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ENRILE VS SALAZAR

n February 1990, Sen Enrile was arrested. He was charged together with Mr. & Mrs. Panlilio, and Honasan for
the crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder which allegedly occurred during their failed
coup attempt. Enrile was then brought to Camp Karingal. Enrile later filed for the habeas corpus alleging that
the crime being charged against him is nonexistent. That he was charged with a criminal offense in an
information for which no complaint was initially filed or preliminary investigation was conducted, hence was
denied due process; denied his right to bail; and arrested and detained on the strength of a warrant issued
without the judge who issued it first having personally determined the existence of probable cause.
ISSUE: Whether or not the court should affirm the Hernandez ruling.
HELD: Enrile filed for habeas corpus because he was denied bail although ordinarily a charge of rebellion
would entitle one for bail. The crime of rebellion charged against him however is complexed with murder and
multiple frustrated murders the intention of the prosecution was to make rebellion in its most serious form
so as to make the penalty thereof in the maximum. The SC ruled that there is no such crime as Rebellion with
murder and multiple frustrated murder. What Enrile et al can be charged of would be Simple Rebellion
because other crimes such as murder or all those that may be necessary to the commission of rebellion is
absorbed hence he should be entitiled for bail. The SC however noted that a petition for habeas corpus was
not the proper remedy so as to avail of bail. The proper step that should have been taken was for Enrile to file
a petition to be admitted for bail. He should have exhausted all other efforts before petitioning for habeas
corpus. The Hernandez ruling is still valid. All other crimes committed in carrying out rebellion are deemed
absorbed. The SC noted, however, that there may be a need to modify the rebellion law. Considering that the
essence of rebellion has been lost and that it is being used by a lo t of opportunists to attempt to grab power.
Read another version of this digest here. (Political Question)

NAPOLIS v COURT OF APPEALS


Complex Crime
FACTS:
About 1am of Oct 1, 1956, accused Nicanor
Napolis and some other men conspired, confederated
and helped one another, with the intent to gain and
armed with Grease Gun, pistols and revolvers,
entered the dwelling of the spouses Iganacio &
Casimira Penaflor by boring a hole under the
sidewall of the ground floor of the house.
Nicanor assaulted and hit Ignacio with the
gun causing him to fall on the ground and rendering

him unconscious, he tied Igancio's hands and feet


and then leave him. Then the accused approached
Casimira, threatened her at gun point and demanded
money. He tied the hands of Mrs Penaflor and her two
sons. Nicanor searched and ransacked the place and
carried away cash and articles belonging to the said
spouses.

PENALTIES, IN VIEW:
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision
of the trial court convicting Napolis an his band oF
the crime of robbery committed by armeD persons, in
an inhabited house, entry therein having been made
by breaking a wall, as provided in ART 229 (a) of
RPC and sentencing Napolis to an indeterminate
penalty ranging from 10 yrs & 1 day (prision mayor)
as minimum, to 17 yrs & 4 mos & 1day (reclusion
temporal) as maximum.
In performing said acts: used violence
against Ignacio and intimidation against his wife ,
thereby infringing ART 224 (5) which prescribes
penalty of prision correctional (in its maximum pd)
to prision mayor (in its medium pd).
Hence, Art 224 is lighter than that
prescribed in ARt 229.

ISSUE:
1. W/n the facts of the case constitute complex
crime?
2. W/n the penalties imposed by Ct of Appeals
correct?
SC HELD:
1. Yes. The elements of both provisions (Arts 299
(a) & 294 (5)) are present calling for the
imposition, as provided in Art 48 of the RPC, of the
penalty for the most serious offense, in its maximum
period.
2. SC modified the penalties imposed and affirmed
the decision of Ct of Appeals. Penalty should be
imposed in its maximum period- from 19 yrs, 1 mo &
11 days to 20 yrs of reclusion temporal- owing to
the prsence of the aggravating cicumstances of
nighttime.
G.R. No. 86163 April 26, 1990
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
BIENVENIDO SALVILLA, REYNALDO CANASARES, RONALDO CANASARES, and SIMPLICIO
CANASARES, BIENVENIDO SALVILLA, defendant-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Resurreccion S. Salvilla for defendant-appellant.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
Accused Bienvenido Salvilla alone appeals from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 28, Iloilo
City, * dated 29 August 1988, in Criminal Case No. 20092, finding him and his co-accused Reynaldo, Ronaldo and Simplicio, all surnamed Canasares, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of "Robbery with Serious Physical Injuries and Serious Illegal Detention" and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

The Information filed against them reads:

The undersigned City Fiscal accuses BIENVENIDO SALVILLA, REYNALDO CANASARES,


RONALDO CANASARES, and SIMPLICIO CANASARES, whose maternal surnames, dated and
places of birth cannot be ascertained of the crime of ROBBERY WITH SERIOUS PHYSICAL
INJURIES AND SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION (Art, 294, paragraph 3, in conjunction with
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code), committed as follows:
That on or about the 12th day of April, 1986, in the City of Iloilo, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Court, said accused, conspiring and confederating among themselves, working
together and helping one another, armed with guns and handgrenade and with the use of violence or
intimidation employed on the person of Severino Choco, Mary Choco, Mimie Choco and Rodita
Hablero did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally take and carry away, with intent of
gain, cash in the amount of P20,000.00, two (2) Men's wrist watches, one (1) Lady's Seiko quartz
wrist watch and one (1) Lady's Citizen wrist watch and assorted jewelries, all valued at P50,000.00;
that on the occasion and by reason of said robbery, Mary Choco suffered serious physical injuries
under paragraph 2 of Article 263, Bienvenido Salvilla likewise suffered serious physical injuries and
Reynaldo Canasares also suffered physical injuries; that the said accused also illegally detained, at
the compound of the New Iloilo Lumber Company, Iznart Street, Iloilo City, Severino Choco,
owner/proprietor of said Lumber Company, Mary Choco, Mimie Choco, who is a minor, being 15
years of age, and Rodita Hablero, who is a salesgirl at said Company; that likewise on the occasion of
the robbery, the accused also asked and were given a ransom money of P50,000.00; that the said
crime was attended by aggravating circumstances of band, and illegal possession of firearms and
explosives; that the amount of P20,000.00, the ransom money of P50,000.00, two (2) Men's wrist
watches, two (2) lady's wrist watches, one (1) .38 caliber revolver and one (1) live grenade were
recovered from the accused; to the damage and prejudice of the New Iloilo Lumber Company in the
amount of P120,000.00.
The evidence for the prosecution may be re-stated as follows:
On 12 April 1986, a robbery was staged by the four accused at the New Iloilo Lumber Yard at about noon time. The
plan was hatched about two days before. The accused were armed with homemade guns and a hand grenade. When
they entered the establishment, they met Rodita Hablero an employee thereat who was on her way out for her meal
break and announced to her that it was a hold-up. She was made to go back to the office and there Appellant Salvilla
pointed his gun at the owner, Severino Choco, and his two daughters, Mary and Mimie the latter being a minor 15
years of age, and told the former that all they needed was money. Hearing this, Severino told his daughter, Mary, to
get a paper bag wherein he placed P20,000.00 cash (P5,000.00, according to the defense) and handed it to Appellant.
Thereafter, Severino pleaded with the four accused to leave the premises as they already had the money but they paid
no heed. Instead, accused Simplicio Canasares took the wallet and wristwatch of Severino after which the latter, his
two daughters, and Rodita, were herded to the office and kept there as hostages.
At about 2:00 o'clock of the same day, the hostages were allowed to eat. The four accused also took turns eating while
the others stood guard. Then, Appellant told Severino to produce P100,000.00 so he and the other hostages could be
released. Severino answered that he could not do so because it was a Saturday and the banks were closed.
In the meantime, police and military authorities had surrounded the premises of the lumber yard. Major Melquiades B.
Sequio Station Commander of the INP of Iloilo City, negotiated with the accused using a loud speaker and appealed to
them to surrender with the assurance that no harm would befall them as he would accompany them personally to the
police station. The accused refused to surrender or to release the hostages.
Thereafter, OIC Mayor, Rosa Caram, of Iloilo City arrived and joined the negotiations. In her dialogue with the
accused, which lasted for about four hours, Appellant demanded P100,000.00, a coaster, and some raincoats. She
offered them P50,000.00 instead, explaining the difficulty of raising more as it was a Saturday. Later, the accused
agreed to receive the same and to release Rodita to be accompanied by Mary Choco in going out of the office. When
they were out of the door, one of the accused whose face was covered by a handkerchief, gave a key to Mayor Caram.
With this, Mayor Caram unlocked the padlocked door and handed to Rodita the P50,000.00, which the latter, in turn,
gave to one of the accused. Rodita was later set free but Mary was herded back to the office.
Mayor Caram, Major Sequio and even volunteer radio newscasters continued to appeal to the accused to surrender
peacefully but they refused. UItimatums were given but the accused did not budge. Finally, the police and military
authorities decided to launch an offensive and assault the place. This resulted in injuries to the girls, Mimie and Mary

Choco as well as to the accused Ronaldo and Reynaldo Canasares. Mary suffered a "macerated right lower extremity
just below the knee" so that her right leg had to be amputated. The medical certificate described her condition as "in a
state of hemorrhagic shock when she was brought in to the hospital and had to undergo several major operations
during the course of her confinement from April 13, 1986 to May 30, 1986."
For his part, Appellant Salvilla confirmed that at about noon time of 12 April 1986 he and his co-accused entered the
lumber yard and demanded money from the owner Severino Choco He demanded P100,000.00 but was given only
P5,000.00, which he placed on the counter of the office of the lumber yard. He admitted that he and his co-accused
kept Severino, his daughters, and Rodita inside the office. He maintained, however, that he stopped his co-accused
from getting the wallet and wristwatch of Severino and, like the P5,000.00 were all left on the counter, and were never
touched by them. He claimed further that they had never fired on the military because they intended to surrender.
Appellant's version also was that during the gunfire, Severino's daughter stood up and went outside; he wanted to stop
her but he himself was hit by a bullet and could not prevent her. Appellant also admitted the appeals directed to them
to surrender but that they gave themselves up only much later.
After trial, the Court a quo meted out a judgment of conviction and sentenced each of the accused "to suffer the
penalty ofreclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties provided by law and to pay the costs."
Appellant Salvilla's present appeal is predicated on the following Assignments of Error:
1. The lower court erred in holding that the crime charged was consummated and in not holding that
the same was merely attempted.
2. The lower court erred in not appreciating the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender."
Upon the facts and the evidence, we affirm.
The defense contends that "The complete crime of larceny (theft/robbery) as distinguished from an attempt requires
asportation or carrying away, in addition to the taking, In other words, the crime of robbery/theft has three consecutive
stages: 1) the giving 2) the taking and 3) the carrying away or asportation And without asportation the crime
committed is only attempted" (Memorandum for Appellant Salvilla, Records, p. 317).
There is no question that in robbery, it is required that there be a taking of personal property belonging to another. This
is known as the element of asportation the essence of which is the taking of a thing out of the possession of the owner
without his privity and consent and without the animus revertendi (Aquino, Revised Penal Code, p. 97, citing 5 C.J.
607). In fact, if there is no actual taking, there can be no robbery. Unlawful taking of personal property of another is
an essential part of the crime of robbery.
Appellant insists that while the "giving" has been proven, the "taking" has not. And this is because neither he nor his
three co-accused touched the P5,000.00 given by Severino nor the latter's wallet or watch during the entire incident;
proof of which is that none of those items were recovered from their persons.
Those factual allegations are contradicted by the evidence. Rodita, the lumberyard employee, testified that upon
demand by Appellant, Severino put P20,000.00 inside a paper bag and subsequently handed it to Appellant. In turn,
accused Simplicio Canasares took the wallet and wristwatch of Severino. In respect of the P50,000.00 from Mayor
Caram, Rodita declared that the Mayor handed the amount to her after she (the Mayor) had opened the padlocked door
and that she thereafter gave the amount to one of the holduppers. The "taking" was, therefore, sufficiently proved
(TSN, July 1, 1987, pp. 12-13, 15-16, 27-31). The money demanded, and the wallet and wristwatch were within the
dominion and control of the Appellant and his co-accused and completed the taking.
The State established a "taking" sufficient to support a conviction of robbery even though the
perpetrators were interrupted by police and so did not pick up the money offered by the victim, where
the defendant and an accomplice, armed with a knife and a club respectively, had demanded the
money from the female clerk of a convenience store, and the clerk had complied with their
instructions and placed money from the register in a paper bag and then placed the bag on the counter
in front of the two men; these actions brought the moneywithin the dominion and control of
defendant and completed the taking. (Johnson vs. State, 432 So 2d 758).
"Severance of the goods from the possession of the owner and absolute control of the property by the
taker,even for an instant, constitutes asportation (Adams vs. Commonwealth, 154 SW 381; State vs.
Murray, 280 SW 2d 809; Mason vs. Commonwealth, 105 SE 2d 149) [Emphasis supplied].

It is no defense either that Appellant and his co-accused had no opportunity to dispose of the personalities taken. That
fact does not affect the nature of the crime, From the moment the offender gained possession of the thing, even if the
culprit had no opportunity to dispose of the same, the unlawful taking is complete (Reyes, Revised Penal Code
Annotated, Book II, 1981 ed., p. 594).
The crime is consummated when the robber acquires possession of the property, even if for a short
time, and it is not necessary that the property be taken into the hands of the robber, or that he should
have actually carried the property away, out of the physical presence of the lawful possessor, or that
he should have made his escape with it" (People vs. Quinn, 176 P 2d 404; Woods vs. State, 220 SW
2d 644; People vs. Beal, 39 P 2d 504; People vs. Clark, 160 P 2d 553).
Contrary to Appellant's submission, therefore, a conviction for consummated and not merely attempted Robbery is in
order.
It is the contention of Appellant that Rodita could not have seen the taking because the place was dark since the doors
were closed and there were no windows. It will be recalled, however, that Rodita was one of the hostages herself and
could observe the unfolding of events. Her failure to mention the taking in her sworn statement would not militate
against her credibility, it being settled that an affidavit is almost always incomplete and inaccurate and does not
disclose the complete facts for want of inquiries or suggestions (People vs. Andaya, G.R. No. L-63862, 31 July 1987,
152 SCRA 570; People vs. Tan, et al., 89 Phil. 337 [1951]).
The fact, too, that Rodita was an employee of Severino would not lessen her credibility. The defense has not proven
that she was actuated by any improper motive in testifying against the accused.
In the last analysis, the basic consideration centers around the credibility of witnesses in respect of which the findings
of the Trial Court are entitled to great weight as it was in a superior position to assess the same in the course of the
trial (seePeople vs. Ornoza G.R. No. L-56283, 30 June 1987, 151 SCRA 495; People vs. Alcantara, G.R. No. L38042, 30 June 1987, 151 SCRA 326).
Anent the second assignment of error, the "surrender" of the Appellant and his co-accused cannot be considered in
their favor to mitigate their liability. To be mitigating, a surrender must have the following requisites: (a) that the
offender had not been actually arrested; (b) that the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority or to his
agent; and (c) that the surrender was voluntary (People vs. Canamo, G.R. No. L-62043, 13 August 1985, 138 SCRA
141).
The "surrender" by the Appellant and his co-accused hardly meets these requirements. They were, indeed, asked to
surrender by the police and military authorities but they refused until only much later when they could no longer do
otherwise by force of circumstances when they knew they were completely surrounded and there was no chance of
escape. The surrender of the accused was held not to be mitigating as when he gave up only after he was surrounded
by the constabulary and police forces (People vs. Sigayan et al., G.R. Nos. L-18523-26, 30 April 1966, 16 SCRA 839;
People vs. Mationg G.R. No. L-33488, 29 March 1982, 113 SCRA 167). Their surrender was not spontaneous as it
was motivated more by an intent to insure their safety. And while it is claimed that they intended to surrender, the fact
is that they did not despite several opportunities to do so. There is no voluntary surrender to speak of (People vs.
Dimdiman 106 Phil. 391 [1959]).
All told, the assigned errors remain unsubstantiated and we find the guilt of the accused-appellant, Bienvenido
Salvilla, established beyond reasonable doubt.
Although unassigned as an error, we deem it necessary to turn now to the nature of the linked offenses involved and
the penalty imposed by the Trial Court.
Appellant and his co-accused were charged in the Information with "Robbery with Serious Physical Injuries and
Serious Illegal Detention ("Art. 295, par. 3, in conjunction with Art. 267, RPC )and sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
We agree with the Trial Court that a complex crime under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code has been committed
such that the penalty for the more serious offense of Serious Illegal Detention (Art. 267, Revised Penal Code), or
"reclusion perpetua to death," is to be imposed instead of the penalty prescribed for Robbery with Serious Physical
Injuries (Art. 294 (3), which is reclusion temporal.
Under Article 48, a complex crime arises "when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other." The term
"necessary means" does not connote indispensable means for if it did then the offense as a "necessary means" to
commit another would be an indispensable element of the latter and would be an ingredient thereof. The phrase

"necessary means" merely signifies that one crime is committed to facilitate and insure the commission of the other
(Aquino, Revised Penal Code, Vol. I, 1987 ed., p. 624, citing Dissent, Montemayor, J., Amado Hernandez, 99 Phil.
515). In this case, the crime of Serious Illegal Detention was such a "necessary means" as it was selected by Appellant
and his co-accused to facilitate and carry out more effectively their evil design to stage a robbery.
The facts of this case differ from those in People vs. Astor, et al. (G.R. Nos. L-71765-66, 29 April 1987, 149 SCRA
325) where the accused were convicted of Robbery but acquitted in the case for Serious Illegal Detention and where it
was held that "the detention is absorbed in the crime of robbery." For one, in Astor, there were two (2) separate
Informations filed, one for Robbery and another for Serious Illegal Detention. In the present case, only one
Information was filed charging the complex offense. For another, in Astor, the robbery had already been consummated
and the detention was merely to forestall the capture of the robbers by the police. Not so in this case, where the
detention was availed of as a means of insuring the consummation of the robbery. Further, in Astor, the detention was
only incidental to the main crime of robbery so that it was held therein:
. . . were appellants themselves not trapped by the early arrival of the police at the scene of the crime,
they would have not anymore detained the people inside since they have already completed their job.
Obviously, appellants were left with no choice but to resort to detention of these people as security,
until arrangements for their safe passage were made. This is not the crime of illegal detention
punishable under the penal laws but an act of restraint in order to delay the pursuit of the criminals by
peace officers (People v. Sol, 9 Phil. 265; People v. Uday 55 Phil. 167, cited in the Revised Penal
Code, Aquino, Vol. 3, 1976 ed., p. 1337). Where the victims in a robbery case were detained in the
course of robbery, the detention is absorbed by the crime of robbery (P. v. Baysa, 92 Phil. 1008, id.).
In the case at bar, the detention was only incidental to the main crime of robbery, and although in the
course thereof women and children were also held, that threats to kill were made, the act should not
be considered as a separate offense. Appellants should only be held guilty of robbery.
In contract, the detention in the case at bar was not only incidental to the robbery but was a necessary means to
commit the same. After the amount of P20,000.00 was handed to Appellant, the latter and his co-accused still refused
to leave. The victims were then taken as hostages and the demand to produce an additional P100,000.00 was made as
a prerequisite for their release. The detention was not because the accused were trapped by the police nor were the
victims held as security against the latter. The detention was not merely a matter of restraint to enable the malefactors
to escape, but deliberate as a means of extortion for an additional amount. The police and other authorities arrived
only much later after several hours of detention had already passed. And, despite appeals to appellant and his coaccused to surrender, they adamantly refused until the amount of P100,000.00 they demanded could be turned over to
them. They even considered P50,000.00, the amount being handed to them, as inadequate.
The foregoing features also distinguish this case from those of U.S. v. Sol, 9 Phil. 265 [1907] where the restraint was
for no other purpose than to prevent the victims from reporting the crime to the authorities; from People v. Gamboa,
92 Phil. 1085 [1953] where the victims were taken to a place one kilometer away and shot in order to liquidate the
witnesses to the robbery; from People v. Baysa, 92 Phil. 1008 [1953]; People v. Manzanilla, 43 Phil. 167 [1922], all of
which cases were cited in Astor and where the victims were only incidentally detained so that the detention was
deemed absorbed in robbery.
In other words, unlike in the above cases, the elements of the offense of Serious Illegal Detention are present in this
case. The victims were illegally deprived of their liberty. Two females (Mary and Minnie) and a minor (Minnie), a
specified circumstance in Article 267 (3), were among those detained. The continuing detention was also for the
purpose of extorting ransom, another listed circumstance in Article 267 (last parag.) not only from the detained
persons themselves but even from the authorities who arrived to rescue them.
It follows then that as the detention in this case was not merely incidental to the robbery but a necessary means
employed to facilitate it, the penalty imposed by the Trial Court is proper.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. Proportionate costs.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DOMINGO VALDEZ Y


DULAY, accused-appellant.

DECISION
BUENA, J.:
For automatic review is the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 45,
Anonas, Urdaneta, Pangasinan convicting appellant Domingo Valdez y Dulay guilty of two
crimes: (1) murder for which he was sentenced to suffer the death penalty and (2) illegal
possession of Firearms and Ammunition under Presidential Decree No. 1866 for which he
was sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua based on the following criminal indictments:
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8719

That on or about 31st day of October, 1995 at barangay San Roque,


Municipality of San Manuel, Province of Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the said accused with intent to kill and with treachery
and evident premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously
attack and shot one Labrador Valdez y Madrid, hitting the latters chest and the
gunshot wounds inflicted being mortal, caused the direct and immediate death
of the said victim, to the damage and prejudice of his heirs.
Contrary to Article 248, Revised Penal Code. [1]
CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8720

That on or about the 31st day of October, 1995 at barangay San Roque,
Municipality of San Manuel, Province of Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction
of this honorable Court, the said accused did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully,
and feloniously have in his possession, control and custody a firearm of an
unknown caliber, make and brand without authority of law, and which he used in
shooting to death Labrador Valdez y Madrid.
Contrary to Presidential Decree No. 1866.[2]
On October 31, 1995, at around 9:00 oclock in the evening at Sitio Laclac, Barangay San
Roque, San Manuel, Pangasinan, Marcelo Valdez was under his nipa house talking with his
son Labrador Valdez. At that time, Marcelos other housemates his wife, son Rolando
Valdez, daughter-in-law Imelda Umagtang and an eight-year-old boy named Christopher
Centeno were staying upstairs preparing to sleep. In the course of their conversation,
Labrador was lying sideways on a carabao sled, placed under the family nipa house. He was
facing his father at the eastern side of the house, at a distance of about less than two (2)
meters from each other.[3] TSN, June 13, 1996, pp. 14 and 17. 3 Suddenly, two consecutive
gunshots were fired coming from the western side of the house by an assailant.[4] The first
shot landed on the left forefinger and thumb of Labrador, while the second shot hit him two (2)
inches from the left shoulder, below the neck which exited at the right side just below his
breast.[5] After firing, the assailant immediately ran away towards the west direction.[6]
Marcelo Valdez who was talking to his son, immediately called for help while the victim

managed to walk upstairs towards the kitchen. The stunning sound of the two gunfire and
Marcelos cry for help alerted Imelda Umagtang and her common-law husband Rolando
Valdez, who were both lying on bed, to verge upon the kitchen where they saw the victim
bathed in his own blood. When Rolando inquired from the victim who shot him, the latter
replied that it was the appellant. At this time, the victims brother and in-laws arrived. They
also asked the victim what happened and the latter once more said that it was appellant who
shot him. At such time, the search for the passenger jeep that will transport the victim to the
hospital continued. After an hour, they were able to find a passenger jeep but the victim
already succumbed to death prior to his transport to the hospital.
The next day, on November 1, 1995, Dr. Asuncion Tuvera of San Manuel Rural Health
Unit conducted the autopsy on the cadaver of the deceased in the latters house. The
medical examination revealed the following gunshot woundsA. External findings:

Chest - gunshot wound at the left sternal line 2 inches below the left clavicle, 2
cm in diameter penetrating
- gunshot wound at the right enterior axillary line at the level of the lumbar area.
Extremities lacuated wound on the left thumb and index finger with fracture of
the phalanges.
B. Internal findings:

Chest fracture of the 3rd enterior left rib.


