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People v.

Palaganas
G.R. No. 165483

September 12, 2006

Lessons Applicable: Aggravating circumstance


Laws Applicable: Art. 14
FACTS:

January 16, 1998 8pm: Brothers Servillano, Melton and Michael Ferrer were on a drinking spree in their

house because Melton visited his brothers in Pangasinan all the way from San Fernando, La Union.

January 16, 1998 9:45 pm: The brothers decided to go to Tidbits Videoke bar to continue their drinking

spree and to sing. They were the only customers

January 16, 1998 10:30 pm: Jaime Palaganas, Ferdinand Palaganas and Virgilio Bautista arrived and

they occupied a different table. When Jaime sang My Way, Melton sang along. But, Jaime resented this,
approached the brother and said in Pangasinan dialect "As if you are tough guys. You are already insulting
me in that way." Jaime struck Servillanos head with the microphone and a fight ensued. Virgilio Bautista
did not joined in and just left. During the rumble, Ferdinand went out of the bar. Michael was about to
pursue him but was stopped by Servillano. They went back to continue to fight with Jaime. Edith
Palaganas, sister of Jaime and the owner of the bar, arrived and pacified them. Servillano noticed that his
wristwatch was missing. Since the brothers could not locate it inside the bar, they went outside. They saw
Ferdinand at them and said to Rujjeric Palaganas "Oraratan paltog mo lara" meaning "They are the ones,
shoot them." Rujjeric shot Servillano first at the left side of the abdomen penetrating his large intestine and
urinary bladder causing him to fall on the ground then Melton with a fatal shot on the head and on the right
thigh. When Servillano noticed that Melton was no longer moving, he told Michael "Bato, bato and they
threw stones at Rujjeric and Ferdinand. Michael was hit on the right shoulder.

The police came and took the Ferrer brothers to Manaoag Hospital and later to Villaflor Hospital in

Dagupan.

Criminal Case No. U-9608: Shooting Servillano with unlicensed firearm


Criminal Case No. U-9609: Shooting Melton with unlicensed firearm
Criminal Case No. U-9610: Shooting Michael with unlicensed firearm
Criminal Case No. U-9634: using a caliber .38 without first securing the necessary permit/license in

violation to Comelec Res. 2958

Rujjeric and Ferdinand entered separate pleas of "Not Guilty" Upon motion of Ferdinand, the four cases

were consolidated.

RTC: Rujjeric was guilty of the crime of Homicide and 2 counts of Frustrated Homicide but acquitted of

the charge of Violation of COMELEC Resolution No. 2958 in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus
Election Code while Ferdinand was acquitted of all the charges against him.

CA Affirmed
Rujjeric argued that all the elements of a valid self-defense are present in the instant case and, thus, his

acquittal on all the charges is proper; that when he fired his gun, he was then a victim of an unlawful

aggression perpetrated by the Ferrer brothers; that he, in fact, sustained an injury in his left leg and left
shoulder caused by the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers

ISSUE: W/N Rujjeric was guilty of the crime of Homicide and 2 counts of Frustrated Homicide
HELD: YES. AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:

Criminal Case No. U-9608: Shooting Servillano with unlicensed firearm - attempted homicide. There

being a special aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence of Law, the penalty now becomes four (4) years and two (2) months of arresto
mayor as minimum period to six (6) years of prision correccional as maximum period

Criminal Case No. U-9609: Shooting Melton with unlicensed firearm - homicide is reclusion temporal -

There being a special aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm and applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty now is twelve (12) years of prision mayor as minimum period to
twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal as maximum period

Criminal Case No. U-9610: Shooting Michael with unlicensed firearm - frustrated homicide. There being

a special aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm and applying the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, the penalty now becomes six (6) years of prision correccional as minimum period to twelve
(12) years of prision mayor as maximum period.

petitioner argued that all the elements of a valid self-defense are present in the instant case and, thus,

his acquittal on all the charges is proper; that when he fired his gun on that fatefulnight, he was then a
victim of an unlawful aggression perpetrated by the Ferrer brothers; that he, in fact, sustained an injury in
his left leg and left shoulder caused by the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers

ART. 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not incur any criminal liability:

no unlawful aggression on the part of the Ferrer brothers that justified the act of petitioner in shooting

1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following circumstances concur;
First. Unlawful aggression;

them. Ferrer brothers then were merely standing outside the videoke bar and were not carrying any
weapon
o

When the Ferrer brothers started throwing stones, petitioner was not in a state of actual or imminent

danger considering the wide distance (4-5 meters) of the latter from the location of the former. He was still
capable of avoiding the stones by running away or by taking cover. He could have also called or proceeded
to the proper authorities for help

Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it;

gun was far deadlier compared to the stones thrown by the Ferrer brothers.

Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. x x x.
unlawful aggression is a primordial element in self-defense. It is an essential and indispensable

requisite, for without unlawful aggression on the part of the victim

As the burden of evidence is shifted on the accused to prove all the elements of self-defense, he must

rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution

11

FEB

1.) In frustrated felony, the offender has performed all the acts of execution which should produce the

felony as a consequence; whereas in attempted felony, the offender merely commences the commission of
a felony directly by overt acts and does not perform all the actsof execution.

2.) In frustrated felony, the reason for the non-accomplishment of the crime is some cause independent

of the will of the perpetrator; on the other hand, in attempted felony, the reason for the non-fulfillment of the
crime is a cause or accident other than the offender's own spontaneous desistance.

when the accused intended to kill his victim, as manifested by his use of a deadly weapon in his

assault, and his victim sustained fatal or mortal wound/s but did not die because of timely medical
assistance, the crime committed is frustrated murder or frustrated homicide depending on whether or not
any of the qualifying circumstances under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code are present. However, if
the wound/s sustained by the victim in such a case were not fatal or mortal, then the crime committed is
only attempted murder or attempted homicide.

If there was no intent to kill on the part of the accused and the wound/s sustained by the victim were not

fatal, the crime committed may be serious, less serious or slight physical injury

Michals wound took six to eight days to heal - attempted homicide


use of an unlicensed firearm - special aggravating circumstance by Republic Act. No. 8294 on June 6,

1997

Generic aggravating circumstances are those that generally apply to all crimes such as those mentioned

in Article 14, paragraphs No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19 and 20, of the Revised Penal Code. It has the
effect of increasing the penalty for the crime to its maximum period, but it cannot increase the same to the
next higher degree. It must always be alleged and charged in the information, and must be proven during
the trial in order to be appreciated. Moreover, it can be offset by an ordinary mitigating circumstance. On
the other hand, special aggravating circumstance, CANNOT be offset by an ordinary mitigating
circumstance
Rivera v. People
G.R. No. 166326

January 25, 2006

Lessons Applicable: attempted murder


Laws Applicable:
FACTS:

April 1998: Ruben Rodil stopped working as a taxi driver after a would-be rapist threatened his life. He

was cited as a Bayaning Pilipino by ABS-CBN for saving the would-be victim. His wife is a manicurist and
they have 3 children.

May 2, 1998 1:00 pm: Ruben went to a nearby store to buy food. Edgardo, his neighbour, mocked him

for being jobless and dependent on his wife for support and soon a heated exchange of words ensued.

May 3, 1998 7:30 pm (Sunday): Ruben with his 3 year-old daughter went to the store to buy food and to

look for his wife. Suddenly, the brothers Esmeraldo, Ismael and Edgardo emerged from their house and
ganged up on him. Esmeraldo and Ismael mauled Ruben with fist blows so he fell to the ground. While

lying on the ground, Edgardo hit Ruben 3 times with a hollow block on the parietal area (narrowly missing
the middle which is fatal) while Esmeraldo and Ismael continued mauling Ruben. People who saw
the incident shouted: "Awatin sila! Awatin sila!" Ruben felt dizzy but managed to stand up. Ismael threw a
stone at him, hitting him at the back. The policemen on board a mobile car arrived so Esmeraldo, Ismael
and Edgardo fled to their house.

Ruben was brought to the hospital. The doctor declared his lacerated wound in the parietalarea was

slight and superficial and would heal from 1-7 days.

Esmeraldo: May 3, 1998 1:00 pm, Ruben arrived at his house, banged the gate and challenged him and

his brothers to come out and fight. When he got out, Ruben punchd him and they wrestled but Edgardo
pushed Ruben aside and Esmeraldos wife pulled him away and brought to their house.

Ismael: He tried to pacify them but Ruben pulled his hair. Once he got free, he fled to their house and

did not see Edgardo in the scene.

Edgardo: May 3, 1998 1:00 pm, he was throwing garbage in front of their house when Ruben arrived.

He quickly went inside as Ruben banged the gate, ordered him to get out and even threatened to shoot
him. Esmeraldo went out to ask what Rubens problem was but it led to a fist fight. He rushed outside and
pushed Ruben who fell to the ground. Ruben stood up, grabbed his hair and in the process, Rubn hit his
head on a lamp post.

Eyewitnesses Alicia Vera Cruz and Lucita Villejo: revealed the suddenness and unexpectedness of the

attack of petitioners

RTC: Frustrated murder

They should be held criminally liable for physical injuries only since no intent to kill and even if they had

CA: Attempted murder


Petitioned

intent to kill, the prosecution failed to prove treachery


ISSUE: W/N the CA correctly held it as attempted murder.
HELD: NO. petition is DENIED for lack of merit. CA AFFIRMED WITH THE MODIFICATION indeterminate
penalty of from two (2) years of prision correccional in its minimum period, as minimum, to nine (9) years
and four (4) months of prision mayor in its medium period, as maximum. No costs.

When a wound is not sufficient to cause death, but intent to kill is evident, the crime is attempted.
Intent to kill is a specific intent which the prosecution must prove by direct or circumstantial evidence,

while general criminal intent is presumed from the commission of a felony by dolo.
o

evidence to prove intent to kill in crimes against persons may consist, inter alia, in the means used by

the malefactors, the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by the victim, the conduct of the
malefactors before, at the time, or immediately after the killing of the victim, the circumstances under which
the crime was committed and the motives of the accused

Intent to kill was shown by the fact that the 3 brothers helped each other maul the defenseless victim,

and even after he had already fallen to the ground; that one of them even picked up a cement hollow block

and proceeded to hit the victim on the head with it 3 times; and that it was only the arrival of the policemen
that made them desist from their concerted act of trying to kill Ruben
o

If the victim dies as a result of a deliberate act of the malefactors, intent to kill is presumed

The first requisite of an attempted felony consists of two elements, namely:

(1) That there be external acts;


(2) Such external acts have direct connection with the crime intended to be committed.

overt or external act - some physical activity or deed, indicating the intention to commit a particular

crime, more than a mere planning or preparation, which if carried out to its completetermination following its
natural course, without being frustrated by external obstacles nor by the spontaneous desistance of the
perpetrator, will logically and necessarily ripen into a concrete offense
o

Reason: so long as the equivocal quality remains, no one can say with certainty what the intent of the

accused is
o

overt acts must have an immediate and necessary relation to the offense

They attacked the victim in a sudden and unexpected manner as Ruben was walking with his 3-year-old

daughter, impervious of the imminent peril to his life. He had no chance to defend himself and retaliate. He
was overwhelmed by the synchronized assault of the 3 siblings. The essence of treachery is the sudden
and unexpected attack on the victim. Even if the attack is frontal but is sudden and unexpected, giving no
opportunity for the victim to repel it or defend himself, there would be treachery
o

There being conspiracy by and among petitioners, treachery is considered against all of them

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. HENRY
ALMAZAN, accused-appellant.
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:

This is an appeal from the Joint Decision[1] of the trial court declaring accused-appellant Henry
Almazan guilty of murder and frustrated murder. It traces its origin to two (2) Informations charging
Henry Almazan with shooting Noli S. Madriaga with a handgun, aggravated by treachery and evident
premeditation, which caused the latter's death; and with shooting Noel Madriaga with the same
handgun which would have produced the latters death if not for timely medical attendance, docketed
as Crim. Cases Nos. C-51276 and C-51277 respectively. These cases were tried jointly pursuant to
Sec. 14, Rule 119, of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.
On 28 September 1996, at about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Vicente Madriaga and a certain
Allan played chess in front of the former's house at Pag-asa, Camarin, Caloocan City. Spectators were
Vicente's son Noli, who was carrying his 2-year old daughter, Vicente's grandson Noel, and a neighbor
named Angel Soliva. While the game was underway, Henry Almazan unexpectedly arrived and
brandished a .38 caliber revolver in front of the group. Almazan's fighting cocks had just been stolen
and he suspected Angel, one of the spectators, to be the culprit. Thus he said, "manos-manos na lang

tayo,"[2] aimed his gun at Angel and pulled the trigger. It did not fire. He tried again, but again it
failed.
At this juncture, Vicente Madriaga stood up and tried to calm down Henry, but the latter refused to
be pacified ("ayaw paawat"). Angel ran away and Henry aimed his gun instead at Noli. Noli cried for
mercy, for his life and that of his daughter, but to no avail. [3] Henry shot Noli at the left side of his
stomach sending him immediately to the ground. His daughter, unscathed, held on to Noli,
crying. Henry then turned on Noel and shot him on the left thigh. Noel managed to walk
lamely ("paika-ika") but only to eventually fall to the ground. Thereafter, Vicente Madriaga called on
his neighbors who brought Noli and Noel to the hospital. Noli however died before reaching the
hospital, while Noel survived his injuries.
Dr. Ma. Cristina Freyra of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service conducted an autopsy on the body of
Noli which revealed that the cause of the victim's death was a gunshot at the trunk from a .38 caliber
revolver. Dr. Misael Jonathan Ticman, attending physician of Noel, in turn declared that the gunshot
wound on the left thigh of Noel was a minor injury that would heal in a week. [4] Noel was never
admitted in the hospital as his doctor sent him home the same day.[5] On cross-examination, Dr. Ticman
testified that if not medically treated the wound might get infected or lead to the victim's death.[6]
Witnesses for the defense narrated a different version. They pointed to Angel Soliva instead as the
person to blame for Noli Madriaga's death while justifying Noel Madriaga's wound as a result of selfdefense.
Henry Almazan testified that at about 4:00 oclock in the afternoon of 28 September 1996 he went
home accompanied by his friend Johnald Molina. Henry's wife informed him upon his return that his
fighting cocks, twelve (12) in number, had been stolen. He went out of the house to inquire from
neighbors as to who could have taken his cocks. He was followed by Johnald. On their way they saw
Vicente Madriaga and Allan playing chess surrounded by Noli, Noel, Angel and other persons. They
were drinking liquor. As he (Almazan) and Johnald were passing by, Angel called Henry and asked if
he was looking for his fighting cocks. The group then burst into laughter and pointed to
their pulutan. Someone in the group advised Henry not to look anymore for his fighting cocks as he
would only be courting trouble ("naghahanap ka lang ng sakit ng katawan"). To this advice Henry
replied, "Bakit naman ganoon?" Suddenly, Angel pulled out his gun and shot Henry twice but the gun
did not fire. Seizing the opportunity Henry grappled with Angel for the possession of his gun. During
the scuffle Angel pulled the trigger which hit Noli. Henry finally succeeded in wresting the gun from
Angel and aimed it at him. Suddenly, he received a blow from behind and he fell. As he raised his
head from the ground, he saw Noel poised to attack him with a broken bottle, so that he had to train his
gun at the lower part of Noel's body and fired. The bullet hit Noel on the thigh which sent him reeling
down his knees ("napaluhod"). Shocked and afraid that he hit Noel, Henry ran home.
Johnald Molina corroborated Henry Almazan's statement in all material points. Johnald testified
that the group mocked Henry when they told him not to look for his cocks anymore as they had already
been cooked for pulutan, and to insist in his search would only cause him physical trouble. Henry

could only reply, "Tila nga may nagnakaw ng mga manok ko . . . . Bakit naman ganoon?" As he made
his remarks, someone from the group suddenly pulled out a gun and aimed at Henry. Henry grappled
with the gun-wielder who pressed the trigger twice but the gun misfired each time. When the gunwielder pulled the trigger for the third time it fired, hitting a person who was carrying a small child and
standing within the vicinity. He was obviously referring to Noli. Johnald immediately ran towards
Henry's house to report the incident to his wife and asked for help. Then he heard another shot, but in
his haste to reach Henry's house he ignored it. Upon reaching Henry's house, Henry also arrived. To
avoid being involved and out of fear, Johnald did not report the incident to the police. Later however,
bothered by his conscience and being the friend of Henry, Johnald volunteered to testify on what he
knew of the incident.
The court a quo found Henry Almazan's defense devoid of merit. Apart from being positively
identified by the prosecution witnesses as the person responsible for the violence and the injuries
inflicted, the trial court declared that the theft of Henry's fighting cocks constituted sufficient motive
for the killing and that as a cockfight afficionado he must have found it imperative to exact vengeance
on his suspected culprits.[7] The trial court held that the testimony of Johnald failed to create reasonable
doubt on the guilt of Henry since as a friend he was expected to extend succor to a friend, especially
one in need.[8] Thus, the trial court held Henry Almazan guilty of murder and frustrated murder as
charged.
In imposing the penalty for each offense, the lower court appreciated the qualifying circumstance
of treachery against accused-appellant on the ground that the victims were completely defenseless
when attacked and did not commit the slightest provocation, but found no justification for evident
premeditation as there was no proof as to the manner and time during which the plan to kill was
hatched. On the contrary, the trial court found in favor of accused-appellant the mitigating
circumstance of passion and obfuscation. Thus, in Crim. Case No. C-51276, accused-appellant was
sentenced to the reduced penalty of reclusion perpetua instead of death, with all the accessory penalties
according to law, and ordered to pay the heirs of the victim P50,000.00 as death indemnity, P8,000.00
as funeral expenses, and to pay the costs; while in Crim. Case No. C-51277, he was sentenced to an
indeterminate prison term of eight (8) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and
eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum, with all the accessory penalties provided by law,
and to pay P20,000.00 as civil indemnity, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and
to pay the costs.[9]
Accused-appellant now prays to be absolved of murder in Crim. Case No. C-51276 on the ground
that the prosecution has failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He assails the testimony of
Shirley Abordo, common-law wife of Nilo Madriaga, for being hearsay, as well as the testimony of
Vicente Madriaga for its alleged inconsistencies in various vital points. Significantly, accusedappellant impugns the veracity of the prosecution's evidence for its failure to present Angel Soliva who
was primarily involved in the incident and whom the defense points to as the real transgressor. Thus,
accused-appellant contends that evidence sufficient to establish the absolute and moral certainty of his
guilt being absent he should be acquitted.

As for Crim. Case No. C-51277, accused-appellant contends that the trial court erred in holding
him guilty of frustrated murder as the wound sustained by Noel Madriaga was not fatal that could have
caused his death if not for timely medical assistance. Moreover, accused-appellant claims that he shot
Noel only to forestall any attack on him and not to kill Noel intentionally.
Appellate courts are doctrinally bound by the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses
given the clear advantage of a trial judge in the appreciation of testimonial evidence. The trial court is
in the best position to assess the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies because of its unique
opportunity to observe the witnesses first-hand and to note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under
grueling examination - factors which are significant in the evaluation of the sincerity of witnesses and
in unearthing the truth.[10] We see no reason to depart from this doctrine.
The witnesses for the prosecution were consistent in their narration of the manner by which the
events transpired, and they remained steadfast in their identification of accused-appellant as the author
of the violence. Despite attempts to confound them, Vicente Madriaga and Noel Madriaga were
relentless in their declaration that it was accused-appellant, armed with a .38 caliber revolver, who
pounced upon them without warning thereby killing Noli Madriaga and wounding Noel Madriaga in
the process. They were one in their assertion that accused-appellant was inflamed by his suspicion that
Angel Soliva and Noel Madriaga had stolen his fighting cocks and was intent on getting even with
them, thus he fired at them. Efforts to pass the blame on the group by claiming that in their inebriated
state they mocked accused-appellant and thus initiated the violence were actually set to naught as
Vicente and Noel Madriaga unfailingly denied the same.
True, Shirley Abordo's testimony was spattered with inconsistencies bordering at times on
incoherence. As she herself admitted, her narration was merely derived from the accounts of the other
prosecution witnesses and not from her own perception of the events. This constitutes hearsay, which
we then reject. Be that as it may, these alleged inconsistencies are immaterial and irrelevant as they do
not alter the determination of the Court that murder was committed and accused-appellant was the
assailant. For a discrepancy to serve as basis for acquittal, it must refer to significant facts vital to the
guilt or innocence of the accused. An inconsistency, which has nothing to do with the elements of the
crime, cannot be a ground to reverse a conviction.[11]
In the same vein, the testimony of Angel Soliva or of Allan, with whom Vicente Madriaga was
playing chess, is unnecessary as the facts on record are clear enough for judicial assessment and
verdict.
The defense suggests that it could be Angel Soliva instead who shot Noli Madriaga. This is
unacceptable in the face of the positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witnesses. The
allegation that the shooting was the accidental consequence of the struggle between accused-appellant
and Angel Soliva does not inspire belief as no substantial evidence was presented to prove it. It is
highly improbable that a struggle even occurred as accused-appellant and Angel Soliva were
surrounded by the latter's friends who would have easily ganged up on accused-appellant. Testimonial

evidence to be credible should not only come from the mouth of a credible witness but should also be
credible, reasonable and in accord with human experience,[12] failing in which, it should be rejected.
Indeed, Johnald Molina corroborated the statement of accused-appellant pointing at Angel Soliva
as the real culprit; however, we are inclined to agree with the observation of the court a quo that it was
natural for an individual to exert effort in liberating his friend from confinement or execution, even to
the extent of distorting the truth.
It is significant to note that accused-appellant went into hiding after the shooting incident and was
only collared by the agents from the Western Police District eight (8) months later. Flight indeed is an
indication of guilt, especially when accused-appellant failed to sufficiently explain why he left his
residence and resurrected only several months after.
The trial court properly appreciated the presence of treachery as the attack was made upon the
unarmed victims who had not committed the slightest provocation and who were totally unaware of the
murderous designs of accused-appellant. Contrary to the finding of the court a quo, treachery in this
case qualifies the offense to murder, hence, may not be considered a generic aggravating circumstance
to increase the penalty from reclusion perpetua to death. In other words, while the imposable penalty
for murder is reclusion perpetua to death, in the absence of any mitigating or aggravating circumstance,
the lesser penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed. The mitigating circumstance of passion and
obfuscation cannot be appreciated in favor of accused-appellant as this was never proved during the
trial.
As for Crim. Case No. C-51277, accused-appellant admits responsibility for the injuries inflicted
on Noel but reasons out that he did so only to defend himself. Accused-appellant therefore pleads selfdefense, a justifying circumstance that could acquit him of the charge but which we are not disposed to
grant as the elements necessary to qualify his actions [13] were not present. In alleging that the killing
arose from an impulse to defend oneself, the onus probandi rests upon accused-appellant to prove by
clear and convincing evidence the elements thereof: (a) that there was unlawful aggression on the part
of the victim; (b) that there was reasonable necessity for the means employed to prevent or repel it;
and, (c) that there was lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the defendant. [14] This, it has failed
to discharge.
Nevertheless, we find that the accused-appellant should be held liable for attempted murder, not
frustrated murder. For the charge of frustrated murder to flourish, the victim should sustain a fatal
wound that could have caused his death were it not for timely medical assistance. This is not the case
before us. The court a quo anchored its ruling on the statement of Dr. Ticman on cross-examination
that the wound of Noel could catch infection or lead to his death if not timely and properly
treated. However, in his direct testimony, Dr. Ticman declared that the wound was a mere minor
injury for which Noel, after undergoing treatment, was immediately advised to go home. [15] He even
referred to the wound as a slight physical injury that would heal within a week [16] and for which the
victim was in no danger of dying.[17] Clear as the statement is, coupled with the fact that Noel was
indeed immediately advised to go home as he was not in any danger of death, we have no reason to

doubt the meaning and implications of Dr. Ticman's statement. His statement that Noel could catch
infection was based on pure speculation rather than on the actual nature of the wound which was
a mere minor injury, hence, not fatal. According to jurisprudence, if the victim was wounded with an
injury that was not fatal, and could not cause his death, the crime would only be attempted. [18] The
observation that the conviction should be for slight physical injuries only is likewise improper as the
accused-appellant was motivated by the same impetus and intent, i.e., to exact vengeance and even kill,
if necessary, when he shot Noel Madriaga. The fact that the wound was merely a minor injury which
could heal in a week becomes inconsequential.
In the final analysis, there being no mitigating nor aggravating circumstance and the more
appropriate offense being attempted murder, accused-appellant should be meted a penalty two (2)
degrees lower than the prescribed penalty of reclusion perpetua, which is prision mayor the range of
which is six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law
in the case for attempted murder, the maximum shall be taken from the medium period of prision
mayor, which is eight (8) years and one (1) day to ten (10) years, while the minimum shall be taken
from the penalty next lower in degree, or prision correccional, in any of its periods, the range of which
is six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years.
WHEREFORE, the Joint Decision of the trial court of 15 June 1999 finding accused-appellant
HENRY ALMAZAN guilty of Murder in G.R. No. 138943 (Crim. Case No. C-51276) and sentencing
him to reclusion perpetua with its accessory penalties, and to pay the heirs of Noli
Madriaga P50,000.00 as death indemnity, P8,000.00 as funeral expenses, and to pay the costs, is
AFFIRMED. However, his conviction for Frustrated Murder in G.R. No. 138944 (Crim. Case No. C51277) is MODIFIED by lowering the crime to Attempted Murder and he is sentenced accordingly to
an indeterminate prison term of two (2) years, four (4) months and ten (10) days of prision
correccional medium as minimum, to eight (8) years two (2) months and twenty (20) days of prision
mayor medium as maximum, and to pay the offended party Noel Madriaga the amount of P20,000.00
as civil indemnity, and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.
Mendoza, Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., concur.

PEOPLE

OF
THE
PHILIPPINES,
Appellee,
- versus ALBERTO
ANTICAMARA
y
CABILLO
and
FERNANDO
CALAGUAS FERNANDEZ a.k.a.
LANDO CALAGUAS,
Appellants.

G.R. No. 178771


Present:
CORONA, C.J.,*
CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
PERALTA,
ABAD, and
MENDOZA, JJ.
Promulgated:
June 8, 2011

x --------------------------------------------------x
1D E C I S I O N
PERALTA, J.:
This is an appeal from the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CRH.C. No. 00556, affirming the trial court's judgment finding appellants Fernando
Calaguas Fernandez (Lando) and Alberto Cabillo Anticamara (Al) guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder in Criminal Case No. 4498-R and of the crime
of Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention in Criminal Case No. 4481-R.
Lando, Al, Dick Taedo (Dick), Roberto Taedo (Bet), Marvin Lim
(Marvin), Necitas Ordeiza-Taedo (Cita), and Fred Doe are charged with the crimes of
Murder and of Kidnapping/Serious Illegal Detention in two separate Informations,
which read:
For Murder (Criminal Case No. 4498-R)
That on or about the early morning of May 7, 2002, in Sitio Rosalia,
Brgy. San Bartolome, Municipality of Rosales, Province of Pangasinan, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then armed with a
hand gun, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with intent to
kill, with treachery, evident premeditation and superior strength, did then and there,
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take Sulpacio Abad, driver of the Estrellas, hog tied
(sic) him, brought (sic) to a secluded place, shoot and bury in a shallow grave, to the
damage and prejudice of the heirs of the victim.
Contrary to Article 248, Revised Penal Code.

For Kidnapping/Serious Illegal Detention (Criminal Case No. 4481-R)


That on or about the 7th day of May 2002, more or less 3:00 o'clock in
the early morning, at the Estrella Compound, Brgy. Carmen East, Municipality of
Rosales, Province of Pangasinan, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the above-named accused, who are private persons, conspiring, confederating and
mutually helping one another, armed with firearms, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously kidnap Sulpacio Abad and AAA,[2] both employees of the
Estrellas, thereby depriving them of their liberty, all against their will for a period of
twenty-seven (27) days.
That in the course of the kidnapping, Sulpacio Abad was killed
and buried in
Brgy. Carmen, Rosales, Pangasinan and AAA was raped for
several times by her
abductors.
Contrary to Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to RA 7659.

When arraigned of the aforementioned crimes, Lando, Al and Cita all pleaded not
guilty, while Dick, Bet, Marvin and Fred Doe remained at-large. Thereafter, a joint trial
ensued.
As summarized in the People's brief, the facts as established by the evidence of the
prosecution are as follows:
About 3 o'clock in the early morning of May 7, 2002, househelper AAA and driver Abad
Sulpacio were sleeping in their employers' house located in Barangay Carmen East,
Rosales, Pangasinan. Their employers, Conrado Estrella and his wife, were out of the
house at that time (TSN, December 4, 2002, pp. 4-7). Momentarily, AAA was jolted
from sleep when she heard voices saying, We will kill her, kill her now and another
voice saying, Not yet! Hiding under her blanket, AAA later heard someone saying,
We only need money, we only need money. Thereafter, she heard someone talking in
Ilocano which she could not understand. Then she heard somebody say, Cebuana yan,
Cebuana yan, kararating lang galing Cebu. AAA heard the persons conversing which
she estimated about four to five meters away (TSN, ibid., pp. 11-12).
Thereafter, AAA observed about six (6) persons enter the house, who she later identified
as accused Dick Taedo, Marvin Lim, Bert Taedo, a certain Fred and appellants
Alberto Anticamara alias Al Camara, and Fernando Fernandez alias Lando
Calaguas. One of the intruders approached her and told her not to move (TSN, ibid., p.
8).
Later, when AAA thought that the intruders were already gone, she attempted to run but
to her surprise, someone wearing a bonnet was watching her. Someone, whom she later
recognized as Dick Taedo, tapped her shoulder. AAA asked Taedo, Why Kuya?
Taedo replied, Somebody will die. After a brief commotion, appellant alias Lando
Calaguas asked the group saying, What shall we do now? They then decided to tie
AAA. Later, AAA was untied and led her outside the house. Outside, AAA saw Abad,
who was also tied and blindfolded, seated inside a vehicle (TSN, April 26, 2004, pp. 610).
The group later brought AAA and Abad to the fishpond owned by their employers. AAA
saw Cita Taedo there. The group brought Abad outside the vehicle and led him away
(TSN, December 2, 2002, pp. 13-18; TSN, February 17, 2003, pp. 5-8).
Later, alias Fred returned telling the group, Make the decision now, Abad has already
four bullets in his body, and the one left is for this girl. When Cita Taedo made a
motion of cutting her neck, appellant alias Lando Calaguas and Fred boarded the
vehicle taking along with them AAA. They later proceeded towards San Miguel Tarlac,
where Lando Calaguas resided. They stayed in Lando's house where they kept AAA
from May 7 to May 9, 2002 (TSN, December 4, 2002, pp. 18-22; TSN, February 17,
2003, pp. 7-9).

On May 9, 2002, appellant Lando Calaguas told AAA that Fred and Bert Taedo would
kill her. Lando then brought AAA to a hotel in Tarlac, telling AAA that he would leave
her there as soon as Fred and Bert Taedo leave the place. However, once inside the
hotel room, appellant Lando Calaguas sexually molested AAA. Lando told AAA to
follow what he wanted, threatening her that he would turn her over to Fred and Bert
Taedo. After Lando raped AAA, he brought her back to his house. Later, Fred, Bert
Taedo and Lando Calaguas transferred AAA to Riles, Tarlac (TSN, ibid., pp. 9-13).
AAA was brought to the residence of Fred's niece, a certain Minda, where Fred kept
AAA as his wife. At nighttime, Fred would repeatedly ravish AAA, threatening her that
he would give her back to appellant Lando Calaguas who, AAA knew, killed Abad
Sulpacio. She was afraid Lando might also kill her (TSN, ibid., pp. 14-16).
On May 22, 2002, Fred brought AAA to Carnaga (should be Kananga), Leyte, together
with his wife Marsha and their children. AAA stayed in the house of Marsha's brother
Sito, where she was made as a house helper (TSN, ibid., p. 17).
On June 4, 2002, AAA escaped from the house of Sito. She proceeded to Isabel, Leyte
and sought the help of her friend Susana Ilagan. After hearing AAA's plight, Susana
called AAA's brother in Cebu, who later fetched AAA in Isabel, Leyte and brought her
to Mandaue City. When they arrived in Mandaue City, they immediately reported the
incident to the police authorities. On June 23, 2002, AAA executed a Sworn Statement
(Exh. D, TSN, ibid., pp. 18-20).
Meanwhile, Dr. Ronald Bandonil, Medico-Legal Officer of the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI), conducted an autopsy on the cadaver of Sulpacio Abad. Dr.
Bandonil prepared Autopsy Report No. N-T2-23-P (Exh. A) which contains the
following findings, to wit:
x Remains placed in a sealed metal coffin, wrapped in two (2) layers of
black, plastic garbage bags, and covered in (sic) a red-stripped cotton
blanker. A thick layer of lime embeds the whole torso.
x Remains in a far advanced state of decomposition, with the head
completely devoid of soft tissue. A cloth is wrapped around the
eyesockets and tied to the back of the skull. The skull does not show any
signs of dents, chips nor fractures. The other recognizable body part is
the chest area which retained a few soft tissues and skin, but generally far
advanced in decomposition. The whole gamut of internal organs have
undergone liquefaction necrosis and have been turned into grayish-black
pultaceous masses. Worn on top of the remaining chest is a sando shirt
with observable holes at the left side, both front and back. A large hole is
seen at the area of the left nipple, with traces of burning at its edges and
inward in direction. A tied cloth is also observable at the remnants of the
left wrist.
x At the upper chest, which is the most recognizable, remaining and
intact part of the torso, a hole, 1.0 cm. x 2.0 cms., with signs of burning,

edges inverted, is seen at the left anterior axillary line just below the left
nipple. Another hole is seen 1.5 cms. x 2.5 cms. in diameter, edged
averted (sic) at the right chest, along the right anterior axillary line, 5.0
cms. below the right nipple. A 3rd hole, almost unrecognizable is seen at
the left groin area.
x The other parts of the cadaver are too far advanced in decomposition to
have remarkable findings.
CAUSE OF DEATH:
GUNSHOT WOUNDS, TRUNK[3]

In his defense, Lando denied having committed the crimes charged and interposed
alibi as a defense. He claims that at the time of the incident on May 7, 2002, he was in
Barangay Maligaya, San Miguel, Tarlac, with his family. He denied ever going to the
Estrella farm in Sitio Rosalia, Barangay San Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan.
Al claimed that he acted as a lookout and was tasked to report to his companions if
any person or vehicle would approach the house of the Estrellas. He said that he was
forced to follow what was ordered of him and did not report the matter to the police
because he was threatened to be killed, including the members of his family who were in
Cebu.
On August 23, 2004, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Rosales, Pangasinan,
Branch 53, rendered its Decision,[4] the dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
I.
In Criminal Case No. 4498-R for Murder:
A. Accused Nicetas Cita Taedo is hereby acquitted of the crime charged for
insufficiency of evidence;
B. Accused Fernando Calaguas Fernandez (alyas Lando Calaguas) and Alberto
Anticamara (alyas Al Camara) are hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as
principal, of the crime of Murder qualified by treachery, defined and penalized under
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. Considering the presence of aggravating
circumstance of pre-meditation, with no mitigating circumstance to offset the same, the
penalty of DEATH is hereby imposed upon the two (2) accused Fernando Calaguas
Fernandez (Lando Calaguas) and Alberto Anticamara (Al Camara). They are also

ordered jointly and severally [to] pay the heirs of the victim Abad Sulpacio the
following:
1) Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages;
2) Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) as indemnity for
the
death of the victim;
3) Fifty-Seven Thousand One Hundred Twenty-Two Pesos and Thirty
Centavos (P57,122.30) as actual damages; and
4) The cost of suit.
II.
Criminal Case No. 4481-R for Kidnapping/Serious Illegal
Detention:
A) Accused Nicetas Cita Taedo is hereby acquitted of the
crime
charged for insufficiency of evidence;
B) Accused Fernando Calaguas Fernandez (alyas Lando Calaguas) and Alberto
Anticamara (alyas Al Camara) are hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as
principal, of the crime of Kidnapping/Serious Illegal Detention of the victim AAA as
charged, defined and penalized under
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by R.A. 7659. Considering that the victim AAA was raped during her
detention, the maximum penalty of DEATH is hereby imposed upon the two accused,
Fernando Calaguas Fernandez (Lando Calaguas) and Alberto Anticamara (Al Camara).
The two accused are also ordered to pay, jointly and severally, the victim AAA the
amount of:
1) One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) as moral damages;
2) Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as exemplary damages; and
3) Cost of suit.
As to the rest of the accused who are still at-large, let this case be set to the archives
until they are apprehended.
SO ORDERED.[5]

In light of the Courts ruling in People v. Mateo,[6] the records of the cases were
forwarded by the RTC to the CA for its review. The CA rendered a Decision dated
December 15, 2006, affirming the decision of the RTC in Criminal Case Nos. 4498-R
and 4481-R. However, in view of the abolition of the death penalty pursuant to Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 9346, which was approved on June 24, 2006, the appellants were
sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
On January 9, 2007, Lando, through the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), appealed
the Decision of the CA to this Court. Lando had assigned the following errors in his
appeal initially passed upon by the CA, to wit:

I
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT CONSPIRACY
EXISTED BETWEEN AND AMONG THE ALLEGED PERPETRATORS OF THE
CRIME.
II
ASSUMING THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT IS GUILTY, THE LOWER
COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING HIM OF THE CRIME OF MURDER
INSTEAD OF HOMICIDE.
III
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN IMPOSING UPON THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT THE SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH FOR THE CRIME OF
KIDNAPPING/SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION, AGGRAVATED BY RAPE, IN
SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE CRIME OF RAPE WAS NOT DULY PROVEN
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
IV
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING SCANT CONSIDERATION TO
THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WHICH IS
MORE CREDIBLE THAN THAT OF THE PROSECUTION
V
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RENDERING A VERDICT OF
CONVICTION DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.[7]

On January 9, 2007, Al, through the PAO, appealed the Decision of the CA to this
Court. Al had assigned the following errors, to wit:
I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY
OF THE CRIME OF KIDNAPPING/SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION IN SPITE OF
THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT THAT HE CONSPIRED WITH HIS CO-ACCUSED TO COMMIT THE
CRIME CHARGED.
II
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN IMPOSING UPON THE ACCUSED THE
SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH FOR THE SPECIAL COMPLEX CRIME OF
KIDNAPPING/SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION WITH RAPE, IN SPITE OF THE
FACT THAT HE HAD NO PARTICIPATION IN THE COMMISSION OF [TWO]
SEXUAL ABUSES AGAINST THE VICTIM.
III
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF MURDER IN SPITE OF THE FAILURE

OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT HE


CONSPIRED WITH HIS CO-ACCUSED TO COMMIT THE SAME.[8]

In capsule, the main issue is whether the appellants are guilty of the crimes
charged.
In Criminal Case No. 4498-R for Murder:
Circumstantial Evidence
The trial court found that although there was no direct eyewitness in the killing of
Sulpacio in the early morning of May 7, 2002 at Sitio Rosalia, Barangay San
Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan, the prosecution adduced sufficient circumstantial
evidence to establish with moral certainty the identities and guilt of the perpetrators of
the crime.
Circumstantial evidence consists of proof of collateral facts and circumstances
from which the existence of the main fact may be inferred according to reason and
common experience .[9] Circumstantial evidence is sufficient to sustain conviction if:
(a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are
derived are proven; (c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce a
conviction beyond reasonable doubt.[10] A judgment of conviction based
on circumstantial evidence can be sustained when the circumstances proved form an
unbroken chain that results in a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused,
to the exclusion of all others, as the perpetrator.[11]
In this case, the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution, when
analyzed and taken together, lead to the inescapable conclusion that the appellants are
responsible for the death of Sulpacio. The Court quotes with approval the lower court's
enumeration of those circumstantial evidence:
The testimony of AAA had clearly established the following facts:
1. At about 3:00 in the early morning of May 7, 2002, while she and the victim Abad
Sulpacio were sleeping inside the house of the Estrella family in Barangay Carmen,
Rosales, Pangasinan several persons entered to rob the place;
2. Inside the house, she saw and recognized the accused Lando Calaguas and Dick Taedo,
and heard the latter uttering somebody will die;
3. Bringing her outside the house, Lando pushed her into the Revo where she saw inside
Abad Sulpacio who was blindfolded and with his hands tied;
4. Inside the Revo, she recognized the accused Dick Taedo, Lando Calaguas, Marvin Lim,
Roberto Taedo, Alberto Anticamara and Fred;
5. The Revo then proceeded towards the fishpond owned by the Estrellas in Sitio Rosalia,
Brgy. San Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan;

6. The last time that she saw Abad Sulpacio was when he was dragged out from the vehicle
by Lando, Fred, Marvin and Al upon reaching Sitio Rosalia. At that, time Dick Taedo
stayed with her in the vehicle;
7. Thereafter, when Fred returned to the vehicle, she heard him uttered (sic): Make a
decision now. Abad has already four (4) bullets in his body, and the one left is for this
girl.[12]

In addition to these circumstances, the trial court further found that AAA heard
Fred utter Usapan natin pare, kung sino ang masagasaan, sagasaan. (Our agreement
is that whoever comes our way should be eliminated). Moreover, NBI Agent Gerald V.
Geralde testified that on June 23, 2002, appellant Al admitted his participation as
lookout and naming his companions Dick, Lando, Fred, Marvin and Bet as the ones who
took AAA and Sulpacio from the house of the Estrellas and brought them to the
fishpond. Al also pointed and led the authorities to a shallow grave in Sitio Rosalia,
Barangay San Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan, where the remains of Sulpacio were
buried. The autopsy conducted on the body, prepared by the Medico Legal Officer Dr.
Bandonil, shows that several holes were found on various parts of the body of the victim
and Dr. Bandonil concluded that the cause of the victim's death was the gunshot wounds.
The report also indicates that a piece of cloth was found wrapped around the eye sockets
and tied at the back of the skull, and another cloth was also found tied at the remnants of
the left wrist.
In the case at bar, although no one directly saw the actual killing of Sulpacio, the
prosecution was able to paint a clear picture that the appellants took Sulpacio away from
the house of the Estrellas, tied and blindfolded him, and brought him to another place
where he was repeatedly shot and buried.
Conspiracy
Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when two or more
persons come to an agreement concerning a felony and decide to commit it. It may be
inferred from the acts of the accused before, during or after the commission of the crime
which, when taken together, would be enough to reveal a community of criminal design,
as the proof of conspiracy is frequently made by evidence of a chain of circumstances.
[13] To be a conspirator, one need not participate in every detail of the execution; he
need not even take part in every act or need not even know the exact part to be
performed by the others in the execution of the conspiracy. Each conspirator may be
assigned separate and different tasks which may appear unrelated to one another but, in
fact, constitute a whole collective effort to achieve their common criminal

objective. Once conspiracy is shown, the act of one is the act of all the conspirators. The
precise extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all
the conspirators are principals.[14]
In the present case, prior to the commission of the crime, the group met at the
landing field in Carmen, Pangasinan and discussed their plan to rob the house of the
Estrellas with the agreement that whoever comes their way will be eliminated.
[15] Appellant Al served as a lookout by posting himself across the house of the
Estrellas with the task of reporting any movements outside. Fred then climbed the old
unserviceable gate of the Estrella compound and then opened the small door and the rest
of the group entered the house of the Estrellas through that opening.[16] After almost an
hour inside the house, they left on board a vehicle with AAA and Sulpacio. AAA and
Sulpacio were brought to Sitio Rosalia, Brgy. San Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan. In
that place, Sulpacio was killed and AAA was brought to another place and deprived of
her liberty. These circumstances establish a community of criminal design between the
malefactors in committing the crime. Clearly, the group conspired to rob the house of the
Estrellas and kill any person who comes their way. The killing of Sulpacio was part of
their conspiracy. Further, Dick's act of arming himself with a gun constitutes direct
evidence of a deliberate plan to kill should the need arise.
Appellant Al attempts to evade criminal liability by alleging that he was only
forced to participate in the commission of the crime because he and his family were
threatened to be killed. Al's defense fails to impress us. Under Article 12[17] of the
Revised Penal Code, a person is exempt from criminal liability if he acts under the
compulsion of an irresistible force, or under the impulse of an uncontrollable fear of
equal or greater injury, because such person does not act with freedom.[18] To avail of
this exempting circumstance, the evidence must establish: (1) the existence of an
uncontrollable fear; (2) that the fear must be real and imminent; and (3) the fear of an
injury is greater than, or at least equal to, that committed.[19] For such defense to
prosper, the duress, force, fear or intimidation must be present, imminent and
impending, and of such nature as to induce a well-grounded apprehension of death or
serious bodily harm if the act be done. A threat of future injury is not enough.[20]
There is nothing in the records to substantiate appellant Al's insistence that he was
under duress from his co-accused while participating in the crime that would suffice to
exempt him from incurring criminal liability. The evidence shows that Al was tasked to
act as a lookout and directed to station himself across the house of the Estrellas. Al was
there from 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.[21] of the following day, while the rest of the group

was waiting in the landing field. Thus, while all alone, Al had every opportunity to
escape since he was no longer subjected to a real, imminent or reasonable fear. However,
he opted to stay across the house of the Estrellas for almost six (6) hours,[22] and
thereafter returned to the landing field where the group was waiting for his report.
Subsequently, the group proceeded to the Estrellas house. When the group entered the
house, Al stayed for almost one (1) hour outside to wait for his companions. Later,
when the group left the house aboard a vehicle, Al rode with them in going to Sitio
Rosalia, Brgy. San Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan, bringing with them Sulpacio and
AAA.[23] Clearly, appellant Al had ample opportunity to escape if he wished to, but he
never did. Neither did he request for assistance from the authorities or any person
passing by the house of the Estrellas during the period he was stationed there. Clearly,
Al did not make any effort to perform an overt act to dissociate or detach himself from
the conspiracy to commit the felony and prevent the commission thereof that would
exempt himself from criminal liability.[24] Therefore, it is obvious that he willingly
agreed to be a part of the conspiracy.
Alibi and Denial
Appellant Lando denied having committed the crime charged and interposed alibi
as a defense. He claims that at the time of the incident he was in his house at Tarlac,
together with his family. On the other hand, the appellants were positively identified by
AAA, as two (2) of the six (6) malefactors who forcibly took her and Sulpacio from the
Estrella house in the early morning of May 7, 2002. Both the trial court and the CA
found the testimony of AAA credible. The Court gives great weight to the trial courts
evaluation of the testimony of a witness because it had the opportunity to observe the
facial expression, gesture, and tone of voice of a witness while testifying; thus, making it
in a better position to determine whether a witness is lying or telling the truth.[25]
Between the categorical statements of the prosecution witness, on one hand, and
the bare denial of the appellant, on the other, the former must perforce prevail. An
affirmative testimony is far stronger than a negative testimony especially when it comes
from the mouth of a credible witness. Alibi and denial, if not substantiated by clear and
convincing evidence, are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in
law. They are considered with suspicion and always received with caution, not only
because they are inherently weak and unreliable but also because they are easily
fabricated and concocted.[26] Denial cannot prevail over the positive testimony of

prosecution witnesses who were not shown to have any ill-motive to testify against the
appellants.[27]
As to the defense of alibi. Aside from the testimony of appellant Lando that he
was in Tarlac at the time of the incident, the defense was unable to show that it was
physically impossible for Lando to be at the scene of the crime. Basic is the rule that for
alibi to prosper, the accused must prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was
committed and that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the
crime. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the
appellant was when the crime transpired and the place where it was committed, as well
as the facility of access between the two places.[28] Where there is the least chance for
the accused to be present at the crime scene, the defense of alibi must fail.[29] During
the trial of the case, Lando testified that the distance between his house in Brgy.
Maligaya, San Miguel, Tarlac to the town of Rosales, Pangasinan is only around forty
(40) kilometers. Such distance can be traversed in less than 30 minutes using a private
car and when the travel is continuous.[30] Thus, it was not physically impossible for the
appellant Lando to be at the locus criminis at the time of the incident. In addition,
positive identification destroys the defense of alibi and renders it impotent, especially
where such identification is credible and categorical.[31]
Qualifying and Aggravating Circumstances
In convicting the appellants, the courts a quo appreciated treachery in qualifying
the killing to murder and evident premeditation in imposing the penalty of death. There
istreachery 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.[32] Two conditions must concur for treachery to exist, namely, (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.[33]
In the case at bar, it was proven that when AAA boarded the vehicle, she saw
Sulpacio tied and blindfolded. Later, when they reached the fishpond, Sulpacio, still tied
and blindfolded, was led out of the vehicle by the group. When the remains of Sulpacio
was thereafter found by the authorities, the autopsy report indicated that a piece of cloth
was found wrapped around the eye sockets and tied at the back of the skull and another
cloth was also found tied at the left wrist of the victim. There is no question therefore,

that the victim's body, when found, still had his hands tied and blindfolded. This
situation of the victim when found shows without doubt that he was killed while tied and
blindfolded; hence, the qualifying aggravating circumstance of treachery was present in
the commission of the crime. In People v. Osianas,[34] the Court held that:
x x x In the case at bar, the means used by the accused-appellants to insure the
execution of the killing of the victims, so as to afford the victims no opportunity to
defend themselves, was the act of tying the hands of the victims. Teresita saw the
accused-appellants hog-tie the victims and take them away with them. Later that night,
Dionisio Palmero saw the victims, still hog-tied, walking with the accused-appellants.
The following day, the victims were found dead, still hog-tied. Thus, no matter how the
stab and hack wounds had been inflicted on the victims in the case at bar, we are sure
beyond a reasonable doubt that Jose, Ronilo and Reymundo Cuizon had no opportunity
to defend themselves because the accused-appellants had earlier tied their hands. The
fact that there were twelve persons who took and killed the Cuizons further assured the
attainment of accused-appellants' plans without risk to themselves.[35]

The aggravating circumstance of superior strength cannot be separately appreciated


because it is absorbed by treachery.[36]
The circumstance of evident premeditation requires proof showing: (1) the time
when the accused determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that
the accused has clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between such
determination and execution to allow him to reflect upon the consequences of his act.
[37]The essence of premeditation is that the execution of the act was preceded by cool
thought and reflection upon the resolution to carry out the criminal intent during a space
of time sufficient to arrive at a calm judgment.[38] From the time the group met at the
landing field at around 6:30 p.m. of May 6, 2002, and discussed the possibility of killing
anyone who stands on their way, up to the time they took Sulpacio away from the
Estrellas house and eventually killed him thereafter at around past 3:00 a.m., more than
eight hours had elapsed sufficient for the appellants to reflect on the consequences of
their actions and desist from carrying out their evil scheme, if they wished to. Instead,
appellants evidently clung to their determination and went ahead with their nefarious
plan.
In Criminal Case No. 4481-R for Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention.
The Court finds appellant Lando guilty of the special complex crime of kidnapping
and serious illegal detention with rape, defined in and penalized under Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code. The elements of kidnapping and serious illegal detention under

Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code[39] are: (1) the offender is a private individual;
(2) he kidnaps or detains another or in any other manner deprives the latter of his liberty;
(3) the act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (4) in the commission of the
offense, any of the following circumstances is present: (a) the kidnapping or detention
lasts for more than 3 days; or (b) it is committed by simulating public authority; or (c)
any serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained or
threats to kill him are made; or (d) the person kidnapped or detained is a minor, female,
or a public officer.[40]
The crime of kidnapping was proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution.
Appellants Lando and Al, both private individuals, forcibly took AAA, a female, away
from the house of the Estrellas and held her captive against her will. Thereafter,
appellant Lando brought AAA to his house in San Miguel Tarlac, whereby she was
deprived of her liberty for almost one month. It is settled that the crime of serious illegal
detention consists not only of placing a person in an enclosure, but also in detaining him
or depriving him in any manner of his liberty.[41] For there to be kidnapping, it is
enough that the victim is restrained from going home.[42] Its essence is the actual
deprivation of the victim's liberty, coupled with indubitable proof of the intent of the
accused to effect such deprivation.[43] Although AAA was not confined in an enclosure,
she was restrained and deprived of her liberty, because every time appellant Lando and
his wife went out of the house, they brought AAA with them. The foregoing only shows
that AAA was constantly guarded by appellant Lando and his family.
The crime of rape was also established by the prosecution. Appellant Lando
succeeded in having carnal knowledge of AAA through the use of threat and
intimidation. AAA testified that on May 9, 2002, appellant Lando brought her to a hotel
to hide her from Fred and Bert, who intended to kill her. Appellant Lando told her to
follow his orders, otherwise, he will give her to Fred and Bert. While in the hotel,
appellant Lando raped her.[44] Clearly, for fear of being delivered to Fred and Bert and
of losing her life, AAA had no choice but to give in to appellant Lando's lustful
assault. In rape cases, the credibility of the victim's testimony is almost always the single
most important factor. When the victim's testimony is credible, it may be the sole basis
for the accused's conviction.[45] This is so because owing to the nature of the offense, in
many cases, the only evidence that can be given regarding the matter is the testimony of
the offended party.[46]
The last paragraph of Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code provides that if the
victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention, or is raped or subjected to

torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed. In People v.


