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G.R. No.

L-47411 January 18, 1982


PEOPLE
OF
THE
vs.
EUFEMIO CAPARAS y PAEZ
GREGORIO, defendants-appellants.
RESOLUTION

PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
and

PATRICIO

DIAMSAY

DE CASTRO, J.:
Before Us are two separate motions for reconsideration of Our decision
dated February 20, 1980 convicting the two abovenamed appellants, one
filed by their counsel of record in behalf of both of them; the other, filed by a
new counsel of Caparas only in his behalf.
The motion for reconsideration, filed by appellants' counsel of record, seeks
the re- examination of the decision insofar as it rejects the plea of selfdefense of appellant Diamsay. As in the appellants' brief, appellant Diamsay
in his present motion for reconsideration failed to prove the justifying
circumstance with clear and convincing evidence. As he had himself
admitted to be the actual killer, the burden of proof is shifted to him to
establish all the facts necessary to prove his plea of self defense. The motion
for reconsideration, insofar as Diamsay is concerned, has nothing new with
which to discharge this burden, and must consequently be denied.
As regards appellant Caparas, the motions for reconsideration seek the
review of the testimonies of the two principal witnesses, Laureano Salvador
and Lydia Posadas, upon which said appellant was convicted, on ground of
conspiracy between him and Diamsay. Caparas points out some facts and
circumstances which are alleged to impair the credibility of the aforesaid
witnesses and thereby leaves the fact of conspiracy unproven beyond
reasonable doubt as it should be.
Thus, Caparas points out that Laureano's testimony was extracted through
leading questions, and he quotes:
Q Do you know the purpose of Carlos
Gregorio in coming to your house?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was his purpose?
A Regarding the landholding I was farming
and his help I requested.
Q Did you go to any place with Carlos
Gregorio after that?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where?
A To his house.

Q You are referring to the house of Carlos


Gregorio?
A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q When you arrived at the house of Carlos
Gregorio, who were with you?
A Carlos Gregorio, sir.
Q Who were the persons, ff any, that you
have seen at the house of Carlos Gregorio?
A Eufemio Caparas and Diamsay, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Now, when you arrived in that house,
what happened?
A We talked regarding the landholding, sir.
Q You said, 'we' to whom are you referring?
A Eufemio Caparas, sir.
Q What did you talk about that landholding?
A Regarding the landholding which he said
would be given to me. He said there is
already one.
Q And what did you answer when this was
said to you by Eufemio Caparas?
A I said, 'if there is, I give thanks', but he
said that the land he was giving me had
some trouble.
Q And what did you say?
A I said' that seems hard',but he said,'that is
easy'.
Q What else transpired?
A I asked him what he meant by easy and
he said 'it is easy under this condition', and I
asked him what condition, and he said you
kill him.
Q During all that time, who were present
inside that house?
A Tisio Diamsay.
Q Who else?
A Eufemio Caparas, sir.
Q Anybody else?
A Carting Gregorio, sir.
Q And you?

A I was present.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Now, in the vernacular, in Tagalog
Language that you have been testifying, you
said, 'Patayin n'yo, means plural, do you
know to whom this word 'n'yo' referred to?
A He was ordering me, Carling, and Tisio
Diamsay,sir.
Q Ordering to what?
A To kill.
Q To kill Simeon Paez?
A Yes, sir.
We are constrained to agree that the testimony of Laureano on the supposed
conspiracy was elicited by means of leading questions, the probative value of
which, according to accepted legal authorities, is thus diminished or
lessened.
The probative value of a witness' testimony is very much
lessened where it is obtained by leading questions which are
so put that the witness merely assents to or dissents from a
statement or assertion of an examining consul put with such
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vocal inflection as to be question.
Appellant Caparas also points out several inconsistencies and improbabilities
in the testimonies of the two witnesses. While this Court has constantly
adhered to the rule that conclusions of the trial court on the matter of
evaluations of the truth of declarations of witnesses and their credibility carry
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great weight and command favorable considerations, the instant case
cannot come under this rule for, as pointed out in the motion for
reconsideration, the judge who rendered the decision was not the judge who
heard the testimonies and observed the de or of witnesses Laureano
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Salvador and Lydia Posadas. This being the case, and considering the
gravity of the crime charged, their testimonies must be subjected to a strict
scrutiny to leave no room for doubt as to the guilt of Caparas whose
complicity was based only on conspiracy which, according to settled doctrine,
must be shown to exist as clearly and convincingly as the commission of the
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offense itself.
After a careful and conscientious review of the evidence, We are now
convinced that the testimonies of the two aforementioned petitioned
witnesses were accorded more than what they deserve by way of credence
and veracity. Doubts as to the truth of their testimonies assail the mind of the
Court, occasioned by many improbabilities in their testimonies, and in the
case of Lydia, by direct contradiction by his own sister, Priscilla Posadas.

To begin with Laureano Salvador, it is not without significance that he was


not listed in the information to be among the prosecution witnesses. Only
during the trial on June 2, 1973, and after more than two years after the
commission of the crime, that he surfaced and testified on what he allegedly
knew about the crime. From his testimony, it would appear that he did not
inform the authorities nor his relatives what he knew about the crime, and
that it was only to Pablo Paez that he told his story about the crime, but only
after almost two years after its commission. This fact in itself is contrary to
human experience because the natural reaction of one who has knowledge
of the crime is to reveal it to the authorities, except only if he is the author
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thereof. Indeed, as held inPeople vs. Basuel, the silence of the witnesses
for about two years detracts from their trustworthiness.
This witness, of course, explained that his silence was due to his fear for his
life, for which reason he went into hiding in Dupax Nueva Viscaya, where he
allegedly worked at Diplong Sawmill. We cannot, however, give credence to
this explanation, since counsel for appellant was not given the opportunity to
cross examine Salvador Laureano on this matter. It appears that this witness
testified that while hiding in Dupax he worked in "Diplong Sawmill." But upon
investigation by counsel for appellant, it was found out that there is no
Diplong Sawmill and because of this, counsel for appellant moved to cross
examine further the witness. But said witness failed to appear in the hearing
despite summons, until the court, after a third failure to appear, issued an
order for his arrest. When the said witness finally appeared, counsel for
appellant requested to postpone the cross examination on a very valid
ground that he had another case which was earlier scheduled on the same
date. The trial court, however, refused to postpone the cross examination.
This, in Our opinion, is a prejudicial error on the part of the trial court, which
should have granted the postponement. As it is, his testimony cannot but
create some doubts in Our mind, specially as on his own admission, he
never went to the Office of the Provincial Fiscal to inform the government
prosecutors that he would be a witness in this case.
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In the case of People vs. Maisug, this Court held that the conduct such as
shown by the witness is unnatural and contrary to ordinary experience.
Lawyers do not usually present witnesses without informing themselves
regarding the facts that they would prove by the testimonies they would
present in court.
The other witness, Lydia Posadas, a sister-in-law of the deceased had to
wait for four (4) days after the shooting, and about two (2) weeks after she
allegedly overheard the supposed conspiracy, to execute a joint statement
with her sister, Priscilla, before the Provincial Fiscal. It defies one's credulity
that both of them, especially Lydia, who is a sister-in-law of the deceased

