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G.R. No.

199892

December 10, 2012

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. ARTURO PUNZALAN, JR., Accused-Appellant. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: This is an appeal from the Decision 1 dated April 29, 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.H.C. No. 02816 denying the appeal of appellant Arturo Punzalan, Jr. of the Decision2 dated March 21, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of fba, Zambales and affirming his conviction for the complex crime of double murder with multiple attempted murder, with certain modifications on the civil liability imposed on appellant.3 In August 2002, Seaman 1st Class (SN1) Arnulfo Andal, SN1 Antonio Duclayna, SN1 Evelio Bacosa, SN1 Cesar Domingo, SN1 Danilo Cuya, and SN1 Erlinger Bundang were among the members of the Philippine Navy sent for schooling at the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) at San Miguel, San Antonio, Zambales. On August 10, 2002, at around 5:00 or 6:00 in the afternoon, they went to the "All-in-One" Canteen to have some drink. Later, at around 10:00 in the evening, they transferred to a nearby videoke bar, "Aquarius," where they continued their drinking session. Shortly thereafter, a heated argument between SN1 Bacosa and appellant ensued regarding a flickering light bulb inside "Aquarius."4 When SN1 Bacosa suggested that the light be turned off ("Patayin ang ilaw"), appellant who must have misunderstood and misinterpreted SN1 Bacosa’s statement belligerently reacted asking, "Sinong papatayin?," thinking that SN1 Bacosa’s statement was directed at him.5 SN1 Cuya tried to pacify SN1 Bacosa and appellant, while SN1 Bundang apologized to appellant in behalf of SN1 Bacosa. However, appellant was still visibly angry, mumbling unintelligible words and pounding his fist on the table.6 To avoid further trouble, the navy personnel decided to leave "Aquarius" and return to the NETC camp. They walked in two’s, namely, SN1 Bundang and SN1 Domingo in the first group, followed by the group of SN1 Bacosa and SN1 Cuya, and SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna in the last group, with each group at one arm’s length distance from the other.7 Along the way, they passed by the NETC sentry gate which was being manned by SN1 Noel de Guzman and F1EN Alejandro Dimaala at that time.8 SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna even stopped by to give the sentries some barbecue before proceeding to follow their companions.9 Soon after the navy personnel passed by the sentry gate, SN1 De Guzman and F1EN Dimaala flagged down a rushing and zigzagging maroon Nissan van with plate number DRW 706. The sentries approached the van and recognized appellant, who was reeking of liquor, as the driver. Appellant angrily uttered, "kasi chief, gago ang mga ‘yan!," while pointing toward the direction of the navy personnel’s group. Even before he was given the go signal to proceed, appellant shifted gears and sped away while uttering, "papatayin ko ang mga ‘yan!"10 While F1EN Dimaala was writing the van’s plate number and details in the logbook, he suddenly heard a loud thud. Meanwhile, SN1 De Guzman saw how the van sped away towards the camp and suddenly swerved to the right hitting the group of the walking navy personnel prompting him to exclaim to F1EN Dimaala, "chief, binangga ang tropa!" SN1 De Guzman then asked permission to go to the scene of the incident and check on the navy personnel.11 When they were hit by the vehicle from behind, SN1 Cuya and SN1 Bacosa were thrown away towards a grassy spot on the roadside. They momentarily lost consciousness.12 When they came to,

they saw SN1 Duclayna lying motionless on the ground.13 SN1 Cuya tried to resuscitate SN1 Duclayna, while SN1 Bacosa tried to chase the van.14 SN1 Domingo was not hit by the van as he was in the first group and was pushed away from the path of the speeding van. He was able to see the vehicle’s plate number. He also tried to chase the van with SN1 Bacosa but they turned around when the vehicle made a U-turn as they thought that it would come back for them. The vehicle, however, sped away again when other people started to arrive at the scene of the incident.15 SN1 De Guzman found SN1 Cuya administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on SN1 Duclayna. He also saw the misshapen body of SN1 Andal lying some 50 meters away, apparently dragged there when the speeding van hit SN1 Andal. SN1 Cuya instructed SN1 De Guzman to get an ambulance but the car of the officer on duty at that time arrived and they boarded SN1 Duclayna’s body to the vehicle to be brought to the hospital.16 The other injured navy personnel, namely, SN1 Cuya, SN1 Bacosa, and SN1 Bundang, were brought to the infirmary for treatment.17 Members of the local police soon arrived at the scene of the crime. Senior Police Officer (SPO) 1 Roberto Llorico, the police investigator, found the bloodied lifeless body of SN1 Andal lying on the side of the road. SPO1 Llorico was informed that appellant was the suspect. Fortunately, one of the responding officers was appellant’s neighbor and led SPO1 Llorico to appellant’s place where they found appellant standing near his gate. Appellant appeared drunk and was reeking of alcohol. They also saw the van parked inside the premises of appellant’s place. Its front bumper was damaged. When they asked appellant why he ran over the navy personnel, he simply answered that he was drunk. The police officers then invited appellant to the police station and brought the van with them.18 A post mortem examination was conducted on the bodies of SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna by Dr. Jericho Cordero of Camp Crame Medical Division. Dr. Cordero’s findings were that the injuries sustained by SN1 Andal were fatal and caused by a hard blunt object that hit his body. The force of the impact was such that the internal organs like the kidneys, mesentery and spleen were also fatally injured. SN1 Andal died of cardiorespiratory arrest as a result of massive blunt traumatic injuries to the head, thorax and abdomen. On the other hand, SN1 Duclayna sustained fatal injuries to the head and liver. The head and neck injuries were such that a lot of blood vessels were ruptured and the fractures were embedded in the brain. The laceration on the liver, also a mortal injury, was a blunt traumatic injury.19 As regards the other navy personnel, SN1 Cuya suffered lacerated wounds on the head and different parts of the body for which he was confined at the infirmary for about eighteen (18) days;20 SN1 Bacosa sustained injuries on his knee and left hand and stayed in the infirmary for a day;21 and SN1 Bundang suffered injuries to his right foot.22 Appellant was thereafter charged under an Information23 which reads as follows: That on or about the 10th day of August 2002, at about 11:00 o’clock in the evening, in Brgy. West Dirita, Municipality of San Antonio, Province of Zambales, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, with intent to kill, while driving and in control of a Nissan Van with plate no. DRW 706, did there and then wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously, bump, overrun, smash and hit from behind with the use of the said van, the following persons: Antonio Duclayna, Arnulfo Andal, Evelio Bacosa, Danilo Cuya, Erlinger Bundang and Cesar Domingo, all members of the Philippine [N]avy then assigned at the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales, thereby inflicting upon them the following physical injuries, to wit: DANILO CUYA:

"Head Injury, grade 1 (Lacerated wound 5.0 cm, accipitoparietal area, (L) and lacerated wound, Lower lip) 2 to VA" EVELIO BACOSA: "Multiple abrasion, wrist, volar surface (L), 2nd digit, abrasion, dorsun, (L) foot" ERLINGER BUNDANG: "Abrasion, medial maleolus, (R)" ARNULFO ANDAL: "Head Injury, Grade IV; (Depressed Fracture, Frontal: Lacerated wounds, 8.0 cm 3.0 cm. forehead, and 5.0 cm parietal, (R); Avulsion, medial aspect, upper arm to elbow, hip and enguinal area, (L); Multiple abrasion, anterior and posterior chest, knees and (R) footsecondary to VA" ANTONIO DUCLAYNA: "Head Injury, Grade IV (Lacerated wound, Contusion, Hematoma (R) Parietal) secondary to VA" which act of said accused directly caused the death of Arnulfo Andal and Antonio Duclayna, and in so far as Danilo Cuya, Evelio Bacosa and Erlinger Bundang were concerned, said accused performed all the acts of execution which would produce the crime of Murder as a consequence, but nevertheless, did not produce said crime by reason of cause/s independent of his will, that is, by the timely and able medical assistance rendered to said Danilo Cuya, Evelio Bacosa and Erlinger Bundang, which prevented their death, and finally as to Cesar Domingo, said accused commenced the commission of the acts constituting Murder directly by overt acts, but was not able to perform all the acts of execution by reason of some cause other than accused’s own desistance, that is due to the timely avoidance of the van driven by accused, and that the commission of the crimes was attended with treachery, evident premeditation, cruelty and use of a motor vehicle, and by deliberately and inhuman[ely] augmenting the suffering of the victim Arnulfo Andal, to the damage and prejudice of Danilo Cuya, Evelio Bacosa, Erlinger Bundang and Cesar Domingo and the family and heirs of the deceased Arnulfo Andang and Antonio Duclayna. When arraigned, appellant maintained his innocence.24 After pre-trial, trial ensued and the prosecution presented evidence to establish the facts stated above. In his defense, appellant testified that in the evening of August 10, 2002, he was drinking with Marvin Acebeda and Romeo Eusantos at the "Aquarius" videoke bar. When he sang, the navy personnel who were also inside the bar laughed at him as he was out of tune. He then stood up, paid his bills and went out. After a while, Acebeda followed him and informed him that the navy personnel would like to make peace with him. He went back inside the bar with Acebedo and approached the navy personnel. When SN1 Bacosa appeared to reach out for appellant’s hand, appellant offered his hand but SN1 Bacosa suddenly punched appellant’s right ear. To avoid further altercation, appellant left the bar with Acebeda in tow. Appellant went home driving his van, with the spouses Romeo and

Alicia Eusantos who hitched a ride as passengers. When they passed by the sentry, somebody threw stones at the van. When he alighted and inspected the vehicle, he saw that one of the headlights was broken. Thereafter, he saw SN1 Bacosa and another man approaching him so he went back inside the van but the duo boxed him repeatedly on his shoulder through the van’s open window. When he saw the four other navy personnel coming towards him, he accelerated the van. During the whole incident, Romeo was asleep as he was very drunk while Alicia was seated at the back of the van. Upon reaching appellant’s home, the spouses alighted from the van and proceeded to their place. After 20 minutes, police officers arrived at appellant’s house and told him that he bumped some people. Appellant went with the police officers to the police station where he was investigated and detained.25 Appellant’s only other witness was Alicia Eusantos. She testified that she and her husband hitched a ride with appellant in the evening of August 10, 2002. She did not notice any unusual incident from the time they rode the vehicle until they alighted from it. She learned about the incident on the following day only when her statement was taken by the police.26 After the parties have rested their respective cases, the RTC of Iba, Zambales found appellant guilty and rendered a Decision dated March 21, 2007 with the following dispositive portion: IN VIEW THEREOF, accused ARTURO PUNZALAN, JR. is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of Double Murder qualified by treachery with Attempted Murder attended by the aggravating circumstance of use of motor vehicle and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. For the death of SN1 Antonio Duclayna and SN1 Arnulfo Andal, civil indemnity of P50,000.00 each is awarded to their heirs. This is in addition to the amount of moral damages at P50,000.00 each for the emotional and mental sufferings, plus P12,095.00 to the heirs of Duclayna representing actual damages. Accused is likewise ordered to pay SN1 Evelio Bacosa, SN1 Cesar Domingo, SN1 Danilo Cuya and SN1 Erlinger Bundang P30,000.00 each or an aggregate amount of P120,000.00 as indemnity for their attempted murder.27 Appellant filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. In his brief,28 appellant claimed that the trial court erred in not finding that he may not be held criminally liable as he merely acted in avoidance of greater evil or injury, a justifying circumstance under paragraph 4, Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code. His act of increasing his vehicle’s speed was reasonable and justified as he was being attacked by two men whose four companions were also approaching. He asserted that the attack against him by the two navy personnel constituted actual and imminent danger to his life and limb. The sight of the four approaching companions of his attackers "created in his mind a fear of greater evil," prompting him to speed up his vehicle to avoid a greater evil or injury to himself. According to appellant, if he accidentally hit the approaching navy men in the process, he could not be held criminally liable therefor. The instinct of self-preservation would make one feel that his own safety is of greater importance than that of another.29 Appellant further faulted the trial court in appreciating the qualifying circumstance of treachery. He asserted that nothing in the records would show that he consciously or deliberately adopted the means of execution. More importantly, treachery was not properly alleged in the Information.30 The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on behalf of the People of the Philippines, refuted the arguments of appellant and defended the correctness of the RTC Decision. In its brief,31 the OSG claimed that the trial court rightly rejected appellant’s defense of avoidance of greater evil or injury.

Appellant’ s version of the events did not conform to the physical evidence and it was not consistent with the testimony of his own witness. The OSG also argued that treachery was appropriately appreciated by the trial court. The Information was written in a way that sufficiently described treachery where "the unsuspecting victims were walking towards their barracks and totally unprepared for the unexpected attack from behind."32 After considering the respective arguments of the parties, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision dated April 29, 2011 with the following decretal portion: WHEREFORE, the instant Appeal is Denied. The assailed Decision, dated March 21, 2007, of the Regional Trial Court of Iba, Zambales, Branch 69, in Criminal Case No. RTC-3492-I, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, in that Accused-Appellant is hereby ordered to pay the heirs of SN1 Antonio Duclayna and SN1 Arnulfo Andal civil indemnity of Php75,000, moral damages of Php75,000, temperate damages of Php25,000 and exemplary damages of Php30,000. In addition to the foregoing damages, Accused-Appellant is as well held liable to pay the heirs of SN1 Andal the amount of Php2,172,270.21 to represent the amount of loss of earning capacity of SN1 Andal. Accused-Appellant is likewise ordered to pay the surviving victims, SN1 Evelio Bacosa, SN1 Cesar Domingo, SN1 Danilo Cuya and SN1 Erlinger Bundang, moral and exemplary damages in the amount of Php40,000 and Php30,000, respectively. Award of temperate damages in the amount of Php25,000 is proper in favor of SN1 Bacosa, SN1 Cuya and SN1 Bundang for the unsubstantiated amount of pecuniary losses they suffered on account of the injuries they sustained. SN1 Cesar Domingo, however, is not entitled to temperate damages.33 Hence, this appeal. Both appellant and the OSG adopted the respective briefs they filed in the Court of Appeals.34 Is appellant guilty of the complex crime of murder with frustrated murder? After a thorough review of the records of this case and the arguments of the parties, this Court affirms appellant’s conviction. Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals found the evidence presented and offered by the prosecution credible and that the "prosecution witnesses had overwhelmingly proved beyond reasonable doubt the culpability of the Accused-Appellant."35 The Court of Appeals correctly observed that prosecution witnesses F1EN Dimaala and SN1 De Guzman "positively identified accused-appellant as the one who hit and ran over the victims."36 The Court of Appeals further found: The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, taken together, inevitably showed the criminal intent of the Accused-Appellant to inflict harm on the victims. They testified on the incident in a clear, concise, corroborative, and straightforward manner. Thus, their testimonies must prevail over the testimony given by the Accused-Appellant which, on the other hand, was neither substantiated nor supported by any evidence. The prosecution witnesses testified that they actually saw how Accused-Appellant ran over the victims who were walking inside the NETC camp on the night of August 10, 2002. AccusedAppellant, who was driving his van from behind, suddenly bumped and ran over the victims. The

misconstrued. on appeal. misunderstood or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance. Alicia Eusantos categorically stated that she did not witness any unusual incident in the evening of August 10. and (3) there be no other practical and less harmful means of preventing it. xxxx Accused-Appellant’s version of the crime. by the CA are accorded high respect. to successfully invoke avoidance of greater evil as a justifying circumstance. by the Court and in the absence of any justifiable reason to deviate from the said findings. This is because his assertions anent the existence of the evil which he sought to be avoided [did] not actually exist as [they] neither conformed to the evidence at hand nor [were] [they] consistent with the testimony of his own witness. Thus. will alter the outcome of the case. is baseless. resulting in the instantaneous death of SN1 Duclayna and SN1 Andal and causing injuries to the other victims. (2) the injury feared be greater than that done to avoid it.victims were thrown away. The trial and appellate courts noted that even appellant’s own witness who was in the van with appellant at the time of the incident contradicted appellant’s claim. Accused-Appellant’s claim. this Court declared in Martinez v. if not conclusive effect. This Court has combed through the records of this case and found no reason to deviate from the findings of the trial and appellate courts. whether or not petitioner acted in avoidance of greater evil or injury is a question of fact. The justifying circumstance of Avoidance of Greater Evil or Injury cannot be invoked by the Accused-Appellant as the alleged evil sought to be avoided does not actually exist. therefore. 41 the following requisites should be complied with: (1) the evil sought to be avoided actually exists. if considered."40 Under paragraph 4. the RTC and the Court of Appeals concluded that the evil appellant claimed to avoid did not actually exist. xxxx Accused-Appellant’s own witness.38 In this connection.37 Moreover. not only failed to corroborate his claim but also belied Accused-Appellant’s claim that he was attacked by the Philippine Navy personnel. Alicia Eusantos x x x. Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code. upon which the justifying circumstance of avoidance of greater evil or injury is invoked. . which. This Court agrees. 2002 while on board the Nissan Urvan Van driven by Accused-Appellant while they were cruising the access road going to the NETC compound. The RTC and the Court of Appeals rejected appellant’s self-serving and uncorroborated claim of avoidance of greater evil. There is nothing that would indicate that the RTC and the Court of Appeals "ignored. It is an issue which concerns doubt or difference arising as to the truth or the falsehood of alleged facts. is more imaginary than real. Alicia Eusantos. Court of Appeals39: [T]he well-entrenched rule is that findings of fact of the trial court in the ascertainment of the credibility of witnesses and the probative weight of the evidence on record affirmed.

