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G.R. No.

142773 January 28, 2003


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
MARLON ELIM, LEON ELIM, MAN!EL ELIM a"#a$ %&ONG% 'A( Lar)*+, RO&ERT
ELIM 'A( Lar)*+, an, RONAL ELIM a"#a$ %&ONG%, accused-appellants.
-ALLEJO, SR., J..
Before the Court on automatic review is the Decision,
1
dated January 14, 2000, of the e!ional "rial
Court, Branch 4#, $rdaneta City, findin! accused appellants %arlon Delim, &eon Delim and onald
Delim !uilty 'eyond reasona'le dou't of the crime of murder and sentencin! them to suffer the
supreme penalty of death. "he court also ordered accused-appellants to pay, (ointly and severally, the
heirs of the victim the sums of )*+,000.00 as moral dama!es and )2+,000.00 as e,emplary dama!es.
-ccused-appellants %arlon, onald and &eon, to!ether with %anuel alias .Bon!. and o'ert, all
surnamed Delim, were indicted for murder under an /nformation dated %ay 4, 1000 which reads1
."hat on or a'out January 22, 1000, in the evenin! at Br!y. Bila, 3ison, )an!asinan, and within
the (urisdiction of this 4onora'le Court, the a'ove-named accused, armed with short firearms
'ar!ed-in and entered the house of %odesto Delim and once inside with intent to kill, treachery,
evident premedidation 5sic6, conspirin! with one another, did then and there, wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously !ra', hold, ho!tie, !a! with a piece of cloth, 'rou!ht out and a'duct
%odesto Delim, accused &eon Delim and %anuel Delim stayed in the house !uarded and
prevented the wife and son of %odesto Delim from helpin! the latter, thereafter with a'use of
superior stren!th sta''ed and 7illed said %odesto Delim, to the dama!e and pre(udice of his
heirs.
C89"-: to -rticle 24; of the evised )enal Code, as amended 'y epu'lic -ct 9o.
*#+0..
2
8nly accused-appellants %arlon 5Bon!'on!6, &eon and onald, all surnamed Delim, were
apprehended. -ccused o'ert and %anuel remain at-lar!e.
-t their arrai!nment, %arlon, onald and &eon, with the assistance of their counsel, pleaded not !uilty
to the char!e.
-t the trial, the prosecution esta'lished the followin! relevant facts
2
<
%arlon, %anuel and o'ert Delim are 'rothers. "hey are the uncles of &eon Delim and onald Delim.
%odesto %analo Bantas, the victim, was an /!orot and a carpenter. 4e too7 the surname Delim after he
was .adopted. 'y the father of %arlon, %anuel and o'ert. 4owever, %odesto=s wife, ita, an
illiterate, and their 1#-year old son, andy, continued usin! %analo Bantas as their surname. %odesto,
ita and andy considered %arlon, o'ert, onald, %anuel and &eon as their relatives. %anuel and
&eon were the nei!h'ors of %odesto. %arlon, o'ert and onald used to visit %odesto and his family.
%odesto and his family and the Delim 7ins resided in Baran!ay Bila, 3ison, )an!asinan.
8n January 22, 1000, at around #120 in the evenin!, %odesto, ita and andy were preparin! to have
their supper in their home. Joinin! them were %odesto and ita=s two youn! !randchildren, a!ed + and
* years old. "hey were a'out to eat their dinner when %arlon, o'ert and onald suddenly 'ar!ed into
the house and closed the door. >ach of the three intruders was armed with a short hand!un. %arlon
po7ed his !un at %odesto while o'ert and onald simultaneously !ra''ed and ho!-tied the victim. -
piece of cloth was placed in the mouth of %odesto.
4
%arlon, o'ert and onald herded %odesto out of
the house on their way towards the direction of )aldit, 3ison, )an!asinan. ita and andy were warned
'y the intruders not to leave the house. &eon and %anuel, who were also armed with short hand!uns,
stayed put 'y the door to the house of %odesto and ordered ita and andy to stay where they were.
&eon and %anuel left the house of %odesto only at around *100 a.m. the followin! day, January 24,
1000.
-s soon as &eon and %anuel had left, andy rushed to the house of his uncle, Darwin 9i?o, at 3itio
&a'ayo!, informed the latter of the incident the ni!ht 'efore and sou!ht his help for the retrieval of
%odesto. andy was advised to report the matter to the police authorities. 4owever, andy opted to
first loo7 for his father. 4e and his other relatives scoured the vicinity to locate %odesto to no avail.
"hey proceeded to )aldit, 3ison, )an!asinan, around 200 meters away from %odesto=s house, to locate
%odesto 'ut failed to find him there. 8n January 2+, 1000, andy and his relatives returned to the
housin! pro(ect in )aldit, 3ison, )an!asinan to locate %odesto 'ut a!ain failed to find him there. 8n
January 2#, 1000, andy reported the incident to the police authorities.
-t around 2100 in the afternoon of January 2*, 1000, andy, in the company of his relatives, 9ida
)ucal, )epito )ucal, Bernard 8sias and Daniel Delim, returned to the housin! pro(ect in )aldit, 3ison,
)an!asinan and this time they found %odesto under thic7 'ushes in a !rassy area. 4e was already dead.
"he cadaver was 'loated and in the state of decomposition. /t e,uded a 'ad odor. "iny white worms
swarmed over and feasted on the cadaver. andy and his relatives immediately rushed to the police
station to report the incident and to see7 assistance.
@hen informed of the discovery of %odesto=s cadaver, the local chief of police and 3)82 Jovencio
Aa(arito and other policemen rushed to the scene and saw the cadaver under the thic7 'ushes. )ictures
were ta7en of the cadaver.
+
ita and andy divul!ed to the police investi!ators the names and
addresses of %arlon, onald, o'ert, &eon and %anuel, whom they claimed were responsi'le for the
death of %odesto. ita and andy were at a loss why the five malefactors seiBed %odesto and 7illed
him. ita and andy !ave their respective sworn statements to the police investi!ators.
#
)olice
authorities proceeded to arrest %arlon, onald, o'ert, %anuel and &eon 'ut failed to find them in
their respective houses. "he police officers scoured the mountainous parts of Baran!ays /mmalo! and
&a'ayo! to no avail.
"he cadaver was autopsied 'y Dr. %aria Ae &. De CuBman who prepared her autopsy report, which
reads1
.SIGNIFICANT EXTERNAL FINDINGS1
Body 'oth upper e,tremities are fle,ed
'oth lower e,tremities are fle,ed
5D6 'ody decomposition
5D6 worms comin! out from in(uries
10 , 10 ml. C3@, pre-auricular area, ri!ht
20 , 20 ml. C3@, mandi'ular areas, ri!ht
10 , 10 ml. C3@, ma,illary area, ri!ht
10 , 10 ml. C3@, 'elow middle nose, directed upward 5)8>6
20 , 40 ml. C3@, mid parieto < occipital area 5)8>,6
2 , 1 cms. lacerated wound, ri!ht chee7
1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, a,illary area, left
1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, lateral aspect %E2rd left arm
1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, lateral aspect DE2rd, left arm
1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, medial aspect %E2rd, left arm
1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound medial aspect DE2rd, left arm
F2G 1 , 1 cm. in line with each other, sta''ed would, medial aspect, %E2rd,
left forearm
1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, medial aspect, DE2rd, left forearm
10 , # cms. /nflamed scrotum
penis inflamed
SIGNIFICANT INTERNAL FINDINGS1
no si!nificant internal findin!s
CAUSE OF DEATH1

C$9 348" @8$9D, 4>-D..
*
"he sta' wounds sustained 'y %odesto on his left arm and forearm were defensive wounds. "he police
investi!ators were a'le to confirm that %arlon, onald, o'ert, &eon and %anuel had no licenses for
their firearms.
;
ecords of the )9) Criminal /nvesti!ation and Detection Croup in Ba!uio City show that %arlon had
pendin! cases for ro''ery in the e!ional "rial Court of Ba!uio City in Criminal Case 9o. 1#102-,
and for ro''ery in 'and in Criminal Cases 9os. 0;01 and 0;02 pendin! with the e!ional "rial Court
in $rdaneta, )an!asinan.
0
"o e,culpate themselves, %arlon, onald and &eon interposed denial and ali'i.
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onald claimed that on January 22, 1000, he, his wife and children, his mother, his 'rothers and sisters
were in their house at -san 9orte, 3ison, )an!asinan a'out two 7ilometers away from %odesto=s
house.
4e denied havin! 'een in the house of %odesto on January 22, 1000 and of a'ductin! and 7illin! him.
4e theoriBed that ita and andy falsely implicated him upon the coachin! of %elchor Javier who
alle!edly had a Huarrel with him concernin! politics.
&eon for his part averred that on January 22, 1000, he was in the house of his sister, 4ermelita >sta'illo
at 9o. ++-B, 3alet, &aoa! City, /locos 9orte where he had 'een livin! since 100* after leavin! -san
9orte, 3ison, )an!asinan. 3ince then, he had 'een wor7in! for 3ally -suncion at a hollow-'loc7
factory in that city where he was a stay-in wor7er.
3ally -suncion corro'orated &eon=s ali'i. 3he testified that &eon Delim never went home to his
hometown in )an!asinan durin! his employment. 4is sister, 4ermelita >sta'illo, li7ewise averred that
on January 22, 1000, his 'rother was at her house to !ive her his laundry. 3he claimed that the distance
'etween &aoa! City and Bila, 3ison, )an!asinan can 'e traversed in si, hours 'y 'us. &eon presented a
Baran!ay Certificate to prove that he was a resident of &aoa! City from January 100; up to Ae'ruary
1000.
11
%arlon asserted that he was on vacation in Duma!uete City from Decem'er 2#, 100; up to January 20,
1000. Durin! his stay there, he lived with his sister, Arancisca Delim. $pon his return to %anila on
January 20, 1000, he immediately proceeded to Ba!uio to visit his cousin. %arlon denied settin! foot in
Bila, 3ison, )an!asinan after his so(ourn in Duma!uete City.