would not immediately expose Caparas as the man behind the perpetration
of the crime. This stultified silence casts grave doubts as to their
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veracity. These doubts deepen when she testified that she did not reveal
even to her husband the plot to kill his brother. The reason given by the lower
court is that her father-in-law to whom she told of Caparas' plan to liquidate
the deceased advised her not to inform anybody, as Atty. Pedro Paez would
arrive on February 6, 1971 to settle the conflict. The explanation is not
persuasive. No wife who heard of a plot to kill her brother-in-law would not
tell her husband of such a dreadful plan. Her explanation why she did not tell
her husband is simply preposterous. Upon being told of the plot, anyone,
especially a father, would not let even a day pass before taking measures to
avert the plot against his son's life. Lydia Posadas testified that she heard the
plot on January 27, 1971. To wait until February 6, 1971 to reveal it to the
authorities would be taking so much risk, not dictated by the gravity of the
events that cried for instant action to prevent its occurrence.
Aside from the inherent incredibility, as shown above, of Lydia's testimony, it
was directly contradicted by her sister, Priscilla, who denied having gone to
the haystack with her sister, Lydia, on January 27, 1971. Priscilla declared
that she executed the sworn statement which tended to implicate Caparas
because she and her sister were instructed to do so by Pedro Paez who from
all indications exerted moral ascendancy over them as they were staying with
the family of Pedro Paez. And being then only 17 years old, she did not
realize the serious implications of what she had done.
In Our decision subject of the present motion for reconsideration, We
brushed aside Priscilla Posadas' testimony, stating:
... Lydia Posadas declared in Court on July 14, 1973 while
Priscilla Posadas took the stand on March 27, 1974.
Between these dates, as the cliche goes, much water has
gone under the bridge. There is every possibility for
overtures to have taken place by way of saving appellant
Caparas at least, who is after all, closely related to the victim
and the Paezes, from complicity. For if the two sisters were
made to jointly execute a false affidavit by Pedro Paez,
Priscilla could at least have been prevailed upon not to take
the stand just so her sister Lydia would not be unmasked as
a liar. If she took the stand as a defense witness, it must
have been because the Paezes, realizing what a terrible fate
would befall a close relative, appellant Caparas, who could
have soothed their aggrieved feelings with more than just an
empty supplication for pity, were induced to save Caparas

from the grave punishment that he would suffer for the


serious offense with which he was charged.
We realize the foregoing ratiocination goes more into the realm of conjecture
than reality, upon consideration of the fact that as the records show, the
prosecution through a private prosecutor, presented rebuttal evidence to
disprove the evidence given by Priscilla Posadas, thus negating what this
Court surmised was the reason for Priscilla's testimony so favorable to
appellant Caparas. It may be because the Solicitor General made no attempt
to explain the damaging testimony of Priscilia, from the prosecution
standpoint, that the Court was pushed to doing it, and regrettably so, for as
just stated it did so with no better than mere speculation and surmise.
Why Pedro Paez involved the two sisters at the time the joint affidavit was
executed was probably because Laureano was still in hiding and Pedro Paez
thought that conviction of Caparas would be more sure if two witnesses could
corroborate each other.
Moreover, Pedro Paez's letter dated June 23, 1980 addressed to the
President of the Philippines and forwarded to this Court by his office
requesting for early resolution of this case and another letter dated June 17,
1981 praying for execution of the decision of this Court in this case show no
pity on Pedro Paez's part Lo want appellant Caparas saved from
punishment, contrary to this Court's mere surmise.
The trial court also inferred conspiracy from its finding that appellant
Caparas, in ordering the killing of the deceased, was motivated by
resentment against the deceased as a result of a conflict between them over
proprietary rights involving a portion of agricultural land: and that the gun
used in killing the deceased was owned by Caparas.
While conspiracy may be established by circumstantial evidence provided
that it is competent and convincing, in the instant case, the evidence with
which to link Caparas in a conspiracy with Diamsay to kill the deceased does
not rest on solid ground. The records do not show that Caparas harbors
intense resentment against the Paezes as to go to the extent of liquidating
them. On the contrary, it was the Paezes who had all the reason to be angry
with Caparas who, according to them, was defrauding them of their rightful
rights. In the case of Diamsay , he apparently acted on his own. Diamsay
hated the Paezes because of the latter's "insulting attitude" toward him, as
may be gleaned from the decision of the trial court when it states:
When Simeon Paez ,was about to have the same land
planted, Diamsay stopped the planters. This angered the
former causing him to utter slanderous remarks against
Diamsay. Pedro Paez also resented the actuations of
Diamsay in (sic) stopping of the land.

As regards the finding that the gun used by Diamsay in killing Simeon Paez
was owned by Caparas, this is easily explained by the fact that as overseer
of Caparas, Diamsay was authorized to carry the gun. Pedro Paez himself
admitted that when he was still the overseer of Caparas, he also used to
carry a gun given him by Caparas.
In the light of the foregoing discussion, We cannot but entertain doubts as to
the veracity of the testimonies of the two witnesses which alone provided the
basis for the finding of ,conspiracy against Caparas. These doubts now
disturb the mind of the Court as to his culpability, and must accordingly be
resolved in favor of appellant Caparas it being preferably to acquit a guilty
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person rather than convict all; innocent one.
WHEREFORE, the decision of February 20, 1980 is hereby affirmed with
respect to appellant Diamsay, but reversed with respect to appellant Caparas
who is hereby acquitted, on ground of reasonable doubt, of the crime
charged. With costs de oficio as to appellant Caparas.
SO ORDERED.
Right May Be Waived
When a party has had the opportunity to
cross-examine a witness but failed to avail
himself of it, he necessarily forfeits the
right to cross-examine and the testimony
given on direct examination will be allowed
to remain in the record (People v.
Caparas, G.R. No. L-47988, February 20,
1981).
! In any criminal proceeding, the
defendant enjoys the right to have
compulsory process to secure theattendance of witnesses and the
production of evidence in his behalf.

another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his


liberty; (c) the act of detention or kidnapping is illegal; and
(d) the commission of the offense, any of the four
circumstances mentioned in Article 267 is present. The
totality of the prosecutions evidence in this case
established the commission of kidnapping for ransom
with homicide.

PEOPLE v MUIT
(568 SCRA 251)
October 8, 2008
G.R. No. 181043
The elements of the crime of kidnapping and serious
illegal detention are the following: (a) the accused is a
private individual; (b) the accused kidnaps or detains

G.R. No. 181043

October 8, 2008

THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, appellee,
vs.
MILLANO MUIT, SERGIO PANCHO, JR., EDUARDO HERMANO ALIAS
"BOBBY REYES," ROLANDO DEQUILLO, ROMEO PANCHO, and
JOSEPH FERRAER, appellants.
DECISION
TINGA, J.:
Millano Muit y Munoz (Muit), Sergio Pancho y Cagumoc, Jr. (Pancho, Jr.),
Rolando Dequillo y Tampos (Dequillo), Romeo Pancho (Romeo), Eduardo
"Eddie" Hermano alias "Bobby Reyes" alias "Eddie Reyes" (Hermano), and
Joseph Ferraer (Ferraer) were charged with
1

kidnapping for ransom with homicide and carnapping in two separate


informations. Only Muit, Pancho Jr., Dequillo, Romeo, and Ferraer were
arrested and stood trial. However, Ferraer was discharged from the criminal
cases by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and was utilized as a state
3
witness. All appellants pleaded not guilty during their arraignments.
The facts as culled from the records are as follows:
In the afternoon of 11 November 1997, Orestes Julaton, (Julaton), a relative
of Ferraer, arrived at the latters house in Kaylaway, Nasugbu, Batangas with
Sergio Pancho, Sr. (Pancho, Sr.), Pancho, Jr., Dequillo and four other men
on board a gray Mitsubishi car with plate number PSV-818. Julaton
introduced them to Ferraer and told the latter that Pancho, Sr. is also their
relative. Pancho, Sr. told Ferraer that they wanted to use his house as a
safehouse for their "visitor." Ferraer was hesitant at first as he thought it was
risky for him and his family. Hermano told Ferraer not to worry because they
are not killers; their line of work is kidnap for ransom. Ferraer was assured
that the money they will get would be shared equally among them. Ferraer
and Pancho, Sr. would guard their victim. Later, five other men came and
they were introduced to Ferraer as Muit, Morales, alias Tony, alias David and
alias Puri. They had dinner and chatted until midnight. That evening, Morales
handed to Ferraer for safekeeping a folded carton wrapped with masking

