You are on page 1of 49

Art 18 Accomplices

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 34386 February 7, 1991
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
LUDOVICO C. DOCTOLERO alias "ECOY," CONRADO C. DOCTOLERO alias "CONDRING," and
VIRGILIO C. DOCTOLERO alias "VERGEL," accused-appellants.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Hermogenes S. Decano for accused-appellants.

REGALADO, J.:p
Accused-appellants Ludovico Doctolero and his brothers, Conrado and Virgilio Doctolero,
charged with and convicted in the then Court of First Instance, Branch II, Pangasinan, of the
crime of multiple murder and unspecified physical injuries, appealed from the decision of the
court a quo the decretal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the court finds the accused Ludovico
Doctolero guilty as principal, and his co-accused Conrado Doctolero and Virgilio
Doctolero guilty as accomplices, in committing the crime of Murder, which caused
the death of Epifania Escosio, Lolita de Guzman Oviedo and Marcelo Doctolero,
and in inflicting physical injury on the minor child, Jonathan Oviedo. Accordingly,
in the absence of other circumstances to mitigate the penalty, the accused
Ludovico Doctolero is sentenced to suffer the penalty of three (3) LIFE
IMPRISONMENTS (CADENA PERPETUA) for the deaths of Epifania Escosio, Lolita
de Guzman Oviedo and Marcelo Doctolero, and the additional penalty of 4
Months and 1 Day to 6 Months of arresto mayor, for inflicting slight physical
injury to (sic) the minor child, Jonathan Oviedo. The accused Conrado Doctolero
and Virgilio Doctolero, as accomplices, are sentenced to suffer the penalty of 10
years and 1 Day of prision mayor to 17 Years and 4 months of reclusion temporal,
for the death of Epifania Escosio; the penalty of 10 Years and 1 Day of prision
mayor to 17 Years and 4 Months of reclusion temporal, for the death of Lolita de
Guzman Oviedo: the penalty of 10 Years and 1 Day of prision mayor to 17 Years
and 4 Months ofreclusion temporal, for the death of Marcelo Doctolero; and the
additional penalty of 2 Months and 1 Day to 4 Months of arresto mayor for the
slight physical injury suffered by the minor child, Jonathan Oviedo. All accused
Ludovico, Conrado and Virgilio all surnamed Doctolero, are ordered to indemnify
the heirs of the deceased Epifania Escosio, in the sum of P12,000.00; the heirs of
the deceased Lolita de Guzman Oviedo, in the sum of P12,000.00; and the heirs of
the deceased Marcelo Doctolero, in the sum of P12,000.00; and to pay three-
fourths (3/4) of the costs. The accused Antonio Doctolero is acquitted, with one-
fourth (1/4) cost de oficio.
1

The information filed against appellants alleges that the crime was committed as follows:
That on or about the 8th day of November, 1970, in barrio Binday, municipality of
San Fabian, province of Pangasinan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, armed with bolos, went up the house
of Marcial Sagun and once thereat, conspiring together and mutually aiding one
another, with intent to kill and with evident premeditation and treachery, with
abuse of superior strength and with extreme cruelty, did, then and there, wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, hack, stab and strike Lolita de Guzman
Oviedo, Epifania Escosio and Jonathan Oviedo and immediately thereafter, the
same accused while already on the road, conspiring together and mutually aiding
one another, with intent to kill and with evident premeditation and treachery,
attack, assault, hack and stab Marcelo Doctolero, thereby inflicting upon him
multiple mortal wounds which caused his death.
2

Upon arraignment, all the appellants pleaded not guilty to the crimes charged. In its decision,
the trial court made the following findings and a summary of the evidence for the prosecution
thus:
It is undisputed that on the evening of November 8, 1970, Epifania Escosio and
Lolita de Guzman were killed in the house of Marcial Sagun in Sitio Binday,
municipality of San Fabian, province of Pangasinan, where they were living.
Jonathan Oviedo, 1 1/2 year old child of Lolita de Guzman, was on the same
occasion, slightly injured while being fed on the breast of his mother. On the road,
a few meters from the house of Marcial Sagun, Marcelo Doctolero, 81 years old,
was fatally injured. He was taken to the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital but he
died on the way. . . .
The evidence for the prosecution tend to show that the three (3) accused,
Ludovico, Conrado and Virgilio, all surnamed Doctolero, were responsible for the
death(s) of Epifania Escosio and Lolita de Guzman, and in inflicting physical
injuries to (sic) Jonathan Oviedo. And immediately thereafter, with their father
and co-accused, Antonio Doctolero, they hacked Marcelo Doctolero, with their
bolos which caused the death of the latter.
The principal witnesses for the prosecution are: Marcial Sagun, his wife Maria
Sagun, and Paciencia Sagun-Diamoy. According to Marcial Sagun, at about 6:30 in
the evening on November 8, 1970, he and his wife, Maria Oviedo-Sagun and Lolita
de Guzman-Oviedo (sister-in-law of Maria Oviedo-Sagun) were on their way home
to Barrio Binday. They came from the field where they bundled their harvests.
Upon reaching a crossing of the road in Bo. Binday they met the accused Ludovico
Doctolero who, without warning and without cause or reason, held the left
shoulder of Marcial Sagun with his left hand and struck Marcial Sagun with a bolo.
The latter evaded that blow and wrestled with Ludovico Doctolero for possession
of the bolo of the latter. Lolita de Guzman-Oviedo became frightened when
Ludovico Doctolero and Marcial Sagun were wrestling for the possession of the
bolo of the former, so she ran away in the direction of the house in Sitio Binday.
Paciencia Sagun-Diamoy (sister of Marcial Sagun) testified that while she was
cleaning palay in the yard of her uncle, the deceased Marcelo Doctolero, she saw
the accused, Ludovico. Conrado and Virgilio (all surnamed Doctolero) throw
stones at the house of Marcial Sagun. While throwing stones, Ludovico allegedly
shouted for the man in the house to come out. Paciencia Sagun-Diamoy went
towards the house of Marcial Sagun and saw the three accused, Ludovico,
Conrado and Virgilio, coming down from the house going towards her. She told
them: "Why can't you be patient and forget?" But she was asked not to interfere.
At about that time, Marcelo Doctolero, half-brother of Antonio Doctolero, and
uncle of the three accused was going towards the house of Marcial Sagun, when
he met the three accused, Ludovico, Conrado and Virgilio. Marcelo Doctolero told
them why they can't be patient and forget, but the three accused replied "Vulva
of your mother, we will also kill you." Then they struck Marcelo Doctolero several
times with their bolos. And when their father Antonio Doctolero arrived, he also
struck Marcelo Doctolero with a bolo on the head. Marcelo Doctolero fell and
then all the accused ran away.
The testimony of Paciencia Sagun-Diamoy is sought to be corroborated by the
testimony of Maria Oviedo-Sagun (wife of Marcial Sagun) who declared that while
she was in the house of Marcelo Doctolero, to whom she reported the incident
between Ludovico Doctolero and Marcial Sagun, she saw the three accused
Ludovico, Conrado and Virgilio throwing stones at their house and called to all the
men in the house to come out. She was about to go to their house to get her
children but she saw the three accused Ludovico, Conrado and Virgilio going up.
So she hid behind the palm tree, a few meters away from their house. While
there, she heard Epifania Escosio (her adopted mother) shouting at her, saying
"Enieng, your children." Then she saw the three accused coming down from the
house, going towards the road where they met Marcelo Doctolero whom they
also boloed several times until he fell. When Antonio Doctolero arrived, he also
struck Marcelo Doctolero with a bolo. Then they all left.
3

On the other hand, appellants present the following version:
On November 8, 1970, at about 6:00 o'clock in the evening, Ludovico Doctolero
met at the crossing of Bo. Banana and Binday road, San Fabian, Pangasinan.
Marcial Sagun, who was with his wife, Maria Oviedo, Antonio Oviedo and the
latter's wife, Lolita de Guzman. Antonio Oviedo is the brother-in-law of Marcial
Sagun, he being the brother of Maria Oviedo. (tsn, p. 7 hearing, February 17,
1971-Somera). Marcial Sagun and company were on their way home. (p. 8, Ibid).
Ludovico greeted Marcial Sagun: "Where have you been cousin." (p. 8, ibid) He
noticed, however, Antonio Oviedo holding his bolo on his waist. So, he asked his
cousin Marcial Sagun why Antonio Oviedo was like that. The latter unsheathed his
bolo and boloed Ludovico with a downward swing. He parried the bolo with his
left hand (p. 9, ibid), but he was hurt in the process (p. 10, ibid).
At that juncture, Marcial Sagun unsheathed his bolo and Ludovico Doctolero also
unsheathed his bolo. They watched each other's step (p. 10, ibid) with the two
women, Lolita de Guzman and Maria Oviedo, hitting the back of Ludovico with a
wood (sic). The latter ignored them, as his eyes were towards Marcial Sagun and
his brother-in-law, Antonio Oviedo (p. 11, ibid).
Realizing that he could not afford to fight both Marcial Sagun and Antonio Oviedo,
Ludovico tried to escape by boloing Maria Oviedo, whom he hit at the back. He
retreated and then run (sic) away, with Marcial Sagun and Antonio Oviedo
throwing stones at him. (p. 12, ibid).
Ludovico went to the house of his father, Antonio Doctolero. The latter was
eating his meal, together with his small children upstairs, while accused-
appellant, Conrado Doctolero was in the kitchen downstairs also eating his meal,
when Ludovico arrived (p. 13, ibid; p. 4, hearing June 8, 1971-Salazar).
He told his father that he was wounded and asked him to look after his children
as he might meet something bad that night. He did not enter the house anymore:
he was only until the door. Then he ran away. His father asked him what
happened, but he did not answer anymore. (p. 14, ibid, p. 4, Salazar).
He ran towards his house, taking a short cut by passing through the house of his
cousins, Juanito and Cresencia Doctolero. As he came near his house, he saw the
house of Marcial Sagun, who was also his immediate neighbor. His blood boiled.
He went to Marcial's house calling him to get down. When Marcial did not get
down, he peeped and noticed that Marcial Sagun was not there. So he went
upstairs to ask Epifania Escosio, who told him that Marcial Sagun went towards
the South. He was about to leave when the old woman hit him at the back of his
neck, causing him to see darkness and (he) boloed her several times (p. 13-19,
tsn, hearing, February 17, 1971).
Ludovico went downstairs to look for Marcial Sagun. He stayed a while at the
trunk of the buri tree, thinking that he might be ambushed. Here, he did not
notice anyone coming from the south or the east. So he tried to move, but as he
did so, he noticed someone approaching him coming from the yard of Marcelo
Doctolero. As it was dark he did not recognize the man and thinking that it was
Marcial Sagun, he met him. It turned out however, that the man was Marcelo
Doctolero. So he returned the bolo he was holding in its scabbard. He asked
Marcelo Doctolero where Marcial Sagun was, but Marcelo Doctolero answered
him, "because of your foolishness" and hit him on the shoulder, but in the process
of evading the blow, Ludovico Doctolero was hit at the back. As Marcelo
Doctolero tried to hit him for a second time he took a side step and took hold of
the stick and pulled it away, causing Marcelo Doctolero to fall on his knees. He
was able to get the club, but Marcelo Doctolero unsheathed Ms bolo. When the
latter insisted on unsheathing his bolo, Ludovico Doctolero boloed him many
times. (pp. 19-26, ibid).
4

The police were then informed of the brutal murders as well as the injury caused to the child.
A doctor and a photographer went to the scene of the crime and pictures were then taken.
5

