Republic of the Philippines

Supreme Court
Baguio City

THIRD DIVISION

JOHN HILARIO y SIBAL,
G.R. No. 161070
Petitioner,

Present:

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.

Chairperson,
- versus AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,

CHICO-NAZARIO,

NACHURA, and

REYES, JJ.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Promulgated:

Respondent.
April 14, 2008
x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by John
Hilario y Sibal (petitioner), seeking to annul and set aside the Resolutions dated August 19, 2003[1]
and November 28 2003[2] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 75820.
The antecedents are as follows:
Petitioner, together with one Gilbert Alijid (Alijid), was charged with two counts[3] of Murder in the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 76, Quezon City to which petitioner, assisted by counsel de
parte, pleaded not guilty.
During trial, Atty. Raul Rivera of the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), counsel of Alijid, took over
representing petitioner in view of the death of the latter's counsel.
On December 5, 2001, the RTC rendered its Decision[4] finding petitioner and his co-accused Alijid
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide and sentencing them to suffer
imprisonment of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor to fourteen (14) years and eight
(8) months of reclusion temporal in each count.
On May 10, 2002, petitioner, this time unassisted by counsel, filed with the RTC a Petition for
Relief[5] from the Decision dated December 5, 2001 together with an affidavit of merit. In his
petition, petitioner contended that at the time of the promulgation of the judgment, he was already
confined at Quezon City Jail and was directed to be committed to the National Penitentiary in
Muntinlupa; that he had no way of personally filing the notice of appeal thus he instructed his
lawyer to file it on his behalf; that he had no choice but to repose his full trust and confidence to his
lawyer; that he had instructed his lawyer to file the necessary motion for reconsideration or notice
of appeal; that on May 2, 2002, he was already incarcerated at the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa
City and learned from the grapevine of his impending transfer to the Iwahig Penal Colony, Palawan;
that believing that the notice of appeal filed by his counsel prevented the Decision dated December
5, 2001 from becoming final to warrant his transfer, he instructed his representative to get a copy of
the notice of appeal from the RTC; that no notice of appeal was filed by his lawyer in defiance of his
clear instructions; and that the RTC Decision showed that it was received by his counsel on
February 1, 2002 and yet the counsel did not inform him of any action taken thereon.

Petitioner claimed that he had a meritorious defense, to wit:
1.
The Decision dated December 5, 2001, on page 16 thereof states an imprisonment term
of eight (8) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of
Reclusion Temporal - a matter which ought to be rectified;
2.

The undersigned is a first time offender;

3.
No ruling was laid down on the stipulated facts (Decision, p. 3) relative to the (1)
absence of counsel during the alleged inquest, and (2) absence of warrant in arresting the accused
after ten (10) days from the commission of the crime;
4.
Absence of a corroborating witness to the purported lone eyewitness, as against the
corroborated testimony of accused-petitioner's alibi;
5.

The Commission on Human Rights investigation on the torture of the accused-petitioner;

6.

and others.[6]

Petitioner argued that he was meted a total of 16 years imprisonment or almost equal to the
previous capital punishment of 20 years which was given an automatic review by the Supreme
Court, thus it is of greater interest of justice that his case be reviewed by the appellate court; and
that no damage will be sustained if the appeal is given due course since he continues to languish
in jail while the Petition for Relief is pending.
The Assistant City Prosecutor filed his Comment on the Petition for Relief where he contended that
the petition should no longer be entertained; and that perfection of appeal in the manner and within
the period permitted by law was not only mandatory but jurisdictional and failure to perfect the
appeal rendered the judgment final and executory.
The records do not show that the RTC required petitioner's counsel to whom petitioner attributed
the act of not filing the notice of appeal to file his comment.
On September 30, 2002, petitioner's counsel filed a Withdrawal of Appearance[7] from the case
with petitioner's consent. Again, the documents before us do not show the action taken by the RTC
thereon.
In an Order[8] dated December 13, 2002, the RTC dismissed petitioner's petition for relief with the
following disquisition:
After a careful study of the instant petition and the arguments raised by the contending parties, the
Court is not persuaded by petitioner/accused's allegation that he was prevented from filing a notice
of appeal due to excusable negligence of his counsel.

still unassisted by counsel. the CA dismissed the petition in this wise: It appearing that petitioner in the instant petition for certiorari failed to attach the following documents cited in his petition. raising the following issues: Whether or not the delay in appealing the instant case due to the defiance of the petitioner's counsel de oficio to seasonably file a Notice of Appeal. The CA also stressed that procedural rules are not to be belittled simply because their non-observance may have resulted in prejudice to a party's substantive rights. 3. herein recourse filed by petitioner. Comment of the City Prosecutor. even if said omission should be considered as negligence.[9] (Emphasis supplied) Petitioner. he claimed to have told his counsel to simply file a notice of appeal thereof. the relevant and pertinent documents. a lawyer from PAO. Manifestation of petitioner's counsel de oficio signifying his withdrawal as petitioner's counsel. He claims that the delay in appealing his case without his fault constitutes excusable negligence to warrant the granting of his petition for relief. It must also be pointed out that in his petition for relief. that this breach of trust cannot easily be concocted in this situation considering that it was a counsel de oficio. . whereas in his affidavit of merit. unworthy of credence. he stated that he instructed his counsel to file the necessary motion for reconsideration or notice of appeal of the Decision dated December 5. Rule 52 of the Rules of Court and for failure to attach to the petition. At any rate. 2001. 2001 Decision. 2001. again by himself. Hence. 2. the mere invocation of justice warrants the review of a final and executory judgment? Petitioner contends that the negligence of his counsel de oficio cannot be binding on him for the latter's defiance of his instruction to appeal automatically breaks the fiduciary relationship between counsel-client and cannot be against the client who was prejudiced. nowhere does it appear that accused/petitioner was prevented from fairly presenting his defense nor does it appear that he was prejudiced as the merits of this case were adequately passed upon in the Decision dated December 5. 2003 for having been filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period. In a Resolution dated August 19. in violation of Section 1. x x x Besides.Accused's allegation that he indeed specifically instructed his counsel to file a notice of appeal of the Decision dated [sic] and the latter did not heed his instruction is at best self-serving and unsubstantiated and thus. 2003. Rule 42 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and as prayed for by the Solicitor General. namely: 1. it is a well-settled rule that negligence of counsel is binding on the client. constitutes excusable negligence to entitle the undersigned detention prisoner/ petitioner to pursue his appeal? Whether or not pro hac vice. The instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED pursuant to Section 2.[10] Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated November 28. filed a petition for certiorari with the CA on the ground that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing his petition for relief. The December 5.

and that petitioner's appeal after the finality of judgment of conviction is an exercise in futility. that reliance on technicalities to the prejudice of petitioner who is serving 14 years imprisonment for a crime he did not commit is an affront to the policy promulgated by this Court that dismissal purely on technical grounds is frowned upon especially if it will result to unfairness. xxxx The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment. Rule 46 of the Rules of Court. xxxx [The petition] shall be x x x accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original or certified true copy of the judgment. thus the RTC properly dismissed petitioner's petition for relief from judgment. Rule 65 provides: SECTION. thus: Section 1. . order or resolution subject thereof. copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto x x x. such material portions of the record as are referred to therein. that the assailed CA Resolutions both harped on technicalities to uphold the dismissal by the RTC of his petition for relief. or ruling subject thereof. The requirements to attach such relevant pleadings under Section 1. Section 3. and other documents relevant or pertinent thereto x x x. 3. order. In his Comment. Contents and filing of petition.who broke the fiduciary relationship. and that it would have been for the best interest of justice for the CA to have directed the petitioner to complete the records instead of dismissing the petition outright. in relation to Rule 46. effect of non-compliance with requirements. resolution. provides: SEC. on the ground that petitioner failed to attach certain documents which the CA found to be relevant and pertinent to the petition for certiorari. The CA dismissed the petition for certiorari filed under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Rule 46. 1. that perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period laid down by law is not only mandatory but jurisdictional and failure to perfect the appeal renders the judgment sought to be reviewed final and not appealable. We grant the petition. The OSG further claims that notice to counsel is notice to clients and failure of counsel to notify his client of an adverse judgment would not constitute excusable negligence and therefore binding on the client. Rule 65 is read in relation to Section 3. Petition for certiorari. the OSG argues that the mere invocation of justice does not warrant the review of an appeal from a final and executory judgment.

even the most experienced lawyers get tangled in the web of procedure. documents. or property is subjected to restraint or in danger of loss. specially so when as a consequence. it may still be recalled. upon its initial review of the petition. life. documents or orders are relevant and pertinent to the petition rests on the petitioner. . Otherwise. If. In fact. A litigant who is not a lawyer is not expected to know the rules of procedure.[11] The RTC Decision dated December 5.[13] This finds application specially if the liberty of a person is at stake. without the benefit of counsel. 2001. However. or (c) order the petitioner to file an amended petition appending thereto the required pleadings. a detained prisoner. The initial determination of what pleadings. (b) order the petitioner to submit the required additional pleadings. finding petitioner guilty of two counts of homicide. Thus. liberty. even if the judgment had become final and executory.xxxx The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. and the accused afforded the opportunity to be heard by himself and counsel. documents or order within a fixed period. the Comment of the City Prosecutor as well as the counsel's withdrawal of appearance were considered by the CA as relevant and pertinent to the petition for certiorari. the right of an accused person to be assisted by a member of the bar is immutable. Court of Appeals: The right to counsel in civil cases exists just as forcefully as in criminal cases. xxxx Even the most experienced lawyers get tangled in the web of procedure. or order within a specific period of time. the CA is of the view that additional pleadings. there would be a grave denial of due process. The demand as much from ordinary citizens whose only compelle intrare is their sense of right would turn the legal system into an intimidating monstrosity where an individual may be stripped of his property rights not because he has no right to the property but because he does not know how to establish such right. As we held in Telan v. In criminal cases. the following are its options: (a) dismiss the petition under the last paragraph of Rule 46 of the Rules of Court.[12] We have held in a civil case that to demand as much from ordinary citizens whose only compelle intrare is their sense of right would turn the legal system into an intimidating monstrosity where an individual may be stripped of his property rights not because he has no right to the property but because he does not know how to establish such right. the CA failed to consider the fact that the petition before it was filed by petitioner. thus it dismissed the petition for failure to attach the same. documents or order should have been submitted and appended to the petition.

2003. To repeat the ruling in Telan. that in criminal cases. and that petitioner filed his motion for reconsideration on September 18. which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice. we have on some occasions relaxed this rule. must always be eschewed. thus the need for a counsel is more pronounced. the right ceases in the pursuit of the appeal.The right to counsel is absolute and may be invoked at all times. it is a right that must be exercised at every step of the way. (b) the existence of special or compelling circumstances. no arrangement or interpretation of law could be as absurd as the position that the right to counsel exists only in the trial courts and that thereafter. otherwise. In that way. the right of an accused person to be assisted by a member of the bar is immutable. Cases should be determined on the merits after full opportunity to all parties for ventilation of their causes and defenses. as held in Telan.[16] The CA denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration for having been filed late.[14] (Emphasis supplied) The filing of the petition for certiorari by petitioner without counsel should have alerted the CA and should have required petitioner to cause the entry of appearance of his counsel. in Barnes v. rules of procedure should be viewed as mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. Thus.[15] It is even more important to note that petitioner was not assisted by counsel when he filed his petition for relief from judgment with the RTC. Although the petition filed before the CA was a petition for certiorari assailing the RTC Order dismissing the petition for relief. 2003. (c) the merits of the case. honor or property. this Court has relaxed this rule in order to serve substantial justice considering (a) matters of life. and (f) the other party will not be unjustly prejudiced thereby. It appears that the CA Resolution dismissing the petition for certiorari was received at the address written in the petition on September 1. in the case of an ongoing litigation. liberty. Invariably. It cannot be overstressed therefore. the ends of justice would be served better. No arrangement or interpretation of law could be as absurd as the position that the right to counsel exists only in the trial courts and that thereafter. the ultimate relief being sought by petitioner was to be given the chance to file an appeal from his conviction. Their strict and rigid application. rather than on technicality or some procedural imperfections. or two days late. Padilla[17] we held: However. Even the Rules of Court reflects . there would be a grave denial of due process. While as a general rule. with the lawyer faithfully keeping his client company. (e) a lack of any showing that the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory. the failure of petitioner to file his motion for reconsideration within the 15day reglementary period fixed by law rendered the resolution final and executory. (d) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the party favored by the suspension of the rules. More so. the right ceases in the pursuit of the appeal.

No. the former must yield to the latter. procedural rules were conceived to aid the attainment of justice. "should give way to the realities of the situation. speedy. and not the other way around. Bacuraya is not a lawyer.. by a certain Leonora Coronel. Recognizing this. c/o Robert S. That is precisely why courts in rendering justice have always been. technicalities. as they ought to be guided by the norm that when on the balance. Muntinlupa. Sandiganbayan. in Basco v.[19] we also held: Nonetheless.. the emerging trend in the rulings of this Court is to afford every party litigant the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause. technicalities take a backseat against substantive rights. we find the two days delay in filing his motion for reconsideration pardonable as it did not cause any prejudice to the other party. free from the constraints of technicalities. The power to suspend or even disregard rules can be so pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself had already declared to be final. this Court. A strict and rigid application of rules that would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice must be avoided. 2003 even as the same Resolution was earlier received on September 1. speaking through the late Justice Ricardo J. Quezon City.[21] . Rule 1 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that: SECTION 2. shorn of judicial discretion. 9 Iris St. There is no showing that petitioner was motivated by a desire to delay the proceedings or obstruct the administration of justice. had occasion to state: The Rules of Court was conceived and promulgated to set forth guidelines in the dispensation of justice but not to bind and chain the hand that dispenses it. petitioner being detained at the National Penitentiary.e.this principle. Construction. Section 2. courts will be mere slaves to or robots of technical rules. West Fairview. In De Guzman v. Bacuraya. The suspension of the Rules is warranted in this case since the procedural infirmity was not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of petitioner. Francisco. Indeed. Considering that petitioner only received the Resolution on September 4. 1118. If a stringent application of the rules would hinder rather than serve the demands of substantial justice. i. and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. Truly then. Court of Appeals. Apparently. Rules of procedure are mere tools designed to expedite the decision or resolution of cases and other matters pending in court. Ordinarily.[18] Moreover. These rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just. 2003. in the appropriate language of Justice Makalintal. 2003 at the address written in his petition. for otherwise. the CA should have also sent a copy of such Resolution to his place of detention.[20] Petitioner claims that he actually received the CA Resolution dismissing his petition for certiorari only on September 4.

i. The RTC Order dismissing the petition for relief did not touch on the question whether the PAO lawyer was indeed negligent in not filing the appeal as it merely stated that even if said omission. it was crucial to ascertain whether petitioner indeed gave explicit instruction to the PAO lawyer to file an appeal but the latter failed to do so. .In dismissing the petition for certiorari filed before it. such negligence is binding on the client. Article II of PAO Memorandum Circular provides that in criminal cases. the accused enjoys the constitutional presumption of innocence until the contrary is proven. Under the PAO Memorandum Circular. Petitioner was represented in the RTC by Atty. Article IV of PAO Memorandum Circular No. it is a well-settled rule that negligence of counsel is binding on the client. should be appealed. it may still be recalled. the Amended Standard Office Procedures in Extending Legal Assistance (PAO Memorandum Circular). Section 1. it was the duty of the latter to perfect the appeal. it appears from the records that the RTC only required the City Prosecutor to file a comment on the petition. Petitioner insists that the failure of his counsel to timely file a notice of appeal of his judgment of conviction despite his explicit instruction to do so constitutes excusable negligence and so his petition for relief should have been granted. while Section 2. We find that the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioner's petition for relief from judgment. the CA clearly put a premium on technicalities and brushed aside the issue raised before it by petitioner. petitioner claims he had instructed the PAO lawyer to file an appeal. hence cases of defendants in criminal actions are considered meritorious and therefore. provides that all appeals must be made upon the request of the client himself and only meritorious cases shall be appealed.. not filing the appeal despite his clients instruction to do so. upon the client's request. we opt to resolve the same so as not to further delay the final disposition of this case.e. i. and the accused afforded the opportunity to be heard by himself and counsel. whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioner's petition for relief thus preventing him from taking an appeal from his conviction.18 series of 2002.. Even if the judgment had become final and executory. instead of remanding the case to the CA for a decision on the merits.[22] However. However. Thus. In this case. and that if there was indeed such omission committed by the counsel. in determining whether the petition for relief from judgment is based on a meritorious ground. it was incumbent upon the RTC to have required the PAO lawyer to comment on the petition for relief. Rivera of the PAO. should be considered as negligence. To determine the veracity of petitioner's claim. The RTC denied the petition for relief as it found petitioner's claim that his counsel did not heed his instruction to file an appeal to be unsubstantiated and self serving.e.

The established jurisprudence holds: xxxx The function of the rule that negligence or mistake of counsel in procedure is imputed to and binding upon the client. who otherwise has a good cause. its rigors must be relaxed to admit exceptions thereto and to prevent a manifest miscarriage of justice.While as a general rule. What should guide judicial action is that a party be given the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of his action or defense rather than for him to lose life. xxxx The court has the power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule whenever the purposes of justice require it. However. is prejudiced and denied his day in court. there would have been a factual basis for the RTC to determine whether or not the PAO lawyer was grossly negligent. ignorance or inexperience of counsel is so great and the error committed as a result thereof is so serious that the client. The RTC had ample time to require the PAO lawyer to comment on the petition for relief from judgment. where certain evidence was not presented because of counsel's error or incompetence. xxxx If the incompetence. [23] the exception is when the negligence of counsel is so gross. dismissing the petition for relief. and eventually. filed his Withdrawal of Appearance on September 30. he could be considered negligent. . In a criminal proceeding. When in the circumstances of each case the rule desert its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief enemy. whether the petition for relief from judgment is meritorious. is to serve as an instrument to advance the ends of justice. Rivera. If there was no instruction from petitioner to file an appeal. liberty. 2002. the defendant in order to secure a new trial must satisfy the court that he has a good defense and that the acquittal would in all probability have followed the introduction of the omitted evidence. the litigation may be reopened to give the client another chance to present his case. 2002.[25] we held: x x x Losing liberty by default of an insensitive lawyer should be frowned upon despite the fiction that a client is bound by the mistakes of his lawyer. negligence of counsel may not be condoned and should bind the client.[24] In Aguilar v. almost three months before the RTC rendered its assailed Order dated December 13. as any other procedural rule. if indeed there was such an instruction to appeal but the lawyer failed to do so. Atty. Had the RTC done so. Court of Appeals. reckless and inexcusable that the client is deprived of his day in court.[26] The PAO lawyer. honor or property on mere technicalities. before issuing the questioned Order. then there was no obligation on the part of the PAO lawyer to file an appeal as stated in the PAO Memorandum Circular and negligence could not be attributed to him.

