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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 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 2 the Decision 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 3 on appellant. 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-inOne" 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 4 appellant ensued regarding a flickering light bulb inside "Aquarius." 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 5 directed at him. SN1 Cuya tried to pacify SN1 Bacosa and appellant, while SN1 Bundang apologized to appellant in behalf of SN1 Bacosa. However, appellant was 6 still visibly angry, mumbling unintelligible words and pounding his fist on the table. 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 7 from the other. 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 8 time. SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna even stopped by to give the sentries some 9 barbecue before proceeding to follow their companions.
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 10 away while uttering, "papatayin ko ang mga ‘yan!" 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 11 navy personnel. 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 12 consciousness. When they came to, they saw SN1 Duclayna lying motionless on 13 the ground. SN1 Cuya tried to resuscitate SN1 Duclayna, while SN1 Bacosa tried to 14 chase the van. 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 15 scene of the incident. 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 16 brought to the hospital. The other injured navy personnel, namely, SN1 Cuya, SN1 17 Bacosa, and SN1 Bundang, were brought to the infirmary for treatment. 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 18 appellant to the police station and brought the van with them. 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 19 injury. 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 20 about eighteen (18) days; SN1 Bacosa sustained injuries on his knee and left hand 21 and stayed in the infirmary for a day; and SN1 Bundang suffered injuries to his 22 right foot. Appellant was thereafter charged under an Information 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.
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 appel lant’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 25 officers to the police station where he was investigated and detained. 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 26 statement was taken by the police. 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 27 of P120,000.00 as indemnity for their attempted murder.
Appellant filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. In his brief, 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 29 is of greater importance than that of another. 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, 30 treachery was not properly alleged in the Information. 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 31 Decision. In its brief, 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 32 unprepared for the unexpected attack from behind." 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, 33 however, is not entitled to temperate damages. Hence, this appeal. Both appellant and the OSG adopted the respective briefs they filed in the Court of 34 Appeals. 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 Accused35 Appellant." The Court of Appeals correctly observed that prosecution witnesses F1EN Dimaala and SN1 De Guzman "positively identified accused-appellant as the 36 one who hit and ran over the victims." 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. Accused-Appellant, who was driving his van from behind, suddenly bumped and ran over the victims. The victims were thrown away, resulting in the instantaneous death of SN1 Duclayna and SN1 Andal and causing injuries to the other victims.
xxxx Accused-Appellant’s version of the crime, upon which the justifying circumstance of avoidance of greater evil or injury is invoked, is baseless. 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, Alicia Eusantos x x x. xxxx Accused-Appellant’s own witness, Alicia Eusantos, 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 categorically stated that she did not witness any unusual incident in the evening of August 10, 2002 while on board the Nissan Urvan Van driven by Accused-Appellant while they were cruising the access road going to the NETC compound. Accused-Appellant’s claim, therefore, is more imaginary than real. The justifying circumstance of Avoidance of Greater Evil or Injury cannot be invoked by the Accused-Appellant as the alleged evil sought to be 37 avoided does not actually exist. Moreover, whether or not petitioner acted in avoidance of greater evil or injury is a question of fact. It is an issue which concerns doubt or difference arising as to the 38 truth or the falsehood of alleged facts. In this connection, this Court declared 39 in Martinez v. Court of Appeals : [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, on appeal, by the CA are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect, by the Court and in the absence of any justifiable reason to deviate from the said findings. 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. There is nothing that would indicate that the RTC and the Court of Appeals "ignored, misconstrued, misunderstood or misinterpreted cogent facts and circumstances of substance, 40 which, if considered, will alter the outcome of the case." Under paragraph 4, Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code, to successfully invoke 41 avoidance of greater evil as a justifying circumstance, the following requisites should be complied with: (1) the evil sought to be avoided actually exists;
(2) the injury feared be greater than that done to avoid it; and (3) there be no other practical and less harmful means of preventing it. The RTC and the Court of Appeals rejected appellant’s self-serving and uncorroborated claim of avoidance of greater evil. 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. Thus, the RTC and the Court of Appeals concluded that the evil appellant claimed to avoid did not actually exist. This Court agrees. Moreover, appellant failed to satisfy the third requisite that there be no other practical and less harmful means of preventing it. Under paragraph 4, Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code, 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. If there is another way to avoid the injury without causing damage or injury to another or, 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, then such course should be taken. In this case, the road where the incident happened was wide, some 6 to 7 meters in 42 43 width, and the place was well-lighted. Both sides of the road were unobstructed 44 45 by trees, plants or structures. Appellant was a driver by occupation. However, 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 46 in front of him, he did not make any attempt to avoid hitting the approaching navy personnel even though he had enough space to do so. He simply sped away straight ahead, meeting the approaching navy personnel head on, totally unmindful 47 if he might run them over. 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. 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. 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. Treachery qualifies the killing to murder. There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party might make. 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; and (2) the means of execution was deliberate or consciously adopted. 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. The victims were not given any warning at all regarding the assault of the AccusedAppellant. The victims were surprised and were not able to prepare and repel the treacherous assault of Accused-Appellant. The prosecution witnesses testified that after they had flagged down Accused-Appellant’s van, the latter accelerated and upon reaching the middle of the road, it suddenly swerved to the right hitting the victims who were startled by the attack. 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, and enables the court to pronounce proper judgment. We quote pertinent portion of the information, which reads: "x x x the said accused, with intent to kill, while driving and in control of a Nissan Van with plate No. DRW 706, did then and there willfully and feloniously, bump, overrun, smash and hit from behind with the use of said van, x x x." Applying the Supreme Court’s discussion in People vs. Batin, citing the case of Balitaan v. Court of First Instance of Batangas, 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. He is presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense. x x x. It is often difficult to say what is a matter of evidence, as distinguished from facts necessary to be stated in order to render the information sufficiently certain to identify the offense. As a general rule, matters of evidence, as distinguished from facts essential to the description of the offense, need not be averred. For instance, it is not necessary to show on the face of an information for forgery in what manner a person is to be defrauded, as that is a matter of evidence at the trial.
the award of P25. as in the instant case.) The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by the aggressor on unsuspecting victims. is a complex crime contemplated under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code: Art. an afflictive penalty.172. injuring three others and one narrowly escaping injury or death. They were therefore defenseless and posed no threat to appellant when appellant mowed them down with his van. (Emphasis supplied. appellant ran over them and mowed them down with the van. at the time of his death. Such statement. the award of P30. The awards of P75. the proper imposable penalty – the higher sanction – is death. DRW 706. – When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies.55. Penalty for complex crimes. civil indemnity and moral damages." (Emphases supplied. to kill the navy personnel. namely the qualifying circumstance of treachery and the generic aggravating circumstance of use of motor vehicle. being sufficient to qualify the killing. 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. the penalty for the killing of each of the two victims is reduced to reclusion 58 perpetua without eligibility for parole. The six navy personnel were walking by the roadside.000. 9346. Appellant deliberately used the van he was driving to pursue the victims. SN1 Bundang and SN1 Domingo. the same to be applied in its maximum period. causing the death of SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna and. resulting to the death of SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna and injuries to the 51 others. in view of the presence of aggravating circumstances. sufficiently alleging the qualifying circumstance of treachery when it 48 pointed out the statement. However. prohibiting the imposition of the death penalty. treachery. Arnulfo Andal. constituting an attempt to kill SN1 Cuya. Appellant was animated by a single purpose. there was treachery in appellant’s act. and without the 49 slightest provocation on the part of the victims. in view of the enactment of 57 Republic Act No. The penalty of reclusion perpetua thus imposed by the Court of Appeals on appellant for the complex crime that he committed is correct.245.000. he continued to speed away from the scene of the incident. Upon catching up with them. They felt secure as they have just passed a sentry and were nearing their barracks. Moreover. Thereafter. "smash and hit from behind.We hold that the allegation of treachery in the Information is sufficient. 48. the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed. 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. without a doubt. the grant ofP2.) Use of motor vehicle was also properly considered as an aggravating circumstance. it cannot be denied that the heirs of the deceased victims suffered pecuniary loss although the exact amount was not proved with certainty. did then and there willfully.00 exemplary damages to the 60 respective heirs of the deceased victims is also correct. Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. citations omitted.00 moral damages to the respective heirs of SN1 Andal and SN1 Duclayna are also proper. The crimes of murder and attempted 53 murder are both grave felonies as the law attaches an afflictive penalty to capital punishment (reclusion perpetua to death) for murder while attempted murder is 54 55 punished by prision mayor. and committed a single act of stepping on the accelerator.000.270. or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. Beyond reasonable doubt. thereby ensuring its commission without risk to the aggressor. Since use of vehicle can be considered as an ordinary aggravating circumstance. by itself. murder is punishable 56 by reclusion perpetua to death. Without doubt. As it was proven that. smash and hit from behind with the use of said van. overrun. unlawfully and feloniously.21 for loss of earning capacity is in order.000. while driving and in control of a Nissan Van with plate no.1âwphi1 Thus. double murder with multiple attempted murder. They were totally unaware of the threat to their life as their backs were turned against the direction where appellant’s speeding van came. " Clearly. swerving to the right side of the road ramming through the navy personnel.00 temperate damages to the heirs of each deceased victim is 61 appropriate. These awards. We find that the information is sufficient as it not merely indicated the term treachery therein but also described the act itself constituting treachery.00 civil indemnity and P75. SN1 Andal had a monthly income 62 63 of P13. the following persons: Antonio Duclayna. The felony committed by appellant as correctly found by the RTC and the Court of Appeals. SN1 52 Bacosa. Jurisprudence is replete with cases wherein we found the allegation of treachery sufficient without any further explanation as to the circumstances surrounding it. on their way back to their camp. 50 Erlinger Bundang and Cesar Domingo. In addition. killing two of them. Danilo Cuya. x x x. at the same time. are mandatory without need of allegation and proof 59 other than the death of the victim. . and there is an aggravating circumstance the higher penalty should be imposed. bump. with intent to kill. depriving the latter of any real chance to defend themselves. Evelio Bacosa. as amended. Article 63 of the same Code provides that if the penalty prescribed is composed of two indivisible penalties. owing to the fact of the commission of murder. provided the supporting facts that constituted the offense.
P2.00 civil indemnity. Jr.172.270. SN1 Cuya.000 exemplary damages. imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordering him to pay the following: (a) To the respective heirs of SN1 Arnulfo Andal and SN1 Antonio Duclayna: (i) P75. the appeal is hereby DENIED. the Court of Appeals correctly granted each of them P40. SN1 Danilo Cuya. (c) To each of the surviving victims. and (ii) P30. and (iv) P25. And as the crime was attended by aggravating 65 circumstances. .000. namely.000 moral damages for the physical suffering.000. SN1 Evelio Bacosa.As to the surviving victims. SN1 Erlinger Bundang and SN1 Cesar Domingo: (i) P40. 02816 affirming the conviction of appellant Arturo Punzalan. SN1 Cuya. although no 66 receipts were shown to support said loss. SO ORDERED. those who suffered injuries. (b) To the heirs of SN1 Andal.000 temperate damages each for the pecuniary loss they suffered for hospitalization and/or medication.00 moral damages. for the complex crime of double murder with multiple attempted murder.000. SN1 Bacosa and SN1 Bundang.000.00 temperate damages. SN1 Bacosa.000.21 for loss of earning capacity. CR.00 exemplary damages.-H.C.000.00 temperate damages each is AFFIRMED. serious anxiety. each of them was properly given P30. (ii) P75.00 exemplary damages.R. and (d) To SN1 Cuya. Finally. moral shock. SN1 Bacosa and SN1 Bundang. SN1 Bundang and SN1 Domingo. were correctly awardedP25.000. and similar injuries caused to 64 them by the incident. WHEREFORE. The Decision dated April 29. No. (iii) P30.00 moral damages. 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. P25. fright.
The accusatory portion of the Information reads as follows: That on or about 12:05 o’clock in the afternoon of February 13. a group of police officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP were at Montilla St. After informing accused why he was arrested. assisted Lasco.G. JAYSON ClJRILLAN HAMBORA. weighing a total of zero point zero seven four three (0. 5. Upon consummation of the sale Lasco identified himself as a police officer. at about 12:05 noon. 2009 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City. while poseur-buyer (Lasco) posted himself at the side of the store. . After a while. Furthermore. Hambora (Hambora) from the 1 Decision dated July 29.0743) grams (sic). D026-04 (Exh. The facts. saying he was a police officer. the above-named accused. Eventually. Butuan City. 2012 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Butuan City. No. who submitted a Laboratory Report No. otherwise known as shabu. CONTRARY TO LAW: (Violation of Sec. Branch 4. DECISION REYES. Team A was composed of Police Officers Palabrica. which is a dangerous drug. No.. With an affirmative answer and after a meeting of the minds. J. a police surveillance was conducted to determine and verify whether rampant illegal drug trade was conducted in the area.00). 198701 December 10. deliver to a poseurbuyer for a consideration of FOUR HUNDRED ([P]400. pretending to be a customer of illegal drugs. upon hearing the utterance of Lasco. Accused-Appellant. Andrew and Raul. he entered a plea of "not guilty.: This is an appeal filed by Jayson C. This information was gathered by a discreet surveillance conducted by the (CIDG) PNP. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.R. The designated place of operation was reportedly a lair of persons engaged in illegal drug trade. 00756-MIN. composed by (sic) PO1 Jessie Rama.00) in one hundred peso denomination[s]. II of R. when both teams arrived at the designated place at Montilla Blvd. [then] arrested accused. the sachet of shabu was submitted for laboratory examination at the PNP Crime Laboratory and was examined by PSI Cramwell Banogon. Plaintiff-Appellee.A. Yaoyao and a confidential asset. somebody approached Lasco which turns (sic) out to be the accused. On the other hand." After pre-trial. to act as poseur-buyer was Policeman Andrew Lasco who will use a buy-bust money of four hundred pesos ([P]400. unlawfully and feloniously sell. Police Officers Rama and Salubre. as follows: When arraigned. Philippine Currency. Article II of Republic Act No. The police team was divided into two (2) groups. who asked (Lasco) whether he wants (sic) to buy a shabu. to conduct [a] buy-bust operation. finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 5. 2004. The CA affirmed the Decision dated October 1. Lasco and Salubre. did then and there willfully. hence. 9165) 4 Prior to the buy-bust. the Forensic Chemical Officer. "F") confirming that the submitted specimen is a prohibited 5 drug. without authority of law. as follows: That on February 13. the buy-bust operation. accused was physically searched and found were the marked monies. 2 CRHC No. the version of the defense states. vs. (Exh. Art. according to the prosecution are. one (1) sachet of methamphetamine hydrochloride. 3 9165. The seized sachet of shabu was marked with the initials JAR. 2004 at Montilla Street. which stands for Jessie. 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. In the buy-bust operation. accused gave a sachet of shabu to Lasco in exchange of Four Hundred Pesos ([P]400.. in front of a store identified as Francing Store. "A" to "A-4") That. while Team B. His two (2) other companions. When (sic) the police were convinced that [the] information was accurate. accused was brought to the CIDG Office for further investigation.00) PESOS.R. members of each team positioned themselves at their assigned places. trial on the merits ensued.
he was at his residence at Purok 9. in return. That he requested of (sic) the presence of barangay officials during the search but his pleas went unheeded. and was specifically asked if he knows anybody selling illegal drugs. The one (1) sachet of shabu marked JAR-1 (Exh.00). It brushed aside Hambora’s vain assertion that he was framed up by the police operatives. 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. Thus.00 bills to Hambora. The chemistry report conducted on the specimen resulted in shabu with a total weight of 0.000. and was told that he was selling prohibited drug. and (3) Hambora. the object of the sale. as amended. That the police proceeded with the search and after he was boarded on a motorcycle and brought to the CIDG office. Thus. That after eating. The prosecution competently and convincingly established the essential elements for illegal sale of shabu. The CA explained that the minor irregularities in the testimonies of the police officers who apprehended the appellant were not fatal. He answered that he has NO information about the matter. Butuan City. Our Ruling The CA decision is affirmed. 2009. The CA further stressed that non-compliance with Section 21 of R.A.A. 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. premises foregoing. to run an errand of a Merlinda to collect a debt. 9 10444 is AFFIRMED in toto. The RTC decreed in this wise: WHEREFORE. as poseur-buyer. He was unable to collect at that time and was told [to] come back sometime. 9165 as it gave full credence to the testimonies of the police officers who conducted the buybust operation vis-á-vis Hambora’s denial of the charge against him. That he vehemently denied selling prohibited drugs. the CA disposed the appeal: WHEREFORE. premises considered. he was subjected to a physical search and nothing was found on him.0743 gram. Article II of Republic Act 9165. no . Article II of R. That this Merlinda is engaged in a small-time lending business.[O]n February 13. "G" and "G-1") is hereby ordered confiscated in favor of the government to be dealt with in accordance with law. 8 On appeal. (3) PO2 Lasco. tendered four (4) marked P100. as these even added premium to their credibility as prosecution witnesses. Upon cross-examination. 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] 6 whom the debt is due. That he was to see a certain Gigi. What is material in prosecutions for illegal sale of shabu is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place. Dujali. (2) Hambora approached PO2 Lasco and asked if the latter wanted to buy shabu from him. 7 Accused shall serve his sentence at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm at Braulio E. coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as 10 evidence. handed one (1) sachet of shabu to PO2 Lasco. A thorough examination of the records herein confirms the presence of all these elements. On October 1. the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the assailed Decision dated October 1. That he was interrogated of the matter of selling prohibited drugs in the area. Eventually. and the consideration. accused JAYSON CURILLAN HAMBORA is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Section 5. SO ORDERED. While going home. 2004. Langihan Road. he was arrested by a certain Police Officer Lasco. Davao del Norte and shall be credited in the service thereof with his preventive imprisonment conformably with Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code. without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. 2009 in Criminal Case No. viz: (1) PO2 Lasco acted as poseur-buyer to entrap persons suspected of selling shabu during a legitimate buy-bust operation. he went to Montilla St. After the arrest. and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing. to wit: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller. the CA upheld the findings of the RTC. the RTC rendered a Decision convicting Hambora for illegal sale of shabu pursuant to Section 5. at 12:00 o’clock noon. he was charged of this case..