Quoting from the findings of the Rural Health Officer of San Fabian, the court below
established that
. . . nine (9) wounds were inflicted on the body of Marcelo Doctolero, namely:
xxx xxx xxx
(1) Incised wound, 5 inches from the upper border of the left ear to the side of
the forehead. There is fracture of the underlying skull.
(2) Incised wound 6 inches in length 1 1/2 inches above the 1st wound with
fracture of the underlying skull.
(3) Incised wound 4 inches in length 1/2 inch above the 2nd wound with fracture
of the underlying skull.
(4) Incised wound 6 inches in length from the upper border of the left eyebrow to
the right eyebrow. There is also fracture of the underlying skull.
(5) Incised wound 3 1/2 inches in length 1 1/2 from the angle of the month
towards the lower border of the right ear. The lower lobe of the ear is detached.
(6) The lower third of the left small finger is almost cut off.
(7) Incised wound at the median portion of the left hand. There is a severance
from the level of the middle finger.
(8) Incised wound 1 1/2 inches long at the median portion and distal 3rd of the
forearm, left.
(9) Incised wound 1 1/2 inches long above the 8th wound.
xxx xxx xxx
One wound was inflicted on the body of Lolita de Guzman, namely, "stab wound
around 3 cms. long and 4 inches in depth at the 2nd intercostal space just at the
left border of the sternal bone." (Exh. C). And nine (9) wounds were inflicted on
the body of Epifania, namely:
xxx xxx xxx
(1) Stab wound around 4 cms. in length and around 5 inches deep penetrating the
sternal bone at the level of the 2nd intercostal space.
(2) Incised wound 3 inches in length just skin deep at the level of the right
clavicular region.
(3) Incised wound 2 inches in length also skin deep one inch below the second
wound.
(4) Chopping wound 3 inches in circumference with fracture of the underlying
skull at the right frontal portion of the head.
(5) Incised wound around one inch length at the left frontal portion of the head.
(6) Incised wound 3 inches long just at the level of the shoulder joint, exposing the
bony portion, left.
(7) Incised wound one inch long 1/2 inch below the sixth wound.
(8) Incised wound one inch long 4 inches below the seventh wound.
(9) Incised wound around 3 inches in length at the base and lateral portion of the
hand right. There was fracture of some of the underlying bones.
6

Regarding the wounds inflicted upon Jonathan Oviedo, the resident physician at the
Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, Dr. Rodolfo Ramirez, explained the same as follows: "Stab
wound, thru and thru, about 1 1/2 inches on the lateral aspect of the dischartered forearm,
right. Then, there was another about 1 inch of the middle aspect of the right forearm. There
was also an incised wound, about 1/2 inch, temporal right." He further testified that the child
was admitted to the hospital on November 8, 1970 and was discharged completely healed
fifteen (15) days later.
7

During the pendency of the present petition and on motion of appellant Ludovico Doctolero,
on May 17, 1976 the Court resolved to grant the withdrawal of his appeal
8
and entry of
judgment with regard to said accused was made on the same day.
9
In a resolution dated June
28, 1988, the Court noted the manifestation of counsel for accused-appellants, dated May 9,
1988, stating that Virgilio Doctolero died on October 22, 1983 as per death certificate attached
thereto as Annex "A".
10
Hence, this review is only with respect to the liability of appellant
Conrado Doctolero.
The trial court correctly found that appellant Conrado Doctolero participated as an accomplice
in the commission of the crimes charged. In his defense, appellant denies having participated
in the commission thereof and raises the effete defense of alibi, contending that he was not at
the place where the crimes were committed. Appellant's pretension, however, was not
corroborated by any evidence other than the testimony of the other erstwhile appellants.
While the testimony of a co-conspirator or an accomplice is admissible, such testimony comes
from a polluted source and must be scrutinized with great caution as it is subject to travel
suspicion.
11
This uncorroborated denial of his participation cannot overthrow the positive and
categorical testimony of the principal witnesses of the prosecution, and between the positive
declarations of the prosecution Witness and the negative statements of the accused, the
former deserves more credence.
12

There is no showing that the witnesses had any motive to testify falsely against appellants. The
only imputed grudge that Paciencia Sagun-Diamoy may have had against appellants occurred
years ago and she was, at the time she testified, on good terms with appellants as shown by
the following testimony of Ludovico Doctolero himself:
Q And even before Paciencia Sagun Diamoy testified as one of the
prosecution witness (sic) your relationship with her was harmonious
and rather very closed (sic) being your cousin?
A Yes, sir.
Q As a matter of fact, whenever she goes to San Fabian to visit her
relatives she did not fail to see you in your house?
A Yes, sir sometimes she slept in my house.
13

As to Maria Sagun, we agree with the court a quo when it held that "Maria Sagun (wife of
Marcial Sagun) pointed to the three accused. Ludovico, Conrado and Virgilio, all surnamed
Doctolero, as the persons who went up her house that night of November 8, 1970. While
Maria Sagun may have a grudge against the accused Ludovico Doctolero by reason of that
previous incident at the crossing yet, no reason or motive is shown why Maria Sagun should
also implicate Conrado and Virgilio Doctolero in the commission of the crime."
14

When there is nothing in the records which would show a motive or reason on the part of the
witnesses to falsely implicate the accused, identification should be given full credit.
15
And
when there is no evidence and nothing to indicate that the principal witness for the
prosecution was moved by improper motives, the presumption is that he was not so moved,
and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit.
16

In an attempt to disprove the findings of the trial court, appellant points to certain
inconsistencies that allegedly render the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses incredible.
These inconsistencies, however, are not so substantial as to destroy their credibility. As
correctly explained by the People, the seeming contradictions and minor inconsistencies in the
testimonies of the prosecution witness pointed out by the appellants in their brief are mere
inconsequential variations on the part of each observer in relating his own observation of the
same incident. Contradictions and inconsistencies of witnesses in regard to the details of an
incident far from demonstrating falsehood constitute evidence of good faith. Not all persons
who witness an incident are impressed by it in the same manner and it is but natural that said
eyewitnesses should disagree on minor details.
17

In fact, inconsistences and contradictions in the testimony of the prosecution witnesses which
refer to minor details cannot destroy the credibility of the prosecution witnesses.
18
And where
the prosecution witnesses were able to positively identify the appellants as the authors of the
crime and the testimonies were, on the whole, consistent oil material points, the
contradictions become insignificant.
19

Nor can appellant successfully assail the testimony of Sgt. Delfin Ronquillo who conducted the
investigation himself and personally examined the scenes of the multiple killings. Credence is
accorded to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses who are law enforcers for it is presumed
that they have regularly performed their duties in the absence of convincing proof to the
contrary. Appellants have not shown that this prosecution witness was motivated by an
improper motive other than that of accomplishing his mission.
20

Sgt. Ronquillo established that the reports which were received at the police department of
San Fabian, Pangasinan shortly after the crimes were committed were to the effect that the
Doctoleros were involved. He further testified that when he immediately proceeded to the
scene of the crime and investigated Paciencia Sagun-Diamoy she told him that the accused
Doctoleros came with bolos from the house of Marcial Sagun.
21
In fine, Sgt. Ronquillo merely
testified objectively on the results of his investigation and the weight to be accorded to his
findings was properly addressed to the trial court.
The lower court held that Conrado Doctolero and his brother, Virgilio, participated as
accomplices in the slaying of the women and the infliction of injuries on the child. We agree
with its findings and the ratiocination of the Solicitor General with its evidentiary
substantiation:
Now, there is no question that while the three appellants were still stoning and
hurling challenges at the house of Marcial Sagun, they must have already heard
the two women thereat protesting what they were doing and shouting back at
them (pp. 39-41, 97, 119, tsn. Jan. 13, 1971: pp. 144-146, tsn., Jan. 14, 1971),
after which all the three appellants went up the house. Under these facts, it is
impossible that both appellants Virgilio Doctolero and Conrado Doctolero did not
know or were not aware when their brother Ludovico was brutally killing the two
women Lolita de Guzman-Oviedo and Epifania Escosio and wounding the child
Jonathan Oviedo inside the room of said house. Furthermore, from the nature,
number, and locations of the many wounds sustained by the two women and
child (Exhs. A, C, D, and D-1), it could not have been possible for Ludovico's two
brothers Virgilio and Conrado (assuming that they did not go inside the house)
not to hear either the screams of pain of their brother's victims or the contact
between the blade of his bolo and their bodies when their brother Ludovico was
ruthlessly hacking them several times. . . . Under these circumstances, it is
obvious that appellants Conrado Doctolero and Virgilio themselves knew what
was going on inside the room of the house at the time, but they just stood by and
did nothing to stop their brother Ludovico Doctolero from brutally hacking his
women victims to death. It is, therefore, reasonable to believe that the two
appellants, Conrado and Virgilio, merely stood by as their brother Ludovico
Doctolero was murdering the two deceased women, ready to lend assistance.
Indeed, there is no question that the presence of these two appellants upstairs in
the house of Marcial Sagun gave their brother Ludovico Doctolero the
encouragement and reliance to proceed as he did proceed, in committing the
heinous crimes against two defenseless women and a child.
22

We have held that where one goes with the principals, and in staying outside of the house
while the others went inside to rob and kill the victim, the former effectively supplied the
criminals with material and moral aid, making him guilty as an accomplice.
23

Appellants contend that the murders occurred as a consequence of a sudden thought or
impulse, thus negating a common criminal design in their minds. This pretension must be
rejected since one can be an accomplice even if he did not know of the actual crime intended
by the principal provided he was aware that it was an illicit act.
24
This is a doctrine that dates
back to the ruling in U.S. vs. De Jesus
25
that where the accomplices therein consented to help
in the commission of forcible abduction, they were responsible for the resulting homicide even
if the purpose of the principal to commit homicide was unknown to the accomplices.
Whatever doubt the court a quo entertained on the criminal responsibility of appellants
Conrado and Virgilio Doctolero did not refer to whether or not they were liable but only with
regard to the extent of their participation. There being ample evidence of their criminal
participation, but a doubt exists on the nature of their liability, the courts should favor the
milder form of liability or responsibility which is that of being mere accomplices,
26
no evidence
of conspiracy among the appellants having been shown.
The court below, however, erred in the penalty imposed for the physical injuries inflicted on
Jonathan Oviedo. The child required medical attention for fifteen (15) days, hence the liability
of appellants therefor is for less serious physical injuries punished with arresto mayor under
Article 265 of the Revised Penal Code. There being no modifying circumstances, a penalty of
twenty (20) days of arresto menor should be imposed for said offense on appellant Conrado
Doctolero as an accomplice.
The death of appellant Virgilio Doctolero during the pendency of this appeal terminated only
his criminal liability but not his civil liability.
27
Also, while the death indemnity has been
increased to P50,000.00 under current case law, the same should not apply to Ludovico
Doctolero, he having heretofore withdrawn his appeal and the judgment rendered by the trial
court having long since become final and executory with respect to him.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is MODIFIED and judgment is hereby rendered
IMPOSING on appellant Conrado Doctolero three (3) indeterminate sentences of ten (10) years
of prision mayor to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal each for
the death of Epifania Escosio, Lolita de Guzman Oviedo and Marcelo Doctolero, and a penalty
of twenty (20) days of arresto menor for the less serious physical injuries inflicted on Jonathan
Oviedo. Appellant Conrado Doctolero and the estate of Virgilio Doctolero are ORDERED to
indemnify, in the sum of P50,000.00 for each set or group of heirs, the respective heirs of
Epifania Escosio, Lolita de Guzman Oviedo and Marcelo Doctolero, and to pay one-half (1/2) of
the costs.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 115182. April 6, 2000]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RESTITUTO ROCHE y NICANOR,
MARCELINO FALLORE y NICANOR, FRANCISCO GREGORIO y MONCADA and DORICO
CABALLES y NICANOR, accused. francis
RESTITUTO ROCHE, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J.:
This is an appeal from a decision
[1]
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 120, Kaloocan City,
finding accused-appellant Restituto Roche guilty of murder and sentencing him to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the victim, Roderick Ferol, in the
amount of P50,000.00.
The facts are as follows:
On June 4, 1992, an information for murder was filed against accused-appellant Restituto
Roche and three others, namely, Marcelino Fallore, Francisco Gregorio, and one John Doe. The
information, filed in the Regional Trial Court of Kaloocan City, alleged -
That on or about the 31st day of May 1992 in Kalookan City, Metro Manila and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused
conspiring together and mutually helping one another, with deliberate intent to
kill, with treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, and being armed, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack and stab one RODERICK
FEROL Y TUDIC @ DIKDIK with bladed weapons on different parts of his body,
thereby inflicting upon the latter serious physical injuries, which injuries caused
the victims death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
[2]