However. hold a hearing thereon. The RTC faulted petitioner for claiming in his petition for relief that he instructed his counsel to file the necessary motion for reconsideration or notice of appeal. While this right is statutory. he claimed to have told his counsel to simply file a notice of appeal. Therefore. the accused shall have the right to appeal in the manner prescribed by law. there was no basis for the RTC to conclude that the claim of petitioner that he instructed the PAO lawyer to file an appeal as self-serving and unsubstantiated. freed from the constraints of technicalities. Court of Appeals[27] where we ruled that an appeal is an essential part of our judicial system and trial courts are advised to proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right to appeal and instructed that every party-litigant should be afforded the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause. The Resolutions dated August 19. in the present petition for review on certiorari. SO ORDERED. 2003 and November 28.Thus. To do so would be pure speculation or conjecture. we cannot. its suppression would be a violation of due process. The Order dated December 13. Branch 76. The RTC's dismissal of the petition for relief was done with grave abuse of discretion amounting to an undue denial of the petitioner's right to appeal. the petition is GRANTED. while in his affidavit of merit. the importance of finding out whether petitioner's loss of the right to appeal was due to the PAO lawyer's negligence and not at all attributed to petitioner. once it is granted by law. and thereafter rule on the merits of the petition for relief from judgment. WHEREFORE. 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. The RTC is hereby ordered to require Atty. is SET ASIDE. We do not find such circumstance sufficient ground to dismiss the petition considering that he filed the petition for relief unassisted by counsel. In all criminal prosecutions. with dispatch. . a right guaranteed by the Constitution. make a conclusive finding that indeed there was excusable negligence on the part of the PAO lawyer which prejudiced petitioner's right to appeal his conviction. Raul Rivera of the Public Attorney's Office to file his comment on the petition for relief from judgment filed by petitioner. however. 2003 of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The importance and real purpose of the remedy of appeal has been emphasized in Castro v. a remand of this case to the RTC for the proper determination of the merits of the petition for relief from judgment is just and proper. Thus.

DOCUMENTO. 188706 .R. Appellee. .versus - OSCAR M. Appellant.THIRD DIVISION PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G. No.

VELASCO. 16 years of age. CRIMINAL CASE NO. Promulgated: March 17. 335 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to R. finding appellant Oscar Documento guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of Rape. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. and MENDOZA. 2008. did then and there willfully. 2010 x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x RESOLUTION NACHURA. 2003. a minor. 1995 at Barangay Antongalon. which read: CRIMINAL CASE NO. JJ. PERALTA. Philippines. Butuan City.: On appeal is the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision[1] dated August 13. JR. the above-named accused with the use of force and intimidation. affirming the Regional Trial Court[2] (RTC) Decision[3] dated June 9. Butuan City.. in separate Informations. NACHURA. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.. J. CONTRARY TO LAW: (Art. 1996 at Ochoa Avenue. as defined and punished under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. Chairperson. the above-named accused with the use of force and .Present: CORONA. 6900 That sometime on October 15. against her will and consent. 6899 That sometime on April 22. Philippines.A. unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with his daughter AAA. Documento was charged before the RTC with two (2) counts of Rape. J. 7659).

Vaginal introitus. AAA informed the police that Documento raped her. Eventually. and Aida Documento. Documento raped AAA on a number of occasions in the houses of Barsilisa Morada. the RTC ordered a re-arraignment and entered appellants plea of guilt to the charges. he changed his earlier plea to one of guilt. As soon as Documento was arrested. Upon learning that Documento and AAA were in Butuan City. 16 years of age.Healed vaginal laceration . did then and there willfully. 5. the prosecution presented evidence consisting of the testimonies of private complainant herself. Hugo testified on the genital examination he conducted on AAA.intimidation. when Documento brought their daughters AAA and CCC to Tubod. she went to the Butuan Police Station and requested assistance in securing custody of AAA. who was working in Manila from 1994 to 1996. As such. AAAs mother. and Dr. went to Barsilisa and asked for help in locating Oscar and AAA. 335 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to R. ABD Soft. in 1989 when she was ten (10) years old. admits 2 finger[s] with ease . BBB testified that she had not seen nor heard from the two since April 7. Documento pled not guilty. C/L with in normal limits. Their testimonies established the following: 1. and affirmed the medical certificate he issued with the following findings: Physical exam: HEENT with in normal limits. NABS GU (-) KPS Genitalia .Parrous . 1994. Agusan del Norte. Documento started sexually molesting his daughter. Subsequently.A. her mother. 3. a minor. for a vacation. AAA became pregnant and gave birth in 1993. Thereafter. BBB. Thereafter. 4. 7659). unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with his daughter AAA. Johann A. AAA. Hugo. CONTRARY TO LAW: (Art. Dr. Documentos relative. Documento hit and hurt AAA physically.Hymen with pemnants caruncula multiforma . AAA. she suspected that Documento was the culprit. BBB. both located in Butuan City. When BBB found out from their relatives that AAA got pregnant and gave birth. against her will and consent. During each incident. CVB with in normal limits. Lanao del Norte.[4] Upon arraignment. He likewise threatened to kill her if she told anyone of the rape. however. 2. Documento left CCC in Tubod and brought AAA with him to Santiago.

00 as exemplary damages. and that.000. Let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of accused Oscar M. The RTC rendered judgment convicting Documento of both counts of Rape.Labs.00 as civil indemnity and P25. is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is increased to P75. To indemnify the victim.000. To suffer the penalty of DEATH in each of the two (2) rape cases filed against him . Metro Manila.00 to P75.Criminal Case No.[6] Consistent with our ruling in People v. He further alleged that the incident did not happen in Butuan City. Finally. sexual relationship.00 for each count of rape and that in lieu of the death penalty.000. He asseverated that he pled guilty to the crime of Rape only because Prosecutor Hector B. Misamis Occidental. Documento GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the two (2) counts of rape and correspondingly sentences him: 1. on cross-examination.000.00 as exemplary damages. 6900. Muntinlupa. 2. Salise convinced him to do so. AAA.00 as civil indemnity. to wit: WHEREFORE. P50. Mateo. 6899 and Criminal Case No. for each count of rape in accordance with recent jurisprudence. but in Clarin. they had a consensual. and increased the award of moral damages from P50. Documento from Butuan City Jail to the Bureau of Corrections.00 as moral damages and P25.000.000. to the contrary. .00 for each count of Rape. SO ORDERED. Documento contended that he did not rape AAA. this Court finds accused Oscar M.[5] Documento testified as the sole witness for the defense. Negative for Spermatozoa. appellant Oscar Documento is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count of rape without possibility of parole. the CA affirmed the RTCs conviction. Documento disowned the handwritten letters he had supposedly written to his wife and to AAA. as a consequence of the foregoing.[7] Documentos appeal was remanded to the CA. Ruling on the appeal. Vaginal Smear. Let the records of these cases be forwarded immediately to the Supreme Court for mandatory review.000. The fallo of the Decision reads: WHEREFORE.000. asking for their forgiveness. the assailed Decision finding appellant Oscar Documento guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of the crime of rape and ordering him to indemnify the victim for each count of rape the amounts of P75. respectively. but changed the penalty imposed on Documento from death penalty to reclusion perpetua. in the amount of P75.

states that: There were many places they stayed and several sexual intercourse that took place which this office has no jurisdiction to conduct preliminary investigation but only on the incidents of rape that took place [in] Antongalon. Butuan City on October 15.[8] Hence. 1996. The Resolution dated May 3. Butuan City on April 22. 1995 when we stayed [in] Barangay Antongalon. and the last happened in the evening of April 22. First. 1995 and [on] Ochoa Avenue.[9] We find no cogent reason to disturb Documentos conviction. Contrary to the insistence of Documento that the prosecution failed to establish that the two (2) counts of Rape were perpetrated in Butuan City. the incidents in the present cases transpired in Barangay Antongalon and on Ochoa Avenue. although AAA did not specifically mention Butuan City in her testimony. Salise. but with modification. Q : When was that? A : From the month of October 15. Butuan City. On the issue of the trial courts territorial jurisdiction over the crime. assigning the following errors: I THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN DECIDING THE CASE WITHOUT FIRST RESOLVING ITS TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION OVER THE CRIME CHARGED AS THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO ESTABLISH THAT THE TWO (2) COUNTS OF RAPE WERE PERPETRATED IN BUTUAN CITY. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FAILING TO CONDUCT A SEARCHING INQUIRY INTO THE VOLUNTARINESS AND FULL COMPREHENSION BY ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS PLEA. We affirm the CA. 1996 answered the prosecutors question in this wise: 15. II. both in Butuan City. 1996 [on] Ochoa Avenue. Butuan City. this appeal. 1996 of Hector B. . the CA pointed to specific parts of the records which show that.SO ORDERED. Second Assistant City Prosecutor. did your father molest you or rape you? A : Yes. sir. AAA in her Sworn Statement dated April 24. we completely agree with the appellate courts ruling thereon. Second. Q : Right after you arrived [in] Butuan City.

1995 and April 22. Moreover. The questions propounded to appellant during the direct and cross-examination likewise fall short of these requirements. In fact. without the introduction of evidence. forms of government and symbols of nationality. which is death as he might have erroneously believed that under Article 63. The two (2) Informations dated May 8. respectively. It is true that the appellate court noted the trial courts failure to conduct the prescribed searching inquiry into the matter of whether or not Documentos plea of guilt was improvidently made. the laws of nature. We disagree. the official acts of the legislative. as argued by appellant. Judicial notice. being a single indivisible penalty. the political constitution and history of the Philippines. the trial court judge failed to inform appellant of his right to adduce evidence despite the guilty plea. Section 1 of Rule 129 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides SECTION 1. 1996. their political history. Nonetheless. the death penalty. x x x. of the existence and territorial extent of states.Third. the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals. the trial court should have informed him that his plea of guilt would not affect or reduce the imposable penalty. shall be applied by the court regardless of any mitigating circumstances that might have attended the commission of the deed. 1996. . Fourth. Its disquisition on Documentos plea of guilt is in point. the law of nations. executive and judicial departments of the Philippines. Nothing in the records of the case at bench shows that the trial court complied with the guidelines [set forth by the Supreme Court in a number of cases] after appellants re-arraignment and guilty plea. xxxx The questions propounded were clearly not compliant with the guidelines set forth by the High Court. The appellant was not fully apprised of the consequences of his guilty plea. and the geographical divisions. Butuan City on October 15.[10] Documento avers that his conviction for Rape must be reversed because the trial court did not properly conduct a searching inquiry on the voluntariness and full comprehension of his plea of guilt. A court shall take judicial notice. clearly state that the crimes charged against appellant were perpetrated in Barangay Antongalon and Ochoa Avenue. when mandatory. The inclusion of the two Barangays in the City of Butuan is a matter of mandatory judicial notice by the trial court. it still found the conviction of appellant proper. the measure of time.

This does not mean. on the matter of the appellate courts award of exemplary damages.00 to P30. SECOND DIVISION PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. that the case should be remanded to the trial court.00 to P30. If the trial court relied on sufficient and credible evidence in finding the accused guilty. appellants guilty plea is deemed improvidently made and thus rendered inefficacious. The Decision is affirmed in all other respects.000. Lastly.00 in line with prevailing jurisprudence. . however. This course of action is appropriate only when the appellants guilty plea was the sole basis for his conviction. the judgment must be sustained. CRHC No. we increase the award from P25.000. As held in People v.00. Mira.[11] On the whole. premises considered.000.With the trial courts failure to comply with the guidelines.000. Notwithstanding the incautiousness that attended appellants guilty plea. Convictions based on an improvident plea of guilt are set aside only if such plea is the sole basis of the judgment. we are not inclined to remand the case to the trial court as suggested by appellant. 00285 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of exemplary damages is hereby increased from P25. SO ORDERED. 2008 in CAG. WHEREFORE.R. we find that the appellate court committed no reversible error in affirming the trial courts ruling convicting Documento. because then it is predicated not merely on the guilty plea of the accused but also on evidence proving his commission of the offense charged. the Court of Appeals Decision dated August 13.

ABAD. Accused-Appellant. BRION. J.. DEL CASTILLO. JJ. Promulgated: March 15. . J. No. and PEREZ. Chairperson.: Before Us for final review is the trial courts conviction of the appellant for the rape of his thirteenyear old daughter.Plaintiff-Appellee. 2010 x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION PEREZ.R. -versus- ANTONIO LAUGA Y PINA ALIAS TERIO. 186228 Present: CARPIO. G.

they sought the assistance of Moises Boy Banting. was having a drinking spree at the neighbors place.[23] Moises Boy Banting found appellant in his house wearing only his underwear.[22] after which.[21] Upon reaching their grandmothers house. including those of her immediate family or household members. and inserted his penis inside her vagina. a 13 year[s]old minor against her will.[11] Her only brother BBB also went out in the company of some neighbors. namely: victim AAA. and any other information tending to establish or compromise her identity. slid inside the blanket covering AAA and removed her pants and underwear. Philippines.[20] While on their way to their maternal grandmothers house.[5] On trial. The Facts In an Information dated 21 September 2000.[25] to which appellant obliged.[2] the appellant was accused of the crime of QUALIFIED RAPE allegedly committed as follows: That on or about the 15th day of March 2000.[12] At around 10:00 oclock in the evening. at Barangay xxx. being the father of AAA with lewd design.[10] Her mother decided to leave because when appellant gets drunk.[18] Appellant claimed he scolded her for staying out late.[19] BBB decided to take AAA with him.[8] a bantay bayan in the barangay. [16] He proceeded to mash her breast. kiss her repeatedly. they told their grandmother and uncle of the incident.[6] her brother BBB. willfully. (b) that AAA was only thirteen (13) years old when the alleged offense was committed. appellant entered a plea of not guilty.[24] He invited appellant to the police station. the prosecution and the defense stipulated and admitted: (a) the correctness of the findings indicated in the medical certificate of the physician who examined AAA. province of Bukidnon. he has the habit of mauling AAAs mother. unlawfully and criminally have carnal knowledge with his own daughter AAA. and (c) that AAA is the daughter of the appellant. did then and there.[26] . Their testimonies revealed the following: In the afternoon of 15 March 2000. municipality of xxx.[7] and one Moises Boy Banting. the appellant.[13] removed his pants. BBB arrived and found AAA crying.[4] During the pre-trial conference. in the evening.[17] Soon after. the abovenamed accused.[14] warned her not to shout for help while threatening her with his fist.Consistent with the ruling of this Court in People v. At the police outpost. AAA was left alone at home.[3] On 12 October 2000. AAA recounted her harrowing experience with their father.[9] AAAs father. Cabalquinto.[1] the real name and the personal circumstances of the victim. with the use of force and intimidation.[15] and told her that he had a knife placed above her head. he admitted to him that he raped AAA because he was unable to control himself. three (3) witnesses testified for the prosecution. appellant woke AAA up. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. are not disclosed in this decision.

[38] They asked him to go with them to discuss some matters. finding appellant guilty of rape qualified by relationship and minority. AAA submitted herself to physical examination.000. Branch 9.00 to P75.[31] Shortly after. 10372-0. He alleged that on 15 March 2000.[45] The appellate court found that appellant is not eligible for parole and it increased both the civil indemnity and moral damages from P50. Josefa Arlita L.[32] She answered back when confronted. Bukidnon. the Court of Appeals gave due course to the appellants notice of appeal. Malaybalay City.[34] Appellant went back to work and went home again around 3 oclock in the afternoon.000. (+) minimal to moderate bloody discharges 2 to an alleged raping incident[28] On the other hand. which reads: hyperemic vulvae with 4 oclock & 6 oclock freshly lacerated hymen.[39] He later learned that he was under detention because AAA charged him of rape. Municipal Health Officer of x x x.The following day.[30] He went further to narrate how his day was on the date of the alleged rape.00.[52] and (3) AAAs accusation was ill-motivated. Bukidnon.[48] but both manifested that they will no longer file supplemental pleadings. the decision of the trial court was AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS[44] by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. [51] (2) his extrajudicial confession before Moises Boy Banting was without the assistance of a counsel.R.[37] Later in the evening.000.[33] This infuriated him that he kicked her hard on her buttocks. rendered its decision[41] in Criminal Case No. he was awakened by the members of the Bantay Bayan headed by Moises Boy Banting. and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. there was no food prepared for him at lunchtime. 00456-MIN.[53] .00 as moral damages. and P50.[27] Dra.000. Alsula. CR HC No. He believed that the charge against him was ill-motivated because he sometimes physically abuses his wife in front of their children after engaging in a heated argument. in violation of his constitutional right. only appellant testified for the defense.000. [47] This Court required the parties to simultaneously file their respective supplemental briefs.[40] On 8 July 2006.[29] and beats the children as a disciplinary measure.[50] because: (1) there were inconsistencies in the testimonies of AAA and her brother BBB.00. AAA arrived.00 as civil indemnity with exemplary damages of P25. the trial court gravely erred in finding him guilty as charged despite the failure of the prosecution to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.[43] On 30 September 2008.[46] On 24 November 2008.[42] It also ordered him to indemnify AAA P50. the Regional Trial Court.[35] Finding nobody at home.[49] The lone assignment of error in the appellants brief is that.[36] he prepared his dinner and went to sleep. issued the Medical Certificate.

already under custodial investigation and the rights guaranteed by x x x [the] Constitution should have already been observed or applied to her. appellant questioned the admissibility of her extrajudicial confessions given to the barangay chairman and a neighbor of the private complainant. In Malngan. the confession of accusedappellant. given to Barangay Chairman x x x. she was already a suspect. including the Barangay Chairman. [But such does] not automatically lead to her acquittal. For this reason. When accused-appellant was brought to the barangay hall in the morning of 2 January 2001. one of the neighbors x x x [of the private complainant]. indeed. a bantay bayan. therefore. confessed to Moises Boy Banting. in the fire that destroyed several houses x x x. actually the only one. of the Constitution. may be deemed as law enforcement officer for purposes of applying Article III. x x x [T]he constitutional safeguards during custodial investigations do not apply to those not elicited through questioning by the police or their agents but given in an ordinary manner whereby the accused verbally admits x x x as x x x in the case at bar when accused-appellant admitted to Mercedita Mendoza. in this particular instance. Section 12(1) and (3). Malngan[55] is the authority on the scope of the Miranda doctrine provided for under Article III. Section 12(1)[56] and (3)[57] of the Constitution. the barangay tanods. Accusedappellants confession to Barangay Chairman x x x was made in response to the interrogation made by the latter admittedly conducted without first informing accused-appellant of her rights under the Constitution or done in the presence of counsel. as well as the lighter found x x x in her bag are inadmissible in evidence against her x x x. Thus: Arguably.[58] (Emphasis supplied) . Admissibility in Evidence of an Extrajudicial Confession before a Bantay Bayan Appellant argues that even if he. She was. the confession was inadmissible in evidence because he was not assisted by a lawyer and there was no valid waiver of such requirement.[54] The case of People v.Our Ruling Appellant contests the admissibility in evidence of his alleged confession with a bantay bayan and the credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution. This Court distinguished.