"he trial court rendered (ud!ment findin! accused-appellants !uilty of murder. "he dispositive portion
of the trial court=s decision reads1
.@4>>A8>, J$DC%>9" 8A C89I/C"/89 'eyond reasona'le dou't is here'y rendered
a!ainst onald Delim, %arlon Delim and &eon Delim 5for6 the commission of -!!ravated
%urder, an offense defined and penaliBed under -rticle 24; of the evised )enal Code, as
amended 'y .-. *#+0 and the Court sentences %arlon Delim, onald Delim and &eon Delim
to suffer the penalty of D>-"4, to 'e implemented in the manner as provided for 'y lawG the
Court li7ewise orders the accused, (ointly and solidarily, to indemnify the heirs of %odesto
Delim the sum of )*+,000.00 as moral dama!es, plus the amount of )2+,000.00 as e,emplary
dama!es.
"he Branch Cler7 of Court is here'y ordered to transmit the entire records of this case to the
4onora'le 3upreme Court, and to prepare the mittimus fifteen 51+6 days from date of
promul!ation.
"he Jail @arden, Bureau of Jail %ana!ement and )enolo!y, $rdaneta District Jail, $rdaneta
City is here'y ordered to transmit the persons of %arlon, onald and &eon, all surnamed Delim
to the 9ew Bili'id )risons, %untinlupa City, fifteen days from receipt of this decision.
38 8D>>D..
12
"he trial court appreciated treachery as a Hualifyin! circumstance and of ta7in! advanta!e of superior
stren!th, ni!httime and use of unlicensed firearms as separate of a!!ravatin! circumstances in the
commission of the crime. %arlon, onald and &eon, in their appeal 'rief, assail the decision alle!in!
that1
./
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12
Before resolvin! the merits of the case at 'ar, we first resolve the matter of whether the crime char!ed
in the /nformation is murder or 7idnappin!. Durin! the deli'eration, some distin!uished mem'ers of
the Court opined that under the /nformation, %arlon, onald and &eon are char!ed with 7idnappin!
under -rticle 2#* of the evised )enal Code and not with murder in its a!!ravated form in li!ht of the
alle!ation therein that the accused .willfully, unlwfully n! feloniou"ly #$%&%e!', h&e'l!, ho#(tie&!',
##&#e!', with )ie*e of *loth, %$ou#ht out n! %!u*t&e!' +o!e"to Deli, &while' Leon Deli, n!
+nuel Deli, "tye! in the hou"e &n!' #u$!e! n! )$e-ente! the wife n! "on of +o!e"to Deli,
f$o, hel)in# the ltte$.. "hey su'mit that the fore!oin! alle!ation constitutes the act of deprivation of
li'erty of the victim, the !ravamen in the crime of 7idnappin!. "hey contend that the fact that the
/nformation went further to char!e accused with the 7illin! of the victim should 'e of no moment, the
real nature of the criminal char!e 'ein! determined not from the caption or the pream'le of the
/nformation nor from the specification of the law alle!ed to have 'een violated < these 'ein!
conclusions of law < 'ut 'y the actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. "hey further
su'mit that since the prosecution failed to prove motive on the part of %arlon, onald and &eon to 7ill
%odesto, they are not criminally lia'le for the death of the victim 'ut only for 7idnappin! the victim.
/t 'ears stressin! that in determinin! what crime is char!ed in an information, the material inculpatory
facts recited therein descri'in! the crime char!ed in relation to the penal law violated are controllin!.
.he$e the ")e*ifi* intent of the ,lef*to$ i" !ete$,inti-e of the *$i,e *h$#e! "u*h ")e*ifi* intent
,u"t %e lle#e! in the info$,tion n! )$o-e! %y the )$o"e*ution. - decade a!o, this Court held in
/eo)le -0 I"%elo /uno, et l.,
14
that for 7idnappin! to e,ist, there must 'e indu'ita'le proof that the
actual specific intent of the malefactor is to deprive the offended party of his li'erty and not where such
restraint of his freedom of action is merely an incident in the commission of another offense primarily
intended 'y the malefactor. "his Court further held1
., , , 4ence, as early as Unite! Stte" -"0 An*het, and consistently reiterated thereafter, it has
'een held that the detention andEor forci'le ta7in! away of the victims 'y the accused, even for
an apprecia'le period of time 'ut for the primary and ultimate purpose of 7illin! them, holds the
offenders lia'le for ta7in! their lives or such other offenses they committed in relation thereto,
'ut the incidental deprivation of the victims= li'erty does not constitute 7idnappin! or serious
ille!al detention..
1+
/f the primary and ultimate purpose of the accused is to 7ill the victim, the incidental deprivation of the
victim=s li'erty does not constitute the felony of 7idnappin! 'ut is merely a preparatory act to the
7illin!, and hence, is mer!ed into, or a'sor'ed 'y, the 7illin! of the victim.
1#
"he crime committed
would either 'e homicide or murder.
.ht i" )$i,o$!il then i" the ")e*ifi* intent of the ,lef*to$" " !i"*lo"e! in the info$,tion o$
*$i,inl *o,)lint tht i" !ete$,inti-e of wht *$i,e the **u"e! i" *h$#e! with 1 tht of ,u$!e$ o$
ki!n))in#.
)hilippine and -merican penal laws have a common thread on the concept of specific intent as an
essential element of specific intent crimes. 3pecific intent is used to descri'e a state of mind which
e,ists where circumstances indicate that an offender actively desired certain criminal conseHuences or
o'(ectively desired a specific result to follow his act or failure to act.
1*
3pecific intent involves a state
of the mind. /t is the particular purpose or specific intention in doin! the prohi'ited act. 3pecific intent
must 'e alle!ed in the /nformation and proved 'y the state in a prosecution for a crime reHuirin!
specific intent.
1;
Kidnappin! and murder are specific intent crimes.
3pecific intent may 'e proved 'y direct evidence or 'y circumstantial evidence. /t may 'e inferred from
the circumstances of the actions of the accused as esta'lished 'y the evidence on record.
10
3pecific intent is not synonymous with motive. %otive !enerally is referred to as the reason which
prompts the accused to en!a!e in a particular criminal activity. %otive is not an essential element of a
crime and hence the prosecution need not prove the same. -s a !eneral rule, proof of motive for the
commission of the offense char!ed does not show !uilt and a'sence of proof of such motive does not
esta'lish the innocence of accused for the crime char!ed such as murder.
20
"he history of crimes shows
that murders are !enerally committed from motives comparatively trivial.
21
Crime is rarely rational. /n
murder, the specific intent is to 7ill the victim. /n 7idnappin!, the specific intent is to deprive the victim
of hisEher li'erty. /f there is no motive for the crime, the accused cannot 'e convicted for 7idnappin!.
22
/n 7idnappin! for ransom, the motive is ransom. @here accused 7ills the victim to aven!e the death of
a loved one, the motive is reven!e.
/n this case, it is evident on the face of the /nformation that the specific intent of the malefactors in
'ar!in! into the house of %odesto was to 7ill him and that he was seiBed precisely to 7ill him with the
attendant modifyin! circumstances. "he act of the malefactors of a'ductin! %odesto was merely
incidental to their primary purpose of 7illin! him. +o$eo-e$, the$e i" no ")e*ifi* lle#tion in the
info$,tion tht the )$i,$y intent of the ,lef*to$" w" to !e)$i-e +o!e"to of hi" f$ee!o, o$ li%e$ty
n! tht killin# hi, w" ,e$ely in*i!entl to ki!n)pin!.
22
/rrefra!a'ly then, the crime char!ed in the
/nformation is %urder under -rticle 24; of the evised )enal Code and not Kidnappin! under -rticle
2#; thereof.
"he threshold issue that now comes to fore is whether or not the prosecution mustered the reHuisite
Huantum of evidence to prove that %arlon, onald and &eon are !uilty of murder.
/n criminal prosecutions, the prosecution is 'urdened to prove the !uilt of the accused 'eyond cavil of
dou't. "he prosecution must rely on the stren!th of its own evidence and not on the wea7ness of the
evidence of the accused. "he proof a!ainst the accused must survive the test of reasonG the stron!est
suspicion must not 'e permitted to sway (ud!ment.
24
/n the case at 'ar, the prosecution was 'urdened to prove the *o$)u" !eli*ti which consists of two
thin!s1 first, the criminal act and second, defendant=s a!ency in the commission of the act.
2+
@harton
says that *o$)u" !eli*ti includes two thin!s1 first, the o'(ectiveG second, the su'(ective element of
crimes.
2#
/n homicide 5'y dolo6 and in murder cases, the prosecution is 'urdened to prove1 5a6 the death
of the party alle!ed to 'e deadG 5'6 that the death was produced 'y the criminal act of some other than
the deceased and was not the result of accident, natural cause or suicideG and 5c6 that defendant
committed the criminal act or was in some way criminally responsi'le for the act which produced the
death.
2*
"o prove the felony of homicide or murder, there must 'e incontroverti'le evidence, direct or
circumstantial, that the victim was deli'erately 7illed 5with malice6G in other words, that there was
intent to 7ill. 3uch evidence may consist inte$ li in the use of weapons 'y the malefactors, the nature,
location and num'er of wounds sustained 'y the victim and the words uttered 'y the malefactors
'efore, at the time or immediately after the 7illin! of the victim. /f the victim dies 'ecause of a
deli'erate act of the malefactor, intent to 7ill is conclusively presumed.
"he prosecution is 'urdened to prove *o$)u" !eli*ti 'eyond reasona'le dou't either 'y direct evidence
or 'y circumstantial or presumptive evidence.
2;
/n the case at 'ar, the prosecution adduced the reHuisite Huantum of proof of *o$)u" !eli*ti. %odesto
sustained five 5+6 !unshot wounds. 4e also sustained seven 5*6 sta' wounds,
20
defensive in nature. "he
use 'y the malefactors of deadly weapons, more specifically hand!uns and 7nives, in the 7illin! of the
victim as well as the nature, num'er and location of the wounds sustained 'y said victim are evidence
of the intent 'y the malefactors to 7ill the victim with all the conseHuences flowin! therefrom.
