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RTJ-92-876 September 19, 1994
STATE PROSECUTORS, complainants,
cases aforementioned "for not to do so opens this Court to charges of trying cases over which it has no more jurisdiction;" 4. That in dismissing aforecited cases on August 13, 1992 on the basis of a Central Bank Circular or Monetary Board Resolution which as of date hereof, has not even been officially issued, and basing his Order/decision on a mere newspaper account of the advance announcement made by the President of the said fact of lifting or liberalizing foreign exchange controls, respondent judge acted prematurely and in indecent haste, as he had no way of determining the full intent of the new CB Circular or Monetary Board resolution, and whether the same provided for exception, as in the case of persons who had pending criminal cases before the courts for violations of Central Bank Circulars and/or regulations previously issued on the matter; 5. That respondent Judge's arrogant and cavalier posture in taking judicial notice purportedly as a matter of public knowledge a mere newspaper account that the President had announced the lifting of foreign exchange restrictions as basis for his assailed order of dismissal is highly irregular, erroneous and misplaced. For the respondent judge to take judicial notice thereof even before it is officially released by the Central Bank and its full text published as required by law to be effective shows his precipitate action in utter disregard of the fundamental precept of due process which the People is also entitled to and exposes his gross ignorance of the law, thereby tarnishing public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary. How can the Honorable Judge take judicial notice of something which has not yet come into force and the contents, shape and tenor of which have not yet been published and ascertained to be the basis of judicial action? The Honorable Judge had miserably failed to "endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts" in the case at bar contrary to Rule 3.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct constituting Grave Misconduct; 6. That respondent Judge did not even ha(ve) the prudence of requiring first the comment of the prosecution on the effect of aforesaid Central Bank Circular/Monetary Board resolution on the pending cases before dismissing the same, thereby denying the Government of its right to due process; 7. That the lightning speed with which respondent Judge acted to dismiss the cases may be gleaned from the fact that such precipitate action was undertaken despite already scheduled continuation of trial dates set in the order of the court (the prosecution having started presenting its evidence . . .) dated August 11, 1992 to wit: August 31, September 3, 10, 21, & 23 and October 1, 1992, all at 9:30 o'clock in the morning, in brazen disregard of all notions of fair play, thereby depriving the Government of its right to be heard, and clearly exposing his bias and partiality; and 8. That, in fact, the motive of respondent Judge in dismissing the case without even waiting for a motion to quash filed by the counsel for accused has even placed his dismissal Order suspect.
JUDGE MANUEL T. MURO, Regional Trial Court,
Branch 54, Manila, respondent. PER CURIAM: In assaying the requisite norms for qualifications and eminence of a magistrate, legal authorities place a premium on how he has complied with his continuing duty to know the law. A quality thus considered essential to the judicial character is that of "a man of learning who spends tirelessly the weary hours after midnight acquainting himself with the great body of traditions and the learning of the law; is profoundly learned in all the learning of the law; and knows how to use that learning." 1 Obviously, it is the primary duty of a judge, which he owes to the public and to the legal profession, to know the very law he is supposed to apply to a given controversy. He is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with the statutes and procedural rules. Party litigants will have great faith in the administration of justice if judges cannot justly be accused of apparent deficiency in their grasp of the legal principles. For, service in the judiciary means a continuous study and research on the law from beginning to end. 2 In a letter-complaint 3 dated August 19, 1992, respondent Judge Manuel T. Muro of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 54, was charged by State Prosecutors Nilo C. Mariano, George C. Dee and Paterno V. Tac-an with ignorance of the law, grave misconduct and violations of Rules 2.01, 3.01 and 3.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, committed as follows:
1. That on August 13, 1992, respondent judge issued an Order dismissing eleven (11) cases (docketed as Crim. Cases Nos. 92-101959 to 92- 101969, inclusive) filed by the undersigned complainant prosecutors (members of the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors) against the accused Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, for Violation of Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restrictions, as consolidated in CB Circular No. 960, in relation to the penal provisions of Sec. 34 of R.A. 265, as amended, . . .; 2. That respondent Judge issued his Order solely on the basis of newspaper reports (August 11, 1992 issues of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Daily Globe) concerning the announcement on August 10, 1992 by the President of the Philippines of the lifting by the government of all foreign exchange restrictions and the arrival at such decision by the Monetary Board as per statement of Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia; 3. That claiming that the reported announcement of the Executive Department on the lifting of foreign exchange restrictions by two newspapers which are reputable and of national circulation had the effect of repealing Central Bank Circular No. 960, as allegedly supported by Supreme Court decisions . . ., the Court contended that it was deprived of jurisdiction, and, therefore, motu, prop(r)io had to dismiss all the eleven
Pursuant to a resolution of this Court dated September 8, 1992, respondent judge filed his comment, 4 contending,inter alia, that there was no need to await publication of the Central Bank (CB) circular repealing the existing law on foreign exchange controls for the simple reason that the public announcement made by the President in several newspapers of general circulation lifting foreign exchange controls was total, absolute, without qualification, and was immediately effective; that having acted only on the basis of such announcement, he cannot be blamed for relying on the erroneous statement of the President that the new foreign
exchange rules rendered moot and academic the cases filed against Mrs. Marcos, and which was corrected only on August 17, 1992 but published in the newspapers on August 18, 1992, and only after respondent judge had issued his order of dismissal dated August 13, 1992; that the President was ill-advised by his advisers and, instead of rescuing the Chief Executive from embarrassment by assuming responsibility for errors in the latter's announcement, they chose to toss the blame for the consequence of their failures to respondent judge who merely acted on the basis of the announcements of the President which had become of public knowledge; that the "saving clause" under CB Circular No. 1353 specifically refers only to pending actions or investigations involving violations of CB Circular No. 1318, whereas the eleven cases dismissed involved charges for violations of CB Circular No. 960, hence the accused cannot be tried and convicted under a law different from that under which she was charged; that assuming that respondent judge erred in issuing the order of dismissal, the proper remedy should have been an appeal therefrom but definitely not an administrative complaint for his dismissal; that a mistake committed by a judge should not necessarily be imputed as ignorance of the law; and that a "court can reverse or modify a doctrine but it does not show ignorance of the justices or judges whose decisions were reversed or modified" because "even doctrines initiated by the Supreme Court are later reversed, so how much more for the lower courts?" He further argued that no hearing was necessary since the prosecution had nothing to explain because, as he theorized, "What explanation could have been given? That the President was talking 'through his hat' (to use a colloquialism) and should not be believed? That I should wait for the publication (as now alleged by complainants), of a still then non-existent CB circular? . . . As it turned out, CB Circular No. 3153 (sic) does not affect my dismissal order because the said circular's so-called saving clause does not refer to CB Circular 960 under which the charges in the dismissed cases were based;" that it was discretionary on him to take judicial notice of the facts which are of public knowledge, pursuant to Section 2 of Rule 129; that the contention of complainants that he acted prematurely and in indecent haste for basing his order of dismissal on a mere newspaper account is contrary to the wordings of the newspaper report wherein the President announced the lifting of controls as an accomplished fact, not as an intention to be effected in the future, because of the use of the present perfect tense or past tense "has lifted," not that he "intends to lift," foreign exchange controls. Finally, respondent judge asseverates that complainants who are officers of the Department of Justice, violated Section 6, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court which provides that "proceedings against judges of first instance shall be private and confidential" when they caused to be published in the newspapers the filing of the present administrative case against him; and he emphasizes the fact that he had to immediately resolve a simple and pure legal matter in consonance with the admonition of the Supreme Court for speedy disposition of cases. In their reply 5 and supplemental reply, 6 complainants aver that although the saving clause under Section 16 of CB Circular No. 1353 made specific
reference to CB Circular No. 1318, it will be noted that Section 111 of Circular No. 1318, which contains a saving clause substantially similar to that of the new circular, in turn refers to and includes Circular No. 960. Hence, whether under Circular No. 1318 or Circular No. 1353, pending cases involving violations of Circular No. 960 are excepted from the coverage thereof. Further, it is alleged that the precipitate dismissal of the eleven cases, without according the prosecution the opportunity to file a motion to quash or a comment, or even to show cause why the cases against accused Imelda R. Marcos should not be dismissed, is clearly reflective of respondent's partiality and bad faith. In effect, respondent judge acted as if he were the advocate of the accused. On December 9, 1993, this Court issued a resolution referring the complaint to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and recommendation, pursuant to Section 7, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as revised, there being no factual issues involved. The corresponding report and recommendation, 7 dated February 14, 1994, was submitted by Deputy Court Administrator Juanito A. Bernad, with the approval of Court Administrator Ernani Cruz-Paño. The questioned order
of respondent judge reads as follows:
These eleven (11) cases are for Violation of Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restrictions as consolidated in CB Circular No. 960 in relation to the penal provision of Sec. 34 of R.A. 265, as amended. The accused Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos pleaded not guilty to all these cases; apparently the other accused in some of these cases, Roberto S. Benedicto, was not arrested and therefore the Court did not acquire jurisdiction over his person; trial was commenced as against Mrs. Marcos. His Excellency, the President of the Philippines, announced on August 10, 1992 that the government has lifted all foreign exchange restrictions and it is also reported that Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia said that the Monetary Board arrived at such decision (issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 11, 1992 and issue of the Daily Globe of the same date). The Court has to give full confidence and credit to the reported announcement of the Executive Department, specially from the highest official of that department; the Courts are charged with judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, without introduction of proof, the announcement published in at least the two newspapers cited above which are reputable and of national circulation. Per several cases decided by the Supreme Court (People vs. Alcaras, 56 Phil. 520, People vs. Francisco, 56 Phil. 572, People vs. Pastor, 77 Phil. 1000, People vs. Crisanto Tamayo, 61 Phil. 225), among others, it was held that the repeal of a penal law without re-enactment extinguishes the right to prosecute or punish the offense committed under the old law and if the law repealing the prior penal law fails to penalize the acts which constituted the offense defined and penalized in the repealed law, the repealed law carries with it the deprivation of the courts of jurisdiction to try, convict and sentence persons charged with violations of the old law prior to its repeal. Under the aforecited decisions this doctrine applies to special laws and not only to the crimes punishable in the Revised Penal Code, such as the Import Control Law. The Central Bank Circular No. 960 under which the accused Mrs. Marcos is charged is considered as a penal law because violation thereof is penalized with specific reference to the provision of