(3) a Member of the Lupon Tagapamayapa.[61] The composition of the Committee includes. Section 12 of the Constitution. that is. together with her relatives. a group of male residents living in [the] area organized for the purpose of keeping peace in their community[.[63] Credibility of the Witnesses for the Prosecution Appellant assails the inconsistencies in the testimonies of AAA and her brother BBB. Be that as it may. any inquiry he makes has the color of a state-related function and objective insofar as the entitlement of a suspect to his constitutional rights provided for under Article III. this Court needs to ascertain whether or not a bantay bayan may be deemed a law enforcement officer within the contemplation of Article III. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the conviction of the appellant was not deduced solely from the assailed extrajudicial confession but from the confluence of evidence showing his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. and their story a mere concoction. proceeded to look for a bantay bayan.[62] This Court is.[59] this Court had the occasion to mention the nature of a bantay bayan. In People of the Philippines v. find the extrajudicial confession of appellant. inadmissible in evidence. On the other hand. Court of Appeals. among others: (1) the Punong Barangay as Chairman. as amended. Section 12 of the Constitution. particularly on the authority to conduct a custodial investigation. and the specific scope of duties and responsibilities delegated to a bantay bayan. (4) a Barangay Tanod. Thereafter.Following the rationale behind the ruling in Malngan.[65] . as in the case of the bantay bayan. is concerned. the inevitable conclusion is that one or both must be telling a lie. therefore. it may be worthy to consider that pursuant to Section 1(g) of Executive Order No. Thus. they.[60] Also. (2) the Chairman of the Sangguniang Kabataan. 309 issued on 11 November 1987. AAA testified that BBB accompanied her to the house of their grandmother. Citing Bartocillo v. which was taken without a counsel. and (5) at least three (3) Members of existing Barangay-Based Anti-Crime or neighborhood Watch Groups or a Non Government Organization Representative well-known in his community.[64] appellant argues that where the testimonies of two key witnesses cannot stand together. are recognized by the local government unit to perform functions relating to the preservation of peace and order at the barangay level. a Peace and Order Committee in each barangay shall be organized to serve as implementing arm of the City/Municipal Peace and Order Council at the Barangay level. Buendia. BBB testified that he brought her sister to the house of their bantay bayan after he learned of the incident. We. without ruling on the legality of the actions taken by Moises Boy Banting. therefore.which is] an accredited auxiliary of the x x x PNP. convinced that barangay-based volunteer organizations in the nature of watch groups. otherwise known as the Miranda Rights.

This Court is not dissuaded from giving full credence to the testimony of a minor complainant by motives of feuds. the Court of Appeals is correct in holding that the assailed inconsistency is too trivial to affect the veracity of the testimonies. Both testified that they sought the help of a bantay bayan. which this Court could well attribute to the nature of the testimony of BBB.[73] Elements of Rape Having established the credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution. if we are to accept the testimony of Orlando. if we are to believe Susan. Their respective testimonies differ only as to when the help was sought for.[69] The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that it is unbelievable for a daughter to charge her own father with rape. as they erase doubts that such testimonies have been coached or rehearsed. inconsistencies which refer to minor. In fact her testimony is entitled to greater weight since her accusing words were directed against a close relative.[66] In fact. At any rate. Here. exposing herself to the ordeal and embarrassment of a public trial and subjecting her private parts to examination if such heinous crime was not in fact committed.[72] It is highly improbable for [AAA] against whom no proof of sexual perversity or loose morality has been shown to fake charges much more against her own father.[70] No person.[67] Appellants contention that AAA charged him of rape only because she bore grudges against him is likewise unmeritorious. mere disciplinary chastisement is not strong enough to make daughters in a Filipino family invent a charge that would not only bring shame and humiliation upon them and their families but also bring their fathers into the gallows of death. however. trivial or inconsequential circumstances even strengthen the credibility of the witnesses. We now examine the applicability of the Anti-Rape Law of 1997[74] to the case at bar. is not applicable in the case at bar.The principle. then Susan could not have possibly witnessed the hacking incident since she was with Vicente at that time. it takes a certain amount of psychological depravity for a young woman to concoct a story which would put her own father to jail for the most of his remaining life and drag the rest of the family including herself to a lifetime of shame. resentment or revenge.[71] Even when consumed with revenge. could attain such height of cruelty to one who has sired her.[68] As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals: Indeed. the testimony of AAA does not run contrary to that of BBB. . a shortcut version of AAAs testimony that dispensed with a detailed account of the incident. the two testimonies could not simply stand together because: On one hand. and for which she naturally feels loving and lasting gratefulness. much less a woman. Orlando could not have possibly seen the hacking incident since he had accompanied Vicente home. On the other hand. and from whom she owes her very existence. In Bartocillo.

Judicial admissions. as correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals. there is sufficient basis to conclude that the essential requisites of carnal knowledge have been established. such stipulation and admission. culminating with the penetration of appellants penis into her vagina. in part.[80] It may be added that the self-serving defense of appellant cannot prevail over the positive and straightforward testimony of AAA. Settled is the rule that. for the defense of alibi to prosper. 4. alibi is an inherently weak defense that is viewed with suspicion because it is easy to fabricate.[75] The death penalty shall be imposed if it is committed with aggravating/qualifying circumstances. AAA was actually threatened by appellant with his fist and a knife allegedly placed above AAAs head. threat or intimidation. Penalty . that rape is committed. [b]y a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman through force. when such testimony corresponds with medical findings. inasmuch as his superior moral ascendancy or influence substitutes for violence and intimidation. does not require proof. Rule 129 of the Revised Rules of Court. verbal or written. It provides: Sec.[83] Appellant failed in this wise.[81] Alibi and denial must be supported by strong corroborative evidence in order to merit credibility. are binding upon this Court because they are judicial admissions within the contemplation of Section 4. [w]hen the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent. Both qualifying circumstances were specifically alleged in the Information. which include. When a woman states that she has been raped.[77] Further. the accused must establish two elements (1) he was not at the locus delicti at the time the offense was committed. suffices to prove that appellant had carnal knowledge of her. The admission may be contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was made. stipulated on and admitted during the pre-trial conference. she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was committed.An admission. made by a party in the course of the proceedings in the same case. among others.[78] The Court of Appeals pointed out that the element of force or intimidation is not essential when the accused is the father of the victim.The law provides.[76] The consistent and forthright testimony of AAA detailing how she was raped.[79] At any rate.[82] Moreover. Aggravating/Qualifying Circumstances The presence of the qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship with the offender in the instant case has likewise been adequately established. and (2) it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene at the time of its commission. Also. and testified to by both parties in their respective testimonies. .

the appellant was convicted of two counts of acts of lasciviousness. the Court of Appeals correctly considered controlling jurisprudence to the effect that where.00 as exemplary damages. Nos. 9346. shall not be eligible for parole.000.00 to P75.00.000. Branch 62. the rape is committed with any of the qualifying/aggravating circumstances warranting the imposition of the death penalty. [G.00.: Before the Court on automatic review is the Decision[1] dated December 17. WHEREFORE. DECISION CALLEJO.00 as moral damages.R.[87] We further affirm the ruling of the Court of Appeals on appellants non-eligibility for parole. to fifteen (15) years. as here. eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor in its medium period. 2004] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. while for each count of acts of lasciviousness.Finally. the award of exemplary damages should have been increased from P25. Sec. February 23. 1997 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. as minimum.[2] In the same decision. as . 3 of Republic Act No. or whose sentences will be reduced to reclusion perpetua by reason of the law. FELICIANO ULIT y TAMPOY. the trial court sentenced him to suffer the supreme penalty of death. appellant. 00456-MIN is hereby AFFIRMED. and P30. P75. CR HC No. in Criminal Cases Nos.000. SR. the appellant was sentenced to suffer imprisonment from eight (8) years.000. or An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines. vs. the victim is entitled to P75. Appellant Antonio Lauga is GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of qualified rape.000.R.[86] Also. the penalty of reclusion perpetua in lieu of death was correctly imposed considering that the imposition of the death penalty upon appellant would have been appropriate were it not for the enactment of Republic Act No. appellee.00 as moral damages.000. the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 30 September 2008 in CA-G.[85] However.. 97-385 to 97-388 finding appellant Feliciano Ulit y Tampoy guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of qualified rape. SO ORDERED.000.000. 9346 clearly provides that persons convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua.000.00 as civil indemnity.00 to P30. For each count of rape. 131799-801.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto[84] and P75. in increasing the amount of civil indemnity and damages each from P50. J. and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole and to pay AAA P75. six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal in its medium period.

Metro Manila.000 for each count of rape and P20. who is the uncle of complainant LUCELLE SERRANO y ULIT. unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of lasciviousness upon complainant LUCELLE SERRANO y ULIT. the above-named accused. by then and there kissing her and touching her sexual organ. Metro Manila. CONTRARY TO LAW. likewise. to her damage and prejudice. did then and there willfully. did then and there willfully. a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 97-387 That sometime in the month of December 1996.000 for each count of acts of lasciviousness. by means of force. violence and intimidation. violence and intimidation. the amount of P50. in the City of Makati. who is the uncle of the complainant LUCELLE SERRANO y ULIT.maximum. The Indictments Upon the sworn complaint of the victim Lucelle Serrano. ordered to indemnify the victim Lucelle Serrano. four Informations were filed against her uncle. by means of force. a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.[5] Criminal Case No. violence and intimidation. the above-named accused. an eleven (11) year old girl. CONTRARY TO LAW. while armed with a knife. in the City of Makati. 97-385 That sometime in the month of November 1996. Philippines. Metro Manila. to her damage and prejudice. the appellant. unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the complainant LUCELLE SERRANO y ULIT. Philippines. in the City of Makati. hence. hence her relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree. an eleven (11) year old girl. The appellant was. her relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree. an eleven (11) year old girl.[4] Criminal Case No. The docket number and the accusatory portion of each Information reads: Criminal Case No. while armed with a knife. did then and there willfully. 97-386 That sometime in the month of February 1997. Philippines. to her damage and prejudice. without her consent and against her will.[3] Criminal Case No. the above-named accused. a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. without her consent and against her will. with lewd design by means of force. unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of the complainant LUCELLE SERRANO y ULIT. CONTRARY TO LAW. 97-388 . without her consent and against her will.

Thus. In the meantime. 1997. pleaded not guilty during the arraignment. CONTRARY TO LAW. 1997. She requires psychiatric treatment at the Out-Patient Section. When trial resumed on June 9. an eleven (11) year old girl. 1997. . On direct examination. 1997. Joint trial of all the cases ensued.[8] During the trial on July 14. did then and there willfully.[7] In November 1996.That on or about the 2nd day of March 1997. by then and there dragging her inside a bathroom and repeatedly kissing her on her checks [sic]. 1997 with the following remarks and recommendation: Based on clinical history. She declared that the appellant raped her in November 1996 and many other times thereafter in her residence at No. she remained silent. Metro Manila. 1997. but still. 1997. the prosecution presented her as its first witness. the trial court ordered that Lucelle be subjected to physical and psychological examinations at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH). to her damage and prejudice. again. violence and intimidation. On May 5. When asked if she wanted to continue with her testimony. a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Lucelle testified that she was born on February 19. The trial was reset to June 2 and 9. Lucelle refused to take the witness stand. Makati City. did something to her. she did not respond. 1997. She would be having difficulties testifying in court because of this. 7104 San Maximo Street. She cried profusely in open court. unlawfully and feloniously commit acts of lasciviousness upon complainant LUCELLE SERRANO y ULIT. Lucelle was undergoing psychiatric treatment at the Philippine General Hospital. her uncle. The trial was reset anew to July 9 and 14. 1986. During the hearing on October 20. Dr. When asked by the court if she wanted to proceed with the trial. In the meantime. assisted by counsel. she avoids recollections of the trauma. without her consent and against her will. the above-named accused. At present. with lewd design by means of force. in the City of Makati. the appellant. this patient is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. mental status examination and psychological evaluation. the prosecution presented Lucelle anew to continue with her testimony on direct examination. This illness is characterized by intense fear and feeling of helplessness whenever she recalls her traumatic experience of being raped. The trial was reset to July 21. Philippines. Lucelle was questioned by the prosecution on direct examination. It causes her intense psychological distress whenever asked to talk about the rape scene or incident. Rochelflume Samson examined Lucelle and submitted her Report dated August 29.[6] The appellant. she is still manifesting symptoms described above. she gave no answer. When the prosecution asked her what happened. Lucelle did not answer.

He again warned her not to divulge to her parents what he did to her. removed her pants. The appellant mounted her. who lived with her. When asked why she did not respond to the questions propounded to her during the previous hearings and why she had been crying in open court. at dawn. On re-direct examination. It was about 6 oclock in the evening.m. Her mother worked for one of her fathers cousins. He poked the weapon on the left side of her neck. and then manifested to the court that he had no more questions for the witness on direct examination. On another occasion. Celso Serrano. the prosecutor asked Lucelle to identify her signature in her sworn statement[9] and to affirm the truth of its contents. Also during the month of November 1996. the appellant again abused her (sinalbahe) while she was in the same room. Lucelles father. one early Sunday morning. the appellant. When she opened her eyes. When asked where her aunt and Ate Sharon were when she was being raped in her aunts room. Sometime later. Lucelle urinated in the bathroom and when she was about to go out. 1997. inside the room of her aunt Marina in her grandmothers house at No. undressed himself and mounted her. He suggested that she wash herself but she just nodded her head. Her father was working at a construction firm. the appellant. pushed her inside and kissed her on her cheeks several times. on March 2. the prosecution elicited from Lucelle that the appellant raped her in November 1996 at 11:00 p. testified that sometime in November 1996. armed with a bladed weapon (balisong). In November 1996. the appellant entered. He then inserted his penis into her vagina. It was about 11 oclock in the evening. while her grandmother.[11] Lucelle alleged that sometime in November 1996. he would kill her. and that her aunt. When he asked her . Lucelle refused to accept the money. he gave her P5. worked as a maid in Bel Air Subdivison. thereafter. She did so. She felt pain in her private part and cried. Lucelle did not respond. he went to the bathroom. Lucelle testified that she was born on February 19. 7104 San Maximo Street. She was awakened when she felt someone kissing her on the cheek. In her sworn statement. and her Ate Sharon were inside the room. left the room. Sometime in February 1997. At 9:00 p. He removed her panties. Marina. the appellant was employed at the Department of Environment and Sanitation in Makati City.[10] On cross-examination. he was in bed and noticed that the appellant was in the bedroom of his cousin-in-law. The public prosecutor then marked the sworn statement in evidence as Exhibit H. the appellant continued kissing her whenever her parents were out of the house. When she declared that she had her monthly period. Lucelle was in the room when the appellant entered and kissed her and mashed her private parts. Olympia. He then heard his wife ask the appellant where he had come from and the latter replied that he just came from the roof of the house. he noticed blood stains on Lucelles short pants. she was sleeping in a room in the house.m. On clarificatory questions by the court. The appellant.Instead of asking questions to elicit the facts and circumstances before and during the commission of the crimes. Makati City. Lucelle testified that the appellant was her mothers older brother. poked a knife at her and threatened her. In December 1996. Lucelle replied that she was afraid of her uncle. He warned her that if she told her parents.00 with which to buy sanitary napkins. 1986. she saw her uncle. she was not enrolled in any school.

to Barangay Chairman Romeo Medina. she told her mother that she had just urinated. Nita replied in the negative.m. covered with a blanket. Lucelle adamantly refused to tell her parents what the appellant did to her. Lourdes further testified that at 9:00 p. On their way. Lucelle was crying and looked pale. Lucelle replied that she was afraid to tell him because she might be killed.why she refused to accept the money. despite her resistance. but failed to find her. on March 2. she and her husband were having dinner when she noticed that Lucelle was nowhere to be found. . also resided in the same house. Lourdes saw the appellant emerge from the bathroom. 7104 San Maximo Street. At times. She then asked her cousin Nita if she had seen Lucelle. Thereafter. The appellant later told her sister Lourdes that he did not do anything to Lucelle. 1997. 1986. When Lourdes asked Lucelle what happened. Momentarily. Olympia.[13] The appellant signed his statement in the presence of the barangay chairman and the barangay tanods. was not there either. on February 19. He was in his short pants and his shirt was on his shoulder. Lourdes was flabbergasted when she saw Lucelle come out of the bathroom after the appellant. Lourdes noticed that Lucelle was not at her side. When the appellant saw Lourdes. However. The family slept together in the evenings in the sala of the house while Marina slept in her bedroom. her brother. 1997. 1997. playing with his balisong. and furtively left the room. Marina allowed her niece Lucelle to sleep in her bedroom. Guadalupe Ulit. The barangay chairman asked the appellant if he raped Lucelle and the latter replied that he did. Lourdes Serrano testified that she was Lucelles mother. at No.m. Lourdes went to Marinas bedroom and saw Lucelle in bed (papag). when they reached the barangay headquarters. When Lourdes removed the blanket. Lourdes left the room and went back to the sala. went under the papag. 1997. and that he threatened to kill her and her family if she divulged the incidents to her parents. Beside her was the appellant who was wearing a pair of short pants and undershirt. A Sinumpaang Salaysay was prepared in the Office of the Barangay Chairman in which the appellant admitted that he raped Lucelle in February 1997. The appellant. Her sister Marina and the appellant. Lucelle told the barangay chairman that the appellant sexually abused her. she saw Lucelle lying sideways with her knees up to her chin (nakabaluktot). and on March 2. the barangay chairman ordered him and Barangay Tanod Antonio Echavez to invite and bring the appellant to the barangay hall. 1997. She wanted to talk to the appellant but decided against it when she saw him seated in the sala. Makati City. he slid down from the bed. Believing that the appellant had been abusing their daughter. Celso and Lourdes brought Lucelle on March 5. When Lourdes asked Nita if Lucelle was inside the bathroom. When Lourdes asked Lucelle why she was crying. At 11:00 p. He was perspiring profusely. [12] She and her husband Celso Serrano and their daughter Lucelle resided with her mother. Barangay Tanod Fernando David testified that on March 6. who usually also slept in the sala. Lourdes filed a complaint with the barangay chairman against the appellant for sexually molesting Lucelle. she did not respond. Lucelle was trembling with fear. Nita responded that the appellant was using it. She looked for her daughter in the house. Lucelle was born on February 19.