20
-s the
3tate 3upreme Court of @isconsin held in Cu))" -0 Stte1
21
."his rule, that every person is presumed to contemplate the ordinary and natural conseHuences
of his own acts, is applied even in capital cases. Because men !enerally act deli'erately and 'y
the determination of their own will, and not from the impulse of 'lind passion, the law presumes
that every man always thus acts, until the contrary appears. "herefore, when one man is found
to have 7illed another, if the circumstances of the homicide do not of themselves show that it
was not intended, 'ut was accidental, it is presumed that the death of the deceased was desi!ned
'y the slayerG and the 'urden of proof is on him to show that it was otherwise..
"he prosecution did not present direct evidence to prove the authors of the 7illin! of %odesto. /t relied
on circumstantial evidence to dischar!e its 'urden of provin! the !uilt of accused-appellants of murder.
Circumstantial evidence consists of proof of collateral facts and circumstances from which the
e,istence of the main fact may 'e inferred accordin! to reason and common e,perience.
22
@hat was
once a rule of account respecta'ility is now entom'ed in 3ection 4, ule 122 of the evised ules of
>vidence which states that circumstantial evidence, sometimes referred to as indirect or presumptive
evidence, is sufficient as anchor for a (ud!ment of conviction if the followin! reHuisites concur1
., , , if 5a6 there is more than one circumstanceG 5'6 the facts from which the inferences are
derived have 'een esta'lishedG and 5c6 the com'ination of all the circumstances is such as to
warrant a findin! of !uilt 'eyond reasona'le dou't..
22
"he prosecution is 'urdened to prove the essential events which constitute a compact mass of
circumstantial evidence, and the proof of each 'ein! confirmed 'y the proof of the other, and all
without e,ception leadin! 'y mutual support to 'ut one conclusion1 the !uilt of accused for the offense
char!ed.
24
Aor circumstantial evidence to 'e sufficient to support a conviction, all the circumstances
must 'e consistent with each other, consistent with the hypothesis that accused is !uilty and at the same
time inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational hypothesis
e,cept that of !uilt.
2+
/f the prosecution adduced the reHuisite circumstantial evidence to prove the !uilt
of accused 'eyond reasona'le dou't, the 'urden of evidence shifts to the accused to controvert the
evidence of the prosecution.
/n the present case, the prosecution mustered the reHuisite Huantum of circumstantial evidence to prove
that accused-appellants, in confa'ulation with their co-accused, conspired to 7ill and did 7ill %odesto1
1. andy Bantas testified that %arlon and onald 'ar!ed into the house of %odesto, each armed with a
hand!un. %arlon po7ed his !un on %odesto while onald ho!-tied %odesto. "hey then seiBed
%odesto and herded him out of his house1
.A/3C-& "8%B8C1 @hat were you doin! then at that time in your houseL
- @e were eatin!, sir.
M :ou said we, who were your companions eatin! then at that timeL
- %y father, my mother and the two children and myself, sir.
M @hile ta7in! your supper that time, do you recall if there was anythin! unusual that
happened at that timeL
- @hen we were a'out to start to eat three armed men entered our house.
M Do you 7now these three armed men who entered your houseL
- :es, sir.
M @ho are they, name them one 'y oneL
- %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim and onald Delim.
M -re these three persons inside the courtroom nowL
- "wo of them, sir.
M @ho are these two who are inside the courtroomL
- %arlon and onald, sir.
M @ill you please stand up and point to themL
- 5@itness is pointin! to a person seated on the 'ench inside the courtroom, who, when his
name was as7ed answered %arlon Delim. &i7ewise, witness is pointin! unto a person seated on
the 'ench inside the courtroom, who, when his name was as7ed he answered onald Delim6.
M :ou said that these two armed persons entered your house, what 7ind of arm were they
carryin! at that timeL
- 3hort hand!un, sir.
M @hen these three armed persons whom you have mentioned, armed with short firearms,
what did they do then when they entered your houseL
- "hey too7 my father, sir.
M @ho too7 your fatherL
- %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim and onald Delim, sir.
M @hen these three persons too7 your father, what did you do thenL
- 9one, sir.
C8$"1 4ow did they !et your fatherL
- "hey po7ed a !un and 'rou!ht him outside the house, sir.
A/3C-& "8%B8C1 @ho po7ed a !unL
- %arlon Delim, sir.
M -!ain, %r. @itness, will you point to the person who po7ed a !unL
- 5@itness is pointin! to %alon 5sic6 Delim, one of the accused6.
M -fter 'rin!in! your father out from your house, what transpired ne,tL
- %anuel Delim and &eon Delim said, =3tay in your house,= and !uarded us.
C8$"1 :ou said your father was ta7en out, whoL
- %arlon, o'ert and onald, sir.
A/3C-& "8%B8C1 @here did these three persons 'rin! your fatherL
- / do not 7now where they 'rou!ht my father, sir.
C8$"1 @as your father ta7en inside your house or outsideL
- /nside our house, sir.
M :ou said that %arlon po7ed a !un at your father, is that correctL
- :es, sir.
M @hat did onald and o'ert do while %arlon was po7in! his !un to your fatherL
- onald and o'ert were the ones who pulled my father out, sir..
2#
andy=s account of the incident was corro'orated 'y his mother, ita, who testified1
.)83>C$"/89 "8%B8C1 :ou said durin! the last hearin! that on January 22, 1000 at
around #120 in the evenin! while preparin! for your supper three 526 armed men entered inside
your house, who were these three 526 men who entered your houseL
- / 7now, %arlon, Bon!'on! and o'ert, sir.
-"":. A&8>9D81 @e (ust ma7e of record that the witness is ta7in! her time to answer, :our
4onor.
)83>C$"8 "8%B8C1 :ou said that %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim and Bon!'on! entered
your house, are these three 526 persons who entered your house in Court nowL
- "hey are here e,cept the other one, sir.
M @ill you please step down and point to the persons who entered your houseL
- @itness is pointin! to %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim is not in Court and Bon!'on! is
onald Delim.
M -fter these three 526 armed men entered your house, what happened thenL
- %y hus'and was 'rou!ht out, sir.
M @hat is the name of your hus'andL
- %odesto Delim, sir..
2*
2. andy said that when %arlon and onald 'ar!ed into their house, &eon, armed with a hand!un,
acted as a loo7out when he stood !uard 'y the door of the house of %odesto and remained thereat until
*100 a.m. of the ne,t day1
.A/3C-& "8%B8C1 @hen your father was pulled out from your house 'y these three persons,
what did you and your mother do while these three persons were ta7in! out of your houseL
- @e did not do anythin! 'ecause %anuel and &eon Delim !uarded us.
C8$"1 @here, in your houseL
- :es, sir.
A/3C-& "8%B8C1 Arom that very time that your father was pulled out 'y these three persons
%arlon, o'ert and onal 5sic6, where were &eon and %anuel thenL
- "hey were at the door, sir.
C8$"1 @hy do you 7now that they were !uardin! youL
- Because they were at the door, sir.
A/3C-& "8%B8C1 @hat was their appearance that time when these two persons were
!uardin! you, these &eon and %anuelL
- "hey were armed, sir.
M @hat do you mean 'y armedL
- "hey have !un, sir.
M @hat 7ind of firearmL
- 3hort firearm, sir.
M By the way, where are these &eon and %anuel now, if you 7nowL
- &eon is here, sir.
M -'out %anuelL
- 9one, sir.
M @ill you please stand up and point at &eon, %r. @itnessL
- 5@itness pointed to a person seated on the 'ench inside the courtroom, who when his
name was as7ed, answered, &eon Delim6..
2;
2. ita and andy were ordered 'y &eon not to leave the house as onald and %arlon left the house
with %odesto in tow. ita and andy were detained in their house up to *100 a.m. of January 24, 1000
to prevent them from see7in! help from their relatives and police authorities.
4. andy li7ewise testified that on January 2*, 1000, at a'out 2100 p.m., the cadaver of %odesto was
found under the thic7 'ushes in a !rassy area in the housin! pro(ect located a'out 200 meters away
from the house of %odesto. "he cadaver e,uded 'ad odor and was already in the state of
decomposition1
.M 3o what did you do then on January 2*, where did you loo7 for your fatherL
- "he same place and at 2100 o=cloc7 ).%., we were a'le to find my father.
C8$"1 @hereL
- -t the housin! pro(ect at )aldit, 3ison, )an!asinan, sir.
A/3C-& "8%B8C1 Do you have companions at that time when you were a'le to loo7 for your
father on January 2*, 1000 at 2100 o=cloc7 ).%.L
- :es, sir.
M @hoL
- %y -unt, sir.
M @hat is the name of your -untL
- 9ida )ucal, sir.
M @ho elseL
- )epito )ucal, Bernard 8sias and Daniel Delim, sir.
C8$"1 @hen you found your father, what was his conditionL
- 4e was dead, sir.
C8$"1 Co ahead.
A/3C-& "8%B8C1 :ou said that he was already dead, what was his appearance then when you
saw him deadL
- 4e has 'ad odor, sir, in the state of decompsition 5"i*6..
20
"he testimony of andy was corro'orated 'y Dr. de CuBman who testified that the cadaver of %odesto
was in a state of decomposition, with tiny white worms crawlin! from his wounds, and that his penis
and scrotum were inflamed. "he victim sustained five !unshot wounds and defensive wounds on the
left arm and forearm1
.)83. "8%B8C1
M @ill you please tell the 4onora'le Court your findin!s, DoctoraL
@/"9>331
- Airst findin!1 $pon seein! the cadaver, this is the position of the 'ody, 'oth upper
e,tremities are fle,ed and 'oth lower e,tremities are fle,ed 5Nkkukot6.
M 4ow many days had already elapsed when you autopsied the cadaver of the victim,
DoctoraL
- Aour 546 days upon the recovery of the 'ody, sir.
M -nd what was your findin!s DoctoraL
- "he 'ody was already under the state of decomposition, sir, with foul odor and there
were so many worms comin! out from the in(uries, there were tiny white worms, sir.
M @hat else did you o'serve DoctoraL
- $pon seein! the cadaver / as7ed the relative to refer it to the 9B/ sir. -ctually the victim
was an i!orot 5"i*6 and they have tradition that they will 'ury immediately. @hether they li7e it
or not / should do it, sir.
