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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

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DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:


Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 168960

July 5, 2010

AMELIA B. HEBRON, Petitioner,


vs.
FRANCO L. LOYOLA, ANGELO L. LOYOLA, RAFAEL L. LOYOLA,
ARMANDO L. LOYOLA, SENEN L. LOYOLA, MA. VENUS L. RONQUILLO,
PERLA L. ABAD and the Intestate Estate of EDUARDO L. LOYOLA,
CARMELITA A. MANABO, HERMINIA AGUINALDO-ROSAS, DIGNA
AGUINALDO-VALENCIA, ROGELIO AGUINALDO, MILA AGUINALDODIAZ, BABY AGUINALDO, RUBEN LOYOLA substituted by JOSEFINA
C. LOYOLA, GLESILDA A. LEGOSTO, EVELYN C. LOYOLA, MARINA C.
LOYOLA, AURE C. LOYOLA, CORAZON C. LUGARDA and JOVEN
FRANCISCO C. LOYOLA, LORENZO LOYOLA, CANDELARIA LOYOLA,
NICANDRO LOYOLA, FLORA LOYOLA, TERESITA L. ALZONA, VICENTE
LOYOLA, ROSARIO L. LONTOC, SERAFIN LOYOLA, ROBERTO
LOYOLA, BIBIANO LOYOLA, PURITA LOYOLA, ESTELA LOYOLA,
ESTER DANICO,EDUARDO DANICO, EMELITA DANICO, MERCEDITA
DANICO, HONESTO DANICO, DANTE DANICO, ERLINDA DANICODOMINGUEZ represented by TEODORO DOMINGUEZ and BEVERLY
ANNE DOMINGUEZ, EFREN CABIGAN and ISIDRO
CABIGAN, Respondents.
ALBERTO L. BAUTISTA represented by FELICIDAD G. BAUTISTA,
AGNES B. ZULUETA, AYREEN B. ALBA, JOSEPH ANTHONY G.
BAUTISTA, ANN-JANET G. BAUTISTA and ALFREDO L.
BAUTISTA, Unwilling Respondents.

Courts, not being omniscient, can only strive to determine what actually
and truly transpired based on the evidence before it and the imperfect
rules that were designed to assist in establishing the truth in disputed
situations. Despite the difficulties in ascertaining the truth, the courts
must ultimately decide. In civil cases, its decision must rest on
preponderance of admissible evidence.
This petition for review assails the February 22, 2005 Decision1 and the
July 7, 2005 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV. No.
64105. The CA partially granted the appeal before it and modified the
June 22, 1999 Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cavite,
Branch 20, which ordered the partition of two parcels of land among the
seven sets of plaintiffs (respondents herein).
Factual Antecedents
This case originated from a suit for partition and damages concerning
the two parcels of land denominated as Lot Nos. 730 and 879 of the
Carmona cadastre. Lot No. 730, with an area of 17,688 square meters,
was owned by Remigia Baylon who was married to Januario Loyola. Lot
No. 879, with an area of 10,278 square meters was owned by Januario
Loyola, the husband of Remigia Baylon. Januario and Remigia had seven
children, namely Conrado, Jose, Benjamin, Candida, Soledad, Cristeta and
Encarnacion, all surnamed Loyola.
The administration of the said lots was entrusted to Encarnacion LoyolaBautista. All the heirs of Januario and Remigia received their shares in
the fruits of the subject properties during Encarnacion's administration
thereof. With the latter's death on September 15, 1969, administration of
the subject properties was assumed by her daughter, Amelia Bautista-

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Hebron, who, after some time, started withholding the shares of Candida
and the heirs of Conrado. By the time partition of the said properties was
formally demanded on November 4, 1990, Candida was the only one still
living among the children of Januario and Remigia. The rest were
survived and represented by their respective descendants and children,
to wit:
1. Conrado Loyola, by his children, Ruben Loyola, now
substituted by his heirs, namely, Josefina, Edgardo, Evelyn,
Marina, Aure, Corazon and Joven Francisco, all surnamed Loyola,
and respondents Lorenzo Loyola, Candelaria Loyola, Flora
Loyola, Nicardo Loyola, Teresita Loyola-Alonza, Vicente Loyola
and Rosario Loyola-Lontoc;
2. Jose Loyola, by his children, respondents Serafin Loyola,
Bibiano Loyola, Roberto Loyola, Purita Loyola-Lebrudo and
Estela Loyola;
3. Benjamin Loyola, by his children, respondents Franco Loyola,
Angelo Loyola, Rafael Loyola, Senen Loyola, Perla Loyola-Abad,
Ma. Venus Loyola-Ronquillo, Armando Loyola as well as his
daughter-in-law by his son, Eduardo Loyola, respondent Carmen
Hermosa;
4. Soledad Loyola, by her children, respondents Ester Danico,
Eduardo Danico, Mercedita Danico, Honesto Danico, Emelita
Danico and Dante Danico;
5. Cristeta Loyola, by her children, respondents Efren Cabigan
and Isidro Cabigan; and
6. Encarnacion Loyola-Bautista, by her son, respondent Alfredo
Bautista, by petitioner Amelia Bautista-Hebron, and by her
daughter-in-law by her son, Alberto Bautista, respondent

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Felicidad Bautista, and the latter's children, respondents Anjanet,


Agnes, Ayren and Joseph Anthony, all surnamed Bautista.
For petitioner's failure to heed their formal demand, respondents filed
with the RTC of Imus, Cavite, Branch 20, the complaint for partition and
damages from which the instant suit stemmed. While manifesting her
conformity to the partition demanded by her co-heirs, petitioner claimed
in her amended answer that Candida and the heirs of Conrado have
already relinquished their shares in consideration of the financial
support extended them by her mother, Encarnacion. In the pre-trial
order, the trial court consequently limited the issue to be resolved to the
veracity of the aforesaid waiver or assignment of shares claimed by
petitioner.
Trial on the merits then ensued. While conceding their receipt of
financial assistance from Encarnacion, Candida and the heirs of Conrado
maintained that adequate recompense had been effectively made when
they worked without pay at the former's rice mill and household or, in
the case of Carmelita Aguinaldo-Manabo, when she subsequently
surrendered her earnings as a public school teacher to her said aunt.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On June 22, 1999, the trial court rendered a Decision granting the
partition sought. The dispositive portion of the Decision states:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered
ordering the partition of the following real properties, to wit:
1. The parcel of land known as Lot 730 of the Carmona Cadastre
with an area of 17,688 sq. meters more of less; and

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2. the parcel of land known as Lot 879 of the Carmona Cadastre


with an area of 10,278 sq. meters, more of less among all the
seven (7) sets of plaintiffs in seven (7) equal parts.
In this regard, the parties are directed within thirty (30) days from
receipt hereof to make the partition of the two (2) lots among
themselves should they agree, and thereafter, to submit in Court their
deed of partition for its confirmation.
SO ORDERED.4

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Issues

Petitioner raises the following issues:


I
WHETHER X X X THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT THE BURDEN OF PROOF WAS
SHIFTED TO DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AMELIA B. HEBRON AND THAT
THE LATTER FAILED TO SUBSTANTIATE HER CLAIM WITH
PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


II
Petitioner, the defendant in the case before the RTC, appealed the
Decision to the CA. The CA found the petitioner entitled to participate in
the partition of the subject properties. It stated that petitioner's
inadvertent exclusion from the partition of the subject properties arose
from the trial court's use of the phrase "seven (7) sets of plaintiffs" in
the dispositive portion of the appealed Decision instead of the more
accurate "seven (7) sets ofheirs."
The CA however, like the trial court, found that petitioner was not able
to prove the existence of the waiver or assignment of their shares by
Candida and the heirs of Conrado. The dispositive portion of the
Decision states:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is PARTIALLY GRANTED and the appealed
June 22, 1999 decision is, accordingly,MODIFIED to include appellant's
participation in the partition of the subject parcels as one of the heirs of
Encarnacion Loyola-Bautista. The rest is AFFIRMED in toto.5

WHETHER X X X THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE


RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT A SPOUSE PRESENT CANNOT
RELINQUISH THE SHARES IN THE PARCELS OF LAND IF IT WILL
DEPRIVE MINOR CHILDREN OF THEIR HEREDITARY RIGHTS.
III
WHETHER X X X THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
RULING OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT NO CONCRETE PROOF
EVIDENCING THE SALE OR ASSIGNMENT OF SHARES OF CANDIDA
LOYOLA-AGUINALDO AND CONRADO LOYOLA IN THE TWO PARCELS
OF LAND IN FAVOR OF PETITIONER'S MOTHER, ENCARNACION
LOYOLA-BAUTISTA, HAD BEEN PRESENTED BY PETITIONER DURING
THE TRIAL DESPITE THE EXISTENCE OF PAROL EVIDENCE BY WAY OF
AN EXCEPTION TO THE STATUTE OF FRAUDS.
IV

The CA denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner. Hence,


petitioner elevated the case to us via the present petition for review.

WHETHER X X X THE APPELLATE COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE


ERROR IN NOT CONSIDERING THAT CANDIDA LOYOLA-AGUINALDO

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AND THE HEIRS OF CONRADO LOYOLA ARE BARRED BY ESTOPPEL IN


ASSERTING THAT THEY ARE STILL ENTITLED TO SHARE IN THE
QUESTIONED PARCELS OF LAND.6

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They also contend that all the issues raised are factual in nature, and the
findings of fact of the CA are final and conclusive and thus, may not be
the subject of review by the Supreme Court, absent any of the recognized
exceptions to the said rule.

Petitioner's Arguments
Our Ruling
Petitioner contends that she has no affirmative allegation to prove,
hence, the burden of proof is on respondents and not on her. And if at all,
she has proven that Candida and the heirs of Conrado have relinquished
their respective shares.
She further contends that ownership of inherited properties does not fall
under Articles 321 and 323 of the Civil Code and thus, the properties
inherited by the children of Conrado can be alienated by their mother,
Victorina, in favor of petitioner's mother.
Petitioner also contends that her parol evidence proved the alleged
executed agreement of waiver of shares in the two subject inherited
properties in consideration of the educational and other financial
support extended by Encarnacion to Candida and Conrado's respective
families.1avvphi1
Finally, petitioner posits that Candida and the heirs of Conrado are
estopped by laches from asserting their entitlement to shares in the
subject properties.
Respondents' Arguments
On the other hand, respondents argue that Candida and the heirs of
Conrado have not relinquished their shares in the litigated properties.
They insist that the alleged agreement of relinquishment of shares
cannot be proved by parol evidence.

The petition has no merit.


Burden of Proof
Rule 131 of the Rules of Court states:
Section 1. Burden of Proof.- Burden of proof is the duty of a party to
present evidence on the facts in issue necessary to establish his claim or
defense by the amount of evidence required by law. (Emphasis
supplied)
From the above provision it is clear that the defendant, not only the
plaintiff, also has a burden of proof. The plaintiffs have the duty to
establish their claims. And, it is the defendants who have the duty to
establish their defenses.
Children of the deceased, like Candida and her siblings, are compulsory
heirs who are entitled to a share in the properties of the deceased. Art.
980 of the Civil Code states: "The children of the deceased shall always
inherit from him in their own right, dividing the inheritance in equal
shares." The heirs of Conrado are also heirs of Remigia and Januario,
being the children of a child of Remigia and Januario; and as such are
entitled to their shares in the estate of Remigia and Januario.7
Petitioner has admitted in her answer that respondents are heirs of
Remigia and Januario;8 and that the two subject properties were left
behind by Remigia and Januario.9 "An admission, verbal or written, made

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by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case, does not
require proof."10 Hence, we find no error committed by the CA when it
affirmed the ruling of the trial court that the burden was on petitioner to
establish her affirmative defense of waiver or sale of the shares of
Candida and the heirs of Conrado.
The defense of petitioner is that Candida and the heirs of Conrado have
waived or sold their shares in the subject properties. This alleged fact is
denied by the respondents. Hence, this is the fact that is at issue and this
alleged fact has to be proven by petitioner, who is the one who raised the
said alleged fact. The burden of proof of thedefense of waiver or sale is
on petitioner.
Whether petitioner has been able to prove the said fact is undoubtedly a
question of fact, not of law. It involves the weighing and calibration of
the evidence presented. In the absence of any of the exceptions that call
for the Court to do so, the Court will not disturb the factual findings of
the RTC that were affirmed by the CA in the present case.
Shares of Minor Children
The minor children of Conrado inherited by representation in the
properties of their grandparents Remigia and Januario. These children,
not their mother Victorina, were the co-owners of the inherited
properties. Victorina had no authority or had acted beyond her powers
in conveying, if she did indeed convey, to the petitioners mother the
undivided share of her minor children in the property involved in this
case. "The powers given to her by the laws as the natural guardian
covers only matters of administration and cannot include the power of
disposition. She should have first secured the permission of the court
before she alienated that portion of the property in question belonging
to her minor children."11 In a number of cases, where the guardians,
mothers or grandmothers, did not seek court approval of the sale of

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properties of their wards, minor children, the Court declared the sales
void.12
Although the CA inaccurately cited Articles 321 and 323 of the Civil
Code, its conclusion that Victorina had no capacity to relinquish her
children's shares in the inherited properties was, nevertheless, correct.
Evidence of Sale/Waiver of Shares in Real Properties
On this factual issue too, we find no reason to disturb the finding of the
CA affirming that of the RTC that petitioner failed to prove by
preponderance of evidence her alleged fact of relinquishment, by sale or
waiver, of the shares of Candida and the heirs of Conrado. Again, the
court has no duty to delve into and weigh the pieces of evidence
presented by the parties and passed upon by both the RTC and the CA
with consistent conclusions on this matter and absent the other
exceptions to the general rule. Nevertheless, we did so, but find no error
in the findings of the RTC and the CA on this issue.
The very sketchy and partly hearsay testimony of petitioner was
resoundingly rebutted by the testimonies of the respondents. The
hearsay letter of Soledad, self-serving entries of relinquishment in the
notebook of accounts and tampered notebook of educational expenses
hinting at a relinquishment of shares cannot be given weight. Moreover,
these were refuted by the presentation of document embodying the
notarized extrajudicial partition establishing no such relinquishment.
The evidence does not preponderate in favor of petitioner.
Absent a preponderance of evidence on the fact in issue of
relinquishment of shares, then Candida and the heirs of Conrado, as
admitted heirs of Remigia and Januario, are entitled to their shares in the
two subject properties.
Laches

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Laches is the failure of or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained


length of time to do that which by exercising due diligence, could or
should have been done earlier, or to assert a right within reasonable
time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled thereto has either
abandoned it or declined to assert it.13

WHEREFORE the petition for review is DENIED. The February 22, 2005
Decision and the July 7, 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV. No. 64105 are AFFIRMED.

In the present case, the book of accounts, showing the record of receipts
of some heirs of their shares, has repeated entries in Amelia's
handwriting that Candida and the heirs of Conrado are no longer entitled
to shares in the fruits of the properties in litigation because they have
sold or given their share in the said properties to Encarnacion. These
entries only prove that Amelia no longer recognized the entitlement of
Candida and the heirs of Conrado to their respective shares. It is relevant
to note however that the entries in the book of accounts started only on
July 17, 1986. Hence, there is definite proof of non-recognition by
petitioner of Candida and the heirs of Conrado's entitlement to shares in
the subject properties starting only on July 17, 1986. Before this time,
during the administration of the properties by Encarnacion LoyolaBautista and some undetermined number of years after her death,
Candida and the heirs of Conrado were proven to have been receiving
their shares in the fruits of the subject properties.

SO ORDERED.

Costs against petitioner.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief justice
Chairperson
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

On record is the written demand letter for partition of the litigated


properties signed by Candida and the heirs of Conrado dated November
4, 1990. The complaint for partition was subsequently filed on February
23, 1993.
From July 17, 1986, to November 4, 1990 only 4 years have elapsed.
Even from July 17, 1986 to February 23, 1993 just six years have passed.
Considering that the parties are closely related to each other and
considering also that the parties are many different heirs, some of whom
reside outside the Philippines, the passage of six years before the
respondents asked for partition through the court is not unreasonable.
We find respondents not guilty of laches.

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
CASTRO
Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts
Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

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Laforga v. Laforga, 22 Phil. 374 (1912); Ledesma Hermanos v.


Castro, 55 Phil. 136 (1930); Inton v. Quintana, 81 Phil. 97, 101
(1948).
12

Footnotes
13

Rollo, pp. 39-52; penned by Associate Justice Rebecca De GuiaSalvador and concurred in by Associate Justices Conrado M.
Vasquez, Jr. and Aurora Santiago-Lagman.
1

Id. at 35-36.

Records, pp. 262-266; penned by Judge Lucenito N. Tagle

Id. at 266.

Rollo, p. 51.

Id. at 106.

Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and the descendants


of other children who are dead, survive, the former shall inherit
in their own right, and the latter by right of representation.
7

Records, p. 74.

Id. at 75.

10

Rules of Court, Rule 130, Section 4.

Badillo v. Soromero, 236 Phil 438,448-449 (1987). See


also Nario v. Philippine American Life Ins. Co.126 Phil. 793, 801
(1967).
11

Velez, Sr. v. Rev. Demetrio, 436 Phil. 1, 7-8 (2002).

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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

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In this petition for review on certiorari, petitioners seek to reinstate the


May 11, 1990 decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila,
Branch 55,4 in SP Case No. 97668, which was reversed and set aside by
the Court of Appeals in its decision5 dated October 24, 2002.

SECOND DIVISION
FACTS OF THE CASE
G.R. No. 155733

January 27, 2006

IN THE MATTER OF THE INTESTATE ESTATES OF THE DECEASED


JOSEFA DELGADO AND GUILLERMO RUSTIA CARLOTA DELGADO
VDA. DE DE LA ROSA and other HEIRS OF LUIS DELGADO, namely,
HEIRS OF CONCHA VDA. DE AREVALO, HEIRS OF LUISA DELGADO
VDA. DE DANAO, ANGELA DELGADO ARESPACOCHAGA, TERESA
DELGADO PERLAS, CAROLINA DELGADO-ARESPACOCHAGA,
RODOLFO DELGADO, BENJAMIN DELGADO, GLICERIA DELGADO and
CLEOFAS DELGADO; and HEIRS OF GORGONIO DELGADO, namely,
RAMON DELGADO CAMPO, CARLOS DELGADO CAMPO, CLARITA
DELGADO CAMPO-REIZA, YOLANDA DELGADO ENCINAS, FELISA
DELGADO CAMPO-ENCINAS and MELINDA DELGADO CAMPOMADARANG, Petitioners,
vs.
HEIRS OF MARCIANA RUSTIA VDA. DE DAMIAN, namely,
GUILLERMO R. DAMIAN and JOSE R. DAMIAN; HEIRS OF HORTENCIA
RUSTIA CRUZ, namely, TERESITA CRUZ-SISON, HORACIO R. CRUZ,
JOSEFINA CRUZ-RODIL, AMELIA CRUZ-ENRIQUEZ and FIDEL R.
CRUZ, JR.; HEIRS OF ROMAN RUSTIA, SR., namely, JOSEFINA RUSTIA
ALBANO, VIRGINIA RUSTIA PARAISO, ROMAN RUSTIA, JR., SERGIO
RUSTIA, FRANCISCO RUSTIA, LETICIA RUSTIA-MIRANDA; and
GUILLERMINA RUSTIA, as Oppositors;1 and GUILLERMA RUSTIA, as
Intervenor,2 Respondents.3
DECISION
CORONA, J.:

This case concerns the settlement of the intestate estates of Guillermo


Rustia and Josefa Delgado.6 The main issue in this case is relatively
simple: who, between petitioners and respondents, are the lawful heirs
of the decedents. However, it is attended by several collateral issues that
complicate its resolution.
The claimants to the estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado may
be divided into two groups: (1) the alleged heirs of Josefa Delgado,
consisting of her half- and full-blood siblings, nephews and nieces, and
grandnephews and grandnieces, and (2) the alleged heirs of Guillermo
Rustia, particularly, his sisters,7 his nephews and nieces,8 his illegitimate
child,9 and the de facto adopted child10 (ampun-ampunan) of the
decedents.
The alleged heirs of Josefa Delgado
The deceased Josefa Delgado was the daughter of Felisa11 Delgado by
one Lucio Campo. Aside from Josefa, five other children were born to the
couple, namely, Nazario, Edilberta, Jose, Jacoba, and Gorgonio, all
surnamed Delgado. Felisa Delgado was never married to Lucio Campo,
hence, Josefa and her full-blood siblings were all natural children of
Felisa Delgado.
However, Lucio Campo was not the first and only man in Felisa
Delgados life. Before him was Ramon Osorio12with whom Felisa had a
son, Luis Delgado. But, unlike her relationship with Lucio Campo which

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was admittedly one without the benefit of marriage, the legal status of
Ramon Osorios and Felisa Delgados union is in dispute.
The question of whether Felisa Delgado and Ramon Osorio ever got
married is crucial to the claimants because the answer will determine
whether their successional rights fall within the ambit of the rule against
reciprocal intestate succession between legitimate and illegitimate
relatives.13 If Ramon Osorio and Felisa Delgado had been validly
married, then their only child Luis Delgado was a legitimate half-blood
brother of Josefa Delgado and therefore excluded from the latters
intestate estate. He and his heirs would be barred by the principle of
absolute separation between the legitimate and illegitimate families.
Conversely, if the couple were never married, Luis Delgado and his heirs
would be entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgados intestate estate, as
they would all be within the illegitimate line.
Petitioners allege that Ramon Osorio and Felisa Delgado were never
married. In support thereof, they assert that no evidence was ever
presented to establish it, not even so much as an allegation of the date or
place of the alleged marriage. What is clear, however, is that Felisa
retained the surname Delgado. So did Luis, her son with Ramon Osorio.
Later on, when Luis got married, his Partida de Casamiento14 stated that
he was "hijo natural de Felisa Delgado" (the natural child of Felisa
Delgado),15 significantly omitting any mention of the name and other
circumstances of his father.16 Nevertheless, oppositors (now
respondents) insist that the absence of a record of the alleged marriage
did not necessarily mean that no marriage ever took place.
Josefa Delgado died on September 8, 1972 without a will. She was
survived by Guillermo Rustia and some collateral relatives, the
petitioners herein. Several months later, on June 15, 1973, Guillermo
Rustia executed an affidavit of selfadjudication of the remaining properties comprising her estate.

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The marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado


Sometime in 1917, Guillermo Rustia proposed marriage to Josefa
Delgado17 but whether a marriage in fact took place is disputed.
According to petitioners, the two eventually lived together as husband
and wife but were never married. To prove their assertion, petitioners
point out that no record of the contested marriage existed in the civil
registry. Moreover, a baptismal certificate naming Josefa Delgado as one
of the sponsors referred to her as "Seorita" or unmarried woman.
The oppositors (respondents here), on the other hand, insist that the
absence of a marriage certificate did not of necessity mean that no
marriage transpired. They maintain that Guillermo Rustia and Josefa
Delgado were married on June 3, 1919 and from then on lived together
as husband and wife until the death of Josefa on September 8, 1972.
During this period spanning more than half a century, they were known
among their relatives and friends to have in fact been married. To
support their proposition, oppositors presented the following pieces of
evidence:
1. Certificate of Identity No. 9592 dated [December 1, 1944]
issued to Mrs. Guillermo J. Rustia by Carlos P. Romulo, then
Resident Commissioner to the United States of the
Commonwealth of the Philippines;
2. Philippine Passport No. 4767 issued to Josefa D. Rustia on June
25, 1947;
3. Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation for
Disability Resulting from Service in the Active Military or Naval
Forces of the United States- Claim No. C-4, 004, 503 (VA Form
526) filed with the Veterans Administration of the United States
of America by Dr. Guillermo J. Rustia wherein Dr. Guillermo J.

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Rustia himself [swore] to his marriage to Josefa Delgado in


Manila on 3 June 1919;18
4. Titles to real properties in the name of Guillermo Rustia
indicated that he was married to Josefa Delgado.
The alleged heirs of Guillermo Rustia
Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado never had any children. With no
children of their own, they took into their home the youngsters
Guillermina Rustia Rustia and Nanie Rustia. These children, never legally
adopted by the couple, were what was known in the local dialect
as ampun-ampunan.
During his life with Josefa, however, Guillermo Rustia did manage to
father an illegitimate child,19 the intervenor-respondent Guillerma
Rustia, with one Amparo Sagarbarria. According to Guillerma, Guillermo
Rustia treated her as his daughter, his own flesh and blood, and she
enjoyed open and continuous possession of that status from her birth in
1920 until her fathers demise. In fact, Josefa Delgados obituary which
was prepared by Guillermo Rustia, named the intervenor-respondent as
one of their children. Also, her report card from the University of Santo
Tomas identified Guillermo Rustia as her parent/guardian.20
Oppositors (respondents here) nonetheless posit that Guillerma Rustia
has no interest in the intestate estate of Guillermo Rustia as she was
never duly acknowledged as an illegitimate child. They contend that her
right to compulsory acknowledgement prescribed when Guillermo died
in 1974 and that she cannot claim voluntary acknowledgement since the
documents she presented were not the authentic writings prescribed by
the new Civil Code.21
On January 7, 1974, more than a year after the death of Josefa Delgado,
Guillermo Rustia filed a petition for the adoption22 of their ampun-

Page 10 of 107

ampunan Guillermina Rustia. He stated under oath "[t]hat he ha[d] no


legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged natural children or natural
children by legal fiction."23 The petition was overtaken by his death on
February 28, 1974.
Like Josefa Delgado, Guillermo Rustia died without a will. He was
survived by his sisters Marciana Rustia vda. deDamian and Hortencia
Rustia-Cruz, and by the children of his predeceased brother Roman
Rustia Sr., namely, Josefina Rustia Albano, Virginia Rustia Paraiso,
Roman Rustia, Jr., Sergio Rustia, Francisco Rustia and Leticia Rustia
Miranda.24
ANTECEDENT PROCEEDINGS
On May 8, 1975, Luisa Delgado vda. de Danao, the daughter of Luis
Delgado, filed the original petition for letters of administration of the
intestate estates of the "spouses Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia"
with the RTC of Manila, Branch 55.25 This petition was opposed by the
following: (1) the sisters of Guillermo Rustia, namely, Marciana
Rustia vda. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia-Cruz;26 (2) the heirs of
Guillermo Rustias late brother, Roman Rustia, Sr., and (3) the ampunampunan Guillermina Rustia Rustia. The opposition was grounded on
the theory that Luisa Delgado vda. de Danao and the other claimants
were barred under the law from inheriting from their illegitimate halfblood relative Josefa Delgado.
In November of 1975, Guillerma Rustia filed a motion to intervene in the
proceedings, claiming she was the only surviving descendant in the
direct line of Guillermo Rustia. Despite the objections of the oppositors
(respondents herein), the motion was granted.
On April 3, 1978, the original petition for letters of administration was
amended to state that Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia
were never married but had merely lived together as husband and wife.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

On January 24, 1980, oppositors (respondents herein) filed a motion to


dismiss the petition in the RTC insofar as the estate of Guillermo Rustia
was concerned. The motion was denied on the ground that the interests
of the petitioners and the other claimants remained in issue and should
be properly threshed out upon submission of evidence.
On March 14, 1988, Carlota Delgado vda. de de la Rosa substituted for
her sister, Luisa Delgado vda. de Danao, who had died on May 18, 1987.
On May 11, 1990, the RTC appointed Carlota Delgado vda. de de la Rosa
as administratrix of both estates.27 The dispositive portion of the
decision read:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, petitioner and her coclaimants to the estate of the late Josefa Delgado listed in the Petitions,
and enumerated elsewhere in this Decision, are hereby declared as the
only legal heirs of the said Josefa Delgado who died intestate in the City
of Manila on September 8, 1972, and entitled to partition the same
among themselves in accordance with the proportions referred to in this
Decision.
Similarly, the intervenor Guillerma S. Rustia is hereby declared as the
sole and only surviving heir of the late Dr. Guillermo Rustia, and thus,
entitled to the entire estate of the said decedent, to the exclusion of the
oppositors and the other parties hereto.
The Affidavit of Self-Adjudication of the estate of Josefa Delgado
executed by the late Guillermo J. Rustia on June 15, 1973 is hereby SET
ASIDE and declared of no force and effect.
As the estates of both dece[d]ents have not as yet been settled, and their
settlement [is] considered consolidated in this proceeding in accordance
with law, a single administrator therefor is both proper and necessary,
and, as the petitioner Carlota Delgado Vda. de dela Rosa has established

Page 11 of 107

her right to the appointment as administratrix of the estates, the Court


hereby APPOINTS her as the ADMINISTRATRIX of the intestate estate of
the decedent JOSEFA DELGADO in relation to the estate of DR.
GUILLERMO J. RUSTIA.
Accordingly, let the corresponding LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION issue
to the petitioner CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. DE DE LA ROSA upon her
filing of the requisite bond in the sum of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
PESOS (P500,000.00).
Finally, oppositor GUILLERMINA RUSTIA RUSTIA is hereby ordered to
cease and desist from her acts of administration of the subject estates,
and is likewise ordered to turn over to the appointed administratix all
her collections of the rentals and income due on the assets of the estates
in question, including all documents, papers, records and titles
pertaining to such estates to the petitioner and appointed administratix
CARLOTA DELGADO VDA. DE DE LA ROSA, immediately upon receipt of
this Decision. The same oppositor is hereby required to render an
accounting of her actual administration of the estates in controversy
within a period of sixty (60) days from receipt hereof.
SO ORDERED.28
On May 20, 1990, oppositors filed an appeal which was denied on the
ground that the record on appeal was not filed on time.29 They then filed
a petition for certiorari and mandamus30 which was dismissed by the
Court of Appeals.31 However, on motion for reconsideration and after
hearing the parties oral arguments, the Court of Appeals reversed itself
and gave due course to oppositors appeal in the interest of substantial
justice.32
In a petition for review to this Court, petitioners assailed the resolution
of the Court of Appeals, on the ground that oppositors failure to file the
record on appeal within the reglementary period was a jurisdictional

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

defect which nullified the appeal. On October 10, 1997, this Court
allowed the continuance of the appeal. The pertinent portion of our
decision33 read:

Page 12 of 107

from the Manila, Branch LV Regional Trial Courts May 11, 1990
decision.
SO ORDERED.