The trial court admitted the sworn statement of Lucelle in evidence as part of her testimony. Vaginal walls. light-brown. tall. NBI Medico-Legal Officer. Hymenal orifice. 1997 for the appellant to adduce his evidence. The appellants counsel. 2. coherent. Fourchette. objected to the admissibility of Lucelles sworn statement on the ground that she was incompetent to give the same because of her mental illness. he was forced and coerced into signing the same. in diameter. Nevertheless.) No evident sign of extragenital physical injuries noted on the body of the subject at the time of examination. Labia majora. 1997. Lourdes and Lucelle filed a complaint against him for rape and acts of laciviousness. and its orifice wide (2. Labia minora. likewise. coaptated. Vestibular mucosa. his counsel manifested to the court that the appellant was changing his plea in Criminal Cases Nos. shallow.From the barangay headquarters. admits a tube 2. in diameter) as to allow complete penetration by an average-sized adult Filipino male organ in full erection without producing any genital injury. conical. the appellant was brought to the Makati City Police Headquarters where Celso. the appellant objected to its admission on the ground that the appellant was not assisted by counsel and that. intact. Rugosities. lax. When the case was called for trial on that date. Nipples. conscious. light-brown. MG-97-355 which contained the following findings: GENERAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATION: Height: 141 cm.8 cm. the trial court reset the hearing to November 5. gaping. fairly nourished. 97-385 .[15] On July 28. Dr. moderate. testified that on March 12.5 cms. the trial court admitted the statement as part of Davids testimony. fully grown.[16] When the prosecution offered in evidence the appellants Sinumpaang Salaysay before the barangay chairman[17] as part of the testimony of Barangay Tanod Fernando David.6 cms. No extragenital physical injuries noted. Breasts. cooperative. intact but distensible. CONCLUSIONS 1. protruding. Weight: 78 lbs. 1997. SPO4 Lilia Hogar of the Womens Desk Unit took the sworn statements of Lourdes and Lucelle. firm. thick. Soreta-Umil.) Hymen. in diameter. developing. Hymen. GENERAL EXAMINATION: Pubic hair. 2. distensible. SPO4 Hogar also prepared a report on her investigation of the victims complaint. After the prosecution had rested its case. Areolae. ambulatory subject.5 cms. Armie M. lax. in diameter. she conducted genital and vaginal examinations on Lucelle and submitted Living Case Report No. pinkish. 0.[14] She conducted a custodial investigation of the appellant who was without counsel during which the latter admitted having raped the victim. Normally developed.

and indemnify the victim LUCELLE SERRANO. as principal in the two counts of statutory rape defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. accordingly. and to no longer present any evidence in his defense in the other two cases. LUCELLE SERRANO. and. and. to fifteen (15) years. eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor in its medium period. six (6) months and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal in its medium period. He is hereby declared CONVICTED in each of the two cases. he is sentenced to suffer in each of the cases an indeterminate prison term from eight (8) years. He also manifested that he would no longer adduce any evidence in his defense in Criminal Cases Nos. as minimum. The appellant did not appeal from the decision in Criminal Cases Nos. The trial court ruled that although Lucelle did not testify on the contents of her sworn statement[19] the same were admissible in evidence as part of the res gestae. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1. Accordingly he is sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty [of] DEATH in each of the two cases.000 as moral damages for each of the cases.[18] The trial court declared that even prescinding from the appellants plea of guilty. 97-387 and 97-388. When trial resumed. 97-386 and 97-388 because the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt for the crimes charged therein. as maximum. in the amount of P20. SO ORDERED. He is hereby declare[d] CONVICTED in each of the cases. the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. The trial court suspended the proceedings and gave the appellant forty-five minutes to confer with his counsel. The appellant was re-arraigned in Criminal Cases Nos. premises considered. . the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. for rape. When told by the court that he could be sentenced to death for the rape charges. 97-385 and 97-387. 7610. the appellant stood pat on his decision to plead guilty in Criminal Cases Nos. the prosecutor adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the appellant for qualified rape in Criminal Cases Nos. The decretal portion of the decision reads: WHEREFORE. indemnify the victim. In Criminal Case Nos. FELICIANO ULIT Y TAMPOY. the appellant reiterated his earlier manifestation. 97-385 and 97-387 with the assistance of the same counsel and entered his plea of guilty to the charges. FELICIANO ULIT Y TAMPOY. as amended. 2. In view of the trial courts imposition of the death penalty on the appellant in Criminal Cases Nos. 97-385 and 97-386. 97-387 and 97-388. the trial court rendered judgment convicting the appellant of all the crimes charged.000 as moral damages for each of the cases.and 97-387 from not guilty to guilty. as principal in two counts of acts of lasciviousness defined under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code and penalized under Section 5(b) of R. In Criminal Case Nos. 1997. in the amount of P50. the said cases were brought to this Court on automatic appeal. On December 15.A. for acts of lasciviousness. 97-385 and 97-386. 97-385 and 97-386.

Undoubtedly. that he be spared the death penalty.[20] The appellant does not contest his conviction for rape in Criminal Cases Nos. punishable by death under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code.[21] An appeal thus opens the whole case for review. 97-385 and 97-387. considering that the execution of such sentence is irrevocable. the appellant was charged with qualified rape. the rape of his niece. Improvident pleas of guilty to a capital offense on the part of the accused must be averted since by admitting his guilt before the trial court. In People vs.The appellant assails the decision of the trial court with the lone assignment of error. 97-388 so that the proceedings before the court would be shortened and simplified. and the validity of the proceedings in the said cases in the trial court.[25] . however. 97-385 and 97-386.[24] The raison detre for the rule is that the courts must proceed with extreme care where the imposable penalty is death. significance and the dire consequences of his plea. i.[22] Appellants Plea of Guilty in Criminal Case No.[23] this Court enumerated the following duties of the trial court under the rule: 1. and 3. When the appellant informed the trial court of his decision to change his plea of not guilty to guilty. In Criminal Case No.. Camay. to wit: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN SENTENCING THE ACCUSED FELICIANO ULIT WITH A DEATH PENALTY DESPITE HIS ADMISSION OF GUILT. Experience has shown that even innocent persons have at times pleaded guilty. it behooved the trial court to conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of his plea as mandated by Section 6. who was a minor. Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. the appellant was charged with a capital offense. 97-385 was Imprudently Made.e. The court must require the prosecution to present evidence in his behalf and allow him to do so if he desires. and the appellate tribunal may consider and correct errors though unassigned and even reverse the decision of the trial court on the grounds other than those the parties raised as errors. the accused would forfeit his life and liberty without having fully understood the meaning. 7659. Nevertheless. The court must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of the accused and precise degree of his culpability. He pleads. he no longer presented any evidence in Criminal Case No. 2. 97-385. The court must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension [by the accused] of the consequences of his plea. the appeal in a criminal case is a review de novo and the court is not limited to the assigned errors. He asserts that he was so remorseful for the crimes he committed and that he pleaded guilty in Criminal Cases Nos. as amended by Republic Act No.

(b) whether he had the assistance of a competent counsel during the custodial and preliminary investigations. Not infrequently indeed an accused pleads guilty in the hope of a lenient treatment or upon bad advice or because of promises of the authorities or parties of a lighter penalty should he admit guilt or express remorse. (2) Ask the defense counsel a series of questions as to whether he had conferred with. It has been held. which may serve as a trustworthy index of his capacity to give a free and informed plea of guilty. and (c) under what conditions he was detained and interrogated during the investigations.There is no hard and fast rule as to how the trial judge may conduct a searching inquiry. however. such as his age.[26] we formulated the following guidelines as to how the trial court may conduct its searching inquiry: (1) Ascertain from the accused himself (a) how he was brought into the custody of the law. In People vs. (4) Inform the accused the exact length of imprisonment or nature of the penalty under the law and the certainty that he will serve such sentence. MANALO . Ostia.[29] In this case. and educational background. that the focus of the inquiry must be on the voluntariness of the plea and the full or complete comprehension by the accused of his plea of guilty so that it can truly be said that it is based on a free and informed judgment. (3) Elicit information about the personality profile of the accused. These the court shall do in order to rule out the possibility that the accused has been coerced or placed under a state of duress either by actual threats of physical harm coming from malevolent or avenging quarters. Aranzado. or cause him to supply missing details or significance.[27] In People vs. This is evident by the transcript of stenographic notes taken on November 5. (5) Require the accused to fully narrate the incident that spawned the charges against him or make him reenact the manner in which he perpetrated the crime. as well as the qualifying and special qualifying circumstances. 1998: ATTY. and inform him of the imposable penalty and his civil liabilities for the crime for which he would plead guilty to.[28] we held that the trial court is also required to probe thoroughly into the reasons or motivations. inclusive of mitigating and aggravating circumstances. and completely explained to. as well as the facts and circumstances for a change of plea of the accused and his comprehension of his plea. explain to him the elements of the crime for which he is charged as well as the nature and effect of any modifying circumstances attendant to the commission of the offense. It is the duty of the judge to see to it that the accused does not labor under these mistaken impressions. the accused the meaning and consequences of a plea of guilty. socio-economic status. the trial court failed to make a searching inquiry into the appellants voluntariness and full comprehension of his plea of guilty.

at todays reception of defense evidence. 97-387. COURT (to the accused) Mr. earlier your counsel informed the court that you would like to change your plea from not guilty to that of guilty. This accuseds representation is therefore praying that he be allowed to change his plea from that of not guilty to guilty. MANALO Yes. COURT (to the accused) Is your counsels manifestation true. 97-385. COURT (to the accused) You talk with your lawyer and think twice before asking the court to change your plea of not guilty to that of guilty. for rape and Criminal Case No. in Criminal Case No. accused informed this representation that he will no longer present evidence and instead willing to change his plea from not guilty to that of guilty. for Acts of Lasciviousness. The Court will call your case again. Your Honor. 97-386 and 97388? ACCUSED Yes. COURT You better confer with your client and explain to him the consequences of his intended change of plea from not guilty to that of guilty. COURT (to accused) . ATTY.Your Honor. Ulit. do you affirm the manifestation of your counsel? ACCUSED Yes. Your Honor. Your Honor. that you would like to change your plea from not guilty to that of guilty and that you are no longer presenting evidence in Criminal Cases Nos.

Your Honor. COURT (to accused) Was there anyone who forced you to change your plea of not guilty to that of guilty? ACCUSED None. a capital offense which carries with it a capital punishment? ACCUSED Yes.Do you know that you are accused here for the crime of rape. COURT (to accused) Do you know that by pleading guilty you will be sentenced in accordance with [what] the law provides? ACCUSED Yes. COURT (to accused) Do you know that the penalty provided for by law is death penalty because the Information states that the victim is eleven years old and your niece and that you used a deadly weapon in the commission of the rape? ACCUSED . Your Honor. COURT (to accused) Despite your knowledge that you are charged with a capital offense which carries with it a capital penalty you still insists that you are pleading guilty? ACCUSED Yes. Your Honor. Your Honor.

The trial court did not even inquire from the appellant who prepared and typed his Sinumpaang Salaysay and if the contents of his statement were explained to him before he signed the same. (b) the circumstances of relationship and the minority of the victim. COURT Alright. The records also show that the appellant executed a Sinumpaang Salaysay while detained at the barangay hall where he confessed to having raped the victim in February 1997 and March 2. Second. before and when he signed his Sinumpaang Salaysay. It was not explained to the appellant that if convicted of qualified rape. The records show that when the prosecution offered the appellants Sinumpaang Salaysay in evidence to prove that he confessed to having raped the victim in February 1997 and March 2. Fifth. 1997. However. .000 as moral damages and P75. the trial court did not ask the appellant whether he was assisted by counsel when he was brought to the Office of the Public Prosecutor for inquest investigation. arraign the accused. It appears in the Informations filed by the Public Prosecutor that the appellant opted not to avail himself of his right to a regular preliminary investigation and refused to execute a waiver under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. The appellant did not admit having raped her in November 1996 as alleged in the Information in Criminal Case No. The trial court did not explain the following to the appellant. whether he had waived his right thereto. Your Honor.[31] he confessed to having raped the victim only in February 1997 and March 2. the appellant objected thereto on the ground that he was not assisted by counsel and that he was coerced into signing the same. Third. 97-385. 1997. The trial court also failed to ascertain from the appellant whether he was assisted by counsel when he executed his Sinumpaang Salaysay while detained at the barangay hall. if he was not so assisted by counsel. and (c) that his plea of guilty to qualified rape would not mitigate the penalty for the crime in light of Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code.[30] First. I am willing to plead guilty. Fourth. and. in plain and simple terms so as to be understood by him: (a) the elements of the crime of qualified rape. and the cogent circumstances that led him to decide to do so. The trial court failed to ask the appellant why he was pleading guilty to a rape committed in November 1996.000 as civil indemnity ex delicto. Sixth. The trial court did not ask the appellant his reasons for changing his plea. he would be civilly liable to the victim in the amount of P50. 1997. when in his Sinumpaang Salaysay.Yes. from not guilty to that of guilty. Neither did the court a quo inquire about the circumstances and the appellants reasons for refusing to execute the said waiver.

on which to predicate conviction. thus. The trial court failed to ask the appellant to narrate the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident of qualified rape as charged in Criminal Case No. 97-385 is sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt the appellants guilt for qualified rape. the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution. incumbent upon this Court to determine whether the evidence adduced by the prosecution in Criminal Case No.Seventh. the Court is guided by the following considerations: (a) that an accusation of rape can be made with facility. it is difficult to prove. 97-385. In determining the guilt of the accused in rape cases. Ninth. likewise.[34] It. As a rule. but more difficult for the person accused.[33] In this case. without regard to the nature of the defense which the accused may raise. 97-385 . Tenth. the burden of proof remains at all times upon the prosecution to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. not contingent on the plea of guilty. and when such plea is the sole basis of the condemnatory judgment. to disprove. The trial court failed to delve into and ascertain from the appellant his age. Neither did the trial court inquire from the appellants counsel whether the meaning and the consequences of a guilty plea were explained to the appellant in a language or dialect known to and understood by him. independently of his plea of guilty. the prosecution had already rested its case when the appellant decided to change his plea. bears stressing that in all criminal prosecutions. the trial court granted the prosecutions motion that the evidence it had presented be considered proof of the degree of culpability of the appellant. he may still be convicted if there is ample proof on record. In fact. It is. though innocent. evidence to determine whether the accused committed the crimes charged and the precise degree of his criminal culpability therefor. 97-385 in spite of his plea of guilty. (b) that in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime which usually involves two persons. The appellant was not asked if he desired to adduce evidence in Criminal Case No. and (c) that 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 of the defense.[35] The Prosecution Adduced Proof of the Appellants Guilt Beyond Reasonable Doubt of the Crime of Rape in Criminal Case No. Eight. this Court has set aside convictions based on pleas of guilty in capital offenses because of the improvidence thereof. educational attainment and socio-economic status. [32] However. where the trial court receives.

on direct examination and her testimony on clarificatory questions made by the trial court. matapos mong ituro ang tiyuhin mo. wala na siya sa trabaho? A Wala na po. The victim declared in her sworn statement. Q Kailan ka ginahasa ng tiyuhin mo? A November po. Q Saan ka ginahasa? A 7104 San Maximo St. that indeed.We have reviewed the evidence on record and we are convinced that the prosecution adduced proof beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant raped the victim in November 1996.[36] Fiscal Q Humigit-kumulang. Quoted hereunder is the testimony of Lucelle on direct and on re-direct examination: Fiscal Q So. Q 19? A 1996. Q Ilang ulit kang ginahasa? A Marami po. the appellant raped her in November 1996. po. Q Saang lugar ka ginahasa? A Sa 7104 San Maximo St. hindi na siya nagtratrabaho. Makati City. ano ang ginawa niya sa iyo? A Ginahasa niya ako. po. anong oras ng gabi nang gahasain ka ng Tito Ely mo noong Nobyembre 1996? A Alas onse po ng gabi. Q Sa loob ba ng bahay? . Q Samakatuwid..

