By Rey Panaligan
The Court of Appeals (CA) has stood pat on its decision that directed the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to reinstate the criminal cases filed against Party-List Rep. Arnel U. Ty and four other persons for alleged illegal refilling of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks of oil companies.
In a resolution, the CA denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association (LPGMA) Party-List Rep. Ty, Marie Antonette Ty, Benson Ng, Carlton Ng, and Alvin Ty.
Written by Associate Justice Marlene Gonzales-Sison, the CA ruled: “Wherefore, premises considered, the motion is denied for lack of merit. Our decision dated June 22, 2018 stands.”
The CA’s 2018 decision reversed the order issued by the Pasig City RTC which granted the prosecution’s motion to withdraw the criminal charges against Ty and his co-accused for violation of Section 3 (d) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 33 or “An Act Defining and Penalizing Certain Prohibited Acts Inimical to the Public Interest and National Security Involving Petroleum and/or Petroleum Products, Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other Purposes.”
It held that the trial court did not come out with a detailed assessment of the evidence in its order to support the dismissal of the cases and the omission did not conform to established jurisprudence.
It directed the trial court to conduct further proceedings on the cases.
In their motion for reconsideration, Ty’s group told the CA that the Constitution does not provide for the form and content of court decisions and that it is sufficient for the judge to just state the factual and legal basis reached and that the court had considered the evidence.
But the CA said: “The argument simply cannot prosper. Case law has stressed that where the trial court has to resolve whether or not an information has to be withdrawn, the judge must evaluate the evidence separately and independently, and that should the judge opt to withdraw the information, such assessment must be palpable on the order’s face.”
It stressed that “if the trial court merely adopts or accepts the prosecution’s findings justifying the withdrawal, its order would be void.”
In 2016, Arnel U. Ty, who owned Republic Gas Corp. (Regasco), was found guilty by the Malabon City RTC of unauthorized refilling of LPG tanks owned by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Petro, and Total Gas.
Regasco’s license to operate was ordered cancelled by the trial court.
In its ruling, the trial court did not give credence Ty’s claim that the empty and underfilled branded cylinders seized from their warehouse were actually part of its marketing strategy of offering their own brand in exchange for partially consumed LPG of other brands.
It was not known immediately if Ty appealed the trial court’s decision.