As a rule, periods prescribed to do certain acts must be followed.


However, under exceptional circumstances, a delay in the filing of an
appeal may be excused on grounds of substantial justice.
xxx xxx xxx
The respondent court likewise pointed out the trial courts
pronouncements as to certain matters of substance, relating to the
determination of the heirs of the decedents and the party entitled to the
administration of their estate, which were to be raised in the appeal, but
were barred absolutely by the denial of the record on appeal upon too
technical ground of late filing.
xxx xxx xxx
In this instance, private respondents intention to raise valid issues in
the appeal is apparent and should not have been construed as an
attempt to delay or prolong the administration proceedings.
xxx xxx xxx
A review of the trial courts decision is needed.
xxx xxx xxx
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the Court
hereby AFFIRMS the Resolution dated November 27, 1991 of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 23415, for the APPROVAL of the private
respondents Record on Appeal and the CONTINUANCE of the appeal

Acting on the appeal, the Court of Appeals34 partially set aside the trial
courts decision. Upon motion for reconsideration,35 the Court of Appeals
amended its earlier decision.36 The dispositive portion of the amended
decision read:
With the further modification, our assailed decision
is RECONSIDERED and VACATED. Consequently, the decision of the
trial court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A new one is
hereby RENDERED declaring: 1.) Dr. Guillermo Rustia and Josefa
Delgado Rustia to have been legally married; 2.) the intestate estate of
Dr. Guillermo Rustia, Jacoba Delgado-Encinas and the children of
Gorgonio Delgado (Campo) entitled to partition among themselves the
intestate estate of Josefa D. Rustia in accordance with the proportion
referred to in this decision; 3.) the oppositors-appellants as the legal
heirs of the late Dr. Guillermo Rustia and thereby entitled to partition his
estate in accordance with the proportion referred to herein; and 4.) the
intervenor-appellee Guillerma S. Rustia as ineligible to inherit from the
late Dr. Guillermo Rustia; thus revoking her appointment as
administratrix of his estate.
The letters of administration of the intestate estate of Dr. Guillermo
Rustia in relation to the intestate estate of Josefa Delgado shall issue to
the nominee of the oppositors-appellants upon his or her qualification
and filing of the requisite bond in the sum of FIVE HUNDRED
THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00).
Oppositor-appellant Guillermina Rustia Rustia is hereby ordered to
cease and desist from her acts of administration of the subject estates
and to turn over to the appointed administrator all her collections of the

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Page 13 of 107

rentals and incomes due on the assets of the estates in question,


including all documents, papers, records and titles pertaining to such
estates to the appointed administrator, immediately upon notice of his
qualification and posting of the requisite bond, and to render an
accounting of her (Guillermina Rustia Rustia) actual administration of
the estates in controversy within a period of sixty (60) days from notice
of the administrators qualification and posting of the bond.

Rule 131, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides:

The issue of the validity of the affidavit of self-adjudication executed by


Dr. Guillermo Rustia on June 15, 1973 isREMANDED to the trial court for
further proceedings to determine the extent of the shares of Jacoba
Delgado-Encinas and the children of Gorgonio Delgado (Campo) affected
by the said adjudication.

(aa) That a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife
have entered into a lawful contract of marriage;

Hence, this recourse.


The issues for our resolution are:
1. whether there was a valid marriage between Guillermo Rustia
and Josefa Delgado;
2. who the legal heirs of the decedents Guillermo Rustia and
Josefa Delgado are;
3. who should be issued letters of administration.
The marriage of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado
A presumption is an inference of the existence or non-existence of a fact
which courts are permitted to draw from proof of other facts.
Presumptions are classified into presumptions of law and presumptions
of fact. Presumptions of law are, in turn, either conclusive or
disputable.37

Sec. 3. Disputable presumptions. The following presumptions are


satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by
other evidence:
xxx xxx xxx

xxx xxx xxx


In this case, several circumstances give rise to the presumption that a
valid marriage existed between Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado.
Their cohabitation of more than 50 years cannot be doubted. Their
family and friends knew them to be married. Their reputed status as
husband and wife was such that even the original petition for letters of
administration filed by Luisa Delgado vda. de Danao in 1975 referred to
them as "spouses."
Yet, petitioners maintain that Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia had
simply lived together as husband and wife without the benefit of
marriage. They make much of the absence of a record of the contested
marriage, the testimony of a witness38 attesting that they were not
married, and a baptismal certificate which referred to Josefa Delgado as
"Seorita" or unmarried woman.39
We are not persuaded.
First, although a marriage contract is considered a primary evidence of
marriage, its absence is not always proof that no marriage in fact took
place.40 Once the presumption of marriage arises, other evidence may be
presented in support thereof. The evidence need not necessarily or

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

directly establish the marriage but must at least be enough to strengthen


the presumption of marriage. Here, the certificate of identity issued to
Josefa Delgado as Mrs. Guillermo Rustia,41 the passport issued to her as
Josefa D. Rustia,42 the declaration under oath of no less than Guillermo
Rustia that he was married to Josefa Delgado43 and the titles to the
properties in the name of "Guillermo Rustia married to Josefa Delgado,"
more than adequately support the presumption of marriage. These are
public documents which are prima facie evidence of the facts stated
therein.44 No clear and convincing evidence sufficient to overcome the
presumption of the truth of the recitals therein was presented by
petitioners.
Second, Elisa vda. de Anson, petitioners own witness whose testimony
they primarily relied upon to support their position, confirmed that
Guillermo Rustia had proposed marriage to Josefa Delgado and that
eventually, the two had "lived together as husband and wife." This again
could not but strengthen the presumption of marriage.
Third, the baptismal certificate45 was conclusive proof only of the
baptism administered by the priest who baptized the child. It was no
proof of the veracity of the declarations and statements contained
therein,46 such as the alleged single or unmarried ("Seorita") civil status
of Josefa Delgado who had no hand in its preparation.
Petitioners failed to rebut the presumption of marriage of Guillermo
Rustia and Josefa Delgado. In this jurisdiction, every intendment of the
law leans toward legitimizing matrimony. Persons dwelling together
apparently in marriage are presumed to be in fact married. This is the
usual order of things in society and, if the parties are not what they hold
themselves out to be, they would be living in constant violation of the
common rules of law and propriety.Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio.
Always presume marriage.47
The Lawful Heirs Of Josefa Delgado

Page 14 of 107

To determine who the lawful heirs of Josefa Delgado are, the questioned
status of the cohabitation of her mother Felisa Delgado with Ramon
Osorio must first be addressed.
As mentioned earlier, presumptions of law are either conclusive or
disputable. Conclusive presumptions are inferences which the law
makes so peremptory that no contrary proof, no matter how strong, may
overturn them.48On the other hand, disputable presumptions, one of
which is the presumption of marriage, can be relied on only in the
absence of sufficient evidence to the contrary.
Little was said of the cohabitation or alleged marriage of Felisa Delgado
and Ramon Osorio. The oppositors (now respondents) chose merely to
rely on the disputable presumption of marriage even in the face of such
countervailing evidence as (1) the continued use by Felisa and Luis (her
son with Ramon Osorio) of the surname Delgado and (2) Luis Delgados
and Caridad Concepcions Partida de Casamiento49 identifying Luis as
"hijo natural de Felisa Delgado" (the natural child of Felisa Delgado).50
All things considered, we rule that these factors sufficiently overcame
the rebuttable presumption of marriage. Felisa Delgado and Ramon
Osorio were never married. Hence, all the children born to Felisa
Delgado out of her relations with Ramon Osorio and Lucio Campo,
namely, Luis and his half-blood siblings Nazario, Edilberta, Jose, Jacoba,
Gorgonio and the decedent Josefa, all surnamed Delgado,51 were her
natural children.52
Pertinent to this matter is the following observation:
Suppose, however, that A begets X with B, and Y with another woman, C;
then X and Y would be natural brothers and sisters, but of half-blood
relationship. Can they succeed each other reciprocally?

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

The law prohibits reciprocal succession between illegitimate children


and legitimate children of the same parent, even though there is
unquestionably a tie of blood between them. It seems that to allow an
illegitimate child to succeed ab intestato (from) another illegitimate
child begotten with a parent different from that of the former, would be
allowing the illegitimate child greater rights than a legitimate child.
Notwithstanding this, however, we submit that
succession should be allowed, even when the illegitimate brothers and
sisters are only of the half-blood. The reason impelling the prohibition
on reciprocal successions between legitimate and illegitimate families
does not apply to the case under consideration. That prohibition has for
its basis the difference in category between illegitimate and legitimate
relatives. There is no such difference when all the children are
illegitimate children of the same parent, even if begotten with different
persons. They all stand on the same footing before the law, just like
legitimate children of half-blood relation. We submit, therefore, that the
rules regarding succession of legitimate brothers and sisters should be
applicable to them. Full blood illegitimate brothers and sisters should
receive double the portion of half-blood brothers and sisters; and if all
are either of the full blood or of the half-blood, they shall share equally.53
Here, the above-named siblings of Josefa Delgado were related to her by
full-blood, except Luis Delgado, her half-brother. Nonetheless, since they
were all illegitimate, they may inherit from each other. Accordingly, all of
them are entitled to inherit from Josefa Delgado.
We note, however, that the petitioners before us are already the
nephews, nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces of Josefa Delgado.
Under Article 972 of the new Civil Code, the right of representation in
the collateral line takes place only in favor of the children of brothers
and sisters (nephews and nieces). Consequently, it cannot be exercised
by grandnephews and grandnieces.54 Therefore, the only collateral
relatives of Josefa Delgado who are entitled to partake of her intestate

Page 15 of 107

estate are her brothers and sisters, or their children who were still alive at
the time of her death on September 8, 1972. They have a vested right to
participate in the inheritance.55 The records not being clear on this
matter, it is now for the trial court to determine who were the surviving
brothers and sisters (or their children) of Josefa Delgado at the time of
her death. Together with Guillermo Rustia,56 they are entitled to inherit
from Josefa Delgado in accordance with Article 1001 of the new Civil
Code:57
Art. 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the
widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the
inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other
one-half.
Since Josefa Delgado had heirs other than Guillermo Rustia, Guillermo
could not have validly adjudicated Josefas estate all to himself. Rule 74,
Section 1 of the Rules of Court is clear. Adjudication by an heir of the
decedents entire estate to himself by means of an affidavit is allowed
only if he is the sole heir to the estate:
SECTION 1. Extrajudicial settlement by agreement between heirs. If the
decedent left no will and no debts and the heirs are all of age, or the
minors are represented by their judicial or legal representatives duly
authorized for the purpose, the parties may, without securing letters of
administration, divide the estate among themselves as they see fit by
means of a public instrument filed in the office of the register of deeds,
and should they disagree, they may do so in an ordinary action of
partition. If there is only one heir, he may adjudicate to himself the
estate by means of an affidavit filed in the office of the register of
deeds. x x x (emphasis supplied)
The Lawful Heirs Of Guillermo Rustia

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Intervenor (now co-respondent) Guillerma Rustia is an illegitimate


child58 of Guillermo Rustia. As such, she may be entitled to successional
rights only upon proof of an admission or recognition of paternity.59 She,
however, claimed the status of an acknowledged illegitimate child of
Guillermo Rustia only after the death of the latter on February 28, 1974
at which time it was already the new Civil Code that was in effect.
Under the old Civil Code (which was in force till August 29, 1950),
illegitimate children absolutely had no hereditary rights. This draconian
edict was, however, later relaxed in the new Civil Code which granted
certain successional rights to illegitimate children but only on condition
that they were first recognized or acknowledged by the parent.
Under the new law, recognition may be compulsory or
voluntary.60 Recognition is compulsory in any of the following cases:
(1) in cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the period of
the offense coincides more or less with that of the conception;
(2) when the child is in continuous possession of status of a child
of the alleged father (or mother)61 by the direct acts of the latter
or of his family;
(3) when the child was conceived during the time when the
mother cohabited with the supposed father;
(4) when the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the
defendant is his father. 62
On the other hand, voluntary recognition may be made in the record of
birth, a will, a statement before a court of record or in any authentic
writing.63

Page 16 of 107

Intervenor Guillerma sought recognition on two grounds: first,


compulsory recognition through the open and continuous possession of
the status of an illegitimate child and second, voluntary recognition
through authentic writing.
There was apparently no doubt that she possessed the status of an
illegitimate child from her birth until the death of her putative father
Guillermo Rustia. However, this did not constitute acknowledgment but
a mere ground by which she could have compelled acknowledgment
through the courts.64 Furthermore, any (judicial) action for compulsory
acknowledgment has a dual limitation: the lifetime of the child and the
lifetime of the putative parent.65On the death of either, the action for
compulsory recognition can no longer be filed.66 In this case, intervenor
Guillermas right to claim compulsory acknowledgment prescribed upon
the death of Guillermo Rustia on February 28, 1974.
The claim of voluntary recognition (Guillermas second ground) must
likewise fail. An authentic writing, for purposes of voluntary recognition,
is understood as a genuine or indubitable writing of the parent (in this
case, Guillermo Rustia). This includes a public instrument or a private
writing admitted by the father to be his.67 Did intervenors report card
from the University of Santo Tomas and Josefa Delgados obituary
prepared by Guillermo Rustia qualify as authentic writings under the
new Civil Code? Unfortunately not. The report card of intervenor
Guillerma did not bear the signature of Guillermo Rustia. The fact that
his name appears there as intervenors parent/guardian holds no weight
since he had no participation in its preparation. Similarly, while
witnesses testified that it was Guillermo Rustia himself who drafted the
notice of death of Josefa Delgado which was published in the Sunday
Times on September 10, 1972, that published obituary was not the
authentic writing contemplated by the law. What could have been
admitted as an authentic writing was the original manuscript of the
notice, in the handwriting of Guillermo Rustia himself and signed by him,

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Page 17 of 107

not the newspaper clipping of the obituary. The failure to present the
original signed manuscript was fatal to intervenors claim.

prescribes an order of preference in the appointment of an


administrator:

The same misfortune befalls the ampun-ampunan, Guillermina Rustia


Rustia, who was never adopted in accordance with law. Although a
petition for her adoption was filed by Guillermo Rustia, it never came to
fruition and was dismissed upon the latters death. We affirm the ruling
of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals holding her a legal
stranger to the deceased spouses and therefore not entitled to inherit
from them ab intestato. We quote:

Sec. 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted. If no


executor is named in the will, or the executor or executors are
incompetent, refuse the trust, or fail to give a bond, or a person dies
intestate, administration shall be granted:

Adoption is a juridical act, a proceeding in rem, which [created] between


two persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate
paternity and filiation. Only an adoption made through the court, or in
pursuance with the procedure laid down under Rule 99 of the Rules of
Court is valid in this jurisdiction. It is not of natural law at all, but is
wholly and entirely artificial. To establish the relation, the statutory
requirements must be strictly carried out, otherwise, the adoption is an
absolute nullity. The fact of adoption is never presumed, but must be
affirmatively [proven] by the person claiming its existence.68
Premises considered, we rule that two of the claimants to the estate of
Guillermo Rustia, namely, intervenor Guillerma Rustia and the ampunampunan Guillermina Rustia Rustia, are not lawful heirs of the decedent.
Under Article 1002 of the new Civil Code, if there are no descendants,
ascendants, illegitimate children, or surviving spouse, the collateral
relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased. Therefore,
the lawful heirs of Guillermo Rustia are the remaining claimants,
consisting of his sisters,69 nieces and nephews.70
Entitlement To Letters Of Administration
An administrator is a person appointed by the court to administer the
intestate estate of the decedent. Rule 78, Section 6 of the Rules of Court

(a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next
of kin, or both, in the discretion of the court, or to such person as
such surviving husband or wife, or next of kin, requests to have
appointed, if competent and willing to serve;
(b) If such surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next
of kin, or the person selected by them, be incompetent or
unwilling, or if the husband or widow or next of kin, neglects for
thirty (30) days after the death of the person to apply for
administration or to request that the administration be granted
to some other person, it may be granted to one or more of the
principal creditors, if competent and willing to serve;
(c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve, it
may be granted to such other person as the court may select.
In the appointment of an administrator, the principal consideration is
the interest in the estate of the one to be appointed.71 The order of
preference does not rule out the appointment of co-administrators,
specially in cases where
justice and equity demand that opposing parties or factions be
represented in the management of the estates,72 a situation which
obtains here.

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It is in this light that we see fit to appoint joint administrators, in the


persons of Carlota Delgado vda. de de la Rosa and a nominee of the
nephews and nieces of Guillermo Rustia. They are the next of kin of the
deceased spouses Josefa Delgado and Guillermo Rustia, respectively.
WHEREFORE, the petition (which seeks to reinstate the May 11, 1990
decision of the RTC Manila, Branch 55) is hereby DENIED. The assailed
October 24, 2002 decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with the
following modifications:

Page 18 of 107

4. Letters of administration over the still unsettled intestate


estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado shall issue to
Carlota Delgado vda. de de la Rosa and to a nominee from among
the heirs of Guillermo Rustia, as joint administrators, upon their
qualification and filing of the requisite bond in such amount as
may be determined by the trial court.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

1. Guillermo Rustias June 15, 1973 affidavit of self-adjudication


is hereby ANNULLED.
2. the intestate estate of Guillermo Rustia shall inherit half of the
intestate estate of Josefa Delgado. The remaining half shall
pertain to (a) the full and half-siblings of Josefa Delgado who
survived her and (b) the children of any of Josefa Delgados fullor half-siblings who may have predeceased her, also surviving at
the time of her death. Josefa Delgados grandnephews and
grandnieces are excluded from her estate. In this connection, the
trial court is hereby ordered to determine the identities of the
relatives of Josefa Delgado who are entitled to share in her
estate.
3. Guillermo Rustias estate (including its one-half share of Josefa
Delgados estate) shall be inherited by Marciana Rustia vda.
de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz (whose respective shares
shall be per capita) and the children of the late Roman Rustia, Sr.
(who survived Guillermo Rustia and whose respective shares
shall be per stirpes). Considering that Marciana Rustia vda.
de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz are now deceased, their
respective shares shall pertain to their estates.

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
REYNATO S. PUNO
Associate Justice
Chairman
ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ
Associate Justice

ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Asscociate Justice

CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above decision were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Courts Division.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

REYNATO S. PUNO
Associate Justice
Chairman, Second Division
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution, and the Division
Chairmans Attestation, I hereby certify that the conclusions in the above
decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to
the writer of the opinion of the Court.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

Page 19 of 107

Penned by Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr., and concurred in


by Associate Justices Oswaldo D. Agcaoili and Sergio L. Pestao of
the former 15th Division, Rollo, pp. 75-90.
5

The original action was a petition for letters of administration


of the intestate estates of Guillermo Rustia and Josefa Delgado,
Rollo, p. 92.
6

Marciana Rustia vda. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz,


both deceased and now substituted by their respective heirs.
7

The children of Guillermo Rustias deceased brother Roman


Rustia, Sr.
8

Intervenor Guillerma Rustia.

10

Oppositor Guillermina Rustia Rustia.

11

In some pleadings, this was spelled as "Feliza."

Footnotes
Oppositors in SP Case No. 97668 with the RTC Manila, Branch
55.
1

Intervenor in SP Case No. 97668 with the RTC Manila, Branch


55.

In some pleadings, this was spelled as "Osario" and in others,


"Oscorro."
12

In the petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioners, the


oppositors were identified as "oppositors-respondents," while
intervenor was identified as "intervenor-respondent." For
clarity, we shall refer to them collectively as "respondents" in
this decision. The Court of Appeals was also impleaded as public
respondent but this was not necessary since this is a petition for
review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
3

Art. 992, new Civil Code. An illegitimate child has no right to


inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of
his father or mother; nor shall such children or relatives inherit
in the same manner from the illegitimate child.
13

14

Rollo, p. 1262.

15

Id., pp. 1200-1201.

In relation, the Civil Code of Spain (the old Civil Code)


provided that when the acknowledgment was made separately
16

Judge Hermogenes Liwag, Rollo, pp. 92-106.

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

by either parent, the name of the other parent shall not be


revealed. Nor shall any circumstance be mentioned by which
such person might be recognized (Article 132). This showed the
intent of the said Code to protect the identity of the nonacknowledging parent.
17

29

Page 20 of 107

Dated September 25, 1990.

This petition was initially filed with the Supreme Court but
was referred to the Court of Appeals, the latter having
concurrent jurisdiction with the Supreme Court over the
petition.
30

One of the children of Felisa Delgado with Lucio Campo.


Penned by Associate Justice Artemon Luna, and concurred in
by Associate Justices Serafin Camilon and Celso Magsino of the
Seventh Division, dated March 20, 1991, Rollo, pp. 627-644.
31

18

CA decision, Rollo, pp. 77-78.

Under the old Civil Code, which was in effect at the time of
Guillerma Rustias birth in 1920, she was an illegitimate
child, not a natural child, since she was born of parents who at
the time of conception were disqualified to marry each other.
19

20

Rollo, p. 920.

21

Law in effect at the time of the death of Guillermo Rustia.

Filed before the then Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of


Manila.

32

Resolution dated November 27, 1991, Rollo, pp. 656-671.

33

De la Rosa v. Court of Appeals, 345 Phil. 678 (1997).

Decision penned by Associate Justice Jose L. Sabio, Jr., and


concurred in by Associate Justices Oswaldo D. Agcaoili and
Sergio L. Pestao of the 15th Division, dated January 31, 2002,
Rollo, pp. 46-63.
34

22

23

Rollo, p. 1149.

Both the petitioner and the oppositors filed a motion for


reconsideration of the January 31, 2002 decision of the Court of
Appeals.

24

Most of the respondents herein.

36

Filed on behalf of the surviving brothers, sisters, nephews,


nieces, grandnephews and grandnieces of Josefa Delgado.
25

35

Dated October 24, 2002.

II Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium 672 (9th


rev. ed. 2001).
37

26

Now represented by their heirs as respondents.

38

Elisa vda. de Anson.

27

Id.

39

Rollo, p. 1266.

28

Rollo, pp. 105-106.

40

Balogbog v. Court of Appeals, 336 Phil. 252 (1997).

Law 126 Evidence

Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Certificate of Identity No. 9592 dated December 1, 1944 issued


to Mrs. Guillermo J. Rustia by Carlos P. Romulo, then Resident
Commissioner to the United States of the Commonwealth of the
Philippines.
41

Old Civil Code, art. 134. An acknowledged natural child is


entitled:
51

1. To bear the surname of the person acknowledging it.


2. To receive support from such person, in accordance
with article 143.
3. To receive the hereditary portion, if available,
determined by this Code.

Philippine Passport No. 4767 issued to Josefa D. Rustia on June


25, 1947.
42

Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation for


Disability Resulting from Service in the Active Military or Naval
Forces of the United States- Claim No. C-4, 004, 503 (VA Form
526) filed with the Veterans Administration of the United States
of America by Dr. Guillermo J. Rustia wherein Dr. Guillermo J.
Rustia himself stated under oath to his marriage to Josefa
Delgado in Manila on June 3, 1919.

Page 21 of 107

43

44

Rule 132, Section 23, Rules of Court.

Josefa Delgado stood as sponsor in the baptism of Luisa


Delgado on September 14, 1919, Rollo, p. 1266. In 1975, Luisa
Delgado vda. de Danao filed a petition for letters of
administration for the intestate estate of Josefa Delgado; supra,
note 25.
45

46

The records do not indicate the dates of birth of Felisa


Delgados children. The dates when Felisa Delgado cohabited
with Ramon Osorio and Lucio Campo were likewise not stated.
From the limited facts of the case on this issue, it is safe to
assume that they were all born during the effectivity of the old
Civil Code. Under the said Code, children born out of wedlock of
parents who, at the time of conception, could have married, were
natural children.
52

III Arturo M. Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on


the Civil Code of the Philippines 493-494 (1979 ed.) citing 7
Manresa 139.
53

Desiderio P. Jurado, Comments and Jurisprudence on


Succession 391 (8th ed. 1991).
54

Acebedo v. Arquero, 447 Phil. 76 (2003).


In case the surviving collateral relatives are already deceased
at the time of execution of this judgment, their shares in the
inheritance of Josefa Delgado shall accrue to their respective
estates.
55

Vda. de Jacob v. Court of Appeals, 371 Phil. 693 (1999), citing


Perido v. Perido, No. L-28248, 12 March 1975, 63 SCRA 97.
47

48

Ricardo Francisco, Evidence 400 (3rd ed. 1996).

49

Rollo, p. 1262.

Then surviving spouse, now represented by his intestate


estate.

50

Id., pp. 1200-1201.

57

56

Law in effect at the time of the death of Josefa Delgado.

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Under the old Civil Code, which was in effect at the time of
Guillerma Rustias birth in 1920, she is an illegitimate child, not a
natural child, since she was born of parents who, at the time of
conception, were disqualified to marry each other.
58

70

Children of his predeceased brother Roman Rustia, Sr.

71

II Regalado, supra note 37, at 39.

Gabriel et al. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 101512, 7 August


1992, 212 SCRA 413.
72

59

Paterno v. Paterno, No. L- 23060, 30 June 1967, 20 SCRA 585.

I Arturo M. Tolentino, Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the


Civil Code of the Philippines 577 (1985 ed.).
60

Art. 284 of the new Civil Code provided that the mother is
obliged to recognize her natural child in any of the cases referred
to in Art. 283.
61

62

New Civil Code, Art. 283.

63

New Civil Code, Art. 278.

64

Supra, note 60, at 283.

This was provided in Article 285 of the new Civil Code and
carried over to Article 175 of the Family Code. While there are
exceptions to this rule, Guillermas case does not fall within the
exceptions.
65

Subject to exceptions provided in paragraphs (1) and (2) of


Article 285 of the new Civil Code.
66

67

I Tolentino, supra note 60, at 585-586.

68

RTC decision, Rollo, p. 104.

Marciana Rustia vda. de Damian and Hortencia Rustia Cruz,


represented by their heirs in this petition.
69

Page 22 of 107

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. L-45137 September 23, 1985
FE J. BAUTISTA and MILAGROS J. CORPUS, petitioners,
vs.
HON. MALCOLM G. SARMIENTO, District Judge, Court of First
Instance of Pampanga, Branch I and the PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

CUEVAS, J.:
In this special civil action of certiorari and Prohibition with Preliminary
Injunction, petitioners assail respondent Judge Malcolm G. Sarmiento's
denial of their Motion to Dismiss filed in the nature of demurrer to
evidence in Criminal Case No. 808 for Estafa entitled "PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES vs. FE BAUTISTA, MILAGROS CORPUS and TERESITA
VERGERE ", pending before the defunct Court of First Instance of
Pampanga Branch I.
An information charging Fe Bautista, Milagros Corpus and Teresita
Vergere with estafa was filed before the sala of Judge Malcolm G.
Sarmiento. The third accused, Teresita Vergere, was granted a separate
trial. To prove its case, the prosecution presented during the trial the
private complainant, Dr. Leticia C. Yap, as its only witness. Thereafter,
petitioners, believing the prosecution failed to prove their guilty beyond
reasonable doubt, moved to dismissal the case by way of demurrer to
the evidence.

