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G.R. No. 176389 January 18, 2011

G.R. No. 176389 January 18, 2011

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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No.

176389 January 18, 2011

ANTONIO EJANO, Petitioner, vs. PEOP E O! T"E P"I IPPINES, Respondent. x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x G.R. No. 17686# PEOP E O! T"E P"I IPPINES, Appellee, vs. "U$ERT JE!!RE% P. &E$$, ANTONIO EJANO, MIC"AE A. GATC"A IAN, "OSPICIO !ERNAN'E(, MIGUE RO'RIGUE(, PETER ESTRA'A an) GERAR'O $IONG, Appellants. RES A$A', J.: n %ece&ber '(, )*'* the Court reversed the +ud,&ent of the Court of Appeals -CA. and ac/uitted the accused in this case, 0ubert 1effre2 P. 3ebb, Antonio !e+ano, Michael A. 4atchalian, 0ospicio 5ernande6, Mi,uel Rodri,ue6, Peter Estrada, and 4erardo Bion, of the char,es a,ainst the& on the ,round of lac7 of proof of their ,uilt be2ond reasonable doubt. n %ece&ber )8, )*'* co&plainant !auro 4. 9i6conde, an i&&ediate relative of the victi&s, as7ed the Court to reconsider its decision, clai&in, that it :denied the prosecution due process of la;< seriousl2 &isappreciated the facts< unreasonabl2 re,arded Alfaro as lac7in, credibilit2< issued a tainted and erroneous decision< decided the case in a &anner that resulted in the &iscarria,e of +ustice< or co&&itted ,rave abuse in its treat&ent of the evidence and prosecution ;itnesses.: ' But, as a rule, a +ud,&ent of ac/uittal cannot be reconsidered because it places the accused under double +eopard2. #he Constitution provides in Section )', Article $$$, that= Section )'. No person shall be t;ice put in +eopard2 of punish&ent for the sa&e offense. x x x #o reconsider a +ud,&ent of ac/uittal places the accused t;ice in +eopard2 of bein, punished for the cri&e of ;hich he has alread2 been absolved. #here is reason for this provision of the Constitution. $n cri&inal cases, the full po;er of the State is ran,ed a,ainst the accused. $f there is no li&it to atte&pts to prosecute the accused for the sa&e offense after he has been ac/uitted, the infinite po;er and capacit2 of the State for a sustained and repeated liti,ation ;ould eventuall2 over;hel& the accused in ter&s of resources, sta&ina, and the ;ill to fi,ht. As the Court said in People of the Philippines v. Sandi,anba2an= ) !"#$ N

