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People v Dator 344 SCRA 222

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People v Cuenca 33 SCRA 522
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  SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. 136142. October 24, 2000] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,  plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALFONSO DATOR ! #ENITO GENOL, accused (Acquitted) PASTOR TELEN, accused-appellant  .D E $ I S I O N DE LEON, %R., J  .& Before us on appeal is the Decision i[1]  of the Regional Trial Court of Maasin Southern !e te Branch #$ in Cri%inal Case No& 1'(( con)icting the appellant of the cri%e of )iolation of *resi+ential Decree No& ',$&*astor Telen an+ his co-accuse+ .lfonso Dator an+ Benito /enol 0ere charge+ 0ith the cri%e of )iolation of Section 2 ii[#]  of *resi+ential Decree No& ',$ other0ise 3no0n as the Re)ise+ 4orestr Co+e iii[(]  in an Infor%ation that rea+s5 That on or a6out the #7th +a of Octo6er 177( at aroun+ 25,, o8cloc3 in the e)ening in 6aranga !a6oon %unicipalit of Maasin pro)ince of Southern !e te *hilippines an+ 0ithin the 9uris+iction of this :onora6le Court the a6o)e-na%e+ accuse+ conspiring confe+erating an+ %utuall helping each other 0ith intent of gain +i+ then an+ there 0ilfull  unla0full an+ feloniousl possess 1$,&1 6oar+ feet of assorte+ lu%6er flitches )alue+ at T;ENT<-T:REE T:O=S.ND 4IVE :=NDRED *ESOS >#($,,&,,? *hilippine Currenc  0ithout an legal +ocu%ent as re@uire+ un+er eAisting forest la0s an+ regulations fro% proper go)ern%ent authorities to the +a%age an+ pre9u+ice of the go)ern%ent&CONTR.R< TO !.;& =pon 6eing arraigne+ on Ma #' 177 *astor Telen an+ his co-accuse+ .lfonso Dator an+ Benito /enol assiste+ 6 counsel separatel entere+ the plea of Not guilt  to the charge in the Infor%ation& Thereafter trial on the %erits ensue+&It appears that on Octo6er #7 177( *olice Station Co%%an+er .le9an+ro Ro9as of Maasin Southern !e te an+ S*O1 Necitas Bacala 0ere on 6oar+ a police patrol )ehicle hea+ing to0ar+s Baranga San Rafael Maasin Southern !e te& =pon reaching Baranga !a6oon of the sa%e %unicipalit  the notice+ a Isuu cargo truc3 loa+e+ 0ith pieces of lu%6er 6oun+ to0ar+ the to0n proper of Maasin& Suspicious that the cargo 0as illegall cut pieces of lu%6er *olice Station Co%%an+er Ro9as %aneu)ere+ their police )ehicle an+ ga)e chase& i)[] =pon catching up 0ith the Isuu cargo truc3 in Baranga Soro-soro Maasin Southern !e te the or+ere+ the +ri)er accuse+ Benito /enol to pull o)er& Benito /enol 0as left alone in the truc3 after his co%panions hurrie+l left& ;hen as3e+ if he ha+ the re@uire+ +ocu%ents for the proper transport of the pieces of lu%6er /enol ans0ere+ in the negati)e& /enol infor%e+ the police authorities that the pieces of lu%6er 0ere o0ne+ 6 herein appellant *astor Telen 0hile the Isuu cargo truc3 6earing *late No& :.4 #2 0as registere+ in the na%e of Southern !e te 4ar%ers .gro-In+ustrial Cooperati)e Inc& >S!E4.ICO? 0hich is a local cooperati)e& Conse@uentl  *olice Officers Ro9as an+ Bacala +irecte+ Benito /enol to procee+ to the Maasin *olice Station Maasin Southern !e te for further in)estigation& )[$] On No)e%6er $ 177( 4orest