Page 23 of 107

In an Order dated June 3, 1976 respondent judge denied said


motion. 1 The Order states:
Fe Bautista and Milagros Corpus, accused, through
counsel, filed a "Moton to Dismiss" (Demurrer to
Evidence) to the information charging the two accused
for Estafa, The other third accused Teresita Vergere,
granted as separate trial.
The grounds alleged in the Motion to Dismiss are as follows: First, the
inf rmation alleges that the two accused received jewelries from Dr.
Leticia C. Yap on April 19, 1975 on consignment. The defense' contention
is that the jewelries were received by the said accused by virtue of
purchase and sale. The defense overlooks the other allegation in the
Information specifically alleging:
That these pieces of jewelries should be
sold by the accused on commission basis
and to pay or to deliver the proceeds
thereof to Dr. Leticia C. Yap if sold, and if
not sold to return said jewelries. ...
In spite of represented demands made on
the said accused, said accused failed and
refused and still fails and refuses to
return the jewelries or deliver the
proceeds thereof to the damage and
prejudice of said Dr. Leticia C. Yap in the
total amount of P77,300.00.
The meaning of consignment is not a sale.
It means that the goods sent by one
person to another, to be sold or disposed

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

of by the latter for and on account of the


former. The transmission of the goods.
Agency is within the foregoing meaning by Bouvier's Law
Dictionary (Vol. 1, pp. 619-620)
The offended party testified that the accused acted as
her agents for the sale of the jewelries. Second ground,
that the prosecution failed to establish the prior
demand to prove misappropriation on the part of the
accused. Exhibits B and B-1 are documentary evidence to
establish demand through Atty. Gorospe made by the
offended party prior to the filing of the case. This letter of
demand was subsequently made after several previous
oral demands were made by the complainant on said
accused.
The Court believes that the prosecution established a
prima facie case of Estafa alleged in the Information
against said accused on the evidence presented so far on
record.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Court hereby denies the
defense' Motion to Dismiss and orders the trial of this
case for the reception of evidence of the accused on July
9, 1976 at 8:00 o'clock in the morning.
SO ORDERED.
Accordingly, a motion for reconsideration was duly filed 2 but was
likewise denied "for lack of merit 3 Hence, this petition.
Initially, it is necessary to point out that the remedy of certiorari is
improper, The respondent Judge's order denying the petitioners' motion

Page 24 of 107

to dismiss the complaint by way of demurrer to the evidence is merely


an interlocutory order, It cannot, therefore, be the subject of a petition
for certiorari. What should have been done was to continue with the trial
of the case and had the decision been adverse, to raise the issue on
appeal. 4
The rule that certiorari cannot be a substitute for appeal, however,
admits an exception. This is when the questioned order is an oppressive
exercise of judicial authority. 5 But, even granting petitioners the benefit
of the exception, still certiorari would not lie. For, as would be shortly
explained, there was no arbitrary exercise of judicial authority.
It is the contention of petitioners that respondent Judge lost jurisdiction
to proceed with the trial of the case and that he was in duty-bound to
acquit them, considering his findings in denying their motion to dismiss
that "....the prosecution established a prima facie case of Estafa alleged in
the Information against said accused on the evidence presented so far on
record". Petitioners further argue that in a criminal case, conviction can
be had only upon proof beyond reasonable doubt and not on a mere
prima facie case.
Since the denial of the motion to dismiss was anchored on a finding of a
prima facie case, a clear understanding of the term and its implications is
in order.
A prima facie case is that amount of evidence which
would be sufficient to counter-balance the general
presumption of innocence, and warrant a conviction, if
not encountered and controlled by evidence tending to
contradict it, and render it improbable, or to prove other
facts inconsistent with it, and the establishment of a
prima facie case does not take away the presumption of
innocence which may in the opinion of the jury be such
as to rebut and control it. Ex parte Parr 288 P. 852, 855,

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

106 Cal.
App. 95. 6
There is no denying that in a criminal case, unless the guilt of the
accused is established by proof beyond reasonable doubt, he is entitled
to an acquittal. But when the trial court denies petitioners' motion to
dismiss by way of demurrer to evidence on the ground that the
prosecution had established a prima facie case against them, they
assume a definite burden. It becomes incumbent upon petitioners to
adduce evidence to meet and nullify, if not overthrow, the prima facie
case against them. 7 This is due to the shift in the burden of evidence, and
not of the burden of proof as petitioners would seem to believe.
When a prima facie case is established by the prosecution in a criminal
case, as in the case at bar, the burden of proof does not shift to the
defense. It remains throughout the trial with the party upon whom it is
imposedthe prosecution. It is the burden of evidence which shifts from
party to party depending upon the exigencies of the case in the course of
the trial. 8 This burden of going forward with the evidence is met by
evidence which balances that introduced by the prosecution. Then the
burden shifts back.
A prima facie case need not be countered by a preponderance of
evidence nor by evidence of greater weight. Defendant's evidence which
equalizes the weight of plaintiff's evidence or puts the case in equipoise
is sufficient. As a result, plaintiff will have to go forward with the proof.
Should it happen that at the trial the weight of evidence is equally
balanced or at equilibrium and presumptions operate against plaintiff
who has the burden of proof, he cannot prevail. 9
In the case at bar, the order denying petitioners' motion to dismiss,
required them to present their evidence. They refused and/or failed to
do so. This justified an inference of their guilt. The inevitable result was

Page 25 of 107

that the burden of evidence shifted on them to prove their innocence, or


at least, raises a reasonable doubt as to their guilt.
Petitioners, likewise, assign as error the order of respondent Judge
directing them to present their evidence after the denial of their motion
to dismiss. By doing so, they contend that respondent Judge would, in
effect, be relying on the possible weakness of the defense' evidence,
rather than on the strength of the prosecution's own evidence in
resolving their guilt or innocence,
We find petitioners' aforesaid submission utterly devoid of merit. Such a
procedure finds support in the case of Arbriol vs. Homeres 10 wherein
we held that
Now that the Government cannot appeal in criminal
cases if the defendant would be placed thereby in double
jeopardy (Sec. 2, Rule 118), the dismissal of the case for
insufficiency of the evidence after the prosecution has
rested terminates the case then and there. But if the
motion for dismissal is denied, the court should proceed to
hear the evidence for the defense before entering judgment
regardless of whether or not the defense had reserved its
Tight to present evidence in the event its motion for
dismissal be denied The reason is that it is the
constitutional right of the accused to be heard in his
defense before sentence is pronounced on him. Of course
if the accused has no evidence to present or expressly
waives the right to present it, the court has no alternative
but to decide the case upon the evidence presented by
the prosecution alone. (Emphasis supplied)
WHEREFORE, finding the order complained of to be well-taken and
there being no grave abuse of discretion that attended its issuance, the
instant petition is DISMISSED with costs against petitioners.

Law 126 Evidence

Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

The Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga where this
case is now assigned, is hereby ordered to continue immediately with
the trial of Criminal Case No. 808 until its final disposition.
SO ORDERED.
Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, Escolin and Alampay, JJ., concur.
Aquino (Chairman), J., in the result.

Footnotes
1 Annex "B".
2 Annex "C".
3 Annex "D".
4 Gamboa vs. Victoriano, 90 SCRA 40.
5 Co Chuan Seng vs. CA, 128 SCRA 308
6 Words & Phrases Permanent Edition 33, p. 545.
7 Moran Rules of Court, Vol. III, pp. 542-543; People vs.
Upao Moro 101 Phil. 1226.
8 Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, 1970
Ed., p. 795
9 20 Am. Jur. 1102-03.

10 84 Phil. 525.

Page 26 of 107

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 150762

January 20, 2006

COVERDALE ABARQUEZ, y EVANGELISTA, Petitioner,


vs.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION

Page 27 of 107

The undersigned accuses COVERDALE ABARQUEZ Y EVANGELISTA of


the crime of HOMICIDE, committed as follows:
That on or about November 21, 1993, in the City of Manila, Philippines,
the said accused conspiring and confederating with one ALBERTO
ALMOJUELA Y VILLANUEVA, who has already been charged for the same
offense before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, under Crim. Case No.
93-129891 and mutually helping each other, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously with intent to kill, attack, assault and use
personal violence upon one RICARDO QUEJONG Y BELLO, by then and
there stabbing him twice with a bladed weapon and hitting him with a
gun at the back, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal wounds which
were the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter.

CARPIO, J.:

CONTRARY TO LAW.6

The Case

Criminal Case No. 94-135056

Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the 23 June 2000
Decision2 and the 7 November 2001 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. CR No. 21450. The Court of Appeals affirmed the 30
September 1997 Decision4 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch
50 ("trial court") in Criminal Cases Nos. 94-135055-56. The trial court
found Coverdale Abarquez y Evangelista ("Abarquez") guilty beyond
reasonable doubt as an accomplice in the crime of homicide in Criminal
Case No. 94-135055.

The undersigned accuses COVERDALE ABARQUEZ Y EVANGELISTA of


the crime of ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE, committed as follows:

The Charge
The prosecution charged Abarquez with the crimes of homicide and
attempted homicide in two Informations,5 as follows:
Criminal Case No. 94-135055

That on or about November 21, 1993, in the City of Manila, Philippines,


the said accused conspiring and confederating with one ALBERTO
ALMOJUELA Y VILLANUEVA, who has already been charged for the same
offense before the Regional Trial Court of Manila under Crim. Case No.
93-129892 and mutually helping each other, with intent to kill, did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously commence the commission
of the crime of homicide directly by overt acts, to wit: by then and there
holding one JOSE BUENJIJO PAZ Y UMALI and stabbing him with a
bladed weapon, hitting him on the left arm, but the said accused did not
perform all the acts of execution which should have produced the crime
of homicide as a consequence, by reason of causes other than his own
spontaneous desistance, that is, the injury inflicted upon said JOSE
BUENJIJO PAZ Y UMALI is only slight and not fatal.

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

CONTRARY TO LAW.7
Abarquez entered a plea of not guilty to both charges. The cases were
tried jointly.
The Version of the Prosecution
On 21 November 1993 at 2:00 p.m., Jose Buenjijo Paz8 ("Paz"), Ricardo
Quejong ("Quejong") and their friends were in the house of one Boyet at
3342 San Jose St., Sta. Mesa, Manila. They were drinking liquor in
celebration of the birthday of Boyets son. About 7:45 p.m., Paz and
Quejong decided to go home. Boyet Tong, Abarquezs son Bardie and
Sonito Masula ("Masula") joined Paz and Quejong. They proceeded
towards the exit of San Jose St.
Meanwhile, about six or seven meters away from Boyets house, Alberto
Almojuela also known as Bitoy ("Almojuela"), a certain Ising and
Abarquez also known as Dale, were likewise drinking liquor in front of
Almojuelas house. As the group of Paz was passing towards the main
road, Almojuela and his companions blocked their path.
Almojuela asked Paz, "Are you brave?" Paz replied, "Why?" Almojuela
got angry and attacked Paz with a knife. Paz parried the attack with his
left arm but sustained an injury. Abarquez held Paz on both shoulders
while Bardie pacified Almojuela. Paz asked Abarquez, "What is
our atraso, we were going home, why did you block our way?" Abarquez
answered, "Masyado kang matapang. Tumigil ka na, tumigil ka na."
Almojuela then confronted Quejong and they had an altercation,
followed by a scuffle. Paz tried to get away from Abarquez who
continued restraining him. Upon seeing Almojuela and Quejong fall on
the ground, Paz struggled to free himself from Abarquez. Paz
approached Quejong and found him already bloodied. It turned out the
Almojuela stabbed Quejong with a knife. Paz tried to pull up Quejong but

Page 28 of 107

failed. Paz left Quejong and ran instead towards the exit of San Jose St. to
ask for help. While Paz was running away, he heard Abarquez shout,
"You left your companion already wounded!"
When Paz and his companions returned, they found Quejong still on the
ground. Almojuela and Abarquez were still in the area. Paz and his
companions brought Quejong to the UST Hospital. They next proceeded
to Police Precinct No. 4 to report the incident. However, there was
nobody in the precinct. With Kagawad Villanio Usorio, Paz went to the
WPD General Headquarters to report the incident. At the WPD General
Headquarters, they learned that Quejong died at the UST Hospital. Paz
then had his injury treated by Dr. Vic Managuelod at Jose Reyes
Memorial Hospital. The medico-legal certificate showed that Paz
sustained a 3-cm. lacerated wound on his left forearm.
About 9:15 p.m., while SPO1 Danilo Vidad ("SPO1 Vidad") was at the
WPD Homicide Division, his station received a call from the UST Hospital
informing them of the death of Quejong. SPO1 Vidad and PO3 Ed Co went
to the UST Hospital morgue and investigated the incident. They learned
that Almojuela, assisted by Abarquez, stabbed Quejong. Upon the
execution of sworn statements by Paz and Masula, SPO1 Vidad booked
Almojuela and Abarquez for homicide and frustrated homicide and
prepared the referral letter to the inquest prosecutor.
Abarquez voluntarily appeared at the police station. Almojuela
voluntarily surrendered to one SPO4 Soriano at Police Station No. 10 and
was turned over to the WPD Homicide Division.
Dr. Antonio Rebosa9 ("Dr. Rebosa"), a medico-legal consultant at UST
Hospital, conducted the post-mortem examination and autopsy on
Quejong. Dr. Rebosa reported that Quejong sustained two stab wounds
and suffered from massive hemorrhage due to penetrating stab wounds
to the heart and left lung. According to Dr. Rebosa, a sharp instrument
probably caused the wound. Dr. Rebosa also reported that Quejong

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

sustained abrasions and contusions on the right upper body, the wrist
and on the lower extremities.
The Version of the Defense
Abarquez countered that on 21 November 1993, he was in his residence
at 3363 San Jose St., Sta. Mesa, Manila. About 7:30 p.m., Almojuelas wife
informed him that the group of Paz was challenging Almojuela to a
fistfight. Abarquez, being a barangay kagawad, proceeded to Almojuelas
house. Almojuelas house was about twenty meters away from
Abarquezs house. When he arrived at Almojuelas house, Abarquez saw
Almojuela on the ground being strangled by Quejong. Paz was holding
Almojuelas waist and boxing him at the stomach. Masula was near
Almojuelas head holding a piece of stone as if waiting for a chance to hit
him. Abarquez shouted at the group to stop. The group did not heed
Abarquez, forcing him to fire a warning shot into the air. Still, the group
did not heed Abarquez who then fired a second warning shot. Paz,
Quejong, and Masula scampered away.
Almojuela told Abarquez that he was merely trying to stop the group of
Paz from smoking marijuana. Almojuela then went inside his house
while Abarquez went home. On his way home, Abarquez met the Chief
Tanod of the barangay and two kagawads. Kagawad Rudy Lego ("Lego")
advised him to report the incident to the police. They all proceeded to
Precinct No. 4 where Lego reported the incident to the desk officer. The
desk officer told them that a person had been stabbed. When Abarquez
reached their house, he saw policemen and media men with their
barangay chairman. He informed them that he had just reported the
incident. Upon the request of SPO1 Vidad, Abarquez then went to the
police station to shed light on the incident.
Almojuela testified that he was inside his house when his daughter
informed him that there was marijuana smoke coming to their window.
He went outside to look for the source of the smoke and saw Quejong,

Page 29 of 107

Paz, and Masula smoking marijuana. Almojuela asked the group to move
away as there were children inside the house. He was on his way back to
the house when Quejong tried to strangle him. Later, Almojuela heard a
gunshot. He also heard Abarquez shouting, "Tumigil na kayo." Quejong,
Masula, and Paz ran away.
Winfred Evangelista10 ("Evangelista") testified that he was resting in
front of his house when he heard a commotion. He noticed that Paz and
Quejong were quarreling. Evangelista saw Paz kicking Almojuela.
Abarquez arrived to break up the fight but he was told not to interfere.
Abarquez was forced to fire a warning shot and the persons involved in
the commotion ran away.
The Ruling of the Trial Court
In its Decision11 dated 30 September 1997, the trial court found
Abarquez guilty as an accomplice in the crime of homicide. The trial
court held that the prosecution failed to prove that Abarquez was a coconspirator of Almojuela in the killing of Quejong. Hence, Abarquez
could not be convicted as a principal in the crime of homicide. However,
the trial court ruled that Abarquez, in holding and restraining Paz,
prevented the latter from helping Quejong and allowed Almojuela to
pursue his criminal act without resistance.
The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in Criminal Case No. 94-135055, this Court finds the
accused, Coverdale Abarquez, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of homicide only as accomplice and hereby sentences him to suffer
an indeterminate penalty ranging from six (6) years of prision
correccional to ten (10) years of prision mayor. In Criminal Case No. 94135056, the accused is hereby acquitted.
With costs de oficio.

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

SO ORDERED.12

Page 30 of 107

conclusion based entirely on speculation, surmises and conjectures.


Abarquez also assails the credibility of the witnesses against him.

Abarquez appealed the trial courts Decision before the Court of Appeals.
The Ruling of This Court
Decision13

In its
of 23 June 2000, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial
courts Decision. The Court of Appeals sustained the trial court in giving
more credence to the testimony of Paz. The Court of Appeals held that
the prosecution was able to establish that Abarquez aided Almojuela in
fatally stabbing Quejong. The Court of Appeals rejected Abarquezs
allegation that he was merely at the crime scene to pacify the quarreling
parties.
In its 7 November 2001 Resolution,14 the Court of Appeals denied
Abarquezs motion for reconsideration.
Hence, the petition before this Court.
The Issues
The issues15 Abarquez raises before the Court may be summarized as
follows:
1. Whether the prosecution was able to establish the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt;
2. Whether the trial court and the Court of Appeals erred in
giving more credence to the testimony of the prosecution
witnesses.
Abarquez alleges that the prosecutions evidence does not satisfy the test
of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support his conviction as an
accomplice. He further alleges that there was a misapprehension of facts
and that the trial court and the Court of Appeals reached their

The petition is meritorious.


The rule is that the trial court is in the best position to determine the
value and weight of the testimony of a witness. The exception is if the
trial court failed to consider certain facts of substance and value, which if
considered, might affect the result of the case.16 This case is an exception
to the rule.
Concurrence in Criminal Design
Article 18 of the Revised Penal Code defines accomplices as "those
persons who, not being included in Article 17, cooperate in the execution
of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts."17
Two elements must concur before a person becomes liable as an
accomplice: (1) community of design, which means that the accomplice
knows of, and concurs with, the criminal design of the principal by direct
participation; and (2) the performance by the accomplice of previous or
simultaneous acts that are not indispensable to the commission of the
crime.18 Mere commission of an act, which aids the perpetrator, is not
enough.19 Thus:
The cooperation that the law punishes is the assistance knowingly
rendered, which cannot exist without the previous cognizance of the
criminal act intended to be executed. It is therefore required in order to
be liable as an accomplice, that the accused must unite with the criminal
design of the principal by direct participation.20

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Indeed, in one case, the Court ruled that the mere presence of the
accused at the crime scene cannot be interpreted to mean that he
committed the crime charged.21
Here, in convicting Abarquez, the trial court and the Court of Appeals
relied mainly on the testimony of Paz. Paz testified that he was held by
Abarquez on the shoulders, thus preventing him from helping Quejong
who was grappling with Almojuela. Paz testified:

Page 31 of 107

q. Now, you said Bitoy and Ricky were moving, what happened in the
course of grappling, if any?
You testified that Ricky and Bitoy were grappling each other, what
happened in the course of grappling? (sic)
a. They fell to the ground, sir.
q. After that what happened next, if any?

q. And what happened in the exchange of words or altercations between


Bitoy and Ricardo Quejong?
a. They grappled with each other, sir.
q. When Bitoy and Ricardo grappled with each other, what did you do, if
any?

a. When I saw them fall I struggle and I was able to release from the hold
of Dale and I approach the two. I saw Ricky blooded so I was trying to
pull him, sir. (sic)
q. You said you saw Ricky blooded, why was he blooded? (sic)
a. He was stabbed by Bitoy, sir.

a. I was intending to help Ricky but I was held back by Dale, sir.
q. And how this Dale hold you?
a. He held my two shoulders, sir.

q. And did you see what instrument did Bitoy used in stabbing Ricky or
Ricardo? (sic)
a. It was a knife, sir. (Witness indicating a length about 6 inches
including the handle).

PROSECUTOR F. G. SUPNET:
I would like to make it of record demonstrated being held by the accused
holding both shoulders, your Honor.
q. Now, when this Dale Abarquez held both on your shoulders, what
happened next, if any?

q. Now, you said also that while the two were grappling while you were
trying to free yourself from the hold Dale Abarquez, "Pinagalitan kayo",
in what way or manner did Dale Abarquez reprimanded you? (sic)
a. You Jose is too brave, sir. (sic)22
xxx xxx xxx

a. He got angry scolding us. While scolding me the two


q. You said you were first attacked by Bitoy, is that correct?
who were grappling each other walking away, sir. (sic)

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

a. Yes, sir.

a. Twice, Your Honor.

q. After Bitoy pacified Bardy Abarquez, he went after Ricky Quejong, is it


not?23

ATTY. GASCON:

a. They were just arguing, sir.


[q.] And it was during that time when you were held in both shoulders
by the accused [C]overdale Abarquez?

Page 32 of 107

The accused told you Joey tumigil ka na, Joey tumigil ka na because you
were trying to attack Bitoy, is it not?
a. How can I be charged, he was the one holding the knife, sir. (sic)

a. Yes, sir.

q. So what was the reason why the accused restrained you and told you
Joey tumigal ka na, Joey tumigil ka na. What would be the reason?

q. and that Coverdale Abarquez was infront of you, is it not?

a. While I was just talking to Bitoy, when he told me to stop.

a. Yes, sir on my side.

COURT:

q. And he was holding your shoulder to pacify you and Bitoy from
further quarrelling you, is it not?

Does the Court get from you that you are trying to explain to Bitoy when
the accused tried to hold you and prevent you?

a. That is not the way of pacifying, sir.

a. Yes, sir.

q. How can you demonstrate how you were held on the shoulder by
Abarquez?

q. That is why the reason you concluded that the accused is not pacifying
you but to stop you from helping the victim?

ATTY. GASCON:

a. Yes, sir.

Make I make it of record your Honor that the interpreter act as the
witness while the witness act as the accused demonstrating holding both
hands of interpreter preventing the witness and saying Joey tumigil ka
na, joey tumigil ka na.
COURT:
q. How many times?

xxx xxx xxx


q. The only word that the accused [C]overdale Abarquez uttered was
Joey, tumigil ka na, Joey tumigil ka na, is it not?
a. He uttered that you are MATAPANG, Joey tumigil ka na, Joey tumigil ka
na.24

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Pazs testimony does not show that Abarquez concurred with


Almojuelas criminal design. "Tumigil" literally means "stop." Clearly,
Abarquez was trying to stop Paz from joining the fray, not from helping
Quejong. Paz claims that he was only trying to talk to Almojuela.
However, Paz could not have been merely talking to Almojuela, as he
tried to portray, because Almojuela was already grappling with Quejong
at that time. Paz interpreted Abarquezs action as an attempt to prevent
him from helping Quejong. His interpretation was adopted by the trial
court and sustained by the Court of Appeals. Yet, in his testimony, Paz
admitted that while restraining him, Abarquez was scolding or
reprimanding him and telling him to stop. It was not shown that
Abarquez was stopping Paz from helping Almojuela. It is more likely that
Abarquez was trying to stop Paz from joining the fight. Abarquezs act of
trying to stop Paz does not translate to assistance to Almojuela.
In People v. Fabros, 25 the Court explained:
To be deemed an accomplice, one needs to have had both knowledge of
and participation in the criminal act. In other words, the principal and
the accomplice must have acted in conjunction and directed their efforts
to the same end. Thus, it is essential that both were united in their
criminal design.
xxx. The mere fact that the (accused) had prior knowledge of the
(principals) criminal design did not automatically make him an
accomplice. This circumstance, by itself, did not show his concurrence in
the principals criminal intent.
Paz stated that Abarquez did not do anything to stop Almojuela.
However, Paz testified that Abarquezs son Bardie, who was one of Pazs
companions, was the one trying to pacify Almojuela. The trial court in its
factual findings confirmed this when it stated that while Abarquez was
holding Paz, his son Bardie was pacifying Almojuela.26

Page 33 of 107

The prosecution argues that Abarquez was remiss in his duties as a


barangay kagawad in not extending assistance to the then wounded
Quejong. This, however, does not necessarily show concurrence in
Almojuelas criminal act. When Paz ran away, Abarquez shouted at him
that he left his wounded companion. Apparently, Abarquez was not
aware of the extent of Quejongs injury and he expected Paz to look after
his own companion.
When there is doubt on the guilt of an accused, the doubt should be
resolved in his favor. Thus:
Every person accused has the right to be presumed innocent until the
contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption of
innocence stands as a fundamental principle of both constitutional and
criminal law. Thus, the prosecution has the burden of proving every
single fact establishing guilt. Every vestige of doubt having a rational
basis must be removed. The defense of the accused, even if weak, is no
reason to convict. Within this framework, the prosecution must prove its
case beyond any hint of uncertainty. The defense need not even speak at
all. The presumption of innocence is more than sufficient.27
We apply in this case the equipoise rule. Where the evidence on an issue
of fact is in issue or there is doubt on which side the evidence
preponderates, the party having the burden of proof loses.28 Hence:
xxx The equipoise rule finds application if, as in this case, the inculpatory
facts and circumstances are capable of two or more explanations, one of
which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other
consistent with his guilt, for then the evidence does not fulfill the test of
moral certainty, and does not suffice to produce a conviction. Briefly
stated, the needed quantum of proof to convict the accused of the crime
charged is found lacking.29

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We SET ASIDE the 23 June 2000


Decision and 7 November 2001 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR No. 21450, which affirmed the 30 September 1997 Decision of
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 50 in Criminal Cases Nos. 94135055-56. We ACQUIT Coverdale Abarquez y Evangelista as an
accomplice in the crime of homicide in Criminal Case No. 94-135055. No
pronouncement as to costs.

Page 34 of 107

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division
Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to
the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

Footnotes

WE CONCUR:

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice

Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.

Penned by Associate Justice Ruben T. Reyes with Associate


Justices Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and Jose L. Sabio, Jr., concurring.
Rollo, pp. 32-48.
2

Chairman
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice

DANTE O. TINGA
Asscociate Justice

ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Courts Division.
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice
Chairman, Third Division
CERTIFICATION

Rollo, p. 31.

Penned by Judge Urbano C. Victorio, Sr., CA Rollo, pp. 9-21.

Filed by Assistant City Prosecutor Sed A. Cabangon.

CA Rollo, p. 7.

Ibid., p. 8.

Referred to as Jose Buenhijo Paz in the trial courts Decision.

Referred to as Dr. Antonio Reposo in the TSN.

10

Also referred to as Winfreed Evangelista.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

11

Supra note 4.

26

12

CA Rollo, pp. 20-21.

27

13

Supra note 2.

Page 35 of 107

CA Rollo, p. 11.

People v. Castillo, G.R. No. 132895, 10 March 2004, 425 SCRA


136.

14

Supra note 3.

People v. Natividad, G.R. No. 151072, 23 September 2003, 411


SCRA 587.

15

Rollo, p. 13.

29

16

People v. Manambit, 338 Phil. 57 (1997).

17

Article 17 of the Revised Penal Code defines "principals."

28

People v. Cachola, G.R. Nos. 148712-15, 21 January 2004, 420


SCRA 520.
18

People v. Castillo, G.R. No. 132895, 10 March 2004, 425 SCRA


136.
19

20

Ibid., citing People v. Cual, 384 Phil 361 (2000).

People v. Ambrosio, G.R. No. 135378, 14 April 2004, 427 SCRA


312.
21

22

TSN, 31 August 1995, pp. 9-12.

It was actually Bardie or Bardy Abarquez who was pacifying


Bitoy Almojuela.
23

24

TSN, 12 December 1995, pp. 7-9, 11.

25

429 Phil. 701 (2002).

Vergara v. People, G.R. No. 160328, 4 February 2005, 450 SCRA


495.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

Page 36 of 107

Philippines Currency, as well as to the damage and prejudice of the heirs


of FELICIDAD QUILATES.
The charge is qualified by the resulting death of Felicidad M. Quilates.

SECOND DIVISION
CONTRARY TO LAW.3
G.R. No. 182460

March 9, 2010

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
JESSIE VILLEGAS MURCIA, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
PEREZ, J.:
The subject of review is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals affirming
with modification the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), which
found appellant Jessie Villegas Murcia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crimes of arson and frustrated homicide.
In an Information dated 6 April 2004, appellant was accused of the crime
of arson committed as follows:
That on or about the 24th day of March, 2004, in the Municipality of
Bauang, Province of La Union, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, motivated by some evil
motive, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously set fire
and burn a residential house knowing the same to be inhabited by one
FELICIDAD M. QUILATES burning and killing said FELICIDAD M.
QUILATES as well as burning and damaging nine (9) other neighboring
houses in the process, to the damage and prejudice of said house-owners
in the aggregate amount of THREE MILLION PESOS (Php3,000,000.00),

Appellant was also charged in another Information for frustrated


homicide, the accusatory portion reads:
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 2980-BG
That on or about the 24th day of March, 2004, in the Municipality of
Bauang, Province of La Union, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and
stab with a knife one, Alicia Q. Manlupig inflicting upon the latter stab
wounds, thus performing all the acts of execution which would produce
the crime of homicide as a consequence, but nevertheless did not
produce it be reason of causes independent of the will; that is, by the
timely medical attendance rendered to said Alicia Q. Manlupig which
prevented her death, all to the damage and prejudice of said offended
party.
CONTARARY TO LAW.4
Upon arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges. Trial on
the merits ensued.
Based on the narration of prosecution witnesses, the facts follow.
Eulogio Quilates (Eulogio) is the owner of a two-storey house in
Paringao, Bauang, La Union. Among the occupants of his house were his
sister Felicidad Quilates (Felicidad); another sister Alicia Manlupig
(Alicia); and nephew Herminio Manlupig (Herminio). Appellant, who is

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

the adopted son of Felicidad, occupied one room in the house. At around
3:30 p.m. of 24 March 2004, appellant was having a drinking spree with
his cousin Herminio and brothers-in-law Joey Viduya and Ricky Viduya
(Ricky) in front of their house. Appellant and Herminio were arguing
over the matter of caring for Felicidad while the latter was confined in
the hospital. Ricky tried to mediate between the two. Appellant was then
seen going inside the house to get a bolo. When he emerged from the
house ten (10) minutes later, he ran after Herminio but the latter
managed to escape unscathed. Appellant again went back to the house. 5
Meanwhile, after pacifying appellant and Herminio, Ricky resumed
drinking. A few minutes later, he saw smoke coming from the room of
appellant. As Ricky was about to enter the house, he met appellant at the
door. Appellant apparently tried to stab Ricky but was unsuccessful.
Ricky witnessed appellant stab Felicidad and Alicia.6
Herminio, who had since come back to the drinking table, also saw the
smoke. He peeped through the small window of the house and witnessed
appellant burning some clothes and boxes in the sala. Herminio
immediately went inside the house to save his personal belongings.
Upon emerging from the house, Herminio saw his mother, Alicia,
bloodied.7
Alicia testifies that she was sitting on a chair near the toilet when she
saw smoke coming out of appellant's room. Before she could react,
appellant came charging at her and stabbed her. She sustained wounds
on her upper thigh, arms, below her breast and on her ear. Alicia was
still able to ask for help, and her daughter-in-law brought her to the
hospital.8
Eulogio heard a commotion while he was cooking in the second floor of
the house. When Eulogio went down, he already saw smoke coming from
the room of appellant. He then saw Felicidad near the comfort room
located outside the house and was bleeding from her mouth. As he was

Page 37 of 107

about to help Felicidad, he met appellant who was then holding a knife.
Eulogio immediately ran away.9
Upon seeing Herminio, appellant immediately attacked him with a knife.
However, Herminio and Ricky were able to pin appellant down. Before
they could retaliate, the barangay captain arrived at the scene.10 As a
result, eight (8) houses were razed.
Inspector Ferdinand Formacion responded to the fire incident and saw
four (4) houses were already burned. After putting out the fire, he and
the arson investigator conducted an ocular investigation and invited
witnesses to the police station to submit their sworn statements. SPO2
Rodolfo Lomboy, chief investigator of Philippine National Police Bauang
Police Station, was told by witnesses that appellant intentionally set the
boxes on fire inside the house.11
Eulogio estimated the value of his house at P250,000.00,12 while another
sister of Felicidad, Pacita Quilates, presented a receipt covering the
burial expenses for Felicidad, amounting to P10,000.00.13
An autopsy was performed on Felicidad, and it was disclosed that she
died from "cardio-respiratory arrest secondary to third degree burns
involving 90% of body surface to include underlying tissues and
organs."14
Appellant was the lone witness for the defense. He stated that while he
was having a drinking spree, he saw Felicidad go inside the house to get
a glass of water. He followed her and gave her water. He noticed
Felicidad light a gas lamp. He then went back to his friends and resumed
drinking. He got into a heated argument with Herminio. The latter struck
him in the head. He immediately went inside the house to get a weapon.
He was able to get a bolo, went back outside and hit Herminio. The latter
ran away and appellant chased him. Appellant met Alicia and confronted
her about the actuations of Herminio. But Alicia cursed him. Appellant

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

thereafter hit her with the knife. Appellant then fell on the ground and
lost consciousness because, apparently, he was struck by something in
the back.15 Appellant denied setting the house on fire.16
On 30 May 2006, decision was rendered by the RTC, finding appellant
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of arson and frustrated homicide, thus:
WHEREFORE, in Crim. Case No. 2979-Bg., the Court FINDS and
DECLARES the accused JESSIE VILLEGAS MURCIA, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of arson as charged and defined under
Art. 320 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, and he
is hereby sentenced to suffer the extreme penalty of death; to indemnify
the heirs of the victim Felicidad Quilates, the amount of Php50,000.00 as
moral damages; Php50,000.00 as death indemnity; Php10,000.00 as
actual damages and another Php10,000.00 as temperate damages.
Further, the accused is ordered to indemnify Eulogio Quilates the
amount of P250,000.00, representing the value of the burned house.
In Crim. Case No. 2980-Bg., the Court likewise FINDS and DECLARES the
accused JESSIE VILLEGAS MURCIA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of frustrated homicide as charged and he is hereby sentenced
to suffer the indeterminate penalty of FOUR (4) YEARS of prision
correccional as minimum, to TEN (10) YEARS ofprision mayor as
maximum; to pay the victim Alicia Q. Manlupig the amount of
Php10,000.00 as temperate damages; and to pay the costs.1avvphi1
In the service of his sentence, the accused shall be credited with his
preventive imprisonment under the terms and conditions, provided for
by Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.
Let the record of Crim. Case No. 2979-Bg. be sent to the Court of Appeals
for automatic review.17

Page 38 of 107

The trial court found that the corpus delicti in arson, as well as the
identity of the perpetrator, were established beyond reasonable doubt
by the prosecution. While there was no evidence to directly link
appellant to the crime, the trial court relied on circumstantial evidence.
In view of the penalty imposed, the case was forwarded to the Court of
Appeals for automatic review and judgment.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's findings but reduced the
penalty from death to reclusion perpetua.
Appellant filed a notice of appeal, which was given due course by the
Court of Appeals on 22 January 2008. In a Resolution18 dated 7 July
2008, this Court required the parties to simultaneously submit their
respective supplemental briefs. Appellant and the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG) both filed their manifestations,19stating that they would
no longer file any supplemental briefs and instead adopt their respective
briefs.
Appellant admitted to the crime of frustrated homicide, hence the review
is limited to the crime of arson.
Appellant maintains his innocence of the charge of arson. He questions
the credibility of some witnesses and specifically imputes ill-motive on
the part of Herminio in testifying against him, especially after their
fight.20Appellant submits that the testimonies of witnesses, which failed
to turn into a coherent whole, did not prove the identity of the
perpetrator.21
On the other hand, the OSG banks on circumstantial evidence, as relied
to by the trial court, to prove the guilt of appellant.22 The OSG vouches
for the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and avers that their
testimonies have proven the corpus delicti and warrant appellant's
conviction.23

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

In the prosecution for arson, proof of the crime charged is complete


where the evidence establishes: (1) thecorpus delicti, that is, a fire
because of criminal agency; and (2) the identity of the defendant as the
one responsible for the crime. In arson, the corpus delicti rule is satisfied
by proof of the bare fact of the fire and of it having been intentionally
caused. Even the uncorroborated testimony of a single eyewitness, if
credible, is enough to prove the corpus delicti and to warrant
conviction.24
The photographs,25 evidencing the charred remains of the houses,
established the occurrence of the fire. In this case, however, there is no
direct evidence to establish the culpability of appellant. At any rate,
direct evidence is not the sole means of establishing guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. Established facts that form a chain of circumstances
can lead the mind intuitively or impel a conscious process of reasoning
towards a conviction. Indeed, rules on evidence and principles in
jurisprudence have long recognized that the accused may be convicted
through circumstantial evidence.26
Section 4 of Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides:
Section 4. Circumstantial evidence, when sufficient. Circumstantial
evidence is sufficient for conviction 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.