the 9olunteers A.&ent based on such a re-evaluation. No further pleadin. and ordeal and co&pellin. et al@s conviction. But the . the possibilit2 that even thou. $n other .:8 $t .areness of the heav2 personal strain . . on occasions.ith a potent instru&ent of oppression. a &ere conclusion dra.hl2 /uestionable and suspicious evidence for the defense taints .hen the court that absolved the accused . a &otion for reconsideration after an ac/uittal is possible. . ho.A. #he provision therefore .A f course. Robert P. the Court %EN$ES the &otions for leave to intervene of 5r. expense. private co&plainant . thereb2 sub+ectin.rave error on the Court@s findin. et al is final and can no lon. or . 0is clai& that :the hi.e that the Court held a sha& revie.s. #he +ud. 1i&ene6.as :dictated.rave abuse of discretion that the Court supposedl2 co&&itted. Bishop Evan.ho voted to ac/uit the accused.overn&ent . representin.n fro& personal perception. ( 0ere. the four . "lti&atel2.ness to li&it the . as . Manan6an. and render another +ud.ords.overn&ent to a sin.&ent ac/uittin. Societ2@s a. to vindicate its ver2 vital interest in the enforce&ent of cri&inal la. of the decision of the CA.ants the Court to revie. the evidence ane. .ho inhibited the&selves did not reall2 .ould ar& the .rave abuse of discretion in the treat&ent of .elio !. 0e has &ade out no case that the Court held a phon2 deliberation in this case such that the seven 1ustices .ed offense. as .anba2an D as authorit2 that the Court can set aside the ac/uittal of the accused in the present case.hich a cri&inal trial represents for the individual defendant is &anifested in the . Mercado.ainst Cri&e and Corruption and of for&er 9ice President #eofisto 4uin.hat the co&plainant actuall2 /uestions is the Court@s appreciation of the evidence and assess&ent of the prosecution . hi& to e&barrass&ent. Co&plainant 9i6conde cites the decision in 4al&an v.ed as it is &erel2 a repeated atte&pt to secure 3ebb.hen a &istrial has occurred. 0ere. )*'*. $n an2 of such cases.er be disturbed. 30ERE5 RE. the State &a2 assail the decision b2 special civil action of certiorari under Rule BC.uilt2. Sandi. 5or essentiall2 the sa&e reason. hi& to live in a continuin. coerced and scripted.illin. and %ante !. Re2es. he has been unable to brin.itnesses@ credibilit2.as not a credible .ever.itness and assails the value assi.o throu. Sister Mar2 1ohn R.le cri&inal proceedin. state of anxiet2 and insecurit2.h the process.s shall be entertained in this case. resultin.&ent of ac/uittal in that case . in loss of +urisdiction.&ent for the sa&e offense . 1r.as a sha& trial.as deprived of due process since the +ud. 5or instance.h innocent he &a2 be found . .itnesses and the evidence. he avers that the Court :&ust ensure that due process is afforded to all parties and there is no . 0e ascribes .uarantees that the State shall not be per&itted to &a7e repeated atte&pts to convict an individual for an alle. his pleas for reconsideration under such exceptions.ith serious doubts the validit2 of the decision:B is. the soverei. 9i6conde@s &otion for reconsideration dated %ece&ber )8. But the .ona. that Alfaro .overn&ent proved in 4al&an that the prosecution . 9i6conde does not alle.n freel2 to sub+ect the citi6en to a second +ud.ho dissented.ell as enhancin.ithout &ore. althou.>A?t the heart of this polic2 is the concern that per&ittin. #his is not constitutionall2 allo.ned b2 the Court to the evidence of the defense. and the four . the Court %EN$ES for lac7 of &erit co&plainant !auro 4.rounds are exceptional and narro.ravel2 abused its discretion.:CBut he has not specified the violations of due process or acts constitutin. S R%ERE%. 3ebb.h co&plainant 9i6conde invo7ed the exceptions.

NAC"URA Associate 1ustice Sa&e vote as 1. EONAR'O+'E CASTRO Associate 1ustice 'IOS'A'O M. A. $ERSAMIN Associate 1ustice $ vote to .rant the &otion for reconsideration MARTIN S. SERENO Associate 1ustice CER#$5$CA#$ N Pursuant to Section 'A. CARPIO Associate 1ustice No part due to relastionship to a part2 PRES$ITERO J.ned to the . A$A' Associate 1ustice 3E C NC"R= $ vote to . Article 9$$$ of the Constitution. Associate 1ustice JOSE CATRA MEN'O(A Associate 1ustice O JOSE PORTUGA PERE( Associate 1ustice See concurrin. prior inhibition ANTONIO T. pinion MARIA OUR'ES P. PERA TA Associate 1ustice No part MARIANO C. RENATO C. CORONA Chief 1ustice .R.riter of the opinion of the Court.rant the M.rant the &otion for reconsideration TERESITA J. Associate 1ustice $ vote to . as Sol 4en ANTONIO E'UAR'O $. *I ARAMA. CORONA Chief 1ustice No part. 9illara&a ARTURO '. it is hereb2 certified that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case . $RION Associate 1ustice UCAS P. 'E CASTI Associate 1ustice CONC"ITA CARPIO MORA ES Associate 1ustice No part< filed pleadin. *E ASCO. JR.RO$ERTO A. JR. RENATO C.as assi.