which penalizes violations of Central Bank Circular No.R. . I. 1992 issue of the Manila Chronicle.. . Worse." of which courts take judicial notice. In finding that respondent judge acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the order of dismissal. . Thus his conclusion that he has lost jurisdiction over the criminal cases is precipitate and hasty. they shall be governed by the regulations existing at the time the cause of action (arose). facts which are universally known. 19 The reason is simple. without any motion to dismiss filed by counsel for the accused. When required to file her comment. (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain. private respondent was ordered. and (3) it must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. Judicial cognizance is taken only of those matters which are "commonly" known. but again failed despite notice. The power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by courts with caution. 17 Thus. or they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. in the guise of exercising discretion and on the basis of a mere newspaper account which is sometimes even referred to as hearsay evidence twice removed. a matter which was not and cannot be considered of common knowledge or of general notoriety. private respondent Marcos failed to file any. are judicially noticed. This order was subsequently assailed in a petition for certiorari filed with the Court of Appeals. Manuel T. Considering that respondent judge admittedly had not seen the official text of CB Circular No. Likewise.Section 34 of Republic Act 265. series of 1992. not generally or professionally known. Hon. which is one of the requirements before a court can take judicial notice of a fact. without giving an opportunity for the prosecution to be heard. . provided they are of such universal notoriety and so generally understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every person. xxx xxx xxx A cursory reading of the . 1992. entitled "Further Liberalizing Foreign Exchange Regulation" was published in the August 27. 13 To say that a court will take judicial notice of a fact is merely another way of saying that the usual form of evidence will be dispensed with if knowledge of the fact can be otherwise acquired. Br. Judge. he was in no position to rule judiciously on whether CB Circular No. The newspaper report is not the publication required by law in order that the enactment can become effective and binding. 54 and Imelda R. 1353. . on April 29. dictionaries or other publications. 92-101959 to 92101969. The mere personal knowledge of the judge is not the judicial knowledge of the court. 11 The provincial guide in determining what facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. Had he awaited the filing of a motion to dismiss by the accused. Executive Order No. it was impossible for respondent judge. the Philippine Star and the Manila Bulletin. The doctrine of judicial notice rests on the wisdom and discretion of the courts. 16 Things of "common knowledge." docketed as CAG. and which may be found in encyclopedias. the basis of his action. i.. to file an answer to the petition and to show cause why no writ of preliminary injunction should issue. and reinstating Criminal Cases Nos. this Court motu proprio dismisses all the eleven (11) cases as a forestated in the caption. 14 This is because the court assumes that the matter is so notorious that it will not be disputed.e. 10 Generally speaking. took judicial notice of the supposed lifting of foreign exchange controls. and it was definitely not proper for him. he took cognizance of an administrative regulation which was not yet in force when the order of dismissal was issued. may be matters coming to the knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life.. for not to do so opens this Court to charges of trying cases over which it has no more jurisdiction. 960. entitled "People of the Philippines vs. SP No. 200). was already repealed by CB Circular No. CB Circular No. still inexistent. and every reasonable doubt on the subject should be promptly resolved in the negative. 1353 took effect on September 2. 18 Respondent judge.. RTC of Manila. . under which the accused Mrs. care must be taken that the requisite notoriety exists. The full text of CB Circular 1353. Marcos. 1353. the Court of Appeals rendered a decision 9 setting aside the order of August 13. Jurisprudence dictates that judicial notice cannot be taken of a statute before it becomes effective. not speculation. 1993. Eventually. 29349. Evidently. his resolution would have been the result of deliberation. Laws take effect after fifteen days following the completion of their publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation unless it is otherwise provided (Section 1. to have taken cognizance of CB Circular No. the appellate court held that: The order was issued motu proprio. and given opportunity for the prosecution to comment/oppose the same. 15 But judicial notice is not judicial knowledge. after the appellate court gave due course to the petition. matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the matter must be one of common and general knowledge. 12 Hence. produces the effect cited in the Supreme Court decisions and since according to the decisions that repeal deprives the Court of jurisdiction. and he is not authorized to make his individual knowledge of a fact. cannot be of common knowledge capable of ready and unquestionable demonstration. 1353. 960. as there is a provision that with respect to violations of former regulations that are the subject of pending actions or investigations. A law which is not yet in force and hence. it can be said that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general notoriety. Per certification of the CB Corporate Affairs Office. and solely on the basis of newspaper reports announcing that the President has lifted all foreign exchange restrictions. provision would have readily shown that the repeal of the regulations on non-trade foreign exchange transactions is not absolute. when the same was not yet in force at the time the improvident order of dismissal was issued. Muro. Marcos is charged.
It unequivocally appears from the section above quoted that although Circular No. The contention is patently unmeritorious. the second part of the saving clause in Circular No. violations of which are the subject of pending actions or investigations. are hereby repealed or modified accordingly: Provided. a judge must not only be pure but beyond suspicion. investigations. amended or modified by this Circular. including amendments thereto. He should administer his office with due regard to the integrity of the system of the law itself. the regulations existing at the time the cause of action accrued shall govern. 16. 960 is deemed repealed by the new circular and since the former is not covered by the saving clause in the latter. violations of which are the subject of pending actions or investigations. 1318. 111. it has always heretofore been the rule that in disposing of controverted cases. His actuations should moreover inspire that belief. shall not be considered repealed insofar as such pending actions or investigations are concerned. 1353 took effect. is beyond comprehension. The assertion of respondent judge that there was no need to await publication of Circular No. 1353. 23 These are immutable principles that go into the very essence of the task of dispensing justice and we see no reason why they should not be duly considered in the present case. It is inconceivable that respondent should insist on an altogether different and illogical interpretation of an established and well-entrenched rule if only to suit his own personal opinion and. remembering that he is not a depository of arbitrary power. however. the trial court was and is supposed to proceed with the hearing of the cases in spite of the existence of Circular No. but a judge under the sanction of the law. 960. and said cases had already been set for trial when Circular No. 1318. 960. since Section 111 of the former provides: Sec. Such action may have detrimental consequences beyond the immediate controversy. he insists. 1353 explicitly provides that "any regulation on non-trade foreign transactions which has been repealed. Like Caesar's wife. Central Bank Circular No. and that he violates his duty as a minister of justice under such a system if he seeks to do what he may personally consider substantial justice in a particular case and disregards the general law as he knows it to be binding on him. It was not for him to indulge or even to give the appearance of catering to the at-times human failing of Respondent judge contends that the saving clause refers only to the provisions of Circular No. 1353. 1992. shall remain in full force and effect: Provided. 960. thus: Sec. as it were. Final Provisions of CB Circular No. with the exception of the second paragraph of Section 68 of Circular 1028. the regulations existing at the time the cause of action accrued shall govern. 960 and 1028. . 1318 repealed Circular No. 1353." The terms of the circular are clear and unambiguous and leave no room for interpretation. 960. however. 1353 for the reason that the public announcement made by the President in several newspapers of general circulation lifting foreign exchange controls is total. shall not be considered repealed insofar as such pending actions or investigations are concerned. that ours is a government of laws and not of men. Thus. 22 A judge should be mindful that his duty is the application of general law to particular instances. As a judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila. promote confidence in their intellectual integrity and contribute useful precedents to the growth of the law. shall be considered repealed insofar as such pending actions or investigations are concerned. Consequently. it is not enough that he decides cases without bias and favoritism. Hence. had respondent judge only bothered to read a little more carefully the texts of the circulars involved. the regulations existing at the time the cause of action accrued shall govern.II.All the provisions in Chapter X of CB Circular No. III. Section 16 thereof provides for a saving clause. he would have readily perceived and known that Circular No. judges should show their full understanding of the case. the accused in the eleven cases had already been arraigned. that any regulation on non-trade foreign exchange transactions which has been repealed. there is no more basis for the charges involved in the criminal cases which therefore warrant a dismissal of the same. absolute. it being understood that as to such pending actions or investigations. Secondly. that regulations. it being understood that as to such pending actions or . Thus. correct and impartial decision but should do so in such a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to its fairness and impartiality and as to his integrity. In the case at bar. 20 This means that a judge should not only render a just. further liberalized the foreign exchange regulations on receipts and disbursements of residents arising from non-trade and trade transactions. or contrary to the provisions of this Circular. 1318 insofar as they are not inconsistent with. to defend his indefensible action. amended or modified by this Circular. the former specifically excepted from its purview all cases covered by the old regulations which were then pending at the time of the passage of the new regulations. and immediately effective. as well as all other existing Central Bank rules and regulations or parts thereof. had pleaded not guilty to the charges of violations of Circular No. respondent is supposed to be well-versed in the elementary legal mandates on the publication of laws before they take effect.All existing provisions of Circulars 365. While a judge should possess proficiency in law in order that he can competently construe and enforce the law. It has been said that next in importance to the duty of rendering a righteous judgment is that of doing it in such a manner as will beget no suspicion of the fairness and integrity of the judge. 1318 also contains a substantially similar saving clause as that found in Circular No. any reference made to Circular No. which took effect on September 1. it being understood that as to such pending actions or investigations. . it is more important that he should act and behave in such a manner that the parties before him should have confidence in his impartiality. Nor is it sufficient that he in fact rids himself of prepossessions. Firstly. avoid the suspicion of arbitrary conclusion. 21 Moreover. Circular No. which are inconsistent with or contrary to the provisions of this Circular. without qualification. whereas the eleven criminal cases he dismissed involve a violation of CB Circular No. Repealing clause. violations of which are the subject of pending actions or investigations. 1318 necessarily involves and affects Circular No.