Page 39 of 107

In order to justify a conviction upon circumstantial evidence, the


combination of circumstances must be such as to leave no reasonable
doubt in the mind as to the criminal responsibility of the accused.27
The appellate court considered the following circumstances to establish
an unbroken chain of events pointing to the logical conclusion that
appellant started the fire:
First, accused-appellant Murcia returned inside E. Quilates' house after
chasing H. Manlupig with a bolo and after being pacified by R. Viduya
and J. Viduya;
Second, during the resumption of their drinking session, R. Viduya and
H. Manlupig saw a thick smoke emanating from E. Quilates' house
particularly the window of accused-appellant Murcia's room in the
ground floor;
Third, H. Manlupig peeped through the said window and saw accusedappellant Murcia throwing cartons of clothes into the fire. Meanwhile, E.
Quilates, who was then cooking at the second floor, went downstairs and
saw the fire coming from the room occupied by accused-appellant
Murcia in the ground floor;
Fourth, R. Viduya saw accused-appellant Murcia stabbing F. Quilates and
A. Manlupig, among other persons. E. Quilates saw his sister F. Quilates
with blood oozing from her mouth. Accused-appellant Murcia met him at
the ground brandishing a knife at him which prevented him from
helping the wounded F. Quilates and forced him to run away for safety.
E. Quilates' other sister, A. Manlupig, was also seen wounded and lying
unconscious in the canal; and
Fifth, the houses of E. Quilates and his neighbors were razed by fire and
the commission of the crime of arson resulted in the demise of F.
Quilates whose remains were burned beyond recognition.28

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Indeed, appellant was last seen inside the house before the fire started.
Eulogio and Ricky saw smoke emanating from the room of appellant.
Herminio testified that he saw appellant burning clothes in his room.
Appellant then went on a stabbing rampage while the house was on fire.
While nobody directly saw appellant burn the house, these
circumstances would yield to a logical conclusion that the fire that
gutted eight (8) houses was authored by appellant.
Necessarily, the issue narrows down to credibility of the witnesses.
Worthy of reiteration is the doctrine that on matters involving the
credibility of witnesses, the trial court is in the best position to assess
the credibility of witnesses since it has observed firsthand their
demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination. Absent any
showing of a fact or circumstance of weight and influence which would
appear to have been overlooked and, if considered, could affect the
outcome of the case, the factual findings and assessment on the
credibility of a witness made by the trial court remain binding on an
appellate tribunal.29
In this case, We find no cogent reason to depart from the findings of the
lower courts.
Appellant imputes ill-motive on the part of Herminio. This Court does
not discount the fact that there was a fight between appellant and
Herminio which preceded the occurrence of the fire. However, it cannot
be presumed that Herminio will automatically give a false testimony
against appellant. His testimony, having withstood cross-examination,
has passed the scrutiny of the lower courts and was held to be credible.
The lower courts found appellant liable under Article 320(1) of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 10 of Republic Act No. 7659.
It may not be amiss to point out that there are actually two categories of
arson, namely: Destructive Arson under Article 320 of the Revised Penal
Code and Simple Arson under Presidential Decree No. 1316. Said

Page 40 of 107

classification is based on the kind, character and location of the property


burned, regardless of the value of the damage caused.30 Article 320
contemplates the malicious burning of structures, both public and
private, hotels, buildings, edifices, trains, vessels, aircraft, factories and
other military, government or commercial establishments by any person
or group of persons. On the other hand, Presidential Decree No. 1316
covers houses, dwellings, government buildings, farms, mills,
plantations, railways, bus stations, airports, wharves and other
industrial establishments.31
A close examination of the records, as well as description of the crime as
stated in the information, reveals that the crime committed is in fact
simple arson because the burned properties are residential houses.
At any rate, the penalty for simple arson resulting to death, under
Section 5 of Presidential Decree No. 1613,32 is reclusion perpetua to
death. With the repeal of the death penalty law through Republic Act No.
9346, the appellate court correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.
This Court, however, takes exception to the trial court's award of
damages.
With respect to the heirs of Felicidad, We modify the amount of
temperate damages from P10,000.00 to P25,000.00, and accordingly
delete the amount of actual damages, in line with the ruling in People v.
Villanueva.33In said case, the Court held that when actual damages
proven by receipts during the trial amount to less thanP25,000.00, the
award of temperate damages for P25,000.00 is justified in lieu of actual
damages of a lesser amount.34
Anent the actual damages awarded to Eulogio amounting
to P250,000.00, as indemnification for the burned house, We note that
said amount representing the value of the burned house was merely

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

given by Eulogio as an estimate. It was not substantiated by any


document or receipt. For one to be entitled to actual damages, it is
necessary to prove the actual amount of loss with a reasonable degree of
certainty, premised upon competent proof and the best evidence
obtainable by the injured party.35
Instead, We award temperate damages in accordance with Art. 2224 of
the Civil Code, providing that temperate damages may be recovered
when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been suffered but its
amount cannot, from the nature of the case, be proven with certainty.36 It
is thus reasonable to expect that the value of the house burned down
amounted to at least P200,000.00.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision finding appellant JESSIE VILLEGAS
MURCIA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of arson and
sentencing him to reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATIONS:
1. Appellant is ordered to indemnify the heirs of Felicidad
Quilates the amount of P50,000.00 as moral
damages; P50,000.00 as death indemnity; and P25,000.00 as
temperate damages.
2. The award of P10,000.00 as actual damages in favor of the
heirs of Felicidad Quilates is deleted.
3. Appellant is ordered to pay Eulogio Quilates the amount
of P200,000.00 as temperate damages.
The award of P250,000.00 as actual damages in favor of Eulogio Quilates
is deleted.
SO ORDERED.

Page 41 of 107

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
ARTURO D. BRION MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice Associate Justice
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Court's Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division
Chairperson's Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in
the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE


14

Id. at 29.

15

TSN, 12 July 2005, pp. 4-11.

16

TSN, 26 July 2005, p. 9.

17

CA rollo, p. 107.

18

Rollo, p. 22.

19

Id. at 24-25 and 29-30.

Page 42 of 107

Footnotes
Penned by Associate Justice Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando,
with Associate Justices Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente and Enrico A.
Lanzanas concurring. Rollo, pp. 2-15.
1

Presided by Judge Rose Mary R. Molina-Alim. Records, pp. 207217.


2

Id. at 1.

20

CA rollo, pp. 90-91.

Id. at 207-208.

21

Id. at 93.

TSN, 12 July 2004, pp. 3-4.

22

Id. at 126-127.

Id. at 6-8.

23

Id. at 125.

Id. at 17-20.

24

TSN, 27 July 2004, pp. 7-9.

TSN, 14 September 2004, pp. 6-8.

People v. De Leon, G.R. No. 180762, 4 March 2009, 580 SCRA


617, 627; Gonzales, Jr. v. People, G.R. No. 159950, 12 February
2007, 515 SCRA 480, 486-487; People v. Oliva, 395 Phil. 265,
274-275 (2000).
25

10

Records, p. 178.

Id. at 20-21.

11

TSN, 20 September 2004, p. 10.

People v. Gonzales, G.R. No. 180448, 28 July 2008, 560 SCRA


419, 424.

12

TSN, 14 September 2004, p. 8.

27

13

Records, p. 173.

26

People v. Delim, G.R. No. 175942, 13 September 2007, 533


SCRA 366, 375-376; People v. Sevilleno, 469 Phil. 209, 220
(2004); People v. Acosta, 382 Phil. 810, 823 (2003).

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28

Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Rollo, pp. 12-13.

People v. Gonzales, supra note 25 at 424-425; Bricenio v.


People, G.R. No. 157804, 20 June 2006, 491 SCRA 489, 496.
29

People v. Malngan, G.R. No. 170470, 26 September 2006, 503


SCRA 294, 327.
30

31

Id. at 328.

Sec. 5. Where Death Results from Arson. - If by reason of or on


the occasion of arson death results, the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death shall be imposed.
32

33

456 Phil. 14 (2003).

34

Id. at 29.

People v. Dela Cruz, G.R. No. 168173, 24 December 2008, 575


SCRA 412, 446-447.
35

People v. Berando, G.R. No. 177827, 30 March 2009; People v.


Almoguerra, 461 Phil. 340, 362 (2003).
36

Page 43 of 107

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 187683

February 11, 2010

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
VICTORIANO DELA CRUZ y LORENZO, Appellant.
DECISION
NACHURA, J.:
Before this Court is an Appeal,1 seeking the reversal of the Court of
Appeals (CA) Decision2 dated October 31, 2008, which affirmed with
modification the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos,
Bulacan, Branch 11, dated August 15, 2005, convicting appellant
Victoriano dela Cruz y Lorenzo4 (Victoriano) of the crime of Parricide.
The Facts
Victoriano was charged with the crime of Parricide in an
Information5 dated January 2, 2003, which reads:
That on or about the 18th day of August, 2002, in the municipality of
Malolos, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill his
wife Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz, with whom he was united in lawful
wedlock, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
assault, use personal violence and stab the said Anna Liza Caparas-dela

Page 44 of 107

Cruz, hitting the latter on her trunk and on the different parts of her
body, thereby inflicting upon her serious physical injuries which directly
caused her death.
Contrary to law.
Upon arraignment, Victoriano, with the assistance of counsel, pleaded
not guilty to the offense charged.6Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
In the course of the trial, two varying versions arose.
Version of the Prosecution
Joel Song (Joel) testified that between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. on August 18,
2002, he and two others, including the aunt of Victoriano, were playing a
card game known as tong-its just three to four arms length away from
the latters house.
While playing, Joel saw Victoriano punching and kicking his wife, herein
victim Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz7(Anna), in front of their house. Joel
knew the wifes name as "Joan." Victoriano then dragged Anna inside the
house by pulling the latter's hair, then slammed the door. Joel overheard
the couple shouting while they were already inside the house.8
Suddenly, Victoriano and Anna came out of the house, together with
their young daughter. Victoriano was behind Anna, with his arms
wrapped around her. He asked for Joels help. Joel noticed blood spurting
out of Annas mouth. He took the couples daughter and gave her to
Victoriano's aunt. He then went with them to the Bulacan Provincial
Hospital (hospital) on board a tricycle. However, Anna died.9
On the same day, at about 6:30 p.m., Senior Police Officers 1 Condrado
Umali and Eligio Jose, responding to the call of duty, went to the hospital
for investigation. There, Victoriano was turned over to the police officers
by the hospital's security guard on duty.10

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

The Certificate of Death,11 prepared by Police Senior Inspector and


Medico-Legal Officer, Dr. Ivan Richard Viray (Dr. Viray), showed that
Victorianos wife died of "hemorrhagic shock as a result of a stab wound,
trunk." Moreover, in his Medico-Legal Report12 dated August 21, 2002,
Dr. Viray had the following findings:

Page 45 of 107

Victoriano testified that, at around 6:30 p.m. on August 18, 2002, he


came home very drunk from a friend's house. Before he could enter their
house, his wife, Anna, started nagging him saying, "Hindi ka naman pala
namamasada, nakipag-inuman ka pa." He asked her to go inside their
house but she refused. Thus, Victoriano slapped Anna and dragged her
inside their house.

HEAD and NECK:


1) Hematoma, frontal region, measuring 3 x 3 cm, 3 cm right of
the anterior midline.
2) Hematoma, left orbital region, measuring 2 x 2 cm, 3 cm from
the anterior midline.
CHEST and ABDOMEN:
1) Stab wound, penetrating, right shoulder region, measuring 2 x
.5 cm, 2 cm right of the posterior midline, about 12 cm deep,
directed lateralwards and slightly downwards, piercing the
underlying tissues and muscle, lacerating the upper lobe of the
right lungs.
xxxx
> There are about 2000 cc of blood and blood clots at the
thoracic cavity.
UPPER and LOWER EXTREMITIES:
1) Hematoma, distal 3rd of the left forearm, measuring 7 x 4 cm,
bisected by its posterior midline, with superimposed abrasion,
measuring 1.5 x 7 cm, along its anterior midline.
Version of the Defense

Due to the continuous nagging of Anna, Victoriano pushed her aside so


he could go out of the house. However, she fell on a jalousie window,
breaking it in the process. When he helped her stand up, Victoriano
noticed that her back was punctured by a piece of shattered glass of the
jalousie. He brought her outside immediately and asked the help of his
neighbors who were playing tong-its nearby. Victoriano admitted that
Joel accompanied him and his wife to the hospital.
At the hospital, Victoriano was taken into custody by policemen for
questioning. It was only in the following morning that Victoriano learned
of his wifes passing.
Victoriano also testified that he does not usually drink; that he consumed
hard liquor at the time of the incident; that Anna was not immediately
treated in the hospital; that he loved his wife; and that he did not
intentionally hurt her.13
The Lower Courts Ruling
On August 15, 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion
of which reads:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Victoriano L. dela Cruz Guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of Parricide under Art. 246 of the Revised
Penal Code and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua and to pay the heirs of the late Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz the
following sums of money, to wit:

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

1. P60,000.00 as civil liability


2. P50,000.00 as moral damages, and
3. P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.14

Page 46 of 107

carried the injured body of his wife; that he sought for help after the
accident; and that he brought her to the hospital for medical treatment.
Furthermore, Victoriano asseverated that he was very drunk at the time.
Thus, he prayed that these mitigating circumstances be appreciated in
his favor.
Our Ruling

Aggrieved, Victoriano appealed to the CA.15

The instant appeal is bereft of merit.

On October 31, 2008, the CA affirmed with modification the findings of


the RTC, thus:

The crime of Parricide is defined and punished under Article 246 of the
Revised Penal Code (RPC), to wit:

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 15 August 2005 of the Regional Trial


Court, Third Judicial Region, Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 11, is hereby
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. The award of civil indemnity is
reduced toP50,000.00 and the award of exemplary damages is deleted.

Art. 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.

SO ORDERED.16

It is committed when: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by


the accused; and (3) the deceased is the father, mother, or child, whether
legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other
descendant, or the legitimate spouse of the accused. The key element in
Parricide other than the fact of killing is the relationship of the
offender to the victim. In the case of Parricide of a spouse, the best proof
of the relationship between the accused and the deceased would be the
marriage certificate. In this case, the testimony of the accused that he
was married to the victim, in itself, is ample proof of such relationship as
the testimony can be taken as an admission against penal
interest.19 Clearly, then, it was established that Victoriano and Anna
were husband and wife.

Hence, this appeal.


In its Manifestation17 filed before this Court, appellee, People of the
Philippines, as represented by the Office of the Solicitor General,
intimated that it was no longer filing any Supplemental Brief in support
of its position.
Meanwhile, in his Supplemental Brief,18 Victoriano, as represented by
the Public Attorney's Office, claimed that the CA erred in appreciating
Joel's testimony, since the latter merely testified on the non-mortal
wounds that Anna suffered when the couple were outside the house.
Insofar as the actual killing was concerned, Joel's testimony was merely
circumstantial. Moreover, Victoriano averred that he did not intend to
commit so grave a wrong against his wife, evident from the facts that he

Victoriano claims that Joel's testimony coincides with his own, which
refers to the slapping incident that occurred outside their house. It does

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

not at all point to him as the actual perpetrator of the crime. Thus,
Victoriano submits that Joels testimony is merely circumstantial.
But circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction, as we ruled in
People v. Castillo:20
Direct evidence of the commission of the offense is not the only matrix
wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusions and finding of guilt.
Conviction can be had on the basis of circumstantial evidence provided
that: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which
the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable
doubt. While no general rule can be laid down as to the quantity of
circumstantial evidence which will suffice in a given case, all the
circumstances proved must be consistent with each other, consistent
with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time
inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every
other rational hypothesis except that of guilt. The circumstances proved
should constitute an unbroken chain which leads to only one fair and
reasonable conclusion that the accused, to the exclusion of all others, is
the guilty person. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean the
degree of proof excluding the possibility of error and producing absolute
certainty. Only moral certainty or "that degree of proof which produces
conviction in an unprejudiced mind" is required.21
In this case, we note the presence of the requisites for circumstantial
evidence to sustain a conviction. First, immediately preceding the killing,
Victoriano physically maltreated his wife, not merely by slapping her as
he claimed, but by repeatedly punching and kicking her. Second, it was
Victoriano who violently dragged the victim inside their house, by
pulling her hair. Third, in Dr. Viray's Report, Anna sustained injuries in
different parts of her body due to Victoriano's acts of physical abuse.
Fourth, the location and extent of the wound indicated Victoriano's
intent to kill the victim. The Report revealed that the victim sustained a

Page 47 of 107

fatal stab wound, lacerating the upper lobe of her right lung, a vital
organ. The extent of the physical injury inflicted on the deceased
manifests Victoriano's intention to extinguish life. Fifth, as found by both
the RTC and the CA, only Victoriano and Anna were inside the house,
other than their young daughter.1avvphi1 Thus, it can be said with
certitude that Victoriano was the lone assailant. Sixth, we have held that
the act of carrying the body of a wounded victim and bringing her to the
hospital as Victoriano did does not manifest innocence.1avvphi1 It
could merely be an indication of repentance or contrition on his part.22
The foregoing circumstances are proven facts, and the Court finds no
reason to discredit Joels testimony and Dr. Viray's Report. Besides, wellentrenched is the rule that the trial court's assessment of the credibility
of witnesses is accorded great respect and will not be disturbed on
appeal, inasmuch as the court below was in a position to observe the
demeanor of the witnesses while testifying. The Court does not find any
arbitrariness or
error on the part of the RTC as would warrant a deviation from this wellentrenched rule.23
Even if, for the sake of argument, we consider Victorianos claim that the
injury sustained by his wife was caused by an accident, without fault or
intention of causing it, it is clear that Victoriano was not performing a
lawful act at the time of the incident. Before an accused may be
exempted from criminal liability by the invocation of Article 12
(paragraph 4) of the RPC, the following elements must concur: (1) a
person is performing a lawful act (2) with due care, and (3) he causes an
injury to another by mere accident and (4) without any fault or intention
of causing it. For an accident to become an exempting circumstance, the
act that causes the injury has to be lawful.24Victoriano's act of physically
maltreating his spouse is definitely not a lawful act. To say otherwise
would be a travesty -- a gross affront to our existing laws on violence

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

against women. Thus, we fully agree with the apt findings of the CA, to
wit:
With the foregoing avowal, We find that the death of appellants wife
was not caused by mere accident. An accident is an occurrence that
"happens outside the sway of our will, and although it comes about
through some act of our will, lies beyond the bounds of humanly
foreseeable consequences." It connotes the absence of criminal intent.
Intent is a mental state, the existence of which is shown by a persons
overt acts.
In the case at bench, evidence disclosed that appellant started beating
his wife outside their house and was even the one who dragged her
inside. This, to Our mind, contradicts his theory that he only pushed her
so as to go out of the house to avoid any further quarrel. Such
incongruity whittles down appellants defense that he did not
deliberately kill his wife.25
Finally, a person pleading intoxication to mitigate penalty must present
proof of having taken a quantity of alcoholic beverage prior to the
commission of the crime, sufficient to produce the effect of obfuscating
reason.26 In short, the defense must show that the intoxication is not
habitual, and not subsequent to a plan to commit a felony, and that the
accused's drunkenness affected his mental faculties. In this case, the
absence of any independent proof that his alcohol intake affected his
mental faculties militate against Victorianos claim that he was so
intoxicated at the time he committed the crime to mitigate his liability.27

Page 48 of 107

heirs of the victim are entitled to a civil indemnity ex delicto


of P50,000.00, which is mandatory upon proof of the fact of death of the
victim and the culpability of the accused for such death. Likewise, moral
damages, in the amount of P50,000.00, should be awarded even in the
absence of allegation and proof of the emotional suffering of the victim's
heirs, because certainly the family suffered emotional pain brought
about by Anna's death.
However, the CA erred when it deleted the award of exemplary damages.
In line with current jurisprudence, it is but fitting that exemplary
damages, in the sum of P30,000.00, be awarded, considering that the
qualifying circumstance of relationship is present, this being a case of
Parricide.28
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No.
01575, finding appellant, Victoriano dela Cruz y Lorenzo, 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, Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz,
the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

In sum, Victoriano failed to sufficiently show that the CA committed any


reversible error in its assailed Decision. His guilt was sufficiently
established by circumstantial evidence.
The penalty of reclusion perpetua was correctly imposed, considering
that there was neither any mitigating nor aggravating circumstance. The

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

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Associate Justice

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE


Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned
to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1

CA rollo, pp. 118-119.

Particularly docketed as CA-G.R. CR HC No. 01575, penned by


Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, with Associate Justices
2

Page 49 of 107

Amelita G. Tolentino and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr., concurring;


rollo, pp. 2-11.
3

Records, pp. 114-116.

Also referred to as Victorino, Jon-Jon and John-John in other


documents and pleadings.
4

Records, p. 1.

Id. at 9.

Also referred to as Joan and Me Ann in other documents and


pleadings.
7

TSN, August 6, 2003, pp. 2-3.

Id. at 4.

10

TSN, March 5, 2003, pp. 2-3.

11

Records, p. 68.

12

Id. at 69.

13

TSN, June 16, 2004, pp. 2-7.

14

Supra note 3, at 16.

15

Records, p. 120.

16

Supra note 2, at 10.

17

Rollo, pp. 25-26.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

18

Id. at 28-32.

19

People v. Velasco, 404 Phil. 369, 379 (2001).

20

G.R. No. 172695, June 29, 2007, 526 SCRA 215.

21

Id. at 221-222. (Citations omitted.)

Id. at 225, citing People v. Nepomuceno, Jr., 298 SCRA 450, 462
(1998).
22

23

People v. Mactal, 449 Phil. 653, 661 (2003).

24

People v. Agliday, 419 Phil. 555, 564 (2001).

25

Supra note 2, at 9.

26

People v. Cortes, 413 Phil. 386, 393 (2001).

People v. Mondigo, G.R. No. 167954, January 31, 2008, 543


SCRA 384, 392.
27

People v. Espaol, G.R. No. 175603, February 13, 2009, 579


SCRA 326, 340; People v. Paycana, Jr., G.R. No. 179035, April 16,
2008, 551 SCRA 657, 668; People v. Ayuman, G.R. No. 133436,
April 14, 2004, 427 SCRA 248, 260; and People v. Arnante, G.R.
No. 148724, October 15, 2002, 391 SCRA 155, 161.
28

Page 50 of 107

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 187683

February 11, 2010

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
VICTORIANO DELA CRUZ y LORENZO, Appellant.
DECISION
NACHURA, J.:
Before this Court is an Appeal,1 seeking the reversal of the Court of
Appeals (CA) Decision2 dated October 31, 2008, which affirmed with
modification the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos,
Bulacan, Branch 11, dated August 15, 2005, convicting appellant
Victoriano dela Cruz y Lorenzo4 (Victoriano) of the crime of Parricide.
The Facts
Victoriano was charged with the crime of Parricide in an
Information5 dated January 2, 2003, which reads:
That on or about the 18th day of August, 2002, in the municipality of
Malolos, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill his
wife Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz, with whom he was united in lawful
wedlock, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
assault, use personal violence and stab the said Anna Liza Caparas-dela

Page 51 of 107

Cruz, hitting the latter on her trunk and on the different parts of her
body, thereby inflicting upon her serious physical injuries which directly
caused her death.
Contrary to law.
Upon arraignment, Victoriano, with the assistance of counsel, pleaded
not guilty to the offense charged.6Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
In the course of the trial, two varying versions arose.
Version of the Prosecution
Joel Song (Joel) testified that between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. on August 18,
2002, he and two others, including the aunt of Victoriano, were playing a
card game known as tong-its just three to four arms length away from
the latters house.
While playing, Joel saw Victoriano punching and kicking his wife, herein
victim Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz7(Anna), in front of their house. Joel
knew the wifes name as "Joan." Victoriano then dragged Anna inside the
house by pulling the latter's hair, then slammed the door. Joel overheard
the couple shouting while they were already inside the house.8
Suddenly, Victoriano and Anna came out of the house, together with
their young daughter. Victoriano was behind Anna, with his arms
wrapped around her. He asked for Joels help. Joel noticed blood spurting
out of Annas mouth. He took the couples daughter and gave her to
Victoriano's aunt. He then went with them to the Bulacan Provincial
Hospital (hospital) on board a tricycle. However, Anna died.9
On the same day, at about 6:30 p.m., Senior Police Officers 1 Condrado
Umali and Eligio Jose, responding to the call of duty, went to the hospital
for investigation. There, Victoriano was turned over to the police officers
by the hospital's security guard on duty.10

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

The Certificate of Death,11 prepared by Police Senior Inspector and


Medico-Legal Officer, Dr. Ivan Richard Viray (Dr. Viray), showed that
Victorianos wife died of "hemorrhagic shock as a result of a stab wound,
trunk." Moreover, in his Medico-Legal Report12 dated August 21, 2002,
Dr. Viray had the following findings:

Page 52 of 107

Victoriano testified that, at around 6:30 p.m. on August 18, 2002, he


came home very drunk from a friend's house. Before he could enter their
house, his wife, Anna, started nagging him saying, "Hindi ka naman pala
namamasada, nakipag-inuman ka pa." He asked her to go inside their
house but she refused. Thus, Victoriano slapped Anna and dragged her
inside their house.