Larraaga,[47] this provision gives rise to a special complex crime. Thus, We hold that
appellant Lando is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of
kidnapping and serious illegal detention with rape in Criminal Case No. 4481-R.
However, the Court does not agree with the CA and trial court's judgment finding
appellant Al liable for Rape in Criminal Case No. 4481-R. In People v. Suyu,[48] We
ruled that once conspiracy is established between several accused in the commission of
the crime of robbery, they would all be equally culpable for the rape committed by
anyone of them on the occasion of the robbery, unless anyone of them proves that he
endeavored to prevent the others from committing rape.[49] Also, in People v. Canturia,
[50] the Court held that:
x x x For while the evidence does convincingly show a conspiracy among the accused, it
also as convincingly suggests that the agreement was to commit robbery only; and there is
no evidence that the other members of the band of robbers were aware of Canturia's lustful
intent and his consummation thereof so that they could have attempted to prevent the
same. x x x

The foregoing principle is applicable in the present case because the crime of
robbery with rape is a special complex crime defined in and penalized under Article 294,
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code, and the crime of kidnapping with rape in this
case is likewise a special complex crime as held in the case of People v. Larraaga.
[51]There is no evidence to prove that appellant Al was aware of the subsequent events
that transpired after the killing of Sulpacio and the kidnapping of AAA. Appellant Al
could not have prevented appellant Lando from raping AAA, because at the time of rape,
he was no longer associated with appellant Lando. AAA even testified that only Fred
and appellant Lando brought her to Tarlac,[52] and she never saw appellant Al again
after May 7, 2002, the day she was held captive. She only saw appellant Al once more
during the trial of the case.[53] Thus, appellant Al cannot be held liable for the
subsequent rape of AAA.
The Penalties
In Criminal Case No. 4498-R, the attendant circumstance of treachery qualified the
killing to murder. The penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code
is reclusion perpetua to death. Since the aggravating circumstance of evident
premeditation was alleged and proven, the imposable penalty upon the appellants is
death, pursuant to Article 63, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code.[54] In view,
however, of the passage of R.A. No. 9346,[55] prohibiting the imposition of the death

penalty, the penalty of death is reduced to reclusion perpetua,[56] without eligibility for
parole.[57]
In Criminal Case No. 4481-R, the penalty for the special complex crime of
kidnapping and serious illegal detention with rape is death. In view of R.A. No. 9346,
the penalty of death is reduced to reclusion perpetua,[58] without eligibility for parole.
[59] Accordingly, the imposable penalty for appellant Lando is reclusion perpetua.
As to appellant Al, the prescribed penalty for serious illegal detention under Article
267 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua to death. There being no
aggravating or mitigating circumstance in the commission of the offense, the proper
penalty to be imposed is reclusion perpetua, pursuant to Article 63[60] of the Revised
Penal Code.
The Damages
In Criminal Case No. 4498-R, the award of civil indemnity is mandatory and
granted to the heirs of the victim without need of proof other than the commission of the
crime.[61] In People v. Quiachon,[62] even if the penalty of death is not to be imposed
because of the prohibition in R.A. 9346, the civil indemnity of P75,000.00 is proper,
because it is not dependent on the actual imposition of the death penalty but on the fact
that qualifying circumstances warranting the imposition of the death penalty attended
the commission of the offense. As explained in People v. Salome,[63] while R.A. No.
9346 prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the fact remains that the penalty
provided for by law for a heinous offense is still death, and the offense is still heinous.
Accordingly, the award of civil indemnity in the amount of P75,000.00 is proper.
Anent moral damages, the same are mandatory in cases of murder, without need of
allegation and proof other than the death of the victim.[64] However, consistent with
recent jurisprudence on heinous crimes where the imposable penalty is death but
reduced to reclusion perpetua pursuant to R.A. No. 9346, the award of moral damages
should be increased from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00.[65]
The award of exemplary damages is in order, because of the presence of the
aggravating circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation in the commission of
the crime.[66] The Court awards the amount of P30,000.00, as exemplary damages, in
line with current jurisprudence on the matter.[67]
Actual damages is also warranted. Modesta Abad, the spouse of victim Sulpacio,
incurred expenses in the amount of P57,122.30, which was duly supported by receipts.
[68]

In Criminal Case No. 4481-R, AAA is entitled to civil indemnity in line with
prevailing jurisprudence that civil indemnification is mandatory upon the finding of
rape.[69]Applying prevailing jurisprudence, AAA is entitled to P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity.[70]
In addition, AAA is entitled to moral damages pursuant to Article 2219 of the Civil
Code,[71] without the necessity of additional pleadings or proof other than the fact of
rape.[72] Moral damages is granted in recognition of the victim's injury necessarily
resulting from the odious crime of rape.[73] Such award is separate and distinct from the
civil indemnity.[74] However, the amount of P100,000.00 awarded as moral damages is
reduced to P75,000.00, in line with current jurisprudence.[75]
The award of exemplary damages to AAA in the amount of P50,000 is hereby
reduced to P30,000.00 in accordance with recent jurisprudence.[76]
As to appellant Al. In the absence of conspiracy, the liability of the accused is
individual and not collective.[77] Since appellant Al is liable only for the crime of
serious illegal detention, he is jointly and severally liable only to pay the amount
of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity. For serious illegal detention, the award of civil
indemnity is in the amount of P50,000.00, in line with prevailing jurisprudence.[78]
Along that line, appellant Al's liability for moral damages is limited only to the
amount of P50,000.00.[79] Pursuant to Article 2219 of the Civil Code, moral damages
may be recovered in cases of illegal detention. This is predicated on AAA's having
suffered serious anxiety and fright when she was detained for almost one (1) month.[80]
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No.
00556 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS as follows:
(a) In Criminal Case No. 4498-R, appellants Fernando Calaguas Fernandez alias
Lando and Alberto Cabillo Anticamara alias Al are found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and are sentenced to suffer the penalty
of Reclusion Perpetua, without eligibility of parole, and to pay, jointly and severally, the
heirs of Sulpacio Abad the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as
moral damages, P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P57,122.30 as actual damages.
(b) In Criminal Case No. 4481-R, appellant Fernando Calaguas Fernandez alias
Lando is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of
kidnapping and serious illegal detention with rape and is sentenced to suffer the penalty
of Reclusion Perpetua, without eligibility of parole, and to pay the offended party AAA,
the amounts of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages
and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. Appellant Alberto Cabillo Anticamara alias Al

is foundGUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping and serious


illegal detention and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. He is also
directed to pay, jointly and severally, with appellant Fernando Calaguas Fernandez alias
Lando, the victim AAA the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00
as moral damages.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
G.R. No. 188314
Plaintiff-Appellee,
- versus
KHADDAFY
JANJALANI,
GAMAL B. BAHARAN a.k.a.
Tapay, ANGELO TRINIDAD a.k.a.
Present:
Abu Khalil, GAPPAL BANNAH
CARPIO MORALES, J.,
ASALI a.k.a. Maidan or Negro,
Chairperson,
JAINAL SALI a.k.a. Abu Solaiman,
BRION,
ROHMAT ABDURROHIM a.k.a.
BERSAMIN,
Jackie or Zaky, and other JOHN
VILLARAMA, JR., and
and JANE DOES,
SERENO, JJ.
Accused,
GAMAL B. BAHARAN a.k.a.
Promulgated:
Tapay, ANGELO TRINIDAD a.k.a.
January 10, 2011
Abu
Khalil,
and
ROHMAT
ABDURROHIM a.k.a. Abu Jackie
or Zaky,
Accused-Appellants.
x--------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
SERENO, J.:
Before the Court is an appeal from the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated 30
June 2008, which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City in
Criminal Case Nos. 05-476 and 05-4777 dated 18 October 2005. The latter Decision
convicted the three accused-appellants namely, Gamal B. Baharan a.k.a. Tapay, Angelo
Trinidad a.k.a. Abu Khalil, and Rohmat Abdurrohim a.k.a. Abu Jackie or Zaky of the
complex crime of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder, and sentenced them
to suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection. The CA modified the sentence
to reclusion perpetua as required by Republic Act No. 9346 (Act Abolishing the
Imposition of Death Penalty).

Statement of Facts
The pertinent facts, as determined by the trial court, are as follows:
On 14 February 2005, an RRCG bus was plying its usual southbound route, from its
Navotas bus terminal towards its Alabang bus terminal via Epifanio de los Santos
Avenue (EDSA). Around 6:30 to 7:30 in the evening, while they were about to move out
of the Guadalupe-EDSA southbound bus stop, the bus conductor noticed two men
running after the bus. The two insisted on getting on the bus, so the conductor obliged
and let them in.
According to Elmer Andales, the bus conductor, he immediately became wary of the two
men, because, even if they got on the bus together, the two sat away from each other
one sat two seats behind the driver, while the other sat at the back of the bus. At the
time, there were only 15 passengers inside the bus. He also noticed that the eyes of one
of the men were reddish. When he approached the person near the driver and asked him
whether he was paying for two passengers, the latter looked dumb struck by the
question. He then stuttered and said he was paying for two and gave PhP20. Andales
grew more concerned when the other man seated at the back also paid for both
passengers. At this point, Andales said he became more certain that the two were up to
no good, and that there might be a holdup.
Afterwards, Andales said he became more suspicious because both men kept on asking
him if the bus was going to stop at Ayala Avenue. The witness also noticed that the man
at the back appeared to be slouching, with his legs stretched out in front of him and his
arms hanging out and hidden from view as if he was tinkering with something. When
Andales would get near the man, the latter would glare at him. Andales admitted,
however, that he did not report the suspicious characters to the police.
As soon as the bus reached the stoplight at the corner of Ayala Avenue and EDSA, the
two men insisted on getting off the bus. According to Andales, the bus driver initially
did not want to let them off the bus, because a Makati ordinance prohibited unloading
anywhere except at designated bus stops. Eventually, the bus driver gave in and allowed
the two passengers to alight. The two immediately got off the bus and ran towards Ayala
Avenue. Moments after, Andales felt an explosion. He then saw fire quickly engulfing
the bus. He ran out of the bus towards a nearby mall. After a while, he went back to
where the bus was. He saw their bus passengers either lying on the ground or looking

traumatized. A few hours after, he made a statement before the Makati Police Station
narrating the whole incident.
The prosecution presented documents furnished by the Department of Justice,
confirming that shortly before the explosion, the spokesperson of the Abu Sayyaf Group
Abu Solaiman announced over radio station DZBB that the group had a Valentines
Day gift for former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. After the bombing, he again
went on radio and warned of more bomb attacks.
As stipulated during pretrial, accused Trinidad gave ABS-CBN News Network an
exclusive interview some time after the incident, confessing his participation in the
Valentines Day bombing incident. In another exclusive interview on the network,
accused Baharan likewise admitted his role in the bombing incident. Finally, accused
Asali gave a television interview, confessing that he had supplied the explosive devices
for the 14 February 2005 bombing. The bus conductor identified the accused Baharan
and Trinidad, and confirmed that they were the two men who had entered the RRCG bus
on the evening of 14 February.
Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group namely Khaddafy Janjalani, Gamal B. Baharan,
Angelo Trinidad, Gappal Bannah Asali, Jainal Asali, Rohmat Abdurrohim a.k.a. Abu
Jackie or Zaky, and other John and Jane Does were then charged with multiple
murder and multiple frustrated murder. Only Baharan, Trinidad, Asali, and Rohmat were
arrested, while the other accused remain at-large.
On their arraignment for the multiple murder charge (Crim. Case No. 05-476),
Baharan, Trinidad, and Asali all entered a plea of guilty. On the other hand, upon
arraignment for the multiple frustrated murder charge (Crim. Case No. 05-477),
accused Asali pled guilty. Accused Trinidad and Baharan pled not guilty. Rohmat
pled not guilty to both charges. During the pretrial hearing, the parties stipulated the
following:
1.)
The jurisdiction of this court over the offenses charged.
2.)
That all three accused namely alias Baharan, Trinidad, and Asali
admitted knowing one another before February 14, 2005.
3.)
All the same three accused likewise admitted that a bomb exploded
in the RRCG bus while the bus was plying the EDSA route fronting the MRT
terminal which is in front of the Makati Commercial Center.
4.)
Accused Asali admitted knowing the other accused alias Rohmat
whom he claims taught him how to make explosive devices.

5.)
The accused Trinidad also admitted knowing Rohmat before the
February 14 bombing incident.
6.)
The accused Baharan, Trinidad, and Asali all admitted to causing
the bomb explosion inside the RRCG bus which left four people dead and more
or less forty persons injured.
7.)
Both Baharan and Trinidad agreed to stipulate that within the period
March 20-24 each gave separate interviews to the ABS-CBN news network
admitting their participation in the commission of the said crimes, subject of
these cases.
8.)
Accused Trinidad and Baharan also admitted to pleading guilty to
these crimes, because they were guilt-stricken after seeing a man carrying a child
in the first bus that they had entered.
9.)
Accused Asali likewise admitted that in the middle of March 2005
he gave a television news interview in which he admitted that he supplied the
explosive devices which resulted in this explosion inside the RRCG bus and
which resulted in the filing of these charges.
10.)
Finally, accused Baharan, Trinidad, and Asali admitted that they are
members of the Abu Sayyaf.[1]

In the light of the pretrial stipulations, the trial court asked whether accused Baharan and
Trinidad were amenable to changing their not guilty pleas to the charge ofmultiple
frustrated murder, considering that they pled guilty to the heavier charge of multiple
murder, creating an apparent inconsistency in their pleas. Defense counsel conferred
with accused Baharan and Trinidad and explained to them the consequences of the pleas.
The two accused acknowledged the inconsistencies and manifested their readiness for
re-arraignment. After the Information was read to them, Baharan and Trinidad pled
guilty to the charge of multiple frustrated murder.[2]
After being discharged as state witness, accused Asali testified that while under training
with the Abu Sayyaf in 2004, Rohmat, a.k.a Abu Jackie or Zaky, and two other persons
taught him how to make bombs and explosives. The trainees were told that they were to
wage battles against the government in the city, and that their first mission was to plant
bombs in malls, the Light Railway Transit (LRT), and other parts of Metro Manila.
As found by the trial court, Asali, after his training, was required by the Abu Sayyaf
leadership, specifically Abu Solaiman and Rohmat, to secure eight kilos of TNT, a
soldering gun, aluminum powder, a tester, and Christmas lights, all of which he knew
would be used to make a bomb. He then recalled that sometime in November to
December 2004, Trinidad asked him for a total of 4 kilos of TNT that is, 2 kilos on two

separate occasions. Rohmat allegedly called Asali to confirm that Trinidad would get
TNT from Asali and use it for their first mission. The TNT was allegedly placed in two
buses sometime in December 2004, but neither one of them exploded.
Asali then testified that the night before the Valentines Day bombing, Trinidad and
Baharan got another two kilos of TNT from him. Late in the evening of 14 February, he
received a call from Abu Solaiman. The latter told Asali not to leave home or go to
crowded areas, since the TNT taken by Baharan and Trinidad had already been exploded
in Makati. Thirty minutes later, Trinidad called Asali, repeating the warning of Abu
Solaiman. The next day, Asali allegedly received a call from accused Rohmat,
congratulating the former on the success of the mission.[3] According to Asali, Abu
Zaky specifically said, Sa wakas nag success din yung tinuro ko sayo.
Assignment of Errors
Accused-appellants raise the following assignment of errors:
I.
The trial court gravely erred in accepting accusedappellants plea of guilt despite insufficiency of searching inquiry
into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of
the said plea.
II.
The trial court gravely erred in finding that the guilt of
accused-appellants for the crimes charged had been proven beyond
reasonable doubt.[4]
First Assignment of Error
Accused-appellants Baharan and Trinidad argue that the trial court did not conduct
a searching inquiry after they had changed their plea from not guilty to guilty. The
transcript of stenographic notes during the 18 April 2005 re-arraignment before the
Makati Regional Trial Court is reproduced below:
COURT
: Anyway, I think what we should have to do,
considering the stipulations that were agreed upon during the last
hearing, is to address this matter of pleas of not guilty entered for the
frustrated murder charges by the two accused, Mr. Trinidad and Mr.
Baharan, because if you will recall they entered pleas of guilty to
the multiple murder charges, but then earlier pleas of not guilty for
the frustrated multiple murder charges remain [I]s that not
inconsistent considering the stipulations that were entered into during
the initial pretrial of this case? [If] you will recall, they admitted to

have caused the bomb explosion that led to the death of at least four
people and injury of about forty other persons and so under the
circumstances, Atty Pea, have you discussed this matter with your
clients?

ATTY. PEA : Then we should be given enough time to talk with


them. I havent conferred with them about this with regard to
the multiple murder case.

COURT
: Okay. So let us proceed now. Atty. Pea, can you
assist the two accused because if they are interested in withdrawing
their [pleas], I want to hear it from your lips.
ATTY. PEA : Yes, your Honor.
(At this juncture, Atty. Pea confers with the two
accused, namely Trinidad and Baharan)
I have talked to them, your Honor, and I have
explained to them the consequence of their pleas, your Honor, and
that the plea of guilt to the murder case and plea of not guilty to
the frustrated multiple murder actually are inconsistent with their
pleas.
COURT
: With matters that they stipulated upon?
ATTY. PEA : Yes, your Honor. So, they are now, since they
already plead guilt to the murder case, then they are now changing
their pleas, your Honor, from not guilty to the one of guilt. They are
now ready, your Honor, for re-arraignment.

INTERPRETER: (Read again that portion [of the information] and


translated it in Filipino in a clearer way and asked both accused what
their pleas are).
Your Honor, both accused are entering separate
pleas of guilt to the crime charged.
COURT
: All right. So after the information was re-read to
the accused, they have withdrawn their pleas of not guilty and
changed it to the pleas of guilty to the charge of frustrated murder.
Thank you. Are there any matters you need to address at pretrial
now? If there are none, then I will terminate pretrial and
accommodate[5]

As early as in People v. Apduhan, the Supreme Court has ruled that all trial judges
must refrain from accepting with alacrity an accused's plea of guilty, for while justice
demands a speedy administration, judges are duty bound to be extra solicitous in seeing

to it that when an accused pleads guilty, he understands fully the meaning of his plea and
the import of an inevitable conviction.[6] Thus, trial court judges are required to
observe the following procedure under Section 3, Rule 116 of the Rules of Court:
SEC. 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. When the accused
pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the
voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and shall
require the prosecution to prove his guilt and the precise degree of culpability. The
accused may also present evidence in his behalf. (Emphasis supplied)

The requirement to conduct a searching inquiry applies more so in cases of rearraignment. In People v. Galvez, the Court noted that since accused-appellant's original
plea was not guilty, the trial court should have exerted careful effort in inquiring into
why he changed his plea to guilty.[7] According to the Court:
The stringent procedure governing the reception of a plea of guilt, especially in a case
involving the death penalty, is imposed upon the trial judge in order to leave no room for
doubt on the possibility that the accused might have misunderstood the nature of the
charge and the consequences of the plea.[8]

Likewise, the requirement to conduct a searching inquiry should not be deemed


satisfied in cases in which it was the defense counsel who explained the consequences of
a guilty plea to the accused, as it appears in this case. In People v. Alborida, this Court
found that there was still an improvident plea of guilty, even if the accused had already
signified in open court that his counsel had explained the consequences of the guilty
plea; that he understood the explanation of his counsel; that the accused understood that
the penalty of death would still be meted out to him; and that he had not been
intimidated, bribed, or threatened.[9]
We have reiterated in a long line of cases that the conduct of a searching inquiry remains
the duty of judges, as they are mandated by the rules to satisfy themselves that the
accused had not been under coercion or duress; mistaken impressions; or a
misunderstanding of the significance, effects, and consequences of their guilty plea.
[10] This requirement is stringent and mandatory.[11]
Nevertheless, we are not unmindful of the context under which the re-arraignment was
conducted or of the factual milieu surrounding the finding of guilt against the accused.
The Court observes that accused Baharan and Trinidad previously pled guilty to another
charge multiple murder based on the same act relied upon in the multiple frustrated

murder charge. The Court further notes that prior to the change of plea to one of guilt,
accused Baharan and Trinidad made two other confessions of guilt one through an
extrajudicial confession (exclusive television interviews, as stipulated by both accused
during pretrial), and the other via judicial admission (pretrial stipulation). Considering
the foregoing circumstances, we deem it unnecessary to rule on the sufficiency of the
searching inquiry in this instance. Remanding the case for re-arraignment is not
warranted, as the accuseds plea of guilt was not the sole basis of the condemnatory
judgment under consideration.[12]
Second Assignment of Error
In People v. Oden, the Court declared that even if the requirement of conducting a
searching inquiry was not complied with, [t]he manner by which the plea of guilt is
made loses much of great significance where the conviction can be based on
independent evidence proving the commission by the person accused of the offense
charged.[13] Thus, in People v. Nadera, the Court stated:
Convictions based on an improvident plea of guilt are set aside only if such plea is
the sole basis of the judgment. If the trial court relied on sufficient and credible
evidence to convict the accused, the conviction must be sustained, because then it is
predicated not merely on the guilty plea of the accused but on evidence proving his
commission of the offense charged.[14](Emphasis supplied.)

In their second assignment of error, accused-appellants assert that guilt was not
proven beyond reasonable doubt. They pointed out that the testimony of the conductor
was merely circumstantial, while that of Asali as to the conspiracy was insufficient.
Insofar as accused-appellants Baharan and Trinidad are concerned, the evidence for the
prosecution, in addition to that which can be drawn from the stipulation of facts,
primarily consisted of the testimonies of the bus conductor, Elmer Andales, and of the
accused-turned-state-witness, Asali. Andales positively identified accused Baharan and
Trinidad as the two men who had acted suspiciously while inside the bus; who had
insisted on getting off the bus in violation of a Makati ordinance; and who had
scampered away from the bus moments before the bomb exploded. On the other hand,
Asali testified that he had given accused Baharan and Trinidad the TNT used in the
bombing incident in Makati City. The guilt of the accused Baharan and Trinidad was
sufficiently established by these corroborating testimonies, coupled with their respective

judicial admissions (pretrial stipulations) and extrajudicial confessions (exclusive


television interviews, as they both stipulated during pretrial) that they were indeed the
perpetrators of the Valentines Day bombing.[15] Accordingly, the Court upholds the
findings of guilt made by the trial court as affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
Anent accused Rohmat, the evidence for the prosecution consisted of the testimony of
accused-turned-state-witness Asali. Below is a reproduction of the transcript of
stenographic notes on the state prosecutors direct examination of state-witness Asali
during the 26 May 2005 trial:
Q
: You stated that Zaky trained you and Trinidad. Under
what circumstances did he train you, Mr. Witness, to assemble those
explosives, you and Trinidad?
A
: Abu Zaky, Abu Solaiman, Khadaffy Janjalani, the
three of them, that Angelo Trinidad and myself be the one to be
trained to make an explosive, sir.
Q
: Mr. witness, how long that training, or how long
did it take that training?
A
: If I am not mistaken, we were thought to make
bomb about one month and two weeks.

Q
: Now, speaking of that mission, Mr. witness, while
you were still in training at Mr. Cararao, is there any mission that you
undertook, if any, with respect to that mission?

A
: Our first mission was to plant a bomb in the malls,
LRT, and other parts of Metro Manila, sir.[16]

The witness then testified that he kept eight kilos of TNT for accused Baharan and
Trinidad.
Q
: Now, going back to the bomb. Mr. witness, did you
know what happened to the 2 kilos of bomb that Trinidad and Tapay
took from you sometime in November 2004?
A
: That was the explosive that he planted in the Gliner, which did not explode.
Q
: How did you know, Mr. witness?
A
: He was the one who told me, Mr. Angelo Trinidad,
sir.

Q
: What happened next, Mr. witness, when the bomb
did not explode, as told to you by Trinidad?

A
: On December 29, Angelo Trinidad got 2 more
kilos of TNT bombs.

Q
: Did Trinidad tell you why he needed another
amount of explosive on that date, December 29, 2004? Will you
kindly tell us the reason why?

A
: He told me that Abu Solaiman instructed me to get
the TNT so that he could detonate a bomb

Q
: Were there any other person, besides Abu
Solaiman, who called you up, with respect to the taking of the
explosives from you?
A
: There is, sir Abu Zaky, sir, called up also.
Q
: What did Abu Zaky tell you when he called you
up?
A
: He told me that this is your first mission.
Q
: Please enlighten the Honorable Court. What is that
mission you are referring to?
A
: That is the first mission where we can show our
anger towards the Christians.

Q
: The second time that he got a bomb from you, Mr.
witness, do you know if the bomb explode?
A
: I did not know what happened to the next 2 kilos
taken by Angelo Trinidad from me until after I was caught, because I
was told by the policeman that interviewed me after I was arrested
that the 2 kilos were planted in a bus, which also did not explode.
Q
: So besides these two incidents, were there any
other incidents that Angelo Trinidad and Tapay get an explosive for
you, Mr. witness?

A
: If I am not mistaken, sir, on February 13, 2005 at
6:30 p.m.
Q
: Who got from you the explosive Mr. witness?
A
: Its Angelo Trinidad and Tapay, sir.

Q
: How many explosives did they get from you, Mr.
witness, at that time?
A
: They got 2 kilos TNT bomb, sir.

Q
: Did they tell you, Mr. witness, where are they
going to use that explosive?
A
: No, sir.
Q
: Do you know, Mr. witness, what happened to the
third batch of explosives, which were taken from you by Trinidad and
Tapay?

A
: That is the bomb that exploded in Makati, sir.
Q
: Why did you know, Mr. witness?
A
: Because I was called in the evening of February 14
by Abu Solaiman. He told me not to leave the house because the
explosive that were taken by Tapay and Angelo Trinidad exploded.

Q
: Was there any other call during that time, Mr.
Witness?

A
: I was told by Angelo Trinidad not to leave the
house because the explosive that he took exploded already, sir.
Q
: How sure were you, Mr. witness, at that time, that
indeed, the bomb exploded at Makati, beside the call of Abu
Solaiman and Trinidad?
A
: It was told by Abu Solaiman that the bombing in
Makati should coincide with the bombing in General Santos.

A
: He told it to me, sir I cannot remember the date
anymore, but I know it was sometime in February 2005.
Q
: Any other call, Mr. witness, from Abu Solaiman
and Trinidad after the bombing exploded in Makati, any other call?

A
: There is, sir The call came from Abu Zaky.
Q
: What did Abu Zaky tell you, Mr. witness?
A
: He just greeted us congratulations, because we
have a successful mission.

A
: He told me that sa wakas, nag success din yung
tinuro ko sayo.

Q
: By the way, Mr. witness, I would just like to
clarify this. You stated that Abu Zaky called you up the following
day, that was February 15, and congratulating you for the success of
the mission. My question to you, Mr. witness, if you know what is the

relation of that mission, wherein you were congratulated by Abu


Zaky, to the mission, which have been indoctrinated to you, while
you were in Mt. Cararao, Mr. witness?
A
: They are connected, sir.
Q
: Connected in what sense, Mr. witness?
A
: Because when we were undergoing training, we
were told that the Abu Sayyaf should not wage war to the forest, but
also wage our battles in the city.
Q
: Wage the battle against who, Mr. witness?
A
: The government, sir.[17]

What can be culled from the testimony of Asali is that the Abu Sayyaf Group was
determined to sow terror in Metro Manila, so that they could show their anger towards
the Christians.[18] It can also be seen that Rohmat, together with Janjalani and Abu
Solaiman, had carefully planned the Valentines Day bombing incident, months before it
happened. Rohmat had trained Asali and Trinidad to make bombs and explosives. While
in training, Asali and others were told that their mission was to plant bombs in malls, the
LRT, and other parts of Metro Manila. According to Asali, Rohmat called him on 29
December 2004 to confirm that Trinidad would get two kilos of TNT from Asali, as they
were about to commence their first mission.[19] They made two separate attempts
to bomb a bus in Metro Manila, but to no avail. The day before the Valentines Day
bombing, Trinidad got another two kilos of TNT from Asali. On Valentines Day, the
Abu Sayyaf Group announced that they had a gift for the former President, Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo. On their third try, their plan finally succeeded. Right after the bomb
exploded, the Abu Sayyaf Group declared that there would be more bombings in the
future. Asali then received a call from Rohmat, praising the former: Sa wakas nag
success din yung tinuro ko sayo.[20]
In the light of the foregoing evidence, the Court upholds the finding of guilt against
Rohmat. Article 17 of the Revised Penal Code reads:
Art. 17. Principals. The following are considered principals:
1.
Those who take a direct part in the execution of the act
2.
Those who directly force or induce others to commit it
3.
Those who cooperate in the commission of the offense by another act without which it
would not have been accomplished

Accused Rohmat is criminally responsible under the second paragraph, or the provision
on principal by inducement. The instructions and training he had given Asali on how

to make bombs coupled with their careful planning and persistent attempts to bomb
different areas in Metro Manila and Rohmats confirmation that Trinidad would be
getting TNT from Asali as part of their mission prove the finding that Rohmats coinducement was the determining cause of the commission of the crime.[21] Such
command or advice [was] of such nature that, without it, the crime would not have
materialized.[22]
Further, the inducement was so influential in producing the criminal act that without it,
the act would not have been performed.[23] In People v. Sanchez, et al., the Court ruled
that, notwithstanding the fact that Mayor Sanchez was not at the crime scene, evidence
proved that he was the mastermind of the criminal act or the principal by inducement.
Thus, because Mayor Sanchez was a co-principal and co-conspirator, and because the
act of one conspirator is the act of all, the mayor was rendered liable for all the resulting
crimes.[24] The same finding must be applied to the case at bar.
The Court also affirms the finding of the existence of conspiracy involving accused
Baharan, Trinidad, and Rohmat. Conspiracy was clearly established from the collective
acts of the accused-appellants before, during and after the commission of the crime. As
correctly declared by the trial court in its Omnibus Decision:
Asalis clear and categorical testimony, which remains unrebutted on its major points,
coupled with the judicial admissions freely and voluntarily given by the two other
accused, are sufficient to prove the existence of a conspiracy hatched between and
among the four accused, all members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, to wreak chaos
and mayhem in the metropolis by indiscriminately killing and injuring civilian victims
by utilizing bombs and other similar destructive explosive devices.
While said conspiracy involving the four malefactors has not been expressly admitted by
accused Baharan, Angelo Trinidad, and Rohmat, more specifically with respect to the
latters participation in the commission of the crimes, nonetheless it has been
established by virtue of the aforementioned evidence, which established the existence of
the conspiracy itself and the indispensable participation of accused Rohmat in seeing to
it that the conspirators criminal design would be realized.
It is well-established that conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused,
which clearly manifests a concurrence of wills, a common intent or design to commit a
crime (People v. Lenantud, 352 SCRA 544). Hence, where acts of the accused
collectively and individually demonstrate the existence of a common design towards the
accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident and all the
perpetrators will be held liable as principals (People v. Ellado, 353 SCRA 643).[25]

In People v. Geronimo, the Court pronounced that it would be justified in concluding


that the defendants therein were engaged in a conspiracy when the defendants by their
acts aimed at the same object, one performing one part and the other performing another
part so as to complete it, with a view to the attainment of the same object; and their acts,
though apparently independent, were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating
closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments.[26]
Accused contend that the testimony of Asali is inadmissible pursuant to Sec. 30, Rule
130 of the Rules of Court. It is true that under the rule, statements made by a conspirator
against a co-conspirator are admissible only when made during the existence of the
conspiracy. However, as the Court ruled in People v. Buntag, if the declarant repeats the
statement in court, his extrajudicial confession becomes a judicial admission, making the
testimony admissible as to both conspirators.[27] Thus, in People v. Palijon, the Court
held the following:
[W]e must make a distinction between extrajudicial and judicial confessions. An
extrajudicial confession may be given in evidence against the confessant but not against
his co-accused as they are deprived of the opportunity to cross-examine him. A judicial
confession is admissible against the declarants co-accused since the latter are afforded
opportunity to cross-examine the former. Section 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court
applies only to extrajudicial acts or admissions and not to testimony at trial where
the party adversely affected has the opportunity to cross-examine the declarant.
Mercenes admission implicating his co-accused was given on the witness stand. It is
admissible in evidence against appellant Palijon. Moreover, where several accused are
tried together for the same offense, the testimony of a co-accused implicating his coaccused is competent evidence against the latter.[28]

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Regional Trial


Court of Makati, as affirmed with modification by the Court of Appeals, is
herebyAFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
1

SECOND DIVISION

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff-Appellee,
- versus DIMA
MONTANIR,
RONALD

G.R. No. 187534


Present:
CARPIO, J., Chairperson,
PERALTA,

NORVAand EDUARDO CHUA,


Accused-Appellants.

ABAD,
MENDOZA, and
SERENO,* JJ.
Promulgated:

April 4, 2011
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
2
3
4
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
For consideration of this Court is the Decision[1] dated April 22, 2008 of the Court
Appeals (CA) in CA- G.R. CR-HC No. 00499, affirming with modification the
Decision[2] dated October 28, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Valenzuela
City, Branch 171, finding Appellants Dima Montanir, Ronald Norva and Eduardo Chua,
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Kidnapping under Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended.
The records bear the following factual antecedents:
Josie Herrera, Robert Uy, Alicia a.k.a. Alice Buenaflor, together with appellants
Ronald Norva and Eduardo Chua, on December 17, 1997, concocted a plan to kidnap
Rafael Mendoza, and after several days of conducting surveillance on their intended
victim, on January 5, 1998, they decided to kidnap Rafael in Ali Mall, Cubao, Quezon
City. However, the intended kidnapping failed, because Rafael did not show up at the
said place. On February 5, 1998, a second attempt was made, but they encountered an
accident before they could even execute their original plan.
Around 5:30 a.m. of February 17, 1998, Alicia called up Rosalina Reyes, a partner
of Rafael, to tell her that she wanted to meet her and Rafael at Jollibee, BBB, Valenzuela
City to settle the former's loan of P350,000.00. She requested Rosalina to bring the land
title which she was given as collateral for the said loan.
Rosalina and Rafael arrived at Jollibee ahead of Alicia. Eventually, around 9:15
a.m. of the same date, Alicia showed up outside the store aboard a car. She was with
appellant Ronald Norva. Alicia motioned Rosalina and Rafael to approach the car,
which the two did as requested. While inside the vehicle, Alicia introduced appellant

Ronald as her cousin. Later on, Alicia informed Rosalina and Rafael that she would pay
them at her place.
When the car passed by the street where Alicia's house was located, Rosalina asked
the former where they were going. Alicia answered that they had to drop by the house
of her financier who agreed to redeem her title and substitute as her creditor. Trusting
Alicia, Rosalina and Rafael did not protest. They finally reached a house in Ciudad
Grande, Valenzuela City.
Thereafter, appellant Ronald alighted from the vehicle and talked to a man inside a
store, later identified as Jonard Mangelin. The gate of the house was then opened by
appellant Dima. The car proceeded to the garage and Rosalina and Rafael were asked to
go inside the house. Rosalina followed Alicia, while Rafael trailed Rosalina as they
entered through a kitchen door. They passed by a man (Jessie Doe) who was washing
his hands in the sink. While Rosalina was walking behind Alicia, she suddenly heard a
dull moan coupled with the sound of stomping feet. She looked back at the direction
where the sounds came from and saw Rafael being forcibly dragged inside a room. She
decided to look for Rafael and on her way, she saw Jessie Doe place his hand on
Rafael's mouth and poke a gun at him. Rafael struggled to get free. Rosalina pleaded
with Jessie Doe to have pity on Rafael because of his existing heart
ailment. Appellant Ronald rushed towards her, poked a gun at her mouth, tied her to a
bed and warned her not to make any noise. He told her that all they want is her money,
upon which, Rosalina said that if they really wanted money, they should untie Rafael,
who then appeared to be on the verge of having a heart attack. Rosalina was untied and
she immediately rushed to Rafael and began pumping his chest. She asked Jonard, who
had just entered the room, to help her pump Rafael's chest while she applied CPR on the
latter. Jonard did as told. While CPR was being administered, appellant Dima started
removing all of Rafael's personal belongings, which include his ring, wallet, watch and
other items inside his pocket, and passed them on to appellant Ronald.
Afterwards, appellant Ronald instructed Jonard to take Rosalina to another
room. While inside the room where she was brought, Rosalina begged Jonard to help
her escape. Jonard was moved by Rosalina's plea and agreed to help her. During their
conversation, Jonard told Rosalina that two women had tipped them off as the kidnap
victims. When asked who they were, Jonard refused to reveal their identities.

Rosalina was transferred to the master's bedroom around 12:00 noon because certain
female visitors arrived. After the visitors left, Rosalina was returned to the room where
she was previously taken. Rosalina asked Jonard about Rafael's condition, to which he
replied that Rafael would be brought to the hospital. A little later, at around 1 p.m.,
Jonard went to check on Rafael and confirmed that he was still alive.
Around 2:00 p.m., Rosalina heard the sound of someone being pummelled. Feeling
nervous, she asked Jonard the whereabouts of Rafael and was told that he was brought to
the hospital. But unknown to Rosalina, Rafael had just died and his body was placed
inside the trunk of a car.
Around 6:30 p.m., Rosalina was informed that she will be brought to another safe
house. She was taken to a car and placed at the back seat, together with Jonard and three
other men, later identified as Larry, Jack and Boy. The driver of the car was appellant
Ronald. Appellant Ronald instructed Jonard to cover Rosalina's head with a jacket which
Jonard did. As they were about to leave, the man seated beside Ronald started to
talk. Rosalina recognized the voice of Robert. She then lifted the jacket covering her
head and was able to confirm that the one talking was Robert. Rosalina cried, Robert,
Robert, why did you do this, we did not do anything to you and Robert responded,
Pasensiyahan na lang tayo.
By 10:00 p.m., they arrived at a certain house in Pandi, Bulacan where there was no
electricity. Thus, they lit candles for illumination. Rosalina found the house familiar
and concluded that it was Alicia's. Rosalina was brought to a room on the second floor
and while inside the room, she was told by one of the men guarding her that one of the
leaders wanted to talk to her. Per the leader's instruction, the guard put out the candle
light. The man then seated himself beside Rosalina and warned her against escaping as
they were a large and armed group. Rosalina recognized the voice as that of
Robert's. Before he left the room, Robert gave instructions to Jonard and the other men
inside. Meanwhile, the group started digging a pit at the back of the same house near the
swimming pool.
Around 3:00 a.m. of the following day (February 18), the group buried Rafael's
body in the pit. Thereafter, Robert instructed appellant Ronald to tell Jonard that the
latter should kill Rosalina, which Jonard refused to do. Nonetheless, Robert instructed

Jonard and the others to guard Rosalina well, as he himself would deal with her upon his
return.
Rosalina heard the car leave around 5:00 a.m. of the same day. Sensing that Jonard
was sympathetic to her, Rosalina begged him again to help her escape for the sake of her
children.
When electricity was restored around 8 p.m., one of the men guarding Rosalina
turned off the light inside the room. The room was only illuminated by a light coming
from the hallway. Rosalina saw a person wearing a wig and sunglasses enter the
room. Rosalina recognized him as Robert. Trying to mimic a woman by modulating his
voice, Robert told her that Rafael was in the hospital and that he could still sign a
check. He asked Rosalina the whereabouts of the other land titles and the identities of
the other financiers whom she knew. Rosalina replied in the negative. Robert angrily
poked a gun at her and shouted, That's impossible, and then left the room. He gave
instructions to his members and left.
At 9:00 p.m., Jonard went to Rosalina and told her about Robert's order to kill her,
which caused the latter to panic and cry. She then implored the help of Jonard for her
escape. Afterwards, Jonard went to his companions Larry, Jack and Boy and told them
that he would help Rosalina escape. His companions immediately cocked their guns and
an argument ensued. Rosalina talked to them and begged them all to spare her life. One
of Jonard's companions told Rosalina that if they would allow her to escape, they too
would get into trouble. Taking advantage of the situation, Rosalina suggested that all of
them should escape. They all agreed to escape in the early morning.
Around 5:00 a.m., Rosalina, Jonard, Larry, Jack and Boy left the safe house. They
walked through a rice field for about 30 minutes and then boarded a jeepney bound for
Balagtas, Bulacan. From Balagtas, they took a bus going to Cubao and arrived at 7:30
a.m. Rosalina pawned her pieces of jewelry for P1,500.00 and gave the P1,000.00 to
Larry, Jack and Boy. The three told Jonard to stay with Rosalina so that she would have
a witness and, in case Rosalina would further need their help, left their address with
Jonard.
When the three left, Rosalina immediately called Rafael's brother Tito, and related
what happened to her and his brother. When Tito asked Jonard which hospital Rafael
was brought to, Jonard revealed to Rosalina that Rafael died at the safe house in Ciudad

Grande, Valenzuela City. Rosalina called her lawyer, Atty. Teresita Agbi and asked her
to meet them at Farmer's, Cubao. When Atty. Agbi arrived, she accompanied them to
the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) where an investigation was
conducted.
The following day, at 4:00 a.m., two groups from the DILG were formed to arrest
Alicia, Josie, the appellants, and Robert. Alicia and Josie were not at their homes, while
appellants Ronald and Dima were arrested at the residence of Robert. While at the
DILG office, Rosalina positively identified appellants Ronald and Dima as her
kidnappers. Meanwhile, Jonard accompanied the police authorities to the safe house in
Pandi, Bulacan and showed them where the body of Rafael was buried. The remains of
Rafael was later on exhumed.
Thereafter, two Informations were filed with the RTC of Valenzuela City (Branch
171), with the following allegations:
Criminal Case No. 123-V-98
That on or about the 17th day of February 1998 in Valenzuela,
Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one
another, being then private person, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously kidnap one ROSALINA REYES against her will and
detained her, thereby depriving her of her liberty for a period of two days.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Criminal Case No. 124-V-98
That on or about the 17th day of February 1998 in Valenzuela,
Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, conspiring together and mutually helping one
another, being then a private person, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously kidnap one RAFAEL MENDOZA against his will and
detained him, thereby depriving him of his liberty and on the occasion
thereof, the death of the victim resulted.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Upon arraignment, with the assistance of counsel, Jonard and appellants Ronald,
Dima and Eduardo, pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Robert Uy, Alice

Buenaflor and Jessie Doe remained at-large during the trial of the case. Jonard was later
on discharged as a state witness. Afterwards, the trial on the merits ensued.
On October 28, 2004, the trial court rendered judgment against the appellants for
the crime of kidnapping, the dispositive portion of which, reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, accused DIMA
MONTANIR, RONALD NORVA, and EDUARDO CHUA are hereby
found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping and in
accordance with Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, this
Court hereby imposes the penalty of DEATH on accused NORVA and
MONTANIR. As regards accused CHUA, this Court hereby imposes the
penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Further, accused Montanir, Norva and Chua are hereby held
jointly and severally liable to pay the heirs of Mendoza the amount of Php
71,000.00 in actual damages and Php 50,000.00 as moral damages.
As for accused JOSIE HERRERA, the Court hereby
ACQUITS her on reasonable doubt of the charge of
kidnapping. Consequently, The Jail Warden of Valenzuela City Jail is
hereby ordered to cause the immediate release of the said accused from
detention unless she is otherwise being detained for some other legal and
lawful cause.
With regard to accused ALICE BUENAFLOR, ROBERT UY
and one JESSIE DOE, let the cases against them be ARCHIVED pending
their apprehension. Meantime, let an alias warrant issue for their
apprehension.
Considering the penalty imposed on accused MONTANIR,
NORVA and CHUA, let the entire records of these cases be elevated to the
Court of Appeals for appropriate review of the judgment herein rendered.
SO ORDERED.
On automatic review, the CA affirmed the conviction with modification on the
penalty imposed, thus:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the impugned
Decision is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the penalty of death
imposed on accused Montanir and Norva is hereby modified to reclusion
perpetua to conform to and in accordance with Republic Act No.

9346. Appellants Montanir, Norva and Chua are ordered to pay jointly and
severally the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity to the heirs of the
victims.
Costs against appellants.
SO ORDERED.
Hence, the present appeal.
In their respective Briefs, appellants raised the following assignment of errors:
DIMA MONTANIR:
I.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO
THE INCONSISTENT AND INCREDIBLE TESTIMONIES OF THE
PROSECUTION WITNESSES.
II.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSEDAPPELLANT DIMA MONTANIR GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE PATENT
WEAKNESS OF THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE.
EDUARDO CHUA:
I.
THE DECISION IS NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND THE
EVIDENCE.
II.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT
CHUA A CONSPIRATOR TO THE COMMISSION OF KIDNAPPING.
RONALD NORVA:
I.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO
THE INCONSISTENT AND INCREDIBLE TESTIMONIES OF THE
PROSECUTION WITNESSES.
II.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSEDAPPELLANT RONALD NORVA GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE PATENT
WEAKNESS OF THE PROSECUTION'S EVIDENCE.

First of all, it must be emphasized that the crime committed by the appellants, as
ruled by the trial court and affirmed by the CA, is the special complex crime of
Kidnapping with Homicide. After the amendment of the Revised Penal Code on
December 31, 1993 by Republic Act No. 7659, Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code,
now provides:
Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. - Any private individual who
shall kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner deprive him of his
liberty, shall suffer the penalty ofreclusion perpetua to death:
1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more than three days.
2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.
3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person
kidnapped or detained; or if threats to kill him shall have been made.
4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, except when the
accused is any of the parents, female or a public officer;
The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was
committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any other
person, even if none of the circumstances above-mentioned were present in
the commission of the offense.
When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention or is
raped, or is subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty
shall be imposed.
As expounded in People v. Mercado:[3]
In People v. Ramos,[4] the accused was found guilty of two
separate heinous crimes of kidnapping for ransom and murder committed
on July 13, 1994 and sentenced to death. On appeal, this Court modified the
ruling and found the accused guilty of the "special complex crime"
of kidnapping for ransom with murder under the last paragraph of Article
267, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659. This Court said:
x x x This amendment introduced in our criminal
statutes the concept of 'special complex crime' of kidnapping
with murder or homicide. It effectively eliminated the
distinction drawn by the courts between those cases where the
killing of the kidnapped victim was purposely sought by the
accused, and those where the killing of the victim was not

deliberately resorted to but was merely an afterthought.


Consequently, the rule now is: Where the person kidnapped
is killed in the course of the detention, regardless of
whether the killing was purposely sought or was merely an
afterthought, the kidnapping and murder or homicide can
no longer be complexed under Art. 48, nor be treated as
separate crimes, but shall be punished as a special complex
crime under the last paragraph of Art. 267, as amended by
RA No. 7659.
This Court further discussed the nature of the special complex crime of Kidnapping
with Homicide in People v. Larraaga,[5] thus:
A discussion on the nature of special complex crime is
imperative. Where the law provides a single penalty for two or more
component offenses, the resulting crime is called a special complex
crime. Some of the special complex crimes under the Revised Penal Code
are (1) robbery with homicide,[6] (2) robbery with rape,[7] (3) kidnapping
with serious physical injuries,[8] (4) kidnapping with murder or homicide,
[9] and (5) rape with homicide.[10] In a special complex crime, the
prosecution must necessarily prove each of the component offenses with the
same precision that would be necessary if they were made the subject of
separate complaints. As earlier mentioned, R.A. No. 7659 amended Article
267 of the Revised Penal Code by adding thereto this provision: "When the
victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention, or is raped, or is
subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be
imposed; and that this provision gives rise to a special complex crime. In
the cases at bar, particularly Criminal Case No. CBU-45303, the
Information specifically alleges that the victim Marijoy was raped "on the
occasion and in connection" with her detention and was killed "subsequent
thereto and on the occasion thereof." Considering that the prosecution was
able to prove each of the component offenses, appellants should be
convicted of the special complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal
detention with homicide and rape. It appearing from the overwhelming
evidence of the prosecution that there is a "direct relation, and intimate
connection"[11] between the kidnapping, killing and raping of Marijoy, rape
cannot be considered merely as an aggravating circumstance but as a

component offense forming part of the herein special complex crime. It


bears reiterating that in People vs. Ramos,[12] and People vs. Mercado,
[13]interpreting Article 267, we ruled that "where the person killed in the
course of the detention, regardless of whether the killing was purposely
sought or was merely an afterthought, thekidnapping and murder
or homicide can no longer be complexed under Article 48, nor be treated as
separate crimes, but shall be punished as a special complex crime under the
last paragraph of Article 267." The same principle applies here.
The kidnapping and serious illegal detention can no longer be complexed
under Article 48, nor be treated as separate crime but shall be punished as a
special complex crime. At any rate, the technical designation of the
crime is of no consequence in the imposition of the penalty considering
that kidnapping and serious illegal detention if complexed with
either homicide or rape, still, the maximum penalty of death shall be
imposed.
In this particular case, the Information specifically alleges that the appellants
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnapped Rafael Mendoza against his will and
detained him, thereby depriving him of his liberty and on the occasion thereof, the
death of the victim resulted. The trial court, in its decision, particularly in the
dispositive portion, merely stated that the appellants were found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping, however, its mention of the phrase, in
accordance with Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, this Court hereby
imposes the penalty of DEATH on accused Norva and Montanir, clearly refers to the
crime committed as that of the special complex crime of Kidnapping with
Homicide. The appellants, therefore, were correctly punished under the last paragraph
of Article 267 as the evidence presented during the trial, in its entirety, undoubtedly
proves that the death of Rafael Mendoza, although of natural causes, occurred on the
occasion of the kidnapping.
Delving on the arguments presented by the appellants in this Court, their
corresponding briefs pose a single common argument the prosecution did not present
sufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they committed the crime
charged against them. In particular, they questioned the inconsistent testimonies of the

witnesses for the prosecution. According to them, the said inconsistent statements from
the witnesses, tarnish their credibility.
This Court finds otherwise.
The question of credibility of witnesses is primarily for the trial court to determine.
[14] For this reason, its observations and conclusions are accorded great respect on
appeal.[15] This rule is variously stated thus: The trial court's assessment of the
credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight. It is conclusive and binding unless
shown to be tainted with arbitrariness or unless, through oversight, some fact or
circumstance of weight and influence has not been considered.[16] Absent any showing
that the trial judge overlooked, misunderstood, or misapplied some facts or
circumstances of weight which would affect the result of the case, or that the judge
acted arbitrarily, his assessment of the credibility of witnesses deserves high respect by
appellate courts.[17]
Appellants claim that Jonard, a witness for the prosecution, stated in
his Sinumpaang Salaysay that he was the one who whispered to appellant Ronald to
transfer Rosalina to another room so that the latter would have no idea that Rafael was
in a critical condition, but during trial, Jonard testified that it was Ronald who instructed
him to transfer Rosalina to a different room. Appellants also point out that in the same
sworn statement, Jonard averred that he resided in Taguig since October, 1987, which is
contrary to what he testified in court that he resided in that same place since 1997. In
addition, appellants further argue that in her testimony, Rosalina declared that she was
with four men seated at the back of the car when she was brought to Pandi, Bulacan,
however, Jonard, in his own testimony, stated that there were four of them including
Rosalina seated at the back of the car.
A close reading of the above inconsistencies asserted by the appellants show that
the same refer only to minor details and collateral matters and do not affect the veracity
and weight of the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution. What really prevails
is the consistency of the testimonies of the witnesses in relating the principal occurrence
and positive identification of the appellants. Slight contradictions in fact even serve to
strengthen the credibility of the witnesses and prove that their testimonies are not
rehearsed.[18] They are thus safeguards against memorized perjury.[19]

Anent the inconsistencies of the contents of the affidavits and that of the testimonies in
court, this Court has already ruled that testimonies in court are given more weight than
affidavits, thus:
x x x x Affidavits are not entirely reliable evidence in court due to
their incompleteness and the inaccuracies that may have attended their
formulation.[20] In general, such affidavits are not prepared by the affiants
themselves but by another person (i.e., investigator) who may have used
his own language in writing the statement or misunderstood the affiant or
omitted material facts in the hurry and impatience that usually attend the
preparation of such affidavits. As this Court has often said:
An affidavit, being taken ex-parte, is almost always
incomplete and often inaccurate, sometimes from partial
suggestion, and sometimes from want of suggestion and
inquiries, without the aid of which the witness may be
unable to recall the connected collateral circumstances
necessary for the correction of the first suggestion of his
memory and for his accurate recollection of all that belongs
to the subject.[21]
We have too much experience of the great infirmity of affidavit
evidence. When the witness is illiterate and ignorant, the
language presented to the court is not his; it is; and must be,
the language of the person who prepares the affidavit; and it
may be, and too often is, the expression of that person's
erroneous inference as to the meaning of the language used by
the witness himself; and however carefully the affidavit may
be read over to the witness, he may not understand what is said
in a language so different from that which he is accustomed to
use. Having expressed his meaning in his own language, and
finding it translated by a person on whom he relies, into
language not his own, and which he does not perfectly
understand, he is too apt to acquiesce; and testimony not
intended by him is brought before the court as his.' (2 Moore

on Facts, sec. 952, p. 1105;People v. Timbang, 74 Phil. 295,


299).[22]
For this reason, affidavits have generally been considered inferior to
testimony given in open court.[23]
Incidentally, the CA was correct in stating that Jonard was able to explain and
reconcile the minor discrepancies in his testimony by saying that he whispered to
appellant Ronald that Rafael was in a bad condition and afterwards, it was appellant
Ronald who instructed him to transfer Rosalina to another room, thus:
Atty. Basco:
Referring to the same statement, Mr. Witness, on page 20 of
the TSN dated February 24, 1999 referring to the same statement, Mr.
Witness, in your statement here when asked:
Q. Then what happened, Mr. Witness, when you answered in the
manner? And your answer was:
A Ronald Norva told me, Pare, the old man is in bad condition, you better
transfer Mrs. Reyes to another room so that she could not see the condition
of the old man.
Q
So which is which Mr. Witness? It was you who gave order or
instruction to Mr. Ronald Norva or it was he who gave instruction?
Atty. Gabi: Can we have the translation of that statement?
Atty. Basco: That is a very inconsistent statement of the witness?
A: This is like this, ma'am.
Atty. Basco: Just answer my question. Which is which, Mr.
Witness? Which is the truth, your salaysay or your testimony on February
24 in open court?
A: The two are true, ma'am, because when I whispered to him that the
old man was in a bad condition he gave me instruction to transfer Mrs.
Reyes to another room.[24]
The same is true with his inconsistent statements regarding his time of
residence in Taguig, thus:
Q Mr. Witness, you said in your Sinumpaang Salaysay of February 19,
1998 that you were residing in Taguig at Maharlika Village sometime in
October 1987? Do you confirm that?
Atty. Mendoza:

May we ask for the translations, Your Honor.


A No, sir, the actual year is 1997, not 1987.
Q So you are correcting your answer in your salaysay of February 19, 1998
under paragraph No. 13 wherein you answered: Ako po ay nakikitira sa
kaibigan kong si Ting sa Muslim Area, Maharlika Village, Taguig, Metro
Manila nuong buwan ng Oktubre, 1987. You are changing the 1987 to
1997?
A The truth is 1997, sir.[25]
Apellant Dima, in his Brief, insists that the prosecution was not able to establish
his participation in the commission of the crime because he was merely the house helper
of the safe house in Ciudad Grande, Valenzuela, when the kidnappers and the victims
arrived. In the same vein, appellant Ronald asserts that there was no convincing
evidence presented by the prosecution that will point to his clear participation in the
crime because he was just the driver of the car that brought the victims to the place
where the latter were kept. Appellant Eduardo also insists that he was not a participant
in the offense charged in the Information. Basically, the appellants deny any
participation in the kidnapping.
In convicting the appellants, the trial court, based on the evidence presented,
naturally found the existence of conspiracy among the perpetrators. Conspiracy exists
when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony
and decide to commit it.[26] Verily, when conspiracy is established, the responsibility of
the conspirators is collective, not individual, that render all of them equally liable
regardless of the extent of their respective participations, the act of one being deemed to
be the act of the other or the others, in the commission of the felony.[27] Each
conspirator is responsible for everything done by his confederates which follows
incidentally in the execution of a common design as one of its probable and natural
consequences even though it was not intended as part of the original
design. Responsibility of a conspirator is not confined to the accomplishment of a
particular purpose of conspiracy but extends to collateral acts and offenses incident to
and growing out of the purpose intended.[28]Conspirators are held to have intended the
consequences of their acts and by purposely engaging in conspiracy which necessarily
and directly produces a prohibited result, they are, in contemplation of law, chargeable

with intending that result.[29] Conspirators are necessarily liable for the acts of another
conspirator unless such act differs radically and substantively from that which they
intended to commit.[30] As Judge Learned Hand put it in United States v. Andolscheck,
[31] when a conspirator embarks upon a criminal venture of indefinite outline, he takes
his chances as to its content and membership, so be it that they fall within the common
purposes as he understands them.
A scrutiny of the records show that the trial court did not err in finding conspiracy
among the appellants, as they each played a role in the commission of the crime. The
trial court correctly found the denial of appellant Dima that he had knowledge of the
kidnapping, unbelievable. The appellants bare denial is a weak defense that becomes
even weaker in the face of the prosecution witnesses positive identification of him.
Jurisprudence gives greater weight to the positive narration of prosecution witnesses
than to the negative testimonies of the defense.[32] The trial court ruled:
As for accused Montanir, again, this Court finds the
testimonies of prosecution witnesses more credible than his testimony
applying the same principle that evidence to be believed must not only
proceed from a mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself,
such that the common experience and observation of mankind can show it
as probable under the circumstances.
Certainly, this Court is not convinced by accused Montanir's
claim that he was at Ciudad Grande because he was a house boy of accused
Chua after he admitted the circumstances under which he has to live there a
few days before the victims were brought there.
To begin with, this Court does not buy accused Montanir's
explanation that he transferred to Chua because he was looking for a
permanent job is hardly credible because he himself admitted that when he
was brought by accused Uy to the residence of accused Chua at Ciudad
Grande, it was the understanding that it would be accused Uy who would be
paying his salary. Why would accused Uy pay the salary of accused
Montanir if he was to work as a house boy of accused Chua? Evidently, the
only plausible reason why accused Uy would pay the salary of accused
Montanir is because he was actually working for the former and only posted
in the house of accused Chua at Ciudad Grande to play his part in the
execution of the planned kidnapping. This conclusion is bolstered by

accused Montanir's admission that he never even spoke with accused Chua
during all those times that he stayed at accused Chua's residence as in fact,
he took orders from accused Uy.
Moreover, this Court finds it rather perplexing that accused
Montanir would suddenly go back to the house of accused Uy on 19
February 1998 on the shallow reason that he had no companion at Ciudad
Grande when precisely he said he was hired as a caretaker thereat while the
regular boy was on vacation.[33]
The above conclusion was bolstered by the positive identification of the same
appellant and his exact participation in the execution of the crime, by the witnesses for
the prosecution, thus:
WITNESS JONARD
Q Could you tell this Honorable Court what happened, Mr.
Witness?
A When the four (4) entered after ten (10) minutes I heard like a
commotion inside the house.
Q Then when you heard the commotion, Mr. Witness, what
did you do?
A What I did was I went out of the store to peep thru the window
near the lavatory.
Q And what did you see, Mr. Witness?
A I saw Jess and Dems poking a gun to (sic) Mr.
Mendoza.
Q Then what happened, Mr. Witness, when they poked a
gun?
A When they poked a gun and placed the hands of Mr.
Mendoza at his back they forcibly entered the room.[34]
WITNESS ROSALINA
Q And then what happened, Ms. Witness?
A And suddenly Jonard Mangelin entered.
Q And what happened?
A I pleaded to him to help me in pumping.

Q What did he do?