When arraigned on June 18, 1992, all of the accused, with the exception of John Doe, pleaded
"not guilty" to the crime charged, whereupon they were tried. The prosecution presented Dr.
Dario L. Gajardo, Helen Amarille,
[3]
Rodel Ferol, PO3 Orlando Valencia, Rosalinda Ferol, and
Rogelio Rossel whose testimonies and documentary evidence showed that, at around 5 oclock
in the afternoon of May 31, 1992, Roderick and Rodel Ferol were having drinks with a friend
named Bobot inside the Ferol compound at Block 4, Lot 40, Bagong Silang, Kaloocan City.
Without any warning, accused-appellant Restituto Roche and Francisco Gregorio barged into
the compound. Francisco tried to hit Rodel Ferol with an empty beer bottle marked "Beer
Grande" but failed because his common-law wife, Helen Amarille, pulled him away on
time.
[4]
Roderick Ferol was not as lucky as his brother. Roderick was stabbed on the back with
an ice pick by accused-appellant. Roderick ran towards the house of his friend Bobot
[5]
but,
outside the compound, Dorico Caballes caught up with him. Roderick fell to the ground and
was repeatedly stabbed with a knife by Dorico. Rogelio Rossel tried to stop Dorico but he was
chased by the latter. A brother of the victim, Jon-Jon, threw bottles at Dorico, forcing the
latter to run away, and leave his victim behind. Roderick was then taken to his house by
Rogelio and Jon-Jon.
[6]
But at the time, Roderick was already dead.
[7]
marie
Helen Amarille sought assistance from the police station in Bagong Silang.
[8]
She led PO3
Orlando Valencia, PO3 Celerino Vertez, PO3 Jose Marle, and PO2 Gil Torres, all of the Kaloocan
City Police Station, to the scene of the crime, but as the victim was no longer there, they
proceeded to Roches residence. Helen pointed to accused-appellant, Marcelino Fallore and
Francisco Gregorio as the assailants of Roderick Ferol. The suspects were taken to the Bagong
Silang Police Station for investigation.
[9]

Dr. Dario L. Gajardo, Medico-Legal Officer of the PNP Laboratory Service Station, conducted an
autopsy on the body of Roderick Ferol. His findings were embodied in Medico-Legal Report
No. M-0899-92
[10]
which, in pertinent parts, reads:
. . .
SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
Cadaver of Roderick T. Ferol, about 21 years old, student, 165 cm in height and a
resident of Phase 5, Pkg 4, Blk G Lot 2, Bagong Silang, Kalookan City.
PURPOSE OF LABORATORY EXAMINATION:
. . . To determine the cause of death.
FINDINGS:
Fairly developed, fairly nourished male cadaver in rigor mortis with postmortem
lividity over the dependent portions of the body. Conjunctivae and lips are pale.
Nailbeds are cyanotic.
HEAD, TRUNK AND UPPER EXTREMITIES:
(1) Stab wound, left maxillary region, measuring 3 by 0.8 cm, 10 cm from
the anterior midline, 4 cm deep, directed downwards, anteriorwards and
medialwards, fracturing the left maxilla.
(2) Stab wound, left shoulder, measuring 2 by 0.6 cm, 21 cm from the
anterior midline, 4 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and
medialwards.
(3) Stab wound, chest, measuring 5.5 by 2 cm, 2 cm right of the anterior
midline, 5 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and lateralwards,
fracturing the sternum at the level of the 2nd thoracic rib, lacerating the upper
lobe of the right lung.
(4) Abrasion, right shoulder, measuring 1.5 by 1 cm, 12 cm from the
anterior midline.
(5) Linear abrasion, right infraclavicular region, measuring 2 by 0.5 cm, 12
cm from the anterior midline.
(6) Stab wound, chest, measuring 2 by 1 cm, 1.5 cm right of the anterior
midline, 4 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and lateralwards,
fracturing the 5th right thoracic rib, lacerating the middle lobe of the right
lung. novero
(7) Stab wound, left lumbar region, measuring 2 by 1 cm, 12 cm. from the
posterior midline, 3 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and
medialwards, passing thru the 9th left intercostal space, lacerating the lower lobe
of the left lung.
(8) Stab wound, left lumbar region, measuring 2.8 by .8 cm, 12 cm from
the posterior midline, directed downwards, medialwards and anteriorwards.
(9) Stab wound, left costal region, measuring 1 by 2.5 cm, 2 cm from the
anterior midline, 5 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and
medialwards, lacerating the left lobe of the liver.
(10) Abrasion, right cubital fossa, measuring 3 by 2 cm, 2 cm medial to its
anterior midline.
(11) Grace abrasion, middle 3rd of the right forearm, measuring 7 by 7 cm, along
its anterior midline.
(12) Incised wound, distal 3rd of the right forearm, measuring 4 by 0.5 cm, along
its anterior midline.
(13) Incised wound, proximal 3rd of the left forearm, measuring 8.5 to 0.3 cm, 2
cm lateral to its anterior midline.
(14) Incised wound, distal 3rd of the left forearm, measuring 2 by 0.2 cm, 3.5 cm
lateral to its anterior midline.
(15) Abrasion, distal 3rd of the left forearm, measuring 3.5 by 0.7 cm, 2 cm
medial to its posterior midline.
There are 1,500 cc of blood and blood clots accumulated in the thoracic and
abdominal cavities.
Stomach is full of dinuguan.
xxx xxx xxx
C O N C L U S I O N :
Cause of death is cardio-respiratory arrest due to shock and hemorrhage
secondary to stab wounds in the head and trunk.
. . .
EXAMINED BY: (signed)
DARIO L. GAJARDO
Superintendent MS (PNP) nigel
Medico-Legal Officer &
Chief
The defense presented as witnesses accused-appellant, Francisco Gregorio, Marcelino Fallore,
and Leticia Costo whose testimonies are as follows:
At about 10:00 oclock in the morning of May 31, 1992, accused-appellants son was baptized
in a church with Francisco Gregorio as godfather. After the baptism, at around 12:00 oclock,
as the party was on its way to accused-appellants residence, accused-appellant noticed
Roderick and Rodel Ferol having drinks inside their compound.
After reaching his residence, accused-appellant went out to buy two cases of beer from a
nearby store. On his way back to his house, he was stopped by Roderick and Rodel Ferol.
Roderick tripped him, so he fell to the ground. As Roderick drew a knife, accused-appellant did
not fight him, rather, he ran home. After learning what had happened, some of the guests,
among whom were Francisco Gregorio, Marcelino Fallore, and Dorico Caballes tried to help
him, but they were initially prevented from going out of the house by the women. However,
Dorico Caballes and the other guests were later able to get out of the house. Dorico Caballes,
with knife in his hand, went after Roderick Ferol. Francisco Gregorio followed Dorico, holding
in his hand a beer bottle marked "Grande."
At past 5:00 oclock in the afternoon, policemen, accompanied by Helen Amarille, arrived at
the house of accused-appellant. On the information of Amarille, the police arrested Francisco
Gregorio, Marcelino Fallore, and accused-appellant.
[11]
Dorico Caballes escaped and has
remained at large.
[12]

On the basis of the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defense, the trial court
rendered a decision on December 21, 1993 the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds that the prosecution evidence has established
beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of accused Restituto Roche for the crime of
murder but could not make a pronouncement as to the guilt of accused Dorico
Caballes because he remained at large and therefore could not be arraigned.
The Court hereby sentences accused Restituto Roche to suffer a penalty of
reclusion perpetua in accordance with Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code,
there being no aggravating and mitigating circumstance, and to indemnify the
heirs the sum of P50,000.00.
Finding that the prosecution evidence failed to establish the guilt of accused
Francisco Gregorio and Marcelino Fallore, both accused are hereby ACQUITTED.
SO ORDERED.
[13]

Hence this appeal. Accused-appellant contends: ella
1. The finding of guilt against the accused-appellant is contrary to the
evidence;
2. The trial court erred in failing to consider in favor of the accused-appellant
the testimony and/or affidavit of prosecution witness Rogelio Rossel and other
facts in the case at bar;
3. For clear lack or absence of conspiracy among the accused, the accused-
appellant herein should have been acquitted.
[14]

First. Accused-appellant contends that he could not have stabbed the victim with an ice pick,
considering the nature and extent of the injuries suffered by the latter. He questions the
credibility of witnesses Helen Amarille and Rodel Ferol, both of whom stated they saw
accused-appellant barge into the Ferol compound and stab Roderick Ferol at the back with an
ice pick.
To be sure, Helen Amarilles testimony is, by itself, clear, categorical and consistent. She
testified that in the afternoon of May 31, 1992, she was in the kitchen doing the laundry while
her common-law husband, Rodel Ferol, was having drinks with Roderick Ferol and a friend
named Bobot when all of a sudden accused-appellant and Francisco Gregorio came.
Immediately, accused-appellant started stabbing Roderick Ferol on his left side with an ice
pick. On the other hand, Francisco Gregorio tried to attack Rodel with a beer bottle marked
"Grande," but she was able to pull him away. Marcelino Fallore also tried to attack Rodel Ferol
with a stainless knife but she intervened and stop Marcelino from harming Rodel. Angered by
her intervention, Marcelino threw a stone at her. Rodel then ran away. Roderick also ran but
Dorico Caballes was able to catch up with him. Accused-appellant and Francisco Gregorio
followed. She ran to the police station in Bagong Silang for help.
[15]

We note, however, that Helen Amarilles testimony detailed the events leading to Roderick
Ferols death with such thoroughness it raises the suspicion that it had been rehearsed. "A
witness whose testimony is perfect in all aspects, without a flaw and remembering even the
minutest details which jibe beautifully with one another, lays herself open to suspicion of
having been [coached] or having memorized statements earlier rehearsed. . ."
[16]