tape contained in a big paper bag, and a green backpack. Hermano told
Ferraer that the package contained guns. Ferraer brought the package inside
his room; he inspected the contents before placing them under the bed, and
saw that the carton contained a shotgun and the green backpack, an Ingram
folding. Morales and Udon also showed him their .45 caliber guns tucked at
4
their waists.
At one oclock in the afternoon of 24 November 1997, Ferraer saw Pancho,
Jr., and Hermano with a companion, seated under the tree in front of his
house. Pancho, Jr. introduced their companion as Romeo. They informed
Ferraer that the following day, they would proceed with their plan. Romeo
would be the informant since he is an insider and a trusted general foreman
of the victim. The next day, at nine oclock in the morning, Pancho, Sr.
arrived at Ferraers house alone and asked Ferraer if he was already
informed of the plan. Ferraer replied in the affirmative. Pancho, Sr. told him
to wait for the groups return. However, the group returned without the
intended victim because the latter did not show up at the construction
5
site. On 2 December 1997, the group received a call from Romeo informing
them that the victim was already at the construction site. Hermano, Morales,
Udon, Manuel, Bokbok, and Muit commuted to the construction site at
Barangay Darasa, Tanauan, Batangas. Pancho, Jr. was on board the
Mitsubishi car as back-up.
At around two oclock in the afternoon of the same date, 2 December 1997,
Roger Seraspe (Seraspe), the personal driver of the victim, drove a
blue Pajero with plate number UDL-746 carrying Engr. Ruth Roldan and the
victim to visit the Flexopac project site at Barangay Darasa, Tanauan,
Batangas. At the site, Engr. Roldan and the victim alighted from
the Pajero and, along with Engr. Ed dela Cruz, toured the construction site.
Seraspe talked with Armand Chavez (Chavez), the warehouseman of ILO
6
Construction, while waiting for his boss.
After the site inspection, the three engineers walked towards the direction of
the Pajero. Seraspe was surprised to see that the three engineers who stood
together suddenly lay prostrate on the ground. Seraspe and Chavez saw an
unidentified man standing near the three engineers. Three more armed men
surrounded the Pajero. Two of them approached Seraspe and Chavez. One
of the armed men, Muit, poked a gun at Seraspe and ordered him and
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Chavez to lay prostrate on the ground. The assailants dragged the victim
towards the Pajero. They forced the victim to order Seraspe to give them the

keys to the Pajero. When the victim was already on board the Pajero,
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Seraspe heard one of them say, "Sarge, nandito na ang ating pakay."
They then started the Pajero and drove away, passing through the Pag-asa
Road gate. Two more persons who were waiting at the Pag-asa road
9
boarded the Pajero.
At 2:30 that same afternoon, Lipa City Deputy Chief of Police, Supt. Arcadio
Mission (Supt. Mission) received a radio message from the Tanauan Police
Station that a kidnapping was ongoing and the kidnappers on board
aPajero with plate number UDL-746 were heading towards Lipa City. Supt.
Mission immediately ordered the police posted near the Lipa City bus stop to
put up a barricade. In the meantime, two teams were organized to intercept
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the Pajero. They proceeded to the barricade.
Right after Supt. Mission and the teams arrived at the barricade,
the Pajero was spotted. When policemen flagged down the Pajero, the driver
stopped the vehicle. While two policemen approached the Pajero, the driver
and front passenger opened their car doors and started firing at the
policemen. At this point, all the policemen present at the scene fired back.
The cross-fire lasted for around four minutes. All the occupants of the Pajero,
except the driver and the front passenger who managed to escape, died.
SPO1 Rolando Cariaga apprehended one of the escapees who turned out to
be Muit, the driver of the Pajero, at Barangay San Carlos, Batangas, about
11
200 meters from the place of the shootout.
On the other hand, after the assailants carried their plan into action, Pancho,
Jr. proceeded to their agreed meeting place but did not find Hermanos group
there. Pancho, Jr. waited along the highway in front of the construction site.
He thought that he had been left behind when he did not see the group, so
he left. When Pancho, Jr. returned to Ferraers house, he told Ferraer what
happened to their operation. Worried that something bad might have
happened to the group, Pancho, Jr. went back and looked for the rest of his
group. Pancho, Jr. came back alone.
At around 5:30 in the morning of 3 December 1997, Ferraer saw Pancho, Sr.
and Pancho, Jr. watching the TV program "Alas Singko y Medya." He joined
them and saw on the news the Pajero riddled with bullets. Pancho, Sr. and
Pancho, Jr. left Ferraers house at around 9:00 in the morning and they also
left behind the Mitsubishi car they used. That night, Ferraer saw on the news

program TV Patrol a footage showing the cadavers of Udon, Morales,


Manuel, Bokbok and the victim, and the Pajero riddled with bullets. Ferraer
also saw Muit in handcuffs.
The prosecution presented Ignacio Ong, Sr., the father of the victim Engr.
Ignacio Ong, Jr.; Seraspe; Chavez; Dr. Anthony Llamas, the PNP MedicoLegal Officer who conducted the autopsy; Supt. Mission, Ferraer, as the
12
state witness; and Atty. Narzal Mallare (Atty. Mallare), the lawyer who
assisted appellants Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo in executing their respective
sworn statements as witnesses. Their accounts were corroborated by the
prosecutions documentary evidence such as the extra judicial confessions of
Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo, which were executed with the assistance of Atty.
Mallare. Muit executed two extra judicial confessions: the first statement was
dated 4 December 1997, in which he was assisted by Atty. Ernesto Vergara,
and the second statement was dated 7 December 1997 in which he was
assisted by Atty. Solomon De Jesus and witnessed by his uncle, Bonifacio
Muit (Bonifacio), and his brother, Dominador Muit (Dominador). On the other
hand, the defense presented appellants Dequillo, Pancho, Jr., and Muit.
Dequillo, for his part, claimed that for the period of November to December
1997 he was working as a mason at Villanueva Construction in BF Homes.
His work starts at 8:00 in the morning and ends at 5:00 in the afternoon. He
stated that on 8 December 1997, he was arrested by the CIDG at his house
in Purok Sto. Domingo, Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City. At the CIDG
Detention Center, he was questioned about the guns used in the kidnapping
of the victim. He was allegedly tortured when he denied any knowledge
about the kidnapping and was forced to sign a statement without being
allowed to read it. Atty. Mallare only came in after he had already signed the
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statement. He denied any participation in the crimes charged against him.
Pancho, Jr. claimed that he was arrested on 7 December 1997 in Calbayog,
Samar. He was first brought to the Calbayog City Police Station, and then
transferred to Camp Crame. He alleged that the police tortured him and
forced him to sign the written confession of his participation in the crimes. He
denied having participated in the commission of the offenses charged against
14
him.
On the other hand, Muit claimed that on 2 December 1997 he was in Lipa
City, near the place of the shootout. He had just attended a gathering of the
Rizalistas and was waiting for his uncle Bonifacio when the police arrested

him. He denied having any knowledge of the crime. He denied knowing the
people whose name appeared in his two extra judicial confessions. He
claimed that the names were supplied by the police and that he was not
15
assisted by counsel during the custodial investigation.
16

In a decision dated 22 November 2002, the RTC, Branch 83 of Tanauan


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City, Batangas found Muit, Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Romeo guilty. Only
the cases involving the charges of carnapping and kidnapping for ransom
which resulted in the death of the victim were automatically appealed to this
Court.
The RTC held that mere denials and alibis of appellants cannot prevail over
the positive declarations of the prosecutions witnesses. It found the
prosecutions witnesses more credible than appellants, whose self-serving
statements were obviously intended to exculpate themselves from criminal
liability. The RTC did not give credence to the claims of appellants that their
extra judicial confessions were procured through torture as these were belied
by the testimony of Atty. Mallare and appellants medical certificates which
were issued during their incarceration and after the execution of their
statements. And the RTC noted that even without appellants extra judicial
confessions, there was still sufficient evidence on record to hold them guilty.
In a resolution dated 17 January 2006, the Court referred the case to the
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Court of Appeals for intermediate review.
19

