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RULE 118.

G.R. No. 146684, August 21, 2002, EN BANC, (MENDOZA, J.)
Genlei Abejaron stayed in the house of her teacher, Mrs. Erlinda Alceso, during weekdays as a working student
because the Maramag Elementary School in Bukidnon, where she was studying. She went home to her mothers house
only on weekends.
Genlei testified that at about 5 oclock in the afternoon, while she was alone in her mothers house playing cards,
someone knocked on the door, and, it was her half-brother, accused-appellant Ramil Sajolga, who was drunk. The latter
boxed her in the abdomen, causing her to fall on the floor on her buttocks. Genlei said accused-appellant dragged her
to the bedroom, made her lie on the bed, and took off her shorts and panties. When Genlei recovered, she found
herself naked and lying on the bed. Her body was aching and her vagina was sore, with a sticky substance, presumably
semen, in her private part. She was afraid that her mother would not believe her. However, with the assurance of
teachers that they would help her, she filed a case of Rape. Her half-brother was found guilty by the trial court and was
sentenced to death. The accused filed an appeal.
ISSUE: Is the stipulation of minority in the pre-trial order sufficient absent birth certificate?
Although no birth certificate or document was presented to prove that complainant was 15 years old at the
time she was raped, the parties stipulated that she was born on February 15, 1983. This stipulation is contained in a
Pre-Trial Order issued by the trial court. A stipulation of facts in criminal cases is now authorized to be made by
Rule 118, 1 and 4 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Thus, not only was complainants age alleged in the
information, it was proven, having been made the subject of stipulation and admission.
Accused-appellant is not a parent, ascendant, step-parent, or guardian or the common-law spouse of the victims
mother, but a relative by consanguinity. Hence, as this Court has held, it must be alleged in the information that he is a
relative by consanguinity or affinity, as the case may be, within the third civil degree.[29] Not only should relationship by
consanguinity or affinity be alleged, it is also necessary to specify that such relationship is within the third civil
degree.[30] Mere allegation and the stipulation that accused-appellant is the brother of the victim because they have a
common mother are not enough to satisfy the special qualifying circumstance of relationship.
Anent accused-appellants contention that he is guilty only of simple rape and not qualified rape because he is not a
full-blooded brother of the victim sister and there are no half measures in the Heinous Crime Law, suffice it to say the
law does not distinguish between full blood and half blood relatives. The law does not in fact speak of full blood and
half blood relatives but of relatives by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree. As a recent study has
found, around 92% of the perpetrators in rape cases are known to the child and 39% of these cases were committed
by legal or common law relatives.
In any event, because of the failure of the prosecution to allege that accused-appellant is a relative by
consanguinity within the third civil degree of the offended party, accused-appellant can only be held liable for
simple rape even if it was proven and stipulated that the victim was under eighteen (18) years of age and that
he is a half-brother of complainant.

ARTURO ALANO v. CA, et al.

G.R. No. 111244, December 15, 1997, THIRD DIVISION (Romero, J.)
Alano defrauded Roberto Carlos by pretending to still be the owner of a parcel of land
at Taguig. He sold the land to Carlos then sold the property for the second time to Erlinda Dandoy. Thereby, it
deprived Carlos of his rightful ownership/possession of the said parcel of land, to the damage and prejudice of Carlos.
Alano moved for the suspension of his case on estafa in Manila RTC, on the ground that there was a prejudicial
question pending resolution in another case being tried in Pasig RTC which concerns the nullity of the sale and
recovery of possession and damages. In the civil case, Carlos filed a complaint against Alano seeking the annulment of
the second sale of said parcel of land. Alano contends that he never sold the property to the private respondents and
that his signature appearing in the deed of absolute sale in favor of the latter was a forgery, hence, the alleged sale was
fictitious and inexistent. At this juncture, it is worth mentioning that the civil case was filed 5 years before when the
criminal case for estafa was instituted.
Is Alanos admission in the pre-trial of the criminal case a waiver of his defense in the civil case?
YES. Notwithstanding the apparent prejudicial question involved, the CA still affirmed the Order of the RTC
denying Carloss motion for the suspension of the proceeding on the ground that Alano, in the stipulation of facts, had
already admitted during the pre-trial order of the criminal case the validity of his signature in the first deed of sale
between him and Carlos, as well as his subsequent acknowledgment of his signature in 23 cash vouchers evidencing the
payments made by Carlos. Moreover, it was also noted by the CA that Alano even wrote to Carlos offering to refund
whatever sum the latter had paid.
There is no question that a stipulation of facts by the parties in a criminal case is recognized as declarations
constituting judicial admissions, hence, binding upon the parties and by virtue of which the prosecution dispensed with
the introduction of additional evidence and the defense waived the right to contest or dispute the veracity of the
statement contained in the exhibit. Accordingly, the stipulation of facts stated in the pre-trial order amounts to an
admission by the petitioner resulting in the waiver of his right to present evidence on his behalf. While it is true that the
right to present evidence is guaranteed under the Constitution, this right may be waived expressly or impliedly.
Since the suspension of the criminal case due to a prejudicial question is only a procedural matter, the same is
subject to a waiver by virtue of the prior acts of the accused. After all, the doctrine of waiver is made solely for the
benefit and protection of the individual in his private capacity, if it can be dispensed with and relinquished without
infringing on any public right and without detriment to the community at large. Accordingly, Alanos admission in the
stipulation of facts during the pre-trial of the criminal case amounts to a waiver of his defense of forgery in the civil
case. Hence, we have no reason to nullify such waiver, it being not contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals
or good customs, or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law. Furthermore, it must be emphasized
that the pre-trial order was signed by Alano himself. As such, the rule that no proof need be offered as to any facts
admitted at a pre-trial hearing applies.