without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party might make. In this case. and enables the court to pronounce proper judgment. smash and hit from behind with the use of said van. Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code. He simply sped away straight ahead.46 he did not make any attempt to avoid hitting the approaching navy personnel even though he had enough space to do so. some 6 to 7 meters in width. totally unmindful if he might run them over. x x x.47 He therefore miserably failed to resort to other practical and less harmful available means of preventing the evil or injury he claimed to be avoiding.44 Appellant was a driver by occupation. The victims were not given any warning at all regarding the assault of the Accused-Appellant. Under paragraph 4. The appreciation of treachery as a circumstance that qualified the killing of SN1 Duclayna and SN1 Andal and the attempted killing of the others is also correct. and (2) the means of execution was deliberate or consciously adopted. appellant himself testified that when he shifted to the second gear and immediately stepped on the accelerator upon seeing the four navy personnel approaching from in front of him. The victims were surprised and were not able to prepare and repel the treacherous assault of Accused-Appellant. overrun. bump. while driving and in control of a Nissan Van with plate No. methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution. if there is no such other way but the damage to another may be minimized while avoiding an evil or injury to one’s self. The elements of treachery are: (1) the employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate. meeting the approaching navy personnel head on. did then and there willfully and feloniously. which reads: "x x x the said accused. then such course should be taken. plants or structures. There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons. infliction of damage or injury to another so that a greater evil or injury may not befall one’s self may be justified only if it is taken as a last resort and with the least possible prejudice to another.45 However. the road where the incident happened was wide. The prosecution witnesses testified that after they had flagged down Accused-Appellant’s van. appellant failed to satisfy the third requisite that there be no other practical and less harmful means of preventing it. This Court agrees with the following disquisition of the Court of Appeals: We find that the RTC correctly appreciated the existence of treachery in the commission of the offense.43 Both sides of the road were unobstructed by trees. xxxx A close review of the information would disclose that the qualifying circumstance of treachery was stated in ordinary and concise language and the said act was described in terms sufficient to enable a layman to know what offense is intended to be charged. Accused-Appellant’s act of running over the victims with his van from behind while the victims were walking inside the NETC camp was a clear act of treachery. DRW 706.Moreover.42 and the place was well-lighted. If there is another way to avoid the injury without causing damage or injury to another or." . employing means. the latter accelerated and upon reaching the middle of the road. We quote pertinent portion of the information. with intent to kill. it suddenly swerved to the right hitting the victims who were startled by the attack. Treachery qualifies the killing to murder.

with intent to kill. smash and hit from behind with the use of said van. as distinguished from facts necessary to be stated in order to render the information sufficiently certain to identify the offense. The felony committed by appellant as correctly found by the RTC and the Court of Appeals."48 (Emphases supplied. killing two of them. and without the slightest provocation on the part of the victims. is a complex crime contemplated under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code: . We hold that the allegation of treachery in the Information is sufficient. the following persons: Antonio Duclayna. This was sufficiently alleged in the Information which not only expressly mentioned treachery as one of the circumstances attending the crime but also described it in understandable language: [T]he said accused. resulting to the death of SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna and injuries to the others. As a general rule. Erlinger Bundang and Cesar Domingo. injuring three others and one narrowly escaping injury or death. Without doubt.51Thereafter. citations omitted.Applying the Supreme Court’s discussion in People vs. appellant used the van both as a means to commit a crime and to flee the scene of the crime after he committed the felonious act. He is presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense. depriving the latter of any real chance to defend themselves. it is not necessary to show on the face of an information for forgery in what manner a person is to be defrauded.) The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by the aggressor on unsuspecting victims. Upon catching up with them. did then and there willfully. Jurisprudence is replete with cases wherein we found the allegation of treachery sufficient without any further explanation as to the circumstances surrounding it. without a doubt. It is often difficult to say what is a matter of evidence. They were therefore defenseless and posed no threat to appellant when appellant mowed them down with his van. he continued to speed away from the scene of the incident. thereby ensuring its commission without risk to the aggressor. "smash and hit from behind. We find that the information is sufficient as it not merely indicated the term treachery therein but also described the act itself constituting treachery. appellant ran over them and mowed them down with the van. as that is a matter of evidence at the trial. Arnulfo Andal. x x x. unlawfully and feloniously. Evelio Bacosa. They felt secure as they have just passed a sentry and were nearing their barracks. sufficiently alleging the qualifying circumstance of treachery when it pointed out the statement. Danilo Cuya. bump. They were totally unaware of the threat to their life as their backs were turned against the direction where appellant’s speeding van came. as distinguished from facts essential to the description of the offense. Beyond reasonable doubt. Such statement. double murder with multiple attempted murder. matters of evidence. x x x.49 The six navy personnel were walking by the roadside. need not be averred. provided the supporting facts that constituted the offense. there was treachery in appellant’s act.50 (Emphasis supplied." Clearly. on their way back to their camp. overrun. Appellant deliberately used the van he was driving to pursue the victims. while driving and in control of a Nissan Van with plate no.) Use of motor vehicle was also properly considered as an aggravating circumstance. Court of First Instance of Batangas. citing the case of Balitaan v. For instance. Batin. to wit: "The main purpose of requiring the various elements of a crime to be set forth in an Information is to enable the accused to suitably prepare his defense. DRW 706.

9346.000 exemplary damages.65 Finally. SN1 Bundang and SN1 Domingo. swerving to the right side of the road ramming through the navy personnel.-H. Article 6356 of the same Code provides that if the penalty prescribed is composed of two indivisible penalties.60 In addition.Art. each of them was properly given P30. Penalty for complex crimes. No. – When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies. the proper imposable penalty – the higher sanction – is death. at the same time. as in the instant case. those who suffered injuries. SN1 Bundang and SN1 Domingo. the award of P30. The Decision dated April 29.000. the award of P25. SN1 Bacosa. 48. SN1 Bacosa. and committed a single act of stepping on the accelerator. by itself.C. for the complex crime of double murder with multiple attempted murder. murder is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Jr.62 the grant ofP2. at the time of his death. imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordering him to pay the following: .000.66 WHEREFORE.000 temperate damages each for the pecuniary loss they suffered for hospitalization and/or medication. and similar injuries caused to them by the incident. SN1 Andal had a monthly income of P13. being sufficient to qualify the killing.00 civil indemnity and P75.54 an afflictive penalty. constituting an attempt to kill SN1 Cuya. the same to be applied in its maximum period. were correctly awardedP25. namely. it cannot be denied that the heirs of the deceased victims suffered pecuniary loss although the exact amount was not proved with certainty. CR. although no receipts were shown to support said loss. to kill the navy personnel.21 for loss of earning capacity is in order. Since use of vehicle can be considered as an ordinary aggravating circumstance. Appellant was animated by a single purpose. the appeal is hereby DENIED.55 Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.57 prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty. SN1 Bacosa and SN1 Bundang. treachery. the penalty for the killing of each of the two victims is reduced to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.00 exemplary damages to the respective heirs of the deceased victims is also correct. causing the death of SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna and. are mandatory without need of allegation and proof other than the death of the victim.172. SN1 Cuya. However. Thus. moral shock.000 moral damages for the physical suffering. as amended.64 And as the crime was attended by aggravating circumstances.000.58 The penalty of reclusion perpetua thus imposed by the Court of Appeals on appellant for the complex crime that he committed is correct. namely the qualifying circumstance of treachery and the generic aggravating circumstance of use of motor vehicle. the Court of Appeals correctly granted each of them P40.000.00 temperate damages to the heirs of each deceased victim is appropriate. These awards. in view of the presence of aggravating circumstances. and there is an aggravating circumstance the higher penalty should be imposed. 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. fright.59 Moreover. The awards of P75. civil indemnity and moral damages. SN1 Cuya. in view of the enactment of Republic Act No.245.00 moral damages to the respective heirs of SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna are also proper. serious anxiety.R.63 As to the surviving victims. or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. 02816 affirming the conviction of appellant Arturo Punzalan.55.270. owing to the fact of the commission of murder.61 1âw phi1 As it was proven that.52 The crimes of murder and attempted murder are both grave felonies53 as the law attaches an afflictive penalty to capital punishment (reclusion perpetua to death) for murder while attempted murder is punished by prision mayor. the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed.

00 exemplary damages.000. 2009 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City. 198701 December 10. JAYSON ClJRILLAN HAMBORA.R. Plaintiff-Appellee. the above-named accused.0743) grams (sic). weighing a total of zero point zero seven four three (0. 00756-MIN. P2. one (1) sachet of methamphetamine hydrochloride. Article II of Republic Act No.172. deliver to a poseur-buyer for a consideration of FOUR HUNDRED ([P]400. and (iv) P25. SN1 Bacosa and SN1 Bundang.00 temperate damages.00 moral damages. which is a dangerous drug. SN1 Danilo Cuya. (b) To the heirs of SN1 Andal. unlawfully and feloniously sell. finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 5. DECISION REYES. CRHC No.000. Hambora (Hambora) from the Decision 1 dated July 29. SN1 Evelio Bacosa. 9165. . Butuan City.00 exemplary damages.000. and (ii) P30. P25.000. G. (iii) P30. SO ORDERED. (c) To each of the surviving victims.000. and (d) To SN1 Cuya.: This is an appeal filed by Jayson C. Branch 4.R.00 civil indemnity. did then and there willfully.00 temperate damages each is AFFIRMED. 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. 2004 at Montilla Street. (ii) P75. The CA affirmed the Decision2 dated October 1. otherwise known as shabu.270. Philippine Currency.21 for loss of earning capacity.00) PESOS. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. SN1 Erlinger Bundang and SN1 Cesar Domingo: (i) P40.000.3 The accusatory portion of the Information reads as follows: That on or about 12:05 o’clock in the afternoon of February 13. Accused-Appellant.000. without authority of law.00 moral damages.(a) To the respective heirs of SN1 Arnulfo Andal and SN1 Antonio Duclayna: (i) P75. 2012 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. No. vs. J.

The facts. composed by (sic) PO1 Jessie Rama. he entered a plea of "not guilty. Lasco and Salubre.. Prior to the buy-bust.. trial on the merits ensued. upon hearing the utterance of Lasco. His two (2) other companions. when both teams arrived at the designated place at Montilla Blvd. No. II of R. the buy-bust operation. Team A was composed of Police Officers Palabrica. somebody approached Lasco which turns (sic) out to be the accused. Art. accused was brought to the CIDG Office for further investigation. in front of a store identified as Francing Store.00) in one hundred peso denomination[s]. while poseur-buyer (Lasco) posted himself at the side of the store. who asked (Lasco) whether he wants (sic) to buy a shabu. (Exh. a group of police officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP were at Montilla St.CONTRARY TO LAW: (Violation of Sec. D-026-04 (Exh. accused gave a sachet of shabu to Lasco in exchange of Four Hundred Pesos ([P]400. a police surveillance was conducted to determine and verify whether rampant illegal drug trade was conducted in the area. at about 12:05 noon. the Forensic Chemical Officer. saying he was a police officer. 2004. to conduct [a] buy-bust operation. Andrew and Raul. The police team was divided into two (2) groups. while Team B. pretending to be a customer of illegal drugs. 5. according to the prosecution are. When (sic) the police were convinced that [the] information was accurate.00). 9165)4 When arraigned. After informing accused why he was arrested. to act as poseur-buyer was Policeman Andrew Lasco who will use a buybust money of four hundred pesos ([P]400. the sachet of shabu was submitted for laboratory examination at the PNP Crime Laboratory and was examined by PSI Cramwell Banogon. assisted Lasco. Butuan City. members of each team positioned themselves at their assigned places. Furthermore." After pre-trial. [then] arrested accused. "A" to "A4") That. With an affirmative answer and after a meeting of the minds.5 . Eventually. The designated place of operation was reportedly a lair of persons engaged in illegal drug trade. who submitted a Laboratory Report No. Upon consummation of the sale Lasco identified himself as a police officer. Police Officers Rama and Salubre. In the buy-bust operation.A. accused was physically searched and found were the marked monies. After a while. hence. Yaoyao and a confidential asset. The seized sachet of shabu was marked with the initials JAR. which stands for Jessie. as follows: That on February 13. This information was gathered by a discreet surveillance conducted by the (CIDG) PNP. "F") confirming that the submitted specimen is a prohibited drug.

Dujali.On the other hand. premises considered. 2004. That this Merlinda is engaged in a small-time lending business. Butuan City. The RTC decreed in this wise: WHEREFORE. Otherwise Known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of Life Imprisonment and to pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos ([P]500. That he vehemently denied selling prohibited drugs. While going home. The CA explained that the minor irregularities in the . Upon cross-examination. he was at his residence at Purok 9. Accused shall serve his sentence at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm at Braulio E. 9165 as it gave full credence to the testimonies of the police officers who conducted the buy-bust operation vis-á-vis Hambora’s denial of the charge against him. as amended. That the police proceeded with the search and after he was boarded on a motorcycle and brought to the CIDG office. the version of the defense states. he went to Montilla St. Article II of R. He was unable to collect at that time and was told [to] come back sometime. SO ORDERED. and was told that he was selling prohibited drug. He answered that he has NO information about the matter. That he requested of (sic) the presence of barangay officials during the search but his pleas went unheeded. 2009. he was charged of this case. That after eating. "G" and "G-1") is hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the government to be dealt with in accordance with law. After the arrest. the RTC rendered a Decision7 convicting Hambora for illegal sale of shabu pursuant to Section 5.00). It brushed aside Hambora’s vain assertion that he was framed up by the police operatives. he admitted it was the first time that Merlinda asked him to collect a debt and he does not know the full name of the person [to] whom the debt is due.000. That he was to see a certain Gigi. without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.A.8 On appeal. Article II of Republic Act 9165. and was specifically asked if he knows anybody selling illegal drugs. 29 of the Revised Penal Code. he was subjected to a physical search and nothing was found on him. at 12:00 o’clock noon.6 On October 1. he was arrested by a certain Police Officer Lasco. to run an errand of a Merlinda to collect a debt. That he was interrogated of the matter of selling prohibited drugs in the area. Davao del Norte and shall be credited in the service thereof with his preventive imprisonment conformably with Art. The one (1) sachet of shabu marked JAR-1 (Exh. Eventually. as follows: [O]n February 13. accused JAYSON CURILLAN HAMBORA is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Section 5. the CA upheld the findings of the RTC.. Langihan Road.

(3) PO2 Lasco. as we have done time and again. premises foregoing. as poseur-buyer. when affirmed by the appellate court. In People v. the object of the sale. and (3) Hambora. the payment of the ‘buy-bust money’. Thus. and the delivery of the illegal drug x x x must be the subject of strict scrutiny by the courts to insure that law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense. is accorded full weight and credit as well as great respect.0743 gram of shabu to PO2 Lasco who stood at his assigned post. The chemistry report conducted on the specimen resulted in shabu with a total weight of 0. Butuan City where several exchanges of shabu were apparently prevalent. if not conclusive effect" and that "findings of the trial courts which are factual in nature and which involve credibility are accorded respect when no glaring errors. the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug subject of sale." We said that "[t]he manner by which the initial contact was made. Thus. (2) Hambora approached PO2 Lasco and asked if the latter wanted to buy shabu from him."13 (Citations omitted) In the instant case. it was held that: As to the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies.testimonies of the police officers who apprehended the appellant were not fatal. De la Cruz:12 It is the duty of the prosecution to present a complete picture detailing the buy-bust operation—"from the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher. x x x the offer to purchase the drug. arbitrary. The CA further stressed that noncompliance with Section 21 of R. no cogent reason exists to disturb the factual findings of the RTC. and rejects the latter’s version of the events which eventually led to his apprehension in line with the "objective test"11 which presumes the regularity in the performance of duty of the apprehending police officers during the conduct of buybust operations. to wit: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller. The Court further accords full credit to the positive and credible testimonies of the police officers pointing to Hambora as the seller of the confiscated shabu. as these even added premium to their credibility as prosecution witnesses. in return. the CA disposed the appeal: WHEREFORE. or speculative. as affirmed by the CA.A.0743 gram. that "the determination by the trial court of the credibility of witnesses. the offer to purchase. 10444 is AFFIRMED in toto. PO2 Lasco testified in court about their surveillance operations along Montilla St.10 A thorough examination of the records herein confirms the presence of all these elements. What is material in prosecutions for illegal sale of shabu is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place.14 . and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing. 9165 will not render the arrest illegal or the items confiscated from Hambora inadmissible as long as the integrity of the corpus delicti has been preserved.9 Our Ruling The CA decision is affirmed. viz: (1) PO2 Lasco acted as poseur-buyer to entrap persons suspected of selling shabu during a legitimate buy-bust operation.. tendered four (4) marked P100. handed one (1) sachet of shabu to PO2 Lasco. gross misapprehension of facts. Amarillo. and the consideration. 2009 in Criminal Case No. As held in People v. and unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings. the apprehending police officers positively identified Hambora who was caught inflagrante delicto selling 0. The prosecution competently and convincingly established the essential elements for illegal sale of shabu. we hold.00 bills to Hambora. the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the assailed Decision dated October 1. coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence.

