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G.R. No.

L-40639 November 23, 1976


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs. ISIDRO (BOY) BUSCATO and NESTOR DALUD DefendantsAppellants.
Jose M. de la Cruz for appellant Isidro (Boy) Buscato.
Malamama M. Macapeges for appellant Nestor Dalud.

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Acting Solicitor General Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., Assistant Solicitor


General Nathanael P. de Pano, Jr. and Trial Attorney Luisito P.
Escutin for appellee.
ANTONIO, J.:
Appeal by Isidro (Boy) Buscato and Nestor Dalud from the decision
dated August 22, 1974, of the Court of First Instance of Cotabato,
convicting the said appellants of the crime of Robbery with
Homecide and imposing upon them the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. The dispositive portion of said decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, is view of all the foregoing, the Court is convinced
beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt that all the accused - Jabib
Tan, Nestor Dalud, and Isidro Buscato - are guilty of the offense of
robbery with homicide, defined in Article 294, paragraph 1, of the
Revised Penal Code, and hereby sentences each of the accused to
suffer a penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay, jointly and
severally, the heirs of Rodolfo Lim the sum of P1,400.00, the value
of the articles stolen; to indemnify also the heirs of Rodolfo Lim the
sum of P12,000.00; all without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency, as rule in the case of People vs. Doria, interpreting
Republic Act No. 5465, and to pay the cost.
The foregoing is based on the following facts:

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At about 8:30 o'clock in the evening of January 12, 1973, appellants


Isidro (Boy) Buscato and Nestor Dalud, together with Ricardo Romo,

where drinking "tuba" at the residence of Nestor Dalud located at


the Philippine Trade Center, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato (now
Maguindanao), After a while, Ricardo Romo excused from them,
saying that he has to go home to take his supper. They told him to
come back so that they could continue their drinking spree.
Thereafter, Ricardo Romo, after eating his supper, proceeded to the
house of Nestor Dalud. On the way, he met Manuel Largo whom he
invited to join them in their drinking spree. Before reaching the
house of Dalud the two met a group composed of appellants Isidro
Buscato and Nestor Dalud, together with Jabib Tan and Rodolfo Lim.
All of them proceeded afterwards to the Samarano's Store where
they had a drinking spree. After they consumed about one (1)
gallon of "tuba" they decided to leave. Ricardo Romo and Manuel
Largo went to the store of Bangoy opposite the Samarano's Store.
Appellants Isidro Buscato and Nestor Dalud, upon the other hand,
walked with Jabib Tan and Rodolfo Lim towards the direction of the
Philippine Trade Center.
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At around 7:00 o'clock the following morning (January 13, 1973),


the cadaver of Rodolfo Lim was found at the river bank by Enrique
Tagle, navigator of a tugboat, "Atlas". The tugboat was then moored
at the wharf of the Philippine Trade Center.
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Dr. Eduardo L. Mariano, Assistant Provincial Health Officer of


Cotabato, conducted a post-mortem examination of the body of the
deceased. His post-mortem findings revealed a stab wound in the
body of Rodolfo Lim, 6" long, left lower abdomen, eviscerating, and
a contusion at the left side of the back of the neck. 1
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On January 16, 1973, the Philippine Constabulary authorities in


Cotabato City investigated the persons who were reportedly with
the deceased Rodolfo Lim the previous night, namely Isidro
Buscato, Nestor Dalud and Jabib Tan. According to T/Sgt. Francisco
Soriano, he investigated appellant Isidro Buscato who allegedly
readily admitted his participation in the crime as the one who
inflicted the stab wound on Rodolfo Lim. However, when his
investigation was reduced into writing, Buscato refused to sign the

same. In view of Buscato's refusal, he requested S/Sgt. Jorge


Vargas to conduct a separate investigation of Jabib Tan and Nestor
Dalud.
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On the other hand, S/Sgt. Jorge Vargas declared that he conducted


the investigation of Jabib Tan and Nestor Dalud with the aid of Pat.
Julhussein G. Tagadaya, a policeman of Sultan Kudarat, who acted
as interpreter. Both Jabib Tan and Nestor Dalud allegedly voluntarily
confessed their participation in the slaying of Rodolfo Lim. Jabib Tan
allegedly confessed to him that he participated in the planning of
the killing and robbing of the victim. Nestor Dalud, on the other
hand, admitted having struck the victim with a piece of bamboo,
while Boy Buscato stabbed the victim with a Batangas knife and
afterwards got the wallet and other valuables of the victim. They
then placed the victim inside a sack. These confessions were
reduced to writing and subsequently sworn to by Jabib Tan and
Nestor Dalud before the Clerk of Court, Branch I, Court of First
Instance of Cotabato. 2Nestor Dalud also purportedly tape-recorded
his confession. 3
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On January 18, 1973, Isidro Buscato, Nestor Dalud and Jabib Tan
were brought by the investigators under the Quirino Bridge in
Sultan Kudarat. At that place they were made to re-enact the
slaying of Rodolfo Lim.
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Francisco Lim, brother of the deceased, related that in the afternoon


of January 12, 1973, his brother was intending to collect the
account of MINRAPCO due to the Lim Auto Supply in the amount of
P1,400.00. However, when he examined the remains of his brother
the next day (January 13, 1973), he noticed that his brother's Rolex
watch worth P500.00, a ring worth P35.00, a gold necklace worth
P70.00, as well as the money which he was supposed to have
collected, were missing.
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All of the accused interposed the defense of alibi. During the


hearing, both Nestor Dalud and Jabib Tan testified that after Rodolfo
Lim paid the bill in the Samarano's Store, they separated ways,

Nestor and Boy Buscato proceeding directly to the house of Nestor,


where they slept, leaving Lim with Jabib Tan. They also repudiated
their extrajudicial confessions alleging that they were compelled to
sign the same by force, violence and intimidation. Isidro Buscato
recounted his maltreatment by, the PC soldiers from January 15
to18, 1973.
THE TRIAL COURT'S EVALUATION
The trial court, however, was persuaded that the extra-judicial
confessions of Nestor Dalud and Jabib Tan were voluntarily and
freely given by them to the investigators. Thus, according to the
trial court:
Atty. Muasque, the Clerk of Court before (whom) the said
confessions were subscribed and sworn to testified that the said
statements were freely and voluntarily given by the affiants.
Likewise the investigators testified that the same were freely and
voluntarily given by the affiants and they took the stand in rebuttal
just to deny the allegation of force and maltreatment.
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Records will show that the affiants who alleged that they were
maltreated have not presented any medical certificate to show the
alleged injuries they suffered.
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They have not charged any one of those who allegedly maltreated
them in court or before any authority.
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To show that they were maltreated the only evidence they have
presented are their own testimonies and the testimonies of their
relatives, in-laws and friends.
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The defense of the three accused is one merely of denial and alibi.
Records will show that the house of the victim and the place where
the victim's body was found to the place where the accused were on
the night of January 12, 1973 is just very near.
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The confessions of accused Nestor Dalud and Jabib Tan reveal


spontaneity of the declarations by the affiants and are replete with
facts which could only be possible supplied by the accused.
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In the case at bar, the defense could not attribute any reason why
the Clerk of Court before whom the confession was sworn to would
testify the way he did in court and likewise no motive could be
attributed to Sgts. Soriano and Vargas in preparing or typing a false
confession if such was the case.
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In the case at bar the Court is convinced that all the three accused
are guilty of the offense as charged not only by virtue of the
confessions of the two which are interlocking and implicating
accused Boy Buscato who also made an oral confession but also
they all participated in the re-enactment of the crime and accused
Nestor Dalud also has a tape recorded statement admitting his
participation in the offense and the added fact, that when this case
was submitted for decision accused Jabib Tan escaped from the
Provincial Jail, which convinces the Court that he is really guilty
otherwise why will he escape if he is innocent.
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The Court is convinced that there was also robbery in the case at
bar as there is sufficient evidence on record that on the very
afternoon previous to the incident, the deceased went to MINRAPCO
to collect some amount and the following morning when Francisco
Lim, brother of the victim, saw the dead body of his brother, he saw
the watch, necklace and money worth around P1,400.00 were gone,
even his shoes were gone. There is no question that the prosecution
has proved the crime of robbery with homicide. 4
APPELLANTS ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
In their briefs, counsels for appellants contend that the lower court
erred:
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(1) In convicting the afore-mentioned appellants on the basis solely


of the repudiated "extra-judicial confessions" of Nestor Dalud and
Jabib Tan; and
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(2) In taking into account the alleged escape of one accused, Jabib
Tan, long after the case was submitted for decision, as a
circumstance in convicting the appellants.
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The basic issue determinative of the merits of the challenged


judgment is the admissibility of the confessions and their sufficiency
to sustain the conviction.
THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
The Solicitor General agreed with the appellants and submitted, in
lieu of of brief for the appellee, a manifestation recommending
acquittal of appellants Nestor Dalud and Isidro Buscato. The thrust
of the Solicitor General's contention is that the evidence of the
prosecution does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not
sufficient to support their conviction.
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Thus, in support of the foregoing, Acting Solicitor General Hugo E.