M @hat else DoctoraL
- -nd the penis was inflammed 5"i*6, the scrotum was also inflammed 5"i*6, sir.
-nd for the head in(uries there was 10 , 10 ml. C3@ pre-auricular area, ri!htG there was also 20
ml , 20 ml. C3@, mandi'ular area, ri!htG / cannot also determine the e,it.
M 3o there were two 526 !unshot wounds 5C3@6 DoctoraL
- :es sir.
-nd there was also 10 , 10 ml. C3@, ma,illary area, ri!htG there was also 10 , 10 ml. C3@,
'elow middle nose, directed upward 5)8>6G and there was also 20 , 40 ml. C3@, mid parieto-
occipital area 5)8>,6.
M 4ow many all in all are the !unshot woundL
- Aive 5+6 sir.
-nd also there was 2 , 1 cms. &acerated wound, ri!ht chee7G 1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound,
a,illary area, leftG 1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, lateral aspect %E2rd, left armG 1 , 1 cm.
sta''ed wound lateral aspect DE2rd, left armG 1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, medial aspect
%E2rd, left armG 1 , 1 cm. sta''ed wound, medial aspect DE2rd, left armG and F2G 1 , 1
cm. in line with each other, sta''ed wound, medial aspect, %E2rd, left forearm.
M 4ow many sta''ed wound are there DoctoraL
- "here were seven 5*6 sta''ed wounds, sir.
M "hose sta''ed wounds were defensive wounds, DoctoraL
- :es sir..
40
"he state of decomposition of the cadaver, with tiny white worms swarmin! and feastin! on it and the
distention of his scrotum and penis are evidence that the cadaver was in the sta!e of putrefaction and
that the victim had 'een dead for a period ran!in! from three to si, days.
41
-dmittedly, there are
variant factors determinative of the e,act death of the victim. -n eHually persuasive authority states1
.Chronolo!ical 3eHuence of )utrefactive Chan!es 8ccurrin! in "ropical
e!ion1
"ime 3ince
Death
Condition of the Body
4; hours 8va of flies seen. "run7 'loated. Aace discolored and
swollen. Blisters present. %ovin! ma!!ots seen
*2 hours @hole 'ody !rossly swollen and disfi!ured. 4air and nails
loose. "issues soft and discolored..
42
"he lapse of two or three to four days from the seiBure of the victim in the evenin! of January 22, 1000
to the discovery of his cadaver which was already in the state of putrefaction in the afternoon of
January 2*, 1000, a'out 200 meters away from his house, is consistent with and confirmatory of the
contention of the prosecution that the victim was 7illed precisely 'y the very malefactors who seiBed
him on January 22, 1000.
+. @hen police authorities went to the residences of all the malefactors, the latter had flown the coop
and were nowhere to 'e found1
.C8$"1 /n connection with this case, you investi!ated the wife and son of %odesto DelimL
- :es, sir.
M /n the course of the investi!ation did you come to 7now who were the suspectsL
- :es, sir, she ela'orated that the suspects were their nei!h'ors, %arlon Delim and his
'rothers, sir.
M @hat are the names of the 'rothersL
- %anuel Delim, &eon Delim / cannot remem'er the others, sir.
M By reason of that information were you a'le to apprehend any of them for investi!ationL
- 9o, sir.
M @hyL
- Because when we were dispatched 'y the Chief of )olice no Delim 'rothers could 'e
found, they all left the place, sir.
M /n what place did you loo7 for the 'rothers DelimL
- @ithin the vicinity, sir.
M /n what placeL
- Br!y. Bila and the place where the crime was committed in Br!y. Bila and the place
where the cadaver was found in )aldit, sir.
M @here did you loo7 for the Delim 'rothersL
- 9ear'y 'aran!ays, /mmalo!, sir.
M @herelse 5sic6L
- &a'ayo!, 3ison, sir.
M @herelseL
- /n mountainous part of /mmalo!, part of "u'a Ben!uet, sir.
M @hat was the resultL
- 9e!ative result, sir..
42
#. &eon was the nei!h'or of %odesto and ita while %arlon and onald used to !o to the house of
%odesto and ita1
.C8$"1 "hese &eon and %anuel Delim are they 7nown to you prior to that day, January 22,
1000L
- :es, sir, / 7now them.
M @hy do you 7now %anuel and &eon prior to January 22, 1000L
- "hey are my nei!h'ors, sir.
M 4ow a'out %arlon, o'ert and Bon!'on! do you 7now them 'efore January 22, 1000L
- / 7now them, sir.
M @hy do you 7now themL
- "hey used to !o to our house, sir.
M / noticed that %arlon, Bon!'on!, o'ert, %anuel and &eon are all Delims and your
hus'and=s name is %odesto Delim are they related with each otherL
- :es, sir..
44
"he sudden disappearance of %arlon, onald and &eon from their houses in Baran!ay Bila, 3ison is
stron! circumstantial evidence of their !uilt for the death of %odesto. -lthou!h fli!ht after the
commission of an offense does not create a le!al presumption of !uilt, nevertheless, the same is
admissi'le in evidence a!ainst them and if not satisfactorily e,plained in a manner consistent with their
innocence, will tend to show that they, in fact, 7illed %odesto.
4+
/t is true that the prosecution failed to prove motive on the part of the malefactors to a'duct and 7ill
%odesto. /ndeed, andy and ita testified that they were not aware of any misunderstandin! or !rud!e
'etween %odesto on the one hand and %arlon, onald and &eon and their co-accused on the other
'efore the incident, or any motivation on the part of the three malefactors to cause harm to %odesto.
9onetheless, it cannot there'y 'e concluded that a person or persons other than %arlon, onald and
&eon were criminally responsi'le for the death of the victim. /t is a matter of (udicial notice that
nowadays persons have 7illed or committed serious crimes for no reason at all.
4#
/n this case, the
inscruta'le facts are that %arlon and onald, each of whom was armed with a hand!un, forci'ly too7
%odesto from his house at the !unpoint, ho!-tied, put a piece of cloth in his mouth and after onald
and %arlon had left the house with %odesto in tow, ita heard three !unshots or so and the cadaver of
%odesto was found concealed under the 'ushes and already in a state of putrefaction in the afternoon
of January 2*, 1000. %odesto sustained several !unshot wounds and died 'ecause of a !unshot wound
on the head. "he criminal acts and the connection of %arlon, onald and &eon with said acts havin!
'een proved 'y the prosecution 'eyond reasona'le dou't, the act itself furnishes the evidence, that to
its perpetration there was some causes or influences movin! the mind.
4*
"he remar7a'le tapestry
intricately woven 'y the prosecution should not 'e trashed simply 'ecause the malefactors had no
motive to 7ill %odesto.
an!ed a!ainst the evidence of the prosecution, the 'urden of evidence shifted on %arlon, onald and
&eon to re'ut the same and e,plain what happened to the victim after ta7in! him from his house in the
evenin! of January 22, 1000. "hey may have freed the victim shortly after ta7in! him, or the victim
may have 'een a'le to escape and that thereafter a person or some other persons may have 7illed him.
4owever, %arlon, onald and &eon failed to !ive any e,planation. /nstead, they merely denied havin!
seiBed and 7illed the victim and interposed ali'i as their defense.
&eon is eHually !uilty for the death of %odesto 'ecause the evidence on record shows that he conspired
with accused-appellants %arlon and onald and accused o'ert and %anuel in 7illin! the victim.
"here is conspiracy when two or more persons a!ree to commit a felony and decide to commit it.
4;
Conspiracy must 'e proven with the same Huantum of evidence as the felony itself, more specifically
'y proof 'eyond reasona'le dou't. Conspiracy is not presumed. /t may 'e proved 'y direct evidence or
'y circumstantial evidence. Conspiracy is deduci'le from the acts of the malefactors 'efore, durin! and
after the commission of the crime which are indicative of a (oint purpose, concerted action and
concurrence of sentiment.
40
"o esta'lish conspiracy, it is not essential that there 'e proof as to the
e,istence of a previous a!reement to commit a crime.
+0
/t is sufficient if, at the time of the commission
of the crime, the accused had the same purpose and were united in its e,ecution. /f conspiracy is
esta'lished, the act of one is deemed the act of all. /t matters not who amon! the accused actually shot
and 7illed the victim.
+1
"his is 'ased on the theory of a (oint or mutual a!ency ! ho* for the
prosecution of the common plan1
., , , "he acts and declarations of an a!ent, within the scope of his authority, are considered
and treated as the acts and declarations of his principal. =@hat is so done 'y an a!ent, is done 'y
the principal, throu!h him, as his mere instrument.= F$nklin 2nk of 2lti,o$e -0 /enn"yl-ni
D0 3 +0 Ste, N-i#tion Co., 11 C. N J. 2;, 22 51;206. =/f the conspiracy 'e proved to have
e,isted, or rather if evidence 'e !iven to the (ury of its e,istence, the acts of one in furtherance
of the common desi!n are the acts of allG and whatever one does in furtherance of the common
desi!n, he does as the a!ent of the co-conspirators.= R0 -0 O4Connell, + 3t."r. 59.3.6 1, *10..
+2
/n the eyes of the law, conspirators are one man, they 'reathe one 'reath, they spea7 one voice, they
wield one arm and the law says that the acts, words and declaration of each, while in the pursuit of the
common desi!n, are the acts, words and declarations of all.
+2
/n the case at 'ar, %arlon, onald and &eon arrived to!ether in the house of %odesto, each armed with
a hand!un. %arlon and onald 'ar!ed into said house while &eon stood !uard 'y the door thereof.
-fter %arlon and onald had left with %odesto in tow, &eon stood 'y the door and warned andy and
ita not to leave the house. &eon stood !uard 'y the door of the house until *100 a.m. of January 24,
1000 when he left the house. "he overt acts of all the malefactors were so synchroniBed and e,ecuted
with precision evincin! a preconceived plan or desi!n of all the malefactors to achieve a common
purpose, namely the 7illin! of %odesto. /rrefra!a'ly, the tas7s assi!ned to &eon in the commission of
the crime were < 5a6 to act as a loo7outG 5'6 to ensure that ita and andy remain in their house to
prevent them from see7in! assistance from police authorities and their relatives 'efore their mission to
7ill %odesto shall have 'een a fit **o,)li as well as the escape of %arlon and onald.
