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Case law teaches that the issue as to the identity of the drugs

allegedly sold is commonly resolved by a scrutiny of the chain of


custodyoftherecovereddrugs.(Peoplevs.Bernardino,602SCRA
270[2009])

o0o

G.R.No.188314.January10,2011.*

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee, vs.


KHADDAFY JANJALANI, GAMAL B. BAHARAN a.k.a. Tapay,
ANGELO TRINIDAD a.k.a. Abu Khalil, GAPPAL BANNAH
ASALIa.k.a.MaidanorNegro,JAINALSALIa.k.a.AbuSolaiman,
ROHMATABDURROHIMa.k.a.JackieorZaky,andotherJOHN
andJANEDOES,accused,

GAMALB.BAHARANa.k.a.Tapay,ANGELOTRINIDADa.k.a.
Abu Khalil, and ROHMAT ABDURROHIM a.k.a. Abu Jackie or
Zaky,accusedappellants.

CriminalProcedurePleaofGuiltyAlltrialjudgesmustrefrainfrom
acceptingwithalacrityanaccusedspleaofguilty,forwhilejusticedemands
a speedy administration, judges are duty bound to be extra solicitous in
seeing to it that when an accused pleads guilty, he understands fully the
meaning of his plea and the import of an inevitable conviction The
requirement for a judge to conduct a searching inquiry applies more so in
casesofrearraignment.AsearlyasinPeoplev.Apduhan,24SCRA798
the Supreme Court has ruled that all trial judges must refrain from
acceptingwithalacrityanaccusedspleaofguilty,forwhilejusticedemands
a speedy administration, judges are duty bound to be extra solicitous in
seeing to it that when an accused pleads guilty, he understands fully the
meaning of his plea and the import of an inevitable conviction. Thus, trial
courtjudgesarerequiredtoobservethefollowingprocedureunderSection3,
Rule116oftheRulesofCourt:SEC.3.

_______________

*THIRDDIVISION.

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Peoplevs.Baharan

Plea of guilty to capital offense reception of evidence.When the accused


pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching
inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the
consequencesofhispleaandshallrequiretheprosecutiontoprovehisguilt
andtheprecisedegreeofculpability.Theaccusedmayalsopresentevidence
in his behalf. The requirement to conduct a searching inquiry applies more
so in cases of rearraignment. InPeoplev.Galvez, 378 SCRA 389 (2002),
theCourtnotedthatsinceaccusedappellantsoriginalpleawasnotguilty,
the trial court should have exerted careful effort in inquiring into why he
changedhispleatoguilty.
Same Same The requirement to conduct a searching inquiry should
not be deemed satisfied in cases in which it was the defense counsel who
explainedtheconsequencesofaguiltypleatotheaccusedtheconductof
asearchinginquiryremainsthedutyofjudges,astheyaremandatedbythe
rulestosatisfythemselvesthattheaccusedhadnotbeenundercoercionor
duress mistaken impressions or a misunderstanding of the significance,
effects,andconsequencesoftheirguiltyplea.Therequirementtoconducta
searchinginquiryshouldnotbedeemedsatisfiedincasesinwhichitwasthe
defense counsel who explained the consequences of a guilty plea to the
accused, as it appears in this case. In People v. Alborida, 359 SCRA 495
(2001), this Court found that there was still an improvident plea of guilty,
even if the accused had already signified in open court that his counsel had
explained the consequences of the guilty plea that he understood the
explanation of his counsel that the accused understood that the penalty of
deathwouldstillbemetedouttohimandthathehadnotbeenintimidated,
bribed, or threatened. We have reiterated in a long line of cases that the
conduct of a searching inquiry remains the duty of judges, as they are
mandated by the rules to satisfy themselves that the accused had not been
under coercion or duress mistaken impressions or a misunderstanding of
the significance, effects, and consequences of their guilty plea. This
requirementisstringentandmandatory.
SameSameConvictionsbasedonanimprovidentpleaofguiltareset
asideonlyifsuchpleaisthesolebasisofthejudgment.InPeoplev.Oden,
427 SCRA 634 (2004), the Court declared that even if the requirement of
conducting a searching inquiry was not complied with, [t]he manner by
whichthepleaofguiltismadelosesmuchofgreatsignificancewherethe
convictioncanbebasedonindepend