Gutierrez, Jr. 5made the following manifestation:
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Nestor Dalud's
extra-judicial
confession,
Exhibit "D".
The issue to be resolved at this instance resolves on the evaluation
of the extra-judicial confession of appellant Nestor Dalud and his
repudiation of the same at the trial. Will a denial by appellant of his
participation in the commission of the crime of which he is charged
be given more weight than his confession? Will Nestor Dalud's
defense of alibi be given weight despite his extra-judicial
confession?
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After a careful and dispassionate anlysis of the testimonies of the


witnesses for the prosecution and for the defense, we have come to
the conclusion that Nestor Dalud's attack on the voluntary character
of the confession finds support in the evidence on record.
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1. Nestor Dalud's recital of the means and methods employed by


the investigators in extracting his confession cited specific overt acts
as would preclude any notion that the same are merely products of
his imagination. Moreover, he enumerated the names of those who
had exerted overbearing pressure on him.
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He testified that on January 13, 1973, he and his co-accused were


arrested and confined in the PC stockade in Cotabato City (tsn, pp.
79-80, Jan. 14, 1974); that for two days, they were not allowed to
go out of the stockade (tsn, p. 81,Ibid); that while they were at the
stockade, the guard on duty would sometime call them one-by-one,
and as soon as they reach the iron grills, the guard would pull their
hands and then box them (tsn, pp. 83, Ibid); that on the morning of
January 15, 1973, he and his co-accused were brought to the Office
of the 454th PC Company (tsn, pp. 90-92, Ibid); that he was
investigated in the presence of his two-co-accused (tsn, p. 93, Ibid;
that Sgt. Soriano was writing the answers given by him (tsn, p.
94, Ibid); that at that time, Sgt. Soriano was drunk and in fact
made Dalud drink the Tanduay liquor he had with him (tsn, pp. 9596, Ibid); that everytime he would refuse to answer, Sgt. Soriano
would box him, (tsn, p. 97, Ibid); that Sgt. Soriano was forcing him
to admit that he and his companions were the ones who killed
Rodolfo Lim and when he refused, he was boxed and pushed by Sgt.
Soriano causing him to fall face flat on the cement floor (tsn, pp. 34, Jan. 14, 1974, afternoon session); that he became unconscious
as a result thereof.
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The maltreatment which Nestor Dalud had to undergo on January


15, 1973 was merely a prelude to more crusl and barbaric torture.
Thus, he testified, to wit:

Q In what manner or in what way you were again maltreated the


following morning of January 16, 1973, up in that guardhouse?

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A They made me lie down in the spring bed and tied my both hands
and feet to it. Then, they got a block of ice, the size of the ice is like
this (witness demonstrated) and placed it on top of my face. And
after that they undressed me and they even inserted a piece of
broomstick into the uterus of my penis.
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Q How did they insert a piece of broomstick into uretral part of your
organ?
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A When my pants was taken off, and I could still remember the man
who took off my pants Juansing Legaspi. And after my penis was
exposed, one of the soldiers arrived by the name of Cristy. And then
he looked for a broomstick and he said, "It is better that we play
with him". Then he handled my penis and after that he inserted that
broomstick and when the broomstick was already inserted into my
penis, he twisted the broomstick inside.
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Q At that time, was Sgt. Soriano also present?

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A Yes, sir, he stepped on my chest so that I could not move.


xxx xxx xxx
Q And how long were you on that condition of unbearable pain and
sufferings in the hands of your investigators who were PC soldiers
and are supposed to give you the law and justice they being officer
of the law?
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A Quite a long time, sir, because they started from 9:00 o'clock up
to the time the siren shounded for 12:00 o'clock because could still
hear the siren sounded.
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Q And that ice which was being wrapped and placed on top of your
head was made to melt all the way long?
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A Yes, sir, until the block of ice became small and when this this
became small already, Sgt. Soriano lifted it above my face and let it
drip into my forehead. (tsn, pp. 19-21, 22-24,Ibid).
Nestor Dalud, at this juncture, got a temporary reprieve when a
soldier named Hicotani, who happens to be his friend and who
chanced to witness the maltreatment, remarked: "Why are you
doing this to this person when this person is a good man? (tsn,
p. 26, Ibid). Sgt. Soriano had an altercation with with Hicotani but
after they talked in Ilocano, they seemed to have patched up their
misunderstanding and the latter embraced Dalud and asked him if
he had, already eaten (tsn, pp. 25, 26, 27, 28, Ibid). Thereafter,
Hicotani brought Dalud to the canteen and was given food (tsn, pp.
29-30, Ibid).
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At around 10:00 o'clock in the evening of January 16, 1973, a drunk


constable by the name of Maniano arrived and ordered everybody at
the stockade to to rise (tsn, p. 33, Ibid). The inmates, including
Nestor Dalud, were ordered to make fifty push-ups with admonition
from Maniano that anyone who cannot make the required number of
push-ups will be made to urinate and drink his own urine (tsn, p.
33, Ibid). A Muslim who was not able to comply with Maniano's
order correspondingly meted the penalty (tsn, p. 36, Ibid).
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On January 17, 1973, Nestor Dalud was taken out of detention cell
by Sgt. Vargas and brought to the office of the 454th PC Company
(tsn, p. 43, Ibid). Before he was interrogated, Dalud was brought to
a room by Sgt. Vargas and the latter was forcing the former to
admit his participation in the slaying of Rodolfo Lim and when he
refused, Dalud was made to stand behind a wall and was made a
"punching bag" (tsn, p. 44, Ibid). At one instance, while Dalud was
covering his stomach with his hands, Sgt. Vargas suddenly hit him
in his ears with open palms causing him temporary deafness (tsn,
pp. 47-48, Ibid). Thereafter, Nestor Dalud was made to sit near a
table and Sgt. Vargas started his interrogation in English (tsn, pp.
49-50, Ibid). Sgt. Vargas then started typing the alleged confession,
Exhibit "D" in the presence of Juan C. Nas, Sgt. Anito and Sgt.

Soriano (tsn. pp. 50, 51, 53, Ibid), Sgt. Vargas was at the same
time trying to convince Nestor Dalud to become a state witness in
order that the latter can be exculpated of the charges (tsn, p. 4,
Jan. 15, 1974). After Sgt. Vargas had typed the question and the
corresponding answer, he would read the same to Nestor Dalud and
if the latter would not conform to the answer given, the former
would again maltreat him (tsn p. 6, January 15, 1974). After Sgt.
Vargas had finished preparing Nestor Dalud's confession, he ordered
the latter to sign it but having refused to do so, Sgt. Vargas pulled
out his pistol, pulled out the magazine and took out the bullets and
inserted the same between Dalud's fingers (tsn, pp. 37-38, Ibid).
Sgt. Vargas then got two handkerchiefs and tied it around Dalud's
fingers (tsn, p. 39, Ibid). Sensing the determination of his
interrogators to have him admit his participation and accepting the
futility of his resistance, Nestor Dalud capitulated and said, "It is up
to you, sir" (tsn, p. 40, Ibid).
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Nestor Dalud was then brought to the Office of the Clerk of Court by
Sgt. Vargas and onother PC soldier by the name of Legaspi (tsn, pp.
40-41, Ibid). On their way, Sgt. Vargas and Dalud had the following
conversation:
Q Now, before you were brought to the Office of the Clerk of Court,
by Sgt. Vargas and PC soldier by the name of Legaspi, what did Sgt.
Vargas tell you, if he told you anything?
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A While we were still walking on the road towards the Court, Sgt.
Vargas told me "You just signed this because this is good for you.
This is the only way you can be released or safe." But I told him,
"Why should I sign that when all that was written there is not true".
And Sgt. Vargas told me, "It is up to you."
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Q When Sgt. Vargas told you it is up to you, what did you


understand of that statement?
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A When he said it is up to you, I understood that as soon as we


returned to the PC stockade, he would again subject me to

punishment. So that is why I was afraid. (tsn, pp. 4244,Ibid; Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, forewarned, Nestor Dalud meekly signed his confession before
the Clerk of Court. He knew his fate depended upon how much he
cooperated with the authorities.
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Two days after he signed his confession, Nestor Dalud was made to
tape-record his confesion by Sgt. Vargas (tsn, pp. 44-46, Ibid).
Nestor Dalud was reading his answers from a script given to him by
Sgt. Vargas (tsn, pp. 46-47, Ibid). Although Sgt. Vargas denied that
Nestor Dalud was merely reading his answers from a copy of the
written investigation, the court a quo made the observation "that
the confession and the tape record dovetail with each other" (p.
147, July 26, 1973, Ibid).
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On the other hand, examination of the testimony of Sgt. Jorge


Vargas seems to convey that Nestor Dalud had no qualms in
admitting his participation in the commission of the crime (tsn, pp.
10-11, July 25, 1973). Yet, it must be noted that Nestor Dalud was
initially investigated on January 15, 1973 and it was only
on January 17, 1973 that he signed his confession. What turned
Nestor Dalud into a dove when for two days that he was in custodial
interrogation, he refused to admit participation in the crime? Was it
not due to an overpowering pressure which finally subdued his will?