On the night of November 5, 1994, Maria was home with her father, herein accused-appellant, and the latter's
ward, Gary Fraga. Accused appellant and Gary Fraga slept in the living room, while Maria slept in her room. Accusedappellant's common-law wife, Virginia Bangayciso1, had gone to a dance party. At around 7 o'clock in the evening,
Maria woke up to find accused-appellant on top of her and pursued his carnal intentions with Maria and raped her.
Maria lighted a lamp and went to the kitchen, where she washed off blood and a whitish substance from her private
parts. She then returned to her bedroom and went to sleep. At around midnight, however, accused-appellant was back
and raped her again. On November 19, 1994, Maria came home for the weekend2. Because she did not arrive until
noon, she was scolded and given some lashes by accused-appellant and was later on raped again.
Three informations for rape were filed against accused-appellant and was later on found guilty by the trial court
sentencing him to death on account of minority and relationship.
Issue. WON the trial court erred in considering the qualifying circumstances for rape notwithstanding the lack of
signature of the accused-appellant found in the stipulation of facts from which such circumstances were based.
Yes, Art. 335 of the RPC, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, provides for the imposition of the death penalty on
the offender in rape cases if the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is, among others, a parent of
the victim. As a qualifying circumstance which increases the range of the penalty, the concurrence of the minority of the
victim and her relationship to the offender must be both alleged and proven. In these cases, while the informations
allege that complainant was a "minor fourteen years of age" at the time of the commission of the rapes and that
accused-appellant is the "father of the offended party," only the relationship of accused-appellant to the complainant
has been sufficiently established. To be sure, the minority of complainant (14 years of age at the time of the commission
of the rapes) was the subject of the parties' stipulation of facts. However, the stipulation of facts was not signed by
accused-appellant as required by Rule 118, sec.2 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides that "No
agreement or admission made or entered during the pre-trial conference shall be used in evidence against the accused
unless reduced to writing and signed by him and his counsel." This requirement is mandatory. As held in Fule v. Court
of Appeals: omission of the signature of the accused and his counsel renders the Stipulation of Facts inadmissible in
evidence. The fact that the lawyer of the accused, in his memorandum, confirmed the Stipulation of Facts does not cure
the defect because Rule 118 requires both the accused and his counsel to sign the Stipulation of Facts.
The testimonies of complainant concerning her age and that of her father, herein accused-appellant, concerning
this matter are insufficient. In People v. Tundag, in which the complaints alleged that the victim was 13 years old at
the time of the rapes, it was held that it was error for the trial court to take judicial notice of the victim's age even if the
defense admitted the victim's minority. The Court emphasized that there must be independent proof, such as a birth
certificate, of the age of the victim. In People v. San Agustin, this Court held that the latter's minority had not been
sufficiently established notwithstanding the appellant's admission that the victim was 13 years of age. Judicial notice of
the victim's age may be taken if the victim is 10 years old or below, but not where, as in this case, the victim is alleged to
be 14 years old when she was raped. As no independent evidence was presented by the prosecution to prove the
minority of complainant, it was error for the trial court to find accused-appellant guilty of qualified rape and to sentence
him to death. Decision modified, Accused-appellant was sentenced to reclusion perpetua.

Ricardo had long been separated with the victims mother.

2 Maria stays at a boarding house owned by Adelina Rancho, one of the witnesses, for her school was 7 kilometers away from their


Appellant was charged with murder after he, and two other persons, allegedly killed Michael Balber by
repeatedly stabbing the latter on his trunk which took place in Commonwealth, QC. During the pre-trial, the defense
named only four witnesses and thereafter and during the trial, only appellant and Antonio were able to testify. When the
two other witnesses in the pre-trial order failed to appear and testify in court several times, the defense counsel moved
to substitute them explaining that they were hesitant to testify, and, that one of them went home to his province. The
trial court denied the motion of the appellant to present substitute witnesses. Subsequently, appellant was convicted for
murder and was then affirmed by the CA on appeal.
ISSUE. WON appellants constitutional rights to produce evidence on his behalf and to due process were violated
when the trial court denied his motion to present substitute witnesses
NO. Rule 118 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:
SEC. 4. Pre-trial order. After the pre-trial conference, the court shall issue an order reciting the actions taken, the facts
stipulated, and evidence marked. Such order shall bind the parties, limit the trial to matters not disposed of, and
control the course of the action during the trial, unless modified by the court to prevent manifest injustice.
The RTC was correct in denying the defense counsels motion for substitution of witnesses since Section 4,
Rule 118 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure mandates that the matters agreed upon in the pre-trial conference
and as stated in the pre-trial order shall bind the parties. The pre-trial order of the RTC clearly shows that the defense
named only four witnesses. The parties were also informed therein that witnesses who were not mentioned in the pretrial order will not be entertained during the trial on the merits. Thus, pursuant to the afore-stated provision and its
purpose of preventing undue delay in the disposition of criminal cases and ensuring fair trial, the denial of the defense
counsels motion for substitution of witnesses is justified. Moreover, if appellants motion for substitution of witnesses
is given due course, it will amount to an unreasonable disregard of solemn agreements submitted to and approved by
the court of justice and would make a mockery of the judicial process.
This is not to say, however, that such provision is absolute. It can be relaxed in the greater interest of justice.
Nevertheless, the exception does not apply in favor of appellant as the RTC had observed that his motion for
substitution of witnesses appears to be a fishing expedition of evidence which is clearly unfair to the case of the
prosecution. Moreover, as aptly stated by the Solicitor General, if the two other witnesses of appellant were indeed
afraid or hesitant to testify, he should have moved the RTC to subpoena the said witnesses to testify in court pursuant
to his constitutional right to compulsory process to secure the attendance of his witnesses. Unfortunately, appellant did
not avail himself of this remedy.


Olbes was indicted for Grave Coercion before the MeTC of Manila. On He posted bail and was released.
His motion to defer or suspend his arraignment in light of his pending petition for review before the DOJ from the
City Fiscals Resolution finding probable cause to hale him into court, the MeTC judge proceeded with petitioners
arraignment on February 12, 2003 in which he pleaded not guilty to the charge. Pre-trial was thereupon set to May 28,
2003 which was, however, declared a non-working day due to the occurrence of typhoon "Chedeng." The pre-trial was
thus reset to October 23, 2003.
At the scheduled pre-trial on October 23, 2003, Olbes failed to appear, prompting the trial court to issue a warrant for
his arrest, which warrant was, however, later recalled on discovery that neither Olbes nor his counsel was notified of
said schedule. Pre-trial was again reset to January 21, 2004.
Before the scheduled pre-trial on January 21, 2004 or on November 3, 2003, Olbes filed a Motion to Dismiss the
Information on the ground of violation of his right to a speedy trial under Republic Act No. 8493(Speedy Trial Act of
1998). Judge Buemio denied the motion to dismiss. Upon appeal before the RTC, it affirmed the MeTC decision.