HEAD and NECK:


1) Hematoma, frontal region, measuring 3 x 3 cm, 3 cm right of
the anterior midline.
2) Hematoma, left orbital region, measuring 2 x 2 cm, 3 cm from
the anterior midline.
CHEST and ABDOMEN:
1) Stab wound, penetrating, right shoulder region, measuring 2 x
.5 cm, 2 cm right of the posterior midline, about 12 cm deep,
directed lateralwards and slightly downwards, piercing the
underlying tissues and muscle, lacerating the upper lobe of the
right lungs.
xxxx
> There are about 2000 cc of blood and blood clots at the
thoracic cavity.
UPPER and LOWER EXTREMITIES:
1) Hematoma, distal 3rd of the left forearm, measuring 7 x 4 cm,
bisected by its posterior midline, with superimposed abrasion,
measuring 1.5 x 7 cm, along its anterior midline.
Version of the Defense

Due to the continuous nagging of Anna, Victoriano pushed her aside so


he could go out of the house. However, she fell on a jalousie window,
breaking it in the process. When he helped her stand up, Victoriano
noticed that her back was punctured by a piece of shattered glass of the
jalousie. He brought her outside immediately and asked the help of his
neighbors who were playing tong-its nearby. Victoriano admitted that
Joel accompanied him and his wife to the hospital.
At the hospital, Victoriano was taken into custody by policemen for
questioning. It was only in the following morning that Victoriano learned
of his wifes passing.
Victoriano also testified that he does not usually drink; that he consumed
hard liquor at the time of the incident; that Anna was not immediately
treated in the hospital; that he loved his wife; and that he did not
intentionally hurt her.13
The Lower Courts Ruling
On August 15, 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion
of which reads:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused Victoriano L. dela Cruz Guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of Parricide under Art. 246 of the Revised
Penal Code and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua and to pay the heirs of the late Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz the
following sums of money, to wit:

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1. P60,000.00 as civil liability


2. P50,000.00 as moral damages, and
3. P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.14

Page 53 of 107

carried the injured body of his wife; that he sought for help after the
accident; and that he brought her to the hospital for medical treatment.
Furthermore, Victoriano asseverated that he was very drunk at the time.
Thus, he prayed that these mitigating circumstances be appreciated in
his favor.
Our Ruling

Aggrieved, Victoriano appealed to the CA.15

The instant appeal is bereft of merit.

On October 31, 2008, the CA affirmed with modification the findings of


the RTC, thus:

The crime of Parricide is defined and punished under Article 246 of the
Revised Penal Code (RPC), to wit:

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 15 August 2005 of the Regional Trial


Court, Third Judicial Region, Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 11, is hereby
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. The award of civil indemnity is
reduced toP50,000.00 and the award of exemplary damages is deleted.

Art. 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.

SO ORDERED.16

It is committed when: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by


the accused; and (3) the deceased is the father, mother, or child, whether
legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other
descendant, or the legitimate spouse of the accused. The key element in
Parricide other than the fact of killing is the relationship of the
offender to the victim. In the case of Parricide of a spouse, the best proof
of the relationship between the accused and the deceased would be the
marriage certificate. In this case, the testimony of the accused that he
was married to the victim, in itself, is ample proof of such relationship as
the testimony can be taken as an admission against penal
interest.19 Clearly, then, it was established that Victoriano and Anna
were husband and wife.

Hence, this appeal.


In its Manifestation17 filed before this Court, appellee, People of the
Philippines, as represented by the Office of the Solicitor General,
intimated that it was no longer filing any Supplemental Brief in support
of its position.
Meanwhile, in his Supplemental Brief,18 Victoriano, as represented by
the Public Attorney's Office, claimed that the CA erred in appreciating
Joel's testimony, since the latter merely testified on the non-mortal
wounds that Anna suffered when the couple were outside the house.
Insofar as the actual killing was concerned, Joel's testimony was merely
circumstantial. Moreover, Victoriano averred that he did not intend to
commit so grave a wrong against his wife, evident from the facts that he

Victoriano claims that Joel's testimony coincides with his own, which
refers to the slapping incident that occurred outside their house. It does

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

not at all point to him as the actual perpetrator of the crime. Thus,
Victoriano submits that Joels testimony is merely circumstantial.
But circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction, as we ruled in
People v. Castillo:20
Direct evidence of the commission of the offense is not the only matrix
wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusions and finding of guilt.
Conviction can be had on the basis of circumstantial evidence provided
that: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which
the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable
doubt. While no general rule can be laid down as to the quantity of
circumstantial evidence which will suffice in a given case, all the
circumstances proved must be consistent with each other, consistent
with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty, and at the same time
inconsistent with the hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every
other rational hypothesis except that of guilt. The circumstances proved
should constitute an unbroken chain which leads to only one fair and
reasonable conclusion that the accused, to the exclusion of all others, is
the guilty person. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean the
degree of proof excluding the possibility of error and producing absolute
certainty. Only moral certainty or "that degree of proof which produces
conviction in an unprejudiced mind" is required.21
In this case, we note the presence of the requisites for circumstantial
evidence to sustain a conviction. First, immediately preceding the killing,
Victoriano physically maltreated his wife, not merely by slapping her as
he claimed, but by repeatedly punching and kicking her. Second, it was
Victoriano who violently dragged the victim inside their house, by
pulling her hair. Third, in Dr. Viray's Report, Anna sustained injuries in
different parts of her body due to Victoriano's acts of physical abuse.
Fourth, the location and extent of the wound indicated Victoriano's
intent to kill the victim. The Report revealed that the victim sustained a

Page 54 of 107

fatal stab wound, lacerating the upper lobe of her right lung, a vital
organ. The extent of the physical injury inflicted on the deceased
manifests Victoriano's intention to extinguish life. Fifth, as found by both
the RTC and the CA, only Victoriano and Anna were inside the house,
other than their young daughter.1avvphi1 Thus, it can be said with
certitude that Victoriano was the lone assailant. Sixth, we have held that
the act of carrying the body of a wounded victim and bringing her to the
hospital as Victoriano did does not manifest innocence.1avvphi1 It
could merely be an indication of repentance or contrition on his part.22
The foregoing circumstances are proven facts, and the Court finds no
reason to discredit Joels testimony and Dr. Viray's Report. Besides, wellentrenched is the rule that the trial court's assessment of the credibility
of witnesses is accorded great respect and will not be disturbed on
appeal, inasmuch as the court below was in a position to observe the
demeanor of the witnesses while testifying. The Court does not find any
arbitrariness or
error on the part of the RTC as would warrant a deviation from this wellentrenched rule.23
Even if, for the sake of argument, we consider Victorianos claim that the
injury sustained by his wife was caused by an accident, without fault or
intention of causing it, it is clear that Victoriano was not performing a
lawful act at the time of the incident. Before an accused may be
exempted from criminal liability by the invocation of Article 12
(paragraph 4) of the RPC, the following elements must concur: (1) a
person is performing a lawful act (2) with due care, and (3) he causes an
injury to another by mere accident and (4) without any fault or intention
of causing it. For an accident to become an exempting circumstance, the
act that causes the injury has to be lawful.24Victoriano's act of physically
maltreating his spouse is definitely not a lawful act. To say otherwise
would be a travesty -- a gross affront to our existing laws on violence

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

against women. Thus, we fully agree with the apt findings of the CA, to
wit:
With the foregoing avowal, We find that the death of appellants wife
was not caused by mere accident. An accident is an occurrence that
"happens outside the sway of our will, and although it comes about
through some act of our will, lies beyond the bounds of humanly
foreseeable consequences." It connotes the absence of criminal intent.
Intent is a mental state, the existence of which is shown by a persons
overt acts.
In the case at bench, evidence disclosed that appellant started beating
his wife outside their house and was even the one who dragged her
inside. This, to Our mind, contradicts his theory that he only pushed her
so as to go out of the house to avoid any further quarrel. Such
incongruity whittles down appellants defense that he did not
deliberately kill his wife.25
Finally, a person pleading intoxication to mitigate penalty must present
proof of having taken a quantity of alcoholic beverage prior to the
commission of the crime, sufficient to produce the effect of obfuscating
reason.26 In short, the defense must show that the intoxication is not
habitual, and not subsequent to a plan to commit a felony, and that the
accused's drunkenness affected his mental faculties. In this case, the
absence of any independent proof that his alcohol intake affected his
mental faculties militate against Victorianos claim that he was so
intoxicated at the time he committed the crime to mitigate his liability.27

Page 55 of 107

heirs of the victim are entitled to a civil indemnity ex delicto


of P50,000.00, which is mandatory upon proof of the fact of death of the
victim and the culpability of the accused for such death. Likewise, moral
damages, in the amount of P50,000.00, should be awarded even in the
absence of allegation and proof of the emotional suffering of the victim's
heirs, because certainly the family suffered emotional pain brought
about by Anna's death.
However, the CA erred when it deleted the award of exemplary damages.
In line with current jurisprudence, it is but fitting that exemplary
damages, in the sum of P30,000.00, be awarded, considering that the
qualifying circumstance of relationship is present, this being a case of
Parricide.28
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No.
01575, finding appellant, Victoriano dela Cruz y Lorenzo, 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, Anna Liza Caparas-dela Cruz,
the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

In sum, Victoriano failed to sufficiently show that the CA committed any


reversible error in its assailed Decision. His guilt was sufficiently
established by circumstantial evidence.
The penalty of reclusion perpetua was correctly imposed, considering
that there was neither any mitigating nor aggravating circumstance. The

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

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Associate Justice

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE


Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned
to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1

CA rollo, pp. 118-119.

Particularly docketed as CA-G.R. CR HC No. 01575, penned by


Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, with Associate Justices
2

Page 56 of 107

Amelita G. Tolentino and Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr., concurring;


rollo, pp. 2-11.
3

Records, pp. 114-116.

Also referred to as Victorino, Jon-Jon and John-John in other


documents and pleadings.
4

Records, p. 1.

Id. at 9.

Also referred to as Joan and Me Ann in other documents and


pleadings.
7

TSN, August 6, 2003, pp. 2-3.

Id. at 4.

10

TSN, March 5, 2003, pp. 2-3.

11

Records, p. 68.

12

Id. at 69.

13

TSN, June 16, 2004, pp. 2-7.

14

Supra note 3, at 16.

15

Records, p. 120.

16

Supra note 2, at 10.

17

Rollo, pp. 25-26.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

18

Id. at 28-32.

19

People v. Velasco, 404 Phil. 369, 379 (2001).

20

G.R. No. 172695, June 29, 2007, 526 SCRA 215.

21

Id. at 221-222. (Citations omitted.)

Id. at 225, citing People v. Nepomuceno, Jr., 298 SCRA 450, 462
(1998).
22

23

People v. Mactal, 449 Phil. 653, 661 (2003).

24

People v. Agliday, 419 Phil. 555, 564 (2001).

25

Supra note 2, at 9.

26

People v. Cortes, 413 Phil. 386, 393 (2001).

People v. Mondigo, G.R. No. 167954, January 31, 2008, 543


SCRA 384, 392.
27

People v. Espaol, G.R. No. 175603, February 13, 2009, 579


SCRA 326, 340; People v. Paycana, Jr., G.R. No. 179035, April 16,
2008, 551 SCRA 657, 668; People v. Ayuman, G.R. No. 133436,
April 14, 2004, 427 SCRA 248, 260; and People v. Arnante, G.R.
No. 148724, October 15, 2002, 391 SCRA 155, 161.
28

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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 181493

August 28, 2008

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
RICARDO NOTARION y ZANORIA, accused-appellant.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
For review is the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No.
02103, dated 24 August 2007,1 affirming with modifications the Decision
of the Masbate Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 49, in Criminal Case
No. 1511,2 finding accused-appellant Ricardo Notarion y Zanoria guilty
of the special complex crime of rape with homicide and sentencing him
to suffer the penalty of death.
The facts gathered from the records are as follows:
On 28 November 2001, an Information3 was filed with the RTC charging
appellant with the special complex crime of rape with homicide. The
accusatory portion of the information reads:
That on or about the 25th day of July, 2001, in the afternoon
thereof, at XXX, Barangay XXX, Municipality of XXX, Province of
XXX, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused by means of violence and
intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and

Page 58 of 107

feloniously have sexual intercourse with one AAA4 against the


latter's will and with intent to kill, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab said AAA with
the use of a hunting knife, hitting the latter on the different parts
of her body which caused her death.5
When arraigned on 7 March 2002, appellant, assisted by his counsel de
oficio, pleaded "Not guilty" to the charge.6 Trial on the merits thereafter
followed.
The prosecution presented as witnesses Dionilo Cabague (Cabague),
BBB (AAA's husband), and Dr. George Galindez (Dr. Galindez). Their
testimonies are summarized as follows:
Cabague, neighbor of appellant, testified that on 25 July 2001, at about
4:30 p.m., he and his wife arrived at their house in Barangay XXX,
Municipality of XXX, Province of XXX. He noticed that the buri leaves
which served as the door's lock was untied. Thereupon, he heard a noise
coming from inside the house. He pushed the door and saw appellant
and AAA. Appellant was then putting on his shorts, while AAA was
sprawled and motionless on the floor near appellant. Appellant
approached and pointed a knife at him. Appellant warned him not to tell
anyone of what he saw or he would kill him, his wife and his relatives.
Frightened, Cabague and his wife immediately left their house and
proceeded to his brother's house where they spent the whole night.7
In the morning of the following day, he and his wife returned to their
house and learned that AAA was already dead, and that the latter's
cadaver was found 10 meters away therefrom.8
BBB, husband of AAA, recounted that in the early morning of 25 July
2001, he went out fishing. Upon arriving home at about 4:00 p.m., he
noticed that AAA was not around. He went out of the house to look for
AAA. At around 8:00 p.m. of the same day, he met appellant who asked

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

him where he came from. He replied that he was looking for AAA.
Appellant became nervous, dropped his torch and hurriedly left. Later
that evening, he and some relatives and neighbors found AAA's lifeless
body several meters away from Cabague's house.9
Dr. Galindez, Municipal Health Officer of Placer, Masbate, declared that
he conducted a post-mortem examination on AAA's corpse. His findings
are as follows10:
POSTMORTEM EXAMINATION FINDINGS:

Page 59 of 107

12. (+) confluent hematoma chest.


13. (+) hematoma left wrist.
14. (+) hematoma hypogastric area with abdominal
distention.
15. (+) 2nd degree burns both labia majora.
16. (+) 2nd degree burns circular left thigh.

1. (+) Hematoma frontal area.

17. (+) 2nd degree burns circular right thigh.

2. (+) lacerated wound 2 cm. x 0.5 cm left upper eyelid.

18. (+) multiple nail marks both buttocks lateral area.

3. (+) lacerated wound 3 cm. x 1 cm right upper eyelid.

19. (+) multiple abrasion right elbow.

4. (+) Hematoma periorbital area.

SPECULUM EXAMINATION DONE:

5. (+) Hematoma right cheek.

- (+) cystocele.

6. (+) lacerated wound 2 cm. x 0.5 cm left upper lip.

- Collected 1 ml. whitish fluid in the vaginal canal.

7. (+) lacerated wound 1 cm. x 0.5 cm right upper lip.


8. (+) avulsed teeth 2 upper central incisor.
9. (+) avulsed tooth 1 left lateral incisor.

SPERM ANALYSIS AT CATAINGAN DISTRICT HOSPITAL:


(+) spermatozoa
CONCLUSION:

10. (+) avulsed tooth 1 left canine.

1. Asphyxia 2o strangulation

11. (+) confluent hematoma surrounding the neck and


shoulder.

2. Rape11

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Dr. Galindez stated that the confluent hematoma (wound no. 11) around
AAA's neck and shoulder indicated suffocation. He said that AAA died of
asphyxia secondary to strangulation.12
He also concluded that AAA was raped as shown by the following
observations: (1) enlargement of AAA's cervical area; (2) second-degree
burns in AAA's labia majora (wound no. 15); (3) second-degree burns in
AAA's left and right thighs (wound nos. 16 and 17); (4) multiple nail
marks in AAA's buttocks (wound no. 18); and (5) the presence of human
spermatozoa in AAA's vagina.13
The prosecution also proffered documentary evidence to bolster the
testimonies of its witnesses, to wit: (a) affidavit of Cabague (Exhibit
A);14 (2) affidavit of BBB (Exhibit B);15 and (3) post-mortem examination
report signed and issued by Dr. Galindez (Exhibit C).16
For its part, the defense presented the testimonies of appellant and
Maricar Notarion (Maricar). Appellant denied the foregoing accusation
and pointed to a certain Solomon Monsanto (Monsanto) as the real
perpetrator.
Appellant testified that on 25 July 2001, at about 4:30 p.m., he was at his
farm tending his carabao. Later, he saw Monsanto standing beside the
lifeless body of AAA which was lying on the ground. Monsanto
approached him, poked a gun at him, and threatened to kill him and his
family if he would report what he saw. Subsequently, appellant was
arrested and charged with raping and killing AAA.17
Maricar, daughter of appellant, narrated that on 25 July 2001, at about
4:30 in the afternoon, she and appellant went to their farm to fetch their
carabao. Thereafter, she and appellant saw Monsanto hack and shoot
AAA. Monsanto approached appellant and poked a gun at the latter.
Monsanto warned appellant not to tell anyone of the incident or he and

Page 60 of 107

his family would be killed. She and appellant then hurriedly went
home.18
After trial, the RTC rendered a Decision on 23 January 2006 convicting
appellant of the special complex crime of rape with homicide. Appellant
was sentenced to death. He was also ordered to pay the heirs of AAA the
amounts of P100,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, and P5,000.00 as exemplary damages. The dispositive portion
of the Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, beyond reasonable doubt, the Court finds the
accused, RICARDO NOTARION, guilty of the special complex
crime of Rape with Homicide falling under Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code as amended by RA 4111 and RA 7659 and
accordingly sentences him to suffer the SUPREME PENALTY OF
DEATH.
Accused is ordered to pay the amount of ONE HUNDRED
THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS as civil indemnity; FIFTY
THOUSAND (P50,000.00) pesos as moral damages and
exemplary damages of FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00) PESOS to
the heirs of the victim.19
Appellant appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 24 August 2007, the
appellate court promulgated its Decision affirming with modifications
the RTC Decision. It held that the death penalty imposed by the RTC on
appellant should be reduced to reclusion perpetua pursuant to Section
2(a) of Republic Act No. 9346 with appellant not eligible for parole
under the said law. It also ruled that although the heirs of AAA were not
entitled to actual damages because they did not present proof thereof,
such as receipts for funeral and burial expenses, they were, nonetheless,
entitled to temperate damages in the amount ofP25,000.00, since it was
reasonable to expect that the heirs of AAA incurred funeral and burial

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expenses. Further, it increased the amount of moral damages


to P75,000.00 and exemplary damages toP25,000.00.20 Thus:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the assailed Decision
dated January 23, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Cataingan,
Masbate, Branch 49 finding the accused-appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape with Homicide is hereby
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that (a) the death penalty
imposed by the trial court is reduced to reclusion perpetua and
(b) the judgment on the civil liability is modified by ordering the
accused-appellant to pay the amounts ofP100,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as
exemplary damages and P25,000.00 as temperate damages to
the heirs of the victim.21
Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal on 11 September 2007.22
Before us, appellant assigned the following errors:
I.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING WEIGHT
AND CREDENCE TO THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT.
II.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE SPECIAL COMPLEX CRIME OF
RAPE WITH HOMICIDE DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE
PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.23

Page 61 of 107

Apropos the first issue, appellant maintains that his testimony pointing
to Monsanto as the one who raped and killed AAA is more credible than
the testimony of Cabague.24
In resolving issues pertaining to the credibility of the witnesses, this
Court is guided by the following well-settled principles: (1) the
reviewing court will not disturb the findings of the lower court, unless
there is a showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied
some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that may affect the
result of the case; (2) the findings of the trial court on the credibility of
witnesses are entitled to great respect and even finality, as it had the
opportunity to examine their demeanor when they testified on the
witness stand; and (3) a witness who testifies in a clear, positive and
convincing manner is a credible witness.25
We have gone over the testimony of Cabague and found no cogent
reason to overturn the RTC's ruling finding Cabague's testimony
credible. Cabague testified in a clear and truthful manner that he saw
appellant and AAA inside his house on the day and time of the incident.
Appellant then was putting on his shorts while AAA was slumped
motionless on the floor near appellant. Appellant approached him and
pointed a knife at him. Appellant warned him not to tell anyone of what
he saw or he would kill him, his wife and his relatives. Terrified, Cabague
and his wife immediately left their house and proceeded to his brother's
house where they spent the whole night.26
BBB and Dr. Galindez corroborated the testimony of Cabague on its
relevant points.
Further, the above-mentioned testimonies are consistent with the
documentary evidence submitted by the prosecution. The RTC and the
Court of Appeals found the testimonies of Cabague, BBB and Dr. Galindez
to be consistent and honest. Both courts did not find any ill motive on
the part of the prosecution witnesses.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

In stark contrast, the testimony of appellant and Maricar composed of


denial and alibi were confusing, contradictory and unreliable. Appellant
did not mention in his testimony that he was with Maricar when he
allegedly saw Monsanto kill AAA.27 Maricar, nevertheless, testified that
she was with appellant when the alleged incident transpired.28 Further,
appellant and Maricar testified that they saw Monsanto kill
AAA.29Subsequently, however, appellant and Maricar declared that they
did not see Monsanto kill AAA.30
It is settled that as between bare denials and positive testimony on
affirmative matters, the latter is accorded greater evidentiary weight.31
Appellant, nonetheless, argues that the evidence presented by the
prosecution were merely circumstantial and, thus, insufficient to prove
his guilt of the special complex crime of rape with homicide.32 Also, the
fact that Monsanto was relieved by the prosecution from this case as an
accused casts doubt on the identity of the real perpetrator.33
Direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only matrix from
which a trial court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. The rules
of evidence allow a trial court to rely on circumstantial evidence to
support its conclusion of guilt. Circumstantial evidence is that evidence
which proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue may
be established by inference.34
In rape with homicide, the evidence against the accused is usually
circumstantial. The nature of the crime, in which only the victim and the
rapist-killer would have been around during its commission, makes the
prosecution of the offense particularly difficult because the victim could
no longer testify against the perpetrator. Thus, resorting to
circumstantial evidence is almost always inevitable, and to demand
direct evidence to prove in such instance the modality of the offense and
the identity of the perpetrator would be unreasonable.35

Page 62 of 107

Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides that circumstantial


evidence is sufficient for conviction if: (1) there is more than one
circumstance; (2) the inference is based on proven facts; and (3) the
combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.
After carefully reviewing the evidence on record and applying the
foregoing parameters to this case, we hold that the evidence adduced by
the prosecution adequately proved the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of
the appellant. As correctly found by the RTC, the following
circumstances, when pieced together, lead to the ineluctable conclusion
that appellant was the perpetrator of the crime charged:
1. The victim and the accused were inside a single room house;
2. The uncontroverted fact that the victim was lying motionless
on the floor while the accused was sitting and putting on his
short pants;
3. There was no other person in the house;
4. The accused threatened to kill the witness (Cabague) and the
latter's relatives if he (the witness) says anything on what he
saw;
5. The witness did not see any wound or blood on the motionless
body of the victim;
6. Death of the victim by strangulation;
7. The victim's dead body was found about ten (10) meters away
from the house (of Cabague).36

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In addition thereto, BBB narrated that appellant was nervous and


uneasy when he met him along the road on the night of 25 July 2001.
When he told appellant that he was looking for AAA, appellant dropped
his torch and hurriedly walked away.37
Further, Dr. Galindez testified that AAA was raped because human
spermatozoa and several wounds were found in and near AAA's
vagina.38
All of the foregoing circumstances, which were duly proven,
undoubtedly constitute an unbroken chain of events leading to a fair and
reasonable conclusion that appellant raped and killed AAA.
It is doctrinal that the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt in
criminal law does not mean such a degree of proof as to exclude the
possibility of error and produce absolute certainty. Only moral certainty
is required or that degree of proof which produces a conviction in an
unprejudiced mind.39 This was sufficiently established in the case at bar.
The fact that Monsanto was relieved by the prosecution from this case as
an accused is immaterial because appellant's guilt was duly proven by
the evidence of the prosecution.
We shall now determine the propriety of the penalties imposed by the
Court of Appeals.
The penalty for the special complex crime of rape with homicide is death
under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code. However, in view of the
effectivity of Republic Act No. 934640 prohibiting the imposition of the
death penalty, the penalty to be meted out to appellant shall be reclusion
perpetua in accordance with Section 2 thereof, which reads:
SECTION 2. In lieu of the death penalty, the following shall be
imposed:

Page 63 of 107

a) the penalty of reclusion perpetua, when the law violated makes


use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised Penal
Code; or
b) the penalty of life imprisonment, when the law violated does
not make use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the Revised
Penal Code.
Notwithstanding the reduction of the penalty imposed on appellant, he is
not eligible for parole following Section 3 of said law, which provides:
SECTION 3. Persons convicted of offenses punished
with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced
to reclusion perpetua, by reason of this Act, shall not be eligible
for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.
Thus, the Court of Appeals was correct in imposing on appellant the
penalty of reclusion perpetuawithout the possibility of parole.
With regard to damages, the heirs of AAA are entitled to civil indemnity
amounting to P100,000.00 in keeping with current jurisprudence
authorizing the mandatory award of P50,000.00 in case of death,
andP50,000.00 upon the finding of the fact of rape.41 The award of moral
damages amounting toP75,000.00 is also just and reasonable in cases of
rape with homicide.42 The Court of Appeals, therefore, acted accordingly
in awarding civil indemnity amounting to P100,000.00 and moral
damages amounting to P75,000.00 in favor of AAA's heirs.
As to actual damages, we have held that if the amount of the actual
damages cannot be determined because no receipts were presented to
prove the same, but it was shown that the heirs are entitled thereto,
temperate damages amounting to P25,000.00 may be awarded.43 In the
instant case, no receipt or competent proof was presented to show the

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

amount of actual damages incurred by AAA's heirs. Nonetheless, it is


reasonable to expect that AAA's heirs incurred expenses for her coffin,
burial, and food during the wake. Hence, the Court of Appeals properly
awarded temperate damages amounting toP25,000.00 in lieu of actual
damages.
With respect to exemplary damages, Article 2230 of the New Civil
Code44 allows the award thereof as part of the civil liability when the
crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. The
aggravating circumstance must be expressly and specifically alleged in
the information;45 otherwise, it cannot be considered by the trial court in
its judgment, even if such circumstance was subsequently proved during
the trial.46 In the case at bar, no aggravating circumstance was alleged in
the information. Thus, the RTC and the Court of Appeals erred in
awarding exemplary damages.
WHEREFORE, after due deliberation, the Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 02103, dated 24 August 2007, is
hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of
exemplary damages is deleted.
SO ORDERED.
Ynares-Santiago, Chairperson, Austria-Martinez, Nachura, Reyes,
JJ., concur.

Footnotes
Penned by Associate Justice Rodrigo V. Cosico with Associate
Justices Hakim S. Abdulwahid and Arturo G. Tayag, concurring;
rollo, pp. 2-10.

Page 64 of 107

Penned by Judge Manuel L. Sese; CA rollo, pp. 12-25.

Records, p. 1.

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9262, otherwise known as the


"Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004"
and its implementing rules, the real name of the victim, together
with the real names of her immediate family members, is
withheld and fictitious initials instead are used to represent her,
both to protect her privacy. See People v. Cabalquinto, G.R. No.
167693, 19 September 2006, 502 SCRA 419, 421-426.
4

Records, p. 1.

Id. at 30.

TSN, 13 November 2003, pp. 3-10.

Id. at 10-13.

TSN, 17 June 2004, pp. 3-8.

10

TSN, 11 September 2003, pp. 2-5.

11

Records, p. 26.

12

TSN, 11 September 2003, p. 5.

13

Id. at 6-7.

14

Records, p. 13.

15

Id. at 14.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Page 65 of 107

16

Id. at 26.

32

CA rollo, p. 44.

17

TSN, 12 August 2004, pp. 2-6.

33

Id. at 46.

18

TSN, 13 January 2005, pp. 2-5.

34

19

CA rollo, p. 24.

People v. Padua, G.R. No. 169075, 23 February 2007, 516 SCRA


590, 600-601; People v. Lopez, 371 Phil. 852, 859 (1999); People
v. Ayola, 416 Phil. 861, 872 (2001).

20

Rollo, p. 9.

35

21

Id.

22

23

24

People v. Guihama, 452 Phil. 824, 841 (2003); People v. Rayos,


404 Phil. 151, 167-168 (2001).
36

Records, pp. 90-91.

37

TSN, 17 June 2004, pp. 5-6.

38

TSN, 11 September 2003, pp. 6-7.

39

People v. Guihama, supra note 35 at 843.

40

Approved on 24 June 2006.

CA rollo, pp. 105-106.


Id. at 38.
Id. at 46.

People v. Galido, G.R. Nos. 148689-92, 30 March 2004, 426


SCRA 502, 513.
25

26

TSN, 13 November 2003, pp. 3-10.

27

TSN, 13 January 2005, pp. 6-7.

28

29

People v. Padua, supra note 34 at 607, citing People v. Tablon,


429 Phil. 1, 17-18 (2002).
41

42

Id., citing People v. Magallanes, 457 Phil. 234, 259 (2003).

43

People v. Abrazaldo, 445 Phil. 109, 126 (2003).

Id. at 3.
TSN, 12 August 2004, p. 4; TSN, 13 January 2005, p. 4.
Article 2230, New Civil Code: In criminal offenses, exemplary
damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed when the
crime was committed with one or more aggravating
circumstances. Such damages are separate and distinct from
fines and shall be paid to the offended party.
44

30

Id. at 5.

