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G.R. No. 177768

July 27, 2009
SAM!"TO, #$% JOE& 'AFRA y RE&ES, Appellants.
FACTS( On November 21, 2000, around 6:30 oclock
in the evenin, !aricel "#erme$o% &as tendin the
store o' the victim, !ariano (onstantino in )aon
*ilanan, +ue,on (it-. *uddenl-, three .3/ armed
men entered the store and demanded mone-. 0hen
!aricel did not accede to the demand, one o' the
armed men later identi'ied as appellant Nelson 1anda
kicked her in the le &hile his other companion,
appellant 2oe- 3a'ra ot mone- 'rom the cash
reister. 0hen the store o&ner, !ariano (onstantino,
&ent inside the store and shouted, the third
companion, appellant (harmen Olivo poked a un at
him. !ariano ran to&ards the back o' the house but
appellant Olivo nevertheless chased him. 4herea'ter,
!aricel heard successive shots and sa& appellants
1anda and 3a'ra oin out o' the store &hile the
bloodied bod- o' !ariano &as l-in at the stair&a- o'
the house. 4he victim &as taken to the hospital &here
he died upon arrival.
4&o da-s a'ter the incident *#O2 2oseph 1ino
received an in'ormation 'rom the )atasan #olice
*tation that the- have three .3/ suspects 'or dru
violations and illeal possession o' 'irearms. 5e
borro&ed the suspects 'or identi'ication b- !aricel.
0hen presented to her, she identi'ied them as the
men &ho staed a hold up and shot the deceased.
On Auust 27, 2007, the 84( rendered a decision
convictin accused9appellants o' the crime o' robber-
&ith homicide. 4he dispositive portion o' the decision
Accused9appellants Olivo and 1anda appealed to the
(ourt o' Appeals.
:n a 1ecision dated November 30, 2006, the (ourt o'
Appeals a''irmed in toto the 84(s decision.
ISS"E( 0ON an accused &ho has not per'ected an
appeal should be included in a decision o' ac;uittal on
appeal b- the other co9accused. .<=*/
HEL( :n vie& o' the 'oreoin, ac;uittal o' the
accused9appellants is in order.
5e One 'inal note. 4he other accused, 2oe- 3a'ra,
&ho is identicall- circumstanced as the other
appellants and &ho &as like&ise convicted on the
same evidence, does not appear to have per'ected an
appeal 'rom the trial courts $udment. 4he record
does not sho& the reason there'or.
)e that as it ma-, the present rule is that an appeal
taken b- one or more several accused shall not a''ect
those &ho did not appeal, e>cept inso'ar as the
$udment o' the appellate court is 'avorable and
applicable to the latter.
Our pronouncements here
&ith respect to the insu''icienc- o' the prosecution
evidence to convict appellants be-ond reasonable
doubt are de'initel- 'avorable and applicable to
accused 2oe- 3a'ra. should not there'ore be treated
as the odd man out and should bene'it 'rom the
ac;uittal o' his co9accused.
OTHERS( 0ON lo&er court has committed @A1 in
convictin accused. .-es9 insu''icienc- o'' evidence/
A'ter revie&, &e 'ind that the accused9appellants
should be ac;uitted.
4he &ell9entrenched rule is that 'indins o' the trial
court a''irmed b- the appellate court are accorded
hih respect, i' not conclusive e''ect, b- this
(ourt, absent clear and convincin evidence that the
tribunals inored, misconstrued or misapplied 'acts
and circumstances o' substances such that, i'
considered, the same &ill &arrant the modi'ication or
reversal o' the outcome o' the case.
:n this case, the material 'act and circumstance that
the lone alleed e-e&itness, !aricel #erme$o, &as
not able to identi'- the accused9appellants as the
perpetrators o' the crime, varies the outcome o' this
Apparentl-, the accused9appellants &ere arrested
&ithout a &arrant durin a bu-9bust operation on
November 27, 2000,
trans'erred to (amp Aarinal
under dubious circumstances, and made to stand in a
police line9up and identi'ied b- an e-e&itness &ho
'ailed to identi'- them three times. 4hese
circumstances &ere inored b- the trial court &ho
ave too much credence on the positive identi'ication
o' the accused9appellants b- the same e-e&itness
durin direct e>amination.
0e cannot convict appellants 'or the special comple>
crime o' robber- &ith homicide &hen the evidence
relied upon b- the trial court is plainl- erroneous and
inade;uate to prove appellants uilt be-ond
reasonable doubt. (onviction must rest on nothin
less than moral certaint-, &hether it proceeds 'rom
direct or circumstantial evidence.