The Court of Appeals in a decision dated 31 August 2007 affirmed the


20
decision of the RTC. The appellate court held that the RTC was correct in
convicting appellants for kidnapping and carnapping. The prosecution was
able to prove through Ferraer that appellants conspired with one another in
the planning and execution of their plan to kidnap the victim. Moreover,
appellants executed extra judicial confessions, duly assisted by their
counsels, detailing their participation in the kidnapping. As for Muit, other
than his extra judicial confession, he was also positively identified during the
kidnapping by eyewitnesses Seraspe and Chavez. Appellants filed their
notices of appeal with the Court of Appeals.
Before this Court, appellants opted not to file supplemental briefs, and
instead adopted the assignment of errors in their respective original
21
briefs. Taken together, appellants claim that: (i) the RTC erred in finding
them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charges against them; (ii) the

RTC erred in its finding that they acted in conspiracy in the commission of
the crimes charged against them; and (iii) the RTC erred in giving credence
to the extra-judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo, and to the sworn
22
statement and testimony of Ferraer in convicting them.
The appeals are bereft of merit.
23

The elements of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention are
the following: (a) the accused is a private individual; (b) the accused kidnaps
or detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (c) the
act of detention or kidnapping is illegal; and (d) in the commission of the
offense, any of the four circumstances mentioned in Article 267 is present.
The essence of the crime of kidnapping is the actual deprivation of the
victims liberty, coupled with indubitable proof of intent of the accused to
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effect the same. The totality of the prosecutions evidence in this case
established the commission of kidnapping for ransom with homicide.
On the other hand, Republic Act No. 6539, or the Anti-Carnapping Act, as
amended, defines "carnapping" as the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor
vehicle belonging to another without the latters consent, or by means of
violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon
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things. The crime was committed in this case when the victims Pajero was
forcibly taken away from him contemporaneously with his kidnapping at the
construction site.
The kidnapping for ransom with homicide and the carnapping were
established by the direct testimony of Ferraer, Seraspe and Chavez. Ferraer
testified on how the group approached and convinced him to let them use his
house to keep the victim they planned to kidnap. They planned the crime in
Ferraers house and waited for the call from Romeo to inform them when the
victim would be at the construction site. The group received a call from
Romeo on 2 December 1997 informing them that the victim was already at
the construction site, and so they went there to carry out their plan. At the
construction site, as testified to by Seraspe and Chavez, Muit and the other
members of the group pointed their guns at the victim and his companion
and ordered them to lie prostrate on the ground. After getting the keys to
the Pajero from Seraspe, they forced the victim to board the vehicle with Muit
driving it. They immediately reported the kidnapping of the victim to the police
and the kidnappers were intercepted by the group led by Supt. Mission. Supt.
Mission testified that the kidnappers refused to surrender and engaged the

police in a shoot out in which the victim was among the casualties. Muit was
one of the two persons who survived the shoot out, but was apprehended by
the police. Pancho, Jr. returned to the house of Ferraer alone when the
group did not arrive at their meeting place. Ferraer, Pancho, Jr., and Pancho,
Sr. learned from the news that the group engaged the police in a shoot out
and most of them were killed, and that Muit was arrested by the police.
After investigation, the police were able to apprehend appellants Pancho, Jr.,
Romeo, and Dequillo who all took part in the botched criminal conspiracy to
kidnap the victim. During the investigation, Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit,
with the assistance of their counsels and family members, executed extra
judical confessions divulging their respective roles in the planning and
execution of the crimes.
Even though Pancho, Jr., Dequillo and Romeo did not participate in the
actual abduction of the victim, they should still be held liable, as the courts
below did, because of the existence of conspiracy. Conspiracy is a unity of
26
purpose and intention in the commission of a crime. Where conspiracy is
established, the precise modality or extent of participation of each individual
27
conspirator becomes secondary since the act of one is the act of all. The
degree of actual participation in the commission of the crime is immaterial.
The conspiracy to kidnap the victim was proven through circumstantial
evidence. The group thoroughly planned the kidnapping in Ferraers house
and patiently waited for the day when the victim would be at the construction
site. Then on 2 December 1997, the group received a call from Romeo so
they proceeded to the construction site and carried out their plan.
All the appellants took active part in the criminal conspiracy and performed
different roles to consummate their common plan. The roles which Muit and
his other companions played in the actual abduction were described earlier.
As for Dequillo, he was the one who procured the guns used by the group.
Pancho, Jr. served as the driver of the back-up vehicle, and Romeo was the
groups informant.
Section 4, Rule 133 of the Revised Rules of Evidence states that
circumstantial evidence is sufficient if: (a) there is more than one
circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven;
and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a
conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

The extra judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit


strengthened the case against them. There is nothing on record to support
appellants claim that they were coerced and tortured into executing their
extra judicial confessions. One of the indicia of voluntariness in the execution
of appellants extra judicial statements is that each contains many details and
facts which the investigating officers could not have known and could not
have supplied, without the knowledge and information given by appellants.
Moreover, the appellants were assisted by their lawyers when they executed
their statements. Atty. Mallare testified that Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo
executed their statements voluntarily and affixed their signatures after he
28
talked with them alone and informed them of their constitutional rights. Muit,
on the other hand, was assisted by counsels in each instance when he
executed his two extra judicial confessions; his second statement was even
witnessed by his uncle, Bonifacio, and his brother, Dominador. Muit cannot
just conveniently disclaim any knowledge of the contents of his extra judicial
confession. Nevertheless, in Muits case, he was also positively identified by
Seraspe and Chavez as the one who pointed a gun at them during the
29
kidnapping and ordered them to lay prostrate on the ground.
Appellants claims of torture are not supported by medical certificates from
30
the physical examinations done on them. These claims of torture were
mere afterthoughts as they were raised for the first time during trial;
appellants did not even inform their family members who visited them while
31
they were imprisoned about the alleged tortures. Dequillo, for his part, also
had the opportunity to complain of the alleged torture done to him to the
32
Department of Justice when he was brought there. Claims of torture are
easily concocted, and cannot be given credence unless substantiated by
33
competent and independent corroborating evidence.
The extra judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit also
strengthened the prosecutions case against Romeo. The rule that an extra
judicial confession is evidence only against the person making it recognizes
various exceptions. One such exception is where several extra judicial
statements had been made by several persons charged with an offense and
there could have been no collusion with reference to said several
confessions, the fact that the statements are in all material respects identical
is confirmatory of the confession of the co-defendants and is admissible
against other persons implicated therein. They are also admissible as
circumstantial evidence against the person implicated therein to show the
probability of the latters actual participation in the commission of the crime

and may likewise serve as corroborative evidence if it is clear from other


facts and circumstances that other
persons had participated in the perpetration of the crime charged and
34
proved. These are known as "interlocking confessions." Nonetheless, the
RTC, in convicting Romeo, relied not only on the aforesaid extra judicial
statements but also on Ferraers testimony that Romeo was introduced to
him in his house as the informant when they were planning the kidnapping.
As for the penalty, the RTC did not err in imposing the penalty of death since
the kidnapping was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the
victim or any other person. Neither actual demand for nor payment of ransom
is necessary for the consummation of the felony. It is sufficient that the
deprivation of liberty was for the purpose of extorting ransom even if none of
the four circumstances mentioned in Article 267 were present in its
35
perpetration. The death of the victim as a result of the kidnapping only
serves as a generic aggravating circumstance for the rule is that when more
than one qualifying circumstances are proven, the others must be considered
36
as generic aggravating circumstances.
The imposition of death penalty is also proper in the carnapping of the
victims Pajero because it was committed by a band, which serves as a
generic aggravating circumstance, without any mitigating
37

circumstance. There is band whenever more than three armed malefactors


38
shall have acted together in the commission of the offense. As planned,
Muit and three other armed men kidnapped the victim and drove away with
the latters Pajero while two more persons waiting near the Pag-asa road
boarded the Pajero.
However, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibits the imposition of
the death penalty, the penalties imposed are commuted to reclusion
perpetua with all its accessory penalties and without eligibility for parole
39
under Act No. 4103.