2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 9165. the payment of the ‘buy-bust money’. Hence. No.1âwphi1 Time and again. Since he was caught in flagrante delicto of illegally selling shabu. As held in People v. gross misapprehension of facts.000. Lastly. and that the one (1) sachet subject of the sale which. Hambora’s asseveration that he was merely framed up is self -serving and uncorroborated.0743 gram of shabu to PO2 Lasco who stood at his assigned post. 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 13 induced to commit an offense. the apprehending police officers positively identified Hambora who was caught inflagrante delicto selling 0. 9165. regardless of the quantity or purity involved.00 for the sale of any dangerous drug. Well-settled is the rule that "discrepancies referring to minor details. and not in actuality touching upon the central fact of the crime. is accorded full weight and credit as well as great respect. 00756MIN is AFFIRMED. "the alleged inconsistencies emphasized by (Hambora) are very trivial and does not in any way affect the 15 core of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses" that an illegal sale of shabu transpired between him and PO2 Lasco. 12 De la Cruz: 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. .000. as we have done time and again. jurisprudence is consistent in stating that substantial compliance with the procedural aspect of the chain of custody rule does not 18 necessarily render the seized drug items inadmissible.A. CR-HC No." We said that "[t]he manner by which the initial contact was made. the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug subject of sale. PO2 Lasco testified in court about their surveillance operations along Montilla St." was positively identified as the one also presented in court. Amarillo. and rejects the latter’s version of the events which 11 eventually led to his apprehension in line with the "objective test" which presumes the regularity in the performance of duty of the apprehending police officers during the conduct of buy-bust operations. Article II of R. as affirmed by the CA. 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. we hold. We reject Hambora’s claim and agree with the CA’s pronouncement on the matter.R. Hambora is liable for violating Section 5. in consideration of the foregoing premises. 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.A. SO ORDERED. the integrity of the subject illegal drug 19 properly preserved. when affirmed by the appellate court.A. or speculative." (Citations omitted) In the instant case.A. 9165 was not complied [with] insofar as the inventory and the presence of key persons were concerned. and unsupported 14 conclusions can be gathered from such findings. Section 5.. 9165. 9165 prescribes a 20 penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging fromP500. 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. it was held that: As to the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies. the offer to purchase.A. after examination was found to be "shabu. WHEREFORE. the Decision dated July 29. Hambora likewise questions the chain of custody of the shabu confiscated in view of police officers’ failure to comply with the statutory guidelines laid 17 down in Section 21 of R. arbitrary. In People v. Article II of R.cogent reason exists to disturb the factual findings of the RTC. Butuan City where several exchanges of shabu were apparently prevalent. do not impair [the witnesses’] credibility nor do they overcome the presumption that the arresting officers have regularly 16 performed their official duties". the prosecution has sufficiently established that a buy-bust operation was in fact conducted. Article II of R. As aptly discussed by the CA. In the instant case. although the police officers did not strictly comply with the requirements of Section 21.000.00 to Pl0. x x x the offer to purchase the drug. that "the determination by the trial court of the credibility of witnesses. The CA aptly discussed as follows: [W]hile admittedly Section 21 of R. 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. this Court affirms the penalties imposed as they are well within the ranges provided by law.
. PO2 Ramos informed his Deputy Chief of Police.C. At that time. PO2 Ramos immediately told Alyas Footer. He also turned over his student driver’s license to PO2 Ramos which indicated his name as Remigio Zapanta. vs.20 He also added that he was then wearing civilian clothes unlike the other police officers visible in the area. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.24 He thereafter described the conduct of his arrest. Rizal. Angel called PO2 Ramos to come forward.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.23 There were about six policemen in the area while he was in front of the store.6 Col.22 He said that he rode his motorcycle going there and parked it in front of the store before buying food. Plaintiff-Appellee. Bagtas) for the conduct of a buy-bust operation. He testified that he personally transmitted the request for actual testing of the contents of the sachets to the chemist. Colonel Bagtas (Col.16 Towards the end of his direct examination. there were about seven to eight police officers in the area also giving assistance to the devotees. CR-H.R. The plastic sachets taken from Remigio were brought by PO2 Ramos to Camp Crame for laboratory examination. 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. He put his initials. Cainta. RDR. he was at Helen’s Best store in Ortigas Extension. 189277 December 05. a member of the Cainta Police Station. Accused-Appellant."[p]are paiskor ng piso. DECISION PEREZ.14 Three more sachets of illegal drugs were found in the compartment of the motorcycle of the accused. Upon approaching. Article 113 and illegal possession of dangerous drugs in violation of Section 11. PO2 Ramos then handed the marked money to Alyas Footer as payment. J. PO2 Ramos introduced himself as a policeman and asked Alyas Footer to take out all the contents of his pocket.21 On the other hand. one of the police informants named Angel approached and told him that an Alyas Footer was somewhere in the store near General Ricarte Street.5 Immediately. Cainta. took a sachet of shabu from his pocket and handed it over to PO2 Ramos.7 PO2 Ramos prepared the One Hundred Peso bill (P100.9 Angel approached Alyas Footer first and PO2 Ramos waited for his signal from a distance of more or less ten arms length.G.8 Having told the informant Angel that they will conduct a buy-bust operation.00) to be used as marked money in the operation.17 During his cross examination. on the face of the bill. RICARDO REMIGIO y ZAPANTA. Rizal. Alyas Footer complied and brought out the One Hundred Peso bill marked money and another plastic sachet of illegal drug.13 After the transaction.R. 2012 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Bagtas so ordered that such operation be done with PO2 Ramos as the poseur-buyer. 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. No. follows: PO2 Ramos testified that on 17 April 2003 at about six o’clock in the evening."11 This meant One Hundred Pesos worth of illegal drugs.18 PO2 Ramos admitted that the buybust operation was recorded only after the arrest. prompted by the question. No.12 Alyas Footer.: For review through this appeal 1 is the Decision2 dated 29 May 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. the factual version of the defense as presented by accused Remigio is as follows: He testified that at about seven o’clock in the evening of 17 April 2003. while giving assistance to the devotees going to Antipolo City in the corner of General Ricarte Street and Ortigas Avenue. Article II4 of Republic Act (RA) No. the policeman and Angel proceeded to the store in General Ricarte Street where Alyas Footer was.10 After Angel and Alyas Footer talked for a while. The factual rendition of the prosecution as presented by its only witness PO2 Romelito Ramos (PO2 Ramos).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).
03 gram and 0.33 A witness who was presented to corroborate the version of Remigio was Nelia Diolata. Just the same. then and there willfully. she learned from Remigio’s mother that he was arrested so she voluntarily offered to testify.A. As amended. did. Philippines. accused Ricardo Remigio is found guilty of the offense charged in the Informations and is sentenced to Reclusion Perpetua in Criminal Case No. 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 P300.29 PO2 Ramos then brought him together with Angel to the police station at Karangalan Village on board a taxi. CONTRARY TO LAW. premises considered.35 While leaving the store after she got her food. one of the police officers there named Oscar Soliven told him that for P20. she saw Remigio already waiting for the food he bought.37 as she was only two meters away from them. The disposition reads: WHEREFORE. Two more persons in civilian clothes approached PO2 Ramos and Remigio. CONTRARY TO LAW. commonly known as "Shabu[.00 the police would not file the case for violation of Section 5 or illegal sale of dangerous drugs under R. not being lawfully authorized by law. wearing his official uniform. unlawfully and knowingly have in his possession.03 gram.03 gram. Philippines.32 Subjected to cross-examination.43 Upon arraignment on 29 May 2003.00 as provided for under Section 11.000. (3) [o]f RA 9165. approached and told him to take the things out of his pocket.34 There. Par. in violation of the above-cited law. in violation of the above-cited law. deliver and give away to another 0. "ikaw ba si Futter?"26 He replied that he is not the person.40 Two years after the arrest.]" a dangerous drug.36 She saw a uniformed police officer asking the question.31 Upon reaching the police station.28 He told them that the sachet did not belong to him but still was handcuffed. No. Remigio was questioned by the prosecution regarding a previous arrest relative to dangerous drugs.42 For Criminal Case No. 0. the trial court45 found the accused guilty of the offenses charged against him.25 PO2 Ramos then asked for his name in this manner.03 gram with a total weight of 0. He did not agree to the proposal and was detained at the station until his inquest on 21 April 2003. then and there willfully. did. she heard someone being asked if his name was Footer. Province of Rizal. and Ortigas Avenue to buy food.27 PO2 Ramos opened his wallet and was thereafter shown one (1) plastic sachet of illegal drug which was allegedly taken from his wallet. he complied and took out his keys and wallet from his pocket and gave them to PO2 Ramos. his elementary school classmate. In Criminal case No.44 Trial ensued and on 12 October 2007. She thereafter turned her back and proceeded home. Province of Rizal. together with an asset he knew by the name of Angel. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. He said that he was just a suspect in that case and that he had filed a complaint against the person who arrested him. accused Remigio with the assistance of his counsel. She testified that she went to Helen’s Best store in General Ricarte St. two sets of Information were filed as follows: For Criminal Case No.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. 03-25497 for illegal sale of dangerous drugs: That on or about the 17th day of April 2003 in the Municipality of Cainta. pleaded NOT GUILTY to the offenses charged against him.41 Eventually.000.39 She saw Remigio pull out his wallet and a piece of paper which she recognized as registration paper of a motor vehicle.PO2 Ramos. She was able to identify the policeman as "Ramos" through his nameplate.30 His motorcycle was left in front of the store after his arrest.46 . direct custody and control 0. 0.38 She then heard Remigio answer composedly. unlawfully and knowingly sell.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. also known as "Shabu[. the abovenamed accused without being authorized by law.]" a dangerous drug. 03-25497. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 9165. 03-25498 for possession of dangerous drugs: That on or about the 17th day of April 2003 in the Municipality of Cainta. 03-25498. the abovenamed accused.
the absence of photographs of the arrest. We agree fully with the accused-appellant.47 He doubted the entrapment operation as there was already an existing warrant of arrest against him. in light of the foregoing. What were presented were only pictures which do not prove that those in the pictures were the same ones tested at the forensic laboratory.Upon appeal. To emphasize the importance . there is insurmountable doubt whether the sachets allegedly confiscated from him were the same ones delivered to the forensic laboratory for examination.57 Appellant capitalizes on the non-marking of the sachets allegedly recovered from his wallet and compartment of his motorcycle. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. stressed the legality of a buy-bust operation.59 On the other hand.55 No weight was given by the CA to the argument about non-compliance with the procedures laid down in Section 21 of R. (2) such possession is not authorized by law. no illegal drug was presented as evidence before the trial court. 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. 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.58 and then presented during the trial. No.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. the CA affirmed the ruling of the trial court with modification on the penalty imposed. In order to successfully prosecute an offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs. the object and consideration of the sale.A.00). and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.1âwphi1 It is indispensable for the prosecution to present the drug itself in court. The argument is that without the requisite proof. through the Office of the Solicitor General.50 The People. 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. As pointed out by appellant. it is important for the prosecution to show the chain of custody over the dangerous drug in order to establish the corpus delicti. like shabu. and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. We have decided that in prosecutions involving narcotics. 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. the decision subject of the present appeal is hereby AFFIRMED save for a modification in the penalty imposed by the trial court.51 It relied on the presumption of regularity of performance of police officers in fulfilling their duties. the accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer life imprisonment and a fine of five hundred thousand pesos (P500. Accordingly. what were presented were pictures of the supposedly confiscated items.49 Finally.000.52 and on the prosecution’s proof of all the elements of illegal sale of shabu.48 Further. and non-presentation of the actual dangerous drugs before the court. in the current course of drugs case decisions. It discredited the argument of the defense of frame-up and upheld the presence of the requisites to prove illegal sale of dangerous drugs. 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. the presentation in court of the corpus delicti – the body or substance of the crime – establishes the fact that a crime has actually been committed. the following elements must first be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller. he emphasized the failure of the prosecution to establish the corpus delicti of the case as the five plastic sachets allegedly containing dangerous drug were not presented in court.60 In both cases of illegal sale and illegal possession of dangerous drugs.64 The image without the thing even prevents the telling of a story. a picture is not worth a thousand words.63 In this case.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.53 After review.56 This appeal is moored on the contention about the break in the chain of custody and the absence of identification of illegal drugs. But. the non-preparation of an inventory report.
Gutierrez. there is no corpus delicti. immediately after seizure and confiscation.A. for proper disposition in the following manner: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. which in People v. Martinez. the body or substance of the crime. Mister witness? A: Witness pointing to white object. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. Department of Health (DOH) and the accused/and or his/her counsel. 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 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. No. i. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). 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. plant sources of dangerous drugs. PUBLIC PROSECUTOR:May we request Your Honor that this picture be marked as Exhibit "C-2.A. DOJ. it relied only on the pictures of the alleged drugs. disposition. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. The prosecution failed to present the drug itself in court. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Q: Where is the coin purse here.e. b) Pending the organization of the PDEA. Nowhere in the records is it shown that the prosecution made any effort to present the very corpus delicti of the two drug offenses. and burning or destruction of seized/surrendered dangerous drugs provided under this Section shall be implemented by the DOH. the custody. We quote: Section 21. 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. dangerous drugs defined herein which are presently in possession of law enforcement agencies shall. Lorena. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. after reiterating the elements of the crime of sale of illegal drug. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals.65 Thus. 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. seized and/or surrendered. No. The needfulness of both was stressed in People v. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. and that the identity of said drug be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. proceeded to state that all these require evidence that the sale transaction transpired coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. be burned or destroyed. These requirements are substantially complied with through the proviso in Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R. 9165: . with leave of court. or his/her representative or counsel. Article II of R. 9165." COURT: Mark them."69 As already above indicated. Compliance with the chain of custody of evidence is provided for in Section 21. there are two indispensables. and." In this case. in the presence of representatives of the Court.66 where We.68 was referred to as "the drug itself. xxxx (8) Transitory Provision: a) Within twenty-four (24) hours from the effectivity of this Act. Q: Where is the plastic sachet? A: Witness pointing to other 3 white objects depicting (sic) in the picture. Seized.of the corpus delicti in drug charges. controlled precursors and essential chemicals.67 equates as simply in People v.
that noncompliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. PO2 Ramos. whichever is practicable.72 We could have stopped at the point where the prosecution failed to present the substance allegedly recovered from the appellant. of the law enforcers in the implementation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Provided. that the physical inventory and the photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. 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. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. We. namely: First. plant sources of dangerous drugs. the omission of the first link in the chain tainted the identification of the drugs that was allegedly seized from the accused. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given copy thereof.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. seized and/or surrendered. or his/her representative or counsel. an examination of the chain of custody of the substance. who. he was the one who conceived the operation. where and how the seized plastic sachets were marked. if not the brazen unlawfulness. There was no showing when. as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending team/officer. immediately after seizure and confiscation. is nonsensical. 21. from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. Indeed. but by means of outlawing those specifically outlined in the statute." "RZR-3. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. . What followed was no less a series of violations of the procedure in the conduct of buy-bust operations. however. The failure already renders fatally flawed the decision of conviction. in case of warrantless seizures. 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. (Emphasis supplied) By definition. Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs." "RZR-2. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. for disposition in the following manner: (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. seemingly towards the objective of the law. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. further. in the rules implementing the statute and in our decisions interpreting law and rule. We want to depict the carelessness. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer. without the substance itself. or at least the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. see more than an academic need for a discussion of the concept of chain of custody. although with his informant as the lone actor. a representative from media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). the seizure and marking. Second. the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination. It was not shown that there was a marking of evidence at the place of arrest or at the police station. 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. PO2 Ramos was himself the apprehending officer who confiscated the sachets of illegal drugs together with the wallet of the accused. if practicable. What happened in this case is a one-man operation. Kamad71 enumerates the different links that the prosecution must prove in order to establish the chain of custody in a buy-bust operation. the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized by the forensic chemist to the court." "RZR-4" and "RZR-5" when transmitted to the forensic chemist. Provided. As testified to by the prosecution’s sole witness. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory so confiscated. It was unexplained why the five plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance were already marked as "RZR-1. and Fourth. Third. of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer. Already. and the final disposition. The case of People v.Sec. the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence.