Accused-Appellant.: .R.00 for the sale of any dangerous drug. and that the one (1) sachet subject of the sale which.A. this Court affirms the penalties imposed as they are well within the ranges provided by law. and must fail in light of the straightforward and positive testimonies of PO2 Lasco and his team of police officers identifying him as the seller of the shabu. regardless of the quantity or purity involved. 9165 prescribes a penalty of life imprisonment to death20 and a fine ranging fromP500. WHEREFORE.17 We reject Hambora’s claim and agree with the CA’s pronouncement on the matter. J. As aptly discussed by the CA. vs. Article II of R. Article II of R. in consideration of the foregoing premises. 1âw phi 1 Time and again. No. G. SO ORDERED. after examination was found to be "shabu. DECISION PEREZ. 9165 was not complied [with] insofar as the inventory and the presence of key persons were concerned.A." was positively identified as the one also presented in court.A. The CA aptly discussed as follows: [W]hile admittedly Section 21 of R.A. Since he was caught in flagrante delicto of illegally selling shabu. and not in actuality touching upon the central fact of the crime.R. No. the prosecution has sufficiently established that a buybust operation was in fact conducted.000. Hence. 2012 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.19 Lastly.18 In the instant case. jurisprudence is consistent in stating that substantial compliance with the procedural aspect of the chain of custody rule does not necessarily render the seized drug items inadmissible. CR-HC No. their noncompliance did not affect the evidentiary weight of the drugs seized from Hambora as the chain of custody of the evidence was shown to be unbroken under the circumstances of the case. 9165. 9165. Section 5. 9165.Hambora’s asseveration that he was merely framed up is self-serving and uncorroborated. 189277 December 05. RICARDO REMIGIO y ZAPANTA. "the alleged inconsistencies emphasized by (Hambora) are very trivial and does not in any way affect the core of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses"15 that an illegal sale of shabu transpired between him and PO2 Lasco. Well-settled is the rule that "discrepancies referring to minor details.A. 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 00756-MIN is AFFIRMED.000. although the police officers did not strictly comply with the requirements of Section 21. the Decision dated July 29. do not impair [the witnesses’] credibility nor do they overcome the presumption that the arresting officers have regularly performed their official duties". Hambora is liable for violating Section 5.16 Hambora likewise questions the chain of custody of the shabu confiscated in view of police officers’ failure to comply with the statutory guidelines laid down in Section 21 of R. the integrity of the subject illegal drug properly preserved.000.00 to Pl0. Plaintiff-Appellee. Article II of R.

took a sachet of shabu from his pocket and handed it over to PO2 Ramos. Upon approaching. The plastic sachets taken from Remigio were brought by PO2 Ramos to Camp Crame for laboratory examination. Cainta.C.21 On the other hand. he identified the marked money as the one used in the transaction and the picture of the motorcycle marked as Exhibit "C" as the one possessed by Remigio when the buy-bust operation was conducted. one of the police informants named Angel approached and told him that an Alyas Footer was somewhere in the store near General Ricarte Street.14 Three more sachets of illegal drugs were found in the compartment of the motorcycle of the accused.9 Angel approached Alyas Footer first and PO2 Ramos waited for his signal from a distance of more or less ten arms length. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. CR-H. prompted by the question. Rizal.20 He also added that he was then wearing civilian clothes unlike the other police officers visible in the area. Colonel Bagtas (Col.R. Alyas Footer complied and brought out the One Hundred Peso bill marked money and another plastic sachet of illegal drug. Article 113 and illegal possession of dangerous drugs in violation of Section 11. 03169 which affirmed the conviction of herein accused-appellant RICARDO REMIGIO y ZAP ANT A for illegal sale of dangerous drugs in violation of Section 5. while giving assistance to the devotees going to Antipolo City in the corner of General Ricarte Street and Ortigas Avenue. PO2 Ramos immediately told Alyas Footer. a member of the Cainta Police Station.16 Towards the end of his direct examination. He put his initials.For review through this appeal 1 is the Decision2 dated 29 May 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Bagtas so ordered that such operation be done with PO2 Ramos as the poseur-buyer. RDR.10 After Angel and Alyas Footer talked for a while. He testified that he personally transmitted the request for actual testing of the contents of the sachets to the chemist."11 This meant One Hundred Pesos worth of illegal drugs. follows: PO2 Ramos testified that on 17 April 2003 at about six o’clock in the evening.19 He also revealed that he already knew that there was a standing alias warrant against Remigio and that they have been conducting surveillance against Remigio for some time prior to the buy-bust operation.7 PO2 Ramos prepared the One Hundred Peso bill (P100. PO2 Ramos informed his Deputy Chief of Police.5 Immediately. the factual version of the defense as presented by accused Remigio is as follows: .00) to be used as marked money in the operation.12 Alyas Footer.8 Having told the informant Angel that they will conduct a buy-bust operation.6 Col. Article II4 of Republic Act (RA) No.17 During his cross examination. He also turned over his student driver’s license to PO2 Ramos which indicated his name as Remigio Zapanta. on the face of the bill. Angel called PO2 Ramos to come forward.13 After the transaction. there were about seven to eight police officers in the area also giving assistance to the devotees. At that time. PO2 Ramos introduced himself as a policeman and asked Alyas Footer to take out all the contents of his pocket."[p]are paiskor ng piso. Bagtas) for the conduct of a buy-bust operation. The factual rendition of the prosecution as presented by its only witness PO2 Romelito Ramos (PO2 Ramos). the policeman and Angel proceeded to the store in General Ricarte Street where Alyas Footer was.18 PO2 Ramos admitted that the buybust operation was recorded only after the arrest. PO2 Ramos then handed the marked money to Alyas Footer as payment. No.15 The name of the accused would later be clarified by the prosecution through PO2 Ramos as referring to the same person as the accused Ricardo Zapanta Remigio (Remigio).

He testified that at about seven o’clock in the evening of 17 April 2003.41 Eventually. in violation of the above-cited law.35 While leaving the store after she got her food. Cainta.28 He told them that the sachet did not belong to him but still was handcuffed. Remigio was questioned by the prosecution regarding a previous arrest relative to dangerous drugs.39 She saw Remigio pull out his wallet and a piece of paper which she recognized as registration paper of a motor vehicle. then and there willfully.000. No.33 A witness who was presented to corroborate the version of Remigio was Nelia Diolata. 03-25497 for illegal sale of dangerous drugs: That on or about the 17th day of April 2003 in the Municipality of Cainta.00 the police would not file the case for violation of Section 5 or illegal sale of dangerous drugs under R. She thereafter turned her back and proceeded home.22 He said that he rode his motorcycle going there and parked it in front of the store before buying food.36 She saw a uniformed police officer asking the question. He said that he was just a suspect in that case and that he had filed a complaint against the person who arrested him. commonly known as "Shabu[. the above-named accused without being authorized by law. unlawfully and knowingly sell.34 There. he complied and took out his keys and wallet from his pocket and gave them to PO2 Ramos. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.29 PO2 Ramos then brought him together with Angel to the police station at Karangalan Village on board a taxi.40 Two years after the arrest. She testified that she went to Helen’s Best store in General Ricarte St. 9165. she saw Remigio already waiting for the food he bought. his elementary school classmate. Philippines.]" a dangerous drug. two sets of Information were filed as follows: For Criminal Case No. approached and told him to take the things out of his pocket. he was at Helen’s Best store in Ortigas Extension. He did not agree to the proposal and was detained at the station until his inquest on 21 April 2003.23 There were about six policemen in the area while he was in front of the store.38 She then heard Remigio answer composedly.30 His motorcycle was left in front of the store after his arrest. "ikaw ba si Futter?"26 He replied that he is not the person. wearing his official uniform. Just the same.24 He thereafter described the conduct of his arrest. and Ortigas Avenue to buy food. Two more persons in civilian clothes approached PO2 Ramos and Remigio.27 PO2 Ramos opened his wallet and was thereafter shown one (1) plastic sachet of illegal drug which was allegedly taken from his wallet. she heard someone being asked if his name was Footer.32 Subjected to cross-examination.42 For Criminal Case No.37 as she was only two meters away from them.A. did.03 gram of white crystalline substance contained in one (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet which was found positive to the test for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. PO2 Ramos. one of the police officers there named Oscar Soliven told him that forP20. together with an asset he knew by the name of Angel. she learned from Remigio’s mother that he was arrested so she voluntarily offered to testify. CONTRARY TO LAW. deliver and give away to another 0. Province of Rizal.25 PO2 Ramos then asked for his name in this manner. She was able to identify the policeman as "Ramos" through his nameplate.31 Upon reaching the police station. 03-25498 for possession of dangerous drugs: . Rizal.

unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession.03 gram and 0.00 as provided for under Section 11. 9165 to establish the chain of custody of evidence ruling that there was no taint in the integrity of the evidentiary value of the seized items.03 gram.52 and on the prosecution’s proof of all the elements of illegal sale of shabu. premises considered. stressed the legality of a buy-bust operation. 0. accused Ricardo Remigio is found guilty of the offense charged in the Informations and is sentenced to Reclusion Perpetua in Criminal Case No. 03-25497. Province of Rizal.48 Further. through the Office of the Solicitor General.000. accused Ricardo Remigio is sentenced to suffer an Imprisonment of Twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine of P300.A. CONTRARY TO LAW.44 Trial ensued and on 12 October 2007.46 Upon appeal.12 gram of white crystalline substance contained in four (4) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets which were found positive to the test for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. the trial court45 found the accused guilty of the offenses charged against him.51 It relied on the presumption of regularity of performance of police officers in fulfilling their duties. Philippines. Par. the above-named accused. The disposition reads: WHEREFORE.]" a dangerous drug.47 He doubted the entrapment operation as there was already an existing warrant of arrest against him.03 gram. then and there willfully. pleaded NOT GUILTY to the offenses charged against him. direct custody and control 0.50 The People.000.43 Upon arraignment on 29 May 2003.55 No weight was given by the CA to the argument about non-compliance with the procedures laid down in Section 21 of R. the accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer life imprisonment and a fine of five hundred thousand pesos (P500.49 Finally. As amended. he emphasized the failure of the prosecution to establish thecorpus delicti of the case as the five plastic sachets allegedly containing dangerous drug were not presented in court. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. 0.54 The appellate court gave great weight on the findings of facts of the trial court and full credit to the presumption of regularity of performance of the arresting officer Ramos. Accordingly. in light of the foregoing. the CA affirmed the ruling of the trial court with modification on the penalty imposed. also known as "Shabu[. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. No. did.That on or about the 17th day of April 2003 in the Municipality of Cainta. It discredited the argument of the defense of frame-up and upheld the presence of the requisites to prove illegal sale of dangerous drugs. What were presented were only pictures which do not prove that those in the pictures were the same ones tested at the forensic laboratory. the accused-appellant argued that the trial court erred in finding that the prosecution was able to prove the requisites of a buy-bust operation. 03-25498. (3) [o]f RA 9165. in violation of the above-cited law. he questioned the non-adherence to the procedures to establish the chain of custody of evidence such as the marking of the five sachets of confiscated drugs at the time and in the place where the accused was arrested.56 . the decision subject of the present appeal is hereby AFFIRMED save for a modification in the penalty imposed by the trial court. not being lawfully authorized by law. In Criminal case No.00).53 After review. accused Remigio with the assistance of his counsel.03 gram with a total weight of 0.

and non-presentation of the actual dangerous drugs before the court. The argument is that without the requisite proof. a picture is not worth a thousand words. the presentation in court of thecorpus delicti – the body or substance of the crime – establishes the fact that a crime has actually been committed.67 equates as simply inPeople v. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.57 Appellant capitalizes on the non-marking of the sachets allegedly recovered from his wallet and compartment of his motorcycle.This appeal is moored on the contention about the break in the chain of custody and the absence of identification of illegal drugs. Gutierrez. But. like shabu. As pointed out by appellant. what were presented were pictures of the supposedly confiscated items. there is no corpus delicti.59 On the other hand. The needfulness of both was stressed inPeople v. the following elements must first be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller. and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. . The illegal drug must be offered before the court as exhibit and that which is exhibited must be the very same substance recovered from the suspect. and thatthe identity of said drug be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. which in People v. the absence of photographs of the arrest. the object and consideration of the sale. It is indispensable for the prosecution to present the drug itself in court. To emphasize the importance of the corpus delicti in drug charges. We agree fully with the accused-appellant. it is important for the prosecution to show the chain of custody over the dangerous drug in order to establish the corpus delicti. we have held that it is essential that the prohibited drug confiscated or recovered from the suspect is the very same substance offered in court as exhibit.58 and then presented during the trial. the non-preparation of an inventory report. there are two indispensables. (2) such possession is not authorized by law.66 where We. Lorena. i. the body or substance of the crime.60 In both cases of illegal sale and illegal possession of dangerous drugs. 1âw phi1 We have decided that in prosecutions involving narcotics. Martinez.e." In this case. there is insurmountable doubt whether the sachets allegedly confiscated from him were the same ones delivered to the forensic laboratory for examination.61 Jurisprudence consistently pronounces that the dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a judgment of conviction.64 The image without the thing even prevents the telling of a story. after reiterating the elements of the crime of sale of illegal drug. In order to successfully prosecute an offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs. in the current course of drugs case decisions. proceeded to state that all these require evidence that the sale transaction transpired coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. a case of illegal possession of dangerous drugs will prosper if the following elements are present: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug.62 As such.68 was referred to as "the drug itself. no illegal drug was presented as evidence before the trial court.65 Thus.63 In this case. the narcotic substance itself constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense and its existence is vital to sustain a judgment of conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

Nowhere in the records is it shown that the prosecution made any effort to present the very corpus delicti of the two drug offenses. Mister witness? A: Witness pointing to white object. seized and/or surrendered. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). the vitalness in court of both the recovered substance and the certainty that what was recovered from the accused is that which is presented in evidence are underscored by the rule on the chain of custody of evidence. and. the custody. dangerous drugs defined herein which are presently in possession of law enforcement agencies shall. DOJ. it relied only on the pictures of the alleged drugs. and burning or destruction of seized/surrendered dangerous drugs provided under this Section shall be implemented by the DOH. Department of Health (DOH) and the accused/and or his/her counsel. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. PUBLIC PROSECUTOR:May we request Your Honor that this picture be marked as Exhibit "C-2.The prosecution failed to present the drug itself in court. Compliance with the chain of custody of evidence is provided for in Section 21. PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Q: Where is the coin purse here. xxxx (8) Transitory Provision: a) Within twenty-four (24) hours from the effectivity of this Act.A. Article II of R. or his/her representative or counsel." COURT: Mark them. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. No. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. Q: Where is the plastic sachet? A: Witness pointing to other 3 white objects depicting (sic) in the picture. for proper disposition in the following manner: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. 9165."69 As already above indicated. This is evident in the pertinent portions of the direct testimony of PO2 Ramos: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: May we request Your Honor that this picture be marked as Exhibit "C" and another picture showing the whole body of motorcycle be marked as Exhibit "C-1. b) Pending the organization of the PDEA. . plant sources of dangerous drugs. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. immediately after seizure and confiscation. We quote: Section 21. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. Seized. in the presence of representatives of the Court. with leave of court. disposition. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. be burned or destroyed. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment.

shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. in case of warrantless seizures. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. for disposition in the following manner: (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. if practicable. of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer.70 "chain of custody" means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of each stage. We want to depict the carelessness. is nonsensical. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs.A.These requirements are substantially complied with through the proviso in Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R. an examination of the chain of custody of the substance. and the final disposition. What . whichever is practicable. and Fourth. immediately after seizure and confiscation. namely: First. the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer. Third.72 We could have stopped at the point where the prosecution failed to present the substance allegedly recovered from the appellant. The case of People v. the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination. without the substance itself. plant sources of dangerous drugs. 9165: Sec. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given copy thereof. Kamad71 enumerates the different links that the prosecution must prove in order to establish the chain of custody in a buy-bust operation. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. Provided. seized and/or surrendered. further. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory so confiscated. Second. if not the brazen unlawfulness. of the law enforcers in the implementation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. the seizure and marking. as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending team/officer. a representative from media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). 21. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the seized item. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. or his/her representative or counsel. (Emphasis supplied) By definition. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. that the physical inventory and the photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. Provided. We. The failure already renders fatally flawed the decision of conviction. No. that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. Indeed. the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized by the forensic chemist to the court. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. or at least the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. however. see more than an academic need for a discussion of the concept of chain of custody. the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence.

