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villareal v p full.docx

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Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila SECOND DIVISION ARTEMIO VILLAREAL, Petitioner, - versus - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, - versus - THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ANTONIO MARIANO ALMEDA, DALMACIO LIM, JR., JUNEL ANTHONY AMA, ERNESTO JOSE MONTECILLO, VINCENT TECSON, ANTONIO GENERAL, SANTIAGO RANADA III, NE
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    Republic of the Philippines  Supreme Court Manila   SECOND DIVISION   ARTEMIO VILLAREAL,   Petitioner,   - versus -   PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,   Respondent.   x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x   PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,   Petitioner,   - versus -   THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, ANTONIO MARIANO ALMEDA, DALMACIO LIM, JR., JUNEL ANTHONY AMA, ERNESTO JOSE MONTECILLO, VINCENT TECSON, ANTONIO GENERAL, SANTIAGO RANADA III, NELSON VICTORINO, JAIME G.R. No. 151258 G.R. No. 154954    MARIA FLORES II, ZOSIMO MENDOZA, MICHAEL MUSNGI, VICENTE VERDADERO, ETIENNE GUERRERO, JUDE FERNANDEZ, AMANTE PURISIMA II, EULOGIO SABBAN, PERCIVAL BRIGOLA, PAUL ANGELO SANTOS, JONAS KARL B. PEREZ, RENATO BANTUG, JR., ADEL ABAS, JOSEPH LLEDO,and RONAN DE GUZMAN,   Respondents.   x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x   FIDELITO DIZON,   Petitioner,   - versus -   PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,   Respondent.   x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x   GERARDA H. VILLA,   Petitioner,   - versus -   MANUEL LORENZO G.R. No. 155101   G.R. Nos. 178057 & 178080   Present:   CARPIO,  J  ., Chairperson,   BRION,   PEREZ,   SERENO, and   REYES,  JJ.   Promulgated:   February 1, 2012    ESCALONA II, MARCUS JOEL CAPELLAN RAMOS, CRISANTO CRUZ SARUCA, JR., andANSELMO ADRIANO,   Respondents.   x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x   D E C I S I O N   SERENO, J.:    The public outrage over the death of Leonardo ―Lenny‖ Villa –   the victim in this case  –   on 10 February 1991 led to a very strong clamor to put an end to hazing. [1]  Due in large part to the brave efforts of his mother, petitioner Gerarda Villa, groups were organized, condemning his senseless and tragic death. This widespread condemnation prompted Congress to enact a special law, which  became effective in 1995, that would criminalize hazing. [2]  The intent of the law was to discourage members from making hazing a requirement for joining their sorority, fraternity, organization, or association. [3]  Moreover, the law was meant to counteract the exculpatory implications of ―consent‖ and ―initial innocent act‖ in the conduct of initiation rites by making the mere act of hazing punishable or mala  prohibita . [4]   Sadly, the Lenny Villa tragedy did not discourage hazing activities in the country. [5]  Within a year of his death, six more cases of hazing-related deaths emerged  –   those of Frederick Cahiyang of the University of Visayas in Cebu; Raul Camaligan of San Beda College; Felipe Narne of Pamantasan ng Araullo in Cabanatuan City; Dennis Cenedoza of the Cavite Naval Training Center; Joselito Mangga of the Philippine Merchant Marine Institute; and Joselito Hernandez of the University of the Philippines in Baguio City. [6]   Although courts must not remain indifferent to public sentiments, in this case the general condemnation of a hazing-related death, they are still bound to observe a fundamental principle in our criminal justice system  –    ―[N] o act constitutes a crime… unless it is made so by law.‖ [7]    Nullum crimen, nulla poena  sine lege . Even if an act is viewed by a large section of the populace as immoral or injurious, it cannot be considered a crime, absent any law prohibiting its commission. As interpreters of the law, judges arecalled upon to set aside emotion,  to resist being swayed by strong public sentiments, and to rule strictly based on the elements of the offense and the facts allowed in evidence.   Before the Court are the consolidated cases docketed as G.R. No. 151258 ( Villareal v. People ), G.R. No. 154954 (  People v. Court of Appeals ), G.R. No. 155101 (  Dizon v. People ), and G.R. Nos. 178057 and 178080 ( Villa v. Escalona ).   FACTS   The pertinent facts, as determined by the Court of Appeals (CA) [8]  and the trial court, [9]  are as follows:   In February 1991, seven freshmen law students of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law signified their intention to join the Aquila Legis Juris Fraternity (Aquila Fraternity). They were Caesar ―Bogs‖ Asuncion, Samuel ―Sam‖ Belleza, Bienvenido ―Bien‖ Marquez III, Roberto Francis ―Bert‖ Navera, Geronimo ―Randy‖ Recinto, Felix Sy, Jr., and Leonardo ―Lenny‖ Villa (neophytes).   On the night of 8 February 1991, the neophytes were met by some members of the Aquila Fraternity (Aquilans) at the lobby of the Ateneo Law School. They all proceeded to Rufo‘s Restaurant to have dinner. Afterwards, they went to the house of Michael Musngi, also an Aquilan, who briefed the neophytes on what to expect during the initiation rites. The latter were informed that there would be  physical beatings, and that they could quit at any time. Their initiation rites were scheduled to last for three da ys. After their ―briefing,‖ they were brought  to the Almeda Compound in Caloocan City for the commencement of their initiation.   Even before the neophytes got off the van, they had already received threats and insults from the Aquilans. As soon as the neophytes alighted from the van and walked towards the  pelota  court of the Almeda compound, some of the Aquilans delivered physical blows to them. The neophytes were then subjected to traditional forms of Aquilan ―initiation rites.‖ These rites included the ―Indian Run,‖ which required the neophytes to run a gauntlet of two parallel rows of Aquilans, each row delivering blows to the neophytes; the ―Bicol Express,‖ which obliged the neophytes to sit on the floor with their backs against the wall and their legs outstretched while the Aquilans walked, jumped, or ran over their legs; the ―Rounds,‖ in which the neophytes were held at the back of their pants by the ―auxiliaries‖ (the Aquilans charged with the duty of lending assistance to neophytes during initiation rites), while the latter were being hit with fist blows on their arms or with knee blows on their thighs by two Aquilans; and the ―Auxies‘

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