+4
)atently,
&eon, a loo7out for the !roup, is !uilty of the 7illin! of %odesto.
++
&eon may not have 'een at the "itu"
*$i,ini" when %odesto was 7illed 'y %arlon and onald nevertheless he is a principal 'y direct
participation.
+#
/f part of a crime has 'een committed in one place and part in another, each person
concerned in the commission of either part is lia'le as principal. 9o matter how wide may 'e the
separation of the conspirators, if they are all en!a!ed in a common plan for the e,ecution of a felony
and all ta7e their part in furtherance of the common desi!n, all are lia'le as principals. -ctual presence
is not necessary if there is a direct connection 'etween the actor and the crime.
+*
onald, %arlon and &eon, however, assail the testimonies of andy and ita alle!in! that the same
were marred 'y inconsistencies.
1. andy initially stated that he did not 7now where the assailants 'rou!ht his father. &ater
however, andy claimed that the malefactors proceeded to the direction of )aldit, 3ison,
)an!asinanG
2. ita on the other hand identified &eon, %arlon and onald as those who 'ar!ed into their
house. 3he later chan!ed her testimony and declared that it was o'ert, to!ether with %arlon
and onald who 'ar!ed into the houseG
2. ita li7ewise testified that two men stood outside the house !uardin! them. &ater, she
testified that after the three men 'rou!ht out the victim, the two other accused entered the house
and !uarded them thereG
4. ita claimed that she went out to loo7 for her hus'and the ne,t day, or on January 2+, 1000,
and she was accompanied 'y her son andy. 4owever, andy testified that he was alone when
he loo7ed for his father from January 24 to 2#, 1000.
+;
@e do not a!ree with %arlon, onald and &eon. Case law has it that the findin!s of facts of the trial
court, its cali'ration of the collective testimonies of witnesses and its assessment of the pro'ative
wei!ht thereof and its conclusions culled from its findin!s are accorded 'y the appellate court !reat
respect, if not conclusive effect, 'ecause of its uniHue advanta!e of o'servin! at close ran!e the
demeanor, deportment and conduct of the witnesses as they !ive their testimonies 'efore the court.
/n the present case, the trial court !ave credence and full pro'ative wei!ht to the testimonies of the
witnesses of the prosecution. %oreover, there is no evidence on record that andy and ita were
moved 'y any improper or ill motive in testifyin! a!ainst the malefactors and the other accusedG hence,
their testimonies must 'e !iven full credit and pro'ative wei!ht.
+0
"he inconsistencies in the
testimonies of ita and andy do not render them incredi'le or their testimonies 'arren of pro'ative
wei!ht. /t must 'e 'orne in mind that human memory is not as unerrin! as a photo!raph and a person=s
sense of o'servation is impaired 'y many factors includin! the shoc7in! effect of a crime. - truth-
tellin! witness is not always e,pected to !ive an error-free testimony considerin! the lapse of time and
the treachery of human memory. @hat is primordial is that the mass of testimony (i'es on material
points, the sli!ht clashin! of statements dilute neither the witnesses= credi'ility nor the veracity of his
testimony.
#0
Iariations on the testimony of witnesses on the same side with respect to minor, collateral
or incidental matters do not impair the wei!ht of their united testimony to the prominent facts.
#1
/nconsistencies on minor and trivial matters only serve to stren!then rather than wea7en the credi'ility
of witnesses for they erase the suspicion of rehearsed testimony.
#2
%oreover, the testimony of a witness should 'e construed in its entirety and not in truncated terms and
the true meanin! of answers to isolated Huestions propounded to a witness is to 'e ascertained 'y due
consideration of all the Huestions propounded to the witness and his answers thereto.
#2
andy=s testimony that he did 7now where the malefactors 'rou!ht his father is not inconsistent with
his testimony that onald and %arlon 'rou!ht his father towards the direction of )aldit, 3ison,
)an!asinan. andy may not have 7nown the destination of accused-appellants 'ut he saw the direction
to which they went. @hile it may 'e true that when as7ed to identify the three who 'ar!ed into their
house, ita pointed to &eon as one of them, however, ita had 'een consistent throu!hout her
testimony that those who 'ar!ed into their house were onald and %arlon. &eon=s counsel never cross-
e,amined ita and impeached her testimony on her identification of &eon as one of those who 'ar!ed
into their house to !ive her an opportunity to e,plain her perceived inconsistency conforma'ly with
ule 122, 3ection 12, of the evised ules of >vidence which reads1
.Before a witness can 'e impeached 'y evidence that he has made at other times statements
inconsistent with his present testimony, the statements must 'e related to him, with the
circumstances of the times and places and the persons present, and he must 'e as7ed whether he
made such statements, and if so, allowed to e,plain them. /f the statements 'e in writin! they
must 'e shown to the witness 'efore any Huestion is put to him concernin! them..
#4
4ence, the presentation of the inconsistent statements made 'y ita is insufficient for the desired
impeachment of her.
#+
-s to whether ita and andy were to!ether in loo7in! for %odesto or &eon
merely stood !uard 'y the door of the house or entered the house are inconseHuential. "he fact is that
&eon stood !uard throu!hout the ni!ht to prevent ita and andy from see7in! assistance for the
seiBure and 7illin! of %odesto.
"his Court is convinced, as the trial court was, that the respective testimonies of andy and ita 'ear
the earmar7s of truth and sincerity. Despite intense and !ruelin! cross-e,amination, they responded
with consistency upon material details that could only come from a firsthand 7nowled!e of the
shoc7in! events which unfolded 'efore their eyes. "he Court thus finds no co!ent reason to disre!ard
the findin!s of the trial court re!ardin! their credi'ility.
%arlon, onald and &eon contend that the trial court committed a reversi'le error in not !ivin!
credence and pro'ative wei!ht to their evidence to prove their defense of ali'i. "hey aver that their
collective evidence to prove their defense is stron!.
@e do not a!ree. Case law has it that the defense of ali'i is one of the wea7est of defenses in criminal
prosecution 'ecause the same is easy to concoct 'etween relatives, friends and even those not related to
the offender.
##
/t is hard for the prosecution to disprove. Aor ali'i to merit appro'ation 'y the trial court
and this Court, %arlon, onald and &eon are 'urdened to prove with clear and convincin! evidence
that they were in a place other than the situs criminis at the time of the commission of the crimeG that it
was physically impossi'le for them to have committed the said crime.
#*
"hey failed to dischar!e their
'urden. %oreover, ita and andy positively and spontaneously identified %arlon, onald and &eon as
the culprits. "he house of onald, where he claimed he was when the crime was committed, was only
two 7ilometers away from the house of %odesto and can 'e ne!otiated 'y a tricycle. &eon failed to
adduce any documentary evidence to prove his employment 'y 3ally -suncion. "he 'arefaced fact that
he was a resident of &aoa! City does not constitute proof that he was in &aoa! City on the day of the
commission of the crime. @ith respect to %arlon, he failed to adduce evidence aside from his self-
servin! testimony that he resided in, left Duma!uete City and arrived in %anila on January 20, 1000.
"he trial court convicted %arlon, onald and &eon of murder with the Hualifyin! circumstance of
treachery in the 7illin! of %odesto. "he trial court li7ewise appreciated ni!httime and a'use of superior
stren!th and the use of unlicensed firearms as separate a!!ravatin! circumstances. "he 8ffice of the
3olicitor Ceneral contends that indeed treachery was attendant in the 7illin! of %odesto. 4ence,
%arlon, onald and &eon are !uilty of murder defined in and penaliBed 'y -rticle 24; of the evised
)enal Code.
"he Court however finds that %arlon, onald and &eon are !uilty only of homicide defined in and
penaliBed 'y -rticle 24; of the evised )enal Code.
Mualifyin! circumstances such as treachery and a'use of superior stren!th must 'e alle!ed and proved
clearly and conclusively as the crime itself. %ere con(ectures, suppositions or presumptions are utterly
insufficient and cannot produce the effect of Hualifyin! the crime.
#;
-s this Court held1 .9o matter how
truthful these suppositions or presumptions may seem, they must not and cannot produce the effect of
a!!ravatin! the condition of defendant..
#0
-rticle 14, para!raph 1# of the evised )enal Code provides
that there is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes a!ainst the person, employin!
means, methods or forms in the e,ecution thereof which tend directly and especially to insure its
e,ecution, without ris7 to himself arisin! from the defense which the offended party mi!ht ma7e. Aor
treachery to 'e appreciated as a Hualifyin! circumstance, the prosecution is 'urdened to prove the
followin! elements1 5a6 the employment of means of e,ecution which !ives the person attac7ed no
opportunity to defend himself or retaliateG 5'6 the means of e,ecution is deli'erately or consciously
adopted.
*0
-lthou!h the victim may have 'een defenseless at the time he was seiBed 'ut there is no
evidence as to the particulars of how he was assaulted and 7illed, treachery cannot 'e appreciated
a!ainst the accused.
*1
/n this case, the victim was defenseless when seiBed 'y %arlon and onald.
4owever, the prosecution failed to present any witness or conclusive evidence that %odesto was
defenseless immediately 'efore and when he was attac7ed and 7illed. /t cannot 'e presumed that
althou!h he was defenseless when he was seiBed the victim was in the same situation when he was
attac7ed, shot and sta''ed 'y the malefactors. "o ta7e advanta!e of superior stren!th means to
purposely use force that is out of proportion to the means of defense availa'le to the person attac7ed.
*2
@hat is primordial, this Court held in /eo)le -0 Ro#elio F$n*i"*o
*2
is tht the ""ilnt" !eli%e$tely
took !-nt#e of thei$ *o,%ine! "t$en#th in o$!e$ to *on"u,,te the *$i,e. /t is necessary to show
that the malefactors cooperated in such a way as to secure advanta!e from their superiority in
stren!th.
