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V.

Presentation

Testimonial

Section 36, Rule 130

SEC. 36. Objection. Objection to evidence offered orally must be made


immediately after the offer is made.

Objection to a question propounded in the course of the oral examination of a


witness shall be made as soon as the grounds therefor shall become reasonably
apparent.

An offer of evidence in writing shall be objected to within three (3) days after
notice of the offer unless the court allows a different period.

In any case, the grounds for the objections must be specified. (36a)

Sections 1-18, Rule 132

PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE A. EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES

SECTION 1. Examination to be done in open court. The examination of


witnesses presented in a trial or hearing shall be done in open court, and under
oath or affirmation. Unless the witness is incapacitated to speak, or the
question calls for a different mode of answer, the answers of the witness shall be
given orally. (1a)

SEC. 2. Proceedings to be recorded. The entire proceedings of a trial or


hearing, including the questions propounded to a witness and his answers
thereto, the statements made by the judge or any of the parties, counsel, or
witnesses with reference to the case, shall be recorded by means of shorthand or
stenotype or by other means of recording found suitable by the court.

A transcript of the record of the proceedings made by the official stenographer,


steno typist or recorder and certified as correct by him shall be deemed prima
facie a correct statement of such proceedings.(2a)

Sec. 3 . Rights and obligations of a witness. A witness must answer questions,


although his answer may tend to establish a claim against him. However, it is the
right of a witness:

(1)To be protected from irrelevant, improper, or insulting questions, and from


harsh or insulting demeanor;

(2)Not to be detained longer than the interests of justice require;

(3)Not to be examined except only as to matters pertinent to the issue;


(4) Not to give an answer which will tend to subject him to a penalty for an
offense unless otherwise provided by law; or

(5) Not to give an answer which will tend to degrade his reputation, unless it to be
the very fact at issue or to a fact from which the fact in issue would be presumed.
But a witness must answer to the fact of his previous final conviction for an
offense. (3a, 19a)

SEC. 4. Order in the examination of an individual witness. The order in which


an individual witness may be examined is as follows:

(a) Direct examination by the proponent;


(b) Cross-examination by the opponent;
(c) Re-direct examination by the proponent;
(d) Re-cross-examination by the opponent.(4)

SEC. 5. Direct examination.Direct examination is the examination-in-chief of a


witness by the party presenting him on the facts relevant to the issue.(5a)

SEC. 6. Cross-examination; its purpose and extent.Upon the termination of the


direct examination, the witness may be cross-examined by the adverse party as
to any matters stated in the direct examination, or connected therewith, with
sufficient fullness

SEC. 7. Re-direct examination; its purpose and extent.After the cross-


examination of the witness has been concluded, he may be re-examined by the
party calling him, to explain or supplement his answers given during the cross-
examination. On re-direct examination, questions on matters not dealt with during
the cross- examination, may be allowed by the court in its discretion.(12)

SEC. 8. Re-cross-examination. Upon the conclusion of the re-direct


examination, the adverse party may re-cross-examine the witness on matters
stated in his re-direct examination, and also on such other matters as may be
allowed by the court in its discretion.(13)

SEC. 9. Recalling witness. After the examination of a witness by both sides


has been concluded, the witness cannot be recalled without leave of the
court. The court will grant or withhold leave in its discretion, as the interests of
justice may required 14)

SEC. 10. Leading and misleading questions. A question which suggests to the
witness the answer, which the examining party desires, is a leading question. It is
not allowed, except:

(a) On cross examination;

(b) On preliminary matters;

(c) When there is difficulty in getting direct and intelligible answers from a witness
who is ignorant, or a child of tender years, or is of feeble mind, or a deaf- mute;
(d) Of an unwilling or hostile witness; or

(e) Of a witness who is an adverse party or an officer, director, or managing


agent of a public or private corporation or of a partnership or association which is
an adverse party.

A misleading question is one, which assumes as true a fact not yet testified to by
the witness, or contrary to that which he has previously stated. It is not allowed.
(5a, 6a, and 8a)

SEC. 11. Impeachment of adverse party's witness. A witness may be


impeached by the party against whom he was called, by contradictory evidence,
by evidence that his general reputation for truth, honesty, or integrity is bad, or by
evidence that he has made at other times statements inconsistent with his
present testimony, but not by evidence of particular wrongful acts, except that it
may be shown by the examination of the witness, or the record of the judgment,
that he has been convicted of an offense.(15)

SEC. 12. Party may not impeach his own witness. Except with respect to
witnesses referred to in paragraphs (d) and (e) of Section 10, the party producing
a witness is not allowed to impeach his credibility.

(d) Of an unwilling or hostile witness; or

(e) Of a witness who is an adverse party or an officer, director, or managing


agent of a public or private corporation or of a partnership or association which is
an adverse party.

A witness may be considered as unwilling or hostile only if so declared by the


courtupon adequate showing of his adverse interest, unjustified reluctance to
testify, or his having misled the party into calling him to the witness stand.

The unwilling or hostile witness so declared, or the witness who is an adverse


party, may be impeached by the party presenting him in all respects as if he had
been called by the adverse party, except by evidence of his bad character. He
may also be impeached and cross-examined by the adverse party, but such
cross-examination must only be on the subject matter of his examination-in-chief.
(6a, 7a)

SEC. 13. How witness impeached by evidence of inconsistent statements.


Before a witness can be impeached by evidence that he has made at other times
statements inconsistent with his present testimony, the statements must be
related to him, with the circumstances of the times and places and the persons
present, and he must be asked whether he made such statements, and if so,
allowed to explain them. If the statements be in writing they must be shown to the
witness before any question is put to him concerning them.(16)

SEC. 14. Evidence of good character of witness. Evidence of the good


character of a witness is not admissible until such character has been
impeached.( 17)
SEC. 15. Exclusion and separation of witnesses.On any trial or hearing, the
judge may exclude from the court any witness not at the time under examination,
so that he may not hear the testimony of other witnesses. The judge may also
cause witnesses to be kept separate and to be prevented from conversing with
one another until all shall have been examined.(18)

SEC. 16. When witness may refer to memorandum.A witness may be allowed
to refresh his memory respecting a fact, by anything written or recorded by
himself or under his direction at the time when the fact occurred, or immediately
thereafter, or at any other time when the fact was fresh in his memory and he
knew that the same was correctly written or recorded; but in such case the
writing or record must be produced and may be inspected by the adverse party,
who may, if he chooses, cross-examine the witness upon it, and may read it in
evidence. So, also, a witness may testify from such a writing or record, though he
retain no recollection of the particular facts, if he is able to swear that the writing
or record correctly stated the transaction when made; but such evidence must be
received with caution.(10a)

SEC. 17. When part of transaction, writing or record given in evidence, the
remainder admissible.When part of an act, declaration, conversation, writing or
record is given in evidence by one party, the whole of the same subject may be
inquired into by the other, and when a detached act, declaration, conversation,
writing or record is given in evidence, any other act, declaration, conversation,
writing or record necessary to its understanding may also be given in evidence.
(11a)

SEC. 18. Right to inspect writing shown to witness.Whenever a writing is


shown to a witness, it may be inspected by the adverse party.(9a)

Rights / Obligations of the Witness


Section 3, Rule 132

Sec. 3. Rights and obligations of a witness. A witness must answer questions,


although his answer may tend to establish a claim against him. However, it is the
right of a witness:

(1) To be protected from irrelevant, improper, or insulting questions, and


from harsh or insulting demeanor;

(2) Not to be detained longer than the interests of justice require;

(3) Not to be examined except only as to matters pertinent to the issue;

(4) Not to give an answer which will tend to subject him to a penalty for an
offense unless otherwise provided by law; or

(5) Not to give an answer which will tend to degrade his reputation, unless
it to be the very fact at issue or to a fact from which the fact in issue would
be presumed. But a witness must answer to the fact of his previous final
conviction for an offense. (3a, 19a)

Qualified By

Bachrach Motor Co., Inc. v. Court of Industrial Relations

Petitioner: "Bachrach Transportation Co., Inc.", now petitioner in this case, was in the
transportation business and operated what was then known as the "Rural Transit". In
that year the Rural Transit Employees Association went on strike and the dispute
between the management and the union reached the Court of Industrial Relations for
compulsory arbitration. The case was docketed as Case No. 22- IPA entitled: Rural
Transit Employees Association vs. Bachrach Motor Co., and Bachrach Transportation
Co.

Respondent: The Court of Industrial Relations (CIR for short) immediately issued an
order on August 7, 1958 by which the strikers were ordered to return to work and the
management to take them back under the terms and conditions existing before the
dispute arose.

While this labor dispute was pending with the CIR Bachrach filed a "Petition for Authority
to discharge driver Maximo Jacob from the service". The reasons given for the petition
were alleged violations of the Motor Vehicle Law by Maximo Jacob resulting in damage
to property and injuries to third parties, the latest of which occurred on June 9, 1961
resulting in the "total destruction of bus 170" of the company.

An "Answer and Counter-Petition" was filed in behalf of Maximo Jacob by the Rural
Transit Employees Association whereby it denied the charges and alleged that the June
9, 1961 accident was due to a mechanical defect of the bus which was beyond the
control of the driver Jacob, hence, the latter's suspension from the service was not
justified.

The petition of Bacharach docketed as Case No. 22-IPA (11) was heard on January 23,
1963, during which petitioner presented its one and only witness, Mr. Joseph Kaplin,
general manager of Rural Transit, and various documents marked as Exhibits "1" to "8-
F" inclusive. After Mr. Kaplin, concluded his direct testimony, with agreement of the
parties, the hearing was scheduled for another date for purposes of cross-examination of
the witness. The case was reset on various dates but Mr. Kaplin failed to appear
because he had left for abroad.

Sometime on March 8 1965, the employee's association filed a motion praying that:

(a) the testimony of Mr. Joseph Kaplin be stricken from the records
(b) the petition of the Company for authority to dismiss Maximo Jacob from the
service be denied: and
(c) the Company be ordered to reinstate Maximo Jacob immediately with back
wages from June 9, 1961 up to the date of his actual reinstatement.
In an order dated March 1, 1966, the CIR through then Presiding Judge Arsenio I.
Martinez dismissed the company's petition, lifted the suspension of driver Jacob, and
ordered his reinstatement with back wages from the date of his suspension up to his
actual reinstatement.

Issue: Whether the striking off of the testimony was valid?

YES. Respondent court did not err in ordering the dismissal of Bachrach's petition to
discharge Maximo Jacob. Petitioner presented only one witness, Joseph Kaplin to prove
its case against driver Jacob. The witness failed however to appear at the scheduled
hearings for his cross-examination for the simple reason that he left for abroad.
Having been deprived, without fault on its part, of its right to cross-examine Kaplin,
respondent association was entitled to have the direct testimony of the witness
stricken off the record.

The right of a party to confront and cross-examine opposing witnesses in a judicial


litigation, be it criminal or civil in nature, or in proceedings before administrative tribunals
with quasi-judicial powers, is fundamental right, which is part of due process. (Savory
Luncheonette v. Lakas ng Manggagawang Pilipino, et al., 1975, 62 SCRA 258)

In Ortigas Jr. v. Luftansa German Airlines, 1975, defendant's witness failed to appear
at the continuation of hearing during which the witness was to be cross-examined
by plaintiff's counsel. The trial court denied defendant's motion for postponement and
ordered the unfinished testimony of the witness Lazzari stricken off the record. In
sustaining said order, this Court held inter alia:

Oral testimony may be taken into account only when it is complete, that is, if
the witness has been wholly cross-examined by the adverse party or the right to
cross-examine is lost wholly or in part thru the fault of such adverse party. But
when cross-examination is not and cannot be done or completed due to causes
attributable to the party offering the witness, the uncompleted testimony is thereby
rendered incompetent.

The right of a party to cross-examine the witness of his adversary is


invaluable as it is inviolable in civil cases, no less than the right of the accused in
criminal cases. The express recognition of such right of the accused in the Constitution
does not render the right thereto of parties in civil cases less constitutionally based, for it
is an indispensable part of the due process guaranteed by the fundamental law. ... Until
such cross-examination has been finished, the testimony of the witness cannot be
considered as complete and may not, therefore, be allowed to form part of the evidence
to be considered by the court in deciding the case. (64 SCRA 610, 636- 637; emphasis
supplied)

Parenthetically, the situation in Savory Luncheonette v. Lakas ng


Manggagawang Pilipino, et al., supra, was different. There, the witness, Atty. Morabe,
had finished his direct testimony and he was ready and available for cross-
examination. Motions for postponement of the cross-examination were made however
by the adverse counsel from time to time until one day Atty. Morabe succumbed to a
fatal heart attack without the cross-examination having been accomplished.
On motion of the respondents the Court of Industrial Relations ordered the
testimony of Atty. Morabe deleted from the record.

On a petition for certiorari by Savory Luncheonette, this Court set aside the order
and held that by their own actuations, respondents were considered to have
impliedly waived and thereupon lost their right to cross-examine the witness, for
such a right may be forfeited by a party litigant through his own conduct.

Petitioner contends however that it was ready to present another witness, Mrs.
Ursula Silva, to Identify the documents, Exhibits "1" to "8-F", but it did not proceed to call
the witness for the reason that during the hearing of January 16, 1965, respondent's
counsel, Atty. Santiago, manifested that he was admitting the signatures of Joseph
Kaplin on the aforesaid documents.

However true that may be, what Atty. Santiago admitted merely was the
signature of Mr. Kaplin and not the truth of the contents of the documents. 9 The
opposing party was still entitled to cross-examine the witness on the matters written on
Exhibits "1" to "8-F" especially if they adversely affected the substantial rights of the
party against whom they were being presented, namely, driver Maximo Jacob.

When Atty. Santiago admitted that the signature appearing in Exhibits "1" to "8-F"
was that of witness Kaplin, the counsel of petitioner then, Atty. Joven Enrile, should have
inquired if the party was admitting likewise the veracity of the contents of the documents;
not having done so, petitioner must now suffer the consequences. Exhibits "1" to "8-F"
were admitted by respondent court only for "whatever they may be worth."

Evaluating them, however, it did not consider said documents, and rightly so, as
competent proof of the truthfulness of their contents without the supporting testimony of
witness Kaplin. As stated in the order under review "(N)o other witness was presented by
respondent company (now petitioner) to testify on the intrinsic value of those exhibits";
consequently, they are hearsay. Inasmuch as the testimony of Joseph Kaplin is stricken
off the record and the contents of Exhibits "1" to "8-F" are hearsay, and there is no other
evidence which substantiates the charges against Maximo Jacob, the dismissal of the
company's petition to discharge Jacob from its service is in order.

2. No error was committed when the CIR, without receiving evidence, granted
relief to private respondent herein on its counter-petition. At the time Bachrach filed its
petition to discharge Maximo Jacob, there was a pending labor dispute in the CIR
between the company and the employee's union. The CIR ordered the strikers to return
to work. The company in the meantime suspended its driver Maximo Jacob after the
alleged June 9, 1961 accident.

Considering the dismissal of Bachrach's petition to discharge Maximo Jacob, the


lifting of the latter's suspension and his reinstatement in the service were but a
necessary consequence thereof. For obvious reasons, the relief could be granted
without need of evidence. The onus probandi was on the company, now petitioner, to
justify the suspension of Jacob and his eventual separation from the service. Having
failed to discharge that burden, there were no valid grounds for it to keep its employee
away from his work.
WHEREFORE, We hereby render judgment affirming the order of
respondent Court of Industrial Relations dated March 1, 1966, now under review,
with the sole modification that petitioner shall pay its driver Maximo Jacob three
(3) years backwages at the rate of the last salary received before he was
suspended, without qualification and deduction. With costs against petitioner.
Order modified.