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Lourdes Dalud, sister of Nestor Dalud, testified that on January 13,


1973, she went to PC Headquarters in Cotabato City to visit her
brother but Sgts. Soriano and Vargas refused to allow her to talk to
her brother (tsn, pp. 27-29, Oct. 18, 1973). The following day, she
again visited her brother and at this time she was able to talk to
him (tsn, pp. 33, 34, Ibid). She noticed that Nestor Dalud had
swelling on the lower portion of his left eye and on his lower lip (tsn,
p. 35, Ibid). Nestor Dalud als confided to her that his chest was
painful and he had difficulty in breathing and exhibited the swellings
on his left breast (tsn, pp. 36-38, Ibid). He also told her that

everytime he was made to confess, bullets were inserted between


his fingers (tsn, p. 38, Ibid).
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Ricardo Ocampo, who accompanied Lourdes Dalud to the PC


Headquarters in Cotabato City, corroborated her testimony, viz a
viz, the external manifestations of violence inflicted on Nestor
Dalud.
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Dick Dalud, father of Nestor Dalud, also testified that on January


18, 1973, he was arrested by PC authorities and placed in the
stockade at the PC Headquarters in Cotabato City (tsn, pp. 41-42,
Oct. 30, 1973). He saw his son sporting a swollen face and
everytime Nestor Dalud would cough, he (Nestor) would vomit
blood (tsn, p. 47, Ibid).
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It is true that the said witnesses are related to Nestor Dalud


(Ricardo Ocampo is Nestor Dalud's brother-in-law) but mere
relationship to the accused does not destroy a witness' credibility.
Their narration of fact bears no positive indication of exaggeration
or falsity. We find in the records no fact nor circumstance that
impels us to doubt or reject their testimonies. Moreover, the lower
court did not make any conclusion concerning their credibility,
hence, there is no reason not to accept their testimonies at face
value.
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The above circumstances notwithstanding, the lower court still


looked upon the confession as free of infirmity. Clearly, that was
error. The constant course of decisions of this Honorable Court
forbids the admission of any confession obtained under such
circumstances. A conviction resting on such proof, and such
proof alone, certainly cannot be allowed to stand.
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2. The failure of Nestor Dalud to complain to Clerk of Court


Benjamin Muasque of the torture he had undergone is not a
guarantee of the voluntary character of his confession. He was
appraised beforehand by Sgt. Jorge Vargas of the consequence of
his failure to sign the confession before the Clerk of Court. ...
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3. The extra-judicial confession suffers from an additional infirmity


in that Nestor Dalud signed the same upon the representation of
Sgt. Jorge Vargas that he would be utilized as a government
witness. ...
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Verily, Nestor Dalud could have signed the confession to obtain the
promised concession.
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4. No less significant is the tape-recorded confession of Nestor


Dalud. It is stated therein that Isidro Buscato ordered Nestor Dalud
to strike the deceased with bamboo pole but the latter hesitated
because the intended victim was his boyhood friend (p. 15, Replay
of Tape Record). Isidro Buscato thereafter poke his knife at Dalud,
thus leaving the latter no other choice but to follow the former's
command (pp. 15-16, Ibid).
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The picture presented by Nestor Dalud has clearly in his favor the
exempting circumstance delineated under Article 12 (6) of the
Revised Penal Code which exempts from criminal liability "any
person who acts under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of an
equal or greater injury." He could have stuck to his confession and
still be acquitted. He need not have repudiated his confession since
it recited facts which could exculpate him from criminal liability. This
is a further circumstance which militates against the voluntary
character of Nestor Dalud's confession.
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5. Nestor Dalud's explanation as to why he did not avail of the


services of a doctor to treat him of injuries resulting from the
torture he had undergone was explained by, as follows:
Q But in spite of all those maltreatments, you were never able to
ask or request for the services of a doctor to treat you?
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A No more, sir, because no one would come there and if I also


report to the soldiers, I think it will not be good because it was the
soldiers who apprehended me. (tsn p. 42, Jan. 29, 1974)
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Alleged voluntary
re-enactment of the
crime
Heavy emphasis was given by the lower court on the participation of
all the accused in the re-enactment of the crime. This circumstance
draws its strength or weakness on the issue of voluntariness of the
confession. Thus, in order that the re-enactment may be given
evidentiary weight, the validity and efficacy of the confession must
first be shown.
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It is to be noted that all the accused were unanimous in denouncing


the re- enactment as "written, produced and directed" by their
torturers. This is not an empty assertion. They had already been
subjected to cruel and painful punishments occasioned by their
earlier refusal to admit their participation in the commission of the
crime. In their determined quest to "solve" the crime, the
authorities had virtually reduced all the accused to mere robots,
having sapped their will of strength, by torture.
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T/Sgts. Francisco Soriano and Jorge Vargas testified, on rebuttal


that they never laid their hands on any one of the accused, much
less, torture them. However, it is significant to note that Emilio
Buscato, father of Isidro Buscato, denounced T/Sgt. Francisco
Soriano's maltreatment of his son in a letter-complaint sent to no
less than the President of the Philippines himself (tsn, p. 35, August
30, 1973; Exhibit "2", p. 186, Rec.). Sgt. Soriano admitted that the
letter complaint was endorsed to the 454th PC Company to which
he belongs (tsn, pp. 44-45, March 5, 1974). Surprisingly, the
investigation was conducted by the unit of which Sgt. Soriano was
the head, with Sgt. Cang, a member of his team, conducting the

investigation (tsn, pp. 45-48, Ibid). Here is, therefore, a situation


where a subordinate was investigating his superior. Surely, Emilio
Buscato cannot expect an impartial investigation of his complaint.
Thus it is that the investigation ended with Emilio Buscato executing
an affidavit of desistance (tsn, p. 25, Ibid).
Death Certificate
of Rodolfo Lim
Both the prosecution and the defense agree in one thing on this
case; that Rodolfo Lim is dead. Yet, a discussion of this case would
not seem complete without mentioning the death certificate of
Rodolfo Lim which was accomplished by Dr. Eduardo Mariano.
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Dr. Mariano testified that he conducted a post-mortem examination


of Rodolfo Lim's body near the river where the same was found
(tsn, pp. 6-7, May 29, 1973). The result of his findings were
handwritten by him and, subsequently, copied by typewriter when
he went back to his office (tsn, pp. 12-13, Ibid). However, it is
significant to note the entries on the handwritten and typewritten
death certificates (Exhibits "A" and "B", "1-Buscato", pp. 3, 185,
Rec.) do not coincide and in fact, the trustworthiness thereof is
suspect, if we consider the following circumstances:
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1. The Certificate of Death, accomplished in Dr. Mariano's own


handwriting, stated that the cause of death is, to wit: wound, stab,
6", left lower abdomen eviscerating, abrasions and contusions, arm
and forearm bilateral, contusion, back of the neck (Exhibit "B", "1Buscato", p. 185, Rec.). All the entries therein are
handwritten except the "contusion at the back of the neck" which
was typewritten. On the other hand, the typewritten Certificate of
Death did not include "abrasions and contusions, arm and forearm
bilateral" (Exhibit "A");
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2. All the entries in the typewritten Certificate of Death (Exhibit "A")


were made on the same typewriter except the entry referring to

"contusion, back to the neck", which obviously, was entered


through another typewriter;
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3. The typewritten words "contusion, back of neck", as appearing


both in Exhibits "A" and "B" appears to have made through the
same typewriter.
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The explanation of Dr. Mariano on the discrepancies aforementioned does not inspire belief. Thus, he testified on crossexamination, as follows:
Q Do you have that original certificate of death with you now?
A Yes, I have it here.

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Q In your findings here, there are two entries, one is stab wound, 6"
or 6 inches and the other is contusion, is that correct?
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A Correct.

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Q When you made the entry, did you make it one at the same time?
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A Yes, sir.

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Q It appears that the entry "Wound stab, 6" long, left lower
abdomen eviscerating" and the other entry "contusion, left neck"
are not the same in type, what can you say about this?
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A Probably when I found out that the typewriter ribbon not


functioning well, I think I transferred to another typewriter, I do not
exactly remember now.
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Q And after transferring to the other typewriter just to type down


the following words "contusion, left neck", you went back to the
former typewriter to type down the subsequent entries such as date
"Jan. 12, 1973" and others as it appears to be the same from the
above entries up to "EDUARDO L. MARIANO, MD, CPH" which are

lightly imprinted than the words "Contusion, left neck", can you
explain this?
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A Well, that is right, "I returned to the former typewriter when the
ribbon was already fixed." (tsn, pp. 14-15, May 29, 1973: Emphasis
supplied.)
It is well to remember that the finding that there was a contusion
on the left neck of the deceased would be vital in this case as this
would corroborate Nestor Dalud's "confession" that he struck the
deceased on the neck with a bamboo. Could it be that the inclusion
of this particular item was a mere afterthought, considering that in
the Certificate of Death accomplished by Dr. Mariano at the recovery
site of the victim's body, there was no handwritten entry as regards
the contusion on the left neck? Moreover, the explanation of Dr.
Mariano as to why he had to use two typewriters in accomplishing
Exhibit "A" taxes credulity. If it is true that the ribbon of the first
typewriter was not functioning well, then why did he not type the
rest of the entries on the second typewriter instead of merely the
entry "contusion, left neck"?
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As earlier stated, the fact of death of Rodolfo Lim is uncontested.


However, there is serious doubt as to the existence of contusion on
his left neck.
Oral confession
of Isidro Buscato
The law on evidence does not require that a confession be in
writing. It is sufficient that it be made in the presence of reliable
and disinterested witnesses (People vs. Castro, 89 Phil. 747).

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T/Sgt. Francisco Soriano testified that on the afternoon of January


16, 1973, he investigated Isidro Buscato and that the latter
admitted to him that he had stabbed Rodolfo Lim (tsn, p. 15, July
17, 1973). After he had reduced Buscato's confession in writing.
Soriano asked the latter to sign the same but Buscato requested to

have time to think it over (tsn, p, 16, Ibid), On the next day, when
Buscato was again asked to sign his confession, he refused to do so
(Ibid). Except for Soriano, no other witness was presented to testify
on the substance of Buscato's alleged confession.
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Admittedly, an accused who had confessed voluntarily would have


no objection to reducing the confession to writing, to be signed by
him, which, in this case, Isidro Buscato refused to do. What could
have spurred Buscato's decision not to sign his "confession"? Or
better still, did Isidro Buscato really make a "confession"?
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Isidro Buscato denied that he ever made a confession. In fact, all


throughout the investigation and despite the maltreatment he
underwent, he stoutly maintained his innocence. Like Nestor Dalud,
he named names and recited specific overt acts in his painful
recollection of the methods employed to extract his confession.
Isidro Buscato's testimony, taken in relation to that of Nestor Dalud,
show that the PC investigators have an impressive array of thirddegree methods in extracting confessions. Without necessarily
implying that Isidro Buscato was subjected to a lesser degree of
torture than Nestor Dalud, we beg to quote the more significant
portions of his testimony, viz a viz, the inhuman and barbaric
methods employed by the investigators, to wit:
Q What did they do to you that morning?