Abdomen placuated wound of the liver.
Cause of death:

Cardio respiratory arrest secondary to severe hemorrhage secondary to gunshot


wound on the chest and lumbar area. (Exhibit E; records, p. 7)
Thereafter, appellant was charged before the trial court with two separate information for
murder and illegal possession of firearms to which he pleaded not guilty. After trial, judgment
was rendered convicting appellant as earlier mentioned. The dispositive portion of the
decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court finds:
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8719:
The accused DOMINGO VALDEZ Y DULAY GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt

of the crime of MURDER defined and penalized under republic Act No. 7659
otherwise known as the Heinous Crime Law, the offense having been committed
with the attendant aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation, abuse of
superior strength and nighttime, hereby sentences him the ultimum supplicium
of DEATH to be executed pursuant to Republic Act No. 8177 known as the
Lethal Injection Law, to pay the heirs of the victim LABRADOR VALDEZ in the

amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity; P23,500.00 as actual


damages; P200,000.00 as moral damages; and to pay the costs.
IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. U-8720:
The accused DOMINGO VALDEZ Y DULAY, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt

of the crime of Illegal Possession of Firearm and Ammunition penalized under


Presidential Decree No. 1866 and hereby sentences him to suffer imprisonment
of RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay the costs.
Finally, it is said: Dura lex, sed lex, translated as The law is harsh, but that is

the law.
SO ORDERED.[7]
Appellant questions his conviction arguing that the court a quo erred I. in convicting the accused of murder notwithstanding the failure of the prosecution to prove
his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
II. in appreciating the qualifying circumstance of treachery and the aggravating
circumstances of evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength and nighttime on the
assumption that indeed accused appellant shot the victim.
III. in not applying the provision of R.A. 8294, amending P.D. 1866
IV. in convicting the accused for two separate offenses
V. finding the accused guilty of violating P.D. 1866[8]

After a careful examination of the records, appellants conviction should be upheld. The
elements of murder concur in this case. Appellant shot the victim twice. The wounds
sustained by the deceased at the left thumb, index finger and at the left shoulder below the
neck exiting to the right side just below the breast were caused by bullets. As a result of
these gunshot wounds, the victim suffered Cardio respiratory arrest secondary to severe
hemorrhage secondary to gunshot wound on the chest and lumbar area which was
described in the medico-legal report as the proximate cause resulting to his death.
Appellants defense is premised primarily on denial and alibi. He argues that on the day
of the incident he was hauling and transporting 27 cavans of palay with Reymante and
Conrado Centino[9] from 6 to 9 oclock in the evening of October 31, 1995, to the house of
Mrs. Juanita Centino. Thereafter, they took supper at Conrados house and drank wine and
went home around 11 oclock in the evening. His version was corroborated by Reymante and
Conrado and the latters mother, Mrs. Centino, a sexagenarian. Such defenses, however,
aside from being inherently weak, cannot prevail against a positive and explicit identification
of him not only by Marcelo Valdez but also by the victim himself. To exculpate himself,
appellant must not only show that it was impossible for him to be at the place where the crime
was committed, but it must likewise be demonstrated that he was so far away that he could
not have been physically present at the place of the crime or its immediate vicinity at the time
of its commission.[10] The distance between the place where the crime happened, to the

Centinos house where appellant claimed he was, is more or less one (1) kilometer, which
could be negotiated by walking for thirty (30) minutes, and twenty (20) minutes by riding a
vehicle.[11] Appellants whereabouts at the time of the incident was insufficient to foreclose
any possibility for him to be present at the scene of the crime, given the proximity of the two
places.
Appellant further contends that witness Marcelo Valdez could not have positively
identified him because there was only a single kerosene lamp lighting the area and the
witness was already seventy years old, who, at such age, would have a nebulous
identification of the assailant. Appellants assertion of impossibility of identification in a period
of a few seconds look at the time of the second shot, which was fired successively, was
negated by the fact that appellant shot the victim at a distance of around two meters from the
kerosene lamp. The distance of the appellant from the kerosene lamp does not preclude the
possibility of identification since the place was properly illumined capacitating the witness to
identify the assailant. In fact, both Marcelo and the deceased were able to identify appellant.
Appellant capitalizes on the alleged failure of Lilia Valdez (wife of the deceased) to
mention to the officer who investigated the killing, that she heard her husband say that the
appellant was his assailant. He argues that her testimony in court that she heard her
husband say that it was appellant who shot him, was merely an afterthought. In support
thereof, appellant quotes the following answers of Lilia Valdez during cross-examination ATTY. VIRAYQ: Now, in the sworn statement Madam witness which you gave to the police authorities of San
Manuel, Pangasinan, you never mentioned that your husband told you that he was allegedly
shot by the accused, is this correct?

A: Yes, sir.
ATTY. VIRAY:
The answer is not responsive, we request the question to be read back.

COURT:

She said, she did not tell that to the police.

ATTY. VIRAY:
Q: Why did you not tell to the police authorities that your husband told you that your husband
was shot by Domingo Valdez?

A: I forgot, sir. [TSN, July 3, 1996, pp. 24-25]


We have thoroughly reviewed the records and studied the alleged contradiction between
the court testimony and the sworn statement of Lilia Valdez only to find that appellant is
misleading the court. In her sworn statement Lilia Valdez stated 15. Q:

Was you (sic) husband able to identify his assailant?

A: Yes, sir. He identified Domingo Valdez as his assailant when asked by brother-in-law Rolando
Valdez before he was brought down to kitchen on the way to the hospital, sir. [Exhibit D,
Folder II, Records, p. 3]

It is also clear from the records that as early as November 1, 1995, the day after the
killing, the principal prosecution witness Marcelo Valdez (father of the deceased), along with
Lilia Valdez (wife of the deceased), Imelda Umagtang (sister-in-law of the deceased) alluded
to appellant as the killer before police officer Avelino Sandi, Jr. who conducted the
investigation. Their respective sworn statements were reduced into writing denouncing and
identifying appellant as responsible for the death of Labrador Valdez. Imelda
Umagtang[12] testified to these utterances of the deceased in court.
The victims septuagenarian father Marcelo Valdez likewise affirmed the identity of the
appellant as the assailant. He testified in court that he recognized the assailant with the
lighting coming from the kerosene lamp hanging on the wall, which illuminated the whole
ground of the nipa hut.[13] He claimed that he recognized appellant at the second shot[14] at
a distance of around three meters (3) away from him.[15] At the time appellant fired the
second shot, appellant was less than a meter away from the victim[16] and around two meters
from the kerosene lamp.[17]
Lilia Valdez, the victims wife, recounting that fateful day, similarly attested appellants
culpability in court. She testified that when her husband was shot she was in her house with
her children, about 25 to 30 meters[18] from the victims location. When she heard the gunfire
and the summons of her parents-in-law that her husband was shot, she rushed to her
husband and saw him bloodied, lying prostrate in the kitchen. She asked the victim what
happened and the latter answered that appellant shot him.
Appellant likewise debunks the probative value given to Imelda Umagtangs testimony
that she heard the victim say that it was appellant who shot him because such statement was
not directed to her by the victim but to Rolando Valdez.[19] This according to appellant finds
support in the following testimony of Imelda
ATTY. VIRAY
Q: So it is very clear from your statement that it was your live-in boyfriend, Rolando Valdez, who
asked question from the victim not you, is this correct?

A: Yes, sir.
Q: You never asked questions from the victim, is this correct?
A: No, sir. I heard what he revealed to my live-in boyfriend, sir.[20]
There is no rule that a person who hears something cannot testify on what she heard. A
dying declaration need not be particularly directed only to the person inquiring from the
declarant. Anyone who has knowledge of the fact of what the declarant said, whether it was
directed to him or not, or whether he had made inquiries from the declarant or not, can testify
thereto.

Hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, possesses no probative value unless the
proponent can show that the same falls within the exception to the hearsay rule. [21] The
statement of the deceased uttered shortly after being wounded by the gunfire is a dying
declaration, which falls under the exception to the hearsay rule.[22] It may be proved by the
testimony of the witness who heard the same or to whom it was made.[23] Appellant contends
that the identification by the deceased of his assailant, which was admitted as a dying
declaration under Section 37, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, cannot be admitted because
when the said statements were uttered the declarant was not conscious of his imminent
death,[24] relying on the following testimony of Imelda Umagtang and Lilia Valdez, thus
Q: What was your observation when he was lying down waiting for the ride to come?
A: He was already very weak, sir.
Q: Did somebody ask of his physical condition at that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Who?
A: Lago Valdez, sir.
Q: What did he ask?
A: He asked if he can still manage, sir.
Q: What did Labrador Valdez answer?
A: He said, no more, sir.
Q: What do you mean by he cannot manage anymore?
A: He was already very weak at that time, sir.
Q: And?
A: And he was dying, sir.
Q: He said he was dying?
A: No, sir.
Q: But he was feeling weak already?
A: Yes, sir.[25]
and

Q: When you were there near your husband lying in the kitchen in the house of your father-inlaw, what was your observation regarding his physical condition?

A: He was shot, Your Honor.


Q: Did you ask him what was he feeling at that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did he answer?
A: He said, he was weak, Your Honor.
Q: Did he tell you that he is going to die?
A: No, Your Honor.[26]
The victims statements prior to his death identifying appellant as his assailant have the
vestiges of a dying declaration, the elements for its admissibility are:
(1) the declaration was made by the deceased under consciousness of his

impending death; (2) the deceased was at time competent as a witness; (3) the
declaration concerns the cause and surrounding circumstances of the
declarants death; and (4) it offered in a criminal case wherein the declarants
death is subject of inquiry.[27]
These requirements are present in this case. The deceased made, before his death,
more than one statement, naming the person who shot him. The statements uttered by the
deceased were in response to the queries about the identity of the assailant. Such utterances
are admissible as a declaration of the surrounding circumstances of the victims death, which
were uttered under the consciousness of an impending death. That the victim was conscious
of his impending death is shown by the extent and seriousness of the wounds inflicted upon
the victim. The victim, prior to his death, was competent to be a witness in court and such
dying declaration is offered in a criminal prosecution for murder where he was himself a
victim.
In a further but futile attempt to exculpate himself from liability, appellant contends that he
has no motive to kill the victim. While he admitted that the victim eloped with his wife, he was
not the only suspect having a motive to kill the victim. Suffice it to say that the evidence on
motive is inconsequential when the identity of the culprit has been positively
established[28] as in this case.
Ultimately, the issues raised by appellant fall within the sphere of credibility of witnesses
which, the reviewing court on appeal, ordinarily gives deference to the assessments and
conclusion of the trial court provided it is supported by the evidence on record. Findings of
facts by the trial court are usually not disturbed on appeal on the proposition that the lower
court had the unique opportunity of having observed the elusive and incommunicable
evidence of the witnesses deportment on the stand while testifying.

The killing was attended by treachery when the deceased was shot at his back while lying
on a carabao sledge conversing with his father, in a sudden and unexpected manner giving
him no opportunity to repel it or defend himself against such attack,[29] and without any
provocation on his part. With respect to the other aggravating circumstances of evident
premeditation, abuse of superior strength, and nighttime, this Court cannot appreciate the
same against the appellant for lack of factual basis. There is no evidence on record that
appellant contemplated and took some time of cool reflection before performing his evil act for
evident premeditation to set in. The abuse of superior strength, assuming there is any, is
already absorbed in treachery. Nighttime as an aggravating circumstance was not
established for lack of proof that appellant specifically sought the darkness of night to
perpetuate his deed. In the absence of any evidence that nocturnity was specifically sought
for by the offender in the commission of the crime, such aggravating circumstance may not be
validly appreciated.
In criminal prosecutions, the accused is entitled to an acquittal, unless his guilt is shown
beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean such a degree
of proof as, excluding possibility of error, produces absolute certainty. Moral certainty only is
required, or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.[30] The
prosecution ably discharged its duty by establishing its case against appellant through the
required quantum of proof.
In Criminal Case No. U-8720, appellant was found guilty of the crime of Illegal Possession
of Firearms and Ammunition punished under P.D. 1866 and was sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the costs. His separate indictment was on account
of the unlicensed firearm used in the killing. Under Section 1 of Republic Act No. 8294,[31] if
homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use of an
unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance. Although the crime
in this case was committed in 1995, the amendatory law (R.A. No. 8294) which became
effective on July 6, 1997, fifteen (15) days after its publication in Malaya and Philippine
Journal on June 21, 1997, since it is favorable to appellant,[32] shall be given a retroactive
effect. Therefore, the illegal possession or use of the unlicensed firearm may no longer be
separately charged[33] and only one offense should be punished, viz., murder in this case,
and the use of unlicensed firearm should only be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
[34] Considering that appellant is liable for murder, the illegal possession case can no longer
be pursued because it is merely treated as an aggravating circumstance.
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code penalizes murder with reclusion perpetua to
death. Since the killing was committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such
circumstance will be treated merely as an aggravating circumstance under R.A.
8294. Pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, when the law prescribes a penalty
composed of two indivisible penalties, such as reclusion perpetua to death, there being one
aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty (death) shall be applied. However, the
aggravating circumstance of use of an unlicensed firearm cannot be appreciated in this case
because its retroactive application would be unfavorable to the accused, since the higher
penalty of death would necessarily be imposed. Thus, we could only impose the penalty
of reclusion perpetua in line with the ruling in People vs. Nepomuceno, Jr.[35] It must be underscored that although R.A. No. 7659 had already taken effect at

the time the violation of P.D. No. 1866 was allegedly committed x x x there is

nothing in R. A. No. 7659 which specifically reimposed the death penalty in P.D.
No. 1866. Without such reimposition, the death penalty imposed in Section 1 of
P.D. No. 1866 for aggravated illegal possession of firearm shall remain
suspended pursuant to Section 19(1) of Article III of the
Constitution. Conformably therewith, what the trial court could impose
was reclusion perpetua.
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment is hereby MODIFIED as follows:
1. In Criminal Case No. U-8719 for MURDER, the penalty imposed on accused-appellant
DOMINGO VALDEZ Y DULAY is reduced to reclusion perpetua. In addition to the death
indemnity of P50,000.00, the P200,000.00 moral damages awarded by the trial court to
the heirs of Labrador Valdez y Madrid is reduced to P50,000.00, and the P23,500.00
awarded as actual damages is likewise reduced to P19,000.00, the amount actually
proved.
2. In Criminal Case No. U-8720 for ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS, the sentence
imposed on accused-appelant DOMINGO VALDEZ y DULAY is SET ASIDE and
ANNULLED and the case is DISMISSED, the act charged therein being considered merely
as an aggravating circumstance pursuant to P.D. 1866, as amended by Rep. Act No. 8294.

SO ORDERED.
JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 71, Pasig City, and
EVANGELINE PONCE, Respondents.
The petition seeks the review of the Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City affirming sub-silencio a lower courts
ruling finding inapplicable the Double Jeopardy Clause to bar a second prosecution for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Homicide and Damage to Property. This, despite the accuseds previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Slight Physical Injuries arising from the same incident grounding the second prosecution.
Facts:
Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason Ivler (petitioner) was charged before the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Pasig City (MeTC), with two separate offenses: (1) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries for
injuries sustained by respondent Evangeline L. Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Homicide and Damage to Property for the death of respondent Ponces husband Nestor C. Ponce and damage to the
spouses Ponces vehicle.
Petitioner posted bail for his temporary release in both cases.
On 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge on the first delict and was meted out the penalty of public censure. Invoking
this conviction, petitioner moved to quash the Information for the second delict for placing him in jeopardy of second
punishment for the same offense of reckless imprudence.
The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the two cases.
The petitioner elevated the matter to the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City (RTC), in a petition for certiorari while Ivler sought
from the MeTC the suspension of proceedings in criminal case, including the arraignment his arraignment as a prejudicial
question.
Without acting on petitioners motion, the MeTC proceeded with the arraignment and, because of petitioners absence,

cancelled his bail and ordered his arrest.


Seven days later, the MeTC issued a resolution denying petitioners motion to suspend proceedings and postponing his
arraignment until after his arrest.Petitioner sought reconsideration but as of the filing of this petition, the motion remained
unresolved.
Issues:
(1) Whether petitioner forfeited his standing to seek relief from his petition for certiorari when the MeTC ordered his arrest
following his non-appearance at the arraignment in Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries for injuries
sustained by respondent; and
(2) Whether petitioners constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy Clause bars further proceedings in Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property for the death of respondent Ponces husband.
Ruling:
On Petition for Certiorari
The RTC dismissed Ivlers petition for certiorari, narrowly grounding its ruling on petitioners forfeiture of standing to maintain
said petition arising from the MeTCs order to arrest petitioner for his non-appearance at the arraignment in the second
offense. Thus, without reaching the merits of the said petition, the RTC effectively affirmed the MeTC. Petitioner sought
reconsideration but this proved unavailing.
Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the RTCs decision forfeiting petitioners standing to maintain his
petition in S.C.A. 2803. On the merits, respondent Ponce calls the Courts attention to jurisprudence holding that light
offenses (e.g. slight physical injuries) cannot be complexed under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code with grave or less
grave felonies (e.g. homicide). Hence, the prosecution was obliged to separate the charge in Criminal Case No. 82366 for
the slight physical injuries from Criminal Case No. 82367 for the homicide and damage to property.
In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, the Court granted the Office of the Solicitor Generals motion not to file a comment to the
petition as the public respondent judge is merely a nominal party and private respondent is represented by counsel.
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellants escape from custody or violation of the terms of his bail bond are
governed by the second paragraph of Section 8, Rule 124, in relation to Section 1, Rule 125, of the Revised Rules on
Criminal Procedure authorizing this Court or the Court of Appeals to "also, upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio,
dismiss the appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign country during the
pendency of the appeal." The "appeal" contemplated in Section 8 of Rule 124 is a suit to review judgments of convictions.
On Double Jeopardy
The accuseds negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense" protects him
from, among others, post-conviction prosecution for the same offense, with the prior verdict rendered by a court of competent
jurisdiction upon a valid information.
Petitioner adopts the affirmative view, submitting that the two cases concern the same offense of reckless imprudence. The
MeTC ruled otherwise, finding that Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries is an entirely separate offense
from Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property "as the [latter] requires proof of an additional fact
which the other does not."
The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts, were prosecuted under the same provision of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses.
The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable. Indeed, the notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or
simple, are distinct species of crime, separately defined and penalized under the framework of our penal laws, is nothing
new.
The doctrine that reckless imprudence under Article 365 is a single quasi-offense by itself and not merely a means to commit
other crimes such that conviction or acquittal of such quasi-offense bars subsequent prosecution for the same quasi-offense,

regardless of its various resulting acts, undergirded this Courts unbroken chain of jurisprudence on double jeopardy as
applied to Article 365.
These cases uniformly barred the second prosecutions as constitutionally impermissible under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
Our ruling today secures for the accused facing an Article 365 charge a stronger and simpler protection of their constitutional
right under the Double Jeopardy Clause. True, they are thereby denied the beneficent effect of the favorable sentencing
formula under Article 48, but any disadvantage thus caused is more than compensated by the certainty of non-prosecution
for quasi-crime effects qualifying as "light offenses" (or, as here, for the more serious consequence prosecuted belatedly). If it
is so minded, Congress can re-craft Article 365 by extending to quasi-crimes the sentencing formula of Article 48 so that only
the most severe penalty shall be imposed under a single prosecution of all resulting acts, whether penalized as grave, less
grave or light offenses. This will still keep intact the distinct concept of quasi-offenses. Meanwhile, the lenient schedule of
penalties under Article 365, befitting crimes occupying a lower rung of culpability, should cushion the effect of this ruling.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE the Orders dated 2 February 2006 and 2 May 2006 of the Regional
Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157. We DISMISS the Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 against petitioner Jason Ivler
y Aguilar pending with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 71 on the ground of double jeopardy.