Is the time gap of 105 days from his arraignment (February 12, 2003) up to May 28, 2003(the first pre-trial
setting), and another gap of 148 days from the latter date up to the October 23, 2003(second pre-trial setting) or for a
total of 253 days - a clear contravention of the 80-day time limit from arraignment to trial?
On his arraignment on February 12, 2003, petitioner interposed no objection to the setting of the pre-trial to
May 28, 2003 which was, as earlier stated, later declared a non-working day. Inarguably, the cancellation of the
scheduled pre-trial on that date was beyond the control of the trial court.
The Court stressed that the exceptions consisting of the time exclusions provided in the Speedy Trial Act of
1998 reflect the fundamentally recognized principle that "speedy trial" is a relative term and necessarily involves a
degree of flexibility.
R.A. No. 8493 and its implementing rules and the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure enumerate certain
reasonable delays as exclusions in the computation of the prescribed time limits. They also provide that "no
provision of law on speedy trial and no rule implementing the same shall be interpreted as a bar to any charge
of denial of speedy trial as provided by Article III, Section 14(2), of the 1987 Constitution."
While justice is administered with dispatch, the essential ingredient is orderly, expeditious and not mere speed. It cannot be
definitely said how long is too long in a system where justice is supposed to be swift, but deliberate. It is consistent with delays and depends
upon circumstances. It secures rights to the accused, but it does not preclude the rights of public justice. Also, it must be borne in mind that the
rights given to the accused by the Constitution and the Rules of Court are shields, not weapons; hence, courts are to give meaning to that
In determining whether the accused has been deprived of his right to a speedy disposition of the case and to a
speedy trial, four factors must be considered: (a) length of delay; (b) the reason for the delay; (c) the defendants
assertion of his right; and (d) prejudice to the defendant.
To the Court, the reasons for the postponements and delays attendant to the present case reflected above are
not unreasonable. While the records indicate that neither petitioner nor his counsel was notified of the resetting of the
pre-trial to October 23, 2003, the same appears to have been occasioned by oversight or simple negligence which,
standing alone, does not prove fatal to the prosecutions case. The faux pas was acknowledged and corrected when the
MeTC recalled the arrest warrant it had issued against petitioner under the mistaken belief that petitioner had been duly
notified of the October 23, 2003 pre-trial setting.

TOPIC: Prosecution Evidence, Sec. 15, Rule 119 (TRIAL)
CRIME: Estafa Through Falsification of Public Document
FACTS: On November 4, 1999, he respondents were charged with Estafa Through Falsification of Public Document
before the RTC of Cebu City. The case arose from the falsification of a deed of real estate mortgage allegedly
committed by respondents where they made it appear that Concepcion, the owner of the mortgaged property known as
the Gorordo property, affixed her signature to the document. Hence, the criminal case.
Earlier, on September 10, 1999, Concepcion, who was a resident of Cebu City, while on vacation in Manila,
was unexpectedly confined at the Makati Medical Center due to upper gastro-intestinal bleeding; and was advised to
stay in Manila for further treatment.
On August 16, 2000, the counsel of Concepcion filed a motion to take the latters deposition. He explained the
need to perpetuate Concepcions testimony due to her weak physical condition and old age, which limited her freedom
of mobility. The RTC granted the motion and directed that Concepcions deposition be taken before the Clerk of
Court of Makati City. The court ratiocinated that procedural technicalities should be brushed aside because of the
urgency of the situation, since Concepcion was already of advanced age. After several motions for change of venue of
the deposition-taking, Concepcions deposition was finally taken on March 9, 2001 at her residence.
Aggrieved, respondents assailed the August 25 and November 3 RTC orders in a special civil action for
certiorari before the CA. On August 15, 2001, the CA rendered a Decision favorable to the respondents, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the August 25, 2000 and November 3,
2000 orders of the court a quo are hereby SET ASIDE, and any deposition that may have been
taken on the authority of such void orders is similarly declared void.

At the outset, the CA observed that there was a defect in the respondents petition by not impleading the
People of the Philippines, an indispensable party. This notwithstanding, the appellate court resolved the matter on its
merit, declaring that the examination of prosecution witnesses, as in the present case, is governed by Section 15, Rule
119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and not Rule 23 of the Rules of Court. The latter provision, said the
appellate court, only applies to civil cases. Pursuant to the specific provision of Section 15, Rule 119, Concepcions
deposition should have been taken before the judge or the court where the case is pending, which is the RTC of Cebu,
and not before the Clerk of Court of Makati City; and thus, in issuing the assailed order, the RTC clearly committed
grave abuse of discretion.
NO. It is basic that all witnesses shall give their testimonies at the trial of the case in the presence of the
judge. This is especially true in criminal cases in order that the accused may be afforded the opportunity to crossexamine the witnesses pursuant to his constitutional right to confront the witnesses face to face. It also gives the parties
and their counsel the chance to propound such questions as they deem material and necessary to support their position
or to test the credibility of said witnesses. Lastly, this rule enables the judge to observe the witnesses demeanor. This

rule, however, is not absolute. In criminal proceedings, Sections 12, 13 and 15, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, allow the conditional examination of both the defense and prosecution witnesses.
Petitioners contend that Concepcions advanced age and health condition exempt her from the application of
Section 15, Rule 119 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, and thus, calls for the application of Rule 23 of the Rules of
Civil Procedure. The contention does not persuade.
Undoubtedly, the procedure set forth in Rule 119 applies to the case at bar. It is thus required that the
conditional examination be made before the court where the case is pending. It is also necessary that the accused be
notified, so that he can attend the examination, subject to his right to waive the same after reasonable notice. As to the
manner of examination, the Rules mandate that it be conducted in the same manner as an examination during trial, that
is, through question and answer.
We agree with the CA and quote with approval its ratiocination in this wise:

Unlike an examination of a defense witness which, pursuant to Section 5, Rule

119 of the previous Rules, and now Section 13, Rule 119 of the present Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, may be taken before any judge, or, if not practicable, a member of
the Bar in good standing so designated by the judge in the order, or, if the order be
made by a court of superior jurisdiction, before an inferior court to be designated
therein, the examination of a witness for the prosecution under Section 15 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (December 1, 2000) may be done only before the
court where the case is pending.

Rule 119 categorically states that the conditional examination of a prosecution witness shall be made
before the court where the case is pending. Contrary to petitioners contention, there is nothing in the rule which
may remotely be interpreted to mean that such requirement applies only to cases where the witness is within the
jurisdiction of said court and not when he is kilometers away, as in the present case. Therefore, the court may not
introduce exceptions or conditions. Neither may it engraft into the law (or the Rules) qualifications not
contemplated. When the words are clear and categorical, there is no room for interpretation. There is only
room for application.
Petitioners further insist that Rule 23 applies to the instant case, because the rules on civil procedure apply
suppletorily to criminal cases.
It is true that Section 3, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides that the rules of civil procedure apply to all
actions, civil or criminal, and special proceedings. In effect, it says that the rules of civil procedure have suppletory
application to criminal cases. However, it is likewise true that the criminal proceedings are primarily governed by the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Considering that Rule 119 adequately and squarely covers the situation in the
instant case, we find no cogent reason to apply Rule 23 suppletorily or otherwise.