Amarilles testimony sounds so perfect that instead of inspiring belief, it becomes suspect. It
differs so substantially from the testimony of her common-law husband Rodel Ferol, who also
claims to have been present during the incident, that its credibility is placed in doubt. In
contrast to Amarilles version, Rodel Ferol testified:
Q: At about 5:00 p.m., on May 31, 1992, do you remember where you were?
A: I was in our house, sir.
Q: Who was with you at your house on said date?
A: My brother Roderick, sir. marinella
Q: What were you doing at that time?
A: We have a drinking spree in front of our house, sir.
Q: Aside from your brother Rodel and you, were there other persons who were
drinking with you at that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Who were these other person who were with you at that time?
A: The friend of my brother, sir.
Q: What is the name?
A: Bobot, sir.
Q: Aside from Bobot, are there other persons with you?
A: No more, sir.
Q: Do you remember any unusual incident that happened at about 5:00 oclock
of May 31, 1992 while you and your brother were having a drinking spree?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What was that unusual incident that you are referring to?
A: When Restituto Roche entered our compound, sir.
Q: You mentioned the name of Restituto Roche, how many persons were there
who entered your compound with Restituto Roche?
A: Three (3) sir.
Q: Do you know who are these three (3) other persons?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Who are these three (3) other persons?
A: Restituto, Marcelino and Francisco, sir.
Q: What happened when these three (3) persons entered your compound at
about 5:30 in the afternoon on said date?
A: They suddenly stabbed my brother, Restituto stabbed my brother, sir.
Q: With what instrument was your brother stabbed by this Restituto Roche?
A: Ice pick, sir. alonzo
Q: On what part of the body of your brother was he hit by this instrument?
A: At the back, sir.
Q: How many times was your brother Roderick Ferol stabbed by Restituto?
A: Two (2) times, sir.
Q: You mentioned that he was stabbed at the back portion near your left side,
where was the other stab made?
A: Also at the back portion but I cannot be sure [where] exactly, sir.
Q: When Restituto Roche stabbed your brother at the back, what was these
Mario [or Marcelino Fallore] and Afran [or Francisco Gregorio] doing at that time?
A: Mario boxed me while Afran was holding a bottle, sir while standing, sir.
Q: What kind of bottle was Afran holding at that time?
A: A bottle of Grande, sir.
Q: You mentioned that you were boxed by Mario, where were you hit?
A: At my nose, sir.
Q: Now what was Restituto Roche saying at that time he was stabbing Roderick
[Ferol] at that time, if any?
A: He was not saying anything because I already fell down [when] I was boxed,
sir.
Q: How about this Mario, what was he saying at that time this incident was
[occurring]?
A: He is not saying anything, sir.
Q: How about this Afran, was he saying anything at that time?
A: None, sir.
Court :
This Mario refers to Marcelino?
A: Yes, [Your] Honor.
Court :
And Afran refers to Francisco Gregorio?
A: Yes [Your] Honor.
Fiscal Quimpo: brando
How about your brother Roderick Ferol was he saying anything at that time he
saw Restituto Roche?
A: None, sir.
Q: How about you did you say anything?
A: None, sir.
Q: What happened when your brother was stabbed and you were boxed by
Mario?
A: My brother ran away, he was able to [run] away, sir.
Q: Towards, what direction did he [run] to?
A: Going towards his friend, sir.
Q: And where is that friend that you are referring to?
A: At the house of Bobot, our drinking companion, sir.
Q: Now when Roderick Ferol ran towards the house of his friend, what if any
did Restituto Roche do?
A: He ran after him, sir.
Q: And what was Restituto Roche holding at that time when he was running
after Roderick Ferol?
A: An itak, sir, bolo.
Q: How about the ice pick that you mentioned that he used in stabbing, where
was that ice pick at that time he ran after Roderick Ferol?
A: I do not know where he left the ice pick, sir.
Q: When you first saw him [arrive] at your compound referring to Roche, what
*was+ Restituto Roche holding at that time that you first saw him?
A: Ice pick, sir.
Q: Is it ice pick only?
A: Yes, sir, but when he ran after my brother he was holding a bolo, sir.
Q: When your brother ran towards the house of his friend, what did you do if
any?
A: I followed him, sir. micks
Q: How about this Mario and Afran, what were they doing when Roche was
running after your brother?
A: I was not able to see what they did, sir.
Q: Why did you not go after Restituto Roche and your brother?
A: I was not able to see what [they] are doing because I was not able to catch
up with them, sir.
Q: Now after Restituto Roche ran after your brother Roderick Ferol when was
the last time that you saw your brother Roderick Ferol?
A: When he was already lying face down in front of the house of his friend, sir.
Q: How far was that place [where] he was lying down from the place where
you had a drinking session?
A: It is far sir more or less five (5) meters, sir.
Q: When you saw your brother lying down on the ground where was Restituto
Roche?
A: I was not able to see him there, sir.
Q: What did you do with your brother Roderick Ferol when you saw him lying
down?
A: I carried him, sir.
Q: What was his condition at that time you saw him?
A: He was already dead, sir.
Q: And how did you know that he was already dead?
A: He was not breathing anymore, sir.
[17]

A comparison of the testimonies of Helen Amarille and Rodel Ferol reveals discrepancies on
material points. While Amarille claimed that Marcelino Fallore tried to attack Rodel Ferol with
a stainless knife, Rodel Ferol stated that Marcelino boxed him (Rodel) in the nose. Amarille
said she intervened to protect Rodel Ferol from the attack. However, Rodel Ferol makes no
mention of Helens presence during the incident. Neither did he mention any attempt by
Marcelino Fallore to hit him with a knife. On the other hand, Helen Amarille remembered no
"itak" or "bolo" which accused-appellant carried. It taxes ones credulity that while Helen
Amarille and Rodel Ferol could remember such details as to the kind of bottle Francisco
Gregorio was carrying, they could not remember who tried to punch whom and who carried
what kind of weapon, or even who was present during the incident. These are inconsistencies
concerning substantial matters that cannot just be overlooked. It is settled that "where the
testimonies of two key witnesses cannot stand together, the inevitable conclusion is that one
or both must be telling a lie, and their story a mere concoction."
[18]

Whose testimony then may be believed by this Court? The testimony of neither one.
There is no question that Rodel Ferol was present at the time of the incident. He was having
drinks with the victim Roderick and a friend. He belied Amarilles claim that she was present
when the incident happened. Rodel testified: nigella
Q: How about your wife did you see her [get] out from the compound?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Where did she go if you know?
A: She went to the house of my grandmother, sir.
Q: What time was that when she went to the house of your grandmother?
A: Around 4:00 oclock sir.
Q: And she never came back up to the time this incident happened?
A: She returned sir but it was after the incident, sir.
Q: So at that time of the incident your wife was not in your house?
A: Yes, sir.
[19]

On the other hand, Rodels testimony is contrary to the physical evidence. Rodel testified that
accused-appellant stabbed the victim with an ice pick. Recalling the events, he said:
Q: Now Mr. Witness you said you were present when Restituto Roche stabbed
your brother with an ice pick, where were you [at] that time when you saw for the
first time Roche holding an ice pick?
A: He was inside our compound, sir.
Q: Where was your brother when you claimed you saw Roche holding an ice
pick?
A: I was also inside the compound, sir.
Q: Now, you mentioned that Roche was able to [approach] your brother with
that ice pick?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: This ice pick that you saw which Roche was holding was this the kind of ice
pick which you used in breaking ice?
A: I did not say it is being used to break ice, sir. Sc
Q: Why did you say that the one he was holding was an ice pick?
A: Because it is sharp, sir.
Q: It is pointed and round that is why you said it is an ice pick?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: How far were you from Roche when you saw that ice pick being held by
him?
A: Five (5) steps away, sir.
Q: So you could clearly see this ice pick being held by the hand of Roche?
A: Yes, sir.
[20]

Contrary to Rodel Ferols testimony, however, the autopsy report reveals that the stab
wounds sustained by Roderick Ferol at the back, (stab wound nos. 7 and 8), measuring 2 x 1
cm., with a depth of 3 cms. and 2.8 x 0.8 cm. respectively, could not have been inflicted by an
ice pick. As the medical examiner Dr. Gajardo observed, these injuries were caused by a
pointed single-bladed weapon.
[21]

The victim sustained stab wounds in the front and back parts of his body. "[Stab or puncture
wounds] are wounds whose depth is greater than their length or breadth, and are produced
by an instrument being driven through the skin. The size and shape varies with the
instrument."
[22]
Different types of weapons, as well as the manner in which the victim was
stabbed, can produce different types of wounds:
. . . With a sharp-edged weapon like a knife the form of the skin opening is
determined not only by the shape of the blade but also by the direction in which
the elastic fibers in the dermis of the wounded area happen to be directed. If a
flat blade enters in a direction parallel with the fibers a slit-like or elliptic wound
with sharp edges and pointed ends is produced. On the other hand, if the elastic
fibers are severed transversely, the wound usually gapes because of the
contraction of this tissue. If the fibers are severed obliquely, the opening in the
skin may gape unevenly and assume an asymmetrical oval shape. If the knife
blade is drawn out in a slightly different direction from that in which it entered,
other fibers are cut and the wound may show a notch . . . An instrument with
three-cornered edges, like a triangular file, produces a three-cornered wound . .
. An implement with a thin circular shaft like an ice pick inflicts a round hold or a
slit in the skin. If the shaft is comparatively thick and roughened there may be a
marginal abrasion around the opening . . . Other weapons produce their own
characteristic lesions.
[23]

Undoubtedly, an ice pick would cause a wound that is considerably smaller than that inflicted
on Roderick Ferol. That an ice pick could not have produced surface wounds measuring 1 x 2
cms. and 2.8 x 0.8 cm., (stab wound nos. 7 and 8 respectively) is a material fact which the trial
court obviously overlooked.
The wounds found in the front parts of the victims body (stab wounds nos. 1, 2, 3, 6 and 9)
measured as follows: Scmis
. . .
(1) Stab wound, left maxillary region, measuring 3 by 0.8 cm, 10 cm from
the anterior midline, 4 cm deep, directed downwards, anteriorwards and
medialwards, fracturing the left maxilla.
(2) Stab wound, left shoulder, measuring 2 by 0.6 cm, 21 cm from the
anterior midline, 4 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and
medialwards.
(3) Stab wound, chest, measuring 5.5 by 2 cm, 2 cm right of the anterior
midline, 5 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and lateralwards,
fracturing the sternum at the level of the 2nd thoracic rib, lacerating the upper
lobe of the right lung.
. . .
(6) Stab wound, chest, measuring 2 by 1 cm, 1.5 cm right of the anterior
midline, 4 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and lateralwards,
fracturing the 5th right thoracic rib, lacerating the middle lobe of the right lung.
. . .
(9) Stab wound, left costal region, measuring 1 by 2.5 cm, 2 cm from the
anterior midline, 5 cm deep, directed downwards, posteriorwards and
medialwards, lacerating the left lobe of the liver.
[24]

Dr. Gajardo testified that the stab wounds found at the front and back of the deceased could
have been inflicted by a single-bladed weapon.
[25]
They could not have been caused by an ice
pick. As clearly stated, an ice pick is a pointed circular shaft, not a pointed single-bladed
weapon. A puncture wound resulting from an ice pick attack would obviously be different from
that produced by a single-bladed weapon. It has been held that a cane knife, having a
maximum width of five inches, cannot cause a fatal wound which is only one centimeter in
length.
[26]
Conversely, an ice pick cannot create a surface wound that is more than one inch,
such as stab wound no. 8, but would produce a wound so minuscule in length and width that it
can be missed even by an experienced medical examiner.
Time and again, we have upheld the primacy of physical evidence over biased and
uncorroborated testimony of witnesses. We have held:
. . . Physical evidence is a mute but an eloquent manifestation of truth, and it
ranks high in our hierarchy of trustworthy evidence. In criminal cases such as
murder or rape where the accused stands to lose his liberty if found guilty, this
Court has, in many occasions, relied principally upon physical evidence in
ascertaining the truth. In People v. Vasquez, where the physical evidence on
record ran counter to the testimonial evidence of the prosecution witnesses, we
ruled that the physical evidence should prevail.
[27]

Thus, among the testimonial evidence, only the testimony of Rogelio Rossel remains. He
declared: Mis sc
Q - Do you remember any unusual incident at about 5:00 oclock in the
afternoon of May 31, 1992 while you were standing in front of your house?
A - Me and my companions were telling story when somebody shouted there is
trouble.
Q - And what did you do when you heard somebody shouting that there is
trouble?
A - I tried to see it.
Q - And what is that trouble that you saw?
A - There were persons who were [stabbing] sir.
Q - How many persons that were stabbing?
A - Two (2) sir.
Q - And who was the person if you know being stabbed?
A - Roderick Ferol, the victim sir.
Q - And do you know this Roderick Ferol referring to the victim?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - Do you know these persons that were stabbing Roderick Ferol?
A - I know them sir.
Q - How many were they?
A - I only saw one (1) person.
Q - And who is that person you saw stabbing Roderick Ferol?
A - Doric sir.
Q - Now, will you look around this courtroom and check if that Doric is present
today?
A - He is not here, he escaped.
Q - Now, what was the position of Roderick Ferol when he was being stabbed
by Doric?
A - He was lying down, sir.
Q - Aside from this Doric were there other persons you saw in the trouble?
A - No more, sir.
Q - What did you do after that? Mis spped
A - I pacified Doric so that he would stop stabbing the victim, sir.
Q - And what happened when you approached Doric?
A - He attempted to chase me, sir.
Q - And what did you do when Doric attempted to chase you?
A - I ran away, sir.
Q - Towards what direction did you [run] to?
A - I turned left of our house, sir.
Q - And what happened after that when you turned left to your house?
A - The brother of Roderick by the name of Jon-Jon arrived sir.
Q - And what happened when Jon-Jon arrived?
A - He threw bottles against me, sir.
Q - Against who?
A - Against Doric, sir.
Q - And who were there aside from Doric and Jon-Jon?
A - No more, sir we are only three (3) persons at that time.
Q - What happened after that?
A - Doric ran away, sir.
Q - And how about you what did you do?
A - I went to the person who [was] stabbed.
Q - Are you referring to Roderick Ferol?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - What did you do when you approached Roderick Ferol?
A - Jon-Jon, Rodel and me carried him, sir.
Q - Towards what direction or to where did you carry Roderick [Ferol]?
A - In front towards our house, sir. Spped
Q - Do you know certain person by the name of Restituto Roche or Toto?
A - Yes, sir I saw him because he is one of my friends.
Q - Was there any occasion that you saw him in the afternoon of May 31, 1992?
A - I did not see him.
Q - How about Marcelino Fallore also known as Mario was there any occasion
that you saw him in the afternoon of May 31, 1992 at 5:00 oclock?
A - I did not see him there, sir.
Q - How about Francisco Gregorio also known as Afran, did you know him?
A - Yes, sir.
Q - Was there any occasion when you saw him Francisco Gregorio in the
afternoon of May 31, 1992?
A - I did not see him, sir.
[28]