Qualified By

Fulgado v. CA, 182 SCRA 81 (1990)

Facts:

1. On September 9,1967, Ruperto Fulgado, a man approaching the twilight of his


life, undertook the arduous task of filing an action in the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Pasig branch against Rufino Custodia, Simplicia Custodia, Arsenio
Piguing, Ismael Porciuncula and Dominga Macarulay for the annulment of
certain contracts of sale and partition with accounting.

2. Private respondents and their counsel failed to appear on time at the pre-trial and
were subsequently declared as in default. Plaintiff Fulgado was then allowed
to present his evidence ex parte before the Deputy Clerk of Court.

3. Meanwhile, upon learning of their predicament, private respondents immediately


filed a motion to lift the order of default on the same day that the order was
issued. The trial court denied said motion in its order of February 16, 1972. Their
motion for reconsideration was also denied. Persistently, respondents filed a
petition for relief from the default order. Once more, this was denied.

4. TC favor of plaintiff Ruperto Fulgado. On appeal, however, the Court of Appeals


found that private respondents had been deprived of their day in court by the
unjust denial of their motion to lift the order of default. The Appellate Court SET
the TC decision aside:

WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is hereby set aside and the case
is remanded to the court of origin for trial on the merits, granting to the
defendants the opportunity to present their evidence, provided, however, that the
evidence already presented before the commissioner shall stand, but with the
right of the defendants to cross-examine the witness who had already testified
and with the right of the plaintiff to present additional evidence that then he may
decide.

5. More than a year after the finality of the Appellate Court's decision, counsel for
private respondents moved that the trial court "include th(e) case in any date of
the August and September calendar of the Court, at the usual hour in the
morning."
6. Unfortunately, the presiding judge went on official leave and the hearing was
postponed anew to January 15 and February 15, 1976. In the meantime, plaintiff
Ruperto Fulgado died on November 25,1975 and was substituted by his children
as party plaintiffs.

7. Fulgado's witness, Jose Fulgado, referred to in the dispositive part of the


Appellate Court's judgment, had earlier migrated to the United States on
September 16, 1974.

Atty Dollete: For the plaintiff, Your Honor. If your Honor please, may I inform this
Honorable Court that this is a remanded case from the Court of Appeals for
cross-examination or presentation by the plaintiff of any additional
evidence. But we have no further evidence in this case ... except those
evidence already adduced in the lower court before it was appealed in the
Court of Appeals. It is up for the defense now to cross-examine the
witnesses.

Court (To Atty. Tuangco):


You are through with the cross-examination?

Atty. Tuangco:
Not yet, Your Honor, we were granted by the Court of Appeals the right to cross-examine
the witnesses. The last time this case was called for hearing by this Honorable Court,
the Presiding Judge tried to make the parties come to a settlement, but it seems that
they could not come to such settlement. I advised my clients to try to meet them. So
now, this is the stage where they could not agree and so we will be proceeding with the
cross-examination of the witnesses.

Atty. Dollete:
There were only two witnesses. Two witnesses were presented, one is Ruperto Fulgado
and he died already. Your Honor, the other witness was Jose Fulgado who is now
abroad for almost a year, Your Honor.

Atty. Tuangco:
I understand that the other witness was here on a visit, Your Honor. He came back.

Court:
So, what shall we do now?

Atty. Tuangco:
So, I move to strike out the testimonies of the witnesses who testified on the ground that
we were deprived of our right to cross-examine them.

Atty. Dollete:
We will submit, Your Honor, for resolution the motion of the defendants.
Court (To Atty. Tuangco):

So, what do you want?


Atty. Tuangco:
That the whole testimonies of the two witnesses who were presented ex parte be
stricken off the record because we have not been granted the right of cross-examining
them and they are not available at this stage, Your Honor.
Atty. Dollete:
We will submit Your Honor. We maintain, Your Honor. Our opposition is that it hinges on
the fact that defendants committed laches in their failure to cross-examine the witness.
That is our opposition.

Court:
Why?

Atty. Dollete:
There were several opportunities for them to cross-examine especially the witness
Ruperto Fulgado, Your Honor. They are with full knowledge of the age of this
witness. They could have taken steps to assert their right granted by the Court of
Appeals. Notwithstanding their knowledge about the age, the advanced age and health
condition of this witness Ruperto Fulgado, then we maintain, Your Honor, that
defendants, in a way, have committed laches in the assertion of their right to cross-
examine.

Atty. Tuangco:
The records will show Your Honor, that it was the defendants who moved to set this case
for hearing upon the remanding of the records from the Court of Appeals.

Court:
You make a written motion and I will grant you a period of ten (10) days within which to
file an opposition and then another additional period of ten (10) days within which to
reply. Then this matter shall be deemed submitted for resolution. But the fact is clear
now that plaintiff has no more additional evidence.

Atty. Dollete:
Yes, Your Honor.

Court:
So that in case the court favorably grants the motion of defendants and orders the
striking out of the testimonies of Ruperto Fulgado and the other witness, together
with the documentary evidence, the plaintiff had no more evidence to offer.

Issue: Is the exclusion of the testimonies given by the now deceased Ruperto Fulgado
and his witness, Jose Fulgado, who has departed for the United States, which resulted
in the dismissal of the complaint, PROPER?

RULING: NO. Private respondents maintain that such testimonies are wholly
inadmissible for being hearsay, because respondents were not able to cross-examine
the witnesses. Petitioners, on the other hand, contend that while the right to cross-
examination is an essential part of due process, the same may however be waived as
the private respondent have done when they allowed an unreasonable length of time to
lapse from the inception of the opportunity to cross-examine before availing themselves
of such right and likewise when they failed to exhaust other remedies to secure the
exercise of such right.
In Savory Luncheonette vs. Lakas ng Manggagawang Pilipino, 8 and the cases cited
thereunder, the Court, speaking through Justice Muoz Palma, has provided us with a
concise overview of the right to cross-examination as a vital element of due process.
Thus:
The right of a party to confront and cross-examine opposing witnesses in a judicial
litigation, be it criminal or civil in nature, or in proceedings before administrative tribunals
with quasi-judicial powers, is a fundamental right which is part of due process. However,
the right is a personal one which may be waived expressly or impliedly by
conduct amounting to a renunciation of the right of cross-examination. Thus,
where a party has had the opportunity to cross-examine a witness but failed to avail
himself of it, he necessarily forfeits the right to cross-examine and the testimony given
on direct examination of the witness will be received or allowed to remain in the record.

The conduct of a party which may be construed as an implied waiver of the right to
cross-examine may take various forms. But the common basic principle underlying the
application of the rule on implied waiver is that the party was given the opportunity to
confront and cross-examine an opposing witness but failed to take advantage of it for
reasons attributable to himself alone.

The principle requiring a testing of testimonial statements by cross-examination has


always been understood as requiring, not necessarily an actual cross-examination, but
merely an opportunity to exercise the right to cross-examine if desired. 9 Thus the
resolution of the present case would hinge on whether or not this was an opportunity for
cross-examination.

There is no disputing that where there was no such opportunity (to cross examine) and
the want of it was caused by the party offering (plaintiff), the testimony should be stricken
out. However, where the failure to obtain cross-examination was imputable to the cross
examiner's fault, the lack of cross-examination is no longer a ground for exclusion
according to the general principle that an opportunity, though waived, will suffice.

From the records presented, it is manifest that private respondents had enough
opportunity to cross-examine plaintiff Ruperto Fulgado before his death, and Jose
Fulgado before his migration to the United States. Conceding that private respondents
lost their standing in court during the time they were in default, they were no longer in
that situation on June 6, 1974 when the Court of Appeals set aside the default judgment
in CA-G.R. No. 42590-R and remanded the case to the court of origin for trial on the
merits, "granting to the defendants the opportunity to present their evidence ... ." 11 This
was a positive signal for them to proceed with the cross-examination of the two
Fulgados, a right previously withheld from them when they were considered in default.
But despite knowledge of Ruperto's failing health (he was then 89 years of age) and
Jose's imminent travel to the United States, private respondents did not move swiftly and
decisively. They tarried for more than one year from the finality of the Appellate Court's
decision on June 27, 1974 to ask the trial court on July 3, 1975 to set the already much
delayed case for hearing "in any date of August and September ... ." 12

Such inaction on the part of private respondents cannot be easily dismissed by the
argument that it is the duty of the plaintiff to always take the initiative in keeping the
proceedings "alive." At best, the argument is fatuous.
The task of recalling a witness for cross-examination is, in law, imposed on the party
who wishes to exercise said right. This is so because the right, being personal and
waivable, the intention to utilize it must be expressed. Silence or failure to assert it on
time amounts to a renunciation thereof. Thus, it should be the counsel for the opposing
party who should move to cross-examine plaintiffs witnesses. It is absurd for the plaintiff
himself to ask the court to schedule the cross-examination of his own witnesses because
it is not his obligation to ensure that his deponents are cross-examined. Having
presented his witnesses, the burden shifts to his opponent who must now make the
appropriate move. Indeed, the rule of placing the burden of the case on plaintiffs
shoulders can be construed to extremes as what happened in the instant proceedings.

Having had the liberty to cross-examine and having opted not to exercise it, the case is
then the same in effect as if private respondent had actually cross-examined. The
wholesale exclusion of testimonies was too inflexible a solution to the procedural
impasse because it prejudiced the party whose only fault during the entire proceedings
was to die before he could be cross-examined. The prudent alternative should have
been to admit the direct examination so far as the loss of cross-examination could have
been shown to be not in that instance a material loss. 13 And more compellingly so in the
instant case where it has become evident that the adverse party was afforded a
reasonable chance for cross-examination but through his own fault failed to cross-
examine the witness.

Where death prevents cross-examination under such circumstances that no


responsibility of any sort can be ascribed to the plaintiff or his witness, it seems a harsh
measure to strike out all that has been obtained in the direct examination.

As to the witness Jose Fulgado who is reportedly abroad, private respondents could
have resorted to the various modes of discovery under the Rules of Court to cross-
examine Jose. D, During the hearing of May 4, 1976, counsel for private respondents
unwittingly or wittingly disclosed that they knew that Jose was in the country "for a visit"
but they did not exert any effort to have him subpoenaed.

Altogether, the acts of private respondents constitute a waiver, and consequently, a


forfeiture of their right to cross-examination. And having failed to make use of this right,
the consequences should rightfully fall on them and not on their adversary.

Pp v. Abatayo, G.R. No. 139456, 07 July 2004

1. On appeal is the RTC decision finding appellant Adones Abatayo guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of two counts of murder and sentencing him to suffer reclusion
perpetua for each count.

2. The first witness for the prosecution was Juanito Gutang, whose direct
examination was terminated during the trial of November 22, 1994. The
appellants counsel commenced with his cross-examination of the witness, but
later prayed for a resetting as he still had many questions for the said
witness. The court granted the motion. However, during the continuation of the
trial on January 23, 1995, Juanito failed to appear due to fever.

3. The public prosecutor then asked the court to defer the further cross-examination
of Juanito until he recovered from his illness, and that he is allowed to present his
second witness, Apolonio Quilag. The appellant did not object.

4. The court granted the motion, but warned the public prosecutor that if Juanito
would not appear to continue with his testimony by the next trial date, his
testimony would be stricken off the record. However, such warning was not
contained in the order issued by the court on even date.

5. During the trial on March 2, 1995, the public prosecutor presented PO2 Alfredo
Andales, and thereafter, the victims mother, Silvina Basalan. Both testimonies
were completed.

6. During the trial on May 22, 1995, the public prosecutor manifested that he was
ready to offer his documentary evidence and rest his case thereafter. He offered
in evidence the affidavit of Juanito as part of his documentary evidence. The
appellant objected to the admission of the affidavit for the purpose for
which it was offered. The court nevertheless admitted the affidavit and the
public prosecutor rested his case.

The Case for the Prosecution


Teofredo Basalan and his brother Dominador Basalan, aged 24 and 26, respectively,
lived with their mother Silvina Basalan in Colon, Naga, Cebu City.[7] They were stay-in
construction workers at the construction site of the Gaisano FCDC at
Ibabao, Mandaue City.[8] At around 7:00 p.m. of September 9, 1993, after a hard days
work at the construction site, laborers Juanito Gutang, Apolonio Quilag and Pedro
Esconia, as well as an unidentified co-worker, retired early in their quarters.[9]

At around 3:00 a.m. the following day,[10] Juanito was awakened by an unusual thud,
similar to that produced by someone striking somebody.[11] He got up and saw the
appellant, from a distance of about three (3) meters, [12] hitting Teofredo and Dominador
with a lead pipe.[13] Juanito woke up his co-workers and told them what he had just
witnessed.[14] Apolonio saw the victims, already lying in a pool of blood.[15] Juanito and his
co-workers immediately reported the incident to the security guards on duty who, in turn,
called up the Mandaue City police station.[16]

Meanwhile, the appellant hurriedly left the job site, bringing with him his personal
belongings.[17] PO2 Alfredo Andales, who was assigned to the case, forthwith conducted
an on-the-spot investigation. At the crime scene, he found the victims bloodied corpses,
with their respective heads smashed. He also found a galvanized iron (G.I.) pipe, the
weapon used to kill the victims. [18] His investigation revealed that the night before the
victims were killed, they had an acrimonious quarrel with the appellant over some
misplaced construction tools, which were later recovered. [19] The policemen had the
incident recorded in the police blotter[20] with the appellant as the prime suspect.

In the afternoon of that same day, the bodies of the victims were brought to the
Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes where Dr. Ladislao V. Diola, Jr., conducted a post
morteme xamination. He signed a necropsy report stating that the victims died due to
cardio respiratory arrest due to shock and hemorrhage secondary to injuries to the head.
[21]
By agreement of the parties, the testimony of Dr. Diola was dispensed with after the
defense admitted the findings contained in the doctors post mortem report.
[22]
On September 16, 1993, Juanito and Apolonio subscribed and swore to the truth of
their respective affidavits before the public prosecutor.[23]

The Evidence of the Appellant[25]


The appellant testified that he started working for Super Metro Gaisano as a construction
worker sometime in mid-August 1993. On September 9, 1993, after rendering overtime
work for two hours, he decided to go home. He left the job site at around 7:00 p.m., and
hitched a ride home in the companys vehicle driven by Charmel Ralago, who happened
to be his neighbor. He finally arrived home at about 9:00 p.m. The following morning, his
uncle dropped by his place and asked to be accompanied to Carcar, Cebu, as it was the
towns fiesta. The appellant readily acquiesced. Consequently, he absented himself from
work, and requested a co-worker to get his salary. After the fiesta, he went back home
but no longer reported for work. Instead, he went to Bohol. He returned home in
December 1993 in time for the holiday season. He was surprised when he was arrested
in August 1994 for the killings of the Basalan brothers.

Bernabe Hinario, 23 years old, erstwhile taho peddler and next-door neighbor of the
appellant, corroborated the latters alibi. He testified that at about 9:00
p.m. on September 9, 1993, as he was whiling away the time in the neighborhood, he
saw the appellant arrive from work as usual. The appellant greeted him and invited him
to attend the fiesta in Carcar,Cebu, the next day. He declined because of his
work. Thereafter, they parted ways, as the appellant proceeded to his house.

Leonora Abatayo, the appellants mother, testified that she was in their house when the
appellant arrived home at about 9:00 p.m. on September 9, 1993. After taking his dinner,
the appellant slept. The following morning, after breakfast, the appellant left with his
uncle, Fransico Malubay, to attend the fiesta in Carcar, Cebu.[

RTC found him guilty.

Issue/s: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ORDERING THE STRIKING OUT OF THE
ENTIRE TESTIMONY OF THE PROSECUTION[S] ALLEGED EYEWITNESS JUANITO
GUTANG ANENT THE CRIME CHARGED IN VIEW OF HIS UNJUSTIFIED FAILURE
TO ALLOW HIMSELF TO BE FURTHER CROSS-EXAMINED PURSUANT TO ITS
ORDER DATED JANUARY 23, 1995.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING PROBATIVE VALUE TO THE UNFINISHED


TESTIMONY OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESS JUANITO GUTANG DESPITE ITS
INHERENT IMPLAUSIBILITY AND IN DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCE INTERPOSED
BY [THE] ACCUSED-APPELLANT, WHICH WAS AMPLY CORROBORATED ON
MATERIAL POINTS.