Ceniza-Manantan v. People, G.R. No. 156248, 28 August 2007,


531 SCRA 364, 375; People v. Major Comiling, 468 Phil. 869, 890
(2004).
31

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Sections 8 & 9, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal


Procedure.
45

Catiis v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 153979, 9 February 2006,


482 SCRA 71, 84.
46

Page 66 of 107

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 191271

March 13, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
GERALD SORIANO alias PEDRO, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
SERENO, CJ.:
This is a review1 of the Decision dated 22 October 20092 issued by the
Court of Appeals, Cagayan de Oro City (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00474MIN finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape
with homicide and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. The dispositive part of the assailed Decision reads:
FOR REASONS STATED, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Marawi City, 10th Judicial Region, Branch 10, in Civil Cases No. 3200-99,
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the appellant Gerald Soriano
alias Pedro is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua,
without eligibility for parole. He is further ordered to pay the heirs of the
victim moral damages in the increased amount of P75,000 and
temperate damages in the amount ofP25,000.
SO ORDERED.3

Page 67 of 107

On 17 February 1999, accused-appellant Gerald Soriano alias Pedro


(Soriano) was charged with rape with homicide in an Information, which
reads in part:
That on or about December 31, 1998 at around 4:00 oclock [sic] in the
afternoon at Barangay Katutungan, Municipality of Wao, Province of
Lanao del Sur, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the said accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, and by means of force, violence and intimidation, grabbed
AAA, a girl of eight (8) years old, covered her mouth, bitten [sic] her
right face and left breast and succeeded in having sexual intercourse
with her against her will, and thereafter grabbed the victims neck and
chocked her to death and threw her body into the water of irrigation
canal of Katutungan, Wao, Lanao del Sur.
CONTRARY to and in [v]iolation of the last paragraph of Article 335 of
the Revised Penal Code as amended.4
Facts According to the Prosecution
Around 8:00 a.m. of 31 December 1998, Soriano arrived with the
nephew of Alice Hibaya (Hibaya) to drink liquor at her house until about
10:00 a.m.5 Hibaya saw Soriano drink some more at the house of one
Noel Quinatadcan (Quinatadcan), who lived about two meters away
from her.6
She then witnessed Soriano leave with his other companions at
approximately 3:00 p.m.7
Around that time, Vicky Bearneza (Vicky) was grazing her carabao on a
palm road when she saw Soriano, clad in a yellow t-shirt and blue denim,
walk drunkenly towards the shortcut to Wao. She did not see anyone
else pass by the area until she went home about 5:00 p.m.8

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

At roughly 3:30 p.m. of the same day, Vickys sister BBB saw Soriano,
whom she later similarly recalled was in yellow t-shirt and pants, pass
by her house as he walked to the direction of Wao. It was also around the
same time that she was expecting her eight-year-old daughter, AAA, to
take the same shortcut on her way home from harvesting palay.9
Thereafter, at approximately 6:00 p.m., BBB asked for help in looking for
AAA. The other residents assisted in the search, which lasted until
midnight and turned out to be unsuccessful.10
On 1 January 1999, about 8:00 a.m., Tomas Bearneza (Tomas), the
husband of Vicky, found the lifeless body of AAA in a canal along the
shortcut. The victim was naked except for her shorts, which loosely hung
below her knees. Her face and breast revealed bite marks.11
The health physician of the Wao District Hospital, Dr. Calico Haji Ali (Dr.
Ali), examined the body of AAA. He observed the presence of human bite
marks on the right side of her face and on her left breast.12 According to
his examination, she was raped and her death was caused by
drowning.13
According to the mayor of Wao, Elvino C. Balicao (Mayor Balicao),
Soriano confessed to being under the influence of alcohol when the latter
killed AAA, but denied having raped her.14
On 2 January 1999, the Chief Investigator of Wao, Senior Police Officer 4
Edwin B. Bacerra, Sr. (SPO4 Bacerra), questioned Soriano. Because there
were no lawyers available and Soriano claimed to be a minor, a
representative from the Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD), Mercedes Oyangoren (Oyangoren), assisted him during the
investigation. He admitted therein that he saw AAA near the canal. She
tried to run away, but he caught up with her. She then started shouting
for help, prompting him to panic and choke her. Thereafter, he removed
her clothes, bit her left breast and threw her into the water. These

Page 68 of 107

statements were reduced into writing and signed by both Soriano and
Oyangoren.15
Facts According to the Defense
Soriano averred that at 8:00 a.m. on 31 December 1998 at Hibayas
house, he and three other men drank Tanduay while they roasted a pig.
By 2:00 p.m., they had transferred to the house of Quinatadcan, where
they had a couple of beers.16 At around 3:30 p.m., Soriano claimed that
he was not quite drunk when he went home using the shortcut to
Wao.17 He was home by 5:00 p.m.18
Some policemen came to his house the following morning. Thinking that
he was being hired to harvest corn, he voluntarily submitted himself to
them. However, he was detained at the police headquarters.19
Soriano claimed that, without informing him of the contents of the
document, SPO4 Bacerra made him sign it in front of Oyangoren. Mayor
Balicao purportedly questioned Soriano inside the formers vehicle,
threatened him that he would be fed to the crocodiles if he would not
confess, and promised to help him if he would admit to having
perpetrated the crime. Allegedly for these reasons, Soriano confessed to
killing AAA.20
Upon the filing of an Information for rape with homicide against Soriano,
the case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 3200-99 and raffled to the
Regional Trial Court, 10th Judicial Region, Marawi City, Branch 10 (RTC
Br. 10). It later rendered a Decision finding him guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of rape with homicide and sentencing him to suffer the
death penalty.21 He was likewise ordered to pay the heirs of AAA in the
amount of P100,000 in civil indemnity and P50,000 in moral damages.22
After the case was elevated for automatic review, the CA affirmed the
ruling of the trial court, but modified the sentence of Soriano to the

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole and increased


the civil liability to P75,000. He was also ordered to pay the heirs of AAA
moral and temperate damages in the increased amounts of P75,000
and P25,000, respectively.23 He filed a Notice of Appeal.24
Considering that the CA has already disregarded his supposed
confession to Mayor Balicao, Soriano only raises the sole contention that
the entirety of the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution
was insufficient to sustain his conviction.25
He posits the following arguments:
(a) The estimated time of death of AAA did not preclude the
possibility that other culprits had perpetrated the crime.
(b) The prosecution failed to establish that he had caused the
bite marks found on AAA.
(c) He had never been found to be in the company of the victim.
(d) It was not shown that he had gone to the place where her
cadaver was found;
(e) While he was seen going towards the direction of the crime
scene, this fact does not conclusively prove that he had raped
and killed the victim.
(f) His soiled clothes were not found at or near the area where
the crime was committed, but were taken from his house without
the benefit of a search warrant.26
At the outset, it should be underscored that following Section 12, Article
III of the Constitution,27 the CA was correct in ruling that the
extrajudicial confession elicited by Mayor Balicao and SPO4 Bacerra

Page 69 of 107

from Soriano without the presence of counsel is inadmissible in


evidence. Thus, the only issue is whether the circumstantial evidence
presented by the prosecution was sufficient to hold Soriano guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with homicide. Ruling in
the negative, this Court finds the appeal meritorious.
The prosecution faces a great deal of difficulty in cases involving the
special complex crime of rape with homicide. In these cases, both the
rape and the homicide must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, as the
victim can no longer testify against the perpetrator of the
offense.28 Thus, a resort to circumstantial evidence becomes inevitable
to prove the case.29
Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence
is sufficient for conviction when the concurrence of the following factors
obtain: (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 would prove the crime beyond
reasonable doubt. These circumstances and facts must be absolutely
incompatible with any reasonable hypothesis propounding the
innocence of the accused.30
In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to establish the existence of an
unbroken chain of circumstances that lead to no other logical conclusion
but the guilt of the accused.
RTC Br. 10 anchored its Decision finding Soriano guilty of the crime
charged on the following circumstances:
1. That the accused together with his companions had a drinking
spree [at] the house and store of the two witnesses and admitted
by accused until 3:00 in the afternoon and that day of December
30, 1998.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

2. That the accused was seen by one of the witnesses while


grassing [sic] their carabao at about 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the
barangay road leading to crossing [sic] when he passed by under
the influence of liquor, wearing a yellow T-shirt and maong pants
that appeared clean but when witness was shown of the soiled
and dirty yellow T-shirt and maong pants during the trial
affirmed that it was the same clothes;
3. That accused was also seen by the mother of the victim and
admitted by the accused, to be wearing [the] same clothes
aforesaid leading to crossing Katutungan, where the crime was
committed at around or between 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. on the same
day;
4. That the post mortem examination on the body of the victim
contained series of contusion which are signs of violence
inflicted in the different parts of the body of the victim, was
raped before she was killed and that there was laceration of the
hymen;
5. That the position of the body of the victim indicated she had
been raped and simultaneously killed.
6. That the body of the victim was found in the grassy area near
the canal where her under pants was [sic] beside her and
without clothes in her body, where the accused was last seen to
have pass [sic] by. And that no other persons have passed by
except the accused at that point in time.31
Meanwhile, in sustaining the Decision of the trial court, the CA ruled in
this wise:
In the instant case, appellant was seen walking towards the direction of
the "short-cut" road to Wao where the body of the child-victim was

Page 70 of 107

found. He admitted that he used that road in going home. According to


BBB, she saw appellant pass by her house at around 3:30 p.m. That was
also the time when AAA was supposed to be on her way home using the
same "short-cut" road. Appellant confirmed that BBB saw him and that
he had spent the day drinking liquor.
He was admittedly at the scene of the crime at the time the child was
discovered to be missing. Moreover, he was the only person seen going
to that road. He admitted that he saw no one else using that road.
Appellant stated that he arrived at his home at around 5:00 that same
afternoon. By his own testimony, he was there at the scene of the crime
at around the time it happened. There can be no doubt that he raped and
killed AAA as he was the only one out there in the "short-cut" road.32
The foregoing findings unquestionably establish that AAA was raped and
killed.1wphi1 However, the circumstances presented by the
prosecution do not form a solid and cohesive narrative that proves with
moral certainty its contention that Soriano perpetrated these heinous
acts. To synthesize, the only circumstances cited to implicate him in the
crime are the following: (a) he passed through the shortcut to Wao
around 3:00 p.m. on 31 December 1998; (b) Vicky did not see anyone
else use that road from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on that day; and (c) the
soiled garments confiscated from him were identified to have been the
same ones he was wearing then.
To an unprejudiced mind, the fact that Soriano was the only one whom
Vicky saw pass through the shortcut to Wao from 3:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
does not logically lead to any conclusion regarding his participation in
the raping and killing of AAA. It is a mere conjecture that can be refuted
by other equally conceivable and rational inferences. It is possible that
Vicky might have failed to see the perpetrator, because he came from the
same place as AAA; but, instead of traversing the shortcut after raping
and killing the victim, actually went back to his point of origin. Neither
can the mere fact that Soriano's clothes were soiled isolate him as the

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

only probable suspect, considering that his garments were not found
anywhere near the scene of the crime, but at his own home.
As a consequence, the circumstances borne out by the records are
severely insufficient to establish the culpability of Soriano as one may
reasonably extrapolate other possible scenarios other than those
pointing to his guilt. The evidence in this case having fallen short of the
standard of moral certainty, any doubt on the guilt of the accused should
be considered in favor of his acquittal. The law enforcers' missteps in the
performance of the investigation and the prosecuting attorney's careless
presentation of the evidence cannot lead to any other conclusion other
than that there are doubts as to the guilt of the accused.
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision issued by the CA in CA-G.R. CR-HC
No. 00474-MIN dated 22 October 2009 finding accused-appellant guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of rape with homicide and sentencing him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Accused-appellant is hereby ACQUITTED. He is ordered to be
immediately RELEASED from detention, unless he is being confined for
another lawful cause. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the
Director, Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa City for immediate
implementation. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is -directed to
report to this Court within five (5) days from his receipt of this Decision,
the action he has taken.
SO ORDERED.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice, Chairperson

Page 71 of 107

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's
Division.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1

Pursuant to Rule 124, Sec. 13.

Rollo, pp. 4-13; Penned by CA Associate Justice Edgardo T.


Lloren and concurred in by CA Associate Justices Edgardo A.
Camello and Leoncia R. Dimagiba.
2

Id. at 12-13.

CA rollo, p. 8.

Rollo, p. 5, CA Decision.

Id. at 5-6.

WE CONCUR:
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.


Associate Justice

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Id. at 6.

24

Id.

25

Id.

Id. at 14-15.

Id. at 22-38, Supplemental Brief for the accused-appellant


dated 9 June 2010.
26

10

Page 72 of 107

Id. at 32-35.

Id.
Section 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the
commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of
his right to remain silent and to have competent and
independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person
cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with
one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the
presence of counsel.
27

11

Id.

12

Id.

13

Id. at 7.

14

Id.

15

Id.

16

Id.

17

Id. at 7-8.

18

Id. at 8.

People v. Romero, G.R. No. 181041, 23 February 2011, 644


SCRA 210.

19

Id.

29

20

Id.

30

xxxx
(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of
this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in
evidence against him.
28

CA rollo, pp. 19-A-33, RTC Br. 10 Decision dated 14 October


2002.
21

22

Id. at 32-33.

23

Rollo, pp. 12-13.

Id.

People v. Gonzaga, G.R. No. 90036, 21 August 1992, 212 SCRA


730.
31

CA rollo, p. 30.

32

Rollo, p. 11.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

Page 73 of 107

reduction of the penalties we imposed upon the latter on the ground that
he was a minor at the time the crimes were committed.
A brief review of the pertinent facts is imperative.

EN BANC
G.R. Nos. 138874-75

January 31, 2006

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
FRANCISCO JUAN LARRAAGA alias "PACO;" JOSMAN AZNAR;
ROWEN ADLAWAN alias "WESLEY;" ALBERT CAO alias "ALLAN
PAHAK;" ARIEL BALANSAG; DAVIDSON VALIENTE RUSIA alias
'TISOY TAGALOG;" JAMES ANTHONY UY alias "WANGWANG;" and
JAMES ANDREW UY alias "MM," Appellants.
RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:
Most jurisdictions recognize age as a barrier to having full responsibility
over ones action.1 Our legal system, for instance, does not punish a
youth as it would an adult, and it sees youthful misconduct as evidence
of unreasoned or impaired judgment. Thus, in a myriad of cases, we have
applied the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority embodied in
Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code -- the rationale of which is to show
mercy and some extent of leniency in favor of an accused who, by reason
of his age, is presumed to have acted with less discernment. The case at
bar is another instance when the privileged mitigating circumstance of
minority must apply.
For our resolution is the motion for reconsideration2 filed by brothers
James Anthony and James Andrew, both surnamed Uy, praying for the

On February 3, 2004, we rendered a Decision3 convicting the Uy


brothers, together with Francisco Juan Larraaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen
Adlawan, Alberto Cao and Ariel Balansag of the crimes of (a) special
complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with homicide
and rape; and (b) simple kidnapping and serious illegal detention. The
dispositive portion of the Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Cebu
City in Criminal Cases Nos. CBU 45303 and 45304 is AFFIRMED with the
following MODIFICATIONS:
(1) In Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, appellants FRANCISCO
JUAN LARRAAGA alias PACO; JOSMAN AZNAR; ROWEN
ADLAWAN alias WESLEY; ALBERTO CAO alias ALLAN
PAHAK; ARIEL BALANSAG;and JAMES ANDREW UY alias MM,
are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex
crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with homicide
and rape and are sentenced to suffer the penalty of DEATH by
lethal injection;
(2) In Criminal Case No. CBU-45304, appellants FRANCISCO
JUAN LARRAAGA alias PACO; JOSMAN AZNAR; ROWEN
ADLAWAN alias WESLEY; ALBERTO CAO alias ALLAN
PAHAK; ARIEL BALANSAG;and JAMES ANDREW UY alias MM,
are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple kidnapping
and serious illegal detention and are sentenced to suffer the
penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA;

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

(3) In Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, appellant JAMES ANTHONY


UY who was a minor at the time the crime was committed, is
likewise found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special
complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with
homicide and rape and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty
of RECLUSION PERPETUA; in Criminal Case No. CBU-45304, he
is declared guilty of simple kidnapping and serious illegal
detention and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of TWELVE (12)
years ofprision mayor in its maximum period, as MINIMUM, to
seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal in its medium period,
as MAXIMUM;
(4) Appellants are ordered to pay jointly and severally the heirs
of Marijoy and Jacqueline, in each case, the amounts
of (a) P100,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) P25,000.00 as
temperate damages; (c) P150,000.00 as moral damages;
and (d) P100,000.00 as exemplary damages.
Three (3) Justices of the Court maintain their position that RA 7659 is
unconstitutional insofar as it prescribes the death penalty; nevertheless,
they submit to the ruling of the majority that the law is constitutional
and the death penalty can be lawfully imposed in the case at bar.
In accordance with Article 83 of The Revised Penal Code, as amended by
Section 25 of RA No. 7659, upon the finality of this Decision let the
records of this case be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the President
for the possible exercise of Her Excellencys pardoning power.
SO ORDERED.
On March 23, 2004, the Uy brothers filed a motion for reconsideration
anchored on the following grounds:
I

Page 74 of 107

ACCUSED JAMES ANDREW S. UY WAS, LIKE HIS YOUNGER BROTHER


JAMES ANTHONY S. UY, A MINOR AT THE TIME THE OFFENSES AT
BAR ALLEGEDLY HAPPENED LAST JULY 16, 1997;
II
THE IDENTITY OF THE DEAD BODY OF THE WOMAN FOUND IN TANAWAN, CARCAR, CEBU LAST JULY 18, 1997 WAS NEVER
CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHED THUS THE NEED FOR ITS
EXHUMATION FOR DNA TESTING.4
The issues raised in the above motion being intertwined with those
raised by Larraaga, Aznar, Adlawan, Cao and Balansag in their
separate motions for reconsideration, we deemed it appropriate to
consolidate the motions. After a painstaking evaluation of every piece
and specie of evidence presented before the trial court in response to the
movants plea for the reversal of their conviction, still we are convinced
that the movants guilt has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Thus,
in our Resolution dated July 21, 2005, we denied all the motions.
However, left unresolved is the issue of James Andrews minority.
Hence, this disquisition.
In their motion, the Uy brothers claim that James Andrew was only
seventeen (17) years and two hundred sixty two (262) days old at the
time the crimes were committed. To substantiate such claim, he begs
leave and pleads that we admit at this stage of the proceedings his (1)
Certificate of Live Birth issued by the National Statistics Office, and (2)
Baptismal Certificate. In the ultimate, he prays that his penalty be
reduced, as in the case of his brother James Anthony.
Considering that the entry of James Andrews birth in the proffered
Certificate of Live Birth is not legible, we required the Solicitor General
(a) to secure from the City Civil Registrar of Cotobato, as well as the

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

National Statistics Office, a clear and legible copy of James Certificate of


Live Birth, and thereafter, (b) to file an extensive comment on the Uy
brothers motion, solely on the issue of James Andrews minority.
On November 17, 2005, the Solicitor General submitted his
comment.1wphi1 Attached therewith are clear and legible copies of
James Certificate of Live Birth duly certified by the Office of the City Civil
Registrar of Cotobato and the National Statistics Office. Both documents
bear the entry October 27, 1979 as the date of his birth, thus, showing
that he was indeed only 17 years and 262 days old when the crimes
were committed on July 16, 1997.
Consequently, the Solicitor General recommended that the penalty
imposed on James Andrew be modified as follows:
In Criminal Case No. CBU-45303 for the special complex crime of
kidnapping and serious illegal detention with homicide and rape, the
death penalty should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
In Criminal Case No. CBU-45304, for the crime of simple kidnapping and
serious illegal detention, the penalty of reclusion perpetua should be
reduced to twelve (12) years of prision mayor in its maximum period, as
minimum, to seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal in its medium
period, as maximum, similar to the penalty imposed on his brother
James Anthony in Criminal Case No. CBU-45303.
The motion is meritorious.
Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 68. Penalty to be imposed upon a person under eighteen years of
age. When the offender is a minor under eighteen years and his case is
one coming under the provisions of the paragraph next to the last of
article 80 of this Code, the following rules shall be observed:

Page 75 of 107
xxx

2. Upon a person over fifteen and under eighteen years of age the
penalty next lower than that prescribed by law shall be imposed, but
always in the proper period.
Thus, the imposable penalty on James Andrew, by reason of his minority,
is one degree lower than the statutory penalty. The penalty for the
special complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with
homicide and rape, being death, one degree lower therefrom is reclusion
perpetua.5 On the other hand, the penalty for simple kidnapping and
serious illegal detention is reclusion perpetua to death. One degree lower
therefrom is reclusion temporal.6 There being no aggravating and
mitigating circumstance, the penalty to be imposed on James Andrew
is reclusion temporal in its medium period. Applying the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, he should be sentenced to suffer the penalty of twelve
(12) years of prision mayor in its maximum period, as minimum, to
seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as
maximum.7
Accordingly, in Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, the penalty of reclusion
perpetua should be imposed upon James Andrew; while in Criminal Case
No. CBU-45304, the imposable penalty upon him is twelve (12) years of
prision mayor in its maximum period, as minimum, to seventeen (17)
years of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum.
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. Our
Decision dated February 3, 2004 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION
that in Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, James Andrew Uy is sentenced to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua; while in Criminal Case No. CBU45304, the penalty of twelve (12) years ofprision mayor in its maximum
period, as MINIMUM, to seventeen (17) years of reclusion temporal in its
medium period, as maximum.

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SO ORDERED.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice
REYNATO S. PUNO
Associate Justice

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice

CONSUELO YNARESSANTIAGO
Associate Justice

ANGELINA SANDOVALGUTIERREZ
Associate Justice

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIAMARTINEZ


Associate Justice

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

CONCHITA CARPIO
MORALES
Associate Justice

RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice

ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Associate Justice

ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.


Associate Justice

MINITA CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice

DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

CANCIO C. GARCIA
Associate Justice
CERTIFICATION

Page 76 of 107

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby


certified that the conclusions in the above Resolution were reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Court.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

Footnotes
Siegel, Senna, Juvenile Deliquency, Theory, Practice and Law,
7th Edition, at 20.
1

Rollo, p. 1789. It was filed on March 23, 2004.

G.R. Nos. 138874-75, February 3, 2004, 421 SCRA 530.

Rollo, p. 1789. It was filed on March 23, 2004.

Article 61, par. 1 in relation to Article 71, Scale No. 1 of the


Revised Penal Code.
5

The Indeterminate Sentence Law does not apply to


persons convicted of offenses punished with death
penalty or life imprisonment. (Section 2) While the
exception in Section 2 of the law speak of "life
imprisonment," this term has been considered to also
mean reclusion perpetua. (Regalado, Criminal Law
Conspectus, First Edition, at 207).

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Article 61, par. 2 in relation to Article 71, Scale No. 1 of the


Revised Penal Code.
6

Reyes, The Revised Penal Code, Book I, 2001 Ed. at 780.

Page 77 of 107

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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 183916

April 25, 2012

SPOUSES NICANOR MAGNO and CARIDAD MAGNO, Petitioners,


vs.
HEIRS OF PABLO PARULAN, represented by EMILIANO PARULAN,
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, BALIUAG, BULACAN, OFFICE
OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF GUIGUINTO,
BULACAN, Respondents.
DECISION
SERENO, J.:
For resolution is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 assailing the 16
April 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
100781,1 which affirmed the dismissal by the Department of Agrarian
Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) of the petitioners Petition for
Correction and/or Cancellation of the Original Certificate of Title issued
in the name of private respondents predecessor-in-interest. Also
assailed in
this petition is the CA Resolution dated 17 July 2008, which denied
petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
On 17 January 1972, petitioner spouses Nicanor and Caridad Magno
(petitioners) bought a 1.5520 hectare (or 15,520 sq. m.) riceland at
Biang 1st, Bocaue, Bulacan from Emilia de Guzman (Emilia), as
evidenced by a notarized Deed of Sale.2 According to the Deed of Sale,

Page 78 of 107

the purchased lot is covered by Tax Declaration No. 2386 and is bounded
by lots owned by the following persons: in the north, by Apolonio
Santos; in the east, by Apolonio Santos and Eleuterio Santiago; in the
south, by Eleuterio Santiago; and in the west, by Apolonio Santos.
Petitioners further allege that the purchased lot is also described in the
year 2000 Tax Declaration/Property Index Number 020-04-006-030103 in the name of Emilia de Guzman, with the following boundaries:
lots 1468 and 1469 in the north; Lots 1303 and 1304 in the south; Lot
1306 in the east; and Lot 1301 in the west.
The property was enclosed within concrete posts and barbed wires
when it was sold to petitioners. From the time of purchase, they
occupied the lot without interruption and devoted it to rice cultivation.
In 1995, they filed before the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) an Application for Free Patent, as well as a Petition
with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office
(CENRO) to rectify the Cadastral Survey of Lot 1306, Cad 332, Bocaue
Cadastre, for the purpose of excluding a portion of their land from Lot
1306-B, which was then being claimed by Pedro Lazaros heirs.
Subsequently, petitioners tenant and hired laborers were prevented
from working on the subject land by Emiliano Parulan (Emiliano), son of
Pablo Parulan (Pablo), whose heirs are named respondents herein.
Petitioners discovered that a 2,171 square meter portion of their land
was included in the 5,677 square meter lot registered under Original
Certificate of Title (OCT) No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189669)4 issued in the
name of Pablo on 17 December 1999 and registered with the Register of
Deeds on 5 January 2000.
Petitioners referred the matter to the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office
(PARO) Legal Officer I of Baliuag, Bulacan, Homer Abraham, Jr. The latter
issued a Report and Recommendation5 dated 26 October 2000 to Miguel
Mendoza, the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of PARO, Baliuag, Bulacan,
recommending the filing by the Magno spouses of a necessary petition

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

for cancellation/correction of Pablos Emancipation Patent (EP) before


the DARAB.
Hence, on 15 December 2000, petitioners filed with the Provincial
Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (PARAD) of Bulacan a Petition6 for
Correction of OCT No. T-048-EP, (EP No. 189669) issued in the name of
Pablo Parulan. Apart from the Deed of Sale and the two Tax Declarations,
petitioners adduced as documentary evidence the questioned
EP/OCT,7 photographs of the property,8 as well as the Report and
Recommendation of PARO Legal Officer I Abraham.
Presented by petitioners as witnesses during the hearing before the
PARAD were Cynthia Mariano (Mariano), an Agrarian Reform Program
Technologist (ARPT) of Bocaue, Bulacan; and Fe Jacinto (Jacinto), the
Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) of the same area. Mariano
testified that she had been instructed by Jacinto to conduct an
investigation of petitioners landholding. On 3 May 2000, she, together
with Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) Chairperson Ricardo
Benedicto, conducted an ocular inspection of the lot, with farmers from
adjacent lots as witnesses. She thereafter prepared a report, which
stated that the subject lot was fenced and that the actual tiller was
Renato de Guzman. Renato informed her that his father, Mariano de
Guzman, was the original tenant of the land; and that the adjacent lot
outside the fenced lot was being tilled by Emiliano Parulan. According to
ARPT Mariano, her ocular inspection yielded the finding that since 1976,
the subject lot which has an area of 2,162 sq. m., had actually been tilled
by Renato de Guzman, who had been paying lease rentals to spouses
Nicanor and Caridad Magno. MARO Jacinto testified by identifying the
report she had prepared on the matter.
On the other hand, private respondents presented the Kasunduan sa
Pamumuwisan between Pedro and Pablo;9Pablos request for a survey of
Pedros land;10 an endorsements to survey Pedros property issued by
ARPT Mariano,11 MARO Jacinto12 and PARO Linda Hermogino

Page 79 of 107

(Hermogino);13 DAR Regional Director Renato Herreras grant of Pablos


request for survey;14 the Approved Subdivision Plan of Lot 1306, Cad
332, Bocaue Cadastre;15and the accompanying Lot Data Computation for
the land of Pedro Lazaro16 and Emilia de Guzman.17
Private respondents argued that the June 1973 Kasunduan sa
Pamumuwisan between Pablo and Pedro Lazaro showed that the former
was the agricultural lessee of the latter. In January 1999, Pablo
requested the MARO for authority to survey the property of Pedro
pursuant to his EP Application over the land he was then tenanting. On 1
February 1999, Bocaue ARPT Mariano reported to Bocaue MARO Jacinto
that, based on the formers investigation/ocular inspection, Pedros
15,178 sq. m. property was covered by the Operation Land Transfer
under Presidential Decree 27. Since Pablo was the actual tiller of the
land, the ARPT recommended the grant of a Survey Authority and
Approval as requested. This recommendation was endorsed by MARO
Jacinto to PARO Hermogino, who in turn endorsed it to DAR Regional
Director Renato Herrera. Director Herrera granted Pablos request for a
survey pursuant to the latters EP application.
As indicated in the resulting Approved Subdivision Plan (of Lot 1306,
Cad 332 Bocaue Cadastre),18 it was based on the Original Survey of Lot
1306 in May 1960. The Lot Data Computation accompanying the
Subdivision Plan denominated Emilias lot as Lot 1302 with an area of
9,604.82 sq. m.,19 while that of Pedro was Lot 1306 with an area of
15,171.85 sq. m.20 The Subdivision Plan also showed that Lot 1306 was
subdivided into Lot 1306-A (or Lot 4557) containing an area of 7,601 sq.
m.; Lot 1306-B (or Lot 4558) which had 5,677 sq. m.; and Lot 1306-C (or
Lot 4559) with 1,900 sq. m. It appears that Lot 1306-B or Lot 4558 was
further subdivided into Lot 4558-A with an area of 2,162 sq. m. and Lot
4558-B with an area of 3,508 sq. m. The contested lot is Lot 4558-A.
Clearly, private respondents argued, OCT No. T-048-EP(M), EP No.
189669, was properly issued to Pablo for his 5,677 sq. m. lot in Biang,
which encompassed the contested 2,162 sq. m. lot.

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After the parties filed their respective pleadings with the attached
Affidavits of witnesses and other evidence, the PARAD issued a
Decision21 dated 26 February 2003 granting the Petition. Relying on the
Tax Declarations in the name of Emilia, the PARAD noted that Emilia had
owned a 1.5 ha. riceland in Biang 1st, which she sold to petitioners.
Meanwhile, the Rice and Corn Production Survey and the report of ARPT
Mariano showed that the contested lot was actually being tilled by
Renato de Guzman, the son of Mariano de Guzman, who was the
registered tenant of Emilia. Thus, the PARAD concluded that in the EP
issued in favor of Pablo, there were technical errors that encroached
upon petitioners property. The dispositive portion of the PARAD
Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in the
following manner:
1. Ordering the correction and cancellation of OCT No. T-048-EP
in the name of Pablo Parulan;
2. Ordering the correction of the approved subdivision plan of
Lot 1306; Cad. 322, Bocaue, Cadastre Cad-03-012347-AR;
3. Ordering the DAR to conduct the necessary subdivision survey
of Lot 4558 in the presence of both party-claimants to coincide
with the actual and real possession and status of actual claimants
of the two adjacent lots;
4. Ordering the Register of Deeds of Guiginto, Bulacan, to effect
the correction and cancellation of EP No. 048 and register of the
correct EP that will be issued by the DAR covering the corrected
lot.
All other claims and counter claims by the parties are hereby dismissed
for lack of merit.