G.R. No. 184500

September 11, 2012

PEOPLE OF THE PIIILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
WENCESLAO NELMIDA @ "ESLAO," and RICARDO AJOK @ "PORDOY," Accused-Appellants.
DECISION
PEREZ, J.:
The subject of this present appeal is the Decision 1 dated 18 June 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. HC No. 00246,
affirming the Decision2 dated 30 September 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte,
Branch 21, in Criminal Case No. 21-910, finding herein appellants Wenceslao Nelmida @ "Eslao" (Wenceslao) and Ricardo
Ajok @
"Pordoy" (Ricardo) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of double murder with multiple frustrated murder and double attempted
murder, thereby sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Appellants were likewise ordered to indemnify,
jointly and severally, the heirs of each of the deceased victims, i.e., Police Officer 3 Hernando P. Dela Cruz (PO3 Dela
Cruz) and
Technical Sergeant Ramon Dacoco (T/Sgt. Dacoco), the amount of P 50,000.00 each as moral damages and P 50,000.00
each as civil indemnity for the death of each of the said victims. Similarly, appellants were directed to pay, jointly and
severally, Mayor Johnny Tawan-tawan the amount of P 50,000.00 for and as attorneys fees, as well as the costs of the suit.
Appellants and their co-accused Samuel Cutad @ "Sammy" (Samuel), Brigido Abais @ "Bidok" (Brigido), Pedro Serafico
@ "Peter" (Pedro), Eduardo Bacong, Sr. (Eduardo, Sr.), Eduardo Bacong, Jr. @ "Junjun" (Eduardo, Jr.), Alejandro Abarquez
(Alejandro), Ruben Bartolo @ "Yoyoy Bulhog" (Ruben), Arnel Espanola @ "Toto Ilongo" (Arnel), Alfredo Paninsuro @
"Tambok" (Alfredo), Opao Casinillo (Opao) and other John Does, were charged in an Amended Information 3 dated 3
October 2001 with the crime of double murder with multiple frustrated murder and double attempted murder, the accusatory
portion of which reads:
That on or about the 5th day of June 2001, at SAN MANUEL, Lala, Lanao del Norte, Philippines and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named appellants and their co-accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping
one another, armed with assorted high-powered firearms and hand-grenade, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with treachery, evident premidation (sic), taking advantage of their superiority in strength and in numbers, and
with intent to kill, ambush, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the persons of the following, namely:

1. PO3 Dela Cruz, Philippine National Police (PNP);


2. T/Sgt. Dacoco, Philippine Army (PA);
3. Private First Class (PFC) Haron Angni, PA;
4. PFC Gador4 Tomanto, PA;

5. Juanito Ibunalo;
6. Mosanif5 Ameril;
7. Macasubar6 Tandayao;
8. Mayor Johnny Tawantawan;7 and
9. Jun Palanas
by then and there firing and shooting them with said high-powered firearms thereby inflicting upon the persons of PO3 De
la Cruz, T/Sgt. Dacoco, PFC Haron Angni, PFC Gapor Tomanto, Juanito Ibunalo, Mosanip Ameril and Macasuba Tandayao
gunshot wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of the death of PO3 De la Cruz and T/Sgt. Dacoco and the
serious wounding of said PFC Haron Angni, PFC Gapor Tomanto, Juanito Ibunalo, Mosanip Ameril and Macasuba
Tandayao that without the medical assistance would have caused their deaths, while Mayor Johnny Tawan-tawan and Jun
Palanas were not hit.8
When arraigned, appellants Wenceslao and Ricardo, assisted by their counsel de parte 9 and counsel de
oficio,10respectively; and their co-accused Samuel, likewise assisted by counsel de oficio, 11 all entered separate pleas of
NOT GUILTY to the crime charged. The rest of the accused in this case, however, remained at large. Trial on the merits
ensued thereafter.
Meanwhile, or on 21 January 2003, however, the prosecution filed a Motion to Discharge Accused Samuel To Be Utilized
As State Witness,12 which the court a quo granted in an Order dated 12 February 2003. 13 Also, upon motion of the
prosecution, the court a quo issued another Order dated 17 March 2003, 14 directing the release of Samuel from detention
following his discharge as state witness.
As such, Samuel, together with 13 more witnesses, namely, Macasuba Tandayao (Macasuba), Mosanip Ameril (Mosanip),
PFC Gapor Tomanto (PFC Tomanto), Merlina Dela Cruz (Merlina), Senior Police Inspector Renato Salazar (Senior P/Insp.
Salazar), PFC Haron Angni (PFC Angni), Senior Police Officer 4 Raul Torres Medrano (SPO4 Medrano), Senior Police
Officer 1 Ferdinand Suaring (SPO1 Suaring), Senior Police Officer 2 Ivan Mutia Evasco (SPO2 Evasco), Senior Police
Officer 4 Emmie Subingsubing (SPO4 Subingsubing), Juanito Ibunalo (Juanito), Senior
Police Officer 3 Tommy Umpa (SPO3 Umpa), and Mayor Johnny Tawan-tawan (Mayor Tawan-tawan), testified for the
prosecution.
The factual milieu of this case as culled from the testimonies of the aforesaid prosecution witnesses is as follows:
On 5 June 2001, Mayor Tawan-tawan of Salvador, Lanao del Norte, together with his security escorts composed of some
members of the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP) and civilian aides, to wit: (1) T/Sgt. Dacoco; (2) PFC
Angni; (3) PFC Tomanto; (4) PO3 Dela Cruz; (5) Juanito; (6) Mosanip; (7) Macasuba; and (8) a certain Jun, respectively,
were in Tubod, Lanao del Norte. In the afternoon, the group went home to Salvador, Lanao del Norte, on board the yellow
pick-up service vehicle of Mayor Tawan-tawan with Plate No. JRT 818 driven by Juanito. Sitting at the passenger seat of the
aforesaid vehicle was Mayor Tawan-tawan while those at the back seat were Mosanip, Jun, and Macasuba, who was sitting
immediately behind Juanito. Those seated on a wooden bench installed at the rear (open) portion of the said yellow pick-up
service vehicle were PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni, PO3 Dela Cruz and T/Sgt. Dacoco. PFC Tomanto and PFC Angni were
sitting beside each other facing the right side of the road while PO3 Dela Cruz and T/Sgt. Dacoco were both seated behind
PFC Tomanto and PFC Angni facing the left side of the road.15
At around 3:00 p.m. of the same day, appellants, together with their aforenamed co-accused, brought Samuel to a waiting
shed in Purok 2, San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, the one located on the left side of the road going to Salvador, Lanao
del Norte. Samuel was instructed by appellants and their co-accused to stay in the said waiting shed while they assembled
themselves in a diamond position on both sides of the road, which is more or less five (5) meters away from the shed. Then,
appellants and their co-accused surreptitiously waited for the vehicle of the group of Mayor Tawan-tawan. 16
A few minutes later, Samuel saw the yellow pick-up service vehicle of Mayor Tawan-tawan approaching towards the
direction of Salvador, Lanao del Norte. The moment the yellow pick-up service vehicle of Mayor Tawan-tawan passed by
the aforesaid waiting shed, appellants and their co-accused opened fire and rained bullets on the vehicle using high-powered
firearms.
Both Macasuba, who was sitting immediately behind the driver, and PFC Tomanto, who was then sitting on the rear (open)
portion of the yellow pick-up service vehicle, saw appellant Wenceslao on the right side of the road firing at them in a
squatting position using an M-16 armalite rifle.

Macasuba was also able to identify appellants Ricardo, Pedro, Eduardo, Sr., Eduardo, Jr., Brigido and Alfredo as among the
ambushers. Mayor Tawan-tawan ordered Juanito to keep on driving to avoid greater casualties. The vehicle stopped upon
reaching the army and Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachment in Curva, Miagao, Salvador, Lanao
del Norte. Mayor Tawan-tawan then asked assistance therefrom. 17
Immediately after the ambush, appellants and their co-accused ran towards the house of Samuels aunt located, more or less,
10 meters away from the site of the ambush to get their bags and other stuff. The house of Samuels aunt was the place
where appellants and their co-accused stayed prior to the incident. Samuel followed appellants and their co-accused to the
house of his aunt. Thereafter, appellants and their co-accused hurriedly ran towards Barangay Lindongan, Municipality of
Baroy, Lanao del Norte.18
On the occasion of the ambush, two security escorts of Mayor Tawan-tawan, namely, PO3 Dela Cruz and T/Sgt. Dacoco,
died, while others suffered injuries. In particular, Macasuba was slightly hit on the head by shrapnel; Mosanip sustained
injury on his shoulder that almost severed his left arm; PFC Tomanto was hit on the right and left sides of his body, on his
left leg and knee; PFC Angni was hit on his left shoulder; and Juanito was hit on his right point finger, right head and left
hip. Mayor Tawan-tawan and Jun were not injured.19
All the victims of the ambush, except Macasuba, were brought to Bontilao Country Clinic in Maranding, Lala, Lanao del
Norte, and were later transferred to Mindanao Sanitarium and Hospital in Tibanga, Iligan City. PO3 Dela Cruz, however,
died before reaching the hospital while T/Sgt. Dacoco died in the hospital. PFC Tomanto stayed at Mindanao Sanitarium
and Hospital for 13 days before he was transferred to Camp Evangelista Hospital in Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, and then in
a hospital in Manila and Quezon City. PFC Angni stayed for seven (7) days in Mindanao Sanitarium and Hospital before he
was transferred to Camp Evangelista Hospital, where he was confined for one (1) month. PFC Angni was transferred to V.
Luna Hospital in Quezon City and was confined therein for two (2) months.20
On the other hand, Mayor Tawan-tawan, Macasuba and the members of the CAFGU went back to the site of the ambush but
appellants and their co-accused were no longer there. Not long after, SPO4 Medrano, Chief of Police of Salvador Municipal
Police Station, Salvador, Lanao del Norte, and his troops arrived. It was while inside the Salvador Municipal Police Station
that SPO4 Medrano heard gunfire and he came to know that the group of Mayor Tawan-tawan was ambushed prompting
him and his troops to go to the scene of the crime. Mayor Tawan-tawan informed SPO4 Medrano that appellant Wenceslao
was one of those responsible for the ambush. SPO4 Medrano and his troops, then, conducted an investigation during which
he noticed Samuel at the scene of the crime. Upon interrogation Samuel denied any involvement in the ambush. Even so,
SPO4 Medrano still found Samuel suspicious, hence, he and his fellow police officers arrested him and turned him over to a
certain SPO4 Micabalo, Chief of Police of Lala, Lanao del Norte. Samuel was then brought to Lala Municipal Jail in Lanao
del Norte.
Subsequently, SPO4 Medrano, together with the members of the CAFGU, PNP and the rest of the troops who were at the
scene of the crime, found a trail of footprints believed to be from the culprits. They conducted a hot pursuit operation
towards Barangay Lindongan, Municipality of Baroy, Lanao del Norte, where appellants and their co-accused were believed
to have fled. They were able to recover an M-16 armalite rifle caliber 5.26 concealed near a nipa hut. SPO4 Medrano then
sent a Spot Report and a follow-up report about the ambush. He did not, however, reveal the identity of appellant Wenceslao
so that with a warrant of arrest, appellant Wenceslao could be arrested at the earliest possible time. SPO4 Medrano also
informed the provincial headquarters about the incident through a radio message. 21
The following day, or on 6 June 2001, Samuel informed SPO1 Suaring, member of PNP Lala Municipal Police, Lala, Lanao
del Norte, that there were electrical supplies and radio antenna in San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, left by the
malefactors. SPO1 Suaring, together with Samuel, Senior P/Insp. Salazar, SPO4 Subingsubing and a certain SPO4 Sumaylo,
proceeded to San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, where they found the materials near the National Irrigation Administration
(NIA) canal, which is 30 meters away from the house of Samuels aunt. These were photographed.22
Later, SPO2 Evasco, who was assigned at Lala Police Station, received a call from Barangay Kagawad Renato Senahon
(Brgy. Kgwd. Senahon) that a black backpack was found in Mount Curay-curay, Rebe, Lala, Lanao del Norte, which is two
(2) kilometers away from the highway. Immediately, SPO2 Evasco and Brgy. Kgwd. Senahon went to the location. Upon
inspection, they recovered from the backpack an army camouflage with name cloth, one Garand pouch and one
fragmentation grenade cacao type. SPO2 Evasco then brought these to the police station in Maranding, Lala, Lanao del
Norte, and turned it over to Senior P/Insp. Salazar.23
On 8 June 2001, Samuel executed his sworn statement identifying appellants and their co-accused as the persons
responsible for the ambush of Mayor Tawan-tawan and his companions. Samuel was, thereafter, incarcerated at the Bureau
of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.24

On 29 August 2001, or more than two (2) months after the ambush, appellant Wenceslao was arrested while he was in
Katipa, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental. Appellant Ricardo, on the other hand, was arrested on 20 December 2001 while
working in Puting Bato in Sapad, Lanao del Norte. It was Senior P/Insp. Salazar who effected the arrest of the
appellants.25
Appellants denied having any involvement in the ambush. Appellant Wenceslao presented as witnesses Armida Nelmida
(Armida), Jeffrey Paninsuro (Jeffrey), Luzviminda Apolinares (Luzviminda), Rudy Alegado (Rudy), Sergeant Teofanis
Garsuta (Sgt. Garsuta) and Master Sergeant Pio Cudilla (M/Sgt. Cudilla). Appellant Ricardo, on the other hand, did not
present any witness other than himself.
Appellant Wenceslao testified that on 5 June 2001, he was in their house with his family. At around 1:00 p.m., he went
outside their house to clean the pigsty and feed the pigs. Then, at around 2:30 p.m., Jacob Pepito, Rudy and a certain Romy,
who is a military personnel, arrived to get a copy of the election returns of the 15 May 2001 elections upon the orders of
Tanny Pepito, a gubernatorial candidate. He told them that he has no copy of the returns. He then advised them to get it to
Atty. Aldoni Umpa (Atty. Umpa) who has a copy. At that time, he, Jacob Pepito and Romy were outside the house while his
wife and nieces were just eight (8) to 10 meters away from them. After 10 minutes, his visitors left. 26 Suddenly, appellant
Wenceslao heard gunfire coming from the direction of the house of Mayor Tawan-tawan. His nephew, Jeffrey, approached
and informed him that Mayor Tawan-tawan and the latters group were ambushed. After about one (1) or two (2) minutes,
he again heard gunfire. This time the bullets were already hitting the roof and walls of their house. He then instructed
Jeffrey, who is also a CAFGU member, to report the said incident and to ask help from the members of the Philippine Army
stationed at Camp Allere, Salvador, Lanao del Norte.27
When Jeffrey left, appellant Wenceslao stayed at their house. He did not know where his wife and the rest of the women,
who were in their house, went after the gunburst. After more or less 15 minutes, he walked barefooted and unarmed towards
Camp Allere. There he saw M/Sgt. Cudilla and he informed the former regarding the incident happened in their house. Not
long after, a certain Captain Esmeralda (Capt. Esmeralda), Commanding Officer of Bravo Company of the Philippine Army,
arrived. He also approached and informed Capt. Esmeralda about the incident in their house. Capt. Esmeralda then ordered
his men to board the samba and a six-by-six truck to fetch appellant Wenceslaos wife and relatives in Poblacion, Salvador,
Lanao del Norte. A six-by-six truck returned to Camp Allere carrying appellant Wenceslaos wife and relatives. 28
On the evening of 5 June 2001, appellant Wenceslao, together with his wife and daughter, slept in his fathers house located,
more or less, 100 meters away from Camp Allere and stayed there for five (5) days. Appellant Wenceslaos wife then
requested for transfer to their sons house in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte, as she could no longer sleep because of what
happened at their house. Thus, they went to their sons house in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte, and stayed there for eight
(8) days. During that period of time, he did not hear of any case filed against him. No policemen even bothered to arrest
him. His wife, however, was still afraid, so they left the house of their son and moved to Katipa, Lopez Jaena, Misamis
Occidental. They stayed there until he was arrested on 29 August 2001.29
Appellant Wenceslao, however, disclosed that it would only take, more or less, a 15 minute-vehicle ride from his residence
in Poblacion, Salvador, Lanao del Norte, to the site of the ambush in San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte. Also, from his
house to Camp Allere it would only take, more or less, 5 minute-vehicle ride. Appellant Wenceslao also admitted that he ran
for the vice-mayoralty position in Salvador, Lanao del Norte, against Rodolfo Oban during the 2001 elections. Way back in
the 1998 elections, he ran for mayoralty position in the same locality against Mayor Tawan-tawan but he lost. On both
occasions, he and Mayor Tawan-tawan were no longer in the same political party. Similarly, during the term of Mayor
Tawan-tawan in 1998, appellant Wenceslao revealed that he and his son were charged with illegal possession of firearm. 30
Other defense witnesses, namely, Armida, Jeffrey and Luzviminda, who are appellant Wenceslaos wife, nephew and niece,
respectively, corroborated appellant Wenceslaos testimony on all material points. They all denied that appellant Wenceslao
has something to do with the ambush of Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group. Nonetheless, Armida admitted that there is a
road connecting San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, to Salvador, Lanao del Norte. There are also vehicles for hire plying
the route of Salvador, Lanao del Norte, to San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, and vice-versa. 31
Another defense witness, Rudy, corroborated appellant Wenceslaos testimony with respect to the fact that on 5 June 2001,
he, together with Jacob Pepito and a certain member of the army intelligence group, went to the house of appellant
Wenceslao to get the election returns. However, he could not recall anything unusual that happened while he was in the
house of appellant Wenceslao. They left the house of appellant Wenceslao at around 2:45 p.m. Still, no unusual incident
happened thereafter. Rudy similarly revealed that he did not go inside the house of appellant Wenceslao but merely waited
for Jacob Pepito and a member of the army intelligence group inside their vehicle parked at a distance of, more or less, three
(3) meters from the house of appellant Wenceslao. As such, he did not hear the subject of the conversation between
appellant Wenceslao, Jacob Pepito and a member of the army intelligence group.32

Sgt. Garsuta, who also testified for the defense, stated that in the afternoon of 5 June 2001, while he was at the legislative
hall in Pigcarangan, Tubod, Lanao del Norte, to secure the canvass of the elections, they received a radio call from M/Sgt.
Cudilla informing them that Mayor Tawan-tawan was ambushed and the house of appellant Wenceslao was strafed.
Thereafter, Capt. Esmeralda called them to board a six-by-six truck and to proceed to Salvador, Lanao del Norte. As they
passed by San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, they stopped to get some information from the police officers therein. They
proceeded to Camp Allere in Salvador, Lanao del Norte. They arrived at Camp Allere at around 4:30 p.m. to 4:35 p.m. and
there he saw appellant Wenceslao waiting and talking to 1st Sgt. Codilla. Appellant Wenceslao then requested that his
family and some personal effects be taken from his house. Thus, Capt. Esmeralda ordered them to board a six-by-six truck
and to proceed to appellant Wenceslaos house. Upon reaching the house of appellant Wenceslao, nobody was there.
Suddenly, appellant Wenceslaos wife came out from the nearby house. Then they ordered her to board a six-by-six truck
after taking some personal belongings of appellant Wenceslao in the latters house.33
M/Sgt. Cudilla alleged that at around, more or less, 3:00 p.m. of 5 June 2001, while he was at their command post at Camp
Allere, Salvador, Lanao del Norte, his detachment commander, a certain T/Sgt. Quijano, called and informed him through
radio that an ambush incident happened in his area of responsibility, i.e., Curva Miagao, Salvador, Lanao del Norte. He
advised T/Sgt. Quijano to verify the incident. M/Sgt. Cudilla then called Capt. Esmeralda to inform the latter about the said
ambush incident. He, thereafter, prepared a perimeter defense in the camp. In the second call of T/Sgt. Quijano, the latter
told him that Mayor Tawan-tawan was ambushed. After about 15 minutes, M/Sgt. Cudilla heard gunbursts from Poblacion,
Salvador, Lanao del Norte. Later, more or less, 10 civilians arrived at Camp Allere.
M/Sgt. Cudilla further confirmed that on 5 June 2001, also at around 3:00 p.m., he saw appellant Wenceslao at the back of
the stage inside Camp Allere near Km. Post one. Appellant Wenceslao then informed him of the strafing incident in his
house. When their commanding officer arrived, appellant Wenceslao approached the former. Thereafter, a platoon was
organized heading towards Poblacion, Salvador, Lanao del Norte.34
Appellant Ricardo, for his part, maintained that on 5 June 2001, he was also in his house in Purok 5, Poblacion, Salvador,
Lanao del Norte, attending to his wife and children because his wife had just given birth in April 2001. In the afternoon
thereof, he heard a gunburst somewhere in Poblacion, Salvador, Lanao del Norte, followed by some commotion in the
street. Later, his brother, Joji Ajok, arrived and informed him that appellant Wenceslao was shot in his house. 35
Appellant Ricardo also confirmed that on the early evening of 5 June 2001, he and his family transferred to the house of his
parents-in-law at Camp Allere, Salvador, Lanao del Norte. He so decided when he heard rumors that the supporters of Atty.
Umpa, the political rival of Mayor Tawan-tawan in the 2001 local elections, were being persecuted. Being one of Atty.
Umpas supporters, he got scared, prompting him to bring his family to Camp Allere. They stayed there until the following
morning and then he left alone for Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental, and stayed there for three (3) months. Thereafter, he
moved to Puting Bato in Sapad, Lanao del Norte, where he worked in the farm of his friend. He stayed there until he was
arrested on 20 December 2001.36
Nevertheless, appellant Ricardo divulged that there was never an instance that Atty. Umpa was harassed or intimidated by
the group of Mayor Tawan-tawan. He claimed that only Atty. Umpas supporters were harassed. He also revealed that prior
to the ambush incident, there was never an instance that he was threatened by the group of Mayor Tawan-tawan. He just
presumed that Atty. Umpas supporters were being harassed by the people of Mayor Tawan-tawan because others were
already harassed.37
Finding the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, most of whom were victims of the ambush, to be credible, categorical,
straightforward, spontaneous and consistent, coupled with their positive identification of the appellants as among the
perpetrators of the crime and their lack of ill-motive to falsely testify against them, vis--vis the defense of denial and alibi
proffered by the latter, the trial court rendered its Decision on 30 September 2005 finding appellants guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of double murder with multiple frustrated murder and double attempted murder and imposing upon them
the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The dispositive portion of the aforesaid trial courts Decision states:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered finding herein appellants Wenceslao
and Ricardo GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of double murder with multiple frustrated murder and double
attempted murder, and the Court hereby sentences them to suffer the indivisible prison term of reclusion perpetua; to pay,
jointly and severally, the heirs of the late PO3 Dela Cruz the amount of P 50,000.00 as moral damages and another sum
ofP 50,000.00 for and by way of civil indemnity ex delicto; to pay, jointly and severally, the heirs of the late T/Sgt. Dacoco
the sum of P 50,000.00 as moral damages plus P 50,000.00 for and by way of civil indemnity ex delicto; and to pay, jointly
and severally, Ex-Mayor Johnny Tawantawan the amount of P 50,000.00 for and as attorneys fees, and the costs of suit.
The Armalite rifle with defaced serial number, the hand grenade and the Garand pouch are hereby ordered turned-over to the
Firearm and Explosive Unit of the PNP Headquarters, Pigcarangan, Tubod, Lanao del Norte, for proper disposition as

authorized by law.
The full period of the preventive imprisonment of the appellantsshall be credited to them and deducted from their prison
term provided they comply with the requirements of Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code. Appellant Wenceslao was
arrested on 29 August 2001 and detained since then up to the present. While appellant Ricardo was arrested on 20 December
2001 and detained since then up to the present.
Let the records of this case be sent to the archive files without prejudice on the part of the prosecution to prosecute the case
against the other accused who remain at-large, as soon as said accused are apprehended. 38 [Emphasis supplied].
Unperturbed, appellants separately appealed the aforesaid trial courts Decision to the Court of Appeals via Notice of
Appeal,39 and, thereafter, submitted their respective appeal briefs.
In his brief, appellant Wenceslao assigned the following errors:

I.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT THE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION
WITNESSES ARE CREDIBLE AND NOT ORCHESTRATED LIES INTENDED TO FALSELY
IMPUTE THE CRIMINAL LIABILITY TO APPELLANT WENCESLAO;
II.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT THE INCONSISTENCIES OF
PROSECUTION WITNESSES ARE HONEST INCONSISTENCIES ON MINOR AND TRIVIAL
POINTS;
III.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT [APPELLANTS WENCESLAO AND RICARDO]
FAILED TO CAST ILL-MOTIVE ON THE PART OF PROSECUTION WITNESSES AND THAT
THESE WITNESSES HAD NO IMPROPER AND NEFARIOUS MOTIVE IN TESTIFYING
AGAINST THE APPELLANTS;
IV.
THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO APPRECIATE THE TESTIMONY OF THE MILITARY MEN WHO
ARE NEUTRAL, IMPARTIAL AND OBJECTIVE WITNESSES;
V.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT APPELLANT WENCESLAO ABSCONDED AND
IN IMPUTING MALICE ON THE ACT OF [APPELLANT WENCESLAO] IN TEMPORARILY
LEAVING HIS RESIDENCE;
VI.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING APPELLANT WENCESLAO OF THE CRIME
CHARGED BASED ON TESTIMONIES WHICH ARE OF DOUBTFUL VERACITY;
VII.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING THE DEFENSE OF [APPELLANT
WENCESLAO] BASED ON JURISPRUDENCE WHICH ARE NOT APPLICABLE IN THE CASE AT
BAR.40