41

P5,000.00 per month as an engineer is not sufficient proof. But pursuant to


42
the Courts ruling in People v. Abrazaldo wherein we deemed it proper to
award temperate damages in the amount of P25,000.00 in cases where
evidence confirms the heirs entitlement to actual damages but the amount of
actual damages cannot be determined because of the absence of supporting
and duly presented receipts, the Court awards P25,000.00 temperate
damages to the heirs of the victim in the present case.
43

The civil indemnity should be increased to P75,000.00. The award of civil


indemnity may be granted without any need of proof other than the death of
44
the victim. In line with jurisprudence, the moral damages should also be
45
increased to P 500,000.00.
Moreover, exemplary damages in the amount of P100,000.00 for the crime of
46
kidnapping for ransom with homicide and P25,000.00 for the crime of
carnapping should be awarded. The law allows exemplary damages in
criminal cases as part of the civil liability of the malefactors when the crime is
47
attended by one or more aggravating circumstances.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No.
02044 which commuted the death penalties imposed in Criminal Case Nos.
P-521 and P-607 to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole
isAFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS that the compensation for loss of
earning capacity be deleted while the civil indemnity be increased
to P75,000.00 and the moral damages to P500,000.00, and that appellants
shall also pay the heirs of Ignacio Earl Ong, Jr. temperate damages
of P25,000.00 and exemplary damages of P100,000.00 for the crime of
kidnapping for ransom with homicide and P25,000.00 for the crime of
carnapping. Costs against appellants.
SO ORDERED.

As to damages, the RTC erred in awarding compensation for loss of earning


capacity. Pursuant to jurisprudence, the Court precludes an award for loss of
earning capacity without adequate proof as it partakes of the nature of actual
40
damages. The bare testimony of the father of the deceased that, at the time
of his death, the victim was earning

G.R. No. 175603

February 13, 2009

1. That the appellant under detention and named in the information


was the accused who had been arraigned;

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
RENATO ESPAOL, Appellant.

2. That the victim, Gloria Pascua Espaol, was the legal wife of
appellant;

D E CI S I O N

3. That Gloria and appellant were living together as husband and


wife prior to February 2, 2000 and that she was shot to death at the
early dawn of February 2, 2000 at Pantal, Dagupan City;

CORONA, J.:
1

This is an appeal of the November 30, 2005 decision and June 29, 2006
2
resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 1375 which
affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City,
Branch 42 convicting appellant of the crime of parricide and sentencing him
to reclusion perpetua.
Appellant Renato Espaol was charged with killing his wife, Gloria Pascua
Espaol, in an Information that read:

4. That before the victim was shot, appellant borrowed the tricycle of
Federico Ferrer and drove said tricycle with his wife inside the cab
thereof from their house towards the house of Felicidad Ferrer, sister
of the victim;
5. That appellant and the victim lived in their own house with their
4
four children.
Thereafter, trial ensued.

That on or about the 2nd day of February, 2000, in the City of Dagupan,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, RENATO ESPAOL @ Atong, being then legally married to
one GLORIA ESPAOL, with intent to kill the latter, did then and there,
[willfully], unlawfully and criminally, attack, assault and use personal violence
upon the latter by shooting her, hitting her on vital part of her body, thereby
causing her death shortly thereafter due to "Hypovolemic shock,
hemorrhage, massive, due to multiple gunshot wound" as per Autopsy
Report issued by Dr. Benjamin Marcial Bautista, Rural Health Physician, to
the damage and prejudice of the legal heirs of said deceased, GLORIA
ESPAOL, in the amount of not less than FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P50,000.00), Philippine Currency, and other consequential damages.
Contrary to Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code.

When arraigned, appellant pleaded "not guilty" to the charge. During the pretrial, the prosecution and defense agreed on the following stipulations and
admissions:

The factual antecedents follow.


At about 2:00 a.m. of February 2, 2000, Domingo Petilla was waiting for his
companions at Pantal Road, Dagupan City. They were on their way to
Manila. All of a sudden, he heard two successive gunshots. A few moments
later, a yellow tricycle sped past him along Pantal Road headed towards Sitio
Guibang, Dagupan City. The tricycle was driven by a man wearing a dark5
colored long-sleeved shirt.
Petillas companions arrived shortly thereafter on board a van. As they
started loading their things, they saw, through the lights of their vehicle, a
person lying on the pavement along Pantal Road. Upon closer scrutiny, they
discovered the lifeless body of Gloria Espaol. They immediately reported
6
the matter to the police.
7

The gunshots were also heard by Harold Villanueva, a boatman working at


the Pantal River, while he was waiting for passengers at the dock about 100
meters away from the crime scene. The shots were followed by the sound of
a motorcycles revving engine. He then saw a speeding yellow tricycle. The

10

tricycle bore the name "Rina" in front of its cab. Its driver was wearing a dark
jacket and blue pants. The boatman was later told by a tricycle driver that
there was a dead body nearby. Out of curiosity, he (the boatman) went there
8
and recognized the victim as one of his regular passengers.
Felicidad Pascua Ferrer, sister of the victim, was told by the police and
neighbors that her sister was dead. She immediately proceeded to the place.
Upon confirming that it was indeed her sister, she asked bystanders to inform
9
appellant about the death of his wife.
A few minutes later, appellant arrived. Even before he saw his dead wife, he
shouted "She is my wife, she is my wife. Who killed her? Vulva of your
mother! She was held up." Appellant stepped across the body and saluted
the police investigator. He told the police that he brought the victim to the
place where she was found and that she could have been robbed of
10
the P2,000 he had earlier given her.

POEx: NONE
GUNSHOT WOUND, POE, 1.5 CM, RIGHT MID AXILLIARY LINE,
LEVEL 2 CM BELOW THE RIGHT NIPPLE, LESS DENSE,
GUNPOWDER BURN PERIPHERY, COLLAR ABRASION, SKIN
ABRASION POSTERIOR, PENETRATING.
POEx: NONE
CONTUSION HEMATOMA AT THE RIGHT EYE AREA.
INTERNAL FINDINGS
INTRACRANIAL HEMORRHAGE, MODERATE
PENETRATING PERFORATING BRAIN TISSUE

Meanwhile, Villanueva noticed that the appellant seemed to be wearing the


same clothes as those worn by the driver of the speeding tricycle he saw
11
along Pantal Road right after he heard the gunshots.
At around 3:00 a.m., appellant went to the house of Mateo Pascua, brother of
Gloria, to inform him that Gloria was held up and killed. They then proceeded
to the scene of the crime using the yellow tricycle of their brother-in-law,
Federico Ferrer. The tricycle had the name "Rina" emblazoned in front. On
the way, Mateo noticed that the seats and floor of the tricycle were wet.
12
When asked about it, appellant did not answer.
Thereafter, at the morgue, appellant refused to look at the body and
13
preferred to stay outside. The autopsy yielded the following results:
EXTERNAL FINDINGS
CADAVER WAS IN RIGOR MORTIS AND REGULAR BUILT.
GUNSHOT WOUND, POE, 0.7 CM, MID FRONTAL AREA, LEVEL 5
CM ABOVE THE EYEBROW, COLLAR ABRASION, NO
GUNPOWDER BURN, PENETRATING, SKULL FRACTURE, BRAIN
TISSUE.