Facts: An information was filed before the RTC of Tagaytay City against Messrs. Pedro Lim, Bonifacio Rojas, Capt. Alfredo
Abad, Toto Mirasol, Venerando Ozores, Mariano Hizon, Eugenio Hizon and private respondents de los Santos and Ochoa
for the kidnapping and murder of the late Atty. Eugene Tan (former President of IBP) and his driver, Eduardo Constantino
that happened on 14 November 1994. While under custody of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC), private
respondents Ochoa and de los Santos executed separate sworn statements implicating petitioner in the crime. The PACC refiled the complaint against petitioner. Thereafter, three (3) separate informations were filed against him. The RTC found
probable cause and directed the prosecution to amend the information to include him as an accomplice. However, the
prosecution maintains that the petitioner should be charged as a principal and impugns the resolution of the judge. The
prosecution then filed a Petition to Discharge as State Witnesses and Exclude from the Information accused Ochoa and de
los Santos and the judge granted the said motion. The CA affirmed the said order and concluded that there was no necessity
for a hearing to determine a persons qualification as a state witness after the DOJ had attested to his qualification. Republic
Act No. 6981, Witness Protection and Security Benefit Program (WPSBP), conferred upon the DOJ the sole authority to
determine whether or not an accused is qualified for admission into the program. It held that under Section 12 of the said act,
upon the filing by the prosecution of a petition to discharge an accused from the information, it is mandatory for the court to
order the discharge and exclusion of the accused.
Issue: Whether the discharge of the accused as state witnesses needs prior determination of the trial court for their
Ruling: No, Section 17 of Rule 119 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure is only one of the modes of the discharge of
the accused as a state witness.
The prosecution availed of RA 6981 in the discharge of the accused as state witnesses. It is distinct and separate from
Section 17, Rule 119. The immunity provided under the former is granted by the DOJ while the latter is granted by the court.
The former only requires compliance with Section 14, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. On the other
hand, Section 17, Rule 119, contemplates a situation where the information has been filed and the accused had been arraigned
and the case is undergoing trial. The discharge of an accused under this rule may be ordered upon motion of the prosecution
before resting its case, that is, at any stage of the proceedings, from the filing of the information to the time the defense starts
to offer any evidence.
As pointed out by the Court in the case of Soberano v. People, Section 14, Rule 110 allows the amendment of the
information made before plea excluding some or one of the accused to be made only upon motion by the prosecutor, with
notice to the offended party and with leave of court in compliance. It does not qualify the grounds for the exclusion of the
accused and therefore, applies when it is for utilization of the accused as state witness, as in this case, or on some other
ground. At this level, the procedural requirements of Section 17, Rule 119 on the need for the prosecution to present evidence
and the sworn statement of each state witness at a hearing in support of the discharge do not yet come into play. This is
because the determination of who should be criminally charged in court is essentially an executive function, not a judicial one.
Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6981 provides that the issuance of a certification of admission into the program shall be given
full faith by the provincial or city prosecutor who is required not to include the witness in the criminal complaint or
information, and if included, to petition for his discharge in order that he can be utilized as a state witness. This provision
justifies the regularity of the procedure adopted by the prosecution for the discharge of the private respondents. Section 9 of
Rule 119 does not support the proposition that the power to choose who shall be a state witness is an inherent judicial
prerogative. Under this provision, the court is given the power to discharge a state witness only because it has already acquired
jurisdiction over the crime and the accused.
The petitioner argues that the petition to discharge is not supported by any proof or evidence. There is no
requirement under Republic Act No. 6891 that the sworn statement and memorandum of agreement between the private
respondents and the DOJ be first presented in court before an accused may be admitted to the WPSBP. Moreover, the DOJ
which is tasked to implement the provisions of RA 6981, has determined that the private respondents have satisfied the
requirements for admission under the WPSBP.

Criminal information for Multiple Murder for the killing of members of the Bucag family were filed against Felipe
Galarion, Manuel Sabit, Cesar Sabit, Julito Ampo, Eddie Torion, John Doe, Peter Doe and Richard Doe. It was
originally filed before the RTC of Gingoog City, however by virtue of Administrative Order, the case was transferred to
RTC of Cagayan de Oro which was presided by Judge Nazar Chaves. Only Felipe Galarion was tried and convicted. All
the other accused were at large.Two years later, Felizardo Roxas was identified as another member of the group who
was responsible for the murder. With that, an amended information was filed before the same court. During the
preliminary investigation, Roxas implicated Atty. Miguel Paderanga, his counsel, as the mastermind of the killings.
Consequently, the amended information was again amended to include Atty. Paderanga as one of the accused.
During the trial, the court ruled that before Roxas be presented as a witness for the prosecution, he must first be
discharged as a state witness, otherwise the prosecution can not present him as a hostile witness. The prosecution filed a
motion for reconsideration, in the alternative, to discharge Roxas as a state witness. The trial court issued an Order
allowing the presentation of the testimony of Felizardo Roxas for purposes of proving the conditions of Rule 119,
Section 9 of the Rules of Court on the discharge of a state witness. However, the trial court ruled against Roxas on the
ground that the presentation of Roxas testimony will be tantamount to allowing him to testify as a state witness even
before his discharge as such; that the qualification of a proposed state witness must be proved by evidence other
than his own testimony; and that at the hearing for the discharge of a proposed state witness, only his sworn
statement can be presented and not his oral testimony, thought the prosecution may still present any other
evidence in support of the discharge. The prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied. Thereupon,
the prosecution filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus with the CA assailing the order of the trial
court, but it was denied. Hence, the present petition in SC.
ISSUE: Is the evidence that needs to be presented by the prosecution in its motion to discharge limited to the sworn
statement executed by its proposed witness?
NO. Rule 119, Section 17 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that the trial court may direct one
or more of the accused to be discharged with their consent so that they may be witnesses for the state after requiring
the prosecution to present evidence and the sworn statement of each proposed state witness at a hearing in
support of the discharge. The provision does not make any distinction as to the kind of evidence the prosecution
may present. What it simply requires, in addition to the presentation of the sworn statement of the accused concerned,
is the presentation of such evidence as are necessary to determine if the conditions exist for the discharge, so as to meet
the object of the law, which is to prevent unnecessary or arbitrary exclusion from the complaint of persons guilty of the
crime charged. No exemption from the term evidence is provided by the law as to exclude the testimony of the
accused. When the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish.
In the case at bar, there is no other evidence more competent than the testimony of the proposed witness himself
to prove the conditions that his testimony is absolutely necessary; that there is no other direct evidence available for the
proper prosecution of the offense; that his testimony can be corroborated in its material points; that he does not appear
to be the most guilty; and that he has not been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude. Further, the trial
judge will not be able to clarify matters found in the sworn statements of the proposed witnesses if they are not allowed
to testify.