The Ruling of the Court


We affirm the findings of the trial court and sustain the conviction of the appellant with
modifications.

The Incomplete Cross-


Examination of Juanito Gutang

The appellant-suspect insists that the trial court should not have given credence to the
story of the lone eyewitness for the prosecution, Juanito Gutang, considering that his
counsel was not able to continue cross-examining the Juanito. He strongly argues that
his constitutional and procedural right to confront the witness against him was thereby
impaired. Citing Ortigas, Jr. v. Lufthansa German Airlines [32] as the case in point, the
appellant faults the trial court for relying on Juanitos testimony despite the warning it
made during the trial of January 23, 1995, that it would consider the entire testimony of
Juanito stricken off the record for lack of proper cross-examination.[33]

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), for its part, asserts that while the
appellant has the constitutional right to cross-examine the witnesses against him,
he waived such right when he failed to invoke the same after his initial cross-
examination of Juanito.

We agree with the OSG.

Under Article III, Section 14(2) of the 1987 Constitution, the appellant has the right to
meet the witnesses against him face to face. Under Rule 115, Section 1(f) of the
Rules of Court, he has the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against
him at the trial, a fundamental right that is part of due process. However, the right of
confrontation and cross- examination is a personal one. It is not an absolute right, which
a party can claim at all times.

In Savory Luncheonette v. Lakas ng Manggagawang Pilipino,[35] we ruled that the right to


confront the witness may be waived by the accused, expressly or impliedly.

The right of a party to confront and cross-examine opposing witnesses in a judicial


litigation, be it criminal or civil in nature, or in proceedings before administrative tribunals
with quasi-judicial powers, is a fundamental right, which is part of due process. However,
the right is a personal one, which may be waived, expressly or impliedly, by conduct
amounting to a renunciation of the right of cross-examination.

But the common basic principle underlying the application of the rule on implied waiver is
that the party was given the opportunity to confront and cross-examine an opposing
witness but failed to take advantage of it for reasons attributable to himself alone.[36]

In the later case of Fulgado v. Court of Appeals, we ruled that the task of recalling a
witness for cross-examination is imposed on the party who wishes to exercise said right,
and stressed that it should be the opposing counsel who should move to cross-examine
the plaintiffs witness.

The task of recalling a witness for cross-examination is, in law, imposed on the party
who wishes to exercise said right. This is so because the right, being personal and
waivable, the intention to utilize it must be expressed. Silence or failure to assert it on
time amounts to a renunciation thereof. Thus, it should be the counsel for the opposing
party who should move to cross-examine plaintiffs witnesses. It is absurd for the plaintiff
himself to ask the court to schedule the cross-examination of his own witnesses because
it is not his obligation to ensure that his deponents are cross-examined. Having
presented his witnesses, the burden shifts to his opponent who must now make the
appropriate move. Indeed, the rule of placing the burden of the case on plaintiffs
shoulders can be construed to extremes as what happened in the instant proceedings.[
In this case, we are convinced that the appellant waived his right to further cross-
examine Juanito. The records show that Juanito testified for the prosecution on
direct examination on November 22, 1994. Thereafter, the appellants counsel
cross-examined the witness on the corpus delicti.

He then moved for a resetting as he still had many questions to ask the witness.
Juanito failed to attend the trial on January 23, 1995 for the continuation of his
cross-examination because he had a fever. The appellant did not object to the
deferment of Juanitos cross-examination; neither did he object to the public
prosecutors presentation of Apolonio Quilag as its second witness. The trial was
reset to March 2, 1995 for the continuation of Juanitos cross-
examination. However, no subpoena ad testificandum was issued to Juanito for
the said trial. There is, likewise, no showing whether Juanito was in court
on March 2, 1995 when the case was called. Furthermore, the appellant did not
object when the public prosecutor presented PO2 Andales and Silvina Basalan as
witnesses.

During the trial on April 17, 1995, the public prosecutor manifested, following the
stipulation of the parties on the authenticity of Dr. Ladislao Diola, Jr.s necropsy report,
that he would be ready to rest his case by the next trial. Again, the appellant did not
call the attention of the court on the fact that he had not yet finished his cross-
examination of Juanito. He did not ask to be allowed to terminate the cross-
examination of the witness first before allowing the prosecution to rest its case.

Neither did the appellant ask the court to strike Juanitos testimony on direct and cross-
examination from the records. When the case was called for trial on May 22, 1995, the
public prosecutor announced that he had no more witness to present and was ready to
formally offer his documentary evidence. There was no objection from the appellant.
Neither did the appellant object to the offer of Juanitos affidavit [40] as part of his
testimony, on the ground that he was deprived of his right to complete his cross-
examination of the said witness. Moreover, when he testified, the appellant disputed the
testimony of Juanito that he killed the victims, claiming that he was at home when the
victims were killed. The appellant adduced testimonial evidence corroborating his alibi.

All the foregoing instances conclusively show that the appellant had waived his right to
further cross-examine Juanito. From the conduct of the appellants counsel, it can be
fairly inferred that he considered the initial cross-examination of Juanito adequate, and
that there was no longer a need to further cross-examine the witness.

Credibility of Witnesses
and Sufficiency of Prosecutions Evidence
Reviewing the records, we find that the prosecution has proven beyond doubt that the
appellant killed the victims. The lone eyewitness, Juanito Gutang, positively identified
him. The testimony of this lone eyewitness is clear, straightforward, categorical and
consistent, without any tinge of falsehood or sign of fabrication. In his testimony, he
narrated the nightmarish events that transpired in that unholy hour of 3:00
a.m. on September 10, 1993, thus:
FISCAL MATA (on direct)
...
Q Mr. Juanito Gutang, you are a construction worker of what company?
A FCDC.
...
Q On the said date, September 10, 1993, at around 3:00 oclock in the evening (sic)
where were you?[41]

ATTY. SURALTA
Misleading, there is no such time.

FISCAL MATA

Q At 3:00 oclock dawn or in the morning?

A In our bunk house.

Q What do you mean by bunk house?

A place where we slept.[42]


...
Q Do you know of any incident on September 10, at around 3:00 oclock early in the
morning?[43]
...
Q Now, what was that incident you mentioned all about?

A I was awakened by a sound striking somebody, and when I got up, I saw Adones
holding a pipe.

Q You mentioned Adones, who is this Adones?


A Adones Abatayo.[44]
...
COURT (to witness)
Q What was he doing with the pipe?

A He was striking it against my companions who were sleeping?

COURT:
Proceed.

Q Who are these companions you mentioned?

A The brothers, Teofredo and Dominador.

Q What are their family names?

A Basalan.

Q Where are these Teofredo and Dominador Basalan now?

A They are already dead.[45]


No evil motive has been imputed against Juanito Gutang for testifying against appellant.
As a matter of fact, the latter admitted that no bad blood existed between them, and he
knew of no reason why the former would testify against him. [46] In such a situation, the
rule is that where there is no evidence, and nothing to indicate that the principal witness
for the prosecution was actuated by improper motives, the presumption is that he was
not, and his testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. [47] Furthermore, it is unlikely that
this witness could relate all the details of the crime with clarity and lucidity if he had not
actually witnessed the killings of the Basalan brothers.

It is well-established that the trial courts calibration of the credibility of witnesses should
not be disturbed on appeal since the said court is in a better position to decide the
question, having itself heard and observed the demeanor of the witnesses on the stand,
unless it has plainly overlooked certain facts of substance and value, which, if
considered, could alter and affect the result of the case. [48] In the case at bar, we find no
reason to depart from this rule, given the trustworthiness of the testimony of the witness.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 56, is
hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. The appellant is found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of homicide as defined and penalized in Article 249
of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and is sentenced to suffer an
indeterminate penalty of Eight (8) Years and One (1) day of prision mayor, in its medium
period, as minimum, to Fourteen (14) Years, Eight (8) Months and One (1) Day
of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum, for each count of homicide.
The appellant is ORDERED to pay the heirs of each of the victims, Teofredo Basalan
and Dominador Basalan, the sums of P50,000.00 representing temperate
damages; P100,000.00 as indemnity ex delicto; and, P100,000.00 as moral damages.

Pp v. Relucio, L-38790, 09 Nov 1978

BARREDO, J.:

Judgment of Conviction Appealed: Federico Relucio and Rosendo Velasco guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder.

It appears that the other accused Frederico Relucio withdrew his appeal upon the filing
of a motion for new trial but pending the resolution of said motion, said accused broke
out of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Jail together with two other inmates named Mario
David and Amante Villasenor for which reason the trial court declared the decision final
as to him.

Appellant was charged with murder in the court below, together with Federico Relucio,
alias "Pedring", Edri Pineda, Dante Ariola, Miguel Espejo Padrones. alias "Egi" Peter
Doe and Richard Doe, in an information dated May 29, 1972 reading as follows:

The City Fiscal accuses Federico Relucio et. al, of the crime of Murder.

Four witnesses, Patrolman Jose E. Garcia, Crispin Angeles, Dra. Melicia C. de Guzman
and Miguel Padrones, testified for the prosecution during the presentation of the direct
evidence and four witnesses, Jose Serafica, Inday Tinio, Benito Custodio and again
Miguel Padrones were presented as rebuttal witnesses. The defense had, aside from the
accused Relucio and Velasco, the following witnesses: Eduardo Mangahas, Jose
Aguilar, Ligaya Velasco, Elias Estrella, judge Alfin Vicencio, Segundino Gabriel, Pablo
Padilla, Eusebio Mendiola and Dr. Emiliano Perez. Later, Velasco testified again in
rebuttal. The transcript of the stenographic notes of the testimonies of all the witnesses
consists of over 930 pages.

Of the four witnesses in chief presented by the prosecution only two, Crispen Angeles
and Miguel Padrones, can be said to have given incriminatory evidence against
appellant.

According to Angeles, (pp. 18-115, t.s.n.), on the day in question, June 23, 1971, he met
the deceased Gonzalo Talastas (Along) near the entrance to the Capital Theater in
Cabanatuan City at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. He invited Talastas to see the
movie. The latter said he was waiting for a woman. When the woman named Amanda
arrived, she had a female companion, and the four of them went in. After a while
Amanda left and did not go back anymore. So, Angeles invited Talastas to leave but the
latter said he would wait for Amanda to return. A little later, however, he acceded just the
same, but Angeles "left ahead of him."

As Angeles was going out, he met the accused Federico Relucio and another person
unknown to him going inside the theater. After the two went in, Angeles heard shots,
after which he saw Talastas going out of the theater with blood on his shoulder.
(He could not say whether left or right. 'At that moment, he (Angeles) was "in the
place opposite the Capital Theater near the Avenue Theater" (across Burgos Street ). He
saw "someone following and shooting him" (Talastas),' somebody who was chasing
him. ... He was firing shots," but he did not say clearly who fired the shots. His vague
testimony on this point is as follows:

Q Where were you when you saw Gonzalo Talastas going out of the
theater?

A I was there in front of the Avenue theater, sir.

Q What happened if you know when you saw Gonzalo Talastas going out
the theater?

A There was somebody who was chasing him, sir.


Prosecutor

Q What was that one chasing him doing while chasing him?

A He was firing shots, sir.

Q To whom was he firing shots?

A Gonzalo Talastas, the one who died.

Q Do you know that one chasing Gonzalo Talastas?

A Yes, sir. The one chasing him I know him by face and the other one I
know him by name only, sir.

Q How many were chasing Gonzalo Talastas?


A There were many but I recognized only four, sir.

Q You said that you know the name of one of them, will you please tell the
Honorable Court the name of one of them whom you know by name?

A Yes, sir.

Q What is his name?

A Ige, sir.

Q If Ige is in this courtroom, can you point to him?

A Yes, sir.

Atty. Abesamis

We object to the question for it lacks basis because the witness


categorically stated that he only knew the name. He did not state that he
knows the person who carries the name of Ige, your Honor.

Court
But he saw the man. If he did not see, I would not insist. I would sustain
you easily but he saw the face.

Atty. Abesamis
I submit, your Honor.

Court
Witness may answer.

Witness
A Yes, sir. Prosecutor

Q Please point to him?

A (witness pointing to a person wearing a white shirt when asked of his


name answered that he is Miguel Padrones).

Q You said you saw four persons, besides Miguel Padrones, can you tell
if any of the three is in this courtrooms.

A Yes, sir.
Q Please point to them?

A (witness going down from the witness stand and pointing to somebody
sitting handsome and with curly hair who, when asked of his name,
answered that he is Rosendo Velasco).

Q Who else if there are still in this courtroom?


A I have already pointed three. The other one is not here, sir.

Q You said that you recognized four men among those chasing the
deceased Gonzalo Talastas and you pointed to Ige who is Miguel
Padrones and now you pointed to Mangyo who is Rosendo Velasco, who
is the other one?

Atty. Abesamis
Already answered, he already pointed three according to him, your honor.

Court
Q You only pointed two as far as the Court remembers. You said four
were there other still present in the courtroom?

A Yes, sir. This is the third one (witness pointing to somebody who is used
to be Identified to be Federico Relucio), and the fourth one is not here.

Prosecutor
Q You said that they were chasing Gonzalo Talastas, what happened with
that chasing?

A He was hit and he fell down, sir.


Q Where did he fall ?

A In front of the Tiwag College, sir.

Q How far is that point from the theater where Gonzalo Talastas came?

A It was quite far, sir, I cannot estimate but he came from the Capital
theater, and he fell down in front of the Liwag College.
Court

Q Can the parties determine as to the distance from the Capital theater
up to the Liwag College?

(Make of record that the distance approximated by the parties is more or


less 150 meters).

(t.sn., pp. 37-42, hearing of November 16, 1972.)

Explaining further, he testified that Talastas was running towards the east
and that "those chasing him, some were in the jeep and others running. "
Among those in the jeep was appellant Rosendo Velasco, the only one he
recognized, and among those on foot he recognized only Miguel
Padrones. After Talastas fell, the witness went to the municipal building
"looking for a policeman whom I know because I will tell him that Gonzalo
Talastas was shot", but he could not find anyone he knew, so he went
home.

On cross-examination, however, he identified Padrones as the only one


chasing Gonzalo thus:
Atty. Pablo
Q Now, you saw Ige chasing him on foot when he was going out of the
theater or when he was already running along the street?

A When he was already running in the street sir.

Q He was alone chasing him when he was proceeding along the Liwag
College?

A I only saw one. He was alone Ige only, sir. (t.s.n., p. 60, hearing of
November 16, 1972.)
Moreover, whatever frail indication may appear in the testimony of this,
witness linking appellant to the offense charged was virtually shattered by
Exhibit 17, the sworn statement of the same witness given to Detective
Justiniano E. Fernandez of the Cabanatuan City Police on January 11,
1972, which the defense presented for impeachment purposes, strangely
without objection on the part of the prosecution notwithstanding that the
defense failed to lay the predicate therefor. (t.s.n., p. 388.) In said
statement, Angeles gave practically a different story from beginning to
end - from the reference to the time place and reason how he and
Talastas and Amanda came to be together that fateful afternoon up to the
Identification of Ige or Egi (Miguel Padrones) as the one who shot
Talastas) from that related by him on the witness stand. Exhibit 17
reads as follows:

CCPD-Bilang 1356-71
SALAYSAY NI CRISPIN ANGELES Y SANTIAGO NA KUHA SA
PAGTATANONG NI TIKTIK JUSTINIANO P. FERNANDEZ NG PANGKAT
NG TAGATUGAYGAY NG HIMPILAN NG PULISYA NG LUNGSOD NG
KABANATUAN NGAYONG IKA-11 NG BUAN NG ENERO 1972, SA
GANAP NA IKA-4:00 NG HAPON.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
01. TANONG:-Ito'y isang pagsisiyasat, ikaw ba'y handang magbigay ng
isang malaya at kusang loob na salaysay na ang iyong sasabihin dito ay
pawang katotohanan lamang.?