INTRATHORACIC RIGHT, HEMORRHAGE MASSIVE


PENETRATING AND PERFORATING THRU AND THRU RIGHT
[LUNG] AND HEART.
6th [RIB] FRACTURE, 2.5 CM, LEFT MID CLAVICULAR LINE,
MEDIAL
SLUG FOUND ABOVE THE 6th [RIB], WITHIN THE MUSCLES,
14
LEFT THORACIC AREA.
Disturbed by appellants actuations, Felicidad asked the police to interrogate
her brother-in-law. At the police station, while appellant was being
investigated, he requested Senior Police Officer (SPO)1 Isagani Ico if he
could talk privately with Felicidad. During their talk, appellant begged
15
Felicidads forgiveness and asked that he be spared from imprisonment.
During the victims wake in their house, appellant hardly looked at his wifes
remains. He chose to remain secluded at the second floor. He repeatedly
asked for Felicidads forgiveness during the first night of the wake. At one

11

point, Delfin Hernandez, a nephew of the victim, approached appellant and


16
asked why the latter killed his aunt. Appellant just kept silent.

respond to his nephews accusation. He likewise denied having an


22
adulterous relationship with Eva Seragas.

It was also disclosed by Norma Pascua Hernandez, Glorias other sister, that
Gloria confided to her appellants illicit relationship with a woman named Eva
Seragas. Gloria went to Evas house and confronted her about the
adulterous relationship but appellant came to Evas defense and forcibly
dragged Gloria away. Later, Gloria had another heated argument with Eva.
17
Norma pacified her sister and brought her home.

Rachel and Richwell Espaol, appellants children, corroborated their fathers


story and maintained that he was at their house resting at the time of the
commission of the crime. They insisted that he was always beside the coffin
of their mother during the wake and that he had no other woman. Rachel
testified that she and her mother were close. If it were true that her father had
illicit relations with another woman, her mother would have confided in
her.1avvphi1

After the presentation of the prosecutions evidence in-chief, the defense filed
a demurrer to evidence. The RTC denied the demurrer in an order dated
18
August 21, 2000.
For his defense, appellant testified that he had been an employee of the
Dagupan City Water District since 1990. In the early morning of February 2,
2000, he and his wife were on their way to downtown Dagupan City on board
a tricycle driven by him to buy binuburan (fermented cooked rice), a local
medication for his ulcer. However, upon reaching Quimosing Alley along
Pantal Road, Gloria decided to alight and wake up her sister Felicidad who
lived nearby. Gloria and Felicidad were engaged in the trading of fish in
19
Dagupan City.
After saying their goodbyes, appellant proceeded to the city proper alone. He
bought binuburan and other ulcer medications and went home. Around 2:30
a.m., a passing tricycle driver informed him that the water engine of the
Dagupan Water District was creating too much noise. He decided to verify
20
the information.
On his way there, appellant noticed a commotion along Pantal Road. An
unidentified man later told him, "Espaol, come here. Your wife is dead." He
immediately proceeded to the scene of the crime. As he was about to
embrace the dead body of his wife, someone tapped him on the shoulder
and said "No, dont touch her, she is still to be investigated." At the morgue,
he noticed that his wife had a bruise above her right elbow and that her
zipper was partially opened. After a few minutes, he asked to be excused for
21
he could not bear the pain and sorrow.
He denied that he asked forgiveness from his sister-in-law Felicidad for killing
his wife; that he was barely around during his wifes wake and that he did not

On February 19, 2001, the RTC convicted appellant:


WHEREFORE, premises considered, the accused RENATO
ESPAOL alias "Atong" is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of PARRICIDE as defined by Article 246 of the Revised Penal
Code and penalized by R.A. 7659 otherwise known as the Heinous Crime
Law. Under the latter law, the offense is punishable byreclusion perpetua to
death and there being no aggravating circumstance alleged in the
information, accused is hereby sentenced to suffer the lesser penalty
of reclusion perpetua. In addition, the death his wife has to be indemnified by
him in the amount of P50,000.00 and is further ordered to pay to Felicidad
Ferrer the amount ofP20,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages. No
moral damages is awarded for the reason stated above.
SO ORDERED.
Aggrieved, appellant filed an appeal in this Court which we referred to the CA
23
in accordance with People v. Mateo. The CA affirmed the RTC in a decision
promulgated on November 30, 2005. It denied reconsideration in a resolution
dated June 29, 2006.
Hence this appeal.
The issue for our resolution is whether appellant is guilty of the crime of
parricide.
Under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code, parricide is the killing of ones
legitimate or illegitimate father, mother, child, any ascendant, descendant or

12

spouse and is punishable by the single indivisible penalty ofreclusion


perpetua to death:
Article 246. Parricide. Any person who shall kill his father, mother or child,
whether legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants,
or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the
penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
In convicting the appellant, the RTC and CA found that the following
circumstances proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty of
parricide:
1. appellant admitted that he was the one who brought his wife to the
scene of the crime minutes before the latters body was discovered.
In other words, appellant was with the victim around the time she
was shot and killed.
2. the tricycle which he used in transporting his wife was seen by
Harold Villanueva and Domingo Petilla traveling at a high speed
coming from the direction where the gunshots were heard.
3. appellant, immediately after the incident, was wearing the same
dark jacket and blue jeans worn by the driver of the speeding
tricycle.
4. appellant asserted that his wife was robbed, even before the
investigation had started. However, the victims purse and other
belongings were all found intact.
5. appellant did not respond to his brother-in-laws query as to why the
tricycles sidecar which appellant had used in transporting his wife was wet.
6. appellant isolated himself during the nine-day wake of his wife.
7. appellant repeatedly asked to be forgiven by Felicidad and spared from
imprisonment during the investigation of the case, which was corroborated
by SPO1 Ico, and during the first night of the wake.
8. appellant had a paramour, a certain Eva Seragas. A month prior to the
killing, the victim confided to her sister, Norma Fernandez, that she had a

confrontation with her husbands paramour at the latters home, but


appellant dragged and pulled her away. A few days after, the two crossed
24
paths again and quarreled.
We agree with the CA.
These circumstances are proven facts. We are convinced that at around 2:00 a.m. of
February 2, 2000, appellant shot his wife twice on the head and breast, causing her
death. Though there is no direct evidence, we have previously ruled that direct
evidence of the actual killing is not indispensable for convicting an accused when
25
circumstantial evidence can adequately establish his or her guilt.
Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if (a) there is more than one
circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been proven
and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction
26
beyond reasonable doubt.
Circumstantial as it is, conviction based thereon can be upheld, provided the
circumstances proven constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and
reasonable conclusion that points to accused-appellant, to the exclusion of all others,
as the guilty person. Direct evidence of the commission of the crime is not the only
matrix from which the trial court may draw its conclusions and findings of guilt.
Circumstantial evidence is of a nature identical to direct evidence. It is equally direct
evidence of minor facts of such a nature that the mind is led, intuitively or by a
conscious process of reasoning, to a conclusion from which some other fact may be
inferred. No greater degree of certainty is required when the evidence is
circumstantial than when it is direct. In either case, what is required is that there be
proof beyond reasonable doubt that a crime was committed and that accused27
appellant committed it.
None of the prosecution witnesses saw the actual killing of the victim by appellant.
However, their separate and detailed accounts of the surrounding circumstances
28
reveal only one conclusion: that it was appellant who killed his wife.
Appellant argues that the lower courts should not have given weight to the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses because they were incredible and
29
illogical. We disagree.
Well-entrenched is the rule that the trial courts evaluation of the testimonies of
witnesses is accorded great respect in the absence of proof that it was arrived at
arbitrarily or that the trial court overlooked material facts. The rationale behind this
rule is that the credibility of a witness can best be determined by the trial court since it
has the direct opportunity to observe the candor and demeanor of the witnesses at