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Peoplevs.Baharan
ent evidence proving the commission by the person accused of the offense
charged. Thus, in People v. Nadera, 324 SCRA 490 (2000), the Court
stated:Convictions based on an improvident plea of guilt are set aside
only if such plea is the sole basis of the judgment. If the trial court
relied on sufficient and credible evidence to convict the accused, the
convictionmustbesustained, because then it is predicated not merely on
theguiltypleaoftheaccusedbutonevidenceprovinghiscommissionofthe
offensecharged.
CriminalLawConspiracyPrincipalsOnewhogaveinstructionsand
training to another on how to make bombscoupled with their careful
planning and persistent attempts to bomb different areas in Metro Manila
and his confirmation that another would be getting TNT from one of the
accusedaspartoftheirmissionmakehimaprincipalbyinducementsince
it is his coinducement which was the determining cause of the commission
ofthecrime.Inthelightoftheforegoingevidence,theCourtupholdsthe
findingofguiltagainstRohmat.Article17oftheRevisedPenalCodereads:
Art.17.Principals.Thefollowingareconsideredprincipals:1.Thosewho
take a direct part in the execution of the act 2. Those who directly force or
induceotherstocommitit3.Thosewhocooperateinthecommissionofthe
offense by another act without which it would not have been accomplished
Accused Rohmat is criminally responsible under the second paragraph, or
theprovisiononprincipalbyinducement.Theinstructionsandtraininghe
hadgivenAsalionhowtomakebombscoupledwiththeircarefulplanning
and persistent attempts to bomb different areas in Metro Manila and
Rohmats confirmation that Trinidad would be getting TNT from Asali as
part of their missionprove the finding that Rohmats coinducement was
the determining cause of the commission of the crime. Such command or
advice [was] of such nature that, without it, the crime would not have
materialized.
Same Same Evidence While it is true that statements made by a
conspiratoragainstacoconspiratorareadmissibleonlywhenmadeduring
the existence of the conspiracy, if the declarant repeats the statement in
court,hisextrajudicialconfessionbecomesajudicialadmission,makingthe
testimony admissible as to both conspirators.Accused contend that the
testimony of Asali is inadmissible pursuant to Sec. 30, Rule 130 of the
RulesofCourt.Itistruethat

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Peoplevs.Baharan

undertherule,statementsmadebyaconspiratoragainstacoconspiratorare
admissibleonlywhenmadeduringtheexistenceoftheconspiracy.However,
as the Court ruled in People v. Buntag, 427 SCRA 180 (2004), if the
declarantrepeatsthestatementincourt,hisextrajudicialconfessionbecomes
a judicial admission, making the testimony admissible as to both
conspirators.Thus,inPeoplev.Palijon, 343 SCRA 486 (2000), the Court
held the following: [W]e must make a distinction between extrajudicial
and judicial confessions. An extrajudicial confession may be given in
evidence against the confessant but not against his coaccused as they are
deprived of the opportunity to crossexamine him. A judicial confession is
admissible against the declarants coaccused since the latter are afforded
opportunitytocrossexaminetheformer.Section30,Rule130oftheRules
of Court applies only to extrajudicial acts or admissions and not to
testimony at trial where the party adversely affected has the
opportunity to crossexamine the declarant. Mercenes admission
implicating his coaccused was given on the witness stand. It is admissible
in evidence against appellant Palijon. Moreover, where several accused are
triedtogetherforthesameoffense,thetestimonyofacoaccusedimplicating
hiscoaccusediscompetentevidenceagainstthelatter.

APPEALfromadecisionoftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
OfficeoftheSolicitorGeneralforplaintiffappellee.
PublicAttorneysOfficeforaccusedappellant.

SERENO,J.:
BeforetheCourtisanappealfromtheDecisionoftheCourtof
Appeals (CA) dated 30 June 2008, which affirmed the Decision of
theRegionalTrialCourtofMakatiCityinCriminalCaseNos.05
476 and 054777 dated 18 October 2005. The latter Decision
convictedthethreeaccusedappellantsnamely,GamalB.Baharan
a.k.a. Tapay, Angelo Trinidad a.k.a. Abu Khalil, and Rohmat
Abdurrohim a.k.a. Abu Jackie or Zakyof the complex crime of
multiplemurderandmultiplefrustratedmurder,andsentencedthem
tosufferthepen

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Peoplevs.Baharan

alty of death by lethal injection. The CA modified the sentence to


reclusion perpetua as required by Republic Act No. 9346 (Act
AbolishingtheImpositionofDeathPenalty).

StatementofFacts

The pertinent facts, as determined by the trial court, are as


follows:
On 14 February 2005, an RRCG bus was plying its usual
southboundroute,fromitsNavotasbusterminaltowardsitsAlabang
bus terminal via Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). Around
6:30 to 7:30 in the evening, while they were about to move out of
the GuadalupeEDSA southbound bus stop, the bus conductor
noticedtwomenrunningafterthebus.Thetwoinsistedongetting
onthebus,sotheconductorobligedandletthemin.
AccordingtoElmerAndales,thebusconductor,heimmediately
becamewaryofthetwomen,because,eveniftheygotonthebus
together, the two sat away from each otherone sat two seats
behindthedriver,whiletheothersatatthebackofthebus.Atthe
time,therewereonly15passengersinsidethebus.Healsonoticed
thattheeyesofoneofthemenwerereddish.Whenheapproached
thepersonnearthedriverandaskedhimwhetherhewaspayingfor
two passengers, the latter looked dumb struck by the question. He
then stuttered and said he was paying for two and gave PhP20.
Andales grew more concerned when the other man seated at the
back also paid for both passengers. At this point, Andales said he
becamemorecertainthatthetwowereuptonogood,andthatthere
mightbeaholdup.
Afterwards, Andales said he became more suspicious because
bothmenkeptonaskinghimifthebuswasgoingtostopatAyala
Avenue.Thewitnessalsonoticedthatthemanatthebackappeared
to be slouching, with his legs stretched out in front of him and his
armshangingoutandhiddenfromviewasifhewastinkeringwith
something.WhenAndales