Rogelio Rossel positively identified Dorico Caballes as the assailant. Dorico Caballes is the
brother of accused-appellant. He escaped after the incident and until now is still at large. It is
quite probable that the victims relatives pointed an accusing finger at one they perceive could
be responsible for the victims death. They blame accused-appellant for the incident because it
was the latter who, by telling Dorico that it was the victim who had caused him (Restituto) to
fall to the ground, made Dorico angry. Had not accused-appellant told Dorico Caballes that the
victim was the one who had tripped him, Dorico Caballes would not know the person
responsible and would not have killed Roderick Ferol.
Second. Nor can accused-appellant be held liable for the killing of Roderick Ferol on the ground
of conspiracy. "[F]or conspiracy to exist, proof of an actual planning of the perpetration of the
crime is not a condition precedent. It may be deduced from the mode and manner in which
the offense was perpetrated or inferred from the acts of the accused evincing a joint or
common purpose and design, concerted action and community of interest."
[29]

In the case at bar, Rogelio Rossel testified that he did not see Restituto Roche at the time
Dorico Caballes was stabbing Roderick Ferol.
[30]
Apart from Helen Amarille and Rodel Ferol,
whose testimonies are highly suspect, no other witness was presented to prove that accused-
appellant directly participated in the commission of the offense or performed an act which
would show community of purpose with Dorico Caballes. Even if it is assumed as true that
accused-appellant was responsible for telling Dorico Caballes it was Roderick Ferol who had
tripped him (Restituto), this would not suffice to find accused-appellant in conspiracy with
Dorico Caballes. As we ruled in People v. Elijorde:
[31]
Jo spped
. . . Conspiracy must be proved as indubitably as the crime itself through clear and
convincing evidence, not merely by conjecture. To hold an accused guilty as a co-
principal by reason of conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt
act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. Hence, conspiracy exists in a
situation where at the time the malefactors were committing the crime, their
actions impliedly showed unity of purpose among them, a concerted effort to
bring about the death of the victim. In a great majority of cases, complicity was
established by proof of acts done in concert, i.e., acts which yield the reasonable
inference that the doers thereof were acting with a common intent or design.
Therefore, the task in every case is determining whether the particular acts
established by the requisite quantum of proof do reasonably yield that inference.
Indeed, there is no proof to show accused-appellant, together with Dorico Caballes, had
resolved to attack Roderick Ferol. Instead, we think the assault on Roderick Ferol was an
impulsive act by Dorico Caballes borne out of the desire to get even with him for the offense
committed against his brother. In no way can such act be attributed to accused-appellant.
Neither can accused-appellant be held liable as an accomplice for the crime charged. The
following requisites must concur in order that a person may be considered an accomplice:
(a) community of design, i.e., knowing that criminal design of the principal by
direct participation, he concurs with the latter in his purpose;
(b) he cooperates in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous
acts; and,
(c) there must be a relation between the acts done by the principal and those
attributed to the person charged as accomplice.
[32]

There is no evidence to show that accused-appellant performed any previous or simultaneous
act to assist Dorico Caballes in killing Roderick Ferol. In fact, it has not been proven that he was
aware of Dorico Caballes plan to attack and kill Roderick Ferol. Absent any evidence to create
the moral certainty required to convict accused-appellant, we cannot uphold the trial courts
finding of guilt. "Our legal culture demands the presentation of proof beyond reasonable
doubt before any person may be convicted of any crime and deprived of his life, liberty, or
even property. The hypothesis of his guilt must flow naturally from the facts proved and must
be consistent with all of them."
[33]
This is certainly not the case here.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 120, Kaloocan City, is REVERSED
and accused-appellant is ACQUITTED of the crime of murder. He is, therefore, ordered
immediately released from custody unless he is lawfully held for another cause.
The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is directed to implement this Decision and to report
to this Court the action taken hereon within five (5) days from receipt hereof. Spped jo
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

OND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 121828. June 27, 2003]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. EDMAR AGUILOS, ODILON LAGLIBA Y ABREGON
and RENE GAYOT PILOLA, accused, RENE GAYOT PILOLA, appellant.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
Before us is the appeal of appellant Rene Gayot Pilola for the reversal of the Decision
[1]
of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City, Branch 164, convicting him of murder, sentencing
him to suffer reclusion perpetua and ordering him to indemnify the heirs of the victim Joselito
Capa y Rulloda in the amount of P50,000 for the latters death.
The Indictment
On June 7, 1998, Edmar Aguilos, Odilon Lagliba y Abregon and appellant Rene Gayot Pilola
were charged with murder in an Information which reads:
That on or about the 5th day of February, 1988 in the Municipality of Mandaluyong, Metro
Manila, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, conspiring and confederating together with one Ronnie Diamante who is still at-large
and no fixed address and mutually helping and aiding with one another, armed with double-
bladed knives and a bolo and with intent to kill, treachery and taking advantage of superior
strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault hack and stab
one Joselito Capa y Rulloda, as a result of which the latter sustained hack and stab wounds on
the different parts of his body, which directly caused his death.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
[2]

Of the three accused, Odilon Lagliba was the first to be arrested
[3]
and tried, and
subsequently convicted of murder.
[4]
The decision of the trial court became final and
executory. Accused Edmar Aguilos remains at large while accused Ronnie Diamante reportedly
died a month after the incident. Meanwhile, herein appellant Rene Gayot Pilola was
arrested. He was arraigned on March 9, 1994, assisted by counsel, and pleaded not guilty to
the charge.
[5]
Thereafter, trial of the case ensued.
The Evidence of the Prosecution
[6]

On February 5, 1988, at around 11:30 p.m., Elisa Rolan was inside their store at 613 Nueve
de Pebrero Street, Mandaluyong City, waiting for her husband to arrive. Joselito Capa and
Julian Azul, Jr. were drinking beer. Edmar Aguilos and Odilon Lagliba arrived at the
store. Joselito and Julian invited them to join their drinking spree, and although already
inebriated, the two newcomers obliged. In the course of their drinking, the conversation
turned into a heated argument. Edmar nettled Julian, and the latter was peeved. An
altercation between the two ensued. Elisa pacified the protagonists and advised them to go
home as she was already going to close up. Edmar and Odilon left the store. Joselito and
Julian were also about to leave, when Edmar and Odilon returned, blocking their way. Edmar
took off his eyeglasses and punched Julian in the face. Elisa shouted: Tama na. Tama
na. Edmar and Julian ignored her and traded fist blows until they reached Aling Soteras store
at the end of the street, about twelve to fifteen meters away from Elisas store. For his part,
Odilon positioned himself on top of a pile of hollow blocks and watched as Edmar and Julian
swapped punches. Joselito tried to placate the protagonists to no avail. Joselitos intervention
apparently did not sit well with Odilon. He pulled out his knife with his right hand and stepped
down from his perch. He placed his left arm around Joselitos neck, and stabbed the
latter. Ronnie and the appellant, who were across the street, saw their gangmate Odilon
stabbing the victim and decided to join the fray. They pulled out their knives, rushed to the
scene and stabbed Joselito. Elisa could not tell how many times the victim was stabbed or
what parts of his body were hit by whom. The victim fell in the canal. Odilon and the
appellant fled, while Ronnie went after Julian and tried to stab him. Julian ran for dear
life. When he noticed that Ronnie was no longer running after him, Julian stopped at E.
Rodriguez Road and looked back. He saw Ronnie pick up a piece of hollow block and with it
bashed Joselitos head. Not content, Ronnie got a piece of broken bottle and struck Joselito
once more. Ronnie then fled from the scene. Joselito died on the spot. Elisa rushed to
Joselitos house and informed his wife and brother of the incident.
[7]

The next day, Dr. Bienvenido Muoz, Supervising Medico-Legal Officer of the National
Bureau of Investigation, conducted an autopsy on the cadaver of Joselito and prepared
Autopsy Report No. N-88-375,
[8]
with the following findings:
POSTMORTEM FINDINGS
Pallor, conjunctivae and integument, marked and generalized.
Contused abrasions: temple, right, 3.0 x 3.0 cm.; mandibular region, right, 2.0 x 8.0 cm.; back,
suprascapular region, left, 3.0 x 4.0 cm.; deltoid region, right, 1.0 x 3.0 cm.
Lacerated wound, scalp, occipital region, 4.0 cm.
Incised wounds: forehead, right side, 5.5 cm.; arm, left, upper third, posterior aspect, 1.5 cm.
Stab wounds:
1. Elliptical, 1.8 cm., oriented almost horizontally, edges are clean-cut, medial extremity is
sharp, lateral extremity is blunt; located at the anterior chest wall, level of 3
rd
intercostal
space, right, 5.0 cm. from anterior median line; directed backward, upward and medially, non-
penetrating, with an approximate depth of 3.0 cm.;
2. Elliptical, 1.5 cm., oriented almost horizontally, edges are clean-cut, one extremity is
sharp and the other is blunt; located at the antero-lateral aspect of chest, level of
3
rd
intercostal space, left, 3.0 cm. from anterior median line; directed backward, downward
and medially, into the left thoracic cavity, penetrating the left ventricle of the heart with an
approximate depth of 10.0 cm.;
3. Elliptical, 3.0 cm., oriented almost horizontally, edges are clean-cut, one extremity is
sharp and the other is blunt; located at the antero-lateral aspect of chest, level of
4
th
intercostal space, 12.0 cm. from anterior median line; directed backward, downward and
medially, penetrating upper lobe of left lung with an approximate depth of 9.0 cm.;
4. Elliptical, 2.0 cm., oriented almost horizontally, edges are clean-cut, one extremity is
sharp and the other is blunt; located at the antero-lateral aspect of chest, level of
5
th
intercostal space, left, 15.0 cm. from anterior median line; directed backward, downward
and medially, penetrating the left thoracic cavity and then lower lobe of left lung and then
penetrating the left ventricle of the heart with an approximate depth of 11.0 cm.;
5. Elliptical, 1.3 cm., oriented almost horizontally, edges are clean-cut, one extremity is
sharp and the other is blunt; located at the lateral chest wall, level of 7
th
intercostal space, left,
16.0 cm. from anterior median line; directed backward, upward and medially, into the left
thoracic cavity and then penetrating the lower lobe of left lung with an approximately depth of
10.0 cm.;
6. Elliptical, 4.0 cm., oriented almost horizontally, edges are clean-cut, one extremity is
sharp and the other is blunt; located at the lumbar region, left, 14.0 cm. from anterior median
line; directed backward, upward and medially, into the abdominal cavity and then penetrating
ileum;
7. Elliptical, 1.5 cm., oriented almost vertically, edges are clean-cut, upper extremity is
sharp, lower extremity is blunt; located at the chest, lateral, level of 9
th
intercostal space, left;
14.0 cm. from posterior median line; directed forward, upward and medially, non-penetrating
with an approximate depth of 4.0 cm.;
8. Elliptical, 2.0 cm., oriented almost vertically, edges are clean-cut, upper extremity is
blunt, lower extremity is sharp; located at the abdomen, postero-lateral aspect, 15.0 cm. from
posterior median line; directed forward, upward and laterally, into the abdominal cavity and
then perforating the spleen and pancreas with an approximate depth of 13.0 cm.;
9. Elliptical, 5.0 cm., oriented almost vertically, edges are clean-cut, upper extremity is
blunt, lower extremity is sharp; located at the left arm, upper third, anterior; directed
backward, downward and medially, involving skin and underlying soft tissues with an
approximate depth of 6.0 cm.;
10. Elliptical, 2.3 cm., oriented almost vertically, edges are clean-cut, upper extremity is
sharp, lower extremity is blunt; located at the left forearm, upper third, anterior; directed
backward, upward and medially and communicating with another wound, arm, left, medial
aspect, 2.0 cm.;
11. Elliptical, 2.0 cm., oriented almost vertically, edges are clean-cut, upper extremity blunt,
lower extremity, sharp; located at the left arm, lower third, posterior aspect, directed forward,
downward and medially, communicating with another wound, arm, left, lower third, posterior
aspect, 1.5 cm.
Hemothorax, left 900 c.c.
Hemopericardium 300 c.c.
Hemoperitoneum 750 c.c.
Brain and other visceral organs, pale.
Stomach-filled with rice and other food particles.
CAUSE OF DEATH: Multiple stab wounds.
The Evidence of the Appellant
The appellant denied stabbing the victim and interposed the defense of alibi. He testified
that at around 11:00 p.m. of February 5, 1988, he was in the house of his cousin, Julian Cadion,
at 606 Nueve de Pebrero Street, Mandaluyong City. He suddenly heard a commotion coming
from outside. Julian rushed out of the house to find out what was going on. The appellant
remained inside the house because he was suffering from ulcer and was experiencing
excessive pain in his stomach. The following morning, the appellant learned from their
neighbor, Elisa Rolan, that Joselito had been stabbed to death. The appellant did not bother
to ask who was responsible for the stabbing.
[9]