[37] . Q Doon din sa bahay na iyong tinitirhan? A Opo. the admission of hearsay evidence would be a . Saan ka ginahasa ng Tito mo? A Sa 7104 San Maximo St. COURT Q Noong Nobyembre 1996. Ipinasok po ni TITO ELY and kanyang (TITO ELY) ari sa aking PEPE at ako po ay nasaktan at umiyak na lang po ako at nang makaraos po si TITO ELY ay umalis na lang . simply because she did not testify thereon and merely identified her signatures therein. since the declarant is not present and available for cross-examination.A Opo. Q Saang parte ng bahay ka ginahasa ng Tito mo? A Sa kuwarto po. consequently. ayon sa iyo ay ginahasa ka ng iyong Tito. at nang ako po ay magising ay nakita ko po si TITO ELY na may hawak na balisong na humigit kumulang po sa 10 pulgada ang haba na nakatutok sa aking kaliwang leeg habang humahalik po sa aking pisngi at ang sabi ay kung ako daw po ay magsusumbong sa aking magulang ay papatayin po niya (TITO ELY) ako.[38] In her Sworn Statement..[39] Lucelle narrated in detail how the appellant ravished her: 06. By hearsay evidence is meant that kind of evidence which does not derive its value solely from the credence to be attributed to the witness herself but rests solely in part on the veracity and competence of some persons from whom the witness has received the information. po..[41] It signifies all evidence which is not founded upon the personal knowledge of the witness from whom it is elicited. Pagkatapos po ay hinubaran po ako ng panty at naghubad na rin po si TITO ELY ng kanyang short pants at pumatong na po sa akin. [40] We do not agree with the ruling of the trial court that the contents of the sworn statement of Lucelle are hearsay. mga bandang 6:00 ng gabi po nang ako ay natutulog sa loob po ng kuwarto ay nagising na lang po ako nang maramdaman ko na may humahalik sa aking pisngi. is not subject to cross-examination..[42] The basis for the exclusion appears to lie in the fact that such testimony is not subject to the test which can ordinarily be applied for the ascertainment of truth of testimony. and which. T: Kailan ka unang senalbahe ng iyong TITO ELY? S: Noon pong Nobyembre 1996 hindi ko na po matandaan ang petsa. In criminal cases.

pumasok ako na nadatnang nakahiga si LUCILLE ULIT sa isang papag na anyong natutulog. Nang ako ay makaraos ay tinakot ko siyang huwag magsusumbog sa kanyang mga magulang. Nagpupumiglas siya habang ako ay nakadagan sa kanya na noon din ay hinuhubad ko ang aking brief. the appellants statement[47] executed in the Barangay Chairmans Office. habang siya ay aking hinuhubaran ng Short na kasama pati ang kanyang panty. sa loob ng kuwarto ng aking kapatid na babae. Lumapit ako sa kanya at pinaghihipuan sa maseselang parte ng kanyang katawan at nang siyay magising tinakot ko siyang huwag sisigaw. Second. Umiiyak siya habang ang aking ari ay labas masok sa kanyang ari.[45] In this case. Lourdes Serrano. it shall not be considered by the court for the simple reason that the court shall consider such evidence formally offered and accepted. As gleaned from the said statement. When Lourdes removed the blanket. otherwise. The appellant admitted to the barangay chairman on March 5. The prosecution offered her sworn statement as part of her testimony and the court admitted the same for the said purpose without objection on the part of the appellant. she saw Lucelle trembling with fear. We agree with the trial courts findings and conclusion. 1997.[48] she declared that the appellant subjected her to sexual abuse. She was cross-examined by the appellants counsel and answered the trial courts clarificatory questions. noong isang araw ng PEBRERO 1997. Pinaghahalikan ko po siya habang siya ay nagpupumiglas at umiiyak at noon din ay aking pinasok ang aking ari sa kanyang ari. Lucelle testified on and affirmed the truth of the contents of her sworn statement which she herself had given. Third. The Prosecution Proved Beyond Reasonable Doubt that the Appellant Raped the Victim in February 1997 The trial court convicted the appellant of rape in Criminal Case No. that he raped Lucelle in February 1997: Na. He slid down from the papag.[49] . and the testimony of Dr.[46] the testimony of her mother. In Lucelles sworn statement. Armie Soreta-Umil. covered with a blanket beside the appellant who was wearing a pair of short pants and undershirt. went under the bed and slipped outside. the affidavits of persons who are not presented to testify on the truth of the contents thereof are hearsay evidence.[44] Such affidavit must be formally offered in evidence and accepted by the court. 97-386 on the basis of Lucelles sworn statement. First. Lourdes saw Lucelle in bed (papag) in Marinas room. lying sidewise. she narrated how and when the appellant raped and subjected her to lascivious acts.[43] Generally.violation of the constitutional provision while the accused shall enjoy the right to confront and cross-examine the witness testifying against him. her knees near her chin (nakabaluktot).

The Sufficiency of Evidence on Lucelles Relationship with the Appellant. When and how rape is committed. The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant circumstances: . Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. 1.[51] The barangay chairman[52] is not deemed a law enforcement officer for purposes of applying Section 12(1) and (3) of Article III of the Constitution.[50] The exclusionary rule is premised on the presumption that the defendant is thrust into an unfamiliar atmosphere and runs through menacing police interrogation procedures where the potentiality for compulsion. we now come to the question of the penalty to be meted upon him. By using force or intimidation. as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act No.Although the appellant was not assisted by counsel at the time he gave his statement to the barangay chairman and when he signed the same. this covers investigation conducted by police authorities which will include investigations conducted by the municipal police.. The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. it is still admissible in evidence against him because he was not under arrest nor under custodial investigation when he gave his statement. As intended by the 1971 Constitutional Convention. . 7659. is forcefully apparent.Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances. 2. . physical and psychological. Under these circumstances. 335. it cannot be successfully claimed that the appellants statement before the barangay chairman is inadmissible. the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. provides in part: ART. Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons. and 3. which was the law in effect at the time of the commission of the subject rapes. the PC and the NBI and such other police agencies in our government. her Minority. and the Propriety of the Imposition of the Death Penalty The appellants conviction for two counts of rape having been duly established by the prosecution.. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.

they must be both alleged and proved. In People v.[53] In addition to the requirement that the qualifying and aggravating circumstance must be specifically alleged in the information. . In the absence of a certificate of live birth. ascendant. That relationship by consanguinity or affinity was not alleged in the informations in these cases. it was still necessary to further allege that such relationship was within the third civil degree.[57] the Court.not a parent.[54] The relationship between the appellant and the victim has been adequately established.. 2. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent. The allegations in both Informations that the appellant is the victims uncle.it must be alleged in the information that he is a relative by consanguinity or affinity [as the case may be] within the third civil degree.. it must be established with certainty that the victim was below eighteen (18) years of age or that she was a minor at the time of the commission of the crime. Pruna. or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. be said with respect to the age of the victim. . makes the decision-making process in capital offenses aptly subject to the most exacting rules of procedure and evidence. guardian. a fact that the appellant himself admitted. or guardian or common law spouse of the mother of the victim . Ferolino. being the older brother of the victims mother. If the offender is merely a relation .1. similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age. step-parent. either as an element of the crime or as qualifying circumstance: 1.[55] we said In this case the allegation that FERLYN is ANTONIO's niece is not specific enough to satisfy the special qualifying circumstances of relationship. ascendant. a relative by consanguinity within the third civil degree is specific enough to satisfy the special qualifying circumstance of relationship. The same cannot. step-parent. The qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship must concur. in order to qualify the crime of rape and warrant the imposition of the death penalty. after noting the divergent rulings on proof of age of the victim in rape cases. set out certain guidelines in appreciating age. More importantly. In People v. Even if it was.[56] The prosecutions evidence has also shown that the appellant is the victims uncle. especially its irreversible and final nature once carried out. It must be stressed that the severity of the death penalty. relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree. however. 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.

the imposable penalty for the crime is reclusion perpetua to death. The corroboration of Lucelles mother as to her age is not sufficient either. as amended. While the victim testified that she was born on February 19. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. the imposable penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable. 1986. [w]henever rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons. which provides that. as amended by Republic Act No. Moreover. 7659. 4. and under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. The fact that there was no objection from the defense regarding the victims age cannot be taken against the appellant since it is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the same. no birth certificate or any similar authentic document was presented and offered in evidence to prove Lucelles age. 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 clear and credible. another requirement mandated by Pruna. 5. The evidence on record shows that the appellant raped Lucelle with the use of a deadly weapon in both rape incidents as alleged in both informations. the complainant's testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused. or the testimony of the victim's mother or relatives concerning the victim's age. 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. . Another issue that needs to be settled is the third paragraph of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code.3. 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. the testimony. 6. c.[58] In the present case. Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances: a. the same will not suffice as the appellant did not expressly and clearly admit the same as required by Pruna. therefore 11 years old when the appellant twice raped her. as there is no evidence that the said certificate of birth was lost or destroyed or was unavailable without the fault of the prosecution. 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. In the absence of a certificate of live birth. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him. authentic document. the trial court did not make a categorical finding of the victims minority. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim.

.000 as moral damages to the victim in each rape to be in order. and considering that the relationship of uncle and niece is not covered by any of the relationships mentioned in Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code.[59] Hence. is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay the victim.In the determination of whether the death penalty should be imposed on the appellant. SO ORDERED. appellant is ordered to pay the victim P25. The relationship of uncle and niece is not covered by any of the relationships mentioned. the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. descendant. In addition to this. this Court awards the victim the sum of P50. The victim is entitled to moral damages without need of proof other than the fact of the rape itself because it is assumed that the victim has suffered moral injuries entitling her to such an award. conformably to Article 69 of the Revised Penal Code. in Criminal Cases Nos. the imposable penalty for which is reclusion perpetua to death. for the prosecutions failure to prove the age of the victim by any means set forth in Pruna. it is only taken into consideration under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code when the offended party is the spouse. P50. the trial court erred in not awarding civil indemnity to the victim in each case.000 as exemplary damages. Lucelle Serrano. the qualifying aggravating circumstance of use of a deadly weapon having attended the commission of the crime. Costs de oficio. the appellant can only be convicted of rape in its aggravated form. natural or adopted brother or sister. legitimate. or relative by affinity in the same degree of the offender. The appellant Feliciano Ulit y Tampoy is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of rape in Criminal Cases Nos. However. as amended. the presence of an aggravating circumstance in the commission of the crime is crucial.[61] Thus.000 as civil indemnity. the appellant should be sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua for each count of rape. ascendant. P50.[62] WHEREFORE. 97-385 to 97-388 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. There being no modifying circumstances attendant to the commission of the crimes.000 as moral damages. regardless of whether the offender is a relative of a higher or lower degree of the offended party.[60] We find the trial courts award of P50. the alternative circumstance of relationship under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code cannot be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance against the appellant. 97-385 and 97-386. although the relationship of uncle and niece between the appellant and the victim has been duly proven.000 as exemplary damages.000 as civil indemnity for each count of rape. and P25. and in each case. the same being mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape. In the cases at bar. While it is true that the alternative circumstance of relationship is always aggravating in crimes against chastity. Branch 62.

SECOND DIVISION .

However the modality a right or privilege is granted by the State to a personwhether under the Constitution. Tanchanco served as NFA Administrator from 1972 to 1986. LACSON. and Respondent. Granted. Nos. Petitioners. involving as it does the grant of criminal immunity.[1] occasioned by the desire of Tanchanco to cooperate with the Philippine government in connection with the latters efforts in the location and pursuit of government properties purloined by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. JJ. On 6 May 1988. it is a covenant that should not be lightly undertaken. We begin with the facts. Promulgated: November 25. J. Present: .JESUS T.R. made particularly by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to former National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Jesus Tanchanco (Tanchanco). AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. In the Cooperation Agreement. the legal order has never subscribed to the notion that promises are meant to be broken. GANBAYAN (Second Division).versus . J.PUNO.CALLEJO.. Presently for consideration is what appears to be a broken covenant by the State. 141675-96 ROMEO R. the parties stipulated as follows: . mandated by this Court. SR. it compels the execution of commitments made by the State to its citizens. a statute or a mere contractrecognition thereof is required by the government and. Chairman. if need be. TINGA. 2005 x -----------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION TINGA. their agents and others who hold property on their behalf. TANCHANCO and G. THE HONORABLE SANDI. during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos. Notwithstanding.: The Courts duty to enforce the law takes on greater imperative when in so doing. one of the petitioners at bar. Tanchanco and the PCGG entered into a Cooperation Agreement. CHICO-NAZARIO. His co-petitioner Romeo Lacson (Lacson) was the Deputy Administrator of the NFA when he was the Administrator.

2. or any other jurisdiction. or should Tanchanco knowingly fail to act with total honesty and candor in any such matters. and thereafter discovered to be in Tanchancos name or under his/her legal or beneficial control. Cooperation further means a full disclosure of assets and liabilities. upon the request of the Philippines. In return for the above. shall be null and void. shall become the property of the PCGG. the United States or elsewhere. civil actions. (B) Any other actions revealed by Tanchanco pursuant to his/her cooperation as defined in this Agreement. in consideration of the mutual covenants contained herein and intending to be legally bound hereby. 1. arising from: (A) Service in or for the Marcos government. Immunities and other considerations granted in reliance thereof. (2) The Philippines shall lift any sequestration orders against Tanchancos properties. the Philippines hereby represents and agrees as follows: (1) At a time to be mutually agreed upon between Tanchanco and the Philippines. .NOW. the Philippines shall move to dismiss all actions that are presently pending against Tanchanco before the Sandiganbayan and any such other courts. THEREFORE. (3) The Philippines shall not bring any additional civil or criminal charges against Tanchanco. if any. there is no understanding or agreement of any kind between the Philippines or its counsel. Any assets not therein listed as Tanchancos personal property. criminal prosecutions. Tanchanco shall cooperate with any and all Philippine Government investigations or prosecutions pursuant to Executive Order No. as of the date of this Agreement. rules and regulations. beneficially owned by Tanchanco. in response to any and all questions and inquiries that may be put to him/her in connection with the Philippines investigations. Should any of Tanchancos statements or testimonies be false. acquired in violation of Philippine laws. Cooperation means that Tanchanco shall provide complete. candid and absolutely truthful disclosures. Cooperation also means a disgorgement of assets. if any. directly or indirectly. Except as expressly set forth herein. or any other proceedings whether in the Philippines. including but not limited to the United States and Switzerland. and Tanchanco. the parties agree as follows: 1. concerning the possible use(s) of his/her liability for criminal or civil prosecution by the Philippines. misleading or materially incomplete. Tanchanco will offer such cooperation in investigations and proceedings brought by other governments. the Philippines shall no longer be bound by any of its representations contained herein. Further. 3. and rescind hold orders it may have issued against his/her actions.

I had the privilege to assist the Philippine Government thru the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in obtaining the full cooperation of Mr. Tanchanco and Lacson pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. 16950 proved to be only just one of several attempts of the government to prosecute Tanchanco. He was charged with 21 counts of Malversation of Public Funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code.000. Tanchanco was called upon as one of the witnesses for the prosecution in the case filed against Imelda Marcos in New York for violation of the so-called RICO Act. In his affidavit. Eventually. Jesus Tanchanco relative to its investigation on the transfer of TEN MILLION PESOS (P10. In 1997. On 2 September 1997.00 from the Philippine National Bank.000. wherein he argued that the case should be dismissed as he had been granted immunity from the said suit by the PCGG. The scope of investigation also encompassed the .00 rebate obtained by the NFA from the Philippine National Lines to the Security Bank. Tanchanco and Lacson filed a Motion to Quash and/or Dismiss all 22 cases. Tanchanco filed a Motion for Reinvestigation. citing as basis the Cooperation Agreement which was said to have granted immunity to Tanchanco from criminal prosecution. a total of 22 Informations were filed with the Sandiganbayan against Tanchanco.[5] Lacson was charged as a codefendant in four of the informations for Malversation of Public Funds. a criminal case. the Sandiganbayan First Division agreed with Tanchanco and in a Resolution dated 27 October 2000.000. as well as the matter of the use of discretionary and/or intelligence funds by the Marcos administration involving the funds of the NFA during Tanchancos administration.00) rebate obtained by the National Food Authority (NFA) from the Philippine National Lines (PNL) to the Security Bank.[4] However.[3] Nonetheless. the case was ordered dismissed. 16950.000.Nothing in this Agreement between the Philippines and Tanchanco is conditioned on the result of any proceedings that might be brought or have been brought against Ferdinand or Imelda Marcos or others in connection with the information provided or to be provided. During my incumbency as Ambassador. Criminal Case No. who was serving as Philippine Ambassador to the United States at the time of the New York trial of Imelda Marcos. They likewise presented an affidavit executed by former Vice-President Emmanuel Pelaez. Ambassador Pelaez relevantly stated: 2. docketed as Criminal Case No. It appears that his testimony was elicited concerning the transfer of P10.000. and one count of Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts under Article 218 of the same Code.[6] These cases were consolidated and raffled to the Sandiganbayan Second Division.[2] Significantly.000. was filed in 1991 against Tanchanco with the Sandiganbayan for malversation of public funds in the amount of P10. or the success of any criminal or civil prosecution.[7] On 26 November 1997. Thus none of the obligations or undertakings described above are in any way dependent upon a jurys or courts verdict at any trial.