Mister witness. And nothing in the records reveals that there was such a transfer. The prosecution proposed a stipulation about her findings. 2003. The failure to produce the corpus delicti in court cannot be remedied by the stipulation regarding the forensic chemist. who personally transmitted the request for chemist and actual testing of said sachet of shabu.R. Forensic Chemist Annalee Forro failed to testify in court regarding the result of the qualitative examination of the substance in the sachets. A: Me. Sir. No. no value can be given to the document that merely states that the sachets presented to the forensic chemist contained prohibited drugs. In further muddlement of the prosecution’s evidence. Q: If you know.As testified by PO2 Ramos. the appeal is GRANTED. WHEREFORE. 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. Accusedappellant 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. Sir. 03-25497 and 03.73 PO2 Ramos testified that he personally brought the seized items to the forensic chemist. CR-H. he kept the alleged shabu from the time of confiscation until the time he transferred them to the forensic chemist. 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.25498 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Branch 73 of Antipolo City in Criminal Case Nos. 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. he did not transfer the seized items to the investigating officer. .75 Proceeding from the vacuity of proof of identification of the supposedly seized item and of the transfer of its custody. from the arresting officer to the forensic chemist. SO ORDERED. she conducted the chemical examination on the contents of the five plastic sachets with markings RZR-1 to RZR-5 and found the same to be positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. We quote: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: Now. 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. 03169 affirming the judgment of conviction dated 12 October 2007 of the Regional Trial Court. in the records of the Request for Laboratory Examination.C. a dangerous drug and the name of the suspect as mentioned in the information is Ricardo Remigio. This was admitted by the defense but with qualification. From his statements. The 29 May 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 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.
while on duty at the Office of the Drug Enforcement Unit of Las Piñas City. in the City of Las Piñas. PO2 Rufino Dalagdagan’s testimony was likewise dispensed with.: For review is the October 28. 2003. 2003.8 The testimonies of Del Rosario 9 and Saulito Granada 10 were presented by the defense. on June 27. After talking with [Del Rosario]. did then and there willfully. Golden Acres Subdivision. as summarized by the Court of Appeals. was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 5. and identify the items turned over to him by the arresting officers. in turn. 9165. at that time. the team. The confidential informant introduced PO3 Besmonte to [Del Rosario] who. upon Del Rosario’s counsel’s stipulation that Mangalip was being presented in court to identify the items he examined. Article II of Republic Act No. was in front of his house. if placed on the witness stand. was also presented by the defense. a dangerous drug. The team reached the place at about 9 to12 9:30 in the evening of April 26. and." After a short briefing. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. Las Piñas City. the prosecution placed on the witness stand PO2 Jerome Mendoza7 and PO3 Herminio Besmonte. 2003. RONALD M.00) Bill as buy-bust money and marked the same with his initials "VVR. in violation of the abovecited law. 188107 December 05.6 During the trial. 03-0300. after which. however. 2012 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. On May 6..03 gram of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride. PO2 Virgilio Dolleton and PO3 Herminio Besmonte. Branch 275 of violation of Section 5. The testimony of Del Rosario’s father. the intended buy-bust operation was recorded in the police blotter. 2003. 02653. CR. Del Rosario was charged before the Las Piñas City RTC. 2003. was deployed to the target area. which affirmed the Regional Trial Court's (RTC) September 27. 2004. the Forensic Chemist who examined the evidence related to this case.G. Article II of Republic Act No. The confidential informant met them there and led PO3 Besmonte to the house of [Del Rosario]. also known as Aging.-H. deliver. DEL ROSARIO @ "AGING". identify Del Rosario as the person he had investigated. who. but with the qualification that he had no personal knowledge of the source of such items. received information from a confidential informant about the illegal drugselling activities of appellant. give away to another. wherein accused-appellant Ronald M.R. The information was relayed to their Chief. J. Accused-Appellant. The facts.C. would testify in accordance with the Police Investigation Report. Rolando del Rosario.4 During the pre-trial held on August 7. 2008 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 2006. organized a buy-bust team for [Del Rosario+’s entrapment. Police Senior Inspector Vicente Vargas Raquion. PO2 Jerome Mendoza. Chief Raquion provided a One Hundred Peso (P100. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. is as follows: Around 6:00 o’clock in the evening of April 26. gave an item to PO3 Besmonte.R. Philippines." The place of the illegal drug trade was pinpointed as Atis St. Plaintiff-Appellee. composed of PO3 Besmonte as the poseur buyer. from the records. No. upon Del Rosario’s counsel’s stipulation that PO2 Dalagdagan. del Rosario (Del Rosario). PO3 Besmonte gave a signal by waiving his hand. PO2 Mendoza and PO2 Dolleton. Mangalip. the above-named accused. without being authorize[d] by law. The pertinent portion of the Information3 reads as follows: That on or about the 26th day of April. vs.5 On August 31. No. PO2 Mendoza and . then known as a certain alias "Aging. 2006 Decision 2 in Criminal Case No. 2003. but with the qualification that he had no personal knowledge from whom the items were recovered. PO3 Besmonte handed the marked money to [Del Rosario] who took it. Del Rosario pleaded not guilty to the charge upon his arraignment on July 3. it was ordered stricken off the record11 for Rolando del Rosario’s failure to appear for cross-examination despite notice. distribute or transport 0. the prosecution dispensed with the testimony of Police Inspector Richard Allan B. while PO2 Mendoza and PO2 Dolleton positioned themselves and watched from a distance of more or less five (5) to six (6) meters. acting on the information. Talon 1. unlawfully and knowingly sell. The transaction having been consummated.
[Del Rosario] further narrated that his father. a dangerous drug.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. and when they found nothing. searched the same. PO3 Besmonte apprised [Del Rosario] of his constitutional rights while PO2 Mendoza frisked appellant and recovered one (1) pair of scissors. judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Ronald M. the investigator on duty that night. When subjected to qualitative examination at the Southern Police District Crime Laboratory Office. the RTC rendered its Decision. 9165. Finding the task of assigning values to the testimony of a witness to belong to the RTC. summoned the officials of the Barangay and came to his rescue but he was still taken by the police officers.21 . including the sachet containing white crystalline substance. [According to PO2 Mendoza. Rolando Del Rosario. 9165 and sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500. kicked the door open and forcibly entered his house.A. [Del Rosario] added that it was only in front of the Barangay officials that the police officers introduced themselves as such.16 In convicting Del Rosario.15 (Citations omitted.000. 2008 affirmed the RTC. one (1) bamboo clip and a black belt with a knife. Moreover. PO2 Dolleton allegedly asked for money from [Del Rosario] and for a night with *Del Rosario+’s wife in exchange for his release. on October 28. 2006. in civilian clothes. 03" on the confiscated sachet and prepared a request for its laboratory examination. The police officers allegedly did not introduce themselves and it was the Barangay officials who identified them and mentioned their names. at that time.) On September 27. PO3 Rufino Dalagdagan. ‘03" before turning it over to PO2 Dalagdagan.20 As to Del Rosario’s allegation that the validity of the buy -bust operation was doubtful for non-compliance by the police officers with Section 21. the police officers are presumed to have performed their duties regularly. Let the shabu in this case be sent to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for proper disposition. Granada narrated that *Del Rosario+’s father and the Barangay officials arrived. responded. [PO3 Besmonte said that upon reaching the office. and arrested [Del Rosario] who was. the RTC found the illegal sale by Del Rosario of the dangerous drug to have been clearly established. but *Del Rosario] allegedly refused to give in to the police officer’s demands. The defense presented another witness in the person of Saulito Granada.00 and suffer the accessory penalty provided for by law and pay the costs. and ascribed to the police officers the presumption that they performed their duties with regularity. who testified that. These three persons allegedly kicked the door of *Del Rosario+’s house. which. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. Article II of Republic Act No.PO2 Dolleton. ransacked the house. [Del Rosario] interposed the defense of denial. he saw three (3) persons in civilian clothes carrying firearms inside the house of [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. the content of the plastic sachet was found to weigh 0.17 Del Rosario appealed18 this decision to the Court of Appeals. he marked the plastic sachet with "RMR-April 26. the Court of Appeals accorded great weight and respect to the RTC’s assessment of the witnesses’ credibility in the case at bar. and the P100 marked money were turned over to the duty investigator.03 gram and tested positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. II of R. wearing only his brief. The Court of Appeals also agreed with the RTC that in the absence of evidence to the contrary. from a distance of six (6) meters. del Rosario GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of Section 5 Art. handcuffed him for a purportedly fabricated charge of selling shabu. as it was established during trial that the sachet of shabu presented in court was the same one recovered from Del Rosario. the RTC rejected Del Rosario’s claim that the police officers tried to extort money from him. the Court of Appeals declared that there was no reason to question the identity of the confiscated dangerous drug in this case. At the DEU Office.13] Del Rosario was brought to the Office of the Drug Enforcement Unit [DEU] of Las Piñas City and the confiscated items. thus.]14 PO3 Dalagdagan placed *Del Rosario+’s initials "RMR" and the date "April 27.
000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10. what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place.26 the Constitution27 demands that an accused like him be presumed innocent until otherwise proven beyond reasonable doubt. more popularly known as shabu. distribute. Administration. Del Rosario is now before us22 with the same errors he assigned in his Appellant’s Brief.25 Issue The sole issue in this case is whether or not del Rosario’s guilt for the illegal sale of shabu. who. give away to another. who. deliver. "in prosecutions for illegal sale of shabu.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. Dispensation. Rule 133 of the Rules of Court likewise requires proof beyond reasonable doubt to justify a conviction in a criminal case. dispense. the object. rather than the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions. shall sell. 5. distribute. Section 21 of Republic Act No. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor."30 We now look into pertinent provisions of the governing law and rules. the accused is entitled to an acquittal.000.23 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. in violation of Section 5. otherwise. T his 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. a dangerous drug. including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved.00) shall be imposed upon any person. trade. 9165 provides: . . which provides: SEC. Del Rosario also points out the non-compliance by the police officers with the guidelines in the chain of custody of seized drugs. unless authorized by law.29 Simply put. As Del Rosario asserts. unless authorized by law.00) shall be imposed upon any person. Trading. or shall act as a broker in such transactions. dispatch in transit or transport any controlled precursor and essential chemical. which are material to the establishment of the identity of the dangerous drug allegedly confiscated from him. deliver. Delivery.28 Section 2. Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. dispense. administer. The Court’s Ruling After a thorough deliberation. 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. coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence.000. Del Rosario was charged and convicted for selling methylamphetamine hydrochloride. 9165. administer. Article II of Republic Act No. In a prosecution for the sale of a dangerous drug. 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. this Court resolves to acquit Del Rosario for the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. the following elements must be proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller. shall sell.000. give away to another.Aggrieved. and the consideration.The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. Sale.000. He highlighted the inconsistencies in the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies.24 Del Rosario posits that his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt as he was convicted because of the weakness of his defense. dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug. trade. was proven beyond reasonable doubt.
and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided. and easily open to tampering. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. Thus. the body or substance of the crime that establishes that a crime has actually been committed. the plastic sachet of shabu in particular. the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti must definitely be shown to have been preserved. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. The prosecution must be able to account for each link in the chain of custody over the shabu. 9165 fails. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. not readily identifiable. Its Implementing Rules and Regulations state: SECTION 21. what creates a cloud on the admissibility of the evidence seized. evidence must definitely show that the illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal drug actually recovered from the accused-appellant. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ).33 held: The dangerous drug itself. up to the time it was presented in court as proof of the corpus delicti. — The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. the prosecution for possession under Republic Act No. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. for proper disposition in the following manner: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall.) . or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. immediately after seizure and confiscation. as shown by presenting the object of the illegal transaction. alteration or substitution either by accident or otherwise. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. "i. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. it is not enough that the buyer. It must be remembered that to successfully prosecute a case of illegal sale of dangerous drugs. 9165. the shabu in this case. seller. to remove any doubt or uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug. otherwise. immediately after seizure and confiscation. or his/her representative or counsel. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. While it is true that in many cases31 this Court has overlooked the non-compliance with the requirements under the foregoing provisions. 21. 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. in People v. seized and/or surrendered. It is equally important that the object of the case is identified with certainty. whichever is practicable. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. or his/her representative or counsel. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. 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. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. this Court. that noncompliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. Alcuizar..e. for proper disposition in the following manner: (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. Seized. seized and/or surrendered. from the moment it was seized from Del Rosario. that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. as required under the above provisions. constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and in sustaining a conviction under Republic Act No. Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. plant sources of dangerous drugs." 32 Elucidating on the importance of the foregoing. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. (Citation omitted. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. This requirement necessarily arises from the illegal drug’s unique characteristic that renders it indistinct. further.SEC. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. plant sources of dangerous drugs. it did so only when the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items had been preserved. Provided. 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. and consideration for the transaction are identified. 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. in case of warrantless seizures.
and the final disposition. "G" which contains a white mailing previously marked as Exh. 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. What mark did he put on those items? A. What did PO2 Besmonte do with those items [i. 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.35 this Court. in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received. or when its condition at the time of testing or trial is critical. from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence.Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. Q. contamination and even substitution and exchange.) 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. 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. RMR and the date. citing Malillin v. While testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain.e. the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. Guru. the items confiscated from del Rosario]? A. I am showing to you a brown mailing envelope marked as Exh.. the exhibit’s level of susceptibility to fungibility. In People v. (Citations omitted. He put markings RMR. "G-1" please examine the contents of this white mailing envelope and tell us if you could identify them? The witness A. where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession. 1. . This is the item brought by PO2 Besmonte. Q. 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. 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. In other words. from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. The same standard likewise obtains in case the evidence is susceptible to alteration. What did PO2 Dalagdagan do with the items turned over to him by PO2 Besmonte? A. During his testimony. will you be able to identify them? A. Q. 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. He confiscated the same and gave it to the investigator. or when a witness has failed to observe its uniqueness. which is the initial of the suspect. People. 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. 34 which implements the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.36 explained the importance of the chain of custody: As a method of authenticating evidence. Yes. tampering. an unbroken chain of custody becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is not distinctive and is not readily identifiable. Q. If you will again see those items. Series of 2002. the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence. Sir. It would include testimony about every link in the chain.