Julian alias Buboy Cadion corroborated the appellants testimony. He testified that the
appellant was in their house on the night of February 5, 1988, and was suffering from
ulcer. The appellant stayed home on the night of the incident.
[10]

Agripina Gloria, a female security guard residing at Block 30, Nueve de Pebrero, 612, Int. 4,
Allison St., Mandaluyong City, testified that on February 5, 1988 at around 11:00 p.m., she
heard a commotion outside. Momentarily, she saw Ronnie rush into the kitchen of the house
of her niece Teresita; he took a knife and run towards Nueve de Pebrero Street where Edmar
and Julian were fighting. She then followed Ronnie and saw Joselito trying to pacify the
protagonists. Ronnie grabbed Joselito and instantly stabbed the latter, who for a while
retreated and fell down the canal. Not content, Ronnie repeatedly stabbed
Joselito. Thereafter, Ronnie ran towards the direction of the mental hospital. Agripina did not
see Odilon or the appellant anywhere within the vicinity of the incident.
[11]

On May 3, 1995, the trial court rendered its assailed decision, the dispositive portion of
which reads, to wit:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds RENE GAYOT PILOLA of 606 Nueve de Febrero Street,
Mandaluyong City, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Murder punished under Article 248 of
the Revised Penal Code, and there being no mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, he is
hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Pilola is hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of
deceased Joselito Capa alias Jessie in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as
indemnity for his death jointly and solidarily with Odilon Lagliba who was earlier convicted
herein. With cost against the accused.
[12]

In the case at bar, the appellant assails the decision of the trial court contending that:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THERE WAS CONSPIRACY ANENT THE
ASSAILED INCIDENT.
II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE UNRELIABLE AND INCONSISTENT
TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESS ELISA ROLAN AND IN SETTING ASIDE THE EVIDENCE
PROFFERED BY ACCUSED-APPELLANT.
III
THE TRIAL COURT MANIFESTLY ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIME
CHARGED DESPITE THE FACT THAT HIS GUILT WAS NOT PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.
[13]

The appellant avers that Elisa is not a credible witness and her testimony is barren of
probative weight. This is so because she contradicted herself when she testified on direct
examination that Ronnie struck the head of the victim with a hollow block. However, on cross-
examination, she stated that it was Edmar who struck the victim. The inconsistency in Elisas
testimony impaired her credibility.
The contention of the appellant does not hold water.
First. The identity of the person who hit the victim with a hollow block is of de
minimis importance. The victim died because of multiple wounds. The appellant is charged
with murder for the killing of the victim with a knife, in conspiracy with the other accused.
Second. The perceived inconsistency in Elisas account of events is a minor and collateral
detail that does not affect the substance of her testimony, as it even serves to strengthen
rather than destroy her credibility.
[14]

Third. Elisa has been consistent in her testimony that the appellant was one of the men
who stabbed the victim, the others being Ronnie and Odilon. Elisas testimony is corroborated
by the autopsy report of Dr. Bienvenido Muoz and his testimony that the victim sustained
eleven stab wounds. The doctor testified that there were two or more assailants:
Q Could you tell the court what instrument could have been used by the perpetrator
in inflicting those two incise wounds?
A Those incise wounds were caused by a sharp instrument like a knife or any similar
instrument.

Q Now you also found out from the body of the victim eleven stab wounds?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, tell the court in which part of the body of the victim where these eleven stab
wounds [are] located?
A Shall I go one by one, all the eleven stab wounds?
Q All the eleven stab wounds?
A One stab wound was located at the front portion of the chest, right side. Another
stab wound was located also on the chest left side, another stab wound was
located at the antero lateral aspect, its the front of the chest almost to the
side. And also another one, also at the chest, another stab wound was at the left
side of the chest and another one was at the lumbar region of the abdomen left
side or where the left kidney is located, lumbar area. Another one at the side of
the chest, left side of the chest. Another stab wound in the abdomen, another stab
wound at the left arm. Another one at the left forearm and the last one in the
autopsy report is located at the left arm. These are all the eleven stab wounds
sustained by the victim.

A The instrument used was a sharp pointed edge or a single bladed instrument like a
knife, kitchen knife, balisong or any similar instrument.
Q Considering the number of stab wounds, doctor, will you tell us whether there
were several assailants?
A In my opinion, there were more than one assailants (sic) here because of the
presence of different types of stab wounds and lacerated wounds. This lacerated
wound could not have been inflicted by the one holding the one which inflicted the
instrument . . (discontinued) which inflicted the stab wounds.
Q So there could have been two or three assailants?
A More than one.
[15]

The physical evidence is a mute but eloquent manifestation of the veracity of Elisas
testimony.
[16]

Fourth. Even the appellant himself declared on the witness stand that he could not think
of any reason why Elisa pointed to him as one of the assailants. In a litany of cases, we have
ruled that when there is no showing of any improper motive on the part of a witness to testify
falsely against the accused or to falsely implicate the latter in the commission of the crime, as
in the case at bar, the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists, and that the
testimony is worthy of full faith and credence.
[17]

Fifth. The trial court gave credence and full probative weight to Elisas testimony. Case
law has it that the trial courts calibration of the testimonial evidence of the parties, its
assessment of the credibility of witnesses and the probative weight thereof is given high
respect, if not conclusive effect, by the appellate court.
The appellant argues that the prosecution failed to prove that he conspired with Ronnie
and Odilon in stabbing the victim to death. He contends that for one to be a conspirator, his
participation in the criminal resolution of another must either precede or be concurrent with
the criminal acts. He asserts that even if it were true that he was present at the situs
criminis and that he stabbed the victim, it was Odilon who had already decided, and in fact
fatally stabbed the victim. He could not have conspired with Odilon as the incident was only a
chance encounter between the victim, the appellant and his co-accused. In the absence of a
conspiracy, the appellant cannot be held liable as a principal by direct participation. Elisa
could not categorically and positively assert as to what part of the victims body was hit by
whom, and how many times the victim was stabbed by the appellant. He asserts that he is
merely an accomplice and not a principal by direct participation.
We are not persuaded by the ruminations of the appellant.
There is conspiracy when two or more persons agree to commit a felony and decide to
commit it.
[18]
Conspiracy as a mode of incurring criminal liability must be proved separately
from and with the same quantum of proof as the crime itself. Conspiracy need not be proven
by direct evidence. After all, secrecy and concealment are essential features of a successful
conspiracy. It may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during and after the
commission of the crime, showing that they had acted with a common purpose and
design.
[19]
Conspiracy may be implied if it is proved that two or more persons aimed by their
acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful object, each doing a part so that their
combined acts, though apparently independent of each other, were, in fact, connected and
cooperative, indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence of
sentiment.
[20]
There may be conspiracy even if an offender does not know the identities of the
other offenders,
[21]
and even though he is not aware of all the details of the plan of operation
or was not in on the scheme from the beginning.
[22]
One need only to knowingly contribute his
efforts in furtherance of it.
[23]
One who joins a criminal conspiracy in effect adopts as his own
the criminal designs of his co-conspirators. If conspiracy is established, all the conspirators are
liable as co-principals regardless of the manner and extent of their participation since in
contemplation of law, the act of one would be the act of all.
[24]
Each of the conspirators is the
agent of all the others.
[25]

To hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, he must be shown to
have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the conspiracy.
[26]
The mere
presence of an accused at the situs of the crime will not suffice; mere knowledge,
acquiescence or approval of the act without cooperation or agreement to cooperate on the
part of the accused is not enough to make him a party to a conspiracy. There must be
intentional participation in the transaction with a view to the furtherance of the common
design and purpose.
[27]
Conspiracy to exist does not require an agreement for an appreciable
period prior to the occurrence. From the legal standpoint, conspiracy exists if, at the time of
the commission of the offense, the accused had the same purpose and were united in its
execution.
[28]
As a rule, the concurrence of wills, which is the essence of conspiracy, may be
deduced from the evidence of facts and circumstances, which taken together, indicate that the
parties cooperated and labored to the same end.
[29]

Even if two or more offenders do not conspire to commit homicide or murder, they may
be held criminally liable as principals by direct participation if they perform overt acts which
mediately or immediately cause or accelerate the death of the victim, applying Article 4,
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code:
Art. 4. Criminal liability. Criminal liability shall be incurred:
1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the wrongful act done be different
from that which he intended.
In such a case, it is not necessary that each of the separate injuries is fatal in itself. It is
sufficient if the injuries cooperated in bringing about the victims death. Both the offenders
are criminally liable for the same crime by reason of their individual and separate overt
criminal acts.
[30]
Absent conspiracy between two or more offenders, they may be guilty of
homicide or murder for the death of the victim, one as a principal by direct participation, and
the other as an accomplice, under Article 18 of the Revised Penal Code:
Art. 18. Accomplices. Accomplices are the persons who, not being included in Article 17,
cooperate in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts.
To hold a person liable as an accomplice, two elements must concur: (a) the community of
criminal design; that is, knowing the criminal design of the principal by direct participation, he
concurs with the latter in his purpose; (b) the performance of previous or simultaneous acts
that are not indispensable to the commission of the crime.
[31]
Accomplices come to know
about the criminal resolution of the principal by direct participation after the principal has
reached the decision to commit the felony and only then does the accomplice agree to
cooperate in its execution. Accomplices do not decide whether the crime should be
committed; they merely assent to the plan of the principal by direct participation and
cooperate in its accomplishment.
[32]
However, where one cooperates in the commission of the
crime by performing overt acts which by themselves are acts of execution, he is a principal by
direct participation, and not merely an accomplice.
[33]

In this case, Odilon all by himself initially decided to stab the victim. The appellant and
Ronnie were on the side of the street. However, while Odilon was stabbing the victim, the
appellant and Ronnie agreed to join in; they rushed to the scene and also stabbed the victim
with their respective knives. The three men simultaneously stabbed the hapless
victim. Odilon and the appellant fled from the scene together, while Ronnie went after
Julian. When he failed to overtake and collar Julian, Ronnie returned to where Joselito fell and
hit him with a hollow block and a broken bottle. Ronnie then hurriedly left. All the overt acts
of Odilon, Ronnie and the appellant before, during, and after the stabbing incident indubitably
show that they conspired to kill the victim.
The victim died because of multiple stab wounds inflicted by two or more persons. There
is no evidence that before the arrival of Ronnie and the appellant at the situs criminis, the
victim was already dead. It cannot thus be argued that by the time the appellant and Ronnie
joined Odilon in stabbing the victim, the crime was already consummated.
All things considered, we rule that Ronnie and the appellant conspired with Odilon to kill
the victim; hence, all of them are criminally liable for the latters death. The appellant is not
merely an accomplice but is a principal by direct participation.
Even assuming that the appellant did not conspire with Ronnie and Odilon to kill the
victim, the appellant is nevertheless criminally liable as a principal by direct participation. The
stab wounds inflicted by him cooperated in bringing about and accelerated the death of the
victim or contributed materially thereto.
[34]