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A They made me punching bag.

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Q Who were they?

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A Sgt. Soriano, Legaspi, Abobo and Visitacion. Those are the only
ones whom I know. There are many others but I do not know them
because they are civilians.
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Q You said you made a punching bag. Will you please tell us how
how you were made a punching bag?
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A First, they let me stand and tied me to a post. And then, they
undress me, took off my pants and my shirt. They told me if I will
confess, they would not harm me. And because I would not confess,
they started hitting my body and even kicked my knees with their
combat shoes. By noontime, they stopped and let me rest. So, they
untied me and then they returned me to the stockade. By one
o'clock in the afternoon, they again took me out.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And while you were lying down on a small bench, what
happened?
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A Sgt. Soriano got a towel. He wet this towel and covered my face
with this towel at the same time they kept on hitting my body.

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Q You mean you were being hit while lying down on a bench?
A Yes sir, because I would not confess.

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Q While the wet towel was place on your face?

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A Yes, sir, it was pressed against my nose and I could even hardly
breath. (tsn, pp. 32-35, January 30, 1974; Emphasis supplied).
xxx xxx xxx
Q What were the maltreatment inflicted on you that evening of
January 17, 1973?
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A The same, sir. They again let me lie down on a bench because
they were drinking Tanduay, Sgt. Soriano told me to confess
because if I will not confess they will pour Tanduay into my nose.
And because I would not confess, they poured Tanduay into my
nose. And after all the contents of the Tanduay were consumed,
they struck me on the chest with the bottle. (tsn, pp. 41-42, Ibid)
xxx xxx xxx

Q What kind of maltreatment did they effect on you from 2:30 of


January 18 to one o'clock A.M. of January 19?
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A While they investigated me, I was sitting and then they let my
hand lay on the table with open palm and made it as an ash tray.
They put cigaretts which are lighted and put out the lights of the
cigarettes on my palm used as ash tray and they insisted me to
confess but I did not confess. Some of them hit me with the butt of
the garand at my back.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Did they inflict any injuries on your body?

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A They again inflicted harm on my body so that I would confess but


I said to them that I cannot confess because I have not done
anything wrong. Because of that, Visitacion squeezed my testicle
and Sgt. Mariano who is now assigned in Ilocos Sur poked a piece
of wire from battery of the telephone and connected that wiring to
my testicle, with electric current, and then I trembled when I was
electrocuted with the wire of the battery of the telephone. So, I lost
consciousness because at the same time they kept on boxing me.

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Q Who were the PC soldiers who were maltreating you that evening,
of January 18, 1973, if you know?
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A Sgt. Soriano, Zapanta, Legaspi, Abobo, Visitacion and others


whom I did not know because they have no nameplates on their
shirts and they were only wearing military undershirts. (tsn, pp. 4548, Ibid).
Isidro Buscato's testimony on this point finds corroboration on the
letter-complaint sent by Buscato's father to the President of the
Philippines denouncing the PC investigators for maltreating his son
(Exhibit "2", p. 186, Rec.).
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Clearly the court a quo in giving weight to the alleged oral


confession of Isidro Buscato.
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The following circumstances further puts grave doubt on Isidro


Buscato's participation in the commission of the crime:
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1. The prosecution's version of the incident, as established in the


repudiated extra-judicial confession of Nestor Dalud and Jabib Tan
(Exhibits "C" and "D", pp. 7-12, Rec.), is that Isidro Buscato
stabbed Rodolfo Lim and after Buscato had divested the deceased of
his money and watch, Buscato brought the body of the deceased
towards the middle of the river to be carried away by the current of
the river. After the arrest of Buscato, two blue denim pants
belonging to him were sent to the National Bureau of Investigation
and upon request of Fiscal Aquiles Navajos, was examined to
determine the presence of human blood. As per the Biology Report
of the NBI, the examination yielded a negative result (Exhibit "3"
Buscato, p. 187, Rec.). Considering the wound of the deceased,
there must have been profused bleeding. Yet, despite the fact that
Buscato allegedly brought the body of the deceased to the middle of
the river, there was no trace at all of human blood in Buscato's
pants;
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2. The crime was supposed to have been committed betwen 10:00


o'clock to 12:00 o'clock in the evening of January 12, 1973. Isidro
Buscato was alleged to have taken the money, watch and necklace
of the deceased. If further appears that Buscato was apprehended
at 9:00 o'clock in the morning of January 13, 1973 (tsn, p. 21
January 30, 1974). There was, therefore, no opportunity by him
from the deceased nor to dispose of the watch and the necklace. Yet
the crack PC investigators were not able to recover any of the stolen
articles.
Rebuttal testimonies
of Sgt. Soriano and
Vargas do not destroy
appellants' claim of
maltreatment.

Appellants Nestor Dalud and Isidro Buscato mentioned by name


nine member of the Philippine Constabulary who maltreated them
with the sole purpose of extracting their confessions, namely: Sgt.
Soriano, Sgt. Vargas, Juansing Legaspi, Cristy, Maniano, Abobo,
Zapanta and Visitacion (tsn, pp. 19-21, 33, Jan. 14, 1974, Dalud;
tsn. pp. 45-18, Jan. 30, 1974, Buscato). However, only Soriano and
Vargas were presented to rebut the testimonies of herein
appellants. They denied the appellants' allegation of
maltreatment.
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Assuming, arguendo, that Soriano and Vargas did not inflict bodily
harm on the appellants, how about the others? Not only were they
not presented on rebuttal, there is nothing in the testimony of
Soriano and Vargas that would indicate that the said persons were
not present during the interrogation conducted on the appellants or
that there is nobody in their unit carrying such names. The failure of
the prosecution to present the said persons certainly lends
authenticity to the appellants' claim of maltreatment.
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Thus, notwithstanding the rebuttal testimony of Soriano and Vargas,


the claim of Nestor Dalud and Isidro Buscato that they were
physically abused by the afore-mentioned persons still stand
firm. ... 6
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Moreover, as indicated by the counsel for the appellants, the


extrajudicial confession of Nestor Dalud contained statements that
are so inherently improbable that they could not have reflected the
truth. Thus, according to the alleged extrajudicial confession, after
placing the victim in the sack under the Quirino Bridge, Boy Buscato
then pulled the sack into the middle of the river and left it to float
with the current of the river. Counsel for the appellants, however,
showed that the depth of the Rio Grande River near the bank during
low tide is about two (2) fathoms Consequently, it was physically
impossible for a man of the height of Boy Buscato to have waded
into the middle of the river with the body of the deceased in tow.
This is especially true considering that the Rio Grande River is a
very wide navigable river and that at the bank near the Philippine

Trade Center where the incident was supposed to have happened, is


quite deep since it is used as a berthing place of motor launches to
load and unload their cargoes. Appellants have likewise shown the
improbability that the body of the deceased could have floated
downstream during the interval of about nine (9) hours for a
distance of about one kilometer, considering that according to
medico-legal authorities, a dead body does not immediately float
because of its natural tendency to sink under water and it is only
after the body undergoes bacterial decomposition and thus
accumulates gases that it rises to the surface of the water and
floats. It has been observed that "bacterial decomposition makes its
appearance in the first two days after submersion during the
summer months." 7 There is no medical testimony, however, to the
effect that the body of the deceased was found in a stage of
decomposition or in a bloated condition.
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On the basis of the record, We, therefore, find that the position
taken by the Solicitor General is fully justified. As early as the case
of U.S. v. Sgt. De Leon, 8 this Court emphasized that courts "are
slow to accept extrajudicial confessions when they are subsequently
disputed, unless they are corroborated by other testimony." Here,
independent of the afore-mentioned extrajudicial confessions, there
is no other evidence which would directly link the herein appellants
to the crime. It appears, moreover, that such confessions were
procured by force, violence or threats. They are, therefore,
inadmissible and cannot be used as evidence to prove the guilt of
the appellants.
THE RIGHT AGAINST SELF-INCRIMINATION
The constitutional right of a person against self-incrimination
precludes the use of confessions obtained from him thru force,
violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiate his
free will. 9
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The doctrine that one accused of crime cannot be compelled to


testify against himself is predicated upon principles of humanity and

civil liberty. The maxim Nemo tenetur seipsum accusare had its
origin in the protests against the abuses and manifestly unjust
methods of interrogating accused persons in the inquisitorial Court
of the Star Chamber. It was erected as an additional barrier for the
protection of the people against the exercise of arbitrary power. As
observed in an early case: 10
... While the admissions or confessions of the prisoner, when
voluntarily and freely made, have always ranked high in the scale of
incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his
apparent connection with a crime under investigation, the case with
which the questions put to him may assume an inquisitorial
character, the temptation to press the witness unduly, to browbeat
him if he be timid or reluctant, to push him into a corner, and to
entrap him into fatal contradictions, ... made the system so odious
as to give rise to a demand for its total abolition. The change in the
English criminal procedure in that particular seems to be founded
upon no statute and no judicial opinion, but upon a general and
silent acquiescence of the courts in a popular demand. But, however
adopted, it has become finally embedded in English as well as in
American jurisprudence. So deeply did the iniquities of the ancient
system impress themselves upon the minds of the American
colonists that the states, with one accord, made a denial of the right
to question an accused person a part of their fundamental law, so
that a maxim which in England was a mere rule of evidence,
became clothed in this country with impregnability of a
constitutional amendment. 11
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The constitutional foundation underlying the privilege against selfincrimination "is the respect a government ... must accord to the
dignity and integrity of its citizens. To maintain a 'fair stateindividual balance', to require the government 'to shoulder the
entire load, 12 to respect the inviolability of the human personality,
our accusatory system of criminal justice demands that the
government seeking to punish an individual procure the evidence
against him by its own independent labors, rather than by the cruel,
simple expedient of compelling it from his own mouth." 13
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As explained in U.S. v. Navarro, 14 this provision against selfincrimination was established on grounds of "public policy and
humanity - of policy, because if the party were required to testify, it
would place the witness under the strongest temptation to commit
perjury, and of humanity, because it would prevent the extorting of
confessions by duress."
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As noted by the Wickersham Commission in its report in 1931, "not