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". he could not explain why it was marked differently: ATTY. he not only contradicted PO2 Mendoza’s testimony. Q To whom did you turn over? A To PO3 Rufino Dalagdagan. 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. and when we arrived [at] the office. "G-2". Moreover. Q I am showing to you a plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance marked as "RMR-2003-buy-bust". Pros. if that item will be shown to you. (Witness is referring to Exh.) Upon cross-examination. PO3 Besmonte. now. CALMA: Q Now.03. Q What about the buy-bust money itself? A Same.) When PO3 Besmonte testified. will you be able to identify it? A Yes. despite a categorical statement that the plastic sachet presented in Court was the same one he seized from Del Rosario." Later. he also contradicted his own statements both in his direct and cross examinations: On direct examination. I turned it over to the Investigator on duty. Q What marking did he put on the plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance? A "RMR". again made conflicting declarations by stating that he marked the plastic sachet with "RMR-April 26. Castillo 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? A This is the item that I bought from him.37 (Emphases supplied. regarding the plastic sachet. RMR April27. PO3 Besmonte testified that he turned over the confiscated plastic sachet of shabu to PO2 Dalagdagan. Sir.)38 (Emphases supplied. xxxx Q Now. the plastic sachet that. "G-2". The Court Interpreter The witness is referring to Exh. Q What did PO3 Dalagdagan do with those items after receiving them from you? A I kept it. Sir. to whom did you turn over the plastic sachet after taking it from the accused? . according to you. Where is the marked place by PO2 Dalagdagan on that item? The witness A.A He marked them and he prepared the Certification to bring them to Crime Lab. when he was asked to identify such plastic sachet.’03" before turning it over to PO2 Dalagdagan. whom he said marked it with "RMR.
the appeal is GRANTED.) A reading of the foregoing readily shows how confused the police officers were as to the exact marking made on the plastic sachet. 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. The prosecution was not able to salvage the above inconsistencies with a logical and rational explanation. No. 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. 02653 dated October 28. Q And what is the marking? A "RMR-April 26.-H. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG. is hereby ACQUITTED in Criminal Case No. No pronouncement as to costs. Is this the sachet you are referring to? A Yes. and as to who actually marked it. 03-0300 for the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He is ordered immediately RELEASED from detention. it must be remembered that the Investigator’s testimony was already dispensed with early in the trial. Sir.R.39 (Emphases supplied. PO3 Besmonte. the police officer who had custody of the seized plastic sachet contradicted himself not only upon cross-examination. 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.41 In light of the foregoing. but on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution. ‘03". Q Can you read the marking of the sachet? A "RMR-27 April 2003".C. Q Are you sure that that was the precise marking of the plastic sachet? WITNESS A Yes. While PO2 Mendoza categorically stated the marking made on the plastic sachet and who did so. unless he is confined for another lawful cause. While it is true that Del Rosario’s defense of denial is an inherently weak one. WHEREFORE. del Rosario. 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. . 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. considering that it contained a marking different from the one he just said he made. Sir. Therefore. it was "26". CR. Moreover. also known as Aging. ATTY. Q But you said you marked it "26". but also during his direct examination. You mean to say that this was not the plastic sachet recovered from the suspect? A Sir.Q And you marked the plastic sachet? A Yes. Accused-Appellant Ronald M.40 however. but it will be the Investigator who will explain why it is "27". Sir. CALMA: Q I am showing it to you. we find merit in Del Rosario’s claim that the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of proving his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. SO ORDERED. 2008 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. it bears stressing that his conviction should be based not on such weak defense.
Respondent reiterated that the petition for recognition is adversarial in nature. 190710 June 6. migrated to Manila from Davao and stayed with a certain "Ate Belen (Belen)" who worked in a prominent nightspot in Manila. While petitioner was growing up. Elsie got acquainted with respondent. petitioner was baptized at San Isidro Parish. she gave birth to petitioner. respondent filed a motion for reconsideration. respondent learned of the petition to establish filiation. Elsie made several attempts to introduce petitioner to respondent. jurisprudence is still unsettled on the acceptability of DNA evidence. on March 11. and (4) notice by publication of the petition and the hearing was improper because of the confidentiality of the subject matter. respondent also filed a Manifestation and Comment on Petitioner’s Very Urgent Motion to Try and Hear the Case. Attached to the petition were the following: (a) petitioner’s certificate of live birth. When the relationship of Elsie and respondent ended. Respondent was not served with a copy of the petition. 2007 and obtained a copy of the petition. Respondent. 2007.5 Respondent averred that the petition was not in due form and substance because petitioner could not have personally known the matters that were alleged therein. he should be served with summons. Petitioner narrated that. we address this question to guide the Bench and the Bar in dealing with a relatively new evidentiary tool. (b) petitioner’s baptismal certificate. On September 4. and an intimate relationship developed between the two. . as follows: On July 26. 2011 JESSE U. 2009. (e) Certificate of Recognition from the University of the Philippines.G. (3) should the court agree that summons was required. Pasay City.R. Assailed in this petition are the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision1 dated September 25. Nonetheless. Lucas. 1969. 2007. respondent filed a Special Appearance and Comment. (2) the petition was adversarial in nature and therefore summons should be served on him as respondent. petitioner. He argued that DNA testing cannot be had on the basis of a mere allegation pointing to respondent as petitioner’s father. Petitioner filed with the RTC a Very Urgent Motion to Try and Hear the Case. Petitioner. Elsie refused to accept respondent’s offer of support and decided to raise petitioner on her own. Jesse U. No. Elsie later on told petitioner that his father is respondent. On August 1. However. on September 3. Elsie Uy (Elsie). He manifested inter alia that: (1) he did not receive the summons and a copy of the petition. On one occasion. Hence. Respondent allegedly extended financial support to Elsie and petitioner for a period of about two years. DECISION NACHURA. 2007. at Belen’s workplace. J. but all attempts were in vain. Lucas. JESUS S. finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance. The court also directed that the Order be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in any newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. filed a Petition to Establish Illegitimate Filiation (with Motion for the Submission of Parties to DNA Testing)2 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 1969. His counsel therefore went to the trial court on August 29. as a musical prodigy. the RTC. The name of petitioner’s father was not stated in petitioner’s certificate of live birth. his mother. and (f) clippings of several articles from different newspapers about petitioner. showing that he graduated from Saint Louis University in Baguio City with a degree in Psychology. sometime in 1967. LUCAS. (c) petitioner’s college diploma.: Is a prima facie showing necessary before a court can issue a DNA testing order? In this petition for review on certiorari. and that the Solicitor General be furnished with copies of the Order and the petition in order that he may appear and represent the State in the case. Elsie eventually got pregnant and. hence. 2007 Order. he was waiving service of summons and making a voluntary appearance.4 On September 14. issued the Order3 setting the case for hearing and urging anyone who has any objection to the petition to file his opposition. Jesse U. Valenzuela City. College of Music. After learning of the September 3. 2007 Order. The antecedents of the case are. 2009 and Resolution dated December 17. Moreover. (d) his Certificate of Graduation from the same school. Taft Avenue. Jesus S. Branch 72. 2007. Elsie would oftentimes accompany Belen to work. LUCAS. Lucas. vs. unaware of the issuance of the September 3.
and that jurisprudence is still unsettled on the acceptability of DNA evidence. having failed to establish a prima facie case. Alba. affirmative defenses. 30-V-07 is DISMISSED. 2009. Petitioner failed to establish a prima facie case considering that (a) his mother did not personally declare that she had sexual relations with respondent. based on the case of Herrera v. 2008.7 there are four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action which the parties have to face: a prima facie case. which the RTC resolved in his favor. which may include incriminating acts or scientific evidence like blood group test and DNA test results. SO ORDERED. on October 20.10 This time. concise. the CA decided the petition for certiorari in favor of respondent. in view of the foregoing. (b) the certificate of live birth was not signed by respondent. and petitioner’s statement as to what his mother told him about his father was clearly hearsay. Proceeding Case No.13 Aggrieved. issued an Order6 dismissing the case. respondent had no obligation to present any affirmative defenses. The court also dismissed respondent’s arguments that there is no basis for the taking of DNA test. 2009. The court opined that petitioner must first establish these four procedural aspects before he can present evidence of paternity and filiation. It was verified. there was no allegation that he was treated as the child of respondent by the latter or his family. 2008. 2009 at 8:30 in the morning. 2008 and for Dismissal of Petition. which made the petition susceptible to dismissal. the RTC. On September 25. 2008 and January 19. 2008. The RTC denied the motion in the Order dated January 19. for failure of the petitioner to establish compliance with the four procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action in his petition. Accordingly. in accordance with Section 1. and (b) there was no prima facie case. xxxx SO ORDERED. This case is DISMISSED without prejudice. it included a certification against forum shopping. acting on respondent’s motion for reconsideration. the RTC held that the ruling on the grounds relied upon by petitioner for filing the petition is premature considering that a full-blown trial has not yet taken place. Let the Petition (with Motion for the Submission of Parties to DNA Testing) be set for hearing on January 22.8 Petitioner seasonably filed a motion for reconsideration to the Order dated July 30. Rule 8 of the Rules of Court. the case docketed as SP. 2008 and January 19. thus: WHEREFORE. Thus. questioning the Orders dated October 20. and physical resemblance between the putative father and the child. Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Order dated October 20.12 reiterating that (a) the petition was not in due form and substance as no defendant was named in the title. The court opined that. The assailed Orders dated October 20. The dispositive portion of the said Order therefore reads: WHEREFORE. whether at the court’s instance or upon application of any person who has legal interest in the matter in litigation. and direct statement of the ultimate facts on which petitioner relies on for his claim. and all the basic allegations were hearsay.On July 30. the instant petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED for being meritorious. The court remarked that the allegation that the statements in the petition were not of petitioner’s personal knowledge is a matter of evidence. It noted that the new Rule on DNA Evidence11 allows the conduct of DNA testing. 30-V-07 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. it issued the Order9 setting aside the court’s previous order. and rescheduled the hearing. and it contained a plain. The court observed that the petition did not show that these procedural aspects were present. his motion for the submission of parties to DNA testing to establish paternity and filiation is hereby denied. Proceeding Case No. the Order dated July 30. and (c) although petitioner used the surname of respondent. 2008 is hereby reconsidered and set aside. presumption of legitimacy. Branch 172 of Valenzuela City in SP.14 . 2009 both issued by the Regional Trial Court. The court stressed that the petition was sufficient in form and substance. 2009. respondent filed a petition for certiorari with the CA. The court remarked that. thus: WHEREFORE.
IS CONTROLLING. or even for [sic] casual sexual indiscretions in their younger years could be used as a means to harass them.A . Such will be the situation in this particular case if a court may at any time order the taking of a DNA test.A WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT JURISDICTION WAS NOT ACQUIRED OVER THE PERSON OF THE RESPONDENT. the Court would like to stress that it sees the danger of allowing an absolute DNA testing to a compulsory recognition test even if the plaintiff/petitioner failed to establish prima facie proof. unsure of the paternity of their children may just be taking the chances-just in case-by pointing to a sexual partner in a long past one-time encounter.15 Petitioner moved for reconsideration. Although respondent likewise questioned the court’s jurisdiction over the subject matter of the petition. the CA denied the motion for lack of merit. II. The CA further held that a DNA testing should not be allowed when the petitioner has failed to establish a prima facie case. For no cause at all. motu proprio and without pre-conditions. the same is not equivalent to a waiver of his right to object to the jurisdiction of the court over his person. xxxx At the risk of being repetitious. If the DNA test in compulsory recognition cases is immediately available to the petitioner/complainant without requiring first the presentation of corroborative proof. Unscrupulous women. or extortion. On December 17. the court can indeed order the taking of DNA test in compulsory recognition cases. I. It noted that petitioner failed to show that the four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action had been met.B WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO REALIZE THAT THE RESPONDENT HAD ALREADY SUBMITTED VOLUNTARILY TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE COURT A QUO. x x x If at anytime. Respondent’s special appearance could not be considered as voluntary appearance because it was filed only for the purpose of questioning the jurisdiction of the court over respondent. harassment. thus: While the tenor [of Section 4. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT ORDERED THE DISMISSAL OF THE PETITION BY REASON OF THE MOTION (FILED BY THE PETITIONER BEFORE THE COURT A QUO) FOR THE CONDUCT OF DNA TESTING. the rule could not really have been intended to trample on the substantive rights of the parties. Indeed an absolute and unconditional taking of DNA test for compulsory recognition case opens wide the opportunities for extortionist to prey on victims who have no stomach for scandal. petitioner raises the following issues: I. specifically seeking a DNA testing order to abbreviate the proceedings. Such will encourage and promote harassment and extortion. 2009. as no summons had been served on him.C WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT ESSENTIALLY RULED THAT THE TITLE OF A PLEADING. Rule on DNA Evidence] appears to be absolute. The CA remarked that petitioner filed the petition to establish illegitimate filiation. It could have not meant to be an instrument to promote disorder. It could have not been intended to legalize unwarranted expedition to fish for evidence. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT RESOLVED THE ISSUE OF LACK OF JURISDICTION OVER THE PERSON OF HEREIN RESPONDENT ALBEIT THE SAME WAS NEVER RAISED IN THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI. I.16 In this petition for review on certiorari. then a dire and absurd rule would result.The CA held that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of respondent. I. then the prominent and well-to-do members of our society will be easy prey for opportunists and extortionists. II. RATHER THAN ITS BODY.
we emphasize that the assailed Orders of the trial court were orders denying respondent’s motion to dismiss the petition for illegitimate filiation. As such. such as the (a) Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated September 3. We need not belabor the issues on whether lack of jurisdiction was raised before the CA. the body of the petition clearly indicates his name and his known address. If the CA entertained any doubt as to the propriety of DNA testing. Although the caption of the petition does not state respondent’s name. The grounds for dismissal relied upon by respondent were (a) the court’s lack of jurisdiction over his person due to the absence of summons.20 In his Comment.WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN IT ESSENTIALLY RULED THAT DNA TESTING CAN ONLY BE ORDERED AFTER THE PETITIONER ESTABLISHES PRIMA FACIE PROOF OF FILIATION. 2008 and for Dismissal of Petition.21 In the present case. He avers that the assertion of affirmative defenses. Hence. Alba. and (c) Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated October 20. aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. which is a remedy designed to correct errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WITH ITS MISPLACED RELIANCE ON THE CASE OF HERRERA VS. In a number of cases. Petitioner points out that respondent even expressly admitted that he has waived his right to summons in his Manifestation and Comment on Petitioner’s Very Urgent Motion to Try and Hear the Case. ALBA. the general rule is that the denial of a motion to dismiss cannot be questioned in a special civil action for certiorari. He adds that the CA erroneously relied on the four significant procedural aspects of a paternity case. Neither can a denial of a motion to dismiss be the subject of an appeal unless and until a final judgment or order is rendered. respondent supports the CA’s ruling on most issues raised in the petition for certiorari and merely reiterates his previous arguments. However. 2007. because issues not raised are deemed waived or abandoned. whether the court acquired jurisdiction over the person of respondent. cannot be considered as waiver of the defense of lack of jurisdiction over such person. ESPECIALLY AS REGARDS THE ‘FOUR SIGNIFICANT PROCEDURAL ASPECTS OF A TRADITIONAL PATERNITY ACTION. (b) Ex Parte Motion to Resolve Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated November 6.18 Petitioner points out that Section 4 of the Rule on DNA Evidence does not require that there must be a prior proof of filiation before DNA testing can be ordered. contrary to petitioner’s assertion. respondent had already voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court by his filing of several motions asking for affirmative relief. Primarily. petitioner asserts that the motion for DNA testing should not be a reason for the dismissal of the petition since it is not a legal ground for the dismissal of cases. Finally. it should have simply denied the motion. the issue is already moot and academic. as enunciated in Herrera v. An order denying a motion to dismiss is an interlocutory order which neither terminates nor finally disposes of a case. as it leaves something to be done by the court before the case is finally decided on the merits. He insists that the alleged waiver and voluntary appearance was conditional upon a finding by the court that summons is indeed required. Petitioner argues that the case was adversarial in nature.’17 Petitioner contends that respondent never raised as issue in his petition for certiorari the court’s lack of jurisdiction over his person. the court has granted the extraordinary remedy of certiorari on the denial of the motion to dismiss but only when it has been tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. on the issue of lack of jurisdiction. which is equivalent to failure to state a cause of action. and (b) defect in the form and substance of the petition to establish illegitimate filiation. we discern no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court in denying the motion to dismiss. or . he raised the issue before the CA in relation to his claim that the petition was not in due form and substance. Hence. 2007. the CA had no legal basis to discuss the same. The petition is meritorious. Respondent denies that he waived his right to the service of summons. He maintains that the body of the petition is controlling and not the caption. respondent counters that.19 Petitioner avers that these procedural aspects are not applicable at this point of the proceedings because they are matters of evidence that should be taken up during the trial. At any rate. III.