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162 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Baharan

would get near the man, the latter would glare at him. Andales
admitted,however,thathedidnotreportthesuspiciouscharactersto
thepolice.
As soon as the bus reached the stoplight at the corner of Ayala
Avenue and EDSA, the two men insisted on getting off the bus.
According to Andales, the bus driver initially did not want to let
themoffthebus,becauseaMakatiordinanceprohibitedunloading
anywhereexceptatdesignatedbusstops.Eventually,thebusdriver
gave in and allowed the two passengers to alight. The two
immediately got off the bus and ran towards Ayala Avenue.
Momentsafter,Andalesfeltanexplosion.Hethensawfirequickly
engulfingthebus.Heranoutofthebustowardsanearbymall.After
a while, he went back to where the bus was. He saw their bus
passengerseitherlyingonthegroundorlookingtraumatized.Afew
hours after, he made a statement before the Makati Police Station
narratingthewholeincident.
The prosecution presented documents furnished by the
DepartmentofJustice,confirmingthatshortlybeforetheexplosion,
the spokesperson of the Abu Sayyaf GroupAbu Solaiman
announcedoverradiostationDZBBthatthegrouphadaValentines
DaygiftforformerPresidentGloriaMacapagalArroyo.Afterthe
bombing,heagainwentonradioandwarnedofmorebombattacks.
As stipulated during pretrial, accused Trinidad gave ABSCBN
NewsNetworkanexclusiveinterviewsometimeaftertheincident,
confessing his participation in the Valentines Day bombing
incident. In another exclusive interview on the network, accused
Baharanlikewiseadmittedhisroleinthebombingincident.Finally,
accused Asali gave a television interview, confessing that he had
supplied the explosive devices for the 14 February 2005 bombing.
ThebusconductoridentifiedtheaccusedBaharanandTrinidad,and
confirmedthattheywerethetwomenwhohadenteredtheRRCG
busontheeveningof14February.

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MembersoftheAbuSayyafGroupnamelyKhaddafyJanjalani,
Gamal B. Baharan, Angelo Trinidad, Gappal Bannah Asali, Jainal
Asali, Rohmat Abdurrohim a.k.a. Abu Jackie or Zaky, and other
John and Jane Doeswere then charged with multiple murder
and multiple frustrated murder. Only Baharan, Trinidad, Asali, and
Rohmatwerearrested,whiletheotheraccusedremainatlarge.
On their arraignment for the multiple murder charge (Crim.
CaseNo.05476),Baharan,Trinidad,andAsaliallenteredapleaof
guilty. On the other hand, upon arraignment for the multiple
frustratedmurdercharge(Crim.CaseNo.05477),accusedAsali
pledguilty.AccusedTrinidadandBaharanplednotguilty.Rohmat
pled not guilty to both charges. During the pretrial hearing, the
partiesstipulatedthefollowing:

1.)Thejurisdictionofthiscourtovertheoffensescharged.
2.)That all three accused namely alias Baharan, Trinidad, and Asali
admittedknowingoneanotherbeforeFebruary14,2005.
3.)All the same three accused likewise admitted that a bomb exploded in
theRRCGbuswhilethebuswasplyingtheEDSAroutefrontingtheMRT
terminalwhichisinfrontoftheMakatiCommercialCenter.
4.)AccusedAsaliadmittedknowingtheotheraccusedaliasRohmatwhom
heclaimstaughthimhowtomakeexplosivedevices.
5.)The accused Trinidad also admitted knowing Rohmat before the
February14bombingincident.
6.)The accused Baharan, Trinidad, and Asali all admitted to causing the
bomb explosion inside the RRCG bus which left four people dead and
moreorlessfortypersonsinjured.
7.)Both Baharan and Trinidad agreed to stipulate that within the period
March 2024 each gave separate interviews to the ABSCBN news
network admitting their participation in the commission of the said
crimes,subjectofthesecases.

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Peoplevs.Baharan

8.)AccusedTrinidadandBaharanalsoadmittedtopleadingguiltytothese
crimes, because they were guiltstricken after seeing a man carrying a
childinthefirstbusthattheyhadentered.
9.)Accused Asali likewise admitted that in the middle of March 2005 he
gave a television news interview in which he admitted that he supplied
theexplosivedeviceswhichresultedinthisexplosioninsidetheRRCG
busandwhichresultedinthefilingofthesecharges.
10.)Finally, accused Baharan, Trinidad, and Asali admitted that they are
membersoftheAbuSayyaf.1

In the light of the pretrial stipulations, the trial court asked


whether accused Baharan and Trinidad were amenable to changing
their not guilty pleas to the charge of multiple frustrated
murder,consideringthattheypledguiltytotheheavierchargeof
multiplemurder,creatinganapparentinconsistencyintheirpleas.
Defense counsel conferred with accused Baharan and Trinidad and
explained to them the consequences of the pleas. The two accused
acknowledgedtheinconsistenciesandmanifestedtheirreadinessfor
rearraignment. After the Information was read to them, Baharan
and Trinidad pled guilty to the charge of multiple frustrated
murder.2
After being discharged as state witness, accused Asali testified
that while under training with the Abu Sayyaf in 2004, Rohmat,
a.k.aAbuJackieorZaky,andtwootherpersonstaughthimhowto
makebombsandexplosives.Thetraineesweretoldthattheywereto
wage battles against the government in the city, and that their first
mission was to plant bombs in malls, the Light Railway Transit
(LRT),andotherpartsofMetroManila.
Asfoundbythetrialcourt,Asali,afterhistraining,wasrequired
bytheAbuSayyafleadership,specificallyAbuSo

_______________

1OmnibusDecisionoftheTrialCourtat6,CARolloatp.97.
2TSN,18April2005,at317.