Feliciano Anabe and Felicita Generalao in conspiracy with another person, were charged with robbery with
homicide and destructive arson in the Quezon City RTC. When arraigned, appellants pleaded not guilty. FELICITA,
who turned state witness gave her version of the crime. She imputed guilt to Feliciano for the death of Lam Tiong Uy
(Uy), the brother-in-law of Jose Chan whom the latter requested to stay in his house while he and his family were
vacationing abroad. The appellants and one Conrada were Chans household helpers who were with Uy during the
commission of the crime. She alleged that she saw appellant (Feliciano) holding a knife which was purportedly used in
killing Uy then lying lifeless in the living room. She maintained that Feliciano admitted to her the authorship of the
crime. Thereafter, he instructed them to immediately leave the house so that they would not be suspected of killing
Uy. Before leaving, Feliciano set the house on fire. They headed for the pier and boarded a boat that brought them
to Masbate. On Felicitas request, appellant brought her to her province, Butuan. She was soon brought to Bombo
Radio where she surrendered.
The Quezon City RTC convicted appellant as charged robbery with homicide and destructive arson based on
the testimony of Felicita in which such decision was affirmed by the appellate court. Hence, the present appeal.
ISSUE: WON Felicitas uncorroborated testimony on appellants confession can stand alone and be given full
The claim of Felicita that appellant confessed to the killing of Uy must be corroborated to be given
credence. Like any other testimony, Felicita's statements cannot be readily accepted hook, line and sinker. More
important, the testimony of a state witness must be received with great caution and carefully scrutinized. The rule is
that the testimony of a self-confessed accomplice or co-conspirator imputing the blame to or implicating his co-accused
cannot, by itself and without corroboration, be regarded as proof of a moral certainty that the latter committed the
crime. It must be substantially corroborated in its material points by unimpeachable testimony and strong circumstances, and must be to
such an extent that its trustworthiness becomes manifest
Turning an accused into a state witness is not a magic formula that cures all the deficiencies in the
prosecutions evidence. The state witness cannot simply allege everything left unproved and automatically produce a
conviction of the crime charged against the remaining accused. Corroboration of the account of the state witness is
key. It is in fact a requirement for the discharge of an accused to be a state witness under Section 17, Rule 119 of the
Rules of Court that the testimony to be given can be substantially corroborated in its material points. Felicitas
testimony was found to be uncorroborated. Hence, it couldnt be given full credit by the court.

G.R. Nos. 80418-19 October 23, 1992 FIRST DIVISION
Topic: Effect of discharge Sec. 18
Crime: Murder
Place of commission: Lucena City
An Information was filed before RTC of Lucena City charging Eduardo Rosales, together with Crisanto Bautista and
private respondents Nelson Exconde and Ronilo Aonuevo for the murder of Marcial Punzalan, an ex-Mayor of San
Antonio and Tiaong towns in Quezon Province, and his leader, Demetrio Ramos. In the trial of the case, the
prosecution presented Eduardo Rosales and then Crisanto Bautista as witnesses before moving for their discharge.
Admittedly, their testimonies led to the identification of the alleged masterminds of the slayings, which included
prominent local political leaders like ex-Mayor Ananiano Wagan of San Antonio and ex-Mayor Francisco Escueta of
Tiaong as well as two (2) barangay captains, and to the filing of an information against the four. The trial court granted
the discharge of Rosales but deferred action on the motion to discharged Bautista pending resolution of this case.
Private respondents pleaded for the reconsideration of Rosales' discharge by the same was denied. Upon petition for
certiorari with the Court of Appeals, however, the order of discharge was recalled as the appellate court found no
plausible reason for the discharge of Rosales after he admitted his guilt in the course of his testimony. Hence, this
petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals and its Resolution denying reconsideration.
ISSUE: Is the Court of Appeals correct in annulling the discharge of the accused?

NO. At the time of Rosales' discharge, the corresponding Information against the alleged masterminds had
not yet been filed. His testimony, if ever, was then to be a future undertaking on his part, and the successful prosecution
of those responsible for the dastardly acts would hinge solely on his testimony as a state witness. As such, his discharge
satisfied the intent of Sec. 9 of Rule 119 that one or more discharged accused "may be witnesses for the State" and was
therefore in accord with law.
The rule is that the discharge of an accused is left to the sound discretion of the lower court, which has the exclusive
responsibility to see to it that the conditions prescribed by the Rules are met. While it is the usual practice of the
prosecution to present the accused who turns state witness only after his discharge, the trial court may nevertheless
sanction his discharge after his testimony if circumstances so warrant. In this case, the imminent risk to his life justified
the deviation from the normal course of procedure as a measure to protect him while at the same time ensuring his
undaunted cooperation with the prosecution. Indeed, as is explicit from the Rule, as long as the motion for discharge of
an accused to be utilized as a state witness is filed before the prosecution rests, the trial court should, if warranted, grant
Once a discharge is effected, any subsequent showing that not all the five (5) requirements outlined in Sec. 9 of Rule
119 were actually fulfilled cannot adversely affect the legal consequences of such discharge which, under Sec. 10 of the
Same Rule, operates as an acquittal of the accused thus discharged and shall forever be a bar to his prosecution for the
same offense. The Court of Appeals committed a reversible error when it annulled and set aside the order for the
discharge of the accused Eduardo Rosales there being no showing that he actually failed or refused to testify against his


At around 10:00 in the evening of October 10, 1995, Maritess, together with Estacio and Sumipo, arrived at
Casa Leonisa, a bar-restaurant at Examiner Street, Quezon City where the three of them would meet with Charlie
Mancilla Chua (the victim). On Estacios instruction, Sumipo drove towards San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and on
reaching a secluded place, Estacio ordered Sumipo to stop the car as he did. Maritess and Estacio then brought the
victim to a grassy place. Estacio with bloodied hands later resurfaced. The three then headed towards Malinta,
Valenzuela, Bulacan. On the way, Estacio and Maritess talked about how they killed the victim The three later
abandoned the car in Malinta. The following morning, Estacio went to the residence of Sumipo where he called up by
telephone the victims mother and demanded a P15,000,000 ransom. The mother replied, however, that she could not
afford that amount. In the afternoon of the same day, Maritess and Estacio went to Sumipos residence again where
Estacio again called up the victims mother, this time lowering the ransom demand to P10,000,000 which she still found
to be too steep. The group then went to Greenhills where Estacio still again called up the victims mother, still lowering
the ransom demand to P5,000,000, P1,000,000 of which should be advanced. The victims mother having agreed to the
demand, Maritess and Estacio directed her to place the money in a garbage can near Pizza Hut in Greenhills at 11:30 in
the evening.
On May 16, 1996, Sumipo surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation. On May 23, 1996, Estacio
surrendered to the police. The police then informed the victims mother that Estacio had admitted having killed her
son, and that he offered to accompany them to the crime scene.
Branch 219 of the Quezon City RTC found both Estacio and Maritess guilty of kidnapping on the occasion of
which the victim was killed,
The Court of Appeals affirmed, with modification, the trial courts decision, and finding accused-appellants
Maritess Ang and Pablo Estacio, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping with murder and
sentencing them to each suffer the penalty of death.
ISSUE: WON the offense of which appellants were convicted was erroneously designated.
The crime committed was thus plain Murder. The killing was qualified by treachery. The victim was gagged,
bound, and taken from Quezon City to an isolated place in Bulacan against his will to prevent him from defending
himself and to facilitate the killing.
Respecting the assigned error in discharging Sumipo as a state witness, the same does not lie. The
conditions for the discharge of an accused as a state witness are as follows:
(a) There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested;
(b) There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed except the
testimony of said accused;
(c) The testimony of said accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points;
(d) Said accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and
(e) Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.
These conditions were established by the prosecution. Sumipo was the only person other than appellants who
had personal knowledge of the acts for which they were being prosecuted. Only he could positively identify appellants
as the perpetrators of the crime. He does not appear to be the most guilty. He did not participate in planning the
commission of the crime. He in fact at first thought that Maritess was joking when she said, Diretsong dukot na rin
kay Charlie. He tried to dissuade appellants from pursuing their plan. He did not participate in the actual stabbing.
And he tried to extricate himself from the attempts to extract ransom from the victims family.
And there is no proof that Sumipo had, at any time, been convicted of a crime involving moral
turpitude. Even assuming arguendo that the discharge of Sumipo as a state witness was erroneous, such error
would not affect the competency and quality of his testimony.