The trial court correctly overruled the appellants defense of alibi. Alibi is a weak, if not
the weakest of defenses in a criminal prosecution, because it is easy to concoct but hard to
disprove. To serve as basis for acquittal, it must be established by clear and convincing
evidence. For it to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was absent from the
scene of the crime at the time of its commission, but also that it was physically impossible for
him to have been present then.
[35]
In this case, the appellant avers that at the time of the
stabbing incident, he was resting in the house of his cousin at 606 Nueve de Pebrero Street as
he was suffering from stomach pain due to his ulcer.
[36]
But the appellant failed to adduce any
medical certificate that he was suffering from the ailment. Moreover, Elisa positively
identified the appellant as one of the men who repeatedly stabbed the victim. The appellants
defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive and straightforward identification of the
appellant as one of the victims assailants. The appellant himself admitted that his cousins
house, the place where he was allegedly resting when the victim was stabbed, was merely ten
to fifteen meters away from the scene of the stabbing. Indeed, the appellants defense of
denial and alibi, unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, are negative and self-
serving and cannot be given greater evidentiary weight than the positive testimony of
prosecution eyewitness Elisa Rolan.
[37]

The appellants defenses must crumble in the face of evidence that he fled from the situs
criminis and later left his house. The records show that despite being informed that he was
sought after by the authorities as a suspect for the killing of the victim, the appellant suddenly
and inscrutably disappeared from his residence at Nueve de Pebrero. As early as May 5, 1988,
a subpoena for the appellant was returned unserved because he was out of town.
[38]
The
appellants own witness, Julian Cadion, testified that the appellant had left and was no longer
seen at Nueve de Pebrero after the incident, thus:
Q So, how long did you stay at 606 Nueve de Pebrero after February 5, 1988?
A One week only, sir, and then three weeks after, I returned to Nueve de Pebrero.
Q The whole week after February 5, 1988, was Rene Pilola still living at 606 Nueve de
Pebrero?
A I did not see him anymore, sir.
Q And then three weeks thereafter, you went back to Nueve de Pebrero. Is that
what you were then saying?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, at the time that you went back to 606 Nueve de Pebrero, was Rene Pilola
there?
A I did not see him anymore, sir.
[39]

The records show that the appellant knew that he was charged for the stabbing of the
victim. However, instead of surrendering to the police authorities, he adroitly evaded
arrest. The appellants flight is evidence of guilt and, from the factual circumstances obtaining
in the case at bar, no reason can be deduced from it other than that he was driven by a strong
sense of guilt and admission that he had no tenable defense.
[40]

The Crime Committed by the Appellant
and the Proper Penalty Therefor
The trial court correctly convicted the appellant of murder qualified by treachery. Abuse
of superior strength likewise attended the commission of the crime. 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 specially to insure its execution, without risk
to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. The essence of
treachery is the swift and unexpected attack on the unarmed victim without the slightest
provocation on his part.
[41]
In this case, the attack on the unarmed victim was sudden. Odilon,
without provocation, suddenly placed his arm around the victims neck and forthwith stabbed
the latter. The victim had no inkling that he would be attacked as he was attempting to pacify
Edmar and Julian. Ronnie and the appellant, both also armed with deadly weapons, rushed to
the scene and stabbed the victim, giving no real opportunity for the latter to defend
himself. And even as the victim was already sprawled on the canal, Ronnie bashed his head
with a hollow block. The peacemaker became the victim of violence.
Unquestionably, the nature and location of the wounds showed that the killing was
executed in a treacherous manner, preventing any means of defense on the part of the
victim. As testified to by Dr. Bienvenido Muoz, the victim was stabbed, not just once, but
eleven times mostly on the chest and the abdominal area. Six of the stab wounds were fatal,
causing damage to the victims vital internal organs.
[42]

The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength is absorbed by
treachery.
[43]
There is no mitigating circumstance that attended the commission of the
felony. The penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion
perpetua to death. Since no aggravating and mitigating circumstances attended the
commission of the crime, the proper penalty is reclusion perpetua, conformably to Article 63
of the Revised Penal Code.
Civil Liabilities of the Appellant
The trial court correctly directed the appellant to pay to the heirs of the victim Joselita
Capa the amount of P50,000 as civil indemnity ex delicto, in accord with current
jurisprudence.
[44]
The said heirs are likewise entitled to moral damages in the amount
of P50,000, also conformably to current jurisprudence.
[45]
In addition, the heirs are entitled to
exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.
[46]

WHEREFORE, the Decision, dated May 3, 1995, of Branch 164 of the Regional Trial Court of
Pasig City in Criminal Case No. 73615, finding appellant Rene Gayot Pilola GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. The appellant is
hereby directed to pay to the heirs of the victim Joselito Capa the amount ofP50,000 as civil
indemnity; the amount of P50,000 as moral damages; and the amount of P25,000 as
exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), and Quisumbing, JJ., concur.
Austria-Martinez, J., on official leave.
EN BANC
[G.R. No. 141125. February 28, 2002]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JEFFREY GARCIA y CARAGAY and THREE
JOHN DOES, accused.
JEFFREY GARCIA y CARAGAY, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
PER CURIAM:
This is an automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended
by Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, of the decision of the Regional Trial Court
of BaguioCity, Branch 6, dated October 28, 1999, convicting accused-appellant Jeffrey Garcia
y Caragay of Forcible Abduction with Rape and three counts of Rape, and sentencing him to
death.
[1]

The victim, Cleopatra Changlapon, was nineteen years old and a sophomore student of B.S.
Physical Therapy at the Baguio Central University. On July 14, 1998, she left school at 6:30
p.m. to go home to Km. 3, La Trinidad, Benguet. As she was
crossing Bonifacio Street, Baguio City, she saw a white van approaching so she stopped to let it
pass. Suddenly, the van stopped in front of her. The rear door slid open and Cleopatra was
pulled by the arms into the van. She struggled as the door closed and the van sped away.
Something was sprayed on her face which made her eyes sting and feel dizzy. She shouted,
then she felt a fist blow on her stomach and she fell unconscious.
[2]

When Cleopatra came to, she was inside a room. She was totally undressed and was lying
flat on her back on a bed. In the room with her were four men. One of them, who
hadBombay features, was also totally naked while the other three were clad in briefs and
smoking cigarettes. The Bombay-looking man lay on top of her. She tried to push him away but
he held her left arm. Another man with long hair, whom she later identified as accused-
appellant Jeffrey Garcia, burned her right chin with a lighted cigarette. Cleopatra fought back
but accused-appellant held her right arm. While accused-appellant was seated on her right
side and holding her, the Bombay-looking man proceeded to have sexual intercourse with her.
She tried to kick him and close her legs, but two men were holding her feet. The two men
boxed her thighs and burned her legs with cigarettes.
[3]

After the Bombay-looking man finished having sexual intercourse with Cleopatra, accused-
appellant took his turn and went on top of her. One of the men sat on her right leg and pinned
it down, while another held her left leg. Cleopatra tried to punch accused-appellant with her
right hand, but the Bombay-looking man held her right arm. Accused-appellant then had
sexual intercourse with her while holding her left arm.
[4]

The third man, whom Cleopatra noted had pimples on his face, went on top of her. The
Bombay-looking man was still holding her right arm, while the man on top of her held her left
arm. She tried to close her legs but someone hit her right thigh, which forced her to keep her
legs apart. The third man with pimples succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her.
[5]

The fourth man was next in raping Cleopatra. By that time, she was feeling helpless and
was too tired to struggle. As the fourth man was having sexual intercourse with her, she saw
the Bombay-looking man burning her panties with a lighted cigarette. She closed her eyes and
heard the men laughing. After the fourth man finished raping her, he got up. She felt dizzy and
her private parts were aching. She opened her eyes and tried to move, but accused-appellant
hit her on the abdomen.
[6]

One of the men again sprayed something on Cleopatras face which made her vision
blurred. She heard somebody say that it was 1:30.
[7]
After that, she blacked out. When she
regained consciousness, she was lying by the roadside somewhere between Tam-
awan and Longlong. It was still dark. She already had her clothes on. She felt pain all over her
body and was unable to move. A taxi passed by and picked her up. Although she was afraid to
ride the taxi, she boarded it just to get home. The taxi brought her to her house.
[8]

Her aunt, Rufina Angog, saw Cleopatra alight the taxi crying. She also noticed that
Cleopatras clothes were inverted and she smelled bad. She woke up Cleopatras brothers and
cousins.
[9]
They asked her what happened. Cleopatra just kept crying and was unable to talk.
After some time, when she was able to regain her composure, she told them that she had
been raped by four men.
[10]

The following day, July 15, 1998, Cleopatra was brought to the Baguio City Police Station.
After giving her statement to the police, she was brought to the Crime Laboratory of
theBaguio City Police, where she was examined by Dr. Vladimir Villaseor.
In his Medico-Legal Report, Dr. Villaseor wrote the following findings:
FINDINGS:
General and Extra-genital:
Fairly nourished, fairly developed coherent female subject. Breasts are hemispherical with
light brown areola and nipples from which no secretion could be pressed out. Abdomen is soft
and flabby.
The following are the injuries noted:
1. Second degree burns, mental region, measuring 1.3.1cm, 3cm from the anterior midline.
2. Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 1 x 1cm, 8cm from the
anterior midline.
3. Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 0.6x0.6 cm, 8.5cm from
the anterior midline.
4. Second degree burns, left hypothenar region, measuring 1x0.5cm, 7cm from the
posterior midline.
5. Second degree burns, left middle 3
rd
of the left thigh, measuring 2x1cm, 13cm from the
anterior midline.
6. Second degree burns, middle 3
rd
of the right thigh, measuring 1x 1cm, 10cm from the
anterior midline.
7. Contusion, left mammary region, measuring 3x1cm, 5cm from the anterior midline.
8. Contusion, right mammary region, measuring 1x1cm, 9cm from the anterior midline.
9. Contusion, middle 3
rd
of the right arm, measuring 5x3cm, 3cm from the anterior midline.
10. Contusion, middle 3
rd
of the right thigh, measuing 6x4cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
11. Hematoma, left zygomatic region, measuring 4x4cm 7cm from the anterior midline.
There is tenderness on the mammary region, both thighs and at the abdominal region.
Genital:
There is abundant growth of pubic hair. Labia majora are full convex, gaping, with the
congested abraded labia minora presenting in between. On separating the same is disclosed a
congested hymen with shallow fresh lacerations at 7, 8 and 9 oclock and deep fresh laceration
at 6 oclock positions. External vaginal orifice offers strong resistance to the introduction of
the examining index finger and the virgin-sized vaginal speculum. Vaginal canal is narrow with
prominent rugosities. Cervix is congested with moderate amount of whitish secretion.
C O N C L U S I O N :
Findings are compatible with recent loss of virginity.
Barring unforeseen complications, it is estimated that the above injuries will resolve in 14-15
days.
R E M A R K S :
Vaginal and peri-urethral smears are negative for gram (-) diplococci and POSITIVE for
spermatozoa.
[11]

The panties that Cleopatra was wearing was also submitted to the Crime Laboratory for
examination. Dr. Villaseor found cigarette burns and seminal stains,
[12]
as well as stains of
blood on the panties.
[13]
The Medico-Legal Report states:
SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
Specimen A - One (1) white printed panty with cigarette burns and with suspected seminal
stains.
xxx xxx x
xx.
F I N D I N G S :
Biochemical examination conducted on the above-mentioned specimen gave POSITIVE result
to the test for the presence of seminal stains.
C O N C L U S I O N :
Specimen A revealed the presence of seminal stains.
[14]

On July 17, 1998, Cleopatra went back to the police station and gave a description of the
four rapists to the cartographer.
[15]
She likewise executed another sworn statement to the
police.
[16]

