Pablo v. People

G.R. No. 231267

February 13, 2023




                In time for the celebration of All Soul’s Day, traffic rerouting was enforced and a road near Loyola Memorial Park was closed. In the evening of November 2, 2012, TE Barrios and TE Rolando Belmonte were stationed along the bridge at Barangay Sto. Nino Marikina City where they carried out their duty of implementing traffic rules. Both were in complete uniform. At 6:40pm, they flagged down a passenger taxi driven by Pablo because the latter entered a closed road despite the no entry signage. When TE Barrios asked Pablo to hand over his driver’s license for the issuance of a violation ticket, the latter refused. They called for assistance from other CTMDO enforcers nearby but Pablo stood his ground. They asked the two passengers to transfer to another taxi. Irked, Pablo pulled out a gun, aimed at the traffic enforcers. They moved away then Pablo endeavored to escape but the former blocked his way with a long table. Two police officers responded. They frisked Pablo and recovered a .45 pistol, 2 magazines, bullets, firearms license and permit to carry firearm. They were able to confiscate his driver’s license and gave it to TE Barrios.



                Pablo was driving a taxi with 2 passengers. When they reached the bridge, he noticed the route changes because of the holiday. He then followed 2 tricycles on the same route. While he maintained not seeing a “No Entry” sign, he observed that traffic enforcers signaled to the two tricycle drivers to turn back. He however proceeded and drove towards the traffic enforcers to ask for direction, but the latter demanded him to surrender his driver’s license before he even had the chance to ask. When TE Barrios arrived, he shouted at Pablo and sat in the latter’s passenger seat while holding handcuffs. TE Barrios noticed a gun inside Pablo’s taxi. He stayed inside the taxi while TE Barrios disembarked and radioed for police officers. When the police arrived, he was brought to the Marikina Police Station where he learned that the traffic enforcers were complaining and he was being charged for pointing a gun at them.


MeTC convicted Pablo for Resistance and Serious Disobedience. RTC reversed MeTC decision and found him guilty of the 2nd form of Direct Assault. The CA affirmed the RTC’s findings. Pablo insists that TE Barrios and TE Belmonte were not proven to be persons in authority or agents of persons in authority to complete the elements of the 2nd form of Direct Assault.


                Whether or not Pablo is guilty of the 2nd mode of direct assault.


                Yes. Direct assault in its 2nd form as defined in Mallari v. People, that “any person or persons who, without a public uprising, shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties, or on occasion of such performance. Under BP 873, it laid down the characterization of an agent of persons in authority:

                Any person who, by direct provision of law, by election or by appointment by competent authority, is charged with the maintenance of public order, protection and security of life and property, such as barrio councilor, barrio police and barangay leader, and any person who comes to the aid of persons in authority, shall be deemed an agent of a person in authority.

                Logic and discernment dictate that traffic enforcers, in general, are duty-bound to preserve public order by enforcing traffic laws, ordinances, and rules, by monitoring and directing the flow of traffic, and by apprehending erring drivers among others. It cannot be gainsaid that traffic enforcers are agents of persons in authority for they in fact maintain public order. In this case, TE Barrios and TE Belmonte were performing their official duties when they apprehended Pablo for his traffic violation. They were both in complete official uniform required of Marikina Traffic enforcers, viz., a green shirt with the CTMDO patch and their respective name tags, paired with black plants.

                In US v. Gumban, the amount of force employed against agents of persons in authority spells the difference between direct assault and resistance of disobedience. It is said in these 2 cases that any force is not sufficient to constitute an assault, but that it is necessary to consider the circumstances of each case to decide whether the force3 used is, or is not, sufficient to constitute assault upon an agent of authority. Previous convictions for direct assault against an agent of a person in authority involve force that is more severe than slapping and punching.

                It is noteworthy to emphasize that while Mallari case focused on the force employed that would establish Direct Assault, this Court finds that the successive acts of pulling out a gun then aiming the same towards the agent of persons in authority constitute serious intimidation. The act of pointing and aiming a gun may not be as forceful as described in Mallari, but the same is serious enough even to an agent of persons in authority. Prudence dictates that one cannot simply pull out a gun and aim towards a person in a heat of argument or altercation. Therefore, Pablo’s acts amounted to Direct Assault of an agent of persons in authority in its 2nd form.

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