Such matter is clearly a matter of evidence that cannot be determined at this point but only during the trial when petitioner presents his evidence. whether it is an action in personam. the latter thereby acquired jurisdiction over the case. We find that the primordial issue here is actually whether it was necessary. but merely for satisfying the due process requirements. or correction of entries in the birth certificate. In such a case. In a proceeding in rem or quasi in rem. A petition directed against the "thing" itself or the res. the question submitted to the court for determination is the sufficiency of the allegations made in the complaint to constitute a cause of action and not whether those allegations of fact are true. jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is not a prerequisite to confer jurisdiction on the court.25 This is but proper in order to afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his interest if he so chooses. It satisfies Section 1. and direct statement of the ultimate facts upon which the plaintiff bases his claim. but its object is to subject that person's interest in a property to a corresponding lien or obligation. like a petition for adoption. which requires the complaint to contain a plain. By the simple filing of the petition to establish illegitimate filiation before the RTC. To address respondent’s contention that the petition should have been adversarial in form. It was indeed adversarial in nature despite its caption which lacked the name of a defendant. all interested parties are deemed notified of the petition. for said motion must hypothetically admit the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. whereby it is brought into actual custody of the law. We find that the due process requirement with respect to respondent has been satisfied. or (b) as a result of the institution of legal proceedings. or quasi in rem. concise. Rule 8 of the Rules of Court.27 In this petition—classified as an action in rem—the notice requirement for an adversarial proceeding was likewise satisfied by the publication of the petition and the giving of notice to the Solicitor General. which concerns the status of a person. that is. contends that the allegations in the petition were hearsay as they were not of petitioner’s personal knowledge. as in this case.30 . and the nonservice of summons upon respondent. an action in rem is directed against the thing itself instead of the person. 23 The herein petition to establish illegitimate filiation is an action in rem. jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is necessary for the court to validly try and decide the case. A proceeding is adversarial where the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it. considering that he has participated in the proceedings in this case and he has the opportunity to file his opposition to the petition to establish filiation. In a motion to dismiss a complaint based on lack of cause of action. in rem. while an action quasi in rem names a person as defendant. (2) the correlative obligation of the defendant. we further hold that the herein petition to establish filiation was sufficient in form. as directed by the trial court. annulment of marriage. the failure to implead respondent as defendant. in which the power of the court is recognized and made effective. and (3) the act or omission of the defendant in violation of said legal right. Jurisdiction over the res is acquired either (a) by the seizure of the property under legal process. to serve summons on respondent for the court to acquire jurisdiction over the case. A fact is essential if it cannot be stricken out without leaving the statement of the cause of action inadequate. Respondent.28 A complaint states a cause of action when it contains the following elements: (1) the legal right of plaintiff.22 In an action in personam.29 The petition sufficiently states the ultimate facts relied upon by petitioner to establish his filiation to respondent.whether respondent waived his right to the service of summons. in fact.26 Hence. was the service of summons jurisdictional? The answer to this question depends on the nature of petitioner’s action. In other words. An action in personam is lodged against a person based on personal liability. which undoubtedly had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the petition. the lack of summons may be excused where it is determined that the adverse party had. the opportunity to file his opposition. An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through publication. it is not for the purpose of vesting the court with jurisdiction.24 Through publication. failure to serve summons will not deprive the court of its jurisdiction to try and decide the case. however. in the first place. Publication is notice to the whole world that the proceeding has for its object to bar indefinitely all who might be minded to make an objection of any sort to the right sought to be established. service of summons or notice is made to the defendant. If at all. The petition to establish filiation is sufficient in substance. is an action in rem. provided that the latter has jurisdiction over the res.
it is incumbent upon the court to deny the motion to dismiss and require the defendant to answer and go to trial to prove his defense. (d) The DNA testing has the scientific potential to produce new information that is relevant to the proper resolution of the case. before a suit or proceeding is commenced. the said conditions are established.). the available objections to the admission of DNA test results as evidence as well as the probative value of DNA evidence. Application for DNA Testing Order. [and] shall not be misused and/or abused and. A party is confronted by these so-called procedural aspects during trial.31 The test of the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the complaint is whether or not. In light of this observation.. order a DNA testing. Such order shall issue after due hearing and notice to the parties upon a showing of the following: (a) A biological sample exists that is relevant to the case. Section 4 of the Rule on DNA Evidence merely provides for conditions that are aimed to safeguard the accuracy and integrity of the DNA testing. address the question of whether a prima facie showing is necessary before a court can issue a DNA testing order. when the parties have presented their respective evidence. at any time. shall continue to ensure that DNA analysis serves justice and protects. This Rule shall not preclude a DNA testing. when only the petition to establish filiation has been filed. the latter has just set the said case for hearing. The veracity of the assertions of the parties can be ascertained at the trial of the case on the merits. a DNA testing order is warranted considering that no such order has yet been issued by the trial court. without need of a prior court order. protocols."35 Not surprisingly. the CA’s view that it would be dangerous to allow a DNA testing without corroborative proof is well taken and deserves the Court’s attention. more importantly. it is premature to discuss whether. This does not mean. (c) The DNA testing uses a scientifically valid technique. The Rule on DNA Evidence was enacted to guide the Bench and the Bar for the introduction and use of DNA evidence in the judicial system. necessary laboratory reports.32 If the allegations of the complaint are sufficient in form and substance but their veracity and correctness are assailed. The CA’s observation that petitioner failed to establish a prima facie case—the first procedural aspect in a paternity case—is therefore misplaced. In fact. More essentially. is utilized effectively and properly. or (ii) was previously subjected to DNA testing. At any rate. as yet. . at the behest of any party. It provides the "prescribed parameters on the requisite elements for reliability and validity (i. Clearly then. 4. including law enforcement agencies. but the results may require confirmation for good reasons. if any. been presented by petitioner. during the hearing. particularly in paternity and other filiation cases. We.33 The statement in Herrera v. and (e) The existence of other factors. using various methods of DNA analysis. Alba34 that there are four significant procedural aspects in a traditional paternity case which parties have to face has been widely misunderstood and misapplied in this case. thus. They are matters of evidence that cannot be determined at this initial stage of the proceedings. rather than prejudice the public. – The appropriate court may. it was also not the opportune time to discuss the lack of a prima facie case vis-à-vis the motion for DNA testing since no evidence has. however. A prima facie case is built by a party’s evidence and not by mere allegations in the initiatory pleading. the court could render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer of the complaint. Section 4 states: SEC. the possible sources of error. (b) The biological sample: (i) was not previously subjected to the type of DNA testing now requested. etc. under the circumstances. we find that there is a need to supplement the Rule on DNA Evidence to aid the courts in resolving motions for DNA testing order." It seeks "to ensure that the evidence gathered. and no other. that a DNA testing order will be issued as a matter of right if. either motu proprio or on application of any person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation. admitting the facts alleged. the proper procedures. which the court may consider as potentially affecting the accuracy or integrity of the DNA testing.e.The inquiry is confined to the four corners of the complaint.
the moving party must show that there is a reasonable possibility of paternity. The Court of Appeals Decision dated September 25. Courts in various jurisdictions have differed regarding the kind of procedures which are required. there must be a show cause hearing wherein the applicant must first present sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case or a reasonable possibility of paternity or "good cause" for the holding of the test." which. before the court may issue an order for compulsory blood testing. As explained hereafter. 2009 and Resolution dated December 17. and find that. premises considered. during the hearing on the motion for DNA testing. WHEREFORE. . We agree. Thus. in cases in which paternity is contested and a party to the action refuses to voluntarily undergo a blood test. to warrant the issuance of the DNA testing order. 2009 of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City are AFFIRMED. not criminal. 2008 and January 19. SO ORDERED. under their Constitutions (as in ours). If there is already preponderance of evidence to establish paternity and the DNA test result would only be corroborative. a court order for blood testing is considered a "search. consider whether there is absolute necessity for the DNA testing. disallow a DNA testing. 36 In these states. The court may. the petition is GRANTED. was imposed in civil actions as a counterpart of a finding of probable cause. the court may.In some states. but those jurisdictions have almost universally found that a preliminary showing must be made before a court can constitutionally order compulsory blood testing in paternity cases.371avvphi1 The same condition precedent should be applied in our jurisdiction to protect the putative father from mere harassment suits. for example. it should be stressed that the issuance of a DNA testing order remains discretionary upon the court. Hence. The Supreme Court of Louisiana eloquently explained — Although a paternity action is civil. a show cause hearing must be held in which the court can determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case which warrants issuance of a court order for blood testing. the requirement of a prima facie case. the petitioner must present prima facie evidence or establish a reasonable possibility of paternity. The Orders dated October 20. as a preliminary matter. or reasonable possibility. must be preceded by a finding of probable cause in order to be valid. 2009 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures is still applicable. and a proper showing of sufficient justification under the particular factual circumstances of the case must be made before a court may order a compulsory blood test. Notwithstanding these. in its discretion.
the said accused. Jao accompanied the police and a radio reporter to the room of the accused. Anastacio Langgoy (Langgoy). Branch 30 in Tagum City on April 20.5 About 10 meters from where the accused was drinking. Davao del Norte. moral and compensatory damages to the heirs of the victim. and he saw the latter washing his green short pants. by means of force and intimidation. along with the police. and he wore the same green short pants Jao saw him wearing the night before. on June 7.G. unlawfully and feloniously attack. JR. Province of Davao. Bermejo-Dulay (Dulay).7 At around 2 o’clock the next morning. saw scratches on the back of the accused when he took off his shirt. Accused-Appellant. decided by the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Jao saw the victim. with intent to kill.m.4 The Case for the Prosecution The prosecution presented Alejandro Jao (Jao). CR-H. thereby inflicting upon her wounds which caused her death.C. DECISION VELASCO. The area was lighted by a 40-watt fluorescent lamp.. NBI Regional Chemist as witnesses. Police Officer 2 Galileo Gurrea (PO2 Gurrea). a certain May Laribas. all the while looking in different directions. vs. Before the RTC.8 AAA was then brought to the Tagum Doctors Hospital where she was declared "dead on arrival. against her will. unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of AAA.10 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. No. where the accused was employed as a cook. the accused said that the knife he used in killing AAA was at the left side of his bed’s headboard." At 3:00 a. which reads as follows: That on or about June 7. He noticed that the accused was wearing green short pants. inside the purok hut. 10849. also went into her house and shouted that AAA had a stab wound on her breast. 1997. AAA’s uncle. and then the accused. 2011 Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Medico-Legal Officer. where upon questioning. 1997. 2005. CONTRARY TO LAW. did then and there willfully. testified that on June 6. armed with a knife. especially since he knew that the accused was attracted to AAA.6 He then told his daughter and her companions to go home. Jao. the accused. Ricardo M. which was about seven meters from accused. He went outside the store and saw his daughter coming from the direction of AAA’s house. Jao saw the accused come out of the Patalinghug Funeral Homes. in the Municipality of Tagum. with something covering the top of his head. Philippines. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Purok Leader of XXX in Tagum. after which he proceeded to his room in his place of work. FEDERICO LUCERO. and on the occasion of said rape. At 11 o’cloc k that morning. Jao said that the accused was barefoot. Jao’s daughter pushed him inside the store. as there were people drinking in the area. did then and there willfully. and instead went to check on AAA. Jao was awakened by his daughter’s shouting that someone had entered the room of AAA. 00469-MIN dated December 17. 188705 March 2. at around 11:00 p. BBB. assault and stab the said AAA. Plaintiff-Appellee. and his daughter looking at pictures in an album. Half an hour later. and further causing actual. His daughter and her companions left after that. ran by. J. followed by the accused being chased by a neighbor. he saw the accused and a certain Digoy Tewok drinking outside the Olympic Battery Shop. Jao did not join the chase. 1997. which he later identified during his testimony in court. Rodaje). his feet were muddy. AAA. Dr.R. Rodaje (Dr. in the Olympic Battery Shop. 1997. the above-named accused. the accused was charged with the crime of Rape with Homicide in an Information dated July 31. with the assistance of counsel. along the National Highway. pleaded "not guilty" at his arraignment. 1997.9 Later on. Jao peeped through a hole in the wall of the room of the accused. No. 2008.3 On October 14.m.. which upheld the conviction of accused Federico Lucero in Criminal Case No. at a distance of six feet. and Dimpna D.: Before this Court on appeal is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.2 an eighteen (18) year old girl. wearing only white briefs. Langgoy.R. and Jao and his wife slept in their store. National . Jao recovered the knife. Jao.
frontal region. Located at the supra-mammary region. medial extremity is blunt located at the right. modified by suturing and embalming. Incised wound. since they were close neighbors. on June 7. cutting the sternum. They then accompanied the accused back to XXX. xxxx CAUSE OF DEATH: STAB WOUNDS16 He then submitted the swab specimen to Dulay..m. involving the soft tissues.17 The Case for the Defense . 26. Hymenal laceration. Rodaje. but when he tried to enter it. 1.. SPO1 Wenifredo Rivas. edges are edematous and with clotted blood. with one stab wound penetrating the heart. He invited the accused to the police station where the accused admitted killing AAA. postero-lateral aspect. and medially. Roughly spindle-shaped. the people he interviewed told him that there had been a commotion in AAA’s house. in the house of the accused. thigh. palmar region. upward. 4.. When he got to the area.0 x 2.4 cm. NBI Medico Legal Officer. 2.14 His examination also found hymenal lacerations. directed backward. upward. after which he performed the vaginal swabbing to see if there was still seminal fluid in the vaginal canal. causing her death. at around 2:30 a. involving the soft tissues only with an approximate depth of 3. 20. medial extremity is blunt. and that it was from AAA.12 PO2 Gurrea testified that at 8:00 a. oriented horizontally. above the right elbow. and that the suspect was a short. PO2 Gurrea went to the Olympic Battery Shop and saw the accused paring vegetables. edges are clean-cut.11 He rushed to her house. who lived five meters from his house. prepared the autopsy on the body of the victim. left. left. but told the witnesses to report to him at his office if they saw the suspect. left side. and found several stab wounds and contusions. and the accused pointed to the bottom of his bed. Davao del Norte. 2. he was awakened by a voice calling for help. He asked the accused where he had placed the knife used in killing the victim. PO2 Gurrea went back to the police station. who was clad only in his underwear. temporal region. middle third... Tagum. so he went back to the house of the victim.4 cm. oriented horizontally.m.0 cm. 1997. and Langgoy identified him as the accused. 3. so he stepped back. from anterior median line directed backward. face. Then someone came out of the house. with their houses being only four meters apart. NBI Regional Chemist.0 cm. Lucero. Roughly spindle-shaped. with an approximate depth of 2.5 cm. Hematoma. with his green short pants covering the top of his head and his forehead. right. and when he did so.m. STAB WOUNDS. complete at [4:00 and 7:00] position corresponding to the face of a watch. hand. and SPO2 Eric Baloyo.3 x 0. right side. lateral extremity is sharp.Langgoy testified that. Roughly spindle-shaped. He was also familiar with the accused and his particular green shorts. stout. bowlegged man who wore only briefs and carried a knife.2 cm.0 cm.. who had by that time been brought to the hospital. 1997.. oriented horizontally. left. At 11:00 a. involving the soft tissues only. on June 7. where.0 cm. lateral extremity is sharp. Langgoy gave chase but was unable to catch the accused.0 cm. 1.9 x 1.0 cm. but denied raping her. he saw a bloodied white t-shirt.5 x 10. and laterally. edges are clean-cut. 2. his hands were held by someone inside. PO2 Gurrea was told that the suspect had woken up. downward and medially. from anterior median line. 7.0 cm. right. PO2 Gurrea and Purok Leader Jao saw scratches on the back and right thigh of the accused. 9. Contused-abrasions: nose. Along with Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Judil Chavez. Langgoy claimed to have recognized the accused by the light of the 40-watt fluorescent lamp nearby. 4.13 Dr. he was told to investigate an incident at XXX. shoulder. edges are clean-cut.3 cm. medial extremity is blunt located at the infra-mammary region. They found the knife after turning the bed over. 0. 3.0 cm. who found the specimen positive for the presence of seminal stains. The accused was then told to take off his shirt.5 cm.0 x 8.15 The findings in the autopsy report indicated the following injuries: Contusion. penetrating the left ventricle with an approximate depth of 4. 1. antero-lateral aspect. 0.5 cm. lateral extremity is sharp.4 cm. directed backward.