The prosecution proposed a stipulation about her findings. 2003. in the records of the Request for Laboratory Examination.73 PO2 Ramos testified that he personally brought the seized items to the forensic chemist. Mister witness. Already. And nothing in the records reveals that there was such a transfer. a different person named as PO2 Halim was indicated as having delivered the five pieces of heat-sealed plastic sachets to the laboratory for examination. We quote: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Now. As testified by PO2 Ramos. she conducted the chemical examination on the contents of the five plastic sachets with markings RZR-1 . There was no showing when. although with his informant as the lone actor. The failure to produce the corpus delicti in court cannot be remedied by the stipulation regarding the forensic chemist. As testified to by the prosecution’s sole witness. but by means of outlawing those specifically outlined in the statute. 74 No document or testimony was offered to clarify who PO2 Halim is and what his participation was in the chain of custody of the alleged illegal drug. It was unexplained why the five plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance were already marked as "RZR-1. PO2 Ramos was himself the apprehending officer who confiscated the sachets of illegal drugs together with the wallet of the accused. conducted the operation by himself being the poseur-buyer with a one hundred peso bill he himself pre-marked and recorded in the police blotter only after the arrest. It was not shown that there was a marking of evidence at the place of arrest or at the police station. What followed was no less a series of violations of the procedure in the conduct of buy-bust operations. Forensic Chemist Annalee Forro failed to testify in court regarding the result of the qualitative examination of the substance in the sachets." "RZR-3." "RZR-4" and "RZR-5" when transmitted to the forensic chemist. From his statements. he kept the alleged shabu from the time of confiscation until the time he transferred them to the forensic chemist. who. We quote the pertinent portions: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: I am offering the following for stipulations: that Annalee Forro is a forensic chemist officer connected with the PNP Crime Laboratory Service and that on April 18. in the rules implementing the statute and in our decisions interpreting law and rule. A: Me.happened in this case is a one-man operation. what happened to the plastic sachets of alleged shabu which were taken from Alyas Footer? A: It was brought to the Camp Crame laboratory for examination." "RZR-2. he did not transfer the seized items to the investigating officer. This was admitted by the defense but with qualification. who personally transmitted the request for chemist and actual testing of said sachet of shabu. seemingly towards the objective of the law. Q: If you know. PO2 Ramos. he was the one who conceived the operation. the omission of the first link in the chain tainted the identification of the drugs that was allegedly seized from the accused. Sir. Sir. In further muddlement of the prosecution’s evidence. where and how the seized plastic sachets were marked.

2003. J. No. the above-named accused. 02653. CR-H. vs. also known as Aging. CR. 2006 Decision 2 in Criminal Case No. unlawfully and knowingly sell. a dangerous drug.4 . give away to another. On May 6.03 gram of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride.75 Proceeding from the vacuity of proof of identification of the supposedly seized item and of the transfer of its custody. Article II of Republic Act No. 03-0300. RONALD M. which affirmed the Regional Trial Court's (RTC) September 27. The pertinent portion of the Information3 reads as follows: That on or about the 26th day of April. in the City of Las Piñas. was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 5.25498 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.to RZR-5 and found the same to be positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. distribute or transport 0. del Rosario (Del Rosario). No. 2012 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.C. the appeal is GRANTED. Article II of Republic Act No. Del Rosario was charged before the Las Piñas City RTC. DEFENSE COUNSEL: Admitted with qualification that she merely copied the name of the suspect on the request for laboratory examination delivered by member of the Cainta Police Station. 188107 December 05.: For review is the October 28. Plaintiff-Appellee. 03169 affirming the judgment of conviction dated 12 October 2007 of the Regional Trial Court. 2003. Del Rosario pleaded not guilty to the charge upon his arraignment on July 3. no value can be given to the document that merely states that the sachets presented to the forensic chemist contained prohibited drugs. wherein accused-appellant Ronald M. Accused-appellant Ricardo Remigio y Zapanta is hereby ACQUITTED and ordered immediately released from detention unless his continued confinement is warranted for some other cause or ground. 9165. Philippines. from the arresting officer to the forensic chemist. No.R. WHEREFORE. deliver.R. in violation of the above-cited law. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. 2008 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. did then and there willfully. a dangerous drug and the name of the suspect as mentioned in the information is Ricardo Remigio. 03-25497 and 03. Branch 73 of Antipolo City in Criminal Case Nos. Branch 275 of violation of Section 5. The 29 May 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG. without being authorize[d] by law.R. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. DEL ROSARIO @ "AGING". Accused-Appellant. 2003. G.C.-H. SO ORDERED.

Police Senior Inspector Vicente Vargas Raquion. if placed on the witness stand. and the P100 marked money were turned over to the duty investigator. The transaction having been consummated. a dangerous drug. 03" on the confiscated sachet and prepared a request for its laboratory examination. one (1) bamboo clip and a black belt with a knife. 2003. After talking with [Del Rosario]. Las Piñas City. PO2 Mendoza and PO2 Dolleton. The confidential informant met them there and led PO3 Besmonte to the house of [Del Rosario]. PO2 Mendoza and PO2 Dolleton. the prosecution dispensed with the testimony of Police Inspector Richard Allan B. [PO3 Besmonte said that upon reaching the office. 2004. PO3 Besmonte gave a signal by waiving his hand. the content of the plastic sachet was found to weigh 0. was also presented by the defense. it was ordered stricken off the record11 for Rolando del Rosario’s failure to appear for cross-examination despite notice. as summarized by the Court of Appeals. PO2 Jerome Mendoza. The testimony of Del Rosario’s father. and identify the items turned over to him by the arresting officers.00) Bill as buy-bust money and marked the same with his initials "VVR. on June 27. The information was relayed to their Chief. The facts.03 gram and tested positive formethylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.During the pre-trial held on August 7. composed of PO3 Besmonte as the poseur buyer. who. after which. PO2 Virgilio Dolleton and PO3 Herminio Besmonte. PO3 Besmonte handed the marked money to [Del Rosario] who took it. was in front of his house. would testify in accordance with the Police Investigation Report. The team reached the place at about 9 to12 9:30 in the evening of April 26. 2003. the team. [According to PO2 Mendoza. but with the qualification that he had no personal knowledge of the source of such items. identify Del Rosario as the person he had investigated." The place of the illegal drug trade was pinpointed as Atis St. thus." After a short briefing. was deployed to the target area. including the sachet containing white crystalline substance. The confidential informant introduced PO3 Besmonte to [Del Rosario] who. PO3 Besmonte apprised [Del Rosario] of his constitutional rights while PO2 Mendoza frisked appellant and recovered one (1) pair of scissors. he marked the plastic sachet with "RMR-April 26. is as follows: Around 6:00 o’clock in the evening of April 26. Chief Raquion provided a One Hundred Peso (P100. at that time. the Forensic Chemist who examined the evidence related to this case. ‘03" before turning it over to PO2 Dalagdagan. Rolando del Rosario. and. Golden Acres Subdivision. Talon 1.8 The testimonies of Del Rosario 9 and Saulito Granada 10 were presented by the defense. acting on the information. however.]14 PO3 Dalagdagan placed [Del Rosario]’s initials "RMR" and the date "April 27. while PO2 Mendoza and PO2 Dolleton positioned themselves and watched from a distance of more or less five (5) to six (6) meters. PO3 Rufino Dalagdagan.. When subjected to qualitative examination at the Southern Police District Crime Laboratory Office. PO2 Rufino Dalagdagan’s testimony was likewise dispensed with. the investigator on duty that night. received information from a confidential informant about the illegal drugselling activities of appellant. organized a buy-bust team for [Del Rosario]’s entrapment. the prosecution placed on the witness stand PO2 Jerome Mendoza7 and PO3 Herminio Besmonte. the intended buy-bust operation was recorded in the police blotter.6 During the trial. 2006.13] Del Rosario was brought to the Office of the Drug Enforcement Unit [DEU] of Las Piñas City and the confiscated items. upon Del Rosario’s counsel’s stipulation that PO2 Dalagdagan. responded. Mangalip. in turn. but with the qualification that he had no personal knowledge from whom the items were recovered.5 On August 31. from the records. then known as a certain alias "Aging. 2003. upon Del Rosario’s counsel’s stipulation that Mangalip was being presented in court to identify the items he examined. . gave an item to PO3 Besmonte. while on duty at the Office of the Drug Enforcement Unit of Las Piñas City.

the police officers are presumed to have performed their duties regularly. del Rosario GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of Section 5 Art. These three persons allegedly kicked the door of [Del Rosario]’s house. the Court of Appeals declared that there was no reason to question the identity of the confiscated dangerous drug in this case.17 Del Rosario appealed18 this decision to the Court of Appeals. Finding the task of assigning values to the testimony of a witness to belong to the RTC. PO2 Dolleton allegedly asked for money from [Del Rosario] and for a night with [Del Rosario]’s wife in exchange for his release. The police officers allegedly did not introduce themselves and it was the Barangay officials who identified them and mentioned their names. Rolando Del Rosario. He testified that he was in his house with his wife and his 10-month old child watching television when the three police officers.21 . 2006. wearing only his brief.) On September 27.00 and suffer the accessory penalty provided for by law and pay the costs. as it was established during trial that the sachet of shabu presented in court was the same one recovered from Del Rosario.000. summoned the officials of the Barangay and came to his rescue but he was still taken by the police officers. 9165 and sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500. at that time. and arrested [Del Rosario] who was. and ascribed to the police officers the presumption that they performed their duties with regularity. handcuffed him for a purportedly fabricated charge of selling shabu. which. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. Granada narrated that [Del Rosario]’s father and the Barangay officials arrived. from a distance of six (6) meters.[Del Rosario] interposed the defense of denial. the RTC rendered its Decision. the RTC found the illegal sale by Del Rosario of the dangerous drug to have been clearly established. in civilian clothes. II of R. The Court of Appeals also agreed with the RTC that in the absence of evidence to the contrary. [Del Rosario] further narrated that his father.A. ransacked the house. on October 28. but [Del Rosario] allegedly refused to give in to the police officer’s demands.16 In convicting Del Rosario. 2008 affirmed the RTC. At the DEU Office.20 As to Del Rosario’s allegation that the validity of the buy-bust operation was doubtful for noncompliance by the police officers with Section 21. who testified that. [Del Rosario] added that it was only in front of the Barangay officials that the police officers introduced themselves as such. and when they found nothing. kicked the door open and forcibly entered his house. searched the same. the Court of Appeals accorded great weight and respect to the RTC’s assessment of the witnesses’ credibility in the case at bar.19 The Court of Appeals rebuffed Del Rosario’s defenses of denial and extortion in light of the positive testimonies of the police officers and the inconsistent testimony of his only witness as to how the police officers were identified as such. 9165. the RTC rejected Del Rosario’s claim that the police officers tried to extort money from him. Moreover. The defense presented another witness in the person of Saulito Granada. judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Ronald M.15 (Citations omitted. Article II of Republic Act No. he saw three (3) persons in civilian clothes carrying firearms inside the house of [Del Rosario]. Let the shabu in this case be sent to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for proper disposition.

this Court resolves to acquit Del Rosario for the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Delivery. Trading. or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions. . otherwise.00) shall be imposed upon any person. in violation of Section 5.23 to wit: I THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RENDERING A VERDICT OF CONVICTION DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. which provides: SEC.24 Del Rosario posits that his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt as he was convicted because of the weakness of his defense. Sale. .The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500.00) to Ten million pesos (P10. dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug. distribute.000.000. was proven beyond reasonable doubt. The Court’s Ruling After a thorough deliberation. Del Rosario was charged and convicted for selling methylamphetamine hydrochloride. a dangerous drug. Del Rosario also points out the non-compliance by the police officers with the guidelines in the chain of custody of seized drugs. Del Rosario is now before us22 with the same errors he assigned in his Appellant’s Brief. administer.000. He highlighted the inconsistencies in the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies. 5. more popularly known asshabu. who. shall sell. II THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED NOTWITHSTANDING THE POLICE OFFICERS’ FAILURE TO REGULARLY PERFORM THEIR OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS. Rule 133 of the Rules of Court likewise requires proof beyond reasonable doubt to justify a conviction in a criminal case. deliver.Aggrieved.26 the Constitution27 demands that an accused like him be presumed innocent until otherwise proven beyond reasonable doubt. This Court finds that the prosecution failed to satisfactorily establish that the plastic sachet of shabu presented in court was the same one confiscated from Del Rosario. Dispensation. Article II of Republic Act No. dispense. Administration.28 Section 2. unless authorized by law. trade. the accused is entitled to an acquittal. rather than the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. 9165. As Del Rosario asserts. including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved.25 Issue The sole issue in this case is whether or not del Rosario’s guilt for the illegal sale of shabu. give away to another. which are material to the establishment of the identity of the dangerous drug allegedly confiscated from him.

plant sources of dangerous drugs. that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment."30 We now look into pertinent provisions of the governing law and rules. immediately after seizure and confiscation. seized and/or surrendered. the object. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. Provided. controlled precursors and essential chemicals.000. for proper disposition in the following manner: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. deliver. whichever is practicable. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team.The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100. the following elements must be proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). or shall act as a broker in such transactions. .00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. in case of warrantless seizures. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place. plant sources of dangerous drugs.00) shall be imposed upon any person. distribute. that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. "in prosecutions for illegal sale of shabu. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. 21. further. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. administer. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. shall sell. and the consideration. dispatch in transit or transport any controlled precursor and essential chemical. immediately after seizure and confiscation. trade. In a prosecution for the sale of a dangerous drug. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. Section 21 of Republic Act No.29 Simply put. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized.000. give away to another. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. seized and/or surrendered. 9165 provides: SEC. who. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided. or his/her representative or counsel. Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. Seized. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. or his/her representative or counsel. unless authorized by law. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). — The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. for proper disposition in the following manner: (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. dispense. Its Implementing Rules and Regulations state: SECTION 21. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated.

the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.. and consideration for the transaction are identified. seller. the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. In People v.33 held: The dangerous drug itself." 32 Elucidating on the importance of the foregoing. and the final disposition. It would include testimony about every link in the chain. the prosecution for possession under Republic Act No. this Court. in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received. Series of 2002. 1. from the moment it was seized from Del Rosario. from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence. constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and in sustaining a conviction under Republic Act No. to remove any doubt or uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug. "i. as required under the above provisions. (Citation omitted. not readily identifiable. citing Malillin v. up to the time it was presented in court as proof of the corpus delicti. the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence. where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession. in People v.) Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. it did so only when the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items had been preserved. Thus. It is equally important that the object of the case is identified with certainty. 9165. Alcuizar. is the failure of the prosecution to prove that the sachet of shabu they presented in court was the very same one they confiscated from Del Rosario. it is not enough that the buyer. from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. 34 which implements the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. defines "chain of custody" as follows: "Chain of Custody" means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of each stage. evidence must definitely show that the illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal drug actually recovered from the accusedappellant. the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti must definitely be shown to have been preserved. While it is admitted that the police officers failed to conduct an inventory and to photograph the seized shabu in Del Rosario’s presence immediately after he was apprehended.35 this Court. otherwise. The prosecution must be able to account for each link in the chain of custody over the shabu. what creates a cloud on the admissibility of the evidence seized. as shown by presenting the object of the illegal transaction.e. alteration or substitution either by accident or otherwise. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same.While it is true that in many cases31 this Court has overlooked the non-compliance with the requirements under the foregoing provisions. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the seized item. Guru.36 explained the importance of the chain of custody: As a method of authenticating evidence. It must be remembered that to successfully prosecute a case of illegal sale of dangerous drugs. People. the body or substance of the crime that establishes that a crime has actually been committed. and easily open to tampering. 9165 fails. This requirement necessarily arises from the illegal drug’s unique characteristic that renders it indistinct. . the shabu in this case. the plastic sachet of shabu in particular.

While testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain. the exhibit’s level of susceptibility to fungibility.e. What did PO2 Besmonte do with those items [i. "G-2". which is the initial of the suspect. In other words. the items confiscated from del Rosario]? A. If you will again see those items. "G-1" please examine the contents of this white mailing envelope and tell us if you could identify them? The witness A.) This Court has reviewed and scrutinized in detail the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and found glaring inconsistencies that relate to the identity of the prohibited drug allegedly confiscated from Del Rosario. alteration or tampering – without regard to whether the same is advertent or otherwise not – dictates the level of strictness in the application of the chain of custody rule. The patent inconsistency between the testimonies of PO2 Mendoza and PO3 Besmonte necessarily leads us to doubt that the plastic sachet of shabu identified in court is the same one allegedly seized from Del Rosario. or when its condition at the time of testing or trial is critical. What mark did he put on those items? A. The same standard likewise obtains in case the evidence is susceptible to alteration. "G" which contains a white mailing previously marked as Exh. or when a witness has failed to observe its uniqueness. Castillo . PO2 Mendoza averred that the plastic sachet of shabu seized from Del Rosario was marked by PO2 Dalagdagan upon its turn-over by PO3 Besmonte: Q. I am showing to you a brown mailing envelope marked as Exh. Q. Yes. He confiscated the same and gave it to the investigator. (Citations omitted.. an unbroken chain of custody becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is not distinctive and is not readily identifiable. He put markings RMR. The Court Interpreter The witness is referring to Exh. Q. RMR and the date. What did PO2 Dalagdagan do with the items turned over to him by PO2 Besmonte? A. Q. Pros. This is the item brought by PO2 Besmonte. During his testimony. will you be able to identify them? A. Sir. contamination and even substitution and exchange. Q. tampering.

he identified the one marked as "RMR-2003-buy-bust" as the same one he seized from Del Rosario: FISCAL CASTILLO: Q What happened to the plastic sachet that [Del Rosario] gave you in exchange for the P100 bill buy-bust money? A We turned it over to our Duty-Investigator. he also contradicted his own statements both in his direct and cross examinations: On direct examination. RMR April27. the plastic sachet that. Sir. Q To whom did you turn over? A To PO3 Rufino Dalagdagan. Sir. will you be able to identify it? A Yes. he not only contradicted PO2 Mendoza’s testimony. when he was asked to identify such plastic sachet." Later. xxxx Q Now.03. according to you. now. Q What marking did he put on the plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance? A "RMR".) When PO3 Besmonte testified. PO3 Besmonte testified that he turned over the confiscated plastic sachet of shabu to PO2 Dalagdagan. Q I am showing to you a plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance marked as "RMR2003-buy-bust". if that item will be shown to you. Q What about the buy-bust money itself? A Same. was given to you by Ronald del Rosario in exchange for the P100 bill that you gave him on which later on was marked by PO3 Dalagdagan with the initial "RMR". whom he said marked it with "RMR.Q.please tell us what is the relation of that item with the item handed to you by [Del Rosario] in exchange for P100 buy-bust money? . Where is the marked place by PO2 Dalagdagan on that item? The witness A.37 (Emphases supplied. Q What did PO3 Dalagdagan do with those items after receiving them from you? A He marked them and he prepared the Certification to bring them to Crime Lab.

Moreover. and when we arrived [at] the office.39 (Emphases supplied. Q And what is the marking? A "RMR-April 26. and as to who actually marked it. Sir. regarding the plastic sachet. CALMA: Q I am showing it to you. despite a categorical statement that the plastic sachet presented in Court was the same one he seized from Del Rosario. ATTY. Q Are you sure that that was the precise marking of the plastic sachet? WITNESS A Yes. Q But you said you marked it "26". again made conflicting declarations by stating that he marked the plastic sachet with "RMR-April 26. (Witness is referring to Exh. ‘03". . Q And you marked the plastic sachet? A Yes. While PO2 Mendoza categorically stated the marking made on the plastic sachet and who did so. it was "26". CALMA: Q Now. Sir. the police officer who had custody of the seized plastic sachet contradicted himself not only upon crossexamination. Sir. You mean to say that this was not the plastic sachet recovered from the suspect? A Sir. PO3 Besmonte. I turned it over to the Investigator on duty. he could not explain why it was marked differently: ATTY. Is this the sachet you are referring to? A Yes. but it will be the Investigator who will explain why it is "27".’03" before turning it over to PO2 Dalagdagan. "G-2". Q Can you read the marking of the sachet? A "RMR-27 April 2003".) Upon cross-examination.A This is the item that I bought from him.)38 (Emphases supplied. but also during his direct examination. PO3 Besmonte.) A reading of the foregoing readily shows how confused the police officers were as to the exact marking made on the plastic sachet. to whom did you turn over the plastic sachet after taking it from the accused? A I kept it.

CR. SO ORDERED.R. No pronouncement as to costs. 03-0300 for the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Plaintiff-Appellee. The Court of Appeals’ explanation as to why the marking on the plastic sachet presented in court was different from the marking supposedly made by the one who actually seized such plastic sachet has no basis at all from the facts as borne by the records submitted to this Court. del Rosario. 188705 March 2.: Before this Court on appeal is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. CR-H.R. this Court cannot subscribe to the Court of Appeals’ pronouncement that there is no reason to doubt the identity of the subject dangerous drug in this case. the appeal is GRANTED. Therefore. FEDERICO LUCERO. He is ordered immediately RELEASED from detention. it offered no explanation as to how PO3 Besmonte was able to identify the plastic sachet presented in court as the one he seized from Del Rosario. Accused-Appellant Ronald M. it bears stressing that his conviction should be based not on such weak defense.C. No. 02653 dated October 28. JR. G. unless he is confined for another lawful cause. decided by the Regional Trial Court (RTC). WHEREFORE. which upheld the conviction of accused Federico Lucero in Criminal Case No. vs. PO3 Besmonte’s testimony on the matter ended with the statement that the Investigator would be the best person to explain the different marking on the plastic sachet. 00469-MIN dated December 17.41 In light of the foregoing. No. Accused-Appellant. is hereby ACQUITTED in Criminal Case No. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. . The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is DIRECTED to implement this Decision and to report to this Court on the action taken within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision. No. Moreover.40 however. 2008. Branch 30 in Tagum City on April 20. it must be remembered that the Investigator’s testimony was already dispensed with early in the trial.-H. J.The prosecution was not able to salvage the above inconsistencies with a logical and rational explanation. 10849. considering that it contained a marking different from the one he just said he made. While it is true that Del Rosario’s defense of denial is an inherently weak one. 2008 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 2011 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. we find merit in Del Rosario’s claim that the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of proving his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. DECISION VELASCO. also known as Aging.R..C. but on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution. 2005.

in the Olympic Battery Shop.3 On October 14.10 . along with the police. did then and there willfully. the above-named accused. along the National Highway. followed by the accused being chased by a neighbor. thereby inflicting upon her wounds which caused her death. Jao saw the victim.5 About 10 meters from where the accused was drinking.8 AAA was then brought to the Tagum Doctors Hospital where she was declared "dead on arrival. which was about seven meters from accused. Ricardo M. moral and compensatory damages to the heirs of the victim. 1997. and further causing actual. he saw the accused and a certain Digoy Tewok drinking outside the Olympic Battery Shop. the accused. the accused said that the knife he used in killing AAA was at the left side of his bed’s headboard.6 He then told his daughter and her companions to go home. also went into her house and shouted that AAA had a stab wound on her breast. pleaded "not guilty" at his arraignment. as there were people drinking in the area.m. the said accused. testified that on June 6. inside the purok hut.2 an eighteen (18) year old girl. Dr.4 The Case for the Prosecution The prosecution presented Alejandro Jao (Jao).m. National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Medico-Legal Officer. with the assistance of counsel. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Davao del Norte. At 11 o’clock that morning. Province of Davao. unlawfully and feloniously attack. assault and stab the said AAA. especially since he knew that the accused was attracted to AAA. Rodaje). 1997. Jao was awakened by his daughter’s shouting that someone had entered the room of AAA. armed with a knife. and he saw the latter washing his green short pants. Jao peeped through a hole in the wall of the room of the accused. in the Municipality of Tagum. and instead went to check on AAA. Jao. and his daughter looking at pictures in an album. and then the accused. Half an hour later. where upon questioning. with intent to kill.9 Later on. and on the occasion of said rape. where the accused was employed as a cook. saw scratches on the back of the accused when he took off his shirt. 1997. Jao did not join the chase. after which he proceeded to his room in his place of work. Anastacio Langgoy (Langgoy). Police Officer 2 Galileo Gurrea (PO2 Gurrea). a certain May Laribas. his feet were muddy. the accused was charged with the crime of Rape with Homicide in an Information dated July 31. NBI Regional Chemist as witnesses." At 3:00 a. Jao. Purok Leader of XXX in Tagum. with something covering the top of his head. at around 11:00 p. and Dimpna D. by means of force and intimidation. which reads as follows: That on or about June 7. wearing only white briefs. Jao’s daughter pushed him inside the store. Philippines. did then and there willfully. which he later identified during his testimony in court. CONTRARY TO LAW.7 At around 2 o’clock the next morning. and Jao and his wife slept in their store. AAA. AAA’s uncle. on June 7. He went outside the store and saw his daughter coming from the direction of AAA’s house. at a distance of six feet. Jao recovered the knife. Langgoy. Jao saw the accused come out of the Patalinghug Funeral Homes.Before the RTC. unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of AAA. all the while looking in different directions. Jao said that the accused was barefoot. 1997. He noticed that the accused was wearing green short pants. Rodaje (Dr. His daughter and her companions left after that. Bermejo-Dulay (Dulay). and he wore the same green short pants Jao saw him wearing the night before. Jao accompanied the police and a radio reporter to the room of the accused. BBB.. against her will. ran by. The area was lighted by a 40-watt fluorescent lamp. 1997.

on June 7. his hands were held by someone inside. NBI Medico Legal Officer. 1997. but told the witnesses to report to him at his office if they saw the suspect.0 cm.13 Dr. left. frontal region. Along with Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Judil Chavez. on June 7.15 The findings in the autopsy report indicated the following injuries: Contusion. stout. antero-lateral aspect. 7.. who lived five meters from his house.14 His examination also found hymenal lacerations.11 He rushed to her house. 1997. and when he did so. postero-lateral aspect. Hematoma. involving the soft tissues only with an approximate depth of 3.. left. modified by suturing and embalming. above the right elbow. so he stepped back. and that the suspect was a short. STAB WOUNDS. complete at [4:00 and 7:00] position corresponding to the face of a watch. left side. 4. 0. temporal region. Lucero. but denied raping her. face. hand. Roughly spindle-shaped. . They found the knife after turning the bed over.3 cm. Davao del Norte.Langgoy testified that. oriented horizontally. PO2 Gurrea was told that the suspect had woken up. bowlegged man who wore only briefs and carried a knife. in the house of the accused..m. since they were close neighbors.m. left. Langgoy claimed to have recognized the accused by the light of the 40-watt fluorescent lamp nearby. 1. he saw a bloodied white t-shirt. Then someone came out of the house. and Langgoy identified him as the accused. prepared the autopsy on the body of the victim. He was also familiar with the accused and his particular green shorts.4 cm. edges are edematous and with clotted blood. and found several stab wounds and contusions. who had by that time been brought to the hospital. but when he tried to enter it. 2. middle third.2 cm. They then accompanied the accused back to XXX. Incised wound.m. the people he interviewed told him that there had been a commotion in AAA’s house. The accused was then told to take off his shirt. directed backward.3 x 0.. Hymenal laceration. edges are clean-cut. at around 2:30 a. 26. thigh. he was awakened by a voice calling for help. after which he performed the vaginal swabbing to see if there was still seminal fluid in the vaginal canal. who was clad only in his underwear. PO2 Gurrea and Purok Leader Jao saw scratches on the back and right thigh of the accused. lateral extremity is sharp. When he got to the area.0 cm. he was told to investigate an incident at XXX.12 PO2 Gurrea testified that at 8:00 a. so he went back to the house of the victim. PO2 Gurrea went to the Olympic Battery Shop and saw the accused paring vegetables. Langgoy gave chase but was unable to catch the accused. with his green short pants covering the top of his head and his forehead. 2. with one stab wound penetrating the heart.0 cm. PO2 Gurrea went back to the police station.. He asked the accused where he had placed the knife used in killing the victim. He invited the accused to the police station where the accused admitted killing AAA. 9..0 cm. and that it was from AAA. Rodaje. 1. downward and medially.5 x 10. and the accused pointed to the bottom of his bed. right side. Contused-abrasions: nose.0 cm. Tagum. with their houses being only four meters apart.4 cm. right. medial extremity is blunt located at the right.0 x 8. right. causing her death.9 x 1. and SPO2 Eric Baloyo. SPO1 Wenifredo Rivas. palmar region. shoulder. 0. At 11:00 a.0 x 2. where.0 cm.

The accused told him to go to the Chief of Police so that Dionisio could bring him to a doctor. edges are clean-cut. saying that he had been a resident of XXX. He was then brought back to his rented room. The accused was then locked in a prison cell where the other prisoners beat him up. edges are clean-cut. Davao del Norte since February 2. medial extremity is blunt located at the infra-mammary region. on June 7.5 cm. and noticed that his brother’s face was swollen. penetrating the left ventricle with an approximate depth of 4. along with the accused. the dispositive portion of which reads: In View Of All The Foregoing. 20. Dionisio Lucero. from anterior median line directed backward. he was visited by his elder brother. to whom he said that he wanted to be medically examined. NBI Regional Chemist. but PO2 Gurrea picked it up. he was told to just accompany them to the police station. 1997. he was mauled by AAA’s brother and father. upward. the trial court rendered its Decision finding the accused guilty in Criminal Case No. The next day. After his confession. He was also subjected to electric shock. On crossexamination. finding a knife which he brought back to the police station. He was handcuffed and brought to the comfort room where he was told that if he did not admit to killing AAA. He put down his knife. After deliberating upon the evidence. with an approximate depth of 2. oriented horizontally.19 Dionisio testified that he visited his brother. involving the soft tissues.17 The Case for the Defense The accused testified in his defense. 4. xxxx CAUSE OF DEATH: STAB WOUNDS16 He then submitted the swab specimen to Dulay. he would be beaten to death. involving the soft tissues only. 1997. It further held that enough circumstantial evidence was presented to prove the guilt of the accused. even if he did not commit the crime. the Court finds accused Federico Lucero guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide and he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of . directed backward. who found the specimen positive for the presence of seminal stains. 1. which PO2 Gurrea searched.. and then the accused was brought to the police station.5 cm. on June 8.4 cm. 1997. 3. cutting the sternum. oriented horizontally. the accused.0 cm. He then confessed to the killing. lateral extremity is sharp.0 cm. 10849. and medially.2. but Dionisio was told by the police not to interfere in the case. and that he had been invited by the police for questioning at 11:00 a. Roughly spindle-shaped.5 cm. Located at the supra-mammary region.18 He had been slicing ampalaya in the kitchen when the police arrived. and instead went home. and when he asked what they wanted with him. upward. Dionisio testified that he did not believe his brother was tortured. medial extremity is blunt. Roughly spindle-shaped. 3.20 The Ruling of the Trial Court The trial court found that there was no proof of maltreatment or torture on the part of the police to elicit the confession of the accused. The accused stated that he was not informed of his right to remain silent or to be assisted by counsel.m. lateral extremity is sharp. and laterally. but Dionisio was not allowed to do so. Tagum. from anterior median line.

is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS.000. in line with current judicial policy. He is ORDERED to indemnify the heirs of AAA the amounts of P100. let all the pertinent records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the Court of Appeals. SO ORDERED. Tagum City. Conformably with the Decision promulgated on 7 July 2004 in G.DEATH and to pay the heirs of the victim AAA P75. . he cannot be linked to the crime.000. 2005 of the Regional Trial Court. P50. Costs against appellant. 147678-87. premises considered.24 Hence. the Decision dated April 20.00 as moral damages.00 civil indemnity.00 as temperate damages."22 The CA followed the trial court in finding that there was no proof of maltreatment or torture.000. He insists that the witnesses were unable to see the face of the perpetrator. and identification was made solely on the basis of the green short pants worn by the suspect. The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads as follows: WHEREFORE. appellant is hereby SENTENCED to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with no possibility of parole. Branch 30. in Criminal Case No. as there was no proof of the actual amount of loss. The bloodied shirt and knife that were found in the room of the accused were also held to be inadmissible. P75. SO ORDERED. No.00 exemplary damages. and that since no DNA test was done. The Ruling of this Court In his appeal.000.000. entitled People [v. The CA found that enough circumstantial evidence was present to convict the accused. and that this casts doubt on the witness’ credibility.00 moral damages and P25. and P25.000.000 and that of moral damages increased to PhP 75. we have this appeal. The appeal is without merit. Lucero questions the positive identification made by witnesses Jao and Langgoy.000. As modified. and that the brother of the accused did not believe the allegations of torture. it held that the extrajudicial confession made by the accused to PO2 Gurrea was inadmissible since the accused was deprived of his right to counsel when he was questioned. it found it proper to modify the award of damages. and assailed the trial court’s appreciation of the allegedly illegally-obtained evidence. The amount of the award of civil indemnity was increased to PhP 100. P25. Temperate damages were awarded. Cagayan de Oro City for intermediate review.00 as exemplary damages. upon finality of this Decision. the accused questioned the identification of him made by witnesses Jao and Langgoy. he also claims that a DNA test should have been done to match the spermatozoa found in the victim’s body to a sample taken from him.21 The Ruling of the Appellate Court In his appeal to the CA. He also claims that Jao did not immediately report the identity of the perpetrator to the police.23 Even as the CA upheld the accused’s conviction. being "fruits of the poisonous tree.000. Even so. In his defense. 10849. 11th Judicial Region.00 as civil indemnity.] Efren Mateo y Garcia.R.