*4
/n this case, the prosecution failed to adduce evidence that %arlon and onald deli'erately
too7 advanta!e of their numerical superiority when %odesto was 7illed. "he 'arefaced facts that the
malefactors outnum'ered %odesto and were armed while %odesto was not does not constitute proof
that the three too7 advanta!e of their numerical superiority and their hand!uns when %odesto was shot
and sta''ed.
*+
/n sum then, we 'elieve that %arlon, onald and &eon are !uilty only of 4omicide defined in and
penaliBed 'y -rticle 240 of the evised )enal Code with $e*lu"ion te,)o$l in its full period.
-lthou!h the special a!!ravatin! circumstance of the use of unlicensed firearms was proven durin! the
trial, there is no alle!ation in the /nformation that %arlon, onald and &eon had no license to possess
the firearm. &ac7 of license to possess a firearm is an essential element of the crime of violation of )D
1;## as amended 'y epu'lic -ct 9o. ;204, or as a special a!!ravatin! circumstance in the felony of
homicide or murder.
*#
9either can dwellin!, althou!h proven, a!!ravate the crime 'ecause said
circumstance was not alle!ed in the /nformation as reHuired 'y ule 110, 3ection ;, of the evised
ules of Court.
**
-lthou!h this rule too7 effect on Decem'er 1, 2000, after the commission of the
offense in this case, nonetheless it had 'een !iven retroactive effect considerin! that the rule is
favora'le to the accused.
*;
"here 'ein! no modifyin! circumstances in the commission of homicide, %arlon, onald and &eon
should 'e meted an indeterminate penalty, the minimum of which shall 'e ta7en from the entirety of
)$i"ion ,yo$, ran!in! from # years and one day to 12 years and the ma,imum period of which shall
'e ta7en from the medium period of $e*lu"ion te,)o$l, ran!in! from 14 years, ; months and one day
to 1* years and 4 months.
ConseHuently, the award for dama!es in favor of the heirs of the victim should 'e modified. "he sum of
)*+,000.00 awarded as moral dama!es should 'e reduced to )+0,000.00 in accordance with prevailin!
(urisprudence.
*0
"he amount of )2+,000.00 as e,emplary dama!es is in order.
;0
/n addition, civil
indemnity in the amount of )+0,000.00 should 'e awarded without need of proof, li7ewise in
consonance with prevailin! (urisprudence.
;1
/9 &/C4" 8A -&& "4> A8>C8/9C, the decision of the trial court is -AA/%>D with
%8D/A/C-"/89. -ccused-appellants %arlon Delim, onald Delim and &eon Delim are here'y found
!uilty 'eyond reasona'le dou't of the felony of 4omicide defined in and penaliBed 'y -rticle 240 of
the evised )enal Code. "here 'ein! no modifyin! circumstances in the commission of the crime, each
of accused-appellants is here'y meted an indeterminate penalty of from ten 5106 years and one 516 day
of prision mayor in its ma,imum period as minimum to fourteen 5146 years, ei!ht 5;6 months and one
516 day of reclusion temporal in its medium period as ma,imum. -ccused-appellants are here'y
ordered to pay, (ointly and severally, to the heirs of the victim the amount of )+0,000.00 'y way of civil
indemnity, the amount of )+0,000.00 'y way of moral dama!es and the amount of )2+,000.00 'y way
of e,emplary dama!es.
38 8D>>D.
D-i!e, 5$0, C050, 2ello"illo, /uno, +en!o6, /n#ni%n, Qui"u,%in#, C$)io, Au"t$i(+$tine6,
Co$on, C$)io(+o$le" n! A6*un, 550, concur.
7itu#, 50, see separate opinion.
8n$e"(Snti#o, 50, 9oin" the !i""entin# o)inion of 50 Iitu!.
Gutie$$e6, 50, (oins Justice Iitu! in his dissentin! opinion.
S*/ara(* O/#n#on$
0IT!G, J..
Circumstantial evidence has 'een defined as that which relates to a series of facts other than the fact in
issue which, 'y e,perience, are found to 'e so associated with such fact that, in relation of cause and
effect, they lead to a verita'le conclusion. "here should, for circumstantial evidence to warrant a
criminal conviction, 'e a6 more than one circumstanceG '6 proof of the facts from which the inference is
derivedG and c6 a clear showin! that the com'ination of all the circumstances can aptly support a
conviction 'eyond reasona'le dou't.
1
"he use of circumstantial evidence in criminal cases, prompted
'y sheer necessity, has lon! 'een an accepted, practice 'ut with one important caveat < it must 'e used
with utmost care and, when its e,actin! standards are not met, it is correctly i!nored.
8n 04 %ay 1000, the followin! /nformation was filed a!ainst %arlon, &eon, %anuel, o'ert and
onald, all surnamed DelimG -i61
."hat on or a'out January 22, 1000 in the evenin! at Br!y. Bila, 3ison, )an!asinan, and within
the (urisdiction of this 4onora'le Court, the a'ove-named accused armed with short firearms
'ar!ed in and entered the house of %odesto Delim and once inside with intent to kill, treachery,
evident premeditation, conspirin! with one another, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously !ra', hold, ho!-tie, !a! with a piece of cloth, 'rou!ht out and a'duct %odesto
Delim, 5while6 accused &eon and %anuel Delim stayed in the house 5and6 !uarded and
prevented the wife and son of %odesto Delim from helpin! the latter, thereafter with a'use of
superior stren!th sta''ed and 7illed said %odesto Delim, to the dama!e and pre(udice of his
heirs.
.Contrary to -rticle 24;, evised )enal Code, as amended 'y epu'lic -ct 9o. *#+0..
2
"he evidence would show that %odesto Delim was forci'ly a'ducted from his residence 'y appellants,
all armed, on the ni!ht of 22 January 1000. But to say that the same !roup was also responsi'le for his
death, days later, or that his violent end was the conseHuence of the a'duction, and nothin! more,
would 'e to unduly put to ris7 our standard of moral certainty reHuired for all convictions.
/t was appro,imately si,-thirty on the evenin! of 22 January 1000. "hree armed men suddenly 'ar!ed
into the house of %odesto Delim in Br!y. Bila, 3ison, )an!asinan. %odesto, who was then a'out to
ta7e his supper with his wife ita %analo Bantas, his teen-a!e son andy %analo Bantas, and his two
!randchildren, was suddenly seiBed 'y the intruders. andy identified the malefactors to 'e their
nei!h'ors < %arlon, o'ert, and onald, all surnamed Delim. @ithout any word, the trio went
strai!ht for %odesto. andy saw %arlon po7e a !un at his father while onald and o'ert held 'ac7
his arms and 'rou!ht him outside the house. "wo more armed cohorts, namely, %anuel and &eon, 'oth
also surnamed Delim, stood !uard 'y the door. 9o words were uttered to interrupt the heavy silence
e,cept when one of the two men told the stunned family mem'ers to stay where they were. -ll throu!h
the ni!ht, 'oth %anuel and &eon Delim 7ept watch outside the door and only left at around seven
o=cloc7 in the mornin! of the ne,t day.
3oon after %anuel Delim and &eon Delim had left, andy immediately sou!ht the help of his $ncle
Darwin 9i?o who forthwith told him to 'rin! the matter to the authorities. But it was only two days
later that, in the company of his $ncle %elchor, andy finally reported the incident to the police. /n the
meantime, the distressed son scoured the vicinity of )aldit, )an!asinan, to loo7 for his father. 4e was
nowhere to 'e found. Days passed. "hen, one day, he stum'led upon the decomposin! 'ody of his
father at a thic7 !rassy portion of a housin! pro(ect in )aldit, 3ison, )an!asinan, some 200 meters from
their house. Dr. %a. Ae &a!may de CuBman, who conducted the autopsy, found the corpse riddled with
five fatal !unshot wounds, seven sta' wounds and several .defensive. wounds.
"he victim=s survivin! spouse ita %analo Bantas and son andy %analo Bantas could not understand
why anyone would want %odesto 7illed. "he family was completely unaware of any possi'le motive
for the na''in! and 7illin! of %odesto Delim or of any 'ad 'lood 'etween %odesto and the five
indictees.
8n 14 January 2000, the e!ional "rial Court of $rdaneta City, Branch 4#, re(ectin! the defense of
li%i, convicted onald, %arlon, and &eon for murderG it held1
.@4>>A8>, (ud!ment of conviction 'eyond reasona'le dou't is here'y rendered a!ainst
onald Delim, %arlon Delim and &eon Delim 5for6 the commission of -!!ravated %urder, an
offense defined and penaliBed under -rticle 24; of the evised )enal Code, as amended 'y
.-. *#+0 and the Court sentences %arlon Delim, onald Delim and &eon Delim to suffer the
penalty of death, to 'e implemented in the manner as provided for 'y lawG the Court li7ewise
ordered the accused, (ointly and solidarily, to indemnify the heirs of %odesto Delim the sum of
)*+,000.00 as moral dama!es, plus the amount of )2+,000.00 as e,emplary dama!es..
2
/n assailin! the findin! of !uilt 'eyond reasona'le dou't 'y the court :uo, appellants stress on what
they claim to 'e inconsistencies in the testimony of andy %analo Bantas and that of ita %analo
Bantas. / a!ree with my collea!ues that the trial court has not erred in re!ardin! the so-called
inconsistencies as 'ein! minor and trivial that hardly can affect the credi'ility of the witnesses. "he
narration !iven 'y andy %analo Bantas and ita %analo Bantas at the witness stand, identifyin! each
of the appellants and detailin! their individual participation in the incident, could not have 'een more
spontaneous and strai!htforwardG thus <
Te"ti,ony of Rn!y +nlo 2nt"
.M @hile ta7in! your supper that time, do you recall if there was anythin! unusual that
happened at that timeL
.- @hen we were a'out to start to eat, three armed men entered our house.
.M Do you 7now these three armed men who entered your houseL
.- :es, sir.
.M @ho were they, name them one 'y one.
.- %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim and onald Delim.
.M -re these three persons inside the courtroom nowL
.- "wo of them, sir.