B8A-B8(. $n the case of 0ubert 3ebb.al i&port of the &a+orit2 %ecision. ' #he succeedin. #he si&ple fact is that the evidence tends to de&onstrate that 0ubert 3ebb is innocent.e@s findin. at '). she had contradicted herself and had been contradicted b2 other &ore believable evidence. 3hile this Court does not &a7e a dispositive rulin. Nos. People.rave abuse of discretion on the part of the +ud. $d. p.h2 this Court has no choice but to re+ect the trial court@s findin. doubt as to their .ere ac/uitted not onl2 because of doubt as to their .uilt but also because the evidence tends to establish their innocence. at D.ist of the %ecision sou. $d. as .R.R.uilt: or :non-.itness stand. 8. discussion de&onstrates . $t is unfortunate that state&ents . )**B. other than a pronounce&ent of :. at 8E. $n his Motion for Reconsideration. '8*8A).ere &ade that sou.-. 1ul2 )A.itnesses fare no better.o/-/y 0-1au. and . 4.ive full credence to the testi&on2 of 1essica Alfaro.s. () -'E8B.Arellano Law Foundation CONCURRING OPINION SERENO.al presu&ption of innocence &ust be applied in operative fact.eneral rule. the le.hen the reasonin. of the &a+orit2 %ecision.hether the accused .uilt2 be2ond reasonable doubt cannot be t. the evidence tends to establish his innocence. #his is the .: #he Motion for Reconsideration assails the &a+orit2 for failin. (E' SCRA '8C.itness are entitled to ut&ost respect as he has had the opportunit2 to observe their de&eanor on the . CCE SCRA BDB. of the Court de&onstrates such belief. n the other hand. a trial +ud. Castro v. )**8. A careful readin. is re/uired to deter&ine . J. 4.isted to &ean that this Court does not believe in the innocence of the accused .-there . No. #he si&ple fact also is that the evidence de&onstrates that not onl2 had 1essica Alfaro failed to substantiate her testi&on2.ell as the concurrin.uilt: on the part of the accused. to uphold the trial court@s conclusions. partialit2. ' Private Co&plainant@s Motion for Reconsideration.. 3hile as a . opinions.!oo.holl2 re+ected b2 the &a+orit2 as not believable. 'B8'88-8E. private co&plainant asserts that this Court should have respected the trial court@s resolve to . #he other &ain prosecution .ere ac/uitted . ) A ( C B D 8 The Lawphil Project . Supra note '. A pronounce&ent of this Court that the accused has not been proven to be . the testi&on2 of 1essica Alfaro .uilt of the cri&e char. ))8 Phil.no. .as .ht to dilute the le. at )*D.hether the accused .ht to be reconsidered.s as to the credibilit2 of a .e.as lin.erin. $d. 1une 'B. this holds true onl2 in the absence of bias.ed or .