26 wherein the accused in that case was questioned without the presence of counsel. "Together with the extrajudicial confession. We did not inform him of his right. you did not inform the accused that he would have the right not to be compelled to answer any of your question? Did you? A No. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. This parallels Aballe v.25 Accused-appellant was not informed of his rights. Q And also. and later produced the weapon used in killing the victim. sir. When we asked. the fatal weapon is but a fruit of a constitutionally infirmed interrogation and must consequently be disallowed. he must be provided with one. which reads: Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. as well as the evidence gained by searching his room. sir. you did not inform the accused that whatever he would answer to your question that he would give will be used against him in the court of law? Did you? A I did not tell him. Thus. you did not inform the accused that he had the right to remain silent? Did you? A No. People. and the evidence garnered as the result of that interrogation is also inadmissible. xxxx Q When you investigated the accused. The testimony of PO2 Gurrea is quite informative: Q It was you who conducted the investigation? A Yes. also making an extrajudicial confession admitting his guilt. Article III of the 1987 Constitution. However. . If the person cannot afford the services of counsel. nor was there a waiver of said rights. Q And also. nor had accused-appellant been apprised of his rights. these items were the result of a search conducted after accused-appellant had been questioned without the presence of counsel. Q And also."27 It is clear that the questioning of accused-appellant was made in violation of Section 12(1). In that particular case. but we directly questioned him.The CA correctly disregarded the confession by accused-appellant Lucero. the information elicited is inadmissible. it was held. Among the evidence considered by the RTC during the trial were a blood-stained white t-shirt and knife found in the room of accused-appellant. he immediately answered the question. sir. you did not inform the accused at that time that he would have the right to get counsel of his own choice? A We did not inform him.

4. resort to circumstantial evidence is imperative since to insist on direct testimony would. circumstantial evidence shall be sufficient for conviction when the following requisites are complied with: (1) there is more than one circumstance. we have held that the crime of rape is difficult to prove because it is generally unwitnessed and very often only the victim is left to testify for herself. In this regard. . at around 11:00 p. to wit: (1) On June 6. in crimes of rape with homicide. and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent. 1997. the CA and the RTC relied on several circumstances to justify the conviction. as here. Accusedappellant wore white briefs with something covering his head.m. At times. resort to circumstantial evidence is usually unavoidable. But even if the confession and evidence gathered as a result of it are disregarded. Salvador also held: All the circumstances must be consistent with one another.. Rule 133 of the Rules of Court. and the lighting came from a 40-watt fluorescent lamp about seven meters away from accused-appellant. consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty. provided that the circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion that point to the accused. there are no direct witnesses to the crime. accused-appellant may still be pinned down as the perpetrator. at around 2:00 a. followed by accused-appellant. It becomes even more difficult when the complex crime of rape with homicide is committed because the victim could no longer testify. it was held: It is settled that in the special complex crime of rape with homicide. In People v. wearing green short pants. The rules of evidence allow a trial court to rely on circumstantial evidence to support its conclusion of guilt. in many cases. result in setting felons free and deny proper protection to the community.28 In this particular case. Pascual. with this particular crime. the trial court erred in considering the knife and bloodied t-shirt when they are inadmissible.m. both the rape and the homicide must be established beyond reasonable doubt. As held in Salvador v. Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue may be established by inference.Thus. conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld.30 Setting aside the knife and the bloodied t-shirt recovered from the room of accused-appellant. it is the circumstantial evidence that comes into play to reach a conclusion. But even if no one saw the commission of the crime. (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proved. Jao saw his daughter coming from the direction of AAA’s house. Here.29 Under Sec. to the exclusion of all others. the evidence that remains still supports the result of the conviction of accused-appellant. as the guilty person. 1997. which is what the CA correctly concluded. and a certain Digoy Tewok drinking outside the Olympic Battery Shop. People: Direct evidence of the crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Jao recognized accusedappellant from a distance of six feet. Thus. Jao saw accused-appellant. who was being chased by Langgoy.. (2) On June 7. Thus.

When he stepped back. Q While sleeping. Rodaje. Dr. if you know? . 1997. Accused-appellant also asked for water since he was thirsty. Jao saw accused-appellant come out of the Patalinghug Funeral Homes and proceed to his place of employment. and he recognized the voice as that of AAA.m. sir. as found by NBI Medico-Legal Officer Dr. (8) A post-mortem examination of AAA’s body revealed that she had had sexual intercourse. tell us if anything transpired? A During that time and date. (4) Sometime in the morning of June 7. When he went to AAA’s house. and he remained unshaken in his testimony. and was familiar with accused-appellant as they were neighbors. and the one who had held his hands came out. from a vaginal swabbing from AAA that gave positive results for seminal stains. his feet were muddy.m. Q In that house which you said situated at [XXX]? A Yes. 1997. but was unable to catch him. Q Where did that voice come from. Rodaje found hymenal lacerations on AAA’s hymen at 4 o’clock and 7 o’clock positions. after accused-appellant was told to take his shirt off by the police. (6) Langgoy was awakened by a voice calling for help. through a hole in the wall of the room of accused-appellant. (5) At around 11:00 a. who was wearing only briefs and with green short pants covering his head. 1997. He related his version of the events of June 7. and tried to enter it. Jao saw scratches on the back and right thigh of accused-appellant. Positive identification of accused-appellant was made by Langgoy. 1997. on June 7.(3) At around 3:00 a. somebody called-up for help. as follows: Q At about 2:30 in the morning of June 7. 1997. please tell the Court where you were and what were you doing? A I was sleeping at that particular time. Jao saw accused-appellant washing his green short pants. his hands were held by someone inside the house. and he wore the same green short pants he had been wearing the night before. even under cross-examination. The aforementioned circumstances lead to the inescapable conclusion that accused-appellant is guilty. on June 7. Langgoy recognized the person as accused-appellant. with their houses only four meters apart. Langgoy gave chase. Accused-appellant was barefoot. which was five meters from his. with the edges of the hymen being swollen and with clotted blood. The conclusion that AAA had had sexual intercourse was supported by the findings of NBI Regional Chemist Dulay. (7) Langgoy positively identified accused-appellant by the light of a 40-watt fluorescent lamp nearby. seemingly restless and wary.

xxxx Q What did you do immediately after hearing that voice shouting for help? A I immediately ran to the door of the house of [AAA] and I noticed that somebody held my two hands. Q Since you said that there was a portion of that path which was lighted. Q What did you do when you were following that person? Were you walking or running? A I ran. tell us if you can describe to the Court the build or attire of that person? A I observed that the person whom I chased was robust. Q What did you do at the door of the house of [AAA]? A I wanted to open the door so that I can help her. xxxx Q You said that you noticed somebody was touching your hand when you were trying to open the door of [AAA]’s house. Q What made you [step] backward since your intention was to get inside the house? A I stepped backward because somebody held my hands. sir.A The voice came from the residence of [AAA]. Q What can you say on the visibility of that place of that path where that person was running and when you were chasing? A There was a portion of the path which was lighted and there was also a portion which was dark. what did you do after that? A I chased the person who went out of the door. what happened after that? A When I stepped backward. Q To what direction did that person go? A Towards [XXX]. you said that somebody went out of the house of [AAA] passing that door in which you wanted to get entrance. but I cannot enter. xxxx Q Alright. no clothing except his brief and with a green short pants placed on his head. . sir. somebody was rushing out of the house and ran away.

even if I have not seen his face. tell us if that was the first time you saw that short pants. sir. Q You described to the Court the colored green short pants that was placed on his head. sir. as it was covered by the short pants. His clarification reads as follows: 1avv phi 1 Q Did he cover a part of his face? A On the part of the head. the person you chased from inside the house of [AAA]? A I positively identified that it was Federico Lucero. Q Forehead? A His forehead. because he was wearing that green short pants and he. Q Which part of his face was covered? A Only his forehead. xxxx Q Are you telling us that you saw the green short pants covering his face. being bowlegged. A I often saw him wearing that green short pants. Q Can you tell us who that person was? A He was Lucero.31 During cross-examination. in spite of the attempts of the defense to shake him. Q Where had you been seeing Federico Lucero usually wear that green short pants. because we were just neighbors. Q What made you conclude that it was Federico Lucero. Langgoy was steadfast in his identification of accused-appellant as the person he chased. that was placed on his head? A Colored green short pants which is usually being used by basketball players. if you can tell us.Q What kind of short pants. which you said placed on his head? A I always saw him wearing that short pants almost everyday. Q Did he cover his face? A Yes. Langgoy’s testimony under cross-examination belies that. The defense claims that Langgoy admitted that he was unable to see the face of accused-appellant. aren’t you? .

I was not asked that question.A Yes. Q Do you remember that you testified on direct-examination that you did not see the face? Do you still remember that? A I did not say that I did not see his face. In the context of Langgoy’s testimony. it cannot be interpreted to mean that he could not recognize the person he chased. In Loguinsa."34 The DNA test is not essential. v. Their descriptions of the man they saw running away match."33 which the defense latched onto as an admission. This identification. as well as his forehead. that it was not necessary for him to see the person’s face to identify him. which stated: . indicates that accused-appellant was the one who raped and killed AAA. "even if I have not seen his face. he claims that since spermatozoa was found on the deceased. sir. Q But you did not see the face? A I saw him only once. it means that he could rely on other familiar characteristics for identification. accused-appellant would debunk the identification by witnesses by citing People v. Indeed.32 Langgoy’s testimony was that he saw the face of accused-appellant once. It is not for accused-appellant to determine which evidence or testimony the prosecution should present. and attempting to dictate upon the prosecution what course of actions it should have undertaken. along with the condition and actuations of accused-appellant after AAA’s body was found. he could have asked for the conduct of said test during his trial. while there exists other evidence pinning down accused-appellant as the perpetrator. Their testimonies place accusedappellant at the scene of the crime. namely the bowleggedness and the green short pants. the Court stated. Langgoy’s testimony dovetails with that of Jao. In support of his argument. there was indeed positive identification. Jr. instead of belatedly raising it on appeal. he ran away. Langgoy made no categorical statement that he had not seen the face of accused-appellant. Q Are you telling us that you saw the face of the accused only once? A Yes. and his clarifying description of the person he chased. contrary to what the defense has stated. "Section 5. and pinpoint him as the person leaving the house where AAA’s body was found. Faustino. even if Langgoy was the only one who saw accused-appellant’s face. At no time during direct examination was the witness asked if he saw Lucero’s face. if he honestly thought that the DNA test could have proved his innocence. Sandiganbayan (5th Division). After that. and serves to identify accused-appellant as the one who ran from AAA’s house. sir. Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure expressly provides that all criminal action shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of the fiscal and what prosecution evidence should be presented during the trial depends solely upon the discretion of the prosecutor. Add to that Langgoy’s maintaining that accused-appellant was the perpetrator. As to his statement during direct examination. Even as the circumstances lead to the inevitable conclusion that accused-appellant committed the crime. a DNA test should have been conducted by the prosecution so as to erase all doubts as to the identity of the perpetrator. at the time when the short pants covered the top of the perpetrator’s face.

as amended by Republic Act No. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented. absent any evidence showing any reason or motive for prosecution witnesses to perjure. and 3.39 Accused-appellant denies that he committed the crime. In People v. "Denial. misunderstood or misappreciated and which. go to AAA’s house after the crime was committed. The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. scientific forms of identification were held to be preferable over eyewitness testimony. the trial court’s assessment is accorded great weight unless it is shown that it has overlooked a certain fact or circumstance of weight which the lower court may have overlooked. Art. "As a rule. indeed.36 He was awakened by the cry of AAA’s aunt at 4:00 a. We also stated. But even while significant. We held. 335. In that particular case. When and how rape is committed. The holding of a DNA test was never in issue. In People v. 1997. and offers up his version of events. the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious. as pictures of the accused were what were presented for identification."42 No facts or circumstances of substance were presented that the trial court overlooked. reads as follows: Art.The identification of an accused by an eyewitness is a vital piece of evidence and most decisive of the success or failure of the case for the prosecution."40 The witnesses Jao and Langgoy testified that accused-appellant was the person they saw leaving the scene of the crime. accused-appellant claims to have been sleeping in the early hours of June 7. 2. which would necessitate a review of the findings of fact. There is no reason for them to falsely identify accused-appellant. misunderstood. and their testimonies are thus worthy of full faith and credit. the cited case did not mandate DNA testing in place of eyewitness testimony. Alarcon.37 He then went to AAA’s house and listened to people around the area talking about who might have killed AAA. In his defense." is not as accurate and authoritative as the scientific forms of identification evidence like by fingerprint or by DNA testing.¾Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: 1. xxxx . The elements of rape with homicide are present. is negative and self-serving evidence. 335 of the Revised Penal Code."41 In the same case. no motive presented for them to lie.35 x x x While a DNA test might have been more conclusive. He was unable to present any corroborating witnesses to testify that he did. if properly considered. so the testimony of the witness was tainted.38 He says that he later went to work and was at work when the police arrived and invited him to the police station. when the credibility of witnesses is in issue. if unsupported by clear and convincing evidence. (RA) 7659. which authors not infrequently would describe to be "inherently suspect.m. By using force or intimidation. Bringas. would alter the results of the case. "In fine. or misappreciated. We held. All accused-appellant presented is his bare denial that he committed the crime. which deserves no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimonies of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. an eyewitness identification.

the Anti-Rape Law of 1997. the RTC ordered accused-appellant to pay the heirs of AAA PhP 75. Rodaje and the vaginal swabbings examined by NBI Regional Chemist Dulay. as per the post-mortem findings of Dr.45 We reduce the award of civil indemnity to PhP 75. the following elements must concur: (1) the appellant had carnal knowledge of a woman. known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law.000 as exemplary damages. when the law violated does not make use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code. as amended. "Persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua. or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua. "Hymenal lacerations. was penalized under Art.000 and maintain the award of PhP 75. when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code." said section reading as follows: SEC.000 as civil indemnity. the penalty shall be death. PhP 75. "Temperate or moderate damages. The RTC correctly convicted accused-appellant of the crime of rape with homicide. and (3) by reason or on occasion of such carnal knowledge by means of force. the appellant killed a woman.. which are more than nominal but less than . Dr. and was punishable by death.000. 335 of the Code. shall not be eligibile for parole under Act No. but increase the award of exemplary damages to PhP 30. whether healed or fresh. and PhP 25.000 as temperate damages. In line with current jurisprudence. it was held.000 as moral damages."43 The prosecution was able to prove that accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of the victim. and PhP 25. by reason of this Act. resulting in her death. The penalty meted out was thus reduced to reclusion perpetua. at the time of the offense.000 as moral damages.000 as civil indemnity. Furthermore. the following shall be imposed. the elements of the crime of rape with homicide are all present. PhP 50. Jr. 3 of RA 9346 provides. 4103. As to the presence of force or intimidation. xxxx People v. a homicide is committed. threat or intimidation. Villarino held. Payot. (a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Sec.000 retained as exemplary damages."44 Dulay’s findings that there were seminal stains serve to bolster the conclusion that rape was committed. with PhP 100. 2224 of the Civil Code. Thus. The CA correctly modified the penalty in accordance with Sec. The award of temperate damages is proper.When by reason or on the occasion of the rape. (2) carnal knowledge of a woman was achieved by means of force. which. the several injuries and stab wounds suffered by AAA are mute but eloquent statements of the violence inflicted upon her. in accordance with the law. Rodaje found hymenal lacerations from his examination of AAA’s body. 2 of RA 9346 or "An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines. The award of damages was modified by the CA. In People v. As to the award of damages. In addition. threat or intimidation. which states.000 as moral damages." The CA was correct in modifying the penalty. are the best evidence of forcible defloration. the CA awarded PhP 25. before it was amended by RA 8353. or (b) the penalty of life imprisonment. In lieu of the death penalty. 2. "In the special complex crime of rape with homicide. following Art.

and PhP 30. J. unlawfully and feloniously attack.R.000 as moral damages.000 as temperate damages. 2006. 06-92 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). and NESTOR GATCHALIAN. DECISION VELASCO.000 as exemplary damages. Tarlac.R. CR-H. confederating and mutually helping one another. from the nature of the case. with treachery and evident premeditation. PhP 75. all with interest at the legal rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of this Decision until fully paid. conspiring. 2008 in Criminal Case No.). G. Accused-appellant Federico Lucero is ordered to indemnify the heirs of AAA the amounts of PhP 75. 2006. 03405. at around 10:00 o’clock in the evening. may be recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount can not. Accused-Appellants. allegedly committed as follows: That on or about July 19.R. the three accused were indicted for the crime of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). No." Furthermore. which affirmed with modification the Decision2 dated May 27.. Province of Tarlac. the above-named accused with intent to kill. BENEDICTO DOCTOR. Sr. Municipality of Mayantoc. 192251 February 16.46 WHEREFORE. 2006. 2011 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. PhP 25. Benedicto Doctor (Doctor).. Branch 68 in Camiling. Sr. the three accused pleaded not guilty to the above charge. BARANGAY CAPTAIN TONY TOMAS. No.C. Plaintiff-Appellee. JR. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Version of the Prosecution . the CA Decision dated December 17. be proved with certainty. SR. 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. CR-H. the damages assessed in this case shall be subject to interest at six percent (6%).compensatory damages. The RTC found accused Tony Tomas. vs. and Nestor Gatchalian (Gatchalian) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Murder. 00469-MIN is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as to the damages.000 as civil indemnity. No. SO ORDERED. did then and there willfully. 2008 in CA-G.C. (Tomas.: The Case Before Us is an appeal from the Decision1 dated August 12. assault and shot several times one Estrella Doctor Casco which [caused] her instantaneous death. Upon arraignment on September 14.4 Trial5 on the merits ensued after the pre-trial conference. The Facts In an Information3 filed on July 21.