While appellant Ricardo, in his brief, raised this lone assignment of error:
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING APPELLANT RICARDO DESPITE THE FAILURE OF
THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.41
On 18 June 2008, the Court of Appeals rendered its now assailed Decision affirming appellants conviction of the crime
charged. The Court of Appeals held that the evidence on record disclosed that the alleged inconsistencies pointed to by
appellant Wenceslao refer only to minor matters. The same did not damage the credibility of the prosecution witnesses,
particularly that of PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni, Juanito and Mayor Tawan-tawan. Honest inconsistencies on minor and trivial
points serve to strengthen rather than destroy the credibility of a witness to a crime. Moreover, since the prosecution
witnesses positively identified appellants in open court as among the perpetrators of the ambush, the same must prevail over
the alleged inconsistencies, as well as the defense of denial and alibi interposed by the appellants. Denial is a negative and
self-serving assertion that cannot overcome the victims affirmative, categorical and convincing testimony. In the same way,
for alibi to prosper, it must be established by positive, clear and satisfactory proof that it was impossible for the accused to
be at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission and not merely assert that he was somewhere else. As in the
present case, the trial court took judicial notice of the distance of seven (7) kilometers between Salvador, Lanao del Norte,
where appellants reside, and San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, where the ambush incident took place. Appellants,
therefore, could not successfully invoke alibi as a defense because it was not physically impossible for them to have been at
the scene of the crime.42 The Court of Appeals then decreed as follows:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the separate APPEALS are DENIED, and the appealed Decision is hereby
AFFIRMED.43
Still undaunted, appellants elevated the aforesaid Decision of the Court of Appeals to this Court via Notice of Appeal.
In a Resolution44 dated 19 November 2008, the Court required the parties to simultaneously submit their respective
supplemental briefs, if they so desire. In lieu thereof, the Office of the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation 45 stating that
it will no longer file a supplement to its Consolidated Appellees Brief 46 dated 14 December 2006 there being no
transactions, occurrences or events which have happened since the appellate courts Decision was rendered.
Appellants, on the other hand, filed their separate Supplemental Briefs, 47 which were a mere rehash of the arguments
already discussed in their respective Appellants Briefs 48 submitted before the appellate court. In his Supplemental Brief,
appellant Wenceslao reiterates that: the trial court and the Court of Appeals committed reversible errors when they decided a
question of substance which is not in accord with established facts and the applicable laws. 49 He, once again, enumerated
the following errors committed by the appellate court, thus:

I.
The court a quo and the Court of Appeals gravely erred when they ruled that the inconsistencies committed by
the prosecution witnesses are on minor and trivial points when these inconsistencies are indicative of the
innocence of appellant Wenceslao;
II.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals failed to consider as indicative of innocence of appellant Wenceslao
the fact that the authorities did not include in the police report the name of appellant Wenceslao and did not
arrest him immediately after the ambush, or within a couple of months from the date of the ambush;
III.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals committed reversible error when they deliberately refused or failed to
consider and appreciate the testimonies of the military officers who are neutral, impartial, and objective
witnesses;
IV.
Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals miserably failed to consider the evidence for the defense despite
the clear and unmistakable proof of their honesty and integrity;
V.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals clearly and deliberately misinterpreted the facts and misapplied the
laws regarding "flight" as an alleged indication of guilt;

VI.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals convicted appellant Wenceslaobased on jurisprudence on "alibi"
which are not applicable in the case at bar50 [Emphasis and italicized omitted].
Appellant Wenceslao contends that a thorough perusal of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses would show these are
tainted with glaring inconsistencies, which are badges of lies and dishonesty, thus, casting doubts on their credibility.
The inconsistencies referred to by appellant Wenceslao are as follows: (1) whether PFC Tomanto and PFC Angni were
already with Mayor Tawan-tawan from Salvador, Lanao del Norte, to Tubod, Lanao del Norte, and vice-versa, or they
merely hitched a ride in Mayor Tawan-tawans vehicle on their way home to Salvador, Lanao del Norte; (2) if so, the place
where PFC Tomanto and PFC Angni hitched a ride in Mayor Tawan-tawans vehicle; (3) the officer from whom PFC
Tomanto and PFC Angni got permission in order to go home to Salvador, Lanao del Norte; (4) PFC Angni allegedly knew
appellant Wenceslao prior to the ambush incident on 5 June 2001 and he even saw appellant Wenceslao as among the
perpetrators of the ambush, yet, he did not mention the name of the former in his affidavit; (5) Mayor Tawan-tawan should
have mentioned the name of appellant Wenceslao as one of those responsible in the ambush incident when he reported the
same to SPO4 Medrano; (6) SPO4 Medrano should have included the name of appellant Wenceslao in the Spot Reports he
transmitted to the Provincial Police Office of the PNP and should have immediately caused his arrest if he truly participated
in the ambush incident; (7) it would no longer be necessary to discharge Samuel and to make him as state witness if the
victims of the ambush incident, indeed, saw the perpetrators of the crime; and (8) if appellant Wenceslao was one of the
ambushers, Samuel would not have failed to mention the former in his sworn statement.
Appellant Wenceslao believes that the afore-enumerated inconsistencies only proved that he has no participation in the
ambush of Mayor Tawan-tawan and his companions. The declaration of his innocence is thus called for.
Appellant Wenceslao further imputes ill-motive and malice on the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses in testifying
against him. The motive was to remove him, being the only non-Muslim leader, in the Municipality of Salvador, Lanao del
Norte, who has the courage to challenge the reign of Mayor Tawan-tawan and his clan. It was also an act of revenge against
him for opposing Mayor Tawan-tawan during the 1998 elections. As to Samuels motive, appellant Wenceslao claims that it
was for self-preservation, freedom, leniency and some other consideration. Evidently, after Samuels testimony, the latter
was released from jail.
Appellant Wenceslao maintains that he was not at the ambush site on 5 June 2001 as can be gleaned from the testimonies of
M/Sgt. Cudilla and Sgt. Garsuta.
Lastly, appellant Wenceslao argues that his flight was not an indication of guilt. He justified his temporary absence from his
residence by stating that it was because of the traumatic experience of his wife, who had no peace of mind since their house
was riddled with bullets by lawless elements without any cause.
With all the foregoing, the resolution of this appeal hinges primarily on the determination of credibility of the testimonies of
the prosecution witnesses.
Time and again, this Court held that when the issues revolve on matters of credibility of witnesses, the findings of fact of the
trial court, its calibration of the testimonies of the witnesses, and its assessment of the probative weight thereof, as well as
its conclusions anchored on said findings, are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect. This is so because the trial
court has the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of witnesses and is in the best position to discern whether they are
telling the truth.51 Moreover, credibility, to state what is axiomatic, is the sole province of the trial court. In the absence of
any clear showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance that
would have affected the result of the case, the trial court's findings on the matter of credibility of witnesses will not be
disturbed on appeal.52 A careful perusal of the records of this case revealed that none of these circumstances is attendant
herein.
The affirmance by the Court of Appeals of the factual findings of the trial court places this case under the rule that factual
findings are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal to this Court. No reason has been given by appellants
to deviate from the factual findings arrived at by the trial court as affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
In the present case, most of the prosecution witnesses, i.e., Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni, Juanito and
Mayor Tawan-tawan, were victims of the 5 June 2001 ambush incident. As such, they actually witnessed what exactly
happened on that fateful day, especially Macasuba and PFC Angni, who vividly saw appellant Wenceslao on the right side
of the road and in a squatting position firing at them with his M-16 armalite rifle. Macasuba and PFC Angni, having seated
behind the driver and on the rear (open) portion of the yellow pick-up service vehicle, respectively, both facing the right
side of the road, were in such a position to see without any obstruction how appellant Wenceslao rained bullets on their
vehicle with his M-16 armalite rifle while they were traversing the road of San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, on their way

home to Salvador, Lanao del Norte. Macasuba was also able to identify appellant Ricardo, Pedro, Eduardo, Sr., Eduardo, Jr.,
Brigido and Alfredo as among the perpetrators of the ambush.
It bears stressing that the ambush happened at around 3:00 p.m., in broad daylight, such that it would not be impossible for
Macasuba and PFC Angni to have seen and identified their assailants, particularly appellant Wenceslao, who was once chief
of Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF), then municipal councilor and twice elected vice-mayor of Salvador, Lanao del
Norte, i.e., 1992 and 1995 elections, and appellant Ricardo, who is a resident of Poblacion, Salvador, Lanao del Norte.53
The aforesaid assertions of Macasuba and PFC Angni were equally confirmed by Samuel, an accused-turned-state-witness,
who, in his testimony before the open court, narrated how appellants and their co-accused, Pedro, Eduardo, Sr., Eduardo, Jr.,
Brigido, Alfredo, Alejandro, Ruben, Arnel, and Opao, brought him in the waiting shed in Purok 2, San Manuel, Lala, Lanao
del Norte; assembled themselves in a diamond position on both sides of the road; surreptitiously waited for the vehicle
boarded by Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group; and executed the ambush from the moment the vehicle boarded by Mayor
Tawan-tawan and his group passed by the aforesaid waiting shed.
Samuel was in an advantageous position to substantiate the identities of the appellants and their co-accused as the
perpetrators of the ambush because he was near the scene of the crime, i.e., merely five (5) meters away therefrom. This is
aside from the fact that appellants and their co-accused were the very same people who brought him to the site of the
ambush. Appellants and their co-accused likewise stayed for a long period of time in the house of Samuels aunt prior to the
ambush incident and Samuel is very well-acquainted with these people for he himself resided therein. 54
Given the foregoing, it is beyond any cavil of doubt that prosecution witnesses, Macasuba, PFC Angni and Samuel, have
firmly established the identities of appellants as the perpetrators of the ambush. In addition, their testimonies on who and
how the crime was committed were characterized by the trial court as simple and candid. Even their answers to questions
were simple, straightforward and categorical. Such simplicity and candidness in their testimonies only prove that they were
telling the truth, thus, strengthening their credibility as witnesses.
Now, as regards the inconsistencies pointed out by appellant Wenceslao that allegedly cast doubt on the credibility of the
prosecution witnesses, this Court finds them frivolous, trivial, minor, irrelevant and have nothing to do with the essential
elements of the crime charged, i.e., double murder with multiple frustrated murder and double attempted murder. In the
same manner, they do not detract from the fact that Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group, which includes PFC Tomanto and
PFC Angni, were ambushed by appellants and their co-accused on 5 June 2001 while on board the yellow pick-up service
vehicle as it passed by the waiting shed in Purok 2, San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte. And, said ambush resulted in the
death of PO3 Dela Cruz and T/Sgt. Dacoco and injuries to Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni and Juanito.
It is axiomatic that slight variations in the testimony of a witness as to minor details or collateral matters do not affect his or
her credibility as these variations are in fact indicative of truth and show that the witness was not coached to fabricate or
dissemble. An inconsistency, which has nothing to do with the elements of a crime, is not a ground to reverse a
conviction.55
Similarly, PFC Angni and Samuels failure to name appellant Wenceslao in their affidavits/sworn statements as one of the
ambushers does not necessarily render their testimonies implausible and unworthy of belief.
Inconsistencies between the sworn statement and direct testimony given in open court do not necessarily discredit the
witness. An affidavit, being taken ex-parte, is oftentimes incomplete and is generally regarded as inferior to the testimony of
the witness in open court. Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that testimonies given during trial are much more exact
and elaborate than those stated in sworn statements, which are usually incomplete and inaccurate for a variety of reasons.
More so, because of the partial and innocent suggestions, or for want of specific inquiries. In addition, an extrajudicial
statement or affidavit is generally not prepared by the affiant himself but by another who uses his own language in writing
the affiants statement, hence, omissions and misunderstandings by the writer are not infrequent. Indeed, the prosecution
witnesses direct and categorical declarations on the witness stand are superior to their extrajudicial
statements.56 Similarly, the failure of a witness to immediately disclose the name of the culprit does not necessarily impair
his or her credibility.57
A meticulous perusal of Samuels sworn statement reveals that he categorically mentioned therein the name of appellant
Wenceslao as one of the ambushers. In his sworn statement, Samuel specifically stated that during the ambush, he saw
appellant Wenceslao at the other side of the road, just a few meters away from the bridge, who, at that time armed with an
M-16 rifle, was likewise firing towards the group of Mayor Tawan-tawan. 58
Above all, both PFC Angni and Samuel positively identified appellant Wenceslao in open court as one of those responsible
for the ambush of Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group.59 Such open court declaration is much stronger than their
affidavits/sworn statements.

Mayor Tawan-tawans failure to disclose to SPO4 Medrano the name of appellant Wenceslao as one of those responsible in
the ambush and SPO4 Medranos failure to include the name of appellant Wenceslao in the Spot Reports he transmitted to
the Provincial Police Office of the PNP would not inure to appellant Wenceslaos benefit.
As can be gleaned from the transcript of stenographic notes, when Mayor Tawan-tawan and SPO4 Medrano met at the scene
of the crime, the former immediately told the latter that appellant Wenceslao was one of the ambushers. 60 This belied the
claim of appellant Wenceslao that Mayor Tawan-tawan did not tell SPO4 Medrano that he (appellant Wenceslao) was
among the ambushers. Also, SPO4 Medrano provided an explanation 61 for his failure to state in his Spot Reports the name
of appellant Wenceslao as one of the ambushers. And, even granting that his explanation would not have been satisfactory,
still, SPO4 Medranos failure to mention appellant Wenceslaos name in his Spot Reports was not fatal to the cause of the
prosecution. More especially because appellant Wenceslao was positively identified by the prosecution witnesses as one of
the perpetrators of the crime.
Even the discharge of Samuel to become state witness does not negate the fact that prosecution witnesses, Macasuba and
PFC Angni, indeed, saw appellants as among the perpetrators of the crime. To note, appellants were not the only persons
accused of the crime; they were many including Pedro, Eduardo, Sr., Eduardo, Jr., Brigido, Alfredo, Alejandro, Ruben,
Arnel, and Opao. In order to give justice to the victims of the ambush, especially those who have died by reason thereof, all
persons responsible therefor must be penalized. Since Samuel knew all those who have participated in the ambush incident,
his testimony as to the other accused in this case is material to strengthen the case of the prosecution against them.
Unfortunately, the other accused in this case remained at large until now.
As aptly observed by the trial court, thus:
x x x The Court is convinced without equivocation on the veracity of the testimonies of the prosecution eyewitnesses who
are all in one pointing to herein appellant Wenceslao as one of those who participated in the ambush, and on the veracity of
the testimonies of the two prosecution eyewitnesses Macasuba and Samuel to the effect that appellant Ricardo was
among the people who perpetrated the said ambush.
The testimonies of these witnesses were simple and candid. The simplicity and candidness of their testimonies only prove
that they were telling the truth. Their answers to questions were simple, straightforward and categorical; spontaneous, frank
and consistent. Thus, a witness who testifies categorically, spontaneously, frankly and consistently is a credible witness. 62
Appellant Wenceslaos allegations of ill-motive and malice on the part of prosecution witnesses, including Samuel, have no
leg to stand on.
The records are bereft of any evidence to substantiate the claim of appellant Wenceslao that the motive of the prosecution
witnesses in testifying against him was to remove him as the only non-Muslim leader in the Municipality of Salvador,
Lanao del Norte, and that it was an act of revenge for opposing Mayor Tawan-tawan during the 1998 elections. Appellant
Wenceslao failed to present an iota of evidence to support his aforesaid allegations. As properly stated by the Court of
Appeals, "mere allegation or claim is not proof. Each party must prove his own affirmative allegation." Also, it must be
emphasized that during the 1998 elections, it was Mayor Tawan-tawan who won the mayoralty position. It is, therefore,
highly implausible for Mayor Tawan-tawan, who emerged as the victor, to take revenge against the losing candidate,
appellant Wenceslao. As such, appellant Wenceslao failed to prove any ill-motive on the part of the prosecution witnesses. It
is settled that where the defense fails to prove that witnesses are moved by improper motives, the presumption is that they
were not so moved and their testimonies are therefore entitled to full weight and credit.63
To repeat, most of the prosecution witnesses are victims of the ambush. Being the aggrieved parties, they all desire justice
for what had happened to them, thus, it is unnatural for them to falsely accuse someone other than the real culprits.
Otherwise stated, it is very unlikely for these prosecution witnesses to implicate an innocent person to the crime. It has been
correctly observed that the natural interest of witnesses, who are relatives of the victims, more so, the victims themselves, in
securing the conviction of the guilty would deter them from implicating persons other than the culprits, for otherwise, the
culprits would gain immunity.64
Contrary to appellant Wenceslaos assertion, this Court is convince that his and appellant Ricardos flight from the scene of
the crime immediately after the ambush is an evidence of their guilt. It is noteworthy that after the ambush incident,
appellant Wenceslao immediately left his residence and moved to his fathers house, then to his sons house in Kolambugan,
Lanao del Norte, and lastly to Katipa, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental, where he was arrested. Appellant Ricardo did the
same thing. From his residence in Poblacion, Salvador, Lanao del Norte, he transferred to his parents-in-laws house, then
he left alone for Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental, and thereafter, moved to Puting Bato in Sapad, Lanao del Norte, until he
was arrested on 20 December 2001. If appellants were truly innocent of the crime charged, they would not go into hiding
rather they would face their accusers to clear their names. Courts go by the biblical truism that "the wicked flee when no
man pursueth but the righteous are as bold as a lion."65

Appellants respective explanations regarding their flight fail to persuade this Court. It bears emphasis that after the alleged
strafing of appellant Wenceslaos house, all he did is to move from one place to another instead of having it investigated by
the authorities. Until now, the alleged strafing of his house remains a mystery. If that strafing incident truly happened, he
would be much eager to know who caused it in order to penalize the author thereof. Appellant Ricardo, on the other hand,
was allegedly afraid of being persecuted for being one of the supporters of Mayor Tawan-tawans political rival. His fear,
however, was more imaginary than real. The aforesaid claim of appellant Ricardo was uncorroborated, hence, cannot be
given any considerable weight.
In light of the clear, positive and straightforward testimonies of prosecution witnesses, coupled with their positive
identification of appellants as among the perpetrators of the ambush, appellants defense of denial and alibi cannot prosper.
As this Court has oft pronounced, both denial and alibi are inherently weak defenses which cannot prevail over the positive
and credible testimonies of the prosecution witnesses that appellants committed the crime. 66 For alibi to prosper, the
requirements of time and place must be strictly met. It is not enough to prove that appellants were somewhere else when the
crime happened. They must also demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it was physically impossible for them to
have been at the scene of the crime at the approximate time of its commission. 67 Unless substantiated by clear and
convincing proof, such defense is negative, self-serving, and undeserving of any weight in law. 68 A mere denial, like alibi,
is inherently a weak defense and constitutes self-serving negative evidence, which cannot be accorded greater evidentiary
weight than the declaration of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters. 69
In this case, both appellants claimed that they were just in their respective houses in Poblacion, Salvador, Lanao del Norte,
when the ambush incident happened and they have no involvement whatsoever in the commission thereof.
To corroborate appellant Wenceslaos testimony, the defense presented Armida, Jeffrey and Luzviminda, who are appellant
Wenceslaos wife, nephew and niece, respectively. This Court, however, cannot give credence to the testimonies of these
defense witnesses. Being appellant Wenceslaos relatives, their testimonies are rendered suspect because the formers
relationship to them makes it likely that they would freely perjure themselves for his sake. The defense of alibi may not
prosper if it is established mainly by the appellant himself and his relatives, and not by credible persons. 70 This Court
further quote with conformity the observation made by the trial court, viz:
FURTHER, the testimonies of the above-named witnesses for herein appellant Wenceslao were shattered by the testimony
of Rudy, another witness for appellant Wenceslao, who categorically told the Court that during the time he and his
companions Jacob Pepito and a certain Romy were in the house of appellant Wenceslao in the afternoon of 5 June 2001,
there was no unusual incident that took place, as well as no unusual incident that happened when they left the house of
appellant Wenceslao at about 2:45 in the afternoon.
The foregoing testimony of Rudy clearly imparts that the visit of Rudy and his companions to the house of appellant
Wenceslao, if any, happened on another date. This will be so because if appellant Wenceslao and his closely related
witnesses are telling the truth that Jacob Pepito, Rudy and Romy were in the house of appellant Wenceslao talking about the
said election returns during that fateful afternoon, then definitely, Rudy should have had known of the ambush incident, said
incident being spreaded throughout or shall we say, "the talk of the town" that afternoon of 5 June 2001.
If the ambush incident occurred on the day Rudy and his companions visited appellant Wenceslao, then, no doubt that
Rudywill tell the Court about it. But his testimony was otherwise. 71 [Emphasis supplied].
In the same breath, appellant Ricardos defense of denial and alibi cannot be given any evidentiary value as it was
unsubstantiated. Appellant Ricardo never presented any witness to support his claim that he was simply inside their house
attending to his wife and children during the time that the ambush incident happened. This Court reiterates that mere denial,
if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is a self-serving assertion that deserves no weight in law. Between the
categorical and positive assertions of the prosecution witnesses and the negative averments of the accused which are
uncorroborated by reliable and independent evidence, the former indisputably deserve more credence and are entitled to
greater evidentiary weight.72
Withal, it was not physically impossible for the appellants to be at the scene of the crime in the afternoon of 5 June 2001. As
observed by the trial court and the appellate court, Poblacion, Salvador, Lanao del Norte, where both appellants reside, is
only about seven (7) kilometers away from San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, where the ambush took place. 73
All told, this Court affirms the findings of the trial court and the appellate court that, indeed, appellants were among the
perpetrators of the ambush against Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group. Prosecution witnesses categorical, positive and
straightforward testimonies, coupled with their positive identification of appellants as among the perpetrators of the crime,
prevail over appellants defense of bare denial and alibi.

