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5. G.R. No.

45037 November 21, 1991


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and GEORGE LITTON, SR., petitioners
vs.
HONORABLE FLORELIANA CASTRO-BARTOLOME, in her capacity as Judge of the
Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XV, LEONOR SOCHAYSENG and ROGELIO PAZ,
respondents.
FERNAN, C.J
FACTS: A complaint was filed before CFI, Rizal, by Petitioner George Litton Sr.
charging Leonor Sochayseng and Rogelio Paz with adultery, which court was
presided by Judge Castro-Bartolome. After prosecution rested its case, Respondents
Sochaysen and Paz filed their respective demurrer to evidence (motions to dismiss)
substantially raising similar grounds for the dismissal of the adultery charge that the
prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the existence of marriage
between Litton, Sr. and Sochayseng during the alleged period of commission of
adultery and that assuming arguendo that said marriage did in fact exist and that
both respondents committed acts of adultery during coverture, petitioner Litton, Sr.
has condoned and pardoned the adulterous acts of his wife and Paz. Nine (9)
months after the prosecution rested its case and before respondent Judge could
resolve the motions to dismiss submitted by Sochayseng and Paz, the private
prosecutor (Atty. Estanislao Fernandez) filed a motion to reopen the case for the
purpose of presenting additional evidence.
Private prosecutor, justified the move, it was stated that these documents were not
presented by the private prosecutor Dakila F. Castro at the close of the evidence of
the prosecution in his belief that he had sufficiently proven the marriage between
complaining witness George Litton, Sr. and the accused Leonor Trinidad
Sochayseng, with the testimony, among others, of said George Litton, Sr., about
said marriages. Granting that said opinion of Atty. Castro is erroneous, in the highest
interest of justice, we are presenting this motion to enable us to present the abovementioned documents to conclusively prove the fact of marriage between the
complaining witness, George Litton, Sr. and the accused Leonor Sochayseng.
Respondent Judge Castro-Bartolome denied the motion to reopen trial. An urgent
motion for reconsideration by petitioner was similarly rejected.
ISSUE: Whether a party (prosecution) may be allowed to present additional
evidence after it has rested its case and defendants have submitted their respective
demurrer to evidence.
RULING: NO.

Under the factual milieu of the case at bar, we find that respondent Judge correctly rejected petitioner's motion to reopen the
trial. Even the so-called paramount interests of justice cannot free petitioner from his self-imposed predicament. His counsel took a big gamble in not
presenting the certificates attesting to the fact of marriage between petitioner and Leonor Sochayseng on the erroneous belief that said marriage had
been amply established by the testimony of the aggrieved husband. Petitioner's counsel realized his folly when private respondents understandably
moved for the quashal of the complaint on the material ground that coverture was not prove beyond reasonable doubt. As wisely observed by

respondent Judge in her August 11, 1976 denial order:xxxIf the prosecution can be allowed to rectify a mistake pointed out in a demurrer to the
evidence, what will be the court's reason to deny him a second or a third or a fourth reopening ad nauseam to rectify succeeding mistakes
should the first reopening not serve the purpose? It is obvious that a reopening of the case to allow the introduction of additional evidence
would be prejudicial to the substantial rights of the accused.

6. G. R. No. 94555 August 17, 1992


THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
EDUARDO LABALAN OCIMAR and ALEXANDER CORTEZ MENDOZA, accusedappellants.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Virgilio Y. Morales for accused-appellant.
Alfredo Au. Alto for appellant Ocimar.
BELLOSILLO, J.:
FACTS: EDUARDO LABALAN OCIMAR and ALEXANDER CORTEZ MENDOZA, together
with ALFONSO RAMOS BERMUDEZ, ALBERTO VENZIO CRUZ, VENZIO CRUZ alias
"BOY PANA" and JOHN DOE alias "BUNSO" were charged in the court a quo for
violation "Anti-Piracy and Highway Robbery Law of 1974.
Accused Eduardo Ocimar and Alexander Mendoza were arraigned. With the
assistance of counsel de oficio, they pleaded "Not Guilty". The other accused were
not arraigned because they could not be accounted for. Alfonso Bermudez was
finally brought before the court. He was accordingly arraigned and with the
assistance likewise of counsel de oficio, he entered a plea of "Guilty". The other two
accused, Alberto Venzio Cruz and Venzio Cruz alias "Boy Pana", were never
arraigned as the former was never arrested, while the latter jumped bail before
arraignment.
After the prosecution had already presented four witnesses, the prosecuting Fiscal
moved for the discharge of accused Bermudez to be utilized as state witness.
Although he had already entered a plea of guilt earlier, no judgment was as yet
rendered against him. The trial court granted the motion of the prosecution. After he
testified for the prosecution, Bermudez was released. The trial court rendered
judgment finding accused Eduardo Labalan Ocimar and Alexander Cortez Mendoza
guilty beyond reasonable doubt as co-principals. Hence in this appeal, Ocimar
imputes ERROR to the court a quo in (a) discharging accused Bermudez, who had
earlier pleaded guilty to the charge, to be utilized as a state witness; (b) giving
credence to the testimony of Bermudez; and, (c) not holding that the prosecution
failed to prove his (Ocimar) guilt beyond reasonable doubt. On his part, accused
Mendoza maintains that the lower court ERRED in (a) relying on the lone testimony
of accused Bermudez; and, (b) convicting him (Mendoza) notwithstanding the failure
of the prosecution to prove his guilt.
ISSUE: Whether the discharge of a co-accused depends on a sound judicial
discretion
RULING: YES. As may be gleaned from the aforequoted Sec. 9 of Rule 119, the trial
court must be satisfied that the conditions prescribed by the rule exist. The court
therefore, upon prior determination by the public prosecutor, retains the prerogative
of deciding when a co-accused may be discharged to become a state witness. With
Sec. 9 providing the guidelines, the discharge of an accused depends on
sound judicial discretion. Once that discretion is exercised under those

guidelines and a co-accused is discharged to become a state witness, and


subsequently testifies in accordance with his undertaking with the
government, any legal deficiency or defect that might have attended his discharge
from the information will no longer affect the admissibility and credibility of his
testimony, provided such testimony is otherwise admissible an credible.
Besides, the matter of discharging a co-accused to become state witness is left largely to the
discretion of the trial fiscal, subject only to the approval of the court. The reason is obvious. The
fiscal should know better than the court, and the defense for that matter, as to who of the accused would
best qualify to be discharged to become state witness. The public prosecutor is supposed to know the
evidence in his possession ahead of all the rest. He knows whom he needs to establish his case

We agree with the observations of the Solicitor General that the rule on
the discharge of an accused to be utilized as state witness clearly looks at
his actual and individual participation in the commission of the crime,
which may or may not have been perpetrated in conspiracy with the other
accused. Since Bermudez was not individually responsible for the killing committed
on the occasion of the robbery except by reason of conspiracy, it cannot be said
then that Bermudez appears to be the most guilty. Hence, his discharge to be a
witness for the government is clearly warranted.

7. G.R. No. 199100

July 18, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
ROSENDO AMARO, Accused-Appellant.
PEREZ, J.:
FACTS: Rosendo Amaro was charged with the crime of forcible abduction with rape.
The facts as presented were, in front of Boots & Maya located at Mal var Street,
Puerto Princesa City, the accused, by means of deceit at the beginning and of force
and intimidation later and with lewd designs, abduct one [AAA], a seven (7) year old
girl, by forcing her and took her to his house at Bgy. Tagburos, Puerto Princesa City
and without any justifiable reason, accused detained and deprived her of her liberty
for a period of twenty eight (28) [sic] days; that while she is being detained accused
ROSENDO AMARO had carnal knowledge of said AAA all committed against her will.
Appellant pleaded not guilty. Trial then proceeded. AAA, who was then only 7 years
old,testified that she was walking on her way home from school when she passed by
Boots & Maya store. She met a man, whom she later identified in court as the
appellant, who asked her to buy cigarettes. After buying the cigarettes and handing
it to appellant, the latter gave her bread and banana cue. After eating them, she
suddenly became dizzy and passed out. AAA was brought to the house of appellant.
When she regained consciousness, she saw appellant naked. Appellant then
undressed her, kissed her on the lips and neck, and inserted his penis into her
vagina, causing her to feel pain. AAA cried but appellant covered her mouth with his
hand. AAA was detained for six (6) days and was raped five (5) times by appellant.
AAA clarified that appellants penis touched the outer portion of her vagina.
During the cross-examination, AAA admitted that she voluntarily went with
appellant because the latter promised to bring her home.
The prosecution also presented AAAs mother, BBB, to corroborate her daughters
testimony.
Appellant testified on his behalf. He denied abducting and raping AAA but admitted
that he brought the latter to his house when AAA approached him asking for bread
first, before begging him to take her with him because she was always being
scolded by her parents.
The trial court found AAAs testimony as credible and straightforward and
supported by medical findings. Court of Appeals promulgated a Decision affirming
the ruling of the RTC.

ISSUE: Whether in the prosecution of rape cases, conviction on acquittal depends


on the complainants testimony
RULING: YES. In the prosecution of rape cases, conviction or acquittal
depends on the complainant's testimony because of the fact that usually
only the participants are witnesses to their occurrences. The issue therefore
boils down to credibility. Significantly, findings of fact of the trial court should not be
disturbed on appeal since conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape cases
lie heavily on the sound judgment of the trial court which is in a better position to
decide the question, having heard the witnesses and observed their deportment
and manner of testifying.
Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a
girl, particularly if she is a minor, saysthat she has been raped, she says in effect all
that is necessary to show thatrape has in fact been committed. When the offended
party is of tender age and immature, courts are inclined to give credit to her
account of what transpired, considering not only her relative vulnerability but also
the shame to which she would be exposed if the matter to which she testified is not
true. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity.17 Moreover,
AAA testified in a straightforward manner.
The appellate court is correct in affirming the imposition of the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.