only does the use of the third degree involve a flagrant violation of
law, but it involves also the dangers of false confession, and it tends
to make police and prosecutors less zealous in the search for
objective evidence. ... The third degree brutalizes the police,
hardens the prisoner against society, and lowers the esteem in
which the administration of justice is held by the public."15
THE CRITERIA OF JUDICIAL INQUIRY
The constitutional inquiry is not whether the conduct of the police
officers in obtaining the confession was shocking, but whether the
confession was free and voluntary; that is, it must not be extracted
by any sort of threats or violence, nor obtained by any direct or
implied promises, nor by the exertion of improper influence. 16 It
has been recognized that "coercion can be mental as well as
physical, and that the blood of the accused is not the only hallmark
of an unconstitutional inquisition." 17 As stated by Justice Fernando
inPeople v. Bagsala, 18 any form of coercion whether physical,
mental or emotional renders a confession inadmissible. "What is.
essential for its validity is that it proceeds from the free will of the
person confessing," In other words, the person must not have been
compelled to incriminate himself. As early as the case of U. S. v. De
Santos, 19 this Court, speaking thru Justice Trent, explained the
rationale for the rule rejecting the admissibility of forced
confessions, thus:
If a confession be free and voluntary - the deliberate act of the
accused with a full comprehension of its significance, there is no
impediment to its admission as evidence and it then becomes

evidence of a high order; since it is supported by the presumption a very strong one - that no person of normal mind will deliberate
and knowingly confess himself to be the perpetrator of a crime,
especially if it be a serious crime, unless prompted by truth and
conscience.
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... But if the accused shows that the confession was involuntary, as
that term is used with reference to confessions, the confession
cannot be considered as evidence of the guilt of the accused. His
conviction must depend upon other evidence. Involuntary
confessions are rejected by all courts - by some on the ground that
a confession so obtained is unreliable; and by some on the grounds
of humanitarian principles which adhor all forms of torture or
unfairness toward the accused in criminal proceedings. But either
theory arrives at the same goal. Such a confession is not legal
evidence and must be rejected. If the accused satisfactorily shows
that it was made involuntarily, the confession stands discredited in
the eyes of the law and is as a thing which never existed. ...
It may be relevant to reiterate here the admonition to police
authorities emphatically expressed by Justice Fernando, while
speaking for the Court, in People v. Bagsala, supra:
It is likewise timely to impress anew on police officials that the
imperative requirements of truth and humanity condemn the
utilization of force and violence to extract confessions from unwilling
victims. Crimes must be punished and the guilty must not be
allowed to escape. A desirable end cannot, however, be attained by
unconstitutional means. There should be less than full respect for
the law if in the process of enforcing it lawless methods are
employed. ... (at p. 244.)
This right against self-incrimination guaranteed in the fundamental
charter cannot be abridged. "If the government becomes a
lawbreaker", once observed Justice Brandeis, "it breeds contempt
for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites

anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the


end justifies the means ... would bring terrible retribution." 20
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There is no question that cruel or degrading treatment to secure


confessions from one suspected of a crime seriously violates his
fundamental human rights, the protection of which is basic in a
regime of law and justice.
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We thus conclude that without such extrajudicial confessions the


evidence of the prosecution has failed to overcome the
constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of the
appellants. 21
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ACCORDINGLY, the appealed decision is reversed and appellants


Isidro (Boy) Buscato and Nestor Dalud are ACQUITTED. No costs.

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Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Honorable, the Secretary


of Justice, for the institution of appropriate action against the
persons responsible for the maltreatment of appellants.
Fernando (Chairman), Barredo, Aquino and Concepcion, Jr. JJ.,
concur.
G.R. No. L-26182 May 31, 1971
THE PEOPLE OF PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
TOMAS BAGASALA, JUANITO BAGASALA, ANICETO RONAN, SALVADOR RONAN and
ANICETO REX, defendants, JUANITO BAGASALA, defendant-appellant.
Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, Assistant Solicitor General Antonio G. Ibarra and
Solicitor Hector C. Fule for plaintiff-appellee.
Jose Agbulos for defendant-appellant.

FERNANDO, J.:
The plea of appellant Juanito Bagasala for the reversal of his conviction for the crime of robbery with
homicide and serious physical injuries is based on the insufficiency of the proof to demonstrate his
beyond reasonable doubt as the confession attributed to him was allegedly obtained by means of

torture and the infliction of body injuries and there was not enough testimonial evidence to justify the
finding that he was liable for the crime committed the information for the above offense was filed
against five accused, but only Tomas Bagasala and Juanito Bagasala were adjudged guilty. 1 An
appeal was duly taken to this Court by both of them, but Tomas Bagasala having escaped from the
provincial jail on March 24, 1966, his appeal was dismissed. 2 Juanito Bagasala is thus the sole appellant.
As will hereafter be shown his contention that an extra-judicial confession was involuntary, having been
exorted by force, must by given credence. He is not, however, entitled to an aquital, as the oral testimony
contrary to his assertion did clearly point him as one of the perpetrators of the offense charged. The
conviction cannot be reversed.
The tragic occurrence took place on June 10, 1961. At about 2:00 o'clock that morning, Macario
Ongkit and his wife, Juliana Reginaldo, were asleep in their house in Barrio Cadlan, Pili, Camarines
Sur. They were awakened by the barking of their dog. Macario stood up and armed himself with his
bolo and an iron pipe. Proceeding to the sala, he saw five men entering his house through the doors
leading to the veranda as well as the kitchen. 3 In no time at all, one of them, recognized by him as
appellant Juanito Bagasala, wrested the iron pipe. Another, Tomas Bagasala, in turn sought to take away
from him his bolo. Iron pipe in hand, appellant was heard by Ongkit demanding from his wife, Juliana
Reginaldo, her key, prompting her to exclaim: "Juanita why are you doing this to us?" This was followed
by her plea for help, as she was beaten up with such weapon. 4
Tomas Bagasala in turn succeeded in relieving Ongkit of his bolo and to use it against the latter,
wounding him on the back of his head and thus causing him to fall to the floor. It was not until almost
dawn that morning that he regained consciousness. His son, It was then attending to his wounds. He
was asked by his father to report what happened to the authorities. Ongkit was then taken to the
provincial hospital in Naga City so that he could receive medical care. He likewise testified that of the
raiding party of five, he could identify only appellant and Tomas Bagasala. On the occasion of such
robbery, he suffered a loss of one sack of rice valued at ten pesos. 5
With the incident being reported to the Philippine Constabulary at Naga City on the same morning,
two sergeants 6and two corporals 7 were directed to investigate the occurrence. Upon their arrival, what
greeted them at the scene of the crime 10:00 o'clock that morning were the lifeless body of the wife,
Juliana Reginaldo, lying flat on the floor the iron pipe and the bolo stained with blood. 8 They were told by
the son, Rafael Ongkit, that his father was in the provincial hospital in Naga City. Proceeding to said
place, Ongkit pointed to appellant and Tomas Bagasala with three other persons who were responsible
for the killing and the robbery. 9 Acting on this information, they brought the two to the hospital where they
were readily identified by Ongkit as the perpetrators. 10 The death of the wife, according to their doctor
who performed the autopsy, was due to the "acute internal and secondary hemorrhage, because of the
multiple wounds on the head and fracture of the skull." 11
The oral testimony of Macario Ongkit, in the opinion of the lower court, was "corroborated and
strengthened by the [extra-judicial statement] under oath" of appellant Juanita Bagasala wherein it
was admitted that he was among the group of five persons who went to the house of the Ongkit
spouses precisely for the purpose of taking away the palay stored therein. 12 There, was thus a
rejection of the claim made that such confession was involuntary. The defense of alibi put up by appellant
was rejected in view of the positive identification. Hence his conviction for the crime of robbery with
homicide and serious physical injuries, being sentenced to pay the heirs of Juliana Reginaldo the amount
of P5,000.00 and to pay Macario Ongkit the amount of P10.00 representing the value of the palay.
If the conviction of appellant were predicated solely on the confession, he would be entitled to
acquittal, his attack on its voluntary character having support in the evidence of record. There is,