1997. On cross-examination. He was handcuffed and brought to the comfort room where he was told that if he did not admit to killing AAA.000. and assailed the trial court’s appreciation of the allegedly illegally-obtained evidence. He put down his knife.00 moral damages and P25."22 The CA followed the trial court in finding that there was no proof of maltreatment or torture. Conformably with the Decision promulgated on 7 July 2004 in G.000. upon finality of this Decision. and that he had been invited by the police for questioning at 11:00 a. Dionisio Lucero. Temperate damages were awarded. The CA found that enough circumstantial evidence was present to convict the accused.] Efren Mateo y Garcia.00 civil indemnity. Tagum City. He is ORDERED to indemnify the heirs of AAA the amounts of P100.000.18 He had been slicing ampalaya in the kitchen when the police arrived.000. and noticed that his brother’s face was swollen. but Dionisio was told by the police not to interfere in the case. premises considered. even if he did not commit the crime. The next day. finding a knife which he brought back to the police station.00 as civil indemnity. the Decision dated April 20. It further held that enough circumstantial evidence was presented to prove the guilt of the accused. he was visited by his elder brother. 2005 of the Regional Trial Court. but PO2 Gurrea picked it up. The amount of the award of civil indemnity was increased to PhP 100. Cagayan de Oro City for intermediate review. 10849. let all the pertinent records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the Court of Appeals. Branch 30. which PO2 Gurrea searched. He then confessed to the killing.000. he was mauled by AAA’s brother and father. 11th Judicial Region. The accused told him to go to the Chief of Police so that Dionisio could bring him to a doctor. P50.00 exemplary damages.000 and that of moral damages increased to PhP 75. P75.The accused testified in his defense. he would be beaten to death. P25. the trial court rendered its Decision finding the accused guilty in Criminal Case No. the dispositive portion of which reads: In View Of All The Foregoing. the accused questioned the identification of him made by witnesses Jao and Langgoy. Costs against appellant.m. being "fruits of the poisonous tree. and that the brother of the accused did not believe the allegations of torture. and then the accused was brought to the police station. and instead went home. 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 DEATH and to pay the heirs of the victim AAA P75.000. Tagum. saying that he had been a resident of XXX. in line with current judicial policy. He was also subjected to electric shock.R. After his confession. 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. as there was no proof of the actual amount of loss.21 The Ruling of the Appellate Court In his appeal to the CA. The accused was then locked in a prison cell where the other prisoners beat him up. along with the accused. is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS.000. Dionisio testified that he did not believe his brother was tortured.00 as moral damages. 1997. The bloodied shirt and knife that were found in the room of the accused were also held to be inadmissible. No. 1997. entitled People [v. it found it proper to modify the award of damages. The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads as follows: WHEREFORE. 147678-87. appellant is hereby SENTENCED to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua with no possibility of parole. The accused stated that he was not informed of his right to remain silent or to be assisted by counsel. Davao del Norte since February 2. After deliberating upon the evidence. on June 7.23 Even as the CA upheld the accused’s conviction. but Dionisio was not allowed to do so. the accused. in Criminal Case No. to whom he said that he wanted to be medically examined. and P25. 10849. and when he asked what they wanted with him.000. he was told to just accompany them to the police station. SO ORDERED.19 Dionisio testified that he visited his brother.00 as exemplary damages. Even so. As modified. He was then brought back to his rented room. on June 8. .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.00 as temperate damages.
The CA correctly disregarded the confession by accused-appellant Lucero."27 It is clear that the questioning of accused-appellant was made in violation of Section 12(1). and that this casts doubt on the witness’ credibility.26 wherein the accused in that case was questioned without the presence of counsel. these items were the result of a search conducted after accused-appellant had been questioned without the presence of counsel. we have this appeal. Q And also. Q And also. which is what the CA correctly concluded. Article III of the 1987 Constitution. the fatal weapon is but a fruit of a constitutionally infirmed interrogation and must consequently be disallowed. 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. you did not inform the accused that he had the right to remain silent? Did you? A No. sir. Thus. This parallels Aballe v. When we asked. and that since no DNA test was done. 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. 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. and later produced the weapon used in killing the victim. He insists that the witnesses were unable to see the face of the perpetrator. People. The Ruling of this Court In his appeal. sir. Accused-appellant was not informed of his rights. sir. "Together with the extrajudicial confession. nor had accused-appellant been apprised of his rights. In his defense. Thus. he must be provided with one. and identification was made solely on the basis of the green short pants worn by the suspect. but we directly questioned him. he immediately answered the question. 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. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel. he cannot be linked to the crime. Q And also. and the evidence garnered as the result of that interrogation is also inadmissible.SO ORDERED. In that particular case. the trial court erred in considering the knife and bloodied t-shirt when they are inadmissible. the information elicited is inadmissible. 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. He also claims that Jao did not immediately report the identity of the perpetrator to the police.24 Hence. However. We did not inform him of his right. as well as the evidence gained by searching his room. 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. xxxx Q When you investigated the accused. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel. also making an extrajudicial confession admitting his guilt. Lucero questions the positive identification made by witnesses Jao and Langgoy. it was held. nor was there a waiver of said rights.25 . The appeal is without merit. The testimony of PO2 Gurrea is quite informative: Q It was you who conducted the investigation? A Yes.
but was unable to catch him. In this regard. 1997. and the lighting came from a 40-watt fluorescent lamp about seven meters away from accused-appellant. (5) At around 11:00 a. resort to circumstantial evidence is imperative since to insist on direct testimony would. (2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proved.m.29 Under Sec. In People v. 4. who was being chased by Langgoy.30 Setting aside the knife and the bloodied t-shirt recovered from the room of accused-appellant. both the rape and the homicide must be established beyond reasonable doubt. When he went to AAA’s house. provided that the circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion that point to the accused. through a hole in the wall of the room of accused-appellant. wearing green short pants. resort to circumstantial evidence is usually unavoidable. Langgoy gave chase. and he wore the same green short pants he had been wearing the night before. Accused-appellant also asked for water since he was thirsty. But even if no one saw the commission of the crime. 1997.But even if the confession and evidence gathered as a result of it are disregarded. Jao recognized accused-appellant from a distance of six feet. Jao saw accused-appellant. result in setting felons free and deny proper protection to the community. Rule 133 of the Rules of Court. Pascual.. there are no direct witnesses to the crime. As held in Salvador v. and the one who had held his hands came out. 1997. and a certain Digoy Tewok drinking outside the Olympic Battery Shop. at around 11:00 p. and he recognized the voice as that of AAA.28 In this particular case. as the guilty person.. (6) Langgoy was awakened by a voice calling for help. Thus. it is the circumstantial evidence that comes into play to reach a conclusion. with this particular crime.m. it was held: It is settled that in the special complex crime of rape with homicide. . circumstantial evidence shall be sufficient for conviction when the following requisites are complied with: (1) there is more than one circumstance. after accused-appellant was told to take his shirt off by the police. (4) Sometime in the morning of June 7. Langgoy recognized the person as accused-appellant. and tried to enter it. the CA and the RTC relied on several circumstances to justify the conviction. at around 2:00 a. Jao saw accused-appellant come out of the Patalinghug Funeral Homes and proceed to his place of employment. and at the same time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent. (2) On June 7. (3) At around 3:00 a. 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. conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld. his feet were muddy. as here.m. in crimes of rape with homicide. Jao saw accused-appellant washing his green short pants. The rules of evidence allow a trial court to rely on circumstantial evidence to support its conclusion of guilt. to wit: (1) On June 6. in many cases. the evidence that remains still supports the result of the conviction of accusedappellant. It becomes even more difficult when the complex crime of rape with homicide is committed because the victim could no longer testify. Thus. Accusedappellant was barefoot. Jao saw his daughter coming from the direction of AAA’s house. Jao saw scratches on the back and right thigh of accused-appellant. to the exclusion of all others. who was wearing only briefs and with green short pants covering his head. on June 7. consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty. Accused-appellant wore white briefs with something covering his head. Salvador also held: All the circumstances must be consistent with one another. his hands were held by someone inside the house. 1997. accused-appellant may still be pinned down as the perpetrator. At times.m. Here. seemingly restless and wary. which was five meters from his. followed by accused -appellant. 1997. on June 7. When he stepped back. 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. Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue may be established by inference.
Q While sleeping. tell us if anything transpired? A During that time and date. and he remained unshaken in his testimony. A Towards [XXX]. you said that somebody went out of the house of [AAA] passing that door in which you wanted to get entrance. Rodaje found hymenal lacerations on AAA’s hymen at 4 o’clock and 7 o’clock positions. Positive identification of accused-appellant was made by Langgoy. sir. what happened after that? A When I stepped backward. with the edges of the hymen being swollen and with clotted blood. and was familiar with accused-appellant as they were neighbors. 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 What did you do when you were following that person? Were you walking or running? A I ran. somebody was rushing out of the house and ran away. as follows: Q At about 2:30 in the morning of June 7. somebody called-up for help. Q Where did that voice come from. The conclusion that AAA had had sexual intercourse was supported by the findings of NBI Regional Chemist Dulay. Dr. xxxx Q You said that you noticed somebody was touching your hand when you were trying to open the door of *AAA+’s house. The aforementioned circumstances lead to the inescapable conclusion that accused-appellant is guilty. with their houses only four meters apart. xxxx Q Alright. please tell the Court where you were and what were you doing? A I was sleeping at that particular time. from a vaginal swabbing from AAA that gave positive results for seminal stains. 1997. if you know? Q To what direction did that person go? A The voice came from the residence of [AAA]. Q In that house which you said situated at [XXX]? A Yes. He related his version of the events of June 7. sir. Rodaje. Q What made you [step] backward since your intention was to get inside the house? A I stepped backward because somebody held my hands. as found by NBI Medico-Legal Officer Dr. what did you do after that? A I chased the person who went out of the door. but I cannot enter. 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.(7) Langgoy positively identified accused-appellant by the light of a 40-watt fluorescent lamp nearby. (8) A post-mortem examination of AAA’s body revealed that she had had sexual intercourse. xxxx . even under cross-examination. sir. 1997.
if you can tell us. After that. aren’t you? A Yes. Q Which part of his face was covered? A Only his forehead.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. The defense claims that Langgoy admitted that he was unable to see the face of accused-appellant. sir. Langgoy’s testimony under cross-examination belies that. Q What made you conclude that it was Federico Lucero. which you said placed on his head? A I always saw him wearing that short pants almost everyday. because we were just neighbors. Q Are you telling us that you saw the face of the accused only once? A Yes. no clothing except his brief and with a green short pants placed on his head. Q Where had you been seeing Federico Lucero usually wear that green short pants. as it was covered by the short pants. Q Forehead? A His forehead. in spite of the attempts of the defense to shake him. sir. Q But you did not see the face? A I saw him only once. 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. xxxx Q Are you telling us that you saw the green short pants covering his face. A I often saw him wearing that green short pants. being bowlegged. he ran away. Q What kind of short pants. Q Since you said that there was a portion of that path which was lighted.31 During cross-examination. sir. the person you chased from inside the house of [AAA]? A I positively identified that it was Federico Lucero. Q You described to the Court the colored green short pants that was placed on his head. that was placed on his head? A Colored green short pants which is usually being used by basketball players. even if I have not seen his face. sir. Q Can you tell us who that person was? A He was Lucero. because he was wearing that green short pants and he. Q Did he cover his face? A Yes. . Langgoy was steadfast in his identification of accusedappellant as the person he chased.1avvphi1 His clarification reads as follows: Q Did he cover a part of his face? A On the part of the head. tell us if that was the first time you saw that short pants.
at the time when the short pants covered the top of the perpetrator’s face. 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. In that particular case. which stated: 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. In his defense. even if Langgoy was the only one who saw accusedappellant’s face. In People v. which deserves no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimonies of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. if unsupported by clear and convincing evidence. Add to that Langgoy’s maintaining that accused-appellant was the perpetrator. and serves to identify accused appellant as the one who ran from AAA’s house. I was not asked that question. Faustino. In Loguinsa.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. At no time during direct examination was the witness asked if he saw Lucero’s face.38 He says that he later went to work and was at work when the police arrived and invited him to the police station.32 Langgoy’s testimony was that he saw the face of accused -appellant once. it cannot be interpreted to mean that he could not recognize the person he chased. and pinpoint him as the person leaving the house where AAA’s body was found. Even as the circumstances lead to the inevitable conclusion that accused-appellant committed the crime. We held. which authors not infrequently would describe to be "inherently suspect.37 He then went to AAA’s house and listened to people around the area talking about who might have killed AAA. he could have asked for the conduct of said test during his trial. scientific forms of identification were held to be preferable over eyewitness testimony. the Court stated. Sandiganbayan (5th Division)." is not as accurate and authoritative as the scientific forms of identification evidence like by fingerprint or by DNA testing. accused-appellant claims to have been sleeping in the early hours of June 7."40 . accused-appellant would debunk the identification by witnesses by citing People v. Their testimonies place accused -appellant at the scene of the crime. Alarcon. He was unable to present any corroborating witnesses to testify that he did.36 He was awakened by the cry of AAA’s aunt at 4:00 a. an eyewitness identification. Their descriptions of the man they saw running away match. is negative and selfserving evidence. go to AAA’s house after the crime was committed. Jr.39 Accused-appellant denies that he committed the crime. as well as his forehead. "Denial. the cited case did not mandate DNA testing in place of eyewitness testimony."34 The DNA test is not essential. if he honestly thought that the DNA test could have proved his innocence. It is not for accused-appellant to determine which evidence or testimony the prosecution should present. and offers up his version of events. as pictures of the accused were what were presented for identification. there was indeed positive identification. along with the condition and actuations of accusedappellant after AAA’s body was found. while there exists other evidence pinning down accused-appellant as the perpetrator. Langgoy’s testimony dovetails with that of Jao. As to his statement during direct examination. it means that he could rely on other familiar characteristics for identification. that it was not necessary for him to see the person’s face to identify him. and attempting to dictate upon the prosecution what course of actions it should have undertaken.35 x x x While a DNA test might have been more conclusive. In the context of Langgoy’s testimony. so the testimony of the witness was tainted. "even if I have not seen his face. v. contrary to what the defense has stated. Langgoy made no categorical statement that he had not seen the face of accused-appellant. indicates that accused -appellant was the one who raped and killed AAA. But even while significant. This identification. Indeed. "Section 5. All accused -appellant presented is his bare denial that he committed the crime. The holding of a DNA test was never in issue. he claims that since spermatozoa was found on the deceased.m."33 which the defense latched onto as an admission. a DNA test should have been conducted by the prosecution so as to erase all doubts as to the identity of the perpetrator. indeed. namely the bowleggedness and the green short pants. In support of his argument. instead of belatedly raising it on appeal. 1997. and his clarifying description of the person he chased.
"In fine. if properly considered. when the credibility of witnesses is in issue. resulting in her death. "In the special complex crime of rape with homicide. threat or intimidation. whether healed or fresh. As to the presence of force or intimidation. before it was amended by RA 8353. and their testimonies are thus worthy of full faith and credit. as per the post-mortem findings of Dr. threat or intimidation. 2. the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists. Villarino held. 335 of the Revised Penal Code. the elements of the crime of rape with homicide are all present. Rodaje found hymenal lacerations from his examination of AAA’s body. We also stated. absent any evidence showing any reason or motive for prosecution witnesses to perjure. Bringas. shall not be eligibile for parole under Act No. as amended by Republic Act No."44 Dulay’s findings that there were seminal stains serve to bolster the conclusion that rape was committed. reads as follows: Art. a homicide is committed. misunderstood. 3 of RA 9346 provides. (RA) 7659. The RTC correctly convicted accused-appellant of the crime of rape with homicide. Thus. the Anti-Rape Law of 1997. "As a rule. We held. or (b) the penalty of life imprisonment. when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code. In lieu of the death penalty. misunderstood or misappreciated and which. 335 of the Code." said section reading as follows: SEC."43 The prosecution was able to prove that accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of the victim. and woman. by reason of this Act. and (3) by reason or on occasion of such carnal knowledge by means of force. would alter the results of the case. By using force or intimidation. or misappreciated. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious. "Persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua."42 No facts or circumstances of substance were presented that the trial court overlooked. it was held. the appellant killed a woman. 335. Art. at the time of the offense. known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law.. In People v. as amended. the penalty shall be death. which would necessitate a review of the findings of fact. was penalized under Art. xxxx People v. and was punishable by death. The CA correctly modified the penalty in accordance with Sec. 2 of RA 9346 or "An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines. xxxx When by reason or on the occasion of the rape. Sec. 3. Payot. no motive presented for them to lie. In People v. Rodaje and the vaginal swabbings examined by NBI Regional Chemist Dulay."41 In the same case. the several injuries and stab wounds suffered by AAA are mute but eloquent statements of the violence inflicted upon her. When and how rape is committed.¾Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: 1. 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. (2) carnal knowledge of a woman was achieved by means of force. 4103." . are the best evidence of forcible defloration. Jr. The elements of rape with homicide are present. or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented. The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. the following shall be imposed.The witnesses Jao and Langgoy testified that accused-appellant was the person they saw leaving the scene of the crime. the following elements must concur: (1) the appellant had carnal knowledge of a (a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua. 2. Furthermore. which. The penalty meted out was thus reduced to reclusion perpetua. There is no reason for them to falsely identify accused-appellant. "Hymenal lacerations. Dr. when the law violated does not make use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal Code.