A And he helped me.
Q After helping you pumping Mr. Mendoza (sic), what
happened to Mr. Mendoza?
A While we were pumping Mr. Mendoza's chest, Dima
Montanir was busy removing the things of Mr. Mendoza.
Q When you said things to which are you referring to?
A His wallet, watch, ring and all the things in his pocket and gave
it to Ronald Norva.[35]
xxxx
A When we returned to the DILG, the persons arrested were
already there and when I saw them I recognized them that they were the
ones.
Q Could you tell us the people whom you said were there?
A Dima Montanir.
Q Can you point to him?
(Witness pointing to a man inside the Courtroom, whom
when asked his name, answered: Dima Montanir).
Q And who else, Ms. Witness?
A Ronald Norva.
Q Can you point to him also?
(Witness pointing to a man inside the Courtroom whom when
asked his name, answered: Ronald Norva).
Q Then what happened, Ms. Witness, after you were able to
recognize them?
A I told that they were the ones.[36]

In like manner, appellant Eduardo's denial that he participated in the offense


charged does not outweigh the testimonies of the witnesses positively identifying him as
one of the culprits, thus:
WITNESS JONARD
Q Did you follow the instruction, Mr. Witness?
A Yes, ma'am.
Q Why did you follow the instruction?
A Because they are my Boss.
Q When you said they are my Boss, to whom, Mr.
Witness, are you referring to?
A Ronald Norva, Robert Uy, Eduardo Chua, Alice
Buenaflor and Josie Herrera.
Q You mentioned the name of Josie Herrera, was she there at
the vicinity?
A She was not there when the incident happened on February 17,
1998.
Q Why did you include the name of Josie Herrera as one of
your bosses, Mr. Witness?
A Because, ma'am. On December 19, 1997 at the middle of
that month, Josie Herrera tipped to the group that Mr. Rafael Mendoza is a
good victim because he has lots of money and engaged in a lending
business.
Q Were you there when she tipped the person of Mr.
Mendoza?
A Yes, ma'am.
Q Where was this, Mr. Witness?
A At the house of Robert Uy.
Q Where was the house of Mr. Robert Uy, Mr. Witness?

A Candido Homes Subdivision, West Fairview, Quezon City.


Q That was on (sic) the middle of December, 1997?
A Yes, ma'am.
Q Mr. Witness, if this Josie Herrera whom you have referred
as one of your Bosses is around this courtroom, could you please point to
her?
(Witness pointing to a lady inside the Courtroom whom when
asked her name, answered: Josie Herrera).
Q You also mentioned the name of Eduardo Chua as one
of your bosses, why do you say so that he was one of your bosses?
A Because they were the ones planning how they could
get Mr. Mendoza.
Q And who were these people planning, Mr. Witness?
A The five (5) of them, ma'am.
Q Who are these five (5), Mr. Witness?
A Robert Uy, Ronald, Alice, Josie Herrera and Eduardo
Chua.
Q And where did this happen, Mr. Witness?
A When Josie Herrera tipped to the group on that December,
the group made a surveillance to be familiarized with the face of Mr.
Mendoza and Mrs. Reyes.
Q And all the time, Mr. Witness, where was (sic) this
happened when you said they were planning?
A At the house of Robert Uy.
Q Did the surveillance took (sic) place, Mr. Witness?
A Yes, ma'am.[37]
xxxx

Q And where did you count the surveillance, Mr. Witness?


A Ali Mall, at Cubao, Quezon City.
Q And what was the result of your surveillance, Mr.
Witness?
A They saw the victims Mr. Mendoza and Mrs.
Reyes. Robert Uy pointed to the two (2) as our victims.
Q Aside from the planning and the surveillance, Mr.
Witness, what else took place?
A On January 3, 1998 the first stage of the kidnapping will
took (sic) place on January 5, 1998 because they want to make it quick.
Q Was (sic) the kidnapping take place at that time, Mr.
Witness?
A Yes, ma'am.
Q On January 5, 1998?
A No, ma'am, January 5, that was the first try to kidnap them
when we went to Ali Mall but we were not able to see them.
Q You said that there was a first try, was there another try,
Mr. Witness?
A Yes, ma'am.
Q When was that, Mr. Witness?
A On February 5, 1998.
Q What happened? Was that agreed upon by the group, Mr.
Witness?
A Yes, ma'am.
Q Who were these people in the group, Mr. Witness?
A Alice Buenaflor, Robert Uy, Ronald Norva, Eduardo
Chua and Josie Herrera.

Q And did the kidnapping take place on the second try, Mr.
Witness?
A We were not able to take them, ma'am.
Q Then what happened, Mr. Witness?
A On February 5, 1998, on our second try to kidnap them,
we were not able to get them because in Ali Mall the car of Alice
Buenaflor was bumped by a taxi.
Q Was there another try after the February 5 try, Mr.
Witness?
A On that February 5, when we were not able to take them;
they changed the plan.
Q And who participated in the plan, Mr. Witness?
A Eduardo Chua, Robert Uy, Ronald, Alice Buenaflor
and Josie Herrera.
Q Is she the same Josie Herrera whom you identified earlier,
Mr. Witness?
A Yes, ma'am.
Q Then what happened, Witness?
A After the second try, we were not able to take them, so the
plan was changed.
Q What was the plan that was changed? What was the new
plan?
A They were the ones who knew it. They were the ones
planning and I was only being utilized by the syndicate.[38]

It must always be remembered that between positive and categorical testimony


which has a ring of truth to it on the one hand, and a bare denial on the other, the former
generally prevails.[39]

It is also not disputed that the safe house in Ciudad Grande, Valenzuela, where the
victims were brought was owned by appellant Eduardo. The trial court was also correct
in dismissing the claim of appellant Eduardo that he merely lent his car to Robert and
allowed the latter to occupy his house because Robert had been so accommodating to
him and had facilitated his loan, thus:
Regarding the criminal liability of accused Chua, while it is
conceded that the said accused was nowhere in the actual scene of the
incident, this Court nonetheless finds the said accused guilty of kidnapping
as one of the conspirators to the commission of the felony who participated
by furnishing the vehicle used in abducting the victims and the house where
they were held captive and where Mendoza died.
Again, this Court applied the time-honored principle that evidence to
be believed must come from the mouth of a credible witness which accused
Chua is not. Indeed, this Court finds no iota of truth on the protestation of
accused Chua that he knew nothing of accused Uy's plans. It is simply too
good to be true that he allowed Mangelin and accused Montanir to stay at
his house to guard it and attend to his store while his caretakers were
having a vacation. Neither could this Court find cogent reason why
accused Chua would allow accused Uy to use his vehicle and house totally
oblivious of any plan/design or purpose of accused Uy. Nor is it credible
that accused Chua would allow accused Uy to use his vehicle just to follow
up his loan application and then after the same had been released he
(accused Chua) did not come home either to Santa Maria, Bulacan or to
Ciudad Grande, instead, he went straight to the residence of accused Uy,
waited for him until the wee hours of the morning of the following day, 18
February 1998, only to tell accused Uy he was going home.
It is also bewildering to this Court why immediately after receiving
the money he borrowed, he would spend it in going to Davao with his
daughter on 18 February 1988, without any previous plan whatsoever and
suspiciously, upon invitation of accused Uy who had known by then that
one of the victims, Mendoza, had died in the course of the kidnapping.

Truly, all of the foregoing facts when taken together with the
testimonies of Mangelin and Montanir unequivocally indicate accused
Chua's complicity with the criminal design of accused Uy and dissolves the
said accused's plea of innocence.[40]

Each conspirator is responsible for everything done by his confederates which


follows incidentally in the execution of a common design as one of its probable and
natural consequences even though it was not intended as part of the original design.
[41] Responsibility of a conspirator is not confined to the accomplishment of a particular
purpose of conspiracy but extends to collateral acts and offenses incident to and growing
out of the purpose intended.[42] Conspirators are held to have intended the
consequences of their acts and by purposely engaging in conspiracy which necessarily
and directly produces a prohibited result that they are in contemplation of law, charged
with intending the result.[43] Conspirators are necessarily liable for the acts of another
conspirator even though such act differs radically and substantively from that which they
intended to commit.[44]
Considering the above disquisitions, there is no doubt that conspiracy existed in the
perpetration of the crime. Thus, all of the appellants, having been proven that they each
took part in the accomplishment of the original design, are all equally liable for the
crime of Kidnapping with Homicide.
Lastly, this Court finds no error in the CA's modification of the penalty imposed by
the trial court. The penalty imposed by the trial court, which is Death is now reduced
toreclusion perpetua in accordance with Republic Act No. 9346.[45]
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated April 22, 2008 of the Court Appeals, affirming
with modification the Decision dated October 28, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Valenzuela City, Branch 171 is hereby AFFIRMED, with
further MODIFICATION that all the appellants herein are equally found GUILTY of
the special complex crime of Kidnapping with Homicide.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JOSE BULAN and ALLAN
BULAN, appellants.

DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This case was certified by the Court of Appeals (CA) to this Court for review, in view of its
finding in its Decision[1] that appellants Jose Bulan and his son, Allan Bulan, are guilty of
murder as principals by indispensable cooperation punishable by reclusion perpetua to death,
and not merely as accomplices as found by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Virac,
Catanduanes, Branch 42.

The Antecedents
Jose Bulan and his sons, Allan and Estemson, were charged with murder in an
Information filed on October 11, 1994. The accusatory portion of the Information reads:

That on or about the 6th day of June 1994 at Barangay Datag, Municipality of
Caramoran, Province of Catanduanes, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and helping one
another for a common purpose, that is, to kill with treachery and evident premeditation,
did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan held
both hands of Alberto Mariano to deprive him of any defense, while Estemson Bulan
stabbed him from behind with a deadly weapon, hitting him twice at the back which
resulted to his instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice of the victims heirs.
That the offense is aggravated by flight and use of superior strength.
ALL ACTS CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
Jose and Allan were duly arraigned on March 6, 1995, and pleaded not guilty.[3]
Estemson, on the other hand, remained at large.

The Case for the Prosecution


The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) based its summary of the facts of the case on
the documentary and object evidence, on the testimony of prosecution witnesses Dr. Rico
Lareza, SPO2 Pedro Roslin, Mariano Lopez, as well as Perlita Mariano and Pura Mariano,
the surviving sister and mother of the deceased Alberto Mariano, respectively. Its version of
the case is as follows:

1.
On the night of June 6, 1994, a dance was taking place at the barangay plaza of
Barangay Datag, Municipality of Caramoran, Catanduanes. Alberto Mariano, a
barangay tanod in said barangay was assigned the task of seeing to it that anybody who
entered the gate to the dance hall at the plaza must have a ribbon (pp. 4-5, tsn, Mariano,
July 11, 1995; pp. 6-7, tsn, Lopez, July 10, 1995).
2.
Appellant Allan Bulan came to the dance and entered the gate without the
required ribbon. Alberto Mariano followed appellant Allan Bulan into the dance hall
and asked him why he entered the gate without a ribbon. Instead of answering Albertos
question, Allan boxed him on the head. Accused Estemson Bulan, Allans brother, who
had entered the dance hall, likewise, boxed Alberto. Estemson then held Alberto, while
Allan boxed the latter on the chest. Perlita Mariano, Albertos sister, who was present at
the dance, embraced her brother as Allan and Estemson unceasingly pummeled him (pp.
5-7, Mariano, July 11, 1995; pp. 22-25, tsn, Lopez, July 10, 1995; pp. 5-6, Decision).
3.
The other barangay tanods present at the dance, Ceferino Ceballo and Juan
Boribor, and a barangay kagawad, Dante Ereso, stopped Allan and Estemson from
further beating Alberto. After being pacified by the barangay officials, Allan and
Estemson left the dance hall. Alberto, on the other hand, went back to where he
originally stood to resume his duty. His sister Perlita stood beside him (p. 7, tsn,
Mariano, July 11, 1995; p. 26, tsn, Lopez, July 10, 1995).
4.
One Edwin Solo, a policeman, suddenly came into the dance hall and dragged
Alberto into the street just outside the entrance. Perlita embraced Alberto as he was
dragged outside the barangay plaza. Appellants Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan were
waiting for Alberto and immediately held the latter by his shoulders. Jose held Albertos
right shoulder while Allan held his left shoulder. Perlita was still embracing her brother
but she was pulled away from him (pp. 8-9 and 25, tsn, Mariano, July 11, 1995; pp. 2728 and 31-33, tsn, Lopez, July 10, 1995).
5.
Accused Estemson Bulan suddenly appeared behind Alberto and stabbed him
twice in the back with a small bolo. Perlita screamed for help. However, despite the
fact that there were people at the entrance gate, nobody came to help Alberto and
Perlita. After stabbing Alberto, Estemson immediately escaped, while Jose and Allan
dragged the fatally wounded Alberto away from the barangay plaza to the store of
Valentin Talion, which was forty meters away from the scene of the stabbing. They
dropped Alberto face down on the ground in front of Valentins store and then left,

running towards the direction of [the] barangay plaza (pp. 10-11, tsn, Mariano, July 11,
1995; pp. 18 and 33-37, tsn, Lopez, July 10, 1995).
6.
Perlita, who followed Jose and Allan as they dragged her brother, kept on
shouting for help but nobody came to help them. After Jose and Allan left, Perlita
returned to the barangay plaza and sought help from her relatives who were at the
dance. She, likewise, sought the help of the barangay officials present and informed
them that Alberto was already dead (pp. 12-13, tsn, Mariano, July 11, 1995).
7.
Minutes later, Nelson Rubio, a policeman, went to the place where Alberto lay.
When the policeman tried to lift Alberto, the small bolo which was used in stabbing
Alberto and which remained embedded in his back, fell to the ground. The Municipal
Mayor of Caramoran and Dr. Rico Lareza, a doctor and the Chief of the Caramoran
Municipal Hospital, also went to the site where Alberto lay. The doctor then requested
the mayor to bring Albertos body to the hospital for a post-mortem examination (pp. 1314, tsn, Mariano, July 11, 1995; pp. 37-38, tsn, Lopez, July 10, 1995; pp. 4-5, tsn,
Lareza, May 22, 1995).
8.
On the same night, at around 11:30, Dr. Lareza examined Alberto and found that
his body bore the following wounds and injuries:
(1)
Stab wound, 6 cms. in length and 13 cms. in depth, located at back of the
victim at the level of the fifth intercostals space of the right middle back, penetrating
towards the heart;
(2)
Stab wound, 3.5 cms. in length and 11 cms. in depth, located on
the left side of the back of the victim, directed upward towards the
scapular bone area from the left middle back;
(3)
Linear hematoma, 4.5 cms. in length, located at the right side of
the neck, lateral aspect;
(4)
Multiple abrasions located on the left third of the left little
finger;
(5)
Multiple abrasions located at the back middle part of the left
index finger; and
(6)
Multiple abrasions located on the middle third of the right lower arm. (pp. 7-9,
tsn, Lareza, May 22, 1995)
9.
According to Dr. Lareza, (t)he most fatal wound is wound No. 1 (p. 9, tsn,
Lareza, May 22, 1995) and that Alberto Mariano died of Cardio-Respiratory Arrest due

to a stab wound penetrating towards the heart (vide, pp. 10-11, tsn, Lareza, May 22,
1995; pp. 20-21, Record).[4]
The Case for the Appellants
Jose, a businessman from Datag East, Caramoran, Catanduanes, denied the charge. He
testified that on the night of June 6, 1994, he was with Mayor Idanan of Caramoran and the
latters son-in-law Ely Ty. He was with them from 10:00 p.m. onwards and never left their
company; hence, had no inkling that Alberto had been stabbed near the gate of the dance
hall.[5]He further alleged that he and his companions were drinking around a table and left the
plaza only when a commotion ensued.[6] He found out that he had been charged with murder
only on June 17, 1994, when policemen informed him that the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of
Caramoran had issued a warrant for his arrest. He, likewise, had no knowledge that Alberto
had been manhandled by his sons, and that Estemson was the one who stabbed the victim.
He admitted having received the warrant of arrest issued against him by the MTC on June 17,
1994.[7] At the police station, he was told that he would be allowed to get out of jail if he could
produce his son Estemson.[8]
Allan, likewise, denied the charge. He admitted that he and Alberto had an altercation
inside the dance hall; the latter had boxed him on the upper lip, and he retaliated by punching
Alberto on the stomach.[9] He claimed that he went home after the incident. As he was in
front of the store of one Valentin Talion, Alberto and five to six companions accosted him, and
gave him fist blows on the forehead and neck. He was also kicked on different parts of the
body. Alberto even bit the upper part of his wrist.[10] Allan averred that his injuries were
evidenced by the medical certificate issued by Dr. Rico Lareza dated June 7, 1994.
Afterwards, he fled to the house of his uncle Rudy Frondero. He told his father of the
incident, but did not inform the police or barangay authorities.[11] He left for Legaspi City on
June 10, 1994 and attended school as an irregular student at the Polytechnic College
Foundation. Upon his mothers request, Allan accompanied her to Manila on June 27, 1994
to locate his brother Estemson. It was only then that he learned that his father was in jail for
the death of Alberto. Allan also confirmed that he was arrested by NBI agents on August 7,
1994.
The appellants presented Mariano Ereso, a barangay kagawad, to corroborate the
testimony of Jose Bulan. Another witness, Barangay Captain Magin Isuela, testified that he
did not notice any commotion before Irma Cabreras announcement at the dance floor that
somebody had been stabbed.[12] He was so shocked that he went home.[13]
Dr. Lareza testified that considering the wounds of the victim, the assailant could not have
held the bolo with the tip of the blade pointed to the elbow, then lifted the arm holding the bolo
to the level of the victims head, before stabbing the latter on the right middle portion of the

back. The doctor averred that in such a case, the trajectory of the wound would be downward
and not horizontal.[14] Moreover, Wound No. 2 could not have been inflicted by one who held
the bolo above the victims head, then thrusted it downwards.[15] The doctor also explained
that the road from the plaza gate to the store was stony; if the victim had been dropped on the
road, face and chest down, it was possible that he would have a blackeyed face or sustained
abrasions.[16] Considering that there was a pool of blood where the body was found, the
victim could have been stabbed in front of the store.[17]
Rudy Tuqueo testified that he was drinking beer near the gate but did not witness any
stabbing incident. Apropriano Selsona, Jr. corroborated Tuqueos testimony.
After trial, the trial court rendered judgment convicting the accused of murder as
accomplices. The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Jose and Allan Bulan, considering the
Indeterminate Sentence Law in their favor, are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment ranging from ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum
to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of prision temporal as maximum and to
indemnify the heirs of the accused in the amount of P50,000.00. The period of their
detention is credited in full in their favor in the service of their sentence.
The case as against Estemson Bulan who remains at large up to present is hereby placed
in the archive till after his arrest.
SO ORDERED.[18]
The trial court declared that there was no conspiracy between the appellants and
Estemson.
On appeal to the CA, the appellate court rendered judgment on June 13, 2000 affirming
the decision of the RTC, with the modification that the appellants and Estemson were guilty of
murder as principals by indispensable cooperation. The appellate court declared that as
gleaned from the evidence on record, the three of them conspired to kill the deceased.
The fallo of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution which


provides:
The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

(d)
all criminal cases in which the penalty imposed is reclusion perpetua or
higher

and Par. 2, Section 13, Rule 124, Rules of Court, which states:
Whenever a Criminal Cases Division should be of the opinion that the penalty of death

or life imprisonment be imposed in a case, the said Division after the discussion of the
evidence and the law involved, shall render judgment imposing the penalty of death
or reclusion perpetua or higher as circumstances warrant, refrain from entering
judgment and forthwith certify the case and elevate the entire record thereof to the
Supreme Court for review.
and finding the accused-appellants, Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of conspiring in murdering Alberto Mariano, as penalized under Article
248 of the Revised Penal Code byreclusion perpetua to death. We hereby certify this
case to the Honorable Supreme Court for final determination and proper action.
SO ORDERED.[19]
On March 22, 2001, the Court resolved to accept the case.[20] The appellants opted not
to file a supplemental brief.[21]
The appellants aver that the trial court committed the following errors:

I.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE


TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESS MARIANO LOPEZ THAT
WITHIN TWO METERS FROM THE GATE OF THE DATAG PLAZA
WHERE A DANCE WAS BEING HELD, THE DECEASED ALBERTO
MARIANO WAS STABBED BY ESTEMSON BULAN WHILE BEING
HELD BY ACCUSED-APPELLANTS JOSE AND ALLAN BULAN
WHO THEN ALLEGEDLY DRAGGED HIM FROM THE GATE
TOWARDS THE STORE OF VALENTIN TALION FORTY METERS
AWAY.

II.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO THE


TESTIMONY OF PROSECUTION WITNESS PERLITA MARIANO
THAT WITHIN TWO METERS FROM THE GATE OF THE DATAG
PLAZA WHERE A DANCE WAS BEING HELD, THE DECEASED
ALBERTO MARIANO WAS STABBED BY ESTEMSON BULAN
WHILE BEING HELD BY ACCUSED-APPELLANTS JOSE AND
ALLAN BULAN WHO THEN ALLEGEDLY DRAGGED HIM FROM
THE GATE TOWARDS THE STORE OF VALENTIN TALION FORTY
METERS AWAY.

III.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE


TESTIMONY OF ACCUSED ALLAN BULAN ALLEGING THAT HE
WAS MAULED BY ALBERTO MARIANO AND COMPANIONS IN
FRONT OF VALENTINS STORE AND DENYING THE ALLEGED
HOLDING AND STABBING AT AND DRAGGING FROM THE GATE
OF THE DATAG PLAZA.

IV.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE


TESTIMONY OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT JOSE BULAN DENYING
THE ALLEGED HOLDING AND STABBING AT AND DRAGGING
FROM THE DATAG PLAZA.

V.

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING ACCUSEDAPPELLANTS.[22]

The appellants assert that the trial court erred in giving credence and probative weight to
the testimony of Mariano and Perlita that Alberto was stabbed about two meters away from
the gate of the plaza. They aver that the physical evidence on record even negates their
testimony, as to where and how the victim was stabbed. They point out that the pool of blood
was found in front of Talions store, and not within the vicinity of the plaza gate where the
dance was being held. Moreover, the deceased still had his slippers on, and his feet and face
bore no abrasions or hematoma; according to the appellants, this proved that the victim was
not dragged from near the plaza gate to the place near Talions store as testified to by
Mariano and Perlita. The appellants maintain that the absence of any reaction from those in
the dance hall and the vendors near the gate negates their testimony that Perlita saw her
brother being stabbed near the plaza gate. Moreover, the testimony of Mariano Lopez and
Perlita Mariano were replete with inconsistencies on material points; hence, are barren of
probative weight. In contrast, the testimony of appellant Allan Bulan is consistent with and
corroborated by his medical certificate,[23] as well as Dr. Larezas post-mortem report.[24]
For its part, the OSG asserts that while Dr. Larezas testimony on the trajectory of the
wounds of the deceased did not jibe with that of Mariano, the undeniable fact is that the
deceased was stabbed twice at the back. The OSG posits that Mariano was not expected to
have a recorded memory of the incident. Moreover, the only evidence relied upon by the
appellants to prove the absence of blood trails from the plaza gate going to the store where
the stabbing occurred was their own testimony. The OSG surmises that Marianos shouts for
help went unnoticed; as such, the appellants still managed to carry the deceased from the
gate to the place near the store where he was eventually found. The OSG further points out
that the bolo the appellants used to stab the victim remained embedded on his back. The
bare fact that the victim did not suffer any abrasions on the face and that one of his slippers
remained on his left toe did not negate Mariano and Perlitas testimony (that the appellants

carried the victim and dropped him near the said store). The OSG avers that while there may
have been inconsistencies between the testimonies of Perlita and Mariano, their respective
accounts were still consistent on material points.

The Ruling of the Court


The general rule is that the factual findings of the trial court, including its assessment of
the credibility of the witnesses and the probative weight thereof, as well as the conclusions of
the trial court based on its factual findings, are accorded high respect, if not conclusive effect,
especially if such findings are affirmed by the CA. This is so because the trial court is able to
observe at close range the demeanor and deportment of the witnesses as they testify.[25]
However, the general rule does not apply if the trial court overlooked, misunderstood or
misapplied some facts or circumstances which, if considered, will warrant a modification or
reversal of the outcome of the case.[26]
The prosecution is burdened to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
Indeed, the testimony of a lone witness, if found positive and credible by the trial court, is
sufficient to support a conviction especially when the testimony bears the earmarks of truth
and sincerity. While the number of witnesses may be considered a factor in the appreciation
of evidence, proof beyond reasonable doubt is not necessarily with the greatest number.
Conviction of the accused may still be had on the basis of the credible and positive testimony
of a single witness.[27]
It must be stressed that evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of
a credible witness but it must also be credible in itself, such that common experience and
observation of mankind lead to the inference its probability under the circumstances.[28] On
the other hand, inconsistencies as to minor details and peripheral or collateral matters do not
affect the credibility of witnesses nor the probative weight of their testimonies. Such minor
inconsistencies may even serve to strengthen their credibility as they negate any suspicion
that their testimonies are fabricated or rehearsed.[29] Even the most candid of witnesses
commit mistakes and make confused and inconsistent statements. As the Court declared
in People v. Alolod:[30]
Not all persons who witness an incident are impressed in the same manner and it is

but natural that in relating their impressions, they disagree on the minor details and that
there be contradictions in their testimonies. Witnesses cannot be expected to recollect
with exactitude every minute detail of an event. This is especially true when the
witnesses testify as to facts which transpired in rapid succession, attended by flurry and
excitement. The testimony of each witness should not be expected to be identical to and
coinciding with each other. It is enough that the principal points covered by their

testimonies are established although they do not dovetail in all details which would
even prove well-rehearsed and studied declarations. [31]
Absent evidence showing any reason or motive for a witness to falsely testify against the
accused, the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists and the testimony
should be accorded full faith and credit.[32]
The testimony of a witness must be considered and calibrated in its entirety and not by
truncated portions thereof or isolated passages therein.[33] It is perfectly reasonable to
believe the testimony of a witness with respect to some facts and disbelieve it with respect to
other facts,[34] as there is hardly a witness who can perfectly remember the details of a
crime. Human memory is not as unerring as a photograph.[35] Thus, corroborative evidence
in order to be credible need not coincide on all aspects.[36]
In this case, the prosecution relied on the collective testimonies of Perlita and Mariano,
who claimed to have seen Estemson stab Alberto; the prosecution also anchored its case on
the testimony of Dr. Lareza and his medico-legal report. The Court declares that Perlitas
testimony, the medico-legal certificate and the expert testimony of Dr. Lareza would have
been enough to prove the guilt of the appellants beyond reasonable doubt.
Perlita, the sister of the deceased, testified that Estemson stabbed her brother with a
small bolo at the back, about two meters more or less from the plaza gate. She declared that
Jose held the deceased by the right shoulder, while Allan held him by the left; Estemson then
appeared from behind the victim. Perlita was near her brother when he was stabbed:
Q

Please inform the court what happened afterwards?

Immediately, a man came and went inside the dance hall, then held my brother and told
us that he would bring my brother outside, Sir.

And at that period of time, what was your reaction, if any?

That man who came in was Edwin Solo and I asked him why he would bring my brother
outside and asked him he is doing so (sic) are you a barangay captain?

Then what was the reaction of Edwin Solo after you told him that?

He did not mind me and dragged my brother out while I was embracing my brother, Sir.

Was Edwin Solo able to drag your brother out of the gate?

Yes, Sir.

And what happened after your brother and you had been dragged out of the plaza?

Upon reaching outside, Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan immediately held my brother on his
shoulders, Sir.

ATTY. BERCES:

We just want to make it of record that the witness is crying and we request [that] we be
given little time to let her regain her composure, Your Honor.
COURT:
Alright, recess for five minutes.
(After five minutes, session was resumed.)
ATTY. BERCES:
Q

So, you said upon reaching outside the gate, your brother was held by Jose Bulan and
Allan Bulan by the shoulders?

Yes, Sir.

Before I proceed, when you mentioned about Jose Bulan, are you referring to Jose Bulan
who is one of the accused in this case?

Yes, Sir.

Will you please point to him if he is inside the court room?

(Witness pointing to the accused Jose Bulan.)

Can you tell the court, if you know, what relation has this Jose Bulan to the other accused
Allan Bulan and Estemson Bulan?

Jose Bulan is the father of Allan and Estemson Bulan, Sir.

On what side did Jose Bulan hold your brother?

At the right side of my brother, Sir.

What about this Allan Bulan?

On the left side, Sir.

And where were you at that time?

I was still near my brother and then somebody suddenly pulled me from my brother, Sir.

And after that moment, what happened next, if any?

Estemson Bulan immediately entered coming from behind and immediately stabbed my
brother, Sir.

Do you know the cardinal directions, North and South?

Yes, Sir.

Now, using that as reference, from what direction did Estemson Bulan come?

From the South, Sir.

And as you said upon appearing this Estemson Bulan stabbed your brother, was your
brother hit?

Yes, Sir.

In what part of his body was your brother hit by Estemson Bulan?

At the back, Sir.

After you saw Estemson Bulan stabbed (sic) your brother, what did you do?

I shouted for help and no one came, Sir.

Can you tell the Court whether after the first stabbing by Estemson Bulan, was your
brother stabbed subsequently?

When I cried for help and no one came, all of a sudden I saw Estemson Bulan ran (sic)
away, Sir.

By the way, what is the distance of the place where your brother is being held by Jose
Bulan and Allan Bulan and stabbed by Estemson Bulan in relation to the gate of the
plaza?

More or less two meters, Sir.

Now, considering that it was nighttime, how were you able to see that incident?

At the gate, there was a fluorescent lamp and the plaza was surrounded by light bulbs,
Sir.

What is found at the gate, were there fluorescent lamp at the same time light bulbs?

Only fluorescent lamp, Sir.

And where were the bulbs installed?

They were installed around the plaza and at the dance hall, Sir.[37]

After Estemson had fled, the appellants dragged the victim to the store of Valentin Talion,
about 40 meters away. They then dropped the victim on the ground and fled from the scene.
When she realized that no one was responding to her cries for help, Perlita returned to the
plaza to seek the aid of her relatives and the barangay authorities:
Q

After Estemson Bulan stabbed your brother and subsequently fled as you said, what did
this Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan do?

Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan dragged my brother up to the place fronting the store of
Mang Enting.

What is the full name of this Mang Enting?

Valentin Talion, Sir.

About how many meters is that place of Valentin Talion to the place where your brother
was stabbed?

More or less forty meters, Sir.

Now, if we will use that place where you are seated now as the place where your brother
was stabbed, can you please point to a place which would correspond to the extent of
forty meters?

(Witness pointed to a distance of about forty meters.)

When your brother was dragged towards the front of Valentin Talions store, what
happened next, if any?

Somebody poked the light of his flashlight on them and that was the time the two
dropped my brother, Sir.

When you said they dropped your brother, you are referring to Jose Bulan and Allan
Bulan?

Yes, Sir.

Were you able to identify the person who had a flashlight?

Yes, Sir.

And after Allan Bulan and Jose Bulan dropped your brother in that place, what did they
do?

They ran away, Sir.

Towards the North, South or what direction?

They fled and ran towards the direction of the plaza, Sir.

Then what did you do at that moment?

I was with my brother in the place where he was dropped and I kept on shouting for help
but then I thought I was not heard since the music and the dance was going on, so I went
back to the plaza and look for my relatives and I saw Tiya Corazon and Irma Cabrera,
Sir.

And what did you do upon seeing your Tiya Corazon and Irma Cabrera?

I asked the help of the barangay captain and a kagawad and inform them that my
brother was already dead, Sir.

Was there anybody who responded to your call for help?

Yes, Sir.

Who was that?

It was policeman Nelson Rubio, Sir.

Can you give an estimate if how many minutes after did this policeman come to your
assistance after Jose and Allan Bulan dropped your brother near the place of the store of
Valentin Talion?

About a few minutes, Sir.

And after Nelson Rubio arrived, what did you do?

He tried to lift my brother and then a knife (palas or small bolo) fell on the ground, Sir.

From where did this palas come?

From the back of my brother, Sir.

What relation has that to the weapon that was used by Estemson Bulan in stabbing your
brother?

That was the weapon that was used in stabbing my brother, Sir.

If that weapon is shown to you, would you be able to identify the same?

Yes, Sir.

I am showing to you a small bolo which is marked already as Exh. C, kindly look at this
and inform the Court whether this was the same weapon which you saw dropped from
the body of your brother?

Yes, Sir.[38]

On the other hand, Dr. Lareza testified that the victim was stabbed at the back with a
sharp and pointed instrument which he saw at the place where the victim lay:
Q

Let us go to Item No. 1 which I read:

Stabbed wound 6 cms. in length and 13 cms. in depth penetrating towards the heart
over the 5th intercostal space, with associated fracture of the rib bone on the right middle
back. Will you explain in laymans term, what this means?
A

In laymans term, the stabbed wound was located at the back of the victim at the level of
the fifth intercostal space of the right middle back, penetrating towards the heart.

What do you mean here with associated fracture of the rib bone?

There is a broken rib bone.

What could have caused this stab wound?

That stab wound may be (sic) caused by a sharp and pointed instrument, Sir.

So that it could be caused by the same instrument you saw at the place of the incident?

Maybe, Sir.

Showing to you a bladed instrument with wooden handle still stained with blood, to your
recollection, is this the bladed weapon which you saw at the scene of the incident?

More or less the same, Sir.[39]

The Court is not impervious of the fact that while Perlita testified that she saw her brother
being stabbed only once, the medico-legal certificate issued by Dr. Lareza shows that the
victim sustained another stab wound at the back, less severe than the first. This seeming

inconsistency, however, does not detract from the verisimilitude of Perlitas testimony that she
saw Estemson stab her brother. As Perlita recounted, she was so shocked and horrified by
the sudden appearance of Estemson and the subsequent stabbing of her brother that she
frantically shouted for help. It is possible that it was at that precise moment when Estemson
stabbed her brother anew at the back, hence, Perlita failed to witness it. Indeed, this Court
declared in People v. Bihison[40]

Eyewitnesses to a horrifying event cannot be expected, nor be faulted if they are unable,
to be completely accurate in picturing to the court all that has transpired and every detail
of what they have seen or heard. Various reasons, mostly explainable, can account for
this reality; the Court has long acknowledged the verity that different human minds react
distinctly and diversely when confronted with a sudden and shocking event, and that a
witness may sometimes ignore certain details which at the time might have appeared to
him to be insignificant but which to another person under the same circumstances,
would seem noteworthy.[41]
The Court notes that the only evidence of the appellants to prove that there were no
traces of human blood from near the gate to the store of Talion was the testimony of Dr.
Lareza. However, the doctor did not testify that he investigated the condition of the path from
the gate to the store to ascertain the presence or absence of blood.
The appellants contend that Perlitas testimony is incredible, since she claimed to have
shouted for help, but there was no reaction from the crowd. The Court rejects this
contention. It bears stressing that festivities were then ongoing at the plaza, the blaring music
thus drowned out Perlitas shouts for help. Perlita must have realized this and thus went back
to the plaza from the store and informed her relatives that Alberto had been stabbed. With
the dancing and partying, no one in the plaza noticed the appellants dragging Alberto towards
the direction of the store. Perlita then managed to talk to her cousin Irma Cabrera, the
barangay captain and policeman Nelson Rubio who, with the municipal mayor, responded to
her report. When Perlita relayed the stabbing to Irma Cabrera, the latter, in turn, hurriedly
announced the incident over the microphone; it was only then that the public became aware
of the tragedy. Rubio then recovered the palas (small bolo) when it fell from the victims back
as he lifted the lifeless body. The Court agrees with the following submissions of the OSG:

Moreover, it cannot be discounted that other people may have seen the stabbing of
Alberto but they chose not to volunteer and reveal what they had seen to the police
authorities. It must be pointed out that the natural tendency of most people not to get
involved in criminal cases is of judicial notice [People v. Tulop, 289 SCRA 316 (1998)]
and that (i)t is of common human experience that people overcome by great fear, not
only for their lives but also of those of their loved ones, will choose to remain tight-

lipped about an incident and suffer in silence rather than expose to risk their own safety
and of those for whom they care [People v. Dadles, 278 SCRA 393 (1997)].[42]
The pool of blood in the vicinity where the appellants dropped Alberto face down near
Talions store, and the absence of any traces of blood from the gate to the store cannot be the
basis of a conclusion that Alberto was stabbed in that place and not near the plaza gate.
Considering that the appellants dropped Alberto face down near the store and the cadaver
remained thereat for some time, it is but logical that a pool of blood would have formed near
the body. Thus:
Q

And by the time that a person was carried at a distance of about 40 to 50 meters, the
bulk or the greater quantity of the blood will flow or ooze and dropped in that place where
he was rested?

Doctor, we will have the question reread to you and answer it accordingly. I am just
concentrating in the place where the pool of blood was found at the scene of the
cadaver. I am only focusing my question in this particular pool of blood as shown in the
picture. Assuming that the patient was stabbed in the gate of the plaza and was brought
to another site and assuming that the patient was dragged about 40 to 50 meters,
naturally there will be a trail of blood along the way and on the place where he was
rested? But the greater quantity also of the blood be accumulated in that place where he
was rested, particularly he has been there for about an hour as depicted in the picture?

Yes, Sir.[43]

The appellants failed to adduce evidence that there was no pool of blood near the gate of
the plaza where Alberto was stabbed. In fact, even the absence of blood near the gate would
not negate Perlitas claim that her brother was stabbed there. The evidence on record shows
that immediately after Estemson stabbed the victim, the appellants dragged Alberto face
down from the gate towards the store. It is entirely possible that the blood from the victims
wounds had not yet accumulated and dripped to the ground before he was dragged:
ATTY. BERCES:
Q

From your expert testimony, doctor, when a person is stabbed and subsequently the
bladed instrument is withdrawn from the body, the blood does not automatically ooze
from the wound?

There are some blood in other wounds that will come out, Sir.

And after a certain distance, this blood that were, in the meantime, retained in the body
could be released after a few minutes?

ATTY. FERNANDEZ:
May I just comment that there are two stab wounds.
ATTY. BERCES:
I am referring now to both wounds. Anyway, they were inflicted within a split second.

Would that be possible that the blood would be emitted a little after?

It depends on what portion of the body that was hit, Sir.[44]

That Estemson carried the palas (small bolo) to the plaza is not unlikely. The inscrutable
fact is that he stabbed the victim with a small bolo; where the assailant secured the weapon is
irrelevant.
The absence of any abrasions or bruises on the face and feet of the victim, and the fact
that his Spartan slipper was still hanging from his left foot, do not negate Perlitas testimony
that he was dragged 40 meters away from the gate. We agree with the following submission
of the OSG:

(6)
The fact that Alberto still had his Spartan slipper on his left toe and that his
toes and feet did not bear abrasions do not necessarily indicate that Alberto was not
dragged by appellants forty meters away from where he was stabbed. Moreover,
appellants assertion that Albertos face did not bear any abrasions does not necessarily
mean that he was not dropped by appellants face down on the ground in front of the
store.
It must be pointed out that the fact that Alberto still had his Spartan slipper on his left
toe (sic) could also indicate that he had been dragged for some distance before being left
in front of the store. In the process of being dragged, Alberto lost his right slipper and
his left slipper remained entangled on his left toe.
The fact that his toes did not bear abrasions could also indicate that his right slipper was
only dislodged as appellants were nearing Valentin Talions store and that his left slipper,
though partially dislodged as it remained on Albertos left toe, still afforded minimum
protection to Albertos left foot. Moreover, there was no official finding that the terrain
of the path through which Alberto had been dragged was rough and stony as to damage
Albertos feet.
As regards the absence of abrasions on Albertos face, it must be pointed out that the
height from which Alberto was dropped was never determined or established. It is
possible that Alberto may have been dropped by appellants with his face only a few
inches from the ground. Thus, when Alberto was dropped, the impact of the fall was not
enough to cause abrasions or bruises on his face.[45]
Significantly, the victims other slipper has not been accounted for by the police
investigators.

There is, likewise, no evidence that Perlita had any ill or devious motive to falsely
implicate Estemson and the appellants to the stabbing of her brother. Barely two days after
the incident (on June 8, 1994), Perlita gave her sworn statement to SPO4 Ruben T.
Sarmiento, naming Estemson as her brothers assailant, with the appellants as companions.
[46] Hence, the testimony of Perlita must be accorded full faith and credit.
The next issue is whether or not the appellants are guilty of the crime charged as
principals by direct participation as ruled by the CA, or, as ruled by the RTC, mere
accomplices to the crime of murder.
Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is conspiracy when two or more
persons agree to commit a crime and decide to commit it. Direct proof is not essential to
prove conspiracy; it may be established by acts of the accused before, during and after the
commission of the crime charged, from which it may be logically inferred the existence of a
common purpose to commit the same.[47] The prosecution must prove conspiracy by the
same quantum of evidence as the felony charged itself. Indeed, proof of previous agreement
among the malefactors to commit the crime is not essential to prove conspiracy.[48] It is not
necessary to show that all the conspirators actually hit and killed the victim; what is primordial
is that all the participants performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as to
indicate a common purpose or design to bring out the victims death.[49] Once conspiracy is
established, it is unnecessary to prove who among the conspirators inflicted the fatal injury.
[50] If conspiracy is proved, all the conspirators are criminally liable for the crime charged and
proved. The act of one is the act of all.
In this case, the appellants were waiting outside the dance hall near the gate when Edwin
Solo brought the victim towards them, onto the street. Jose held the victim by the right
shoulder, while Allan held him by the left. Estemson suddenly appeared from behind the
victim and stabbed the latter at the back with a small bolo. The appellants continued holding
the victim as Estemson stabbed him yet again. Even as Estemson fled, the appellants
dragged the victim from the gate, towards the store, where they dropped the victims body
and fled from the scene. Allan then left Catanduanes and hid in Pasay City where he was
arrested by the NBI on August 7, 1994.[51]
Considering the foregoing, the Court affirms the finding of the CA that the appellants are
guilty as principals by direct participation in the killing of Alberto Mariano.[52]
Indeed, the only defenses proffered by the appellants are denial and alibi, which are,
however, the weakest of defenses in criminal cases. The well-established rule is that denial
and alibi are self-serving negative evidence; they cannot prevail over the spontaneous,
positive and credible testimony of Perlita Mariano who pointed to and identified the appellants
as the two of the malefactors.[53] Indeed, alibi is easy to concoct and difficult to disprove.
[54] The Court notes that the appellants even admitted that they were in the dance hall before

the stabbing, and that Jose left only after the incident. Moreover, Jose did not present any
other witness to corroborate his alibi.
The crime committed by the appellants is murder qualified by treachery. Although there
was an altercation between Estemson and the victim shortly before the latter was stabbed,
treachery nevertheless attended the commission of the crime. As this Court held in People v.
Teston:[55]

We disagree with the trial courts ruling that treachery did not attend the killing.
Treachery is present when the attack is sudden and unexpected, depriving the victim of
any real chance to defend himself and thereby ensuring the commission of the crime
without risk to the offender. The lower court held that since Vladiner and FORCA
fought on the day of the killing, Vladiner was forewarned of the danger to himself.
Also, it considered the fight as evidence that the accused did not consciously adopt their
mode of attack as their confrontation was coincidental.
That the victim and the accused had an altercation immediately before the attack upon
the victim does not negate the presence of treachery. In People v. Molina, we held that
[t]reachery may also be appreciated even when the victim was warned of danger or
initially assaulted frontally, but was attacked again after being rendered helpless and had
no means to defend himself or to retaliate. Similarly, inPeople v. Villonez, this Court
declared that
However, we do not share the assessment of the trial court that there was no treachery in
this case because the victim had engaged in a fight previous to the killing and was thus
forewarned of an attack against him. Treachery may still be appreciated even when the
victim was forewarned of danger to his person. What is decisive is that the execution of
the attack made it impossible for the victim to defend himself or to retaliate. The
overwhelming number of the accused, their use of weapons against the unarmed victim,
and the fact that the victims hands were held behind him preclude the possibility of any
defense by the victim.
In the instant case, it has been established that while Vladiner was being held down by
GACO and OSORIO, FORCA stabbed him several times. However, despite Vladiners
helpless and vulnerable condition, TESTON still hacked him repeatedly, guaranteeing
that the victim would not survive the attack. This undoubtedly constitutes treachery for
the means employed by accused ensured the execution of their nefarious designs upon
the victim without risk to themselves arising from any defense which the offended party
might have made.[56]

Under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, murder is punishable by reclusion
perpetua to death. There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstances in the
commission of the felony, the appellants should be sentenced to reclusion perpetua,
conformably to Article 63, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code. The appellants are also
civilly liable to the heirs of the deceased in the amount of P50,000.00 by way of civil
indemnity, and P50,000.00 by way of moral damages.[57]
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR No. 22904 is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. Appellants Jose Bulan and Allan Bulan
are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of murder as defined in Article 248 of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, qualified by treachery. There
being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances in the commission of the crime, they are
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The appellants are ORDERED
to pay, jointly and severally, the heirs of Alberto Mariano the amount of P50,000.00 by way of
civil indemnity, and P50,000.00 by way of moral damages. Costs against the appellants.
SO ORDERED.
Austria-Martinez, (Acting Chairman), Tinga, and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.
Puno, (Chairman), on official leave.

[1] Penned by Associate Justice Bernardo P. Abesamis (retired), with Associate Justices Eugenio S. Labitoria
and Wenceslao I. Agnir, Jr., concurring.

[2] CA Rollo, pp. 74-75.


G.R. No. L-59318 May 16, 1983
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ROGELIO RAMOS y GAERLAN, defendant-appellant.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Antonio N. Salamera for defendant-appellant.

GUERRERO, J.:
This is an automatic review of the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila finding the accused Rogelio
Ramos y Gaerlan in Criminal Case No. 61029 guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 4, Article II, in
relation to Section 2(i), Article I of the Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by P.D. No. 44 and further amended by
P.D. No. 1675, and imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
There is no dispute about the facts of this case. At about 10:00 o'clock in the evening of May 3. 1981, while P/Lt. E.
Mediavillo and P/Sgt. A. Linga were on routine patrol along Taft Avenue, they had seen and observed one MALCON
OLEVERE y NAPA, acting suspiciously near the corner of Estrada Street. 1 The police officers, after Identifying

themselves, stopped and frisked the suspect and found in his possession dried marijuana leaves. 2 The police officers
thereafter placed Malcon Olevere under arrest. Upon investigation, suspect Olevere declared that he bought the recovered
marijuana leaves from one ROGELIO RAMOS y GAERLAN, alias "Balanchoy". 3

The following day, May 4, 1981, at about 12:00 o'clock noon, a police team with suspect Malcon Olevere y Napa
proceeded to the residence of appellant Rogelio Ramos y Gaerlan in 2366 Singalong, Malate, Manila and arrested
him. The police operatives immediately brought appellant to the Drugs Enforcement Section Western Police
Department Headquarters for investigation.
During the custodial investigation, suspect Malcon Olevere executed a written sworn statement implicating the
accused-appellant Rogelio Ramos as the source of the marijuana leaves. 4 The accused, after having been duly apprised
of his constitutional rights, verbally admitted before Lt. E. Mediavillo and Sgt. A. Linga the commission of the offense
charged. He likewise admitted that he sold to Malcon Olevere the marijuana leaves for P10.00. 5
On May 22, 1981, upon arraignment, the accused-appellant Ramos entered a plea of not guilty to the information filed
by assistant fiscal Antonio J. Ballena which states:
That on or about May 4, 1981, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, not being
authorized by law to sell, deliver, give away to another or distribute any prohibited drug, did then and
there willfully and unlawfully sell or offer for sale and deliver dried marijuana leaves, which is a
prohibited drug.
Contrary to law. 6
At the trial, the prosecution presented three witnesses to wit: Patrolman Jaime Cruz, a police investigator, Patrolman
Agapito Linga, a police agent, and Felisa Vequilla, an NBI forensic chemist.
Patrolman Cruz testified that on May 5, 1981, he investigated and took down the sworn statement of one Malcon
Olevere who disclosed that the accused-appellant Ramos was the source of the marijuana leaves. Patrolman Cruz also
testified that he prepared the Booking Sheet and Arrest Report of the appellant Ramos and the corresponding Crime
Report. 7 Patrolman Agapito Linga declared on the witness stand that Lt. Mediavilla arrested appellant Ramos because
Malcon Olevere declared that the appellant sold to him the confiscated marijuana leaves. 8 The third witness, Felisa
Vequilla, a forensic chemist, affirmed that after conducting a dangerous drug test, the leaves confiscated from Malcon
Olevere are positive for marijuana. 9
The prosecution offered the following as documentary evidence: 10
Exhibit "A" The Booking Sheet and Arrest Report of accused Rogelio Ramos prepared by witness
Patrolman Cruz which was offered as part of his testimony;
Exhibit "B" Crime Report dated May 6, 1981 also prepared by the witness Patrolman Cruz;
Exhibit "B-1" second page of Exhibit "B'
Exhibit "C" Sworn Statement of Malcon Olevere y Napa;
Exhibit "C-1" The bracketed portions of Exhibit "C" stating among others that it was Rogelio Ramos
herein accused who furnished Malcon Olevere the marijuana leaves;
Exhibit "D-1" marijuana leaves examined;
Exhibit "E" the envelope containing the marijuana leaves which was confiscated
from Malcon Olevere.

After the trial, the Court of First Instance of Manila (now the Regional Trial Court) found the accused-appellant
Ramos guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged in view of the verbal admission given by the appellant
himself and the evidence offered and admitted in court. The dispositive portion of its judgment reads:
WHEREFORE, accused ROGELIO RAMOS y GAERLAN is hereby found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of a violation of Section 4, Article II in relation to Section 2(i), Article I Republic
Act No. 6425, as amended by PD 44 and further amended by PD 1675 as charged in the present
information, for selling subject prohibited drugs (marijuana leaves) without any lawful authority and
is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment); to pay a fine of
Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) pesos, without any subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency;
and to pay the costs. Let the accused be given full credit of the entire period of his preventive
imprisonment.
Subject marijuana leaves (Exhibit E) are confiscated, to be destroyed by the Dangerous Drugs Board
pursuant to law.
SO ORDERED. 11
The case is now before Us for automatic review. Accused-appellant submits before this Honorable Court the following
errors: 12
I
That the court erred in finding the accused guilty of violation of Section 4 Article II of Republic Act
No. 6425 otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended (Selling-Pushing).
II
That the court erred in its findings both in question of law and fact in convicting the accused
notwithstanding the failure of the prosecution to adduce the quantum of evidence necessary to
establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt by failing to present Malcon Olevere y
Napa, the person who claimed that it was the therein accused who allegedly sold the marijuana
leaves.
III
That the constitutional rights of the accused, more particularly the right to meet the witness against
him face to face and to cross-examination e him has been violated.
IV
That the court has acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to a denial of due process of law.
The principal issue in this case is whether there is competent and/or admissible evidence in the record to justify the
conviction of the accused-appellant Ramos.
We find petitioner's case meritorious. The lower court erred in admitting as evidence the written sworn affidavit of
Malcon Olevere. It can be gleaned from the records that Malcon Olevere executed the written sworn statement
declaring that appellant Ramos sold to him the marijuana leaves for P10.00. This piece of evidence is a mere scrap of
paper because Malcon Olevere was not produced in court for cross-examination. An affidavit being taken ex-parte is
often incomplete and inaccurate. 13 Such kind of evidence is considered hearsay. 14 The constitutional right to meet
witnesses face to face 15 in order not to deprive persons of their lives and properties without due process of law is wellprotected in our jurisprudence. Thus, in People vs. Toledo, 16 We elucidated:

Testimony in open court in actual trial cannot be equated with any out-of-court declaration, even
when the witness has in fact been confronted already by the defendant. The direct relevance of the
trial to the ultimate judgment as to the guilt or innocence of the accused is not present in any other
proceeding and is thus a factor that can influence materially the conduct and demeanor of the witness
as well as the respective efforts of the counsels of the parties.
For the court to admit the sworn statement of Malcon Olevere without giving the adverse party the right to crossexamine him would easily facilitate the fabrication of evidence and the perpetration of fraud. The inadmissibility of
this sort of evidence is based, not only on the lack of opportunity on the part of the adverse party to cross-examine the
affiant, 17 but also on the commonly known fact that, generally, an affidavit is not prepared by the affiant himself but by
another who uses his own language in writing the affiant's statements which may either be omitted or misunderstood by the
one writing them. 18
The Booking Sheet and the Dangerous Drug Report of chemist Felisa Vequilla which were presented as evidence by
the prosecution, established nothing to support the conviction of the appellant herein. For the same reason, that
Malcon Olevere was not presented as a witness and insofar as they impute to appellant the commission of the crime
charged, the adduced evidence are nothing but hearsay evidence. They cannot be regarded as competent evidence as to
the veracity of the contents therein.
It is not disputed that the marijuana leaves recovered and tested by witness Vequilla came from Malcon Olevere and
not from appellant. It would be absurd and manifestly unjust to conclude that appellant had been selling marijuana
stuff just because what were recovered from Olevere were real marijuana. Proof of one does not necessarily prove
another. Nowhere can it be found on the record that appellant was caught in possession or in the act of selling the
prohibited marijuana leaves.
The oral testimonies given by the witnesses for the prosecution prove nothing material and culpable against the
accused. As correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General not anyone of the three witnesses presented testified on the
basis of their personal knowledge that the appellant sold the marijuana leaves to Malcon Olevere. Under Rule 130,
Sec. 30 of the Revised Rules of Court, "a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his own
knowledge, that is, which are derived from his own perception. ...
A witness, therefore, may not testify as to what he merely learned from others, either because he was told or having
read or heard the same. Such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what he
has learned. Since Malcon Olevere was not presented as a witness, the testimonies offered by the witnesses for the
prosecution are regarded as hearsay, insofar as they impute to the appellant the commission of the offense charged.
The lower court in convicting appellant of the crime charged, Partly relief on the verbal admission made by appellant
himself before Lt. Mediavillo and Sgt. Linga during the custodial investigation. Although the records prove that the
appellant has been duly apprised of his constitutional rights to silence and to counsel, 19 We are not fully convinced that
this apprisal was sufficiently manifested and intelligently understood and accepted by the appellant. This is fatal to the
admissibility of appellant's verbal admission. We have repeatedly emphasized that care should be taken in accepting
extrajudicial admissions, especially when taken during custodial investigation. In People vs. Caquioa, 20 We ruled:
As for the procedural safeguards to be employed, unless other fully effective means are devised to
inform accused persons of their right to silence and assure a continuous opportunity to exercise it, the
following measures are required. Prior to questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right
to remain silent, that any statement he does make be used as evidence against him, and that he has a
right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. The defendant may waive
effectuation of those rights provided the waiver is made voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. If
however, he indicates in any manner and at any stage of the prosecution that he wishes to consult

with an attorney before speaking, there can be no questioning. Likewise, if the individual is alone and
indicates in any manner that he does not wish to be interrogated, the police may not question him.
The mere fact that he may have answered some questions or volunteered some statements on his own
does not deprive him of the right to refrain from answering any further inquiries until he has
consulted with an attorney and thereafter consents to be questioned.
Again, the constitutional rights of the accused to silence and to counsel is fortified in the very recent case of Morales
and Moncupa vs. Enrile 21 where this Court said:
At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform him of the reason
for the arrest and he must be shown the warrant of arrest, if any. He shall be informed of his
constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel and that any statement he might make could be
used against him. The person arrested shall have the right to communicate with his lawyer, a relative,
or anyone he chooses by the most expedient means - by telephone if possible - or by letter or
messenger. It shall be the responsibility of the arresting officer to see to it that this is accomplished.
No custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the presence of counsel engaged by the
person arrested, by any person on his behalf, or appointed by the court upon petition either of the
detainee himself or by anyone on his behalf. The right to counsel may be waived but the waiver shag
not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel. Any statement obtained in violation of the
procedure herein laid down, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be
inadmissible in evidence.
In the case at bar, appellant has only finished Grade VI, 22 which means that he is not adequately educated to understand
fairly and fully the significance of his constitutional rights to silence and to counsel. As mandated, it is not enough that the
police investigator merely informs him of his constitutional rights to silence and to counsel, and then taking his statements
down, the interrogating officer must have patience in explaining these rights to him. The records do not reveal that these
requirements have been fully complied with, nor was there any showing that appellant has been represented by counsel
during custodial investigation. In consonance with Section 20 of the Bill of Rights which states that "any confession
obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence," We hold that the verbal admissions of appellant
during custodial investigation may not be taken in evidence against him.
We hold and rule that the guilt of the accused has not been established beyond reasonable doubt and he is, therefore,
entitled to acquittal.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila is
REVERSED, and appellant is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged in the information. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar (Chairman), Concepcion Jr., A bad Santos, De Castro and Escolin JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., took no part.