Finally, the Court brushes aside Maritess disclaimer of participation in killing the victim. It was she who
bound the hands and gagged the victim. When Estacio, in Maritess company, brought the victim to the scene of the
crime and thereafter returned to the car, her and Estacios hands were bloodied.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals of May 12, 2005 is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION. The Court finds appellants Maritess Ang and Pablo Estacio, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
Murder, with the generic aggravating circumstance of use of motor vehicle.

CRIME: Grave misconduct
TOPIC: Effect of discharge
In a case decided by petitioner arbiter Pontejos, Rasemco, through Aquino, asked for the nullification of all the
proceedings conducted before said petitioner for alleged extortion, bribery and graft and corruption committed by him
in conspiracy with Director Wilfredo Imperial and Ms. Carmen Atos, both of HLURB and one Roderick Ngo, officer
of Hammercon, Inc.
Respondent Ombudsman Desierto issued an order placing petitioner Pontejos under preventive suspension for 6
months without pay and further directing him and Dir. Imperial to file their counter-affidavits and other controverting
evidence to the complaint. Thereafter, the Evaluation and preliminary investigation bureau (EPIB) of the Office of the
Ombudsman issued a joint resolution recommending that: an Information for Estafa (one count), direct bribery and
unauthorized practice of profession in violation of RA 6713 be filed against respondent Pontejos; complaint against
Director Imperial and Ngo be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence; and respondent Atos be extended immunity
from criminal prosecution in accordance with Section 17 of R.A 6770 and be utilized as a state witness. So the Office of
the Ombudsman filed criminal informations for bribery and estafa against respondent Pontejos. Then in a Resolution
dated June 21, 1999, the Office of the Ombudsman granted Atos immunity from criminal prosecution for bribery and
estafa filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City and in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City.
Petitioner moved to reconsider the above decision but was denied by the Ombudsman. Filed Petition for review under
Rule 43 of the Rules of Court in the CA, denied also and upheld the Ombudsman's decision finding petitioner guilty of
grave misconduct. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but the CA denied his motion. Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: Did CA err in not declaring that the grant of immunity to Ms. Atos was improper.
NO, the power to choose who to discharge as state witness is an executive function. Essentially, it is not a judicial
prerogative. It is constitutionally permissible for Congress to vest the prosecutor with the power to determine who can
qualify as a witness and be granted immunity from prosecution. The Court has previously upheld the discretion of the
DOJ, Comelec, and the PCGG to grant immunity from prosecution on the basis of the respective laws that vested
them with such power. The OMB was also vested with the power to grant immunity from prosecution.
According to Pontejos, the OMB's authority to grant immunity is subject to the "pertinent provisions of the Rules of
Court (Sec.17)." He claims that the procedural rules allow the discharge of an accused as state witness only upon
conformity of the trial court. An information against the accused must first be filed in court prior to the discharge.
Moreover, the prosecution could only recommend and propose, but not grant immunity. The Court has already held
that this provision is applicable only to cases already filed in court. The trial court is given the power to discharge an
accused as a state witness only because it has already acquired jurisdiction over the crime and the accused. The fact that
an individual had not been previously charged or included in an information does not prevent the prosecution from
utilizing said person as a witness.
Section 17 of the Ombudsman Act requires conformity with the Rules of Court, thus requiring the following
circumstances prior to the discharge: (1) absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused sought to be discharged; (2)
no direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed except the testimony of the said
accused; (3) the testimony of the said accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points; (4) said accused
does not appear to be most guilty; and (5) said accused has not any time been convicted of any offense involving moral

There must be a standard to follow in the exercise of the prosecutor's discretion. The decision to grant immunity
cannot be made capriciously. Should there be unjust favoritism, the Court may exercise its certiorari power.
In the present case, certiorari is not proper. Pontejos' allegations do not show, much less allege, grave abuse of
discretion in the granting of immunity to Atos. The OMB considered Atos' position, record and involvement in the
case prior to the discharge. DENIED.


Charged with the crime of kidnapping for ransom were accused-appellants De la Cruz and Martinez, along with three
others, namely, Aldrin Tano (Tano), Romeo Dano (Dano) and Rex Tarnate (Tarnate). Thereafter, while in the process
of presenting its witnesses, the prosecution filed a motion to discharge accused Tano as a state witness. The RTC
granted the motion.
De la Cruz was employed by Erwin as a family driver. He brought Aaron, then an eight-year-old third-grade student, to
and from Claret School. On November 9, 1998, De la Cruz fetched Aaron from school. Martinez got inside the car and
handcuffed Aaron's left wrist. Martinez then drove the car all the way to Batasan Hills where Dano resided. They
fetched Dano who took over control of the car from Martinez. They proceeded to Minuyan, San Jose del Monte,
Bulacan. Upon arrival, they removed Aaron's handcuff and entered a vacant house. Martinez and Tano left Aaron with
De la Cruz and proceeded to Tarnate's house. The following morning, Martinez ordered Tano to call Erwin to prepare
P3 million for your sons safety.
At the vacant house where Aaron and De la Cruz were being kept, Quinano saw the two and asked them why they were
there. Quinano then brought the two to the barangay hall. Erwin was then informed by phone that his son was already
in the custody of the barangay officials. The Police thereafter conducted an investigation.
Tarnate immediately admitted his participation and revealed information on the identities and whereabouts of the other
accused. The police proceeded to Batasan Hills to arrest the three other accused but Dano and Martinez were able to
escape in the confusion and only Tano was arrested.
ISSUE. Whether Tano appear to be the least guilty among the accused and that his testimony was necessary
HELD. For an accused to be discharged as a state witness, the following conditions must be present:
When two or more persons are jointly charged with the commission of any offense, upon motion of the prosecution
before resting its case, the court may direct one or more of the accused to be discharged with their consent so that they
may be witnesses for the state when, after requiring the prosecution to present evidence and the sworn statement of
each proposed state witness at a hearing in support of the discharge, the court is satisfied that:
(a) There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested;
(b) There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense committed, except
the testimony of said accused;
(c) The testimony of said accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points;
(d) Said accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and,
(e) Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.
The provision does not require that a state witness should appear to be the "least guilty" among the accused. Rather, it
provides that he "does not appear to be the most guilty" the finding of the lower court revealed that Tano merely
facilitated the commission of the crime. He merely boarded the car and sat beside accused-appellant De la Cruz
throughout the whole ride and accompanied accused-appellant Martinez in going back to Batasan Hills after leaving
Aaron and accused-appellant De la Cruz in Bulacan. True, he was the one who placed the call to Erwin to demand
ransom. However, he was neither the mastermind nor the one who hatched the plan to kidnap Aaron in exchange of
money. Clearly, he did not appear to be the most guilty among the accused.
Moreover, his testimony was absolutely necessary as it was the only direct evidence establishing the presence of
conspiracy, from the planning stage up to the commission of the crime.
AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATIONS. De la Cruz and Martinez - guilty, kidnapping for ransom.