however, sufficient basis for the finding of guilt as the testimonial evidence is sufficiently wieghty and
the defense of alibi utterly unconvincing.
1. The Constitution in its Bill of Rights explicitly guarantees: "No person shall be compelled to be a
witness against himself." 13 There is thus a safeguard against the compulsory disclosure of incriminating
facts. It does not bar, as Justice Tuason pointed out, the conviction of an accused "on a voluntary
extrajudicial statement ...." 14 Certainly, however, where the confession is involuntary being due to
maltreatment or induced by fear or intimidation, there is a violation of this constitutional provision. Any
form of coercion whether physical, mental, or emotional thus stamps it with inadmissibility. What is
essential for its validity is that it proceeds from the free will of the person confessing.
This is the prevailing principle even prior to the Constitution. Both under the Philippine Bill of 1902
and the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 as well as a statute enacted in 1903, there is the
requirement that a confession to be received as evidence must be shown to be freely and voluntarily
made and not the result of violence intimidation threat, menace, or promise or offer of reward or
leniency. 15 Why it should be thus was explained in an early leading case: "Involuntary confessions are
rejected by all courts by some on the ground that a concession so obtained is unreliable and by some
on the grounds of humanitarian principles which abhor all forms of torture or unfairness toward the
accused in criminal proceedings. But either theory arrives at the same goal. Such a confession is not
legal evidence and must be rejected. If the accused satisfactorily shows that it was made involuntarily, the
confessions stand discredited the eyes of the law and is a thing which never existed." 16 Such a thought
finds expression in an even earlier decision, United States v. Navarro, 17 promulgated in 1904. Thus: "The
provision that no one is bound to criminate himself is older than the Government of the United States. At
an early day it became a part of the common law of England. It was established on the grounds of public
policy and humanity of policy, because if the party were required to testify, it would place the witness
under the strongest temptation to commit the crime of perjury, and of humanity, because it would prevent
the extorting of confessions by duress." 18
It is no surprise then that where there was ample basis in a habeas corpus proceeding for
petitioner's contention as to the signature on his confessions in the eight cases where he did plead
guilty being due to his desire to avoid any further torture or maltreatment, this Court, through Justice
Perfecto reached this conclusion: "The facts proved by petitioner convince us that the sentences
rendered in the eight cases in question are null and void and should not be given any effect." 19 As a
result, the release from confinement of petitioner was ordered. Then, too, in line with this controlling
doctrine, there is this relevant excerpt from an opinion of Justice Labrador: "We cannot close our ears to
the stories of maltreatment used to extort the confession in question. Courts are not unaware that some
officers of the law resort to illegal and reprehensible tactics to extort confessions, and had occasions to,
express condemnation of such tactics. 20
It is unfortunate that the lower court failed to abide by the authoritative doctrines that ban the use of
involuntary confessions in accordance with the constitutional provision against self-incrimination
which, in the language of Justice Sanchez, should be "mandatory", being "a valuable and
substantive right." 21 Appellant testified that on June 10, 1961, while he was being investigated at the
constabulary barracks, he was boxed repeatedly in different parts of the body, at one time made to lie
down after being blindfolded and then water poured on his face. 22 He repeated that before signing the
confession on June 13, 1961, he was likewise subjected to physical maltreatment, having been boxed
many times on the breast and stomach. 23 His testimony received confirmation from a competent and
neutral source, Dr. Pedro Villafuerte, the city health officer of Naga, who examined appellant on June 27,
1961 in the provincial jail of Camarines Sur seventeen days after his being apprehended and taken to the
constabulary barracks. When asked what he found on the person of appellant, this was his answer: "He

has five lesions here. Tenderness of the stomach on the left; elongated scar, lower third of the forearm;
healing wound, circular shape on the elbow, left side; sensation of deafness and easily nervous." 24 When
questioned as to what could have caused the tenderness, he replied as follows: "That is trauma. The
elongated scar on the lower third might have been produced by a stick; the healing wound circular in
form, he might have fallen on a hard object and the sensation of deafness, if you try to hit the two ears
with the palm, there is compression of the ear drum, so that the hearing is interfered with. But this will be
temporary in nature. Easily nervous, because of fear. I examined him in jail." 25

The above testimony notwithstanding, the lower court could still look upon such confession as free of
any infirmity. Clearly, that was error, as pointed out by appellant. The constant course of decisions of
this honorable Tribunal, true to the meaning of the self-incrimination clause forbids the admission of
any confession obtained under such circumstances. It would be to render nugatory a valuable
constitutional right if judges of the courts of first instance display less than full sensitivity to its
command. A conviction resting on such proof, and such proof alone, certainly cannot be allowed to
stand.
It is likewise timely to impress anew on police officials that the imperative requirements of truth and
of humanity condemn the utilization of force and violence to extract confessions from unwilling
victims. Crime must be punished and the guilty must not be allowed to escape. A desirable end
cannot, however, be attained by unconstitutional means. There should be less than full respect for
the law if in the process of enforcing it lawless methods are employed. Once again, then, this Court
is called upon to manifest in the strongest language possible its abhorrence for the employment of
force to compel a person to sign a statement acknowledging guilt. A decent regard for the dignity that
attaches to every human being as such will be satisfied with nothing less.
2. Nonetheless, a reversal is not called for. There is sufficient competent and credible evidence of
record pointing unerringly to the guilt of appellant. His brief, in two other errors assigned would
impute the perpetration of the deed "to someone else." 26 By that cryptic statement, reference is made
to the testimony of his own thirteen-year-old daughter, Soledad Bagasala, who did, on the witness stand,
declare that on the morning of June 9, 1969 there was a quarrel between the Ongkit spouses presumably
due to the wife having applied to work as a maid in the household of a certain family in Naga. 27 She even
went so far as to state that she saw the deceased hitting, with a piece of pipe, the head of her husband,
Macario Ongkit, who retaliated by using the bolo on her. 28 Certainly, it is understandable why the lower
court could not be expected that such an assertion, coming from the daughter, could disprove what was
testified to by Macario Ongkit as to the fatal beating inflicted on his wife by appellant on the occasion of a
robbery.
Nor could appellant's responsibility for the gory occurrence be wiped away by the simple disclaimer
that he was, during the night of June 9, 1961, asleep in his house, leaving the place only the next
morning to harvest Palay. 29His defense of alibi was sought to be bolstered by still another member of
the family, his wife, who affirmed that on the evening of June 9, 1961 appellant was sleeping in their
house, but likewise admitted that the evidence of the Ongkit spouses was only about fifty meters
away. 30 The lower court did not accept such a version. It is understandable why. His identification coming
from a neighbor was easily believable. Such an alibi which did not prelude appellants having taken the
time to go with his other co-accused in a house only fifty meters away during the course of the evening,
as not calculated to impress any court of justice with its truth. As was stressed in Justice Castro's opinion
in People v. Alcantara: 31 "The appellant's main defense in exculpation is alibi. It must he stressed at the
outset that alibi is one of the weakest defenses that can be resorted to by an accused, especially if there
is direct testimony of an eyewitness duly corroborated by that of another, not only because it is inherently
weak and unreliable but also because of the case of fabricating evidence of alibi and the difficulty of

checking or rebutting." 32 People vs. Estrada 33 was cited in support of such a view. Thus: "No
jurisprudence in criminal case more settled than the rule that alibi is the weakest of all defense and that
the same should be rejected when the identity of the accused has been sufficiently and positively
established by eyewitnesses to the crime. Such should be the rule, for as a defense, alibi is easy to
concoct, and difficult to disapprove. And for alibi to prosper, it is not enough to prove that defendant was
somewhere else when the crime was committed, but he must, likewise, demonstrate that it was physically
impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time." 34 Only last January, such a view
was reiterated by the Chief Justice in People v. Provo 35 in these words: "Needless to say, as one of the
weakest defenses available in criminal cases, the alibi set up by appellant herein cannot offset the
testimony of Benita Mayuyu, who positively identified him as one of those who seized Matignas Serrano,
at Pisok, in the evening of October 9, 1958 ...." 36 In the light of the foregoing, the guilt of the accused
having been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, the inadmissibility of the confession extorted from
appellant could not justify a reversal of his conviction. 37

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of December 28, 1965 finding Juanita Bagasala guilty of the
crime of robbery with homicide and serious physical injuries and sentencing him to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua is affirmed, with the modification that the amount of indemnity to the heirs of
the deceased Juliana Reginaldo should be in the sum of P12,000.00. Costs against appellant.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Villamor and Makasiar,, JJ., concur.
Castro, Teehankee and Barredo, JJ., took no part.

[G.R. No. 104383*. July 12, 2001]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. VALERIANO


AMESTUZO y VIAS, FEDERICO AMPATIN y SABUSAB, ALBINO
BAGAS y DALUHATAN and DIASCORO VIAS y ODAL, accused,
ALBINO BAGAS y DALUHATAN, accused-appellant.
DECISION
KAPUNAN, J.:

One of the cardinal rules of criminal law is that the guilt of the accused must be proven
beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. If 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, then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral
certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. [1] In the present case, there being a doubt as
to the guilt of accused-appellant, the constitutional presumption of innocence stands and he must
be acquitted.
This is an appeal from the decision dated November 28, 1991 of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 131, Kalookan City in Criminal Case No. 36930 finding accused-appellant Albino Bagas
guilty of the complex crime of robbery in band with double rape and sentencing him accordingly.
At about nine-thirty in the evening of February 22, 1991, a group of eight armed men
wearing masks entered the house of complainant Perlita delos Santos Lacsamana at Sacred Heart
Village, Kalookan City and robbed the said premises of valuables in the total amount
of P728,000.00. In the course of the robbery, two members of the gang raped Maria Fe Catanyag
and Estrella Rolago, niece and employee, respectively of complainant Lacsamana.
On February 27, 1991, accused-appellant Albino Bagas, Valeriano Amestuzo, Federico
Ampatin, Dioscoro Vias and four other accused, whose identities are unknown and who are still
at large up to the present, were charged with the complex crime of robbery in band with double
rape under the following information:

That on or about the 22nd day of February 1991, in Kalookan City, Metro Manila, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring
together and mutually helping one another, all armed with guns, with intent of gain,
and by means of violence, threats and intimidation upon the person of Perlita delos
Santos de Lacsamana, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take,
rob and carry away the following, to wit:
Cash money in the amount of -----------P128,000.00
Jewelries worth ------------------------- 600,000.00
Total -------------------------------

P728,000.00

all belonging to said complainant, to the damage and prejudice of the latter, in the
aforesaid amount of P728,000.00; and on the occasion thereof, said accused
conspiring together and mutually helping one another likewise by means of force and
violence and with the use of their weapons, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have
sexual intercourse with Fe Catanyag y Cabaero and Estrella Rolago y Madrid both
residents of said house, against their will and without their consent.
Contrary to law.[2]
On arraignment, all the accused including accused-appellant Albino Bagas pleaded Not
Guilty to the charge. Thereafter, trial ensued.
The facts as found by the trial court and as presented in the Solicitor Generals Brief are as
follows:

The incident happened at the compound of Block 5, Road 32, Phase II of the Sacred
Heart Village in Kalookan City (pp. 6-7, TSN, July 2, 1991). In the compound are the
main house where Mrs. Perlita Lacsamana resides and another house which serves as
the office and quarters for Lacsamanas employees. In between of these two houses is
about three (3) meter-wide area where the dirty kitchen and the garage are found. In
the first floor of the main house is the masters bedroom, and on the second floor is
the guestroom (pp. 6-8, TSN, July 2, 1991).
While at the masters bedroom on that particular evening at about 9:30 p.m.,
Lacsamana overheard her maid, cried aray, aray, aray. She immediately went out
but as soon as she opened the door of her room, two (2) men (one of them is accused
Amestuzo while the other one remains unarrested) poked their guns on her. At gun
point, Lacsamana, Lea, Edwin, and Belen were forcibly brought to the second floor of
the main house. Thereat, Lacsamana saw four (4) other male persons ransacking her
premises. The said male persons, armed with guns and knives, tied her including all
her employees and members of her household with the use of torn electric fan wire
and television wire. After that they were told to lie down with face against the floor
but a minute later she was asked where the masters bedroom is and when she
answered that it is on the ground floor, she was again forcefully brought down. On her
way down, she saw, aside from the six (6) male persons who were inside her house,
two (2) other male persons (later identified as accused Ampatin and Vias) outside the
main house but within the compound (pp. 8-10, TSN, July 2, 1991).
Once they were already inside the masters bedroom, the six (6 ) armed male persons
(two (2) of them were Amestuzo and Bagas) ransacked the same and took all her
monies, jewelries, shoes, jackets, colored television and imported wine. Likewise,
aforesaid accused ate the foods found by them in their kitchen. (pp.10-11, 13, TSN,
July 2, 1991).

After ransacking the room, two (2) of the accused, one (1) of them is Amestuzo,
brought Estrella Rolago inside her room and afterwhich she was in turn brought to the
guest room. Thereat she heard Rolago pleading Maawa kayo, maawa kayo then
after ten (10) minutes, Rolago, with bloodstain on her shorts, was brought in back to
the guest room (pp. 13-14, TSN, July 2, 1991). Rolago was raped by Amestuzo (pp.
17-20, TSN, July 3, 1991).
Almost simultaneously, Bagas likewise sexually assaulted and ravished Fe Catanyag
(pp. 38-40, TSN, July 3, 1991; pp. 2-5, TSN, July 4, 1991). Thereafter, Bagas shouted
at her to stand up and although she was experiencing pain on her private part which
was bleeding at that time, she stood up, dressed up and proceeded to the servants
quarter (pp. 4-5, TSN, July 4, 1991).
Thereafter, Mrs, Lacsamana shouted for help. Sensing that the accused had already
left, they locked the door. With the help of her employer and co-employees, more
particularly Nanding, she and Rolago were brought the nearby Neopolitan Clinic and
from there they proceeded to the St. Lukes Hospital where Dr. Brion treated
Catanyag and Rolago (pp. 6-7, TSN, July 4, 1991; pp. 19-20, TSN, July 3, 1991). [3]
On November 28, 1991, the trial court rendered judgment convicting all the accused. The
dispositive portion of the trial courts decision reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, this Court renders judgment CONVICTING accused VALERIANO


AMESTUZO y VIAS, FEDERICO AMPATIN y SABUSAB, ALBINO BAGAS y
DALUHATAN, DIOSCORO VINAS y ODAL of the complex crime of ROBBERY
IN BAND WITH DOUBLE RAPE and sentences each of them to suffer
imprisonment of DOUBLE RECLUSION PERPETUA and orders them to jointly and
severally indemnify to complainant Perlita delos Santos de Lacsamana the amount of
P800,000.00 representing the value of monies and properties taken forcibly away by
the accused and to indemnify, jointly and severally, Ma. Fe Catanyag and Estrella
Rolago the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND (P50,000.00) PESOS each.
SO ORDERED.[4]
From the judgment of conviction by the trial court, only herein accused-appellant Bagas
appealed to this Court. His appeal is based mainly on (1) the alleged deprivation of his
constitutional right to be represented by counsel during his identification, (2) the trial courts
error in giving due weight to the open court identification of him which was based on a
suggestive and irregular out-of-court identification, and (3) the trial courts improper rejection of
his defense of alibi.
Accused-appellant maintains that from the time he was arrested until he was presented to the
complainants for identification, he was deprived of the benefit of counsel. He narrates the
circumstances surrounding his arrest and investigation as follows:

On February 26, 1991, four days after the alleged incident, a group of policemen together
with accused Federico Ampatin, who was then a suspect, went to the handicrafts factory in NIA
Road, Pasay City where accused-appellant was working as a stay-in shell cutter. They were
looking for a certain Mario and searched the first and second floors of the building. Failing to
find said Mario, the police hit Ampatin at the back of his neck with a gun and uttered, Niloloko
lang yata tayo ng taong ito and Magturo ka ng tao kahit sino. It was at this juncture that
Ampatin pointed to accused-appellant Bagas as he was the first person Ampatin chanced to look
upon.
Thereafter, he was arrested and made to board the police vehicle together with accused
Ampatin. While on board the jeep, accused Ampatin told him that he (Ampatin) committed an
error in pointing him out to the police, namumukaan lang niya ako, napagkamalian lang niya
ako. They were brought to the Urduja Police Station in Kalookan City and placed under
detention together with the other two accused, Amestuzo and Vias. When the complainants
arrived, accused-appellant was brought out, instructed to turn to the left and then to the right and
he was asked to talk. Complainant Lacsamana asked him if he knew accused Amestuzo and
Vias. Accused-appellant answered in the negative. The policemen told the complainants that
accused-appellant was one of the suspects. This incited complainants to an emotional frenzy,
kicking and hitting him. They only stopped when one of the policemen intervened.[5]
Accused-appellant alleges that the trial court committed a serious error when it deprived him
of his constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer during his investigation. His singular
presentation to the complainants for identification without the benefit of counsel, accusedappellant avers, is a flagrant violation of the constitutional prerogative to be assisted by counsel
to which he was entitled from the moment he was arrested by the police and placed on
detention. He maintains that the identification was a critical stage of prosecution at which he
was as much entitled to the aid of counsel as during the trial proper.
The contention is not meritorious. The guarantees of Sec. 12 (1), Art. III of the 1987
Constitution, or the so-called Miranda rights, may be invoked only by a person while he is under
custodial investigation.[6] Custodial investigation starts when the police investigation is no longer
a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular suspect taken into
custody by the police who starts the interrogation and propounds questions to the person to elicit
incriminating statements.[7] Police line-up is not part of the custodial investigation; hence, the
right to counsel guaranteed by the Constitution cannot yet be invoked at this stage. [8] This was
settled in the case of People vs. Lamsing[9] and in the more recent case of People vs. Salvatierra.
[10]
The right to be assisted by counsel attaches only during custodial investigation and cannot be
claimed by the accused during identification in a police line-up because it is not part of the
custodial investigation process. This is because during a police line-up, the process has not yet
shifted from the investigatory to the accusatory[11] and it is usually the witness or the complainant
who is interrogated and who gives a statement in the course of the line-up.[12]
Hence, herein accused-appellant could not yet invoke his right to counsel when he was
presented for identification by the complainants because the same was not yet part of the
investigation process. Moreover, there was no showing that during his identification by the
complainants, the police investigators sought to elicit any admission or confession from accusedappellant. In fact, records show that the police did not at all talk to accused-appellant when he
was presented before the complainants. The alleged infringement of the constitutional rights of

the accused while under custodial investigation is relevant and material only to cases in which an
extra-judicial admission or confession extracted from the accused becomes the basis of his
conviction.[13] In the present case, there is no such confession or extra-judicial admission.
Accused-appellant also makes much ado about the manner in which he was presented to the
complainants for identification. It is alleged that the identification was irregular as he was not
placed in a police line-up and instead, made to stand before the complainants alone.
Again, the contention has no merit. As aptly pointed out by the Solicitor General, there is
no law requiring a police line-up as essential to a proper identification. [14] The fact that he was
brought out of the detention cell alone and was made to stand before the accused by himself and
unaccompanied by any other suspects or persons does not detract from the validity of the
identification process.
However, we agree that complainants out-of-court identification of accused-appellant was
seriously flawed as to preclude its admissibility. In resolving the admissibility and reliability of
out-of-court identifications, we have applied the totality of circumstances test enunciated in the
case of People vs. Teehankee[15] which lists the following factors:

xxx (1) the witness opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) the
witness degree of attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior description
given by the witness; (4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the
identification; (5) the length of time between the crime and the identification; and (6)
the suggestiveness of the identification process.
The out-of-court identification of herein accused-appellant by complainants in the police
station appears to have been improperly suggestive. Even before complainants had the
opportunity to view accused-appellant face-to-face when he was brought our of the detention cell
to be presented to them for identification, the police made an announcement that he was one of
the suspects in the crime and that he was the one pointed to by accused Ampatin as one of
culprits. According to accused-appellant Q: When the complaining witnesses arrived at the Urduja precinct at that time you mentioned, were
you immediately kicked by them?
A: No, sir.
Q: How long a time from the time they arrived at the Urduja precinct to the time that you were kicked
by them?
A: Around 10 minutes, sir.
Q: And how were you identified or recognized by the complaining witnesses?
A: Because upon arrival at the Urduja police station, the policemen announced that I am one of the
suspects in this case and thereafter, the complainants started kicking me, sir.
Q: So that the announcement of the policemen that you were one of the suspects came first then they
started kicking you?
A: Yes, sir.[16]