Footnotes
1 Tsn, September 24, 1981, pp. 1-2.
2 Record of Criminal Case No. 61029, p. 1.
3 Tsn, September 24, 1981, pp. 2-3; Exhibit C,
4 Exhibit C.

5 Booking Sheet, Exhibit A.


6 Record of Criminal Case No. 61029, p. 1.
7 Tsn, September 24, 1981, pp. 1-3.
8 Tsn, October 2, 1981, pp. 2-4.
9 Tsn, October 2, 1981, pp. 1-2.
10 Tsn, October 28, 1981, p. 1.
11 Rollo, p. 007.
12 Rollo, p. 52.
13 People vs. Rodulfo Sabio, 102 SCRA 2,42; People vs. Pacala, 58 SCRA 370, citing Moore on
Facts 1094-1095; People vs. Tan et al., 89 Phil. 337, 341.
14 Paa vs. Chan, 21 SCRA 753; People vs. Kusain Saik, L-17060, May 30, 1963, Vda. de Gregorio
vs. Go Chong Bing, 102 Phil. 557; Soriano vs. Heirs of Magali, L-15133, July 31, 1963; Marifosque
vs. Luna, 9095, May 25, 1957; Community Investment and Finance Corporation vs. Garcia, 88 Phil.
215; Duldulao vs. Ramos, L-4615, Nov. 20, 1951.
15 According to Section 19 of the Bill of Rights: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved and shall enjoy the right to ... meet the witnesses face
to face ..."; People vs. Seneres, 99 SCRA 99; "The Constitutional right of confrontation, which
guarantees to the accused the right to cross-examine the witness for the prosecution; is one of the
most basic rights of an accused person under our system of justice."
16 85 SCRA 355.
17 People vs. Palaliwagan, 76 Phil. 457.
18 People vs. Marinquira, 84 Phil. 39.
19 According to Article IV, Section 20 of the Constitution: "No person shall be compelled to be a
witness against himself. Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have
the right to remain silent and to counsel and to be informed of such right. No force, violence, threat,
intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him. Any
confession obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible in evidence. "
20 95 SCRA 2.
21 G.R. No. 61016 promulgated on April 26, 1983.
22 Tsn, November 10, 1981, p. 9.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law FoundationPEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. ARTURO F. PACIFICADOR, respondent.

DECISION
DE LEON, JR., J.:

Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Resolution [1] dated February 3, 1999 of the

Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) granting the Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution [2] dated
October 20, 1998 denying herein respondents Motion to Dismiss the Information in Criminal Case No.
13044 and the Resolution[3] dated July 23, 1999 which denied petitioners urgent motion for
reconsideration.
On October 27, 1988, herein respondent, Arturo Pacificador y Fullon, and his erstwhile coaccused, Jose T. Marcelo,[4] were charged before the Sandiganbayan with the crime of violation of
Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, in
an Information[5] that reads:
That on or about and during the period from December 6, 1975 to January 6, 1976, in Metro Manila,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, said accused, Arturo Pacificador, then
Chairman of the Board of the National Shipyard and Steel Corporation, a government-owned
corporation, and therefore, a public officer, and Jose T. Marcelo, Jr., then President of the Philippine
Smelters Corporation, a private corporation, conspiring and confederating with one another and with
other individuals, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and knowingly, and with evident bad faith
promote, facilitate, effect and cause the sale, transfer and conveyance by the National Shipyard and
Steel Corporation of its ownership and all its titles, rights and interests over parcels of land in Jose
Panganiban, Camarines Norte where the Jose Panganiban Smelting Plant is located including all the
reclaimed and foreshore areas of about 50 hectares to the Philippine Smelters Corporation by virtue of
a contract, the terms and conditions of which are manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the
Government as the consideration thereof is only P85,144.50 while the fair market value thereof at that
time was P862,150.00, thereby giving the Philippine Smelters Corporation unwarranted benefits,
advantages and profits and causing undue injury, damage and prejudice to the government in the
amount of P777,005.50.
After his arraignment, the respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss the Information in Criminal Case
No. 13044 on July 15, 1998 on the following grounds:
1) The court has no jurisdiction since the crime charged had been extinguished by prescription; and
2) The information does not charge an offense in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in the
case of San Mauricio Mining Corporation, et al., vs. Hon. Constante A. Ancheta, et al., G.R. No. L47859 and L-57132 dated July 10, 1981.

On August 21, 1998 the petitioner filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss.
On November 10, 1998, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying the Motion to Dismiss the
Information ruling that:
The information in this case, dated October 19, 1988, was filed with the Sandiganbayan on October 27,
1988 on which date the existing jurisprudence on matters of prescription of the offense was the ruling
enunciated in Francisco v. Court of Appeals (May 30, 1983, 122 SCRA 538) to the effect that the filing
of the complaint with the fiscals office also interrupts the period of prescription of the offense.
The offense charged was allegedly committed from December 16, 1975 to January 6, 1976. The

running of the period of prescription of the offense may have started on January 6, 1976 but was
interrupted by the filing of the complaint with the appropriate investigating body. In the case at bench,
We find in the record no proof, or even an allegation, of the precise date of filing of the complaint with
the appropriate investigating body which investigated this case,to enable us to determine with certainty
if the offense charged have (sic) indeed prescribed.
The second ground submitted by the accused-movant is precipitate at this stage of the proceedings, as it
involves a matter of defense.
Thereupon, on December 7, 1998, respondent Pacificador moved for the reconsideration of the
Resolution of the Sandiganbayan denying his Motion to Dismiss, contending that:
1) The prosecution of the crime charged is time-barred by prescription as shown by facts and
circumstances on record and of judicial notice; and
2) It is not precipitate for the Honorable Court to consider the Supreme Court ruling in San Mauricio
Mining Co. vs. Hon. Constante A. Ancheta, et al., declaring the basic deed of sale as not illegal and
with justly adequate consideration.

On February 3, 1999, the Sandiganbayan reconsidered its Resolution of November 10, 1998 and
dismissed the Information in Criminal Case No. 139405 against the respondent on the ground of
prescription. It ruled thus:
In Our resolution denying accused Pacificadors Motion to Dismiss, We applied Article 91 of the
Revised Penal Code and the doctrine laid down in Francisco vs. CA (122 SCRA 538) to the effect that
the filing of the complaint with the fiscals office or investigating body interrupts the running of the
period of prescription. This is where We committed an oversight. Instead of applying Act No. 3326, as
amended, xxx, We utilized Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code.
In this case, as the offense involved is the violation of R.A. 3019, a special law, it follows that in
computing the prescriptive period of the offense, it is not the provision contained in the Revised Penal
Code that should govern but that of Act No. 3326. xxx
In Zaldivia vs. Reyes, Jr., (211 SCRA 277), the Supreme Court, in a clear language, held that the
proceedings referred to in Section 2 of Act No. 3326 are judicial proceedings and do not include
administrative proceedings. xxx
The offense imputed on accused was allegedly committed from December 6, 1975 to January 6,
1976. The offense prescribed on January 3, 1986, or ten years from January 6, 1976.
The Urgent Motion for Reconsideration of petitioner was denied by the Sandiganbayan on July 23,
1999.
Hence, the petition.
In its Brief,[6] the petitioner contends that, contrary to the ruling of the Sandiganbayan, the
provision of Act No. 3326[7] on prescription of offenses punishable under special laws is not applicable
to the instant criminal case for the reason that Republic Act No. 3019 provides for its own prescriptive

period. Section 11 thereof provides that offenses committed and punishable under the said law shall
prescribe in fifteen (15) years. However, inasmuch as Republic Act No. 3019 does not state exactly
when the fifteen-year prescriptive period begins to run, Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code should be
applied suppletorily.[8] Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, which adopts the discovery rule for the
prescription of offenses, provides:
ART. 91. Computation of prescription of offenses.- The period of prescription shall commence to run
from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, or their agents,
and shall be interrupted by filing of the complaint or information, and shall commence to run again
when such proceedings terminate without the accused being convicted or acquitted, or are unjustifiably
stopped for any reason not imputable to him.
The term of prescription shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine Archipelago.
Petitioner also contends that the crime, subject of this case should be deemed as discovered only
on May 13, 1987 when a complaint was filed with the Presidential Commission on Good Government
(PCGG) by the then Solicitor General Francisco Chavez. Hence, the filing of the information on
October 27, 1988 with the Sandiganbayan was well within the prescriptive period.
Additionally, petitioner contends that the ordinary principles of prescription do not apply in this
case for the reason that the respondent effectively concealed his criminal acts which prevented the
discovery of the offense until May 13, 1987. Even on the assumption that the registration of the Deed
of Sale was on December 29, 1975 when that document was executed by the parties, and thus,
amounted to a constructive notice to the whole world of the existence of the said Deed of Sale, the
registration thereof could not have given notice of fraudulent acts of the parties to the sale. The
situation prevailing at that time, that is, during the authoritarian regime of then President Ferdinand E.
Marcos, did not permit the investigative and prosecuting arms of the government to institute complaints
against him, his wife and his cronies.
In his Comment,[9] respondent Arturo Pacificador argued that Act No. 3326 governs the
prescription of offenses punishable under special laws; that the registration of the Deed of Sale in
question is the correct reckoning or starting point for prescription inasmuch as the fact of registration of
said Deed of Sale in effect gave notice to the whole world not only of its existence but also of all the
facts contained therein; that, aside from the ground of prescription, the Information in Criminal Case
No. 13044 should be dismissed on the ground that it does not charge an offense inasmuch as the issue
of whether or not the contract of sale was disadvantageous to the government had long been settled in
the case of San Mauricio Mining Co. v. Hon. Constante A. Ancheta, et al.,[10] and that the dismissal of
the criminal case against him by the Sandiganbayan on the ground of prescription is tantamount to
acquittal which bars prosecution of the respondent for the same offense under Section 6, Rule 117 of
the Rules of Court.
The petition is not impressed with merit.
It has been settled that Section 2 of Act No. 3326 governs the computation of prescription of
offenses defined and penalized by special laws. In the case of People v. Sandiganbayan,[11] this Court

ruled that Section 2 of Act No. 3326 was correctly applied by the anti-graft court in determining the
reckoning period for prescription in a case involving the crime of violation of Republic Act No. 3019,
as amended. In the fairly recent case of Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans
v. Desierto,[12] we categorically ruled that:
Since the law alleged to have been violated, i.e., paragraphs (e) and (g) of Section 3, R.A. No.
3019, as amended, is a special law, the applicable rule in the computation of the prescriptive period is
Section 2 of Act No. 3326, as amended, which provides:
Sec. 2. Prescription should begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the
law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof and institution of
judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment. (Emphasis ours)
The prescription shall be interrupted when the proceedings are instituted against the guilty person and
shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting double jeopardy.
This simply means that if the commission of the crime is known, the prescriptive period shall
commence to run on the day it was committed.
It can be gleaned from the Information in this case that respondent Pacificador allegedly
committed the crime charged on or about and during the period from December 6, 1975 to January 6,
1976. Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019, as amended by B.P. Blg. 195, provides that the offenses
committed under the said statute shall prescribe in fifteen (15) years. It appears however, that prior to
the amendment of Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019 by B.P. Blg. 195 which was approved on March 16,
1982, the prescriptive period for offenses punishable under the said statute was only ten (10)
years. The longer prescriptive period of fifteen (15) years, as provided in Section 11 of R.A. No. 3019
as amended by B.P. Blg. 195, does not apply in this case for the reason that the amendment, not being
favorable to the accused (herein private respondent), cannot be given retroactive effect. Hence, the
crime prescribed on January 6, 1986 or ten (10) years from January 6, 1976.
The petitioner, however, vehemently denies having any knowledge of the crime at the time it was
allegedly committed by the respondent. It claims that the crime charged in the Information should be
deemed as discovered only on May 13, 1987 when the then Solicitor General, Francisco Chavez, filed a
complaint with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) against the respondent, for
violation of the provision of R.A. No. 3019, as amended.
We are not convinced. This Court takes notice of the fact that the subject Deed of Sale dated
December 29, 1975 relative to the sale of the parcels of land by the National Steel Corporation to the
Philippine Smelters Corporation, was registered shortly thereafter in the Registry of Deeds of the
Province of Camarines Norte. Subsequently, the Original Certificate of Title No. 0440 in the name of
the National Steel Corporation was cancelled and in lieu thereof Transfer Certificate of Title No. 13060
was issued in the name of the vendee Philippine Smelters Corporation. On February 28, 1977, the
Philippine Smelters Corporation even filed an action for quieting of title with the then Court of First
Instance of Camarines Norte, docketed therein as Civil Case No. 2882, [13] which case forms the basis
for the Sandiganbayan to deduce that the subject Deed of Sale may be deemed registered on the said

date, at the latest.[14]


While petitioner may not have knowledge of the alleged crime at the time of its commission, the
registration of the subject Deed of Sale with the Registry of Deeds constitutes constructive notice
thereof to the whole world inlcuding the petitioner. Well entrenched is the jurisprudential rule that
registration of deeds in the public real estate registry is a notice thereof to the whole world. The
registration is a constructive notice of its contents as well as all interests, legal and equitable, included
therein. All persons are charged with the knowledge of what it contains. [15] Hence, even if the period
of prescription is reckoned from February 28, 1977, the crime had already prescribed when the
Information in this case was filed with the Sandiganbayan on October 27, 1988.
It bears emphasis, as held in a number of cases, that in the interpretation of the law on prescription
of crimes, that which is more favorable to the accused is to be adopted. [16] The said legal principle
takes into account the nature of the law on prescription of crimes which is an act of amnesty and
liberality on the part of the state in favor of the offender. In the case of People v. Moran,[17] this Court
amply discussed the nature of the statute of limitations in criminal cases, as follows:
The statute is not a statute of process, to be scantily and grudgingly applied, but an amnesty,
declaring that after a certain time oblivion shall be cast over the offense; that the offender shall be at
liberty to return to his country, and resume his immunities as a citizen; and that from henceforth he may
cease to preserve the proofs of his innocence, for the proofs of his guilt are blotted out. Hence, it is that
statutes of limitation are to be liberally construed in favor of the defendant, not only because such
liberality of construction belongs to all acts of amnesty and grace, but because the very existence of the
statute is a recognition and notification by the legislature of the fact that time, while it gradually wears
out proofs of innocence, has assigned to it fixed and positive periods in which it destroys proofs of
guilt.
The instant case should be distinguished from the cases of People v. Duque[18] and Presidential Ad
Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto [19] wherein we upheld the view that the
prescriptive period started to run only upon the discovery of the illegal nature of the acts constituting
the offense. The first case involves the crime of illegal recruitment where the accused, Napoleon
Duque, was found to have misrepresented himself to several job applicants as a registered employment
agent duly recognized by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). Due to the said
misrepresentation of the accused, the applicable prescriptive period began to run not from the time of
recruitment of job applicants by the accused but from the time his recruitment activities were
ascertained by the complainants and the POEA to have been carried out without any license or
authority from the government. The second, or Desierto case, which was decided by this Court on
October 25, 1999, involves the grant of alleged behest loans by certain government-owned and
controlled financial institutions to several individuals and corporations closely associated with the then
President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his relatives. It was alleged that the public officials concerned, who
were charged in the corresponding Informations, connived or conspired with the beneficiaries of the
loans in covering up the anomalous transactions. Under the circumstances, it was impossible for the
State, the aggrieved party, to have known the violations of R.A. No. 3019 at the time the questioned

transactions were made. The prescriptive period started to run only upon discovery of the alleged
illegality of the transactions after the investigations thereon were conducted.
In the case at bar, the petitioner contends that respondent concealed his criminal acts that
effectively prevented discovery thereof. The records of this case do not specifically show how the
respondent allegedly employed acts that could prevent the discovery of any illegality in the transaction
other than the bare assertion of the petitioner. There is also no allegation that the government officials
involved in the transactions connived or conspired with respondent Pacificador. The said government
officials were not even charged in the instant Information. On the other hand, it was never disputed by
the petitioner that the subject Deed of Sale was duly registered with the Registry of Deeds of the
Province of Camarines Norte and that the corresponding Transfer Certificate of Title No. 13060 was
subsequently issued to the vendee, Philippine Smelters Corporation.[20]
In view of the foregoing, we do not find it necessary to discuss the other points raised by the
respondent in his Comment as additional grounds for the denial of the instant petition.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.

SHARICA MARI L. GO-TAN


Petitioner,

G.R. No. 168852


Present:
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
NACHURA, and
REYES, JJ.

- versus -

SPOUSES PERFECTO C. TAN


and JUANITA L. TAN,
Respondents.*

Promulgated:
September 30, 2008

x----------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court assailing the Resolution[1] dated March 7, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 94,Quezon City in Civil Case No. Q-05-54536 and the RTC Resolution[2] dated July
11, 2005 which denied petitioner's Verified Motion for Reconsideration.
The factual background of the case:
On April 18, 1999, Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan (petitioner) and Steven L. Tan (Steven) were
married.[3] Out of this union, two female children were born, Kyra Danielle[4] and Kristen
Denise.[5] On January 12, 2005, barely six years into the marriage, petitioner filed a Petition
with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Protective Order (TPO)[6] against Steven and her
parents-in-law, Spouses Perfecto C. Tan and Juanita L. Tan (respondents) before the RTC. She
alleged that Steven, in conspiracy with respondents, were causing verbal, psychological and
economic abuses upon her in violation of Section 5, paragraphs (e)(2)(3)(4), (h)(5), and (i)[7] of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262,[8] otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and
Their Children Act of 2004.
On January 25, 2005, the RTC issued an Order/Notice[9] granting petitioner's prayer for a
TPO.
On February 7, 2005, respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss with Opposition to the
Issuance of Permanent Protection Order Ad Cautelam and Comment on the Petition,
[10] contending that the RTC lacked jurisdiction over their persons since, as parents-in-law of the
petitioner, they were not covered by R.A. No. 9262.
On February 28, 2005, petitioner filed a Comment on Opposition[11] to respondents'
Motion to Dismiss arguing that respondents were covered by R.A. No. 9262 under a liberal
interpretation thereof aimed at promoting the protection and safety of victims of violence.
On March 7, 2005, the RTC issued a Resolution[12] dismissing the case as to
respondents on the ground that, being the parents-in-law of the petitioner, they were not
included/covered as respondents under R.A. No. 9262 under the well-known rule of law
expressio unius est exclusio alterius.[13]
On March
16,
2005,
petitioner
filed
her
Verified
Motion
for
Reconsideration[14] contending that the doctrine of necessary implication should be applied in
the broader interests of substantial justice and due process.
On April 8, 2005, respondents filed their Comment on the Verified Motion for
Reconsideration[15] arguing that petitioner's liberal construction unduly broadened the

provisions of R.A. No. 9262 since the relationship between the offender and the alleged victim
was an essential condition for the application of R.A. No. 9262.
On July 11, 2005, the RTC issued a Resolution[16] denying petitioner's
Verified Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC reasoned that to include respondents under the
coverage of R.A. No. 9262 would be a strained interpretation of the provisions of the law.
Hence, the present petition on a pure question of law, to wit:
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS-SPOUSES PERFECTO & JUANITA,
PARENTS-IN-LAW OF SHARICA, MAY BE INCLUDED IN THE PETITION FOR THE
ISSUANCE OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REPUBLIC ACT NO.
9262, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE ANTI-VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND
THEIR CHILDREN ACT OF 2004.[17]

Petitioner contends that R.A. No. 9262 must be understood in the light of the provisions
of Section 47 of R.A. No. 9262 which explicitly provides for the suppletory application of the
Revised Penal Code (RPC) and, accordingly, the provision on conspiracy under Article 8 of
the RPC can be suppletorily applied to R.A. No. 9262; that Steven and respondents had
community of design and purpose in tormenting her by giving her insufficient financial support;
harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the family home; and in repeatedly abusing her
verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically; that respondents should be included as
indispensable or necessary parties for complete resolution of the case.
On the other hand, respondents submit that they are not covered by R.A. No. 9262 since
Section 3 thereof explicitly provides that the offender should be related to the victim only by
marriage, a former marriage, or a dating or sexual relationship; that allegations on the conspiracy
of respondents require a factual determination which cannot be done by this Court in a petition
for review; that respondents cannot be characterized as indispensable or necessary parties, since
their presence in the case is not only unnecessary but altogether illegal, considering the noninclusion of in-laws as offenders under Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262.
The Court rules in favor of the petitioner.
Section 3 of R.A. No. 9262 defines ''[v]iolence against women and their children'' as any
act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or
against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom
he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without
the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or

suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment
or arbitrary deprivation of liberty.
While the said provision provides that the offender be related or connected to the victim
by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not preclude the
application of the principle of conspiracy under the RPC.
Indeed, Section 47 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly provides for the suppletory application of
the RPC, thus:
SEC. 47. Suppletory Application. - For purposes of this Act, the Revised Penal
Code and other applicable laws, shall have suppletory application. (Emphasis supplied)

Parenthetically, Article 10 of the RPC provides:


ART. 10. Offenses not subject to the provisions of this Code. Offenses which are or in
the future may be punishable under special laws are not subject to the provisions of this
Code. This Code shall be supplementary to such laws, unless the latter should specially
provide the contrary. (Emphasis supplied)

Hence, legal principles developed from the Penal Code may be applied in a
supplementary capacity to crimes punished under special laws, such as R.A. No. 9262, in which
the special law is silent on a particular matter.
Thus, in People v. Moreno,[18] the Court applied suppletorily the provision on subsidiary
penalty under Article 39 of the RPC to cases of violations of Act No. 3992, otherwise known as
the Revised Motor Vehicle Law, noting that the special law did not contain any provision that
the defendant could be sentenced with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
In People v. Li Wai Cheung,[19] the Court applied suppletorily the rules on the service of
sentences provided in Article 70 of the RPC in favor of the accused who was found guilty of
multiple violations of R.A. No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972,
considering the lack of similar rules under the special law.
In People v. Chowdury,[20] the Court applied suppletorily Articles 17, 18 and 19 of the
RPC to define the words principal, accomplices and accessories under R.A. No. 8042,
otherwise known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, because said
words were not defined therein, although the special law referred to the same terms in
enumerating the persons liable for the crime of illegal recruitment.
In Yu v. People,[21] the Court applied suppletorily the provisions on subsidiary
imprisonment under Article 39 of the RPC to Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 22, otherwise known

as theBouncing Checks Law, noting the absence of an express provision on subsidiary


imprisonment in said special law.
Most recently, in Ladonga v. People,[22] the Court applied suppletorily the principle of
conspiracy under Article 8 of the RPC to B.P. Blg. 22 in the absence of a contrary provision
therein.
With more reason, therefore, the principle of conspiracy under Article 8 of the RPC may
be applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262 because of the express provision of Section 47 that the
RPC shall be supplementary to said law. Thus, general provisions of the RPC, which by their
nature, are necessarily applicable, may be applied suppletorily.
Thus, the principle of conspiracy may be applied to R.A. No. 9262. For once conspiracy
or action in concert to achieve a criminal design is shown, the act of one is the act of all the
conspirators, and the precise extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes
secondary, since all the conspirators are principals.[23]
It must be further noted that Section 5 of R.A. No. 9262 expressly recognizes that
the acts of violence against women and their children may be committed by an offender through
another, thus:
SEC. 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children. - The crime of violence
against women and their children is committed through any of the following acts:
xxx
(h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or
through another, that alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological distress to the
woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following acts:
(1) Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places;
(2) Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman or her child;
(3) Entering or remaining in the dwelling or on the property of the woman or her child
against her/his will;
(4) Destroying the property and personal belongings or inflicting harm to animals or
pets of the woman or her child; and
(5) Engaging in any form of harassment or violence; x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

In addition, the protection order that may be issued for the purpose of
preventing further acts of violence against the woman or her child may include
individuals other than the offending husband, thus:
SEC. 8. Protection Orders. x x x The protection orders that may be issued under this
Act shall include any, some or all of the following reliefs:

(a) Prohibition of the respondent from threatening to commit or committing, personally


or through another, any of the acts mentioned in Section 5 of this Act;
(b) Prohibition of the respondent from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or
otherwise communicating with the petitioner, directly or indirectly; x x x (Emphasis supplied)

Finally, Section 4 of R.A. No. 9262 calls for a liberal construction of the law, thus:
SEC. 4. Construction. - This Act shall be liberally construed to promote the
protection and safety of victims of violence against women and their children. (Emphasis
supplied)

It bears mention that the intent of the statute is the law[24] and that this intent must be
effectuated by the courts. In the present case, the express language of R.A. No. 9262 reflects the
intent of the legislature for liberal construction as will best ensure the attainment of the object of
the law according to its true intent, meaning and spirit - the protection and safety of victims of
violence against women and children.
Thus,
contrary
to
the RTC's pronouncement,
the
maxim "expressio unios est exclusio alterius finds no application here. It must be remembered
that this maxim is only an ancillary rule of statutory construction. It is not of universal
application. Neither is it conclusive. It should be applied only as a means of discovering
legislative intent which is not otherwise manifest and should not be permitted to defeat the
plainly indicated purpose of the legislature.[25]
The Court notes that petitioner unnecessarily argues at great length on the
attendance of circumstances evidencing the conspiracy or connivance of Steven and respondents
to cause verbal, psychological and economic abuses upon her. However, conspiracy is
an evidentiary matter which should be threshed out in a full-blown trial on the merits and cannot
be determined in the present petition since this Court is not a trier of facts.[26] It is thus
premature for petitioner to argue evidentiary matters since this controversy is centered only on
the determination of whether respondents may be included in a petition under R.A. No.
9262. The presence or absence of conspiracy can be best passed upon after a trial on the merits.
Considering the Court's ruling that the principle of conspiracy may be
applied suppletorily to R.A. No. 9262, the Court will no longer delve on whether respondents
may be considered indispensable or necessary parties. To do so would be an exercise in
superfluity.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolutions


dated March 7, 2005 and July 11, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94, Quezon City in
Civil Case No. Q-05-54536 are hereby PARTLY REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as
the dismissal of the petition against respondents is concerned.
SO ORDERED.
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
RUBEN T. REYES
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation
before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division

CERTIFICATION
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairpersons
Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

*
[1]

[2]
[3]

The present petition impleaded the Court of Appeals as respondent. Pursuant to Section 4, Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
the name of the Court of Appeals is deleted from the title.
Penned by Judge Romeo F. Zamora, records, p. 209.

Id. at 501.
Records, p. 21.

[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]

Id. at 22.
Id. at 23.
Id. at 1.
SEC. 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children. - The crime of
violence against women and their children is committed through any of the following
acts:
xxxx
(e) Attempting to compel or compelling the woman or her child to engage in conduct which the woman or her child
has the right to desist from or to desist from conduct which the woman or her child has the right to engage in, or attempting to
restrict or restricting the woman's or her child's freedom of movement or conduct by force or threat of force, physical or other harm
or threat of physical or other harm, or intimidation directed against the woman or her child. This shall include, but not limited to,
the following acts committed with the purpose or effect of controlling or restricting the woman's or child's movement or conduct:
xxxx
(2) Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her children of financial support legally due her or her family, or
deliberately providing the woman's children insufficient financial support;
(3)

Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right;

(4) Preventing the woman in engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, or controlling the
victim's own money or properties, or solely controlling the conjugal or common money, or properties;
xxxx
(h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or through another, that alarms or causes
substantial emotional or psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not be limited to, the following
acts:
xxxx
(5)

Engaging in any form of harassment or violence;

(i) Causing mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to the woman or her child, including, but not
limited to, repeated verbal and emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor children or denial of access to
the woman's child/children.

[8]

[9]
[10]
[11]
[12]
[13]

Entitled AN ACT DEFINING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND


THEIR CHILDREN PROVIDING FOR PROTECTIVE MEASURES FOR VICTIMS,
PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Records, p. 26.
Records, p. 36.
Id. at 147.
Id. at 209.
Latin maxim meaning The expression of one thing is the exclusion of anoth

G.R. Nos. L-37168-69 September 13, 1985

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
DELFINO BELTRAN, alias Minong, DOMINGO HERNANDEZ, alias Doming; CEFERINO BELTRAN, alias
Ebing; MANUEL PUZON alias Noling; CRESENCIO SIAZON, alias Ising; and ROGELIO BUGARIN, alias
Boy,accused-appellants.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.


Ernesto P. Pagayatan for accused-appellants.

RELOVA, J.:
Accused-appellants Delfino Beltran, alias Minong; Rogelio Bugarin, alias Boy; Cresencio Siazon, alias Ising; Manuel
Puzon, alias Noling; Domingo Hernandez, alias Doming; and, Ceferino Beltran, alias Ebing, were indicted for murder
and double attempted murder with direct assault in the then Court of First Instance of Cagayan, docketed as Criminal
Case No. 158- S. Likewise, Delfino Beltran was charged with attempted murder in Criminal Case No. 160-S.
After trial they were convicted and sentenced as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds all the accused DELFINO BELTRAN alias Minong, ROGELIO
BUGARIN alias Boy, CRESENCIO SIAZON alias Ising, MANUEL PUZON alias Noling,
DOMINGO HERNANDEZ alias Doming and CEFERINO BELTRAN alias Ebing, guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder for the death of VICENTE QUIROLGICO. There being no
mitigating circumstance, the Court has no other alternative than to impose the maximum penalty
provided for by law. Accused Delfino Beltran, Rogelio Bugarin, Cresencio Siazon, Manuel Puzon,
Domingo Hernandez and Ceferino Beltran are hereby sentenced to the maximum penalty of DEATH,
to indemnify the heirs of Vicente Quirolgico the sum of P 12,000.00 for the loss of his life; P
75,000.00 as reimbursement for expenses covering medical funeral embalming mausoleum and burial
lot, and the further sum of P 50,000.00 for moral damages, jointly and severally and to pay the costs,
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, taking into consideration the nature of the
principal penalty imposed.
The Court likewise finds all the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of DOUBLE
ATTEMPTED MURDER WITH DIRECT ASSAULT and hereby imposes upon an of them the
penalty of RECLUSION TEMPORAL in its medium period and orders them to undergo a prison
term ranging from 14 years, 8 months and 1 day as minimum to 17 years and 4 months as maximum
and to pay the costs.
Under Crim. Case No, 160-S, accused DELFINO BELTRAN is hereby found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE and hereby sentence him to undergo a
prison term ranging from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 3 years, 6 months and 20 days of prision
correccional and to pay the costs. (pp. 402-403, Record)
The People's evidence shows that in the evening of January 11, 1972, between 9:00 and 10:00, in Ballesteros,
Cagayan, Ernesto Alvarado was bringing Calixto Urbi home in a jeep. Passing by the Puzon Compound, Delfino
Beltran alias Minong, shouted at them, "Oki ni inayo" (Vulva of your mother). They proceeded on their way and
ignored Delfino. After Alvarado had brought Urbi to his house he went to the house of Mayor Bienvenido Quirolgico
and reported the matter. The newly elected Mayor told the Chief of Police that something should be done about it.
They decided to go to the Puzon Compound with the intention to talk to Delfino Beltran and his companions to
surrender considering that he knew them personally as all of them were once working for Congressman David Puzon
When they came near the compound, they saw appellants Delfino Beltran, Rogelio Bugarin and Domingo Hernandez
and suddenly there was a simultaneous discharge of gunfire, The mayor's son, Vicente, who was with them, cried: " I
am already hit, Daddy." As he fell, Vicente pushed his father and both fell down. Mayor Quirolgico and Patrolman
Rolando Tolentino also suffered injuries. When the firing had stopped, they decided to bring Vicente to the hospital.

As the jeep left the compound three (3) men came out of the Puzon Compound and fired at the fleeing vehicle. They
were Cresencio Siazon, Ceferino Beltran and Noling Puzon. Likewise, Domingo Hernandez and Minong Beltran and
Boy Bugarin tried to give chase. After a while, all the six men returned inside the compound.
An hour after admission to the hospital Vicente Quirolgico died. Autopsy examination on the deceased Vicente
Quirolgico showed the following findings:
1. Gunshot wound. inlet wound at the posterior portion of right Mid-axillary line, at the level of the
5th costal ribs at the back, traversing the right side of the chest, harrowing the right lung, and
fracturing the four (4) postal ribs on the right side front causing an outlet wound almost six (6) inches
long over the right side of the chest diagonally from above the right nipple downward near the right
mid-axillary line. The inlet has almost one (1) cm. diameter.
2. Gunshot, wound left knee inlet wound at the exterior and posterior side of the left knee. almost (1)
cm. diameter, directed towards the medial side of the left knee, fracturing the left knee and inlet
wound two (2) inches long.
3. Gunshot wound of the right thigh, inlet wound, anterior on front side of the right thigh at the
middle thirds, measuring almost one (1) cm. diameter.
4. Gunshot wound at the internal angle of the left eye inlet wound almost one (1) cm. diameter,
directed downwards and medially traversing the right side of the face.
CAUSE OF DEATH: INTERNAL HEMORRHAGE secondary to Gunshot wound of the chest and
left eye. (Exh. "B", p. 10, Records).
and the examination on Mayor Quirolgico shows the following injuries:
(1) Wound, gunshot, face right;
(2) Wound, gunshot, upper lips right;
(3) Wound, gunshot, leg, right;
(4) Wound, gunshot, big toe, right;
(5) Wound, gunshot, 2nd toe, right (Exh. "A-1", P. 22, Record)
and on Patrolman Rolando Tolentino, the following injuries:
(1) Wound, gunshot, amper fated index, middle and ring fingers, right;
(2) Wound, lacerated, 1 cm. long, 1/3 cm. deep lumbar region, right;
(3) Wound, lacerated 1/4 cm. long, 1/3 cm. deep forearm, left.
(Exh. "A", p. 20, Record.)
On November 23, 1982, this Court, upon receipt of the information of the death of appellant Cresencio Siazon alias
Ising on February 17, 1982 due to "Cardio Respiratory Arrest Secondary to Carcinoma Liver, Pulmonary
Tuberculosis," from Mr. Ramon J. Liwag, Officer-in-Charge, New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa, as well as the
Comment filed by the Solicitor General on the aforesaid information, Resolved to dismiss the case insofar as the
criminal liability of the deceased Cresencio Siazon alias Ising is concerned.
Appellant Rogelio Bugarin claims that between 5:00 and 5:30 in the afternoon of January 11, 1972,, the armed men
inside the passing jeep of Mayor Quirolgico fired at Rogelio Bugarin, who was then standing at the main gate of
Puzon Compound. After the armed men had passed by, Rogelio Bugarin proceeded to the office of Congressman
Puzon where he met Ebing Beltran and Delfino Beltran who both asked him about the gun reports. They just
dismissed the incident as no one was hurt. Rogelio Bugarin played guitar while waiting for supper.

Around 10:30 in the evening of the same date, or after appellants had taken their supper at Puzon Compound, they
heard an unusual sound which appeared to be a six by six truck that was bumped. Thereafter, at about 12:00 midnight
of the same day, Delfino Beltran, posted himself as guard and positioned himself in front of the gate of the Rural
Bank. While at the place he saw a group of persons, numbering more than ten, along the road in front of the Rural
Bank. Among the group of armed men, he was able to recognize the Chief of Police of Ballesteros, Gavino Collado,
holding a swinging flashlight, Gerry, Bundok Usita and Bunti Pinzon. When the group reached the gate of Puzon
Compound, he peeped and took hold of the gate with an iron chain. Accidentally, he dropped the chain and it created a
sound which caused the group of armed men to fire upon his direction for about half an hour. In retaliation, he loaded
his gun following which he saw a man falling down from the fence. As the firing continued, he stealthily mounted his
gun on top of the fence and fired the same.
When the firing ceased, he proceeded to the residence of Congressman Puzon. In the sala, he saw Boy Bugarin,
Doming Hernandez, Ising Siazon, Noling Puzon, Ebing Beltran and Floresida Amayon, conversing. Upon seeing him,
his companions asked him what was that firing all about. He told them that he traded shots with a group of armed
men. Thereafter, they hid in the basement of the residence of the Congressman, staying there for one whole day. The
following day, Delfino Beltran surrendered to Captain Retuta, while the rest escaped but thereafter surrendered.
The defense of appellant Delfino Beltran, alias Minong, is self- defense; whereas appellants Rogelio Bugarin, alias
Boy, Ceferino Beltran, alias Ebing, and Manuel Puzon, alias Noling denied having anything to do with the incident.
In this appeal, appellants contend that the trial court erred in: (1) giving credence to the evidence for the prosecution;
(2) holding that conspiracy existed among them in the commission of the offense charged in Criminal Case No. 158-S;
(3) finding that treachery and evident premeditation attended the commission of the crimes; (4) not finding that
appellant Delfino Beltran acted in self-defense; (5) finding appellants guilty of attempted murder with direct assault
on Mayor Quirolgico and Pat. Rolando Tolentino; and (6) not appreciating in favor of the appellants the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender.
On the first assigned error, We reiterate the established doctrine that when the issue is one of credibility of witnesses,
appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of the trial court, considering that it is in a better position to
decide the question, having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying
during the hearing, unless it had overlooked certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, might affect the
result of the case.
The judgment of conviction is not bereft of evidence to support the same. Hereunder are the testimonies of the
prosecution's eyewitnesses, namely:
Carmelita Collado who declared the following:
Q Will you inform the Honorable Court who was that one shouting?
A Minong Beltran, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Will you inform the Court what was that?
A I heard the voice of Mr. Minong Beltran saying, 'Cida, Cida, you bring out the
guns now I have already shot at the BRQ jeep and they are sure to come back.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Can you tell us what you saw at that time?

A I saw these three persons, Minong Beltran, Boy Bugarin and Domingo Hernandez,
sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q What else did you see if any?
A When these three persons came out, they were already
xxx xxx xxx
Q Will you inform this Court what was that?
A Upon coming out, Delfino Beltran ordered Doming Hernandez to go to the right side of the old
office of Congressman Puzon and he also instructed Boy Bugarin to seek cover to the Rural Bank.
xxx xxx xxx
Q During all these time that these were happening, the going out of Doming Hernandez, of Bugarin;
the ordering of Minong Beltran to the two, did you see any other persons inside the compound of
Congressman Puzon aside from the three?
A After the three had placed themselves in their respective positions, I saw persons coming out but I
was not able to recognize them. (tsn., pp. 5-7, 42-45, Nov. 18, 1972 hearing.)
Mayor Bienvenido Quirolgico testified as follows:
Q And do you know what happened after you walked a few steps to the south?
A When I was looking very well around the vicinity, at the southern part of the Rural Bank about the
corner of their fence, and as I tried to look intently, I recognized the face of Minong Beltran.
xxx xxx xxx
Q At the precise moment, when you saw Minong Beltran at the corner of the Rural Bank, what else
happened if any?
A As I tried to look near them, that was the time when there was a burst of gun fire, the direction of
which was coming from the place where they were staying.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Will you inform this Honorable Court who the other men were at that time?
A Boy Bugarin and Domingo Hernandez.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And after the shooting, there was the shout?
A At the lulling of the shooting, I heard the shout.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And what were the words?
A 'Nala na si Mayor' (The mayor is already hit). (tsn., pp. 20, 21, 31-32, 58-59, Nov. 17, 1972
hearing)

Patrolman Rolando Usita stated that:


Q You said that as the mayor was leaving the scene of the incident, you saw three of the accused
coming out of the guardhouse, do you confirm that?
A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q And the persons who came out from this point according to you are the accused Ising Siazon,
Ebing Beltran and Noling Puzon, do you confirm that?
A Yes, sir.
Q And after that the three other accused named as Doming Hernandez, Boy Bugarin and Minong
Beltran came out of the same compound?
A No, sir. They came out from here. (tsn., pp. 84, 87, February 19, 1973 hearing)
Chief of Police Gavino Collado also pointed out the following:
Q May I see the sketch, your Honor?
A The mayor took this road in going to the hospital (witness pointing to the Bonifacio Cortez Street),
and as the jeep was going westward, and reached this point, three men came out from this part of the
compound and they fired at the vehicle in which the mayor and his son rode on.
xxx xxx xxx
Q So that the Court would now understand from your statement that it was only after the jeep of the
mayor has left already the scene when three persons came out from the gate of the Puzon compound,
that you saw for the first time these persons?
A Yes, sir.
Q And these persons were Identified as Ebing Beltran, Cresencio Siazon and Noling Puzon?
A Yes, sir. (tsn., pp. 59, 80, January 9, 1973 hearing)
The denial of appellants Rogelio Bugarin, Ceferino Beltran and Manuel Puzon cannot, therefore, prevail over their
positive Identification, as the perpetrators of the crime by the aforenamed eyewitnesses who have not been shown to
have any evil motive to testify falsely against them.
Moreover, the physical evidence, as testified to by Dr. Gregorio R. Farin, Municipal Health Officer of Ballesteros,
Cagayan, who conducted the post mortem examination on the body of the deceased Vicente Quirolgico, shows that
several firearms could have caused his wounds:
Q Considering the nature of the injuries that were found on the body of the deceased, could it be
possible that several firearms could have caused these injuries?
A It is possible.
xxx xxx xxx
Q It is also possible that wounds Nos. 2, 3 and 4 were caused by three different bullets, 3 different
guns, different calibers?
A Yes, sir. It is possible. (tsn., pp. 65-66, Nov. 17, 1972 hearing)

The foregoing testimony of Dr. Farin finds support from the findings of witnesses Vicente de Vera, a Ballistician, and
Lt. Col. Crispin Garcia, Chief Chemistry Branch, both of the Philippine Constabulary Crime Laboratory, Camp
Crame, Quezon City, who conducted examinations on the empty shells and on the firearms, respectively, recovered
from the premises of the Rural Bank and the Puzon Compound. Vicente de Vera testified on direct examination, the
following:
Q Under your findings No. 1, will you inform us your conclusion?
A My conclusion was that the 27 fired cartridges marked as CIS-1 to 27 were fired from the firearm
marked as Exhibit 'R' (SIG Natu Rifle).
Q Your other findings, please tell the Court.
A Under findings Nos. 2: Microscopic examination and comparison of the 223 Cal. fired cartridge
cases marked as CIS 28 to CIS 154 revealed the non-congruency of striations with the test cartridge
cases fired from the abovementioned 223 caliber M16 Armalite rifle with Serial No. 527226. They
further revealed the following:
1. CIS 28 to CIS 62 were fired from one (1) firearm;
2. CIS 63 to CIS 95 were fired from one (l) firearm;
3. CIS 96 to CIS 102 were fired from one (1) firearm;
4. CIS 103 to CIS 154 were fired from one (1) firearm
Q May we know your conclusion of this findings of yours?
A My conclusion is that, the 223 Caliber fired cartridges marked as CIS 28 to CIS 154 were fired
from four different firearms but not from the above-entioned 223 Cal. M16 Armalite with SN527226. (tsn., pp. 29-30, January 8, 1973 hearing)
and on cross-examination declared that:
Q Supposing that there are three SIG rifles of the same Serial number and the fired cartridges from
this three guns have the same number of similar characteristics or congruency of striations?
A They can have no similar characteristics.
Q Do you mean to say that for every SIG rifle there is its own characteristics; that congruency of
striations?
A That is correct. (tsn., p. 36, January 8, 1973 hearing)
whereas, Lt. Col. Crispin B. Garcia on the witness stand declared:
Q With this request for examination of certain articles, what articles were actually submitted to you
for examinations?
A Well one (1) rifle SIG, Switzerland made with SN-5721, the barrel group bearing Serial Number
15721; the receiver group with SN-5720 and the barrel link bearing SN-9641, and another firearm
(Exh. 'R').
Q Colonel aside from this article, Exhibit 'R', what other articles or guns did you receive for
examination?
A One Armalite with Serial No. 527226. (Exhibit 'S')

xxx xxx xxx


Q With reference to the first rifle which you have mentioned, which is marked as Exhibit 'R', with
different serial numbers, in the barrel group, receiver group, and the barrel link, will you inform this
Honorable Court your findings?
A I found that the barrel of the Armalite is positive for the presence of gunpowder, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q With reference to this Armalite, M15, marked as Exhibit 'S', in this particular case, will you tell us
your findings about the presence of gunpowder?
A Exhibit 'S', the barrel is positive of gunpowder. (tsn., pp. 52, 55, 57, & 58, January 8, 1973 hearing)
The above findings further confirm the truth of the statements of eyewitnesses Gavino Collado, Patrolman Usita,
Mayor Quirolgico and Carmelita Collado that appellants traded shots with the Mayor's group, using long or high
powered guns.
Anent the second assigned error, We agree with the trial court's finding on the existence of conspiracy. In the case at
bar, the sequence of events that transpired in the evening of January 11, 1972, from the time Delfino Beltran first fired
upon the passing jeep of Mayor Bienvenido Quirolgico, driven by witness Ernesto Alvarado at around 9:00, the
subsequent preparations for the arrival of the Mayor as testified to by eyewitness Carmelita Collado, the shooting on
the other passing jeepney to further provoke the Mayor, and the simultaneous and sudden firing at the Mayor's group
which had just arrived at about 12:00 midnight in the scene of the crime; the final shooting of the fleeing Mayor; and,
the simultaneous common retreat and escape of all the accused, established the presence of conspiracy. For conspiracy
to exist, it is enough that at the time the offense was committed, the participants had the same purpose and were united
in its execution, as may be inferred from the attendant circumstances (People vs. Manalo, 133 SCRA 626). Further,
conspiracy does not require an agreement for an appreciable period prior to the occurrence, as conspiracy legally
exists if, at the time of the offense, the accused had the same criminal purpose and were united in its execution.
Appellants' conduct and/or actuations before, during and after the commission of the crime charged in Criminal Case
No. 158-S are circumstances proving conspiracy.
Conspiracy having established, the act of one is the act of all. It is no longer necessary to specifically lay out the
particular participation of each participant.
Relative to the third assigned error, the trial court properly appreciated the existence of the aggravating circumstances
of evident premeditation and treachery. From 9:00 in the evening to 12:00 midnight of the same day, appellants had
three (3) long hours to meditate and reflect on their evil design and they clung in their determination to kill the Mayor,
which fortunately failed.
Premeditation is present where there was a lapse of two hours from the inception to execution.
The existence of the aggravating circumstance of treachery was shown in the simultaneous and sudden firing by the
accused on the newly arrived Mayor's group, without warning. We are convinced that they employed means, methods
or forms which could have tended directly or insured the accomplishment of their evil design against the Mayor, with
whom they have no personal grudge, without risk to themselves arising from the defense which the offended party had
made. No one from herein appellants sustained a scratch as they were really prepared for the coming Mayor.
With respect to the fourth assigned error, the claim of Delfino Beltran that he had just acted in self-defense, suffice it
to say, that the one invoking this justifying circumstance must prove beyond reasonable doubt that all the necessary
requisites of self-defense are present, namely: (1) Unlawful aggression on the part of the offended party; (2)
Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and, (3) Lack of sufficient provocation on the part

of the person defending himself. Delfino Beltran had not proved any one of these. Thus, his claim of self-defense was
properly dismissed by the trial court.
Regarding the fifth assigned error, considering that Mayor Quirolgico is a person in authority and Pat. Rolando
Tolentino is a policeman who at the time was in his uniform, and both were performing their official duties to
maintain peace and order in the community, the finding of the trial court that appellants are guilty of attempted murder
with direct assault on the persons of Mayor Quirolgico and Pat. Tolentino is correct.
Relative to the last assigned error, following Our latest ruling in People vs. Nicolas Canamo, et al., G.R. No. 62043,
promulgated on August 13, 1985, We agree with appellants that they should be credited with the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender, as they in fact presented themselves voluntarily to the authorities. However, this
mitigating circumstance is offset by the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation.
WHEREFORE, in Criminal Case No. 158-S, with the modifications that for lack of necessary votes, the penalty
imposed upon appellants Delfino Beltran alias Minong, Rogelio Bugarin alias Boy, Manuel Puzon alias Noling,
Domingo Hernandez alias Doming and Ceferino Beltran alias Ebing, for the death of Vicente Quirolgico, is reduced to
Reclusion Perpetua, and that the indemnity to the heirs of the deceased Vicente Quirolgico is increased to P30,000.00,
the appealed decision is AFFIRMED in an other respects.
For the double attempted murder with direct assault, applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty imposed
on the aforesaid appellants is reduced to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten
(10) years of prision mayor, as maximum.
In Criminal Case No. 160-S, applying also the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty imposed to the accused
Delfino Beltran is reduced to Six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of
prision correccional, as maximum.
With costs.
SO ORDERED.
Makasiar, C.J., Teehankee, Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Gutierrez, Jr., De la
Fuente, Cuevas, Alampay and Patajo, JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., took no part.
G.R. No. 153875 August 16, 2006

PEOPLE
OF
THE
PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
ROLANDO DAGANI y REYES and OTELLO SANTIANO Y LEONIDA, Accused-Appellants.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
For review before the Court is the Decision dated June 20, 2002 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) which affirmed the
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of the City of Manila, Branch 12 (RTC), dated February 18, 1993, in Criminal
Case No. 89-77467, finding the accused-appellants Otello Santiano y Leonida (Santiano) and Rolando Dagani y
Reyes (Dagani) guilty of the crime of Murder.
The accusatory portion of the Information reads:
That on or about September 11, 1989, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused conspiring and
confederating together and mutually helping each other did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with

intent to kill, evident premeditation and treachery, attack, assault and use of personal violence upon one ERNESTO
JAVIER Y FELIX by then and there shooting him with a .38 caliber revolver, thereby inflicting upon the said
ERNESTO JAVIER Y FELIX mortal gunshot wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of his death
thereafter.
CONTRARY TO LAW.2
Upon arraignment, the appellants pleaded not guilty. Trial ensued where the prosecution adduced evidence to establish
the following:
At about 4:45 in the afternoon of September 11, 1989, a group composed of Ernesto Javier (Javier), Lincoln Miran
(Miran), and two other individuals had been drinking at the canteen located inside the compound of the Philippine
National Railways (PNR) along C.M. Recto Avenue, Tondo, Manila. All of a sudden, appellants, who were security
officers of the PNR and covered by the Civil Service Rules and Regulations, entered the canteen and approached the
group. Appellant Dagani shoved Miran, causing the latter to fall from his chair. Dagani then held Javier while
Santiano shot Javier twice at his left side, killing the latter.
The defense proceeded to prove their version of the facts:
Appellants testified that they were ordered by their desk officer to investigate a commotion at the canteen. Upon
reaching the place, Santiano ordered his co-accused, Dagani, to enter, while the former waited outside.
Dagani approached Javier who had been striking a bottle of beer on the table. Javier then pulled out a .22 caliber
revolver and attempted to fire at Dagani, but the gun failed to go off. Then suddenly, while outside the canteen,
Santiano heard gunfire and, from his vantage point, he saw Javier and Dagani grappling for a .22 caliber gun which
belonged to Javier. During the course of the struggle, the gun went off, forcing Santiano to fire a warning shot. He
heard Javiers gun fire again, so he decided to rush into the canteen. Santiano then shot Javier from a distance of less
than four meters.
Appellants invoked the justifying circumstances of self-defense and lawful performance of official duty as PNR
security officers. They also argued that the prosecution failed to establish treachery and conspiracy.
The RTC rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding both accused Otello Santiano y Leonida and Rolando Dagani y Reyes guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder defined and punished under Art. 248, RPC, with the presence of the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender and granting them the benefit of [the] Indeterminate Sentence Law,
both accused are hereby sentenced to each suffer an Indeterminate prison term of TEN (10) YEARS and ONE (1)
DAY of prision mayor as minimum, to EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal x x x.
Both accused are hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of the victim the sum of P50,000.00 as death indemnity, the
sum of P31,845.00 as funeral and burial expenses, the sum of
P30,000.00 as and for [sic] attorneys fees and the further sum of P1,000.00 per appearance of counsel.
Both accused shall be credited with the full extent of their preventive imprisonment. Both accused are hereby
committed to the Director, National Penitentiary, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila for service of Sentence.
SO ORDERED.3
In brief, the RTC held that appellants failed to prove that Javier attempted to squeeze the trigger of the .22 caliber gun
when he pointed it at Dagani; that during the course of the struggle for the possession of the .22 caliber gun, the
danger to the life of the accused ceased to be imminent; that in grappling for the weapon, Dagani "controlled" the
hands of Javier and pushed them away from his body; that the appellants failed to produce the two empty shells as

physical evidence of the gunfire allegedly caused by Javier; that no points of entry or bullet markings on the walls of
the canteen were shown; that, in light of these findings, no unlawful aggression was present on the part of the victim;
that the appellants failed to prove that they were on official duty at the time of the incidence; that, since it was not
established that Javier actually fired his gun, the injury inflicted upon him cannot be regarded as a necessary
consequence of the due performance of an official duty; that the appellants were acting in conspiracy; that the
qualifying circumstance of treachery attended the killing, considering that Javier had been shot while his hands were
being held by Dagani and as his body was out of balance and about to fall; and that the mitigating circumstance of
voluntary surrender should be appreciated in favor of the appellants.
The appellants appealed to the CA and assigned the following errors:
I
THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING SELF DEFENSE ON THE PART OF THE
ACCUSED.
II
THE LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THE FACT THAT THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANTS WERE IN LAWFUL PERFORMANCE OF AN OFFICIAL DUTY.
III
THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY AND SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE WAS CONSPIRACY.
IV
THE LOWER COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION WAS ABLE TO
ESTABLISH BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE ACCUSED ARE GUILTY OF MURDER.4
The CA rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment of conviction is MODIFIED. Appellants are hereby sentenced to reclusion
perpetua. The award for attorneys fees and appearance fees for counsel are hereby deleted. In all the other aspects, the
appealed decision is maintained.
Let the entire records of the case be elevated to the Supreme Court for the mandated review.
SO ORDERED.5
The CA affirmed the findings of fact as well as the salient portions of the RTC Decision, but deleted the award of
attorneys fees and the per appearance fees of counsel since, the
CA reasoned, the instant case is criminal in nature which is under the control of the public prosecutor, and,
additionally, the RTC failed to justify this award in the body of its Decision. And last, the CA found that the RTC
erroneously applied the Indeterminate Sentence Law since the penalty for Murder, at the time of the incident, was
reclusion perpetua which is an indivisible penalty to be imposed in its entirety, regardless of the attending mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender.
Appellants are now before this Court submitting for resolution the same matters argued before the CA. Through their
Manifestation dated February 11, 2003,6 appellants prayed to dispense with the filing of additional briefs.
As of date, the records show that despite the efforts exerted by the surety and the responsible law officers to locate the
appellants, the latter could not be found and have jumped bail.7
The appeal is partly meritorious.