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VOL.639,JANUARY10,2011 165
Peoplevs.Baharan
laiman and Rohmat, to secure eight kilos of TNT, a soldering gun,
aluminum powder, a tester, and Christmas lights, all of which he
knew would be used to make a bomb. He then recalled that
sometimeinNovembertoDecember2004,Trinidadaskedhimfora
totalof4kilosofTNTthatis,2kilosontwoseparateoccasions.
Rohmat allegedly called Asali to confirm that Trinidad would get
TNT from Asali and use it for their first mission. The TNT was
allegedly placed in two buses sometime in December 2004, but
neitheroneofthemexploded.
Asali then testified that the night before the Valentines Day
bombing,TrinidadandBaharangotanothertwokilosofTNTfrom
him.Lateintheeveningof14February,hereceivedacallfromAbu
Solaiman.ThelattertoldAsalinottoleavehomeorgotocrowded
areas, since the TNT taken by Baharan and Trinidad had already
beenexplodedinMakati.Thirtyminuteslater,TrinidadcalledAsali,
repeating the warning of Abu Solaiman. The next day, Asali
allegedly received a call from accused Rohmat, congratulating the
formeronthesuccessofthemission.3AccordingtoAsali,AbuZaky
specificallysaid,Sawakasnagsuccessdinyungtinurokosayo.

AssignmentofErrors

Accusedappellantsraisethefollowingassignmentoferrors:
I.Thetrialcourtgravelyerredinacceptingaccusedappellants
pleaofguiltdespiteinsufficiencyofsearchinginquiryintothe
voluntarinessandfullcomprehensionoftheconsequencesof
thesaidplea.

_______________

3CARolloatp.29.

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166 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Baharan

II.The trial court gravely erred in finding that the guilt of


accusedappellants for the crimes charged had been proven
beyondreasonabledoubt.4
FirstAssignmentofError
Accusedappellants Baharan and Trinidad argue that the trial
court did not conduct a searching inquiry after they had changed
their plea from not guilty to guilty. The transcript of
stenographic notes during the 18 April 2005 rearraignment before
theMakatiRegionalTrialCourtisreproducedbelow:
Court :Anyway, I think what we should have to do, considering the
stipulations that were agreed upon during the last hearing, is to address
thismatterofpleasofnotguiltyenteredforthefrustratedmurdercharges
by the two accused, Mr. Trinidad and Mr. Baharan, because if you will
recalltheyenteredpleasofguiltytothemultiplemurdercharges,butthen
earlierpleasofnotguiltyforthefrustratedmultiplemurdercharges
remain[I]sthatnotinconsistentconsideringthestipulationsthatwere
enteredintoduringtheinitialpretrialofthiscase?[If]youwillrecall,they
admitted to have caused the bomb explosion that led to the death of at
leastfourpeopleandinjuryofaboutfortyotherpersonsandsounderthe
circumstances, Atty Pea, have you discussed this matter with your
clients?

Atty.Pea:Thenweshouldbegivenenoughtimetotalkwiththem.Ihavent
conferredwith

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4BrieffortheAccusedAppellantsat12,CARolloat7374.

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Peoplevs.Baharan

themaboutthiswithregardtothemultiplemurdercase.

Court:Okay.Soletusproceednow.Atty.Pea,canyouassistthetwoaccused
becauseiftheyareinterestedinwithdrawingtheir[pleas],Iwanttohearit
fromyourlips.
Atty.Pea:Yes,yourHonor.
(Atthisjuncture,Atty.Peaconferswiththetwoaccused,namelyTrinidad
andBaharan)
I have talked to them, your Honor, and I have explained to them the
consequenceoftheirpleas,yourHonor,andthatthepleaofguilttothe
murder case and plea of not guilty to the frustrated multiple murder
actuallyareinconsistentwiththeirpleas.
Court:Withmattersthattheystipulatedupon?
Atty.Pea:Yes,yourHonor.So,theyarenow,sincetheyalreadypleadguiltto
themurdercase,thentheyarenowchangingtheirpleas,yourHonor,from
not guilty to the one of guilt. They are now ready, your Honor, for re
arraignment.