As to the crime committed. The trial court, as well as the appellate court, convicted appellants of double murder with
multiple frustrated murder and double attempted murder. This Court believes, however, that appellants should be convicted
not of a complex crime but of separate crimes of two (2) counts of murder and seven (7) counts of attempted murder as the
killing and wounding of the victims in this case were not the result of a single act but of several acts of the appellants, thus,
making Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code inapplicable.
Appellants and their co-accused simultaneous act of riddling the vehicle boarded by Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group with
bullets discharged from their firearms when the said vehicle passed by San Manuel, Lala, Lanao del Norte, resulted in the
death of two security escorts of Mayor Tawan-tawan, i.e., PO3 Dela Cruz and T/Sgt. Dacoco.
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 248. Murder. Any person who, not falling within the provisions of article 246 shall kill another, shall be guilty of
murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death if committed with any of the following attendant
circumstances:
1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the
defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.
xxxx
5. With evident premeditation. [Emphasis supplied].
Treachery, which was alleged in the Information, attended the commission of the crime. Time and again, this Court, in a
plethora of cases, has consistently held that there is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons,
employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof, which tend directly and specially to ensure its execution
without risk to himself arising from the defense that the offended party might make. There are two (2) conditions that must
concur for treachery to exist, to wit: (a) the employment of means of execution gave the person attacked no opportunity to
defend himself or to retaliate; and (b) the means or method of execution was deliberately and consciously adopted. "The
essence of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected manner, affording
the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape."74
The deadly successive shots of the appellants and their co-accused did not allow the hapless victims, i.e., PO3 Dela Cruz
and T/Sgt. Dacoco, any opportunity to put up a decent defense. The attack was executed by appellants and their-co-accused
in such a vicious manner as to make the defense virtually impossible. Under the circumstances, it is very apparent that
appellants had murder in their hearts when they waylaid their unwary victims. 75 Thus, as to the death of PO3 Dela Cruz
and T/Sgt. Dacoco, appellants should be held liable for murder.
The aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength, however, cannot be appreciated as it is deemed absorbed in
treachery.76
Since the prosecution failed to prove the attending circumstance of evident premeditation, the circumstance cannot likewise
be appreciated. To prove this aggravating circumstance, the prosecution must show the following: (1) the time when the
offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that the offender clung to his determination; and
(3) a lapse of time, between the determination to commit the crime and the execution thereof, sufficient to allow the
offender to reflect upon the consequences of his act. 77 None of these elements could be gathered from the evidence on
record.
As regards the victims Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni and Juanito, although they were injured during the
ambush and were all hospitalized, except for Macasuba, it was not mentioned that their injuries and wounds were mortal or
fatal such that without the timely medical assistance accorded to them, they would have died. 78 However, it does not
necessarily follow that the crimes committed against the aforenamed victims were simply less serious physical injuries.
Also, even though Mayor Tawan-tawan and Jun did not sustain any injury during the ambush, it does not mean that no
crime has been committed against them. The latter were just fortunate enough not to have sustained any injury on the
occasion thereof. Since appellants were motivated by the same intent to kill, thus, as to Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto,
PFC Angni, Juanito, Mayor Tawan-tawan and Jun, appellants should be held guilty of attempted murder.
What brings this case out of the ordinary is the issue of applicability of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. Its resolution
would determine whether the conviction of appellants must be for the separate crimes of two (2) counts of murder and seven
(7) counts of attempted murder or of the complex crime of double murder with multiple frustrated murder and double
attempted murder.
The concept of a complex crime is defined in Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code which explicitly states that: 79

ART. 48. Penalty for complex crimes. When a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an
offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to
be applied in its maximum period. [Emphasis supplied].
In a complex crime, two or more crimes are actually committed, however, in the eyes of the law and in the conscience of the
offender they constitute only one crime, thus, only one penalty is imposed. There are two kinds of complex crime. The first
is known as compound crime, or when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies while the other is
known as complex crime proper, or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. The classic example of
the first kind is when a single bullet results in the death of two or more persons. A different rule governs where separate and
distinct acts result in a number killed. Deeply rooted is the doctrine that when various victims expire from separate shots,
such acts constitute separate and distinct crimes.80
Evidently, there is in this case no complex crime proper. And the circumstances present in this case do not fit exactly the
description of a compound crime.
From its factual backdrop, it can easily be gleaned that the killing and wounding of the victims were not the result of a
single discharge of firearms by the appellants and their co-accused. To note, appellants and their co-accused opened fire and
rained bullets on the vehicle boarded by Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group. As a result, two security escorts died while five
(5) of them were wounded and injured. The victims sustained gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies. Therefrom,
it cannot be gainsaid that more than one bullet had hit the victims. Moreover, more than one gunman fired at the vehicle of
the victims. As held in People v. Valdez, 81 each act by each gunman pulling the trigger of their respective firearms, aiming
each particular moment at different persons constitute distinct and individual acts which cannot give rise to a complex
crime.82
Obviously, appellants and their co-accused performed not only a single act but several individual and distinct acts in the
commission of the crime. Thus, Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code would not apply for it speaks only of a "single act."
There are, however, several rulings which applied Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code despite the fact that several acts
were performed by several accused in the commission of the crime resulting to the death and/or injuries to their victims.
In People v. Lawas,83 the members of the Home Guard, upon order of their leader, Lawas, simultaneously and
successively fired at several victims. As a result, 50 persons died. It was there held that the killing was the result of a single
impulse as there was no intent on the part of the accused to fire at each and every victim separately and distinctly from each
other.
If the act or acts complained of resulted from a single criminal impulse, it constitutes a single offense. However, "single
criminal impulse" was not the only consideration in applying Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code in the said case because
there was therein no evidence at all showing the identity or number of persons killed by each accused. There was also no
conspiracy to perpetuate the killing, thus, collective criminal responsibility could not be imputed upon the accused. Since it
was impossible to ascertain the number of persons killed by each of them, this Court was "forced" to find all the accused
guilty of only one offense of multiple homicide instead of holding each of them responsible for 50 deaths.84
Significantly, there was no conspiracy in People v. Lawas. However, as this Court held in People v. Remollino, 85 the
Lawas doctrine is more of an exception than the general rule.
There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and then
decide to commit it. It arises on the very instant the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the felony and
forthwith decide to pursue it. Once established, each and every one of the conspirators is made criminally liable for the
crime actually committed by any one of them. In the absence of any direct proof, the agreement to commit a crime may be
deduced from the mode and manner of the commission of the offense or inferred from acts that point to a joint purpose and
design, concerted action, and community of interest. As such, it does not matter who inflicted the mortal wound, as each of
the actors incurs the same criminal liability, because the act of one is the act of all.86
The Information filed against appellants and their co-accused alleged conspiracy, among others. Although the trial court did
not directly state that a conspiracy existed, such may be inferred from the concerted actions of the appellants and their coaccused, to wit: (1) appellants and their co-accused brought Samuel to a waiting shed located on the left side of the road
where the yellow pick-up service vehicle boarded by Mayor Tawan-tawan and his group would pass; (2) appellants and their
co-accused, thereafter, assembled themselves on both sides of the road and surreptitiously waited for the aforesaid yellow
pick-up service vehicle; (3) the moment the yellow pick-up service vehicle passed by the waiting shed, appellants and their
co-accused opened fire and rained bullets thereon resulting in the killing and wounding of the victims; (4) immediately,
appellants and their co-accused ran towards the house of Samuels aunt to get their bags and other stuff; (5) Samuel
followed appellants and their co-accused; and (6) appellants and their co-accused fled.

Conspiracy is very much evident from the afore-enumerated actuations of the appellants and their co-accused. Clearly, their
acts were coordinated. They were synchronized in their approach to riddle with bullets the vehicle boarded by Mayor
Tawan-tawan and his group. They were motivated by a single criminal impulse to kill the victims. Indubitably, conspiracy
is implied when the accused persons had a common purpose and were united in its execution. Spontaneous agreement or
active cooperation by all perpetrators at the moment of the commission of the crime is sufficient to create joint criminal
responsibility.87
With the presence of conspiracy in the case at bench, appellants and their co-accused had assumed joint criminal
responsibility the act of one is the act of all. The ascertainment of who among them actually hit, killed and/or caused
injury to the victims already becomes immaterial. Collective responsibility replaced individual responsibility. The Lawas
doctrine, premised on the impossibility of determining who killed whom, cannot, to repeat, be applied.
Interestingly, in People v. De los Santos, 88 People v. Abella,89 People v. Garcia90 and People v. Pincalin,91 this Court
also applied Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code even though several acts were performed by the accused and conspiracy
attended the commission of the crime.
In People v. De los Santos, 92 a prison riot occurred for two consecutive days inside the national penitentiary between the
members of two gangs, i.e., Sigue-Sigue Sputnik and Oxo. As a result, nine (9) inmates were killed. Fourteen (14) inmates
were then convicted for the crime of multiple murder. The existence of conspiracy in the commission of the crime was duly
proven. There was, however, no discussion why the accused were convicted of a complex crime instead of separate crimes.
In a similar case of People v. Abella, 93 involving the massacre of certain prisoners in the Davao Penal Colony and a reprise
of a similar riot that occurred in the national penitentiary on 16 February 1958 (subject of De los Santos), all the accused
were also convicted for the complex crime of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder. Conspiracy likewise attended
the commission of the crime. This Court applied the ruling in De los Santos and elucidated that the ruling in the said case is
predicated on the theory that "when for the attainment of a single purpose which constitutes an offense, various acts are
executed, such acts must be considered only as one offense," a complex one. The Lawas doctrine was equally applied
although conspiracy had been duly proven. This Court then stated that where a conspiracy animates several persons with a
single purpose "their individual acts in pursuance of that purpose are looked upon as a single act the act of execution
giving rise to a complex offense. The felonious agreement produces a sole and solidary liability: each confederate forms but
a part of a single being."94
People v. Garcia95 and People v. Pincalin96 have the same factual background as De los Santos and Abella. They were the
third and fourth cases, respectively, of prison riots resulting to the killing of convicts by fellow convicts while inside the
national penitentiary. In Garcia, the accused were convicted for the complex crime of multiple murder and double attempted
murder, while in Pincalin the accused were convicted for the complex crime of double murder and frustrated murder. In
both cases, this Court found conspiracy to have attended the commission of the crime.
In applying Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code in Garcia and Pincalin, this Court, gave the same justification as in Abella:
that both cases were covered by the rule that "when for the attainment of a single purpose, which constitutes an offense
various acts are executed, such acts must be considered as only one offense, a complex one." Correspondingly, "where a
conspiracy animates several persons with a single purpose, their individual acts done in pursuance of that purpose are
looked upon as a single act, the act of execution, giving rise to a complex offense. Various acts committed under one
criminal impulse may constitute a single complex offense.97
We however found no intention by this Court to establish as doctrine, contrary to Lawas, that Article 48 is applicable even
in cases where several acts were performed by the accused and conspiracy attended the commission of the crime. In
Pincalin, this Court has already clarified that: nonetheless, this Court further held that "in other cases where several killings
on the same occasion were perpetrated, but not involving prisoners, a different rule may be applied, that is to say, the
killings would be treated as separate offenses, as opined by Mr. Justice Makasiar and as held in some decided cases." 98
De los Santos, Abella, Garcia and Pincalin, therefore, were exceptions to the general rule stated in Article 48 which
exceptions were drawn by the peculiar circumstance of the cases.
It may be mentioned that in People v. Sanidad, 99 this Court, once again, applied Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code
although the circumstances of the case were not the same as in Lawas, De los Santos, Abella, Garcia and Pincalin, where
this Court departed from the general rule.
In Sanidad, suddenly and without a warning, several accused unleashed a volley of shots at the jeepney boarded by the
victims. Miraculously, all passengers, except Rolando Tugadi (Rolando), survived the ambush and suffered only minor
injuries. Conspiracy attended the commission of the crime. Accused were convicted for the complex crime of murder and

multiple attempted murder. We there held that the case comes within the purview of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code.
Citing Lawas and Abella, it was pronounced that although several independent acts were performed by the accused, it was
not possible to determine who among them actually killed Rolando; and that there was no evidence that the accused
intended to fire at each and every one of the victims separately and distinctly from each other. On the premise that the
evidence clearly shows a single criminal impulse to kill Marlon Tugadis group as a whole, we repeated that where a
conspiracy animates several persons with a single purpose, their individual acts done in pursuance of that purpose are
looked upon as a single act, the act of execution, giving rise to a single complex offense.100
The reliance in Sanidad, on Lawas and Abella is incorrect.
The application of the Abella doctrine, has already been clarified in Pincalin, thus: where several killings on the same
occasion were perpetrated, but not involving prisoners, a different rule may be applied, that is to say, the killings would be
treated as separate offenses. Since in Sanidad, the killings did not involve prisoners or it was not a case of prisoners killing
fellow prisoners. As such, Abella would not apply.
To repeat, in Lawas, this Court was merely forced to apply Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code because of the
impossibility of ascertaining the number of persons killed by each accused. Since conspiracy was not proven therein, joint
criminal responsibility could not be attributed to the accused. Each accused could not be held liable for separate crimes
because of lack of clear evidence showing the number of persons actually killed by each of them.
Proven conspiracy could have overcome the difficulty.
Our repeated ruling is that in conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all. It is as though each one performed the act of each
one of the conspirators. Each one is criminally responsible for each one of the deaths and injuries of the several victims. The
severalty of the acts prevents the application of Article 48. The applicability of Article 48 depends upon the singularity of
the act, thus the definitional phrase "a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies." This is not an original
reading of the law. In People v. Hon. Pineda, 101 the Court already recognized the "deeply rooted x x x doctrine that when
various victims expire from separate shots, such acts constitute separate and distinct crimes." As we observed in People v.
Tabaco,102 clarifying the applicability of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, this Court further stated in Hon. Pineda
that "to apply the first half of Article 48, x x x there must be singularity of criminal act; singularity of criminal impulse is
not written into the law."103
With all the foregoing, this Court holds appellants liable for the separate crimes of two (2) counts of murder and seven (7)
counts of attempted murder.
As to penalty. Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty imposed for the crime of murder is reclusion
perpetua to death. There being neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstance, the penalty to be imposed upon appellants
is reclusion perpetua for each count, pursuant to paragraph 2, Article 63104 of the Revised Penal Code.105
Appellants are also guilty of seven (7) counts of attempted murder. The penalty prescribed by law for murder, i.e., reclusion
perpetua to death, should be reduced by two degrees, conformably to Article 51 106 of the Revised Penal Code. Under
paragraph 2, Article 61,107 in relation to Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code, such a penalty is prision mayor. There
being neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, the same should be imposed in its medium period pursuant to
paragraph 1, Article 64108 of the Revised Penal Code.109 Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law in the case of
attempted murder, the maximum shall be taken from the medium period of prision mayor, which is 8 years and 1 day to 10
years, while the minimum shall be taken from the penalty next lower in degree, i.e., prision correccional, in any of its
periods, the range of which is 6 months and 1 day to 6 years. This Court, therefore, imposed upon the appellants the
indeterminate penalty of 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional, as minimum, to 10 years of prision mayor, as
maximum, for each count of attempted murder.
As to damages. When death occurs due to a crime, the following damages may be awarded: (1) civil indemnity ex delicto
for the death of the victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; and (5)
temperate damages.110
Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides that when death occurs as a result of a crime, the heirs of the deceased are entitled
to be indemnified for the death of the victim without need of any evidence or proof thereof. Moral damages like civil
indemnity, is also mandatory upon the finding of the fact of murder. 111 Therefore, the trial court and the appellate court
properly awarded civil indemnity in the amount of P 50,000.00 and moral damages also in the amount of P 50,000.00 to the
heirs of each deceased victims.
Article 2230 of the Civil Code states that exemplary damages may be imposed when the crime was committed with one or
more aggravating circumstances. In this case, treachery may no longer be considered as an aggravating circumstance since it

was already taken as a qualifying circumstance in the murder, and abuse of superior strength which would otherwise
warrant the award of exemplary damages was already absorbed in the treachery. 112 However, in People v.
Combate,113this Court still awards exemplary damages despite the lack of any aggravating circumstance to deter similar
conduct and to serve as an example for public good. Thus, to deter future similar transgressions, the Court finds that an
award of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages in favor of the heirs of each deceased victims is proper. 114 The said amount is
in conformity with this Courts ruling in People v. Gutierrez.115
Actual damages cannot be awarded for failure to present the receipts covering the expenditures for the wake, coffin, burial
and other expenses for the death of the victims. In lieu thereof, temperate damages may be recovered where it has been
shown that the victims family suffered some pecuniary loss but the amount thereof cannot be proved with certainty as
provided for under Article 2224 of the Civil Code. 116 In this case, it cannot be denied that the heirs of the deceased
victims suffered pecuniary loss although the exact amount was not proved with certainty. Thus, this Court similarly
awards P25,000.00 as temperate damages to the heirs of each deceased victims.117
The surviving victims, Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni and Juanito, are also entitled to moral, temperate and
exemplary damages.
Ordinary human experience and common sense dictate that the wounds inflicted upon the aforesaid victims would naturally
cause physical suffering, fright, serious anxiety, moral shock, and similar injuries. 118 It is only justifiable to grant them
moral damages in the amount of P 40,000.00 each in conformity with this Courts ruling in People v. Mokammad.119
The award of P 25,000.00 each as temperate damages to Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni and Juanito is also
in order. It is beyond doubt that these victims were hospitalized and spent money for their medication. As to Macasuba,
although he was not confined in a hospital, it cannot be gainsaid that he also spent for the treatment of the minor injuries he
sustained by reason of the ambush. However, they all failed to present any receipt therefor. Nevertheless, it could not be
denied that they suffered pecuniary loss; thus, it is only prudent to award temperate damages in the amount of P 25,000.00
to each of them.
1wphi1

The award of exemplary damages is also in order. Thus, Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni and Juanito are
awarded exemplary damages in the amount of P 30,000.00 to conform to current jurisprudence.120
This Court likewise affirms the award of P 50,000.00 for and as attorneys fees, as well as costs of the suit, in favor of
Mayor Tawan-tawan.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. HC No. 00246 dated 18 June 2008 is
hereby MODIFIED, as follows: (1) appellants are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of murder
thereby imposing upon them the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count; (2) appellants are also found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of seven (7) counts of attempted murder thereby imposing upon them the indeterminate penalty of 4 years
and 2 months of prision correccional, as minimum, to 10 years of prision mayor, as maximum, for each count; (3) other than
the civil indemnity and moral damages already awarded by the trial court and the appellate court, appellants are further
ordered to pay, jointly and severally, exemplary and temperate damages in the amount of P 30,000.00 and P 25,000.00,
respectively, to the heirs of each deceased victims; and (4) appellants are also directed to pay, jointly and severally,
Macasuba, Mosanip, PFC Tomanto, PFC Angni and Juanito the amount of P 40,000.00 each as moral damages, P25,000.00
each as temperate damages and P 30,000.00 each as exemplary damages.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JEFFREY GARCIA y


CARAGAY and THREE JOHN DOES, accused.
JEFFREY GARCIA y CARAGAY, accused-appellant.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:

This is an automatic review pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal


Code, as amended by Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, of the decision of

the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch 6, dated October 28, 1999,
convicting accused-appellant Jeffrey Garcia y Caragay of Forcible Abduction
with Rape and three counts of Rape, and sentencing him to death. [1]
The victim, Cleopatra Changlapon, was nineteen years old and a sophomore
student of B.S. Physical Therapy at the Baguio . On , she left school at to go
home
to
Km.
3,
La
Trinidad, Benguet.
As
she
was
crossing Bonifacio Street, Baguio City, she saw a white van approaching so she
stopped to let it pass. Suddenly, the van stopped in front of her. The rear door
slid open and Cleopatra was pulled by the arms into the van. She struggled as
the door closed and the van sped away. Something was sprayed on her face
which made her eyes sting and feel dizzy. She shouted, then she felt a fist blow
on her stomach and she fell unconscious. [2]
When Cleopatra came to, she was inside a room. She was totally undressed
and was lying flat on her back on a bed. In the room with her were four men.
One of them, who had features, was also totally naked while the other three
were clad in briefs and smoking cigarettes. The Bombay-looking man lay on top
of her. She tried to push him away but he held her left arm. Another man with
long hair, whom she later identified as accused-appellant Jeffrey Garcia, burned
her right chin with a lighted cigarette. Cleopatra fought back but accusedappellant held her right arm. While accused-appellant was seated on her right
side and holding her, the Bombay-looking man proceeded to have sexual
intercourse with her. She tried to kick him and close her legs, but two men were
holding her feet. The two men boxed her thighs and burned her legs with
cigarettes.[3]
After the Bombay-looking man finished having sexual intercourse with
Cleopatra, accused-appellant took his turn and went on top of her. One of the
men sat on her right leg and pinned it down, while another held her left leg.
Cleopatra tried to punch accused-appellant with her right hand, but the Bombaylooking man held her right arm. Accused-appellant then had sexual intercourse
with her while holding her left arm. [4]
The third man, whom Cleopatra noted had pimples on his face, went on top
of her. The Bombay-looking man was still holding her right arm, while the man
on top of her held her left arm. She tried to close her legs but someone hit her
right thigh, which forced her to keep her legs apart. The third man with pimples
succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her. [5]
The fourth man was next in raping Cleopatra. By that time, she was feeling
helpless and was too tired to struggle. As the fourth man was having sexual

intercourse with her, she saw the Bombay-looking man burning her panties with
a lighted cigarette. She closed her eyes and heard the men laughing. After the
fourth man finished raping her, he got up. She felt dizzy and her private parts
were aching. She opened her eyes and tried to move, but accused-appellant hit
her on the abdomen.[6]
One of the men again sprayed something on Cleopatras face which made
her vision blurred. She heard somebody say that it was .[7] After that, she
blacked out. When she regained consciousness, she was lying by the roadside
somewhere between Tam-awan and Longlong. It was still dark. She already had
her clothes on. She felt pain all over her body and was unable to move. A taxi
passed by and picked her up. Although she was afraid to ride the taxi, she
boarded it just to get home. The taxi brought her to her house. [8]
Her aunt, Rufina Angog, saw Cleopatra alight the taxi crying. She also
noticed that Cleopatras clothes were inverted and she smelled bad. She woke
up Cleopatras brothers and cousins. [9] They asked her what happened.
Cleopatra just kept crying and was unable to talk. After some time, when she
was able to regain her composure, she told them that she had been raped by
four men. [10]
The following day, , Cleopatra was brought to the Baguio City Police Station.
After giving her statement to the police, she was brought to the Crime
Laboratory of the Baguio City Police, where she was examined by Dr.
VladimirVillaseor.
In his Medico-Legal Report, Dr. Villaseor wrote the following findings:
FINDINGS:
General and Extra-genital:
Fairly nourished, fairly developed coherent female subject. Breasts are hemispherical
with light brown areola and nipples from which no secretion could be pressed out.
Abdomen is soft and flabby.
The following are the injuries noted:
1.
Second degree burns, mental region, measuring 1.3.1cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
2.
Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 1 x 1cm, 8cm from
the anterior midline.
3.
Second degree burns, left supra-mammary region, measuring 0.6x0.6 cm, 8.5cm
from the anterior midline.

4.
Second degree burns, left hypothenar region, measuring 1x0.5cm, 7cm from the
posterior midline.
5.
Second degree burns, left middle 3rd of the left thigh, measuring 2x1cm, 13cm
from the anterior midline.
6.
Second degree burns, middle 3rd of the right thigh, measuring 1x 1cm, 10cm from
the anterior midline.
7.
Contusion, left mammary region, measuring 3x1cm, 5cm from the anterior
midline.
8.
Contusion, right mammary region, measuring 1x1cm, 9cm from the anterior
midline.
9.
Contusion, middle 3rd of the right arm, measuring 5x3cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
10. Contusion, middle 3rd of the right thigh, measuing 6x4cm, 3cm from the anterior
midline.
11. Hematoma, left zygomatic region, measuring 4x4cm 7cm from the anterior
midline.
There is tenderness on the mammary region, both thighs and at the abdominal region.
Genital:
There is abundant growth of pubic hair. Labia majora are full convex, gaping, with the
congested abraded labia minora presenting in between. On separating the same is
disclosed a congested hymen with shallow fresh lacerations at 7, 8 and and deep fresh
laceration at positions. External vaginal orifice offers strong resistance to the
introduction of the examining index finger and the virgin-sized vaginal speculum.
Vaginal canal is narrow with prominent rugosities. Cervix is congested with moderate
amount of whitish secretion.
CONCLUSION:
Findings are compatible with recent loss of virginity.
Barring unforeseen complications, it is estimated that the above injuries will resolve in
14-15 days.
R E M AR K S :
Vaginal and peri-urethral smears are negative for gram (-) diplococci and POSITIVE for
spermatozoa. [11]
The panties that Cleopatra was wearing was also submitted to the Crime
Laboratory for examination. Dr. Villaseor found cigarette burns and seminal
stains, [12] as well as stains of blood on the panties. [13] The Medico-Legal

Report states:
SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:
Specimen A - One (1) white printed panty with cigarette burns and with suspected
seminal stains.
xxx

xxx
xxx.