Appellants argue that the courts a quo misappreciated the facts and erred in finding that there was no unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim. They insist that the victim, Javier, had been armed with a revolver at the time he
was struggling with appellant Dagani; that the former "could have easily killed the latter;" that, given the fact that
Javier had been drinking, "it is quite probable for Javier to act harshly and aggressively towards
peace officers such as the accused;"8 and that Javier actually fired three shots from his .22 caliber gun.9
We are not convinced.
When self-defense is invoked, the burden of evidence shifts to the accused to show that the killing was legally
justified. Having owned the killing of the victim, the accused should be able to prove to the satisfaction of the Court
the elements of self-defense in order to avail of this extenuating circumstance. He must discharge this burden by clear
and convincing evidence. When successful, an otherwise felonious deed would be excused, mainly predicated on the
lack of criminal intent of the accused. Self-defense requires that there be (1) an unlawful aggression by the person
injured or killed by the offender, (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel that unlawful
aggression, and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. All these conditions
must concur.10
Unlawful aggression, a primordial element of self-defense, would presuppose an actual, sudden and unexpected attack
or imminent danger on the life and limb of a person not a mere threatening or intimidating attitude 11 but most
importantly, at the time the defensive action was taken against the aggressor. 12 To invoke self-defense successfully,
there must have been an
unlawful and unprovoked attack that endangered the life of the accused, who was then forced to inflict severe wounds
upon the assailant by employing reasonable means to resist the attack.13
In the instant case, the assertions that it was "quite probable" that Javier, during the course of the struggle for the
firearm, "could have easily killed" the appellants are uncertain and speculative. There is aggression in contemplation
of the law only when the one attacked faces real and immediate threat to ones life. The peril sought to be avoided
must be imminent and actual, not just speculative.14
To sum up the matter, we quote the findings of the CA:
The defense was unable to prove that there was unlawful aggression on the part of Javier. They were unable to present
evidence that the victim actually fired his gun. No spent shells from the .22 caliber pistol were found and no bullets
were recovered from the scene of the incident. Javier also tested negative for gunpowder residue. Moreover, the trial
court found appellant Daganis account of the incident to be incredible and self-serving. In sum, the defense presented
a bare claim of self-defense without any proof of the existence of its requisites. 15
Even if it were established that Javier fired his gun as the appellants so insist, the imminence of the danger to their
lives had already ceased the moment Dagani held down the victim and grappled for the gun with the latter. After the
victim had been thrown off-balance, there was no longer any unlawful aggression
that would have necessitated the act of killing. 16 When an unlawful aggression that has begun no longer exists, the
one who resorts to self-defense has no right to kill or even to wound the former aggressor. 17 When Javier had been
caught in the struggle for the possession of the gun with appellant Dagani, the grave peril envisaged by appellant
Santiano, which impelled him to fire at the victim, had then ceased to a reasonable extent, 18 and undoubtedly,
Santiano went beyond the call of self-preservation when he proceeded to inflict the excessive and fatal injuries on
Javier, even when the alleged unlawful aggression had already ceased.19
The second element of self-defense demands that the means employed to neutralize the unlawful aggression are
reasonable and necessary. It is settled that reasonable necessity of the means employed does not imply material

commensurability between the means of attack and defense. What the law requires is rational equivalence. 20 The
circumstances in their entirety which surround the grappling of the firearm by Dagani and Javier, such as the nature
and number of gunshot wounds sustained by the victim 21 which amounted to two fatal wounds,22 that Dagani was
able to restrain the hands of Javier and push
them away from his body,23 that Dagani was larger than Javier and had finished Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
hand-tohand combat training,24 and Javier, as admitted by the appellants, was inebriated at the time of the incident, 25 do not
justify appellant Santianos act of fatally shooting the victim twice.26
All things considered, the appellants plea of self-defense is not corroborated by competent evidence. The plea of selfdefense cannot be justifiably entertained where it is not only uncorroborated by any separate competent evidence but
is in itself extremely doubtful.27 Whether the accused acted in self-defense is a question of fact. Like alibi, the
affirmative defense of self-defense is inherently weak because, as experience has demonstrated, it is easy to fabricate
and difficult to disprove.28 This Court, therefore, finds no reversible error on the part of the courts a quo in rejecting
the claim of self-defense.
Appellants set up the defense that they were in the lawful performance of their official duties. They specifically aver
that they had been ordered by their desk officer to proceed to the canteen in response to a telephone call stating that
there was a group "creating trouble;" that they were in the call of duty and exercising their functions and
responsibilities as members of the PNR Civil Security Office to preserve peace and order and
protect the lives and property in the PNR Compound; 29 and that, invoking jurisprudence, as security officers in the
performance of duty, like the police, they must stand their ground and overcome the opponent, and the force that may
be exerted must differ from that which ordinarily may be offered in self-defense.30
Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code provides that a person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in the lawful
exercise of a right or office does not incur any criminal liability. Two requisites must concur before this defense can
prosper: 1) the accused must have acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of a right or office; and
2) the injury caused or the offense committed should have been the necessary consequence of such lawful
exercise.31 These requisites are absent in the instant case.
As found by the CA:
The defense failed to prove that the security officers were in fact on duty at the time they were at the canteen. The trial
court gave weight to the fact that the appellants were unable to submit their daily time records to show that they were
on duty at the time. Appellants assertion that they were ordered to go on 24-hour duty was belied by PNR Security
Investigator Rolando Marinays testimony that PNR security officers work in two 12-hour shifts, from 7:00 a.m. to
7:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Moreover, since it was not established that Javier fired his gun, the injury inflicted upon him cannot be regarded as a
necessary consequence of appellants due performance of an official duty. 32
As stated, considering that the imminent or actual danger to the life of the appellants had been neutralized when
Dagani grappled with Javier and restrained his hands; that Javier had been thrown off-balance; that Dagani had been
specially trained for these purposes; and that Javier had been drinking immediately prior to the scuffle, this Court
holds that the fatal injuries that appellant Santiano inflicted on the victim cannot be deemed to be necessary
consequences of the performance of his duty as a PNR security officer. 33 While it is recognized that police officers
if indeed the appellants can be likened to them must stand their ground and overwhelm their opponents, in People v.
Ulep,34 this Court counseled:

The right to kill an offender is not absolute, and may be used only as a last resort, and under circumstances indicating
that the offender cannot otherwise be taken without bloodshed. The law does not clothe police officers with authority
to arbitrarily judge the necessity to kill. It may be true that police officers sometimes find themselves in a dilemma
when pressured by a situation where an immediate and decisive, but legal, action is needed. However, it must be
stressed that the judgment and discretion of police officers in the performance of their duties must be exercised neither
capriciously nor oppressively, but within reasonable limits. In the absence of a clear and legal provision to the
contrary, they must act in conformity with the dictates of a sound discretion, and within the spirit and purpose of the
law. We cannot countenance trigger-happy law enforcement officers who indiscriminately employ force and violence
upon the persons they are apprehending. They must always bear in mind that although they are dealing with criminal
elements against whom society must be protected, these criminals are also human beings with human rights. 35
But this Court cannot agree with the findings of the courts a quo that the appellants were in conspiracy.
The RTC simply held:
The Information cited conspiracy of the accused. Since it can also be committed thru simultaneous/concerted action
and considering that Javier was shot by Santiano while being held by Dagani, under jurisprudence, conspiracy is
present.36
The tenor of the factual findings of the CA is equally unsatisfactory:
Moreover, the facts show that Javier was shot by appellant Santiano as he was being subdued by appellant Dagani.
The trial court held that the manner of the attack was indicative of a joint purpose and design by the appellants. 37
Courts must judge the guilt or innocence of the accused based on facts and not on mere conjectures, presumptions, or
suspicions.38 Other than the plain fact that the victim had been shot by one of the accused while being held by a coaccused, there is no other evidence that the appellants were animated by the same purpose or were moved by a
previous common accord. It follows that the liability of the accused must be determined on an individual basis. While
no formal agreement is necessary to establish conspiracy because conspiracy may be inferred from the circumstances
attending the commission of the crime, yet, conspiracy must be established by clear and convincing evidence. 39
This Court has held that even if all the malefactors joined in the killing, such circumstance alone does not satisfy the
requirement of conspiracy because the rule is that
neither joint nor simultaneous action is per se sufficient proof of conspiracy. Conspiracy must be shown to exist
as clearly and convincingly as the commission of the offense itself. 40 Thus, even assuming that Javier was
simultaneously attacked, this does not prove conspiracy. No evidence was presented to show that the appellants
planned to kill Javier or that Daganis overt acts facilitated that alleged plan. The prosecution did not establish that the
act of Dagani in trying to wrestle the gun from Javier and in the process, held the latters hands, was for the purpose of
enabling Santiano to shoot at Javier. The prosecution had the burden to show Daganis intentional participation to the
furtherance of a common design and purpose 41 or that his action was all part of a scheme to kill Javier. That Dagani
did not expect Santiano to shoot the victim is established when Santiano testified that Dagani "seem[ed] to be
shocked, he was standing and looking at the victim" as Javier gradually fell to the ground. 42 And since Daganis
conviction can only be sustained if the crime had been carried out through a conspiracy duly proven, in view of the
failure of the prosecution to discharge that burden, this Court is constrained to acquit him.
And this Court cannot say that treachery attended the attack. The RTC declared:
[T]he Court believes that Javier was shot while his body was out-balanced and about to fall to the right side and while
his hands were being held by Dagani. Javier, therefore, was shot at when he has no means to defend himself, hence,
the killing was attended by the qualifying circumstance of treachery. 43

which the CA affirmed as follows:


The findings of the court a quo clearly showed that Javier was being held down and could not effectively use his
weapon. As such, the trial court held that Javier could not be considered to be an armed man as he was being held
down and was virtually helpless.
It has been held that when an assault is made with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and unsuspecting victim who
[was] given no immediate provocation for the attack and under conditions which made it impossible for him to evade
the attack, flee or make [a] defense, the act is properly qualified as treachery, and the homicide resulting therefrom is
classified as murder.44 x x x
Treachery under par.16 of Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code is defined as the deliberate employment of means,
methods or forms in the execution of a crime against persons which tend directly and specially to insure its execution,
without risk to the offender arising from the defense which the intended victim might raise. Treachery is present when
two conditions concur, namely: (1) that the means, methods and forms of execution employed gave the person
attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and (2) that such means, methods and forms of execution
were deliberately and consciously adopted by the accused without danger to his person. 45
This Court has held that the suddenness of the attack, the infliction of the wound from behind the victim, the
vulnerable position of the victim at the time the attack was made, or the fact that the victim was unarmed, do not by
themselves render the
attack as treacherous.46 This is of particular significance in a case of an instantaneous attack made by the accused
whereby he gained an advantageous position over the victim when the latter accidentally fell and was rendered
defenseless.47 The means employed for the commission of the crime or the mode of attack must be shown to have
been consciously or deliberately adopted by the accused to insure the consummation of the crime and at the same time
eliminate or reduce the risk of retaliation from the intended victim. 48 For the rules on treachery to apply, the sudden
attack must have been preconceived by the accused, unexpected by the victim, and without provocation on the part of
the latter.49 Treachery is never presumed. Like the rules on conspiracy, it is required that the manner of attack must be
shown to have been attended by treachery as conclusively as the crime itself.50
The prosecution failed to convincingly prove that the assault by the appellants had been deliberately adopted as a
mode of attack intended to insure the killing of Javier and without the latter having the opportunity to defend himself.
Other than the bare fact that Santiano shot Javier while the latter had been struggling with Dagani over the possession
of the .22 caliber gun, no other fact had been adduced to show that the appellants consciously planned or
predetermined the methods to insure the commission of the crime, nor had the risk of the victim to
retaliate been eliminated during the course of the struggle over the weapon, as the latter, though struggling, had not
been
completely subdued. As already stated, this Court must emphasize that the mere suddenness of the attack, or the
vulnerable position of the victim at the time of the attack, or yet even the fact that the victim was unarmed, do not by
themselves make the attack treacherous.51 It must be shown beyond reasonable doubt that the means employed gave
the victim no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate, and that such means had been deliberately or consciously
adopted without danger to the life of the accused.52
For these reasons, the Court is inclined to look upon the helpless position of Javier as merely incidental to the attack,
and that the decision to shoot Javier was made in an instant.53
Considering the rule that treachery cannot be inferred but must be proved as fully and convincingly as the crime itself,
any doubt as to its existence must be resolved in favor of Santiano. Accordingly, for failure of the prosecution to prove
treachery to qualify the killing to Murder, appellant Santiano may only be convicted of Homicide. 54 The penalty,

therefore, under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is reclusion temporal.
The Office of the Solicitor General is correct in that the courts a quo failed to consider the aggravating circumstance
of
taking advantage of official position under Article 14 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, since the accused, a PNR
security officer
covered by the Civil Service, committed the crime with the aid of a gun he had been authorized to carry as
such.55Considering that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, as duly appreciated by the courts a quo,
shall be offset against the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage of official position, the penalty should be
imposed in its medium period, pursuant to Article 64 (4) of the aforesaid Code.
Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the sentence of appellant Santiano will consist of a minimum that is
anywhere within the full range of prision mayor, and a maximum which is anywhere within reclusion temporal in its
medium period. This Court hereby fixes it to be from eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum, to
fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months, and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
As to the award of damages, prevailing jurisprudence entitles the heirs of the deceased to the amount of P50,000.00 as
civil indemnity for the death of the victim without need of any evidence or proof of damages. 56
The CA erred in deleting the attorneys fees and per appearance fees for lack of factual basis. Although the CA is
correct in noting that the RTC failed to justify these awards in the body of its Decision, this appeal opens the entire
case for review and, accordingly, the records show that the foregoing
amounts had been stipulated by the parties,57 thereby dispensing with the need to prove the same.58
As to moral damages, however, the widow of the victim, Erlinda Javier, is not entitled to the same. She did not testify
on any mental anguish or emotional distress which she suffered as a result of her husbands death. No other heirs of
Javier testified in the same manner.59
Inasmuch as the aggravating circumstance of taking advantage of official position attended the killing, the Court
awards exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 in accordance with Articles 2230 and 2234 of the Civil Code
and prevailing jurisprudence.60
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 15304 dated June 20, 2002 is MODIFIED.
Appellant Otello Santiano y Leonida is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Homicide and is sentenced to
suffer the penalty of an indeterminate sentence from eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to
fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months, and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as maximum. Appellant Santiano is
further ordered to pay the heirs of the victim the amounts of P50,000.00 as death indemnity, P31,845.00 as funeral and
burial expenses, P25,000.00 as exemplary damages, P30,000.00 as attorneys fees and P1,000.00
per appearance of counsel. Appellant Santiano shall be credited with the full extent of his preventive imprisonment.
Appellant Rolando Dagani y Reyes is hereby ACQUITTED.
SO ORDERED.
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

Chairperson
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO, ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.
Associate Justice Associate Justice
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice
C E R T I F I CAT I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above
Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts
Division.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1 Penned by Associate Justice Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr., with Associate Justices Eugenio S. Labitoria and Mariano

C. Del Castillo, concurring, CA rollo, pp. 203-210.


2 Records, p. 1.
3 CA rollo, pp. 88-89.
4 Id. at 121.
5 Id. at 209.
6 Rollo, pp. 6-7.
7 Id. at 3-87.
8 CA rollo, pp. 121-122.
9 Id. at 123-124.
10 People v. Dela Cruz, 400 Phil. 872, 878 (2000); Cabuslay v. People, G.R. No. 129875, September 30,

2005, 471 SCRA 241, 253.


11 People v. Dela Cruz, supra note 10; Toledo v. People, G.R. No. 158057, September 24, 2004, 439 SCRA

94, 109; People v. Escarlos, 457 Phil. 580, 596 (2003).


12 People v. Dela Cruz, supra note 10.
13 People v. Escarlos, supra note 11, at 595; People v. Sarmiento, G.R. No. 126145, April 30, 2001, 357

SCRA 447, 457.


14 People v. Escarlos, supra note 11, at 596; People v. Damitan, 423 Phil. 113, 123 (2001).
15 CA rollo, p. 206.
16 People v. Escarlos, supra note 11, at 597; People v. Calabroso, 394 Phil. 658, 670 (2000); People v.

Maalat, 341 Phil. 200, 206 (1997).

17 People v. Escarlos, supra note 11, at 597; People v. Rabanal, 402 Phil. 709, 715 (2001).
18 People v. Escarlos, supra note 11, at 597; People v. Geneblazo, 414 Phil. 103, 110 (2001).
19 People v. Escarlos, id.
20 Cabuslay v. People, supra note 10, at 262.
21 See Senoja v. People, G.R. No. 160341, October 19, 2004, 440 SCRA 695, 708; People v. Escarlos, supra

note 11, at 597; People v. Ubaldo, 419 Phil. 718, 730 (2001); People v. Basadre, G.R. No. 131851, February
22, 2001, 352 SCRA 573, 585; People v. More, 378 Phil. 1153, 1161 (1999); People v. Real, 367 Phil. 524,
535-536 (1999).
22 CA rollo, p. 51.
23 Id. at 75.
24 Id.
25 Id. at 120.
26 See People v. Escarlos, supra note 11; People v. Dela Cruz, supra note 10, at 879; People v. Babor, 330

Phil. 923, 930-931 (1996).


27 Toledo v. People, supra note 11, at 110.
28 Senoja v. People, supra note 21, at 703; People v. Noay, 357 Phil. 295, 308 (1998).
29 CA rollo, p. 124.
30 Id. at 125, citing, e.g., People v. Mojica, 42 Phil. 784.
31 People v. Catbagan, G.R. Nos. 149430-32, February 23, 2004, 423 SCRA 535, 553; People v. Peralta, 403

Phil. 72, 89 (2001); People v. Ulep, 395 Phil. 78, 87 (2000); People v. Belbes, 389 Phil. 500, 509 (2000).

G.R. No. 158057

September 24, 2004

NOE TOLEDO y TAMBOONG, petitioner,


vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a petition for review of the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 23742 affirming on
appeal, the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Odiongan, Romblon, Branch 82, in Criminal Case No.
OD-861, convicting the petitioner of homicide.
In an Information filed in the RTC of Romblon, the petitioner was charged with homicide allegedly committed as
follows:
That on or about the 16th day of September 1995, at around 9:30 oclock in the evening, in Barangay
Libertad, municipality of Odiongan, province of Romblon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused, with intent to kill, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and stab with a bolo, one RICKY F. GUARTE, which causes (sic) his untimely death.

Contrary to law.3
In due course, the prosecution adduced evidence against the petitioner which was synthesized by the appellate court as
follows:
On September 16, 1995, appellant went to a black-smith who made the design of his bolo. When he went
home to Tuburan, Odiongan, Romblon late in the afternoon (TSN, September 4, 1998, p. 2), appellant saw the
group of Lani Famero, Michael Fosana, Rex Cortez and Ricky Guarte drinking gin at the house of the
Spouses Manuel and Eliza Guarte, Rickys parents. Appellants house is about five (5) meters away from the
house of Spouses Guarte. Appellant requested the group of Ricky to refrain from making any noise.
Thereupon, appellant proceeded inside his house and went to sleep (ibid., p. 3). Around 9:00 p.m., Gerardo
Faminia, Eliza Guartes brother arrived at the Guarte house and asked for any left-over food (TSN, August 5,
1998, p. 3). Eliza prepared dinner for him and after Gerardo finished eating, he went home accompanied by
Ricky (TSN, April 26, 1996, p. 5). Gerardos home is about twelve (12) meters away from the Guarte home
(TSN, February 17, 1997, p. 11). Minutes later, Ricky came back and together with Lani, Rex and Michael,
went to sleep at the Guarte house. They had not laid down for long when they heard stones being hurled at the
roof of the house. The stoning was made three (3) times (TSN, August 5, 1998, pp. 2-3). Ricky rose from bed
and peeped through a window. He saw appellant stoning their house. Ricky went out of the house and
proceeded to appellants house. Ricky asked appellant, his uncle, why he was stoning their house. Appellant
did not answer but met Ricky at the doorstep of his (appellants) house (TSN, April 26, 1996, p. 6; August 5,
1998, pp. 4-5) and, without any warning, stabbed Ricky on the abdomen with a bolo (TSN, August 5, 1998, p.
8). Eliza had followed his son Ricky and upon seeing that Ricky was stabbed, shouted for help (TSN,
February 17, 1997, p. 13). Lani heard Elizas cry for help and immediately rushed outside the house. Lani saw
Ricky leaning on the ground and supporting his body with his hands. Lani helped Ricky stand up and brought
him to the main road. Lani asked Ricky who stabbed him and Ricky replied that it was appellant who stabbed
him. Then Docloy Cortez arrived at the scene on board his tricycle. Accordingly, Ricky was put on the
tricycle and taken to the Romblon Provincial Hospital (TSN, January 19, 1998, pp. 4-6).
At the Romblon Provincial Hospital, Dr. Noralie Fetalvero operated on Ricky that very night. Ricky had sustained one
(1) stab wound but due to massive blood loss, he died while being operated on (TSN, November 24, 1997, pp. 2, 6-7).
Dr. Fetalvero issued a Medico-Legal Certificate showing the injuries sustained by Ricky, thus:
Stab wound, left chest with gastric & transverse colon evisceration measuring 6 cms. long, irregular-edged at
8th ICS, left penetrating (operative findings):
(1) abdominal cavity perforating the stomach (thru & thru) and the left lobe of the liver
(2) thoracic cavity thru the left dome of the diaphragm perforating the lower lobe of the left lung.

(Exhibit C)
The Certificate of Death issued by Dr. Fetalvero stated the cause of Rickys death as:
CAUSES OF DEATH:
Immediate cause :

a. Cardiorespiratory Arrest

Antecedent cause :

b. Hypovolemic shock

Underlying cause :

c. Multiple thoraco-abdominal

injury 2 to stab wound

(Exhibit B)4
The Evidence of the Petitioner
The petitioner adduced evidence that at around 5:00 p.m. on September 16, 1995, he was on his way home at Tuburan,
Odiongan, Romblon. He saw his nephew, Ricky Guarte, and the latters friends, Michael Fosana, Rex Cortez, and
Lani Famero, about five meters away from his house, having a drinking spree. He ordered them not to make loud
noises, and they obliged. He then went to his house, locked the door with a nail, and went to sleep. However, he was
awakened at around 9:30 p.m. by loud noises coming from Ricky and his three companions. He peeped through the
window grills of his house and admonished them not to make any loud noises. Ricky, who was then already
inebriated, was incensed; he pulled out a balisong, pushed the door, and threatened to stab the petitioner. The
petitioner pushed their sala set against the door to block the entry of Ricky, but the latter continued to push the door
open with his hands and body. The petitioner ran to the upper portion of their house and got his bolo. 5He returned to
the door and pushed it with all his might using his left hand. He then pointed his bolo, which was in his right hand,
towards Ricky. The bolo accidentally hit Ricky on the stomach, and the latter lost his balance and fell to the floor. The
petitioner, thereafter, surrendered to the barangay captain at 11:00 a.m. on September 17, 1995.
After trial, the court rendered judgment finding the petitioner guilty as charged. The fallo of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, NOE TOLEDO is hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
homicide with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender and is meted the indeterminate penalty of
from six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor minimum, as minimum, to twelve (12) years and one (1)
day of reclusion temporal minimum, as maximum.
Accused is condemned to pay the amount of P50,000.00 as civil liability to the heirs of the victim.6
The trial court did not give credence and probative weight to the testimony of the petitioner that his bolo accidentally
hit the victim on the stomach.
On appeal in the CA, the petitioner raised the following issue in his brief as appellant:
WHETHER OR NOT ACCUSED-APPELLANT CAN BE CRIMINALLY HELD LIABLE FOR THE
ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF RICKY GUARTE7
Invoking Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code, the petitioner claimed that he stabbed the victim by
accident; hence, he is exempt from criminal liability for the death of the victim.
The CA rendered judgment affirming the assailed decision with modifications. The CA also denied the petitioners
motion for reconsideration thereof. The appellate court ruled that the petitioner failed to prove that he acted in selfdefense.
Aggrieved, the petitioner filed the instant petition for review, contending that the CA erred in not finding that he acted
in self-defense when he stabbed the victim by accident and prays that he be acquitted of the crime charged.
The sole issue in this case is whether or not the petitioner is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide based on the
evidence on record.
The petitioner contends that the CA committed a reversible error when it affirmed the decision of the RTC convicting
him of homicide, on its finding that he failed to prove that he acted in complete self-defense when the victim was hit
by his bolo. The petitioner insists that he acted in complete self-defense when his bolo accidentally hit the victim on
the stomach.
For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General asserts that the petitioner failed to prove self-defense with clear and
convincing evidence. Hence, the decision of the CA affirming, on appeal, the decision of the RTC is correct.

The contention of the petitioner has no merit.


The petitioner testified that his bolo hit the victim accidentally. He asserted in the RTC and in the CA that he is
exempt from criminal liability for the death of the victim under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code
which reads:
4. Any person who, while performing a lawful act with due care, causes an injury by mere accident without
fault or intention of causing it.
In his brief in the CA, the petitioner argued that:
In the case at bar, with all due respect, contrary to the findings of the lower court, it is our humble
submission that the death of Ricky Guarte was merely a sad and unwanted result of an accident
without fault or intention of causing it on the part of accused-appellant. We submit, there were clear
and indubitable factual indicators overlooked by the lower court, bolstering the theory of the defense
on accidental death.8
However, the petitioner changed gear, so to speak, and now alleges that he acted in self-defense when he stabbed the
victim. As such, he contends, he is not criminally liable under Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code
which reads:
Art. 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not incur any criminal liability:
1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following circumstances
concur:
First. Unlawful aggression;
Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it:
Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.
The petitioner avers that he was able to prove the essential elements of complete self-defense, thus:
A close scrutiny of the records of the case would show that the petitioner acted in self-defense.
The essential requisites of self-defense are: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable
scrutiny of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the
person defending himself (People vs. Silvano, 350 SCRA 650)9
However, the petitioner also claims that his bolo accidentally hit the stomach of the victim.
It is a matter of law that when a party adopts a particular theory and the case is tried and decided upon that theory in
the court below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal. The case will be reviewed and decided on
that theory and not approached and resolved from a different point of view. To permit a party to change his theory on
appeal will be unfair to the adverse party.10
The petitioner is proscribed from changing in this Court, his theory of defense which he adopted in the trial court and
foisted in the CA by claiming that he stabbed and killed the victim in complete self-defense. The petitioner relied on
Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code in the trial and appellate courts, but adopted in this Court two
divergent theories (1) that he killed the victim to defend himself against his unlawful aggression; hence, is justified
under Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code; (2) that his bolo accidentally hit the victim and is, thus,
exempt from criminal liability under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code.

It is an aberration for the petitioner to invoke the two defenses at the same time because the said defenses are
intrinsically antithetical.11 There is no such defense as accidental self-defense in the realm of criminal law.
Self-defense under Article 11, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code necessarily implies a deliberate and positive
overt act of the accused to prevent or repel an unlawful aggression of another with the use of reasonable means. The
accused has freedom of action. He is aware of the consequences of his deliberate acts. The defense is based on
necessity which is the supreme and irresistible master of men of all human affairs, and of the law. From necessity, and
limited by it, proceeds the right of self-defense. The right begins when necessity does, and ends where it
ends.12 Although the accused, in fact, injures or kills the victim, however, his act is in accordance with law so much
so that the accused is deemed not to have transgressed the law and is free from both criminal and civil liabilities. 13 On
the other hand, the basis of exempting circumstances under Article 12 of the Revised Penal Code is the complete
absence of intelligence, freedom of action, or intent, or the absence of negligence on the part of the accused. 14 The
basis of the exemption in Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code is lack of negligence and intent. The
accused does not commit either an intentional or culpable felony. The accused commits a crime but there is no
criminal liability because of the complete absence of any of the conditions which constitute free will or voluntariness
of the act.15 An accident is a fortuitous circumstance, event or happening; an event happening wholly or partly
through human agency, an event which under the circumstances is unusual or unexpected by the person to whom it
happens.16
Self-defense, under Article 11, paragraph 1, and accident, under Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal Code,
are affirmative defenses which the accused is burdened to prove, with clear and convincing evidence. Such affirmative
defenses involve questions of facts adduced to the trial and appellate courts for resolution. By admitting killing the
victim in self-defense or by accident without fault or without intention of causing it, the burden is shifted to the
accused to prove such affirmative defenses. He should rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the
weakness of that of the prosecution. If the accused fails to prove his affirmative defense, he can no longer be
acquitted.
The petitioner failed to prove that the victim was killed by accident, without fault or intention on his part to cause it.
The petitioner was burdened to prove with clear and convincing evidence, the essential requisites for the exempting
circumstance under Article 12, paragraph 4, viz:
1. A person is performing a lawful act;
2. With due care;
3. He causes an injury to another by mere accident;
4. Without fault or intention of causing it.
To prove his affirmative defense, the petitioner relied solely on his testimony, thus:
Q What happened next when Ricky Guarte was able to push through the door and you ran away?
A When Ricky Guarte was able to push the door, that is the time I go (sic) downstairs and got my bolo and at
that time the body of Ricky Guarte was at the entrance of the door and accidentally the bolo reached him.
Q Where did you get the bolo?
A I got the bolo in the post or wall of our house.
Q Was Ricky Guarte hit the first time you boloed him?
A Not hacking but accidentally.

Q What do you mean by accidentally?


A Because when Ricky Guarte pushed the door and unbalance himself (sic) the bolo which I was carrying hit
him accidentally.
Q Where was he hit by the bolo you were carrying?
A In the stomach.17

Q And since you were at the left side of the door, your right hand was at the center part of the door, correct?
A No, Sir.
Q Where was your right hand?
A Holding a bolo.
Q Where, in what part of the door?
A Right side.
Q When Ricky Guarte was pushing the door, the door was not opened?
A It was opened.
Q It was opened because you opened the door, correct?
A No, Sir.
Q Now, why was it opened?
A Because he was pushing it.
Q With his left hand?
A With his both hands and body.
Q Now, when he fell down because, according to you, he losses (sic) his balance, the left side of the body was
the first to fell (sic) down, correct?
A Yes, Sir.
Q You are sure of your answer now Mr. Toledo?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Now, and while holding that bolo, you are doing that in [an] upward position, correct?
A No, Sir, pointing the door.
Q Yes, you are pointing the tip of your bolo to the door upward, correct?
A No, Sir, steady pointing to the door.
Q Now, when the door was opened, your bolo did not hit any part of that door, correct?
A "Ginaiwas ko ang sunrang," meaning I was able to get away from hitting any part of the door.

Q The question Mr. Toledo is simple, while the door was opened and while you were pointing directly your
bolo at the door, not any part of the door hit the bolo (sic), correct?
ATTY. FORMILLEZA:
It was a valid answer, it did not hit any part of the door.
COURT:
Answer.
A No, Sir.
PROS. FRADEJAS continuing:
Q You were only about five inches away from your door while pushing it, correct?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Now, when the door was pushed already by Ricky Guarte, not any part of your body hit the door, correct?
A No, Sir.18
The petitioner also testified that the victim was armed with a balisong and threatened to kill him as the said victim
pushed, with his body and hands, the fragile door of his house:
Q Where were you when you saw Ricky went out?
A I was at the door.
Q Did Ricky proceed to the door where you were?
A Yes, Sir.
Q What did he do, if any?
A He drew his fan knife or balisong and asked me what do you like, I will stab you?
Q What did you do?
A I told him I have not done you anything wrong, I am only scolding you or telling you not to make noise.
Q What, if any, did Ricky Guarte do to you?
A He pushed the door.
Q Whose door did he push?
A My own door.
Q Where were you when he pushed the door?
A Inside our house.19
We find the testimony of the petitioner incredible and barren of probative weight.
First. If the testimony of the petitioner is to be believed, the force of the struggle between him and the victim would
have caused the door to fall on the petitioner. However, the petitioner failed to adduce real evidence that the door of
his house was destroyed and that he sustained any physical injuries, 20 considering that he was only five inches away
from the door.

Second. If the door fell to the sala of the house of the petitioner, the victim must have fallen on top of the door. It is
incredible that the bolo of the petitioner could have hit the stomach of the victim. The claim of the petitioner that he
managed to step aside and avoid being crushed by the door belies his claim that the bolo accidentally hit the victim on
the stomach.
Third. When he surrendered to the barangay captain and to the policemen, he failed to relate to them that his bolo
accidentally hit the stomach of the victim:
Q Now, that very night when you said Ricky Guarte was accidentally hit by your bolo, you did not surrender
to the police, correct?
A I surrendered to the barangay captain at one oclock in Panique, in the afternoon.
Q Now, you only surrendered to the police when a certain person advised you to surrender, correct?
A On my own volition, I surrendered to the barangay captain.
Q You did not narrate the incident to the barangay captain whom you have surrendered, correct?
A No, Sir.
Q When you were brought to the municipal jail, you did not also narrate to the police what happened, correct?
A No, Sir.
Q You just remained silent thinking of an excuse that happened that evening of September 16, 1995, correct?
A No, Sir.21
Fourth. There is no evidence that the petitioner surrendered either the bolo that accidentally hit the victim or the
balisong held by the deceased to the barangay captain or the police authorities. Such failure of the petitioner negates
his claim that his bolo accidentally hit the stomach of the victim and that he acted in self-defense. 22
Fifth. To prove self-defense, the petitioner was burdened to prove the essential elements thereof, namely: (1) unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim; (2) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the petitioner; (3) employment by
him of reasonable means to prevent or repel the aggression. Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the
justifying circumstances of self-defense, whether complete or incomplete. 23 Unlawful aggression presupposes an
actual, sudden, and unexpected attack, or imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating
attitude.24 We agree with the ruling of the CA that the petitioner failed to prove self-defense, whether complete or
incomplete:
The evidence on record revealed that there is no unlawful aggression on the part of Ricky. While it was
established that Ricky was stabbed at the doorstep of appellants house which would give a semblance of
verity to appellants version of the incident, such view, however, is belied by the fact that Ricky arrived at
appellants house unarmed and had only one purpose in mind, that is, to ask appellant why he threw stones at
his (Rickys) house. With no weapon to attack appellant, or defend himself, no sign of hostility may be
deduced from Rickys arrival at appellants doorstep. Ricky was not threatening to attack nor in any manner
did he manifest any aggressive act that may have imperiled appellants well-being. Rickys want of any
weapon when he arrived at appellants doorstep is supported by the fact that only one weapon was presented
in court, and that weapon was the bolo belonging to appellant which he used in stabbing Ricky. Thus,
appellants version of the events does not support a finding of unlawful aggression. In People vs. Pletado, the
Supreme Court held:

"xxx (F) or aggression to be appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden, [un]expected attack or
imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude (People vs. Pasco, Jr.,
supra, People vs. Rey, 172 SCRA 149 [1989]) and the accused must present proof of positively strong
act of real aggression (Pacificar vs. Court of Appeals, 125 SCRA 716 [1983]). Unlawful aggression
must be such as to put in real peril the life or personal safety of the person defending himself or of a
relative sought to be defended and not an imagined threat."
Appellant was not justified in stabbing Ricky. There was no imminent threat to appellants life necessitating his
assault on Ricky. Unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the justifying circumstance of self-defense. For
unlawful aggression to be appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof,
not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude. In the absence of such element, appellants claim of self-defense
must fail.
Further, appellants plea of self-defense is not corroborated by competent evidence. The plea of self-defense cannot be
justifiably entertained where it is not only uncorroborated by any separate competent evidence but is in itself
extremely doubtful.25
Sixth. With the failure of the petitioner to prove self-defense, the inescapable conclusion is that he is guilty of
homicide as found by the trial court and the CA. He cannot even invoke Article 12, paragraph 4 of the Revised Penal
Code.26
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals
isAFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Austria-Martinez, Tinga, and Chico-Nazario*, JJ., concur.
Footnotes
* On leave.

5andmark Case: People vs. Genosa, G.R. No. 135981. January 15, 2004 (Digested Case)
People vs. Genosa, G.R. No. 135981. January 15, 2004
Case Digest / Digested Case Version
A Landmark Case decided by the Supreme Court of the Philippines
Story: The Battered Woman Syndrome
The wife had suffered maltreatment from her husband for over eight years. She was 8 months pregnant
when, one evening, her husband came home drunk and started to batter her. Shouting that his wife "might as
well be killed so there will be nobody to nag" him, he dragged her towards a drawer where he kept a gun,
but was not able to open the drawer because it was locked. So he got out a cutter from his wallet, but
dropped it. She was able to hit his arm with a pipe and escape into another room. The wife, thinking of all
the suffering that her husband had been inflicting on her, and thinking that he might really kill her and her
unborn child, distorted the drawer and got the gun. She shot her husband, who was by then asleep on the
bed. She was tried and convicted for parricide, which is punishable by reclusion perpetua (20 years and 1 day
to 40 years) to death. On appeal, she alleged "battered woman syndrome" as a form of self-defense. (For Full
Case, just click here.

FACTS:
That Marivic Genosa, the Appellant on the 15November1995, attacked and wounded his husband, which
ultimately led to his death. According to the appellant she did not provoke her husband when she got home
that night it was her husband who began the provocation. The Appellant said she was frightened that her
husband would hurt her and she wanted to make sure she would deliver her baby safely. In fact, The Appelant
had to be admitted later at the Rizal Medical Centre as she was suffering from eclampsia and hypertension,
and the baby was born prematurely on December 1, 1995.

G.R. No. 181409

February 11, 2010

INTESTATE ESTATE OF MANOLITA GONZALES VDA. DE CARUNGCONG, represented by


MEDIATRIX CARUNGCONG, as Administratrix, Petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and WILLIAM SATO, Respondents.
DECISION
CORONA, J.:
Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
ART. 332. Persons exempt from criminal liability. No criminal, but only civil liability shall result from the
commission of the crime of theft, swindling, or malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by the following
persons:
1. Spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by affinity in the same line;
2. The widowed spouse with respect to the property which belonged to the deceased spouse before the same
shall have passed into the possession of another; and
3. Brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, if living together.
The exemption established by this article shall not be applicable to strangers participating in the commission of the
crime. (emphasis supplied)
For purposes of the aforementioned provision, is the relationship by affinity created between the husband and the
blood relatives of his wife (as well as between the wife and the blood relatives of her husband) dissolved by the death
of one spouse, thus ending the marriage which created such relationship by affinity? Does the beneficial application of
Article 332 cover the complex crime of estafa thru falsification?
Mediatrix G. Carungcong, in her capacity as the duly appointed administratrix 1 of petitioner intestate estate of her
deceased mother Manolita Gonzales vda. de Carungcong, filed a complaint-affidavit 2 for estafa against her brother-inlaw, William Sato, a Japanese national. Her complaint-affidavit read:
I, MEDIATRIX CARUNGCONG Y GONZALE[S], Filipino, of legal age, single, and resident of Unit 1111, Prince
Gregory Condominium, 105 12th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, after being duly sworn, depose and state that:
1. I am the duly appointed Administratrix of the Intestate Estate of Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s],
docketed as Spec. Procs. No. [Q]-95-23621[,] Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 104, being one
(1) of her surviving daughters. Copy of the Letters of Administration dated June 22, 1995 is hereto attached as
Annex "A" to form an integral part hereof.

2. As such Administratrix, I am duty bound not only to preserve the properties of the Intestate Estate of
Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s], but also to recover such funds and/or properties as property belonging to
the estate but are presently in the possession or control of other parties.
3. After my appointment as Administratrix, I was able to confer with some of the children of my sister
Zenaida Carungcong Sato[,] who predeceased our mother Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzales, having died in
Japan in 1991.
4. In my conference with my nieces Karen Rose Sato and Wendy Mitsuko Sato, age[d] 27 and 24
respectively, I was able to learn that prior to the death of my mother Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s],
[s]pecifically on o[r] about November 24, 1992, their father William Sato, through fraudulent
misrepresentations, was able to secure the signature and thumbmark of my mother on a Special Power of
Attorney whereby my niece Wendy Mitsuko Sato, who was then only twenty (20) years old, was made her
attorney-in-fact, to sell and dispose four (4) valuable pieces of land in Tagaytay City. Said Special Power of
Attorney, copy of which is attached as ANNEX "A" of the Affidavit of Wendy Mitsuko Sato, was signed and
thumbmark[ed] by my mother because William Sato told her that the documents she was being made to sign
involved her taxes. At that time, my mother was completely blind, having gone blind almost ten (10) years
prior to November, 1992.
5. The aforesaid Special Power of Attorney was signed by my mother in the presence of Wendy, my other
niece Belinda Kiku Sato, our maid Mana Tingzon, and Governor Josephine Ramirez who later became the
second wife of my sisters widower William Sato.
6. Wendy Mitsuko Sato attests to the fact that my mother signed the document in the belief that they were in
connection with her taxes, not knowing, since she was blind, that the same was in fact a Special Power of
Attorney to sell her Tagaytay properties.
7. On the basis of the aforesaid Special Power of Attorney, William Sato found buyers for the property and
made my niece Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign three (3) deeds of absolute sale in favor of (a) Anita Ng (Doc. 2194,
Page No. 41, Book No. V, Series of 1992 of Notary Public Vicente B. Custodio), (b) Anita Ng (Doc. No.
2331, Page No. 68, Book No. V, Series of 1992 of Notary Public Vicente B. Custodio) and (c) Ruby Lee Tsai
(Doc. No. II, Page No. 65, Book No. II, Series of 1993 of Notary Public Toribio D. Labid). x x x
8. Per the statement of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, the considerations appearing on the deeds of absolute sale
were not the true and actual considerations received by her father William Sato from the buyers of her
grandmothers properties. She attests that Anita Ng actually paid P7,000,000.00 for the property covered by
TCT No. 3148 and P7,034,000.00 for the property covered by TCT No. 3149. All the aforesaid proceeds were
turned over to William Sato who undertook to make the proper accounting thereof to my mother, Manolita
Carungcong Gonzale[s].
9. Again, per the statement of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, Ruby Lee Tsai paid P8,000,000.00 for the property
covered by Tax Declaration No. GR-016-0735, and the proceeds thereof were likewise turned over to William
Sato.
10. The considerations appearing on the deeds of sale were falsified as Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato has actual
knowledge of the true amounts paid by the buyers, as stated in her Affidavit, since she was the signatory
thereto as the attorney-in-fact of Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s].
11. Wendy was only 20 years old at the time and was not in any position to oppose or to refuse her fathers
orders.

12. After receiving the total considerations for the properties sold under the power of attorney fraudulently
secured from my mother, which total P22,034,000.00, William Sato failed to account for the same and never
delivered the proceeds to Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s] until the latter died on June 8, 1994.
13. Demands have been made for William Sato to make an accounting and to deliver the proceeds of the sales
to me as Administratrix of my mothers estate, but he refused and failed, and continues to refuse and to fail to
do so, to the damage and prejudice of the estate of the deceased Manolita Carungcong Y Gonzale[s] and of
the heirs which include his six (6) children with my sister Zenaida Carungcong Sato. x x x3
Wendy Mitsuko Satos supporting affidavit and the special power of attorney allegedly issued by the deceased
Manolita Gonzales vda. de Carungcong in favor of Wendy were attached to the complaint-affidavit of Mediatrix.
In a resolution dated March 25, 1997, the City Prosecutor of Quezon City dismissed the complaint. 4 On appeal,
however, the Secretary of Justice reversed and set aside the resolution dated March 25, 1997 and directed the City
Prosecutor of Quezon City to file an Information against Sato for violation of Article 315, paragraph 3(a) of the
Revised Penal Code.5 Thus, the following Information was filed against Sato in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 87:6
I N F O R MATI O N
The undersigned accuses WILLIAM SATO of the crime of ESTAFA under Article 315[,] par. 3(a) of the Revised
Penal Code, committed as follows:
That on or about the 24th day of November, 1992, in Quezon City, Philippines, the above-named accused, by means
of deceit, did, then and there, wil[l]fully, unlawfully and feloniously defraud MANOLITA GONZALES VDA. DE
CARUNGCONG in the following manner, to wit: the said accused induced said Manolita Gonzales Vda. De
Carungcong[,] who was already then blind and 79 years old[,] to sign and thumbmark a special power of attorney
dated November 24, 1992 in favor of Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato, daughter of said accused, making her believe that said
document involved only her taxes, accused knowing fully well that said document authorizes Wendy Mitsuko C. Sato,
then a minor, to sell, assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of to any person or entity of her properties all located at
Tagaytay City, as follows:
1. One Thousand Eight Hundred Seven(ty) One (1,871) square meters more or less and covered by T.C.T. No.
3147;
2. Five Hundred Forty (540) square meters more or less and covered by T.C.T. No. 3148 with Tax Declaration
No. GR-016-0722, Cadastral Lot No. 7106;
3. Five Hundred Forty (540) square meters more or less and covered by T.C.T. No. 3149 with Tax Declaration
No. GR-016-0721, Cadastral Lot No. 7104;
4. Eight Hundred Eighty Eight (888) square meters more or less with Tax Declaration No. GR-016-1735,
Cadastral Lot No. 7062;
registered in the name of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong, and once in the possession of the said special
power of attorney and other pertinent documents, said accused made Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign the three (3) Deeds of
Absolute Sale covering Transfer Certificate of Title [TCT] No. 3148 for P250,000.00, [TCT] No. 3149
forP250,000.00 and [Tax Declaration] GR-016-0735 for P650,000.00 and once in possession of the proceeds of the
sale of the above properties, said accused, misapplied, misappropriated and converted the same to his own personal
use and benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of Manolita Gonzales Vda. De Carungcong who died in
1994.
Contrary to law.7

Subsequently, the prosecution moved for the amendment of the Information so as to increase the amount of damages
from P1,150,000, the total amount stated in the deeds of sale, to P22,034,000, the actual amount received by Sato.
Sato moved for the quashal of the Information, claiming that under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, his
relationship to the person allegedly defrauded, the deceased Manolita who was his mother-in-law, was an exempting
circumstance.
The prosecution disputed Satos motion in an opposition dated March 29, 2006.
In an order dated April 17, 2006,8 the trial court granted Satos motion and ordered the dismissal of the criminal case:
The Trial Prosecutors contention is that the death of the wife of the accused severed the relationship of affinity
between accused and his mother-in-law. Therefore, the mantle of protection provided to the accused by the
relationship is no longer obtaining.
A judicious and thorough examination of Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code convinces this Court of the
correctness of the contention of the [d]efense. While it is true that the death of Zenaida Carungcong-Sato has
extinguished the marriage of accused with her, it does not erase the fact that accused and Zenaidas mother, herein
complainant, are still son[-in-law] and mother-in-law and they remained son[-in-law] and mother-in-law even beyond
the death of Zenaida.
Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code, is very explicit and states no proviso. "No criminal, but only civil liability[,]
shall result from the commission of the crime of theft, swindling or malicious mischief committed or caused mutually
by xxx 1) spouses, ascendants and descendants, or relatives by affinity in the same line."
Article 332, according to Aquino, in his Commentaries [to] Revised Penal Code, preserves family harmony and
obviates scandal, hence even in cases of theft and malicious mischief, where the crime is committed by a stepfather
against his stepson, by a grandson against his grandfather, by a son against his mother, no criminal liability is incurred
by the accused only civil (Vicente Alavare, 52 Phil. 65; Adame, CA 40 OG 12th Supp. 63; Cristobal, 84 Phil. 473).
Such exempting circumstance is applicable herein.
WHEREFORE, finding the Motion to Quash Original Information meritorious, the same is GRANTED and, as prayed
for, case is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.9 (underlining supplied in the original)
The prosecutions motion for reconsideration10 was denied in an order dated June 2, 2006.11
Dissatisfied with the trial courts rulings, the intestate estate of Manolita, represented by Mediatrix, filed a petition for
certiorari in the Court of Appeals12 which, however, in a decision13 dated August 9, 2007, dismissed it. It ruled:
[W]e sustain the finding of [the trial court] that the death of Zenaida did not extinguish the relationship by affinity
between her husband, private respondent Sato, and her mother Manolita, and does not bar the application of the
exempting circumstance under Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code in favor of private respondent Sato.
We further agree with the submission of the [Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)] that nothing in the law and/or
existing jurisprudence supports the argument of petitioner that the fact of death of Zenaida dissolved the relationship
by affinity between Manolita and private respondent Sato, and thus removed the protective mantle of Article 332 of
the Revised Penal Code from said private respondent; and that notwithstanding the death of Zenaida, private
respondent Sato remains to be the son-in-law of Manolita, and a brother-in-law of petitioner administratrix. As further
pointed out by the OSG, the filing of the criminal case for estafa against private respondent Sato already created havoc
among members of the Carungcong and Sato families as private respondents daughter Wendy Mitsuko Sato joined

cause with her aunt [Mediatrix] Carungcong y Gonzales, while two (2) other children of private respondent, William
Francis and Belinda Sato, took the side of their father.
There is a dearth of jurisprudence and/or commentaries elaborating on the provision of Article 332 of the Revised
Penal Code. However, from the plain language of the law, it is clear that the exemption from criminal liability for the
crime of swindling (estafa) under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code applies to private respondent Sato, as son-inlaw of Manolita, they being "relatives by affinity in the same line" under Article 332(1) of the same Code. We cannot
draw the distinction that following the death of Zenaida in 1991, private respondent Sato is no longer the son-in-law
of Manolita, so as to exclude the former from the exempting circumstance provided for in Article 332 (1) of the
Revised Penal Code.
Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos. Basic is the rule in statutory construction that where the law does
not distinguish, the courts should not distinguish. There should be no distinction in the application of law where none
is indicated. The courts could only distinguish where there are facts or circumstances showing that the lawgiver
intended a distinction or qualification. In such a case, the courts would merely give effect to the lawgivers intent. The
solemn power and duty of the Court to interpret and apply the law does not include the power to correct by reading
into the law what is not written therein.
Further, it is an established principle of statutory construction that penal laws are strictly construed against the State
and liberally in favor of the accused. Any reasonable doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused. In this case, the
plain meaning of Article 332 (1) of the Revised Penal Codes simple language is most favorable to Sato. 14
The appellate court denied reconsideration.15 Hence, this petition.
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in not reversing the orders of the trial court. It cites the
commentary of Justice Luis B. Reyes in his book on criminal law that the rationale of Article 332 of the Revised Penal
Code exempting the persons mentioned therein from criminal liability is that the law recognizes the presumed coownership of the property between the offender and the offended party. Here, the properties subject of the estafa
case were owned by Manolita whose daughter, Zenaida Carungcong-Sato (Satos wife), died on January 28, 1991.
Hence, Zenaida never became a co-owner because, under the law, her right to the three parcels of land could
have arisen only after her mothers death. Since Zenaida predeceased her mother, Manolita, no such right came
about and the mantle of protection provided to Sato by the relationship no longer existed.
Sato counters that Article 332 makes no distinction that the relationship may not be invoked in case of death of the
spouse at the time the crime was allegedly committed. Thus, while the death of Zenaida extinguished her marriage
with Sato, it did not dissolve the son-in-law and mother-in-law relationship between Sato and Zenaidas mother,
Manolita.
For his part, the Solicitor General maintains that Sato is covered by the exemption from criminal liability provided
under Article 332. Nothing in the law and jurisprudence supports petitioners claim that Zenaidas death dissolved the
relationship by affinity between Sato and Manolita. As it is, the criminal case against Sato created havoc among the
members of the Carungcong and Sato families, a situation sought to be particularly avoided by Article 332s provision
exempting a family member committing theft, estafa or malicious mischief from criminal liability and reducing
his/her liability to the civil aspect only.
The petition has merit.
The resolution of this case rests on the interpretation of Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code. In particular, it calls
for the determination of the following: (1) the effect of death on the relationship by affinity created between a
surviving spouse and the blood relatives of the deceased spouse and (2) the extent of the coverage of Article 332.
Effect of Death on Relationship By Affinity as Absolutory Cause

Article 332 provides for an absolutory cause 16in the crimes of theft, estafa (or swindling) and malicious mischief. It
limits the responsibility of the offender to civil liability and frees him from criminal liability by virtue of his
relationship to the offended party.
In connection with the relatives mentioned in the first paragraph, it has been held that included in the exemptions are
parents-in-law, stepparents and adopted children. 17 By virtue thereof, no criminal liability is incurred by the stepfather
who commits malicious mischief against his stepson;18 by the stepmother who commits theft against her
stepson;19 by the stepfather who steals something from his stepson; 20 by the grandson who steals from his
grandfather;21 by the accused who swindles his sister-in-law living with him; 22 and by the son who steals a ring from
his mother.23
Affinity is the relation that one spouse has to the blood relatives of the other spouse. It is a relationship by marriage or
a familial relation resulting from marriage. 24 It is a fictive kinship, a fiction created by law in connection with the
institution of marriage and family relations.
If marriage gives rise to ones relationship by affinity to the blood relatives of ones spouse, does the extinguishment
of marriage by the death of the spouse dissolve the relationship by affinity?
Philippine jurisprudence has no previous encounter with the issue that confronts us in this case. That is why the trial
and appellate courts acknowledged the "dearth of jurisprudence and/or commentaries" on the matter. In contrast, in the
American legal system, there are two views on the subject. As one Filipino author observed:
In case a marriage is terminated by the death of one of the spouses, there are conflicting views. There are some who
believe that relationship by affinity is not terminated whether there are children or not in the marriage (Carman vs.
Newell, N.Y. 1 [Denio] 25, 26). However, the better view supported by most judicial authorities in other jurisdictions
is that, if the spouses have no living issues or children and one of the spouses dies, the relationship by affinity is
dissolved. It follows the rule that relationship by affinity ceases with the dissolution of the marriage which produces it
(Kelly v. Neely, 12 Ark. 657, 659, 56 Am Dec. 288). On the other hand, the relationship by affinity is continued
despite the death of one of the spouses where there are living issues or children of the marriage "in whose veins the
blood of the parties are commingled, since the relationship of affinity was continued through the medium of the issue
of the marriage" (Paddock vs. Wells, 2 Barb. Ch. 331, 333).25
The first view (the terminated affinity view) holds that relationship by affinity terminates with the dissolution of the
marriage either by death or divorce which gave rise to the relationship of affinity between the parties. 26 Under this
view, the relationship by affinity is simply coextensive and coexistent with the marriage that produced it. Its duration
is indispensably and necessarily determined by the marriage that created it. Thus, it exists only for so long as the
marriage subsists, such that the death of a spouse ipso facto ends the relationship by affinity of the surviving spouse to
the deceased spouses blood relatives.
The first view admits of an exception. The relationship by affinity continues even after the death of one spouse when
there is a surviving issue. 27 The rationale is that the relationship is preserved because of the living issue of the
marriage in whose veins the blood of both parties is commingled.28
The second view (the continuing affinity view) maintains that relationship by affinity between the surviving spouse
and the kindred of the deceased spouse continues even after the death of the deceased spouse, regardless of whether
the marriage produced children or not.29 Under this view, the relationship by affinity endures even after the
dissolution of the marriage that produced it as a result of the death of one of the parties to the said marriage. This view
considers that, where statutes have indicated an intent to benefit step-relatives or in-laws, the "tie of affinity" between
these people and their relatives-by-marriage is not to be regarded as terminated upon the death of one of the married
parties.30

After due consideration and evaluation of the relative merits of the two views, we hold that the second view is more
consistent with the language and spirit of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code.
First, the terminated affinity view is generally applied in cases of jury disqualification and incest. 31 On the
other hand, the continuing affinity view has been applied in the interpretation of laws that intend to benefit
step-relatives or in-laws. Since the purpose of the absolutory cause in Article 332(1) is meant to be beneficial
to relatives by affinity within the degree covered under the said provision, the continuing affinity view is
more appropriate.
Second, the language of Article 332(1) which speaks of "relatives by affinity in the same line" is couched in
general language. The legislative intent to make no distinction between the spouse of ones living child and
the surviving spouse of ones deceased child (in case of a son-in-law or daughter-in-law with respect to his or
her parents-in-law)32 can be drawn from Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code without doing violence to
its language.
Third, the Constitution declares that the protection and strengthening of the family as a basic autonomous
social institution are policies of the State and that it is the duty of the State to strengthen the solidarity of the
family.33 Congress has also affirmed as a State and national policy that courts shall preserve the solidarity of
the family.34 In this connection, the spirit of Article 332 is to preserve family harmony and obviate
scandal.35The view that relationship by affinity is not affected by the death of one of the parties to the
marriage that created it is more in accord with family solidarity and harmony.
Fourth, the fundamental principle in applying and in interpreting criminal laws is to resolve all doubts in
favor of the accused. In dubio pro reo. When in doubt, rule for the accused. 36 This is in consonance with the
constitutional guarantee that the accused shall be presumed innocent unless and until his guilt is established
beyond reasonable doubt.37
Intimately related to the in dubio pro reo principle is the rule of lenity. 38 The rule applies when the court is faced with
two possible interpretations of a penal statute, one that is prejudicial to the accused and another that is favorable to
him. The rule calls for the adoption of an interpretation which is more lenient to the accused.
Lenity becomes all the more appropriate when this case is viewed through the lens of the basic purpose of Article 332
of the Revised Penal Code to preserve family harmony by providing an absolutory cause. Since the goal of Article
332(1) is to benefit the accused, the Court should adopt an application or interpretation that is more favorable to the
accused. In this case, that interpretation is the continuing affinity view.
Thus, for purposes of Article 332(1) of the Revised Penal Code, we hold that the relationship by affinity created
between the surviving spouse and the blood relatives of the deceased spouse survives the death of either party to the
marriage which created the affinity. (The same principle applies to the justifying circumstance of defense of ones
relatives under Article 11[2] of the Revised Penal Code, the mitigating circumstance of immediate vindication of
grave offense committed against ones relatives under Article 13[5] of the same Code and the absolutory cause of
relationship in favor of accessories under Article 20 also of the same Code.)
Scope of Article 332 of The Revised Penal Code
The absolutory cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code only applies to the felonies of theft, swindling and
malicious mischief. Under the said provision, the State condones the criminal responsibility of the offender in cases of
theft, swindling and malicious mischief. As an act of grace, the State waives its right to prosecute the offender for the
said crimes but leaves the private offended party with the option to hold the offender civilly liable.
However, the coverage of Article 332 is strictly limited to the felonies mentioned therein. The plain, categorical and
unmistakable language of the provision shows that it applies exclusively to the simple crimes of theft, swindling and

malicious mischief. It does not apply where any of the crimes mentioned under Article 332 is complexed with another
crime, such as theft through falsification or estafa through falsification. 39
The Information against Sato charges him with estafa. However, the real nature of the offense is determined by the
facts alleged in the Information, not by the designation of the offense. 40 What controls is not the title of the
Information or the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited in the Information. 41 In other words, it is the
recital of facts of the commission of the offense, not the nomenclature of the offense, that determines the crime being
charged in the Information.42 It is the exclusive province of the court to say what the crime is or what it is
named.43 The determination by the prosecutor who signs the Information of the crime committed is merely an opinion
which is not binding on the court.44
A reading of the facts alleged in the Information reveals that Sato is being charged not with simple estafa but with
the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents. In particular, the Information states that Sato,
by means of deceit, intentionally defrauded Manolita committed as follows:
(a) Sato presented a document to Manolita (who was already blind at that time) and induced her to sign and
thumbmark the same;
(b) he made Manolita believe that the said document was in connection with her taxes when it was in fact a
special power of attorney (SPA) authorizing his minor daughter Wendy to sell, assign, transfer or otherwise
dispose of Manolitas properties in Tagaytay City;
(c) relying on Satos inducement and representation, Manolita signed and thumbmarked the SPA in favor of
Wendy Mitsuko Sato, daughter of Sato;
(d) using the document, he sold the properties to third parties but he neither delivered the proceeds to
Manolita nor accounted for the same and
(d) despite repeated demands, he failed and refused to deliver the proceeds, to the damage and prejudice of
the estate of Manolita.
The above averments in the Information show that the estafa was committed by attributing to Manolita (who
participated in the execution of the document) statements other than those in fact made by her. Manolitas acts of
signing the SPA and affixing her thumbmark to that document were the very expression of her specific intention that
something be done about her taxes. Her signature and thumbmark were the affirmation of her statement on such
intention as she only signed and thumbmarked the SPA (a document which she could not have read) because of Satos
representation that the document pertained to her taxes. In signing and thumbmarking the document, Manolita showed
that she believed and adopted the representations of Sato as to what the document was all about, i.e., that it involved
her taxes. Her signature and thumbmark, therefore, served as her conformity to Satos proposal that she execute a
document to settle her taxes.
Thus, by inducing Manolita to sign the SPA, Sato made it appear that Manolita granted his daughter Wendy a special
power of attorney for the purpose of selling, assigning, transferring or otherwise disposing of Manolitas Tagaytay
properties when the fact was that Manolita signed and thumbmarked the document presented by Sato in the belief that
it pertained to her taxes. Indeed, the document itself, the SPA, and everything that it contained were falsely attributed
to Manolita when she was made to sign the SPA.
Moreover, the allegations in the Information that
(1) "once in the possession of the said special power of attorney and other pertinent documents, [Sato] made
Wendy Mitsuko Sato sign the three (3) Deeds of Absolute Sale" and

(2) "once in possession of the proceeds of the sale of the above properties, said accused, misapplied,
misappropriated and converted the same to his own personal use and benefit" raise the presumption that Sato,
as the possessor of the falsified document and the one who benefited therefrom, was the author thereof.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the prosecution moved for the amendment of the Information so as to increase the
amount of damages from P1,150,000 to P22,034,000. This was granted by the trial court and was affirmed by the
Court of Appeals on certiorari. This meant that the amended Information would now state that, while the total amount
of consideration stated in the deeds of absolute sale was only P1,150,000, Sato actually received the total amount
of P22,034,000 as proceeds of the sale of Manolitas properties. 45 This also meant that the deeds of sale (which were
public documents) were also falsified by making untruthful statements as to the amounts of consideration stated in the
deeds.
Therefore, the allegations in the Information essentially charged a crime that was not simple estafa. Sato resorted to
falsification of public documents (particularly, the special power of attorney and the deeds of sale) as a necessary
means to commit the estafa.
Since the crime with which respondent was charged was not simple estafa but the complex crime of estafa through
falsification of public documents, Sato cannot avail himself of the absolutory cause provided under Article 332 of the
Revised Penal Code in his favor.
Effect of Absolutory Cause Under Article 332 on Criminal Liability For The Complex Crime of Estafa Through
Falsification of Public Documents
The question may be asked: if the accused may not be held criminally liable for simple estafa by virtue of the
absolutory cause under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, should he not be absolved also from criminal liability
for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents? No.
True, the concurrence of all the elements of the two crimes of estafa and falsification of public document is required
for a proper conviction for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document. That is the ruling in
Gonzaludo v. People.46 It means that the prosecution must establish that the accused resorted to the falsification of a
public document as a necessary means to commit the crime of estafa.
However, a proper appreciation of the scope and application of Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code and of the
nature of a complex crime would negate exemption from criminal liability for the complex crime of estafa through
falsification of public documents, simply because the accused may not be held criminally liable for simple estafa by
virtue of the absolutory cause under Article 332.
The absolutory cause under Article 332 is meant to address specific crimes against property, namely, the simple
crimes of theft, swindling and malicious mischief. Thus, all other crimes, whether simple or complex, are not affected
by the absolutory cause provided by the said provision. To apply the absolutory cause under Article 332 of the
Revised Penal Code to one of the component crimes of a complex crime for the purpose of negating the existence of
that complex crime is to unduly expand the scope of Article 332. In other words, to apply Article 332 to the complex
crime of estafa through falsification of public document would be to mistakenly treat the crime of estafa as a separate
simple crime, not as the component crime that it is in that situation. It would wrongly consider the indictment as
separate charges of estafa and falsification of public document, not as a single charge for the single (complex) crime
of estafa through falsification of public document.
Under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code, the State waives its right to hold the offender criminally liable for the
simple crimes of theft, swindling and malicious mischief and considers the violation of the juridical right to property
committed by the offender against certain family members as a private matter and therefore subject only to civil
liability. The waiver does not apply when the violation of the right to property is achieved through (and therefore

inseparably intertwined with) a breach of the public interest in the integrity and presumed authenticity of public
documents. For, in the latter instance, what is involved is no longer simply the property right of a family
relation but a paramount public interest.
The purpose of Article 332 is to preserve family harmony and obviate scandal. 47 Thus, the action provided under the
said provision simply concerns the private relations of the parties as family members and is limited to the civil aspect
between the offender and the offended party. When estafa is committed through falsification of a public document,
however, the matter acquires a very serious public dimension and goes beyond the respective rights and liabilities of
family members among themselves. Effectively, when the offender resorts to an act that breaches public interest in the
integrity of public documents as a means to violate the property rights of a family member, he is removed from the
protective mantle of the absolutory cause under Article 332.
In considering whether the accused is liable for the complex crime of estafa through falsification of public documents,
it would be wrong to consider the component crimes separately from each other. While there may be two component
crimes (estafa and falsification of documents), both felonies are animated by and result from one and the same
criminal intent for which there is only one criminal liability. 48 That is the concept of a complex crime. In other words,
while there are two crimes, they are treated only as one, subject to a single criminal liability.
As opposed to a simple crime where only one juridical right or interest is violated (e.g., homicide which violates the
right to life, theft which violates the right to property), 49 a complex crime constitutes a violation of diverse juridical
rights or interests by means of diverse acts, each of which is a simple crime in itself. 50 Since only a single criminal
intent underlies the diverse acts, however, the component crimes are considered as elements of a single crime, the
complex crime. This is the correct interpretation of a complex crime as treated under Article 48 of the Revised Penal
Code.
In the case of a complex crime, therefore, there is a formal (or ideal) plurality of crimes where the same criminal
intent results in two or more component crimes constituting a complex crime for which there is only one criminal
liability.51 (The complex crime of estafa through falsification of public document falls under this category.) This is
different from a material (or real) plurality of crimes where different criminal intents result in two or more crimes, for
each of which the accused incurs criminal liability. 52 The latter category is covered neither by the concept of complex
crimes nor by Article 48.
Under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code, the formal plurality of crimes (concursus delictuorum or concurso de
delitos) gives rise to a single criminal liability and requires the imposition of a single penalty:
Although [a] complex crime quantitatively consists of two or more crimes, it is only one crime in law on which a
single penalty is imposed and the two or more crimes constituting the same are more conveniently termed as
component crimes.53 (emphasis supplied)

In [a] complex crime, although two or more crimes are actually committed, they constitute only one crime in the eyes
of the law as well as in the conscience of the offender. The offender has only one criminal intent. Even in the case
where an offense is a necessary means for committing the other, the evil intent of the offender is only one. 54
For this reason, while a conviction for estafa through falsification of public document requires that the elements of
both estafa and falsification exist, it does not mean that the criminal liability for estafa may be determined and
considered independently of that for falsification. The two crimes of estafa and falsification of public documents are
not separate crimes but component crimes of the single complex crime of estafa and falsification of public documents.