) No. and ruled that the grant of immunity by the PCGG pertained only to offenses which may arise from the act of a person testifying or giving information in connection with the recovery of supposed ill-gotten wealth. On this occasion. D. as well as the due process clause. [8] Still. to have an investigative meeting with Atty. Tanchanco that his disclosure/testimony on the adverted P10M fund transfer and the matter of discretionary and intelligence funds of the NFA were indispensable to the Philippine Governments case against the Marcoses. since such was beyond the scope of the PCGG to bestow.C. I invited Mr. In this regard. both of whom presented PCGG in cases against the Marcoses in the U. Tanchanco. on behalf of PCGG. Severina Rivera and Atty. would violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. To construe the grant of immunity so broadly. held the Sandiganbayan. which empowered the PCGG to grant immunity from criminal prosecution. the motion was denied by the Sandiganbayan Second Division in a Resolution dated 5 March 1999. Mr.controversial use of discretionary and/or intelligence funds by the Marcos Administration particularly involving the funds of NFA during the administratorship of Mr. The Sandiganbayan opined that the PCGG could not have intended the grant of immunity to extend to any other crime which Tanchanco may have committed while serving the Marcos Administration. and he thereafter had lengthy question and answer sessions with Attys. After a time of reflection. I urged him to cooperate with the Government and he signified his willingness to do so. sometime May 1990. Jesus Tanchanco. as he was not a party to the immunity agreement. Respondent court declared that the charges of malversation and failure to render an accounting could not be considered as falling within the immunity granted to Tanchanco as the offenses were not related or connected to the testimony or information furnished by Tanchanco in a proceeding concerning the recovery of the purported ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.[12] Petitioners now argue before this Court that the grant of immunity under the Cooperation Agreement encompassed the subject charges. such as bribery and rape. 4.[10] The Sandiganbayan likewise concluded that even assuming the immunity granted by the Cooperation Agreement covered the offenses charged against Tanchanco. to my office in Washington. the Sandiganbayan declaring therein that the crimes to which petitioners were charged are beyond the authority and mandate of the PCGG.[11] A Motion for Reconsideration filed by Tanchanco and Lacson was denied in a Resolution dated 28 December 1998. Rivera and Labella on the aforesaid major and other collateral issues. They note that Tanchanco had given testimony in the United States regarding the intelligence fund of the NFA. Labella. Tanchanco obliged.O. 14.[9] The Sandiganbayan examined Section 5 of Executive Order (E. it was explained to Mr.S. which was used by President Marcos . 3. the same could not benefit Lacson.

we make two preliminary qualifications.[15] Before delving into the merits. the invocation of immunity may have been the proper subject of petitioners instant motion. we note that different circumstances obtain between Tanchanco and Lacson.for his own personal benefit. provides a different argument against petitioners. The OSG reiterates the position of the Sandiganbayan that the 22 charges against Tanchanco were not covered by the immunity granted by the PCGG. cites the comment filed by the PCGG to the Motion to Quash and/or Dismiss before the Sandiganbayan. First. which pertained only to offenses which may arise from his act in testifying or giving information in connection with the recovery of ill-gotten wealth. . representing respondent Sandiganbayan. Section 9 of Rule 117 expressly qualifies that the failure to timely raise the objection of lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged cannot be waived. Thus. two months before they filed the instant Motion to Quash and/or Dismiss in November of 1997. have either raised or considered this aspect of the case.[16] In this case. the latter being evidently not a party to any immunity agreement with the Philippine government.[13] This claim is countered by petitioners.[17] and may be raised or considered motu proprio by the court at any stage of the proceedings or on appeal. A statutory grant of immunity enjoins the prosecution of a criminal action and thus deprives the court of jurisdiction to proceed. the general rule under Rule 117 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure is that the accused may move to quash the complaint or information at any time before entering his plea and the failure of the accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the complaint or information shall be deemed a waiver of any objection. The Office of the Special Prosecutor. Tanchanco and Lacson had pleaded not guilty in all the subject cases on 2 September 1997. Petitioners likewise cite the relevant jurisprudence concerning the grant of immunity from criminal prosecution by the PCGG. and certainly not the Sandiganbayan. Tanchanco had not yet provided the PCGG a full disclosure of assets and liabilities beneficially owned by Tanchanco. and it would be the height of gross distortion of justice and both moral and legal outrage for the government now to welch on the said Agreement after Tanchanco had already testified against the Marcoses. wherein it alleged that contrary to the terms of the Cooperation Agreement. on behalf of the People of the Philippines.[20] Accordingly.[18] Such objection could be raised through a motion to dismiss when it is no longer timely to file a motion to quash. We need not belabor this point further. Nonetheless. and properly cognizable by the Sandiganbayan even after the plea had been entered. who assert before this Court that he had already submitted such disclosure to the PCGG even prior to the execution and signing of the Cooperation Agreement. especially since none of the parties.[19] We have no doubt that a claim of immunity from prosecution arising from an immunity statute or agreement is a jurisdictional question.[14] The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). Second. it is proper to treat their cases separately. We first rule on Tanchancos claim of immunity. Petitioners advert to the affidavit attesting to such testimony by Ambassador Pelaez. It is argued that Tanchanco had complied with all his commitments made in the Cooperation Agreement.

Facially. The use of the word or signifies the joinder of two distinct concepts: service in and service for. we note that the grant of immunity to Tanchanco is deliberately broad. Especially telling are the segregations made in the classification of the acts covered by the grant of criminal immunity. it is .[22] Moreover. then why the provision of the first ground of immunity under the Cooperation Agreement. Therein. the scope of immunity is limited to those offenses that arise from Tanchancos act in testifying or giving information. and it is our conclusion that the PCGG and Tanchanco. First. The difference between those two classes of acts is crucial. for if the agreement is construed plainly. the immunity covers not only those acts committed by Tanchanco for the benefit or under the instruction of the Marcoses. If indeed.The Plain Meaning of the Cooperation Agreement Our first point of reference understandably is the Cooperation Agreement. as the OSG suggests. Other provisions of the Cooperation Agreement likewise indicate that the intent of the PCGG. as it is the contention of the OSG that the scope of immunity is limited only to those offenses which may arise from his act in testifying or giving information in connection with the recovery of ill-gotten wealth. for acts arising from service in or service for the Marcos government? The provision is there to effectuate what it declares. between those acts committed by Tanchanco arising from service in the Marcos government and those committed for or in behalf of the Marcos government. those committed in behalf of the Marcos government. On the face of the document. was to offer Tanchanco broad protection from criminal prosecution.[21] The undertakings expressed by the Philippine government through the PCGG in the Cooperation Agreement are quite clear-cut. we cannot simply say that the clause should be read as covering only those acts of Tanchanco which he committed for the Marcos government while he was in service as NFA Administrator. as signified by the conjunctive or. as representative of the Philippine government. and (b) any other actions revealed by Tanchanco pursuant to his/her (sic) cooperation as defined in this Agreement. and any other actions revealed by Tanchanco pursuant to [his] cooperation as defined in the Agreement. in forging the Cooperation Agreement purposively intended to segregate acts arising from service in and acts arising from service for the Marcos government. it seemingly encompasses three classes of actions committed by Tanchanco: those committed while he was in the service of the Marcos government. any other actions revealed by Tanchanco pursuant to [his] cooperation. This qualification is again crucial. and any other act revealed by him in the course of his cooperation with the PCGG. but even those acts of Tanchanco which may not have been tinged with the involvement of Marcos or his government yet which nevertheless occurred during Tanchancos term as NFA Administrator. It is stipulated that the government shall not bring any additional civil or criminal charges against Tanchanco arising from: (a) service in or for the Marcos government. The Cooperation Agreement also utilizes a distinction between these acts arising from service in or for the Marcos government. even if broad in scope. Immunity from criminal prosecution arising from those acts elicited from Tanchanco in the course of his cooperation falls squarely within the second ground for immunity. the distinction is laid. The Second Whereas Clause expresses that both Tanchanco and the PCGG are desirous of resolving their differences and settling all litigation between them.

The reasons or motives of the PCGG in agreeing to so broad an immunity agreement are not evidently determinable. it is useful to recall the unique nature and mandate of the PCGG itself. ruled that such review can go no further than to pass upon [the immunity grants] procedural regularity. PCGG[26] explained the background behind the creation of the PCGG through E. establishes several principles that govern this case as seen in our subsequent discussion. and is especially limited to the questions of (a) whether the person claiming immunity has provided information or testimony in any investigation conducted by the PCGG in the discharge of its functions. The seminal case of BASECO v. 1. 3. No. . which was ignored by the Sandiganbayan. or the success of any criminal or civil prosecution. The Court. The more appropriate legal question now lies as to whether the PCGG. ordained by Proclamation No. Puno. yet ultimately excluded from the scope of judicial inquiry. Such limited construction is belied by the clear terms of the Cooperation Agreement. that the President in the exercise of legislative power which she was authorized to continue to wield "(u)ntil a legislature is elected and convened under a new Constitution" "shall give priority to measures to achieve the mandate of the people. Sandiganbayan.[23] We thus cannot accept the conclusion that the intent of the parties to the Cooperation Agreement was to limit the scope of immunity to cover only offenses arising from the testimony or information given by Tanchanco pursuant to his cooperation. or that said agreement pertains only to those offenses committed by Tanchanco in behalf of the Marcos government.[25] The ruling in Mapa.stipulated that none of the obligations or undertakings described [herein] are in any way dependent upon a jurys or courts verdict at any trial. acted within the scope of its statutory authority to extend immunity in the first place? Does such authority encompass the broadly granted immunity as so plainly expressed in the Cooperation Agreement? Statutory Authority of PCGG To Extend Criminal Immunity Before we examine the particular statutory authority of the PCGG to extend criminal immunity. and (c) whether in the bona fide judgment of the PCGG. 1 stresses the "urgent need to recover all ill-gotten wealth. speaking through now Senior Associate Justice Reynato S." among others to (r)ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and supporters of the previous regime and protect the interest of the people through orders of sequestration or freezing of assets or accounts.[24] the Court was asked to rule on the range and power of the courts to review the exercise of discretion of the PCGG in granting immunity pursuant to Section 5 of E." and postulates that "vast resources of the government have been amassed by former President Ferdinand E. The impugned executive orders are avowedly meant to carry out the explicit command of the Provisional Constitution. defendant or accused has acquired or accumulated the property or properties in question. 14. (b) whether in the bona fide judgment of the PCGG. in entering into the Cooperation Agreement. defendant or accused. such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the guilt or civil liability of the respondent. the information or testimony given would establish the unlawful manner in which the respondent.O. No. In Mapa v. But the first integral point which we now invoke is that the reasons or motives of the PCGG in granting broad criminal immunity to Tanchanco are beyond the scope of judicial review.O." xxx Executive Order No.

it was granted power to conduct investigations." among which was precisely ". influence. connections or relationship. through or as a result of the improper or illegal use of funds or properties owned by the government of the Philippines or any of its branches. "charged with the task of assisting the President in regard to . The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. "To sequester or place or cause to be placed under its control or possession any building or office wherein any ill-gotten wealth or properties may be found. "To provisionally take over in the public interest or to prevent the disposal or dissipation. authority." "2. It was given power also to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of ." So that it might ascertain the facts germane to its objectives." It declares that: 1) "." In relation to the takeover or sequestration that it was authorized to undertake in the fulfillment of its mission. "3. their close relatives. (certain specified) matters." and 2) ". said assets and properties are in the form of bank accounts. . Marcos. . enterprises. agents or nominees which had been or were acquired by them directly or indirectly. or by taking undue advantage of their office. business enterprises and properties taken over by the government of the Marcos Administration or by entities or persons close to former President Marcos. the PCGG was granted "power and authority" to do the following particular acts. resulting in their unjust enrichment and causing grave damage and prejudice to the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines. including the takeover or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them. instrumentalities.Marcos.). residences. condominiums. deposits. . subordinates and close associates. administer oaths. dummies. directly or through nominees. authority. whether located in the Philippines or abroad. influence. "To enjoin or restrain any actual or threatened commission of acts by any person or entity that may render moot and academic. his immediate family. relatives. concealment or disappearance which would frustrate or hamper the investigation or otherwise prevent the Commission from accomplishing its task." xxx . 2 gives additional and more specific data and directions respecting "the recovery of ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and supporters of the previous regime." Upon these premises. in order to prevent their destruction. relatives. and close associates both here and abroad. during his administration. and/or his wife Mrs. . estates. or frustrate or otherwise make ineffectual the efforts of the Commission to carry out its task under this order. . the Government of the Philippines is in possession of evidence showing that there are assets and properties purportedly pertaining to former Ferdinand E. by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or using their powers. subordinates. Imelda Romualdez Marcos. ." xxx Executive Order No. trust accounts. . until the transactions leading to such acquisition by the latter can be disposed of by the appropriate authorities. his immediate family. Marcos. punish for contempt. business associates. to wit: 1. (its creation. and other kinds of real and personal properties in the Philippines and in various countries of the world. buildings. banks or financial institutions. shopping centers. the Presidential Commission on Good Government was created. mansions. . and any records pertaining thereto. . . shares of stocks. require submission of evidence by subpoenae ad testificandum and duces tecum. connections or relationship.

. dummies.A third executive order is relevant: Executive Order No. While there is no doubt that the information or testimony of the grantee must pertain to the manner of acquisition of ill-gotten wealth by the Marcoses. Imelda R. .[28] It is Section 5 thereof. . . reparation of damages. defines the jurisdiction over cases involving the ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand E. "with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General and other government agencies." and that. defendant or accused has acquired or accumulated the property or properties in question in any case where such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the latter's guilt or his civil liability. close relatives. that it establish[es] the unlawful manner in which any respondent. moreover.[29] From these premises. 5. namely. as amended by E. whether civil or criminal. as may be warranted by its findings. No. ." Executive Order No. the question now before us is whether the available immunity from criminal prosecution relates only to the prosecution of the grantee in like minded cases. close and/or business associates. Section 5 is worded in such a manner as it does not provide any express limitations as to the scope of immunity from criminal prosecution that the PCGG is authorized to grant. in the following manner: Sec. (said Executive Orders Numbered 1 and 2) may be filed separately from and proceed independently of any criminal proceedings and may be proved by a preponderance of evidence.O. as amended. 14-A. which authorizes the PCGG to grant immunity from criminal prosecution. subordinates. we can draw useful conclusions. (said) civil cases. The Sandiganbayan opined in the affirmative. 1379. which shall have exclusive and original jurisdiction thereof. their close relatives and associates. in connection with . are to be filed "with the Sandiganbayan. the "technical rules of procedure and evidence shall not be strictly applied to . forfeiture proceedings provided for under Republic Act No. 14. by which the PCGG is empowered. . or indemnification for consequential damages. The qualifications that Section 5 do provide relate to the character of the information or testimony before the PCGG of the grantee of immunity. The immunity thereby granted shall be continued to protect the witness who repeats such testimony before the Sandiganbayan when required to do so by the latter or by the Commission." All such cases."[27] Executive Order No. Marcos. Mrs. 14 also pertinently provides that "(c)ivil suits for restitution. . The Presidential Commission on Good Government is authorized to grant immunity from criminal prosecution to any person who provides information or testifies in any investigation conducted by such Commission to establish the unlawful manner in which any respondent. declaring that [t]he charges of malversation and failure to render an account cannot be considered within the purview of the immunity granted to Tanchanco by the PCGG. 14. since the offenses are not related to or connected with the testimony or information furnished by Tanchanco in a proceeding . . to file and prosecute all cases investigated by it . agents and nominees. Marcos. members of their immediate family. defendant or accused has acquired or accumulated the property or properties in question in any case where such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the latter's guilt or his civil liability. . or any other civil actions under the Civil Code or other existing laws.

PCGG. 14-A as completely immunized from prosecution. a witness is only assured that his or her particular testimony and evidence derived from it will not be used against him or her in a subsequent prosecution. our ruling in Mapa went as far as to squarely characterize the witness under Section 5 of E. the Court in Mapa[31] held that the power of the Sandiganbayan to review such grant of immunity by the PCGG could go no further than to pass upon its procedural regularity. The Court has been called upon before to construe Section 5 of E. (2) the information or testimony pertains to the unlawful manner in which the respondent. the Sandiganbayans conclusion in this case is not entirely off-base. Transactional immunity derives from common-law tradition. In our jurisdiction though. Considering though that the applicable law at hand does not make such a qualification. by the grant of use-and-derivative-use immunity. No. the Court even upheld the immunity granted to petitioners Mapa and Vergara despite the fact that the PCGG subsequently reversed track and acceded to the prosecution of the said petitioners. or casesunderstandable considering that Section 5 does not make any such qualification. a witness can no longer be prosecuted for any offense whatsoever arising out of the act or transaction to which the testimony relates. the Court did not affirm the belief that the scope of criminal immunity was limited to any class of criminal acts. his relatives and associates. We cannot accept the proposition. 14-A. We have recognized in this jurisdiction that American common law generally recognizes two kinds of statutory criminal immunity available to a witness: transactional immunity and the use-andderivative-use immunity. offenses.[33] The Court in both cases adverted to the same characterization of criminal immunity under Section 5. defendant or accused acquired or accumulated ill-gotten property. which gives greater deference to the weight of judicial precedents since the codification of laws by the legislature is atypical in practice. By its grant. it is not obliged to conform with judge-made standards. It thus follows that this prerogative necessarily empowers the legislative to enact conditions under which a class of persons may be immune from criminal or civil prosecution. or even traditional . Since the legislature possesses sole discretion to enact statutes to such effect. Notably.[30] We are constrained to disagree. the adoption of that view would force us into a concession that the legislative authority to grant criminal immunity is limited to transactional or use-and-derivative-use immunity.concerning the recovery of the purported ill-gotten wealth of the former President. the definition of crimes and provision of criminal penalties are ineluctably within the sole province of the legislative branch of government. Moreover. To be certain.O.[36] Applying the broader standard of transactional immunity. it might be argued that the immunity which the PCGG is authorized to grant to Tanchanco should pertain only to those acts or offenses which are the subject of the information or testimony given by him. No.[34] In the same case. In contrast. As earlier noted. [32] the Court reiterated that the conditions under which the PCGG may grant criminal immunity were: (1) the person to whom criminal immunity is granted provides information or testifies in an investigation conducted by the Commission. In Chavez v. and (3) such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove guilt or civil liability of such individual.O.[35] Transactional immunity is broader in the scope of its protection.

O.[39] This holds especially true in the prosecution of ill-gotten wealth cases. And it is apparent on the face of the Cooperation Agreement with Tanchanco that the PCGG understood just as well that it had the power to grant criminal immunity even over such acts which did not directly bear on the information or testimony. the power to grant immunity. 14-A. There may be some inherent unease with the notion that persons may acquit themselves of their own criminal culpability by striking a deal with the government. On the other hand. Another consideration impels us to sustain this broad application of immunity under Section 5 of E. It has been acknowledged that the PCGG is charged with the herculean task of bailing the country out of the financial bankruptcy and morass of the previous regime and returning to the people what is rightfully theirs. as is apparent in the language of Section 5. or perhaps corresponding benefit on their part. the PCGG would inevitably collide with powerful interests. as with all other legislative acts. yet the process of compromise has long been allowed in our jurisdiction. is attuned to such aims. is adherence to the Constitution. In tracing and recovering the colossal sums of ill-gotten wealth. and in the jurisdiction of other states as well. recognized the need to [r]ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and supporters of the [Marcos] regime. . 14[40]. The authorization of the PCGG to broadly extend criminal immunity. but have also ineluctably acquired immense symbolic value. Section 5 as constructed leads to a reasonable conclusion that the scope of criminal immunity which the PCGG may offer need not be limited to prosecution relating to the information or testimony offered by the witness. the grant of immunity accorded by the PCGG to Jose Yao Campos and his family was qualified only by reference to Section 5 of E.[41] In Tanchancos case. the immunity received by Placido Mapa and Lorenzo Vergara was limited over any offense with reference to which [their] testimony and information are given. The stakes being as they are. The Freedom Constitution itself.O. among them. Certainly. We cannot ignore the special circumstances under which the PCGG was created. and the extra-ordinary powers with which it was vested.modalities concerning the grant of criminal immunity. directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information is used as basis thereof. except a prosecution for perjury and/or giving false testimony. and any other act revealed by him in the course of his cooperation with the PCGG. Our conclusion is also supported by the fact that based on the PCGG immunity agreements which have come before this Court. his entitlement to criminal immunity applies to three determinate circumstances: for acts committed while he was in the service of the Marcos government. No. For example. acts committed in behalf of the Marcos government. the PCGG was granted quasi-judicial functions[38] encompassing special investigatory and prosecutorial powers. including any offense and commission of which any information. which not only involve monumental amounts. under which regime the body was created.[37] For this reason. the scope of offered immunity has proven variable. Persons who would be able to assist in the prosecution of cases of illgotten wealth may understandably be hesitant to cooperate with the PCGG without the assurance of some protection. The solitary limitation on legislative grant of immunity. The overwhelming need to prosecute the ill-gotten wealth cases is entrenched in statute and public policy. No. the need is apparent for a highly conducive environment under which witnesses may be induced to cooperate with the PCGG in the prosecution of the illgotten wealth cases.