FINDINGS:
Biochemical examination conducted on the above-mentioned specimen
gave POSITIVE result to the test for the presence of seminal stains.
CONCLUSION:
Specimen A revealed the presence of seminal stains. [14]
On , Cleopatra went back to the police station and gave a description of the
four rapists to the cartographer. [15] She likewise executed another sworn
statement to the police. [16]
Meanwhile, accused-appellant was arrested at of in connection with
another rape charge against him filed by a certain Gilda Mangyo.
The cartographic sketches were published in the Sun-Star newspaper. Police
Officers Gilbert Bulalit and Archibald Diaz saw the sketches and noticed that one
of the suspects depicted in the cartographic sketch bore a striking resemblance
to accused-appellant, who was in their custody. [17] On July 26, 1998, Cleopatra
was summoned to the police station to identify accused-appellant. She was
brought to the upper floor of the police building and asked to look below on the
basketball court of the city jail and see if any of the inmates looked familiar to
her. [18] Cleopatra recognized accused-appellant among those watching the
basketball game. [19]
PO1 Bulalit brought accused-appellant to the office upstairs. When Cleopatra
saw accused-appellant face to face, she started to tremble and cry. Then she
tried to attack him but she was restrained by the police officers. [20] On the same
day, Cleopatra gave a supplemental statement to the police, confirming her
identification of accused-appellant as one of her rapists. [21]
Inquest proceedings followed in due course. [22] On July 27, 1998, formal
charges for forcible abduction with rape were brought against accused-appellant
and three John Does, under an information which alleged:
That on or about the 14th day of July, 1998, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and

within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring,
confederating and mutually aiding one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously, and by means of force and intimidation abduct CLEOPATRA
CHANGLAPON, 19 years old, by dragging her inside a van and taking her to Tamawan Village, Baguio City, against her will and with lewd design, and once inside a
house, had carnal knowledge of her, also by means of force and intimidation and against
her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW. [23]
The information was docketed as Criminal Case No. 15805-R of
the Baguio , Branch 6. Accused-appellant was arraigned, wherein he entered
a plea of not guilty. Trial ensued as against him, while the other three
unidentified accused remained at large.
Accused-appellant testified that he spent the whole day of at the boarding
house where his brother-in-law lived, located at Bugallon Street, Hills, Baguio .
His brother-in-law asked him to go there to take care of his nephew. That
evening, while he was in the said house watching television, some of his friends
came over to visit him. They brought a bottle of gin and began to have a drinking
session. Accused-appellant did not join them because his stomach was upset.
Accused-appellants brother-in-law arrived a little before , after which his guests
left. [24] When asked about the charges of rape against him, he denied the
same. [25]
Catherine Faith Madella was among those who visited accused-appellant in
the evening of . She came to know him through her friend, Joy Tabinas, who
was a tenant at the said boarding house. Madella testified that she went to the
boarding house on at At , she went to the bedroom of Joy Tabinas and slept
there. [26] Her testimony was corroborated by her boyfriend, Ronaldo T. Valdez,
who also testified for the defense.[27]
Joy Tabinas likewise testified that on , she was at the boarding house. She
watched television with accused-appellant from to [28]
On , the trial court rendered its decision convicting accused-appellant of one
count of forcible abduction with rape and three counts of rape.
The dispositive portion of the judgment reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court Finds the Accused Jeffrey Garcia guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the complex crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape and likewise of the three
(3) crimes of rape in conspiracy with three (3) others whose identities and whereabouts
are yet unknown as charged in the Information and hereby sentences him to the supreme

penalty of DEATH in each of the 4 offenses aforementioned; to indemnify the offended


party, Cleopatra Changlapon, the sum of One Hundred Forty Six Thousand, One
Hundred Twenty Five Pesos and Seventy Five Centavos (P 146,125.75) as actual
damages and Fifty Thousand Pesos as moral damages without subsidiary imprisonment
in case of insolvency and to pay one fourth (1/4) of the costs.
The police authorities are directed to exert all efforts to identify and arrest the three other
accused whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown.
Meantime, pending their arrests, the case is Archived in respect to the three (3) other
accused whose identities and whereabouts are yet unknown to be revived upon their
arrest.
SO ORDERED. [29]
In his Brief, accused-appellant raises the following errors:
I

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING HEREIN ACCUSEDAPPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT FOR THE COMPLEX CRIME OF FORCIBLE ABDUCTION WITH RAPE
AND FOR THREE (3) COUNTS OF RAPE ALLEGEDLY COMMITTED IN
CONSPIRACY WITH THREE (3) OTHERS WHOSE IDENTITIES AND
WHEREABOUTS ARE STILL UNKNOWN.
II

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT GIVING SCANT


CONSIDERATION TO THE THEORY OF THE DEFENSE THAT ACCUSEDAPPELLANT JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY IS ONLY A LOOK-ALIKE OF THE
REAL CULPRIT.
III

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT CLEOPATRA


CHANGLAPON HAD POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED JEFFREY GARCIA Y CARAGAY
AS ONE OF THOSE WHO ABDUCTED AND RAPED HER. [30]
Accused-appellant assails his conviction based on complainants
identification. According to him, the identification was improperly suggested by
the police. We are not persuaded. Based on our own review of the records of
this case, we find that complainant was neither influenced nor induced by the
police to point to accused-appellant as one of her molesters. On the contrary,
the transcripts convincingly show that complainant was left to freely study the
faces of the thirty or more inmates on the basketball court below to see whether
she recognized any of them. [31] There was no suggestion from the police to

point to the new detainee, who had just been arrested on another rape charge.
Owing to the gravity of the crime and penalty involved, we have meticulously
studied the testimony of complainant Cleopatra Changlapon and find it to be
clear, straightforward and categorical. The details of her narration are consistent
on all material points. Her actions throughout her ordeal correspond to normal
human behavior. We take particular note of her natural and spontaneous
reaction of crying and attacking her molester when brought before her face to
face. The records also eloquently exhibit that she repeatedly cried throughout
her testimony. All of these actuations bear the ring of truth and deserve full faith
and credit.
More importantly, complainants narration of the events is well substantiated
by the physical evidence. The second degree burns found on her face, chest
and thighs prove that she was indeed burned with lighted cigarettes whenever
she attempted to fight her assailants. The medico-legal officer confirmed that
they were consistent with cigarette burns. [32] Furthermore, the contusions found
on her body were said to be caused by a blunt instrument like a closed
fist. [33] This confirms her testimony that she was repeatedly hit to stop her from
struggling. The medico-legal officer placed the time of infliction of the external
physical injuries on complainant within the last twenty-four hours. [34] The
findings on her genitals --- namely the gaping labia majora, the congested and
abraded labia minora, and the lacerations --- all suggest the entry of a foreign
object, such as a fully erect male organ. [35] Finally, the presence of
spermatozoa further confirms that complainant recently had sexual
intercourse. [36]
In the face of complainants positive and categorical declarations that
accused-appellant was one of her rapists, accused-appellants alibi must fail.
It is a well-settled rule that positive identification of the accused, where categorical and
consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying
on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial which if not substantiated by clear and
convincing evidence are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in
law. [37]
Furthermore, in order that the defense of alibi may prosper, accusedappellant must establish not only that he was somewhere else when the crime
was committed but also that it was physically impossible for him to have been at
the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. [38] In the case at bar, the
place of commission of the rapes --- somewhere between Tamawan and Longlong --- and the boarding house where accused-appellant
alleged he was in the evening of July 14, 1998, are both situated

within Baguio City. The distance between Tam-awan and Aurora Hills, especially
at dawn, can be traversed in just a matter of minutes.
Indeed, as pointed out by the trial court, accused-appellants witnesses failed
to account for his whereabouts after . At the time of the rape, complainant
distinctly heard one of her molesters state the time as . Since it was still dark
when complainant was dropped off on the side of the road, it can safely be
assumed that the crimes were committed at dawn.
The trial court, therefore, did not err in convicting accused-appellant of the
complex crime of forcible abduction with rape. The two elements of forcible
abduction, as defined in Article 342 of the Revised Penal Code, are: (1) the
taking of a woman against her will and (2) with lewd designs. The crime of
forcible abduction with rape is a complex crime that occurs when there is carnal
knowledge with the abducted woman under the following circumstances: (1) by
using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived of reason or
otherwise unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under twelve years of age or
is demented. [39]
In the case at bar, the information sufficiently alleged the elements of forcible
abduction, i.e., the taking of complainant against her against her will and with
lewd design. It was likewise alleged that accused-appellant and his three coaccused conspired, confederated and mutually aided one another in having
carnal knowledge of complainant by means of force and intimidation and against
her will.
Aside from alleging the necessary elements of the crimes, the prosecution
convincingly established that the carnal knowledge was committed through force
and intimidation. Moreover, the prosecution sufficiently proved beyond
reasonable doubt that accused-appellant succeeded in forcibly abducting the
complainant with lewd designs, established by the actual rape. [40]
Hence, accused-appellant is guilty of the complex crime of forcible abduction
with rape. He should also be held liable for the other three counts of rape
committed by his three co-accused, considering the clear conspiracy among
them shown by their obvious concerted efforts to perpetrate, one after the other,
the crime. As borne by the records, all the four accused helped one another in
consummating the rape of complainant. While one of them mounted her, the
other three held her arms and legs. They also burned her face and extremities
with lighted cigarettes to stop her from warding off her aggressor. Each of them,
therefore, is responsible not only for the rape committed personally by him but
for the rape committed by the others as well. [41]

However, as correctly held by the trial court, there can only be one complex
crime of forcible abduction with rape. The crime of forcible abduction was only
necessary for the first rape. Thus, the subsequent acts of rape can no longer be
considered as separate complex crimes of forcible abduction with rape. They
should be detached from and considered independently of the forcible
abduction. Therefore, accused-appellant should be convicted of one complex
crime of forcible abduction with rape and three separate acts of rape. [42]
The penalty for complex crimes is the penalty for the most serious crime
which shall be imposed in its maximum period. Rape is the more serious of the
two crimes and, when committed by more than two persons, is punishable
with reclusionperpetua to death under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended by Republic Act No. 8353. Thus, accused-appellant should be
sentenced to the maximum penalty of death for forcible abduction with rape. [43]
As regards the other three acts of rape, accused-appellant can only be
sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The trial court appreciated the aggravating
circumstances of nighttime, superior strength and motor vehicle. However, these
were not alleged in the information. Under the amended provisions of Rule 110,
Sections 8 and 9 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which took effect
on , aggravating as well as qualifying circumstances must be alleged in the
information, otherwise, they cannot be considered against the accused even if
proven at the trial. Being favorable to accused-appellant, this rule should be
applied retroactively in this case. [44] Hence, there being no aggravating
circumstance that may be appreciated, and with no mitigating circumstance, the
lesser of the two indivisible penalties shall be applied, pursuant to Article 63,
paragraph (2) of the Revised Penal Code.
Anent the matter of damages, the trial court correctly awarded the amount of
P50,000.00 as moral damages. This was justified by complainants emotional
and physical suffering, as narrated in her testimony. [45] Notably, the prosecution
successfully proved that complainant lost her virginity during the rape. [46] As
she narrated, virginity is a highly regarded virtue among the people
of Kalinga. [47]
However, the trial court failed to award civil indemnity to the complainant. We
have ruled that if rape is committed or qualified by any of the circumstances
which authorize the imposition of the death penalty, the civil indemnity shall be
not less than P75,000.00. [48] For the other three counts of simple rape, where
the proper penalty is reclusion perpetua, accused-appellant is liable for civil
indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 for each count. [49]

We also find that the actual damages awarded by the trial court was well
substantiated. Complainant presented the required receipts for her medications,
transportation and other expenses. [50] Complainant testified that as a member
of theKalinga tribe, she had to undergo the korong and songa rituals, wherein
they had to butcher several chickens, pigs, and carabaos, thereby incurring total
expenses of P90,000.00. [51] These rituals were intended for complainants
safety and to call on the tribes spirits so that no more violence or misfortune
may befall her. [52] The grand total of all these actual expenses, including those
for medicines and transportation, as duly proved by the receipts and
computations presented in evidence, is P 146,125.75, [53] the amount awarded
by the trial court.
WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the Decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Baguio City, Branch 6, in Criminal Case No. 15805-R, convicting
accused-appellant Jeffrey Garcia y Caragay of one count of Forcible Abduction
with Rape and three counts of Rape, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. As
modified, accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Death for the
complex crime of Forcible Abduction with Rape and Reclusion Perpetua for
each of the three counts of rape. Further, accused-appellant is ordered to pay
complainant Cleopatra Changlapon the amounts of P146,125.75 as actual
damages, P75,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages.
Costs against accused-appellant.
In accordance with Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, upon
finality of this Decision, let the records of this case be forwarded to the Office of
the President for possible exercise of pardoning power or executive clemency.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DANTE ALFECHE y


TAMPARONG, alias WILLY, and JOHN DOE, accused, DANTE ALFECHE y
TAMPARONG, accused-appellant.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:

Condemned to suffer the death penalty in each of two counts of rape by the Regional Trial
Court of Ormoc City, Branch 12, in its Joint Decision[1] of 22 August 1995 in Criminal Cases

Nos. 4615-0 and 4616-0, accused-appellant Dante Alfeche y Tamparong (hereafter DANTE)
seeks the reversal of his conviction as we review the judgment now on automatic appeal to us
pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 22 of R.A. No.
7659.[2]
The two cases were commenced by complaints signed by complainant Analiza Duroja
(hereafter ANALIZA). The accusatory portion of the complaint in Criminal Case No. 4615-0
reads as follows:

That on or about the 18th day of September 1994, at around 11:00 oclock in the
morning, in Brgy. Can-adieng, Ormoc City, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused DANTE ALFECHE y Tamparong,
Alias WILLY and JOHN DOE, in conspiracy with one another, treachery, and
taking advantage of superior strength, by means of violence and intimidation,
with the use of a knife, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
have carnal knowledge of the complainant herein ANALIZA A. DUROJA, a 17
year old lass, against her will.
In violation of Article 335, Revised Penal Code.
The complaint in Criminal Case No. 4616-0[3] is similarly worded except as to the date and
time the crime was committed, that is, on or about the 11 th of September 1994, at around
10:30 in the evening. Only DANTE was apprehended. His co-accused Willy and John Doe
have remained at large.
DANTE waived preliminary investigation.[4] Upon arraignment, he entered a plea of
innocence.[5] Since the two cases involved the same parties and common evidence, the trial
court ordered their consolidation and joint trial.[6]
The witnesses for the prosecution were ANALIZA, Sergio Dy, Francisca Duroja, Dr. Merly
Tan, Dr. Regino Mercado, Dr. Rosemarie Cam, and Luz Lucero. The defense relied on the
testimonies of DANTE, PS/Insp. Roel Acidre, Teresita Acain, Josephine Ollave, and Betty
Orocay.
ANALIZA started working as a domestic helper for Sergio Dy and his family in Barangay
Can-adieng in Ormoc City, Leyte, on 9 March 1994. On 11 September 1994, at about 10:30
p.m., the Dy spouses were at Ipil, Leyte, attending a meeting of the Couples for Christ. Their
two grown-up children were not at home either. Only ANALIZA and her one-year-old ward
were left in the Dy residence. In accordance with her employers instructions, she locked only
the kitchen door and placed a chair to the front door but kept it unlocked, as the Dys did not
bring a key to the door. ANALIZA was watching television in the sala when she heard a
sound from the front door, then somebody, whom she recognized as a certain Willy suddenly
held her hand, gagged her mouth, and pointed a knife at her. Willy had two companions, but
she recognized only one of the two, namely, DANTE. While she was thus gagged and held at
the point of a knife, DANTE approached her and boxed her on her side, as a result of which
she lost consciousness.[7]
Upon regaining consciousness some thirty minutes later, ANALIZA found her short pants

removed and her private part bleeding, which was unusual because she was not
menstruating before she was attacked. She immediately washed her private part and took a
bath.[8]
Her employers arrived at 12:30 a.m. the following day, but ANALIZA did not report the
incident to them. Neither did she inform the authorities or her mother, who lived some houses
away, because she was ashamed and also afraid of DANTEs threat that he would kill her
mother if she told anyone about the incident.[9]
ANALIZA had not engaged in sexual intercourse prior to this assault.[10]
Again, on 18 September 1994, at about 11:00 a.m., ANALIZA was alone with her ward in
the Dy residence. She was sauting pork when suddenly, the three accused again intruded
into the house through the back door. Willy held her hand and gagged her mouth, while John
Doe first turned off the stove and then laid her on the floor and pointed a knife at
her. Thereupon, DANTE knelt on her legs, undressed her, inserted his private part into hers,
and made a push and pull motion. Some five minutes later, DANTE stood up and
immediately put on his pants. ANALIZA saw a whitish substance on her organ, which came
from DANTE. The latter then placed her left hand on a table and drove a nail into it. DANTE
and his companions forthwith left. The incident affected her work; nevertheless, she was able
to finish preparing lunch for her employers, who arrived at noon.[11]
ANALIZA reported to the police that her hand was injured, and sought medical attention
therefor. She related nothing about the rape for fear that Dante would make good his threat
to kill her mother. It was only after she took poison several times that her mother came to
know of the rapes. She tried to kill herself because she was then pregnant and ashamed of
what had happened to her. She gave birth to a boy on 27 May 1995.[12]
Dr. Regino Mercado, City Health Officer of Ormoc City, examined ANALIZA on 18
September 1994 and found a [p]unctured wound over the base of left 4 th posterior finger. He
then issued a medical certificate.[13] According to him, the injury could have been caused by
a sharp instrument, possibly a nail; and his interview of ANALIZA confirmed his
theory. ANALIZA did not inform him who caused the injury. He further observed that
ANALIZA seemed frightened and depressed, which he attributed to her recent ordeal. On
cross-examination, Dr. Mercado stated that ANALIZA did not tell him that she was
raped. Neither did she complain of pain in her vagina, nor did she request an examination of
her private part.[14]
Sergio Dy, ANALIZAs employer, declared that he was not at his home on 11 September
1994 between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m., as he was at a prayer meeting of the Couples for Christ in
Ipil, Leyte. He instructed ANALIZA to close the door and windows of the house while he was
away; and that if she felt sleepy while he was still away, she should place a chair at the door
to shut it so that he could get inside the house without waking her. He arrived home at
around 11:00 p.m. ANALIZA did not complain of any unusual incident. On 18 September
1994 between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., Sergio was attending to his business at the corner of
Hermosilla and Real Streets in Ormoc City. He had lunch at home at around noon, but again
ANALIZA did not inform him of any unusual incident while he was away. On crossexamination, Sergio added that it was only sometime in March 1995 that ANALIZA told him

that a person nailed her hand and that she was pregnant, but she never informed him that
she was raped.[15]
According to Francisca Duroja, her daughter ANALIZA was a tomboy and had,
therefore, no boyfriend. She first learned that ANALIZA was pregnant when the latter
attempted suicide by drinking poison sometime in March 1995 at the office of Engineer
Lucero. She brought her daughter, who was already in a serious condition, to the Ormoc
District Hospital. At the hospital ANALIZA explained that she attempted suicide because she
became pregnant after she was raped; and she identified her assailants as DANTE, Willy, and
an unknown person. Francisca and her daughter then went to the police to complain about
the incident. After the rape charges were filed in court, a certain Joe Burgos came to her
house and offered, allegedly on behalf of DANTE, to settle the cases amicably, but she
rejected the offer.[16]
Dr. Merly Tan, a medical officer of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the
Ormoc District Hospital, testified that ANALIZA was previously handled by the medical
department when she attempted suicide. Later, or on 31 March 1995, she examined
ANALIZA in connection with the rape incident. Her findings were summarized as follows:

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:
Abdomen globularly enlarge[d] as to 8-9 months ACG
INTERNAL EXAMINATION Hymen

admits two fingers with ease.

with 2,4,7,11 oclock laceration (old healed)[17]

According to Dr. Tan, the hymenal lacerations could have been caused by sexual
intercourse. Her examination of ANALIZAs uterus disclosed that the fetus was about 8 to 9
months old; however, since ANALIZA said that she was raped in September 1994, or about
six months prior to the examination, Dr. Tan doubted her findings and requested an
ultrasound test,[18] the result of which was not shown to her.[19]
Dr. Rosemarie Cam, who was responsible for ANALIZAs pre-natal care, declared that
ANALIZAs child was born on 27 May 1995 and could have been conceived on 11 September
1994 or 18 September 1994. She could not be certain as to the period of conception because
she was unaware of ANALIZAs menstrual cycle. On cross-examination, she opined that it
was also possible that the child was conceived earlier than 11 September 1994.[20]
DANTE had another story to tell.
He is a native of Zamboanga, grew up in Davao City, and came to be in Ormoc City
because of his business of selling dried fish. He arrived in Ormoc City during the first week of
January 1993 and stayed in the house of Mylene Ablen in Barangay Can-adieng, which was
separated by a chapel from ANALIZAs house. ANALIZA, who was also known as Ethel in
that Barangay, used to go to Ablens house to play computer games. Soon they became
sweethearts. During the last week of January 1993, he took her to the Shalom Lodging
House where he gave her P200, and they had sexual congress. They repeated their tryst in
February 1993. They stopped seeing each other when he got involved with Naomi Marilao,
whom he considered his common-law wife. He later lived with Teresa Acain, whom he met

because Teresas mother retailed dried fish. He maintained a relationship with these three
women only.[21]
It was on 24 August 1994 that he eloped with Teresa Acain. Accompanied by a certain
Babie, they went to the house of Josephine Ollave at Barangay Patag, Ormoc City, where
they stayed until the end of September 1994. At around 10:30 p.m. of 11 September 1994,
he was at Josephines house with Teresa and the other occupants thereof. Throughout his
stay at Josephines house, he never went to Ormoc City proper.[22]
However, on 16 September 1994, at around 6:00 p.m., he met with ANALIZA at the Boy
Scout Canteen. He then asked her to check-in with him at the Rajah Lodging House because
he had a reserved room there. She acquiesced, but once there he noticed that her tummy
was already hard and that turned [him] off. He asked her whether it was true that three
persons had trespassed her house and raped her. She confirmed the story, added that her
hand had been pierced with a nail, and even showed him the location of her wound. But she
did not divulge the identity of her assailants, much less accuse him of perpetrating the
offense. She then asked for money, and he gave her P40. He first learned of the charge
against him on 29 March 1995 when he was arrested.[23] DANTE denied knowing any Willy
or John Doe.
On cross-examination, DANTE disclosed that while in transit at Cebu City, he met Mylene
Ablen and her husband, who told him that there was a good business in Ormoc City. He was
then traveling with card gamblers, being himself a hustler. In Ormoc City, Mylene told him
that ANALIZA could be easily gotten if she was given money; hence, he surmised that
ANALIZA was no longer a virgin. He then courted ANALIZA, and soon they became
sweethearts. While he admitted having asked Joe Burgos for help, he denied having asked
the latter to seek an amicable settlement of the case.[24]
Teresita Acain, DANTEs alleged lover since June 1994 and who claimed to be married to
him, testified that she was supposed to go to Tacloban City on 24 August 1994. Instead, she
eloped with DANTE. Accompanied by Betty Orocay, they went to the residence of Josephine
Ollave in Barangay Patag, Ormoc City, where they stayed until 27 September 1994. On 11
September 1994, at around 10:00 p.m., she and DANTE were just about to go to sleep at
Josephines house. She could recall no instance when he left the room where they were
staying. On 18 September 1994, at about 11:00 a.m., she and DANTE were cleaning
Josephines house and tending to the pigs.[25]
Josephine Ollave recalled that on 24 August 1994, at around 7:00 p.m., her sister Betty,
together with DANTE and a certain Teresa, came to her house in Barangay Patag. She
remembered the date because it was her sons birthday. Betty asked her to allow the couple
to stay over because they had just eloped. Josephine acceded to the request. On 11
September 1994, at about 10:00 p.m., she was at home with her husband, DANTE, and
Teresa. On 18 September 1994, at around 11:00 a.m., she, her husband, DANTE, and
Teresa were tending to the hogs; after which DANTE went inside the house. DANTE and
Teresa left her house during the last week of September 1994. On cross-examination she
informed the court that her house was only a 30- to 40-minute ride away from Ormoc City by
motorcab.[26]