er court sustained the prosecution@s ob+ection.itness .al possession of dru.hether such . the defense counsel sou.iven in evidence a.ithstandin.itness Alfaro .hts to and duties of the accused vis-a-vis the principal .as presentl2 in the "nited States.iven in a for&er case :involvin. upon the issue.ht of the defense to cross-exa&ine her.ht to be presu&ed innocent. %urin. and -A.h cross exa&ination. in si. is a ri.as tellin.eneral reputation for truth. or the reverse. a si. the trial court failed to reco.itness is a &atter of procedural due process such that the testi&on2 or deposition of a . As discussed in the pro&ul.itness is tellin. perpetrated b2 the trial court@s inappropriate and &is&atched attribution of ri. #o establish Alfaro@s bias and &otive for testif2in. or b2 evidence that he has &ade at other ti&es state&ents inconsistent .as clearl2 not the accused in the case. honest2. Alfaro.itness &a2 be i&peached :b2 contradictor2 evidence.as a credible . #he theor2 of the defense . the prosecution ob+ected to the /uestions on the . her about her )8 April 'EEC Affidavit.ht. &a2 be .round of irrelevance.uilt.: #he prosecution@s ob+ection had no le.ation for the co&&ission of an offense. Alfaro@s cross exa&ination. this.ainst hi& -her.ht reserved for an accused. 5u//n-. but that he .. 23. Respondent +ud.ni6e the accused@s ri.ithstandin.h his -her.. for inconsistenc2. and to elicit all i&portant facts bearin.itness in a cri&inal proceedin.: B #he ri. $nstead. the sa&e parties and sub+ect &atter.itness ..7C? A .ht to as7 Alfaro about her brother. in the case.ht of the accused to full2 and freel2 conduct a thorou. Patric7.e for her services.hen de&anded to be tested on cross-exa&ination G for honest2 b2 contradictor2 evidence of a reputation for dishonest2. b2 evidence that his .#he &ista7en i&pression that Alfaro . the ri.ht. Alfaro ad&itted that Patric7 . $n excessivel2 protectin.itness &a2 be cross-exa&ined b2 the adverse part2 as to an2 &atters stated in the direct exa&ination.e sustained the ob+ection.ith his present testi&on2.: . the trial court set undue restrictions on the defense counsel@s cross exa&ination of Alfaro.4 . or connected there.er /uestions. the trial court i&properl2 ascribed to her the ri.ated %ecision of the Court in this case.itness . althou. does not confer an2 favorable presu&ption on behalf of a .u55313-n.rit2 is bad. effectivel2 den2in. Alfaro@s :freedo& fro& interest or bias. ho.ho had a le. #he prosecution ob+ected and &oved that the /uestions be expun. or inte. the trial court@s %ecision indicated a preconceived belief in the accused@s .er &a2 tend to establish a clai& a.hich &ar7edl2 differs fro& her )) Ma2 'EEC Affidavit.s.as a dru.: ( #he Rules provide that :the . 3hen defense counsel in/uired about the circu&stances of Patric7@s departure for the "nited States. or for possible bias or i&proper &otive. of the 'E8D Constitution.edl2 .ith.uilt.al dut2 to :ans. $t is precisel2 due to the absence of an2 le.ithout the assistance of counsel.ainst the adverse part2: 8ro93)-) the adverse part2 :had the opportunit2 to cross-exa&ine hi&. addict and had been arrested once b2 the NB$ for ille.as a . )#his constitutional ri.al presu&ption that the . and as a corollar2. that .itness .ith the NB$ in exchan. the lo. thus foreclosin.nificant avenue for testin. . ans.itness.as that Patric7@s libert2 .ht to cross-exa&ine a .itness as &uch as .ht reserved solel2 for the accused or a :person under investi. the defense counsel tried to i&peach her credibilit2 b2 as7in. the accused such ri. $t also unreasonabl2 i&posed severe li&itations on the extent of the ri.as part of a deal that Alfaro had struc7 . the truth . an) 5r--)o6. #he la. pursuant to Article $$$ Section ')-'.as full2 tested b2 the defense .ed fro& the records on the basis of the inad&issibilit2 of the evidence obtained alle.al basis because Alfaro .:D Not.th of the cross-exa&ination is not as &aterial in the deter&ination of the credibilit2 of the .hen she testified to the accused@s . Alfaro .:A Not.nificant &easure.as.ever. #he len. the truth that heFshe is sub+ected to cross-exa&ination to :test his accurac2 and truthfulness and freedo& fro& interest or bias.