[43] and any question of interpretation must be resolved in favor of the defendant. Nor is its exercise subject to the approval or disapproval of another agency of government. Whether or not the delicate power should be exercised. 14. any more than courts should correct the blunders of the defense.O. the jurisdiction of the respondent court is limited. For fairness demands that courts keep the scales of justice at equipoise between and among all litigants. or even the conditions expressed by the witness as sufficient to induce cooperation. especially since nothing in Section 5 mandates a minimum standard of criminal immunity. The exercise of the power is not shared with any other authority. will probably elude the long arm of the law. the PCGG was not obliged to grant Tanchanco so broad an exemption. It is essentially a tactical decision to forego prosecution of a person for government to achieve a higher objective.These variances are indicative of the fact that the PCGG has the discretion to vest appropriate levels of criminal immunity according to the particular witness.[44] following the underlying fundamental principle that all doubts must be resolved in favor of the accused. especially as it favors a criminal defendant. otherwise. but such errors are not for neutral courts to rectify. No. and we are wont to uphold the broad grant. who should be extended the privilege. Ambiguities in immunity agreements must be construed against the State. Yet the extent to which it did is permissible under E. The basic reason for vesting the power exclusively on the PCGG lies in the principles of separation of power. the prosecution may err in the selection of its strategies. 14-A. The decision to grant immunity from prosecution forms a constituent part of the prosecution process. It is a deliberate renunciation of the right of the State to prosecute all who appear to be guilty of having committed a crime. The power to prosecute includes the right to determine who shall be prosecuted and the corollary right to decide whom not to prosecute. the timing of its grant. it is clear that no consideration was given to the . section 5 of E. Due process demands that courts should strive to maintain the legal playing field perfectly even and perpetually level. Such is conformable to the unprecedented power of the PCGG to grant criminal immunity. Given the language of Section 5. Its justification lies in the particular need of the State to obtain the conviction of the more guilty criminals who. We made the following pertinent observations in Mapa: We observe that in contrast to our other laws on immunity. We have reviewed the pertinent memoranda prepared respectively by the Commission on Audit and the Office of the Special Prosecutor which eventually served as the basis for the institution of the cases. we do not doubt the latitude afforded to the PCGG in determining the extent of criminal immunity it can afford the cooperative witness. are questions addressed solely to the sound judgment of the prosecution. the degree of culpability of such cases. and not to get involved with the success or failure of the prosecution to prosecute.[42] Certainly. From these documents.O. as amended. Every now and then. No. There are several factors that may affect this choice. For the business of a court of justice is to be an impartial tribunal. which may include the relative importance of the witness to the prosecution of illgotten wealth cases. We are not in accord with the behavior of both the government and the Sandiganbayan in this case. confers on the PCGG the power to grant immunity alone and on its own authority. In reviewing the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in these areas.

without regard to the scheme implemented for the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth. The indications are that the prosecutors. We should observe that the Sandiganbayan First Division. as earlier stated. particularly the use of discretionary or intelligence funds of the NFA. The disposition of the instant motion to quash and/or dismiss of the Sandiganbayan Second Division pales in comparison to the judicious deliberation of the First Division. It resorted to generalizations such as the offenses are not related to or connected with the testimony or information furnished by Tanchanco[45] or the subject matter of the informations are NFA funds and the records do not indicate that they have any relation whatsoever to the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses or their cronies. it is clear that the cases against Tanchanco arose from the following acts or irregularities: (1) the transfer of NFA funds either to Tanchancos personal account. neither the Sandiganbayan nor the prosecution appears to have seriously considered or laid down such a distinction. had also considered the application of the Cooperation Agreement in the criminal prosecution of Tanchanco. or of its intent to rescind the Cooperation Agreement. If indeed the government had known as a fact that Tanchanco had violated his obligations under the Cooperation Agreement. Faced with these facts. the very least it could have done was to notify him of such violations. that Tanchanco had actually violated portions of the Cooperation Agreement. and other donations. had not considered such agreement at all as a factor. It may be within the realm of possibility that at least some of the charges against Tanchanco pertain to acts he performed for his own personal benefit. amounts contributed to the Food Production and Nutrition Fund. in a different case. prior to the institution of the case. Particularly admirable was how the First Division had applied this .[46] Yet from the results of the investigations that led to the institution of the charges. and that Tanchanco had given information relating to such investigation. it is clear that the PCGG had precisely investigated the anomalous transfer of NFA funds during the Marcos Administration. (2) the failure to account for several classes of funds received by Tanchanco. From the Pelaez affidavit. despite the clear language therein. the scope of the Cooperation Agreement itself precludes the prosecution of Tanchanco under the subject charges. the account of Oplan Wag-Wag. the conclusion of the Sandiganbayan that the subject informations bore no relation either to the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth or the investigations of the PCGG is questionable. Still. or a private institution. raised in opposition to the instant motion to quash/dismiss. and any deprivation or revocation therein could not be effected in so blithe a fashion as that which occurred in this case.possible effects of the Cooperation Agreement on the viability of prosecuting Tanchanco. Vested rights were at stake which affected the liberty of a person. through the late Presiding Justice Francis Garchitorena. And besides. This fact weakens the believability of belated claims. Neither does it appear that the Sandiganbayan had given careful consideration to the Cooperation Agreement when it ruled on the motion to quash/dismiss. including discretionary funds. The attitude of the investigators and prosecutors appears to have been to pretend that the Cooperation Agreement did not exist at all.

namely: (i) that Tanchanco had cooperated with the PCGG in obtaining information on the Marcos wealth. and (ii) that the PCGG exercised bona fide judgment in deciding to grant immunity to Tanchanco. It should be emphasized that the grant of immunity to Tanchanco did not have the effect of obviating all consequential culpabilities arising from Tanchancos acts. but only of legal ones.O. In contrast. The Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion in refusing to dismiss the charges despite its lack of jurisdiction to continue hearing the cases against Tanchanco. insofar as it relates to Tanchanco. The First Division cited the threefold test laid down in Mapa on the parameters under which the Sandiganbayan could review the grant of immunity. Besides. Only Tanchancos own criminal liability was extirpated. validly undertaken between the PCGG and Tanchanco as it was. Lacson Not Entitled To Immunity A different result must obtain for petitioner Lacson. There is no legal basis that would preclude his prosecution under the subject informations. There is no subsisting agreement by virtue of which the State granted any kind of immunity from criminal prosecution to Lacson. and arrived at the following crucial conclusions. or that Tanchanco will need not answer for whatever culpable acts of his during his service in the Marcos government. 14-A is limited to person[s] who provide information or testif[y] in any investigation conducted by [the PCGG]. Yet the Court is not the guarantor of karmic warrants. It may seem unsettling to some that Lacson will have to endure criminal prosecution while Tanchanco would be discharged. The reason is simple. The extent of immunity available to each particular grantee depends on their respective immunity agreements with the PCGG and the surrounding facts. No. rashly concluded without palpable basis that the Cooperation Agreement did not cover the subject charges. Lacson could not inveigh that Tanchancos Cooperation Agreement also applies as to him since he was not a party thereto. without considering Mapa and other relevant precedents. Nor is there. the Sandiganbayan Second Division. even if there was such intent.[49] We cannot uphold a grant of criminal immunity to a person whom the State never intended to exempt from prosecution. entered into in the judgment . any evident intention on the part of the PCGG and Tanchanco to extend the grant of immunity to other persons as well. for the reason that the government saw a higher social value in eliciting information from him rather than engaging in his prosecution. must be granted. 14-A from all kinds of criminal prosecution.[48] Criminal immunity must be specifically granted.[47] We thus hold that the Cooperation Agreement. precludes the prosecution of Tanchanco under the subject charges.O. No correlative tradeoff occurred as to Lacson. No. Certainly. especially Mapa. on the face of the Cooperation Agreement. The present petition. The Cooperation Agreement. so we do not see any reason in law or in equity to exempt him as well.Courts precedents on the authority of the PCGG to grant criminal immunity. it may be of doubtful validity since the authority of the PCGG to grant immunity under Section 5-A of E. or who performed no act to the benefit of the State that may have served as basis for a possible grant of exemption. It goes without saying though that this ruling does not shield all grantees under Section 5 of E.

SO ORDERED. No pronouncement as to costs. . The Court hereby orders the DISMISSAL of the SUBJECT CRIMINAL CASES INSOFAR AS PETITIONER JESUS TANCHANCO IS CONCERNED. WHEREFORE. the petition is GRANTED IN PART. enforceable as to Tanchanco before this Court and other courts of the land. is a valid document.of the State that it would serve a higher end of justice.

The appellate court may pass upon every circumstance favorable to the accused. did then and there without any . and to indemnify the said heirs [in] the sum of P15. and taking into consideration the aggravating circumstance of dwelling (morada) without any mitigating circumstance to offset the same. he must be acquitted on reasonable ground. by means of treachery and evident premeditation and with intent to kill. and to pay the costs.00 as actual damages.R. the prosecution failed to prove the existence of conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt.000. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.00 as moral damages. Philippines.000. JONATHAN FABROS y CASTRO. 1996.: An appeal in a criminal case opens the entire records to review. 2002] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. finding him guilty of murder and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua. No. 1996. vs. 1999 Decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Zamboanga City (Branch 17) in Criminal Case No. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads as follows: WHEREFORE. 13698. dated March 2. finding the accused Wilfredo Tolentino and Jonathan Fabros guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder.[2] The Information. 139179.THIRD DIVISION [G. DECISION PANGANIBAN. Hence. in the City of Zamboanga. J. conspiring and confederating together. the sum of P50. accused. to pay separately the heirs of the victim the sum of P50. the Court hereby sentences the above-named accused separately to suffer the penalty of [r]eclusion [p]erpetua. April 3. Neither was it able to show that appellant was an accomplice or accessory. appellee. In the present case. WILFREDO TOLENTINO y ESPERAT and JONATHAN FABROS y CASTRO. The Case Jonathan Fabros y Castro appeals the May 27. appellant. mutually aiding and assisting with one another. charged appellant as follows: That on or about February 28. armed with a piece of wood and knife.00 as exemplary damages.000. the above-named accused.

The Facts Version of the Prosecution The prosecutions version of the facts is summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General as follows:[6] On February 28. When about an armslength away from Hernan.appellants aunt . 1996. the three immediately left. Wilfredo. After throwing the victims lifeless body in the creek. Thereafter. got the bolo. They then carried Hernan towards the creek about seven meters away from the house. Wilfredo held him by the neck while both appellant and Merwin grasped his feet. He went directly to the kitchen and fixed the bag of rice he was carrying. Dwelling. appellant. Zamboanga City when their neighbor Wilfredo Tolentino called them. without saying a word. Sheila Guilayan and Merwin Ledesma. and 2. Around 8:30 in the evening. Upon reaching the creekside. Wilfredo simply motioned to them to come to his house located just across the road. Wilfredo then instructed Merwin to go back to the house and get the bolo of Hernan. Once they were inside the house. to wit: 1. Wilfredo explained that it was the only way to free Sheilas mother . 1996 around 7:30 in the evening. Wilfredo successively stabbed Hernan on different parts of the body causing the latters instant death. Wilfredo immediately instructed appellant and Merwin to help him bring Hernan out of the house. Meanwhile. appellant and his cousins.of the sufferings being caused by Hernan. just stayed quiet in the living room. That the commission of the above-stated offense has been attended by the following aggravating circumstances. the three stopped and moved closer to the water. . Merwin obliged. to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of said victim. At this juncture. Abuse of superior strength.[3] With the assistance of counsel. at the person of HERNAN SAGARIO y CUESTA. thereby inflicting mortal wounds on the different parts of the latters body which directly caused his death. together with Sheila and Merwin. He then followed Hernan towards the kitchen. immediately walloped Hernan on the right side of the neck sending the latter unconscious and falling face down to the ground. attack and stab with the use of said weapons that they were armed with. they were told by Wilfredo to go home and wait for Hernan. Lifting Hernan out of the house. Moments later. Wilfredo immediately revealed his plan to kill Hernan Sagario. Hernan arrived.[5] After due trial. Wilfredo with a 2x2 piece of wood in his hand entered the house. assault. the RTC rendered the assailed Decision.[4] appellant pleaded not guilty when arraigned on June 7. and gave it to Wilfredo. Sheilas stepfather. When asked what was it all about. were at their house in Luyahan. Pasonanca.warning.

About twenty minutes later. When Hernan returned. particularly in the house of his auntie Amparo Guilayan (the common-law wife of Hernan Sagario). Sh[ei]la stood up and went to the house of Tolentino. At that instance. Scared. Relying on his lone testimony and corroborating the testimony of prosecution witness Sheila Guilayan. he ordered them to go home and they obeyed. on the other hand. his chest hitting the corner edge of a table. At the house of Tolentino. and saw Tolentino holding a piece of wood (2 x 2). After a while. Fabros and Ledesma asked Sheila why she cried.. came over and called for Sheila. Instead. When Tolentino saw their uncle Hernan coming towards the house. the latter told them not to worry. leaving behind Fabros and Merwin Ledesma. Pasonanca. Jonathan went to the kitchen while their uncle placed the rice he brought in a container. Tolentino went to his house while their uncle Hernan told him (Fabros) to check if the water was already boiling. When asked for his motive to kill Hernan Sagario. Jonathan ran home. Afraid that Tolentino will hit him with the piece of wood. Tolentino approached him and they talked for about two minutes. their neighbor. [She] disclosed Tolentinos plan to kill her stepfather Hernan Sagario. Tolentino brought Hernan near the river. When they expressed apprehension [about] being implicated and tried to prevent Tolentino from pursuing his plan. Fabros held his uncle by the feet while Tolentino pulled Hernan by the shirt and he just followed Tolentino. Fabros pointed to Tolentino as the assailant and the latter also fingered the former as the killer of Sagario. On 28 February 1996. Shortly thereafter. he returned home to Luyahan after his work at Astoria Hotel as a waiter. Tolentino arrived and with thumbs up sign. Hernan went out of the house to buy Ovaltine. Tolentino merely reasoned that he just wanted to help their auntie Amparo get rid of her problems. Then he ordered Fabros to come near him and carry Hernan by his feet. together with his cousins Merwin Ledesma and Sheila Guilayan. presented the following version of the facts:[7] Accused Jonathan Fabros and Wilfredo Tolentino both denied killing the victim. they pointed to each other as the one who killed Hernan Sagario. he saw his uncle f[a]ll down slowly. Okey na!. Tolentino approached his uncle and kicked him. Then. he said. As he arrived. After stabbing the victim. When Jonathan noticed that his uncle regained consciousness. accused Tolentino. Hernan ordered Fabros to boil water. Afterwards.m. he ran away towards a banana plantation and from there he saw Tolentino [stab] Sagario on the chest. Jonathan also observed that there was blood on the shoulder of . Sheila was at home when he arrived.The post-mortem examination on the victims cadaver disclosed that the cause of his death was cardio-respiratory arrest due to shock and hemorrhage secondary to [a] stab wound penetrating the chest. Jonathan heard the sound pok. Afterwards. accused Fabros narrated that he is a resident of Luyuhan. at around 7:00 p. (Citations omitted) Version of the Defense Appellant. he and Ledesma heard Sheila crying and the two went to the house of Tolentino. Tolentino pushed and waded him into the water. for he will take care.

1999 and ha[s] become final. Plaintiff. As he appealed the Decision. which the police later did by showing to him his co-accused Tolentino. Maria Police Station and thereat he was told by the police that if he will not admit. when he came to be my neighbor. [maybe] I still have the chance to rectify the wrong I have done to him and tell the Honorable Court what actually happened [o]n the night of February 28. I took hold of a piece of wood and hit him with it and when he fell down unconscious. I have contemplated on the consequences of my acts and have been conscience stricken causing me sleepless nights and deep pity [for] my co-accused Jonathan Fabros whom I have wrongfully imputed to be the killer of the victim Hernan Sagario y Cuesta. On seeing Tolentino. On 01 March 1996. on 14 July 2000. they will show him the witness. I dragged his body outside of the house. That I had known Hernan Sagario earlier in 1994 when he was still a security guard and he attempted to shoot me with his service firearm and although we had amicably settled the matter between us. He was brought to the Sta. ordering Jonathan Fabros who was then in the kitchen to help me carry the body of Hernan outside or else he would also become my victim. he will kill them. That of the four years I have been in prison. However. As I recalled that incident. however. accused. apparently conscience-stricken. I stabbed [him] in the . widower. Wilfredo Tolentino. I came home quite drunk [after] my drinking spree with my relatives across the river and one of the topics we discussed was about the incident when Hernan Sagario attempted to shoot me. Out of fear. 65 years old. Wilfredo Tolentino y Esperat and Jonathan Fabros y Castro. he declared that he (Tolentino) was the one who killed the victim. he was arrested for the death of Hernan Sagario on account of an information received by the police identifying him as the assailant. WILFREDO TOLENTINO y ESPERAT. they just followed whatever Tolentino told them. The latter then called the three (3) and warned them that if they will tell other people. versus. Jonathan unwillingly assisted me carry the body of Hernan outside and upon my direction. executed an affidavit admitting sole responsibility for the death of Hernan Sagario and retracted his testimony implicating accusedappellant Jonathan Fabros. Filipino. 1996. I would remember that incident and my old grudge against him would be rekindled.Tolentino. we dragged the body of Hernan towards the river where to finish him off. my old grudge against him resurfaced and I resolved right then and there to take my revenge on Hernan. That earlier that night of February 28. 13698 entitled The People of the Philippines. Jonathan told the police that he did not know what happened. So when he came home and he was in the kitchen. By reason of fear of Tolentinos threat. His affidavit is herein reproduced as follows: I. after having been duly sworn to in accordance with law hereby depose and state: That I was convicted for the crime of Murder in Criminal Case No. long after the trial courts decision had become final and executory on his part. as hereunder narrated. 1996. a convicted prisoner with the San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City. which Decision was promulgated on May 30.