Police Inspector Roel Acidre, Commanding Officer of the Mobile Force Company of
Ormoc City Police Command based in Camp Downes, Ormoc City, testified that on 18
September 1994, at around 8:00 p.m., Francisca Duroja and her daughter ANALIZA came to
report that the latters hand was pierced with a nail by DANTE. Acidre told the two to go to
any hospital for medical treatment and bring the result for appropriate legal action, but they
never returned to the police station.[27]
Betty Orocay testified that at around 4:00 p.m. of 16 February 1995 she saw DANTE
enter the Boy Scout Canteen in Ormoc City while she was eating at the said
establishment. She asked DANTE to join her for snacks, and the latter obliged. Later
ANALIZA arrived, and DANTE approached her. Betty heard DANTE invite ANALIZA to a
lodging house. Betty left the canteen and proceeded to Zenaidas Inn where she was to meet
her boyfriend. At past 7:00 p.m. she saw DANTE proceed to the Rajah Lodging
House. Afterwards, while Betty was having dinner with her boyfriend at the Inn, she saw
ANALIZA go to that same lodging house.[28]
Perceiving an attempt by the defense to destroy ANALIZAs credibility by portraying her
as a prostitute and a woman of loose morals, the prosecution sought to prove ANALIZAs
good moral character by presenting Luz Lucero as rebuttal witness. The 61-year-old Luz
worked as a secretary to her husband and as a councilwoman in her barangay. She has
known ANALIZA since the latter was a little girl, as ANALIZA lived only two houses away from
their house. ANALIZA worked at the Lucero residence, washing clothes. About once a week,
she would join the Luceros for a stroll at the plaza and for picnics. Later, she worked at the
Dy residence; but after completing her chores for the Dys, ANALIZA would still play with the
Lucero children at the latters house. Luz never saw this girl in the company of male friends
despite her tomboyish behavior. ANALIZA could not be a prostitute; for if she were, Luz
would not have allowed her children to befriend the former.[29]
The trial court found the defense witnesses and the tale they spun not credible enough. It
could not believe that DANTE, a fish vendor without extraordinary looks, could hook a 17year-old virgin while he was still a stranger in her place; or that the same woman would jump
to bed with him on the first opportunity to do so. On the other hand, it found ANALIZA to be a
more credible witness, especially that she told her story in between sobs. Moreover, her
positive testimony prevailed over DANTEs alibi. It found sufficient reason for her delay in
reporting her experience, and recognized that after drawing courage she went on to endure a
public trial. It opined that even if DANTE and ANALIZA were sweethearts from January to
February 1993, he could still have raped her on 11 and 18 September 1994. And although
she was unconscious during the alleged rape on 11 September 1994, it believed that the
circumstances, when collectively considered, were sufficient to establish the crime of rape.
The trial court appreciated the aggravating circumstances of nighttime (in the case of the
first rape) and dwelling against DANTE. It also recognized that the offense was committed
by three persons and with the use of a knife. It then imposed the supreme penalty of death;
thus:

WHEREFORE, decision is hereby rendered in criminal case No. 4615 finding


the accused DANTE ALFECHE guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape defined
and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by

Republic Act No. 7659. Appreciating the aggravating circumstance of dwelling


with no mitigating circumstance to offset it, this court imposes upon the same
DANTE ALFECHE the penalty of DEATH. Decision is also hereby rendered in
criminal case no. 4616 finding the accused DANTE ALFECHE guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of rape defined and penalized under Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659. Appreciating the
aggravating circumstance of dwelling and nighttime with no mitigating
circumstance to offset any of the two, this court imposes upon the said DANTE
ALFECHE the penalty of DEATH. Further, the said Dante Alfeche is directed to
indemnify ANALIZA DUROJA the sum of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS in
criminal case no. 4615 and the further sum of THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS in
criminal case no. 4616 as compensation for moral damages, and to pay the
cost.
Since the penalty imposed was death, this case was brought to us for automatic review
and judgment.[30]
In his Appellants Brief, DANTE contends that the trial court gravely erred (a) in convicting
him for two counts of rape and sentencing him to suffer the death penalty in each; and (b) in
holding him liable to pay the complainant P60,000 as civil indemnity.
DANTE maintains that the alleged rape on 11 September 1994 was not proved beyond
reasonable doubt because ANALIZA was unconscious at the time and could not therefore
testify as to the pertinent circumstances. On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor
General (OSG) claims that there were sufficient established circumstances to constitute an
unbroken chain leading to no other hypothesis than that DANTE was guilty of the crime
charged, and that these circumstances were sufficient to convict him. These circumstances
were as follows:

(a) While Analiza was watching television at her employers house on


September 11, 1994 at around 10:30 in the evening, three (3) persons entered
the house; (b) One of the men whom she knew as Willy suddenly held her hand,
gagged her mouth and pointed a knife at her; (c) Another man whom she
recognized as appellant approached her and boxed her at her side; (d) Because
of appellants punch, Analiza lost consciousness; she regained consciousness
about thirty (30) minutes later; and (e) When she woke up, Analiza felt
something unusual; she noticed that her shorts had been removed and her
vagina was bleeding. (Citations omitted).
We agree with DANTE that the first alleged rape was not sufficiently proved. Since rape
is not normally committed in the presence of witnesses,[31] the only evidence that can
oftentimes be offered to establish the guilt of the accused is the complainants testimony.
[32] Said testimony must be clear and positive to prove that the acts which constitute the
elements of rape were committed.[33] Although ANALIZA was unconscious when the first
rape was allegedly committed, she could have described circumstances constituting an

unbroken chain of events that would indicate that the offense was actually perpetrated by the
accused.[34] In this case, ANALIZAs unconsciousness broke the chain of events from which
we could have inferred the occurrence of the offense. ANALIZAs testimony says as much:
PROS. FULACHE
Q

Why do you say that you do not know what was the cause of the bleeding in your sexual
organ?

COURT
Q

Before you became unconscious, were you bleeding already?

Not yet, Your Honor.

COURT
Continue.
PROS. FULACHE
So that you did not know what happened when you were unconscious?
COURT
Of course.
WITNESS

I did not know anything, Sir.[35]

As regards the second rape, DANTE again argues that the offense was never proved
beyond reasonable doubt. The uncorroborated testimony of ANALIZA cannot be a basis for
conviction.[36] Moreover, her testimony was contrary to human experience because the
activities of the rapists, from their turning off the stove in the kitchen to the forced sexual
intercourse, presumably coupled with resistance from her, could not have been
accomplished in nine (9) minutes, even with military precision. Another source of doubt was
her activity when the accused entered the kitchen. She testified that she had not yet
prepared lunch; but, on cross-examination, she said that she was sauting vegetables, which
she later changed to pork. DANTE maintains that the discrepancies are material because
ANALIZA took pains to specify the acts of the accused in relation to what she was doing at
the time; hence, her testimony as to what she was doing must be as consistent as her
insistence on the alleged acts of the accused.
The OSG states that the inconsistencies relied upon by DANTE refer to collateral and
minor matters, which do not detract from ANALIZAs positive testimony. Even the most candid
witnesses have been known to make inconsistent statements; but these do not necessarily
impair their credibility and, instead, may even be a badge of truthfulness. What is significant
is that ANALIZA categorically stated that the accused entered her employers house and

sexually assaulted her.


We believe that the aforementioned details the accuseds length of stay and the dish
ANALIZA was preparing are insignificant. Since it was not shown that ANALIZA looked at a
watch before and after the accuseds assault, she could not be expected to give an accurate
appraisal of the accuseds length of stay. Furthermore, a misestimation of time is too
immaterial to discredit the testimony of a witness, especially where time is not an essential
element or has no substantial bearing on the fact of the commission of the offense.
[37] Likewise, since several months passed before ANALIZA told her story to the trial court,
she could not be expected to remember what dish she was preparing at the time unless the
same had a significant connection with the events that transpired on that date.
As the OSG emphasizes, the victim should not be presumed to have total recall of the
incident.[38] Indeed, this Court cannot, in rape cases, expect the poor victim to give an
accurate account of the traumatic and dreadful experience that she had undergone.
[39] Neither inconsistencies on trivial matters nor innocent lapses affect the credibility of a
witness.[40] On the contrary, they may be considered badges of veracity or manifestations of
truthfulness on material points in the testimony.[41]Put in another way, minor inconsistencies
even tend to strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of a witness because they erase
any suspicion of rehearsed testimony.[42] At any rate, the circumstances mentioned by
DANTE do not touch upon the area of inquiry, that is, the acts allegedly perpetrated by the
accused which constituted the offense.
DANTE also asserts that the element of force or intimidation indispensable in rape was
not proved beyond reasonable doubt. ANALIZA testified that one of the accused, who was
never identified, pointed a knife at her while DANTE was raping her. This testimony was
inconsistent, uncorroborated, and incredible. Furthermore, ANALIZA gave no information on
where or how she was threatened with the knife, or what the unidentified accused was doing
with the knife while DANTE was raping her. She also failed to prove any struggle against her
attackers, which would preclude a finding that force or intimidation was employed.[43]
The OSG claims that force and intimidation attended the commission of the second rape,
consisting in (1) Willys holding ANALIZAs hand, gagging her mouth, and keeping her
immobile on the floor; (2) John Does pointing a knife at her; and (3) DANTEs kneeling on her
legs, further immobilizing her.
We reiterate that for rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation
employed in accomplishing the crime be so great or of such character as could not be
resisted. What is necessary is that the force or intimidation be sufficient to consummate the
purpose which the accused had in mind.[44] We have also held that intimidation is addressed
to the mind of the victim, and must be viewed according to her perception and judgment at the
time of the commission of the offense.[45]ANALIZA elaborated on how she was held down by
the three assailants. Regardless of how she was threatened with a knife, ANALIZA made it
clear that she could not resist the accuseds attack.
DANTE next disputes the application of the principle that no woman in her right senses
would concoct a tale so repugnant to her virtue and undergo the rigors of a public trial
concerning her very honor, because this is no guaranty that all self-inflicted indignities are

for the sake of truth.[46] He theorizes that the said principle is applicable when the victim is
between 12 and 16 years old and clad in the armor of innocence. A kindred test of the
complainants credibility is her conduct after the alleged sexual assault. Such conduct must
be consistent with human behavior; otherwise, the complainants uncorroborated testimony is
deemed incredible.[47] DANTE maintains that ANALIZAs behavior after the rape rendered
her allegations incredible.
The OSG contends that there is no standard human response to a crime; hence,
ANALIZAs opting to finish her chores after she was raped should not discredit her
testimony. ANALIZA also gave a plausible explanation for her failure to report the rape, that
is, she was ashamed and afraid.
We disagree with DANTEs view that the complainants age is the basis for the application
of the aforequoted principle. He even concedes that the precept has been employed in cases
involving 17- and 18-year-old victims, as well as married women, where the circumstances so
warrant.[48] Therefore, it is the totality of the circumstances, and not the victims age alone,
which determines whether the principle should be applied.
Anent the victims conduct following the alleged rape, there is no standard form of
behavior in this regard. In one case, after having been raped, the victim accepted a P20 bill
from the rapist and then went home.[49] In another case, some twelve hours after the rape,
the victim accompanied her sister to attend a wake; and there she played card games and
jumped with joy whenever she won.[50] In a few other cases, the victims merely kept silent
about their harrowing experience despite opportunities to divulge the same.[51] In these
examples the oldest of the victims was 16 years old, but we will not jump into the sweeping
conclusion that the victims age is the controlling factor in upholding her credibility. It is more
correct to state that the victims discernment of the consequences of the rape, in relation to
her reaction to the offense, influences our assessment of the victims trustworthiness. Thus,
in a case where the alleged victim was an adult, the absence of any manifestation of her
outrage demonstrated the dubiousness of the charge[52] because the victim in such a case
could be deemed to have sufficient recognition of the impact on her of the offense.
ANALIZA was only 17 years old when she was sexually assaulted. Her educational
attainment is Grade VI.[53] She lived most of her life as a servant of one household or
another.[54] It was not shown that she was a woman of above average intelligence.
We must not discredit her story of rape merely because after the rape she did other things
which could not be expected from one who had just been raped. In the first incident,
ANALIZA simply washed her bloodied private part after she regained consciousness; and in
the second incident, she finished her cooking. We have said before that the workings of the
human mind when placed under emotional stress are unpredictable, and that people react
differently. In such a given situation, some may shout; some may faint; and some may be
shocked into insensibility; while others may openly welcome the intrusion.[55]
As to ANALIZAs failure to immediately report her ordeal, the same was due mainly to her
feeling of shame. We keep in mind the fact that ANALIZA grew up in the province under a
code of behavior characterized by shyness and chastity. We also take judicial notice of the
Filipinas inbred modesty and antipathy in airing publicly things which affect her honor.

[56] Indeed, there are many victims of rape who would rather keep to themselves forever than
make public a painful and humiliating secret.[57]
Appreciating the foregoing circumstances together, we cannot expect ANALIZA to act in
accordance with the norms of behavior demanded of mature women.[58]
A review of her testimony convinces us with moral certainty that DANTE raped her on 18
September 1994. Further strengthening our conclusion is the fact that the trial judge gave full
faith and credit to her testimony. It is doctrinally entrenched that the evaluation of the
testimonies of witnesses by the trial court is received on appeal with the highest respect
because such court has the direct opportunity to observe the witnesses on the witness stand
and determine whether they are telling the truth or not.[59] As we stated in People v. De
Guzman:[60]
[T]he trial judge is able to detect that sometimes thin line between fact and prevarication that
will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. That line may not be discernible from a
mere reading of the impersonal record by the reviewing court. The record will not reveal
those tell-tale signs that will affirm the truth or expose the contrivance, like the angry flush of
an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a
reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply. The record will not show if the eyes
have darted in evasion or looked down in confession or gazed steadily with a serenity that
has nothing to distort or conceal. The record will not show if tears were shed in anger, or in
shame, or in remembered pain, or in feigned innocence. Only the judge trying the case can
see all these and on the basis of his observations arrive at an informed and reasoned verdict.
[61]
Furthermore, no ulterior motive was shown by DANTE why ANALIZA would concoct a
story of rape and openly accuse him thereof. It is settled that where there is no evidence that
the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper motive, the presumption is
that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit.[62]
Against ANALIZAs story, DANTE has his alibi and tangential attack on the moral
character of ANALIZA whom he pictured to us to be a prostitute.
His alibi must fail not only because he was positively identified by ANALIZA as the one
who raped her on 18 September 1994, but also because he was unable to prove the
requisites of the defense of alibi. For alibi to prosper it is not enough to prove that the
accused was somewhere else when the crime was committed, but he must also demonstrate
that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the crime scene at the time the crime
was committed.[63] Per his own evidence, DANTE was just in another barangay (Patag) in
Ormoc City on 18 September 1994. He did not dare show how far is that to Barangay Canadieng where the rape took place.
As to the suggestion that ANALIZA was a prostitute, that alone, even if it be conceded,
cannot absolve him of his liability for rape. First, prostitutes can be victims of rape.
[64] Second, it was not shown that ANALIZA remained a prostitute up to 18 September
1994. Our own meticulous review of the evidence convinces us that ANALIZA was not a
prostitute; and the testimony of DANTE on this is simply incredible in itself, let alone the fact
that we do not find him to be a credible person. For evidence to be believed it must not

only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but must also be credible in itself.[65] To
us, DANTE is a confessed scoundrel portraying himself to be a veritable Casanova whose
story is gravid with implausibilities.
The only issue left is the penalty which may be imposed on DANTE for the rape on 18
September 1994. The trial court imposed the death penalty pursuant to Article 335 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, in view of the finding that the crime was
committed by three persons and with the use of a knife, and was attended with the
aggravating circumstance of dwelling.
It must be first observed that the complaints in Criminal Cases Nos. 4615-0 and 4616-0
charge DANTE and his co-accused with rape in violation of Article 335, Revised Penal
Code, instead of Article 335, Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659 . Before
Article 335 was amended by R.A. No. 7659 the penalty for rape when committed with the use
of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons was reclusion perpetua to death. Its third
paragraph read:

Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by
two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
This paragraph was not touched by R.A. No. 7659. Nevertheless, from the ratification on 2
February 1987 of the Constitution until the effectivity of R.A. No. 7659 on 31 December
1993[66] the imposition of the death penalty was constitutionally prohibited pursuant to
Section 14(2), Article III of the former.[67]
The complaints in the cases below do not use the language of the law, viz., with the use
of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons. In lieu of deadly weapon, the complaints
use knife; and, there is no specific allegation that the crime was committed by two or more
persons, but only an allegation of conspiracy among the three accused. These allegations
are, however, sufficient for purposes of the above-quoted third paragraph of Article 335.
A deadly weapon is any weapon or instrument made and designed for offensive or
defensive purposes, or for the destruction of life or the infliction of injury; or one which, from
the manner used, is calculated or likely to produce death or serious bodily harm.[68] In our
jurisdiction, it has been held that a knife[69] is a deadly weapon.
Also, since the complaints charge three persons with the crime of rape, namely,
DANTE, alias Willy, and John Doe, who allegedly acted in conspiracy, it is too plain and
obvious that two or more persons are alleged to have committed the crime. The evidence
proved that, indeed, the three acted in concert to commit the crime of rape on 18 September
1994 charged in Criminal Case No. 4615-0.
The foregoing notwithstanding, it is timely to remind prosecutors to exercise due care in
the preparation of complaints or informations to the end that circumstances which by specific
provisions of law change the nature of the crime or upgrade the penalty therefor must be
specifically alleged using the language of the law.[70]
Parenthetically, we also note that the complaints allege treachery as an aggravating
circumstance. Under Article 14 of the Penal Code treachery is applicable only to crimes

against persons. At the time ANALIZA was raped, rape was a crime against chastity,
although under the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 (R.A. No. 8353), approved on 30 September 1997,
rape is already a crime against persons.
By way of conclusion, we do not hesitate to rule that in Criminal Case No. 4615-0, the
crime was committed with the use of a deadly weapon and by two or more persons under the
third paragraph of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The generic
aggravating circumstance of dwelling[71] justified the imposition of the greater penalty of
death.[72] Dwelling was clearly established during the cross-examination of ANALIZAs
mother by the defense. Thus:
Q

Is it not a fact that Analiza was staying in the house of her employer Mr. and Mrs. Dy, the whole
year of 1994?

Yes, sir.

And being employed as domestic helper, Analiza would stay in the house of Mr. and Mrs.
Dy day and night?

Yes, sir.

And only very seldom that Analiza goes to your house?

Yes, sir.[73]

Dwelling is considered an aggravating circumstance because primarily of the sanctity of


privacy the law accords to human abode. The dwelling need not be owned by the victim.
[74] Thus, in People v. Basa,[75] dwelling was appreciated, although the victims were killed
while sleeping as guests in the house of another. As aptly stated in People v. Balansi:
[76] [O]ne does not lose his right of privacy where he is offended in the house of another
because as [an] invited guest [or a housemaid as in the instant case], he, the stranger, is
sheltered by the same roof and protected by the same intimacy of life it affords. It may not be
his house, but it is, even for a brief moment, home to him. He is entitled to respect even for
that short moment.
Premises considered, his conviction in Criminal Case No. 4615-0 and the penalty
imposed, death, must stand. Four members of this Court maintain their position that Republic
Act No. 7659, insofar as it prescribes the death penalty, is unconstitutional; but they
nevertheless submit to the ruling of the majority of the Court that the law is constitutional and
the death penalty should be imposed in the case at bar.
Lastly, we note that the trial court awarded moral damages only without the civil indemnity
provided for in Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code. Pursuant to that Article and the latest
case law,[77] ANALIZA should be awarded P75,000 as indemnity. As to moral damages, a
conviction for rape may properly carry with it an award therefor.[78] Here we find the award
justified because ANALIZA was compelled to attempt suicide out of shame of what had
happened to her and of the resulting pregnancy. Given this extreme consequence of
DANTEs offense, we raise the award of moral damages from P30,000 to P50,000. In
addition, ANALIZA is entitled to an award of exemplary damages in the amount of P10,000 in

view of the presence of one aggravating circumstance.[79] Furthermore, since ANALIZA


begot a child by reason of the rape, DANTE must acknowledge and support the offspring
pursuant to Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 201 of the Family
Code.[80]
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered REVERSING the judgment in Criminal Case
No. 4616-0 and ACQUITTING accused-appellant DANTE ALFECHE y Tamparong on ground
of reasonable doubt. However, the judgment in Criminal Case No. 4615-0 convicting said
accused-appellant of the crime of rape committed on 18 September 1994 and sentencing him
to suffer the penalty of death is AFFIRMED, with the modification that (1) an indemnity is
hereby imposed in the amount of P75,000; (2) the award of moral damages is increased
from P30,000 to P50,000; and (3) exemplary damages in the amount of P10,000 is also
awarded in favor of the victim ANALIZA DUROJA.
Accused-appellant is further ordered to acknowledge and support the offspring born of the
rape. The amount of support shall be determined by the trial court after due notice and
hearing, with support in arrears to be reckoned from the date the appealed decision was
promulgated by the trial court.
In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending Article 83 of the
Revised Penal Code, upon finality of this decision, let the records of the case be forthwith
forwarded to the Office of the President for possible exercise of the pardoning power.
Costs against the accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
BATULANON VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES Case Digest
LEONILA BATULANON VS. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. NO. 139857 September 15, 2006
FACTS: Polomok Credit Cooperative Incorporated (PCCI) employed Leonila Batulanon as its
Cashier/Manager from May 1980 up to December 22, 1982. She was in charge of receiving deposits from
and releasing loans to the member of the cooperative.
During an audit conducted in December 1982, certain irregularities concerning the release of loans were
discovered. It was found that Batulanon falsified four commercial documents, all checks/cash vouchers
representing granted loans to different persons namely: Omadlao, Oracion, Arroyo and Dennis Batulanon,
making it appear that said names were granted a loan and received the amount of the checks/cash
vouchers when in truth and in fact the said persons never received a grant, never received the checks, and
never signed the check vouchers issued in their names. In furtherance, Batulanon released to herself the
checks and received the loans and thereafter misappropriated and converted it to her own use and benefit.
Thereafter, four Informations for Estafa through Falsification of Commercial Documents were filed against

Batulanon. The prosecution presented Medallo, Gopio, Jr. and Jayoma as witnesses. Medallo, the posting
clerk whose job was to assist Batulanon in the preparation of cash vouchers testified that Batulanon forged
the signatures of Omadlao, Oracion and Arroyo. Gopio, Jr. stated that Oracion is Batulanon sister-in-law
and Dennis Batulanon is her son who was only 3 years old in 1982. He averred that membership in the
cooperative is not open to minors.
On April 15, 1993, the trial court rendered a Decision convicting Batulanon of Estafa through Falsification of
Commercial Documents. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, hence this petition.
ISSUE: Whether the crime committed by Batulanon was Falsification of Private Documents.
HELD: Yes. Although the offense charged in the Information is Estafa through Falsification of Commercial
Documents, Batulanon could be convicted of Falsification of Private Documents under the well-settled rule
that it is the allegation in the information that determines the nature of the offense and not the technical
name given in the preamble of the information.
As there is no complex crime of Estafa through Falsification of Private Documents, it is important to
ascertain whether the offender is to be charged with Falsification of a Private Document or with Estafa. If
the falsification of a private document is committed as a means to commit estafa, the proper crime to be
charged is falsification. If the Estafa can be committed without the necessity of falsifying a document, the
proper crime is Estafa. We find that the Court of Appeals correctly held Batulanon guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of Falsification of Private Documents in the cases of Omadlao, Oracion and Arroyo.
In the case of Dennis Batulanon, records show that Batulanon did not falsify the signature of Dennis. What
she did was to sign: by: Ibatulanon to indicate that she received the proceeds of the loan in behalf of
Dennis. Said act does not fall under any of the modes of Falsification under Article 171 because there is
nothing untruthful about the fact that she used the name of Dennis and that as representative of the latter,
obtained the proceeds of the loan from PCCI. The essence of falsification is the act of making untruthful or
false statements, which is not attendant in this case. As to whether, such representation involves fraud
which caused damage to PCCI is a different matter which will make her liable for estafa, but not for
falsification. Hence, it was an error for the courts below to hold that Batulanon is also guilty of Falsification
of Private Document with respect to the case involving the cash voucher of Dennis Batulanon.