Ranger Ro%eo /alola 0as fetche+ fro% his office at the Co%%unit En)iron%ent an+ Natural Resources Office >CENRO? Maasin Southern !e te 6 S*O1 Necitas Bacala  to inspect the pieces of lu%6er that 0ere confiscate+ on Octo6er #7 177( in Soro-soro Maasin Southern !e te fro% *astor Telen& /alola an+ his i%%e+iate super)isor Sulpicio Saguing foun+ that the cargo consiste+ of fort -one >1? pieces of Dita lu%6er an+ ten >1,? pieces of .ntipolo lu%6er of +ifferent +i%ensions 0ith a total )olu%e of 1$,&1 6oar+ feet& )i[] Su6se@uentl  S*O1 Bacala issue+ a seiure receipt )ii[']  co)ering the fift -one >$1? pieces of confiscate+ Dita an+ .ntipolo lu%6er an+ one >1? unit of Isuu cargo truc3 0ith *late No& :.4 #2& The confiscate+ pieces of lu%6er an+ the cargo truc3 0ere turne+ o)er to S*O( Daniel !asala *N* *ropert Custo+ian Maasin Southern !e te 0ho in turn officiall transferre+ custo+ of the sa%e to the CENRO Maasin Southern !e te& )iii[2] The +efense +enie+ an lia6ilit for the cri%e charge+ in the Infor%ation& *astor Telen a utilit 0or3er at the Integrate+ *ro)incial :ealth Office Southern !e te for nineteen >17? ears testifie+ that he nee+e+ lu%6er to 6e use+ in reno)ating the house of his gran+parents in Baranga .6gao Maasin Southern !e te 0here he %aintaine+ resi+ence& Fno0ing that it 0as prohi6ite+ 6 la0 to cut trees 0ithout appropriate per%it fro% the Depart%ent of En)iron%ent an+ Natural Resources >DENR? Telen sought the assistance of a certain !an+o +ela *ena 0ho 0as an e%plo ee at the CENRO Maasin Southern !e te& Dela *ena acco%panie+ Telen to the office of a certain Bo !eonor 0ho 0as the Officer in Charge of CENRO in Maasin Southern !e te& !eonor +i+ not appro)e of the plan of Telen to cut tea3 or har+ lu%6er fro% his >Telen? %other8s trac3 of lan+ in Ta6unan San Gose Maasin Southern !e te& :o0e)er !eonor allege+l allo0e+ Telen to cut the aging Dita trees onl & .ccor+ing to Telen !eonor assure+ hi% that a 0ritten per%it 0as not an %ore necessar 6efore he coul+ cut the Dita trees 0hich are consi+ere+ soft lu%6er fro% the pri)ate lan+ of his %other pro)i+e+ the sa%e 0oul+ 6e use+ eAclusi)el for the reno)ation of his house an+ that he shall plant trees as replace%ent thereof 0hich he +i+ 6 planting /e%elina see+lings& iA[7] On Septe%6er 1$ 177( Telen re@ueste+ his cousin Vicente Sa6alo to hire for hi% a cargo truc3 in or+er to haul the sa0n lu%6er fro% the lan+ of his %other in Ta6unan San Gose Maasin Southern !e te& :is cousin o6lige+ after Telen assure+ hi% that he ha+ alrea+ secure+ )er6al per%ission fro% Bo !eonor Officer in Charge of CENRO in Maasin Southern !e te 6efore cutting the sai+ lu%6er& A[1,]  .fter ha)ing 6een infor%e+ 6 Vicente Sa6alo on Octo6er #7 177( at a6out 5,, o8cloc3 in the afternoon that a cargo truc3 0as a)aila6le for hire Telen instructe+ his cousin to personall super)ise the hauling of the sa0n lu%6er for hi% inas%uch as he 0as 6us 0ith his 0or3 in the office& .t aroun+ '5,, o8cloc3 in the e)ening Telen learne+ fro% his +aughter that the sa0n lu%6er 0ere confiscate+ 6 the police in Baranga Soro-soro Maasin Southern !e te& Ai[11] =pon arri)al in Baranga Soro-Soro Telen 0as accoste+ 6 *olice Station Co%%an+er .le9an+ro Ro9as 0ho +e%an+e+ fro% hi% DENR per%it for the sa0n lu%6er& .fter confir%ing o0nership of the sa0n lu%6er Telen eAplaine+ to Ro9as that he ha+ alrea+ secure+ )er6al per%ission fro% Bo !eonor to cut Dita trees 0hich are consi+ere+ soft lu%6er to 6e use+ in the reno)ation of his house an+ that he ha+ alrea+ replace+ the sa0n Dita trees 0ith /e%elina see+lings 6ut to no a)ail& Ro9as or+ere+ that the pieces of lu%6er an+ the Isuu cargo truc3 6e i%poun+e+ at the %unicipal 6uil+ing of Maasin Southern !e te for failure of Telen to pro+uce the re@uire+ per%it fro% the DENR& Aii[1#] *astor Telen appeare+ 6efore Bert *esi+as CENRO hearing officer in Maasin Southern !e te for in)estigation in connection 0ith the confiscate+ pieces of lu%6er& Telen ha+ trie+ to contact Officer-in-Charge Bo !eonor of the CENRO Maasin Southern !e te after the confiscation of the sa0n lu%6er on Octo6er #7 177( an+ e)en +uring the in)estigation con+ucte+ 6 the CENRO hearing officer for three >(? ti%es 6ut to no a)ail for the reason that Bo !eonor 0as assigne+ at a reforestation site in Danao Ce6u pro)ince& Aiii[1(]  .lfonso Dator 0as the accounting %anager of S!E4.ICO Inc& a local cooperati)e engage+ in 6u ing an+ selling a6aca fi6ers& Dator testifie+ that on Octo6er #7 177( at (5,, o8cloc3 in the afternoon a certain Vicente Sa6alo acco%panie+ 6 their co%pan +ri)er Benito /enol propose+ to hire the Isuu cargo truc3 o0ne+ 6 S!E4.ICO Inc& to haul pieces of coconut lu%6er fro% Baranga San Gose to  Baranga Soro-soro in Maasin Southern !e te& :e rea+il acce+e+ to the proposal inas%uch as the o0ner of the allege+ coconut lu%6er accor+ing to Sa6alo 0as *astor Telen 0ho is a long ti%e frien+ an+ for%er office%ate at the pro)incial office of the Depart%ent of :ealth& Besi+es the fee to 6e earne+ fro% the hauling ser)ices %eant a++itional inco%e for the cooperati)e& Ai)[1]  .t a6out 5,, o8cloc3 in the e)ening of the sa%e +a  Dator %et the Isuu cargo truc3 of S!E4.ICO Inc& at the Canturing 6ri+ge in Maasin Southern !e te 6eing escorte+ 6 a police patrol )ehicle hea+ing to0ar+s the %unicipal to0n proper& .t the %unicipal hall 6uil+ing of Maasin he learne+ that the Isuu truc3 0as apprehen+e+ 6 the police for the reason that it containe+ a cargo of Dita an+ .ntipolo lu%6er 0ithout the re@uire+ per%it fro% the DENR& :e eAplaine+ to the police authorities that the Isuu cargo truc3 0as hire+ %erel to transport coconut lu%6er ho0e)er it 0as i%poun+e+ at the %unicipal 6uil+ing  9ust the sa%e& A)[1$]  Due to the inci+ent Dator lost his 9o6 as accounting %anager in S!E4.ICO Inc& A)i[1] 4or his +efense Benito /enol testifie+ that he 0as e%plo e+ 6 the S!E4.ICO Inc& as +ri)er of its Isuu cargo truc3& .si+e fro% transporting a6aca fi6ers the Isuu cargo truc3 0as also a)aila6le for hire& A)ii[1'] ;hile /enol 0as ha)ing the t0o tires of the Isuu cargo truc3 )ulcanie+ on Octo6er #7 177( in Baranga Mantahan Maasin Southern !e te Vicente Sa6alo approache+ hi% an+ offere+ to hire the ser)ices of the cargo truc3& /enol acco%panie+ Sa6alo to the resi+ence of the accounting %anager of S!E4.ICO Inc& .lfonso Dator 0hich 0as near6  an+ the latter agree+ to the proposal of Sa6alo to hire the Isuu cargo truc3 to haul pieces of coconut lu%6er fro% San Gose Maasin