Meanwhile, accused-appellant was arrested at 4:30 p.m. of July 17, 1998 in connection
with another rape charge against him filed by a certain Gilda Mangyo.
The cartographic sketches were published in the Sun-Star newspaper. Police Officers
Gilbert Bulalit and Archibald Diaz saw the sketches and noticed that one of the suspects
depicted in the cartographic sketch bore a striking resemblance to accused-appellant, who was
in their custody.
[17]
On July 26, 1998, Cleopatra was summoned to the police station to
identify accused-appellant. She was brought to the upper floor of the police building and
asked to look below on the basketball court of the city jail and see if any of the inmates looked
familiar to her.
[18]
Cleopatra recognized accused-appellant among those watching the
basketball game.
[19]

PO1 Bulalit brought accused-appellant to the office upstairs. When Cleopatra saw accused-
appellant face to face, she started to tremble and cry. Then she tried to attack him but she was
restrained by the police officers.
[20]
On the same day, Cleopatra gave a supplemental
statement to the police, confirming her identification of accused-appellant as one of her
rapists.
[21]

Inquest proceedings followed in due course.
[22]
On July 27, 1998, formal charges for
forcible abduction with rape were brought against accused-appellant and three John Does,
under an information which alleged:
That on or about the 14
th
day of July, 1998, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and
mutually aiding one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and by
means of force and intimidation abduct CLEOPATRA CHANGLAPON, 19 years old, by dragging
her inside a van and taking her to Tam-awan Village, Baguio City, against her will and with
lewd design, and once inside a house, had carnal knowledge of her, also by means of force and
intimidation and against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
[23]

The information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 15805-R of
the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 6. Accused-appellant was arraigned, wherein he
entered a plea of not guilty. Trial ensued as against him, while the other three unidentified
accused remained at large.
Accused-appellant testified that he spent the whole day of July 14, 1998 at the boarding
house where his brother-in-law lived, located at No. 36
Torres Bugallon Street, Aurora Hills,Baguio City. His brother-in-law asked him to go there to
take care of his nephew. That evening, while he was in the said house watching television,
some of his friends came over to visit him. They brought a bottle of gin and began to have a
drinking session. Accused-appellant did not join them because his stomach was upset.
Accused-appellants brother-in-law arrived a little before midnight, after which his guests
left.
[24]
When asked about the charges of rape against him, he denied the same.
[25]

Catherine Faith Madella was among those who visited accused-appellant in the evening
of July 14, 1998. She came to know him through her friend, Joy Tabinas, who was a tenant at
the said boarding house. Madella testified that she went to the boarding house on July 14,
1998 at 9:00 p.m. At 12:00 midnight, she went to the bedroom of Joy Tabinas and slept
there.
[26]
Her testimony was corroborated by her boyfriend, Ronaldo T. Valdez, who also
testified for the defense.
[27]

Joy Tabinas likewise testified that on July 14, 1998, she was at the boarding house. She
watched television with accused-appellant from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.
[28]

On October 28, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision convicting accused-appellant of
one count of forcible abduction with rape and three counts of rape. The dispositive portion of
the judgment reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court Finds the Accused Jeffrey Garcia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the complex crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape and likewise of the three (3) crimes of rape
in conspiracy with three (3) others whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown as
charged in the Information and hereby sentences him to the supreme penalty of DEATH in
each of the 4 offenses aforementioned; to indemnify the offended party,
Cleopatra Changlapon, the sum of One Hundred Forty Six Thousand, One Hundred Twenty Five
Pesos and Seventy Five Centavos (P 146,125.75) as actual damages and Fifty Thousand Pesos
as moral damages without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay one
fourth (1/4) of the costs.
The police authorities are directed to exert all efforts to identify and arrest the three other
accused whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown.
Meantime, pending their arrests, the case is Archived in respect to the three (3) other accused
whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown to be revived upon their arrest.
SO ORDERED.
[29]

In his Brief, accused-appellant raises the following errors:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING HEREIN ACCUSED-APPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA
Y CARAGAY GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT FOR THE COMPLEX CRIME OF FORCIBLE
ABDUCTION WITH RAPE AND FOR THREE (3) COUNTS OF RAPE ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED IN
CONSPIRACY WITH THREE (3) OTHERS WHOSE IDENTITIES AND WHEREABOUTS ARE STILL
UNKNOWN.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING SCANT CONSIDERATION TO THE THEORY
OF THE DEFENSE THAT ACCUSED-APPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY IS ONLY A LOOK-
ALIKE OF THE REAL CULPRIT.
III
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT CLEOPATRA CHANGLAPON HAD
POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY AS ONE OF THOSE WHO ABDUCTED AND
RAPED HER.
[30]

Accused-appellant assails his conviction based on complainants identification. According
to him, the identification was improperly suggested by the police. We are not persuaded.
Based on our own review of the records of this case, we find that complainant was neither
influenced nor induced by the police to point to accused-appellant as one of her molesters. On
the contrary, the transcripts convincingly show that complainant was left to freely study the
faces of the thirty or more inmates on the basketball court below to see whether she
recognized any of them.
[31]
There was no suggestion from the police to point to the new
detainee, who had just been arrested on another rape charge.
Owing to the gravity of the crime and penalty involved, we have meticulously studied the
testimony of complainant Cleopatra Changlapon and find it to be clear, straightforward and
categorical. The details of her narration are consistent on all material points. Her actions
throughout her ordeal correspond to normal human behavior. We take particular note of her
natural and spontaneous reaction of crying and attacking her molester when brought before
her face to face. The records also eloquently exhibit that she repeatedly cried throughout her
testimony. All of these actuations bear the ring of truth and deserve full faith and credit.
More importantly, complainants narration of the events is well substantiated by the
physical evidence. The second degree burns found on her face, chest and thighs prove that she
was indeed burned with lighted cigarettes whenever she attempted to fight her assailants. The
medico-legal officer confirmed that they were consistent with cigarette
burns.
[32]
Furthermore, the contusions found on her body were said to be caused by a blunt
instrument like a closed fist.
[33]
This confirms her testimony that she was repeatedly hit to
stop her from struggling. The medico-legal officer placed the time of infliction of the external
physical injuries on complainant within the last twenty-four hours.
[34]
The findings on her
genitals --- namely the gaping labiamajora, the congested and abraded labia minora, and the
lacerations --- all suggest the entry of a foreign object, such as a fully erect male
organ.
[35]
Finally, the presence of spermatozoa further confirms that complainant recently had
sexual intercourse.
[36]

In the face of complainants positive and categorical declarations that accused-appellant
was one of her rapists, accused-appellants alibi must fail.
It is a well-settled rule that positive identification of the accused, where categorical and
consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on
the matter, prevails over alibi and denial which if not substantiated by clear and convincing
evidence are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law.
[37]

Furthermore, in order that the defense of alibi may prosper, accused-appellant must
establish not only that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed but also that it
was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time it was
committed.
[38]
In the case at bar, the place of commission of the rapes --- somewhere
between Tam-awan and Longlong --- and the boarding house where accused-appellant alleged
he was in the evening of July 14, 1998, are both situated within Baguio City. The distance
between Tam-awan and Aurora Hills, especially at dawn, can be traversed in just a matter of
minutes.
Indeed, as pointed out by the trial court, accused-appellants witnesses failed to account
for his whereabouts after 12:00 midnight. At the time of the rape, complainant distinctly heard
one of her molesters state the time as 1:30. Since it was still dark when complainant was
dropped off on the side of the road, it can safely be assumed that the crimes were committed
at dawn.
The trial court, therefore, did not err in convicting accused-appellant of the complex crime
of forcible abduction with rape. The two elements of forcible abduction, as defined in Article
342 of the Revised Penal Code, are: (1) the taking of a woman against her will and (2) with
lewd designs. The crime of forcible abduction with rape is a complex crime that occurs when
there is carnal knowledge with the abducted woman under the following circumstances: (1) by
using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise
unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
[39]

In the case at bar, the information sufficiently alleged the elements of forcible
abduction, i.e., the taking of complainant against her against her will and with lewd design. It
was likewise alleged that accused-appellant and his three co-accused conspired, confederated
and mutually aided one another in having carnal knowledge of complainant by means of force
and intimidation and against her will.
Aside from alleging the necessary elements of the crimes, the prosecution convincingly
established that the carnal knowledge was committed through force and intimidation.
Moreover, the prosecution sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt that accused-
appellant succeeded in forcibly abducting the complainant with lewd designs, established by
the actual rape.
[40]

Hence, accused-appellant is guilty of the complex crime of forcible abduction with rape. He
should also be held liable for the other three counts of rape committed by his three co-
accused, considering the clear conspiracy among them shown by their obvious concerted
efforts to perpetrate, one after the other, the crime. As borne by the records, all the four
accused helped one another in consummating the rape of complainant. While one of them
mounted her, the other three held her arms and legs. They also burned her face and
extremities with lighted cigarettes to stop her from warding off her aggressor. Each of them,
therefore, is responsible not only for the rape committed personally by him but for the rape
committed by the others as well.
[41]

However, as correctly held by the trial court, there can only be one complex crime of
forcible abduction with rape. The crime of forcible abduction was only necessary for the first
rape. Thus, the subsequent acts of rape can no longer be considered as separate complex
crimes of forcible abduction with rape. They should be detached from and considered
independently of the forcible abduction. Therefore, accused-appellant should be convicted of
one complex crime of forcible abduction with rape and three separate acts of rape.
[42]

The penalty for complex crimes is the penalty for the most serious crime which shall be
imposed in its maximum period. Rape is the more serious of the two crimes and, when
committed by more than two persons, is punishable with reclusion perpetua to death under
Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 8353. Thus, accused-
appellant should be sentenced to the maximum penalty of death for forcible abduction with
rape.
[43]

As regards the other three acts of rape, accused-appellant can only be sentenced
to reclusion perpetua. The trial court appreciated the aggravating circumstances of nighttime,
superior strength and motor vehicle. However, these were not alleged in the information.
Under the amended provisions of Rule 110, Sections 8 and 9 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure, which took effect on December 1, 2000, aggravating as well as qualifying
circumstances must be alleged in the information, otherwise, they cannot be considered
against the accused even if proven at the trial. Being favorable to accused-appellant, this rule
should be applied retroactively in this case.
[44]
Hence, there being no aggravating
circumstance that may be appreciated, and with no mitigating circumstance, the lesser of the
two indivisible penalties shall be applied, pursuant to Article 63, paragraph (2) of the Revised
Penal Code.
Anent the matter of damages, the trial court correctly awarded the amount of P50,000.00
as moral damages. This was justified by complainants emotional and physical suffering, as
narrated in her testimony.
[45]
Notably, the prosecution successfully proved that complainant
lost her virginity during the rape.
[46]
As she narrated, virginity is a highly regarded virtue
among the people of Kalinga.
[47]

However, the trial court failed to award civil indemnity to the complainant. We have ruled
that if rape is committed or qualified by any of the circumstances which authorize the
imposition of the death penalty, the civil indemnity shall be not less than P75,000.00.
[48]
For
the other three counts of simple rape, where the proper penalty
is reclusion perpetua, accused-appellant is liable for civil indemnity in the amount of
P50,000.00 for each count.
[49]

We also find that the actual damages awarded by the trial court was well substantiated.
Complainant presented the required receipts for her medications, transportation and other
expenses.
[50]
Complainant testified that as a member of the Kalinga tribe, she had to undergo
the korong and songa rituals, wherein they had to butcher several chickens, pigs, andcarabaos,
thereby incurring total expenses of P90,000.00.
[51]
These rituals were intended for
complainants safety and to call on the tribes spirits so that no more violence or misfortune
may befall her.
[52]
The grand total of all these actual expenses, including those for medicines
and transportation, as duly proved by the receipts and computations presented in evidence, is
P 146,125.75,
[53]
the amount awarded by the trial court.
WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Baguio City, Branch 6, in Criminal Case No. 15805-R, convicting accused-appellant Jeffrey
Garcia yCaragay of one count of Forcible Abduction with Rape and three counts of Rape, is
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. As modified, accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the
penalty of Death for the complex crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape
and Reclusion Perpetua for each of the three counts of rape. Further, accused-appellant is
ordered to pay complainant Cleopatra Changlapon the amounts of P146,125.75 as actual
damages, P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. Costs against
accused-appellant.
In accordance with Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, upon finality of this
Decision, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of the President for possible
exercise of pardoning power or executive clemency.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo,