People vs. Hon. Vicente Echavez, Jr. (G.R. Nos. L-47757-61 January 28, 1980)

25 Apr

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, ABUNDIO R. ELLO, As 4th Assistant of Provincial Bohol VICENTE DE LA SERNA. JR., as complainant all private prosecutor, petitioners,
HON. VICENTE B. ECHAVES, JR., as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Bohol Branch II, ANO DACULLO, GERONIMO OROYAN, MARIO APARICI, RUPERTO CAJES and MODESTO S SUELLO, respondents.

Ponente: AQUINO


Petitioner Ello filed with the lower court separate informations against sixteen persons charging them with squatting as penalized by Presidential Decree No. 772. Before the accused could be arraigned, respondent Judge Echaves motu proprio issued an omnibus order dismissing the five informations (out of 16 raffled) on the grounds (1) that it was alleged that the accused entered the land through “stealth and strategy”, whereas under the decree the entry should be effected “with the use of force, intimidation or threat, or taking advantage of the absence or tolerance of the landowner”, and (2) that under the rule of ejusdem generis the decree does not apply to the cultivation of a grazing land. From the order of dismissal, the fiscal appealed to this Court under Republic Act No. 5440.


Whether or not P.D. No. 772 which penalizes squatting and similar acts, (also) apply to agricultural lands.


NO. Appeal was devoid of merit.Trial court’s dismissal was affirmed.


[T]he lower court correctly ruled that the decree does not apply to pasture lands because its preamble shows that it was intended to apply to squatting in urban communities or more particularly to illegal constructions in squatter areas made by well-to-do individuals. The squating complained of involves pasture lands in rural areas.

The rule of ejusdem generis (of the same kind or species) invoked by the trial court does not apply to this case. Here, the intent of the decree is unmistakable. It is intended to apply only to urban communities, particularly to illegal constructions. The rule of ejusdem generis is merely a tool of statutory construction which is resorted to when the legislative intent is uncertain.


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