INTERPRETER:(Readagainthatportion[oftheinformation]andtranslatedit
inFilipinoinaclearerwayandaskedbothaccusedwhattheirpleasare).
YourHonor,bothaccusedareenteringseparatepleasofguilttothecrime
charged.
COURT:All right. So after the information was reread to the accused, they
have withdrawn their pleas of not guilty and changed it to the pleas of
guilty to the charge of frustrated murder. Thank you. Are there any
mattersyouneedtoaddressatpretrial

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Peoplevs.Baharan

now? If there are none, then I will terminate pretrial and


accommodate5

AsearlyasinPeoplev.Apduhan,the Supreme Court has ruled


thatalltrialjudgesmustrefrainfromacceptingwithalacrityan
accuseds plea of guilty, for while justice demands a speedy
administration,judgesaredutyboundtobeextrasolicitousinseeing
to it that when an accused pleads guilty, he understands fully the
meaning of his plea and the import of an inevitable conviction.6
Thus, trial court judges are required to observe the following
procedureunderSection3,Rule116oftheRulesofCourt:

SEC.3.Pleaofguiltytocapitaloffensereceptionofevidence.Whenthe
accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a
searchinginquiryinto the voluntariness and full comprehension of the
consequencesofhispleaandshallrequiretheprosecutiontoprovehisguilt
andtheprecisedegreeofculpability.Theaccusedmayalsopresentevidence
inhisbehalf.(Emphasissupplied)

Therequirementtoconductasearchinginquiryappliesmoreso
incasesofrearraignment.InPeoplev.Galvez,theCourtnotedthat
since accusedappellants original plea was not guilty, the trial
court should have exerted careful effort in inquiring into why he
changedhispleatoguilty.7AccordingtotheCourt:

The stringent procedure governing the reception of a plea of guilt,


especially in a case involving the death penalty, is imposed upon the trial
judgeinordertoleavenoroomfordoubtonthepossibilitythat

_______________

5TSN,18April2005,at34,1415.
6Peoplev.Apduhan,G.R.No.L19491,30August1968,24SCRA798.
7Peoplev.Galvez, G.R. No. 135053, 6 March 2002, 378 SCRA 389 see alsoPeoplev.
Chua,G.R.No.137841,1October2001,366SCRA283.

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the accused might have misunderstood the nature of the charge and the
consequencesoftheplea.8

Likewise,therequirementtoconductasearchinginquiryshould
notbedeemedsatisfiedincasesinwhichitwasthedefensecounsel
whoexplainedtheconsequencesofaguiltypleatotheaccused,as
itappearsinthiscase.InPeoplev.Alborida, this Court found that
therewasstillanimprovidentpleaofguilty,eveniftheaccusedhad
already signified in open court that his counsel had explained the
consequencesoftheguiltypleathatheunderstoodtheexplanation
ofhiscounselthattheaccusedunderstoodthatthepenaltyofdeath
would still be meted out to him and that he had not been
intimidated,bribed,orthreatened.9
We have reiterated in a long line of cases that the conduct of a
searchinginquiryremainsthedutyofjudges,astheyaremandated
by the rules to satisfy themselves that the accused had not been
under coercion or duress mistaken impressions or a
misunderstanding of the significance, effects, and consequences of
theirguiltyplea.10Thisrequirementisstringentandmandatory.11
Nevertheless, we are not unmindful of the context under which
the rearraignment was conducted or of the factual milieu
surrounding the finding of guilt against the accused. The Court
observes that accused Baharan and Trinidad previously pled guilty
to another chargemultiple murderbased on the same act relied
uponinthemultiplefrustrated

_______________

8Peoplev.Galvez,G.R.No.135053,6March2002,378SCRA389,citingPeople
v.Magat,332SCRA517,526(2000).
9Peoplev.Alborida,G.R.No.136382,25June2001,359SCRA495.
10 People v. Dayot, G.R. No. 88281, 20 July 1990, 187 SCRA 637 People v.
Alborida,G.R.No.136382,25June2001,359SCRA495,citingPeoplev.Sevilleno,
305SCRA519(1999)
11Peoplev.Galvez,G.R.No.135053,6March2002,378SCRA389.

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Peoplevs.Baharan

murder charge. The Court further notes that prior to the change of
pleatooneofguilt,accusedBaharanandTrinidadmadetwoother
confessions of guiltone through an extrajudicial confession
(exclusive television interviews, as stipulated by both accused
during pretrial), and the other via judicial admission (pretrial
stipulation). Considering the foregoing circumstances, we deem it
unnecessarytoruleonthesufficiencyofthesearchinginquiryin
this instance. Remanding the case for rearraignment is not
warranted,astheaccusedspleaofguiltwasnotthesolebasisofthe
condemnatoryjudgmentunderconsideration.12
SecondAssignmentofError
In People v. Oden, the Court declared that even if the
requirement of conducting a searching inquiry was not complied
with, [t]he manner by which the plea of guilt is made loses
much of great significance where the conviction can be based on
independent evidence proving the commission by the person
accused of the offense charged.13 Thus, in People v. Nadera, the
Courtstated:

Convictionsbasedonanimprovidentpleaofguiltaresetasideonlyif
such plea is the sole basis of the judgment. If the trial court relied on
sufficient and credible evidence to convict the accused, the conviction
must be sustained, because then it is predicated not merely on the guilty
plea of the accused but on evidence proving his commission of the offense
charged.14(Emphasissupplied.)

Intheirsecondassignmentoferror,accusedappellantsassertthat
guiltwasnotprovenbeyondreasonabledoubt.They

_______________

12Peoplev.Alborida,G.R.No.136382,25June2001,359SCRA495.
13 People v. Oden, G.R. Nos. 15551122, 14 April 2004, 427 SCRA 634, citing
Peoplev.Galas,354SCRA722(2001).
14Peoplev.Nadera,G.R.Nos.13138487,2February2000,324SCRA490.