Monges challenge against Potencios discharge as a state witness must also fail. Not a few cases established the doctrine
that the discharge of an accused so he may turn state witness is left to the exercise of the trial courts sound
discretion limited only by the requirements set forth in Sec. 17 and 25 of Rule 119. Thus, whether the accused
offered to be discharged appears to be the least guilty and whether there is objectively an absolute necessity for his
testimony are questions that lie within the domain of the trial court, it being the competent to resolve issues of fact. The
discretionary judgment of the trial court with respect to highly factual issue is not to be interfered with by the appellate
courts except in case of grave abuse of discretion. Hence, no such grave abuse of discretion is present in this case.
Suffice it to say that issues relative to the discharge of an accused must be raised in the trial court as they cannot be
addressed for the first time on appeal.
An order discharging an accused from the information in order that he may testify for the prosecution has the effect of
an acquittal. Once the discharge is ordered by the trial court, any future development showing that any or all of the
conditions provided in Sec.17 have not actually been fulfilled will not affect the legal consequence of an acquittal.
Any witting or unwitting error of the Prosecution, therefore, in moving for the discharge and of the court in granting
the motion (no question of jurisdiction being involved) will not deprive the discharged accused of the benefit of
acquittal and of his right against double jeopardy. A contrary rule would certainly be unfair to the discharged accused
because he would then be faulted for a failure attributable to the prosecutor. It is inconceivable that the rule has
adopted the abhorrent legal policy of placing the fate of the discharged accused at the mercy of anyone who may handle
the prosecution.
Indeed, then only instance where the testimony of a discharged accused may be disregarded is when he
deliberately fails to testify truthfully in court in accordance with his commitment (Sec 18). Potencio lived up to
his commitment, with such, petition is denied.

Section 23. Demurrer to Evidence
The Office of the Ombudsman charged Mayor Antonio De Jesus, Sr. as well as his Vice Mayor and Treasurer
of falsification of public document before the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case 26764. The three accused along with the
Mayors son were also charged of violation of RA 3019 before the same court in Criminal Case 26766. The first
information allege that the accused local officials falsified the Requests for Quotation and Abstract of Proposal of
Canvass by making it appear that Cuad Lumber and Hinundayan Lumber submitted quotations for the supply of coco
lumber, when they did in fact do so, in violation of Article 171 of the RPC. The second information alleges that, taking
advantage of their positions, the three municipal officers gave unwarranted advantage to De Jesus, Jr., who operated
under the name Anahawan Coco Lumber Supply, by awarding to him the supply of coco lumber worthP16,767.00.
On April 12, 2005, after the prosecution rested its case, all three accused filed a motion for leave to file demurrer to
evidence, which motion the Sandiganbayan denied. Rather than present evidence, however, they proceeded to file their
demurrer, in effect waiving their right to present evidence. The prosecution opposed the demurrer. Sandiganbayan
rendered judgment convicting the accused local officials, but acquitted the mayors son.
ISSUE. WON the Sandiganbayan erred in denying the accused local officials of the opportunity to present their
defense after it denied their demurrer to evidence.
NO. The accused local officials assail the Sandiganbayans refusal to allow them to present evidence of their
defense after it denied their demurrer to evidence. But, contrary to their claim, the Sandiganbayan did not grant these
officials leave to file their demurrer. It in fact denied them that leave without prejudice, however, to their nonetheless
filing one subject to the usual risk of denial.
Having denied the accused local officials demurrer to evidence, the Sandiganbayan was justified in likewise
denying their motion to be allowed to present evidence in their defense. The 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure,
particularly Section 23, Rule 119, provide:
Section 23. Demurrer to evidence. x x x
If the court denies the demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court, the accused may adduce
evidence in his defense. When the demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the
accused waives the right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis
of the evidence for the prosecution.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition and AFFIRMS the Sandiganbayan Decision promulgated on March 7,
2007 and its Resolution dated April 16, 2008.


CRIME: Murder
TOPIC: Demurrer to evidence
The Decision dated April 7, 2003 of the RTC Misamis Oriental, granting the separate demurrer to evidence of
accused Louel Uy and Teofilo Panangin resulting in their acquittal for murder due to insufficiency of evidence, but
nevertheless holding them jointly and severally liable to pay P35,000 to the heirs of the victim Rabel Campos
representing vigil and burial expenses is being assailed in the present petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Revised Rules of Court by the People and the mother of the victim.
The victim, Rabel Campos, was found dead with several stab wounds in the morning of March 23, 2001 along the
National Highway of Maputi, Naawan, Misamis Oriental. Panangin was arrested and during the investigation he
executed a Sworn Statement with the assistance of Atty. Celso Sarsaba of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO), stating
that, he thus stabbed Rabel once at the stomach as instructed by Uy, he was hesistant but Uy threatened to shoot him.
After he stabbed Rabel, she was able to run away. Uy, however, took the knife from him and chased Rabel. On catching
up with her, Uy dragged her to the ground and stabbed her several times until she expired.
Thus, Atty. Patricio S. Bernales, Jr., District Agent-in-Charge of the NBI-ILDO, filed a case for murder against
Panangin and Uy before the10th MCTC of Lugait-Manticao Naawan. The MCTC found both Uy and Panangin as the
accused and thereby issued a warrant of arrest against them. When arraigned, both entered plea of not guilty.
Thereafter, Panangin, with leave of court, filed on March 3, 2003 a demurrer to evidence on the ground that when he
executed his extra-judicial confession, his rights under Sec. 12, Bill of Rights of the Constitution were violated. More
than a month from the filing, the trial court granted the same.
ISSUE: Was the demurrer to evidence valid
NO, the general rule in this jurisdiction is that a judgment of acquittal is final and unappealable. The same rule
applies in criminal cases where a demurer to evidence is granted. However, just like any other rule, such is not absolute.
By way of exception, a judgment of acquittal in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65
of the Rules of Court upon a clear showing by the petitioner that the lower court, in acquitting the accused, committed
not merely reversible errors of judgment but also grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
or a denial of due process, thus rendering the assailed judgment void.
This Court finds that the trial court committed not only gross reversible error of judgment but also was actuated with
grave abuse of discretion, exceeding the parameters of its jurisdiction, in holding that Panangins retracting of his
confession shows that the execution thereof was involuntary and that in any event it was inadmissible as it was a fruit
of [a] poisonous tree. The trial court blindly accepted the claim of the defense that the confession was not made
voluntarily on the basis of an affidavit executed by Panangin on July 1, 2002 or more than 5 months after his sworn
statement-confession was given and after the prosecution rested its case, which affidavit Panangin was not even called
to identify and affirm at the witness stand, hence, hearsay.
The decision of the trial court undoubtedly deprived the prosecution of due process as it was not given the opportunity
to check the veracity of Panangins alleged retraction. GRANTED.


