[ G.R. No. L-45266, August 06, 1979 ]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. LEOPOLDO PARDILLA, RUDY MANZANO, AND REYNALDO PARDILLA, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.
[G.R. NO. L-48450. AUGUST 6, 1979]
LEOPOLDO PARDILLA, RUDY MANZANO, AND REYNALDO PARDILLA, PETITIONERS, VS. DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, MUNTINGLUPA (RIZAL), METRO MANILA, RESPONDENTS.
R E S O L U T I O N
CONCEPCION, JR., J.:
Petitioners Leopoldo Pardilla, Rudy Manzano and Reynaldo Pardilla were charged before the Court of First Instance of Iloilo with the killing of one Alfredo Solinap, Sr., in Pototan, Iloilo, on February 28, 1976, in an information which reads, as follows:
"PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
- versus - CRIM. CASE NO. 4079
LEOPOLDO PARDILLA, HOMICIDE
RUDY MANZANO and
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
I N F O R M A T I O N
"The undersigned Provincial Fiscal accuses LEOPOLDO PARDILLA, RUDY MANZANO, and REYNALDO PARDILLA of the crime of HOMICIDE, committed as follows:
"That on or about February 28, 1975, in the Municipality of Pototan, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named accused conspiring, confederating together and mutually helping each other, armed with a sharp-pointed knife known as pinote and canes, with intent to kill, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, beat and stab ALFREDO SOLINAP, SR. with the weapons they were then provided, inflicting upon him stab wound on the head which caused the death of said ALFREDO SOLINAP, SR.
"Iloilo City, Philippines,
May 2, 1975.
BENJAMIN A. DEFENSOR
(Sgd.) DAVID TUBONGBANUA
Assistant Provincial Fiscal
1. Dra. Grecia P. Buenvenida
Western Visayas Regional Hospital
2. Cesar Polistico
Barrio Lombo, Pototan, Iloilo
3. Norberto Barrios
Upon their arrest, the said petitioners posted bail bonds in the amount of P12,000.00, each, for their temporary release from custody. After trial, the court presided over by Judge Midpantao L. Adil rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads, as follows:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, all accused, namely, Rudy Manzano, Reynaldo Pardilla and Leopoldo Pardilla are hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder which was erroneously denominated as homicide. Rudy Manzano and Reynaldo Pardilla are hereby sentenced to death while Leopoldo Pardilla is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment, in view of his old age. We are imposing this maximum penalty in view of the presence of three aggravating circumstances, namely: conspiracy which we concluded as equal or synonymous with evident premeditation and therefore, qualified the killing as murder, and the aggravating circumstance of superior strength and means to weaken the defense.
"On account of the penalty imposed the Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply.
"All accused are jointly and severally condemned to indemnify the heirs of the late Alfredo Solinap, Sr. the sum of Twelve Thousand (P12,000.00) Pesos by way of death compensation, plus funeral and burial expenses of Five Thousand (P5,000.00) Pesos, and to pay the costs.
"The effects of crime are confiscated in favor of the State.
"The convicts shall suffer no subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency in view of the penalty imposed.
"The bail bonds for the provisional liberty of all the accused are hereby cancelled and all convicts are ordered committed to jail. No bail bond is fixed in case they should appeal."
As ordered, the bail bonds of the accused were cancelled and the accused were committed to the Iloilo Provincial Jail.
On September 1, 1976, the accused filed their notice to appeal the decision to this Court. However, on September 10, 1976, the said accused filed a motion to withdraw their notice of appeal to enable their new counsel, Atty. Ramon Gonzales, to file a motion for the reconsideration of the decision.
On September 12, 1976, the accused filed a motion for the reconsideration of said decision, contending that since they were charged with homicide, they cannot be convicted of murder; that while the decision finds that there was superior strength or means employed to weaken the defense, the same was not alleged in the information and can only be considered, if ever, as an aggravating circumstance in the crime of homicide, but not a circumstance that would qualify the offense as murder; that the allegation of conspiracy is not equivalent to an allegation that the offense was committed with evident premeditation; and that since the information charges homicide, and conviction cannot be more than said crime, the accused should be released on their bail bonds, pending appeal, at the discretion of the court. The trial court, however, denied the motion on November 11, 1976.
The accused filed a petition on December 3, 1976 for certiorari and mandamus with preliminary injunction, to annul and set aside the decision, upon the ground that conspiracy, which the trial court found to be synonymous with evident premeditation, could not qualify the crime as MURDER, but may be appreciated only, if ever, as an aggravating circumstance of HOMICIDE.
The records of Criminal Case No. 4079 were elevated on December 21, 1976 to the Court for the automatic review of the decision and the case was docketed as G.R. No. L-45266.
The Court dismissed the petition for certiorari and mandamus with preliminary injunction (G.R. No. L-45149) on March 30, 1978, the issue therein raised being involved in the automatic review of the judgment.
On June 12, 1978, the petitioners filed the instant petition for habeas corpus, praying, inter alia, that they be released on their original bail bonds pending the review of the trial court's decision.
The court issued on July 13, 1978 the writ of habeas corpus returnable to the court and required the respondent to make a return of the writ not later than July 19, 1978 at 10:30 a.m.
On July 19, 1978, the Solicitor General submitted a return to the writ and answer to the petition, asking for the dismissal of the petition upon the ground that the information charged the petitioners with the crime of MURDER and that the petition for habeas corpus will not lie since the petitioners are lawfully detained by virtue of a decision rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
In the instant petition for habeas corpus, the petitioners pray that they be released on their original bail bonds pending the review of the trial court's decision.
We take note of the fact that the information filed against the accused does not allege any qualifying circumstance. The gravest offense therefore, for which they may be found guilty is only homicide. For this reason, the instant petition shall be considered as a petition for bail and an incident in case G.R. No. L-45266. It is consistent with equity and justice that the accused should be released on bail pending determination of the criminal case against them on the merits. The records of Criminal Case No. 4079, however show that after the denial of the motion for reconsideration of the decision, the accused, Leopoldo Pardilla, who was "sentenced to life imprisonment" did not file a notice of his intention to appeal the decision. Hence, the judgment of the lower court, insofar as he is concerned, has already become final and executory.
WHEREFORE, the accused-petitioners Rudy Manzano and Reynaldo Pardilla are hereby ordered released from custody upon their filing of a bond in the amount of P20,000.00, each, unless there be any other reason for which they shall continue to be detained.SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, Makasiar, Antonio, Aquino, Fernandez, Guerrero, De Castro, and Melencio-Herrera, JJ., concur.
Fernando, C.J., concurs in both opinions.
Barredo, J., concurs in a separate opinion.
Santos and Abad Santos, JJ., no part.
 Rollo, p. 21.
 Id., pp. 22, 41.
 Original Record of Crim. Case No. 4079, p. 337-a.
 Id., p. 338.
 par. 5 of Petition, Rollo, p. 3; See also Orig. Record of Crim. Case No. 4079, p. 341.
 Orig. Record of Crim. Case No. 4079, p. 368.
 G.R. No. L-45149, Leopoldo Pardilla, et al. vs. People of the Philippines, et al.
 Rollo, p. 51.
 Id., p. 53.