SAGOT:-Opo.

02. T-Sabihin mo ang iyong pangalan at bagay na maaring pa sa iyong


pagkatao at sabihin mo din kung saan ka kasalukuyang naninirahan?
S-CRISPIN ANGELES Y SANTIAGO po, 22 taong may asawa,
magsasaka at sa kasalukuyang naninirahan sa Bo. Pamaldan, Lungsod
ng Kabanatuan.

03. T-Ano ang dahilan at ikaw ay naririto ngayon sa Tanggapan ng


Pulisya at ikaw ay nagbibigay ng isang malaya at kusang loob na
salaysay dito?

S-Dahilan po sa akoy nagpapatunay sa isang pangyayari na naganap.


04. T-Ano ba ang pangyayaring ito na ayon sa iyo ay naganap na nais
mong patunayan dito?

S-Ganito po iyon. Nuong ika-2:00 ng hapon ng ika-23 ng buan ng Hunyo


1971, samantalang kami nitong si GONZALO TALASTAS ay nanduon sa
isang bahay na aming tinutuluyan sa Bo. Aduas, dito sa Lungsod ng
Kabanatuan, ay dumating itong si MANDA at ang isang babae na sinabi
niyang kanyang pinsan at kami ay kanilang inamuki na samahan sila na
manood ng Cine. Amin naman pong sinamahan ang dalawang babae na
ito at ang kanilang piniling pasukin na Cine ay iyong Capital sa may
daang Burgos. Ng kami'y nanduon na sa loob ng sine, hindi pa gaanong
nagtatagal kami sa aming pagkakaupo na magkakatabi duon sa hulihang
upuan sa ibaba sa gawing kaliwa ay nagpaalam ang dalawang kasama
naming ito na sila'y di umano'y pupunta sa kasilyas ng mga babae at
sila'y iihi. Ng mayruon ng humigit kumulang na kahalating oras ang
nakakaraan ang dalawang babae na ito ay hindi pa nagbabalik sa
kanilang upuan sa tabi naming dalawa ay nainip kami at amin silang
hinanap subalit hindi na namin sila nakita. Sa pangyayaring ito ay
nagusap kami nitong si GONZALO TALASTAS at napagkasunduan
naming dalawa na kami'y lumabas na din, ang ginawa ko ay nagpatiuna
na ako sa paglabas na sumusunod itong is GONZALO TALASTAS at siya
ay naghinto sa may tapat ng takilya. Ng ako'y malapit ng makarating duon
sa mga bungad ng pasilyo ay napansin ko na mayruong tatlong tao na
mayruong mga dalang baril ang naduon sa magkabilang gilid at sa aking
palagay ay mayruong silang inaabangan. Ng ako'y makalagpas na sa
mga taong ito, iyong isa sa kanilang tatlo ay humiwalay at pumasok duon
sa loob. Sa napansin kong ito ang ginawa ko ay nagbalik ako at sa aking
pagpasok ay bigla na lamang mayruong pumutok na baril at ng aking
tingnan ang pinangalingan ng putok ay nakita ko itong si FEDERICO
RELUCIO na mayruong palayaw na "PEDRING "na binabaril itong si
GONZALO TALASTAS na tinamaan sa kanyang kaliwang balikat. Nakita
ko din na gumanti itong si GONZALO TALASTAS at tinamaan din itong si
PEDRING na hindi ko alam kung saang parte. Nakita ko din po na itong si
GONZALO TALATAS ay tumakbong papalabas ng sine na naiwanan itong
si PEDRING duon sa loob. Sa ginawang paglabas nitong si GONZALO
TALASTAS ay sumunod na din ako at nakita ko na iyong ibang mga
kasamahan nitong si PEDRING na nagaabang sa labas at nakasakay
duon sa jeep na di pasaheros na kasama na duon iyong dalawang
kasamahan nitong si PEDRING na nakita kong nakatayo sa magkabilang
gilid ng pasilyo ng Cine Capital. Nakita ko na bumaba itong si PEDRING
na hinabol itong si GONZALO TALASTAS na kasalukuyan nuong
nagtatakbo napatungo duon sa may gawi ng Cine Broadway na binabaril
naman nitong si IGE ng isang baril na Carbine, subalit hindi tinamaan
itong si GONZALO TALASTAS.

Nakita ko din po na itong si EDRI ay nagbalik at kanyang kinuha ang


isang jeep na army type at kanyang iminaneho ito na kasama itong
dalawa na sina Mangyo Velasco at si Dante Arriola at kanilang pinulot
itong si IGE Natapos na maisakay itong si IGE ay kanila ng sinundan
itong is GONZALO TALASTAS at kanilang inabutan duon sa may
panulukan ng daang Bonifacio at Burgos na sumasakay sa tricycle.
Inihinto po nitong si EDRI ang jeep na army type at bumaba itong si IGE
at kanyang binaril itong is GONZALO TALASTAS ng dala niyang Carbine.
Tinamaan itong is GONZALO TALASTAS at nakita kong nabuwal at
habang ito'y nabubuwal ay binabaril ito ng mga kasamahan ni EDRI na
naiwanan duon sa jeep na tumatama naman sa katawan nito. Matapos
ang maramihang pagpapaputok na ginawa ng mga naiwanan sa jeep,
itong si IGE ay lumapit dito sa kinabuwalan nitong si GONZALO
TALASTAS at kanyang itinaas ang ulo nito at pinaputukan ng kanyang
baril na mahigsi sa may gawing likuran at pagkatapos ay kinuha niya ang
baril na dala nitong si GONZALO TALASTAS. Pagkatapos nuon ay
sumakay na itong si IGE duon sa jeep na nakahinto at sila'y tumakas na.

05. T-Ayon sa iyo ay sinundan mo itongmga taong ito at iyong


sinubaybayan ang mga nagaganap na pangyayari, saan lugar ka naman
lumagay nuon?
S-Duon po ako nanduon at nakakubli sa bangketa bago dumating sa
Mobil Gas Station sa gawing kanan ng daang Burgos.

06. T-Ilan bang magkakasama itong mga taong ito na pumatay dito kay
GONZALO TALASTAS?

S-Sa akin pong pagkakakita sila'y mayruong pito ang bilang.

07. T-Binangit mo dito sila, FEDERICO RELUCIO @ PEDRING, EDRI


PINEDA, @ IGE, @ MANGYO VELASCO at DANTE ARRIOLA, lumilitaw
o lumalabas na mayruon na itong lima ang bilang, iyong dalawa na hindi
mo nabangit dito dahil sa ayon sa iyo ay pito ang magkakasamahan na
ito. Sino pa iyong dalawa kung nakikilala mo?
S-Hindi ko po sila kilala dahilan sa nuon ko lamang sila nakita.
08. T-Ayon sa iyo dito na nuong lumabas itong si GONZALO TALASTAS
sa loob ng Cine Capital na mayruon ng tama ng baril upang tumakas ay
nakita mo na iyong mga kasamahan nitong si PEDRING RELUCIO na
siyang pumasok dito sa loob ng sine at binaril si GONZALO TALASTAS
ay nanduon sa isang jeep na di pasahero na parada sa tapat ng bowling
alley, at ng tugisin nila itong si GONZALO TALASTAS ay sakay na sila ng
isang jeep na army type ang ibig mo bang sabihin dito ay dalawa ang
sasakyan na ginamit ng mga taong ito?
S-Opo.

09. T-Alam mo ba kung ano ang mga Plaka ng dalawang sasakyang ito
na ginamit ng mga taong ito na pumatay dito kay GONZALO TALASTAS?
S-Hindi dahil sa hindi ko na napagruonan ng pansin ito at ang hinahabol
ko ay iyong nagaganap na pangyayari tungkol sa pagkapatay dito kay
GONZALO TALASTAS.
10. T-Ito bang mga taong binangit mo dito liban dito sa dalawa na hindi
mo kilala, ay dati mo ng kilala?
S-Opo iyong tatlo na sina, FEDERICO RELUCIO PEDRING, @ EDRI
PINEDA at @ IGE na pawang mga taga Bo. Talipapa, dito sa Lungsod ng
Kabanatuan, at itong dalawang sina MANGYO VELASCO at DANTE
ARRIOLA ay hindi pa gaanong nagtatagal.
11. T-Ano ba naman ang relasyon ninyong dalawa dito sa dalawang
babae na sumundo sa inyo duon sa inyong tinuluyang bahay sa Bo.
Aduas, na humimok sa inyo na sumama sa kanila na manood ng Cine?
S-Wala po kaming relasyon, subalit hindi katagalang magkakilala.
12. T-Sino sa dalawang ito ang kakilala ninyo?
S-Iyon pong MANDA.
13. T-Saan ba naman nagtitira itong si MANDA at ang kanyang kasama
na isang babae din?
S-Sa Bo. Dalampang po.
14. T-Hindi mo ba alam kung ano ang kanilang mga apilyedo?
S-Hindi ko na po maalala ang kanilang mga apilyedo subalit sila ay
maituturo ko kung sila'y aking makitang muli.
15. T-Simula ng pangyayaring iyon, nagkita ba kayong mull ng dalawang
babae na ito?
S-Hindi na po napakita sila sa akin.
16. T-Sa iyong pagaaral o pagkakaalam ano ang motibo ng ginawang
pagpatay dito kay GONZALO TALASTAS ng mga taong binangit mo dito?
S-Ang pagkakaalam ko po ay dahilan sa ginawang pagbaril nitong si
GONZALO TALASTAS dito kay VITO RELUCIO na kapatid nitong si
PEDRING RELUCIO na pamangkin naman nitong si EDRI PINEDA.
17. T-Alam mo din ba kung bakit binaril nitong si GONZALO TALASTAS
itong si VITO RELUCIO?
S-Opo.
18. T-Ano naman ang pagkakaalam mo?
S-Dahil sa nasabi po sa akin ng personal nitong si GONZALO TALASTAS
na iyon daw pong kanyang asawa ay siniraang purl nitong si VITO
RELUCIO at ito'y nagsumbong dito.
19. T-Ayon saiyo dito na ng mangyari ang pagpatay dito kay GONZALO
TALASTAS ay nuong ika-23 ng buan ng Hunyo 1971 ng bandang hapon,
bakit ngayon ka lamang nagbigay ng isang malaya at kusang-loob na
salaysay dito bilang pagpapatunay na pangyayari naiyon na paganap?
S-Dahil po sa ako'y natatakot sapagkat panahon nila ng panunugis.
20. T-Ito ba lang ang dahilan kung kaya ngayon ka lamang nagkaruon ng
lakas ng loob upang magpatunay sa naganap na patayan naito na ang
naging biktima dito ay si GONZALO TALASTAS?
S-Mayroon pa po, wala namang nagpunta sa akin na investigador upang
ako'y tanungin tungkol sa naganap na pangyayaring ito.
21. T-Dito ba sa pagbibigay mo ng isang malaya at kusangloob na
salaysay dito sa Himpilang ito ay walang tumakot saiyoo kaya nangakong
ikaw ay bibigyan ng pabuya upang sabihin mo dito ang lahat ng mga
binangit mo na salaysay mong ito?
S-Wala po ang lahat ng mga sinabi ko dito sa harap ninyo ay kusang-loob
ko at walang pumilit sa akin o tumakot dili kaya ay nangako na ako'y
bibigyan ng ano mang pabuya, bagkus ito ay aking karapatan bilang
isang mamamayang Pilipino at tungkulin ko din pong makipagtulungan sa
mga ahensya ng batas lalo na sa ganitong uri ng krimen ginanap na
nagdamay pa ng iba.
22. T-Nasabi mong nagdamay pa ng iba, bukod dito kay GONZALO
TALASTAS, mayroon pa bang ibang mga taong naging biktima ng
pangyayaring ito?
S-Mayroon po.
23. T-Sino naman ang mga taong ito kung mayroon kang nalalaman?
S-Sa akin pong pagkakaalam ay iyong mayari ng dating tindahan na
isang babae na asawa ng manager ng isang bangko dito sa Lungsod ng
Kabanatuan na napagalaman ko ang pangalan na GINANG LUISA
MONDELO.
24. T-Ano naman ang naging pinsala nito kung nalalaman mo?
S-Ayon po sa aking pagkakaalam ay tinamaan ito ng ligaw na bala sa
kanyang baraso hindi ko po malaman kung kaliwa o kanan.
25. T-Tutuo bang lahat ang mga sinabi mong ito at handa mong
panumpaan sa harap ng Hukuman kung sakaling ikaw ay kailanganin na
magpatutuo sa pagpapatunay sa pangyayaring iyon nasaksihan ng ayon
sa iyo?
S-Opo.
(Lumagda) CRISPIN S. ANGELES (Pp. 369-372, Record of Lower Court.)

As may be seen, the material discrepancies between the contents of the


above-quoted statement, on the one hand, and the testimony of Angeles
in open court, on the other, are so irreconcilable that even if the
proper predicate had been laid upon proper objection of the fiscal it
is doubtful, if any believable reconciliation could have been given by
him.

How they Met


In open court, he testified that in the afternoon of June 23, 1971, it was at
the entrance of the Capital Theater that he met Talastas and invited him
to see the movie but the latter said that he was waiting for Amanda. It
turned out, according to Exhibit 17 that he and Talastas were still in Barrio
Aduas, where they were staying, when Manda arrived with a woman
companion and invited them to go to the "cine".

Return of Date Amanda


In his testimony, he said that it was Amanda who left and did not go back
anymore, while in the above statement, he declared that both of their two
female companions told them they would only go to the comfort room but
eventually disappeared. In court, he said that when Manda did not return,
he invited Talastas to leave but the latter answered he would wait for
Manda's return.