Page 80 of 107

SO ORDERED.
Private respondents appealed22 the PARAD Decision to the DARAB.
On 22 February 2007, the DARAB issued a Decision23 reversing the
PARAD, to wit:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision dated
February 26, 2003 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new
Judgment rendered:
1. DISMISSING the instant petition for correction and/or
cancellation of OCT No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189669) for lack of
merit;
2. DECLARING the lot in question as part and parcel of lot 1306
as surveyed for Pablo Parulan ("Annex I");
3. MAINTAINING and AFFIRMING the validity and integrity of
OCT No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189669) in the name of the late Pablo
Parulan;
4. ORDERING petitioners-appellees to vacate the premises in
question and surrender the possession and cultivation thereof to
herein private respondent heirs of the late Pablo Parulan.
Moreover, petitioners-appellees are likewise ordered to remove
the fence they have constructed on the lot in question at their
own expense.
SO ORDERED.
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied by the
DARAB in its Resolution24 dated 2 July 2007.

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Page 81 of 107

Undaunted, petitioners appealed the DARAB Decision and Resolution to


the CA.

by the patent. Substantial evidence refers to such relevant evidence as a


reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.31

In its 16 April 2008 Decision,25 the CA affirmed in toto the assailed


Decision and Resolution of the DARAB.

As correctly held by the DARAB and the CA, petitioners have failed to
adduce substantial evidence to establish that the contested lot was part
of their property.

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which the appellate court


denied in its 17 July 2008 Resolution.26Hence, petitioners filed with this
Court the present Petition for Review under Rule 45.
The issue for resolution is whether the CA committed reversible error in
affirming the DARABs dismissal of petitioners Petition for Cancellation
and/or Correction of OCT No. T-048-EP (EP No. 189969).

Petitioners claim that their predecessor-in-interest, Emilia, became the


owner of the lot in question by virtue of acquisitive prescription.
Acquisitive prescription requires public, peaceful, uninterrupted and
adverse possession of the land in the concept of an owner.32 To prove
this, petitioners offered in evidence two tax declarations in the name of
Emilia declaring her ownership of a 1.552 ha. riceland in Biang 1st
Bocaue, Bulacan for tax purposes.

We deny the Petition.


Under DAR Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 1994, emancipation
patents may be cancelled by the PARAD or the DARAB for violations of
agrarian laws, rules and regulations. 27 The same administrative order
further states that "administrative corrections may include nonidentification of spouse, correction of civil status, corrections of technical
descriptions and other matters related to agrarian reform;" 28 and that
the DARABs decision "may include cancellation of registered EP/CLOA,
reimbursement of lease rental as amortization to ARBs, reallocation of
the land to qualified beneficiary, perpetual disqualification to become an
ARB, and other ancillary matters related to the cancellation of the EP or
CLOA."29
However, the DARs issuance of an Emancipation Patent and the
corresponding OCT covering the contested lot carries with it a
presumption of regularity.30 The Petition to correct/cancel Pablos
Emancipation Patent can prosper only if petitioners are able to present
substantial evidence that a portion of their lot was erroneously covered

However, the DARAB and the CA were not swayed by these tax
declarations, and rightly so. As we held in Republic v. dela Paz,33
Well settled is the rule that tax declarations and receipts are not
conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land when
not supported by any other evidence. The fact that the disputed property
may have been declared for taxation purposes in the names of the
applicants for registration or of their predecessors-in-interest does not
necessarily prove ownership. They are merely indicia of a claim of
ownership.
A further examination of the tax declarations further confirms their lack
of probative value.
As observed by the CA, Tax Declaration No. 2386 for the year 1967, like
the 1972 Deed of Sale between petitioners and Emilia, did not contain
any technical description of the property. Hence, these documents fail to
establish ownership over the contested lot by Emilia or petitioners.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Page 82 of 107

On the other hand, the Tax Declaration for the year 2000 with Property
Index Number 020-04-006-03-010 showed that petitioners land is
bound on the east by lot 1306. Hence, the DARAB logically concluded
that lot 1306, of which the contested lot is a part of, is outside the
boundaries of petitioners land. Notably too, both the DARAB and the CA
found it curious that the 2000 Tax Declaration was still in the name of
Emilia, considering that petitioners were supposed to have bought the
land from her 27 years ago. If petitioners exercise ownership over the
land since 1972 when they purchased the same, it is they who should
have been paying the realty tax thereon.

We therefore affirm the CA ruling that the evidence presented by


petitioners was insufficient to controvert the accuracy of the technical
description of the land properly covered by the subject EP/OCT. As
pointed out by the DARAB, petitioners should have presented expert
witnesses or initiated a relocation survey of Lot 1306 to establish the
alleged errors in the technical description of the subject EP.

Also, we do not lose sight of the fact that the 2000 Tax Declaration was
made only after the subject EP/OCT had already been issued. A mere tax
declaration cannot defeat a certificate of title.34

SO ORDERED.

Petitioners also presented ARPT Mariano and MARO Jacinto to prove


their claim that they were the owners of the contested lot. However, as
noted by the PARAD, ARPT Marianos report relied only on the
allegations of petitioners, and her ocular inspection was made in the
absence of private respondents. Meanwhile, MARO Jacinto never verified
ARPT Marianos ocular inspection.
In contrast to the evidence adduced by petitioners, the EP /OCT they
sought to impugn contained a technical description of the metes and
bounds of Pablos property. Moreover, that technical description was
based on a
1999 Approved Subdivision Plan following the original May 1960
Cadastral Survey of Lot 1306, Cad 332, Bocaue Cadastre.1wphi1 The
process by which this subdivision plan came into existence was also
established by the documents showing the series of endorsements by
the various government officials who acted on Pablos application and
request.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition is DENIED for lack of


merit. The 16 April 2008 Decision and 17 July 2008 Resolution of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 100781 are AFFIRMED.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice

BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Courts Division.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
Chairpersons Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned
to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

Footnotes
The assailed Court of Appeals (CA) Fifth Division Decision was
penned by Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and concurred in by
Justices Jose C. Mendoza (now a Member of this Court) and
Arturo G. Tayag, rollo, pp. 35-45.

Rollo, pp. 84-85.

Id. at 86-89.

Id. at 109.

10

Id. at 110.

11

Id. at 111.

12

Id. at 112.

13

Id. at 113.

14

Id. at 114.

15

Id. at 97, 115-117.

16

Id. at 120-121.

17

Id. at 119.

18

Id. at 97, 115-117.

Page 83 of 107

Rollo, pp. 82-83.

19

Id. at 119.

Id. at 81.

20

Id. at 121.

Id. at 84-85.

21

Id. at 90-91.

The petition was docketed as DARAB Case No. 12275 (Regular


Case No. R-03-02-2318-00).
6

Id. at 143-153. The Decision was rendered by Provincial


Adjudicator Toribio E. Ilao, Jr.
Private respondents appeal to the DARAB was docketed as
DCN R-03-02-231800.
22

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

The DARAB Decision was penned by Assistant Secretary/Vice


Chairperson Augusto P. Quijano and concurred in by Nasser C.
Pangandaman, Nestor R. Acosta and Narciso B. Nieto, rollo, pp.
64-72.
23

24

Rollo, pp. 75-76.

25

See note 1.

26

Rollo, p. 47.

DAR Administrative Order No. 02, Series of 1994 [Rules


Governing the Correction and Cancellation of Unregistered
Emancipation Patents (EPs), and Certificates of Land Ownership
Awards (CLOAs) due to Unlawful Acts and Omissions or Breach
of Obligations of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) and for
Other Causes], Part IV, A.
27

28

Id. at Part IV, C.

29

Id. at Part IV, D.

30

Rules of Court, Rule 131, Sec. 3 (m).

Ang Tibay v. The Court of Industrial Relations, 69 Phil. 635


(1940).
31

Imuan v. Cereno, G.R. No. 167995, 11 September 2009, 599


SCRA 423.
32

33

G.R. No. 171631, 15 November 2010, 634 SCRA 610.

34

Hemedes v. Court of Appeals, 374 Phil. 692 (1999).

Page 84 of 107

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 200090

March 6, 2013

ERLINDA C. SAN MATEO, Petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION
ABAD, J.:
Sometime in May and July 2005, petitioner Erlinda C. San Mateo ordered
assorted yarns amounting toP327,394.14 from ITSP International,
Incorporated through its Vice-President for Operations Ravin A.
Sehwani. In partial payment thereof, San Mateo issued 11 postdated
Metrobank checks amounting to P134,275.00.
Whenever a check matured, however, San Mateo would either call or
write to Sehwani requesting him not to deposit the checks due to lack of
sufficient funds. In consideration of their business relationship, Sehwani
acceded to the request. But San Mateo continued to fail to settle her
account.
On October 6, 2005, Sehwani deposited Metrobank Check 917604197
dated July 25, 2005 but it was dishonored for insufficiency of funds.
Sehwani immediately informed San Mateo of the dishonor, who asked
him to defer depositing the other checks since she w2s encountering
financial difficulties. On October 8, 2005, Sehwani received a letter from
San Mateo explaining her predicament and reiterating her request to

Page 85 of 107

coordinate first with her office before depositing any other check. She
also offered to replace Metrobank Check 917604197 with a manager's
check but failed to do so.
In November 2005, Sehwani tried to follow up with San Mateo but she
never returned his call. On November 7, 2005, he deposited Metrobank
Check 917604206 dated July 21, 2005 but San Mateo made a stop
payment order. On November 11, 2005, he received a letter from San
Mateo apologizing for her failure to pay with a promise to communicate
on November 21, 2005. Since San Mateo failed to make payments,
Sehwani deposited the remaining checks which were all dishonored
because the account had been closed. Sehwani attempted to contact San
Mateo but she never responded. He also sent demand letters to her last
known address but she still failed to pay the value of the checks.
On November 23, 2005, Sehwanis counsel sent a demand letter to San
Mateos residence at Greenhills, San Juan but the security guard of the
townhouse complex refused to accept the letter in compliance with San
Mateos order. Thus, the liaison officer left the letter with the security
guard with the instruction to deliver the same to San Mateo. Thereafter,
he sent a copy of the demand letter to San Mateo by registered mail
which was returned to his counsels office with the notation "N/S Party
Out 12/12/05" and that San Mateo did not claim it despite three notices
to her dated December 12, 2005, December 22, 2005, and January 2,
2006, respectively.
On June 5, 2006, San Mateo was charged with 11 counts of violation of
Batas Pambansa (B.P.) 22. During trial, she claimed that she has an
agreement with Sehwani not to deposit her checks unless she gave a go
signal. But Sehwani ignored this agreement and deposited the nine
checks which resulted in the closure of her account.
On August 27, 2009, the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Taguig City,
Branch 74 found San Mateo guilty of 10 counts of violation of B.P. 22. She

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

was sentenced to suffer the straight penalty of imprisonment of six


months for each count and ordered to pay the total value of the 11
checks amounting to P134,275.00.
In finding her criminally liable for 10 counts of violation of B.P. 22 but
civilly liable for the total value of the 11 checks, the MeTC declared that
Metrobank Check 917604206 was dishonored not because of
insufficiency of funds or closed account but because of a stop payment
order from San Mateo.
San Mateo appealed to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City,
Branch 70 which affirmed her conviction on June 1, 2010. The RTC ruled
that the third element of notice of dishonor was duly established during
the trial by the following facts: (1) her unjustified refusal to claim the
demand letter sent to her by registered mail despite three notices from
the postmaster; (2) her various letters to Sehwani requesting the latter
to defer the deposit of her checks; and (3) her statement in her Amended
Affidavit that Sehwanis act of depositing the nine checks resulted in the
closure of her account.
Undeterred, San Mateo elevated the case to the Court of Appeals (CA).
On August 23, 2011, the CA affirmed the RTC Decision and reiterated
that all the elements for violation of B.P. 22 had been sufficiently proven
in this case.1
On March 1, 2012, San Mateo filed a petition for review on certiorari
before this Court raising the following issues: (1) whether or not the
subject checks were issued for valuable consideration; (2) whether or
not the demand letter sent by Sehwani constituted the notice of dishonor
required under B.P. 22; and (3) whether or not the penalty of
imprisonment is proper. In a Resolution dated April 23, 2012, the Court
denied the petition for its failure to show that the CA committed
reversible error when it upheld the factual findings of both the MeTC

Page 86 of 107

and the RTC that all the elements for violation of B.P. 22 had been
sufficiently proven to convict San Mateo of the said crime.
On May 30, 2012, San Mateo filed a motion for reconsideration. On July
16, 2012, the Court granted the motion and reinstated the petition.
We grant the petition.
It is a settled rule that the remedy of appeal through a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court contemplates
only errors of law and not errors of fact.2 The issues of: (1) whether or
not the subject checks were issued for valuable consideration; and (2)
whether or not the demand letter sent by Sehwani constituted the notice
of dishonor required under B.P. 22, are factual matters that belong to the
proper determination of the MeTC, the RTC and the CA. But when such
courts have overlooked certain facts and circumstances which, if taken
into account, would materially affect the result of the case, this Court
may re-examine their findings of facts.3
To be liable for violation of B.P. 22, the following essential elements
must be present: (1) the making, drawing, and issuance of any check to
apply for account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer,
or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or
credit with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its
presentment; and (3) the subsequent dishonor of the check by the
drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the same
reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to
stop payment.4
In this case, the third element is present and had been adequately
established. With respect to the first element, the Court gives full faith
and credit to the findings of the lower courts that the checks were issued
for value since San Mateo herself admitted that she drew and issued the
same as payment for the yarns she ordered from ITSP. Besides, the Court

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

has consistently pronounced that the issue of lack of valuable


consideration for the issuance of checks which were later on dishonored
for insufficient funds is immaterial to the success of a prosecution for
violation of B.P. 22.5
But the Court finds that the second element was not sufficiently
established. Section 26 of B.P. 22 creates the presumption that the issuer
of the check was aware of the insufficiency of funds when he issued a
check and the bank dishonored it. This presumption, however, arises
only after it is proved that the issuer had received a written notice of
dishonor and that, within five days from receipt thereof, he failed to pay
the amount of the check or to make arrangements for its payment.7
Here, there is no basis in concluding that San Mateo knew of the
insufficiency of her funds. While she may have requested Sehwani in her
letters dated October 8, 2005 and November 11, 2005, to defer
depositing all the checks, with maturity dates of July and August 2005,
otherwise, her account will close, such act did not amount to an
admission that, when she issued those checks, she knew that she would
have no sufficient funds in the drawee bank to pay for them.8
Upon the other hand, the records show that Sehwani tried to serve the
notice of dishonor to San Mateo two times. On the first occasion,
Sehwanis counsel sent a demand letter to San Mateos residence at
Greenhills, San Juan which the security guard refused to accept. Thus,
the liaison officer left the letter with the security guard with the
instruction to hand it to San Mateo. But the prosecution failed to show
that the letter ever reached San Mateo.
On the second occasion, Sehwanis counsel sent a demand letter to San
Mateo by registered mail which was returned with the notation "N/S
Party Out 12/12/05" and that San Mateo did not claim it despite three
notices to her.

Page 87 of 107

It has been the consistent ruling of this Court that receipts for registered
letters including return receipts do not themselves prove receipt; they
must be properly authenticated to serve as proof of receipt of the letters,
claimed to be a notice of dishonor.9 To be sure, the presentation of the
registry card with an unauthenticated signature, does not meet the
required proof beyond reasonable doubt that the accused received such
notice. It is not enough for the prosecution to prove that a notice of
dishonor was sent to the accused. The prosecution must also prove
actual receipt of said notice, because the fact of service provided for in
the law is reckoned from receipt of such notice of dishonor by the
accused.10
In King v. People,11 the complainant sent the accused a demand letter via
registered mail. But the records showed that the accused did not receive
it. The postmaster likewise certified that the letter was returned to
sender. Yet despite the clear import of the postmasters certification, the
prosecution did not adduce proof that the accused received the post
office notice but unjustifiably refused to claim the registered mail. The
Court held that it was possible that the drawee bank sent the accused a
notice of dishonor, but the prosecution did not present evidence that the
bank did send it, or that the accused actually received it. It was also
possible that the accused was trying to flee from the complainant by
staying in different addresses. But speculations and possibilities cannot
take the place of proof. The conviction must rest on proof beyond
reasonable doubt.12
Since there is insufficient proof that San Mateo actually received the
notice of dishonor, the presumption that she knew of the insufficiency of
her funds cannot arise. For this reason, the Court cannot convict her with
moral certainty of violation of B.P. 22.
Nevertheless, San Mateos acquittal does not entail the extinguishment of
her civil liability for the dishonored checks.13 An acquittal based on lack
of proof beyond reasonable doubt does not preclude the award of civil

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

damages.14 For this reason, the trial courts directive for San Mateo to
pay the civil liability in the amount ofP134,275.00 representing the total
value of the 11 checks plus 12% interest per annum from the time the
said sum became due and demandable until fully paid, stands.
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition. The assailed Decision
dated August 23, 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR 33434
finding petitioner Erlinda C. San Mateo guilty of 10 counts of violation of
B.P. 22 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Erlinda C. San Mateo is
hereby ACQUITTED on the ground that her guilt has not been
established beyond reasonable doubt. She is ordered, however, to
indemnify the complainant, ITSP International, Incorporated,
represented by its Vice-President for Operations Ravin A. Sehwani, the
amount of P 134,275.00 representing the total value of the 11 checks
plus 12% interest per annum from the time the said sum became due
and demandable until fully paid.

Page 88 of 107
ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Court's Division.
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision ad been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to
the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice

SO ORDERED.
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

Footnotes
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
Chairperson

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice

MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN


Associate Justice

Rollo, pp. 34-47.

Llenado v. People, G.R. No. 193279, March 14, 2012, 668 SCRA
330, 333.
2

Bax v. People, G.R. No. 149858, September 5, 2007, 532 SCRA


284, 289.
3

Rico v. People, 440 Phil. 540, 551 (2002).

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Dreamwork Construction, Inc. v. Janiola, G.R. No. 184861, June


30, 2009, 591 SCRA 466, 478.
5

Section 2. Evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds. - The


making, drawing and issuance of a check payment of which is
refused by the drawee because of insufficient funds in or credit
with such bank, when presented within ninety (90) days from
the date of the check, shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge
of such insufficiency of funds or credit unless such maker or
drawer pays the holder thereof the amount due thereon, or
makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such
check within (5) banking days after receiving notice that such
check has not been paid by the drawee.
6

Moster v. People, G.R. No. 167461, February 19, 2008, 546


SCRA 287, 297.
7

Sia v. People, G.R. No. 149695, April 28, 2004, 428 SCRA 206,
226.
8

Svendsen v. People, G.R. No. 175381, February 26, 2008, 546


SCRA 659, 666.
9

Alferez v. People, G.R. No. 182301, January 31, 2011, 641 SCRA
116, 123-124.
10

11

King v. People, 377 Phil. 692 (1999).

12

Id. at 710.

Ambito v. People, G.R. No. 127327, February 13, 2009, 579


SCRA 69, 94.
13

14

Supra note 3, at 292-293.

Page 89 of 107

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 193856

April 21, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
SUKARNO JUNAIDE y AGGA, Appellant.
DECISION
ABAD, J.:
The Court addresses Sukarno A. Junaide's motion for reconsideration of
the Court's Resolution of January 20, 2014.
It may be recalled that the prosecution witnesses in this case testified
that on November 25, 2004 the Zamboanga Drug Enforcement Unit
received a tip that accused Junaide was selling prohibited drugs at
Lower Calarian, Zamboanga City. The police unit formed a buy-bust team
with SPOI Roberto Roca as poseur-buyer. It then went to the place
mentioned. As the informant and SPOl Roca saw accused Junaide
standing near a store, they approached him. The informant told Junaide
that his companion wanted to buy PI00.00 worth of shabu.
Accused Junaide took a sachet from his pocket and handed it to SPOI
Roca who in turn gave him a marked PI00.00 bill. The police officer then
signaled the rest of the police team to come. When SPO 1 Roca let it
known that he was a police officer, Junaide tried to flee but the police
stopped him. SPO 1 Amado Mirasol, Jr. searched and found four sachets
of suspected shabu and the marked money on Junaide.

Page 90 of 107

Subsequently, the police brought accused Junaide to the police station


where SPO1 Mirasol marked the four sachets seized from him and
turned these over to the case investigator, SPO1 Federico Lindo, Jr. The
latter then turned over the seized items to the police crime laboratory.
The sachet Junaide sold was found to contain 0.0101 gram of
methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu; the other sachets contained
a total of 0.0235 gram.
Accused Junaide, on the other hand, testified that he was napping at
home when sounds of commotion outside his house woke him up. As he
took a look, he saw people being chased and his neighbors getting
arrested. Junaide left his house a little later to fetch his nephew from
school but while waiting for the boy, two armed men alighted from a
white jeep and handcuffed him. They frisked him but found nothing.
They showed him a sachet of shabu and said that they would use it as
evidence against him. Junaide later identified the two men as SPO1 Roca
and SPO1 Mirasol.1wphi1 Two neighbors claimed that they had seen
the incident and corroborated Junaides story.
The Public Prosecutor charged accused Junaide before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Zamboanga City with (1) illegal sale of shabu in violation
of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) 91651 in Criminal Case 5601
(21215) and (2) illegal possession of shabu in violation of Section 11,
Article II of the same law in Criminal Case 5602 (21216).
On January 30, 2008 the RTC found accused Junaide guilty of both
charges. The trial court sentenced him to suffer the penalties of life
imprisonment and a fine of P500,000.00 for selling dangerous drugs and
12 years and 1 day to 16 years of imprisonment and a fine
of P300,000.00 for illegal possession of dangerous drugs. On January 29,
2010 the Court of Appeals (CA) rendered judgment in CA-G.R. CR-HC
00593-MIN affirming the RTC Decision in toto, hence, the appeal in this
case.

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Page 91 of 107

On January 20, 2014 the Court affirmed the CAs Decision. It held that,
despite a few deviations from the required procedure, the prosecution
sufficiently proved the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized
items.

Prosecutor Pajarito:

On February 24, 2014 Junaide filed a motion for reconsideration


pleading for a reexamination of the Courts finding that the police
officers involved substantially complied with the requirements of
Section 21, Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A.
9165. The Court has accommodated the plea.

A: Yes Maam.

In a prosecution for the sale and possession of the prohibited drugs


known as shabu, the State does not only carry the heavy burden of
proving the elements of the offense. It also bears the obligation to prove
the corpus delicti, failing in which the State would not have proved the
guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.2

Q: What initial did you place?

And, to prove the corpus delicti, it is indispensable for the prosecution to


show that the dangerous drugs subject of the sale and examined in the
police laboratory are the same drugs presented in court as
evidence.3 The first stage in the chain of custody is the marking of the
seized drugs or related items.4 Marking is the affixing of the initials or
other identifying signs on the seized items by the arresting officer or the
poseur-buyer. This must be done in the presence of the accused shortly
after arrest.5

Q: I have one sachet of white crystalline substance bearing RR marking


what relation has this to the one sachet which you bought from the
accused and turned over to the investigator?

Here, compliance with the requirement of marking is not clear. SPO1


Roca testified that he marked the plastic sachet of shabu that he bought
with his initials "RR" but when the supposed sachet was presented to
him in court for identification, it instead carried the marking "RR-1."
This may be just a mistake but he denied having made a mistake and
admitted that the "RR-1" marking could have been made by just
anybody.6 Thus:

Q: If this one sachet of shabu be shown to you, the one which you said
sold to you by Sukarno will you recognize it?

Q: How would you be able to recognize it Mr. witness?


A: I mark my initial Maam.

A: RR means Roberto Roca.


xxxx

A: This is the very one that I bought from Sukarno here is my RR


marking.
Atty. Talip: May I manifest for the record Your Honor that the actual
marking that appears on the shabu is RR-1 and not RR.
xxxx
Atty. Talip:
Q: You said double R, you ever mentioned RR-1 and when shown to you
it was RR-1 can you tell us why?

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Page 92 of 107

A: I was not able to mention the -1 but it is RR-1.

Q: This was the result of the buy bust operation?

Q: It would been a different item RR is different from RR-1.

A: Yes Maam.

A: Yes Maam.

Q: How many bills did you also have on that day?

Q: Do you agree?

A: Only one Maam.

A: But RR s my very initial marking.

Q: So you could not be confused with it?

Q: How many times have you been designated as poseur buyer?

A: Yes Maam.

A: I can not recall Maam if as poseur buyer for how many times.

xxxx

Q: Just an estimate Mr. witness?

Atty. Talip:

A: More or less 10 times.


Q: In those instances your marking would be RR only?

Q: Mr. witness, regarding the discrepancy, you said there was no buy
bust operation, do you agree to the letter RR-1 could have been written
by anybody else?

A: Yes Maam.

A: Yes maam. (Emphasis supplied)

Q: Thats why you mention a while ago, that what you place is RR only?

SPO1 Roca may have truly marked the item of shabu he seized from
accused Sukarno as "RR" which he insisted he did. Someone else,
therefore, replaced the item by another one, now marked as "RR-1."
Indeed, Roca has not ruled out the possibility that the latter marking on
the shabu item presented in court may have been made by someone else.
This leads the Court to conclude that there may have been switching of
evidence in the selling charge. Guilt in that charge has not, therefore,
been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

A: Yes Maam.
xxxx
Prosecutor Pajarito:
Q: Mr. witness on that day November 25, 2004 there was only how many
sachet did you have from your possession?
A: Only one sachet Maam.

WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the accused Sukarno A.


Junaide's Motion for Reconsideration and ACQUITS him on the ground of
reasonable doubt of the charge of selling dangerous drugs in violation of

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Page 93 of 107

Section 5, Article II of Republic Act 9165 in Criminal Case 5601 (21215)


of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City. His conviction, however,
in Criminal Case 5602 (21216) on the charge of possession of dangerous
drugs in violation of Section 11, Article II of the same law remains.

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
Chairperson's Attestation, I ce1iify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned
to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

SO ORDERED.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO


Chief Justice

ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
Footnotes
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
Chairperson

Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

People v. Relato, G.R. No. 173794, January 18, 2012, 663 SCRA
260, 270.
2

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA


Associate Justice

People v. Gonzales, G.R. No. 182417, April 3, 2013, 695 SCRA


123, 133.
3

MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN


Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Court's Division.
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division
CERTIFICATION

Id. at 134.

Id.

TSN, June 16, 2005, pp. 33-35, 60-62, 66-67.

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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 188052

April 21, 2014

JEAN D. GAMBOA, Petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
DECISION
PEREZ, J.:
Petitioner Jean D. Gamboa (Gamboa) beseeches us in this appeal by
certiorari for reprieve from the concurring convictions by the lower
courts, specifically, the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 145, Makati
City in Criminal Case No. 00-526,1 and the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CR.
No. 30354,2 finding her guilty of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph 1
(b) of the Revised Penal Code.
Gamboa was charged in an Information dated 18 February 2000, which
reads:
That on or about the month of February, 1999 or prior thereto, at Makati
City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of the
Honorable Court, the above-named accused [Gamboa], being then
employed as Liaison Officer of complainant TFS Pawnshop, Inc.
represented by its Operations Manager Felicidad Samson and as such is
authorized among others to secure and/or renew municipal/city
licenses and permits for TFS Pawnshop branches received in trust from
complainant the total amount of P78,208.[9]5 with the obligation on the

Page 94 of 107

part of the accused to use the said amount for the renewal of licenses
and permits for all complainants brancheslocated in Manila, but
[Gamboa], once in possession of the said amount, with intent to gain and
abuse of confidence, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and
feloniously misappropriate, misapply and convert to her own personal
use and benefit said amount of P78,208.95 as a consequence thereof[,]
complainant paid the total amount ofP85,187.00 for the renewal of the
licenses and permits of its branches in Manila and that [Gamboa] refused
and/or failed and still refuses and/or fails to account or return said
amount despite demand from complainant, to the damage and prejudice
of the latter in the total amount of P163,395.95.3
Upon arraignment on 28 September 2000, Gamboa pleaded not guilty.
At the trial, the prosecution presented four (4) witnesses: (1) Felicidad
Samson (Samson), Operations Head of (private complainant)
Tambunting Finance Services Pawnshop, Inc. (TFS); (2) Knestor Jose Y.
Godino (Godino), the Human Resource Manager of TFS at the time of the
incident in question subject of this criminal case; (3) Estrella Cuyno,
Liaison Officer of TFS; and (4) Liberty Toledo, formerAssistant City
Treasurer Chief of the License & Permit Division of the Cityof Manila,
now the City Treasurer of Manila. The following facts were testified to:
Gamboas job function, as the liaison officer of TFS, included the
processing and securing of the necessary government permits and
licenses of all branches of TFS in Metro Manila. In that regard, Gamboa
received from TFS the money allotment therefor in the total amount of
247,117.25. The money allotment included the sum ofP81,000.00 to
cover the renewal and processing of government licenses and permits of
twelve (12) of TFS branches in the City of Manila.
Gamboas receipt of the amount of P81,000.00 was evidenced by a
Request for Payment dated 18 January 1999 signed by her and approved
by TFS President, a certain Ongsiako. Witness Samson, Operations Head

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

of TFS, likewise presented in evidence a notebook which she kept for


recording purposes and which contained Gamboas signature next to a
written entry corresponding to Gamboas receipt of the amount
of P81,000.00.
TFS, through Samson, a Mrs. Tan and Godino, TFS Human Resource and
Management Development (HRMD)Manager, made several demands for
Gamboa to render a proper liquidation report of the various money
allotments she had received for the renewal of the government permits
and licenses of the twelve (12) TFS branches. However, the demands
went unheeded.
TFS HRMD issued HRMD Memorandum No. 036 dated 25 February
1999 notifying Gamboa of her violation of company rules and
regulations for failing to liquidate the sum of P249,117.27. On the same
date, Gamboa had an altercation with some of TFS officers.
In response to HRMD Memorandum No. 036, Gamboa submitted a letter
dated 27 February 1999, explaining that: (1) the money allotment
constituting her cash advances were distributed to her staff for the
delegated assignment of renewal of the required government permits
and licenses for TFS branches all over Metro Manila; (2) she has
surrendered all the necessary liquidation papers; and (3) as scheduled,
all of the required licenses of TFS branches were already fully paid on
20 January 1999 and no additional penalty was incurred therefor.
Notwithstanding her letter-explanation, Gamboa was placed under
preventive suspension via Memorandum No. 037 dated 1 March 1999
which also notified Gamboa of another failure on her part to liquidate
the amount ofP50,809.85 as of 26 February 1999.
On 9 May 1999, Gamboa was terminated from employment.