pure con+ecture and not hard evidence . Rivera@s earlier state&ent to i&peach the latter@s credibilit2< a. Alfaro@s lie under oath about her educational attain&ent persisted even after bein.iven counsel@s assistance in the execution of the second affidavit.as.ed on the .ht to unsubstantiated speculation.orn state&ents.ell as &ore ti&e to conte&plate the &atter.itched attributions as to .round of i&&aterialit2.S.ithout assistance of counsel. .as ad&ittedl2 executed .round that it . in the &ind of the trial court.hich confir&ed that 3ebb . the "nited States $&&i. Clearl2. #he notion that .as able to . her educational attain&ent as stated in her s.ed to defeat a le. Att2. MARIA OUR'ES P. Attorne2 4eneral and the ".S.hts and . "nfortunatel2. such official docu&ents as the authenticated ". Apparentl2. as .as authenticated b2 the %epart&ent of 5orei.as &ade b2 the defense follo. the trial court@s decision in this case .e. . 5urther&ore.hile . #he trial court@s treat&ent of docu&entar2 evidence also suffered fro& &is&atched ascription G discardin. and the rule that :-e. SERENO Associate 1ustice .ance of the defense@s atte&pts to i&peach AlfaroHs character.ho should en+o2 certain ri. the trial court struc7 the proffer fro& the record on the .nificant &easure.al presu&ption of said docu&ents@ accurac2 and re.ether .itness is not ad&issible until such character has been i&peached.hat should be presu&ed under the la.ance. A.ent so far as to i&properl2 accord her the ri. $NS Certification en+o2 the presu&ption of accurac2 of the entries therein.ith repeated instances of un.as disallo.: $ronicall2. 3orse 2et. the trial court disallo.ipe the record clean of so&e entries that cast doubt on Alfaro@s credibilit2.as alle.as executed .vidence of the . but the presu&ption that the2 are accurate can onl2 be overco&e .ards upholdin. could have tested AlfaroHs penchant for :accurac2 and truthfulness.edl2 i&proper on cross-exa&ination. "nfortunatel2. . Alfaro &isrepresented her educational attain&ent in both of her affidavits G her )8 April 'EEC Affidavit . Notabl2.ei. the trial court@s actions sho.ithstand her cross exa&ination appears sustainable in lar. #he defense presented her colle. Notabl2.as allo. passed throu.ardin.arranted exertion of effort to .hich . in re+ectin.ith evidence.ithout evidence to the contrar2 .ht reserved for an accused. that it had a bias to. . such disallo.ivin.al presu&ption. 5or instance. contrar2 to her clai& that she finished second 2ear colle. acade&ic units. the trial court@s disallo. the truthfulness of Alfaro@s testi&on2.hich she clai&ed . this ..ration and Naturali6ation Service -"S $NS.S. the trial court used &ere speculation that the accused@s fa&il2 influenced the production of false entries in official docu&ents to defeat the le.itness Alfaro . the lo.as in the "nited States fro& March 'EE' until ctober 'EE). in si. le. .round of irrelevance .hen the line of testin. 3ebb@s alibi defense.ith the assistance of counsel. Pedro RiveraE to testif2 positivel2 on Alfaro@s character.in.al presu&ptions . #his behavior on the part of the trial court and the effect it had on the factual conclusions on the credibilit2 of 1essica Alfaro and on the presence of 0ubert 3ebb in the Philippines at the ti&e of the co&&ission of the cri&e cannot be upheld. not. Certification. State %epart&ent.ain.e transcript of records to prove that she onl2 enrolled for a 2ear and earned nine -E.'' fficial docu&ents are not infallible.#he defense counsel tried to cross-exa&ine Alfaro re.as authenticated b2 no less than the ffice of the ".as so e&asculated b2 the trial court@s inordinate protection of her.ularit2 of issuance. havin.e part because her cross exa&ination . this official certification of a soverei.n state. 3hen a proffer of evidence '* .n Affairs.h for&al diplo&atic channels.ed the prosecution to present Att2. and her subse/uent )) Ma2 'EEC Affidavit .ood character of a . the product of s. As discussed in the &ain decision.ithstandin.: 8 the trial court allo.er court sustained the prosecution@s ob+ection to the /uestion on the . #a7en to.ed the defense fro& presentin. evidentiar2 .hich .

Section ''..s offered in evidence are excluded b2 the court.ainst hi&. Section (D. Antillon v. AD Phil.ain resuscitate AlfaroHs credibilit2. Rule 'A). $f the evidence excluded is oral. the offeror &a2 state for the record the sa&e and other personal circu&stances of the . -'. '). Rules of Court. A*E SCRA BBE.elio Mercado. Rule 'A).ritin..ht to be infor&ed of his ri. Nos.n choice.ht to re&ain silent and to have co&petent and independent counsel preferabl2 of his o. Rules of Court. 5r. Rules of Court. '(8 -'E'D. Rules of Court. Rule 'A). Sister Mar2 1ohn Manan6an and Bishop Evan. ( C B D 8 Notabl2. Section B. #hese ri.!oo. An2 person under investi. Section A. Roberto Re2es. E Rules of Court.ation for the co&&ission of an offense shall have the ri. Rule 'A).itness and the substance of the proposed testi&on2.: A Rules of Court. Rules of Court. he &ust be provided .ainst Cri&e and Corruption -9ACC. $f the person cannot afford the services of counsel. section shall be inad&issible in evidence a. An2 confession or ad&ission obtained in violation of this or the precedin.aived except in . Section (* provides that :-i. .: '* '' Citin. the2 attach a cop2 of Att2.no. Rule 'A). Dizon. Barcelona.f docu&ents or thin. the offeror &a2 have the sa&e attached to or &ade part of the record. ' People v. in the Motion for Reconsideration in $ntervention filed b2 the 9olunteers A. and in the presence of counsel. Section '(. ) 1ul2 'EEE. Section B.ith one.R. Pedro RiveraHs Affidavit to once a. ')B*((-(C. ) xxx xxx xxx :-A. Rule 'A).-. 4. Rule 'A*.hts cannot be . :SEC.

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