Therefore, it would be incorrect to claim that, to be criminally liable for the complex crime of estafa through
falsification of public document, the liability for estafa should be considered separately from the liability for
falsification of public document. Such approach would disregard the nature of a complex crime and contradict the
letter and spirit of Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. It would wrongly disregard the distinction between formal
plurality and material plurality, as it improperly treats the plurality of crimes in the complex crime of estafa through
falsification of public document as a mere material plurality where the felonies are considered as separate crimes to be
punished individually.
Falsification of Public Documents May Be a Necessary Means for Committing Estafa Even Under Article 315
(3[a])
The elements of the offense of estafa punished under Article 315 (3[a]) of the Revised Penal Code are as follows:
(1) the offender induced the offended party to sign a document;
(2) deceit was employed to make the offended party sign the document;
(3) the offended party personally signed the document and
(4) prejudice is caused to the offended party.
While in estafa under Article 315(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the law does not require that the document be
falsified for the consummation thereof, it does not mean that the falsification of the document cannot be considered as
a necessary means to commit the estafa under that provision.
The phrase "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. 55 In
People v. Salvilla,56 the phrase "necessary means" merely signifies that one crime is committed to facilitate and insure
the commission of the other.57 In this case, the crime of falsification of public document, the SPA, was such a
"necessary means" as it was resorted to by Sato to facilitate and carry out more effectively his evil design to swindle
his mother-in-law. In particular, he used the SPA to sell the Tagaytay properties of Manolita to unsuspecting third
persons.
When the offender commits in a public document any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171 of the
Revised Penal Code as a necessary means to commit another crime, like estafa, theft or malversation, the two crimes
form a complex crime under Article 48 of the same Code. 58 The falsification of a public, official or commercial
document may be a means of committing estafa because, before the falsified document is actually utilized to defraud
another, the crime of falsification has already been consummated, damage or intent to cause damage not being an
element of the crime of falsification of a public, official or commercial document. 59 In other words, the crime of
falsification was committed prior to the consummation of the crime of estafa. 60 Actually utilizing the falsified public,
official or commercial document to defraud another is estafa. 61 The damage to another is caused by the commission
of estafa, not by the falsification of the document.62
1avvphi1

Applying the above principles to this case, the allegations in the Information show that the falsification of public
document was consummated when Sato presented a ready-made SPA to Manolita who signed the same as a statement
of her intention in connection with her taxes. While the falsification was consummated upon the execution of the SPA,
the consummation of the estafa occurred only when Sato later utilized the SPA. He did so particularly when he had the
properties sold and thereafter pocketed the proceeds of the sale. Damage or prejudice to Manolita was caused not by
the falsification of the SPA (as no damage was yet caused to the property rights of Manolita at the time she was made
to sign the document) but by the subsequent use of the said document. That is why the falsification of the public
document was used to facilitate and ensure (that is, as a necessary means for) the commission of the estafa.

The situation would have been different if Sato, using the same inducement, had made Manolita sign a deed of sale of
the properties either in his favor or in favor of third parties. In that case, the damage would have been caused by, and
at exactly the same time as, the execution of the document, not prior thereto. Therefore, the crime committed would
only have been the simple crime of estafa.63 On the other hand, absent any inducement (such as if Manolita herself
had been the one who asked that a document pertaining to her taxes be prepared for her signature, but what was
presented to her for her signature was an SPA), the crime would have only been the simple crime of falsification. 64
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision dated August 9, 2007 and the resolution dated
January 23, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. S.P. No. 95260 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is
remanded to the trial court which is directed to try the accused with dispatch for the complex crime of estafa through
falsification of public documents.
SO ORDERED.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson
WE CONCUR:
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA


Associate Justice

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

JOSE C. MENDOZA
Associate Justice
ATT E STAT I O N

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
Chairperson
C E R T I F I CAT I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been
reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1 Per letters of administration dated June 22, 1995 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch

104 in SP. Proc. Q-95-23621.


2 Docketed as I.S. No. 96-19651. Rollo, pp. 89-90.
3 Id.
4 Id., pp. 85-88.

5 Resolution No. 313, s. 2000 dated February 17, 2000. Id., pp. 81-84.
6 Docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-00-91385. Id., pp. 91-92.
7 Id.
8 Penned by Judge Fatima Gonzales-Asdala. Id., pp. 126-129.
9 Id.
10 Dated April 26, 2006. Id., pp. 130-131.
11 Id., p. 131.
12 Docketed as CA-G.R. S.P. No. 95260.
13 Penned by Associate Justice Celia C. Librea-Leagogo and concurred in by Associate Justices Regalado E.

Maambong (retired) and Sixto C. Marella, Jr. of the Seventeenth Division of the Court of Appeals. Rollo, pp.
28-40.
14 Id.
15 Id., pp. 42-43.
16 An absolutory cause is a circumstance which is present prior to or simultaneously with the offense by

reason of which the accused who acts with criminal intent, freedom and intelligence does not incur criminal
liability for an act that constitutes a crime (Regalado, Florenz, Criminal Law Conspectus, Third Edition, 6162 [2007]).
17 Id., p. 736.
18 People v. Alvarez, 52 Phil. 65 (1928).
19 Aquino, Ramon and Carolina Grio Aquino, The Revised Pe

The Appellant testified that during her marriage she had tried to leave her husband at least five (5) times, but
that Ben would always follow her and they would reconcile. The Apellant said that the reason why Ben was
violent and abusive towards her that night was because 'he was crazy about his recent girlfriend, Lulu
Rubillos.
The Appellant after being interviewed by specialists, has been shown to be suffering from Battered Woman
Syndrome.
The appellant with a plea of self defense admitted the killing of her husband, she was then found guilty of
Parricide, with the aggravating circumstance of treachery, for the husband was attacked while asleep.
ISSUES:
Can Marivic Genosa be granted the Justifying circumstance of Self-defense, and can she be held liable
for

the

aggravating

circumstance

of

treachery?

No, Since self- defense since the existence of Battered woman syndrome, which the appellant has been shown
to be suffering in the relationship does not in itself establish the legal right of the woman to kill her abusive
partner.

Evidence

must

still

be

considered

in

the

context

of

self-defense.

In the present case, however, according to the testimony of the appellant there was a sufficient time interval
between the unlawful aggression of the husband and her fatal attack upon him. She had already been able to
withdraw from his violent behavior and escape to their children's bedroom. During that time, he apparently
ceased his attack and went to bed. The reality or even the imminence of the danger he posed had ended
altogether. He was no longer in a position that presented an actual threat on her life or safety.
Without continuous aggression there can be no self-defense. And absence of aggression does not warrant
complete

or

incomplete

self-defense.

No, There is treachery when one commits any of the crimes against persons by employing means, methods or
forms in the execution thereof without risk to oneself arising from the defense that the offended party might
make.
The circumstances must be shown as indubitably as the killing itself; they cannot be deduced from mere
inferences, or conjectures, which have no place in the appreciation of evidence. Besides, equally axiomatic
is the rule that when a killing is preceded by an argument or a quarrel, treachery cannot be appreciated as a
qualifying circumstance, because the deceased may be said to have been forewarned and to have anticipated
aggression

from

the

assailant.

In the present case, however it was not conclusively shown, that the appellant intentionally chose a specific
means of successfully attacking her husband without any risk to herself from any retaliatory act that he
might make. To the contrary, it appears that the thought of using the gun occurred to her only at about the
same moment when she decided to kill her spouse. In the absence of any convincing proof that she
consciously and deliberately employed the method by which she committed the crime in order to ensure its
execution,

the

doubt

should

be

resolved

in

her

favor.

HELD:
The conviction of Appellant Marivic Genosa for parricide is hereby AFFIRMED. However, there being two (2)
mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance attending her commission of the offense, her
penalty is REDUCED to six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum; to 14 years, 8 months and 1
day

of

reclusion

temporal

as

maximum.

ADDENDUM:
When

can

BWS

(Battered

Woman

Syndrome)

as

self

defense

be

appreciated?

Where the brutalized person is already suffering from BWS, further evidence of actual physical assault at
the time of the killing is not required. Incidents of domestic battery usually have a predictable pattern. To

require the battered person to await an obvious, deadly attack before she can defend her life "would amount
to sentencing her to 'murder by installment.' Still, impending danger (based on the conduct of the victim in
previous battering episodes) prior to the defendant's use of deadly force must be shown. Threatening
behavior or communication can satisfy the required imminence of danger. Considering such circumstances
and the existence of BWS, self-defense may be appreciated.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CRISPULO DIJAN y MACAJIYA, accused-appellant.

DECISION
VITUG, J.:

Accused Crispulo Dijan y Macajiya was indicted on 15 April 1998, along with Romualdo
Paglinawan and Oliver Lizardo, for the crime of murder before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 272,
of Marikina. The information read:
That on or about the 11th day of April, 1998 in the City of Marikina, Philippines and

within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring
and confederating together and mutually helping and aiding one another, while armed
with a knife and an ice-pick with intent to kill and by means of treachery and abuse of
superior strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault
and stab one ALVARO HILARIO, thereby inflicting upon the latter moral wounds which
directly caused his death.[1]
Upon arraignment, the three accused separately and independently entered a plea of not guilty to
the offense charged; trial ensued.

Evidence for the Prosecution


On the evening of 11 April 1998, about ten oclock, Roderick Silvestre and Alvaro Hilario were at
a store located around the corner of Paraiso and Sumulong Streets in Parang, Marikina City, to buy
some cigarettes when they saw the group of Crispulo Dijan, Romualdo Paglinawan and Oliver Lizardo,
passing by the store. The two groups came to an encounter when Romualdo Paglinawan suddenly
confronted Alvaro Hilario for purportedly giving him a bad stare. Silvestre apologized to the group
and, offering them some cigarettes, explained that it was the natural way Hilario gazed at
people. Dijan, Paglinawan and Lizardo then left the place while Silvestre and Hilario who lived in the
same house proceeded home. While Silvestre and Hilario were walking, the three accused, who
apparently were waiting for the duo, suddenly ganged up on, and took turns in stabbing, Hilario. At
that point, Hilario, who was walking slightly ahead of Silvestre, cried out and told the latter to
flee. Silvestre ran away until he was able to cling to a passing passenger jeepney.

Responding policemen, soon informed of the stabbing incident through radio communication,
proceeded to the crime scene and there found the lifeless body of Hilario sprawled on the
ground. After receiving a report on the identity and the whereabouts of the assailants, the policemen
proceeded to a place about 200 meters away from the site of the stabbing incident. Barangay tanods
assisted the police in arresting the suspected assailants. The following day, 12 April 1998, Dr. Ma.
Cristina B. Freyra, Medico-Legal Officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP), conducted an
autopsy on the victims cadaver. Hilario was found to have sustained several stab wounds, punctured
and incised wounds, and abrasion in various parts of the body which caused his death. The medicolegal officer concluded that the wounds could have been inflicted by two assailants with the use of two
single-bladed weapons and an icepick.

The version of the Defense The defense claimed that on the night of the incident, Crispulo Dijan and his two companions,
Romualdo Paglinawan and Oliver Lizardo, were walking on their way home when they dropped by a
store to buy some cigarettes. There, they met two persons, later identified to be Alvaro Hilario and
Roderick Silvestre. who were partaking of drinks. Paglinawan accosted one of the duo for allegedly
sharply staring at him but the other apologized to their group and explained that his companion was
already drunk. Paglinawan himself then also made an apology, and everybody shook hands. Dijan and
his friends started to walk along Paraiso Street. When Dijan happened to look behind, he was surprised
to see Paglinawan being stabbed with a knife by Alvaro Hilario. He saw that when Paglinawan was hit
on the left arm, the two grappled for the knifes possession. Seeing Roderick Silvestre to have pulled
out an icepick himself, Dijan promptly held his hand. After disarming Silvestre, Dijan saw Paglinawan
still grappling with Hilario for the knifes possession. Realizing that Paglinawan was no match for
Hilario, the latter being much taller than Paglinawan, Dijan helped his friend and stabbed Hilario with
the icepick he wrestled away from Silvestre. He assisted Paglinawan in getting home which was only
about 20 meters away from the scene of the crime.
Dijans two co-accused, Oliver Morales Lizardo and Romualdo Paglinawan, gave a similar
account. Lizardo claimed that he ran away when Silvestre, holding an icepick, rushed towards them.
Romualdo Paglinawan said that, when their group was already at the corner of Paraiso and Sumulong
streets, he heard rushing steps of slippers and, turning his head around, Hilario suddenly stabbed him
with a knife. He was able to evade the thrust directed on his chest, wounding him instead on his left
forearm. The two grappled for the knifes possession for about five minutes until he was weakened by
the bleeding of his wound. Dijan was able to timely pull away Hilario. Dijan then stabbed
Hilario. Paglinawan stood up and walked home followed by Dijan. He requested Dijan to bring him to
the hospital for treatment but it was the policemen, who meanwhile arrived, who brought him to the
hospital. After his wounds were treated, he was taken to the police headquarters.
The defense also presented Lani Sarmiento and Dr. Alfredo Garcia to the stand. Sarmiento
claimed that when she and a companion passed by Lindas Bakery on the night of the incident, they

noticed two male persons, a tall fellow and the other of average height, overtake them causing her to
exclaim Fe, tingnan mo yan, parang nagmamadali, parang galit sa mundo.[2] Nearing Sumulong
Street, they saw the two men approach three other male persons who were walking towards Paraiso
Street. Suddenly, the tall guy pulled out a knife and gave a stabbing thrust to one of the three
men. When they reached home, they learned that it was their Kuya Jojo or Romualdo Paglinawan
who had been stabbed. Dr. Garcia testified having treated Romualdo Paglinawan on 11 April 1998 at
the Amang Rodriguez Medical Centre for a stab wound at the right forearm.

The Judgment of the Trial Court. The trial court saw the case for the prosecution insofar as accused-appellant Crispulo M. Dijan was
concerned whom the court found guilty of the crime of murder, acquitting thereby Dijans two coaccused, Romualdo Paglinawan and Oliver Lizardo, based on reasonable doubt; viz:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, accused CRISPULO DIJAN y

MACAJIYA is hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder
qualified by treachery as charged against him and is ordered to suffer the penalty of
RECLUSION PERPETUA, to indemnify the heirs of the victim Alvaro Hilario the
amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos; to pay the said heirs the amount of Thirty
Four Thousand Two Hundred (P34,200.00) Pesos as funeral expenses; and the amount of
Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos as moral and exemplary damages. The accused
ROMUALDO PAGLINAWAN y RICAMORA and OLIVER LIZARDO y MORALES
are hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged against them for failure of the
prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The Jail Warden of the
Marikina City Jail is ordered to immediately release the persons of Romualdo
Paglinawan and Oliver Lizardo unless validly held for some other offense.[3]
Appealing his conviction to this Court, accused-appellant would argue that I.

The trial court erred in finding accused-appellant Crispulo Dijan guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of murder.
II.

Assuming for the sake of argument that accused-appellant is guilty, the trial court
erred in appreciating the qualifying circumstance of treachery.[4]
A party who invokes the justifying circumstance of defense of a stranger has the burden of
proving by clear and convincing evidence the exculpatory cause that can save him from conviction.
[5] In order to successfully put up this defense an accused must show (1) the existence of unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim; (2) the reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or
repel it; and (3) that the accused has not been induced by revenge, resentment, or other evil motive.

The unlawful aggression must be a continuing circumstance or must have been existing at the time
the defense is made. Once unlawful aggression is found to have ceased, the one making the defense of
a stranger would likewise cease to have any justification for killing, or even just wounding, the former
aggressor.[7]
[6]

From the defense account, it would appear that Hilario was already disarmed and the unlawful
aggression by Hilario (if indeed he was the aggressor) to have by then been abated, when accusedappellant still delivered the fatal thrusts on the victim. Paglinawan himself testified:
Q. And because Crispulo Dijan was already able to take possession of the weapon from Roderick Silvestre,
you yourself was able to take possession of the weapon from Hilario there was no more danger to you as
well as to Crispulo Dijan?

A. Yes, sir.[8]
The number of wounds sustained by the victim would itself likewise negate accused-appellants claim
of defense of a stranger. The autopsy conducted on the corpse would show that the deceased sustained
fourteen injuries consisting of nine stab wounds, three punctured wounds, an incised wound and an
abrasion.[9] Certainly, the nature and number of wounds inflicted by an accused on the victim should be
significant indicia in determining the plausibility of the defense plea.[10]
The Court, however, finds the evidence of the prosecution to be wanting in respect to the
qualifying circumstance of treachery. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by
an aggressor on an unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defense himself and
thereby ensuring its commission with no risk to the aggressor.[11] The conditions that must concur in
order that treachery may be appreciated are: (a) the employment of means of execution that gives the
person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and (b) that the means of execution are
deliberately and consciously adopted.[12] These elements must be proven as indubitably as the killing
itself and cannot be deduced from conjecture.[13]
Here, it was not satisfactorily established that the victim was unarmed at the time of the stabbing
incident. On the contrary, the stab wound on the person of Romualdo Paglinawan, a companion and
co-accused of herein appellant, could indicate that the victim might have also been armed. Neither was
it made clear that there was no provocation on the part of the victim.
Accused-appellant can thus only be convicted of the crime of homicide, the penalty for which,
under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, is reclusion temporal that, absent any mitigating nor
aggravating circumstance, shall be imposed in its medium period. Applying the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, accused-appellant should thus be penalized by an indeterminate sentence of anywhere
within the range of prision mayor, or from six years and one day to 12 years, by way of minimum, and
anywhere within the range of reclusion temporal in its medium period of from fourteen years, eight
months and one day to seventeen years and four months, by way of maximum.[14]
The award of damages made by the court a quo should be affirmed insofar as the civil indemnity
of P50,000.00 and actual damages of P34,200.00 are concerned, the latter being amply supported by

receipts.[15] The additional award of moral and exemplary damages should be deleted for lack of
factual and legal grounds.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court is AFFIRMED with
MODIFICATION in that accused-appellant is only found GUILTY of HOMICIDE and sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of nine (9) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to fifteen (15)
years and eleven (11) months and three (3) days of reclusion temporal, as maximum, and is ordered to
pay the heirs of the victim Alvaro Hilario civil indemnity of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) pesos and
actual damages of Thirty-four Thousand Two Hundred (P34,200.00) Pesos. The award by the trial
court of moral and exemplary damages are deleted. Costs against appellant.
SO ORDERED.
Kapunan, and Martinez, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., on official leave.
G.R. No. L-56358 October 26, 1990

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
LUIS B. TORING DIOSDADO BERDON and CARMELO B. BERDIN, accused-appellants.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Fil C. Veloso counsel de oficio for Luis B. Toring.
Joel P. Alino for Berdon and Berdin.

FERNAN, C.J.:
The appellants herein seek the reversal of the October 28, 1980 decision of the Circuit Criminal Court in Cebu City in
Criminal Case No. CCC-XIV-2170, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused Luis B. Toring guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of MURDER by direct participation as principal; Diosdado Berdon as accomplice thereto; and
Carmelo Berdin as accessory after the fact.
Appreciating in favor of the accused Luis B. Toring the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender, the said circumstance having been offset by the aggravating circumstance of nighttime, the
accused Luis Toring should be, as he is, hereby sentenced to the penalty of RECLUSION
PERPETUA, with the accessory penalties of law.
There being neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances on the part of the accused Diosdado
Berdon, the said accused should as he is hereby sentenced to the indeterminate penalty of from SIX
(6) YEARS of Prision Correccional, as minimum, to TWELVE (12) and ONE (1) DAY
of ReclusionTemporal, as maximum, with the accessory penalties of the law.
Appreciating in favor of the accused Carmelo Berdin, the privileged mitigating circumstance of
minority, the said accused being only 17 years of age, the accused Carmelo Berdin should be, as he

is, sentenced to the penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY of Prision Correccional, with the
accessory penalties of the law.
The defendants shall jointly and solidarily indemnify the heirs of the deceased Samuel Augusto for
actual and compensatory damages in the sum of P15,000.00 and for moral damages in the sum of
P50,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
The instrument of the crime, the knife, Exhibit "B", is confiscated in favor of the government.
Proportionate costs.
SO ORDERED. 1
According to the prosecution, the antecedent facts are as follows:
In the evening of May 25, 1980, a benefit dance was held at sitio Naga, Babag II, Lapu-lapu City for the last
canvassing of votes for the candidates for princesses who would reign at the sitio fiesta. As one of the candidates was
the daughter of Samuel Augusto, he and the members of his family attended the affair.
Also present were members of the kwaknit gang, a group which was noted for their bird-like way of dancing and their
propensity for drunkenness and provoking trouble. Its president, called the "alas" king, was Luis Toring. The group
was then outside the dancing area which was ringed by benches.
At around 10:45 p.m., Samuel's daughter was proclaimed the winner in the contest. Beer and softdrinks having been
served the parents of the candidates by the officers of the Naga Chapel Association which took charge of the affair,
Samuel was tipsy when, after his daughter's proclamation, he stepped out of the dancing area to answer the call of
nature.
At that moment, barangay tanod Felix Berdin saw Luis Toring, Carmelo Berdin and Diosdado Berdon proceed to a
dark area while whispering to each other. Diosdado Berdon handed a knife to Luis Toring, 2 who then approached
Samuel from behind, held Samuel's left hand with his left hand, and with his right hand, stabbed with the knife the right side
of Samuel's abdomen. 3 Upon seeing Felix running towards them, Luis Toring pulled out the knife and, together with
Carmelo Berdin and Diosdado Berdon, ran towards the dark. Felix tried to chase the three but he was not able to catch them.
He returned to where Samuel had slumped and helped others in taking Samuel to the hospital.
According to Maria Catalina Sorono, who was six (6) meters away from Samuel and Luis when the assault occurred,
Diosdado Berdon and Carmelo Berdin were poised to deliver fist blows on Samuel just before Luis Toring stabbed
him. Diosdado gave the knife to Luis Toring. 4
As soon as she saw the stabbing of Samuel, Maria Catalina shouted for help. The three assailants ran towards the
direction of the fields. Jacinto Lobas and Mario Andog responded to her shouts and brought Samuel to the Opon
Emergency Hospital where he died on arrival. According to the necropsy report, 5 Samuel, who was thirty years old,
died due to massive hemorrhage secondary to the stab wound on the abdomen. Said wound is described in the report as
follows:
Stab wound, with herniation of omental issues; elliptical, 3.5 cms. long, running vertically
downward, edges clean-cut, superior extremity rounded, inferior extremity sharp, located at the
abdominal region, right anterior aspect, 7.5 cms. to the right of anterior median line and 107.0 cms.
above right heel, directed backward, upward and medially, involving skin and the underlying soft
tissues, penetrating right peritoneal cavity, incising inferior vena cava, attaining an approximate depth
of 15.0 cms.

The death weapon, a kitchen knife made of stainless steel and with a red-colored handle, was recovered from the
house of Luis Toring. According to Patrolman Pantaleon P. Amodia, the police found out during the investigation that
Luis Toring had left the weapon with "Camilo" Berdin. When the police confronted Berdin, the latter led them to the
house of Toring which Berdin entered. When he emerged from the house, Berdin handed the weapon to the police. 6
An information for murder was filed against Toring. Subsequently, however, the information was amended to include
Diosdado Berdon and Carmelo Berdin as defendants. The three were charged therein with conspiracy in killing
Samuel Augusto in a treacherous manner. Berdon, it was alleged, "conveniently supplied the death weapon" which
Toring used in stabbing Samuel while Berdin allegedly concealed the weapon to prevent its discovery by the
police.7 The crime was purportedly committed with the attendance of the generic aggravating circumstances of evident
premeditation and nighttime.
All three accused pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. At the trial, Luis Toring, alias "Lowe," testified that he
was not the president of the kwaknit gang. He went to the benefit dance in the company of Venir Ybaez, Joel
Escobia, Ely Amion, Abel Pongase, Abe Berdon, Genio Berdin and Alex Augusta. Toring and his group were standing
outside the dancing area when, at around eleven o'clock in the evening, Samuel, a known tough guy ("maldito"),
approached them and held Venir Ybanez by his collar. Then Samuel thrust the butt of his shotgun on the chin of Joel
Escobia, 8 proceeded to another group who were also gangmates of Toring, and again, with the barrel of his shotgun, hit Eli
Amion's chest several times. 9
Reacting to what he saw, Toring got his kitchen knife which was tucked in his waist, approached Samuel from the
latter's right side and stabbed him once as he did not intend to kill Samuel. Toring then ran towards the dark portion of
the area and went home. There, he left the knife and proceeded to the hut by the fishpond of one Roman. 10
Toring was sleeping in the hut with his older brother, Arsenio, when, at around 4:00 o'clock in the morning of May 26,
1980, Edgar Augusto, the younger brother of Samuel, shot them. Arsenio was hit on the left leg and he stayed two
months in the hospital for the treatment of his wound. 11
At 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon of May 26, 1980, Toring surrendered to two Philippine Constabulary soldiers. 12They
brought him to the police of Lapu-lapu City on May 28, 1980. 13 When the police asked him about the knife he used in
stabbing Samuel, Toring told them to go to Carmelo Berdin because he was the only person who knew where Toring hid
it.14 Asserting that he was the one who returned the knife to his own house, Toring testified that Carmelo Berdin used to see
him hide his weapons upstairs because Berdin was a frequent visitor of his. 15
For his part, Carmelo, a 5 feet tall, asthmatic 17-year-old whom the court described as "lilliputian," admitted that he
witnessed the stabbing incident but he ran away with his group immediately after because he was afraid he might be
shot by Samuel. He was with Toring when the latter hid the still bloodied knife under a trunk in Toring's house. He
was familiar with the hiding place of the knife because Toring showed it to him and there were times when he would
get the knife there upon Toring's request. Carmelo corroborated Toring's testimony that on that fateful night, Toring
carried the knife tucked at the back of his waistline. 16
In court, Toring testified that he never saw Diosdado at the dance. 17 However, in his sworn statement dated May 28,
1980 and marked as Exhibit D, Toring stated that he took the knife from Diosdado to stab Samuel. Confronted with said
statement, Diosdado said that when he asked Toring why he implicated him, Toring allegedly replied that he "included"
Diosdado because of the case the barangay brigade had filed against Toring. 18
According to Diosdado, he did not attend the May 25 dance because of the trouble which erupted during the dance the
night before. He did not have anything to do with the stabbing of Samuel. He admitted, however, that a week after the
incident, his family went to barrio Andaliw Ronda, Cebu, for their yearly visit to his father-in-law. He stayed there for
fifteen days and would have stayed longer had not his mother informed him of the subpoena addressed to him. 19

On October 28, 1980, a day after the last day of hearing, the lower court 20 rendered a decision discrediting Toring's
claim that the killing of Samuel was justified because it was done in defense of a stranger pursuant to Article 11 (3) of the
Revised Penal Code. The lower court found that Toring was the "aggressor acting in retaliation or revenge by reason of a
running feud or long-standing grudge" between the kwaknit gang and the group of Samuel, who, being the son of the
barangay captain, was a "power to be reckoned with." It mentioned the fact that a year before the incident in question,
Toring was shot by Edgar Augusto (Samuel's brother) and hence, in his desire to avenge himself, Toring, "needed but a little
excuse to do away with the object of his hatred. 21
The lower court could not believe that Samuel brought along his shotgun to the dance because he was "not reputed to
be a public official or functionary entitled to possess a firearm." Otherwise, the police and the barangay tanod would
have arrested him. The court surmised that if Samuel really carried a shotgun, he certainly must have had a permit or
license to possess the same.
It noted that while Toring testified that Samuel was aiming his shotgun at the chest of Ely Amyon (Amion),
prosecution witness Joel Escobia claimed that he was at the receiving end of Samuel's thrusts with the butt of his
shotgun. To the court, such discrepancy is fatal to the defense because in appreciating the justifying circumstance of
defense of a stranger, the court must know "with definiteness the identity of the stranger defended by the accused." 22
The lower court, however, ruled out the existence of conspiracy among the three accused on the ground that there was
no proof on what they were whispering about when Felix saw them. Accordingly, it held that the accused have
individual or separate liabilities for the killing of Samuel: Toring, as a principal, Diosdado Berdon as an accomplice
by his act of giving Toring the knife, and Carmelo Berdin as an accessory for concealing the weapon. It considered
treachery as the qualifying circumstance to the killing, found no proof as to allegation of evident premeditation but
appreciated nighttime as an aggravating circumstance. It meted the accused the penalties mentioned above.
All three accused appealed.
Toring seeks his exoneration by contending that his assault on Samuel was justified because he acted in defense of his
first cousin, Joel Escobia. Article 11 (3) of the Revised Penal Code provides that no criminal liability is incurred by
anyone "who acts in defense of ... his relatives ... by consanguinity within the fourth civil degree, provided that the
first and second requisites prescribed in the next preceding circumstance are present, and the further requisite, in case
the provocation was given by the person attacked, that the one making defense had no part therein." The first and
second requisites referred to are enumerated in paragraph (b) in the same article on selfdefense as: (a) unlawful
aggression, and (b) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.
Joel Escobia, whose chin was hit with the butt of Samuel's shotgun, is the first cousin of Toring their fathers being
brothers, 23 although no explanation appears on record why they have different surnames. At any rate, this allegation on
relationship was not rebutted by the prosecution.
The appreciation of the justifying circumstance of defense of a relative, however, hinges in this case on the presence
of unlawful aggression on the part of the victim. Corollarily, the claim of Toring that Samuel was, at the time of the
assault, carrying a shotgun to intimidate Toring's group must be proven.
Understandably, no prosecution witness attested that they saw Samuel with a firearm. The prosecution even recalled to
the witness stand Samuel's widow who asserted that her husband did not own any firearm. 24 Going along with the
prosecution's evidence, the lower court arrived at the rather gratuitous conjecture that Samuel could not have had a shotgun
with him because no one without a permit would carry a firearm without risking arrest by the police or the barangay tanod.
At the same time, however, the lower court described Samuel as the son of the barangay captain who "had the run of the
place and had his compelling presence felt by all and " sundry." 25
While matters dealing with the credibility of witnesses and appreciation of evidence are primarily the lower court's
province, this Court has the power to determine whether in the performance of its functions, the lower court

overlooked certain matters which may have a substantial effect in the resolution of a case. 26 Defense witness Joel
Escobia was, besides Toring, the only witness whose sworn statement was taken by the police on May 26, 1980, the day
after the fatal assault on Samuel.
In his sworn statement, 27 Escobia attested that as he was about to dance with a girl, Samuel stopped him, pointed his
shotgun at him, took a bullet from his jacket pocket, showed it to Escobia and asked him, "Do you like this, Dong?" to
which Escobia replied, "No, Noy I do not like that." Samuel then placed the bullet in the shotgun and was thus pointing it at
Escobia when Toring came from behind Samuel and stabbed the latter. Even on cross-examination at the trial, Escobia did
not depart from his statement. In fact he added that Samuel pointed the shotgun at his chin and told him to eat the bullet. 28
There is no reason to doubt Joel Escobia's assertion of Samuel's unlawful aggression inasmuch as his sworn
statement 29 and testimony in court had not been successfully discredited by the prosecution which also failed to prove that
Joel had reason to prevaricate to favor Toring.
The presence of unlawful aggression on the part of the victim and the lack of proof of provocation on the part of
Toring notwithstanding, full credence cannot be given, to Toring's claim of defense of a relative. Toring himself
admitted in court 30 as well as in his sworn statement 31 that in 1979, he was shot with a .22 caliber revolver by Edgar
Augusto, Samuel's brother. It cannot be said, therefore, that in attacking Samuel, Toring was impelled by pure compassion
or beneficence or the lawful desire to avenge the immediate wrong inflicted on his cousin. Rather, he was motivated by
revenge, resentment or evil motive 32 because of a "running feud" between the Augusto and the Toring brothers. As the
defense itself claims, after the incident subject of the instant case occurred, Toring's brother, Arsenio, was shot on the leg by
Edgar Augusto. Indeed, vendetta appears to have driven both camps to commit unlawful acts against each other. Hence,
under the circumstances, to justify Toring's act of assaulting Samuel Augusto would give free rein to lawlessness.
The lower court correctly considered the killing as murder in view of the presence of the qualifying circumstance of
treachery. The suddenness of the assault rendered Samuel helpless even to use his shotgun. We also agree with the
lower court that conspiracy and evident premeditation were not proven beyond reasonable doubt. Moreover, nighttime
cannot be considered as an aggravating circumstance. There is no proof that it was purposely sought to insure the
commission of the crime or prevent its discovery. 33 However, Toring should be credited with the privileged mitigating
circumstance of incomplete defense of relative and the generic mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.
The penalty for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code being reclusion temporal maximum to death, the
imposable penalty is prision mayor maximum to reclusion temporal medium in view of the presence of the mitigating
circumstances of incomplete defense of relative and voluntary surrender (Art. 64 [5]). Applying the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, the proper penalty to be meted on Toring is prision correctional maximum as minimum to prision
mayor maximum as maximum penalty.
On the culpability of Diosdado Berdon, the Court holds that his defense of alibi cannot be sustained in the absence of
proof that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime when it was committed. 34 His house
was only a kilometer away from the place where he supplied the knife to Toring. 35 That distance does not preclude the
possibility that Diosdado aided Toring in the perpetration of the crime as it could be negotiated in just a few minutes by
merely walking. 36 Moreover, his alibi was uncorroborated as it was founded only on his own testimony and what appears
as a self-exonerating affidavit. 37
But what pins culpability on Diosdado were the testimonies of at least two prosecution witnesses who positively
identified him as the one who gave Toring the knife. Motive, therefore, has become immaterial in the face of such
positive identification 38 and hence, even if it were true that he was not a member of the kwaknit gang, his participation in
the killing has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Added to this is the fact that Toring himself in his sworn statement
before the police pointed to him as the source of the knife. 39 Verily, Toting could not have implicated him because of the
incomprehensible reason that a case had been filed against Toring before the barangay brigade.

Pursuant to Article 52 of the Revised Penal Code, as an accomplice by his previous act of supplying Toring the death
weapon, Diosdado Berdon should be meted the penalty of prision mayor maximum to reclusion
temporalmedium which is the penalty next lower in degree to reclusion temporal maximum to death, the penalty
prescribed for murder by Article 248 (Article 6 [3]). There being no mitigating or aggravating circumstances, the
penalty should be in its medium period or reclusion temporal minimum (Article 64 [1]). Applying the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, the minimum penalty should be taken from prision mayor minimum while the maximum penalty
should be within the period of reclusion temporal minimum.
With regards to Carmelo Berdin, his culpability as an accessory to the murder has not been proven beyond reasonable
doubt. The fact that he knew where Toring hid the knife does not imply that he concealed it to prevent its discovery
(Article 19 [2]). There simply is no proof to that effect. On the contrary, Luis Toring in his sworn statement and
testimony during the trial testified that after stabbing the victim, he ran away and went to his house to hide the murder
weapon. Being a close friend of Toring and a frequent visitor to the latter's house, it is not impossible for Carmelo
Berdin to know where Toring hid his knives. Significantly, Carmelo readily acceded to the request of police officers to
lead them to the place where Toring kept the knife. He willingly retrieved it and surrendered it to the police, a
behavior we find inconsistent with guilt.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the lower court is hereby affirmed insofar as it convicts Luis Toring as principal in the
murder of Samuel Augusto and Diosdado Berdon as an accomplice thereto.
The lower court's decision is modified as follows:
(a) Luis Toring shall be imposed the indeterminate penalty of six (6) years of prision correccional maximum as
minimum to twelve (12) years of prision mayor maximum as maximum;
(b) Diosdado Berdon shall suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayorminimum
as minimum to twelve (12) years and one (1) day of reclusion temporal minimum as maximum;
(c) Carmelo Berdin is acquitted as an accessory to the murder of Samuel Augusto, and
(d) Luis Toring and Diosdado Berdon shall jointly and severally pay the heirs of Samuel Augusto an indemnity of
thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00). Costs against appellants Toring and Berdon.
SO ORDERED.
Gutierrez, Jr. and Bidin, JJ., concur.
Feliciano, J., is on leave.
6

Vicky Ty vs. People (G.R. No. 149275)

Posted by taxcasesdigest on Thursday, July 16, 2009


Labels: BP 22, consideration, Negotiable instruments

Facts: Tys mother was confined in Manila Doctor's Hospital to which a medical bill amounting
to 600,000 pesos was made to be paid to TY, after signing a contract of responsibility with
the hospital. Ty, issued 7 checks to cover the said expenses, all of which were dishonored for
being drawn against a closed a account. Manila Doctors Hospital then instituted criminal
actions against Ty for violation of BP22.
In her defense she alleged that she issued the checks involuntarily because her mother
threatened to commit suicide due to the inhumane treatment she allegedly suffered while
confined in the hospital. She further claimed that no consideration was obtained by her

because all the checks were made as payment to the medical bills.
Issue: Whether or not valuable consideration exists.
Held: Under Section 24 of the Negotiable Instruments Law, it is presumed that valuable
consideration exist upon the issuance of a check in the absence of evidence to the
contrary.Valuable consideration is any benefit, interest or profit accruing to the party. The use of the hospital
facilities and services may be deemed as such.

2PEOPLE V RICOHERMOSO
L 30527 28 | March 29, 1974 | J. Aquino
Avoidance of Greater Evil or Injury
Facts:
Geminiano de Leon, together with his common-law wife, son Marianito de Leon and one Rizal Rosales,
chanced upon Pio Ricohermoso. Owning a parcel of land, which Ricohermoso cultivated as kaingin,
Geminiano asked about his share of palay harvest and added that she should be allowed to taste the palay
harvested from his land. Ricohermoso said Geminiano could collect the palay anytime.
Upon returning from his trip to Barrio Bagobasin, Geminiano dropped by Ricohermosos house and asked
him about the palay, to which the latter answered defiantly that he will not give him the palay, whatever
happens. Geminiano remonstrated and that point (as if by prearrangement), Ricohermoso unsheathed his
bolo, while his father-in-law Severo Padernal got an axe, and attacked Geminiano. At the same time and
place, Ricohermosos brother-in-law Juan Padernal suddenly embraced Marianito. They grappled and
rolled down the hill, at which point Marianito passed out. When he regained consciousness, he discovered
that the rifle he carried beforehand was gone and that his father was mortally wounded.
The defendants shifted the responsibility of killing in their version of the case.

Issue:
W/N appellant Juan Padernal can invoke the justifying circumstance of avoidance of a greater evil or injury

Held:
No. Juan Padernals reliance on the justifying circumstance is erroneous because his act in preventing
Marianito from shooting Ricohermoso and Severo Padernal, the aggressors in this case, was designed to
insure the killing of Geminiano de Leon without any risk to the assailants and not an act to prevent
infliction of greater evil or injury. His intention was to forestall any interference in the assault.
Treachery was also appreciated in the case. The trial court convicted the appellants withlesiones leves, from
an attempted murder charge with respect to Marianito de Leon.
Judgment as to Juan Padernal affirmed.

(Note: Severo Padernal withdrew his appeal, thus, in effect, accepted the prosecutions version of the case
and trial courts finding of guilt.)

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G.R. No. 175457; July 6, 2011

RUPERTO A. AMBIL, JR vs. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.


G.R. No. 175482
ALEXANDRINO R. APELADO, SR vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Facts:
Eastern Samar Governor Ruperto Ambil and Provincial warden Alexandrino Apelado were found guilty before the
Sandiganbayan for violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act after Governor Ambil, conspiring with Apelado, ordered the release of then criminallycharged and detained mayor Francisco Adalim and had the latter transferred from the provincial jail to the the
governors residence.
Issues:
1.)Whether or not the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over a suit where one of the 2 accused has a Salary
Grade classified to be cognizable before the lower courts.
2.)Whether or not the transfer of the detainee, who was a mayor, by the governor was a violation in
contemplation of Sec3(e) of RA 3019 in relation to sec2(b) of the same act.
Held:
The Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the suit where one of the 2 accused held a position with a classification
of Salary Grade 27. Only when none of the numerous accused occupies a position with a salary grade 27 or
higher can exclusive jurisdiction befall in the lower courts. Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over Ambil as
provincial governor and so as with Apelado for being a co-principal in the perpetration of the offense although he
had a salary grade of 22.
The power of control and supervision granted to by the Local Government Code and Administrative Code of
1917 does not include nor permit the usurpation of power duly vested before the courts. Facts
showed that transfer by Ambil of Adalim was attended by evident bias and badfaith. Section 3(e) still applies to
the case at hand even if the act was not one relative to the granting of licenses and concessions. The provision
was meant to include officers with such duty to the list already enumerated therein and not necessarily to provide
exclusivity. Furthermore, the fact that Andalim, as the reciepient of the benefit, was a public officer, did not

preclude application. The act employs the phrase private party, which is more comprehensive in scope to mean
either a private person or a public officer acting in a private capacity to protect his personal interest.
Thus the verdict by the SAndiganbayan, finding the accused guilty of violating RA 3019 was proper.

People v. Beronilla, et al.


BY MAROON 5 PARTNERS AND ASSOCIATES ART. 11 RPC

Plaintiff-appellee: People of the Phil.


Defedants-appellants: Manuel Beronilla, Filipino Velasco, Policarpo
Paculdo, Jacinto Adriatico
Facts:
Setting: After Japanese occupation
Borjal served as mayor during the Japanese occupation.
Beronilla, after being appointed as Military Mayor of La Paz, Abra,
received a copy of a memorandum issued by Lt. Col. Arnold
authorizing all military mayors to appoint a hury of 12 bolomen to
try persons accused of treason, espionage or the aiding of the
enemy.
He also received a list of all puppet officials of the province of
Abra (Borjal included) with a memorandum instructing all Military
Mayors to investigate said persons and gather against them
complaints from people of the municipality.
Beronilla, upon the return of Borjal who left La Paz because of an
attempt on his life, placed Borjal under custody.
Pursuant to his instructions, complaints were gathered, a 12-man
jury was appointed, prosecutors and a clerk of the jury were
assigned.
Trial lasted for 19 days and the jury found Borjal guilty on all
counts (espionage, aiding the enemy, abuse of authority). Death
penalty was imposed.

Beronilla forwarded the records of the case to the Headquarters


of the 15th Infantry for review.
The records were returned by Lt. Col. Arnold adding that the
matter was best handled by the La Paz Government and
whatever disposition taken was approved.
Upon receipt of the letter, Beronilla then ordered the execution of
Borjal. The execution was reported to Col. Arnold and Beronilla
received compliments based on the reply of his superior.
Two years after, those who were involved were indicted in the CFI
of Abra for murder for allegedly conspiring and confederating in
the execution of Borjal.
The defendants were convicted, thus this appeal.
Issue: Are the defendants guilty of murdering Borjal?
Held: No.
Ratio Decidendi:
The records are ample to sustain the claim of the defense that
the arrest, prosecution and trial of Borjal were done pursuant to
express orders of the 15th Infantry HQ.
The state however contends that there was a radiogram from Col.
Volckmann to Lt. Col. Arnold, specifically noting the illegality of
Borjals conviction and sentence, which the prosecution claims
that Beronilla was informed about this but still pursued with the
execution.
A witness, a relative of Borjal, asserts that he was present when
Beronilla received the message and was able to read it over
Beronillas shoulder. But basing on his affidavit, it can be
imported that witness was not with Beronilla the message alleged
to have arrived.
Moreover, Beronilla would not have informed Lt. Col. Arnorld
about the execution if he did it after the receipt of the message

since this would be in violation of superior orders. And more


importantly, Arnold complimented him in his reply.
The Court concludes that Lt. Col. Arnold failed to transmit the
Volckmann message to Beronilla. The charge of criminal
conspiracy to do away with Borjal must be rejected because the
accused had no need to conspire against a man who was, to their
knowledge, duly sentenced to death.
The accused acted as military subordinates only following
superior orders, thus there is no criminal intent.
Judgement appealed from reversed and the appellants were
acquitted.

OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Plaintiff-Appellee,
- versus BULAGAO,
Accused-Appellant.

3G.R. No. 184757


Present:
CORONA, C.J.,
Chairperson,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO, and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.