Southern !e te for a fee& A)iii[12]  .t 5,, o8cloc3 in the afternoon of the sa%e +a  /enol Sa6alo an+ a son of .lfonso Dator procee+e+ to San Gose after fetching a6out siA >? haulers along the 0a in Baranga Soro-soro& =pon arri)al in San Gose /enol re%aine+ 6ehin+ the steering 0heel to ta3e a rest& :e 0as un%in+ful of the actual nature of the lu%6er that 0ere 6eing loa+e+& .fter the loa+ing /enol 0as instructe+ to procee+ to Baranga Soro-soro in front of the lu%6er ar+ of a certain Gi%% /o& Before the lu%6er coul+ 6e unloa+e+ at 25,, o8cloc3 in the e)ening /enol 0as approache+ 6 *olice Station Co%%an+er .le9an+ro Ro9as 0ho +e%an+e+ DENR per%it for the lu%6er& The pieces of lu%6er 0ere confiscate+ 6 Ro9as after /enol faile+ to pro+uce the re@uire+ per%it fro% the DENR office& AiA[17] Vicente Sa6alo corro6orate+ the testi%onies of the three >(? accuse+ in this case& :e testifie+ in su6stance that he 0as re@ueste+ 6 his cousin *astor Telen to engage the ser)ices of a cargo truc3 to transport sa0n pieces of lu%6er fro% San Gose to 6e use+ in the reno)ation of his house in .6gao Maasin Southern !e teH that he approache+ Benito /enol an+ offere+ to hire the ser)ices of the Isuu cargo truc3 that he 0as +ri)ingH that 6oth of the% as3e+ the per%ission of .lfonso Dator 0ho rea+il acce+e+ to the proposal for a fee of *$,,&,,H AA[#,]  that he sa0 /enol re%aine+ 6ehin+ the steering 0heel as the loa+ing of the lu%6er 0as going on in San GoseH an+ that the lu%6er an+ the Isuu cargo truc3 0ere confiscate+ in Baranga Soro-soro for failure of his cousin *astor Telen to sho0 to *olice Station Co%%an+er .le9an+ro Ro9as an 0ritten per%it fro% the DENR for the su69ect lu%6er& AAi[#1]  .fter anal ing the e)i+ence the trial court ren+ere+ a +ecision the +ispositi)e portion of 0hich rea+s5 ;:ERE4ORE 9u+g%ent is ren+ere+ as follo0s51& CONVICTIN/ the accuse+ *.STOR TE!EN 6e on+ reasona6le +ou6t of the offense charge+ an+ there 6eing no %o+if ing circu%stances an+ 0ith the In+eter%inate Sentence !a0 6eing inapplica6le the herein accuse+ is here6 sentence+ to suffer the in+i)isi6le penalt of REC!=SION *ER*ET=. 0ith the accessor penalties pro)i+e+ 6 la0 0hich is t0o >#? +egrees higher than *RISION M.<OR %aAi%u% the authorie+ penalt si%ilar to ualifie+ Theft an+ to pa the costs& :is 6ail for his pro)isional li6ert is here6 cancelle+ an+ he shall 6e co%%itte+ to the Ne0 Bili6i+ *risons Muntinlupa Metro Manila thru the .6u og Regional *risons .6u og !e te )ia the *ro)incial ;ar+en Maasin Southern !e teH#& .C=ITTIN/ co-accuse+ .lfonso Dator an+ Benito /enol on reasona6le +ou6t for insufficienc of  e)i+enceH an+ cancelling their 6ailH(& CON4ISC.TIN/ an+ SEIJIN/ the 1$,&1 6oar+ feet of illegal lu%6er 0orth *#($,,&,, an+ ORDERIN/ the CENRO Maasin Southern !e te to sell the lu%6er at pu6lic auction un+er proper per%ission fro% the Court 0ith the procee+s thereof turne+ o)er to the National /o)ern%ent thru the National Treasur un+er proper receipt an+ to RE*ORT the fact of sale to this Court +ul co)ere+ 6 +ocu%ents of sale an+ other receipts 6 e)i+encing the sale 0ithin fi)e >$? +a s fro% the consu%%ation of saleH an+& DIRECTIN/ the CENRO authorities to coor+inate 0ith its Regional Office for i%%e+iate a+%inistrati)e procee+ings an+ +eter%ination of an a+%inistrati)e lia6ilit of the truc3 o0ner S!E4.ICO Inc& if an  other0ise to release the truc3 to its o0ner&SO ORDERED& In his appeal *astor Telen interpose the follo0ing assign%ents of error5 I T:E !O;ER CO=RT ERRED IN 4INDIN/ T:E .CC=SED-.