tulungan ninyo kami (Help. drew a gun and shot Estrella twice at a distance of about 1. Tarlac arrived in the district hospital and asked questions from Liezl and Angelita. Tomas. Tarlac. already shot. Sr. Doctor and Gatchalian suddenly came out from the side of the road. Domingo Toledo (Liezl’s husband). who was standing about four meters away from Estrella. Doctor’s house was barely seven (7) meters from the scene of the crime. telling them to lie face down on the ground. Angelita who was squatting and holding a fan. Sr. They had just come from the clinic of Dr. first cousin of Estrella. Tarlac. Tarlac accompanied by Liezl. without saying anything. and as a planner." then ran to her house. Captain Joel Candelario (Capt. Angelita came to the aid of 80-year-old Damiana. They were then brought to the police station for investigation where Liezl executed her Sinumpaang Salaysay (Sworn Statement). Capt. Liezl. when she heard the gunshots. Sr. Ignacia. She responded to Angelita’s call for help to take Estrella to the district hospital. The people in the neighborhood heard the gunshots. Mayantoc. The road was well lit. Sr. Tarlac after she had parked her rented car at the house of Liezl’s mother-in-law. 2006. "Saklulu. contacted the police in Mayantoc. Angelita waved her hand to seek assistance from Barangay Kagawad Yolanda Pablo (Kagawad Pablo) who came out on the road. Mangrobang). the three accused fled towards the house of Tomas. Sr.m. Inc. and Doctor are cousins of Estrella. by standing in a blocking position along the road. After the five shots. Tomas. Her house was 10 to 15 meters away from the road. Neri Corpuz (Liezl’s first cousin) and Kagawad Pablo. Meanwhile. and a person lying on the ground who was Estrella. using a rented car. allegedly supported Tomas. Gatchalian. Sr. about 15 meters away. and most of them came out of their houses to see what happened. the victim (Estrella). Sr. 2006 or about 10 days before her untimely demise. the latter fell down but the former still followed it with three more shots when she was already prone on the ground. Candelario arrived at the scene and. Liezl contacted Estrella’s cousin. help us). She arrived in the Philippines on July 9. in turn. while Gatchalian was staying in a hut in the fields. the Chief of Police of the Philippine National Police (PNP) detachment at Sta. At around 9:45 in the evening on July 19. in her house watching the TV program "Sa Piling Mo" with actress Judy Ann Santos between 9:30 to 10:00 p. working there as a procurement specialist with Safeway. Estrella was 56 years old when she died. Rosalinda Areniego (Rosalinda).5 meters away. was with her child. Kagawad Pablo was watching TV in her house when she heard the gunshots and immediately went out to investigate. Salvador for a medical check-up of Damiana. fired the first two shots at Estrella. shouted.7 Both Liezl and Angelita categorically identified the three accused as the ones who perpetrated the crime. Ryan. Erlinda Toledo. Thereafter. Candelario). Estrella was walking slightly ahead of her mother and Angelita when appellants Tomas. were traversing the road towards her house in Barangay Baybayaos. When Tomas. though they did not totally drop on the road but were in a kneeling position. . the Chief of Police of Mayantoc. Estrella was declared dead on arrival by the attending doctors. who suffered a hypertensive attack after seeing what happened to her daughter. Thereupon. Both Liezl and Angelita recognized the three accused from the light coming from the lamppost. with her mother Damiana Doctor (Damiana) and caretakers Liezl Toledo (Liezl) and Angelita Duque (Angelita). without a gun.Estrella Doctor Casco (Estrella) was based in the United States. She saw three persons on the road: Damiana who was seated.. brought Estrella to the Malacampa District Hospital in Camiling. who. A half-hour later. Police Inspector Eleno Mangrobang (P/Insp. that of Tomas. while Doctor positioned himself at the back of Damiana and Angelita and poked a handgun at them.6 Angelita likewise accomplished her Sinumpaang Salaysay.

2006. as barangay captain. He was not awakened by the gunshots the previous night and it was his wife who told him about Estrella’s death from the shooting.m. The three were subjected to paraffin tests shortly after the policemen took them in custody and were found negative for gunpowder burns. and worked in the latter’s rice field. Tomas. he went home at 4:00 p. involving an easement of a property. (3) Tomas. 2008. His investigation did not identify the persons responsible for the crime. averred that he was at home sleeping when the incident happened. he awoke to urinate and was told by his wife that his cousin Estrella met an accident. and (4) Cecilio filed a case against Alejandro Doctor. An hour later. feeling bad. He woke up the next day at 5:00 a. he confirmed Estrella’s death in front of Doctor’s house from his neighbors. Version of the Defense The accused denied involvement in the incident. likewise denied any involvement in the incident. while Gatchalian was arrested in the woodland (kahuyan). In the morning of July 20. At 10:00 p. Tomas. the father of accused Doctor. At around 9:00 p. Liezl opined that what probably prompted the three accused to murder Estrella were the facts that: (1) Tomas. Ferrer) a day after the shooting. on that day. policemen brought them to Camp Macabulos for paraffin tests.m. He then went back to sleep and woke up at 5:00 a. SEVERE EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL HEMORRHAGE. He was prevailed upon by his wife not to go out of the house. Sr. Cecilio Doctor (Cecilio). he claimed he was at home asleep with his 10-year-old son Jayson. the RTC rendered its Decision finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder and sentencing them to reclusion perpetua. he went to sleep. Sr. accused Estrella of instigating and financing several cases filed against him. The Ruling of the RTC On May 27. Gatchalian admitted that he was a farm helper of Tomas. and proceeded to work in the farm of Tomas. 2006. Mayantoc. the next day. showed four (4) gunshot wounds."8 On the same day. 2006. P/Insp. lost several cases against Estrella’s father. Ferrer issued the death certificate. The dispositive portion reads: .The autopsy conducted by Dr. LEFT HEMOTHORAX. July 20.m. Sr. LACERATIONS OF THE UPPER PORTION OF THE HEART. Doctor. 2006. was removed as administrator of Estrella’s properties in Barangay Baybayaos.m. On the night of the incident. Sr.m. 2006. they were returned to jail. he had regular attacks and. Dr. the next day. in a bed in the living room in front of the television and woke up at 4:00 a. These apparent motives were corroborated by Angelita. MULTIPLE RIB FRACTURES. he slept early at around 7:00 p. Sr. one of them perforating the heart of Estrella.m. Sr. citing the cause of death as "MULTIPLE GUNSHOT WOUNDS. He asserted that after working in the field the whole day of July 19. Since he suffered a cardiac arrest in December 1988. Mangrobang invited the accused to the Mayantoc police station for investigation but instead immediately brought them inside the municipal jail. HEMOPERICARDIUM.m. Tarlac. On July 20. Sr. On the other hand. Sr. and a cousin of Estrella. and Doctor were arrested in their respective homes. Thereafter. the brother-in-law of Tomas. (2) Tomas. or on July 20. Saturnino Ferrer (Dr.

The amount of Php30. this Court finds accused Tony Tomas. the following: 1]. Sr. much less proved the accused’s innocence.00 as exemplary damages.00 as civil indemnity.182. and the fact that. Rosalinda. premises considered. on the part of Tomas. The RTC held as sufficient the positive identification. Police Superintendent Daisy P. The RTC ratiocinated that it would not have been easy for defense witnesses to identify the assailants due to the speed of the incident. and Doctor and other circumstantial evidence proving the accused as the perpetrators of the murder of Estrella. the trial court’s finding beyond reasonable doubt of the accused’s guilt to the offense of murder and the corresponding sentence of reclusion perpetua without eligibility of parole in lieu of the death penalty. The RTC appreciated treachery in the swiftness and unexpectedness of the attack upon the unarmed Estrella without the slightest provocation.78 US dollars or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment as actual damages. at the start of the shooting. Benedicto Doctor and Nestor Gatchalian guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Murder and hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. Thus. for a negative paraffin test result is not conclusive proof that a person has not fired a gun. The amount of Php50. and PO1 Celso Isidro did not disprove the evidence of the prosecution. their distance from the crime scene. and P/Insp. all of the said accused are hereby ordered to pay jointly the heirs of the victim.000. The amount of Php285. . Sr.9 where the Court reiterated its consistent ruling that a negative paraffin test conducted on an accused does not ipso facto prove said accused is innocent. The RTC appreciated the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita (caretakers of Estrella). with the gunman sporting a flat-top haircut while his companion had long hair. Anent the negative paraffin tests on appellants. People. Dr.000.. Milagros and Rosendo to the effect that the assailants were two young men. The trial court found incredulous the defense testimonies of Rosalinda. Rosendo Toledo (Rosendo). Kagawad Pablo.00 US dollars or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment for loss of income of the victim. It gave credence to the positive identification by Liezl and Angelita of the accused as the perpetrators. between the testimonies of Liezl and Angelita who were with the victim and those of Rosalinda. Likewise. It ratiocinated that these defenses were but mere denial and self-serving statements of the accused without any shred of supporting evidence. The amount of Php50. The amount of $368. 4]. 3]. The RTC found the accused’s similar defenses of denial and alibi bereft of merit.000. Rosalinda and Milagros were watching television in their respective homes while Rosendo was busy drinking with his buddies. Mangrobang. and the attendance of conspiracy through the accused’s contributory acts to successfully carry out the crime. Police Officer 3 (PO3) Luciano Captan. the RTC relied on Marturillas v.000.33 and another amount of $2.00 as moral damages.WHEREFORE. 2]. The additional defense testimonies of Milagros Reguine (Milagros). Milagros and Rosendo. coupled with sufficient motive. Ferrer (the doctor who conducted the autopsy). Avelino Casco (husband of Estrella). Thus. Babor (P/Supt. SO ORDERED.416. and 5. the RTC found the testimonies of the former more credible. Babor).

The Issues Thus.C. where both accused-appellants and the Office of the Solicitor General. Branch 68. the RTC erred in disregarding their negative paraffin test results and their defense of denial and alibi. First Issue: Credibility of Prosecution Witnesses Accused-appellants assert that prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita are not credible witnesses on the grounds of their partiality since they rely on the family of Estrella for their livelihood.182.33 to correctly reflect what was proved during trial. 03405 be used in resolving the instant appeal. the accused appealed10 their conviction to the CA. CR-H. which were unsubstantiated. to wit: first. there was no conspiracy.13 and the Brief for the Appellee14 filed in CA-G. the instant appeal. awarding the total of P385. The CA found that the testimony of the prosecution witnesses and their positive identification of the accused as perpetrators of the killing of Estrella were more credible than the denial and self-serving averments by the defense witnesses. The Ruling of the CA On August 12. Tarlac. the Decision of the RTC of Camiling.12 accused-appellants’ Motion for Reconsideration.416.Aggrieved. The rest of the Decision stands. dated May 27. and correspondingly filed their respective Manifestations11 to the effect that the Brief for the Accused-Appellants. that the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita were incredible and repugnant to human experience and behavior. representing the People of the Philippines. SO ORDERED.33 as and by way of actual damages in addition to the US$2. They argue that the testimonies of Liezl and Angelita are too perfect since appellants could not have committed the crime in such a well-lit place where they could easily be identified. Elsewise put. The fallo reads: WHEREFORE.R. second. premises considered. 06-92 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. accused-appellants question the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and raise the issue of insufficiency of evidence to convict them. affirming the findings of the RTC and the conviction of the accused but modifying the award of actual damages to PhP 385.78 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos previously awarded. third. 2009.416. and fourth. Reiterating the RTC’s ruling that a negative paraffin test result is not conclusive of the accused’s innocence. They infer that the testimonies of Liezl and Angelita were fabricated.33 from PhP 285. 2008 in Criminal Case No. since no new issues are raised nor any supervening events transpired. The Court’s Ruling The appeal is partly meritorious. the appellate court also found the presence of treachery and conspiracy in the manner the accused carried out the nefarious deed. coupled with the fact that Liezl. Thus. the appellate court rendered its Decision. accused-appellants raise the same assignments of errors earlier passed over and resolved by the CA. there was no treachery.416. much less the presence of treachery and conspiracy. Angelita and Damiana were spared from harm. No. opted not to file any supplemental brief. They also point to the reason that the adverse testimony of Liezl is on .

she had not conferred with Liezl. We disagree. who rushed home looking for her cellular phone. and did not even bother to reveal accusedappellants’ identities to the responding policemen. For another. Sr. In the case of Angelita. as well as the conclusions drawn from the factual findings. to Cecilio and did not include Doctor and Gatchalian. The fact that Liezl and Angelita depend on the victim’s family for their job as caretakers does not make them biased witnesses. as the appellate court aptly noted. Sr. accused-appellants point to the incongruity of both Liezl and Angelita not identifying them as the perpetrators of Estrella’s killing immediately after the incident when they had ample opportunity to do so. who was charged by Tomas. Sr. why did Liezl not make Doctor as the gunman who shot Estrella? And why include Gatchalian and Tomas. it is settled that when credibility is in issue. their testimonies have not been shown to be fabricated. (2) during the time immediately after the shooting incident when Liezl ran to her house and Angelita brought Damiana home. are accorded respect. The grounds of partiality and ill motive raised by accused-appellants cannot discredit the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. she only mentioned Tomas. And much worse in the case of Liezl. Mangrobang initially at the district hospital and . (5) Angelita sufficiently showed by her testimony that she was busy attending to Damiana who had a hypertensive attack and the house was in chaos because of the incident and.? But more telling of the veracity of the testimony of these prosecution witnesses are the following facts: (1) Angelita has not been shown to have any ill motive against accused-appellants. One with the appellate court.18 It has to be amply shown that the witness is truly biased and has fabricated the testimony on account of such bias. Besides. Cecilio. Sr. and observed their deportment during trial. 2006. was not able to enlighten Cecilio more about the incident. if not conclusive effect. who shot Estrella.15 Indeed.17 The trial court found more credible the testimony of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita. was the gunman. having heard the witnesses themselves. Sr. whom Angelita saw shooting Estrella with a handgun.account of her ill feelings towards Doctor who previously subjected her to shame when he slapped her in public. (4) while it is true that Angelita did not mention the names of Doctor and Gatchalian. and also to ingratiate herself to her employer. the Court generally defers to the findings of the trial court considering that it was in a better position to decide the question. We reiterate the consistent principle the Court applies when the issue of credibility of witnesses is raised in the backdrop of the findings of the trial court which are wholly affirmed by the appellate court. close relationship to the victim does not make a witness biased per se. including its assessment of the credibility of witnesses and the probative weight of their testimonies. they could not have made it up that Tomas. thus. and Angelita replied without hesitation that it was Tomas. The trial court that had scrutinized their deportment. and body language during the trial has found them more credible. To cast more doubt on their testimonies.16 Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself. At the outset. Accused-appellants have not sufficiently shown such a bias. the ill motive raised by accused-appellants has not been shown to affect the testimony of Liezl to suit her alleged personal ill feelings against Doctor. in a case. to Cecilio as the gunman. and (6) the fact that both Liezl and Angelita made their official statements (sinumpaang salaysay) a few hours after the incident during the investigation conducted by P/Insp. We find no reason to set aside their testimonies.19(3) when Angelita mentioned Tomas. thus. If it were so and the content of her testimony was fabricated. Sr. For one. facial expression. such does not denigrate from the fact that it was indeed Tomas. Sr. An established rule in appellate review is that the trial court’s factual findings. Estrella’s father. Angelita was queried by Cecilio about who shot Estrella. who narrated in a straightforward and candid manner what transpired that fateful night of July 19.

Since gunpowder nitrates stay for 72 hours in the hands of a person who fired a handgun. Babor. We are likewise not persuaded. the negative paraffin test results of accused-appellants cannot exculpate them. gunpowder nitrates are also dissolved by diphenylamine. Besides. attest to the fact that the assailants were two young men. Thus. This point was aptly explained and clarified by defense witness P/Supt.22 Also. It is axiomatic that positive identification by the prosecution witnesses of the accused as perpetrators of the crime is entitled to greater weight than their alibis and denials. like the wind direction and velocity when the handgun was fired. or the very next day and a little over 14 hours after the shooting incident. a Forensic Chemist and the Regional Chief of the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Olivas in San Fernando. the type of firearm used. that the residue of gunpowder nitrates in the hands of a person who fired a handgun can be removed. Negative paraffin test not conclusive Accused-appellants were subjected to paraffin tests on July 20."21 This is so since there are many ways. like steam from boiling water. disappearance or removal of the residue of gunpowder nitrates on the hands of a person who fires a gun. particularly Tomas. Sr. from the crime. the humidity or moisture present in the ammunition. or sufficiently washing the hands with warm water. the credibility of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita has not been successfully assailed by accused-appellants."20 and that "a paraffin test has been held to be highly unreliable. She explained in open court the various factors affecting the non-adhesion. they contend that their act of not fleeing is a circumstance that should favorably be considered. if positive. according to accused-appellants. Finally. were corroborated by credible witnesses Rosalinda and Rosendo who do not appear to harbor any ill motive against the victim and her family. the testimonies of Angelita and Liezl were neither fabricated nor prompted by any ill motive but were truly eyewitness accounts of what transpired that fateful night of July 19. Consequently. she explained that opening the pores of the skin will make the nitrates slough off or disappear and this could be done by subjecting the hands to heat. they strongly asserted.24 . Time and again this Court had reiterated that "even negative findings of the paraffin test do not conclusively show that a person did not fire a gun. Moreover.later at the police station shows that their account of what happened was not fabricated and they positively identified accused-appellants as the perpetrators. a timely paraffin test. The testimonies of Rosalinda and Rosendo. in Our assiduous review of the records of the instant case.m. Pampanga. 2006 at 11:05 a.23 Positive Identification As adverted to above. We cannot weigh and view the evidence in the same light as accused-appellants. does not merit conclusive proof that a person had not fired a handgun. either deliberately or accidentally.. Second Issue: Negative Paraffin Test and Defenses of Denial and Alibi Accused-appellants also allege error by the trial court in disregarding their negative paraffin test results coupled with their defenses of denial and alibi which. however. 2006. will definitely prove that a person had fired a handgun within that time frame. A negative result. and when the person wears gloves to preclude adhesion of the gunpowder nitrates.

