G.R. No. 182855, June 05, 2013
MR. ALEXANDER “LEX” ADONIS, REPRESENTED BY THE CENTER FOR MEDIA FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY (CMFR), THROUGH ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MRS. MELINDA QUINTOS-DE JESUS; AND THE NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP), THROUGH ITS CHAIRPERSON, MR. JOSE TORRES, JR., Petitioners, v. SUPERINTENDENT VENANCIO TESORO, DIRECTOR, DAVAO PRISONS AND PENAL FARM, PANABO CITY, DIGOS, DAVAO DEL NORTE, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. - If it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.In the instant case, Adonis was convicted for libel by the RTC Branch 17, in Criminal Case No. 48679-2001. Since his detention was by virtue of a final judgment, he is not entitled to the Writ of Habeas Corpus. He was serving his sentence when the BPP granted him parole, along with six (6) others, on December 11, 2007.19 While it is true that a convict may be released from prison on parole when he had served the minimum period of his sentence; the pendency of another criminal case, however, is a ground for the disqualification of such convict from being released on parole.20 Notably, at the time he was granted the parole, the second libel case was pending before the RTC Branch 14.21 In fact, even when the instant petition was filed, Criminal Case No. 48719-01 was still pending. The issuance of the writ under such circumstance was, therefore, proscribed. There was basis for the respondent to deny his immediate release at that time.
All courts and judges concerned should henceforth take note of the foregoing rule of preference set by the Supreme Court on the matter of the imposition of penalties for the crime of libel bearing in mind the following principles:cralavvonlinelawlibraryA clear reading of the Administrative Circular No. 08-2008 and considering the attendant circumstances of the case, the benefits of the administrative circular can not be given retroactive effect in Criminal Case No. 48679-2001. It is too late in the day for Adonis to raise such argument considering that Criminal Case No. 48679-2001 has already become final and executory; and he had, in fact, already commenced serving his sentence. Eventually, he was released from confinement on December 23, 2008 after accepting the conditions of the parole granted to him.
- This Administrative Circular does not remove imprisonment as an alternative penalty for the crime libel under Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- The Judges concerned may, in the exercise of sound discretion, and taking into consideration the peculiar circumstances of each case, determine whether the imposition of a fine alone would best serve the interests of justice or whether forbearing to impose imprisonment would depreciate the seriousness of the offense, work violence on the social order, or otherwise be contrary to the imperative of justice;chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
- Should only a fine be imposed and the accused be unable to pay the fine, there is no legal obstacle to the application of the Revised Penal Code provision on subsidiary imprisonment.23 (Emphasis ours)
1Rollo, pp. 3-21.cralawlibrary
2 Id. at 36-37.cralawlibrary
3 Id. at 15.cralawlibrary
4 Id. at 4.cralawlibrary
5 Id. at 5.cralawlibrary
7 Id. at 5, 22-23.cralawlibrary
8 Id. at 27-35.cralawlibrary
9 Id. at 24.cralawlibrary
10 Id. at 26.cralawlibrary
11 Id. at 25.cralawlibrary
12 Id. at 6.cralawlibrary
13 Id. at 3-21.cralawlibrary
14 Id. at 62-73.cralawlibrary
15 Id. at 81-85.cralawlibrary
16 Id. at 86-89.cralawlibrary
17 Id. at 92.cralawlibrary
18Fletcher v. Director of Bureau of Corrections, UDK-14071, July 17, 2009, 593 SCRA 265, 270, citing Barredo v. Hon. Vinarao, 555 Phil. 823, 827 (2007).cralawlibrary
19Rollo, pp. 5, 22-23.cralawlibrary
20 Supra note 18, at 271.cralawlibrary
21Rollo, p. 5.cralawlibrary
22 G.R. No. 157643, March 28, 2008, 550 SCRA 132.cralawlibrary
23Rollo, p. 37.