**E!!.NT /=I!T< BE<OND RE.SON.B!E DO=BT 4OR VIO!.TION O4 SEC& 2 *& D& ',$ .S .MENDED BEIN/ CONTR.R< TO !.; .ND T:E EVIDENCE ON RECORD .ND 4OR BEIN/ NOT IN CON4ORMIT< ;IT: DENR .DMINISTR.TIVE ORDER NO& '7 SERIES O4 177,& II T:E !O;ER CO=RT ERRED IN IM*OSIN/ T:E .CC=SED-.**E!!.NT T:E *EN.!T< O4 REC!=SION *ER*ET=. 4OR T:E .!!E/ED VIO!.TION O4 SEC& 2 *& D& ',$ .S .MENDED IT BEIN/ . *.TENT!< ERRONEO=S *EN.!T< NOT ;.RR.NTED B< .N< *ROVISION O4 T:E REVISED *EN.! CODE OR G=RIS*R=DENCE& III T:E !O;ER CO=RT ERRED IN 4INDIN/ T:.T T:E V.!=E O4 T:E CON4ISC.TED !=MBER IS *#($,,&,, 4OR NO EVIDENCE O4 S=C: V.!=E ;.S EST.B!IS:ED D=RIN/ T:E TRI.!& The appeal is not i%presse+ 0ith %erit&It is not +ispute+ that appellant *astor Telen is the o0ner of the fift -one >$1? pieces of assorte+  .ntipolo an+ Dita lu%6er 0ith a total )olu%e of 1$,&1 6oar+ feet& :e allege+ that the pieces of lu%6er 0ere cut fro% the trac3 of lan+ 6elonging to his %other in San Gose Maasin Southern !e te 0hich he inten+e+ to use in the reno)ation of his house in Baranga .6gao of the sa%e %unicipalit & .fter ha)ing 6een confiscate+ 6 the police 0hile in transit in Baranga Soro-soro appellant Telen faile+ to pro+uce 6efore the authorities the re@uire+ legal +ocu%ents fro% the DENR pertaining to the sai+ pieces of lu%6er& The fact of possession 6 the appellant of the su69ect fift -one >$1? pieces of assorte+ .ntipolo an+ Dita lu%6er as 0ell as his su6se@uent failure to pro+uce the legal +ocu%ents as re@uire+ un+er eAisting forest la0s an+ regulations constitute cri%inal lia6ilit for )iolation of *resi+ential Decree No& ',$ other0ise 3no0n as the Re)ise+ 4orestr Co+e& AAii[##]  Section 2 of the co+e pro)i+es5 Section 2& Cutting, Gathering and/or Collecting Timber or Other Forest Products Without License &-.n person 0ho shall cut gather collect re%o)e ti%6er or other forest pro+ucts fro% an forest lan+ or ti%6er fro% aliena6le or +isposa6le pu6lic lan+ or fro% pri)ate lan+ 0ithout an authorit  or possess ti%6er or other forest pro+ucts 0ithout the legal +ocu%ents as re@uire+ un+er eAisting forest la0s an+ regulations shall 6e punishe+ 0ith the penalties i%pose+ un+er .rticles (,7 an+ (1, of the Re)ise+ *enal Co+e5 *ro)i+e+ that in the case of partnerships associations or corporations the officers 0ho or+ere+ the cutting gathering collection or possession shall 6e lia6le an+ if such officers are aliens the shall in a++ition to the penalt  6e +eporte+ 0ithout further procee+ings on the part of the Co%%ission on I%%igration an+ Deportation& The Court shall further or+er the confiscation in fa)or of the go)ern%ent of the ti%6er or an forest pro+ucts cut gathere+ collecte+ re%o)e+ or possesse+ as 0ell as the %achiner  e@uip%ent i%ple%ents an+ tools illegall use+ in the area 0here the ti%6er or forest pro+ucts are foun+&

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Jul 30, 2017
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