.000 as temperate damages. PhP 75. The award of damages was modified by the CA. In addition. and PhP 25.000 as moral damages. SO ORDERED. As to the award of damages." Furthermore. which are more than nominal but less than compensatory damages. 2008 in CA-G.C. PhP 75. in accordance with the law.000 as civil indemnity. following Art. the CA awarded PhP 25.000 as civil indemnity. PhP 50. Accused-appellant Federico Lucero is ordered to indemnify the heirs of AAA the amounts of PhP 75. from the nature of the case. CR-H. "Temperate or moderate damages. No. and PhP 25. may be recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its amount can not. which states.000. PhP 25.000 retained as exemplary damages. the CA Decision dated December 17.000 as moral damages.R. 2224 of the Civil Code. and PhP 30.The CA was correct in modifying the penalty.45 We reduce the award of civil indemnity to PhP 75.000 as moral damages.46 WHEREFORE. all with interest at the legal rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of this Decision until fully paid.000 as exemplary damages. with PhP 100. the damages assessed in this case shall be subject to interest at six percent (6%). In line with current jurisprudence.000 and maintain the award of PhP 75. The award of temperate damages is proper.000 as exemplary damages.000 as civil indemnity. be proved with certainty. the RTC ordered accused-appellant to pay the heirs of AAA PhP 75.000 as moral damages. but increase the award of exemplary damages to PhP 30.000 as temperate damages. 00469-MIN is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as to the damages.
Both Liezl and Angelita recognized the three accused from the light coming from the lamppost. Municipality of Mayantoc. while Doctor positioned himself at the back of Damiana and Angelita and poked a handgun at them. Sr. 2006 or about 10 days before her untimely demise. Salvador for a medical check-up of Damiana. Sr." then ran to her house. by standing in a blocking position along the road. Upon arraignment on September 14. telling them to lie face down on the ground. the victim (Estrella). Sr.R. Thereupon. SR. 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. No. Meanwhile. the three accused pleaded not guilty to the above charge. CR-H. The road was well lit. the three accused fled towards the house of Tomas. Estrella was walking slightly ahead of her mother and Angelita when appellants Tomas. . with her mother Damiana Doctor (Damiana) and caretakers Liezl Toledo (Liezl) and Angelita Duque (Angelita). Sr. JR.Version of the Prosecution G. Sr. BENEDICTO DOCTOR. with treachery and evident premeditation. and Nestor Gatchalian (Gatchalian) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Murder. who was standing about four meters away from Estrella. 06-92 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).4 Trial5 on the merits ensued after the pre-trial conference. Plaintiff-Appellee. J. the latter fell down but the former still followed it with three more shots when she was already prone on the ground. Tarlac. (Tomas. Angelita waved her hand to seek assistance from Barangay Kagawad Yolanda Pablo (Kagawad Pablo) who came out on the road. were traversing the road towards her house in Barangay Baybayaos. did then and there willfully. Gatchalian. No. 2008 in Criminal Case No. Accused-Appellants. "Saklulu.. assault and shot several times one Estrella Doctor Casco which [caused] her instantaneous death. 2006. which affirmed with modification the Decision2 dated May 27. who suffered a hypertensive attack after seeing what happened to her daughter. Mayantoc.C. working there as a procurement specialist with Safeway. The Facts In an Information3 filed on July 21.5 meters away. After the five shots. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. vs. allegedly supported Tomas. without a gun. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. and Doctor are cousins of Estrella. confederating and mutually helping one another. Inc. 2006. Sr. BARANGAY CAPTAIN TONY TOMAS. Sr. while Gatchalian was staying in a hut in the fields. the above-named accused with intent to kill. They had just come from the clinic of Dr. 03405. unlawfully and feloniously attack. shouted. When Tomas. Benedicto Doctor (Doctor). though they did not totally drop on the road but were in a kneeling position.. drew a gun and shot Estrella twice at a distance of about 1. and as a planner. Province of Tarlac. DECISION VELASCO. The RTC found accused Tony Tomas.. Angelita came to the aid of 80-year-old Damiana. At around 9:45 in the evening on July 19. conspiring. 2006. Doctor’s house was barely seven (7) meters from the scene of the crime. Tomas.). fired the first two shots at Estrella. Tarlac after she had parked her rented car at the house of Liezl’s mother-in-law. Erlinda Toledo. Sr. allegedly committed as follows: That on or about July 19. 2006. about 15 meters away. 2011 Estrella Doctor Casco (Estrella) was based in the United States. Doctor and Gatchalian suddenly came out from the side of the road. Liezl.R. that of Tomas. Sr. the three accused were indicted for the crime of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). without saying anything. 192251 February 16. at around 10:00 o’clock in the evening. tulungan ninyo kami (Help. Branch 68 in Camiling.: The Case Before Us is an appeal from the Decision1 dated August 12. and NESTOR GATCHALIAN. Tomas. help us). She arrived in the Philippines on July 9.
She saw three persons on the road: Damiana who was seated.The people in the neighborhood heard the gunshots. Doctor. Dr. On the night of the incident.7 Both Liezl and Angelita categorically identified the three accused as the ones who perpetrated the crime. Tarlac. using a rented car. Mayantoc. Tarlac accompanied by Liezl. brought Estrella to the Malacampa District Hospital in Camiling. (3) Tomas. Mangrobang invited the accused to the Mayantoc police station for investigation but instead immediately brought them inside the municipal .m. Sr. Her house was 10 to 15 meters away from the road. and Doctor were arrested in their respective homes. the Chief of Police of the Philippine National Police (PNP) detachment at Sta. Mangrobang). he went to sleep.m. On the other hand. 2006. On July 20. involving an easement of a property.m.m. Sr. Sr. he claimed he was at home asleep with his 10-year-old son Jayson. Ryan.m. 2006. Saturnino Ferrer (Dr. in a bed in the living room in front of the television and woke up at 4:00 a. Estrella was declared dead on arrival by the attending doctors. Ferrer) a day after the shooting. He woke up the next day at 5:00 a. Sr. Sr. LACERATIONS OF THE UPPER PORTION OF THE HEART. the next day. 2006. Estrella was 56 years old when she died."8 On the same day. the father of accused Doctor. Angelita who was squatting and holding a fan. as barangay captain. At around 9:00 p. 2006. Police Inspector Eleno Mangrobang (P/Insp. Liezl contacted Estrella’s cousin. Candelario). Neri Corpuz (Liezl’s first cousin) and Kagawad Pablo. Tarlac arrived in the district hospital and asked questions from Liezl and Angelita.m.m. Tarlac. Gatchalian admitted that he was a farm helper of Tomas. the brother-in-law of Tomas. LEFT HEMOTHORAX. They were then brought to the police station for investigation where Liezl executed her Sinumpaang Salaysay (Sworn Statement). he slept early at around 7:00 p. P/Insp. showed four (4) gunshot wounds. he had regular attacks and. citing the cause of death as "MULTIPLE GUNSHOT WOUNDS. Rosalinda Areniego (Rosalinda). feeling bad. already shot. 2006. Tomas. Captain Joel Candelario (Capt. Version of the Defense The accused denied involvement in the incident. Ignacia. while Gatchalian was arrested in the woodland (kahuyan). accused Estrella of instigating and financing several cases filed against him. and worked in the latter’s rice field. and proceeded to work in the farm of Tomas. he went home at 4:00 p. 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. The autopsy conducted by Dr. one of them perforating the heart of Estrella. His investigation did not identify the persons responsible for the crime. lost several cases against Estrella’s father. Since he suffered a cardiac arrest in December 1988. Ferrer issued the death certificate. averred that he was at home sleeping when the incident happened. Candelario arrived at the scene and. (2) Tomas. She responded to Angelita’s call for help to take Estrella to the district hospital. Thereafter. A half-hour later.m. likewise denied any involvement in the incident. in her house watching the TV program "Sa Piling Mo" with actress Judy Ann Santos between 9:30 to 10:00 p. was with her child. SEVERE EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL HEMORRHAGE. first cousin of Estrella. Cecilio Doctor (Cecilio). and a cousin of Estrella. Domingo Toledo (Liezl’s husband). The three were subjected to paraffin tests shortly after the policemen took them in custody and were found negative for gunpowder burns. and a person lying on the ground who was Estrella. MULTIPLE RIB FRACTURES. At 10:00 p. Kagawad Pablo was watching TV in her house when she heard the gunshots and immediately went out to investigate. he confirmed Estrella’s death in front of Doctor’s house from his neighbors. and (4) Cecilio filed a case against Alejandro Doctor. when she heard the gunshots. Sr. and most of them came out of their houses to see what happened. In the morning of July 20. the Chief of Police of Mayantoc. Liezl opined that what probably prompted the three accused to murder Estrella were the facts that: (1) Tomas. Tarlac. HEMOPERICARDIUM. in turn. Tomas. on that day. Capt. or on July 20. who. Sr. the next day. contacted the police in Mayantoc. he awoke to urinate and was told by his wife that his cousin Estrella met an accident. Sr. July 20. He was prevailed upon by his wife not to go out of the house. These apparent motives were corroborated by Angelita. He then went back to sleep and woke up at 5:00 a.6 Angelita likewise accomplished her Sinumpaang Salaysay. He asserted that after working in the field the whole day of July 19. was removed as administrator of Estrella’s properties in Barangay Baybayaos.
Babor (P/Supt.416. Milagros and Rosendo to the effect that the assailants were two young men.78 US dollars or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment as actual damages. Kagawad Pablo. all of the said accused are hereby ordered to pay jointly the heirs of the victim.416.000.33 and another amount of $2. Anent the negative paraffin tests on appellants.00 as exemplary damages. and PO1 Celso Isidro did not disprove the evidence of the prosecution. between the testimonies of Liezl and Angelita who were with the victim and those of Rosalinda. Aggrieved.182. Sr.000. at the start of the shooting. The fallo reads: . and 5. the RTC relied on Marturillas v. The RTC ratiocinated that it would not have been easy for defense witnesses to identify the assailants due to the speed of the incident. Rosendo Toledo (Rosendo). they were returned to jail. 4]. The amount of Php50. the following: 1]. Likewise. The RTC found the accused’s similar defenses of denial and alibi bereft of merit.00 US dollars or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment for loss of income of the victim. SO ORDERED. their distance from the crime scene. 2008. Police Superintendent Daisy P. 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. and P/Insp. premises considered. coupled with sufficient motive. for a negative paraffin test result is not conclusive proof that a person has not fired a gun. People. 3]. The amount of Php50.9 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.00 as moral damages. Thereafter.33 from PhP 285.33 to correctly reflect what was proved during trial. the RTC rendered its Decision finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder and sentencing them to reclusion perpetua. It gave credence to the positive identification by Liezl and Angelita of the accused as the perpetrators. the appellate court rendered its Decision. Sr. Rosalinda.000. 2009. 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 amount of Php30. Babor). Dr. Avelino Casco (husband of Estrella). The RTC appreciated the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita (caretakers of Estrella). treachery in the swiftness and unexpectedness of the attack upon the unarmed Estrella without the slightest provocation. affirming the findings of the RTC and the conviction of the accused but modifying the award of actual damages to PhP 385. Mangrobang. policemen brought them to Camp Macabulos for paraffin tests. and the attendance of conspiracy through the accused’s contributory acts to successfully carry out the crime. The trial court found incredulous the defense testimonies of Rosalinda. It ratiocinated that these defenses were but mere denial and self-serving statements of the accused without any shred of supporting evidence. the accused appealed10 their conviction to the CA. this Court finds accused Tony Tomas. The amount of $368. The RTC held as sufficient the positive identification.000. Rosalinda and Milagros were watching television in their respective homes while Rosendo was busy drinking with his buddies.. The RTC appreciated The Ruling of the CA On August 12. Police Officer 3 (PO3) Luciano Captan. Thus. Milagros and Rosendo. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. The additional defense testimonies of Milagros Reguine (Milagros). and Doctor and other circumstantial evidence proving the accused as the perpetrators of the murder of Estrella. The Ruling of the RTC On May 27. the RTC found the testimonies of the former more credible. The amount of Php285. on the part of Tomas. much less proved the accused’s innocence.jail. and the fact that. Thus. An hour later. Ferrer (the doctor who conducted the autopsy). with the gunman sporting a flat-top haircut while his companion had long hair.00 as civil indemnity.416. 2].
second. there was no treachery. Cecilio. to wit: first. 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. coupled with the fact that Liezl. We disagree. and correspondingly filed their respective Manifestations11 to the effect that the Brief for the Accused-Appellants. Elsewise put. as well as the conclusions drawn from the factual findings. it is settled that when credibility is in issue. having heard the witnesses themselves. representing the People of the Philippines. third.13 and the Brief for the Appellee14 filed in CA-G. the instant appeal. the Decision of the RTC of Camiling. since no new issues are raised nor any supervening events transpired.16 Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself. and did not even bother to reveal accusedappellants’ identities to the responding policemen. opted not to file any supplemental brief. 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. she only mentioned Tomas.17 The trial court found more credible the . Branch 68.The appeal is partly meritorious. In the case of Angelita. Sr. To cast more doubt on their testimonies. No.182. and fourth. premises considered. CR-H. An established rule in appellate review is that the trial court’s factual findings.C.12 accused-appellants’ Motion for Reconsideration. They infer that the testimonies of Liezl and Angelita were fabricated. and observed their deportment during trial. At the outset. the RTC erred in disregarding their negative paraffin test results and their defense of denial and alibi. much less the presence of treachery and conspiracy. where both accused-appellants and the Office of the Solicitor General. Tarlac. who was charged by Tomas. which were unsubstantiated. dated May 27. Reiterating the RTC’s ruling that a negative paraffin test result is not conclusive of the accused’s innocence. and also to ingratiate herself to her employer. WHEREFORE. who rushed home looking for her cellular phone.R. Thus. 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. that the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita were incredible and repugnant to human experience and behavior. the Court generally defers to the findings of the trial court considering that it was in a better position to decide the question.33 as and by way of actual damages in addition to the US$2. Angelita and Damiana were spared from harm. are accorded respect. in a case. 06-92 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.78 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos previously awarded.15 Indeed. The Issues Thus. They also point to the reason that the adverse testimony of Liezl is on account of her ill feelings towards Doctor who previously subjected her to shame when he slapped her in public. The Court’s Ruling 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. if not conclusive effect. The rest of the Decision stands. 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. awarding the total of P385. SO ORDERED. Sr. the appellate court also found the presence of treachery and conspiracy in the manner the accused carried out the nefarious deed. there was no conspiracy.416. to Cecilio and did not include Doctor and Gatchalian. 03405 be used in resolving the instant appeal. And much worse in the case of Liezl. Estrella’s father. accused-appellants raise the same assignments of errors earlier passed over and resolved by the CA. includin g its assessment of the credibility of witnesses and the probative weight of their testimonies. 2008 in Criminal Case No. accused-appellants question the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and raise the issue of insufficiency of evidence to convict them.