30 It is also significant that accused Marcos. 24 He having done so. a cursory perusal of the comment filed by respondent judge reveals that no substantial argument has been advanced in plausible justification of his act. On this point. the fact remains that he gave the prosecution no chance whatsoever to show or prove that it had strong evidence of the guilt of the accused. . courts are ousted of their jurisdiction. VI. The strained and fallacious submissions therein do not speak well of respondent and cannot but further depreciate his probity as a judge. respondent judge can but rhetorically ask: "What explanation could have been given? That the President was talking 'through his hat' and should not be believed? That I should wait for the publication of a still then non. 26 The lightning speed. as by his own admission he was in doubt whether or not he should dismiss the cases. prudence and care which the law is entitled to exact in the rendering of any public service. as a result of the newspaper report. He utterly failed to show any legal. despite due notice. To hold a judge liable for rendering a manifestly unjust order through inexcusable negligence or ignorance. This saved the day for the People since in the absence of jurisdiction. considering that the accused is a prominent public figure with a record of influence and power.existent CB Circular?" The pretended cogency of this ratiocination cannot stand even the minutest legal scrutiny. he thereby effectively deprived the prosecution of its right to due process. . It bears stressing that the questioned order of respondent judge could have seriously and substantially affected the rights of the prosecution had the accused invoked the defense of double jeopardy. notwithstanding the fact that respondent was not sure of the effects and implications of the President's announcement. he failed to observe in the performance of his duty that diligence. 28 he nonetheless deliberately refrained from requiring the prosecution to comment thereon. he should have the patience and circumspection to give the opposing party a chance to present his evidence even if he thinks that the oppositor's proofs might not be adequate to overthrow the case for the other party. To repeat. and as a caveat to trial courts against falling into the same judicial error. even if true. and in a very clear and indisputable manner. to borrow the words of complainants. 25 nor does such professed objective. . The very act of respondent judge in altogether dismissing sua sponte the eleven criminal cases without even a motion to quash having been filed by the accused. with which respondent judge resolved to dismiss the cases without the benefit of a hearing and without reasonable notice to the prosecution inevitably opened him to suspicion of having acted out of partiality for the accused. In order that bias may not be imputed to a judge. IV. 31 In the present case. . Where the prosecution is deprived of a fair opportunity to prosecute and prove its case. is not only a blatant denial of elementary due process to the Government but is palpably indicative of bad faith and partiality. or even equitable justification for the dismissal of the eleven criminal cases. respondent judge acted injudiciously and with unjustified haste in the outright dismissal of the eleven cases. V. 27 More importantly. it nevertheless results logically and reasonably. and without at least giving the prosecution the basic opportunity to be heard on the matter by way of a written comment or on oral argument. . A display of petulance and impatience in the conduct of the trial is a norm of conduct which is inconsistent with the "cold neutrality of an impartial judge. and thereby rendered his actuation highly dubious. Furthermore. to the consequent although undeserved discredit of the entire judiciary. which cannot be glossed over or disregarded at will. Thus. . This serves to further underscore the fact that the order of dismissal was clearly unjustified and erroneous. factual. in the notorious violation of the legal precept. The explanation given is no explanation at all. were it not for the holding of the Court of Appeals that respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. the violation of the State's right to due process raises a serious jurisdictional issue . justify a deprivation of the prosecution's right to be heard and a violation of its right to due process of law. This could have spawned legal complications and inevitable delay in the criminal proceedings. we reiterate what we have heretofore declared: It is settled doctrine that double jeopardy cannot be invoked against this Court's setting aside of the trial court's judgment of dismissal or acquittal where the prosecution which represents the sovereign people in criminal cases is denied due process. . Negligence and ignorance are inexcusable if they imply a manifest injustice which cannot be explained by a reasonable interpretation. it is not easy to allay public skepticism and suspicions on how said dismissal order came to be. never submitted either her comment on or an answer to the petition for certiorari as required by the Court of Appeals. and even though there is a misunderstanding or error of the law applied. in the face of the foregoing premises.yielding to first impressions." 29 At the very least. it must be clearly shown that although he has acted without malice. nor was double jeopardy invoked in her defense. considering that the dismissal was ordered after arraignment and without the consent of said accused. The cardinal precept is that where there is a violation of basic constitutional rights. In a puerile defense of his action. . a decision rendered in disregard of that right is void for lack of jurisdiction . This is not a simple case of a misapplication or erroneous interpretation of the law. . Regardless of how carefully he may have evaluated changes in the factual situation and legal standing of the cases. To stress this point. double jeopardy will not set in. this Court is hard put to believe that he indeed acted in good faith. its right to due process is thereby violated. it is best that pertinent unedited excerpts from his comment 32 be quoted by way of graphic illustration and emphasis: . Where the denial of the fundamental right of due process is apparent. The avowed desire of respondent judge to speedily dispose of the cases as early as possible is no license for abuse of judicial power and discretion.
It would have been different if the circular that in effect repealed Central Bank Circular No.00 while boarding a plane for Hongkong. nor made an announcement that the lifting of the controls do not apply to cases already pending. it is said that I issued the Order dismissing the eleven (11) cases against Mrs. and brief him on matters of immediate and far-reaching concerns (such as the lifting of foreign exchange controls. In this particular case. publicly announced the lifting of all foreign exchange regulations. 960. the reference to "new rules" not to "rules still to be drafted"). published the following day. designed. with the total lifting of the controls. Instead of rescuing the Chief Executive from embarrassment by assuming responsibility for errors in the latter's announcement." Therefore. erroneously ruling that the State must first prove criminal intent to violate the law and benefit from the illegal act. RAMOS (sic) had "corrected himself'. the Secretary of Finance being the Chairman of the Monetary Board which decides the policies of the Central Bank. because of the ABSOLUTE lifting of ALL restrictions on foreign exchange transactions. who is the Chief Executive. the announcement did not say that the government INTENDS to lift all foreign exchange restrictions but instead says that the government "has LIFTED all foreign exchange controls. Ordinarily a Central Bank Circular/Resolution must be published in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. accordingly. telling reporters that the charges against the widow of former President Marcos "have become moot and academic" because of new ruling(s) which allow free flow of currency in and out of the country" (Note. with forfeiture of retirement benefits. which had become of public knowledge. among others to encourage the entry of foreign investments). a few hours after the President had made another announcement as to the charges against Imelda Marcos having been rendered moot and academic. but the lifting of "all foreign exchange controls" was announced by the President of the Philippines WITHOUT QUALIFICATIONS. 960. said. SUPRA. there is no need to await publication. on the mistaken interpretation that the CB circular exempts such amount from seizure. not until August 17 (the fourth day after my Order. and there is basis to conclude that the President was at the very least ILL-SERVED by his financial and legal advisers. Marcos on the basis of newspaper reports referred to in paragraph 2 of the letter complaint without awaiting the official publication of the Central Bank Circular. It therefore behooved his subalterns to give him timely (not "belated") advice. 1992" the government has lifted ALL foreign exchange controls. disheartening and regrettable to note the nature of the arguments and the kind of logic that respondent judge would want to impose on this Court notwithstanding the manifest lack of cogency thereof. a financier. an RTC judge who was described by this Court as one "who is ignorant of fairly elementary and quite familiar legal principles and . 960 despite the fact that the accused was apprehended with US$355. The President has a lot of work to do. Marcos." (emphasis in both quotations supplied) not only the President made the announcement but also the Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia joined in the announcement by saying that "the Monetary Board arrived at the decision after noting how the "partial liberalization" initiated early this year worked. despite the contrary recommendation of the investigating judge.349. The President. that the "new foreign exchange rules have nullified government cases against Imelda R. reported in the INQUIRER's issue of August 18. as published in the Daily Globe. it has already been lifted. In one case. If the President was wrong in making the August 10 announcement (published in August 11. Respondent judge therein was ordered dismissed from the government service for gross incompetence and ignorance of the law. The President has within his control directly or indirectly the Central Bank of the Philippines." and in the words of the Philippine Daily Inquirer report of the same date "The government yesterday LIFTED the LAST remaining restrictions on foreign exchange transactions. 1992. for gross ignorance of the law and for knowingly rendering an unjust order or judgment when he granted bail to an accused charged with raping an 11-year old girl. August 11. and the third day after report of said order was published) and after the President said on August 17. there was no need to await the publication of the repealing circular of the Central Bank. It is." and in the other newspaper cited above." "He had been belatedly advised by the Central Bank Governor Jose Cuisia and Justice Secretary Franklin Drilon that the Monetary Board Regulation excluded from its coverage all criminal cases pending in court and such a position shall stand legal scrutiny'. . 1992. the President's announcement of the lifting of controls was stated in the present perfect tense (Globe) or past tense (Inquirer). Abaya. Mrs. newspapers) and in the August 17 announcement. these advisers have chosen to toss the blame for the consequence of their failing to me." I will elaborate on two points: 1. parenthetically. an RTC Judge was administratively charged for acquitting the accused of a violation of CB Circular No. and is not. In other words. economist. .00 out of the total amount seized. No official bothered to correct or qualify the President's announcement of August 10. The INQUIRER report continues: "A few hours later. This calls to mind similar scenarios and how this Court reacted thereto. 960. presidential spokeswoman Annabelle Abaya said. the Court dismissed another RTC judge. and thus I should have relied on the Presidential announcements. not until August 17.On the alleged ignorance of the law imputed to me.000. 1992. to my knowledge. stationed in the City of Manila itself. The Complainants state that the lifting of controls was not yet in force when I dismissed the cases but it should be noted that in the report of the two (2) newspapers aforequoted. because no one bothered to advise the President to correct his announcements. that "The government yesterday lifted the last remaining restrictions on foreign exchange transactions". under which the accused was charged in the cases dismissed by me. who only acted on the basis of announcements of their Chief. 33 Subsequently. The lifting of the last remaining exchange regulations effectively cancelled or repealed Circular No. Imelda R. The purpose of requiring publication of laws and administrative rules affecting the public is to inform the latter as to how they will conduct their affairs and how they will conform to the laws or the rules. 34 Similarly. and further ordering the return of US$3. and thereafter granted the motion to dismiss the case allegedly executed by the complainant. had provided for penalties and/or modified the provisions of said Circular No. xxx xxx xxx The Court strongly feels that it has every right to assume and expect that respondent judge is possessed with more than ordinary credentials and qualifications to merit his appointment as a presiding judge in the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region. banker or lawyer. .
alleged: . Padilla. his error of judgment being almost deliberate and tantamount to knowingly rendering an incorrect and unjust judgment. has a marked penchant for applying unorthodox. 37 ACCORDINGLY. Bellosillo. exhibits indifference to and even disdain for due process and the rule of law. Narvasa. an RTC judge who had been reinstated in the service was dismissed after he acquitted all the accused in four criminal cases for illegal possession of firearms. 1997. Nos. SO ORDERED. in a probate proceeding. without affording due process to the latter and other interested parties. concur. 135695-96. The first complaint. DU6186. 2000] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. on the ground that there was no proof of malice or deliberate intent on the part of the accused to violate the law. [G. plaintiff-appellee.administrative regulations. Melo. forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits. accused-appellant. an RTJ judge was also dismissed by this Court for gross ignorance of the law after she ordered. applies the law whimsically.DU-6186 and DU-6203. Regalado. Feliciano. Branch 28. the Court finds respondent Judge Manuel T. The Court found him guilty of gross ignorance of the law. 35 Still in another administrative case. vs. or continuing any judicial action or proceeding whatsoever. DECISION QUISUMBING.." was dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and with prejudice to reinstatement in any branch of the government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities. Muro guilty of gross ignorance of the law. capriciously and oppressively. Quiason. and displays bias and impartiality. docketed as Criminal Case No. October 12. Cruz. JJ. J. 38 Respondent is hereby ordered to CEASE and DESIST immediately from rendering any judgment or order. On November 18. private complainant Mary Ann Tundag filed with the Mandaue City Prosecutor’s Office two separate complaints for incestuous rape. even strange theories and concepts in the adjudication of controversies. Davide.: For automatic review is the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City. Romero. Bidin.. effective upon receipt of this decision. He is hereby DISMISSED from the service. and disqualification from reemployment in the government service. finding appellant Tomas Tundag guilty of two counts of incestuous rape and sentencing him to death twice. the cancellation of the certificates of title issued in the name of the complainant. is on official leave. on the foregoing premises and considerations. Puno. such dismissal to carry with it cancellation of eligibility. Jr. Vitug and Kapunan. TOMAS TUNDAG . in Criminal Cases Nos. 36 Only recently.R.