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pointed out that the testimony of the conductor was merely


circumstantial, while that of Asali as to the conspiracy was
insufficient.
Insofar as accusedappellants Baharan and Trinidad are
concerned, the evidence for the prosecution, in addition to that
whichcanbedrawnfromthestipulationoffacts,primarilyconsisted
of the testimonies of the bus conductor, Elmer Andales, and of the
accusedturnedstatewitness, Asali. Andales positively identified
accused Baharan and Trinidad as the two men who had acted
suspiciouslywhileinsidethebuswhohadinsistedongettingoffthe
bus in violation of a Makati ordinance and who had scampered
awayfromthebusmomentsbeforethebombexploded.Ontheother
hand,AsalitestifiedthathehadgivenaccusedBaharanandTrinidad
theTNTusedinthebombingincidentinMakatiCity.Theguiltof
the accused Baharan and Trinidad was sufficiently established by
these corroborating testimonies, coupled with their respective
judicial admissions (pretrial stipulations) and extrajudicial
confessions(exclusivetelevisioninterviews,astheybothstipulated
during pretrial) that they were indeed the perpetrators of the
Valentines Day bombing.15 Accordingly, the Court upholds the
findingsofguiltmadebythetrialcourtasaffirmedbytheCourtof
Appeals.
Anent accused Rohmat, the evidence for the prosecution
consisted of the testimony of accusedturnedstatewitness Asali.
Below is a reproduction of the transcript of stenographic notes on
the state prosecutors direct examination of statewitness Asali
duringthe26May2005trial:
Q:YoustatedthatZakytrainedyouandTrinidad.Underwhatcircumstancesdid
hetrainyou,Mr.Witness,toassemblethoseexplosives,youandTrinidad?

_______________

15 Alano v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 111244, 15 December 1997, 283 SCRA 269, citing People v.

Hernandez,260SCRA25(1996).

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Peoplevs.Baharan

A:Abu Zaky, Abu Solaiman, Khadaffy Janjalani, the three of them, that Angelo
Trinidadandmyselfbetheonetobetrainedtomakeanexplosive,sir.
Q:Mr.witness,howlongthattraining,orhowlongdidittakethattraining?
A:IfIamnotmistaken,wewerethoughttomakebombaboutonemonthandtwo
weeks.

Q:Now,speakingofthatmission,Mr.witness,whileyouwerestillintrainingat
Mr.Cararao,isthereanymissionthatyouundertook,ifany,withrespecttothat
mission?

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

The witness then testified that he kept eight kilos of TNT for
accusedBaharanandTrinidad.
Q:Now,goingbacktothebomb.Mr.witness,didyouknowwhathappenedtothe
2kilosofbombthatTrinidadandTapaytookfromyousometimeinNovember
2004?
A:ThatwastheexplosivethatheplantedintheGliner,whichdidnotexplode.
Q:Howdidyouknow,Mr.witness?
A:Hewastheonewhotoldme,Mr.AngeloTrinidad,sir.

Q:Whathappenednext,Mr.witness,whenthebombdidnotexplode,astoldto
youbyTrinidad?
A:OnDecember29,AngeloTrinidadgot2morekilosofTNTbombs.

Q:DidTrinidadtellyouwhyheneededanotheramountofexplosiveonthatdate,
December29,2004?Willyoukindlytellusthereasonwhy?

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16TSN,26May2005,at2436.

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

Q:Werethereanyotherperson,besidesAbuSolaiman,whocalledyouup,with
respecttothetakingoftheexplosivesfromyou?
A:Thereis,sirAbuZaky,sir,calledupalso.
Q:WhatdidAbuZakytellyouwhenhecalledyouup?
A:Hetoldmethatthisisyourfirstmission.
Q:PleaseenlightentheHonorableCourt.Whatisthatmissionyouarereferringto?
A:ThatisthefirstmissionwherewecanshowourangertowardstheChristians.

Q:Thesecondtimethathegotabombfromyou,Mr.witness,doyouknowifthe
bombexplode?
A: I did not know what happened to the next 2 kilos taken by Angelo Trinidad
from me until after I was caught, because I was told by the policeman that
interviewedmeafterIwasarrestedthatthe2kiloswereplantedinabus,which
alsodidnotexplode.
Q:So besides these two incidents, were there any other incidents that Angelo
TrinidadandTapaygetanexplosiveforyou,Mr.witness?

A:IfIamnotmistaken,sir,onFebruary13,2005at6:30p.m.
Q:WhogotfromyoutheexplosiveMr.witness?
A:ItsAngeloTrinidadandTapay,sir.

Q:Howmanyexplosivesdidtheygetfromyou,Mr.witness,atthattime?
A:Theygot2kilosTNTbomb,sir.
Q:Didtheytellyou,Mr.witness,wherearetheygoingtousethatexplosive?
A:No,sir.

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174 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Baharan

Q:Do you know, Mr. witness, what happened to the third batch of explosives,
whichweretakenfromyoubyTrinidadandTapay?