Promulgated:
October 5, 2011
x--------------------------------------------------x
1D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
This is an appeal from the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C.
No. 01955 dated April 14, 2008 which affirmed the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Malolos, Bulacan in Crim. Case No. 197-M-2001 and Crim. Case No.
198-M-2001 dated January 23, 2006.
Accused-appellant Aniceto Bulagao was charged with two counts of rape in separate
Informations both dated December 21, 2000. The Informations read as follows:
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 197-M-2001

That on or about the 29th day of June, 2000, in the municipality of Bocaue,
Province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a knife, with force
and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
with lewd designs, have carnal knowledge of [AAA],[3] 14 years old,
against the latters will and consent.[4]
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 198-M-2001
That on or about the 17th day of June, 2000, in the municipality of Bocaue,
province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a knife, with force
and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
with lewd designs, have carnal knowledge of [AAA], 14 years old, against
the latters will and consent.[5]
Upon arraignment on February 26, 2001, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty on both
counts. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
Only private complainant AAA took the witness stand for the prosecution. AAA was
born on April 13, 1986. According to her late-registered birth certificate, her parents are
BBB (mother) and CCC (father). AAA, however, testified that BBB and CCC are not
her biological parents, as she was only adopted when she was very young.[6] CCC died
in December 1999.[7]
In April 2000, AAA arrived from the province and settled in the house of her brother
DDD (son of BBB and CCC) and his wife in Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan. With AAA in
the house were two other brothers, EEE and accused-appellant Aniceto Bulagao, and her
younger sister, then six-year-old FFF (who were also the children of BBB and CCC).[8]
On June 17, 2000, at around 8:00 p.m., AAA and FFF were sleeping in a room which
had no door. AAA was suddenly awakened when she felt somebody enter the room. She
recognized the accused-appellant as the intruder, and saw that he was holding a
knife. Accused-appellant poked the knife at AAAs neck, causing her to freeze in
fear. Accused-appellant removed AAAs clothes, and then his own. Both AAA and
accused-appellant were wearing t-shirt and shorts before the undressing. Accusedappellant kissed her neck and inserted his penis into her vagina. FFF woke up at this
moment, but accused-appellant did not stop and continued raping AAA for one hour.[9]

On June 29, 2000, AAA was residing in the house of her sister, also located in
Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan. At around 11:00 p.m. on that day, AAA was sleeping in
the second floor of the house, where there are no rooms. AAA was roused from her
sleep when accused-appellant was already undressing her. Accused-appellant removed
his shorts and inserted his penis into her vagina. AAA tried to resist, but accusedappellant held her hands. Accused-appellant then touched her breasts and kissed
her. Accused-appellant remained on top of her for half an hour.[10]
AAA told her mother, BBB, and her brother, EEE, about the rape incidents. Upon
learning of the same, BBB did not believe AAA and whipped her.[11]
During cross-examination, the defense, in trying to establish the character and chastity
of AAA, asked AAA about an alleged sexual intercourse between her and the now
deceased CCC. AAA affirmed her statement in her affidavit that CCC took advantage
(pinagsamantalahan) of her when he was still alive. This allegedly happened five times,
the first of which was when she was only seven years old.[12] Answering a query from
the court, AAA testified that she was currently in the custody of the Department of
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).[13]
The prosecution was supposed to present medico-legal officer Dr. Ivan Richard Viray as
its second witness. However, the latters testimony was dispensed with upon the
stipulation of the parties on the fact of examination of AAA by Dr. Viray on September
5, 2000, and the contents of the examination report,[14] which includes the finding that
AAA was in a non-virgin state.
When it was time for the defense to present their evidence more than a year later, it also
presented as its witness AAA, who recanted her testimony for the prosecution. This
time, she testified that the sexual encounters between her and the accused-appellant were
consensual. She fabricated the charge of rape against the accused-appellant because she
was supposedly angry with him. She also claimed that she was instructed by the police
officer who investigated the incident to say that the accused-appellant used a knife. She
also testified that she was raped by her father CCC when she was seven years old. She
was recanting her previous testimony because she purportedly was no longer angry with
accused-appellant.[15]
On cross-examination, AAA clarified that she fabricated the charge of rape because she
was angry with the accused-appellant for making her do laundry work for

him. However, when asked if she consented and voluntarily submitted herself to the
accused-appellant when she had sexual intercourse with him, she answered in the
negative. She had been released from the custody of the DSWD and was alone by
herself for some time, but she now lives with the family of accused-appellant. [16]
On redirect examination, AAA testified that accused-appellant did not force himself
upon her. She affirmed that accused-appellant had a little defect in his mind. On recross examination, AAA testified that accused-appellant was not her sweetheart.[17]
Another witness for the defense was Yolanda Palma, a clinical psychologist. She
conducted a mental examination on accused-appellant on September 12, 2002, and
found that accused-appellant was suffering from mental retardation as he had an IQ of
below 50.[18]
Accused-appellant, who was 40 years old when he testified on June 15, 2005, claimed
that AAA seduced him by removing her clothes. He asserted that they ended up merely
kissing each other and did not have sexual intercourse. He denied pointing a knife at
AAA. AAA accused him of rape because she was asking for P300 from him after they
kissed. Accused-appellant also testified that there was no legal proceeding for the
adoption of AAA (ampun-ampunan lang).[19]
On January 23, 2006, the RTC rendered its joint Decision in Crim. Case No. 197-M2001 and 198-M-2001, decreeing as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds the accused guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime as charged, and hereby sentences him
to suffer:
(a) In Crim. Case No. 197-M-01, the penalty of DEATH. The accused is
likewise directed to indemnify the private complainant in the amount
of P50,000.00;
(b) In Crim. Case No. 198-M-01, the penalty of DEATH. The accused is
likewise directed to indemnify the private complainant in the amount
of P50,000.00.[20]
The RTC observed that AAA was in the custody of the DSWD when she testified for the
prosecution, and was returned to the family of the accused-appellant after her original
testimony. It was during the time when she was back in the custody of the accusedappellants family that she recanted her testimony for the prosecution. According to the
RTC, it is clear that she had no other place to go to as she was completely orphaned and

was dependent on the family of the accused, and it was understandable that she may
have recanted in order to remain in the good graces of the accused-appellants family.
[21]
As regards the defense of accused-appellant that he was suffering from mental
retardation, the RTC noted that the psychological examination of accused-appellant was
conducted more than a couple of years after the dates of the complained of
incidents. There was no showing from the findings of the psychologist that accusedappellant had the same mental or psychological condition at the time of the said
incidents. Even assuming that accused-appellant was of such mental state at the time of
the incidents, the psychologist testified that accused-appellant had the capacity to
discern right from wrong.[22]
On April 14, 2008, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision affirming that of the RTC,
except with a modification on the penalty in view of the enactment of Republic Act No.
9346 prohibiting the imposition of death penalty. The dispositive portion of the
Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DISMISSED. The decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 13, dated 23 January
2006, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION on the penalty imposed and
damages awarded. Accused-appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole, in each of the two (2)
counts of rape. He is further directed to pay private complainant the sum
of P50,000.00 as moral damages, for each count of rape, in addition to the
civil indemnity awarded by the court a quo.[23]
Hence, accused-appellant interposed the present appeal. Both parties manifested that
they are waiving their rights to file a supplemental brief, as the same would only contain
a reiteration of the arguments presented in their appellants and appellees briefs.[24]
In seeking to overturn his conviction, accused-appellant asserted that the prosecution
evidence was insufficient, particularly in view of AAAs withdrawal of her original
testimony.
We have recently held that [c]ourts look with disfavor upon retractions, because they
can easily be obtained from witnesses through intimidation or for monetary
considerations. Hence, a retraction does not necessarily negate an earlier

declaration. They are generally unreliable and looked upon with considerable disfavor
by the courts. Moreover, it would be a dangerous rule to reject the testimony taken
before a court of justice, simply because the witness who has given it later on changes
his mind for one reason or another.[25] We have, in the past, also declared that the
recantation, even of a lone eyewitness, does not necessarily render the prosecutions
evidence inconclusive.[26] In the often-cited Molina v. People,[27] we specified how a
recanted testimony should be examined:
Mere retraction by a prosecution witness does not necessarily vitiate the
original testimony if credible. The rule is settled that in cases where
previous testimony is retracted and a subsequent different, if not
contrary, testimony is made by the same witness, the test to decide
which testimony to believe is one of comparison coupled with the
application of the general rules of evidence. A testimony solemnly given
in court should not be set aside and disregarded lightly, and before this can
be done, both the previous testimony and the subsequent one should be
carefully compared and juxtaposed, the circumstances under which
each was made, carefully and keenly scrutinized, and the reasons or
motives for the change, discriminatingly analyzed. x x x.[28] (Emphases
supplied.)
These rules find applicability even in rape cases, where the complainant is usually the
lone eyewitness. Thus, in People v. Sumingwa,[29] where the rape victim later
disavowed her testimony that she was raped by her father, this Court held:
In rape cases particularly, the conviction or acquittal of the accused most
often depends almost entirely on the credibility of the complainant's
testimony. By the very nature of this crime, it is generally unwitnessed and
usually the victim is left to testify for herself. When a rape victim's
testimony is straightforward and marked with consistency despite grueling
examination, it deserves full faith and confidence and cannot be
discarded. If such testimony is clear, consistent and credible to establish
the crime beyond reasonable doubt, a conviction may be based on it,
notwithstanding its subsequent retraction. Mere retraction by a prosecution
witness does not necessarily vitiate her original testimony.
A retraction is looked upon with considerable disfavor by the courts. It is
exceedingly unreliable for there is always the probability that such

recantation may later on be repudiated. It can easily be obtained from


witnesses through intimidation or monetary consideration. Like any other
testimony, it is subject to the test of credibility based on the relevant
circumstances and, especially, on the demeanor of the witness on the stand.
[30]

In the case at bar, the determination by the trial court of the credibility of AAAs
accusation and recantation is facilitated by the fact that her recantation was made in
open court, by testifying for the defense. Unlike in cases where recantations were made
in affidavits, the trial court in this case had the opportunity to see the demeanor of AAA
not only when she narrated the sordid details of the alleged rape by her adoptive
brother, but also when she claimed that she made up her previous rape charges out of
anger. As such, it is difficult to overlook the fact that the trial court convicted accusedappellant even after examining the young witness as she made a complete turnaround
and admitted to perjury. The legal adage that the trial court is in the best position to
assess the credibility of witnesses thus finds an entirely new significance in this case
where AAA was subjected to grueling cross examinations, redirect examinations, and recross examinations both as a prosecution and defense witness. Still, the trial court found
that the private complainants testimony for the prosecution was the one that was worthy
of belief.
However, even if we disregard the elusive and incommunicable evidence of the
witnesses' deportment on the stand while testifying, it is clear to this Court which of the
narrations of AAA was sincere and which was concocted. AAAs testimony for the
prosecution, which was taken when she was in the custody of the DSWD, was clear,
candid, and bereft of material discrepancies. All accused-appellant can harp on in his
appellants brief was AAAs failure to recall the length of the knife used in the assaults, a
minor and insignificant detail not material to the elements of the crime of rape. She
remained steadfast on cross-examination even as defense counsel tried to discredit her
by bringing up her dark past of being sexually molested by the accused-appellants
father when she was seven years old. This is in stark contrast to her testimony for the
defense, where AAA, now living with accused-appellants family, claimed that she
fabricated a revolting tale of rape simply because accused-appellant made her do
laundry. AAAs recantation even contradicts the testimony of accused-appellant

himself. While AAA claims in her retraction that she had consensual sex with her
brother, accused-appellant testified that they merely kissed and that AAAs purported
motive for the rape charges was monetary.
As furthermore observed by both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, the crossexamination of AAA as a defense witness revealed that it was taken at a time when AAA
had nowhere to go and was forced to stay with the family of accused-appellant and upon
a reliance on the familys implied commitment to send accused-appellant to Mindanao:
PROS. JOSON:
Q:
Where are you staying at present?
A:
In our house, sir.
Q:
And your house where you were staying is the house of the
parents of the accused?
A:
Yes, sir.
Q:
And you dont have any relatives where you can go and stay
except from that house?
A:
None, sir.
Q:
Where [are] your parents?
A:
I do not know, sir.
Q:
Are they all dead or still alive?
A:
They are deceased, sir.
Q:
All?
A:
Both are deceased, sir.
Q:
Do you mean to say that do you have full blood brother and
sister?
A:
They all separated, sir.
Q:
Do you know where they were living?
A:
No, sir.
Q:
From the time you were released from the DSWD you are
alone by yourself?
A:
Yes, sir.
Q:
And the person[s] who are now taking care of you are giving
you shelter and everyday foods [sic] from the family of the accused,
is that correct?
A:
Yes, sir.

xxxx
Q:
Ms. Witness, if ever the case of Aniceto will be dismissed
because you testify today[, would] you admit for a fact that he [was]
also staying in the house where you are staying now?
A:
No, sir.
Q:
Where will he stay?
A:
In Mindanao, sir.
Q:
Because that was one of the promise or commitment of the
family of the accused, is it not?
A:
No, sir.
Q:
And how did you know he will stay in Mindanao?
A:
Because my other Kuya will not allow him to stay in the
house, sir.
Q:
Because your other Kuya does not like Aniceto Bulagao to do
the things that you have complaint [sic] against him, is it not?
A:
Yes, sir.
Q:
And what you are isinusumbong is the case today against
him, is it not?
A:
Yes, sir.[31]
Accused-appellant, in his appeal, did not insist on the allegation in the trial court that he
was suffering from mental retardation. Nevertheless, we agree with the finding of the
trial court that there was no proof that the mental condition accused-appellant allegedly
exhibited when he was examined by Yolanda Palma was already present at the time of
the rape incidents. Anyone who pleads the exempting circumstance of insanity bears the
burden of proving it with clear and convincing evidence.[32] Besides, this Court
observes that neither the acts of the accused-appellant proven before the court, nor his
answers in his testimony, show a complete deprivation of intelligence or free
will. Insanity presupposes that the accused was completely deprived of reason or
discernment and freedom of will at the time of the commission of the crime.[33] Only
when there is a complete deprivation of intelligence at the time of the commission of the
crime should the exempting circumstance of insanity be considered.[34]
As previously stated, the RTC imposed upon accused-appellant the penalty of death for
each count of rape. The Court of Appeals modified the penalty to reclusion perpetua in

view of the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346. It should be noted at this point that
while Republic Act No. 9346 prohibits the imposition of death penalty, the presence of a
qualifying circumstance which would have warranted the imposition of the death
penalty would still cause the award of moral damages and civil indemnity to be
increased each from Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) to Seventy-Five Thousand
Pesos (P75,000.00) under prevailing jurisprudence.[35]
In the case at bar, both Informations charge a crime of rape qualified by the use of a
deadly weapon. Under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, the crime of rape
under paragraph 1 of Article 266-A when committed with the use of a deadly weapon is
punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. This crime was proven as charged in Crim.
Case No. 198-M-2001, which was alleged to have occurred on June 17, 2000. Since no
other qualifying or aggravating circumstance was alleged in the Information, the proper
penalty is reclusion perpetua.
On the other hand, while AAA had testified that the accused-appellant used a knife on
June 17, 2000, she said that she hid said knife before June 29, 2000, the date of Crim.
Case No. 197-M-2001.[36] As such, the crime that was proven in Crim. Case No. 197M-2001 is simple rape not qualified by any circumstance affecting criminal
liability. However, simple rape is also punishable by reclusion perpetua under Article
266-B.
In both cases, since the death penalty would not have been imposed even without the
enactment of Republic Act No. 9346, this Court affirms the award of civil indemnity in
the amount of P50,000.00, as well as moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00, both
for each count of rape. [37] In addition, we have held that since exemplary damages are
corrective in nature, the same can be awarded, not only in the presence of an aggravating
circumstance, but also where the circumstances of the case show the highly
reprehensible or outrageous conduct of the offender.[38] This Court believes that the
conduct of accused-appellant herein, who raped her minor adoptive sister twice, falls
under this category and is therefore liable for exemplary damages in the amount
of P30,000.00 for each count of rape, in line with existing jurisprudence. [39]
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01955 dated April 14, 2008 finding accused-appellant Aniceto

Bulagao guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of rape and sentencing him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without eligibility for parole, for each count of
rape is hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:
1) Accused-appellant Aniceto Bulagao is hereby ordered to pay AAA the
amount of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages for each count of rape, in
addition to the amountsawarded by the Court of Appeals, namely: civil
indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 and moral damages in the amount
of P50,000.00, both for each count of rape;and
2) All damages awarded in this case should be imposed with interest at the
rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of this judgment until
fully paid.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 182239
March 16, 2011
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
HERMIE M. JACINTO, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
PEREZ, J.:
Once again, we recite the time-honored principle that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the victims positive
identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime. 1 For it to prosper, the court must be convinced that there
was physical impossibility on the part of the accused to have been at the locus criminis at the time of the commission
of the crime.2
Nevertheless, a child in conflict with the law, whose judgment of conviction has become final and executory only after
his disqualification from availing of the benefits of suspended sentence on the ground that he/she has exceeded the age
limit of twenty-one (21) years, shall still be entitled to the right to restoration, rehabilitation, and reintegration in
accordance with Republic Act No. 9344, otherwise known as "An Act Establishing a Comprehensive Juvenile Justice
and Welfare System, Creating the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council under the Department of Justice,
Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes."
Convicted for the rape of five-year-old AAA,3 appellant Hermie M. Jacinto seeks before this Court the reversal of the
judgment of his conviction.4
The Facts
In an Information dated 20 March 20035 filed with the Regional Trial Court and docketed as Criminal Case No. 167913-141[1],6 appellant was accused of the crime of RAPE allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about the 28th day of January, 2003 at about 7:00 oclock in the evening more or less, at barangay xxx,
municipality of xxx, province of xxx and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, [Hermie M. Jacinto], with
lewd design did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously had carnal knowledge with one AAA, a five-year
old minor child.

CONTRARY TO LAW, with the qualifying/aggravating circumstance of minority, the victim being only five years
old.7
On 15 July 2003, appellant entered a plea of not guilty. 8 During pre-trial,9 the defense admitted the existence of the
following documents: (1) birth certificate of AAA, showing that she was born on 3 December 1997; (2) police blotter
entry on the rape incident; and (3) medical certificate, upon presentation of the original or upon identification thereof
by the physician.
Trial ensued with the prosecution and the defense presenting witnesses to prove their respective versions of the story.
Evidence for the Prosecution
The testimonies of AAA,10 her father FFF,11 and rebuttal witness Julito Apiki [Julito] 12 may be summarized in the
following manner:
FFF and appellant have been neighbors since they were born. FFFs house is along the road. That of appellant lies at
the back approximately 80 meters from FFF. To access the road, appellant has to pass by FFFs house, the frequency
of which the latter describes to be "every minute [and] every hour." Also, appellant often visits FFF because they were
close friends. He bore no grudge against appellant prior to the incident. 13
AAA likewise knows appellant well. She usually calls him kuya. She sees him all the time playing at the basketball
court near her house, fetching water, and passing by her house on his way to the road. She and appellant used to be
friends until the incident.14
At about past 6 oclock in the evening of 28 January 2003, FFF sent his eight-year-old daughter CCC to the store of
Rudy Hatague to buy cigarettes. AAA followed CCC. When CCC returned without AAA, FFF was not alarmed. He
thought she was watching television at the house of her aunt Rita Lingcay [Rita]. 15
Julito went to the same store at around 6:20 in the evening to buy a bottle of Tanduay Rum. 16 At the store, he saw
appellant place AAA on his lap. 17 He was wearing sleeveless shirt and a pair of short pants. 18 All of them left the
store at the same time.19 Julito proceeded to the house of Rita to watch television, while appellant, who held the hand
of AAA, went towards the direction of the "lower area or place."20
AAA recalled that appellant was wearing a chaleko (sando) and a pair of short pants 21 when he held her hand while
on the road near the store.22 They walked towards the rice field near the house of spouses Alejandro and Gloria
Perocho [the Perochos].23 There he made her lie down on harrowed ground, removed her panty and boxed her on the
chest.24 Already half-naked from waist down,25 he mounted her, and, while her legs were pushed apart, pushed his
penis into her vagina and made a push and pull movement. 26 She felt pain and cried.27 Afterwards, appellant left and
proceeded to the Perochos.28 She, in turn, went straight home crying.29
FFF heard AAA crying and calling his name from downstairs. 30 She was without slippers.31 He found her face
greasy.32 There was mud on her head and blood was oozing from the back of her head. 33 He checked for any injury
and found on her neck a contusion that was already turning black. 34 She had no underwear on and he saw white
substance and mud on her vagina. 35 AAA told him that appellant brought her from the store 36 to the grassy area at the
back of the house of the Perochos;37 that he threw away her pair of slippers, removed her panty, choked her and boxed
her breast;38 and that he proceeded thereafter to the Perochos.39
True enough, FFF found appellant at the house of the Perochos. 40 He asked the appellant what he did to
AAA.41Appellant replied that he was asked to buy rum at the store and that AAA followed him. 42 FFF went home to
check on his daughter,43 afterwhich, he went back to appellant, asked again,44 and boxed him.45
Meanwhile, at around 7:45 in the evening of even date, Julito was still watching television at the house of Rita. 46AAA
and her mother MMM arrived.47 AAA was crying.48 Julito pitied her, embraced her, and asked what happened to her,

to which she replied that appellant raped her. 49 Julito left and found appellant at the Perochos. 50 Julito asked
appellant, "Bads, did you really rape the child, the daughter of [MMM]?" but the latter ignored his
question.51Appellants aunt, Gloria, told appellant that the policemen were coming to which the appellant responded,
"Wait a minute because I will wash the dirt of my elbow (sic) and my knees." 52 Julito did found the elbows and knees
of appellant with dirt.53
On that same evening, FFF and AAA proceeded to the police station to have the incident blottered. 54 FFF also had
AAA undergo a physical check up at the municipal health center. 55 Dr. Bernardita M. Gaspar, M.D., Rural Health
Physician, issued a medical certificate56 dated 29 January 2003. It reads:
Injuries seen are as follows:
1. Multiple abrasions with erythema along the neck area.
2. Petechial hemorrhages on both per-orbital areas.
3. Hematoma over the left upper arm, lateral area
4. Hematoma over the upper anterior chest wall, midclavicular line
5. Abrasion over the posterior trunk, paravertebral area
6. Genital and peri-anal area soiled with debris and whitish mucoid-like material
7. Introitus is erythematous with minimal bleeding
8. Hymenal lacerations at the 5 oclock and 9 oclock position
Impression
MULTIPLE SOFT TISSUE INJURIES
HYMENAL LACERATIONS
Upon the recommendation of Dr. Gaspar,57 AAA submitted herself to another examination at the provincial hospital
on the following day. Dr. Christine Ruth B. Micabalo, Medical Officer III of the provincial hospital, attended to her
and issued a medico-legal certificate dated 29 January 2003,58 the pertinent portion of which reads:
P.E. = Findings is consistent with Dr. Bernardita M. Gaspar findings except No. 6 and 7 there is no bleeding in this
time of examination. (sic)59
Evidence for the Defense
Interposing the defense of alibi, appellant gave a different version of the story. To corroborate his testimony, Luzvilla
Balucan [Luzvilla] and his aunt Gloria took the witness stand to affirm that he was at the Perochos at the time of the
commission of the crime.60 Luzvilla even went further to state that she actually saw Julito, not appellant, pick up
AAA on the road.61 In addition, Antonia Perocho [Antonia], sister-in-law of appellants aunt, Gloria, 62 testified on the
behavior of Julito after the rape incident was revealed.63
Appellant claimed that he lives with his aunt, not with his parents whose house stands at the back of FFFs house. 64He
denied that there was a need to pass by the house of FFF in order to access the road or to fetch water. 65 He, however,
admitted that he occasionally worked for FFF, 66 and whenever he was asked to buy something from the store, AAA
always approached him.67
At about 8 oclock in the morning of 28 January 2003, appellant went to the Perochos to attend a birthday party. At
6:08 in the evening, while the visitors, including appellant and his uncle Alejandro Perocho [Alejandro], were

gathered together in a drinking session, appellants uncle sent him to the store to buy Tanduay Rum. Since the store is
only about 20 meters from the house, he was able to return after three (3) minutes. He was certain of the time because
he had a watch .68
Appellants aunt, Gloria, the lady of the house, confirmed that he was in her house attending the birthday party; and
that appellant went out between 6 and 7 in the evening to buy a bottle of Tanduay from the store. She recalled that
appellant was back around five (5) minutes later. She also observed that appellants white shorts and white sleeveless
shirt were clean.69
At 6:30 in the evening,70 Luzvilla, who was also at the party, saw appellant at the kitchen having a drink with his
uncle Alejandro and the rest of the visitors. 71 She went out to relieve herself at the side of the tree beside the road next
to the house of the Perochos. 72 From where she was, she saw Julito, who was wearing black short pants and black Tshirt, carry AAA.73 AAAs face was covered and she was wiggling. 74 This did not alarm her because she thought it
was just a game.75 Meanwhile, appellant was still in the kitchen when she returned. 76 Around three (3) minutes later,
Luzvilla saw Julito, now in a white T-shirt, 77 running towards the house of Rita. 78 AAA was slowly following
behind.79 Luzvilla followed them.80 Just outside the house, Julito embraced AAA and asked what the appellant did to
her.81 The child did not answer.82
Luzvilla also followed FFF to the Perochos. She witnessed the punching incident and testified that appellant was twice
boxed by FFF. According to her, FFF tapped the left shoulder of the appellant, boxed him, and left. FFF came in the
second time and again boxed appellant. This time, he had a bolo pointed at appellant. Appellants uncle Alejandro, a
barangay councilor, and another Civilian Voluntary Organization (CVO) member admonished FFF. 83
On sur-rebuttal, Antonia testified that, at 7 oclock in the evening, she was watching the television along with other
people at the house of Rita. Around 7:10, Julito, who was wearing only a pair of black short pants without a shirt on,
entered the house drunk. He paced back and forth. After 10 minutes, AAA came in crying. Julito tightly embraced
AAA and asked her what happened. AAA did not answer. Upon Antonias advice, Julito released her and went out of
the house.84
Appellant further testified that at past 7 oclock in the evening, FFF arrived, pointed a finger at him, brandished a
bolo, and accused him of molesting AAA. FFF left but returned at around 8 oclock in the evening. This time, he
boxed appellant and asked again why he molested his daughter.85
On 26 March 2004, the Regional Trial Court rendered its decision, 86 the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding accused Hermie M. Jacinto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape committed upon a 5-year
old girl, the court sentences him to death and orders him to pay [AAA] P75,000.000 as rape indemnity and
P50,000.00 as moral damages. With costs87
The defense moved to reopen trial for reception of newly discovered evidence stating that appellant was apparently
born on 1 March 1985 and that he was only seventeen (17) years old when the crime was committed on 28 January
2003.88 The trial court appreciated the evidence and reduced the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua.89 Thus:
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the court imposing the death penalty upon the accused is amended in order to
consider the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority. The penalty impos[a]ble upon the accused, therefore[,] is
reduced to reclusion perpetua. xxx
Appealed to this Court, the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals for its disposition in view of the ruling
inPeople v. Mateo and the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court allowing an intermediate review by the Court of
Appeals of cases where the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment.90

On 29 August 2007, the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED the decision of the trial court with the following
MODIFICATIONS:
xxx that Hermie M. Jacinto should suffer the Indeterminate penalty of from six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve
(12) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to seventeen (17) and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
Appellant Hermie M. Jacinto is ordered to indemnify the victim in the sum of P75,000.00 as civil indemnity,
P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages and to pay the costs. 91
On 19 November 2007, the Court of Appeals gave due course to the appellants Notice of Appeal. 92 This Court
required the parties to simultaneously file their respective supplemental briefs. 93 Both parties manifested that they
have exhaustively discussed their positions in their respective briefs and would no longer file any supplement. 94
Before the Court of Appeals, appellant argued that "THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING
HEREIN ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF RAPE" 95 by invoking the
principle that "if the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more reasonable explanations, one of
which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other with his guilt, then the evidence does not pass the
test of moral certainty and will not suffice to support a conviction."96
Our Ruling
We sustain the judgment of conviction.
In the determination of the innocence or guilt of a person accused of rape, we consider the three well-entrenched
principles:
(1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the accused, though
innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape in which only two persons are usually
involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the
prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the
evidence for the defense.97
Necessarily, the credible, natural, and convincing testimony of the victim may be sufficient to convict the
accused.98More so, when the testimony is supported by the medico-legal findings of the examining physician. 99
Further, the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the victims positive identification of the perpetrator of the
crime,100except when it is established that it was physically impossible for the accused to have been at the locus
criminis at the time of the commission of the crime.101
I
A man commits rape by having carnal knowledge of a child under twelve (12) years of age even in the absence of any
of the following circumstances: (a) through force, threat or intimidation; (b) when the offended party is deprived of
reason or otherwise unconscious; or (c) by means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority. 102
That the crime of rape has been committed is certain. The vivid narration of the acts culminating in the insertion of
appellants organ into the vagina of five-year-old AAA and the medical findings of the physicians sufficiently proved
such fact.
AAA testified:
PROS. OMANDAM:
xxxx
Q You said Hermie laid you on the ground, removed your panty and boxed you, what else did he do to you?

A He mounted me.
Q When Hermie mounted you, was he facing you?
A Yes.
Q When he mounted you what did he do, did he move?
A He moved his ass, he made a push and pull movement.
Q When he made a push and pull movement, how were your legs positioned?
A They were apart.
Q Who pushed them apart?
A Hermie.
Q Did Hermie push anything at you?
A Yes.
Q What was that?
A His penis.
Q Where did he push his penis?
A To my vagina.
Q Was it painful?
A Yes.
Q What was painful?
A My vagina.
Q Did you cry?
A Yes.103
The straightforward and consistent answers to the questions, which were phrased and re-phrased in order to test that
AAA well understood the information elicited from her, said it all she had been raped. When a woman, more so a
minor, says so, she says in effect all that is essential to show that rape was committed. 104 Significantly, youth and
immaturity are normally badges of truth and honesty.105
Further, the medical findings and the testimony of Dr. Micabalo 106 revealed that the hymenal lacerations at 5 oclock
and 9 oclock positions could have been caused by the penetration of an object; that the redness of the introitus could
have been "the result of the repeated battering of the object;" and that such object could have been an erect male
organ.107
The credible testimony of AAA corroborated by the physicians finding of penetration conclusively established the
essential requisite of carnal knowledge.108
II
The real identity of the assailant and the whereabouts of the appellant at the time of the commission of the crime are
now in dispute.

The defense would want us to believe that it was Julito who defiled AAA, and that appellant was elsewhere when the
crime was committed.109
We should not, however, overlook the fact that a victim of rape could readily identify her assailant, especially when he
is not a stranger to her, considering that she could have a good look at him during the commission of the
crime.110 AAA had known appellant all her life. Moreover, appellant and AAA even walked together from the road
near the store to the situs criminus111 that it would be impossible for the child not to recognize the man who held her
hand and led her all the way to the rice field.
We see no reason to disturb the findings of the trial court on the unwavering testimony of AAA.
The certainty of the child, unusually intelligent for one so young, that it was accused, whom she called "kuya" and
who used to play basketball and fetch water near their house, and who was wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts at the
time he raped her, was convincing and persuasive. The defense attempted to impute the crime to someone else one
Julito Apiki, but the child, on rebuttal, was steadfast and did not equivocate, asserting that it was accused who is
younger, and not Julito, who is older, who molested her.112
In a long line of cases, this Court has consistently ruled that the determination by the trial court of the credibility of
the witnesses deserves full weight and respect considering that it has "the opportunity to observe the witnesses
manner of testifying, their furtive glances, calmness, sighs and the scant or full realization of their oath," 113 unless it
is shown that material facts and circumstances have been "ignored, overlooked, misconstrued, or misinterpreted." 114
Further, as correctly observed by the trial court:
xxx His and his witness attempt to throw the court off the track by imputing the crime to someone else is xxx a vain
exercise in view of the private complainants positive identification of accused and other corroborative circumstances.
Accused also admitted that on the same evening, Julito Apiki, the supposed real culprit, asked him "What is this
incident, Pare?", thus corroborating the latters testimony that he confronted accused after hearing of the incident
from the child."115
On the other hand, we cannot agree with the appellant that the trial court erred in finding his denial and alibi weak
despite the presentation of witnesses to corroborate his testimony. Glaring inconsistencies were all over their
respective testimonies that even destroyed the credibility of the appellants very testimony.
Appellant testified that it was his uncle Alejandro Perocho who sent him to store to buy Tanduay; that he gave the
bottle to his uncle; and that they had already been drinking long before he bought Tanduay at the store.
This was contradicted by the testimony of his aunt Gloria, wife of his uncle Alejandro. On cross-examination, she
revealed that her husband was not around before, during, and after the rape incident because he was then at
work.116 He arrived from work only after FFF came to their house for the second time and boxed appellant. 117 It was
actually the fish vendor, not her husband, who asked appellant to buy Tanduay. 118 Further, the drinking session started
only after the appellants errand to the store.119
Neither was the testimony of Luzvilla credible enough to deserve consideration.
Just like appellant, Luzvilla testified that Alejandro joined the drinking session. This is contrary to Glorias statement
that her husband was at work.
Luzvillas testimony is likewise inconsistent with that of sur-rebuttal witness Antonia Perocho. Antonia recalled that
Julito arrived without a shirt on. This belied Luzvillas claim that Julito wore a white shirt on his way to the house of
Rita. In addition, while both the prosecution, as testified to by AAA and Julito, and the defense, as testified to by
Gloria, were consistent in saying that appellant wore a sleeveless shirt, Luzvillas recollection differ in that Julito wore
a T-shirt (colored black and later changed to white), and, thus, a short-sleeved shirt.

Also, contrary to Luzvillas story that she saw AAA walking towards Ritas house three (3) minutes after she returned
to the Perochos at 6:38 in the evening, Antonia recalled that AAA arrived at the house of Rita at 7:30. In this respect,
we find the trial courts appreciation in order. Thus:
xxx. The child declared that after being raped, she went straight home, crying, to tell her father that Hermie had raped
her. She did not first drop into the house of Lita Lingkay to cry among strangers who were watching TV, as Luzvilla
Balucan would have the court believe. When the child was seen at the house of Lita Lingkay by Julito Apiki and
Luzvilla Balucan, it was only later, after she had been brought there by her mother Brenda so that Lita Lingkay could
take a look at her just as Julito Apiki said.120
Above all, for alibi to prosper, it is necessary that the corroboration is credible, the same having been offered
preferably by disinterested witnesses. The defense failed thuswise. Its witnesses cannot qualify as such, "they being
related or were one way or another linked to each other."121
Even assuming for the sake of argument that we consider the corroborations on his whereabouts, still, the defense of
alibi cannot prosper.
We reiterate, time and again, that the court must be convinced that it would be physically impossible for the accused
to have been at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime.122
Physical impossibility refers to distance and the facility of access between the situs criminis and the location of the
accused when the crime was committed. He must demonstrate that he was so far away and could not have been
physically present at the scene of the crime and its immediate vicinity when the crime was committed. 123
In People v. Paraiso,124 the distance of two thousand meters from the place of the commission of the crime was
considered not physically impossible to reach in less than an hour even by foot. 125 Inasmuch as it would take the
accused not more than five minutes to rape the victim, this Court disregarded the testimony of the defense witness
attesting that the accused was fast asleep when she left to gather bamboo trees and returned several hours after. She
could have merely presumed that the accused slept all throughout. 126
In People v. Antivola,127 the testimonies of relatives and friends corroborating that of the appellant that he was in their
company at the time of the commission of the crime were likewise disregarded by this Court in the following manner:
Ruben Nicolas, the appellants part-time employer, and Marites Capalad, the appellants sister-in-law and co-worker,
in unison, vouched for the appellants physical presence in the fishpond at the time Rachel was raped. It is, however,
an established fact that the appellants house where the rape occurred, was a stones throw away from the
fishpond. Their claim that the appellant never left their sight the entire afternoon of December 4, 1997 is
unacceptable. It was impossible for Marites to have kept an eye on the appellant for almost four hours, since she
testified that she, too, was very much occupied with her task of counting and recording the fishes being harvested.
Likewise, Mr. Nicolas, who, admittedly was 50 meters away from the fishpond, could not have focused his entire
attention solely on the appellant. It is, therefore, not farfetched that the appellant easily sneaked out unnoticed,
and along the way inveigled the victim, brought her inside his house and ravished her, then returned to the
fishpond as if he never left.128 (Emphasis supplied.)
1avvphi1

As in the cases above cited, the claim of the defense witnesses that appellant never left their sight, save from the 5minute errand to the store, is contrary to ordinary human experience. Moreover, considering that the farmland where
the crime was committed is just behind the house of the Perochos, it would take appellant only a few minutes to bring
AAA from the road near the store next to the Perochos down the farmland and consummate the crime. As correctly
pointed out by the Court of Appeals, appellant could have committed the rape after buying the bottle of Tanduay and
immediately returned to his uncles house.129 Unfortunately, the testimonies of his corroborating witnesses even
bolstered the fact that he was within the immediate vicinity of the scene of the crime.130

Clearly, the defense failed to prove that it was physically impossible for appellant to have been at the time and place
of the commission of the crime.
All considered, we find that the prosecution has sufficiently established the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable
doubt.
III
In the determination of the imposable penalty, the Court of Appeals correctly considered Republic Act No.
9344(Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006) despite the commission of the crime three (3) years before it was
enacted on 28 April 2006.
We recognize its retroactive application following the rationale elucidated in People v. Sarcia:131
[Sec. 68 of Republic Act No. 9344]132 allows the retroactive application of the Act to those who have been convicted
and are serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of this said Act, and who were below the age of 18 years at the
time of the commission of the offense. With more reason, the Act should apply to this case wherein the conviction
by the lower court is still under review.133 (Emphasis supplied.)
Criminal Liability; Imposable Penalty
Sec. 6 of Republic Act No. 9344 exempts a child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age from
criminal liability, unless the child is found to have acted with discernment, in which case, "the appropriate
proceedings" in accordance with the Act shall be observed.134
We determine discernment in this wise:
Discernment is that mental capacity of a minor to fully appreciate the consequences of his unlawful act. 135 Such
capacity may be known and should be determined by taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances
afforded by the records in each case.136
xxx The surrounding circumstances must demonstrate that the minor knew what he was doing and that it was
wrong.137 Such circumstance includes the gruesome nature of the crime and the minors cunning and shrewdness. 138
In the present case, we agree with the Court of Appeals that: "(1) choosing an isolated and dark place to perpetrate the
crime, to prevent detection[;] and (2) boxing the victim xxx, to weaken her defense" are indicative of then seventeen
(17) year-old appellants mental capacity to fully understand the consequences of his unlawful action. 139
Nonetheless, the corresponding imposable penalty should be modified.
The birth certificate of AAA140 shows that she was born on 3 December 1997. Considering that she was only five (5)
years old when appellant defiled her on 28 January 2003, the law prescribing the death penalty when rape is
committed against a child below seven (7) years old141 applies.
The following, however, calls for the reduction of the penalty: (1) the prohibition against the imposition of the penalty
of death in accordance with Republic Act No. 9346;142 and (2) the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority of
the appellant, which has the effect of reducing the penalty one degree lower than that prescribed by law, pursuant to
Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code.143
Relying on People v. Bon,144 the Court of Appeals excluded death from the graduation of penalties provided in Article
71 of the Revised Penal Code. 145 Consequently, in its appreciation of the privileged mitigating circumstance of
minority of appellant, it lowered the penalty one degree from reclusion perpetua and sentenced appellant to suffer the
indeterminate penalty of six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to
seventeen (17) years and four (4) months of reclusion temporal, in its medium period, as maximum.146

We differ.
In a more recent case,147 the Court En Banc, through the Honorable Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro, clarified:
Under Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code, when the offender is a minor under 18 years, the penalty next lower than
that prescribed by law shall be imposed, but always in the proper period. However, for purposes of determining the
proper penalty because of the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority, the penalty of death is still the
penalty to be reckoned with. Thus, the proper imposable penalty for the accused-appellant isreclusion
perpetua.148 (Emphasis supplied.)
Accordingly, appellant should be meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Civil Liability
We have consistently ruled that:
The litmus test xxx in the determination of the civil indemnity is the heinous character of the crime committed, which
would have warranted the imposition of the death penalty, regardless of whether the penalty actually imposed is
reduced to reclusion perpetua.149
Likewise, the fact that the offender was still a minor at the time he committed the crime has no bearing on the gravity
and extent of injury suffered by the victim and her family. 150 The respective awards of civil indemnity and moral
damages in the amount of P75,000.00 each are, therefore, proper.151
Accordingly, despite the presence of the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority which effectively lowered the
penalty by one degree, we affirm the damages awarded by the Court of Appeals in the amount of P75,000.00 as civil
indemnity and P75,000.00 as moral damages. And, consistent with prevailing jurisprudence, 152 the amount of
exemplary damages should be increased from P25,000.00 to P30,000.00.
Automatic Suspension of Sentence; Duration; Appropriate Disposition after the Lapse of the Period of Suspension of
Sentence
Republic Act No. 9344 warrants the suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with the law notwithstanding that
he/she has reached the age of majority at the time the judgment of conviction is pronounced. Thus:
SEC. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. - Once the child who is under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of
the commission of the offense is found guilty of the offense charged, the court shall determine and ascertain any civil
liability which may have resulted from the offense committed. However, instead of pronouncing the judgment of
conviction, the court shall place the child in conflict with the law under suspended sentence, without need of
application: Provided, however, That suspension of sentence shall still be applied even if the juvenile is already
eighteen (18) years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt. (Emphasis supplied.)
xxxx
Applying Declarador v. Gubaton,153 which was promulgated on 18 August 2006, the Court of Appeals held that,
consistent with Article 192 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, 154 the aforestated provision does not apply to
one who has been convicted of an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.155
Meanwhile, on 10 September 2009, this Court promulgated the decision in Sarcia,156 overturning the ruling
inGubaton. Thus:
The xxx provision makes no distinction as to the nature of the offense committed by the child in conflict with the law,
unlike P.D. No. 603 and A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC. The said P.D. and Supreme Court (SC) Rule provide that the benefit of
suspended sentence would not apply to a child in conflict with the law if, among others, he/she has been convicted of

an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. In construing Sec. 38 of R.A. No. 9344, the
Court is guided by the basic principle of statutory construction that when the law does not distinguish, we should not
distinguish. Since R.A. No. 9344 does not distinguish between a minor who has been convicted of a capital offense
and another who has been convicted of a lesser offense, the Court should also not distinguish and should apply the
automatic suspension of sentence to a child in conflict with the law who has been found guilty of a heinous crime. 157
The legislative intent reflected in the Senate deliberations 158 on Senate Bill No. 1402 (Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention Act of 2005) further strengthened the new position of this Court to cover heinous crimes in
the application of the provision on the automatic suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with the law. The
pertinent portion of the deliberation reads:
If a mature minor, maybe 16 years old to below 18 years old is charged, accused with, or may have committed a
serious offense, and may have acted with discernment, then the child could be recommended by the Department of
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), by the Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC), or by
[Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiagos] proposed Office of Juvenile Welfare and Restoration to go through a judicial
proceeding; but the welfare, best interests, and restoration of the child should still be a primordial or primary
consideration. Even in heinous crimes, the intention should still be the childs restoration, rehabilitation and
reintegration. xxx (Italics supplied in Sarcia.)159
On 24 November 2009, the Court En Banc promulgated the Revised Rule on Children in Conflict with the Law,which
reflected the same position.160
These developments notwithstanding, we find that the benefits of a suspended sentence can no longer apply to
appellant. The suspension of sentence lasts only until the child in conflict with the law reaches the maximum age of
twenty-one (21) years.161 Section 40162 of the law and Section 48163 of the Rule are clear on the matter.
Unfortunately, appellant is now twenty-five (25) years old.
Be that as it may, to give meaning to the legislative intent of the Act, the promotion of the welfare of a child in conflict
with the law should extend even to one who has exceeded the age limit of twenty-one (21) years, so long as he/she
committed the crime when he/she was still a child. The offender shall be entitled to the right to restoration,
rehabilitation and reintegration in accordance with the Act in order that he/she is given the chance to live a normal life
and become a productive member of the community. The age of the child in conflict with the law at the time of the
promulgation of the judgment of conviction is not material. What matters is that the offender committed the offense
when he/she was still of tender age.
Thus, appellant may be confined in an agricultural camp or any other training facility in accordance with Sec. 51 of
Republic Act No. 9344.164
Sec. 51. Confinement of Convicted Children in Agricultural Camps and Other Training Facilities. A child in conflict
with the law may, after conviction and upon order of the court, be made to serve his/her sentence, in lieu of
confinement in a regular penal institution, in an agricultural camp and other training facilities that may be established,
maintained, supervised and controlled by the BUCOR, in coordination with the DSWD.
Following the pronouncement in Sarcia,165 the case shall be remanded to the court of origin to effect appellants
confinement in an agricultrual camp or other training facility.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 29 August 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 00213 finding
appellant Hermie M. Jacinto guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified rape is AFFIRMED with the
followingMODIFICATIONS: (1) the death penalty imposed on the appellant is reduced to reclusion perpetua; and
(2) appellant is ordered to pay the victim P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and

P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. The case is hereby REMANDED to the court of origin for its appropriate action
in accordance with Section 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.
SO ORDERED.
JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO


Associate Justice
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice
C E R T I F I CAT I O N

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

PEOPLE OF THE ,
Plaintiff-Appellee,
- versus HENRY ARPON y JUNTILLA,
Accused-Appellant.

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
1D E C I S I O N
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
Assailed before Us is the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals dated February 8, 2008 in
CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00560, which affirmed with modification the Decision[2]dated
September 9, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tacloban City, Branch 7, in
Criminal Case Nos. 2001-01-46 to 2001-01-53, finding the accused-appellant Henry

Arpon y Juntilla guilty beyond reasonable doubt of one (1) count of statutory rape and
seven (7) counts of rape against the private complainant AAA.[3]
On December 29, 1999, the accused-appellant was charged[4] with eight (8) counts of
rape in separate informations, the accusatory portions of which state:
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-46
That sometime in the year 1995 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of Leyte,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, who is
the uncle of [AAA], the offended party, actuated by lust, did, then and there, willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously, succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], who
was then only eight (8) years old, without her consent and against her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[5]
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-47
That sometime in the month of July, 1999 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of
Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
who is the uncle of [AAA], the twelve-year-old offended party, actuated by lust, did,
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with the use of force and
violence succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], without her consent
and against her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[6]
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-48
That sometime in the month July 1999 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of Leyte,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, who is
the uncle of [AAA], the twelve-year-old offended party, actuated by lust, did, then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with the use of force and violence
succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], without her consent and against
her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[7]
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-49
That sometime in the month of July, 1999 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of
Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
who is the uncle of [AAA], the twelve-year-old offended party, actuated by lust, did,
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with the use of force and

violence succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], without her consent
and against her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[8]
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-50
That sometime in the month of July, 1999 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of
Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
who is the uncle of [AAA], the twelve-year-old offended party, actuated by lust, did,
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with the use of force and
violence succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], without her consent
and against her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[9]
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-51
That sometime in the month of July, 1999 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of
Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
who is the uncle of [AAA], the twelve-year-old offended party, actuated by lust, did,
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with the use of force and
violence succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], without her consent
and against her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[10]
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-52
That sometime in the month of August, 1999 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of
Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
who is the uncle of [AAA], the twelve-year-old offended party, actuated by lust, did,
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with the use of force and
violence succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], without her consent
and against her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[11]
Criminal Case No. 2000-01-47
That sometime in the month of August, 1999 in the municipality of [XXX], Province of
Leyte, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
who is the uncle of [AAA], the twelve-year-old offended party, actuated by lust, did,

then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and with the use of force and
violence succeed in having carnal knowledge of the said [AAA], without her consent
and against her will.
Contrary to law with the aggravating circumstance that the victim is under eighteen (18)
years of age and the offender is a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree.

[12](Emphases ours.)
During the arraignment of the accused-appellant on November 28, 2000, he entered a
plea of not guilty.[13] On March 13, 2001, the pre-trial conference of the cases was
conducted and the parties stipulated on the identity of the accused-appellant in all the
cases, the minority of the victim and the fact that the accused appellant is the uncle of
the victim.[14]
The pre-trial order containing the foregoing stipulations was signed by the accused and
his counsel. The cases were then heard on consolidated trial.
The prosecution presented the lone testimony of AAA to prove the charges against the
accused-appellant. AAA testified that she was born on November 1, 1987.[15] In one
afternoon when she was only eight years old, she stated that the accused-appellant raped
her inside their house. She could not remember, though, the exact month and date of the
incident. The accused-appellant stripped off her shorts, panties and shirt and went on
top of her. He had his clothes on and only pulled down his zipper. He then pulled out
his organ, put it in her vagina and did the pumping motion. AAA felt pain but she did
not know if his organ penetrated her vagina. When he pulled out his organ, she did not
see any blood. She did so only when she urinated.[16]
AAA also testified that the accused-appellant raped her again in July 1999 for five times
on different nights. The accused-appellant was then drinking alcohol with BBB, the
stepfather of AAA, in the house of AAAs neighbor. He came to AAAs house, took off
her panty and went on top of her. She could not see what he was wearing as it was
nighttime. He made her hold his penis then he left. When asked again how the accusedappellant raped her for five nights in July of the said year, AAA narrated that he pulled
down her panty, went on top of her and pumped. She felt pain as he put his penis into
her vagina. Every time she urinated, thereafter, she felt pain. AAA said that she
recognized the accused-appellant as her assailant since it was a moonlit night and their
window was only covered by cloth. He entered through the kitchen as the door therein
was detached.[17]

AAA further related that the accused-appellant raped her again twice in August 1999 at
nighttime. He kissed her and then he took off his shirt, went on top of her and
pumped. She felt pain in her vagina and in her chest because he was heavy. She did not
know if his penis penetrated her vagina. She related that the accused-appellant was her
uncle as he was the brother of her mother. AAA said that she did not tell anybody about
the rapes because the accused-appellant threatened to kill her mother if she did. She
only filed a complaint when he proceeded to also rape her younger sister, DDD.[18]
After the testimony of AAA, the prosecution formally offered its documentary evidence,
consisting of: (1) Exhibit A - the Medico-Legal Report,[19] which contained the results
of the medical examination conducted on AAA by Dr. Rommel Capungcol and Dr.
Melissa Adel Gagala on October 26, 1999; and (2) Exhibit B - the Social Case Study
Report[20] pertaining to AAAs case, which was issued by the Municipal Social Welfare
and Development Office of the Province of Leyte.
The Medico-Legal Report stated the following findings:
P. E. Findings:

Surg. Findings:
- (-) Physical injuries.
OB- NOTES:
- Patient came in with history of rape since 8 year old for so many
times. last act was March 1999.
O:
Pelvic Exam:
Ext. Genetalia grossly normal.
Introitus: Old, healed incomplete laceration at 3 & 9 oclock
position
Speculum Exam: not done due to resistance.
Internal Exam:
Vaginal smear for presence of spermatozoa: = NEGATIVE[21]

Upon the other hand, the defense called the accused-appellant to the witness stand to
deny the informations filed against him and to refute the testimony of AAA. He testified
that when the first incident of rape allegedly happened in 1995, he was only 13 years old
as he was born on February 23, 1982. In 1995, he worked in Sagkahan, as a houseboy
for a certain Gloria Salazar and he stayed there up to 1996. He stated that he was
working in when the alleged rapes happened in the of . When he would go home from
Tacloban, he would stay at the house of a certain Fred Antoni. He did not go to the
house of AAA as the latters parents were his enemies. He said that he had a quarrel

with AAAs parents because he did not work with them in the ricefields. He further
recounted that in July 1999, he was also living in and worked there as a dishwasher at a
restaurant. He worked there from 1998 up to September 1999. The accused-appellant
likewise stated that in August 1999, he was still working at the same restaurant
in . While working there, he did not go home to XXX as he was busy with work. He
denied that he would have drinking sprees with AAAs stepfather, BBB, because they
were enemies.[22]
On cross-examination, the accused-appellant admitted that the mother of AAA was his
sister and they were close to each other. He said that his parents were still alive in 1995
up to October 1999 and the latter then resided at Calaasan, Alangalang, . He indicated
that his parents house was about two kilometers away from the house of AAA. While
he was working at the restaurant in , he would visit his parents once every month,
mainly on Sundays.[23]
The Judgment of the RTC
On September 9, 2002, the RTC of Tacloban City, Branch 7, rendered a Decision
convicting the accused-appellant as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, pursuant to Art. 266-A and 266-B of the Revised
Penal Code as amended, and further amended by R.A. 8353 (Rape Law of 1997) and
R.A. 7659 (Death Penalty Law) the Court found accused HENRY
ARPON, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of ONE COUNT OF STATUTORY
RAPE and SEVEN COUNTS OF RAPE charged under the informations and
sentenced to suffer the maximum penalty of DEATH, and to indemnify the victim,
[AAA] the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos for each count of Rape and
pay moral damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos and pay the
cost.[24] (Emphases in the original.)

The court a quo found more credible the testimony of AAA. The fact that AAA was in
tears when she testified convinced the trial court of the truthfulness of her rape charges
against the accused-appellant. If there were inconsistencies in AAAs testimony, the trial
court deemed the same understandable considering that AAA was pitted against a
learned opposing counsel. The delay in the reporting of the rape incidents was not also
an indication that the charges were fabricated. Moreover, the trial court ruled that the
findings of the medico-legal officer confirmed that she was indeed raped. The accusedappellants defense of alibi was likewise disregarded by the trial court, declaring that it
was not physically impossible for him to be present in XXX at any time of the day after

working hours while he was working in Tacloban City. The trial court stated that the
accused-appellant was positively identified by AAA as the person who sexually abused
her and she held no grudge against him. The trial court imposed the penalty of death as
it found that AAA was less than 18 years old at the time of the commission of the rape
incidents and the accused-appellant was her uncle, a relative by consanguinity within the
third civil degree. The trial court also appreciated against the accused-appellant the
aggravating circumstances of abuse of confidence and nighttime.
The accused-appellant filed a Motion for Reconsideration[25] of the RTC Decision,
asserting that the trial court failed to consider his minority as a privileged mitigating
circumstance. As stated in his direct examination, the accused-appellant claimed that he
was born on February 23, 1982, such that he was only 13 and 17 years old when the
incidents of rape allegedly occurred in 1995 and 1999, respectively. In a
Resolution[26] dated November 6, 2002, the trial court denied the accused-appellants
motion, holding that the latter failed to substantiate with clear and convincing evidence
his allegation of minority.
The cases were elevated to the Court on automatic review and were docketed as G.R.
Nos. 165201-08.[27] The parties then filed their respective briefs.[28] On February 7,
2006, we resolved[29] to transfer the cases to the Court of Appeals pursuant to our
ruling in People v. Mateo.[30] The cases were docketed in the appellate court as CAG.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00560.
The Decision of the Court of Appeals
On February 8, 2008, the Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed decision, decreeing
thus:
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated September 9, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 7, Tacloban City in Criminal Case Nos. 2001-01-46 to 2001-01-53
is AFFIRMED with modification awarding exemplary damages to [AAA] in the
amount of Twenty[-]Five Thousand (P25,000.00) Pesos for each count of rape and
clarification that the separate award of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos as moral
damages likewise pertains to each count of rape. The death penalty imposed is reduced
to reclusion perpetua in accord with Rep. Act No. 9346.[31]

The Court of Appeals adjudged that the inconsistencies pointed out by the accusedappellant in the testimony of AAA were not sufficient to discredit her. The appellate
court held that the exact age of AAA when the incidents of rape occurred no longer

mattered, as she was still a minor at the time. More significant was her straightforward,
categorical and candid testimony that she was raped eight times by the accusedappellant. The Court of Appeals also agreed with the ruling of the RTC that AAAs
charges of rape conformed with the physical evidence and the accused-appellants
uncorroborated defense of alibi could not stand against the positive identification made
by AAA.
As regards the attendant circumstances, the Court of Appeals ruled that the relationship
of the accused-appellant to AAA was both alleged in the informations and admitted by
the accused-appellant. The appellate court, however, differed in appreciating against the
accused-appellant the qualifying circumstance of AAAs minority. The lone testimony
of AAA on the said circumstance was held to be an insufficient proof therefor. The
aggravating circumstance of nighttime was also ruled to be inapplicable as it was not
shown that the same was purposely sought by the accused-appellant or that it facilitated
the commission of the crimes of rape. In view of the presence of the qualifying
circumstance of relationship, the Court of Appeals awarded exemplary damages in favor
of AAA.
The accused-appellant filed a Notice of Appeal[32] of the above decision and the same
was given due course by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution[33] dated May 27, 2008.
On November 17, 2008, the Court resolved to accept the appeal and required the parties
to file their respective supplemental briefs, if they so desire, within 30 days from notice.
[34] Thereafter, in a Manifestation and Motion[35] filed on December 24, 2008, the
plaintiff-appellee, through the Office of the Solicitor General, prayed that it be excused
from filing a supplemental brief. On February 3, 2009, the accused-appellant submitted
a Supplemental Brief.[36]
The Issues
In the accused-appellants brief, the following issues were invoked:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT OF THE CRIMES CHARGED DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE
PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE
TO THE INCREDIBLE AND INCONSISTENT TESTIMONY OF THE PRIVATE
COMPLAINANT.

III
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN IMPOSING THE SUPREME PENALTY
OF DEATH.[37]

The accused-appellant insists that it was error on the part of the RTC to give weight to
the incredible testimony of AAA. He alleges that AAA could not state with consistency
the exact date when she was first supposedly raped, as well as her age at that time. The
accused-appellant also avers that AAA could not remember the dates of the other
incidents of rape charged, all of which were allegedly described in a uniform
manner. Contrary to the judgment of the Court of Appeals, the accused-appellant posits
that the above inconsistencies cannot merely be discounted as insignificant. He further
insists that the qualifying circumstances of AAAs minority and her relationship to the
accused-appellant were not duly proven by the prosecution. The accused-appellant,
thus, prays for a judgment of acquittal.
The Ruling of the Court
After a careful examination of the records of this case, the Court resolves to deny the
appeal, but with a modification of the penalties and the amount of indemnities awarded.
To recall, the RTC and the Court of Appeals found the accused-appellant guilty of one
(1) count of statutory rape and seven (7) counts of qualified rape.
Under the information in Criminal Case No. 2000-01-46, the first incident of rape was
alleged to have occurred in 1995 when AAA was only eight years old. However, the
accused-appellant points out that the prosecution failed to substantiate the said fact as
AAAs testimony thereon was too inconsistent and incredible to be worthy of any
belief. He explains that AAA initially claimed that she was raped for the first time when
she was eight years old. Nonetheless, during her testimony regarding the incidents of
rape that occurred in July 1999, she said that the accused did the same thing that he did
to her when she was only seven years old. On her redirect examination, AAA then
stated that she was first raped in 1998 when she was eleven (11) years old.
Presently, Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code defines the crime of rape by sexual
intercourse as follows:
ART. 266-A. Rape, When and How Committed. Rape is committed
1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following
circumstances:

a. Through force, threat or intimidation;


b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or is otherwise unconscious;
c. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority;
d. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even
though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.

In particular, Article 266-A(1)(d) spells out the definition of the crime of statutory rape,
the elements of which are: (1) that the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and
(2) that such a woman is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented.[38]
The above provision came into existence by virtue of Republic Act No. 8353,[39] or the
Anti-Rape Law of 1997, which took effect on October 22, 1997.[40] Prior to this date,
the crime of rape was penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code,[41] which
provides:
ART. 335.
When and how rape is committed. Rape is committed by having carnal
knowledge of a woman under any of 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.

In People v. Macafe,[42] we explained the concept of statutory rape under Article 335
of the Revised Penal Code in this wise:
Rape under paragraph 3 of [Article 335] is termed statutory rape as it departs from the
usual modes of committing rape. What the law punishes in statutory rape is carnal
knowledge of a woman below twelve years old. Hence, force and intimidation are
immaterial; the only subject of inquiry is the age of the woman and whether carnal
knowledge took place. The law presumes that the victim does not and cannot have a
will of her own on account of her tender years; the child's consent is immaterial because
of her presumed incapacity to discern evil from good.[43] (Emphasis ours.)