docketed as Criminal Case No. Mandaue City. to wit: I. her father just stayed there and continued smoking while she cried. told her that a woman who does not marry can never enter heaven and he got angry with her when she contradicted his statement. 1997. with deliberate intent. he undressed her which she resisted but her father used a knife and told her that he would kill her if she shouts and after that. he was laughing and further.That on or about the 5th day of September. the court below gave credence to complainant’s version of what accused did to her. at Galaxy Compound. But before she went to sleep. That while the penis of her father was inside her vagina and (he) was humping over her. The other. the above-named accused. The two cases were consolidated and a joint trial ensued. Philippines.000. thus: WHEREFORE. unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with the said offended party against the latter’s will. being the father of complainant MARY ANN TUNDAG. she felt intense pain that she cried and told him to pull it out but did not accede and in fact. being the father of complainant MARY ANN TUNDAG. . Then. Joint Judgment is hereby rendered. DU-6186 a) Finding the herein accused TOMAS TUNDAG guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape. “had a quarrel when he accordingly reprimanded her for going out whenever he was not at home. the above-named accused.00 by reason of the commission of the offense of rape upon her. when she was already sleeping. Philippines. she placed a stool between them but he just brushed it aside and laid down with her Upon arraignment appellant. the herein accused. In effect. b) To indemnify the offended party Mary Ann Tundag the following amounts: (1) P50. CONTRARY TO LAW. DU-6203 a) Finding the herein accused TOMAS TUNDAG guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape. unlawfully and feloniously have sexual intercourse with the said offended party against the latter’s will. II. and (2) Another P50. 1997. did then and there wilfully. assisted by counsel de parte. xxx That on September 5. she lied (sic) down to sleep when her father embraced her and since she does not like what he did to her. the trial court rendered its decision. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 1997. he inserted his penis into her vagina and told her not to shout or tell anyone. DU-6203.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217 and 2230 of the New Civil Code for the pain and moral shock suffered by her and for the commission of the crime of rape with one qualifying aggravating circumstance. did then and there wilfully. That in the evening of November 7. who is a 13-year-old girl.00 by reason of the commission of the offense of rape upon her. In Criminal Case No. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Appellant’s defense was bare denial. in the City of Mandaue. her father was already lying down on the mat while herself (sic) just lied down at his head side which was not necessarily beside him. she noticed that her father who was already undressed was beside her and was embracing her. said accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of death. who is a 13-year-old girl.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217 and 2230 of the New Civil Code for the pain and moral shock suffered by her and for the commission of the crime of rape with one qualifying aggravating circumstance. 1998. b) To indemnify the offended party Mary Ann Tundag the following amounts: (1) P50. said accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of death. and (2) Another P50. averred: That on or about the 7th day of November. That after she finished washing the dishes. she was in the house together with her father. his penis penetrated her genital. and c) To pay the costs. said: ‘Why will I pull it out when it feels so good(?)’ That after removing his penis from her vagina and after telling her that she could not go to heaven if she did not get married. He claimed that private complainant had fabricated the rape charges against him since he and his daughter. with deliberate intent. and (3) To pay the costs.”  Appellant did not present any witness to reinforce his testimony. her father was all the time asking by saying (sic) : ‘Does it feel good?’ And at the same time. The evidence for the prosecution as adduced during the trial on the merits clearly shows that private complainant Mary Ann Tundag is a 13 year old girl who does not know how to read and write and has an IQ of 76% which is a very low general mental ability and was living with her father. pleaded “Not Guilty” to the charges.000.000. which made her vagina bleed and was very painful. In its judgment. SO ORDERED. in the City of Mandaue. she was at home washing the dishes while her father was just smoking and squatting. On August 31. However. 1997 at about 10:00 o’clock in the evening. foregoing premises considered. CONTRARY TO LAW. In Criminal Case No.000. That when the penis of her father was already inserted in her vagina.
and consistent. she left her father’s place and went to her neighbor by the name of Bebie Cabahug and told her what had happened to her. 1997. she went to the Southern Islands Hospital where she was examined and after her medical examination. Orifice: admits 2 fingers with ease Vagina: Walls: pinkish Ruganities: prominent Uterus: small Cervix: closed Discharges: Mucoid.and was able to take her womanhood again by using a very sharp knife which he was holding and was pointing it at the right side of her neck which made her afraid. Bessie Acebes upon the private complainant yielded the following results: Genitalia: grossly female Pubic Hairs: scanty Labia Majora: coaptated Labia Minora: -doFourchette: U-shaped Vestibule: pinkish Hymen: + old healed laceration at 3 and 9 o’clock position(s). the presence of the hymenal lacerations tends to support private complainant’s claim that she was raped by appellant. minimal Smears: Conclusions: sperm identification (-) Gram staining of vaginal disc.” Appellant’s claim that the complainant’s charges were manufactured did not impress the trial court. which found him twice guilty of rape. or that the trial court’s finding are clearly arbitrary. we note here that private complainant’s testimony is corroborated by medical findings that lacerations were present in her hymen. Acebes testified that her findings of healed hymenal lacerations in the complainant’s private parts meant a history of sexual congress on her part. “he went to work and naturally. the complainant’s credibility is the single most important issue. in turn. therefore. because his defense is utterly untenable. The determination of the credibility of witnesses is primarily the function of the trial court. Now before us. He contends that on September 5. which becomes even weaker in the face of the positive identification by the victim of the appellant as the violator of her honor. In his brief. Denial is an inherently weak defense. Conviction must rest on nothing less than a moral certainty of guilt. Dr.  Moreover. Appellant flatly denies that the incidents complained of ever took place. According to her.  In a prosecution for rape. appellant assails his double conviction.Against the testimony of private complainant who testified on affirmative matters. That in the early morning of the following day. The rationale for this is that the trial court has the advantage of having observed at first hand the demeanor of the witnesses on the stand and. the Court leaves no stone unturned in its review of the records. that the existence of the datum “U-shape(d) fourchette does not conclusively and absolutely mean that there was sexual intercourse or contact because it can be caused by masturbation of fingers or other things.  While Dr. which if considered could affect the result of the case. But here we find no room to disturb the trial court’s judgment concerning appellant’s guilt.  Indeed.  such defense is not only trite but pathetic. The victim’s account of the rapes complained of was straightforward.”  nonetheless. Considering the gravity of the offense charged as a heinous crime and the irreversibility of the penalty of death imposed in each of these cases before us. the conclusions reached by the court of origin must be respected and the judgment rendered affirmed. who. On November 7. The examination conducted by Dr. 1997. including the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense. he was working as a watch repairman near Gal’s Bakery in Mandaue City Market and went home tired and sleepy at around 11:00 o’clock that evening. The examining physician likewise pointed out that previous coitus may be inferred from complainant’s U-shaped fourchette since the fourchette of a female who has not yet experienced sexual intercourse is V-shaped. it is impossible for him to do such wrongdoings. Appellant next contends that his daughter pressed the rape charges against him because she had quarreled with him after he had castigated her for misbehavior. he argues that it was impossible for him to have raped his daughter because when the incidents allegedly transpired. advised her to report the matter to the police.  Absent any showing that certain facts of value have clearly been overlooked.  Her testimony never wavered even after it had been explained to her that her father could be meted out the death penalty if found guilty by the court. we find that private complainant was unequivocal in charging appellant with ravishing her. being exhausted and tired. with the recommendation that the award of damages and indemnity ex delicto be modified to conform to prevailing jurisprudence. Acebes conceded under cross-examination. is in a better position to form an accurate impression and conclusion. which she did and accompanied by the policemen. Appellant’s defense of alibi and denial is negative and self-serving. he claims he was at work. It hardly counts as a worthy and weighty ground for exculpation in a trial involving his freedom and his life. she was brought back by the police and was investigated by them. He stresses that the prosecution did not rebut his testimony regarding his quarrel or misunderstanding with private . detailed.”  The Office of the Solicitor General disagrees with appellant and urges the Court to affirm the trial court’s decision. simply contending that: THE TRIAL COURT HAS COMMITTED AN ERROR IN NOT ABSOLVING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIMES CHARGED IN THE INFORMATIONS DESPITE THE PRESENCE OF REASONABLE DOUBT TO EXCULPATE HIM OF THE SAME. the lacerations may have been caused by the entry of an erect male organ into complainant’s genitals.
 Indeed.” Nor does appellant’s assertion that private complainant has some psychological problems and a low IQ of 76 in any way favor his defense. when mandatory. … Judicial notice is the cognizance of certain facts which judges may properly take and act on without proof because they already know them. or even in the same room which the victim is sharing with the accused’s sister. their political history. (3) by force or without her consent  and in order to warrant the imposition of capital punishment. (2) with woman.complainant. the laws of nature. and private complainant was the only child who lived with him. when discretionary. 7659. appellant is guilty. it was sufficiently alleged and proven that the offender was the victim’s father. .A. as amended by Section 11 of R. do you still want this case would proceed? A: I want this to proceed. for it is her natural instinct to protect her honor. Filing a case for incestuous rape is of such a nature that a daughter’s accusation must be taken seriously. unless that is the truth. ATTY. the prosecution must allege and prove the elements of rape: (1) sexual congress. She further said that her birth certificate was likewise with her mother. SURALTA: Admitted. On the other hand. Alicante. as in this case.  In this case. matters which are capable of unquestionable demonstration pertain to fields of professional and scientific knowledge. Miss Witness. No. the official acts of the legislative. Appellant likewise points out that it was very unlikely for him to have committed the crimes imputed to him considering that he and his wife had ten children to attend to and care for. e. the victim testified . Judicial notice. the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals. it can be considered of public knowledge and judicially noticed that the scene of the rape is not always nor necessarily isolated or secluded for lust is no respecter of time or place. It goes against human experience that a girl would fabricate a story which would drag herself as well as her family to a lifetime of dishonor. 2. the additional elements that: (4) the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the rape and (5) the offender is a parent of the victim. But the victim’s age was not properly and sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt. your father will be sentenced to death? A : Yes. or are capable of unquestionable demonstration or ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions. penalizes rape of a minor daughter by her father as qualified rape and a heinous crime. Q: You do not know your birthday? A: My mama did not tell me exactly when I asked her. of the existence and territorial extent of states. Judicial notice. However. COURT TO WITNESS Q: When were you born? A: I do not know. But is the penalty of death imposed on him correct? her. and the geographical divisions.the trial court took judicial notice of the clinical records of the attending physicians concerning the . Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code. may we just request for judicial notice that the victim here is below 18 years old. however. a five (5) meter room with five (5) people inside. executive and judicial departments of the Philippines. He urges us to consider the charges filed against him as the result of his frequent castigation of her delinquent behavior. in People v. She testified that she was thirteen years old at the time of the rapes. Section 1 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides when court shall take mandatory judicial notice of facts SECTION 1.  Under the Rules of Court. . where her charges could mean the death of her own father. In her own words. and when your father will be found guilty. the measure of time. COURT: Proceed. Such allegation of a family feud.  As pointed out by the Solicitor General.g. she admitted that she did not know exactly when she was born because her mother did not tell Thus. forms of government and symbols of nationality. These matters did not affect the credibility of her testimony that appellant raped her twice. In proving such felony. appellant was thus “free to do as he wished to satisfy his bestial lust on his daughter. Appellant was estranged from his wife. is impertinent and immaterial.) xxx Q : I will inform you. the law of nations.A court may take judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge. that you have filed two cases against your father and in case your father would be found guilty. the political constitution and history of the Philippines. inside a house where there are occupants. Q: With that information. as shown by the following testimony of the victim on cross-examination: Q : Were you informed that if. The offense of rape can and has been committed in places where people congregate. two death sentences will be imposed against him? A: Yes.A court shall take judicial notice without the introduction of evidence. does not explain the charges away. We note that the victim understood the consequences of prosecuting the rape charges against her own father. judicial notice may either be mandatory or discretionary. This argument. Q : Until now you wanted that your father will be sentenced by death? A (Witness nodding. The Court has likewise taken judicial notice of the Filipina’s inbred modesty and shyness and her antipathy in publicly airing acts which blemish her honor and virtue. FISCAL PEREZ: For our failure to secure the Birth Certificate Your Honor. For example.  More so. Section 2 of Rule 129 enumerates the instances when courts may take discretionary judicial notice of facts SEC. however.