That after [the] killing. Neneng (the daughter of Hernans live-inpartner) and Weng-weng. the RTC concluded that Fabros was a co-conspirator and should be held equally responsible for the murder.000. a cousin of Neneng and Jonathan[. I was confident that I would be acquitted if I would point to Jonathan as the killer. II . The court a quo observed that overt and positive acts of appellant manifested his approval of the killing and the concurrence of his acts with those of the other accused. During the trial of the case. Hernan Sagario. Jonathan left me when the body reached the river. That my conscience ha[d] been greatly troubled by denying Jonathan his future by [my] own evil acts and by this affidavit hopes to correct the wrongs I had done to Jonathan Fabros.[8] Thus.chest and pushed him down into the water to hide his body.00 to a middle man to effect the pay off but Jonathan returned the money to me saying he could not admit what he did not commit. It also ruled that the killing was qualified by treachery and attended by the aggravating circumstance of dwelling. this appeal. appellant assigns the following alleged errors for our consideration: I The Court a quo gravely erred in convicting herein Accused-appellant Jonathan Fabros of the crime charged notwithstanding the categorical statement of Prosecution Witness Sheila Guilayan that it was Accused Wilfredo Tolentino who actually killed the victim. For his part. I pointed to Jonathan as the killer of Hernan. thinking that I would not be implicated.] never to report the incident to any one or else they could become my next victim. That I am executing this affidavit [to] attest to the truth of the foregoing narration of facts and to appeal to the Court authorities to rectify the wrongs I had done to Jonathan Fabros and I am willing to testify in court o[n] these statements narrated. Ruling of the Trial Court The trial court held that the prosecutions evidence positively identified Wilfredo Tolentino as the person who had hit the victim with a piece of wood and later stabbed him with a bolo. I threatened Jonathan Fabros. That during the investigation of the killing. Hence. I bribed Jonathan and even gave P20.[9] The Issue In his Brief. Even when I was also charged for the killing.

In theory. and (3) the execution of the felony was decided upon.[12] the Court explained thus: Indeed. the prosecution must establish the following three requisites: (1) two or more persons came to an agreement. if it finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just disposition of the case. appellant should be acquitted. (2) the agreement concerned the commission of a crime. the evidence for it must be shown beyond reasonable doubt.The Court a quo gravely erred in convicting accused-appellant notwithstanding Wilfredo Tolentinos categorical admission of guilt [of] the crime charged. urges us to convict him on the basis of conspiracy. This Courts Ruling The appeal is meritorious. the act of one becomes the act of all. even those not raised on appeal.[16] Well-settled is the rule that the existence of conspiracy cannot be presumed. On the other hand. In People v. This implies that the Court may pass upon every circumstance favorable to the accused.[17] Quite the contrary. the Supreme Court is clothed with ample authority to review matters. Main Issue: Sufficiency of Prosecution Evidence The RTC held that the assistance of appellant in bringing the body of the victim from the house to the river bank where the latter was allegedly stabbed to death positively showed that the former had conspired in the commission of the crime. appellant argues that his fleeting participation in helping carry the victims body to the river bank did not indicate unity of purpose or design.[15] Once conspiracy is established. conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. It is a matter of justice that the two other appellants be exonerated of the charges. An appeal in a criminal action opens the whole case to review. the Office of the Solicitor General agrees that conspiracy has been duly proven. however. Every circumstance in favor of the accused shall be considered.[13] No Conspiracy Even the Office of the Solicitor General admits that appellant did not directly kill the victim.[14] To prove conspiracy. This we do because an appeal in a criminal action opens the whole case for review and this includes the review of the penalty and indemnity. We agree with him. Manambit.[18] As this Court has repeatedly . It.[10] The errors boil down to the sufficiency of the prosecution evidence.[11] In its abbreviated nine-page Brief.

[24] To recall. but we are also convinced that the evidence fails to show the culpability of appellant beyond reasonable doubt. we agree that the culpability of Tolentino was clearly established. writing. actual cooperation. what transpired? COURT: Be more specific on that.[20] Mere presence at the scene of the crime or even knowledge of the plan or acquiescence thereto are not sufficient grounds to hold a person liable as a conspirator. xxxxxxxxx Q And you said while you were in the sala sitting down. PROSECUTOR ORILLO: . my companions were Jonathan Fabros and Melwin Ledesma.[22] In the case before us. Q Can you also remember who were with you in that evening of February 28. common design and objective. JIMENEZ: That will ask for narration. 1996. Luyahan? A Yes. and concurrence of sentiments or community of interests.[21] Therefore. criminal conspiracy must be founded on facts. this year. are you referring to your house in Pasonanca.stated. not on mere surmises or conjectures. the prosecution eyewitness. Luyahan? A Yes. can you still remember where were you? A Yes. I can still remember. at around 7:30 oclock in the evening. the task in every case is to determine whether the particular acts established by the requisite quantum of proof reasonably yield that inference. there was an incident that transpired. will you please tell us what transpired? ATTY. 1996 in your house at Pasonanca. only if conspiracy is proven. I was in our house.[19] Prior agreement or assent is usually inferred from the acts of the accused showing concerted action. he can be held liable as a principal. the latter did not personally inflict any of the fatal flows. [23] Because. unquestionably. narrated the circumstances surrounding the killing of Hernan Sagario as follows: Q On February 28. Sheila Guilayan. I could still remember. Q You were in your house.

Q What happened? A I was called by Tolentino and he requested me to go to their house. Q You are referring to Wilfredo Tolentino? ATTY. COURT: Continue. JIMENEZ: Leading. . PROSECUTOR ORILLO: Q What did you do after you were called by this Tolentino? A So I went with him to their house. Your Honor. Q And what did you do next after he told you about that? A After he told me that I cried and I told him not to do that because we will be implicated. now what happened there in his house? A There in their house he told me just to keep quiet because he [was] going to kill my step-father. PROSECUTOR ORILLO: Q And you said you went with him to his house. COURT: Q Where was Tolentino when he called you to go with him? A He was by the door of our house although he was still outside but he was at the door of our house when he called me. COURT: Sustained. Q Where is his house? A Just beside our house or near our house.

Q What did you do next? A I just cried and kept on telling him not to do it because we will be implicated and also my mother [was] not [t]here.Q What else did you do aside from crying and telling him not to do it because we will be implicated. what happened next? . I just cried until my two cousins heard me and they. also went to the house of Tolentino. what did they do? A My cousins also told him not to do it because they said they [were] the only persons [t]here and for sure we will be implicated. Q And what did your cousin Melwin Ledesma do after he was ordered by Tolentino to get the bolo? A Then Melwin Ledesma went to the house and got the bolo and brought the same to the house of Tolentino. Q And how about Tolentino. he again told me just not to tell it to anybody because if I [was] going to tell it to anybody. Q And then? A They asked Tolentino why I was crying. what did he do? A Well. what happened next? A Tolentino said he will just take care. Q While your two cousins were already in the house of Tolentino. what happened next? A My cousins asked me why I was crying. he will also kill us. the two. Q And thereafter. Q And after bringing the bolo to the house of Tolentino. Q So what happened next after that? A And then Tolentino asked Melwin Ledesma to get the bolo of my stepfather in our house. Q How about your two cousins. what else did you do? A Well.

[25] Q What happened next after you said your step-father went out to buy ovaltine? A Then several minutes thereafter my stepfather again arrived in our house then he got inside the house and he went directly to the kitchen. PROSECUTOR ORILLO: Q And where was your step-father hit by that piece of wood used by Tolentino? A He was hit on the right side of his neck x x x extending to his right jaw.A Then when my step-father was on his way to our house. Q And what did your step-father do? A After that he transferred the rice he brought which was placed on a plastic cellophane to another plastic container. Q And what instrument did Tolentino use in hitting your step-father? A A piece of wood. can you more or less tell us the diameter of this piece of wood? A (Witness again made a circle to demonstrate the diameter which [was] three and a half inches x x x). . Q And what else happened? A And then after that Tolentino entered our house and went directly to the kitchen and there he hit my step-father. Q How about the length of this piece of wood? A (Witness extended her both hands to demonstrate the length which when measured gave us twenty inches in length). Tolentino told us to go home. Q Will you please describe this piece of wood? A A round piece of wood. Q You said it was a round piece of wood.

Your Honor. A I did not know where he came from but I just saw him getting inside our house and [going] directly to the kitchen. PROSECUTOR ORILLO: Q When you saw Tolentino hit your step-father. JIMENEZ: She was seated in the sala.Q Will you please tell this Honorable Court your particular position when you saw Tolentino hit with the piece of wood your step-father? A I was in a sitting position in the sala but you know in our house even if you are seated in the sala you can see the kitchen from there. where was your step-father facing? A He was facing forward while Tolentino came from behind him. probably she will know. how can [she] know? COURT: According to her she went home and she was in the sala. Q And while your step-father was already on the ground. ATTY. where did Tolentino come from? ATTY. PROSECUTOR ORILLO: If she knows. Q And what happened next after your step-father was hit by that piece of wood used by Tolentino? A After he was hit he fell [face] down x x x. Your Honor. From the table he continued to fall to the ground. Q Before you saw that. . JIMENEZ: Witness is incompetent. he fell down first on the table and after that to the ground. If she knows she may answer. If she went to the sala. what if any did Tolentino do? A Then when my step-father was already at the cemented pavement Tolentino stepped on his head several times.

Q And then what happened next?
A After that I cried but he told me to keep quiet because if I [was] not going to keep quiet he will
also kill us.
Q After that, what happened?
A And then he asked my cousins to help him to bring the body of my step-father outside of the
house.
Q And then?
A Then they brought my step-father outside of the house and Tolentino held him on the collar of his
shirt and my cousins held him on his feet.
Q And while already outside the house, towards what direction did they bring your step-father?
ATTY. JIMENEZ:
Witness is incompetent, we object, Your Honor.
COURT:
Sustained.
PROSECUTOR ORILLO:
Q What else happened after you saw your cousins Jonathan Fabros and Tolentino carrying your
step-father?
ATTY. FABIAN:
Objection, Your Honor, there was no mention of any Jonathan Fabros in her testimony.
COURT:
Cousin only.
ATTY. FABIAN:
Yes, Your Honor, cousin only, no mention of Jonathan Fabros.
COURT:

I do not know if it was cousin or cousins.
ATTY. JIMENEZ:
I heard cousins, Your Honor.
COURT:
Cousins, with S. She may answer. Yes, according to her it was only her cousins who were with her.
ATTY. FABIAN:
I heard the name Jonathan Fabros being mentioned by the prosecution, Your Honor.
COURT:
That is why I told the prosecutor to change it to cousins.
ATTY. FABIAN:
Yes, Your Honor.
A It was only Jonathan and Tolentino who carried him.
Q So what happened next after you saw them carrying your step-father?
A They brought my step-father to the creek.
Q How far is this sapa or creek from your house?
A Maybe from here (witness again by the use of the witness stand as reference point, pointed to
the fourth bench from the front,) about 6.5 meters, because from the witness stand to the main
door is measured 7.5 meters, so if it is from here, it is only 6.5 meters.
ATTY. JIMENEZ:
That is about 7 to 8 meters.
COURT:
That is about 7 meters already from the witness stand to the fourth bench, more or less 7 meters.
PROSECUTOR ORILLO:

Q This sapa or creek that you are referring to, please describe to this Honorable Court this creek
which according to you is only 7 meters more or less away from your house?
A This is a wide creek.
Q And what else did you see?
A Well, since it was clear from our house although I stayed inside our house and since the walling
of our house, the portion of this is made of screen, I saw Tolentino when they were carrying my
step-father in the act of stabbing my step-father (witness demonstrated as if she was holding
something and thrust[ing it] forward).
Q What else did you see?
A And then after that, I only saw Tolentino [place] the body of my step-father on the water and there
I did not see my cousin anymore.
Q And then what transpired next?
A Then a few minutes thereafter my cousin returned to the house.
Q And what did you do when your cousin returned to the house?
A And then when he arrived home I just cried and I told him, because his nickname is Nonong, so I
said: Nonong, we will be really implicated and he said nothing and instead he just went to his
previous position and sat down.
Q How about the other cousin of yours Melwin Ledesma, where was he?
A He was also beside me and he was embracing me from behind.
Q What happened next?
A Then another few minutes after, Tolentino arrived in our house.
Q And when he arrived at your house, what did he do?
A And then there inside our house he flashed a thumbs up and he said it is already okey.
Q What else did he do?
A Then he approached me and told me not to report [t]his incident because if I [was] going to
report [it] he [was] going to kill me.

. concerted purpose or community of design to commit the criminal act.[26] The above testimony shows that Tolentino attacked Hernan Sagario. COURT: Sustained. JIMENEZ: Leading. that particular time.[33] Neither did the former bear any weapon. what if any did you notice from his person. The assault was carried out without the participation of appellant. JIMENEZ: It is [a] very general question. she may answer.[27] who did not personally hit or stab the victim. with thumbs up. A I noticed that his shortpants was wet and there [were] bloodstains on his shirt. as shown by the foregoing testimony. what if any have you noticed on his person? ATTY.[29] It must be emphasized that Tolentinos plan to kill the victim was concocted in the absence of appellant. COURT: Anything she noticed. PROSECUTOR ORILLO: At the time when Tolentino arrived at your house and told you okey na. PROSECUTOR ORILLO: What if any have you noticed from Tolentino? COURT: Will you please be more specific with your question.[30] The latters participation.Q And that particular time when he arrived at your house. Your Honor. was made when the decision to kill was already a fait accompli. conspiracy cannot be inferred from the overt acts of appellant.[28] Nothing in the testimony conveyed a coordinated action.[31] Further. this Tolentino? ATTY.[32] He did nothing to assist Tolentino in the actual commission of the murder. but only subsequently helped carry the latter from the house to the nearby creek. Your Honor.

not collective -.[50] With the nominal role appellant played in the drama that had been thrust upon him. appellant cannot be considered a principal by indispensable cooperation.[48] That appellant helped Tolentino carry the victim from the house to the creek did not necessarily demonstrate concurrence of wills or unity of purpose or action.[35] Indeed.[47] This circumstance.[49] Quite the contrary. did not show his concurrence in the principals criminal intent. we cannot declare that he was an accomplice in the crime charged.much less use one to inflict injury on the victim. the formers attempt to dissuade the latter from killing Sagario was attested to by the prosecution witness.[51] .[38] Absent a conspiracy. the following must concur: (1) community of design -. Article 18 of the Revised Penal Code defines accomplices as those persons who.and each is to be punished only for his own separate acts.[42] To be deemed an accomplice.knowing the criminal design of the principal by direct participation.[34] In fact.[46] The mere fact that the former had prior knowledge of the latters criminal design did not automatically make him an accomplice. is individual -. To be convicted as an accomplice. not on solid facts indubitably indicating a common design to commit murder. one concurs therein. appellant.[44] Thus. the principal and the accomplice must have acted in conjunction and directed their efforts to the same end. one needs to have had both knowledge of and participation in the criminal act.[36] Such suppositions do not constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt. appellant did not concur in or lend support to the nefarious intent of Tolentino. according to the eyewitness. showing clearly his lack of support for the criminal intent of Tolentino. [39] Not an Accomplice Neither can appellant be convicted as an accomplice. by itself.[43] In other words.[45] In the case before us. with the intention of supplying material and moral aid in the execution of the crime in an efficacious way. and (c) a relation between the acts done by the principal and those attributed to the person charged as accomplice.[40] cooperate in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts. his responsibility. it is necessary that the accused be aware of the criminal intent of the principal and then cooperate knowingly or intentionally by supplying material or moral aid for the efficacious execution of the crime.[41] To consider a person an accomplice in the commission of the offense. (b) cooperation in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts. the trial court based its finding of conspiracy on mere presumptions. even tried to prevent the latter from hacking the victim. not being included in Article 17. as well as that of his coaccused.[37] Because of the lack of a united purpose. it is essential that both were united in their criminal design.

To convict an accused as an accessory.[56] Verily. unless legally held for another cause. the director of the Bureau of Corrections is directed to report to this Court his compliance with this Decision within five (5) days from receipt hereof. simply assisting Verzola in bringing the body down the house to the foot of the stairs and leaving said body for anyone to see. cannot be classified as an attempt to conceal or destroy the body of the crime. [60] The presumption of innocence in favor of appellant has not been overcome by proof beyond reasonable doubt. the appeal is GRANTED and the assailed Decision SET ASIDE. The fact that appellant left thereafter likewise indicated his innocence of the charge.[57] It is not incredible for an eyewitness to a crime. he must be acquitted. precisely.[58] Thus. Appellant is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt.[59] we explained as follows: x x x. or an attempt to take the life of the Chief Executive.[55] appellant stated that because he was afraid his co-accused would hurt him if he refused. the concealment or the destruction of the body of the crime or of the effects or the instruments thereof must have been done in order to prevent the discovery of the crime. in People v. or is known to be habitually guilty of some other crime.[52] Under paragraph 2 of said codal provision.Not an Accessory Either Appellant cannot be convicted as an accessory either. . to desist from assisting the victim if to do so would put the formers life in peril.[54] In his testimony. the following elements must be proven: (1) knowledge of the commission of the crime and (2) subsequent participation in it by any of the three above-cited modes. he adequately explained his conduct prior to the stabbing incident as one born of fear for his own life. murder. he agreed to assist the latter in carrying the victim towards the river. It must be noted that Josefina testified that she helped her co-appellant bring the body of the deceased down the stairs because of fear. Even if she assisted her co-appellant without duress. Verzola. in order to prevent its discovery. (2) concealing or destroying the body of the crime. must be done to prevent the discovery of the crime.[61] Thus. or the effects or instruments thereof. concealing. and (3) harboring. In this regard. Article 19 of the Revised Penal Code defines an accessory as one who had knowledge of the commission of the crime and did not participate in its commission as principal or accomplice.[62] WHEREFORE. is wanting in the present case. the effects or instruments thereof. SO ORDERED. He is ordered RELEASED from custody immediately. yet took part subsequent to its commission by any of three modes: (1) profiting oneself or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime. or assisting in the escape of the principals of the crime. especially if unarmed. parricide. provided the accessory acts with abuse of his public functions or when the offender is guilty of treason.[53] That.