that the residue of gunpowder nitrates in the hands of a person who fired a handgun can be removed. was the gunman.. however. was not able to enlighten Cecilio more about the incident. will definitely prove that a person had fired a handgun within that time frame. (2) during the time immediately after the shooting incident when Liezl ran to her house and Angelita brought Damiana home. 2006 at 11:05 a. Sr. For another. Sr. We find no reason to set aside their testimonies. Mangrobang initially at the district hospital and later at the police station shows that their account of what happened was not fabricated and they positively identified accused-appellants as the perpetrators. they strongly asserted. 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. If it were so and the content of her testimony was fabricated."20 and that "a paraffin test has been held to be highly unreliable.18 It has to be amply shown that the witness is truly biased and has fabricated the testimony on account of such bias. particularly Tomas. Since gunpowder nitrates stay for 72 hours in the hands of a person who fired a handgun. This point was aptly explained and clarified by defense witness P/Supt. close relationship to the victim does not make a witness biased per se. from the crime. The grounds of partiality and ill motive raised by accused-appellants cannot discredit the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. We are likewise not persuaded. Consequently.19 (3) when Angelita mentioned Tomas. why did Liezl not make Doctor as the gunman who shot Estrella? And why include Gatchalian and Tomas. 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. their testimonies have not been shown to be fabricated. Sr.? 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.testimony of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita. 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. and Angelita replied without hesitation that it was Tomas. 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."21 This is so since there are many ways. thus. who narrated in a straightforward and candid manner what transpired that fateful night of July 19. they contend that their act of not fleeing is a circumstance that should favorably be considered. The trial court that had scrutinized their deportment. according to accused-appellants. does not merit conclusive proof that a person had not fired a handgun. Negative paraffin test not conclusive Accused-appellants were subjected to paraffin tests on July 20. she had not conferred with Liezl. (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. to Cecilio as the gunman. One with the appellate court. 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. whom Angelita saw shooting Estrella with a handgun. Babor. For one. Sr. either deliberately or accidentally. who shot Estrella. as the appellate court aptly noted. Thus. the negative paraffin test results of accused-appellants cannot exculpate them. Besides. they could not have made it up that Tomas. (4) while it is true that Angelita did not mention the names of Doctor and Gatchalian. if positive. were corroborated by credible witnesses Rosalinda and Rosendo who do not appear to harbor any ill motive against the victim and her family. A negative result. Sr. She explained in open court the various factors affecting the . attest to the fact that the assailants were two young men. Sr.m. or the very next day and a little over 14 hours after the shooting incident. thus. 2006. 2006. and body language during the trial has found them more credible. Moreover. The testimonies of Rosalinda and Rosendo. Pampanga. a Forensic Chemist and the Regional Chief of the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Olivas in San Fernando. Accused-appellants have not sufficiently shown such a bias. such does not denigrate from the fact that it was indeed Tomas. facial expression. The fact that Liezl and Angelita depend on the victim’s family for their job as caretakers does not make them biased witnesses. Angelita was queried by Cecilio about who shot Estrella. a timely paraffin test.
he fired two (2) gunshots to Mrs. Sr. Q: What was that? A: Tony [Tomas. 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. sir. sir. he fired two (2) shots sir. like the wind direction and velocity when the handgun was fired. the credibility of prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita has not been successfully assailed by accused-appellants. or sufficiently washing the hands with warm water. sir. Casco and Mrs. Benedicto Doctor was already positioned at our back poking the gun to us.22 Also. Liezl likewise testified as to how the shooting transpired: ATTY. do you recall of any unusual or extra ordinary occurrence that took place at that time? LIEZL TODLEDO: Yes. Casco. Casco fell on the ground and it was followed by another three (3) shots. Casco after the first two (2) shots? A: She fell down. sir. gunpowder nitrates are also dissolved by diphenylamine. Benedicto Doctor. Q: What happened to Mrs. Besides. Captain Tony Tomas was shooting Mrs. Casco? A: He suddenly drew a handgun and shot Mrs. and Nestor Gatchalian suddenly emerged and accosted us while we were going to the house of Mrs.25 On the other hand. We cannot weigh and view the evidence in the same light as accused-appellants. Captain Tony Tomas was shooting at Mrs. Casco. do you recall of any unusual incident that transpired? ANGELITA DUQUE: Yes. like steam from boiling water. sir. Angelita testified as to what happened and positively identified accusedappellants and their specific actions: ATTY. Captain Tony Tomas fired shots. Casco. Q: What did Tony [Tomas.] shoot Estrella Casco? A: At first. the type of firearm used. Q: How many times did Brgy. sir. Captain Tomas. what was he doing at the time Brgy. what did Brgy. Casco. Benedicto Doctor and Nestor Gatchalian suddenly came out.24 Thus. Sr. Finally. Q: How about Nestor Gatchalian. Captain Tony Tomas. Q: What was that? A: First.non-adhesion. Q: While Brgy. Casco? A: Nestor Gatchalian was standing at the middle of the road supporting Brgy.23 Positive Identification As adverted to above. Captain Tony Tomas shoot Mrs. Q: How many times did Tony [Tomas. what was Benedicto Doctor doing? A: Before Brgy.]. and when the person wears gloves to preclude adhesion of the gunpowder nitrates. sir. DE GUZMAN: While walking towards the house of Mrs. the humidity or moisture present in the ammunition. 2006. Casco at about past 9 o’clock of July 19. sir. Sr. disappearance or removal of the residue of gunpowder nitrates on the hands of a person who fires a gun. DE GUZMAN: While you were walking. sir. 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.] do if any? A: Brgy. in Our assiduous review of the records of the instant case. and followed it with three (3) more shots. Q: In particular. Captain Tomas do? A: He suddenly hold a gun and shot Mrs. sir. .
Q: Where did you run? A: Going to our house. the former’s declarations were more credible. sir. We are compelled to affirm the presence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery and of conspiracy. Q: You said. Treachery duly proven .27 Their positive identification of accused-appellants as the perpetrators of the crime charged was categorical and consistent. Sr. dealing as they were on how the crime of murder was perpetrated. sir. while Gatchalian did not carry one. They strongly assert the lack of treachery since their simultaneous and sudden appearance could not amount to it. you shouted. Besides.30 Third and Fourth Issues: Appreciation of Treachery Q: At the time you heard the three (3) shots. while ROSALINDA and ROSENDO were supposedly about fifteen (15) meters away from the crime scene. And finally. Once a person gains familiarity with another. the evidence adduced and the records do not support a finding of conspiracy against appellant Gatchalian. 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.26 It must be pointed out that prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita knew accusedappellants well since they were neighbors. the Court notes with approval the RTC’s observation that between the testimonies of eyewitnesses LIEZL and ANGELITA.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. they have attained a high level of familiarity with each other. What were the words you shouted? A: "Saklulu. tulungan ninyo kami". and Doctor still had to position himself behind Damiana and Angelita before ordering them to drop or lie face down on the ground.Q: What did you do. if any? A: I was standing. Sr. still had to draw his gun before shooting Estrella. for Tomas. the victim Estrella had ample opportunity to dodge or defend herself. Evidently. 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. accused-appellants point to the dearth of evidence showing their concerted acts in pursuing a common design to kill Estrella. what did you do if any? and Presence of Conspiracy A: When I saw the body of Mrs. while running. hence. Accused-appellants’ arguments are partly meritorious. And much less can Gatchalian’s act of merely standing on the road in the path of the four lad ies ever constitute furtherance of the common purpose of killing Estrella.29 We tackle the last two issues together for being related and intertwined. as the one who fired a handgun. Accused-appellants strongly maintain the absence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery—qualifying the killing of Estrella to murder. and that of defense witnesses ROSALINDA and ROSENDO. Thus. Casco jerked. as they were in fact walking together with the victim when she was shot. sir. Most often. I shouted and ran away. and the lack of conspiracy — penalizing them equally for the crime of murder. However. And I heard another three (3) shots. We cannot cast any doubt on their credibility as prosecution witnesses. Doctor was purportedly carrying one but did not use it. sir. Prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita point to Tomas. 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. After a judicious study of the records at hand. identification becomes an easy task even from a considerable distance.
Generally. it must be shown that: (1) the malefactor employed such means.31 Murder is defined and penalized under Art. shot her thrice more—perhaps to ensure her death. one of which perforated her heart —and it is neither parricide nor infanticide. Both were not only certain and unwavering in their positive identification of accused-appellants. (2) through treachery. or any other public calamity. Then accused-appellants . duly alleged in the Information. There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons. 5. for treachery to be appreciated. That a person was killed. The killing is not parricide or infanticide. derailment or assault upon a railroad. epidemic.A qualifying circumstance like treachery changes the nature of the crime and increases the imposable penalties for the offense. shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. or by any of the other five qualifying circumstances. it must be present and seen by the witness right at the inception of the attack. That the accused killed him. as aptly noted by the courts a quo. 248.36 For alevosia to qualify the crime to murder. which provides: ART. but their testimony. affording the hapless. accusedappellants suddenly appeared from the side of the road. or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity. were also factual. reward. by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim. by means of motor vehicles. With cruelty. unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape. or promise. or of an earthquake. method and manner of execution were deliberately adopted. or with the use of any other means involving great waste and ruin. Tomas. and (2) the said means. the elements of murder are: 1. without risk to the offender. Without uttering any word. while Doctor simultaneously poked a gun at Angelita and Damiana.35 Thus. Sr. method or forms which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution. On occasion of any calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph. explosion.33 Mere suddenness of the attack does not amount to treachery. That the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Art. who witnessed everything from the inception of the attack until accused-appellants fled from the crime scene. 3. And when Estrella already fell down. Sr. as quoted above. as amended. eruption of a volcano. Tomas. shall kill another. 2. frontal attack can be treacherous when it is sudden and unexpected and the victim is unarmed. shipwreck. 4.—Any person who.37 Moreover. In consideration of a price.34 The essence of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning. done in a swift and unexpected way. To reiterate. drew his gun and shot Estrella twice. That Tomas.38 Consequently.32 In the instant case. the prosecution must prove that: (1) the offender killed the victim. With evident premeditation. Murder. not falling within the provisions of Article 246. there is no dispute that Estrella was shot to death —she succumbed to four gunshot wounds. 4. 3. arising from the defense that the offended party might make. poison. 6. for the charge of murder to prosper. to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances: 1. taking advantage of superior strength. destructive cyclone. the issue of the presence of treachery hinges on the account of eyewitnesses Liezl and Angelita. killed the victim in a treacherous manner was established by the prosecution during the trial. fall of an airship. By means of inundation. With treachery. Sr. 248. fire. with the aid of armed men. stranding of a vessel. 2. straightforward and convincing on how the murder transpired.) Thus. employing means. (Emphasis supplied. method or manner of execution as to ensure his or her safety from the defensive or retaliatory acts of the victim. or outraging or scoffing at his person or corpse. while the party of Estrella was walking. 248 of the RPC. or employing means to weaken the defense.
was done with treachery. is differently situated as Doctor. As mentioned above. Gatchalian was unarmed and did not say anything or commit any overt act to externally manifest his cooperation with the shooting of Estrella. equally guilty and liable for the murder of Estrella on account of conspiracy. every act of one of the conspirators in furtherance of a common design or purpose of such a conspiracy is the act of all. it was unexpected as it was sudden. and Doctor. where the "trial court overlooked. 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. during and after the commission of the felony to achieve a common design or purpose. still proves a certain degree of participation and cooperation in the execution of the crime. as adverted above. for in a conspiracy. while not constitutive of proof beyond reasonable doubt of conspiracy. Sr. with his lack of overt acts manifestly contributing to the accomplishment of the common design to shoot Estrella. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. Gatchalian guilty as an accomplice Gatchalian."39 then this Court will not shirk from its duty of ascertaining the proper outcome of such reversible error committed by the trial court. and Doctor. He also fled together with them. Angelita and Damiana were covered by Doctor who poked a gun at them. Sr. Findings of facts are matters best left to the trial court. This. that he acquiesced to the shooting of Estrella. Conspiracy duly proven While We likewise affirm the presence of conspiracy. Doctor is..’s guilt has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is. Sr.fled. However. words or conduct of the alleged conspirators before.43 From the clear testimony of Angelita and Liezl. Who would he be blocking then when the road is wide and Liezl was far back? Thus. to say the least. Indeed. 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. Sr. there is some doubt if he indeed conspired with Tomas. does not exculpate him from criminal liability absent proof that he merely tagged along or just happened to meet his employer (Tomas. Sr. The act of Doctor in immobilizing Angelita and Damiana in those brief moments afforded and ensured accused-appellants’ impunity from the unarmed Estrella and her three similarly unarmed companions. The nefarious act was done in a few moments. in line with the principle that whatever is favorable to an . To be equally guilty for murder. by taking a "blocking position" in the road. Sr.) shortly before the incident or was merely taken along without being told about the other accused-appellants’ plan. Gatchalian appeared in the company of Tomas. while Liezl was so far back that it would be incongruous. Doctor’s cooperation in the shooting of Estrella ensured its accomplishment and their successful escape from the crime scene. however. Sr. thus. that Gatchalian was blocking the road. On the other hand. clear that the shooting of Estrella by Tomas. however. Tomas. it must be shown that Doctor and Gatchalian conspired with Tomas. at the very least. 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.44 It appears that Gatchalian is a party to the conspiracy as found by the courts a quo. Gatchalian never attempted to stop the shooting. ignored or disregarded some fact or circumstance of weight or significance which if considered would have altered the result. cannot subscribe to such a view considering that his presence is merely extraneous to the accomplishment of the crime. which tends to show that he was aware of the plan and intent to kill Estrella or. The fact that Gatchalian appeared together with the other accused-appellants and fled with them. However.40 Conspiracy requires the same degree of proof required to establish the crime—proof beyond reasonable doubt.1avvphi1 The trial court viewed Gatchalian as supporting Tomas. however.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. the ascertained facts of the shooting to death of Estrella with treachery established beyond reasonable doubt the commission of the crime of murder. Sr. It may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence consisting of acts. Consequently. Besides.42 In the instant case. 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. We. thus.
as maximum. No. to reclusion temporal in its medium period. As We aptly explained in People v. Award of Damages Finally. as minimum. and Doctor merit to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the murder of Estrella. We find it proper and duly proven. as maximum.72. Safeway Inc.000 in view of the violent death of the victim and the resultant grief to her family. The rest of the appealed decision stands.. as follows: WHEREFORE.000.53 Likewise. this Court finds accused Tony Tomas. x x x Where the quantum of proof required to establish conspiracy is lacking. the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period is proper. Evidently. Sr.000 as compensation for Estrella’s heir for loss of income or earning capacity. 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.416. as shown by her husband Avelino Casco’s testimony.56 WHEREFORE. the award of exemplary damages is proper. to 17 years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal. Estrella’s 2006 Wage and Tax Statement from her Employee’s Records in the Department of the Treasu ry – Internal Revenue Service50 shows her earnings for 2006 at USD 29.55 Besides. We find no reason to disturb this finding of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court. as minimum. Considering further the applicability of the Indeterminate Sentence Law since Gatchalian is not disqualified under Section 2 of said law. the award of PhP 30. Estrella was averaging gross earnings of USD 48. Ballesta: Mere presence at the scene of the incident. on the damages awarded. premises considered. 2009 in CA-G. Gatchalian is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor. 2008 RTC Decision should be modified to read. the entitlement to moral damages having been established. documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate a claim for damages for loss of earning capacity. 2230 of the Civil Code.45 Proper Penalties We agree with the courts a quo that Tomas. Anent the grant of damages for loss of income or earning capacity in the amount of USD 368.000 in favor of the heirs of Estrella is in order. 248 of the RPC.000 annually. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Sr.233. Accordingly. which showed her earning an hourly rate of USD 25. Considering that there are no other aggravating or mitigating circumstances applicable. knowledge of the plan and acquiescence thereto are not sufficient grounds to hold a person as a conspirator. Moreover. the CA correctly awarded moral damages in the amount of PhP 50.182.C. the instant appeal is hereby PARTLY GRANTED as to appellant NESTOR GATCHALIAN. Gatchalian is liable to a penalty of reclusion temporal or one degree lower than the imposable penalty for murder. In applying the formula51 used in the American Expectancy Table of Mortality. The May 27.47 the amounts duly proven during trial with supporting official receipts and corresponding documents related to actual expenses for the casket.000 as exemplary damages is justified under Art.52 Based on current jurisprudence. 03405 is hereby MODIFIED in that NESTOR GATCHALIAN is declared guilty beyond reasonable doubt as an accomplice in the offense of Murder under Art. the proper penalty imposable is prision mayor in its medium period.3346 and USD 2.R. 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.54 With the presence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery. the CA Decision dated August 12. CRH. As an accomplice to the murder. 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. and Benedicto Doctor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Murder and hereby sentences each of them to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. This .828. Gatchalian is guilty as an accomplice only.49 Likewise. the CA correctly modified the actual damages to PhP 385. the doubt should be resolved in his favor and is thus held liable only as an accomplice. funeral services and the airfreight of Estrella’s remains back to the United States. the award of civil indemnity ex delicto of PhP 50.accused must be accorded him. As a rule.78.48 The prosecution duly proved Estrella’s loss of earning capacity by presenting the statement from her employer. the RTC arrived at the figure of USD 368.
416. the following: 1.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.000 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment for loss of income of the victim.) The amount of USD 368. to 17 years and four (4) months of Reclusion Temporal. Likewise.) The amount of PhP 50. and. SO ORDERED.00 as civil indemnity.000. 2. all of the said accused are hereby ordered to pay jointly the heirs of the victim.182.) The amount of PhP 385. 5.) The amount of PhP 30.33 and another amount of USD 2.78 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment as actual damages. as minimum. as maximum. 3. 4. .) The amount of PhP 50. No pronouncement as to costs.00 as exemplary damages.00 as moral damages.000.000.
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