000. Judicial notice. Note that generally. For. we stressed that the prosecution must present independent proof of the age of the . As to civil indemnity. 7659. As to matters which ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions. also known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997. we award the amount of P50. as to any other matters such as age. In People v. In several recent cases. 172 SCRA 426 (1989). In this case. despite the defense counsel’s admission. such as the victim’s duly certified Certificate of Live Birth. we reiterated that it is the burden of the prosecution to prove with certainty the fact that the victim was below 18 when the rape was committed in order to justify the imposition of the death penalty. a hearing is required before courts can take judicial notice of such fact.birth of twin baby boys as “premature” since one of the alleged rapes had occurred 6 to 7 months earlier. a fact duly proved during trial.  Thus.00 proper. as to when court notices were received by a party. is reclusion perpetua. the victim was alleged to have been only 9 years of age at the time of the rape.A. the proper court. Since the record of the case was bereft of any independent evidence thereon. . the court can take judicial notice of a fact pursuant to the procedure in Section 3 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court which requires that SEC. Veloso. As required by Section 3 of Rule 129. aside from testimonial evidence from the victim or her relatives. 1997 and is therefore governed by the death penalty law. It held that the trial court was correct when it ruled that the prosecution failed to prove the victim’s age other than through the testimony of her father and herself. we have emphasized the need for independent proof of the age of the victim. Appellant being the father of the victim.00 as “moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217 and 2230 of the Civil Code” for each count is imprecise. In People v. accurately showing private complainant’s age. and so was only 9 years old at the time of the rape on February 12. the rule is that relationship is no longer appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance in view of the amendments introduced by R. 1984. Considering the statutory requirement in Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R. 8353. when hearing necessary. the prevailing jurisprudence permits the award of moral damages without need for pleading or proof as to the basis thereof.A. upon showing that said documents were lost or destroyed. we find that the alternative circumstance of relationship should be appreciated here as an aggravating circumstance. who was allegedly 10 years old at the time of the rape. The father-daughter After the trial. 7659 and 8353.A. on its own initiative or on request of a party. 335 of the Revised Penal Code. the victim was below 12 and we found that the rape committed was statutory rape. “independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim becomes vital and essential so as to remove an ‘iota of doubt’ that the case falls under the qualifying circumstances” for the imposition of the death penalty set by the law.A. 1997. we find an award of exemplary damages in the amount of P25. even though it is not contested by the defense. Thus. 11 of R. Vargas. 1997. judicial notice of the age of the victim is improper. R.00 for each count of rape as civil indemnity. we ruled that the mother’s testimony coupled with the presentation of the baptismal certificate was sufficient to establish that the victim was below 12 at the time of the rape.000. The prosecution failed to present either the birth or baptismal certificate of the victim. and that it was not correct for the trial court to judge the age of the victim by her appearance. the award of another P50. thereof acceding to the prosecution’s motion. that the failure to sufficiently establish victim’s age by independent proof is a bar to conviction for rape in its qualified form. Rebancos. 1974. 8353. the age of the victim may be proven by the birth or baptismal certificate of the victim. or on request of a party. an example would be facts which are ascertainable from the record of court proceedings. by other documentary or oral evidence sufficient for the purpose. However. the first rape was committed on September 5.000. Although no birth certificate was presented because the victim’s birth had allegedly not been registered.00 as moral damages for each count of rape. in rape cases imposing the death penalty. 3. Generally. 257 SCRA 603 (1996).. e. 7659 and R. may take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a material issue in the case. victim. In this case.A. No. The penalty for the crime of simple rape or rape in its unqualified form under Art. but on a different basis and for a different amount. as amended by Sec. With respect to other matters not falling within the mandatory or discretionary judicial notice. No. the court. InPeople v. and not statutory rape. her baptismal certificate was duly presented. and before judgment or on appeal. Under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code. The award of exemplary damages separately is also in order. we reiterate here what the Court has held inJavier without any dissent. The second rape was committed on November 7. J. Hence. We held that testimony of the victim and her aunt were hearsay. the trial court correctly awarded P50. we ruled that appellant can only be convicted of simple rape. The minority of the victim must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. In rape cases. which took effect on October 22. after the effectivity of R. appellant could not be convicted of rape in its qualified form. 7659. Cula. because of failure of the prosecution to prove the minority of the victim. The penalty for rape in its unqualified form remains the same. Javier.g. on its own initiative. may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon. in People v.A. The mother testified that her daughter was born on October 26. Nos. in People v.During the trial. exemplary damages may be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Also there was no showing that the said documents were lost or destroyed to justify their non-presentation. However. or in the absence thereof. Hence. pursuant to current jurisprudence.000. in the words of Melo.
00 as moral damages. Panganiban. Jr. During the entire trip. The facts.  However..500. vs. concur. Buena. Sto. He was also ordered to pay the heirs of his victim Lilia Tactacan P172. They gagged and blindfolded him and tied his hands and feet. YnaresSantiago.00 as exemplary damages. JJ. and P25.relationship has been treated by Congress in the nature of a special circumstance which makes the imposition of the death penalty mandatory. DU-6186 and DU-6203. the special qualifying circumstance of relationship was proved but not the minority of the victim. were seen waiting for them at a distance. P50. 130656. except as to the identity of accused Armando Reanzares.00 as indemnity. "Maawa kayo sa amin. He ran to San Roque East shouting for help. Kapunan. one of whom was later identified as accused Armando Reanzares. As Gregorio was maneuvering his jeep backwards from where it was parked two (2) unidentified men suddenly climbed on board. plaintiff-appellee. marami kaming anak." and left. is hereby MODIFIED as follows: appellant Tomas Tundag is found guilty of two (2) counts of simple rape. the Tactacan spouses closed their store and left for home in Barangay San Roque.00 was missing. 2000] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. After three (3) minutes the commotion ceased. Batangas. "aray!" Gregorio heard her but could not do anything.000. P. Branch 28. No pronouncement as to costs. the accused and his companion approached the vehicle. are undisputed.000. Spouses Gregorio Tactacan and Lilia Tactacan owned a sarisari store in San Miguel. At the time of her death Lilia Tactacan was forty-eight (48) years old.000. sentenced to reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay the victim the amount of P50. His wife Lilia immediately asked them where they were going and they answered that they were bound for the town proper. In rapes committed by fathers on their own daughters. exemplary damages may be imposed to deter other fathers with perverse tendency or aberrant sexual behavior from sexually abusing their own daughters. Two (2) other persons. No. and to reimburse Gregorio Tactacan P2. Mendoza.R. According to Gregorio. When Lilia informed them that they were not going to pass through the town proper.00 for the cash taken from her bag.00 for funeral. one of the hitchhikers pointed a . Batangas on board their passenger-type jeepney. Then he heard someone tell him. After negotiating some 500 meters. and for each count.J. Bellosillo." Immediately after the last time she uttered these words a commotion ensued and Lilia was heard saying. accused-appellant. in Criminal Case Nos..500. finding accused ARMANDO REANZARES also known as "Armando Rianzares" guilty of Highway Robbery with Homicide under PD 532 and sentencing him to the extreme penalty of death. The culprits were all gone. he felt the vehicle making a u-turn and stopped after ten (10) minutes. removed his gag and blindfold and jumped out of the vehicle.000. This case is with us on automatic review of the 26 May 1997 Decision  of the Regional Trial Court of Tanauan. Pardo. SO ORDERED. Hence.* DECISION BELLOSILLO. "Sige i-drive mo na. June 29. Vitug. On 10 May 1994 at around 8:10 in the evening. "Huwag kang kikilos diyan. They also took his Seiko wristwatch worth P2.00 as indemnity for death. After several minutes. J. including his wife. Tomas. the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City.00. he was deeply depressed by her death.. burial and related expenses. Purisima. P1. the two (2) said they would just get off at the nearest intersection. relationship can be appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance in this instance so that exemplary damages are called for. He brought her immediately to the C. C.000.  WHEREFORE. that he EN BANC [G. Her bag containing P1. and De Leon." Gregorio did not know where they were headed for as he was blindfolded. Melo.: .200. Jr.38 caliber revolver at Gregorio while the other poked a balisong at Lilia's neck and ordered Gregorio to stop the vehicle. taking the case out of the ambit of mandatory death sentence. Batangas. There he saw his wife lying on the floor of the jeepney with blood splattered all over her body. ha. Davide.000. Reyes Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. ARMANDO REANZARES * also known as ARMANDO RIANZARES. kunin nyo na lahat ng gusto ninyo. P50. Sto. Gonzaga-Reyes. Gregorio was then pulled from the driver's seat to the back of the vehicle. in this case.00 for the Seiko wristwatch taken from him. The accused then drove the vehicle after being told by one of them. As soon as the vehicle stopped. When Gregorio returned to the crime scene. his wife kept uttering.. Tomas. He went to the driver’s seat. the jeepney was still there. Puno. Gregorio then untied his hands and feet.