A:ThatisthebombthatexplodedinMakati,sir.
Q:Whydidyouknow,Mr.witness?
A:BecauseIwascalledintheeveningofFebruary14byAbuSolaiman.Hetold
menottoleavethehousebecausetheexplosivethatweretakenbyTapayand
AngeloTrinidadexploded.

Q:Wasthereanyothercallduringthattime,Mr.Witness?

A:IwastoldbyAngeloTrinidadnottoleavethehousebecausetheexplosivethat
hetookexplodedalready,sir.
Q:Howsurewereyou,Mr.witness,atthattime,thatindeed,thebombexploded
atMakati,besidethecallofAbuSolaimanandTrinidad?
A:ItwastoldbyAbuSolaimanthatthebombinginMakatishouldcoincidewith
thebombinginGeneralSantos.

A:Hetoldittome,sirIcannotrememberthedateanymore,butIknowitwas
sometimeinFebruary2005.
Q:Anyothercall,Mr.witness,fromAbuSolaimanandTrinidadafterthebombing
explodedinMakati,anyothercall?

A:Thereis,sirThecallcamefromAbuZaky.
Q:WhatdidAbuZakytellyou,Mr.witness?
A:Hejustgreeteduscongratulations,becausewehaveasuccessfulmission.

A:Hetoldmethatsawakas,nagsuccessdinyungtinurokosayo.

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Peoplevs.Baharan

Q:Bytheway,Mr.witness,Iwouldjustliketoclarifythis.YoustatedthatAbu
Zakycalledyouupthefollowingday,thatwasFebruary15,andcongratulating
you for the success of the mission. My question to you, Mr. witness, if you
knowwhatistherelationofthatmission,whereinyou were congratulated by
Abu Zaky, to the mission, which have been indoctrinated to you, while you
wereinMt.Cararao,Mr.witness?
A:Theyareconnected,sir.
Q:Connectedinwhatsense,Mr.witness?
A:Becausewhenwewereundergoingtraining,weweretoldthattheAbuSayyaf
shouldnotwagewartotheforest,butalsowageourbattlesinthecity.
Q:Wagethebattleagainstwho,Mr.witness?
A:Thegovernment,sir.17
WhatcanbeculledfromthetestimonyofAsaliisthattheAbu
SayyafGroupwasdeterminedtosowterrorinMetroManila,sothat
they could show their anger towards the Christians.18 It can also
beseenthatRohmat,togetherwithJanjalaniandAbuSolaiman,had
carefully planned the Valentines Day bombing incident, months
beforeithappened.RohmathadtrainedAsaliandTrinidadtomake
bombsandexplosives.Whileintraining,Asaliandothersweretold
that their mission was to plant bombs in malls, the LRT, and other
partsofMetroManila.AccordingtoAsali,Rohmatcalledhimon29
December 2004 to confirm that Trinidad would get two kilos of
TNT from Asali, as they were about to commence their first
mission.19 They made two separate attempts to bomb a bus in
Metro Manila, but to no avail. The day before the Valentines Day
bombing, Trinidad got another two kilos of TNT from Asali. On
Valentines Day, the Abu Sayyaf Group announced that they had a
gift for the former President, Gloria MacapagalArroyo. On their
thirdtry,theirplanfinally

_______________

17Id.,atpp.2451.
18Id.,atp.36.
19Id.,atpp.2451.

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176 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Baharan

succeeded. Right after the bomb exploded, the Abu Sayyaf Group
declaredthattherewouldbemorebombingsinthefuture.Asalithen
received a call from Rohmat, praising the former: Sa wakas nag
successdinyungtinurokosayo.20
In the light of the foregoing evidence, the Court upholds the
finding of guilt against Rohmat. Article 17 of the Revised Penal
Codereads:

Art.17.Principals.Thefollowingareconsideredprincipals:
1.Thosewhotakeadirectpartintheexecutionoftheact
2.Thosewhodirectlyforceorinduceotherstocommitit
3.Those who cooperate in the commission of the offense by another act
withoutwhichitwouldnothavebeenaccomplished.

Accused Rohmat is criminally responsible under the second


paragraph, or the provision on principal by inducement. The
instructionsandtraininghehadgivenAsalionhowtomakebombs
coupled with their careful planning and persistent attempts to
bomb different areas in Metro Manila and Rohmats confirmation
that Trinidad would be getting TNT from Asali as part of their
missionprove the finding that Rohmats coinducement was the
determining cause of the commission of the crime.21 Such
commandoradvice[was]ofsuchnaturethat,withoutit,thecrime
wouldnothavematerialized.22
Further, the inducement was so influential in producing the
criminal act that without it, the act would not have been
performed.23InPeoplev.Sanchez,etal.,theCourtruledthat,

_______________

20Id.,atp.49.
21SeegenerallyU.S.v.Indanan,24Phil.203(1913)Peoplev.KiichiOmine, 61
Phil.609(1935).
22Peoplev.Cruz,G.R.No.74048,14November1990,191SCRA377,385.
23 L B. R, T R P C: C LB O, 529
(2008).