G.R.No. 147201 January 15, 2004
On December 2, 1994, Galam was shot to death at the Rooftop Disco and Lodging House (Rooftop) owned by him,
which was located at Barangay Quezon, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.
Earlier that day, Benjamin Sayaboc went to the Rooftop looking for Galam. Sayaboc waited for about 3 hours when the
vehicle of Joseph Galam arrived. Shortly thereafter, employees heard four gunbursts emanating from the ground floor
of the building. One of them saw Sayaboc shooting Galam, causing the latter to fall to the ground face up. Sayaboc
forthwith ran out and toward the tricycle boarded by Marlon Buenviaje, his father Miguel Buenviaje and Patricio
Escorpiso and sped off towards the center of the town.
At the hearing, after the prosecution rested its case, counsel for accused Buenviajes and Patricio Escorpiso manifested
that he be given 15 days to file a motion for leave to admit demurrer to the evidence. The trial court acceded. But
instead of filing such motion first, he filed a Demurrer to Evidence on 12 July 1999. The motion for leave to file the
pleading was filed the next day only. The trial court denied the demurrer to evidence and the Buenviajes and Escorpiso
were deemed to have submitted their case for judgment. Thus, only Sayaboc was allowed to proceed with the
presentation of his defense.
Trial Court: Benjamin Sayaboc - guilty of the crime of murder; Marlon Buenviaje, Miguel Buenviaje, and Patricio
Escorpiso - guilty of the crime of homicide only.
ISSUE: Whether the Buenviajes and Escorpiso were denied constitutional right to due process when they were not
able to present evidence in their defense
The case CANNOT be remanded to the trial court. The filing of the demurrer was clearly without leave of
court. The trial court, therefore, correctly applied the rule on demurrer to evidence found in Section 15, Rule 119 of
the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure when it disallowed the abovementioned appellants to present evidence on their
behalf. They cannot now claim that they were denied their right to be heard by themselves and counsel.
The filing of a demurrer to evidence without leave of court is an unqualified waiver of the right to present evidence for
the accused. The rationale for this rule is that when the accused moves for dismissal on the ground of insufficiency of
evidence of the prosecution evidence, he does so in the belief that said evidence is insufficient to convict and, therefore,
any need for him to present any evidence is negated. An accused cannot be allowed to wager on the outcome of
judicial proceedings by espousing inconsistent viewpoints whenever dictated by convenience. The purpose behind the
rule is also to avoid the dilatory practice of filing motions for dismissal as a demurrer to the evidence and, after denial
thereof, the defense would then claim the right to present its evidence.
Decision of RTC, MODIFIED: Benjamin Sayaboc and Marlon Buenviaje
Miguel Buenviaje and Patricio Escorpiso - ACQUITTED on the ground of reasonable doubt.




Where and When: Cayombo, Sta. Maria, Bulacan; 1977
Antonio San Victores testified that around 4:30pm, while on his way to the uninhabited resthouse of Antonio antaleon
to get water, he saw Cruz who suddenly ran away from the washing area beside the resthouse and jump over the fence.
As he was about to leave the Kitchen, he heard someone moaning and found his cousin Teresita Gumapay lying on her
back, wounded in the neck and naked. Teresita said that she had been raped and stabbed by Cruz. Antonio brought her
to her father, who then got a jeep which brought Teresita to the hospital, where 15mins later she was declared dead.
Pat. De Jesus, as told by San Victores that Cruz raped and stabbed Teresita, went to the house Pio Cruz (father) who
said that Danilo was not at home but promised to surrender him. On the same night, Danilo with his father
The next day, Danilo was interrogated by Beunviaje, in the presence of De Jesus, which was reduced into a written
statement in Filiino (Sinumpaang Salaysay), signed by the accused and witnessed by Benilda (sister) and Pat. Delos
Santos. However, since the judge was not in his office when Danilo was brought in before noon and in the afternoon,
and when Danilo was presented to the judge wherein the Judge refused to administer the oath, the statement was not
placed under oath. The statement presents that the inquiry started with questions showing compliance with Sec.20, Art
IV, 1973 Const. and that Danilo admitted killing Teresita, who then resorted to the discreditable non mi ricordo answers
to the following questions by the investigator.
The information for Rape with Homicide was filed with the CFI Sta.Maria, Bulacan presided by Judge Elbinias. Bail
was recommended, but for failure to post, accused was not released and pleaded not guilty. In 1980, defense counsel
filed by mail a Motion to submit the accused to Psychiatric Examination, by which the court ordered NMI Director to
cause such and submit corresponding report., and in accordance with such signed by Drm Masikip, the accused was
found suffering from a mental disorder called Schizohreniahe needs further hospitalization and treatment Danilo
escaped from the hospital but was apprehended the next day by the security force and police agencies. In 1982,
Dr.Maaba reorted that Danilo is now free from sign and symptoms of Psychosis and can now stand trial. He is
recommended for discharge and to be returned to jail.
Defense counsel said that Danilo refused to testify but instead will present a new witness. The prosecution moved that
the testimony of the accused be stricken for lack of cross-examination. The trial court declared the case submitted for
decision. The prosecution waived their right to present rebuttal evidence. In 1983, court issued an order motu propio to
reopen the case to enable it to receive farther exert testimony from psychiatrists on the mental condition of the
accused at about the time he committed the instant offense as well as at the time he was placed on the witness stand
during trial, but refused to continue testifying xxx
ISSUE: WON the reopening of the case was valid.
HELD: DENIED. The failure of the accused to complete his testimony was of his own making, on the initiation,
confirmation and reiteration of his own counsel. The mere filing of a motion to reopen a case must not in any way
automatically vacate an agreement and order submitting the case for decision. While the court may reopen a case for
reception of further evidence after the parties have closed their evidence, such action is addressed to the sound
discretion of the court, to be exercised only on valid and justifiable reasons which undoubtedly are inexistent in this