THE
PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ELIAS JARANILLA, RICARDO SUYO, FRANCO BRILLANTES and HEMAN GORRICETA,
accused. ELIAS JARANILLA, RICARDO SUYO, and FRANCO BRILLANTES, defendantsappellants.
Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Assistant Solicitor General Felicisimo R. Rosete and Solicitor
Antonio M. Martinez for plaintiff-appellee.

Sixto P. Dimaisip for defendants-appellants.

AQUINO, J.:p
This is an appeal of defendants Elias Jaranilla, Ricardo Suyo and Franco Brillantes from the decision of the Court of
First Instance of Iloilo, which convicted them of robbery with homicide, sentenced each of them to reclusion
perpetua and ordered them to pay solidarily the sum of six thousand pesos to the heirs of Ramonito Jabatan and the
sum of five hundred pesos to Valentin Baylon as the value of fighting cocks (Criminal Case No. 11082).
The evidence for the prosecution shows that at around eleven o'clock in the evening of January 9, 1966, Gorriceta,
who had just come from Fort San Pedro in Iloilo City, was driving a Ford pickup truck belonging to his sister, Remia
G. Valencia. While he was in front of the Elizalde Building on J. M. Basa Street, he saw Ricardo Suyo, Elias Jaranilla
and Franco Brillantes. They hailed Gorriceta who stopped the truck. Jaranilla requested to bring them to Mandurriao,
a district in another part of the city. Gorriceta demurred. He told Jaranilla that he (Gorriceta) was on his way home.
Jaranilla prevailed upon Gorriceta to take them to Mandurriao because Jaranilla ostensibly had to get something from
his uncle's place. So, Jaranilla, Brillantes and Suyo boarded the pickup truck which Gorriceta drove to Mandurriao.
Upon reaching Mandurriao, Gorriceta parked the truck at a distance of about fifty to seventy meters from the
provincial hospital. Jaranilla, Suyo and Brillantes alighted from the vehicle. Jaranilla instructed Gorriceta to wait for
them. The trio walked in the direction of the plaza. After an interval of about ten to twenty minutes, they reappeared.
Each of them was carrying two fighting cocks. They ran to the truck.
Jaranilla directed Gorriceta to start the truck because they were being chased. Gorriceta drove the truck to Jaro
(another district of the city) on the same route that they had taken in going to Mandurriao.
It is important to note the positions of Gorriceta and his three companions on the front seat of the track. Gorriceta the
driver, was on the extreme left. Next to him on his right was Suyo. Next to Suyo was Brillantes. On the extreme right
was Jaranilla.
While the truck was traversing the detour road near the Mandurriao airport, then under construction, Gorriceta saw in
the middle of the road Patrolmen Ramonito Jabatan and Benjamin Castro running towards them. Gorriceta slowed
down the truck after Patrolman Jabatan had fired a warning shot and was signalling with his flashlight that the truck
should stop. Gorriceta stopped the truck near the policeman. Jabatan approached the right side of the truck near
Jaranilla and ordered all the occupants of the truck to go down. They did not heed the injunction of the policeman.
Brillantes pulled his revolver but did not fire it. Suyo did nothing. Jaranilla, all of a sudden, shot Patrolman Jabatan.
The shooting frightened Gorriceta. He immediately started the motor of the truck and drove straight home to La Paz,
another district of the city. Jaranilla kept on firing towards Jabatan.
Jaranilla, Suyo and Brillantes alighted in front of Gorriceta's house. Gorriceta parked the truck inside the garage.
Jaranilla warned Gorriceta not to tell anybody about the incident. Gorriceta went up to his room. After a while, he
heard policemen shouting his name and asking him to come down. Instead of doing so, he hid in the ceiling. It was
only at about eight o'clock in the morning of the following day that he decided to come down. His uncle had
counselled him to surrender to the police. The policemen took Gorriceta to their headquarters. He recounted the
incident to a police investigator.
Victorino Trespeces, whose house was located opposite the house of Valentin Baylon on Taft Street in Mandurriao,
testified that before midnight of January 9, 1966, he conducted a friend in his car to the housing project in the vicinity
of the provincial hospital at Mandurriao. As he neared his residence, he saw three men emerging from the canal on
Taft Street in front of Baylon's house. He noticed a red Ford pickup truck parked about fifty yards from the place
where he saw the three men. Shortly thereafter, he espied the three men carrying roosters. He immediately repaired to
the police station at Mandurriao. He reported to Patrolmen Jabatan and Castro what he had just witnessed. The two
policemen requested him to take them in his car to the place where he saw the three suspicious-looking men. Upon
arrival thereat, the men and the truck were not there anymore.
Trespeces and the policemen followed the truck speeding towards Jaro. On reaching the detour road leading to the
airport, the policemen left the car and crossed the runway which was a shortcut. Their objective was to intercept the
truck. Trespeces turned his car around in order to return to Mandurriao. At that moment he heard gunshots. He stopped
and again turned his car in the direction where shots had emanated. A few moments later, Patrolman Castro came into

view. He was running. He asked Trespeces for help because Jabatan, his comrade, was wounded. Patrolman Castro
and Trespeces lifted Jabatan into the car and brought him to the hospital. Trespeces learned later that Jabatan was
dead.
Doctor Raymundo L. Torres, the chief medico-legal officer of the Iloilo City police department, conducted an autopsy
on the remains of Patrolman Jabatan. He found:
(1) Contusion on left eyebrow.
(2) Bullet wound one centimeter in diameter, penetrating left anterior axilla, directed diagonally
downward to the right, perforating the left upper lobe of the lungs through and through, bitting the
left pulmonary artery and was recovered at the right thoracic cavity; both thoracic cavity was full of
blood.
Cause of death: Shock, hemorrhage, secondary to bullet wound.
Valentin Baylon, the owner of the fighting cocks, returned home at about six o'clock in the morning of January 10,
1966. He discovered that the door of one of his cock pens or chicken coops (Exhs. A and A-1) was broken. The
feeding vessels were scattered on the ground. Upon investigation he found that six of his fighting cocks were missing.
Each coop contained six cocks. The coop was made of bamboo and wood with nipa roofing. Each coop had a door
which was locked by means of nails. The coops were located at the side of his house, about two meters therefrom.
Baylon reported the loss to the police at Mandurriao. At about ten o'clock, a group of detectives came to his house
together with the police photographer who took pictures of the chicken coops. The six roosters were valued at one
hundred pesos each. Two days later, he was summoned to the police station at Mandurriao to identify a rooster which
was recovered somewhere at the airport. He readily identified it as one of the six roosters which was stolen from his
chicken coop (Exh. B).
Gorriceta, Jaranilla, Suyo and Brillantes were charged with robo con homicidio with the aggravating circumstances of
use of a motor vehicle, nocturnity, band, contempt of or with insult to the public authorities and recidivism. The fiscal
utilized Gorriceta as a state witness. Hence, the case was dismissed as to him.
On February 2, 1967, after the prosecution had rested its case and before the defense had commenced the presentation
of its evidence, Jaranilla escaped from the provincial jail. The record does not show that he has been apprehended.
The judgment of conviction was promulgated as to defendants Suyo and Brillantes on October 19, 1967 when it was
read to them in court. They signed at the bottom of the last page of the decision.
There was no promulgation of the judgment as to Jaranilla, who, as already stated, escaped from jail (See Sec. 6, Rule
120, Rules of Court).
However, the notice of appeal filed by defendants' counsel de oficio erroneously included Jaranilla. Inasmuch as the
judgment has not been promulgated as to Jaranilla, he could not have appealed. His appeal through counsel cannot be
entertained. Only the appeals of defendants Suyo and Brillantes will be considered.
In convicting Suyo, Jaranilla and Brillantes of robo con homicidio, the trial court assumed that the taking of the six
fighting cocks was robbery and that Patrolman Jabatan was killed "by reason or on the occasion of the robbery" within
the purview of article 294 of the Revised Penal Code.
In this appeal the appellants contend that the trial court erred in not finding that Gorriceta was the one who shot the
policeman and that Jaranilla was driving the Ford truck because Gorriceta was allegedly drunk. Through their
counsel de oficio, they further contend that the taking of roosters was theft and, alternatively, that, if it was robbery,
the crime could not be robbery with homicide because the robbery was already consummated when Jabatan was
killed.
After evaluating the testimonies of Gorriceta and Brillantes as to who was driving the truck and who shot policeman,
this Court finds that the trial court did not err in giving credence to Gorriceta's declaration that he was driving the
truck at the time that Jaranilla shot Jabatan.
The improbability of appellants' theory is manifest. The truck belonged to Gorriceta's sister. He was responsible for its
preservation. He had the obligation to return it to his sister in the same condition when he borrowed it. He was driving
it when he saw Brillantes, Jaranilla and Suyo and when he allegedly invited them for a paseo. There is no indubitable
proof that Jaranilla knows how to drive a truck.

The theory of the defense may be viewed from another angle. If, according to the appellants, Gorriceta asked Jaranilla
to drive the truck because he (Gorriceta) was drunk then that circumstance would be inconsistent with their theory that
Gorriceta shot Jabatan. Being supposedly intoxicated, Gorriceta would have been dozing when Jabatan signalled the
driver to stop the truck and he could not have thought of killing Jabatan in his inebriated state. He would not have
been able to shoot accurately at Jabatan. But the fact is that the first shot hit Jabatan. So, the one who shot him must
have been a sober person like Jaranilla.
Moreover, as Jaranilla and his two comrades were interested in concealing the fighting cocks, it was Jaranilla, not
Gorriceta, who would have the motive for shooting Jabatan. Consequently, the theory that Gorriceta shot Jabatan and
that Jaranilla was driving the truck appears to be plausible.
Was the taking of the roosters robbery or theft? There is no evidence that in taking the six roosters from their coop or
cages in the yard of Baylon's house violence against or intimidation of persons was employed. Hence, article 294 of
the Revised Penal Code cannot be invoked.
Neither could such taking fall under article 299 of the Revised Penal Code which penalizes robbery in an inhabited
house (casa habitada), public building or edifice devoted to worship. The coop was not inside Baylon's house. Nor
was it a dependency thereof within the meaning of article 301 of the Revised Penal Code.
Having shown the inapplicability of Articles 294 and 299, the next inquiry is whether the taking of the six roosters is
covered by article 302 of the Revised Penal Code which reads:
ART. 302. Robbery in an uninhabited place or in private building.Any robbery committed in an uninhabited place
or in a building other than those mentioned in the first paragraph of article 299, if the value of the property exceeds
250 pesos, shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods provided that any of the
following circumstances is present:
1. If the entrance has been effected through any opening not intended for entrance or egress.
2. If any wall, roof, floor or outside door or window has been broken.
3. If the entrance has been effected through the use of false keys, picklocks or other similar tools.
4. If any door, wardrobe, chest, or any sealed or closed furniture or receptacle has been broken.
5. If any closed or sealed receptacle, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, has been removed,
even if the same be broken open elsewhere.
xxx xxx xxx
In this connection, it is relevant to note that there is an inaccuracy in the English translation of article 302. The
controlling Spanish original reads:
ART. 302. Robo en lugar no habitado o edificio particular.El robo cometido en un lugar no
habitado o en un edificio que no sea de los comprendidos en el parrafo primero del articulo 299, ... .
(Tomo 26, Leyes Publicas 479).
The term "lugar no habitado" is erroneously translated. as "uninhabited place", a term which may be confounded with
the expression "uninhabited place" in articles 295 and 300 of the Revised Penal Code, which is the translation
of despobladoand which is different from the term lugar no habitado in article 302. The term lugar no habitado is the
antonym of casa habitada (inhabited house) in article 299.
One essential requisite of robbery with force upon things under Articles 299 and 302 is that the malefactor should
enter the building or dependency, where the object to be taken is found. Articles 299 and 302 clearly contemplate that
the malefactor should enter the building (casa habitada o lugar no habitado o edificio). If the culprit did not enter the
building, there would be no robbery with force upon things. (See Albert, Revised Penal Code, 1932 edition, p. 688).
Thus, where the accused broke the show-window of the Bombay Palace Bazar at Rizal Avenue, Manila and removed
forty watches therefrom, the crime was theft and not robbery because he did not enter the building. The show-window
was outside the store. (People vs. Adorno, CA 40 O. G. 567, per Montemayor, J., who later became a member of this
Court). *
In the instant case, the chicken coop where the six roosters were taken cannot be considered a building within the
meaning of article 302. Not being a building, it cannot be said that the accused entered the same in order to commit

the robbery by means of any of the five circumstances enumerated in article 302.
The term "building" in article 302, formerly 512 of the old Penal Code, was construed as embracing any structure not
mentioned in article 299 (meaning not an "inhabited house or public building or edifice devoted to worship" or any
dependency thereof) used for storage and safekeeping of personal property. As thus construed, a freight car used for
the shipment of sugar was considered a private building. The unnailing of a strip of cloth nailed over the door, the
customary manner of sealing a freight car, was held to constitute breaking by force within the meaning of article 512,
now article 302. (U.S. vs. Magsino, 2 Phil. 710).
The ruling in the Magsino case is in conflict with the rulings of the Supreme Court of Spain that a railroad employee
who, by force, opens a sealed or locked receptacle deposited in a freight car, does not commit robbery. He is guilty of
theft because arailroad car is neither a house nor a building within the meaning of article 302 which corresponds to
article 525 of the 1870 Spanish Penal Code. Article 302 refers to houses or buildings which, while not actually
inhabited, are habitable. Thus, a pig sty is not a building within the meaning of article 302. The stealing of hogs from
a pig sty is theft and not robbery, although the culprit breaks into it. Article 302 refers to habitable buildings.
(Guevara, Revised Penal Code, 1939 Edition, pages 555-6, citing II Hidalgo Codigo Penal 636-7, 642, which in turn
cites the decisions of the Spanish Supreme Court dated March 2, 1886 and April 25, 1887). **
As may be seen from the photographs (Exhs. A and A-1) Baylon's coop, which is known in the dialect
as tangkal orkulungan, is about five yards long, one yard wide and one yard high. It has wooden stilts and bamboo
strips as bars. The coop barely reaches the shoulder of a person of average height like Baylon. It is divided into six
compartments or cages. A compartment has an area of less than one cubic yard. A person cannot be accommodated
inside the cage or compartment. It was not intended that a person should go inside that compartment. The taking was
effected by forcibly opening the cage and putting the hands inside it to get the roosters.
Therefore, the taking of the six roosters from their coop should be characterized as theft and not robbery. The
assumption is that the accused were animated by single criminal impulse. The conduct of the accused reveals that they
conspired to steal the roosters. The taking is punishable as a single offense of theft. Thus, it was held that the taking of
two roosters in the same place and on the same occasion cannot give rise to two crimes of theft (People vs. De Leon,
49 Phil. 437, citing decision of Supreme Court of Spain dated July 13, 1894 and 36 C. J. 799; People vs. Tumlos, 67
Phil. 320; People vs. Villanueva, 49 O.G. 5448, L-10239, August 7, 1953).
Nocturnity and use of a motor vehicle are aggravating. Those circumstances facilitated the commission of the theft.
The accused intentionally sought the cover of night and used a motor vehicle so as to insure the success of their
nefarious enterprise (People vs. Tan, 89 Phil. 647, 660; People vs. Gardon, 104 Phil. 372).
Also to be appreciated against appellants Suyo and Brillantes is the aggravating circumstance of recidivism which was
alleged in the information. They admitted their previous convictions for theft (130, 132 tsn; Exhs. I and J; Art. 14[9],
Revised Penal Code).
The theft of six roosters valued at six hundred pesos is punishable by prision correccional in its minimum and
medium periods (Art. 309[3], Revised Penal Code). That penalty should be imposed in its maximum period because
only aggravating circumstances are present (Art. 64[3], Revised Penal Code).
Although recidivists, appellants Suyo and Brillantes are not habitual delinquents. They are entitled to an indeterminate
sentence (Sec. 2, Act No. 4103).
With respect to the killing of Patrolman Jabatan, it has already been noted that the evidence for the prosecution points
to Jaranilla as the malefactor who shot that unfortunate peace officer. The killing was homicide because it was made
on the spur of the moment. The treacherous mode of attack was not consciously or deliberately adopted by the
offender (U.S. vs. Namit, 38 Phil. 926; People vs. Tumaob, 83 Phil. 738; People vs. Abalos, 84 Phil. 771).
The twenty-four year old Jabatan was an agent of authority on night duty at the time of the shooting. He was wearing
his uniform. The killing should be characterized as a direct assault (atentado) upon an agent of authority (Art. 148,
Revised Penal Code) complexed with homicide. The two offenses resulted from a single act. (Art. 48, Revised Penal
Code; People vs. Guillen, 85 Phil. 307; People vs. Lojo, Jr., 52 Phil. 390).
The evidence for the prosecution does not prove any conspiracy on the part of appellants Jaranilla, Suyo and
Brillantes to kill Jabatan. They conspired to steal the fighting cocks. The conspiracy is shown by the manner in which
they perpetrated the theft. They went to the scene of the crime together. They left the yard of Baylon's residence, each
carrying two roosters. They all boarded the getaway truck driven by Gorriceta.

The theft was consummated when the culprits were able to take possession of the roosters. It is not an indispenable
element of theft that the thief carry, more or less far away, the thing taken by him from its owner (People vs. Mercado,
65 Phil. 665; Duran vs. Tan, 85 Phil. 476; U.S vs. Adiao, 38 Phil. 754).
It is not reasonable to assume that the killing of any peace officer, who would forestall the theft or frustrate appellants'
desire to enjoy the fruits of the crime, was part of their plan. There is no evidence to link appellants Suyo and
Brillantes to the killing of Jabatan, except the circumstance that they were with Jaranilla in the truck when the latter
shot the policeman. Gorriceta testified that Suyo did not do anything when Jabatan approached the right side of the
truck and came in close proximity to Jaranilla who was on the extreme right. Brillantes pulled his revolver which he
did not fire (47, 53-55 tsn). Mere presence at the scene of the crime does not necessarily make a person a co-principal
thereof.
Jaranilla heard Gorriceta's testimony that he (Jaranilla) shot Jabatan. Instead of taking the witness stand to refute the
testimony of Gorriceta, Jaranilla escaped from jail. That circumstance is an admission of guilt.
The instant case is different from People vs. Mabassa, 65 Phil. 568 where the victim was killed on the occasion when
the accused took his chickens under the house. It is distinguishable from the People vs. Gardon, 104 Phil. 372
and People vs. Salamudin No. 1, 52 Phil. 670 (both cited by the Solicitor General) where the robbery was clearly
proven and the homicide was perpetrated on the occasion of the robbery. As already noted, theft, not robbery, was
committed in this case.
The situation in this case bears some analogy to that found in the People vs. Basisten, 47 Phil. 493 where the homicide
committed by a member of the band was not a part of the common plan to commit robbery. Hence, only the person
who perpetrated the killing was liable for robbery with homicide. The others were convicted of robbery only.
There is a hiatus in the evidence of the prosecution as to the participation of Suyo and Brillantes in the killing of
Jabatan by Jaranilla. As already stated, no robbery with homicide was committed. Therefore, it cannot be concluded
that those two appellants have any responsibility for Jabatan's death. Their complicity in the homicide committed by
Jaranilla has not been established.
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court convicting appellants Ricardo Suyo and Franco Brillantes of robbery
with homicide is reversed. They are acquitted of homicide on the ground of reasonable doubt.
As co-principals with Elias Jaranilla in the theft of the six fighting cocks, they are (a) each sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor as minimum to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision
correccional as maximum and (b) ordered to indemnify solidarily the complainant, Valentin Baylon, in the sum of five
hundred pesos (P500). Each appellant should pay one-third of the costs.
As to the liability of Elias Jaranilla for theft and homicide, with direct assault upon an agent of authority, trial court
should render a new judgment consistent with this opinion (See Sec. 19, Art. IV, Constitution).
So ordered.
Santiago
vs
Garchitorena
G.R.
No.
109266
December,
2
1993
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Puno, JJ., concur.
Facts:
On May 1, 1991, petitioner Santiago was charged by the Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as
amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, allegedly committed by her favoring "unqualified"
aliens
with
the
benefits
of
the
Alien
Legalization
Program.
On May 24, 1991, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition to enjoin the Sandiganbayan from proceeding with
criminal case on the ground that said case was intended solely to harass her as she was then a presidential candidate. She
alleged that this was in violation of Section 10, Article IX-C of the Constitution which provides that "(b)ona fide candidates for
any public office shall be free from any form of harassment and discrimination." The petition was dismissed on January 13,
1992.
On October 16, 1992, petitioner filed a motion for inhibition of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, which motion was set for
hearing on November 13, 1992. ten days after, the Sandiganbayan (First Division), of which Presiding Justice Garchitorena is

a member, set the criminal case for arraignment on November 13, 1992. On November 6, 1992, petitioner moved to defer the
arraignment on the grounds that there was a pending motion for inhibition, and that petitioner intended to file a motion for a
bill of particulars. However, on November 9, 1992, the Sandiganbayan (First Division) denied the motion to defer the
arraignment.
More so, the petitioner cannot accept the legal morality of Sandiganbayan Justice Francis Garchitorena who would her from
going abroad for a Harvard scholarship because of graft charges against her. It appears that petitioner tried to leave the
country without first securing the permission of the Sandiganbayan, prompting it to issue the hold-departure order which. The
letter of Presiding Justice Garchitorena, written in defense of the dignity and integrity of the Sandiganbayan, merely stated
that all persons facing criminal charges in court, with no exception, have to secure permission to leave the country.
The court issued the Resolution dated March 25, 1993, ordering Presiding Justice Garchitorena "to CEASE and DESIST
from sitting in the case until the question of his disqualification is finally resolved by this Court and from enforcing the
resolution dated March 11, 1993, ordering petitioner to post bail bonds for the 32 Amended Informations and from proceeding
with
the
arraignment
on
April
12,
1993.
Issue:
(a) Whether the petitioner is charged with continued crime (delito continuado) under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code?
Held:
The 32 Amended Informations charged to the petitioner is known as delito continuado or "continued crime" and sometimes
referred to as "continuous crime." In fairness to the Ombudsman's Office of the Special Prosecutor, it should be borne in
mind that the concept of delito continuado has been a vexing problem in Criminal Law difficult as it is to define and more
difficult
to
apply.
The concept of delito continuado, although an outcry of the Spanish Penal Code, has been applied to crimes penalized under
special laws, e.g. violation of R.A. No. 145 penalizing the charging of fees for services rendered following up claims for war
veteran's benefits (People v. Sabbun, 10 SCRA 156 [1964] ). Under Article 10 of the Revised Penal Code, the Code shall be
supplementary to special laws, unless the latter provide the contrary. Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code
may
be
applied
in
a
supplementary
capacity
to
crimes
punished
under
special
laws.
In the case at bench, the original information charged petitioner with performing a single criminal act that of her approving the
application for legalization of aliens not qualified under the law to enjoy such privilege. The original information also averred
that the criminal act : (i) committed by petitioner was in violation of a law - Executive Order No. 324 dated April 13, 1988, (ii)
caused an undue injury to one offended party, the Government, and (iii) was done on a single day, i.e., on or about October
17,
1988.
The Resolution dated March 3, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 of the Sandiganbayan (First Division) is affirmed and its
Resolution dated March 11, 1993 in Criminal Case No. 16698 is modified in the sense that the Office of the Special
Prosecutor of the Office of the Ombudsman is directed to consolidate the 32 Amended Informations (Criminal Cases Nos.
18371 to 18402) into one information charging only one offense under the original case number, i.e., No. 16698. The
temporary restraining order issued by this Court on March 25, 1993 is lifted insofar as to the disqualification of Presiding
Justice
Francis
Garchitorena
is
concerned.