Q: How about Nestor Gatchalian. and Nestor Gatchalian suddenly emerged and accosted us while we were going to the house of Mrs. Captain Tony Tomas fired shots. sir. Captain Tony Tomas was shooting at Mrs. . Benedicto Doctor. sir. Captain Tomas do? A: He suddenly hold a gun and shot Mrs. do you recall of any unusual or extra ordinary occurrence that took place at that time? LIEZL TODLEDO: Yes. Sr. 2006. DE GUZMAN: While you were walking. he fired two (2) gunshots to Mrs. Sr. Q: How many times did Brgy. he fired two (2) shots sir. what was he doing at the time Brgy.25 On the other hand. DE GUZMAN: While walking towards the house of Mrs. sir. Q: What did Tony [Tomas.]. Q: How many times did Tony [Tomas. Angelita testified as to what happened and positively identified accused-appellants and their specific actions: ATTY. Casco. Casco? A: First. Liezl likewise testified as to how the shooting transpired: ATTY. Benedicto Doctor was already positioned at our back poking the gun to us. Casco and Mrs. Casco. Benedicto Doctor and Nestor Gatchalian suddenly came out. Q: What was that? A: Tony [Tomas. Q: What was that? A: Brgy. do you recall of any unusual incident that transpired? ANGELITA DUQUE: Yes. Casco? A: Nestor Gatchalian was standing at the middle of the road supporting Brgy. Sr. Captain Tony Tomas.] shoot Estrella Casco? A: At first. sir. Captain Tony Tomas shoot Mrs. Casco fell on the ground and it was followed by another three (3) shots. Captain Tomas. sir. Casco at about past 9 o’clock of July 19. sir. Q: In particular. sir. Casco.Thus. what did Brgy. Captain Tony Tomas was shooting Mrs. sir. sir. what was Benedicto Doctor doing? A: Before Brgy. Q: While Brgy. and followed it with three (3) more shots.] do if any? A: He suddenly drew a handgun and shot Mrs. Casco.

28 As aptly pointed out by the CA: With regard to the purported identification made by defense witnesses ROSALINDA ARENIEGO and ROSENDO TEODORO of the alleged culprits different from the accused-appellants. sir. We cannot cast any doubt on their credibility as prosecution witnesses.26 It must be pointed out that prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita knew accused-appellants well since they were neighbors. sir. the Court notes with approval the RTC’s observation that between the testimonies of eyewitnesses LIEZL and ANGELITA. Q: You said. Casco jerked.29 Besides. you shouted. sir. they have attained a high level of familiarity with each other. Thus. Once a person gains familiarity with another. while ROSALINDA and ROSENDO were supposedly about fifteen (15) meters away from the crime scene. Q: At the time you heard the three (3) shots. if any? A: I was standing. the former’s declarations were more credible. while running. Q: Where did you run? A: Going to our house. denial and alibi are inherently weak defenses and constitute self-serving negative evidence that cannot be accorded greater evidentiary weight than the positive declaration of credible witnesses. And I heard another three (3) shots. I shouted and ran away. dealing as they were on how the crime of murder was perpetrated. and that of defense witnesses ROSALINDA and ROSENDO. the face and body movements of the assailants create a lasting impression on the victim and eyewitness’ minds which cannot be easily erased from their memory. Q: What did you do.30 Third and Fourth Issues: Appreciation of Treachery and Presence of Conspiracy We tackle the last two issues together for being related and intertwined. sir. .Q: What happened to Mrs. sir. identification becomes an easy task even from a considerable distance. What were the words you shouted? A: "Saklulu. tulungan ninyo kami". Casco after the first two (2) shots? A: She fell down. hence. Most often.27 Their positive identification of accused-appellants as the perpetrators of the crime charged was categorical and consistent. as they were in fact walking together with the victim when she was shot. what did you do if any? A: When I saw the body of Mrs.

by means of motor vehicles. 3. fire. Murder. stranding of a vessel. By means of inundation. With treachery. destructive cyclone. or promise. Sr. They strongly assert the lack of treachery since their simultaneous and sudden appearance could not amount to it. Doctor was purportedly carrying one but did not use it.) . the victim Estrella had ample opportunity to dodge or defend herself. shall kill another. by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim. After a judicious study of the records at hand.Accused-appellants strongly maintain the absence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery— qualifying the killing of Estrella to murder. the evidence adduced and the records do not support a finding of conspiracy against appellant Gatchalian. And much less can Gatchalian’s act of merely standing on the road in the path of the four ladies ever constitute furtherance of the common purpose of killing Estrella. still had to draw his gun before shooting Estrella. or of an earthquake. as the one who fired a handgun. On occasion of any calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph. or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse. explosion. and Doctor still had to position himself behind Damiana and Angelita before ordering them to drop or lie face down on the ground. to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances: 1. epidemic. which provides: ART. They aver that the prosecution failed to show evidence of their intentional participation in the crime with a common design and purpose since Doctor’s act of holding a gun was never shown to be in furtherance of the killing of Estrella. with the aid of armed men. With evident premeditation. or employing means to weaken the defense. 5. (Emphasis supplied. 248 of the RPC. derailment or assault upon a railroad. while Gatchalian did not carry one. 248. With cruelty. for Tomas. shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. accused-appellants point to the dearth of evidence showing their concerted acts in pursuing a common design to kill Estrella. Accused-appellants’ arguments are partly meritorious. Evidently. not falling within the provisions of Article 246. fall of an airship. In consideration of a price. reward. Treachery duly proven A qualifying circumstance like treachery changes the nature of the crime and increases the imposable penalties for the offense. eruption of a volcano. shipwreck. as amended. and the lack of conspiracy—penalizing them equally for the crime of murder.31 Murder is defined and penalized under Art. And finally. or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin. or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity. Prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita point to Tomas.—Any person who. taking advantage of superior strength. poison. We are compelled to affirm the presence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery and of conspiracy. Sr. However. 2. or any other public calamity. 4. 6.

The killing is not parricide or infanticide. (2) through treachery. Sr. Without uttering any word.33 Mere suddenness of the attack does not amount to treachery. and Doctor.36 For alevosia to qualify the crime to murder. Tomas.37 Moreover. It is. for the charge of murder to prosper. without risk to the offender.35 Thus. Conspiracy duly proven While We likewise affirm the presence of conspiracy. That the accused killed him. method and manner of execution were deliberately adopted. while Doctor simultaneously poked a gun at Angelita and Damiana. Sr.34The essence of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning. Sr. affording the hapless.Thus. arising from the defense that the offended party might make. but their testimony. there is no dispute that Estrella was shot to death—she succumbed to four gunshot wounds. 2. it must be shown that: (1) the malefactor employed such means. .32 In the instant case. or by any of the other five qualifying circumstances. The act of Doctor in immobilizing Angelita and Damiana in those brief moments afforded and ensured accusedappellants’ impunity from the unarmed Estrella and her three similarly unarmed companions. 4. duly alleged in the Information. We cannot agree to the finding of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court that Gatchalian is equally guilty on account of conspiracy to merit the same criminal liability as accused-appellants Tomas. Sr. Tomas. it must be present and seen by the witness right at the inception of the attack. method or forms which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution. frontal attack can be treacherous when it is sudden and unexpected and the victim is unarmed. as quoted above. Generally. while the party of Estrella was walking. That the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Art. 3. That a person was killed. it was unexpected as it was sudden. 248. killed the victim in a treacherous manner was established by the prosecution during the trial. Both were not only certain and unwavering in their positive identification of accused-appellants. the issue of the presence of treachery hinges on the account of eyewitnesses Liezl and Angelita. Sr. for treachery to be appreciated. who witnessed everything from the inception of the attack until accused-appellants fled from the crime scene. drew his gun and shot Estrella twice. accused-appellants suddenly appeared from the side of the road. There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons. as aptly noted by the courts a quo. shot her thrice more—perhaps to ensure her death. And when Estrella already fell down. was done with treachery. were also factual. thus. straightforward and convincing on how the murder transpired. as adverted above. done in a swift and unexpected way. the elements of murder are: 1. employing means. clear that the shooting of Estrella by Tomas.38 Consequently. That Tomas. Then accusedappellants fled. the prosecution must prove that: (1) the offender killed the victim. method or manner of execution as to ensure his or her safety from the defensive or retaliatory acts of the victim. To reiterate. The nefarious act was done in a few moments. and (2) the said means. one of which perforated her heart—and it is neither parricide nor infanticide. unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape.

Gatchalian guilty as an accomplice Gatchalian. Who would he be blocking then when the road is wide and Liezl was far back? Thus. Angelita and Damiana were covered by Doctor who poked a gun at them. The fact that Gatchalian appeared together with the other accused-appellants and fled with them. every act of one of the conspirators in furtherance of a common design or purpose of such a conspiracy is the act of all. by taking a "blocking position" in the road. for in a conspiracy.42 In the instant case. On the other hand. the ascertained facts of the shooting to death of Estrella with treachery established beyond reasonable doubt the commission of the crime of murder. with his lack of overt acts manifestly contributing to the accomplishment of the common design to shoot Estrella. and Doctor. which tends to show that he was aware of the plan and intent to kill Estrella or. Sr. however. As mentioned above. it has been duly established that Doctor’s contemporaneous act was made in furtherance of the common purpose of killing Estrella and ensuring impunity from the act.41 as mere presence at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission without proof of cooperation or agreement to cooperate is not enough to constitute one a party to a conspiracy.. and Doctor. To be equally guilty for murder. We note that the evidence adduced and the records would show that Gatchalian did not do overt acts for the furtherance of the shooting of Estrella. Tomas. Sr. ignored or disregarded some fact or circumstance of weight or significance which if considered would have altered the result. However.40 Conspiracy requires the same degree of proof required to establish the crime—proof beyond reasonable doubt. Doctor is. during and after the commission of the felony to achieve a common design or purpose. It may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence consisting of acts. however.’s guilt has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. it must be shown that Doctor and Gatchalian conspired with Tomas.) shortly before the incident or was merely taken along without being told about the other accused-appellants’ plan.43 From the clear testimony of Angelita and Liezl. at the very least. to say the least. Sr. Gatchalian never attempted to stop the shooting. We. while Liezl was so far back that it would be incongruous. words or conduct of the alleged conspirators before. Gatchalian was unarmed and did not say anything or commit any overt act to externally manifest his cooperation with the shooting of Estrella. cannot subscribe to such a view considering that his presence is merely extraneous to the accomplishment of the crime. where the "trial court overlooked.Findings of facts are matters best left to the trial court. Sr. This. Besides. does not exculpate him from criminal liability absent proof that he merely tagged along or just happened to meet his employer (Tomas. Indeed. equally guilty and liable for the murder of Estrella on account of conspiracy."39 then this Court will not shirk from its duty of ascertaining the proper outcome of such reversible error committed by the trial court. is differently situated as Doctor. there is some doubt if he indeed conspired with Tomas. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. that Gatchalian was blocking the road. while not constitutive of proof beyond . mere presence at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission without proof of cooperation or agreement to cooperate is not enough to constitute one a party to a conspiracy. Sr. however.44 It appears that Gatchalian is a party to the conspiracy as found by the courts a quo. 1avv phi 1 The trial court viewed Gatchalian as supporting Tomas. Doctor’s cooperation in the shooting of Estrella ensured its accomplishment and their successful escape from the crime scene. Gatchalian appeared in the company of Tomas. Sr. that he acquiesced to the shooting of Estrella. thus. He also fled together with them. However.

to reclusion temporal in its medium period.233.828. the doubt created as to whether the appellant acted as principal or as accomplice will always be resolved in favor of the milder form of criminal liability—that of a mere accomplice. x x x Where the quantum of proof required to establish conspiracy is lacking. We find no reason to disturb this finding of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court. As a rule. as shown by her husband Avelino Casco’s testimony. Gatchalian is guilty as an accomplice only.000 as exemplary .49 Likewise. Anent the grant of damages for loss of income or earning capacity in the amount of USD 368. funeral services and the airfreight of Estrella’s remains back to the United States. Evidently.000 in favor of the heirs of Estrella is in order.47 the amounts duly proven during trial with supporting official receipts and corresponding documents related to actual expenses for the casket.52 Based on current jurisprudence. Safeway Inc.000 in view of the violent death of the victim and the resultant grief to her family.45 Proper Penalties We agree with the courts a quo that Tomas.72.000 annually.53 Likewise. the CA correctly modified the actual damages to PhP 385. Moreover. As We aptly explained in People v. the proper penalty imposable is prision mayor in its medium period. In applying the formula51 used in the American Expectancy Table of Mortality. Consequently.000 as compensation for Estrella’s heir for loss of income or earning capacity.3346 and USD 2. Estrella was averaging gross earnings of USD 48. Ballesta: Mere presence at the scene of the incident. the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period is proper. Gatchalian is liable to a penalty of reclusion temporal or one degree lower than the imposable penalty for murder.182. the award of civil indemnity ex delicto of PhP 50. knowledge of the plan and acquiescence thereto are not sufficient grounds to hold a person as a conspirator. the doubt should be resolved in his favor and is thus held liable only as an accomplice. Considering that there are no other aggravating or mitigating circumstances applicable.48 The prosecution duly proved Estrella’s loss of earning capacity by presenting the statement from her employer. documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate a claim for damages for loss of earning capacity. Sr.416. x x x Lacking sufficient evidence of conspiracy and there being doubt as to whether appellant acted as a principal or just a mere accomplice. As an accomplice to the murder. the RTC arrived at the figure of USD 368.000. as minimum.54 With the presence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery. Estrella’s 2006 Wage and Tax Statement from her Employee’s Records in the Department of the Treasury – Internal Revenue Service50 shows her earnings for 2006 at USD 29. the award of PhP 30. the CA correctly awarded moral damages in the amount of PhP 50. in line with the principle that whatever is favorable to an accused must be accorded him. which showed her earning an hourly rate of USD 25. still proves a certain degree of participation and cooperation in the execution of the crime. as maximum. and Doctor merit to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the murder of Estrella. on the damages awarded. civil indemnity ex delicto is mandatory and is granted to the heirs of the victim without need of any evidence or proof of damages other than the commission of the crime.reasonable doubt of conspiracy..78. Award of Damages Finally. We find it proper and duly proven. Considering further the applicability of the Indeterminate Sentence Law since Gatchalian is not disqualified under Section 2 of said law.

Sr. this Court finds accused Tony Tomas. Accordingly.00 as civil indemnity.) The amount of USD 368.) The amount of PhP 50.damages is justified under Art. This Court also finds accused Nestor Gatchalian guilty beyond reasonable doubt as an accomplice to the offense of Murder and with the application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor. 2.) The amount of PhP 30. 2230 of the Civil Code.R. as minimum. The May 27. 5. 4.182. as minimum. Gatchalian is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor. and Benedicto Doctor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Murder and hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty ofReclusion Perpetua. and. 248 of the RPC. . Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law.) The amount of PhP 50. to 17 years and four (4) months of Reclusion Temporal. as follows: WHEREFORE.000. Likewise. No pronouncement as to costs. the entitlement to moral damages having been established.416. the following: 1. the CA Decision dated August 12. to 17 years and four (4) months ofreclusion temporal. as maximum. premises considered.56 WHEREFORE. 2008 RTC Decision should be modified to read.) The amount of PhP 385.000 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment for loss of income of the victim. 3. all of the said accused are hereby ordered to pay jointly the heirs of the victim. SO ORDERED.78 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment as actual damages. The rest of the appealed decision stands.33 and another amount of USD 2. the award of exemplary damages is proper. 03405 is hereby MODIFIED in that NESTOR GATCHALIAN is declared guilty beyond reasonable doubt as an accomplice in the offense of Murder under Art. as maximum. CR-H. 2009 in CA-G.000.55 Besides. No.C.00 as moral damages.00 as exemplary damages.000. the instant appeal is hereby PARTLY GRANTED as to appellant NESTOR GATCHALIAN.