It is, thus, clear that the identification was practically suggested by the police themselves
when they announced to the complainants that accused-appellant was the person pointed to by
Ampatin. The fact that this information came to the knowledge of the complainants prior to their
identification based on their own recall of the incident detracts from the spontaneity of their
subsequent identification and therefore, its objectivity.
In a similar case, People vs. Cruz,[17] accused Cruz, a suspected co-conspirator in a case of
robbery with homicide, was presented to the witnesses alone and made to walk and turn around
in their presence. Then the police pointed out to the accused and several others as the persons
suspected by the police as the perpetrators of the robbery committed in Goso-on. The Court, in
rejecting the subsequent identification made by the witnesses, reasoned that:

The manner by which (witnesses) were made to identify the accused at the police
station was pointedly suggestive, generated confidence where there was none,
activated visual imagination, and all told, subverted their reliability as eyewitnesses.
In Tuason vs. Court of Appeals,[18] an NBI agent first pointed the accused to the witnesses
after which the latter identified the accused. The Court held that such identification was doubtful
as the same was not spontaneous and independent as there was improper suggestion coming from
the NBI agent. We ruled that a show-up or the presentation of a single suspect to a witness for
purposes of identification is seriously flawed as it constitutes the most grossly suggestive
identification procedure now or ever used by the police.
Likewise in People vs. Meneses,[19] where the accused was presented to the lone witness as
the suspect in the crime inside the police investigators office, the Court pronounced that
although the police officer did not literally point to the accused as in the Tuason case, the
confrontation and the identification proceeding therefrom was objectionable.
The Court also finds that the trial court erroneously rejected accused-appellants alibi.
Accused-appellant clearly and positively testified that at the time of the crime, February 22,
1991, he was working as a shell cutter in a factory in Pasay City where he was a stay-in
employee. He rendered overtime work until ten oclock in the evening that night because they
had to rush work. After ten p.m., he, together with his stay-in co-workers, went to sleep. Four
days later, he was arrested when accused Ampatin randomly pointed him out to the police.[20]
This testimony of accused-appellant was materially corroborated by two of his coemployees who were with him on the night of the incident. Rodolfo Rosales, his co-worker,
testified that he worked overtime until 10 p.m. in the Pasay City factory together with accusedappellant. Upon finishing work, they went to sleep in their quarters on the second floor of the
building because they were stay-in employees of the factory.[21] Another co-worker of accusedappellant, Clemente Gahelan, was similarly offered as a witness to corroborate Rosales
testimony and his testimony was duly admitted by the prosecution.[22]
The employer of accused-appellant Rolando Ocasla, likewise testified that on the night of
the incident, accused-appellant worked overtime in his factory until 10 p.m. After 10 p.m., he
personally locked the door of the premises which was the only means of ingress and engress, as
he always does because it was his means of preventing any pilferage of materials. He was the
only one who had keys to said door. Around five a.m. of the following day, he woke up accused-

appellant and told him to drink his coffee. He also declared that there was nothing unusual about
accused-appellants behavior either, before, during or after the date of the alleged crime.[23]
The defense of alibi or denial assumes significance or strength when it is amply
corroborated by a credible witness.[24] And to be given weight, accused must prove not only that
he was somewhere else when the crime was committed but that he was so far away that it was
physically impossible for him to be present at the crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the
time of its commission. [25]
In this case, we find accused-appellants alibi sufficiently corroborated by the testimonies of
his co-workers and his employer who categorically stated that they were with accused-appellant
on the night of the crime. There was no evidence that these witnesses were related to accusedappellant; neither was it shown that they had any personal interest nor motive in the case. As
impartial credible witnesses, their testimonies cannot be doubted absent a clear showing of undue
bias or prejudice, or convincing proof of the impropriety of their motives to testify for the
accused.[26]
Accused-appellant vehemently argues that it was physically impossible for him to have been
present at the scene of the crime or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission. First,
the crime was committed around 9:30 in the evening of February 22, 1991. Accused-appellant,
as well as two other witnesses, testified that he worked in the factory until 10 p.m. that night and
went to sleep after. Second, there was only one door in the factory which was the only means of
entrance and exit and this door was kept locked by witness Ocasla after ten p.m. that night.
Ocasla was the only person who had a key to this door. Third, the windows on the first floor of
the building consisted of hollow blocks with small holes which do not allow passage. The
second and third floor windows were 14 and 21 feet high, respectively. There was no possible
means of exit through these windows without accused-appellant getting hurt or injured. Lastly,
the crime took place in Kalookan City around 9:30 p.m. while accused-appellants place of work
was in Pasay City. Assuming for the sake of argument that he was able to leave the premises
after 10 p.m. that night, by the time he reaches Kalookan, the crime would have already been
completed.
The Court has held that where an accused sets up alibi as a defense, the courts should not be
too readily disposed to dismiss the same, for, taken in the light of all the evidence on record, it
may be sufficient to reverse the outcome of the case as found by the trial court and thereby
rightly set the accused free.[27] Though inherently weak as a defense, alibi in the present case has
been sufficiently established by corroborative testimonies of credible witnesses and by evidence
of physical impossibility of accused-appellants presence at the scene of the crime. Alibi,
therefore, should have been properly appreciated in accused-apellants favor.
Another significant evidence which the trial court failed to consider is the voluntary
confession of accused Federico Ampatin absolving accused-appellant Bagas of the
crime. Ampatins testimony was clear and categorical:
Q: When you reached that house where Bagas was working what happened?
A: All the persons were ordered to lie down, sir.

xxx
Q: And what did they do to you?

A: Immediately I was instructed to follow the policemen who went upstairs, sir.
Q: Why did that policemen go upstairs?
A: He was looking for Mario, sir.

xxx
Q: Upon reaching the second floor, what happened there?
A: They did not see any person there, sir.
Q: What followed next?
A: P/O Melmida pistol-whipped me, sir.
Q: Where were you hit?
A: On the left portion of my neck, sir.
Q: Did Melmida utter any remark while hitting you?

xxx
A: He told me to point to somebody else, sir, saying these words, Magturo ka ng tao kahit sino.

xxx
Q: So what did you do when you were ordered to point to anyone?
A: Because at that time I cannot yet stand up he forced me to go downstairs, sir.

xxx
Q: Were you able to reached (sic) the ground floor?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And what happened there?
A: I pointed to Albino Bagas, sir, because he was the only first person I saw there at the ground floor
while his companions were on the other side because I dont want to get hurt anymore, Your
Honor.
Court: When you see (sic) Bagas was lying face down at the tme you pointed to him?
A: Yes, your Honor.
Court: You did not bother to look at his face?
A: No more Your Honor because I was in a hurry to point to somebody because I was afraid that I will
be hurt again, Your Honor.

xxx
Court: You mean to say at the time you pointed to Albino Bagas you did not know him?
A: No I dont know him, Your Honor.[28]

Ampatin and accused-appellant were charged as co-conspirators in the crime of robbery with
rape. As a co-accused, it would have been more consistent with human nature for Ampatin to
implicate accused-appellant if indeed he was one of the gang. In fact, the Court has recognized

that as is usual with human nature, a culprit, confessing a crime is likely to put the blame as far
as possible on others rather than himself. [29] The fact that he testified to the innocence of a coaccused, an act which resulted in no advantage or benefit to him and which might in fact
implicate him more, should have been received by the trial court as an indicum of the truth of
Ampatins testimony and the innocence of herein accused-appellant. Ampatins testimony,
therefore, should have been given weight by the trial court. More so, the same was substantially
corroborated by another witness, Rodolfo Rosales, accused-appellants co-worker and who was
present when accused-appellant was arrested. Rosales testified as follows:
Q: Now, do you know when was Albino Bagas arrested in connection with this case?
A: Last February 25, that was Monday, sir.
Q: And where were you when he was arrested?
A: I was there at that time.

xxx
Q: xxx what was the reaction of Albino Bagas when he was being pointed to and arrested by the
arresting officers?
A: The situation goes like this, sir, the policemen arrived there and they were holding the persons of
Ampatin and they were looking for a person named Mario that was what I heard, sir, and then the
policemen forced us to be identified or to be seen by the guide. Ampatin at first at the ground
floor but since there was nobody there by the name of Mario they proceeded to the second floor
and upon looking one of the policemen shouted, Wala rito, niloloko lang tayo ng taong ito.
Court: Then what happened next?
Witness: And I noticed that the reaction of Federico Ampatin that he was afraid, so, because of fear he
was able to point on the person of Albino Bagas but when asked he does not know the name of
Albino Bagas, Your Honor.
Atty. Pacis: Before going to the second floor, because according to you the arresting officers and the
guide went to the second floor, was Albino Bagas at the ground floor seen by the guide and the
policemen?
A: We were the first group of persons seen by the policemen and Albino and I were beside each other,
sir.
Q: And you want to impressed (sic) upon this Honorable Court that at first at the ground floor, Albino
Bagas was not identified by this Ampatin before going to the second floor?
A: The guide was not able to identify the person of Albino Bagas and that was the reason why they
still made searches at the second floor, sir.
Q: How was Federico Ampatin able to identify Albino Bagas when he was accompanied by the
policemen went downstairs?
A: I noticed from the reaction of Federico Ampatin that he was afraid after hearing the shout of the
policemen, sir.

xxx[30]
The testimony of witness Rosales corroborates Ampatins declaration in court that he does
not know herein accused-appellant and merely pointed to him out of fear of the police. These

testimonies remain unrebutted by the prosecution as the arresting officers were not presented to
refute or deny the same. The foregoing testimonies exculpating accused-appellant have
sufficiently cast at least a shadow of doubt as to his guilt.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court convicting accused-appellant Albino Bagas
of the crime of robbery with multiple rape is hereby REVERSED and he is ACQUITTED of the
crime charged. His immediate release is hereby ordered unless he is held for some other valid
charges.