13

30

the witness stand and detect if they are telling the truth or not. We will not interfere
with the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses.
Appellants bare denial that he did not kill his wife is a negative and self-serving
assertion which merits no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value
31
than the testimony of credible witnesses who testified on affirmative matters. The
prosecution witnesses were not shown to have any ill-motive to fabricate the charge
of parricide against appellant nor to falsely testify against him.1avvphi1
Appellants defense of alibi is likewise weak. He alleged that he went home after he
went downtown to buy his medications. His children attested that he was with them in
their house at the time of the commission of the crime. However,
[alibi] is easy to fabricate but difficult to prove. xxx We have held that for the defense
of alibi to prosper, the requirements of time and place (or distance) must be strictly
met. It is not enough to prove that the accused was somewhere else when the crime
was committed. He must also demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it
was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime during its
32
commission.
Appellants house was merely minutes away from the place where the crime took
place. Assuming that the children actually knew that appellant was home when their
mother was killed, this did not prove that he was not guilty. It was easy for him to
hurry home right after the crime. In fact, this is a reasonable conclusion from the
circumstantial evidence gathered.
Another piece of evidence against appellant was his silence when his wifes nephew
asked him why he killed his wife. His silence on this accusation is deemed an
admission under Section 32, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court:

In criminal cases, except those involving quasi-offenses (criminal negligence) or


those allowed by law to be compromised, an offer of compromise by the accused may
be received in evidence as an implied admission of guilt.
xxx xxx xxx
In sum, the guilt of appellant was sufficiently established by circumstantial
evidence. Reclusion perpetua was correctly imposed considering that there was
34
neither any mitigating nor aggravating circumstance present. The heirs of the victim
are entitled to a civil indemnity ex delicto of P50,000, which is mandatory upon proof
35
of the fact of death of the victim and the culpability of the accused for the death.
Likewise, moral damages in the amount of P50,000 should be awarded even in the
absence of allegation and proof of the emotional suffering by the victims heirs.
Although appellants two children sided with him in his defense, this did not negate
the fact that the family suffered emotional pain brought about by the death of their
36
mother. We also award them exemplary damages in the sum of P25,000
considering that the qualifying circumstance of relationship is present, this being a
37
case of parricide.
WHEREFORE, the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CRH.C. No. 1375 finding the appellant, Renato Espaol, guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crime of parricide is hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. Appellant is
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the
victim, Gloria Espaol, in the amounts of P50,000 as civil indemnity, P20,000 as
actual damages, P50,000 as moral damages and P25,000 as exemplary damages.
Costs against appellant.
SO ORDERED.

Section 32. Admission by silence. An act or declaration made in the presence and
within the hearing observation of a party who does or says nothing when the act or
declaration is such as naturally to call for action or comment if not true, and when
proper and possible for him to do so, may be given in evidence against him.
In addition, appellants act of pleading for his sister-in-laws forgiveness may be
considered as analogous to an attempt to compromise, which in turn can be received
33
as an implied admission of guilt under Section 27, Rule 130:
Section 27. Offer of compromise not admissible.
xxx xxx xxx

14

G.R. No. L-43752 September 19, 1985


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ROGELIO ARAGONA alias "IPE", accused-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Jose B. Castillo for accused-appellant.

CUEVAS, J.:

III
IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE CRIME WAS COMMITTED
IN A PUBLIC PLACE AND WITHIN THE VIEW OF
PASSERS BY;
IV
IN ADMITTING IN EVIDENCE THE MEDICO-LEGAL
REPORT OF THE NBI, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE
EXAMINING PHYSICIAN WHO EXECUTED THE SAME
DID NOT TAKE THE WITNESS STAND;
V

Charged with and prosecuted for RAPE before the then Court of First
Instance of Pangasinan in Criminal Case No. L-1033, for having carnal
knowledge of Elenita Cagaoan through force and intimidation, ROGELIO
ARAGONA alias "IPE" was, after trial following a plea of NOT GUILTY upon
arraignment, convicted as charged and thereafter sentenced to reclusion
perpetua to indemnify the offended party in the amount of P12,000.00; and to
pay costs.
Assailing the aforesaid judgment, accused ventilated an appeal therefrom to
this Court, contending that the trial court erred
I
IN NOT PROPERLY CONSIDERING THE DELAY IN
REPORTING THE ALLEGED RAPE COMMITTED UPON
HER;
II
IN GIVING WEIGHT ONLY TO THE REPORT MADE BY
THE COMPLAINANT TO THE BARRIO CAPTAIN OF
ANGARIAN, BUGALLON TO THE EFFECT THAT SHE
WAS MERELY KISSED AND NOT RAPED BY THE
APPELLANT;

IN HOLDING THAT THE ADMITTED MEDICO-LEGAL


REPORT SHOWS THAT RAPE WAS COMMITTED UPON
COMPLAINANT ELENITA CAGAOAN;
VI
IN GIVING UNDUE WEIGHT TO THE TESTIMONIES OF
THE COMPLAINANT DESPITE ITS INHERENT
IMPROBABILITY;
VII
IN GIVING UNDUE WEIGHT AND CREDIT TO THE
TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESS GIL SANTOS
DESPITE HIS BEING A PROFESSIONAL WITNESS AND
HIS TESTIMONY BEING INHERENTLY IMPROBABLE AND
IN- CONSISTENT WITH HUMAN EXPERIENCE; and
VIII
IN NOT GIVING DUE WEIGHT AND CREDIT TO THE
TESTIMONIES OF THE BARRIO CAPTAIN LAZARO
TORRES AND OF OTHER DEFENSE WITNESSES.

15

all of which assigned errors boil down to the main issue of whether or not the
evidence on hand establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The pertinent facts that gave rise to the instant prosecution are as follows:
Late in the afternoon of December 30, 1974, Elenita Cagaoan, a fourteenyear old barrio lass from Tumbar, Lingayen, Pangasinan then staying with
her grandmother, Anastacia Baez, in Barrio Angarian, Bugallon, went to
fetch water from the pump well of Maria Baltazar, which is about 300 meters
away from their place of residence. On her way home, with the can of water
on her head, accused-appellant suddenly snatched the can she was
carrying. As a result, water spilled all over her body. Appellant grabbed her
and simultaneously warned her not to shout otherwise he will kill her. He
forced her to lie down on a dike locally known as I "pilapil". Despite the
warning, Elenita nevertheless succeeded in shouting for help. Appellant then
drew his balisong and pointed it against complainant to silence her. Scared
and already weakened by her continuous struggle in warding off appellant,
the latter succeeded in forcing her to the ground. Kneeling over her,
appellant lowered his pants, took off Elenita's panty, placed himself on top of
Elenita and inserted his private part into that of Elenita's. Elenita struggled,
moved her body and legs in an attempt to extricate herself from the
appellant, and simultaneously boxed the latter. Undeterred by the resistance
of the complainant, appellant nevertheless continued and finally succeeded
in having sexual intercourse with Elenita. After the act, appellant stood up
and ran away leaving Elenita behind. Gil Santos, who lives nearby and who
heard complainant's shouts, but prevented by the appellant from
approaching them, accompanied her.
Arriving at their place, Elenita reported to her grandmother the harrowing
experience she suffered at the hands of the appellant. Just about the same
time, her uncle Andres Paragas, husband of the sister of her mother, whom
Gil Santos met a little earlier, arrived at complainant's place after having
been informed of appellant's carnal assault against the complainant. After
questioning Elenita, Paragas immediately proceeded to the place of Lazaro
Torres, barrio captain of Angarian and reported the incident to the latter. But
since it was already too late in the evening, Torres asked Paragas just to be
back with Elenita the next morning and assured the former that he will
summon appellant.

