion that generally a conclusion is the averment or denial of a fact deduced from some evidence, or the averment or denial of a point of law derived from a law or principle of law. In this case, however, the court’s averment in the judgment that the accused was arraigned and that he pleaded guilty, is not a deduction or consequence of an evidence, legal provision or principle of law, but a positive statements of facts.

What difference would it make if the court, after hearing the accused pleaded guilty upon arraignment, stated such facts in the judgment rendered immediately, in open court and in the presence of said accused, or caused said arraignment and plea of the accused to be stated in the minutes? Absolutely none. What is important and essential is that the accused be arraigned and that he enter his plea. It is immaterial how or in what manner such facts are stated. For legal purposes, it makes no difference whether they appear in the minutes or in the judgment itself.

The other error assigned by the appellant refers to alleged lack of compliance with the provisions of section 15 of General Orders, No. 58, inasmuch as, according to him, the record fails to show that he was given the opportunity to appear and defend himself by counsel. The presumption, however, is that the law has been obeyed. Furthermore, the fact that the record fails to disclose affirmatively that the judge advised the accused of his right to have counsel does not constitute a reversible error (People v. Lim Tiam, G. R. No. 44936, October 31, 1936; People v. Del Rosario, G. R. No. 44239, 62 Phil., 975).

Although the appellant has not raised any question relative to his habitual delinquency, which has been taken into consideration by the court in imposing upon him an additional penalty, this court is of the opinion, in justice to him that said circumstance should not be taken into consideration in this case on the ground that the allegations of the complaint that the accused had already been previously convicted twice of the same crime of theft, to wit: on October 6, 1933, one month and one day, and on November 3, 1933, one month and one day, are sufficient, in accordance with the doctrine laid down in the case of People v. Venus ([1936], 63 Phil., 435), and in other subsequent cases decided by this court. However, as the aggravating circumstance of recidivism, compensated by the mitigating circumstance of plea of guilty, should be taken into consideration, and taking into account the fact that the value of the thing stolen was P1.20, modifying the appealed judgment, and pursuant to the provisions of article 309, subsection 6, of the Revised Penal Code, the accused is sentenced to the medium period of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods, that is, two months and one day of arresto mayor, to indemnify the offended party in the sum of P1.20, with the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Imperial, Diaz and Laurel, JJ., concur.

_________

RESOLUTION ON MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

July 20, 1937.

CONCEPCION, J.:



There is before this court a motion filed by the accused praying for the reconsideration of the judgment rendered in this appeal.

The appealed judgment begins as follows: "The defendant is charged with the crime of theft. Upon arraignment he entered a plea of guilty." In the brief filed by him, the accused contended that "the record tells nothing when, where or how the arraignment was made." Now the appellant, in his motion, goes farther and avers that the above- quoted statement of the judge "not only is not proven, but is false." The motion is not supported by any oath and to verify the sufficiently serious averment made by the appellant, this court has re-examined the record of this case and found:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

1. That at the foot of the information filed in the municipal court, which is the same used in the Court of first Instance, there appears the printed word "Plea" followed by the words "not guilty" written in ink, that is, the plea entered by the accused upon arraignment in the municipal court. The word "guilty" in red pencil appears written the words "not guilty." This note or memorandum must have been made by Judge Sabino Padilla’s clerk immediately after the appellant had been arraigned in the Court of First Instance of Manila. This court’s opinion is corroborated by the fact that on the cover of the record of this case, the word "Oct." appears written after the printed words "Date of pleading" and is followed by numerals "20/36" in red pencil, representing the date of the appealed judgment. Furthermore:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

2. On page 18 of the record, there is a copy of the letter addressed to the clerk of this court by J. Recuenco, deputy clerk of the branch presided over by Judge Padilla, stating: ". . . Said defendant (the herein appellant) is now confined in jail and pleaded guilty upon being arraigned of the complaint." (Italics ours.) Therefore, the averment to the effect that the above-cited statement made by the judge in the judgment is false, is entirely uncalled for.

3. The appellant absolutely discredits said, statement of the judge and is searching the record for evidence in support thereof, without taking into consideration the fact that under section 18 of General Orders, No. 58, "The arraignment must be made by the court or clerk . . . ." If the judge may arraign the accused, it necessarily follows that when said judge states in the judgment that "upon arraignment he entered the plea of guilty", he had arraigned the appellant. The judge may state such facts in the judgment and his statement on said matter requires no evidence in order to be taken into account as a true fact.

4. The statement of the judge relative to arraignment has so much weight that in case of discrepancy with the minutes of the clerk of court, the word of the judge prevails (U. S. v. Dineros, 18 Phil., 566).

This court considers it very plausible for an attorney for the defense to show much zeal and spare no effort to save the accused, whom he represents, from conviction, but everything has its limits. The attorney cannot disregard the record of the case and ignore the law in order to make so imprudent an averment as he has done in the present case. Such behavior provokes in the court a reaction adverse to praise and applause, deserving at least an admonition.

The motion is denied. So ordered.

Avanceña, C.J., Villa-Real, Abad Santos, Imperial and Diaz, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions


LAUREL, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

I concur in the rejection of the motion for reconsideration and no more. On reading the motion I do not think that a situation has arisen calling for admonition to counsel de oficio in this case.

HomeJurisprudenceSupreme Court Decisions1917 : Philippine Supreme Court DecisionsFebruary 1917 : Philippine Supreme Court DecisionsTop of Page