G.R. No. 76872 – 152 SCRA 272 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President; Pardon – Pardon Not Subject to Judicial Review/Scrutiny
In 1978, Wilfredo Torres was convicted of estafa. In 1979, he was pardoned by the president with the condition that he shall not violate any penal laws again. In 1982, Torres was charged with multiple crimes of estafa. In 1986, then Chairman of the Board of Paroles Neptali Gonzales petitioned for the cancellation of Torres’ pardon. Hence, the president cancelled the pardon. Torres appealed the issue before the Supreme Court averring that the Executive Department erred in convicting him for violating the conditions of his pardon because the estafa charges against him were not yet final and executory as they were still on appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not conviction of a crime by final judgment of a court is necessary before Torres can be validly rearrested and recommitted for violation of the terms of his conditional pardon and accordingly to serve the balance of his original sentence.
The SC ruled the following:
1. The grant of pardon and the determination of the terms and conditions of a conditional pardon are purely executive acts which are not subject to judicial scrutiny.
2. The determination of the occurrence of a breach of a condition of a pardon, and the proper consequences of such breach, may be either a purely executive act, not subject to judicial scrutiny under Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code; or it may be a judicial act consisting of trial for and conviction of violation of a conditional pardon under Article 159 of the Revised Penal Code. Where the President opts to proceed under Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code, no judicial pronouncement of guilt of a subsequent crime is necessary, much less conviction therefor by final judgment of a court, in order that a convict may be recommended for the violation of his conditional pardon.
3. Because due process is not semper et ubique judicial process, and because the conditionally pardoned convict had already been accorded judicial due process in his trial and conviction for the offense for which he was conditionally pardoned, Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code is not afflicted with a constitutional vice.
In proceeding against a convict who has been conditionally pardoned and who is alleged to have breached the conditions of his pardon, the Executive Department has two options: (i) to proceed against him under Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code; or (ii) to proceed against him under Article 159 of the RPC which imposes the penalty of prision correccional, minimum period, upon a convict who “having been granted conditional pardon by the Chief Executive, shall violate any of the conditions of such pardon.” Here, the President has chosen to proceed against the petitioner under Section 64 (i) of the Revised Administrative Code. That choice is an exercise of the President’s executive prerogative and is not subject to judicial scrutiny.