. (e).00 from him for the latter's trip to Bicol although he could not say that he actually saw the accused leave for his intended destination.  Dr. The accused testified in his defense and claimed that he could not have perpetrated the crimes imputed to him with three (3) others as he was in Barangay Tagnipa.00 for the Seiko wristwatch taken from him. is incredible. 3. Finally. But this is only a disputable presumption under Sec. of the Rules of Court on evidence. for taking away by means of violence and intimidation of persons one (1) passenger-type jeepney with Plate No. These attempts of the accused to discredit Gregorio obviously cannot hold ground.000. Subsequently. and that his wife was earning P3. While his father testified that the accused borrowed money from him for his fare to Bicol for the baptism of a daughter. the accused underscores Gregorio's refusal to be subjected to a lie detector test. otherwise.000. He maintains that Gregorio failed to identify him because when the latter was questioned he stated that he did not know any of the culprits. He claims that the testimony of private complainant Gregorio Tactacan. To further undermine the credibility of Gregorio. The court a quo declared him guilty of Highway Robbery with Homicide under PD 532 and sentenced him to death.000. and was consistent on cross-examination. Camarines Sur.00 for the cash taken from her bag. two (2) Informations were filed against accused Armando Reanzares and three (3) John Does in relation to the incident.00 for funeral. Only the accused Armando Reanzares was arrested. According to him. Gregorio might not have immediately revealed the name of accused Armando Reanzares to the police authorities when he was first investigated but the delay was not an indication of a fabricated charge and should not undermine his credibility considering that he satisfactorily explained his reasons therefor. It further ordered him to pay the heirs of Lilia Tactacan P50. and (b) it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene. he presented his father and brother but their testimonies did not meet the requisite quantum to establish his alibi. and on the occasion thereof. thus. and that all those wounds except the non-penetrating one caused the immediate death of the victim. DBP 235 owned and driven by Gregorio Tactacan and valued at P110. Jose Reanzares. Jose claimed that the accused borrowedP500.e. If at all. We cannot subscribe to this contention as the procedure of ascertaining the truth by means of a lie detector test has never been accepted in our jurisdiction. straightforward.430. spontaneous and frank manner. the accused chides Gregorio for supposedly suppressing a very material piece of evidence.  To bolster the alibi of the accused. i. he was advised not to mention any names until after the burial of his wife. which does not apply in the present case as the evidence allegedly omitted is equally accessible and available to the defense. who implicated him as one of the perpetrators of the crime. Her medical report disclosed that the victim sustained eight (8) stab wounds on the chest and abdominal region of the body. the accused claims to have left for Bicol the day before the incident. She testified that a sharp pointed object like a long knife could have caused those wounds which must have been inflicted by more than one (1) person. Indeed. To prove this. he did not immediately tell the police about the accused because he feared for the safety of his family as his neighbors told him that they saw some people lurking around his house on the day of the incident. No ill motive could be attributed to him for implicating the accused. Neither can they bolster his alibi. On 26 May 1997 the trial court found the prosecution’s evidence credible and ruled that the alibi of the accused could not prevail over his positive identification by complaining witness Gregorio Tactacan.00 as indemnity for death. corroborated his story. and P1. The accused was also ordered to reimburse Gregorio Tactacan P2. for the baptism of his daughter Jessica when the incident happened. The second was for violation of RA 6539.38 caliber revolver. He however could not categorically state where and when the accused alighted or that he in fact reached Bicol.000. burial and related expenses. In this case. the day before the incident. Medical Health Officer of Sto.00. those responsible for the perpetration of the crime would escape prosecution. par.500. An Act Preventing and Penalizing Carnapping. Garchitorena. Romeo maintained that he accompanied the accused to the bus stop that day and even helped the latter carry his things to the bus. He also claims that in the publication of Hotline by Tony Calvento in People's Tonight.incurred funeral. to rob and carry away one (1) Seiko wristwatch owned by Gregorio Tactacan and P1.  His father. burial and other related expenses. The accused insists before us that his conviction for Highway Robbery with Homicide under PD 532 is erroneous as his guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. the fact that his wife died by reason of the incident even lends credence to his testimony since his natural interest in securing the conviction of the guilty would deter him from implicating persons other than the real culprits. any findings based thereon cannot be considered conclusive. Batangas. his brother Romeo Reanzares also took the witness stand and alleged that he saw the accused off on 9 May 1994. Lily D. Rule 131. The other three (3) have remained unidentified and at large. with intent to gain and armed with bladed weapons and a . The first was for violation of PD 532 otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and AntiHighway Robbery Law of 1974 for allegedly conspiring. P172. conducted a post-mortem examination on the body of the victim.00 a month as a teacher.  But the trial court exonerated the accused from the charge of carnapping under RA 6539 for insufficiency of evidence. the latter failed to present as witnesses a certain Renato and his wife who allegedly saw the holduppers running away from the crime scene. For alibi to be believed it must be shown that (a) the accused was in another place at the time of the commission of the offense.000. killed her.Gregorio even asked the readers to help him identify the malefactors. Nunes.00 cash of Lilia Tactacan. he could not say whether the . Tomas. The trial court observed that Gregorio Tactacan testified in a categorical. Moreover.
on the earning capacity of his wife. As to the damages awarded by the trial court to the heirs of the victim. Applying Art.000. Neither is there proof that they attempted to commit similar robberies to show the "indiscriminate" perpetration thereof.accused actually went to Bicol. the lesser penalty shall be applied. From this amount." the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua is imposed in the absence of any modifying circumstance.00 as indemnity for death. burial and related expenses must be reduced to P22.971. (1). the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof: x x x 2. The amount of P2.00 for moral damages.971. The formula for determining the life expectancy of Lilia Tactacan.000.00 P20. the award of P1. is as follows: 2/3 multiplied by (80 minus the age of the deceased). brother of the accused. perpetrated the crime in the evening of 10 May 2000.00 as moral damages is ordered.00] . But that the accused was guilty of Highway Robbery with Homicide under PD 532 was erroneous. second par..00 as civil indemnity for the wrongful death of Lilia Tactacan. of the Revised Penal Code which provides that "[i]n all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties.500. then her life expectancy was 21. of the Revised Penal Code as amended punishes the crime of robbery with homicide by reclusion perpetua to death.200. and P22. The testimony of Gregorio Tactacan. Thus the trial court was correct in disregarding the alibi of the accused not only because he was positively identified by Gregorio Tactacan but also because it was not shown that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene on the date and time of the incident. this single act of depredation is not what is contemplated under PD 532 as its objective is to deter and punish lawless elements who commit acts of depredation upon persons and properties of innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another thereby disturbing the peace and tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and social progress of the people.  WHEREFORE. As held in a number of cases. [w]hen there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed. subpar. it is possible for the accused to have alighted from the bus before reaching Bicol.00 as this was the only amount sufficiently substantiated. Clearly.160.40 for loss of earning capacity. Accused ARMANDO REANZARES also known as "Armando Rianzares" is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery with Homicide under Art. In addition. P1. damages for loss of earning capacity of Lilia Tactacan must be granted to her heirs. Article 294. the victim’s husband. There was no other competent evidence presented to support the original award. together with a copy of his wife’s payroll. An ordinary witness cannot establish the value of jewelry and the trial court can only take judicial notice of the value of goods which is a matter of public knowledge or is capable of unquestionable demonstration.580. At the time of her death.  There is no proof in the instant case that the accused and his cohorts organized themselves to commit highway robbery. we sustain the award of P50.000. the accused should be held liable for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide under Art. that he accompanied the accused to the bus stop on 9 May 1994 and even helped him with his things.40 computed as follows: Net earning capacity equals life expectancy times gross annual income less reasonable and necessary living expenses – Net earnin g capaci ty (x) x = 2 (80-48) . The value of jewelry therefore does not fall under either category of which the court can take judicial notice.. burial and related expenses.00 for actual damages.. the Decision appealed from is MODIFIED. Consequently..000.00 a month as a teacher at the San Roque Elementary School so that her annual income was P41. applying the American Expectancy Table of Mortality. The award of P172..971. On the other hand. conviction for highway robbery requires proof that several accused were organized for the purpose of committing it indiscriminately. Thus. another P50. x x [P41.00. Costs de oficio.  Since Lilia was 48 years of age at the time of her death.200.160. the amount of P50.40 However.00 as reimbursement for the Seiko wristwatch taken from Gregorio Tactacan must be deleted in the absence of receipts or any other competent evidence aside from the self-serving valuation made by the prosecution.00 for funeral. 294 of the Revised Penal Code as amended and is sentenced to reclusion perpetua. 50% should be deducted as reasonable and necessary living expenses to arrive at her net earnings. seeing the accused off is not the same as seeing him actually get off at his destination. what controls is the description of the offense charged and not merely its designation. 294 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by RA 7659 as the allegations in the Information are enough to convict him therefor. He is ordered to pay the heirs of the victim P50.000.000. 63.. Indeed the accused is guilty.living expenses - P20. Also.33 = P438.3 = 21. her net earning capacity was P438. Lilia was earning P3.33 years.430. what the prosecution established was only a single act of robbery against the particular persons of the Tactacan spouses.00 for funeral.580. 2. SO ORDERED. proceeded to Bicol and arrived there on 12 May 2000 for his daughter’s baptism. Given the circumstances of this case.00 as this was the amount established by the prosecution without objection from the defense. As regards the claim of Romeo.000. P438.000. is enough to establish the basis for the award. par.00 = Life expectancy x Gross annual income reasonable & necessary . In the interpretation of an information.00 representing the cash taken from Lilia Tactacan must be increased to P1.
. unlawfully.concur. No. YnaresSantiago. 1985 at Riverside.Davide. with intent to gain and by the use of force. Laya West.: In an information 1 filed on November 5. PRUDENCIO PUGAL. of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Presidential Decree No. PRUDENCIO PUGAL. Branch 25. ANTONIO SORIANO and RICARDO ADDUCA. Puno. with treachery and evident premeditation. 1985 before the Regional Trial Court of Tabuk.R. 1866. Ricardo Adduca and one Artemio Panagan were charged with the crime of "Robbery with Homicide with the Use of Unlicensed Firearm" under Article 294. Melo. plaintiff-appellee. J. herein accused Prudencio Pugal. paragraph 1. accused-appellant. SECOND DIVISION G. Jr. Gonzaga-Reyes. Vitug.. committed as follows: That on or about the evening of July 23. Tabuk. Jr. conspiring. Kalinga-Apayao. Quisumbing.000. and De Leon. (Chairman). Buena.00) Pesos. did then and there willfully. confederating and mutually aiding one another.. vs. 1992 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Antonio Soriano. REGALADO. Kalinga-Apayao and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Philippine Currency. 96037 October 29. Purisima. violence and intimidation of persons.. Pardo. and feloniously take and carry away the amount of ONE THOUSAND (P1. Mendoza. Panganiban. accused. Kapunan. JJ. the above-named accused.
