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[ GR No. L-10971, Nov 28, 1959 ]



106 Phil. 572

[ G.R. No. L-10971, November 28, 1959 ]




Respondents Urbano Jaca, Bonifacio Jaca and Go Bian Ling were charged by the petitioners before the Court of First  Instance  of Davao with a violation of the Anti-Dummy Law, C.  A.  No. 108 as amended, in relation to Sections 1 and 5  of Article 13 of the Constitution.  At the initial stages of the trial, the petitioner tried to prove that during the years 1949-1955,  said respondents were members of the partnership Victor Erickson and Company which did business under the trade name of Mindanao Hardwood Lumber Company and  of which, respondent Go Bian Ling, an alien, was the manager; that said lumber company was engaged in the manufacture of  lumber from the forest or timber  concession of respondent  Urbano Jaca; that during the years 1949-1950 the production of said company in the form of third and fourth class lumber amounted to about  150,000  board feet monthly,  which was sold to a firm known as Mindanao Commercial Company  at P0.11  per board  foot, or seven centavos lower than the prevailing price in the open market.  Nicolas Santos, an accountant of  Sta. Clara  Lumber Company, testified that, during the years 1949-1950, lumber was sold in Davao  City at P0.16 per board  foot for rough lumber and P0.18 per board foot for planed lumber.  Fidel Reyes testified on direct examination  that  Sta. Clara Lumber Company  had an  office  in Davao  City engaged  in  the manufacture  of plywood products  and that  during  the period from September, 1952, to May, 1955, the logs used by said office were supplied by Mindanao Hardwood Company.  Reyes was then  asked by the prosecution the  following question:
"Q.  Regarding the value of  the logs delivered by a Mindanao Hardwood Lumber Company thru Mr. Go Bian Ling, did you  look into the records of your office (Sta. Clara Lumber Company) ?"
Respondent Judge motu proprio rejected the question  on the ground that "the amount of the transactions is  not necessarily to be  proved  further  regarding  this case." The other respondents interposed an objection to the same question because  it tended to establish an  offense  not alleged in the information.  As all other questions aiming to show that the value of the logs delivered by Mindanao Hardwood Lumber Company to Sta. Clara Lumber Company was  paid  to Mindanao  Commercial  Company, of which Mindanao Hardwood Lumber Company is a dummy or front, were disallowed by respondent court, the present petition for certiorari was filed by the Fiscal.

To test the validity of respondent court's  ruling on the exclusion and inadmissibility of the evidence in question, we  must  examine the act or acts  punishable under the law with which the other respondents were charged in the information.

Section 2-a of C. A. No. 108, as amended, In relation to Sections 1 and 5 of Article 13 of the Constitution, enumerates four ways by which said law is violated,  namely:
(1)  permits or allows  the use exploitations or enjoyment thereof by a person,  corporation or  association not  possessing the requisites prescribed by the Constitution or laws of the Philippines;

(2)  lease, or in any other way, transfers or conveys said rights, franchise, privilege, property or business to a person, corporation or association  not  otherwise qualified under the Constitution, or the  provisions  of  the existing laws;

(3)  in any manner permits or allows any person, not possessing the  qualifications required by  the  Constitution  or existing laws to  acquire,  use,  exploit  or  enjoy  a right, franchise,  privilege, property or business, the  exercise  and  enjoyment of which are expressly reserved by the Constitution or existing laws to citizens of the Philippines or of any  other specific country, to intervene in the management, operation, administration or control  thereof, whether  as an  officer, employee or laborer therein with or without remuneration except  technical personnel whose  employment may be specifically authorized  by the President of the Philippines upon recommendation of  the Department  Head concerned, if any;

(4) any person  who. knowingly aids,  assists,  or abets in the planning, consummation  or perpetration  of any of  the acts herein above  enumerated.
The information on the other hand  sets  forth the following allegations:
"That  on or  about  the period comprised between July  30, 1949 and May 27,  1956, in the City of Davao and in the Municipality of Panabo, Province of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the  said  accused Urbano Jaca and  Bonifacio Jaca, Filipino citizens, conspiring and confederating together with their co-accused Go  Bian Ling alias  Si Lam, a Chinese citizen, did then and there  voluntarily, maliciously and criminally permit and allow an alien, namely the accused aforesaid Go Bian Ling alias Si Lam, to intervene in the management and operation  of  the business of developing and  exploiting a timberland  forest,  which said Go Bian Ling actually operated and developed in an area partly located at Davao City and partly  in  the  Municipality  of Panabo of this  Province,  Philippines,  in  the following  manner, to wit: that the accused Urbano Jaca, having previously obtained an Ordinary Timber License to develop and exploit  the said area entered on June 30, 1949 into  a partnership  with his  co-accused Bonifacio Jaca and  Go Bian Ling  alias Si  Lam to engage in  the manufacture  of  lumber  and solicit  forest concessions  from  the government which  was  capitalized  at  P16,000.00,  the partners contributing thereto  share and share  alike, and immediately  thereafter  accused  Urbana Jaca  delivered and conveyed to the said partnership of which accused Go Bian Ling alias Si  Lam was and still  is the manager,  and thus making  the  latter  actually  the manager in the development and exploitation of the  same."
The foregoing information charges  only one offense, a violation of Commonwealth Act No. 108, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Dummy Law, committed through the manner  prescribed in  sub-paragraph  3 of Section 2-A.

We are of the  opinion and  so hold that  the aforesaid question disallowed  by the  respondent Judge  is relevant to the issue of "management and operation of the business of  developing  and  exploiting a timberland  forest,"  of which respondent  Go Bian Ling  was alleged to have  been permitted and allowed to intervene as the alleged manager of the Mindanao Hardwood Company, the partnership to whom  the timber license  or concession of  respondent Urbano Jaca was  conveyed, and delivered for management and operation.

Even in case of doubt as to the materiality or relevancy of such question,  it would  be more  in keeping with the administration  of Justice to allow the answer to such question and render the ruling as to  its admissibility  when  all the evidence are in.
"*  * * The question of the relevancy of such evidence, therefore, remains to be considered in connection with  the  suppletory and correlative  evidence  introduced. If  no  testimony  is introduced tending in any way to show its  applicability, the court should on motion  of the party against whom  it was offered, exclude it  from the jury or  instruct them to disregard it.  But if there  is  additional evidence tending to  show  the  relevancy  of that in aid of which  it was  offered, it  becomes  the peculiar province  of the Jury to judge of its sufficiency to subserve its intended purposes." (Jones-Commentaries on  Evidence, 2nd ed., Vol. 2, p.  1359).
Wherefore, the petition is granted, and the ruling of the court a quo disallowing the  question  of petitioner is hereby set aside.  So ordered.

Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista  Angelo, Labrador,  Endencia, Barrera, and Gutierrez David, JJ., concur.