.M @ho are these two who are inside the courtroomL
.- %arlon and onald, sir.
,,, ,,, ,,,
.M :ou said that these two armed persons entered your houseG what 7ind of arms were they
carryin! at that timeL
.- 3hort hand!uns, sir.
.M @hen these three armed persons whom you have mentioned, armed with short firearms,
what did they do when they entered your houseL
.- "hey too7 my father, sir.
.M @ho too7 your fatherL
.- %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim and onald Delim, sir.
.M @hen these three persons too7 your father, what did you do thenL
.- 9one, sir.
.C8$"1
4ow did they !et your fatherL
.- "hey po7ed a !un and 'rou!ht him outside the house, sir.
.A/3C-& "8%B8C1
@ho po7ed a !unL
.- %arlon Delim, sir.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.M -fter 'rin!in! your father out from your house, what transpired ne,tL
.- %anuel Delim and &eon Delim said, =3tay in your house,= and !uarded us.
.C8$"1
:ou said your father was ta7en out, whoL
.- %arlon, o'ert and onald, sir.
.A/3C-& "8%B8C1
@here did these three persons 'rin! your fatherL
.- / do not 7now where they 'rou!ht my father, sir.
.C8$"1
@as your father ta7en inside your house or outsideL
.- /nside our house, sir.
.M :ou said that %arlon po7ed a !un at your father, is that correctL
.- :es, sir.
.M @hat did onald and o'ert do while %arlon was po7in! his !un at your fatherL
.- onald and o'ert were the ones who pulled my father out, sir.
.A/3C-& "8%B8C1
@hen your father was pulled out from your house 'y these three persons, what did you
and your mother do while these three persons were ta7in! your father out of your houseL
.- @e did not do anythin! 'ecause %anuel and &eon Delim !uarded us.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.A/3C-& "8%B8C1
@hat was their appearance that time when these two persons were !uardin! you, these
&eon and %anuelL
.- "hey were armed, sir.
.M @hat do you mean 'y armedL
.- "hey have OaP !un, sir.
.M @hat 7ind of firearmL
.- 3hort firearm, sir.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.A/3C-& "8%B8C1
:ou said that you were !uarded 'y &eon and %anuel, how lon! did these two persons
!uard you in your houseL
.- $p to the mornin!, sir.
.M :ou 7now what timeL
.- :es, sir, Oseven o=cloc7P.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.M @hen Oseven o=cloc7P arrived, you said that they !uarded you up to Oseven o=cloc7P,
what did these two, &eon and %anuel, do thenL
.- "hey left, sir.
.M Do you 7now where they wentL
.- 9o, sir..
4
Te"ti,ony of Rit +nlo 2nt"
.)83>C$"8 "8%B8C
:ou said durin! the last hearin! that on January 22, 1000 at around #120 in the evenin!
while preparin! for your supper three 526 armed men entered inside your house, who
were these three 526 men who entered your houseL
.- / 7now, %arlon, Bon!'on! and o'ert, sir.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.)83>C$"8 "8%B8C
:ou said that %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim and Bon!'on! entered your house, are these
three 526 persons who entered your house in Court nowL
.- "hey are here e,cept the other one, sir.
.M @ill you please step down and point to the persons who entered your houseL
.- @itness is pointin! to %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim is not in Court and Bon!'on! is
onald Delim.
.M -fter these three 526 armed men entered your house, what happened thenL
.- %y hus'and was 'rou!ht out, sir.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.)83>C$"8 "8%B8C
@ho 'rou!ht your hus'and out of your house on January 22, 1000 at #120 in the
evenin!L
.- %arion Delim, Bon!'on! and o'ert Delim, sir.
.M "hen after %arlon Delim, Bon!'on! and o'ert Delim 'rou!ht your hus'and out what
transpired ne,tL
.- "he two 526 stayed at the door of our house to !uard us, sir.
.M @ho were these two 526 persons who !uarded youL
.- &eon and %anuel, sir.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.C8$"
:ou said the two 526 &eon and %anuel stayed at the door !uardin! you, is that correctLQ
.- :es, sir.
.M @hat made you say that you are !uarded 'y themL
.- Because they have !uns with them, sir.
.)83>C$"8 "8%B8C
Do you 7now what 7ind of firearm were they holdin!L
.- / don=t 7now, sir.
.M But you can descri'e whether lon! or short firearmL
.- 3hort firearms, sir.
.M @hat did you do then when these two 526 armed persons !uarded you in your houseL
.- @e did not do anythin! 'ecause we were afraid, sir.
.C8$"
"hese &eon and %anuel Delim are they 7nown to you prior to that day, January 22,
1000L
.- :es, sir, / 7now them.
.M @hy do you 7now %anuel and &eon prior to January 22, 1000L
.- "hey are my nei!h'ors, sir.
.M 4ow a'out %arlon, o'ert and Bon!'on! do you 7now them 'efore January 22, 1000L
.- / 7now them, sir.
.M @hy do you 7now themL
.- "hey used to !o to our house, sir.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.M :ou said that &eon and %anuel Delim !uarded the door of your house, how lon! did
they stay thereL
.- "he whole ni!ht up to OsevenP o=cloc7 the followin! mornin! when they left the house,
sir.
.M :ou said they left, do you 7now where they proceededL
.- / don=t 7now where they OwentP, sir.
.M 4ow a'out you, what did you do then when the two persons left your houseL
.- / stayed at home 'ecause / OwasP afraid, sir.
.C8$"
@hen the 2 persons 'rou!ht your hus'and out did %odesto Delim !o with them
voluntarilyL
.- 9o, sir.
.M @hy do you say OthatP he did not !o voluntarilyL
.- Because they held his hand and 'rou!ht him outside, sir.
.)83>C$"8 "8%B8C
:ou said they held the hand of your hus'and, will you please demonstrate how he was
'rou!ht outsideL
.- "hey held the 2 hands placed at the 'ac7 and they 'rou!ht outside my hus'and, sir.
.M @ho amon! the 2 men held the hands of your hus'andL
.- %arlon, Bon!'on! and o'ert, 3ir.
.C8$"
Did your hus'and resist when they held the handL
.- 4e did not resist, 3ir..
+
Between the positive identification made 'y the eyewitnesses and the 'are denial of appellants, there is
scarcely any serious dou't 'ut that decisive wei!ht must 'e !iven to the positive testimony of andy
%analo Bantas and ita %analo Bantas.
#
"he defense of ali'i, 'ein! one that can easily 'e fa'ricated,
is inherently wea7 and cannot 'e e,pected to withstand the positive identification made 'y credi'le
witnesses.
andy %analo Bantas, who was in the house when the five intruders entered their a'ode and too7 his
father away, could not have 'een mista7en in identifyin! the malefactors who not only were nei!h'ors
'ut also had family ties with them as well. -ccordin! to andy and ita %analo Bantas, it was
appellant &eon Delim, to!ether with %anuel Delim 5at lar!e6, who stood !uard at their house after the
others, appellant %arlon Delim, o'ert Delim 5at lar!e6 and appellant onald Delim, too7 %odesto
away on the early evenin! of 22 January 1000. &eon and %anuel stayed well into the ni!ht and left
only at seven o=cloc7 in the mornin! of the ne,t day. "he certificate of residency issued 'y the 'aran!ay
captain of 3alet, &aoa! City, only confirmed that &eon Delim was a co-resident of the 'aran!ay 'ut it
did not esta'lish with any de!ree of certainty that &eon Delim had not left &aoa! City on the day of the
incident. -ppellant onald Delim, in his case, said that he was home at -san 9orte with his family
when the a'duction and the 'rutal slayin! of %odesto Delim occurred. onald himself confirmed,
however, that -san 9orte was a mere ten-minute 'icycle ride from the victim=s house at )aldit,
)an!asinan. Ali%i, to 'e 'elieved, must invaria'ly place the accused at such location as to render it
physically impossi'le for him to 'e at the place of the crime and, let alone, to commit the same. "he
claim, upon the other hand, of appellant %arlon Delim that he was at Duma!uete City durin! the
fateful day of 22 to 24 January 1000 remained to 'e (ust a 'are assertionG it was not corro'orated even
'y his sister in Duma!uete whom, he said, he wor7ed for.
"he evidence would indeed point out that %arlon, onald and o'ert seiBed %odesto Delim from his
house while &eon and %anuel stood !uard and stayed at the door of the victim=s house. Rn!y +nlo
2nt" n! Rit +nlo 2nt", howe-e$, *oul! only te"tify on the )$ti*i)tion of e*h of the
,lef*to$" in the %!u*tion of +o!e"to Deli, %ut not on wht ,i#ht h-e h))ene! to hi, the$efte$0
In $$i-in# t it" -e$!i*t *on-i*tin# ))ellnt" fo$ ;##$-te! ,u$!e$,; the t$il *ou$t *on"i!e$e! the
*t of the **u"e! of fo$*i%ly tkin# +o!e"to Deli, f$o, hi" hou"e " %ein# likewi"e enou#h to
"u%"tntite the killin# %y the, of the -i*ti,0 The *on*lu"ion *oul! $i#htly %e ""ile!0 The **ount" of
Rn!y n! hi" ,othe$ Rit woul! in!i*te tht the fo$*i%le tkin# of +o!e"to w" *$$ie! out in
%"olute "ilen*e, with not one of the fi-e int$u!e$" utte$in# ny wo$! whi*h *oul! #i-e *lue on the
$e"on fo$ the %!u*tion n!, ,o$e )$ti*ul$ly, whethe$ the ",e w" *$$ie! out fo$ the )u$)o"e of
killin# +o!e"to0 The two witne""e" we$e unw$e of ny e<i"tin# #$u!#e %etween the ,lef*to$" n!
the -i*ti, tht *oul! h-e )$o,)te! the, to -iolently "nuff out the life of the ltte$0 .hile the ,oti-e of
n **u"e! in *$i,inl *"e ,i#ht #ene$lly %e i,,te$il, not %ein# n ele,ent of the *$i,e, ,oti-e
*oul! %e i,)o$tnt n! *on"e:uentil when the e-i!en*e on the *o,,i""ion of the *$i,e woul! %e
"ho$t of ,o$l *e$tinty.