accused Prudencio Pugal. One of the men who had a long armalite rifle stood guard at the door. 2 Parenthetically. Trial. Once it was opened. as amended. wherein she stated that the former was not one of those who killed her husband. Her husband.M. craft. however. assisted by their defense counsel. Pugal pulled Jacinto out of the house. wife of the victim.000. in relation with P. 7 Erlinda told Jacinto to open the door. On July 23. judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused PRUDENCIO PUGAL. The lower court erred in disregarding the plea of alibi by appellant Prudencio Pugal. "Who are you?" Somebody answered. was resting inside their house at Laya West. Antonio Soriano.belonging to the victim and his wife. 6 Jacinto. aside from the above-named accused charged in the information filed by the Provincial Fiscal of Kalinga-Apayao. "Dakami. at around 9:00 P. together with her son Hizon and daughter-in-law Lolita. "We are the ones. Subsequently. 1850. son of the deceased Jacinto Salamanca. and feloniously shot Jacinto Salamanca on different parts of his body (and) said multiple gunshot wounds caused his direct and immediate death. The record show that on January 11. however. The lower court grievously erred in giving full evidentiary weight and credence to the testimonies of Hizon and Erlinda Salamanca who are biased and whose testimonies are pregnant with serious and material inconsistencies. While detained therein. to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of the deceased Jacinto Salamanca the amount of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30. 4 Pursuant to the order of arrest issued on November 5." When Jacinto again called out. SO ORDERED. However. 1986. dwelling. Jaime Almora. The crime is aggravated by nocturnity. the Acting Mayor of Pudtol. RICARDO ADDUCA and ANTONIO SORIANO Appellant Prudencio Pugal. 1985. 1989. Accused Antonio Soriano was "receipted" for by a certain Roberto Baggay. 3 and the same is not involved in the present proceeding.. after the promulgation of the judgment of the trial court hereunder indicated. and by reason and on the occasion of said Robbery. The trial court dismissed the case as against accused Artemio Panagan upon motion of the prosecution on the basis of an affidavit of desistance of Erlinda Salamanca. The lower court committed grave error in not acquitting Prudencio Pugal on ground of reasonable doubt. Claver. Jacinto Salamanca. brought him outside and tied him to a coconut tree. 5 The prosecution presented as witnesses Hizon Salamanca. Raymund Caseñas of Pinukpuk. Adduca was re-arrested and committed to the provincial jail.00) plus Forty Thousand Pesos (P40. 1989. guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals of the crime of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE WITH THE USE OF UNLICENSED FIREARM.000. and then three masked men rushed inside the house. had just started to eat supper when the dogs started barking and they heard and recognized the voice of Prudencio Pugal call "Apo" three times. Pat. 1985. accused Prudencio Pugal had been ordered released from jail after filing his bail bond. Dr. 4. Kalinga-Apayao was also charged in connection with the said killing of Jacinto Salamanca but the case against him was forwarded to the military tribunal pursuant to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. sentencing each of the accused to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. The place was then lighted by a 20-watt flourescent lamp. to their damage and prejudice in said amount. Cesar Purugganan and William F. Accused Ricardo Adduca posted his bail bond and was ordered released on October 2. 1989." the person outside replied. inexplicably without the approval of or an order from the trial court authorizing him to do so. who was followed by Erlinda. ALL CONTRARY TO LAW." meaning "We are the ones. said court issued an order on July 17. wife of said victim. Adduca escaped. willfully. Kalinga-Apayao. Erlinda Salamanca." Jacinto and Erlinda peeped through the jalousie window and they saw Prudencio Pugal and Ricardo Adduca standing near the door. 1866. 1985. 1989 cancelling his bail bond and committing him to the provincial jail where he was accordingly detained. Wayne Odiem. went to the sala and asked. 3. said accused also remained at large. entered the .D. "Who are you.00) moral and exemplary damages without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency pursuant to Article 39 of the Revised Penal Code and to pay the costs. assigns the following errors allegedly committed by the court a quo: 1. However. Attys. 2. The lower court erred in finding that appellant Prudencio Pugal was the one who pulled the deceased from inside the house. treachery and abuse of superior strength. defined and penalized under Article 294. proceeded against the herein three accused since they had all been arraigned and the absence of accused Soriano and Adduca was unjustified. 1985. the accused were arrested and committed to the custody of the Provincial Warden on November 22. 5. Kalinga-Apayao. Ricardo Adduca and Artemio Panagan. we came from Dagupan. while the other two. whose collective testimonies establish the facts of this case as hereunder summarized. improbabilities and shaky. on the basis of a motion to withdraw by his bondsman. Tabuk. the trial court issued an order for his arrest but until now he remains at large. On July 17. The trial court grievously erred in holding that the killing of the victim was positively witnessed by prosecution witnesses Hizon and Erlinda Salamanca. and Atty. On February 2. the trial court rendered judgment disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. Erlinda Salamanca. the lone accused who appealed to us from said decision. were arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty to the offense charged. the accused tied said JACINTO SALAMANCA to a coconut tree and thereafter. one of whom had a short firearm. On December 4.
another gunshot was heard. 16respectively. 12 Two days after Jacinto died. and when the latter failed to produce any. 13 On July 24. From there. with the requisite warnings on the possible use of his statement. head. 11 The malefactors thereafter fled towards the north and when they reached the "canto" leading to Cabaruan. Upon seeing that the culprits were already far away. 9 Erlinda was thus compelled to give her earnings for the day amounting to P1. L Thigh = entry wound at the middle third. 19 I. Erlinda and Hizon rushed to where Jacinto was. to seek the latter's help in the taking of Soriano's confession. Dr. 14 It appears that Erlinda and Hizon Salamanca gave their sworn statements on August 16 15 and September 8. he claims. appellant could only present the defense of alibi cum denial. to counsel. Atty. 18 On the other hand.00 and. but nowhere in her testimony did she state anything about the exact whereabouts of Adduca or appellant on that particular night. with no sign of rigor mortis or lividity or decomposition. medially & horizontally exiting at the (L) mid clavicular line level of the 8th lcs. Jaime Almora. Erlinda also saw Pugal slap and kick Jacinto. Hizon noticed that his father's false teeth were missing. and to engage a counsel of his own choice. the second defense witness. accompanied by Sgts. and that he did not notice any unusual incident that night. 10 Sensing that nobody was guarding them anymore. Adduca ransacked the house. one of the two men who came inside. she gave the ring of her daughter-in-law. medial aspect of left thigh directed laterally. testified that appellant is her uncle. thigh. 8 Adduca. flaccid. Appellant Pugal asserts that the trial court erred in relying on the testimonies of Erlinda and Hizon Salamanca which are allegedly replete with inconsistencies and contradictions. accused Antonio Soriano. Afterwards. demanded money and an armalite rifle from the occupants of the house.000. Erlinda and Hizon crawled towards the window. Extremities = R Thigh = grazing wound directed downward at the anterior upper third of R thigh. Erlinda and Hizon heard the clapping of hands from outside the house. he moved backward. that he and Adduca were part of the "ronda" which went around the barrio. Head = Left side of skull sagging and with multiple fracture due to multiple gunshot wounds with loss of some brain tissue and left eye. This inconsistency. Kalinga-Apayao. The records further reveal that on September 24. Pugal stated that on the night of July 23. Subsequently. were they using mask? A Yes. Left leg = Entry wound at the antero-medial aspect of left leg middle third with no point of exit. As against the straightforward testimonies of the two principal prosecution witnesses. During the investigation. he contends that Hizon testified that the two men who entered the house wore masks. pointed the gun at Jacinto. appellant was obviously confused. you said that particular night and time of July 23. in no time.house. which is about one and a half kilometers away from the house of the victim. Hizon Salamanca stated: Q Now. Soriano. conducted an autopsy on Jacinto Salamanca and submitted the following — POSTMORTEM FINDINGS External Examination = Cadaver fully clothed. only to find his already lifeless body. and shot the latter several times. After having informed Soriano of his constitutional rights to remain silent. 1985. a resident physician at the KalingaApayao Provincial Hospital. 20 Thus. they saw the men drag Jacinto and tie him to a coconut tree with a rope. 1985. Wayne Odiem. Artemio Catabay in the investigation room of the Tabuk Police Station at Tabuk. CAUSE OF DEATH: Multiple gunshot wound(s). chest. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General. First. he was at home at Laya West. They were then ordered and forced to lie on the floor face down. Efforts to look for the same at and near the place where Jacinto was killed proved futile. Lydia Magno. 1985. in addition. Mr. 1985. 1985. Hizon's testimony was in answer to the question when the robbers were already inside the house. Copper Jacket of Bullet recovered. never intimated to him that the former was coerced and threatened into giving his statement wherein he implicated herein appellant Pugal as one of the assailants. When Jacinto's body was brought to their house. Puga stayed in the house of the Salamancas for the entire duration of the wake until the ninth day of prayer. District Citizen Attorney of the Citizens Legal Assistance Office. Chest = Gunshot wound with point of entry measuring 5mm to 7mm at the 54th ics mid clavicular line directed posteriorly. Then. Taguiam and Aquino. 21 and the testimony of Erlinda Salamanca was as follows: . cannot be considered trivial. posteriorly downward. Witness. the barangay people and the police arrived at the scene of the crime. the man with an armalite rifle pointed his gun upwards and fired it several times. two (2) men entered your house. whereas Erlinda testified that their faces were not covered. Erlinda then sent Hizon to call for assistance and. Pugal went to the house of the Salamancas and handed over to Hizon the missing artificial dentures of Jacinto which he allegedly found near the place where the victim was killed. Odiem assisted Soriano while the latter gave his extrajudicial confession 17to the police investigators. while Erlinda's was with respect to the first time she saw appellant and his co-accused who were then calling from outside the house. sir. and leg. both to Police Sgt. went to the office of prosecution witness Atty.