Witness Location
In Exhibit 17, it appears that he and Talastas agreed to follow and look for
their lady companions and that he went ahead and Talastas stopped by
the ticket booth. Whereas in court, he testified that he was already in the
middle or across Burgos Street near the Avenue Theater when he heard
shots inside the Capital Theater where Talastas had returned, as they met
Federico Relucio with a companion, unknown to him, who were going
inside, hence, he did not see who fired the shots, in the above sworn
statement, he categorically stated that upon seeing Relucio, who had
separated from his two armed companions and gone inside, he (Angeles)
went back inside the theater and actually saw Relucio firing at Gonzalo
and the latter retaliating with his own gun.
In court, he said that when Talastas came out of the theater already
wounded and running towards the east, the two companions of Relucio,
referring to Velasco and Padrones, chased Talastas, with Relucio riding in
a jeep and Padrones going on foot. In Exhibit 17-A, he said:

04. S-Nakita ko din po na itong si GONZALO TALASTAS ay tumakbong


papalabas ng sine na naiwanan itong si PEDRING duon sa loob. Sa
ginawang paglabas nitong si GONZALO TALASTAS ay sumunod na din
ako at nakita ko na iyong ibang mga kasamahan nitong si PEDRING na
nagaabang sa labas at nakasakay duon sa jeep na di pasaheros na
kasama na duon iyong dalawang kasamahan nitong si PEDRING na
nakita kong nakatayo sa magkabilang gilid ng pasilyo ng Cine Capital.
Nakita ko na bumaba itong si EDRI na ang kanyang apilyedo ay PINEDA
at itong si IGE at kanilang hinabol itong si GONZALO TALASTAS na ,
kasalukuyan nuong nagtatakbo na patungo duon sa may gawi ng Cine
Broadway na binabaril naman nitong si IGE ng isang baril na Carbine,
subalit hindi tinamaan itong si GONZALO TALASTAS. Nakita ko din po na
itong si EDRI ay nagbalik at kanyang kinuha ang isang jeep na army type
at kanyang iminaneho ito na kasama itong dalawa na sina Mangyo
Velasco at si Dante Arriola at kanilang pinulot itong si IGE Natapos na
maisakay itong si IGE ay kanila ng sinundan itong si GONZALO
TALASTAS at kanilang inabutan duon sa may panulukan ng daang
Bonifacio at Burgos na sumasakay sa tricycle.
In court, Angeles intimated that Padrones or Egi did not fire at Talastas,
leaving the inference that it was appellant Velasco who was shooting the
deceased. In the above statement, he positively said:
Inihinto po nitong si EDRI ang jeep na army type at bumaba itong si IGE
at kanyang binaril itong si GONZALO TALASTAS ng dala niyang Carbine.
Tinamaan itong si GONZALO TALASTAS at nakita kong nabuwal at
habang ito'y nabubuwal ay binabaril ito ng mga kasamahan ni EDRI na
naiwanan duon sa jeep na tumatama naman sa katawan nito. Matapos
ang maramihang pagpapaputok na ginawa ng mga naiwanan sa jeep,
itong si IGE ay lumapit dito se kinabuwalan nitong si GONZALO
TALASTAS at kanyang itinaas ang ulo nito at pinaputukan ng kanyang
baril na maiksi sa may gawing likuran at pagkatapos ay kinuha niya ang
baril na dala nitong si GONZALO TALASTAS. Pagkatapos nuon ay
sumakay na itong si IGE duon sa jeep na nakahinto at sila'y tumakas na.
In brief, in court, Angeles' account of the participation of appellant in the
shooting of Talastas was vague and inconclusive; in his statement, Exhibit
17, nothing points definitely and specifically to appellant as having fired
any shot at all; importantly the one clearly and categorically referred to as
having shot Talastas is Egi or Padrones
It results, therefore, that at least insofar as herein appellant Velasco is
concerned, the testimony of Angeles has been completely impeached or
discredited.
It is a basic postulate in the law on evidence that every witness is
presumed to be truthful and perjury is not to be readily inferred just
because apparent inconsistencies are evinced in parts of his testimony.
Every effort to reconcile the conflicting points should first be exerted
before any adverse conclusion can be made therefrom. These
considerations he at the base of the familiar rule requiring the laying of a
predicate, which is essence means simply that it is the duty of a party
trying to impugn the testimony of a witness by means of prior or, for that
matter, subsequent inconsistent statements, whether oral or in writing, to
give the witness a chance to reconcile his conflicting declarations, such
that it is only when no reasonable explanation is given by him that he
should be deemed impeached.

Thus, Section 16 of Rule 132 provides:


Section 16. How witness impeached by evidence of inconsistent
statements. Before a witness can be impeached by evidence that
he has made at other times statements inconsistent with his present
testimony, the statements must be related to him, with the
circumstances of the times and places and the persons present, and
he must be asked whether he made such statements if so, to explain
them. If the statements be in writing they must be to the witness before
any question is put to him concerning them.

In United States vs. Baluyot, 40 Phil 385, at pp. 406-407, the Court made
a clear exposition of the universal rule of laying a predicate as follows:

In order that we may not be misunderstood, as wen as for the purpose of


clarifying the practice in such matters, a few words may here be properly
said in respect to the proper mode of proceeding in a case where a party
wishes to get before the court contradictory statements made by a
witness who is testifying for the adversary party. For instance, if the
attorney for -the accused had information that a certain witness, say
Pedro Gonzales, had made and signed a sworn statement before the
fiscal materially different from that given in his testimony before the court,
it was incumbent upon the attorney when cross-examining said witness to
direct his attention to the discrepancy and to ask him if he did not make
such and such statement before the fiscal or if he did not there make a
statement different from that delivered in court. If the witness admits the
making of such contradictory statement, the accused has the benefit of
the admission, while the witness has the opportunity to explain the
discrepancy, if he can. On the other hand, if the witness denies making
any such contradictory statement, the accused has the right to prove that
the witness did make such statement; and if the fiscal should refuse upon
due notice to produce the document, secondary evidence of the contents
thereof would be admissible.

This process of cross-examining a witness upon the point of prior


contradictory statements is called in the practice of the American
courts 'laying a predicate' for the introduction of contradictory
statements. It is almost universally accepted that unless a ground is thus
laid upon cross-examination, evidence of contradictory statements are not
admissible to impeach a witness; though undoubtedly the matter is to a
large extent in the discretion of the court.
We wish to add that in a case of this kind, if the accused had, by
affidavit or otherwise, made it appear to the satisfaction of the court
that the witnesses named had made statements in their declarations
before the fiscal materially at variance with their statements in court
and that the production of said declarations was necessary or even
desirable, in the interests of justice, the court would have had ample
power to order their production.

This doctrine has been reiterated consistently in subsequent cases.


(Moran, Comment on the Rules of Court, Vol. 6, 1970 ed., P. 92, citing
People vs. Resabal, 50 Phil. 780; People vs. Quingsy, 54 Phil. 88; People
vs. Lara, 75 Phil. 786; and People vs. Escusura, 82 Phil. 41.)

But it, as in the instant case of the witness Angeles, the prosecution did
not object to the presentation of Exhibit 17 which was offered expressly
for impeachment purposes, notwithstanding that the defense did not give
the witness the opportunity to give his own explanation of the apparent
contradictions in his testimony, the trial judge and the appellate courts
have no alternative but to determine, if they can, possible reconciliation
on the basis alone of logic and common experience.

The omission to object on the ground of failure to lay the predicate is


waived by the omission to interpose the same when the impeaching
contradictory statement is offered. (Evidence, [Rules of Court] Vol. VII,
1973 ed. by Vicente Francisco, p. 398.) On this score, We find the
inconsistencies in the two versions of Angeles utterly beyond possible
rational explanation. The various discrepancies We have pointed out
above - and there are still others We have not mentioned are so
disparate that there can be no other conclusion than that the witness
must have lied in either of them. Accordingly, We have to reject both of
them.

The testimony of the other witness Miguel Padrones, one of appellant's


co-accused, cannot be viewed in better light.
After Patrolman Garcia and Crispen Angeles had testified, at the hearing
on January 4, 1973, the prosecutor, District State Prosecutor Mariano D.
Copuyoc, asked for resolution of his motion to discharge the accused
Miguel Padrones in order to be utilized as a state witness, evidently by
virtue of Section 9 of Rule 119, on the ground that "this representation
has found absolute necessity of the testimony of said defendant because
the prosecution has no other direct evidence available for the prosecution
of the offense committed except the testimony of said Miguel Padrones;
that the said testimony of the defendant Miguel Padrones could be
substantially corroborated in its material points by the testimony of the
other prosecution witness Crispin Angeles; that the said accused Miguel
Padrones appears to be the least guilty and that he has never been
convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude." No notice was given to
the defense of the motion; it turned out it was filed as early as December
14, 1972, after Angeles had already finished testifying on December 6,
1972. Counsel for Relucio and Velasco protested they had no notice of
the motion and objected to it contending that from the testimony of
Angeles, Padrones did not appear to be the least guilty and that the
prosecution had not shown that Padrones had been previously convicted
of a crime involving moral turpitude, but the trial court overruled them.
Briefly, the testimony of Padrones on direct examination (pp. 427-453,
t.s.n.) was as follows:

Between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m., June 23, 1971, while he was in the
residence of Atty. Perez (in Cabanatuan City), "an information was
received" ... from a person named Og that Gonzalo Talastas was inside
Capital Theater also in Cabanatuan City. The "information" was
addressed to the accused Federico Relucio who was then present
together with Atty. Perez and two other persons not known to the witness.
Then appellant Mangyo Velasco and two others unknown to the witness
arrived. After these three arrived, "they (referring to "Relucio, Mangyo and
the other two whom I do not know and I went to the Capital Theater".
They went there "because Gonzalo Talastas was really to be killed." This,
he was told by Relucio, for "according to Federico Relucio, Gonzalo
Talastas was the one who killed his brother." He did not mention anything
about any conversation among those present from which a conspiracy
could be deduced.
Upon arriving at the Capital Theater, Pedring (Relucio) went inside, while
the witness and Mangyo and the two others were in front of the bowling
hall. Padrones said they were all armed, Relucio with a.45, Mangyo with
a.38 caliber and a carbine, the other two with armalite and he (Padrones)
with a.45, but there was no suggestion that they did so with the intent to
kill anyone. Not long after Federico (Relucio) entered the theater, there
were shots (he does not know how many). "Not long after, the late
Gonzalo Talastas went outside of the theater with a wobbling motion
(susuray-suray), and wounded . . in his chest portion (where there was)
blood." Gonzalo ran going towards "hulo" (east). Not long thereafter,
Federico Relucio followed also wounded.
Then, Mangyo (Velasco), the other two unknowns and Padrones
"boarded a jeep and ... followed them (Talastas and Relucio) with us
inside the jeep. " They followed them up to the Old Republic Telephone
Company Building. Gonzalo "was running" and Relucio "boarded a
tricycle, sir, following Gonzalo Talastas. " And when the witness and his
companions were already in front of the Republic building, "Doon nga po
pinagbabaril (si) Gonzalo Talastas. ... Mangyo and the other two whom I
do not know and also Pedring, (Relucio) because Pedring arrived," were
the ones who shot him, and Gonzalo died.
After the cross-examination of Padrones, the prosecution rested its case,
asking for and securing at the same time, the dismissal of the case
against the accused Dante Arriola as to whom the prosecutor did not
unexplainedly present any evidence. At this point, it may be stated
relatedly that Our review of the records of this case has revealed a
number of other loose ends in the proceedings which warrant special
attention. Indeed, what must have been a preconceived plan of the
prosecution to save Padrones and to pin down appellant instead is quite
evident. And worse, it was not without significant, if perhaps unwitting,
assistance from the court.
Thus, having in view the testimony of Angeles We have discussed earlier,
which had only a hazy reference to the supposed participation of
appellant in the offense charged, and taking into account Exhibit 17,
which the prosecution could not have been ignorant of, pointing to
Padrones instead of said appellant as the one who chased and shot the
deceased as the latter came out of Capital Theater, it is to be wondered
how Padrones was selected as state witness. Moreover, from Padrones'
own account, readily available beforehand to the prosecutor, he was with
Relucio, who was the one who had the motive to do away with Gonzalo,
earlier than appellant Velasco in the house of Atty. Perez, and there is no
indication at all that before the group went to Capital Theater, appellant
knew, unlike Padrones, that Gonzalo was to be killed. To reiterate, there is
no evidence that the killing of Talastas was ever talked about in the house
of Atty. Perez.
In other words, the prosecution could easily have chosen other witnesses,
even from among the other alleged participants in the affray, who
appeared to have had minor parts therein, if not from the tricycle drivers
who, from Padrones own account, must have seen what happened, and
yet Padrones had to be the one allowed to go scot-free. Withal, the
repeated references to unknown participants is unnatural. How could
there be a conspiracy of the character charged in the information where
four of the participants were not supposedly known to any of the
witnesses who themselves are alleged to have been in the conspiracy?
Why was Dante Ariola included in the information when there was
absolutely no evidence against him? Why was Edri Pineda who was
mentioned by Angeles in Exhibit 17 or Dante Ariola, who was also
charged, not chosen instead? For that matter, why was Atty. Perez in
whose house and in whose presence the plot to kill Talastas is alleged to
have originated not among the accused?
All these questions and many more are intriguing, but the most mystifying
circumstance extant in the record was the attitude of both the prosecution
and the trial judge in regard to what appears clearly to be a statement
given by Padrones to the Cabanatuan City police in the person of a
certain Patrolman Corporal J. S. Viloria on October 5, 1972 immediately
after he was arrested. This is the same statement, Annex A, on which the
defense motion for reconsideration and/or new trial, the denial of which is
the plaint in the fourth assignment of error of appellant's brief.
Counsel for accused Relucio started his cross-examination of Padrones
by inquiring about the circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention
which incontestably took place on October 5, 1972. The witness readily
revealed that:
ATTY. ABESAMIS
q Immediately after your arrest you were placed in jail?
D.S. PROSECUTOR
Answered already, Your Honor.
COURT
Answer the question.
WITNESS
a No, sir.
ATTY. ABESAMIS
q Where were you first brought by the apprehending officers immediately
after you were arrested in the afternoon of October 5, 1972?
a An investigation was made, sir, on any person.
q Who investigated you?
a Viloria, sir.
q Where?
a At the city hall, sir.
q In what part of the city hall did Viloria investigate you, please tell the
Court?
a Downstairs at his table, sir.
COURT
(To witness) Speak louder.
ATTY. ABESAMIS
q This Viloria is also a member of the Cabanatuan City police force?
a Yes, sir.
q Who were present when you were investigated by Viloria?
a The two of us, sir.
q He was asking you questions?
a Yes, sir,
q And you were giving answers to the questions propounded by Viloria to
you?
a Yes, sir.
q And Viloria was typing the questions propounded and the answers given
by you?
a Yes, sir.
q And Viloria investigated you in connection with your anti-government
activities?
a No, sir.
q In what connection were you investigated by Viloria?
a Regarding the case of Gonzalo Talastas, sir.
q Did you sign that written investigation?
a Yes. sir, I signed it.
q Also on October 5, 1972?
a I was brought before the presence of Judge Vicencio, sir.
q But you have not answered my question, Mr. Witness. My question to
you was, did you sign that typewritten investigation conducted by Viloria
also on October 5, 1972?
a Yes, sir, I signed it before the judge.
q On October 5, 1972?
a Yes, sir.
q You were escorted by armed policemen of Cabanatuan City when you
were brought in connection with that written investigation before Judge
Vicencio on October 5, 1972?
D.S. PROSECUTOR
It is very immaterial and irrelevant, Your Honor.
COURT
Answer the question.
WITNESS
a Yes, sir.
ATTY. ABESAMIS
q Who were those policemen who brought you to Judge Vicencio on
October 5, 1972?
a They were two, sir.
q I am not asking you about the number; I am asking you who they were?
a One of them is Viloria and I do not know the other policemen who is old.
q Now, could you tell the Honorable Court the time when Viloria started
investigating you on October 5?
a I cannot remember, sir.
q But it was night time?
a No, sir.
q But the investigation was conducted several hours after you were
already apprehended by the three policemen headed by Pat. Adriano?
D.S. PROSECUTOR
It is vague, Your Honor.
ATTY. ABESAMIS
To obviate the objection, I will modify the question.
q How many hours after you were arrested were you investigated on
October 5?
a The moment we arrived at the city hall I was investigated, sir. (t.s.n., pp.
66-70, hearing of January 4, 1973)
On the basis of such clear and categorical testimony about a statement
signed by him before Judge Vicencio of the City Court on that date
October 5, 1972, the defense counsel asked "the Honorable District State
Prosecutor to produce the written investigation of this witness on October
5, 1972, if he has it in his possession." (p. 70, Id.) And to add to the basis
for such request, there was the following manifestation of Atty. Pablo,
counsel for Velasco:
ATTY. PABLO
May it please the Honorable Court.
Atty. Taguiam would be a witness to this statement of mine that in the first
hearing of this case, Your Honor, Atty. Taguiam requested the District
State Prosecutor to lend him the two affidavits executed by this witness
and I reiterate that the first affidavit was dated October 5, and the second,
October 20, 1972. After Atty. Taguiam has read this affidavit I was able to
take hold of this affidavit and to read it. It was the District State Prosecutor
who lent these two affidavits to Atty. Taguiam during the first hearing of
this case.
(pp. 71-72, Id.)
Surprisingly, the reaction of the state prosecutor was negative, and the
following exchange of words took place:
ATTY. ABESAMIS
Your Honor please, I would like to make it appear on record that when the
recess was called by the Honorable Court in order to afford the District
State Prosecutor to look over his records, he Was sorting out his records
in connection with this case in order to look for the affidavit demanded of
him to be produced by the defense. May we know from the Honorable
District State Prosecutor what is the answer.
D.S. PROSECUTOR
I do not have any affidavit dated October 5, but with respect to the
affidavit they want me to produce I want that that affidavit be described
what is that.
ATTY. ABESAMIS
But Your Honor, it is already sufficiently described, the affidavit executed
by this witness on October 5.
COURT
How about on October 20?
ATTY. PABLO
And December 14, Your Honor.
D.S. PROSECUTOR
I would not answer that, Your Honor, unless it is described.
ATTY. ABESAMIS
We would like to make it appear on record, Your Honor, by the actuation
of the Honorable District State Prosecutor construes a suppression of the
evidence, a suppression of a very vital evidence which the defense has
been demanding pursuant to the rule on discovery as sanctioned under
our rules of court.
We will proceed, Your Honor.
D.S. PROSECUTOR
May I state also a manifestation that it could not be suppression if it came
from the mouth of this witness. The witness is present. You can ask him,
so it could not (be) suppression of evidence. (pp. 73-75, Id.)
Then came the inexplicable ruling of the court:
COURT
Well those are manifestations only of counsel. You give the basis for the
Court to compel the Fiscal to produce such document. Up to now there is
no basis. I think, the Fiscal would want to describe that affidavit. He does
not like to fish. All right, continue. (pp. 76, Id.)
Not only that, in its decision, the trial court reasoned out thus:
But it is not all rosy with the testimony of Miguel Padrones. Like all other
witnesses of the same capabilities he suffers from a poor memory as
regards remembering dates of events and faces of persons whom he
occasionally saw and met. The records is replete of incidents showing the
poor memory of the witness as regards the exact dates of events and the
faces of persons he met. The following instances will show that while in
the witness stand he was asked the following: 'Do you remember where
were you on June 23, 1971 between the hours of four o'clock in the
afternoon?' His answer was: 'I was in the residence of Atty. Perez.' It may
be noted that June 23, 1971 was the date of the commission of the crime
and the same date was included in the question. But when he was asked
again on cross examination the date of the commission of the crime, he
answered that he could not remember but if he would be allowed to refer
to his affidavit he could answer the same. It was only when he was
snowed to refer to his affidavit that he came to know that the crime was
committed on June 23, 1971. Again, he was asked when on October 5 he
was arrested, and he answered that he did not know other than that it
was after lunch. There was much confusion with regard to the execution
of the affidavit of Padrones on October 5. The Court believes that there
was no such affidavit executed on October 5, 1971. The confusion came
up only when Padrones was asked when he was arrested and he
answered on October 5. In answer to the subsequent questions he
answered that he was brought before Judge Alfin Vicencio, the city judge,
now the Honorable Judge of the Court of First Instance of Masbate. Then
the defense assumed in the following questions that the investigation took
place on October 5 and that this affidavit was taken on the same date, to
which the accused answered in the affirmative. Whether the accused
realized the truth of his answer or not, the Court has its doubts, upon
which it based its conclusion that this witness has a poor memory as to
dates of events. Capitalizing on this weakness of the witness, the defense
confined its cross examination on the several affidavits supposedly
executed by Miguel Padrones on October 5 and 20. But Padrones denied
vehemently that after that investigation of October 5 he made any affidavit
except that given by him to Corporal Viloria on October 20, 1971, which
the latter offered to show to the defense (referring to the affidavit of
December 14, 1972). The District State Prosecutor also denied
possession of the affidavit of October 5 of Miguel Padrones. The defense,
to strengthen its position, manifested that the affidavit of October 5 was
lost and that this could be confirmed by Atty. Fidel Taguiam, counsel of
one of the defendants; but Atty. Taguiam was never presented in court to
confirm or deny the same. The Court honestly believes that there was no
such affidavit ever executed on October 5, 1971 and that the witness
might be referring to the affidavits executed by him on October 20, 1971
(Exhibit "2" Relucio) and on December 14, 1972 before the District State
Prosecutor. To further Justify their actuations, the defense called on to the
witness stand the former Cabanatuan City Judge Alfin Vicencio, now the
presiding judge of one of the branches of the Court of First Instance of
Masbate. His Honor testified that he remembers one Miguel Padrones to
have executed an affidavit before him on October 5, 1971, but that he had
only a general Idea of its contents. The defense got what it wanted to get
from the lips of His Honor, Judge Alfin Vicencio and i.e., that it was only
accused Miguel Padrones who shot and killed the deceased victim
Gonzalo Talastas when the latter caught up with him near the Retelco
building. As a whole, His Honor wanted this Court to believe that only
Miguel Padrones shot and killed Gonzalo Talastas and that his co-
accused Federico Relucio and Rosendo Velasco were not with Padrones
when he killed said deceased victim. To this testimony of His Honor, it is
regrettable to state that he failed to state at least, all the substantial
contents of the said affidavit, assuming that there was really an affidavit of
October 5 executed by Miguel Padrones. Human as we all are, it is
unavoidable for our minds to slip, particularly as regards the dates,
considering the length of time and the work that confronted His Honor, the
Honorable Alfin Vicencio. (Pp. 107-110, Appendix A, Appellant's Brief.)
Such ratiocination is strange, to say the least. The record shows that His
Honor himself asked:
COURT
q Do you know the date when the statement was made?
a It was on the 5th, sir.
q Of October?
a Yes, sir.
COURT
Proceed. (t. t.s.n., p. 77, hearing of January 1973)
As can be seen, seemingly there was a deliberate and concerted intent to
prevent the impeachment of Padrones, except that the prosecutor failed
to realize that with his omission to object to the testimony of Judge
Vicencio, all his transparent moves to suppress the presentation of the
statement of said witness of October 5, 1972 would come to naught. The
record reveals only too plainly that several recesses were allowed by His
Honor at critical stages of the cross-examination for the obvious purpose
of affording the witness opportunity to adjust his testimony with the help of
the prosecutor that with his being already released after his discharge
on January 4, 1972 so much so that after the spirited skirmishes
between defense counsel and the prosecutor when the session of
January 4, 1972 was to end, the significance of which could not have
been lost to him, at the resumption of the trial on February 12, 1972, the
witness tried to sing a different tune. As to be expected, he came out with
the theory that the statement given by him before Patrolman Corporal
Viloria on October 5, 1972 was actually signed by him on October 19 or
20, 1972 before Fiscal del Rosario thus:
COURT:
Q Are you sure that your statement was taken on the 5th of October?
A Yes, sir.
Q So Sgt. Viloria has taken two affidavits from you?
A It was only on the 5th, sir.
Q How many times did that Sgt. Viloria taken your statement?
A It was only the time when I was apprehended, sir.
Q And when was that time when you were apprehended?
A On the 5th, sir.
Q Why is there now an affidavit subscribed and sworn to before Fiscal Del
Rosario dated October 19?
A It was there at the City Court where I was made to sign my statement,
sir.
Q When was that? Refer to your affidavit to refresh your memory,
A (Witness reads Exhibit" 2-A.") Maylaska question.
Q Read it all.
ATTY. PABLO:
May we make of record that the State Prosecutor is instructing the
witness to read the contents of the statement before the witness could be
guided by this Honorable Court that he read the said affidavit.
COURT:
Now what is your question, Mr. Padrones?
A Because, this morning I was being asked by them whether I was made
to sign before Viloria, but they are not asking me whether I have signed
before the Fiscal, sir.
Q What do you mean? Explain further.
A Only about that question whether I was made to sign before Viloria that
is why I answered yes. But it was not asked of me whether I was made to
sign before Fiscal Del Rosario, sir.
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
Q So you mean to tell the Honorable Court is that your affidavit dated
October 5,1972 was signed before Police Cpl. Viloria?
A It was only before the city hall that I affixed may signature, sir.
Q Precisely that affidavit of yours dated October 5, 1972 was signed by
you before Judge Vicencio, is that correct?
A Before Del Rosario, sir.
Q So the affidavit dated October 5, 1972, for purposes of clarification only,
Your Honor, was signed by you before Fiscal Del Rosario?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is that affidavit which you signed before Judge Vicencio and that
is included in your cross examination before on January 4, 1973?
A It came from the City Court, sir.
Q That was not on October 5, 1972?
A I do not know, sir, whether it was the one.
COURT:
Q The question is what is that affidavit that you subscribed and swore to
before Judge Vicencio, if you have any?
A I do not remember that affidavit, sir. What I remember I only signed
before Fiscal Del Rosario, sir.
Q So you do not recall having signed any statement before Judge
Vicencio?
A In the City Court I do not remember having signed any affidavit before
Judge Vicencio, sir.
Q In any other place do you remember having signed any affidavit before
Judge Vicencio?
A None, sir.
Q You are sure?
A I remember nothing, sir.
Q You do not remember or you do not even recall that you were
presented before Judge Vicencio by Police Cpl. Viloria?
PROSECUTOR:
We request that the witness be shown any statement to that effect, if
there is any.
COURT:
He is testing the credibility of the witness.
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
Q When you testified here on January 4, 1973 you said following which I
am reading from the transcript of the stenographic notes taken during
January 4, 1973 hearing ...
PROSECUTOR:
It seems the witness is confused about his affidavit.
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
The witness, Your Honor, is not confused; the witness is lying.
COURT:
Proceed.
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
I will read from your testimony during the trial of January 4, 1973,
specifically the questions and answers found on page 68, which I quote:
In what connection were you investigated by Viloria?
A. Regarding the case of Gonzalo Talastas, sir.
Q. Did you sign that written investigation?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Also on October 5, 1972?
A. I was brought before the person of Judge Vicencio, sir.
Q. But you have not answered my question. My question to you was, did
you sign that typewritten of Viloria also on October 5, 1972?
A. Yes, sir, he signed it before the judge.
Q. On October 5, 1972?
A. Yes, sir.
And Your Honor, on page 76, 1 read the following questions and answers:
Q. Who was carrying the typewritten investigation when you were brought
before the judge on October 5,1972?
A. Viloria, sir.
Q. After coming from the place of Judge Vicencio who was carrying that
statements?
A. Viloria also, sir.
Q My question now, Mr. Witness, is will you insist that you were never
brought before Judge Vicencio in order to swear, to sign and to subscribe
your statement in connection with this case since the beginning?
A I do not remember, sir. What I remember is I signed it before Fiscal Del
Rosario, sir.
COURT:
Q Then why did you assure counsel for the defense before the court that
you were presented before Judge Vicencio, during our hearing of January
4, 1973?
A I do not remember having been asked that question, sir.
Q It was asked of you and the court also remembers that question asked
of you. Will you now insist that you were never brought before Judge
Vicencio in connection with this case?
A I cannot comprehend the question, sir.
Q What do you not comprehend?
A Regarding that point that I was brought before the judge, sir.
Q But when you were asked by counsel about that fact on January 4,
1973 your mind was clear then, is it not?
A I do not remember whether I was brought before Judge Vicencio, sir.
Q You know very well Judge Vicencio before that date?
A I know him to be in the City Court, sir. He was being pointed to me by
the police, sir.
Q My question is do you know Judge Vicencio personally before that
date'!
A Yes, sir.
Q What about Fiscal Del Rosario, you know him also personally
A Yes, sir.
COURT:
Continue.
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
We request also, Your Honor, that pages 68 and 69 of the transcript of the
stenographic notes of the trial dated January 4, 1973 be marked as
Exhibit '3 Impeachment-Relucio' and the bracketed portion be marked as
Exhibit '3-A-Impeachment-Relucio.'
COURT:
Mark it. (t.s.n., pp. 23-31, hearing of February 12, 1973)
His Honor continued asking questions as the witness was already
faltering, until finally, to save him, the session was adjourned:
Q What day were you arrested?
A On a Friday, sir.
Q That was on October 5, 1972?
A Yes, sir.
Q So, that coming Monday you were brought before Fiscal Del Rosario?
A Yes, sir.
Q Are you sure of that?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you remember if you signed this affidavit before Fiscal Del Rosario?
A It was only the statement which I swore to that I remember, sir.
Q Did you see Fiscal Del Rosario sign his name?
A Yes, sir.
Q You do not remember if you signed the affidavit before Fiscal Del
Rosario?
A I signed, sir.
Q What pen did you use? The pen of Fiscal Del Rosario or some other
kind of pen?
A I do not remember whether I used the same pen used by the Fiscal, sir.
I remember only that I borrowed a ball pen placed on the table of the
Fiscal, sir.
Q But you said you signed that statement of yours before Policeman
Viloria, do you recall that now?
A I do not remember whether I was able to sign that or not, sir.
Q Are you tired already?
A My head is aching, sir.
COURT:
All right, we will adjourn this hearing and continue tomorrow, as previously
scheduled. At any rate it is already twelve o'clock noon. (pp. 35-36, Id.)
At this point, it must be noted that Exhibit 2-A, the statement which
Padrones claimed above to have been admittedly taken by Viloria on
October 5, 1972 but, supposedly signed by him later and not on the same
day before Judge Vicencio as he had previously stated, bears the
following heading:
SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY NI MIGUEL PADRONES y ESPEJO SA
PAGTATANONG NI P/CPL J. S. VILORIA DITO SA HIMPILAN NG
PULISYA NG KABANATUAN NGAYONG IKA-19 NG OKTUBRE 1972 SA
GANAP NA IKA 5:15 NG HAPON...
and ends with the following jurat:
NILAGDAAN AT PINANUMPAAN sa aking harap ngayong ika 20 ng
Oktubre 1972, dito sa Lunsod ng Kabanatuan.
With the dates October 19 and 20 thus appearing in this statements, how
could there be any proximity to the truth in the assertion of Padrones that
his statement was first taken by Viloria on October 5, 1972 and that it was
signed by him before Fiscal del Rosario on October 19, 1972 and that it
was the very statement he had been referring to earlier as having been
signed by him before Judge Vicencio?
And then, at the session of February 13, 1972, he tried to foist upon the
court another theory:
COURT:
I was the one asking questions yesterday to the witness. Let me finish my
questioning of this witness.
Q So that the court understands from you that you have only executed
two affidavits in connection with this case, one was taken from you by
Cpl. Viloria of the Cabanatuan City police department; and the second
was taken before District State Prosecutor Copuyoc, is that right?
A No, sir, it is on the 19 th; the third is on the 4th.
Q So you have three affidavits taken in connection with this case, is that
it?
A The one taken by Viloria which was subscribed before Fiscal Del
Rosario, sir.
Q Yes, and the other one taken is that one taken by Fiscal Copuyoc?
A Yes, sir.
Q I did not mention any dates, remember.
A Yes, sir.
Q I repeat again. Your mind is not yet confused this morning?
A Yes, sir.
Q The first affidavit was taken before Cpl. Viloria of the city police and
subscribed and sworn to before Fiscal Del Rosario?
A Yes, sir.
Q And the second was the one executed before District State Prosecutor?
A Yes, sir.
Q You have not executed any other affidavit in connection with this case
before any administering officer?
A None, sir.
COURT:
Continue.
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
Q In answer to a question propounded by the Honorable Court you said
that your third affidavit was on the 4th, do you remember having said
that?
A It was here that I swore, sir.
Q To an affidavit?
A Being a witness, sir.
Q So when you executed a third affidavit on the 4th you merely refer to
your declaration made in open court on January 4, 1973?
A I cannot comprehend very well what is affidavit, sir.
Q Did you make a written statement in connection with this case on the
4th?
COURT:
Fourth of what?
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
Q On the 4th of your testimony?
COURT:
Fourth of what month? Be specific, let us be fair with the witness,
especially with his kind of mentality. (t.s.n., pp. 38-41, hearing of Feb. 12,
1973.)
Only to fall back at the trial on February 19, 1973 on his original version
that Viloria accompanied him before Judge Vicencio:
ATTY. ABESAMIS:
q You having stated before this Honorable Court on January 4, 1973
under oath that you were accompanied by Viloria in order to swear to one
of your statements and another policeman whom you do not know, will
you still insist that you were never accompanied by Viloria?
a When I signed before Fiscal del Rosario, Viloria was not with me, sir.
q When was Viloria with you?
a It was on the 5th, sir.
q Before whom?
a Before Judge Vicencio, sir.
q Where?
a In the city jail, sir. (pp. 13, 14, Id.)
We have taken pains to quote above several portions of the transcript of
the stenographic notes of the proceedings in the court below even at the
risk of unduly extending this opinion and there are actually many more
of similar tenor that can be mentioned in order to bring out in bold relief
how Padrones, the state witness who was freed from prosecution by the
fiscal and the trial court played fast and loose with the truth in the course
of his lengthy testimony. How unfounded indeed is His Honor's laudation
of Padrones in the decision under review to the following effect:
This Court has been extra careful in the analysis and appreciation of the
evidence in question, particularly that of the two principal witnesses for
the prosecution, namely: Crispin Angeles and Miguel Padrones. The latter
having been discharged as prosecution witness he cannot escape, of
course, like all accused similarly situated the imputation that he was
allowed to be discharged from the information only for one basic reason,
i.e., to escape criminal responsibility. The discharge of one or two
accused is allowed by law in consideration of justice and truth with the
injunction to the discharged accused to testify to the truth and run the risk
only of being recalled and included in the information again should he
refuse to live up to his commitment to the prosecution. That injunction is
the consideration that compels the discharged accused to toe the line.
Nevertheless, the Court has been scrupulously and judiciously wary over
the conduct, behavior and testimonies of this particular witness, Miguel
Padrones. Even his means of walking from the place where he was
seated to the witness stand and his return to his seat did not escape the
vigilance of this court. As Padrones was called to the witness stand for
several times the Court observed that he walked in a natural manner, as if
he was to face nobody. He answered the questions immediately if he
understood them and if he did not he asked the interpreter to repeat the
same; he answered the questions without hesitation or nervousness. In
fine, he took everything in his stride, and one noticeable behavior which
he has shown the Court was when he answered questions the said
witness looked straight to the Court and lowered his eyes only after he
has answered the same. This Court went further into his educational
attainment and he admitted he was only a second grader. He made no
bones about his educational background. The Court believes he has
acquired a very low standard of education, otherwise, he would not be a
willing tool of the accused Federico Relucio who, together with him in that
afternoon of June 23, 1971 purposely went to the Capital theater to kill
Gonzalo Talastas. He showed his blind loyalty to Relucio as a friend, if the
Court were to believe the theory of the defense. But, of course, the
testimonies of Relucio and his wife on this point were of doubtful efficacy.
According to the defense and this is admittedly true, Miguel Padrones
was a member of the BSDU and at one time a security guard. As person
belonging to a unit of the BSDU was fighting the dissidents, while being a
security guard helps the police authorities to maintain peace and order in
a given place, so that by the nature of the work of Miguel Padrones, he is
working for, with and by the side of the law. Notwithstanding his low
educational attainment there was not even a record of conviction offered
by either the prosecution or defense. Under these circumstances
attributed to the same witness, what more can a court of justice expect
from an ignorant and sincere witness like Miguel Padrones? (Appellant's
Brief, pp. 104-106.)
Such unusually elaborate but obviously unmerited encomium given a
discharged state witness could have no other purpose than to induce the
appellate court to reply implicitly on the findings in the decision.
There is more than meets the eye here in the actuations of the district
state prosecutor who handled the case for the People, and regrettably,
the trial court was apparently carried away by his antics to the point that
His Honor came to seemingly join in the effort to concoct the obvious
falsehood that Padrones did not swear to a statement about the incident
in question before Judge Vicencio on October 5, 1972. Judge Vicencio
was city judge then of Cabanatuan City and at the time of the trial was
already presiding in the Court of First Instance of Masbate. He declared
under oath:
Atty. Abesamis
Q Sir, you said that you are the encumbent CFI judge of Masbate, when
did you assume that office?
A I assumed office on May 21, 1973 and I took my oath on May 16, sir.
Q Before that date Sir what was your occupation?
A I was the city judge of Cabanatuan City presiding over Branch 1, sir.
Q On October 5, 1972 were you still the City judge of Cabanatuan City
presiding over Branch I of the said court?
A Yes, sir.
Q And as City judge of Cabanatuan City on October 5, 1972 it was your
duty to administer all oaths of affiants on their respective statements is
that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, sir, I would like to inform you that a certain Miguel Padrones alias
Ige testified before this Honorable Court as a witness for the prosecution
on January 4, 1973 and among others, he said the following: that he was
arrested by the Cabanatuan City Police Department on October 5, 1972
in the afternoon thereof; that he was formally investigated by the police
department of Cabanatuan City and that his statement was taken by a
certain Cpl. Julio S. Viloria on the same date October 5, 1972 page 68
of the transcript of the stenographic notes of the testimony of Miguel
Padrones on January 4, 1973. After Padrones made that declaration
before the Honorable Court, the defense asked for the production of that
affidavit which he allegedly executed on October 5, 1972 but the
Honorable District State Prosecutor said that he did not have it in his
possession and the manifestation of the District State Prosecutor is page
71 of the transcript of the stenographic notes of the same hearing. He
likewise stated that he signed his affidavit of October 5, 1972 on the same
date before you. However, during the hearing of February 12, 1973 before
this Honorable Court the same Padrones declared under oath that Ms
affidavit dated October 5, 1972 was signed by him before Fiscal del
Rosario of the Office of the City Fiscal of Cabanatuan City pages 25-26 of
the transcript of the stenographic notes, February 12, 1973, and he said
categorically that he does not remember having signed any statement
before Judge Vicencio in the city court nor in any other place for that
matter page 26 t.s.n. February 12, 1973 which we have exerted efforts to
locate that alleged statement of Miguel Padrones executed on October 5,
1972 but we failed to do so. Now, on the basis of this will you please tell
us sir whether or not on October 5, 1972 a certain Miguel Padrones alias
Ige had appeared before you in order to swear to a statement given by
him before Cpl. Viloria on the mm date October 5, 1972?
A I remember this Miguel Padrones accompanied by policeman Viloria
and del Rosario. They went to my residence at Gen. Tinio street and they
sat in the terrace of my residence. It was there when I asked to administer
the oath to Mr. Padrones, sir.
Q That was sir in the afternoon of October 5, 1972?
A It was late in the afternoon of that date, sir.
Q Now since that affidavit could not be retrieved and could not be found
despite efforts exerted by the defense to look for the same, can you tell us
sir the contents in brief of that statement of Miguel Padrones alias 'Ige'?
A I can give you a general Idea of the statement, sir.
Q Yes, sir, please state.
A Padrones stated among others that he is Ige mentioned in a warrant of
arrest with respect to the death of a certain Gonzalo Talastas. I believe it
was then that he stated that Gonzalo Talastas shot a certain Federico
Relucio inside the Capital theater and that, he, Padrones chased this
Talastas along Burgos Avenue and caught up with him in front of the
former Retelco office at Burgos Avenue and then he shot this Talastas, sir.
Q What else did he state in that statement?
A Well that is the general idea that I recall that he chased Talastas and he
shot him until he died, sir.
Q Did Padrones state in that affidavit where he left Federico Relucio after
Relucio was shot by Talastas inside the Capital theater and after
Padrones had chased Gonzalo Talastas?
A I do not remember Padrones having made any statement except that
according to him, Talastas shot Federico Relucio inside the Capital
theater and that on his part, he chased Talastas along Burgos Avenue
caught up with him in front of the former Retelco office that is the
residence of the late Judge Cecilio then he shot Talastas, sir.
Q Did Padrones as far as you could recall mention in that affidavit his
companions in chasing and shooting Gonzalo Talastas?
A I do not remember any other name except him, Talastas and Relucio.
Those are the names that I remember.
Q Do you remember if Padrones had ever mentioned in that statement of
his the name of Rosendo Velasco alias "Mangyo"?
A No, sir, I do not remember that he ever mentioned.
Atty. Abesamis:
That is all, your honor.
Court:
Cross
Fiscal:
No cross examination, your honor.
(t.s.n., pp, 28-35, hearing. of July 25, 1973.)
For the trial court to hold in its decision under review, in the face of this
solemn testimony of a fellow member of the judiciary of equal rank, as
against the wavering and fast changing declarations of a discharged
accused, that "it is regrettable to state that he (Judge Vicencio) failed to
state at least the substantial contents of said affidavit, (the statement of
Padrones before him of October 5, 1972) assuming that there was really
an affidavit of October 5 executed by Miguel Padrones. Human as we all
are, it is unavoidable for our minds to slip particularly as regards the
dates, considering the length of time and the work that confronted His
Honor, the Honorable Alfin Vicencio" is purely a slanted rationalization
and an unexcusable display of uncommon naivety truly unbecoming of a
judicial trier of facts. This observation is also justified by His Honor's own
admission that:
But it is not all rosy with the testimony of Miguel Padrones. Like all other
witnesses of the same capabilities he suffers from a poor memory as
regards remembering dates of events and faces of persons whom he
occasionally saw and met. The records is replete of incidents showing the
poor memory of this witness as regards the exact dates of events and the
faces of persons he met. The following instances will show that while in
the witness stand he was asked the following: 'Do you remember where
were you on June 23, 1971 between the hours of four o'clock and five
o'clock in the afternoon?' His answer was: 'I was in the residence of Atty.
Perez.' It may be noted that June 23, 1971 was the date of the
commission of the crime and the same date was included in the question.
But when he was asked again on cross-examination the date of the
commission of the crane, he answered that he could not remember but if
he would be allowed to refer to this affidavit he could answer the same. It
was only when he was allowed to refer to this affidavit that he came to
know that the crime was committed on June 23, 1971. Again, he was
asked when on October 5 he was arrested, and he answered that he did
not know other than that it was after lunch. (Appellant's Brief, p. 107).
In other words, His Honor could excuse the supposed lapse of memory of
a discharged accused, while he would condemn a supposedly similar
fault in the testimony of a judge.
We hold that, contrary to the unwarranted and incomprehensible finding
of His Honor, the evidence on record conclusively establishes that
Padrones did give to Patrolman Corporal Viloria of the Cabanatuan City
Police on October 5, 1972 immediately after his arrest, his own account of
what happened in the afternoon of June 23, 1971 at the Capital Theater
and subsequently near the Old Republic Telephone Company in
Cabanatuan City that led to the death of Gonzalo Talastas and that he
signed and swore to said statement before Judge Alfin Vicencio, then of
the City Court of Cabanatuan City, that same day to whom he was
brought by the same Patrolman Corporal Viloria. We consider the attitude
shown in the premises by District State Prosecutor Mariano D. Copuyoc
of feigning ignorance of Annex A and attempting to foist upon the court
the theory that Exhibit 2-A was the one given by Padrones on October 5,
1972, to be lacking in candor to the court and prejudicial to the interests
of justice. Likewise, the circumstances under which Exhibit 2-A, the
supposed statement of Padrones bearing two dates, October 19 or 20,
1972, and supposedly signed before Fiscal del Rosario, came into being
need to be inquired into, there being indications from the circumstances
We have found home by the record that it is not of regular origin. We
further hold that the trial court committed a reversible error in not giving
due course to the motion for reconsideration and/or new trial of the
defense dated April 16, 1974, if only for the purpose of delving deeper
into the execution of Annex A thereof, which appears to be the statement
given by Padrones on October 5, 1972 to Patrolman Corporal Viloria and
which he signed and swore to before Judge Vicencio, wherein Padrones
categorically confessed that he, and not appellant Velasco, was the one
who chased and shot to death Gonzalo Talastas during the incident here
in question, thus:
SINUMPAANG SALAYSAY NI MIGUEL PADRONES Y ESPEJO SA
PAGTATANONG NI P/CPL J S VILORIA DITO SA HIMPILAN NG
PULISYA NG KABANATUAN NGAYON IKA 5 NG OKTUBRE 1972 SA
GANAP NA IKA 5:15 NG HAPON... .
01. TANONG: Ito ay isang pagsisisyasat ipinaaalata ko saiyo ang iyong
karapatan na itinatadhana ng Saligang Batas ng Bansang Pilipino na ang
sino man ay hindi maaaring piliting magbigay ng ano mang pahayag at
kung magbibigay man ay maaari namang gamitin ng laban saiyo sa alin
mang Hukuman, ikaw ba ay handang sumagot sa mga itatanong saiyo?
SAGOT: Opo.
02. T: Ano ang iyong pangalan at iba pang pagkakailanlan saiyo?
S: MIGUEL PADRONES Y ESPEJO, 43 taon, may-asawa, manggagawa
sa NIA, Talipapa, Kabanatuan.
03. T: Ano ang iyong palayaw?
S: IGI po.
04. T: Ano ba ang dahilan al narito ka sa Himpilan ng Pulis?
S: Ako po ay kasalukuyang napipiit sa isang usapin.
05. T: Aling asunto ang iyong kinasasangkutan?
S: Iyon pong pagkapatay kay ALONG.
06. T: Kailan napatay si ALONG?
Buan po ng Hunyo 1971.
07. T: Saang lugar napatay si ALONG?
S: Duon po sa Burgos, Kabanatuan malapit sa dating "Republic
Telephone".
08. T: Papaano napatay si ALONG?
S: Sa barilan po.
09. T: Sino ang tao o mga taong kabarilan ni ALONG?
S: Ako po.
10. T: Maliban sa iyo, wala na bang iba pang tao o mga taong kasama sa
pakikipagbarilan kay ALONG?
S:. Wala na po.
11 T: Isalaysay mo nga ang buong pangyayari .
S: Si RELUCIO at saka ako ay nagpunta sa bahay ni Atty. PEREZ sa
Gen. Tinio, Kabanatuan at pagdating namin duon ay nabalitaan ni
RELUCIO na si ALONG ay nasa loob ng cine 'Capital'.
12 T: Sa nabalitaan ni RELUCIO na tungkol kay ALONG ano pa ang
nangyari, kung mayroon man?
S: Inaya po ako ni RELUCIO at sumakay kami sa tricycle at nagpunta
kami sa malapit sa cine 'Capital'.
13. T: Nuong dumating kayo sa may cine 'Capital ano ang inyong
ginawa?
S: Pumasok si RELUCIO sa cine samantalang ako ay naghintay sa labas
ng cine.
14. T: Nuong makapasok si RELUCIO sa loob ng cine Capital ano ang
nangyari?
S: Hindi po nagtagal ay nagkaroon ng mga putok sa loob ng cine.
15 T: Matapos kang makarinig ng mga putok ano ang iyong nakita?
S: Lumabas po si ALONG.
16. T: Saan nagtuloy si ALONG?
S: Nagtatakbo po siyang patungong hulo.
17. T: Ano pa ang nangyari nuong tumakbo si ALONG?
S: Sinundan ko po si ALONG sa pamamagitan ng paghabol sa kanya.
18. T: Inabutan mo ba si ALONG?
S: Inabutan ko po sa malapit sa dating Tanggapan ng 'Republic
Telephone'.
19 T: Ano ang nangyari ng abutan mo si ALONG?
S: Nagbarilan po kami.
20. T: Ano ang baril ni ALONG ?
S: 45 calibre po.
21. T: Matapos ang putukan saan ka nagtuloy?
S: Umuwi na po ako sa amin.
22. T: Si ALONG ano ang ayos ng iyong iwan?
S: Patay na po.
23. T: Ano ba ang nagudyok sa iyo upang ipahayag sa akin ang iyong
salaysay na ito?
S: Gusto ko pong maliwanagan ninyo ang pangyayari sa pagkamatay ni
ALONG.
24. T: Ano ang ipinamaril mo kay ALONG?
S: Carbine at calibre 45 po.
24. T: Wala na akong itatanong mayroon ka pang nais sabihin?
S: Wala na po.
25. T: Lalagdaan mo at panunumpaan ang inyong salaysay na ito patotoo
at pagpapatibay sa iyong sinabi?
S: Opo.
(Nilagdaan) MIGUEL PADRONES
NILAGDAAN AT PINANUMPAAN sa aking harap ngayong ika 5th ng
Oktubre, 1972, sa Lunsod ng Kabanatuan.
(Nilagdaan) ALFIN VICENIO City Judge (Pp. 509-610, Record.)
Indeed, in the light of all the foregoing, We can safely say that with the
testimony of Judge Vicencio, the evidence against appellant Velasco
coming from the lips of Padrones is not entitled to any credit at all. And
there is even no need for the new trial prayed for by the defense. In the
premises, such a proceeding would obviously be superfluous.
- 3-
With the disgusting character of the prosecution's evidence against herein
appellant Velasco We have disclosed above, and Our ineludible
conclusions against the evidentiary value of the testimonies of Crispin
Angeles and the discharged defendant Miguel Padrones, it goes without
saying that the charge of murder against said appellant has no leg to
stand on. Accordingly, We find no need to elucidate on the other evidence
on record, which, to be sure, based on Our careful study thereof could
absolve him just the same, We have no alternative but to reverse the
judgment of conviction of the trial court, for lack of any evidence to
support the same.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court under review is hereby
reversed and the appellant Rosendo Velasco is acquitted and ordered
immediately released from custody unless there is any reason for his
further detention other than this case, with the corresponding portion of
the costs de officio. Let copies of this decision be furnished the Minister of
Justice and the Provincial Fiscal of Nueva Ecija, for their information and
guidance relative to the actuations of Special District Prosecutor Copuyoc
and Fiscal del Rosario discussed in the above opinion.
Fernando (Chairman), Antonio, Concepcion, Jr. and Santos, JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., took no part.