Manifestly, the elements of statutory rape in the above-mentioned provisions of law are
essentially the same. Thus, whether the first incident of rape charged in this case did
occur in 1995, i.e., before the amendment of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, or
in 1998, after the effectivity of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, the prosecution has the
burden to establish the fact of carnal knowledge and the age of AAA at the time of the
commission of the rape.
Contrary to the posturing of the accused-appellant, the date of the commission of the
rape is not an essential element of the crime of rape, for the gravamen of the offense is

carnal knowledge of a woman.[44] Inconsistencies and discrepancies in details which


are irrelevant to the elements of the crime are not grounds for acquittal.[45]
As regards the first incident of rape, the RTC credited with veracity the substance of
AAAs testimony. On this matter, we reiterate our ruling in People v. Condes[46]that:
Time and again, the Court has held that when the decision hinges on the credibility of
witnesses and their respective testimonies, the trial court's observations and conclusions
deserve great respect and are often accorded finality. The trial judge has the advantage
of observing the witness' deportment and manner of testifying. Her "furtive glance,
blush of conscious shame, hesitation, flippant or sneering tone, calmness, sigh, or the
scant or full realization of an oath" are all useful aids for an accurate determination of a
witness' honesty and sincerity. The trial judge, therefore, can better determine if
witnesses are telling the truth, being in the ideal position to weigh conflicting
testimonies. Unless certain facts of substance and value were overlooked which, if
considered, might affect the result of the case, its assessment must be respected for it
had the opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses while
testifying and detect if they were lying. The rule finds an even more stringent
application where said findings are sustained by the [Court of Appeals].[47]

In the instant case, we have thoroughly scrutinized the testimony of AAA and we found
no cogent reason to disturb the finding of the RTC that the accused-appellant indeed
committed the first incident of rape charged. AAA positively identified the accusedappellant as the perpetrator of the dastardly crimes. With tears in her eyes, she clearly
and straightforwardly narrated the said incident of rape as follows:
[PROSECUTOR EDGAR SABARRE]
Q:
Do you recall of any unusual incident that happened when you were still 8
years old?
[AAA]
A:
There was but I cannot anymore remember the exact month and date.
Q:
Just tell what happened to you when you were still 8 years old?
A:
I was raped by Tiyo Henry.
Q:
How did he rape you?
A:
He stripped me of my panty, shorts and shirts.
Q:
Do you remember what place did he rape you?
A:
Yes, sir in our house.
Q:
Who were the persons present then at that time?
A:
My younger brother and I.
Q:
About your mother and step father where were they?

A:
In the ricefield.
PROS. SABARRE:
May we make it of record that the witness is crying.
COURT:
Have it on record.
PROS. SABARRE:
Q:
Do you still recall was it in the morning, in the afternoon or evening?
A:
In the afternoon.
xxxx
Q:
After your clothes and [panty] were taken off by accused what did he do to
you next if any?
A:
He went on top of me.
Q:
Was he still with his clothes on or already naked?
A:
He has still clothes on, he did not take off his pants, he only pulled down
the zipper.
Q:
And when he pulled down the zipper and went on top of you what did he
do next if any?
A:
He was pumping on me.
Q:
Did he pull out his organ?
A:
Yes, sir.
Q:
And where did he place his organ?
A:
In my vagina.
Q:
When he kept on pumping what did you feel?
A:

Pain.[48]

The above testimony of AAA was also corroborated by the Medico-Legal Report of Dr.
Capungcol and Dr. Gagala, who found old, healed, incomplete hymenal lacerations on
the private part of AAA. [W]hen the testimony of a rape victim is consistent with the
medical findings, there is sufficient basis to conclude that there has been carnal
knowledge.[49]
Anent the five incidents of rape that were alleged to have been committed in July 1999,
the Court disagrees with the ruling of the trial court that all five counts were proven with
moral certainty. The testimony of AAA on the said incidents is as follows:
Q:
A:
Q:
A:
Q:
A:

How many times did [the accused-appellant] rape you in July 1999?
Five times.
Was it in the daytime or night time?
Night time.
Was it in different nights or on the same night?
Different nights.

Q:
Who were present then at that time when he raped you five times?
A:
My Kuya and other siblings.
Q:
You have companions why were you raped?
A:
Because they were sleeping.
Q:
How did he rape you on that July night for five times, will you please
narrate to the court?
A:
Because they have been drinking, he came to our house, pulled out my
panty and went on top of me.
Q:
With whom was he drinking?
A:
With my step father.
Q:
Where did they drink?
A:
In our neighbor.
Q:
When he took off your shorts and panty what was the accused wearing at
that time?
A:
I do not know because I could not see since it was night time.
Q:
When he was on top of [you] was he still wearing something?
A:
No, sir.
Q:
What did he do with his penis?
A:
He made me hold it.
Q:
Then after he made you hold it what did he do with it?
A:
He left.
xxxx
ATTY. SABARRE:
Q:
You said you were raped on that July evening for five nights how did he
rape you?
A:
(witness did not answer)
PROS. SABARRE:
Make it of record that the witness is crying again.
Q:
Why are you crying?
A:
I am angry and hurt.
PROS. SABARRE:
Your honor please may I be allowed to suspend the proceeding
considering that the witness is psychologically incapable of further proceeding.
xxxx
Q:
I have asked you how did the accused rape you will you please narrate the
whole incident to this honorable court?
A:
The same that he did when I was 8 years old, he went on top of me.
Q:
What was the same thing you are talking about?
A:
He pulled down my panty and went on top of me and pump.
Q:
When he pump what did you feel?
A:
Pain.

COURT:
Why did you feel pain?
A:
He placed his penis inside my vagina, everytime I urinate I feel pain.
ATTY. SABARRE;
How did you recognize that it was Henry Arpon when it was night time?
A:
It was a moonlight night and our window was only covered by cloth as
cover.[50]

From the above testimony, AAA merely described a single incident of rape. She made
no reference whatsoever to the other four instances of rape that were likewise
supposedly committed in the month of July 1999.
The same is also true for the two (2) counts of rape allegedly committed in August
1999. AAA narrated only one incident of rape in this manner:
Q:
How many times did [the accused-appellant] rape you in the month of
August 1999?
A:
Two times.
Q:
Was it during day time or night time?
A:
Nighttime.
Q:
How did he rape you again that August 1999?
A:
He kissed me.
Q:
After kissing you what did he do next?
A:
He took off his shirts.
Q:
After he took off his shirts what happened?
A:
He went on top of me and pump.
Q:
When he made a pumping motion on top of you what did you feel?
A:
My vagina was painful and also my chest because he was heavy.
Q:
Why did you feel pain in your vagina?
A:
Because he was raping me.
Q:
Did his penis penetrate your vagina?
A:
I do not know.
Q:
If this Henry Arpon is present now in court could you recognize him?
A:
Yes, sir.
Q:
Where is he?
A:
That man (witness pointing a detention prisoner when asked his name
answered Henry Arpon).[51]
It is settled that each and every charge of rape is a separate and distinct crime that the

law requires to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution's evidence must

pass the exacting test of moral certainty that the law demands to satisfy the burden of
overcoming the appellant's presumption of innocence.[52] Thus, including the first
incident of rape, the testimony of AAA was only able to establish three instances when
the accused-appellant had carnal knowledge of her.
The allegation of the accused-appellant that the testimony of AAA described the
incidents of rape in a uniform manner does not convince this Court. To our mind,
AAAs narration of the sexual abuses committed by the accused-appellant contained an
adequate recital of the evidentiary facts constituting the crime of rape, i.e., that he placed
his organ in her private part.[53] Etched in our jurisprudence is the doctrine that a
victim of a savage crime cannot be expected to mechanically retain and then give an
accurate account of every lurid detail of a frightening experience a verity born[e] out
of human nature and experience.[54]
We uphold the ruling of the RTC that the accused-appellants defense of alibi deserves
scant consideration. Alibi is an inherently weak defense because it is easy to fabricate
and highly unreliable. To merit approbation, the accused must adduce clear and
convincing evidence that he was in a place other than the situs criminis at the time the
crime was committed, such that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the
scene of the crime when it was committed.[55] [S]ince alibi is a weak defense for
being easily fabricated, it cannot prevail over and is worthless in the face of the positive
identification by a credible witness that an accused perpetrated the crime.[56]
In the instant case, we quote with approval the findings of fact of the trial court that:
The distance of [XXX] to Tacloban City is just a few kilometers and can be negotiated
by passenger bus in less than one (1) hour, hence, it is not impossible for the accused to
be present in [XXX] at any time of the day after working hours while working in
Tacloban. Besides, the accused has his day off every Sunday, which according to him
he spent in [XXX], .
The accused was positively identified by the victim as the person who sexually molested
her beginning that afternoon of 1995, and subsequently thereafter in the coming years up
to August 1999. She can not be mistaken on the identity of the accused, because the
first sexual molestation happened during the daytime, besides, she is familiar with him
being her uncle, the brother of her mother.[57]

Furthermore, the Court rejects the contention of the accused-appellant that AAA
may have been prompted to falsely testify against him (accused-appellant) in view of the
latters quarrel with AAAs parents when he refused to work with them in the rice fields.

[58] Aside from being uncorroborated, we find the same specious and
implausible. Where the charges against the appellant involve a heinous offense, a minor
disagreement, even if true, does not amount to a sufficient justification for dragging a
young girl's honor to a merciless public scrutiny that a rape trial brings in its
wake.[59]
As to the accused-appellants objection that there was no proof of the age of the
victim, we affirm the trial courts finding that the prosecution sufficiently established the
age of AAA when the incidents of rape were committed. The testimony of AAA that she
was born on November 1, 1987,[60] the voluntary stipulation of the accused, with
assistance of counsel, regarding the minority of the victim during pre-trial and his
testimony regarding his recollection of the age of the victim,[61] his own niece, all
militate against accused-appellants theory. In People v. Pruna,[62] the Court
established the guidelines in appreciating age, either as an element of the crime or as a
qualifying circumstance, as follows:
1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified
true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party.
2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as
baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim
would suffice to prove age.
3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or
destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim's
mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to
testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the
offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be
sufficient under the following circumstances:
a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is
that she is less than 7 years old;
b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is
that she is less than 12 years old;
c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved
is that she is less than 18 years old.
4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the
testimony of the victim's mother or relatives concerning the victim's age, the
complainant's testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly
admitted by the accused.

5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The
failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be
taken against him. (Emphases ours.)

Notably, in its Decision, the trial court observed that at the time she took the witness
stand (when she was 14 years old), the victim, as to her body and facial features, was
indeed a minor.[63]
That the carnal knowledge in this case was committed through force, threat or
intimidation need no longer be belabored upon. [I]n rape committed by close kin, such
as the victims father, step-father, uncle, or the common-law spouse of her mother, it is
not necessary that actual force or intimidation be employed. Moral influence or
ascendancy takes the place of violence and intimidation.[64]
Penalties
On the penalties imposable in the instant case, the former Article 335 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, punishes the crime of rape with reclusion perpetua. The sixth
paragraph thereof also provides that:
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with
any of the following attendant circumstances:
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the
third civil degree, or the common law-spouse of the parent of the victim. (Emphases
ours.)

Similarly, the present Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code relevantly recites:
ART. 266-B. Penalties. - Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be
punished by reclusion perpetua.
xxxx
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of
the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances:
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third
civil degree, or the common law spouse of the parent of the victim. (Emphases ours.)

The Court finds that the circumstances of minority and relationship qualify the
three (3) counts of rape committed by the accused-appellant. As a special qualifying
circumstance of the crime of rape, the concurrence of the victims minority and her
relationship to the accused must be both alleged and proven beyond reasonable

doubt.[65] In the instant case, the informations alleged that AAA was less than eighteen
(18) years of age when the incidents of rape occurred and the accused-appellant is her
uncle, a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree. The said circumstances
were also admitted by the accused-appellant during the pre-trial conference of the case
and again admitted by him during his testimony.[66]
In People v. Pepito,[67] the Court explained that [t]he purpose of entering into
a stipulation or admission of facts is to expedite trial and to relieve the parties and the
court, as well, of the costs of proving facts which will not be disputed on trial and the
truth of which can be ascertained by reasonable inquiry. These admissions during the
pre-trial conference are worthy of credit. Being mandatory in nature, the admissions
made by appellant therein must be given weight. Consequently, for the first incident of
rape, regardless of whether the same occurred in 1995 or in 1998, the imposition of the
death penalty is warranted. For the second and third counts of rape, the imposable
penalty is also death.
Nonetheless, a reduction of the above penalty is in order.
The RTC and the Court of Appeals failed to consider in favor of the accusedappellant the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority. Although this matter was
not among the issues raised before the Court, we still take cognizance of the same in
accordance with the settled rule that [i]n a criminal case, an appeal throws open the
entire case wide open for review, and the appellate court can correct errors, though
unassigned, that may be found in the appealed judgment.[68]
Pertinently, the first paragraph of Section 7 of Republic Act No. 9344, otherwise
known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, provides for the rule on how
to determine the age of a child in conflict with the law,[69] viz:
SEC. 7. Determination of Age. The child in conflict with the law shall enjoy the
presumption of minority. He/She shall enjoy all the rights of a child in conflict with the
law until he/she is proven to be eighteen (18) years of age or older. The age of a child
may be determined from the child's birth certificate, baptismal certificate or any other
pertinent documents. In the absence of these documents, age may be based on
information from the child himself/herself, testimonies of other persons, the physical
appearance of the child and other relevant evidence. In case of doubt as to the age of the
child, it shall be resolved in his/her favor.

Furthermore, in Sierra v. People,[70] we clarified that, in the past, the Court


deemed sufficient the testimonial evidence regarding the minority and age of the
accused provided the following conditions concur, namely: (1) the absence of any other
satisfactory evidence such as the birth certificate, baptismal certificate, or similar
documents that would prove the date of birth of the accused; (2) the presence of
testimony from accused and/or a relative on the age and minority of the accused at the
time of the complained incident without any objection on the part of the prosecution;
and (3) lack of any contrary evidence showing that the accused's and/or his relatives'
testimonies are untrue.[71]
In the instant case, the accused-appellant testified that he was born on February 23,
1982 and that he was only 13 years old when the first incident of rape allegedly
happened in 1995.[72] Other than his testimony, no other evidence was presented to
prove the date of his birth. However, the records of this case show neither any objection
to the said testimony on the part of the prosecution, nor any contrary evidence to dispute
the same. Thus, the RTC and the Court of Appeals should have appreciated the accusedappellants minority in ascertaining the appropriate penalty.
Although the acts of rape in this case were committed before Republic Act No.
9344 took effect on May 20, 2006, the said law is still applicable given that Section 68
thereof expressly states:
SEC. 68. Children Who Have Been Convicted and are Serving Sentences. Persons
who have been convicted and are serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of this
Act, and who were below the age of eighteen (18) years at the time of the commission of
the offense for which they were convicted and are serving sentence, shall likewise
benefit from the retroactive application of this Act. They shall be entitled to appropriate
dispositions provided under this Act and their sentences shall be adjusted
accordingly. They shall be immediately released if they are so qualified under this Act
or other applicable law.

People v. Sarcia[73] further stressed that [w]ith more reason, the Act should apply
to [a] case wherein the conviction by the lower court is still under review.
Thus, in the matter of assigning criminal responsibility, Section 6 of Republic Act
No. 9344 is explicit in providing that:
SEC. 6. Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility. A child fifteen (15) years of age
or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal

liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an intervention program pursuant to


Section 20 of the Act.
A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen (18) years of age shall likewise be
exempt from criminal liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless
he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child shall be subjected to the
appropriate proceedings in accordance with this Act.
The exemption from criminal liability herein established does not include exemption
from civil liability, which shall be enforced in accordance with existing
laws. (Emphases ours.)

As held in Sierra, the above provision effectively modified the minimum age limit
of criminal irresponsibility in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended,[74] i.e., from under nine years of age and above nine years of age and
under fifteen (who acted without discernment) - to fifteen years old or under and
above fifteen but below 18 (who acted without discernment) in determining exemption
from criminal liability.[75]
Accordingly, for the first count of rape, which in the information in Criminal Case
No. 2000-01-46 was allegedly committed in 1995, the testimony of the accusedappellant sufficiently established that he was only 13 years old at that time. In view of
the failure of the prosecution to prove the exact date and year of the first incident of
rape,i.e., whether the same occurred in 1995 or in 1998 as previously discussed, any
doubt therein should be resolved in favor of the accused, it being more beneficial to the
latter.[76] The Court, thus, exempts the accused-appellant from criminal liability for
the first count of rape pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 6 of Republic Act No.
9344. The accused-appellant, nevertheless, remains civilly liable therefor.
For the second and third counts of rape that were committed in the year 1999, the
accused-appellant was already 17 years old. We likewise find that in the said instances,
the accused-appellant acted with discernment. In Madali v. People,[77] the Court had
the occasion to reiterate that [d]iscernment is that mental capacity of a minor to fully
appreciate the consequences of his unlawful act. Such capacity may be known and
should be determined by taking into consideration all the facts and circumstances
afforded by the records in each case. In this case, the fact that the accused-appellant
acted with discernment was satisfactorily established by the testimony of AAA, which
we had already found to be credible. Verily, AAA testified that she at first did not tell

anybody about the sexual assault she suffered at the hands of the accused-appellant
because the latter told her that he would kill her mother if she did so. That the accusedappellant had to threaten AAA in an effort to conceal his dastardly acts only proved that
he knew full well that what he did was wrong and that he was aware of the
consequences thereof.
Accordant with the second paragraph of Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended, and in conformity with our ruling in Sarcia, when the offender is a minor
under eighteen (18) years of age, the penalty next lower than that prescribed by law
shall be imposed, but always in the proper period. However, for purposes of
determining the proper penalty because of the privileged mitigating circumstance of
minority, the penalty of death is still the penalty to be reckoned with. Thus, for the
second and third counts of rape, the proper penalty imposable upon the accusedappellant is reclusion perpetua for each count.
Had the trial court correctly appreciated in favor of the accused-appellant the
circumstance of his minority, the latter would have been entitled to a suspension of
sentence for the second and third counts of rape under Section 38 of Republic Act No.
9344, which reads:
SEC. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. Once the child who is under eighteen
(18) years of age at the time of the commission of the offense is found guilty of the
offense charged, the court shall determine and ascertain any civil liability which may
have resulted from the offense committed. However, instead of pronouncing the
judgment of conviction, the court shall place the child in conflict with the law under
suspended sentence, without need of application. Provided, however, That suspension of
sentence shall still be supplied even if the juvenile is already eighteen years (18) of age
or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt.
Upon suspension of sentence and after considering the various circumstances of the
child, the court shall impose the appropriate disposition measures as provided in the
Supreme Court Rule on Juvenile in Conflict with the Law.

Be that as it may, the suspension of sentence may no longer be applied in the


instant case given that the accused-appellant is now about 29 years of age and Section
40 of Republic Act No. 9344 puts a limit to the application of a suspended sentence,
namely, when the child reaches a maximum age of 21. The said provision states:
SEC. 40. Return of the Child in Conflict with the Law to Court. If the court finds that
the objective of the disposition measures imposed upon the child in conflict with the law
have not been fulfilled, or if the child in conflict with the law has willfully failed to

comply with the conditions of his/her disposition or rehabilitation program, the child in
conflict with the law shall be brought before the court for execution of judgment.
If said child in conflict with the law has reached eighteen (18) years of age while under
suspended sentence, the court shall determine whether to discharge the child in
accordance with this Act, to order execution of sentence, or to extend the suspended
sentence for a certain specified period or until the child reaches the maximum age
of twenty-one (21) years. (Emphasis ours.)

Nonetheless, the disposition set forth under Section 51 of Republic Act No. 9344 is
warranted in the instant case, to wit:
SEC. 51. Confinement of Convicted Children in Agricultural Camps and Other
Training Facilities. A child in conflict with the law may after conviction and upon
order of the court, be made to serve his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular
penal institution, in an agricultural camp and other training facilities that may be
established, maintained, supervised and controlled by the [Bureau of Corrections], in
coordination with the [Department of Social Welfare and Development].

Additionally, the civil liability of the accused-appellant for the second and third
incidents of rape shall not be affected by the above disposition and the same shall be
enforced in accordance with law and the pronouncements in the prevailing
jurisprudence.
Civil Liability
The Court recently ruled in People v. Masagca, Jr.[78] that [c]ivil indemnity is
mandatory when rape is found to have been committed. Based on prevailing
jurisprudence, we affirm the award of P75,000.00 to the rape victim as civil indemnity
for each count. We also explained in Sarcia that [t]he litmus test x x x in the
determination of the civil indemnity is the heinous character of the crime committed,
which would have warranted the imposition of the death penalty, regardless of whether
the penalty actually imposed is reduced to reclusion perpetua.[79] The trial courts
award of civil indemnity of P50,000.00 for each count of rape is therefore increased
toP75,000.00 for each of the three (3) counts of rape committed in the instant case.
Anent the award of moral damages, the same is justified without need of proof
other than the fact of rape because it is assumed that the victim has suffered moral
injuries [from the experience she underwent].[80] We also increase the trial courts
award of P50,000.00 to P75,000.00 for each of the three (3) counts of rape herein
established in keeping with the recent case law.[81]

Lastly, we affirm the Court of Appeals award of exemplary damages. As held


in People v. Llanas, Jr.,[82] [t]he award of exemplary damages is also proper not only
to deter outrageous conduct, but also in view of the aggravating circumstances of
minority and relationship surrounding the commission of the offense, both of which
were alleged in the information and proved during the trial. The appellate courts
award of P25,000.00 as exemplary damages is raised to P30,000.00 for each of the three
(3) counts of rape in keeping with the current jurisprudence on the matter.[83]
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision
dated February 8, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00560 is
hereby AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS:
(1)
For the first count of rape herein established, the accused-appellant
Henry Arpon y Juntilla is hereby EXEMPTED from criminal liability.
(2)
For the second and third counts of rape, the accused-appellant is
found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts
of QUALIFIED RAPE and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua for each count.
(3)
As to the civil liability, the accused-appellant is ORDERED to pay AAA
for each of the three (3) counts of rape P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00
as moral damages and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages, plus legal interest on all
damages awarded at the legal rate of 6% from the date of finality of this
Decision.
(4)
The case is hereby REMANDED to the court of origin for its appropriate
action in accordance with Section 51 of Republic Act No. 9344.
No costs.
IRGILIO TALAMPAS y
MATIC,
Petitioner,
-versusPEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondent.

G.R. No. 180219


Present:
CORONA, C.J., Chairperson,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO, and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ.
Promulgated:
November 23, 2011

x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
BERSAMIN, J.:
By petition for review on certiorari, Virgilio Talampas y Matic (Talampas) seeks
the review of the affirmance of his conviction for homicide (for the killing of the late
Ernesto Matic y Masinloc) by the Court of Appeals (CA) through its decision
promulgated on August 16, 2007.[1]
The Regional Trial Court, Branch 25, in Bian, Laguna (RTC) had rejected his
pleas of self-defense and accident and had declared him guilty of the felony under the
judgment rendered on June 22, 2004.[2]
Antecedents
The information filed on November 17, 1995, to which Talampas pleaded not
guilty, averred as follows:[3]
That on or about July 5, 1995, in the Municipality of Bian, Province of Laguna,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused VIRGILIO
TALAMPAS, with intent to kill, while conveniently armed with a short firearm and
without any justifiable cause, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and shoot one Ernesto Matic y Masinloc with the said firearm, thereby
inflicting upon him gunshot wound at the back of his body which directly caused his
instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice of his surviving heirs.
CONTRARY TO LAW.

The State presented as witnesses Jose Sevillo, Francisco Matic, Jerico Matic, Dr.
Valentin Bernales, and Josephine Matic. The CA summarized their testimonies thuswise:
[4]
Prosecution witness Jose Sevillo (Jose) who allegedly witnessed the incident in
question, testified that on July 5, 1995 at about 7:00 oclock in the evening, he together
with Eduardo Matic (Eduardo) and Ernesto Matic (Ernesto) were infront of his house,
along the road in Zona Siete (7), Wawa, Malaban, Bian, Laguna, repairing his tricycle
when he noticed the appellant who was riding on a bicycle passed by and stopped. The
latter alighted at about three (3) meters away from him, walked a few steps and brought
out a short gun, a revolver, and poked the same to Eduardo and fired it hitting Eduardo
who took refuge behind Ernesto. The appellant again fired his gun three (3) times, one
shot hitting Ernesto at the right portion of his back causing him (Ernesto) to fall on the
ground with his face down. Another shot hit Eduardo on his nape and fell down on his
back (patihaya). Thereafter, the appellant ran away, while he (Jose) and his neighbors

brought the victims to the hospital. On June 6, 1995, Jose executed a Sworn Statement
at the Bian Police Station.
Another witness, Francisco Matic, testified that prior to the death of his brother
Ernesto who was then 44 years old, he (Ernesto) was driving a tricycle on a boundary
system and earnedP100.00 daily, although not on a regular basis because sometimes
Ernesto played in a band for P100.00 per night.
Jerico Matic, eldest son of Ernesto, alleged that he loves his father and his death
was so painful to him that he could not quantify his feelings in terms of money. The
death of his father was a great loss to them as they would not be able to pursue their
studies and that nobody would support them financially considering that the money
being sent by their mother in the amount of P2,000.00 to P2,500.00 every three (3)
months, would not be enough.
Dr. Valentin Bernales likewise, testified that he was the one who conducted the
autopsy on the body of Ernesto and found one gunshot in the body located at the back of
the costal area, right side, sixteen (16) centimeters from the spinal column. This shot
was fatal as it involved the major organs such as the lungs, liver and the spinal column
which caused Ernestos death.
The last witness, Josephine Matic, wife of Ernesto, testified that her husband was
laid to rest on July 18, 1995 and that his untimely death was so painful and that she
could not provide her children with sustenance. She asked for the amount
of P200,000.00 for her to be able to send her children to school.

On his part, Talampas interposed self-defense and accident. He insisted that his
enemy had been Eduardo Matic (Eduardo), not victim Ernesto Matic (Ernesto); that
Eduardo, who was then with Ernesto at the time of the incident, had had hit him with a
monkey wrench, but he had parried the blow; that he and Eduardo had then grappled for
the monkey wrench; that while they had grappled, he had notice that Eduardo had held a
revolver; that he had thus struggled with Eduardo for control of the revolver, which had
accidentally fired and hit Ernesto during their struggling with each other; that the
revolver had again fired, hitting Eduardo in the thigh; that he had then seized the
revolver and shot Eduardo in the head; and that he had then fled the scene when people
had started swarming around.
Ruling of the RTC
On June 22, 2004, the RTC, giving credence to the testimony of eyewitness Jose
Sevilla, found Talampas guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide,[5] and disposed:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court finds the accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide, with one mitigating circumstance of

voluntary surrender, and hereby sentences him to suffer an indeterminate penalty of


IMPRISONMENT ranging from TEN (10) years and One (1) day of prision mayor, as
minimum, to FOURTEEN (14) years and EIGHT (8) months of reclusion temporal, as
maximum. He is likewise ordered to pay the heirs of Ernesto Matic y Masinloc the
following sums, to wit:
1.
P50,000.00 as and for death indemnity;
2.
P50,000.00 as and for moral damages;
3.
P25,000.00 as and for actual damages; and
4.
P30,000.00 as and for temperate damages.
Furnish Public Prosecutor Nofuente, Atty. Navarroza, the private complainant and
accused with a copy of this decision.
SO ORDERED.[6]

Ruling of the CA
Talampas appealed to the CA, contending that:
I
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE
ACCUSED-APPELLANT FOR THE CRIME CHARGED HAS BEEN PROVEN
BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
II
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE DEATH OF
ERNESTO MATIC WAS MERELY ACCIDENTAL.
III
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT ACTED IN DEFENSE OF HIMSELF WHEN HE GRAPPLED WITH
EDUARDO MATIC.

Still, the CA affirmed the conviction based on the RTCs factual and legal
conclusions, and ruled that Talampas, having invoked self-defense, had in effect
admitted killing Ernesto and had thereby assumed the burden of proving the elements of
self-defense by credible, clear and convincing evidence, but had miserably failed to
discharge his burden.[7]
The CA deleted the award of temperate damages in view of the awarding of actual
damages, pointing out that the two kinds of damages were mutually exclusive.[8]
Issue
Hence, Talampas is now before the Court, continuing to insist that his guilt was not
proven beyond reasonable doubt, and that the lower courts both erred in rejecting his
claim of self-defense and accidental death.
Ruling

The petition for review is denied for lack of merit.


Firstly, the elements of the plea of self-defense are: (a) unlawful aggression on the
part of the victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel
the unlawful aggression; and (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the accused
in defending himself.[9]
In the nature of self-defense, the protagonists should be the accused and the
victim. The established circumstances indicated that such did not happen here, for it was
Talampas who had initiated the attack only against Eduardo; and that Ernesto had not
been at any time a target of Talampas attack, he having only happened to be present at
the scene of the attack. In reality, neither Eduardo nor Ernesto had committed any
unlawful aggression against Talampas. Thus, Talampas was not repelling any unlawful
aggression from the victim (Ernesto), thereby rendering his plea of self-defense
unwarranted.
Secondly, Talampas could not relieve himself of criminal liability by invoking
accident as a defense. Article 12(4) of the Revised Penal Code,[10] the legal provision
pertinent to accident, contemplates a situation where a person is in fact in the act of
doing something legal, exercising due care, diligence and prudence, but in the process
produces harm or injury to someone or to something not in the least in the mind of the
actor an accidental result flowing out of a legal act. [11] Indeed, accident is an event
that happens outside the sway of our will, and although it comes about through some act
of our will, it lies beyond the bounds of humanly foreseeable consequences. [12] In short,
accident presupposes the lack of intention to commit the wrong done.
The records eliminate the intervention of accident. Talampas brandished and poked
his revolver at Eduardo and fired it, hitting Eduardo, who quickly rushed to seek refuge
behind Ernesto. At that point, Talampas fired his revolver thrice. One shot hit Ernesto at
the right portion of his back and caused Ernesto to fall face down to the ground. Another
shot hit Eduardo on the nape, causing Eduardo to fall on his back. Certainly, Talampas
acts were by no means lawful, being a criminal assault with his revolver
againstboth Eduardo and Ernesto.
And, thirdly, the fact that the target of Talampas assault was Eduardo, not Ernesto,
did not excuse his hitting and killing of Ernesto. The fatal hitting of Ernesto was the
natural and direct consequence of Talampas felonious deadly assault against Eduardo.

Talampas poor aim amounted to aberratio ictus, or mistake in the blow, a circumstance
that neither exempted him from criminal responsibility nor mitigated his criminal
liability. Lo que es causa de la causa, es causa del mal causado (what is the cause of
the cause is the cause of the evil caused). [13] Under Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code,
[14] criminal liability is incurred by any person committing a felony although the
wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.
Nonetheless, the Court finds the indeterminate sentence of 10 years and one day
of prision mayor, as minimum, to 14 years and eight months, as maximum, legally
erroneous.
The penalty for homicide under Article 246 of the Revised Penal
Code is reclusion temporal. Under Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law,[15] the
court, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised Penal Code,
or its amendments, is mandated to prescribe an indeterminate sentence the maximum
term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be
properly imposed under the rules of the Revised Penal Code, and the minimum
term shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Revised
Penal Code for the offense. With the absence of aggravating or mitigating
circumstances, the imposable penalty is reclusion temporal in its medium period, or 14
years, eight months, and one day to 17 years and four months. This is pursuant to Article
64 of the Revised Penal Code.[16] It is such period that the maximum term of the
indeterminate sentence should be reckoned from. Hence, limiting the maximum term of
the indeterminate sentence at only 14 years and eight months contravened the express
provision of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, for such penalty was within the minimum
period of reclusion temporal. Accordingly, the Court must add one day to the maximum
term fixed by the lower courts.
The Court finds to be unnecessary the increment of one day as part of the
minimum term of the indeterminate sentence. It may be true that the increment did not
constitute an error, because the minimum term thus fixed was entirely within the
parameters of the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Yet, the addition of one day to the 10
years as the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence of Talampas may occasion a
degree of inconvenience when it will be time for the penal administrators concerned to
consider and determine whether Talampas is already qualified to enjoy the benefits of

the Indeterminate Sentence Law. Hence, in order to simplify the computation of the
minimum penalty of the indeterminate sentence, the Court deletes the one-day increment
from the minimum term of the indeterminate sentence.
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on August 16,
2007 finding VIRGILIO TALAMPAS y MATIC guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of homicide, and IMPOSES the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision
mayor, as minimum, to 14 years, eight months, and one day of reclusion temporal, as
maximum.
The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:

RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice
Chairperson
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
MARIANO C. CASTILLO
Associate Justice
Associate Justice
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
Associate Justice
C E R T I F I C AT I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the
conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
RENATO C. CORONA
Chief Justice

[1]
Rollo, pp. 67-75; penned by Associate Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman (retired), with Associate Justice Bienvenido
L. Reyes (now a Member of the Court) and Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. concurring.

[2]

Id., pp. 25-31.

[3]
[4]

Id., p. 24.
Id., pp. 68-69.

G.R. No. 182458

March 21, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee,


vs.
REX NIMUAN y CACHO, Appellant.

DECISION

BRION, J.:
We decide the appeal filed by appellant Rex Nimuan y Cacho from the August 16, 2007 decision of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00844.1
THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS
On August 23, 2004, the appellant was accused 2 of murder3 in the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 31, Agoo, La
Union.4 The appellant pleaded not guilty on arraignment. 5 In the trial that followed, an eyewitness Alfredo Ruiz, the
brother of the victim (Jun Ruiz) and the appellants first cousin testified on the details of the crime.
In the afternoon of July 22, 2004, while Alfredo was talking with friends, he saw the victim, the appellant and a
certain Boy Nieva drinking in a neighborhood store in Barangay San Eugenio, Aringay, La Union. 6 Later that
afternoon, as Alfredo was walking home along a path inside a mango plantation in the barangay, he spotted the
appellant and the victim about 30 meters ahead of him, walking in the same trail leading to their respective
houses.7Unaware of his presence, the appellant who was walking a meter behind the victim suddenly hacked the
latter with a bolo.8 Alfredo ran away to seek help when he saw the victim fall to the ground after the attack. 9
The postmortem report revealed that the victim died from massive loss of blood due to multiple hack wounds on his
right forearm, face and head.10
The appellant, interposing alibi, claimed that between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. of July 22, 2004, he was watching television
at the house of his uncle, Manuel Dulay, at San Benito Sur when a certain Barangay Captain Cario, along with a
barangay kagawad, arrived and informed him that he was a suspect in the death of the victim. The appellant and his
mother went with the barangay officials to the police station of Aringay, La Union, where he was detained. 11
THE RTC RULING
In its December 29, 2004 Decision, the RTC found the appellant guilty of murder. It gave credence to Alfredos
positive identification of the appellant as the perpetrator of the killing, as supported by the postmortem examination of
the victim. The RTC appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery because the appellant hacked the victim by
surprise, leaving the latter no opportunity to defend himself. However, it appreciated in the appellants favor the
mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. Applying the indeterminate sentence law, the RTC sentenced the
appellant to suffer the penalty of 20 years of reclusion temporal maximum to 40 years of reclusion perpetua
imprisonment, and to pay the heirs of the victim the lump sum of P100,000 as civil indemnity and damages.12
THE CA RULING

On intermediate appellate review, the CA affirmed the RTCs judgment, giving full respect to the RTC's assessment of
the testimony and the credibility of the eyewitnesses. It rejected the appellants alibi because the distance between San
Benito Sur and the mango plantation where the victim was hacked, was merely 2 kilometers; this distance was not too
far away to preclude the possibility of the appellants presence at the locus criminis. The appellate court appreciated
treachery as a qualifying circumstance because the victim was unarmed and defenseless when the appellant, without
warning, attacked him from behind with a bolo. The CA also noted the number, location and severity of the hack
wounds inflicted on the victim, one of which even cut through his brain and almost severed his head.
The appellate court found that the RTC erred in appreciating the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender
because the appellant went with the barangay officials not to admit the alleged crime or to voluntarily surrender to the
authorities, but only for verification purposes. Thus, the CA sentenced the appellant to reclusion perpetua. It clarified
that the lump sum of P100,000 represented P50,000 as civil indemnity and P50,000 as moral damages. It also
awarded P25,000 as temperate damages, in lieu of actual damages, and P25,000 as exemplary damages due to the
attendance of the qualifying circumstance of treachery.13
We now rule on the final review of the case.
OUR RULING
We affirm the appellants conviction.
We find no reason to disturb the findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA. The records are replete with evidence
establishing the appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Alfredos eyewitness account was corroborated by the
postmortem report on the location and severity of the wounds sustained by the victim. Both the RTC and the CA
correctly appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery because the attack was deliberate, sudden and
unexpected, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no opportunity to resist or to defend
himself.14The appellant was correctly sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua since the mitigating
circumstance of voluntary surrender cannot be appreciated in his favor; the records indicate that the appellant did not
intend to assume responsibility for the death of the victim when he and his mother went with the barangay officials to
the police station.15
1wphi1

While we affirm the CAs factual findings and the imprisonment imposed, we find it necessary to increase to P30,000
the amount of exemplary damages, to conform with prevailing jurisprudence. 16
WHEREFORE, the August 16, 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00844 is
herebyAFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellant Rex Nimuan y Cacho is found guilty of murder as defined
and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Jun Ruiz P50,000 as civil indemnity ex delicto, P50,000 as moral
damages,P25,000 as temperate damages, and P30,000 as exemplary damages.
SO ORDERED.
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.


Associate Justice

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO


Associate Justice
ATT E STAT I O N
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
Associate Justice
[G.R. No. 189834, March 30 : 2011]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, VS. JAY MANDY MAGLIAN Y REYES, ACCUSED-APPELLANT.
DECISION
VELASCO JR., J.:
This is an appeal from the December 23, 2008 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No.
02541, which affirmed the May 8, 2006 Decision in Criminal Case No. 8393-00 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 22 in Imus, Cavite, The RTC found accused Jay Mandy Maglian guilty of parricide.
The Facts
An Information[2] charged the accused as follows:
That on or about the 4th day of January 2000, in the Municipality of Dasmarinas, Province of Cavite,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court[,] accused with intent to kill, did then
and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault, and set on fire Mary Jay Rios Maglian,
his lawfully weeded spouse, who as a result sustained 90% Third Degree Burns on the face and other
vital parts of the body that caused her death, to the damage and prejudice of hte heirs of the said
Mary
Jay
Rios
Maglian.
During his arraignment, the accused pleaded "not guilty."

The prosecution presented witnesses Lourdes Riosm Norma Saballero, Dr. Ludovino Lagat, Amy Velasquez, and
Ramon Oredain. The defense, on the other hand, presented accused Maglian, Atty. Ma. Angelina Barcelo, Atty.
Rosemarie PErey-Duque, Police Officer 3 (PO3) Celestino San Jose, and Lourdes Panopio as witnesses.
The

facts

established

during

the

trial

below.

The accused is a businessman engaged in the lending business and the buying and selling of cars and real estate.
He and atty. Mary Jay Rios (Mary Jay) were married on January 29, 1999. They had a son, MAteo Jay.[3]
On January 4, 2000, the accused and Mary Jay were having dinner at their home in Dasmarias, Cavite when
they got into an argument. The accused did not want Mary Jay to attend a party, causing them to fight. Incensed,
the accused collected the clothes that MAry Joy had given him for Chirstmas and told her he would burn them all
and started pouring kerosene on the clothes. Mary tried to wrestle the can of kerosene from him and, at the same
time, warned him not to pour it on her. Despite his wife's plea, the accused still poured gas on her, thus setting
both
the
clothes
and
his
wife
on
fire.[4]
The accused brought Ma Jay to the De la Salle University Medical Center Das Marias. After four days, she was
transferred by her aunt to the burn unit of the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, were her condition
improved. Subsequently, however, the accused transferred her to St. Claire Hospital, which did not have a burn
unit. Since her condition deteriorated, Lourdes Rios, Mary Jay's mother, had her transferred to the Philippine

General Hospital (PGH) in Manila but she was no longer able to recover. Before she expired, she told her mother
what had happened to her, declaring, "Si Jay Mandy ang nagsunog sa akin. (Jay Mandy burned me.)" She passed
away
on
February
24,
2000.[5]
The accused, in his defense, said the burning incident was completely accidental. He said it was Mary Jay who was
being difficult while they were arguing. She threatened to throw away the clothes he had given her. To spite her, he
also took the clothes that she had given him and told her he would burn them all. He then got a match and a gallon
of kerosene. Mary Jay caught up with him at the dirty kitchen and took the match and kerosene from him. In the
process, they both got wet from the spilled kerosene. She got angry at how he was looking at her and
screamed, "Mandy, Mandy, wag yan, wag yan, ako na lang ang sunugin mo. (Mandy, don't burn that, burn me
instead.)"
Accused, trying to avoid further provoking his wife, left his wife and went upstairs to his son. While climbing the
stairs, he heard Mary Jay shouting, "Mandy, Mandy, nasusunog ako. (Mandy, I'm burning.)" He ran down the steps
and saw the blaze had reached the ceiling of the kitchen. He embraced his wife and called out to his mother to
help them. He poured water on her when the fire could not be put out and brought her to the living room. He then
carried Mary Jay to the car while shouting for help from the neighbors. In the process, he sustained burns on his
legs
and
arms.[6]
While Mary Jay was still confined at the East Avenue Medical Center, the accused learned from a certain Judge
Tanguanco that using "red medicine" would help heal his wife's burn wounds. The hospital, however, did not allow
him to use the "red. medicine" on Mary Jay. He thus had his wife transferred to PGH. When there was no space at
the hospital, she was transferred to St. Claire Hospital with the help of a certain Judge Espanol. The doctors at St,
Claire advised him to stop using the "red medicine" on his wife when her wounds started to get worse and began
emitting
a
foul
odor.[7]
The accused asserted that his mother-in-law, Lourdes Rios, and their laundrywoman, Norma Saballero, accused him
of burning his wife since his wife's family had been angry with him ever since they got married. His mother-in-law
and Mary Jay's siblings used to ask money from them and would get angry with him if they did not receive any
help.[8]
The accused likewise claimed that his late wife made a dying declaration in the presence of PO3 Celestino San Jose
and Atty. Rosemarie Perey-Duque. This allegation was corroborated by PO3 San Jose, who testified that Mary Jay
was a friend and he had visited her at East Avenue Medical Center on January 13, 2000. He was there to take Mary
Jay's statement upon instructions of Chief Major Bulalacao.[9] PO3 San Jose narrated the incident during his direct
examination by Atty. Bihasa:

What, if any, was the reply of Atty. [Mary Joy] Rios


She nodded her head.
And after that, what happened next:
I told her that I will get her statement and she to
she could give her statement.
And after Atty. Rios told you that she was capabl
herstatement, what if any transpired?
I took her statement, which was in my handwriting
Her statement was in your handwriting but who utt
statements?
It was Atty. Rios.[10]
Atty. Duque testified that the last time she spoke with Mary Jay was on January 13, 2000, when she visited her at
the hospital along with PO3 San Jose. The statements of Mary Jay were reduced into writing and Atty. Duque
helped in lifting the arm of the patient so that she could sign the document.[11]

The Ruling of the Trial Court


The RTC rendered its Decision on May 8, 2006, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds and so it hereby holds that the prosecution had
established the guilt of the accused JAY MANDY MAGLIAN y REYES beyond reasonable doubt and so it
hereby
sentences
him
to
suffer
the
penalty
of
RECLUSION
PERPETUA.
Inasmuch as the civil aspect of this case was prosecuted together with the criminal aspect, the
accused is also hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased the following amounts of:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

Php5 00.000 as actual damages


Php500,000 as moral damages,
Php200,000 as exemplary damages,
Php200,000 as attorney's fees; and
Cost of suit against the accused.

SO ORDERED.[12]

The Ruling of the Appellate Court


On appeal, accused-appellant faulted the trial court for not giving credence to the dying declaration Mary Jay made
to her friends who became defense witnesses. He averred that the trial court erred in not admitting the deposition
by oral examination of Atty. Ma. Angelina Barcelo which would corroborate the testimonies of the defense witnesses
regarding the handwritten dying declaration of Mary Jay. The trial court was also questioned for giving credence to
the perjured and biased testimonies of prosecution witnesses Lourdes Rios and Norma Saballero. Lastly, accusedappellant averred that the trial court erroneously disallowed the defense from presenting Dr. Ma. Victoria Briguela,
a qualified psychiatrist, who could testify that Mary Jay's mental, psychological, and emotional condition on
February 24, 2000 was disoriented and she could not have made a dying declaration on said date.
The CA upheld the ruling of the trial court. The dying declaration made by Mary Jay to her mother Lourdes and
laundrywoman Norma had all the essential requisites and could thus be used to convict accused-appellant. It noted
that while the testimonies of Lourdes and Norma on the dying declaration had some inconsistencies, these were
immaterial and did not affect their credibility. It observed that no ill motive was presented and proved as to why
the
prosecution's
witnesses
would
make
false
accusations
against
accused-appellant.
Hence,

we

have

this

appeal.

On December 14, 2009, this Court required the parties to submit supplemental briefs if they so desired. The
People, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, manifested that it was adopting its previous arguments.
The Issue
In

his

Whether

Supplemental
the

guilt

of

Brief,

accused-appellant

accused-appellant

has

been

raises
established

the
beyond

following

issue:

reasonable

doubt.

Accused-appellant contends that (1) he never or did not intend to commit so grave a wrong as that committed or
so grave an offense as the felony charged against him; and (2) that he voluntarily, and of his own free will,
surrendered or yielded to the police or government authorities. He claims that the victim's dying declaration
showed that what happened to her was an accident. He avers that this was corroborated by three witnesses. The
victim's attending physician, he insists, also testified that he was told by the victim that what happened to her was
an
accident.
If not acquitted, accused-appellant argues that, in the alternative, his sentence must be reduced due to mitigating

circumstances of no intention to commit so grave a wrong and voluntary surrender. He claims he is entitled to the
latter since he voluntarily surrendered to the authorities before criminal proceedings were commenced against him.
The reduction of his sentence, he contends, must be by at least another degree or to prision mayor or lower.
The Ruling of the Court
We

affirm

accused-appellant's

conviction.

Dying

declaration

While witnesses in general can only testify to facts derived from their own perception, a report in open court of a
dying person's declaration is recognized as an exception to the rule against hearsay if it is "made under the
consciousness of an impending death that is the subject of inquiry in the case."[13] It is considered as "evidence
of the highest order and is entitled to utmost credence since no person aware of his impending death would make a
careless
and
false
accusation."[14]
The Rules of Court states that a dying declaration is admissible as evidence if the following circumstances are
present: "(a) it concerns the cause and the surrounding circumstances of the declarant's death; (b) it is made when
death appears to be imminent and the declarant is under a consciousness of impending death; (c) the declarant
would have been competent to testify had he or she survived; and (d) the dying declaration is offered in a case in
which the subject of inquiry involves the declarant's death."[15] The question to be answered is which dying
declaration satisfies the aforementioned circumstances, the one made by Mary Jay to Lourdes and Norma, or the
one
she
made
before
Atty.
Duque
and
PO3
San
Jose.
Accused-appellant contends that his late wife's dying declaration as told to the defense witnesses Atty. Duque and
PO3 San Jose effectively absolved him from any wrongdoing. However, it is the dying declaration presented by the
prosecution that satisfies all the requisites provided in the Rules. In contrast, the dying declaration for the defense
did not show that Mary Jay's death at the time of said declaration appeared to be imminent and that she was under
a
consciousness
of
impending
death.
Moreover, We defer to the factual finding that the witnesses for the prosecution were more credible. Mary Jay's
dying declaration to her mother Lourdes and to Norma showed that accused-appellant was the one who set her in
flames. Lourdes and the Maglians' laundrywoman Norma both testified that Mary Jay, moments before her actual
death, told them that it was accused-appellant who was responsible for burning her. Lourdes and Norma both
testified that at the time of May Jay's declaration, she was lucid and aware that she was soon going to expire.
Furthermore, the so-called dying declaration made by Mary Jay to defense witnesses Atty. Duque and PO3 San Jose
suffers from irregularities. The dying declaration allegedly made to Atty. Duque and PO3 San Jose was handwritten
by the latter but he did not have it sworn under oath. We reiterate too that it was not clear that it was executed
with the knowledge of impending death since the statements were made more than a month before Mary Jay died.
We agree with the trial and appellate courts that Lourdes and Norma were both credible witnesses and had no
motive to lie about Mary Jay's dying declaration. The appellate court correctly pointed out that although Lourdes
was Mary Jay's mother, this relationship did not automatically discredit Lourdes' testimony. And while accusedappellant alleged that Lourdes as his mother-in-law did not approve of him, he could not give any improper motive
for Norma to falsely accuse him. Between the two competing statements of the two sets of witnesses, the one
presented by the prosecution should clearly be given more weight as it satisfies the requisites of an admissible
dying
declaration.
No

intent

to

commit

so

grave

wrong

The Revised Penal Code provides under Article 13(3) the mitigating circumstance that the offender had no intention
to commit so grave a wrong as that committed. We held, "This mitigating circumstance addresses itself to the
intention of the offender at the particular moment when the offender executes or commits the criminal act." [16] We
also held, "This mitigating circumstance is obtaining when there is a notable disparity between the means employed
by the accused to commit a wrong and the resulting crime committed. The intention of the accused at the time of

the commission of the crime is manifested from the weapon used, the mode of attack employed and the injury
sustained
by
the
victim."[17]
Aiming for this mitigating circumstance, accused-appellant once again relies on the statements of the defense
witnesses that Mary Jay told them what happened to her was an accident. However, as earlier discussed, Mary
Jay's dying declaration contradicts the alleged exculpatory statement she earlier made to the defense witnesses.
Moreover, the prosecution took pains in court to demonstrate that fighting over the kerosene container would not
have caused Mary Jay to be drenched in kerosene. As aptly explained by the trial court:
The court is convinced that the deceased did not take possession of the gallon container with
kerosene. The accused had full control and possession of the same. He is a bulky and very muscular
person while the deceased was of light built, shorter, smaller and weaker. When a demonstration was
made in open court about the struggle for possession of the container, it was shown that the contents
of the same did not spill owing to the little amount of liquid and its narrow opening. To be able to wet
90 percent of the body surface the kerosene content of the gallon container must have been poured
over the head of the deceased. This explains why when she got ignited, the flames rose up to the
ceiling and burned her from head to toe.[18]

It is extremely far-fetched that accused-appellant could accidentally pour kerosene on his wife and likewise
accidentally light her up and cause third degree burns to 90% of her body. We, thus, agree with the trial court's
finding that accused-appellant knew the fatal injuries that he could cause when he poured kerosene all over his wife
and lit a match to ignite a fire. There was no disparity between the means he used in injuring his wife and the
resulting third degree burns on her body. He is, thus, not entitled to the mitigating circumstance under Art. 13(3)
of
the
Code.
Voluntary

surrender

An accused may enjoy the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender if the following requisites are present:
"1) the offender has not been actually arrested; 2) the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority or the
latter's agent; and 3) the surrender was voluntary." We explained, "The essence of voluntary surrender is
spontaneity and the intent of the accused to give himself up and submit himself to the authorities either because he
acknowledges his guilt or he wishes to save the authorities the trouble and expense that may be incurred for his
search
and
capture."
To avail himself of this mitigating circumstance, accused-appellant claims that he voluntarily yielded to the police
authorities on October 14, 2002, or before the commencement of the criminal proceedings against him. He avers
that this claim is backed by the records of the case and a certification made by the Dasmarias Police Station. He
contends that both the RTC and the CA inexplicably did not appreciate this mitigating circumstance in his favor.
A review of the records shows that accused-appellant on October 16, 2000 filed with the Department of Justice
(DOJ) a Petition for Review of the Resolution of the private prosecutor in the instant case. Subsequently, a warrant
of arrest for the parricide charge was issued against him on October 30, 2000.[21] However, a Motion, to Defer
Implementation of Warrant of Arrest was filed by accused on November 13, 2000 [22] and was granted by the RTC
on December 12, 2000 in view of the petition for review he had filed before the DOJ.[23] On September 11, 2002,
the DOJ issued a Resolution[24] denying the petition of accused-appellant. The defense later submitted a
Certification[25] issued by the Philippine National Police-Dasmarinas Municipal Police Station dated October 18 2002
stating
the
following:
THIS IS TO CERTIFY that the following are excerpts fom the entries on the Official Police Blotter of Dasmarinas
Municipal Police Station, appearing on page 0331 and 0332, blotter entry nos. 1036 and 1047 respectively, dated
15 October 2002, quoted verbatim as follows:
150740H October 2002 - "P/I Apolinar P. Reyes reported that one Jaymandy Maglian y Reyes, 30 years
old, resident of #24 Bucal, Sampalok II, Dasmarinas, Cavite, with Warrant of Arrest issued by RTC
Branch 21, Imus, Cavite, in CC# 8393-00 for Parricide, voluntarily surrendered to him on October 14,
2002.
Subject
is
turned
over
to
this
station
on
this
date".

151350H October 2002 - "One Jaymandy Maglian was transferred to BJMP and escorted by P/I
Apolinar
Reyes".
(Entries written by SPO3 Ricardo V. Sayoto - duty desk officer)

We find that in the case of accused-appellant, all the elements for a valid voluntary surrender were present.
Accused-appellant at the time of his surrender had not actually been arrested. He surrendered to the police
authorities. His surrender was voluntary, as borne by the certification issued by the police. There is, thus, merit to
the claim of accused-appellant that he is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.
It bears noting that parricide, however, according to Art. 246 of the Revised Penal Code, is punishable by two
indivisible penalties, reclusion perpetua to death. The Code provides under Art. 63(3) that when a law prescribes a
penalty with two indivisible penalties and the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstance
and there is no aggravating circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied. But Section 3 of Republic Act No.
(RA) 9346 (An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines) provides that "persons convicted
of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua, by reason
of this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence
Law, as amended." The proper sentence in the instant case would, thus, be reclusion perpetua which is still the
lesser
penalty.
Anent an issue previously raised by accused-appellant and which was not discussed by the CA, while accusedappellant claims that the trial court erred in not admitting the deposition by oral examination of Atty. Ma. Angelina
Barcelo, We note that the records show that an Order[26] was issued by Judge Norberto J. Quisumbing, Jr. granting
accused-appellant's
motion
to
take
oral
deposition
of
Atty.
Barcelo.
Pecuniary

liability

The trial court ordered accused-appellant to pay PhP 500,000 as actual damages; PhP 500,000 as moral damages;
PhP
200,000
as
exemplary
damages;
and
PhP
200,000
as
attorney's
fees.
We modify the monetary awards, those being excessive. We award a civil indemnity ex delicto as this is
"mandatory upon proof of the fact of death of the victim and the culpability of the accused for the death." [27] As
We ruled, "When death occurs due to a crime, the following may be recovered: (1) civil indemnity ex delicto for the
death of the victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; (5)
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation; and (6) interest, in proper cases." [28] Current jurisprudence pegs the
award
of
civil
indemnity
at
PhP
50,000.[29]
Moral damages should also be awarded even absent allegation and proof of the emotional suffering by the victim's
heirs. The amount should be decreased to PhP 50,000 in accordance with jurisprudence. [30] Exemplary damages
in the lowered amount of PhP 30,000 are likewise in order in this case charging parricide, as the qualifying
circumstance
of
relationship
is
present.[31]
As to the attorney's fees awarded, these must be reasonable in accordance with Art. 2208 of the Civil Code. We,
thus,
reduce
the
attorney's
fees
to
a
more
reasonable
amount
of
PhP
50,000.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The CA Decision in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 02541 affirming the RTC Decision
that found accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of parricide is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.
The fallo of the RTC Decision should be modified to read, as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court finds and so it hereby holds that the prosecution had
established the guilt of the accused JAY MANDY MAGLIAN y REYES beyond reasonable doubt and so it
hereby
sentences
him
to
suffer
the
penalty
of
RECLUSION
PERPETUA.

Inasmuch as the civil aspect of this case was prosecuted together with the criminal aspect, the
accused is also hereby ordered to indemnify the heirs of the deceased the following amounts of:
a.
PhP
500,000
b.
PhP
50,000
c.
PhP
50,000
d.
PhP
30,000
e. PhP
50,000
f. Cost of suit against accused-appellant.

as
as
as
as

as

actual
civil
moral
exemplary
attorney's

SO

damages;
indemnity;
damages;
damages;
fees; and

ORDERED.

Corona, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Brion,* and Perez, JJ., concur.
Endnotes:

* Additional member per Raffle dated October 11, 2010.