Page 95 of 107

Apparently, contrary to Gamboas claim, payment for the permits and


licenses of all of TFS branches in Manila for the year 1999 was never
made.4
Subsequently, TFS, through, Samson, filed the criminal complaint
charging Gamboa with the crime of Estafa under Article 315, paragraph
1(b) of the Revised Penal Code for misappropriating, misapplying or
converting the following amounts: (1) P78,208.95 for the renewal of
permits and licenses of the twelve (12) branchesin Manila;
(2)P85,187.00 representing the permits and license fees including
surcharges which TFS paid because of Gamboas failure to do so; and
(3) P25,213.58 comprising of previous cash advances to Gamboa.
Gamboa denied that she misappropriated, misapplied or converted the
various unliquidated amounts insisted upon by TFS. On the whole, albeit
belatedly, and only at the trial stage before the RTC, Gamboa claimed
that for the year 1999, upon the instruction of her superior, Estrella
Cuyno (Cuyno), she transacted with a Joselito "Lito" Jacinto, a casual
employee of the Office of the City Mayor of Manila, concerning the
processing and renewal of TFS branches business permits and licenses.
As part of her transaction, Gamboa admitted receipt of the amount
of P45,587.65 evidenced by Request for Payment dated 18 January 1999.
Gamboa likewise admitted receipt of the amount of P24,000.00
representing a mobilization fee of P2,000.00 per TFS branch evidenced
by Request for Payment also dated 18 January 1999. These Requests for
Payment were duly signed and approved by TFS Vice-President Ramon
Luis Carlos Tambunting, and the amounts represented therein
admittedly received by Gamboa.
Gamboa claimed she turned over the monies to Lito Jacinto as instructed
by Cuyno. In support of the claim, Gamboa presented as documentary
evidence, a photocopy of a receipt covering the amount of P45,587.65
signed by Lito Jacinto. The original of this receipt designated during trial

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

as Exhibit "6" was purportedly lost in an occasion when Gamboa rode a


taxi cab.5
Gamboa further claimed that two others were present when she handed
the monies as payment to LitoJacinto: one of TFS messengers, a certain
Jayson, and Carmencita "Menchie" Cornejo, an officemate of Lito Jacinto.
As is routine, Gamboa followed up on the renewal permits with Lito
Jacinto who told her that the permits were still being processed.
After Gamboa received Memorandum No. 036 dated 25 February 1999
notifying her of her supposed violation of TFS company policies for
failing to liquidate the amounts representing the renewal of TFS
branches permits and licenses, she learned from Lito Jacintos
officemates that the latter did not remit the monies she had handed over
to him as supposed payment for TFS renewal permits and licenses.
Consistent with her story, Gamboa claimed that she filed an
administrative complaint by way of a letter dated 9 March 1999 against
Lito Jacinto before the Office of the City Mayor of Manila. In conjunction
with the administrative complaint, Gamboa purportedly filed a criminal
complaint against Lito Jacinto before the City Prosecutors Office of
Manila. However, this same criminal complaint was subsequently
dismissed upon Gamboas motion to withdraw the complaint.
To corroborate her claim that she handed the monies representing
payment of TFS renewal permits and licenses for its branches in Manila,
Gamboa presented the testimony of ReyMarquez (Marquez), also a
liaison officer of Tambunting Puyat Pawnshop,Inc. (TPP), a sister
company of TFS. Marquez testified that in 1999,he likewise transacted
with Lito Jacinto for the renewal of TPPs business permits and licenses.
Specifically, on 15 January 1999, Marquez and Gamboa both transacted
with Lito Jacinto on behalf of their respective companies. Marquez
himself had handed the amount of P10,000.00 to Lito Jacinto for the

Page 96 of 107

processing of the renewal of TPPs business permits and licenses. Lito


Jacinto also absconded with the money so Marquez likewise filed
anadministrative complaint dated 15 March 1999 before the Office of the
City Mayor.
On 18 May 2006, the RTC convicted Gamboa of Estafa under Article 315,
paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code for misapplying and/or
converting the amount of P81,000.00 which she had received in trust for
the specific purpose of the renewal of TFS branches business permits
and licenses. The trial court found credible the testimony of Samson as
to Gamboas receipt of the amount of P81,000.00. On the other hand, the
trial court found Gamboas defense, that asinstructed, she handed the
monies, P45,587.65 and P24,000.00, respectively, to Lito Jacinto to
facilitate the renewal of TFS business permits and licenses, as an
afterthought, and this defense directly contradicted her categorical
statement that the licenses and business permits of TFS had already
been paid as of 20 January 1999. The trial court extrapolated, thus:
Anent to her defense that she merely acted as messenger upon the
instruction of her supervisor Ms.Cuyno to give the amount of P45,587.65
to Lito Jacinto, thus, she should not be accountable for the same, this
contention is unavailing, given the oral as well as documentary evidence
of the prosecution.
For one thing, this defense appears to be contrived as it was never raised
in her reply to the memorandum [of] TFS x x x asking her to liquidate
her cash advances. On the contrary, she pithily claimed that all municipal
licenses for all branches were completely paid as of January 20, 1999 as
per schedule, thereby making it appear to her employer TFS that she has
nothing to account for.
For another, this actuation is palpably contrary to logic and common
sense since if she already knew that Lito Jacinto had converted to his
benefit the sum of 45,587.65, then she should not have incessantly

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Page 97 of 107

asserted that the licenses and permits of all the branches of TFS in the
City of Manila had already been paid for as of 20 January 1999.

reckoned from the rendition of the judgment until fully paid (Article
2211, NCC). Costs against [Gamboa].6

This inconsistency is also evident in the Counter-Affidavit and


Supplemental Counter-Affidavit, which she submitted to the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Makati City during the preliminary investigation,
when she egregiously failed to aver any transaction she had with Lito
Jacinto and that the latter should be solelyres ponsible for the loss of the
aforementioned amount. Verily, and as observed earlier, this defense is
clearly an afterthought and does not deserve faith and credit.

At the appeal stage before the Court of Appeals, the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG) joined Gamboas stance of innocence and prayed for the
reversal and setting aside of the trial courts judgment of conviction. The
OSG filed a Manifestation in Lieu of Appellees Brief arguing the absence
of the element of misappropriation because Gamboa simply followed
instructions when she gave the monies to Lito Jacinto for the renewal of
TFS branches business permits and licenses. Ultimately for the OSG, the
fact that the business licenses and permits were apparently not paid
does not establish misappropriation or conversion by Gamboa of the
monies allotted therefor.

Additionally, on the assumption that she indeed turned over the amount
of P45,587.65 to Jacinto, she failed to establish the fact that she is
authorized to do so by private complainant TFS. This notwithstanding
however, insofar as the civil liability of the accused is concerned, she is
only to be held accountable of P81,000.00 proven to be received by her.
The amount of P74,690.00 subsequently paid by TFS to the City
Government of Manila for its licenses and permits cannot be charged to
the accused as she did not benefit from this and it is the obligation of TFS
to pay its licenses and permits fees in order to legally operate its
business.
xxxx
PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is rendered finding the accused
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Estafa under
paragraph 1(b) of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, sentencing her
to suffer the penalty of imprisonment under an indeterminate sentence
of four (4) years[,] two (2) months and one (1) day of prision
correccionalas minimum to twelve (12) years of prision mayor as
maximum with all the accessory penalties provided by law. She is
further ordered to pay the private complainant TFS Pawnshop
Incorporated the sum ofP81,000.00 representing the amount
misappropriated by her plus interest at the rate of six (6%) to be

The Court of Appeals agreed with the findings of the RTC. Extensively
delving on Gamboas defense that there was no misappropriation since
she turned over the amount of P45,587.65 and P24,000.00 to Lito Jacinto
as instructed by her superior, the Court of Appeals reviewed the case,
thus:
It likewise bears stressing that prior to the filing of the instant estafa
case, [Gamboa] was requested inseveral instances by TFS, oral and
written, to liquidate the cash advances made by her, but, she failed to do
so.
In [Gamboas] effort to exculpate herself from criminal liability, she
belatedly claimed during her direct examination in court that she gave
the amount of P45,587.65 as payment for the renewal of the business
permits and licenses and P24,000.00 as mobilization fee to one Lito
Jacinto, allegedly an employee of the Office of the City Mayor of Manila
who was assigned at the Mayors Permits and License Division, in order
to expedite the processing thereof. This was allegedly upon the express
instruction of her superior, Estrella Cuyno, that she deal directly with
Lito Jacinto, TFS contact person in Manila City Hall. To prove the actual

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

receipt of the said amount by Lito Jacinto, she presented a document


marked as Exhibit "6." The said document was prepared by [Gamboa]
herself, which is just a reproduction of Exhibit "5" or the Request of
Payment dated January 18, 1999 in the sum of 45,587.65 signed and
approved by TFS VP Tambunting, except that the signatory in Exhibit "6"
was one Lito Jacinto.
We agree with the court a quoin not giving probative value to Exhibit "6"
of the defense.
A perusal of Exhibit "6" shows that the same is merely a photocopy of
the original. This was pointed out by private prosecutor Atty. Marcelo
and was admitted by defense counsel Atty. Matula during the crossexamination of [Gamboa]. x x x.
xxxx
Notably, [Gamboa] testified that she herself prepared Exhibit "6," which
allegedly contained the signatureof Lito Jacinto as having received the
amount of P45,587.65. However, she lost the original copy thereof in a
taxi on May 17, 2001 as evidenced by a Certification of even date issued
by Chief Inspector Vicente Dizon Flores of the PNP Makati Police Station
indicating therein that she left her folder containing documents vital to
the instant estafa case. Such being the case, [Gamboa] failed to clearly
establish as to how she got hold of the photocopy of the original thereof.
A perusal of Exhibit "6" further shows that it is a "certified xerox copy
(from the original)" and the same was signed by one Othelo V. Salvacion,
Administrative Officer IV of the City of Manila with O.R. No. 1101860
dated February 11, 2002. Considering that Exhibit "6" is a private
document, it was not shown how the original thereof came under the
custody of Mr. Salvacion. Neither was Mr. Salvacion also presented on
the witness stand to testify as to his alleged signature appearing on the
purportedly certified true copy of the original of Exhibit "6."

Page 98 of 107

Neither did the defense present the original or xerox copy of Exhibit "6"
before the court a quo for marking during the pre-trial held on
November 14, 2000. In addition, it was only during the direct
examination of [Gamboa] on July 30, 2002 that she raised for the first
time Exhibit "6" as a defense by passing the blame to oneLito Jacinto. She
never raised the said defense at the earliest opportunetime when she
made a liquidation report of her cash advances. Further, she again failed
to raise the said defense before the Office of the Prosecutor of Makati
City during the preliminary investigation. If indeed she was innocent of
the crime charged, ordinary human behavior dictates that she should
have divulged the said information to her superiors or the investigating
public prosecutor of such fact. Her failure to do so casts serious doubt on
her credibility.
As to [Gamboas] administrative complaint filed before the Office of the
City Mayor against Lito Jacinto, [Gamboa] did not make any follow-up on
the status of the case nor take any further action in connection
therewith. And, as to [Gamboas] criminal complaint for estafa against
Lito Jacinto which was filed before the City Prosecutor of Manila, the
same was dimissed upon [Gamboas] motion to withdraw the same
without prejudice. No further action was likewise taken by [Gamboa] to
pursue her claim against Lito Jacinto.
Thus, the asseveration of the OSG that [Gamboa] should be acquitted
because she was able to prove the fact of receipt of the money by Lito
Jacinto, must necessarily fail.
xxxx
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby
DENIED. The Decision dated May 18, 2006 of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 145, Makati City in Criminal Case No. 00-526 is AFFIRMED with
modification in that [Gamboa] is sentenced to suffer imprisonment of
four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum,

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum.7 (Emphasis


supplied).
Hence, this appeal by certiorari assigning the following errors in the
appellate courts ruling:
I.
THE [HONORABLE] COURT OF APPEALS SUSTAINED [GAMBOAS]
CONVICTION BY FOCUSING ON THE WEAKNESSES OF THE DEFENSE
RATHER THAN BASING IT ON THE STRENGTH OF PROSECUTION
EVIDENCE[.]

Page 99 of 107

The critical issue in the instant case, therefore, is whether [Gamboa]


misappropriated the cash she received from TFS intended for payment
of the latters business permits.
As previously mentioned, [Gamboa] does not deny receiving such
amount. She contends, however, that she delivered it to Lito Jacinto, the
TFS contact person in the City Hall of Manila who absconded with the
money instead of paying it in behalf of TFS.
It must be noted that delivery to a third person by an agent of the thing
entrusted to her, by itself, does not constitute misappropriation. In the
following case, the High Court extensively discussed the rationale behind
such principle:

II.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DELIBERATELY IGNORED THE
MANIFESTATION IN LIEU OF APPELLANTS BRIEF OF THE PEOPLES
COUNSEL, THE OSG, WHICH PRAYED FOR [GAMOBAS] ACQUITTAL[.]8
In essence, Gamboa asks for her acquittal since the prosecution did not
prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Gamboa, backed by the OSG,
maintains that the element of misappropriation or conversion in the
crime of Estafaunder paragraph 1(b), Article 315 of the Revised Penal
Code was not met: she turned over the monies for the processing of the
renewal of TFS business permits and licenses to Lito Jacinto as has been
the practice in the Tambunting Group of Companies.
While the Manifestation in Lieu of Appellees Brief of the OSG did call for
attention, we remain unconvinced.
The pass on arguments of the OSG follows:

Petitioner did not ipso facto commit the crime of estafa through
conversion or misappropriation by delivering the jewelry to a subagent
for sale on commission basis. We are unable to agree with the lower
courts conclusion that this fact alone is sufficient ground for holding
that petitioner disposed of the jewelry "as if it were hers, thereby
committing conversion and clear breach of trust."
It must be pointed out that the law on agency in our jurisdiction allows
the appointment by an agent of a substitute or sub-agent in the absence
of an express agreement to the contrary between the agent and the
principal. In the case at bar, the appointment of Labrador as petitioners
sub-agent was not expressly prohibited by Quilatan, as the
acknowledgement receipt, Exhibit B, does not contain any such
limitation. Neither does it appear that petitioner was verbally forbidden
by Quilatan from passing on the jewelry to another person before the
acknowledgement receipt was executed or at any other time. Thus, it
cannot be said that petitioners act of entrusting the jewelry to Labrador
is characterized by abuse of confidence because such an act was not
proscribed and is, in fact, legally sanctioned.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE


xxxx

Thus, the next question that must be settled is whether the evidence
upholds [Gamboas] claim of delivery by her to Lito Jacinto of the money
intended to be paid to secure permits and licenses from the City of
Manila, or at least create a reasonable doubt that she misappropriated
the money given to her by TFS.
Notably, in the instant case, [Gamboa] is claiming that not only is she not
prohibited from delivering the amount to Lito Jacinto, but under TFS
practice and as well as by direct orders of her superiors, she is actually
mandated to give such amount to him for the release of TFS business
permits. x x x. Thus, she should not be held liable for Lito Jacintos failure
to remit such amount to the City Government of Manila.
Apart from her testimony, [Gamboa] presented various documentary
evidences. Exhibit "5" x x x, for instance, is a TFS voucher denominated
as Request for Payment, dated January 18, 1999, wherein the company
vice president, Ramon Louis Carlos Tambunting, signed his approval for
the release of 45,587.65 to [Gamboa] for payment of business permits
for TFS branches in Manila. Exhibit "5" contains detailed information as
to the original assessment, the amount compromised and the resulting
amount to be paid for each branch in Manila.
[Gamboa] likewise presented Exhibit "6" x x x, the same Request for
Payment Form as in Exhibit "5" but without the signature of Ramon
Louis Carlos Tambunting. Instead the purported signature of Lito Jacinto
appears therein acknowledging the receipt of P45,526.65 [sic] to be paid
for the release of business permits of TFS.
There seems to be no doubt that TFS deals with contact persons within
the City Government of Manila such as Lito Jacinto to facilitate the
release of its business permits for some consideration which TFS terms
as "Mobilization Fee." Exhibit "27" x x x is a request for payment form

Page 100 of 107

dated January 18, 1999 signed by Ramon Louis Carlos Tambunting


authorizing the release to [Gamboa] of the amount of P24,000.00
or P2,000.00 per TFS branch in Manila as "Mobilization Fee."
The prosecution never challenged the authenticity of Exhibits "5," "6" or
"27," thereby giving plausibilityto [Gamboas] claim that she paid such
amounts to Lito Jacinto as sanctioned by TFS officials. There is no doubt
that Lito Jacinto exists and that TFS has dealings with him.9
In sum, the OSG ascribes great weight to Gamboas belated testimony
that she turned over the monies,P45,587.65
and P24,000.00,respectively, to Lito Jacinto to process and facilitate the
renewal of TFS branches business permits and licenses such that the
prosecution failed to discharge the requisite burden of proof in criminal
cases, i.e., beyond reasonable doubt.
Rule 133, Section 2 of the Rules of Court reciting constitutional mandate,
exacts acquittal absent proof beyond reasonable doubt. The universal
test is moral certainty in ascertaining the guilt of the accused, obtained
only by proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.
In this case, the elements of the crime of Estafa under Article 315,
paragraph 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code sought to be established by
the prosecution are as follows:
1. That money, goods or other personal properties are received
by the offender in trust or on commission, or for administration,
or under any other obligation involving the duty to make
delivery of or to 2. That there is a misappropriation or
conversion of such money or property by the offender or denial
on his part of such receipt;
3. That such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the
prejudice of another; and

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

4. That there is a demand made by the offended party on the


offender.10
The first and fourth elements were readily admitted by Gamboa while
she categorically disputed the second and third elements by declaring in
her letter-explanation to TFS dated 27 February 1999, and at the stage of
preliminary investigation, that:
1. her cash advances were distributed to her staff for purposes of
processing the renewal of the required permits and licenses;
2. she [had] surrendered all the necessary liquidation papers;
and
3. all of TFS branches licenses were already completely paid on
20 January 1999 as per schedule, hence, no additional penalty
was incurred therefor.11
It was only during trial, specifically at her direct examination, that
Gamboa raised the defense of her handing over the monies to Lito
Jacinto, as instructed by her superior, Cuyno.
It is well-settled that the credibility of witnesses is best determined by
the trial judge, who has the direct opportunity and unique advantage to
observe at close range their conduct and deportment on the witness
stand. The general rule is that findings of fact of the trial court, its
assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies, and the
probative weight thereof, as well as its conclusions based on said
finding, are accorded by the appellate court utmost respect, if not
conclusive effect, and can only be set aside upon a clear showing that it
overlooked, ignored, misconstrued and misinterpreted cogent facts and
circumstances which, if considered, would alter the outcome of the
case.12

Page 101 of 107

We do not find the testimony of Gamboa credible because it is riddled


with inconsistencies and consists of documentary evidence which
cannot be authenticated.
We quote with favor the disquisition thereon of the appellate court:
Notably, [Gamboa] testified that she herself prepared Exhibit "6[,]"
which allegedly contained the signature of Lito Jacinto as having
received the amount of 45,587.65. However, she lost the original copy
thereof in a taxi on May 17, 2001 as evidenced by a Certification of even
date issued by Chief Inspector Vicente Dizon Flores of the PNP Makati
Police Station indicating therein that she left her folder containing
documents vital to the instant estafa case. Such being the case,
[petitioner] failed to clearly establish as to how she got hold of the
photocopy of the original thereof.
A perusal of Exhibit "6" further shows that it is a "certified xerox copy
(from the original)" and the same was signed by one Othelo V. Salvacion,
Administrative Officer IV of the City of Manila with O.R. No. 1101860
dated February 11, 2002. Considering that Exhibit "6" is a private
document, it was not shown how the original thereof came under the
custody of Mr. Salvacion. Neitherwas Mr. Salvacion also presented on the
witness stand to testify as to his alleged signature appearing on the
purportedly certified true copy of the original of Exhibit "6[.]"
Neither did the defense present the original or xerox copy of Exhibit "6"
before the court a quo for marking during the pre-trial held on
November 14, 2000. In addition, it was only during the direct
examination of [Gamboa] on July 30, 2002 that she raised for the first
time Exhibit "6" as a defense by passing the blame to one Lito Jacinto.
She never raised the said defense at the earliest opportune time when
she made a liquidation report of her cash advances. Further, she again
failed to raise the said defense before the Office of the Prosecutor of
Makati City during the preliminary investigation. If indeed she was

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Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

innocent of the crime charged, ordinary human behavior dictates that


she should have divulged the said information to her superiors or the
investigating public prosecutor of such fact. Her failure to do so casts
serious doubt on her credibility.13
Moreover, we scoured the OSGs Manifestation in Lieu of Appellees Brief
and Gamboas petition and these do not offer any plausible reason that
will explain the significantly long delay in raising such a plausibly
turning point of his defense considering that the alleged turnover of
funds was routine part of her work.
The OSG simply makes a throw-away assertion:
x x x The record shows, however, that [Gamboa] only knew of Lito
Jacintos failure to deliver the payment sometime in March 9, 1999,
while her memorandum to the TFS was given on February 27, 1999. It is
also possible that [Gamboa] did not mention Lito Jacinto in her counter
and supplemental affidavits because the complaint affidavit of Felicidad
Samson was vague, as [Gamboa] was being made to account for various
amounts of money. In fact, the investigating prosecutor initially agreed
with [Gamboa] that there was no certainty as to the amount demanded
from her and he even recommended the dismissal of the complaint
against [Gamboa] x x x.14
We cannot subscribe to the OSGs reasoning.
During the preliminary investigation stage Gamboa stated under oath
that:
It is not true that I was not able to pay for the Mayors permit for
different branches and the documents are with me. The truth of the
matter is that all payments have already been made as of January 20,
1999 and some permits are awaiting release.15

Page 102 of 107

Contrary to the OSGs assertion, Gamboa was not confused on what she
was being made to account for, as she categorically denied that: (1) she
failed to pay the Mayors permit for different branches; (2) the
documents attesting to the fact that its payment are in her possession;
and (3) some of the permits are only yet to be released.
Again, we refer to the appellate courts solid reasoning:
Neither did the defense present the original or xerox copy of Exhibit "6"
before the court a quo for marking during the pre-trial held on
November 14, 2000. In addition, it was only during the direct
examination of [Gamboa] on July 30, 2002 that she raised for the first
time Exhibit "6" as a defense by passing the blame to one Lito Jacinto.
She never raised the said defense at the earliest opportune time when
she made a liquidation report of her cash advances. Further, she again
failed to raise the said defense before the Office of the Prosecutor of
Makati City during the preliminary investigation. If indeed she was
innocent of the crime charged, ordinary human behavior dictates that
she should have divulged the said information to her superiors or the
investigating public prosecutor of such fact. Her failure to do so casts
serious doubt on her credibility.16
The lack of certainty in the amount demanded by TFS merely puts into
question the actual amount that was misappropriated and the damage
on TFS, but not the fact of Gamboas misappropriation. However, we still
find, as the lower courts did, that the amount of P81,000.00 was
sufficiently established by the prosecution through the positive
testimony of Samson backed by documentary evidence:
ATTY. MARCELO
xxxx
A. All the cash that have to be disbursed comes from me [sic].

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Q. And the Petty Cash?

Page 103 of 107


xxxx

A. All the expenses in the office like the transportation of the messenger
and all the needs in the office I was the one who prepared the payments.

A. This refers to her cash advances intended for the permits and licenses
for the Manila branches.

Q. In all these works, do you use records?

Q. This Request for Payment Form has been approved by the authorized
signatory, were you able to give that amount to her as requested?

A. Yes, Maam.
A. Yes, Maam.
Q. How?
A. I have my own notebook for the Petty Cash.

Q. What proof do you have that you were able to give Jean Gamboa this
amount?

Q. Do you know x x x Jean Gamboa?

A. She has a signature in my Petty Cash notebook.

A. Yes, Maam.

Q. Where is that notebook?


xxxx

A. For every transaction that she has[,] she will consult me.
xxxx
A. If ever she needs money to pay the permits and licenses[,] she has to
go to me to get for the cash advances.
xxxx

INTERPRETER
Witness is handling a notebook with a caption school notes.
ATTY. MARCELO
Q. You have handed to me a notebook, where in particular is this entry
for P81,000.00?
A. This is the one, Maam.

Q. I am showing to you Mrs. Witness a document entitled Request for


Payment Form, will you please examine this and tell the Court what is
the relation of that to the Request for Payment Form which Jean Gamboa
usually handed to you when she asked for cash disbursement?

INTERPRETER

A. This is a Request for Payment form.

ATTY. MARCELO

Witness is pointing to the entry P81,000.00 after which the name Jean
Gamboa, her signature and the date January 19, 1999.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Q. In this entry, whose handwriting is this[?]


A. Jean Gamboas handwriting.
Q. How about this signature?

Page 104 of 107

Q. Mrs. Witness, in the answer of the accused in her Counter Affidavit she
stated that she already liquidated that. In fact, that appears also in your
notebook this liquidation, what can you say about that?
A. Because the receipts which she submitted according to the City
Treasurers of Manila were not valid, these are assessment only.17

A. This is her signature.


Q. Why do you say so?
A. Because I am familiar with her handwritings and signatures.
Everyday we are together in the office.
xxxx
Q. x x x how did you enter the transaction in this notebook?
A. I entered the transaction in pencil. After receiving the amount[,] she
will place her name, the date, her signature or her initial.
xxxx
Q. What happened to this amount of P81,000.00, was she able to
liquidate?
A. No, Maam.
Q. Why did you say so?
A. No, Maam, because when we checked at the City Treasurers Office, we
were able to verify that the licenses and permits within the City of
Manila were not able to pay (sic).

On the imposable penalty, the appellate court modified the penalty


imposed by the trial court from "four (4) years[,] two (2) months and
one (1) day of prision correccional[,] as minimum[,] to twelve (12) years
of prision mayor[,] as maximum,"18 to "four (4) years and two (2)
months of prision correccional, as minimum, to thirteen (13) years of
reclusion temporal, as maximum."19
We again quote with favor the computation of the appellate court on the
imposable penalty, applying therein the Indeterminate Sentence Law
and the corresponding award of civil indemnity:
Under Article 315 of the RPC, the penalty for estafa is prision
correccional in its maximum period to prision mayor in its minimum
period, if the amount of the fraud is over P12,000.00 but does not
exceed P22,000.00; and if such amount exceeds the latter sum, the
penalty provided in this paragraph shall be imposed in its maximum
period, adding one year for each additional 10,000.00; but the total
penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years. Applying
the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum imposable penalty
should range from six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and
two (2) months of prision correccional in its minimum and medium
periods. On the other hand, the maximum imposable penalty is the
maximum range of prision correccional in its maximum period to prision
mayor in its medium period, which is six (6) years, one (1) month and
twenty-one (21) days to eight (8) years plus one(1) year for each
additional P10,000.00, since the amount involved in the instant case is
more than P22,000.00 or P81,000.00 to be exact.

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38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Accordingly, this Court finds it proper to impose the penalty of four (4)
years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to
thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal, as maximum.1wphi1

Page 105 of 107

JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ


Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

The court a quo likewise correctly awarded by way of civil indemnity the
sum of P81,000.00 plus interest at the rate of six percent (6%) to be
reckoned from the rendition of the judgment until fully paid in view of
existing jurisprudence in that the quantification of the amount
misappropriated was only reasonably ascertained during the trial of the
instant case.20
The minimum penalty imposed by the appellate court is within the
maximum term of six (6) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21)
days to eight (8) years of prision mayor and the maximum penalty
imposed resulted in a total of five (5) years, an additional one (1) year
for each additional P10,000.00 in excess of the P22,000.00, for a total of
thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal.
We note that the appellate courts award of civil indemnity plus interest
at the rate of six percent (6%) reckoned from the rendition of judgment
until fully paid remains correct with the advent of Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas Circular No. 79921 pegging the rate of interest allowed in
judgments back to six percent (6%).
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA G.R. CR. No. 30354 dated 30 January 2009 is AFFIRMED.
Petitioner Jean D. Gamboa is sentenced to suffer an indeterminate
penalty of imprisonment of four (4) years and two (2) months of prision
correccional, as minimum, to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal,
as maximum.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO


Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA*


Associate Justice
ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of
the Court's Division.
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division
CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division
Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above
Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned
to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

SO ORDERED.
MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO
Chief Justice

Law 126 Evidence

Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

Page 106 of 107

11

Rollo, pp. 84-85.

12

People v. Cawaling, 603 Phil. 749 (2009).

13

Rollo, pp. 74-75.

14

Id. at 394.

15

Id. at 84.

16

Id. at 75.

17

Id. at 77-78.

18

Id. at 87-88.

19

Id. at 81.

20

Id. at 80-81.

21

Subject: Rate of interest in the absence of stipulation

Footnotes
* Per Raffle dated 7 April 2014.
Penned by Presiding Judge Cesar D. Santamaria. Rollo, pp. 8288.
1

Penned by Associate Justice Ramon R. Garcia with Associate


Justices Edgardo P. Cruz and Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe (now a
Member of this Court), concurring. Id. at 59-81.
2

Id. at 60.

Certification dated 17 March 1999 issued by the City Treasurer


of Manila. Id. at 63.
4

Certification dated 17 May 2001 issued by Chief Inspector


Vicente Dizon Glores of the Philippine National Police-Makati
Police Station. Id. at 64.
5

Id. at 86-88.

Id. at 72-81.

Id. at 19-20.

Id. at 383-389.

DAigle v. People, G.R. No. 174181, 27 June 2012, 675 SCRA


206, 215.
10

The monetary Board, in its Resolution No. 796 dated 16


May 2013, approved the following revisions governing
the rate of interest in the absence of stipulation in loan
contracts, thereby amending Section 2 of Circular No.
905, Series of 1982:
Section 1.The rate of interest for the loan or forbearance
of any money, goods or credits and the rate allowed in
judgments, in the absence of an express contract as to
such rate of interest, shall be six percent (6%) per
annum.

Law 126 Evidence

Prof. Avena

38. WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE

http://www.bsp.gov.ph/downloads/regulations/attach
ments/2013/c799.pdf last visited 21 March 2014.

Page 107 of 107