as in the case at bar. Salamanca? A Yes. these three (3) persons were all masked. 27 But this is not without exceptions. sir. in effect corroborating the testimony of Hizon on this point. Thus. would) not open the door. Q How far were they — this Adduca and Pugal when you saw them? A Pugal is near the window and Ricardo Adduca is behind Prudencio Pugal. The solicitous attitude of appellant was part of his craft to divert attention from him and appear blameless. his not fleeing may be a badge of innocence. finally. 1985." In People vs. Appellant And. sir. however. Q Were they in mask? A No. He may have smugly thought that the two men fishing on the pier would not be able to identify him. . you said you saw Prudencio Pugal and Ricardo Adduca when you peeped with your husband through the jalous(ie). there could be no inconsistency to speak of precisely because Erlinda likewise testified that the accused were already wearing masks when they entered the house. coauthor of the crime. Erlinda declared — Q Can you identify any of the two (2) persons who actually entered your house? A I can not identify the other one because he has a very tight mask but I can identify the other one because he has a loose mask which when talking he bite (sic) his bonnet with his mouth. 25 Still. both Bedico and Capio . Q Was Prudencio Pugal masked at that time. 24 premises this postulation on his presence at the house of the victim during the wake until the ninth day of prayer. sir. the crime was committed with impunity on three occasions by one who thought the victim would not complain. In the present case. or even rape where a person is a prime suspect. sir.30 Second. would not expose him. et al. the decision of an accused not to flee despite an opportunity to do so is hardly characteristic of a guilty person seeking to escape retribution for his crime. sir. robbery. in People vs. but did not. is it not Mrs. at best. Under the circumstances of this case. On the contrary. In a number of cases. appellant theorizes that it is hard to believe that a person who will kill someone who is well known in the community will not hide his face.Q Now. . the Court. It was only Pugal who was not masked. is a mere conjectural pose which cannot stand against the positive identification of the accused. 29 we further ruled that: The fact that the appellant joined the search for the victim and that he and a certain Gabriel Madlangbayan went to Noveleta. Witness? A No. How were you able to identify them? A Because during that night time we used 20 watts flourescent lamp and so I saw them there. which fact supposedly negated any and all indicia of guilt on his part. likewise attended the vigil and funeral of the deceased. Bautista. Gardon. if they were using a mask we did (sic. This. Mr. who feared for her life as well as the lives of her relatives. Cavite to buy a coffin for the victim does not disprove his culpability of the offense charged nor strengthen his claim of innocence. sir. in her direct examination. or that they would keep "quiet about it" at his behest. Hence. this Court held that: In some cases of murder. in People vs. 31 where the accused. the argument does not hold weight in the light of the positive identification of the appellant. The fact that it was only appellant who was not masked was corroborated by Hizon with the same declaration in court: Q You said that the incident happened at around 9:00 o'clock in the night of July 23. sir. 28 we held: "That appellant did not flee from the scene of the crime is not necessarily indicative of a clear conscience. the appellant would most likely not have been discovered if Josephine did not become pregnant. Apart from the fact that there is no case law holding that non-flight is a conclusive proof of innocence. The appellant did not have to flee. in another case. my question is: How could you have recognized Prudencio Pugal as the one who pulled your father? A It is because we have twenty (20) watts fluorescent lamp which energized (sic) by a battery — 12 volts battery. they were not in mask because we opened it. this being contrary to human nature and common experience. . more accurately. xxx xxx xxx . . . Appellant assumed this posture of innocence despite his awareness that his charged because he was doubly certain that Francisca. we have had the occasion to rule that the fact that accused did not flee from the scene of the crime is not a sufficient ground to exculpate them from the proven criminal liability. did not apply the general rule with this explanation: The defense laid stress on the fact that appellants could have escaped. 22 Furthermore. one allegedly Ricardo Adduca rushed in to search to (sic) your belonging(s). 26 Generally. Luardo. 23 which she further clarified in her cross-examination: Q Let us go back to the crime when the two persons stood guard to the door of the house. Appellant's pretended innocence is clearly non sequitur to his decision not to flee. The material factor here is that there is positive identification of the accused as the author or.
Q And there were many visitors who came even the Mayor of Tabuk came to your house. sir. sir. sir. and in spite of the fact that you mauled him before and you know that he is smaller than you are. Q And you told them you do not know because you were afraid? A Yes. Q And they asked you know (sic) the killers. Q But immediately after the killing the policemen of Tabuk came to Laya West. A No. because we were afraid. Q But when you gave your statements two months and seven days after the incident. is that correct? A Yes. 32 In the case at bar. Q According to you — you stayed in Tabuk for the whole seven days that your father was in his wake. is that correct? A Yes. sir. the failure of a witness to report at once to the police authorities the crime he had witnessed cannot be taken against him for it is not uncommon for a witness to a crime to show some reluctance about getting involved in a criminal case. and the fear of eyewitnesses when townmates are involved in the commission of the crime is understandable for they may provoke retaliation from the accused. sir. fear for their safety and their lives. but I am afraid. the police could have arrested them and put them to jail and for this reason there would be no more danger in your life? WITNESS: Yes. there is no argument on the fact that flight is indicative of guilty so that it may be considered in favor of the accused in the case at bar that they did no escape. appellant claims that Hizon and Erlinda are biased as witnesses considering that they are related and very close to the deceased. 34 Hence. COURT: Proceed. Hizon Salamanca. you were no longer afraid? A No more. sir. COURT: Did you not know that if only you told them the identity of the killers of your father. after the ninth day of prayer for the deceased. 33 Third. As a matter of fact. is that correct? Fourth. Q And they asked you if you know who the killers were? A Yes. Mr. Q You gave this information to them that Pugal was one of the murderers immediately after the incident. . when adequately explained. the closeness of their relationship to the deceased . the Salamancas had to leave their house and transfer to another place in apprehension of possible reprisals from the culprits. it has also been held by this Court that the fact that the accused did not take flight but even helped the police to locate the supposed culprits. Q You did not even tell that to anyone else — You told it only to your mother.attended the vigil and funeral of the deceased and even helped carry the bier of the latter. in spite (of) the death of your father. sir. is that correct? A Yes. depressed. sir. is not a sufficient ground to exculpate them from the proved criminal liability. The natural reticence of most people to get involved in a criminal case is of judicial notice. . Q You did not even tell that to your wife? A I told this to my wife and to my brothers. for fear that they might have still other companions. . This Court has repeatedly held that mere relationship of the witnesses to the victim does not render their clear and positive testimony less worthy of full faith and credit. that is. for fear that they might come back for us. Nonetheless. sir. is it not? A Yes. the two principal witnesses for the prosecution gave more than adequate reason for their initial reluctance in giving their sworn statements to the police. Q It did not occur to you that there are still others at the time and they could go out after you? A No more. appellant asseverates that the failure of Hizon and Erlinda Salamanca to immediately give their statements to the police (which they gave only after the lapse of 67 days after the incident took place) affects their credibility. because they (sic) already there in the jail. Hizon Salamanca testified: Q Now. you did not report his name to the police — that he was the one who entered your house and killed your father? A Yes. their natural interest in securing the conviction of the guilty would deter them from implicating persons other than the culprits. neither will it render his testimony biased nor destroy its probative value. hence they have the tendency to exaggerate or give false color to their testimonies. sir. Q They made an investigation of the crime? A Yes. sir. The delay. As a general rule. because they were already apprehended. Q But just the same you stick (sic) your belief that you should not tell them the truth? A Yes. Q Who were your brothers? A Raymundo and all my brothers. Verily. in spite of the threats of Pugal. is that correct? A Yes. When asked why he failed to immediately report and disclose the identity of the suspects. On the contrary. I did not say it immediately to my brothers because they were studying in Tuguegarao. sir. does not impair the credibility of the witness. the latter would thereby gain immunity. sir. for otherwise.
The deceased was tied to the coconut tree and then shot to death. 39 To be given credence. where the evidence for the prosecution is weak and betrays lack of concreteness on the question of whether or not the accused committed the crime charged. p. 1990. p. the night then was a moonlit night. . 42 While it has not been established that it was appellant who actually shot the victim. TSN. Appellant was also seen and identified by prosecution witnesses as he was not wearing any mask and neither was his face covered during the time he was calling from outside the house. three of the accused who were already wearing masks entered the house while Pugal pulled Jacinto outside. Erlinda S. appellant was the one who called "Apo" for three times and also the one who replied "Dakami" and "Naggapu kami Idiay Dagupan". testimony of Salamanca). 38 It cannot prevail over the positive identification of prosecution witnesses. and ostensibly should be modified by the circumstances of. 8.000. 8. it must not only appear that the accused interposing the same was at some other place but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. nor should it serve to detract from the credit otherwise due them. upon hearing the clapping of hands from the outside. when asked. he was identified also through his voice. which was to rob the Salamancas and thereafter kill Jacinto. the three malefactors immediately left.should not. The concerted acts of the accused began with the deceased Juanito being called by Pugal and Adduca who purposely made themselves identifiable to facilitate their entry into the house. be deemed erosive of their credibility as witnesses. . TSN. contrary to appellant's view. that the firearms used by herein accused were unlicensed.. Appellant was not only seen and recognized through his face.). Also.). the indemnity for which the accused is liable for the death of Jacinto Salamanca should be increased to P50. the defense of alibi assumes importance. subject to the above-stated modifications. 13-16. 7 Erlinda S. p. however. The voice of appellant is familiar to both Erlinda and Hizon because they have had occasions in the past to talk to him oftenly considering that appellant is their neighbor and barriomate for more than 20 years. Appellant was recognized by the prosecution witnesses because of the fluorescent lamp in front of the house energized by a 12-volt battery then illuminating their house. . Time and again we have stressed. virtually to the point of repletion were it not for its pertinency. reject that portion of the decision of the trial court finding that the liability of the accused for the crime of robbery with homicide was attended by. The following observations thereon in appellee's brief accordingly merit our approval: . 8. p. The trial court definitely did not err in finding the existence of a conspiracy. . the Solicitor General correctly concluded that considering the proximity in the distance between the two houses. 44 WHEREFORE. conspiracy having been found to exist. No evidence was presented to show. The rule is whenever homicide has been committed as a consequence or on the occasion of the robbery. he is equally guilty of the crime of robbery with homicide. Appellant's defense hinges primarily on alibi.. xxx xxx xxx Worthy to note is the testimony of Erlinda that when she recognized the identity of the persons calling from the outside. Finally. the prosecution witnesses are not merely relatives of the deceased. p. she even told her husband to open the door. It is a jurisprudentially embedded and conceded rule that the mere fact that the witness is a relative is not a valid or sufficient ground to disregard the former's testimony nor does it render the same less worthy of credit. 7. Then one of the three who entered the house stood guard at the door while the two others ransacked the place. Besides. That they are the wife and son of the victim does not make them incompetent as witnesses. appellant was positively identified by Hizon and Erlinda. (TSN.00 in accordance with the policy adopted by the Court en banc on August 30. it was not physically impossible for appellant to be at the locus criminis and then return to his house shortly afterwards. Hizon S. Erlinda and Hizon. TSN. 35 Besides. the judgment of the court a quo is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects.). Otherwise. p. p. This is but natural and in accord with common observation and human experience. Once the door was opened. (TSN. Erlinda S. there is no iota of evidence to show that the family of the victim was actuated by improper motives to testify falsely against the accused. In addition. nevertheless. We. conspiracy has been sufficiently established in this case. As testified to by both prosecution witnesses. 9. the natural and logical reaction would be to suspect that they were bad elements and there would be reason not to open the door. if the persons calling were masked as claimed by the defense. 43 There is nothing in the records to show that the exception applied in this case. 13. Where conspiracy is shown to exist. Erlinda S. Thereafter. 41 The pretension that appellant was allegedly at his house at the time of the incident cannot stand against the clear and positive identification by the prosecution witnesses. 36 Furthermore.. Hizon S. that alibi is one of the weakest defenses an accused can invoke 37 because it is easy of fabrication. in the absence of any ill motive. II. their use of unlicensed firearms. (TSN. the act of one is the act of all. p. (TSN. By these concerted actions. it is beyond cavil that the accused acted in unison and cooperated with each other towards the accomplishment of a common criminal design. 40 In the case at bar. . He claims though that while alibi is the weakest of all defenses. they are likewise victims of the robbery committed by the accused. . all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide although they did not actually take part in the homicide. unless it clearly appears that they endeavored to prevent the homicide. TSN. Hizon S. and even the trial court made no finding..
concur. JJ. Narvasa. Nocon and Campos. Jr.. .. is on leave.SO ORDERED.. Feliciano.J. C.