*
/n sustainin! the conclusion of the trial court that the five **u"e! also snuffed out the life of %odesto
Delim, the )onen*i relied on circumstantial evidence testified to 'y andy Bantas. 4e recounted that,
on the early evenin! of 22 January 1000, %arlon and onald 'ar!ed into the house of %odesto, each
armed with a hand!un. %arlon po7ed his !un on %odesto while onald ho!-tied %odesto. "hey then
seiBed %odesto and herded him out of the house. &eon, armed with a hand!un, acted as a loo7out 'y
standin! !uard 'y the door of the house of %odesto until seven o=cloc7 in the mornin! of the ne,t day.
ita and andy were ordered 'y &eon not to leave the house as onald and %arlon left the house with
%odesto in tow. 8n the afternoon of 2* January 1000, the cadaver of %odesto was found under the
thic7 'ushes in a !rassy area in the housin! pro(ect located a'out 200 meters away from the house of
%odesto, e,udin! 'ad odor and in a state of decomposition.
"he a'ove recitals all point to only one esta'lished fact, i0e., that the accused forci'ly too7 %odesto
Delim from his residence to an un7nown destination on the ni!ht of 22 January 1000, would 'e scanty
to support a conclusion that the five, aside from a'ductin! the victim, li7ewise 7illed him. "here was an
une,plained !ap in what ou!ht to have 'een a continuous chain of events. "he 'ody 'ore several
defensive wounds, which could !ive rise to the not too unli7ely scenario that %odesto mi!ht have
ultimately 'een released 'y his a'ductors sometime 'efore he was 7illed.
eco!niBin! that circumstantial evidence is as stron! as the wea7est lin7, this Court is 'ound not to
i!nore all other possi'ilities.
;
/t would seem to me that what has instead . 'een shown and esta'lished
'eyond reasona'le dou't is the !uilt of appellants for the crime of 7idnappin! and serious ille!al
detention, the wherea'outs of the victim < the immediate conseHuence of the a'duction < for .more
than three days. from the time of his a'duction not havin! 'een accounted for. "he alle!ation in the
/nformation that the accused .willfully, unlwfully n! feloniou"ly #$%&%e!', h&e'l!, ho#(tie&!',
##&#e!', with )ie*e of *loth, %$ou#ht out n! %!u*t&e!' +o!e"to Deli, &while' Leon Deli, n!
+nuel Deli, "tye! in the hou"e &n!' #u$!e! n! )$e-ente! the wife n! "on of +o!e"to Deli,
f$o, hel)in# the ltte$,. constitutes the act of deprivation of li'erty and the !ravamen in the crime of
7idnappin!. -rticle 2#* of the evised )enal Code, as amended 'y epu'lic -ct 9o. *#+0, provides1
.-rticle 2#* =i!n))in# n! "e$iou" ille#l !etention0 -ny private individual who shall 7idnap
or detain another, or in any manner deprive him of his li'erty, shall suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua to death1
.1 /f the 7idnappin! or detention shall have lasted more than three days.
.2 /f it shall have 'een committed simulatin! pu'lic authority.
.2 /f any serious physical in(uries shall have 'een inflicted upon the person 7idnapped or
detainedG or if threats to 7ill him shall have 'een made.
.4 /f the person 7idnapped or detained shall 'e a minor, e,cept when the accused is any of the
parents, a female or a pu'lic officer.
."he penalty shall 'e death where the 7idnappin! or detention was committed for the purpose of
e,tortin! ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances
a'ovementioned were present in the commission of the offense.
.@hen the victim is 7illed or dies as a conseHuence of the detention or is raped, or is su'(ected
to torture or dehumaniBin! acts, the ma,imum penalty shall 'e imposed..
"he fact that the /nformation went further to char!e the accused with the 7illin! of the victim should 'e
of no moment, the real nature of the criminal char!e 'ein! determined not from the caption or the
pream'le of the /nformation nor from the specification of the law alle!ed to have 'een violated <
these 'ein! conclusions of law < 'ut 'y the actual recital of facts in the complaint or information.
0
/n metin! upon appellants the supreme penalty of death, the trial court has appreciated five a!!ravatin!
circumstances of treachery, a'use of superior stren!th, ni!httime, dwellin!, and use of unlicensed
firearms. "he /nformation specifies treachery, a'use of superior stren!th and evident premeditation as
'ein! the a!!ravatin! circumstances in the commission of the crime. "reachery and superior stren!th,
however, only pertain to crimes a!ainst persons. "he crime of 7idnappin!, fallin! as it does within the
classification of crimes a!ainst li'erty, is a!!ravated neither 'y treachery nor superior stren!th. "he
a!!ravatin! circumstance of evident premeditation can 'e appreciated when it is shown that the culprits
have previously reflected on the crime, or that they have prepared appropriate means to e,ecute it,
coolly ta7in! into account its conseHuences. "he evidence is deficient in this respect. "he a!!ravatin!
circumstances of ni!httime, dwellin! and use of unlicensed firearms, not havin! 'een alle!ed in the
/nformation, cannot 'e considered. "he evised ules of Criminal )rocedure, rendered effective on 01
Decem'er 2000,
10
reHuires a!!ravatin! circumstances, whether ordinary or Hualifyin!, to 'e specified
in the complaint or information.
"he crime of 7idnappin! is punisha'le 'y $e*lu"ion )e$)etu to death. "here 'ein! neither a!!ravatin!
nor miti!atin! circumstance that can 'e appreciated, the punishment that should 'e imposed is the
lesser penalty of $e*lu"ion )e$)etu than the penalty of death.
11
9ow, on the civil aspect of the case. "he law places a'undant protective shields in order to ensure that
no man shall 'e made to account for a crime he mi!ht not have committed or 'e ad(ud!ed !uilty and
meted a punishment without him havin! first 'een afforded a full opportunity to defend his cause.
"hus, a conviction is pronounced only u)on )$oof %eyon! $e"on%le !ou%t, preceded 'y an
$$i#n,ent where he pleads on the 'asis of a complaint or information that specifies the !ravamen of
the offense and the circumstances that are said to a!!ravate it and then the trial where evidence is
adduced 'y the parties. Aor purposes of the civil lia'ility, as well as its e,tent, civil law principles,
however, are applied, and dama!es mi!ht 'e accorded to the a!!rieved party upon a ,e$e
)$e)on!e$n*e of e-i!en*e. "here is, / 'elieve, enou!h (ustification, al'eit inadeHuate for purposes of a
criminal conviction, to hold appellants responsi'le and civilly lia'le for the death of %odesto Delim
whose 'ody was found riddled with 'ullets a few days after 'ein! forci'ly a'ducted 'y appellants.
Consonantly, appellants should 'e held lia'le, (ointly and severally, for civil indemnity of )+0,000.00
for the death of the victim, moral dama!es in an eHual amount for the mental an!uish suffered 'y his
heirs and )2+,000.00 e,emplary dama!es 'ecause of the attendance of a!!ravatin! circumstances that
were esta'lished al'eit not allowed to 'e considered in metin! out the sentence for the crime. "hus, in
/eo)le -"0 Ctu%i#,
12
the Court has said1
."he term =a!!ravatin! circumstances= used 'y the Civil Code, the law not havin! specified
otherwise, is to 'e understood in its 'road or !eneric sense. "he commission of an offense has a
two-pron!ed effect, one on the pu'lic as it 'reaches the social order and the other upon the
private victim as it causes personal sufferin!s, each of which is addressed 'y, respectively, the
prescription of heavier punishment for the accused and 'y an award of additional dama!es to
the victim. "he increase of the penalty or a shift to a !raver felony underscores the e,acer'ation
of the offense 'y the attendance of a!!ravatin! circumstances, whether ordinary or Hualifyin!,
in its commission. $nli7e the criminal lia'ility which is 'asically a 3tate concern, the award of
dama!es, however, is li7ewise, if not primarily, intended for the offended party who suffers
there'y. /t would ma7e little sense for an award of e,emplary dama!es to 'e due the private
offended party when the a!!ravatin! circumstance is ordinary 'ut to 'e withheld when it is
Hualifyin!. @ithal, the ordinary or Hualifyin! nature of an a!!ravatin! circumstance is a
distinction that should only 'e of conseHuence to the criminal, rather than to the civil, lia'ility
of the offender. /n fine, relative to the civil aspect of the case, an a!!ravatin! circumstance,
whether ordinary or Hualifyin!, should entitle the offended party to an award of e,emplary
dama!es within the un'ridled meanin! of -rticle 2220 of the Civil Code.
.elevantly, the evised ules on Criminal )rocedure, made effective on 01 Decem'er 2000,
reHuires a!!ravatin! circumstances, whether ordinary or Hualifyin!, to 'e stated in the
complaint or information.
.,,, ,,, ,,,
.- court would thus 'e precluded from considerin! in its (ud!ment the attendance of =Hualifyin!
or a!!ravatin! circumstances= if the complaint or information is 'ereft of any alle!ation on the
presence of such circumstances.
."he retroactive application of procedural rules, nevertheless, cannot adversely affect the ri!hts
of the private offended party that have 'ecome vested prior to the effectivity of said rules. "hus,
in the case at 'ar, althou!h relationship has not 'een alle!ed in the information, the offense
havin! 'een committed, however, prior to the effectivity of the new rules, the civil lia'ility
already incurred 'y appellant remains unaffected there'y..
@4>>A8>, / vote for the modification of the decision of the e!ional "rial Court, Branch 4#, of
$rdaneta City 'y instead holdin! appellants onald Delim, %arlon Delim and &eon Delim !uilty
'eyond reasona'le dou't of the crime of Kidnappin! and 3erious /lle!al Detention, defined and
penaliBed 'y -rticle 2#* of the evised )enal Code, and imposin! on each of them the penalty of
$e*lu"ion )e$)etu, as well as 'y orderin! said appellants to pay, (ointly and severally, the heirs of
%odesto Delim the amounts of )+0,000.00 civil indemnity, )+0,000.00 moral dama!es and )2+,000.00
e,emplary dama!es, with costs !e offi*io.
Foo(no(*$