The next day, Paragas and Elenita, together with Paragas' wife, Maria, and
Elenita's grandmother, Anastacia Banez, went to Barrio Captain Torres'
place. Appellant, accompanied by his father, also appeared therein. Torres
investigated Elenita and the latter, confronting appellant, told Torres that
appellant raped her, Appellant made no denial of the charge leveled against
him by Elenita. In the course of said investigation, appellant's father intimated
to Barrio Captain Torres his willingness to have appellant marry Elenita just
to put an end to the rape charge. The Paragas Group, after deliberating on
appellant's proposition, finally accepted the marriage proposal. The group
was advised by the barrio captain to follow up the said offer. Hence,
appellant and his parents committed themselves to see Elenita's parents on
January 5, 1975 for the marriage arrangement.
The period agreed upon, however, expired without appellant and his parents
having talk to Elenita's parents and the offered commitment to marry
complainant Elenita did not materialize. Because of this, Barrio Captain
Torres advised Paragas to proceed with the complaint against accusedappellant.
On January 30, 1975, Elenita went to Manila to see her uncle PC Felix
Cagaoan. Seeing him, at this place in Pasay City, Elenita reported to him the
sexual abuse committed upon her by the appellant. PC Cagaoan brought
complainant Elenita to the NBI where the incident was again reported and
investigated. In there, Elenita was physically and medically examined. The
report of said examination contained the following findings:
Genital Examinations:
Public (sic) hairs, fully grown, scanty, labia majora, gaping.
Labia minora coaptated. Fourchette lax. Vestibular mucosa,
pinkish smooth. Hymen, moderately wide, thick, with healed
superficial laceration at 3:00 o'clock position, corresponding
to the face of a watch; edges of which are rounded, coaptate
with difficulty. Hymenal orifice, admits a tube 2.0 cms. in
diameter with moderate resistance. Vaginal walls, lax.
Rugosities prominent.
Conclusions:

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1. No evident sign of extragenital physical injury noted on the


body of the subject at the time of examination,
2. Hymenal orifice clinically entertain no possibility for the
size of a normally erected penis to have complete
penetration.
The defense' evidence on the other hand, based from the combined
testimonies of the appellant and his witnesses, tend to show that the incident
complained of, was but a mere "kissing incident"; and that accused-appellant
could not have possibly committed the crime of RAPE imputed against him
because at about six o'clock in the afternoon of that day in question, he was
in a different barrio which is about two (2) kms. away from the place where
the crime was allegedly committed.
Appellant's plea for acquittal appeared anchored on fragile and flimsy
grounds. He would like Us to believe that on the occasion complained of, he
did nothing more than kissed the complainant. In short, it is his claim that the
complaint for rape was an exaggerated one. And yet in the confrontation
between him and the complainant before Barrio Captain Torres, he made no
denial of the rape charge leveled against him. So much so that his father, by
way of disposing and terminating the complaint against him, even proposed
to have appellant marry the complainant. If the complainant's charge was
merely that of having been kissed, We see no reason as to why such a
monumental proposal would have been made just to put an end to a very
minor case. The seriousness of the proposition offered by the appellant's
side lends validity, color and truth to the nature of the charges leveled
against him. Indeed, said offer of compromise may be considered as an
1
implied admission of guilt. We therefore find no merit in appellant's
Assignment of Error Nos. 1 and 2.
Appellant claims that the rape complained of was not sufficient proven by the
prosecution's evidence. He asserts that the medico-legal officer who
examined complainant never took the witness stand which therefore renders
the report inadmissible in evidence being merely hearsay. Furthermore, the
very report itself shows
Hymenal orifice clinically entertain no possibility for the size
of a normally erected penis to have complete penetration.

It had been consistently held, however, that in a prosecution for rape, the
accused may be convicted even on the sole basis of complainant's
testimony, if credible. So much so that failure to present a doctor's certificate
2
is not fatal to the prosecution's case. We could not ride along with the
appellant's submittal that simply because there was no complete penetration,
no rape was committed. Complete or total penetration of complainant's
private organ is not necessary to consummate the crime of rape. The
3
slightest of penetration is sufficient. Neither is the rupture of the hymen
4
essential for the crime of consummated rape. It is enough that there is proof
5
of entrance of the male organ with the labia of the pudendum.
On the other hand, we find significance in this lack of total penetration. Not
being sweethearts, coitus was effected forcibly and not by mutual consent.
Hence, the struggle and resistance on the part of the complainant to the
carnal abuse perpetrated against her. Contributing to this struggle that
prevented total penetration is the appearance of Gil Santos who was
accidentally brought to the scene of the crime by the shouts of the
complainant, thus aborting and frustrating total conquest of complainant's
virginity. In view thereof, we find no merit in appellant's assignment of error
nos. IV and V.
Anent appellant's assignment of error nos. II and VI we find it hard to believe
that a guileless young barrio lass, an unmarried teen-age, would expose
herself to embarrassment and consequences brought about by a public trial
where she would testify that she was raped if it is not true. 6 A Filipino
woman by her in-bred modesty would not air in public, things that affect her
7
honor, if she was not really raped. And this is so because ordinarily, a
young girl of tender age still possesses traditional modesty and generally
8
incapable to fabricate and concoct. Complainant's tender age and
9
straightforward manner of testifying lends credibility to her testimony.
Subsequent events likewise indicate a guilty stance on the part of the
appellant. Following that confrontation before Barrio Captain Torres, he went
hiding and could nowhere anymore be contacted. So much so that all
summons to compel his presence by the said official proved futile. Such an
act is inconsistent with innocence. As the saying goes "the guilty flees even if
no one pursueth but the innocent stands as brave as a lion." Furthermore,
the records before Us failed to disclose any indication that an attempt of any
kind was made to exort anything from the appellant and his family by reason
of this case. And even if one was made, it is hardly believable that something

17

could be obtained from the appellant considering his family's financial


resources and lowly station in life.

therefore should not be believed, We find nothing on record that would


support such a view.

Appellant also faults the trial court for having accepted the medico-legal
certificate without the physician who conducted the examination having been
presented on the stand, contending that the same is hearsay. We believe
otherwise since it was offered and admitted only as part of the testimony of
the NBI agent who testified on the same. But even disregarding said medical
certificate, still sufficient evidence on record exists that will warrant and
support appellant's conviction. As herein earlier pointed out, the lone
testimony of the aggrieved party in a prosecution for rape, if credible, is
10
sufficient to sustain a verdict of conviction the rationale being that owing to
the nature of the offense, the only evidence that can oftentimes be adduced
11
against the accused is the offended party's testimony.

In convicting the accused-appellant, the court merely imposed upon him the
obligation to indemnify the complainant in the amount of P12,000.00; that
should now be increased to P30,000.00.
WHEREFORE, and except as thus modified, the judgment appealed from is
hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against appellant.
SO ORDERED.

Finally, We are in full accord with the court a quo's disposition on the alibi
interposed by the appellant. Considering the proximity of the place where he
claimed to be which is but a distance of three kilometers to the place where
the crime was committed, it is not impossible nor is he prevented from being
in the latter's place. Indeed, in the light of the positive Identification made by
the victim and the other prosecution witness of the appellant, said alibi must
12
fall.
As a last-ditch attempt to have the judgment appealed from reversed,
appellant insists that rape could not have been possibly committed because
it allegedly took place at a point where people usually pass by. We are not
impressed with the validity of said argument, charged as we are with notice
of rape having been committed even in vicinities or places where people
13
14
conglometrate such as parks, or by the roadside. In fact, there have
been reported cases of rape committed right at the Luneta Rizal Park or even
within school premises where people abounds.
That there was alleged delay in reporting the crime, subject matter of the
instant prosecution, hardly finds support from the evidence on record. It has
been indubitably shown that the incident was immediately reported on the
very day it was committed, to the Barrio Captain of Barrio Angarian. This is
not seriously controverted by the appellant although his version is that what
was reported was merely a kissing incident. With respect to Gil Santos, (a
witness for the prosecution) being allegedly a professional witness and

18