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Peoplevs.Baharan

notwithstandingthefactthatMayorSanchezwasnotatthecrime
scene,evidenceprovedthathewasthemastermindofthecriminal
act or the principal by inducement. Thus, because Mayor Sanchez
was a coprincipal and coconspirator, and because the act of one
conspiratoristheactofall,themayorwasrenderedliableforallthe
resultingcrimes.24Thesamefindingmustbeappliedtothecaseat
bar.
TheCourtalsoaffirmsthefindingoftheexistenceofconspiracy
involvingaccusedBaharan,Trinidad,andRohmat.Conspiracywas
clearly established from the collective acts of the accused
appellantsbefore,duringandafterthecommissionofthecrime.As
correctlydeclaredbythetrialcourtinitsOmnibusDecision:

Asalisclearandcategoricaltestimony,whichremainsunrebuttedonits
major points, coupled with the judicial admissions freely and voluntarily
given by the two other accused, are sufficient to prove the existence of a
conspiracyhatchedbetweenandamongthefouraccused,allmembersofthe
terroristgroupAbuSayyaf,towreakchaosandmayheminthemetropolisby
indiscriminatelykillingandinjuringcivilianvictimsbyutilizingbombsand
othersimilardestructiveexplosivedevices.
While said conspiracy involving the four malefactors has not been
expresslyadmittedbyaccusedBaharan,AngeloTrinidad,andRohmat,more
specificallywithrespecttothelattersparticipationinthecommissionofthe
crimes, nonetheless it has been established by virtue of the aforementioned
evidence, which established the existence of the conspiracy itself and the
indispensable participation of accused Rohmat in seeing to it that the
conspiratorscriminaldesignwouldberealized.
Itiswellestablishedthatconspiracymaybeinferredfromtheactsofthe
accused,whichclearlymanifestsaconcurrenceofwills,acommonintentor
design to commit a crime (People v. Lenantud, 352 SCRA 544). Hence,
where acts of the accused collectively and individually demonstrate the
existenceofacommondesigntowardsthe

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24Peoplev.Sanchez,etal.,G.R.No.131116,27August1999,313SCRA254.

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178 SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Peoplevs.Baharan

accomplishmentofthesameunlawfulpurpose,conspiracyisevidentandall
the perpetrators will be held liable as principals (People v. Ellado, 353
SCRA643).25

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


justifiedinconcludingthatthedefendantsthereinwereengagedina
conspiracy when the defendants by their acts aimed at the same
object, one performing one part and the other performing another
partsoastocompleteit,withaviewtotheattainmentofthesame
object and their acts, though apparently independent, were in fact
concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal
association,concertedactionandconcurrenceofsentiments.26
Accused contend that the testimony of Asali is inadmissible
pursuant to Sec. 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. It is true that
under the rule, statements made by a conspirator against a co
conspiratorareadmissibleonlywhenmadeduringtheexistenceof
theconspiracy.However,astheCourtruledinPeoplev.Buntag, if
the declarant repeats the statement in court, his extrajudicial
confession becomes a judicial admission, making the testimony
admissibleastobothconspirators.27Thus,inPeople v. Palijon, the
Courtheldthefollowing:

[W]e must make a distinction between extrajudicial and judicial


confessions. An extrajudicial confession may be given in evidence against
the confessant but not against his coaccused as they are deprived of the
opportunity to crossexamine him. A judicial confession is admissible
againstthedeclarantscoaccusedsincethelatterareaffordedopportunityto
crossexamine the former. Section 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court
appliesonlytoextrajudicial

_______________
25OmnibusDecisionoftheTrialCourtat6,CARolloatp.123.
26Peoplev.Geronimo, G.R. No. L35700, 15 October 1973, 53 SCRA 246, 254, citing
Peoplev.Cabrera,43Phil.64,66(1922)Peoplev.Carbonell,48Phil.868(1926).
27Peoplev.Buntag,G.R.No.123070,14April2004,427SCRA180seealsoPeoplev.
Palijon,343SCRA486(2000).

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Peoplevs.Baharan

acts or admissions and not to testimony at trial where the party


adversely affected has the opportunity to crossexamine the declarant.
Mercenes admission implicating his coaccused was given on the witness
stand. It is admissible in evidence against appellant Palijon. Moreover,
whereseveralaccusedaretriedtogetherforthesameoffense,thetestimony
ofacoaccusedimplicatinghiscoaccusediscompetentevidenceagainstthe
latter.28

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the


RegionalTrialCourtofMakati,asaffirmedwithmodificationbythe
CourtofAppeals,isherebyAFFIRMED.
SOORDERED.

CarpioMorales (Chairperson), Brion, Bersamin and


Villarama,Jr.,JJ.,concur.

Appealdenied.

Notes.It bears to note that a searching inquiry must focus on


the voluntariness of the plea and the full comprehension of the
consequences of the plea. (People vs. Aranzado, 365 SCRA 649
[2001])
Theprocedureismandatoryandajudgewhofailstoobserveit
commits grave abuse of discretion. (People vs. Chua, 366 SCRA
283[2001])
o0o

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28People v. Palijon, G.R. No. 123545, 18 October 2000, 343 SCRA 486, citing
People v. Flores, 195 SCRA 295, 308 (1991) People v. Ponce, 197 SCRA 746, 755
(1991).
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