8. G.R. No. 203984

June 18, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
MEDARIO CALANTIAO y DIMALANTA, Accused-Appellant.

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


FACTS: PO1 NELSON MARIANO and PO3 EDUARDO RAMIREZ were on duty, a certain
EDWIN LOJERA arrived at their office and asked for police assistance regarding a
shooting incident. Per report of the latter, it appears that while driving a towing
truck and traversing along EDSA, Balintawak, Quezon City, he had a traffic dispute
(gitgitan) with a white taxi cab prompting him to follow said vehicle until they
reached along 8th Avenue Street corner C-3 Road, Caloocan City. Thereat, the
passengers of said taxi cab, one of them was accused Calantiao, alighted and fired
their guns. Surprised, Lojera could not do anything but continued his driving until he
reached a police station nearby where he reported the incident.
The police officers on duty then were PO1 NELSON MARIANO and PO3 EDUARDO
RAMIREZ. PO1 Mariano testified that they immediately responded to said complaint
by proceeding to 5th Avenue corner 8th Street, Caloocan City where they found the
white taxi. While approaching said vehicle, two armed men alighted therefrom, fired
their guns towards them (police officers) and ran away. PO1 Mariano and PO3
Ramirez chased them but they were subdued. PO1 Mariano recovered from
Calantiao a black bag containing two (2) bricks of dried marijuana fruiting tops and
a magazine of super 38 stainless with ammos, while PO3 Ramirez recovered from
Calantiaos companion [a] .38 revolver.
The suspects and the confiscated items were then turned over to SPO3 PABLO
TEMENA, police investigator at Bagong Barrio Police Station for investigation.
Thereat, PO1 Mariano marked the bricks of marijuana contained in a black bag with
his initials, "NM". Thereafter, said specimen were forwarded to the PNP Crime
Laboratory for chemical analysis. The result of the examination conducted by
P/SINSP. JESSSE DELA ROSA revealed that the same was positive for marijuana, a
dangerous drug.
The foregoing testimony of PO1 MARIANO was corroborated by PO3 RAMIREZ who
testified that he personally saw those bricks of marijuana confiscated from the
accused. He confirmed that he was with PO1 Mariano when they apprehended said
accused and his companion and testified that while PO1 Mariano recovered from the
accused a black bag containing marijuana, on his part, he confiscated from
accuseds companion a .38 revolver.
MR. CRISENDO AMANSEC, the driver of the taxi where the suspects boarded was
also presented in open court and testified as to what he knows about the incident.
He confirmed that on that date, two (2) persons boarded on his taxi and upon
reaching C-3 Road, they alighted and fired three (3) shots and ran away.
RTC rendered its Decision giving credence to the prosecutions case.
The Court of Appeals found no reason to overturn Calantiaos conviction.

ISSUE: WON the admissibility of the marijuana found in his possession can be used
as evidence against him on the grounds of either it was discovered via an illegal
search, or because its custodial chain was broken.
HELD: The Court finds no merit in Calantiaos arguments.
The Court cannot subscribe to Calantiaos contention that the marijuana in his
possession cannot be admitted as evidence against him because it was illegally
discovered and seized, not having been within the apprehending officers "plain
view.
The purpose of allowing a warrantless search and seizure incident to a lawful arrest
is "to protect the arresting officer from being harmed by the person arrested, who
might be armed with a concealed weapon, and to prevent the latter from destroying
evidence within reach."13 It is therefore a reasonable exercise of the States police
power to protect (1) law enforcers from the injury that may be inflicted on them by
a person they have lawfully arrested; and (2) evidence from being destroyed by the
arrestee. It seeks to ensure the safety of the arresting officers and the integrity of
the evidence under the control and within the reach of the arrestee.
The Plain View Doctrine is actually the exception to the inadmissibility of evidence
obtained in a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest outside the suspects
person and premises under his immediate control. This is so because "[o]bjects in
the plain view of an officer who has the right to be in the position to have that view
are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence."16 "The doctrine is
usually applied where a police officer is not searching for evidence against the
accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating object x x x.
[It] serves to supplement the prior justification whether it be a warrant for another
object, hot pursuit, search incident to lawful arrest, or some other legitimate reason
for being present unconnected with a search directed against the accused and
permits the warrantless seizure."
The Plain View Doctrine thus finds no applicability in Calantiaos situation because
the police officers purposely searched him upon his arrest. The police officers did
not inadvertently come across the black bag, which was in Calantiaos possession;
they deliberately opened it, as part of the search incident to Calantiaos lawful
arrest.