Pp v. Buduhan, G.R. No. 178196, 06 August 2008

On 26 August 1998, Information was filed against Robert Buduhan, Rudy Buduhan, Boy
Guinhicna, Boyet Ginyang and 3 John Does before the RTC of Maddela, Quirino, for the
crime of Robbery with Homicide and Frustrated Homicide.

That on or about 10:40 oclock in the evening of July 24, 1998 in Poblacion Norte,
Municipality of Maddela, Province of Quirino, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, four of them are armed and after first
conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another and with force and
violence did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously rob ROMUALDE
ALMERON of his wallet and wrist watch and LARRY ERESE of his wrist watch to
the damage and prejudice of the said ROMUALDE ALMERON and LARRY ERESE;

That on the occasion of the Robbery, the said accused, armed with firearms of different
caliber and after first conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, shoot and fire upon ROMUALDE
ALMERON, LARRY ERESE and ORLANDO PASCUA resulting to their
instanteneous (sic) death and the injuries to the persons of FERNANDO PERA and
GILBERT CORTEZ.

On 20 October 1998, the accused filed a Motion to Quash [4] the above information,
alleging that the court did not legally acquire jurisdiction over their persons.

The accused contended they were neither caught in flagrante delicto, nor did the
police have personal knowledge of the commission of the offense at the time
when their warrantless arrests were effected.[5]

In an Order dated 25 August 1999, the RTC denied the above motion on the ground
that the assertion of lack of personal knowledge on the part of the arresting
officers regarding the commission of the crime is a matter of defense, which
should be properly taken up during the trial SO DONT QUASH MUNA.

When arraigned on 12 January 2000, the accused Rudy Buduhan, Robert Buduhan and
Boyet Ginyang, with the assistance of their counsel de oficio, entered their pleas of Not
Guilty to the crime charged.[7] With respect to accused Boy Guinhicna, counsel for the
accused informed the trial court of his death and thus moved for the dismissal of the
charges against him.[8]

On the same date, the pre-trial conference was terminated and both parties agreed on
the following stipulation of facts, namely:
1. That the incident transpired at about 10:40 in the evening of July 24, 1998;

2. That the incident happened at Poblacion Norte, Maddela, Quirino;

3. That no firearm has been confiscated from any of the accused.[9]

Upon the submission of accused Boy Guinhicnas Certificate of Death, [10] the RTC
dismissed the case against him on 14 February 2000.[11] Thereafter, trial of the case
ensued.

The prosecution presented the following witnesses:

(1) Cherry Rose Salazar, an employee of the establishment where the crime was
committed[12];

(2) Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Leo Saquing, a police officer at the Maddela Police
Station who investigated the crime committed[13];

(3) Dr. Fernando T. Melegrito, the medical examiner who conducted the autopsies on the
bodies of the victims[14];

(4) Myrna Almeron, the widow of the victim Romualde Almeron [15]; and (5) Laurentino
Erese, Sr., the father of the victim Larry Erese.[16]

The defense, on the other hand, presented:

(1) appellant Robert Buduhan[17];

(2) accused Boyet Ginyang[18];

(3) Police Inspector Ma. Leonora Chua-Camarao, a Forensic Chemist of the Philippine
National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory at Camp Crame, Quezon City[19];

(4) Appellant Rudy Buduhan[20]; and

(5) Reynaldo Gumiho, an eyewitness who was allegedly present at the scene of the
crime shortly before the incident in question occurred.[21]

The Peoples version of the incident as narrated by its principal witness, Cherry
Rose Salazar (Cherry Rose), is as follows:

On 24 July 1998, Cherry Rose was working as a guest relations officer at the RML
Canteen, a beerhouse and a videoke bar in Maddela, Quirino. [22] At about 9:00 to 10:00
p.m., there were only two groups of men inside the beerhouse. [23] The group that went
there first was that of the appellants, [24] which was composed of Robert Buduhan, who
was wearing a white T-shirt marked Giordano, [25] Rudy Buduhan, who was wearing a red
T-shirt,[26] a man wearing a blue T-shirt,[27] and another man wearing a blue T-shirt with a
black jacket.[28] The second group was composed of Larry Erese and his companions
Gilbert Cortez (alias Abe) and Fernando Pera (aliasNanding).
At 10:40 p.m., while Cherry Rose was entertaining the group of Larry Erese, Robert
bufuahn approached them and poked a gun at Larry.[29] Immediately, the man
wearing a blue T-shirt likewise approached Cherry Roses Manager Romualde Almeron
(alias Eddie), who was seated at the counter.[30] The man in blue poked a gun at
Romualde and announced a hold-up.[31] Larry then handed over his wristwatch to
Robert. Instantaneously, all four men from Roberts group fired their guns at Larry and
Romualde, which caused them to fall down. [32] Abe and Nanding ran out of the RML
Canteen when the shooting occurred, and Cherry Rose hid below the table.[33]

SPO1 Leo T. Saquing[34] testified that on 24 July 1998, at 11:00 p.m., he and SPO4 Alex
M. Gumayagay were detailed as duty investigators at the Maddela Police Station when
Eddie Ancheta, a fireman, reported to them a shooting incident at the RML Canteen in
Barangay Poblacion Norte, Maddela, Quirino. SPO1 Saquing and SPO4 Gumayagay
then proceeded to the said place.

About 50 meters from the scene of the crime, they encountered four male individuals
who were running away therefrom.[35] The policemen immediately halted the men and
asked them where they came from. When they could not respond properly and gave
different answers, the policemen apprehended them and brought them to the Maddela
Police Station for questioning and identification.[36] Afterwards, the policemen went back
to the RML Canteen to conduct an investigation therein. [37] Later that night, the
witnesses[38] of the shooting incident went to the police station and they positively pointed
to the four persons, later identified as Robert Buduhan, Rudy Buduhan, Boy Guinhicna
and Boyet Ginyang, as the assailants in the said incident.[39]

Dr. Fernando Melegrito,[40] the Chief of Hospital at the Maddela Hospital, testified
that he conducted the autopsies on the bodies of the victims Romualde Almeron,
Larry Erese and Orlando Pascua.[41] With respect to Romualde, Dr. Melegrito found
that the former sustained a gunshot wound 1/2 x 1/2 centimeter in diameter, one
inch above the right nipple, perforating the fourth rib of the right chest,
penetrating the superior aspect of the right lung, the aorta of the heart, the
midportion of the left lung and exited through the back, two inches below the
lower portion of the left scapular region.[42] These findings were also contained in
Romualde Almerons Autopsy Report.[43] From the nature of the wound, Dr.
Melegrito concluded that the victim was near and was in front of the assailant
when he was fatally shot.

As regards Larry Erese, Dr. Melegrito testified that said victim sustained a gunshot
wound 1/2 x 1/2 centimeter in diameter in the sternal region of the chest, between the
third left and right rib, perforating the arch of the aorta of the heart and penetrating the
subcutaneous tissue of the left lower back at the level of the seventh rib, where a slug
(bullet)[44] was extracted.[45] These findings were likewise contained in Larry Ereses
Autopsy Report.[46]

Myrna Almeron[49] testified that as a result of the untimely death of her husband
Romualde Almeron, which fact was evidenced by a Death Certificate,[50] she incurred
expenses for funeral services in the amount of P38,000.00 and expenses during her
husbands wake in the amount of P25,000.00. She also claimed that during the night of
the shooting incident, Romualde brought with him the amount of P50,000.00 in his
wallet, but the same was no longer recovered. Among these figures, however, Myrna
Almeron was only able to present a receipt for the expenses for funeral services [51] and
only in the amount of P26,000.00.

The prosecution did not present the other surviving victims in the shooting
incident, namely Gilbert Cortez and Fernando Pera. The latter were fearful of
reprisals from unknown individuals. No evidence was likewise adduced on their
behalf. Also, the other employees who worked as guest relations officers in the RML
Canteen and who likewise witnessed the incident were said to have absconded already.
[56]

For the defense, appellant Robert Buduhan[57] testified that on the evening of 24 July
1998, he was at their boarding house in Poblacion, Maddela, Quirino, together with Rudy
Buduhan, Boyet Ginyang, and Boy Guinhicna. The group drank one bottle of San Miguel
Gin, and then went to sleep.

Unknown to him and Guinhicna, Rudy and Ginyang still went out to continue their
drinking sessions. While he was sleeping, Ginyang arrived and woke him up. Ginyang
told him that they had to go to the beerhouse where he (Ginyang) and Rudy had been to
because something might have happened to Rudy, as there was a fight there. Robert,
Ginyang and Guinhicna then proceeded to look for Rudy. On their way there, at the
junction of the National Highway, they encountered some policemen who asked
them where they were headed. When Robert said that they were looking for Rudy, the
policemen told them to board the police vehicle and the group was given a ride. As it
turned out, Roberts group was taken to the Municipal Jail of Maddela where they were
detained. The policemen went out to look for Rudy and they likewise put him in jail. The
following day, the policemen confiscated the shirts worn by the group. They were also
taken to Santiago City where paraffin tests were conducted. On the evening of 26 July
1998, the policemen went to the jail with three ladies who were asked to identify Roberts
group. The ladies, however, did not recognize Robert and his companions.

Boyet Ginyang[58] testified that on 24 July 1998, at 10:00 p.m., he and Rudy went to a
beerhouse in Maddela, Quirino. After ordering some drinks and chatting, they
suddenly heard gunshots from the outside. Looking towards the direction of the
sound, he saw somebody fall to the ground and at that point, he and Rudy ran to get
away from the place. While running towards their boarding house, Rudy was stopped by
an unknown armed person in a white T-shirt. When Ginyang reached the boarding
house, he roused appellant Robert and Guinhicna from their sleep and asked them to go
with him and search for Rudy. Upon reaching the junction at the National Highway, they
were halted by a man who asked where they were heading. After hearing their story, the
man said they should wait for a vehicle that would help them look for Rudy. When the
vehicle arrived, he and the others were brought to the municipal jail. Thereafter, Rudy
was likewise picked up by the police and detained with the group. On the morning of 25
July 1998, three ladies were brought to the municipal jail to identify his group, but
the former did not recognize them. On the morning of 26 July 1998, Ginyang and his
three companions were brought to Santiago City where they were made to undergo
paraffin testing. Afterwards, the group was brought back to the municipal jail in Maddela,
Quirino. Ginyang also testified that the policemen took the shirts they wore on the night
of 24 July 1998, but he could not remember when they did.
Police Inspector Maria Leonora Chua-Camarao[59] testified that she was the one who
conducted the examination proper of the paraffin casts taken from Robert Buduhan,
Rudy Buduhan, Boyet Ginyang and Boy Guinhicna. She likewise brought before the
trial court the original Letter Request[60] of the Maddela Police Station for the
conduct of paraffin casting; the Letter of Request [61] addressed to the Officer-in-
Charge the PNP Crime Laboratory in Region 2 for the conduct of paraffin
examination; and the paraffin casts of subjects Rudy, Ginyang, Guinhicna and
Robert.[62] Police Inspector Chua-Camarao explained that the purpose of
conducting a paraffin test was to determine the presence of gunpowder residue in
the hands of a person through extraction using paraffin wax. The process involves
two stages: first, the paraffin casting, in which the hands of the subject are covered with
paraffin wax to extract gunpowder residue; and second, the paraffin examination per se,
which refers to the actual chemical examination to determine whether or not gunpowder
residue has indeed been extracted. For the second stage, the method used is the
diphenyl amine test, wherein the diphenyl amine agent is poured on the paraffin casts of
the subjects hands. In this test, a positive result occurs when blue specks are produced
in the paraffin casts, which then indicates the presence of gunpowder residue. When no
such reaction takes place, the result is negative.

The findings and conclusion on the paraffin test that Police Inspector Chua-Camarao
conducted were contained in Physical Science Report No. C-25-98 [63] which yielded a
negative result for all the four accused.

Nonetheless, the forensic chemist pointed out that the paraffin test is merely
corroborative evidence, neither proving nor disproving that a person did indeed fire a
gun. The positive or negative results of the test can be influenced by certain factors,
such as the wearing of gloves by the subject, perspiration of the hands, wind direction,
wind velocity, humidity, climate conditions, the length of the barrel of the firearm or the
open or closed trigger guard of the firearm.[64]

Appellant Rudy Buduhan testified that at past 10:00 p.m. of 24 July 1998, he and
Ginyang went to a beerhouse. Shortly after ordering their drinks, they heard gunshots,
and a person seated near the door fell. They then ran towards the road.[65] While running,
an armed man wearing a white T-shirt held him, while Ginyang was able to get away.
[66]
After a while, the police arrived and they took him to the Maddela police station where
he was jailed along with Robert, Ginyang and Guinhicna.[67]The rest of his testimony
merely corroborated the testimonies of Robert and Ginyang.

Reynaldo Gumiho (Reynaldo)[68] testified that on the evening of 24 July 1998, he was in
Poblacion, Maddela, Quirino, for a business transaction involving the sale of a 6x6 truck
with a certain alias Boy. At about 8:00 p.m., Reynaldo and Boy proceeded to a
beerhouse in Maddela. After settling with their drinks, Reynaldo heard a group of five
men near their table who were conversing and he recognized from the accent of their
voices that they were from Lagawe (Ifugao). One of the men then told him that they
should leave after finishing their drinks because the former were looking for someone
who killed their relative. Reynaldo disclosed that he recognized one of the persons
whom he usually saw in Lagawe, and that the group was composed of relatively tall
people who were mostly wearing jackets. Not long after, Reynaldo and Boy left the
beerhouse so as not to get involved in any trouble. Two days after he left Maddela,
Reynaldo learned of the shooting incident in the beerhouse.
In a Decision dated 24 July 2003, the trial court found appellants guilty of the charges,
the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court renders judgment as follows:

1) Finding accused Robert and Rudy, both surnamed Buduhan, GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of Robbery with Homicide (Par. 1 Article
294 of the Revised Penal Code) with respect to the deceased Larry Erese and
sentences each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua;

2) As to the victim Romualde Almeron, the court also finds them GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of Homicide (Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code) and sentences
each of them to the indeterminate penalty of 12 years of Prision Mayor as minimum to
20 years of Reclusion Temporal as maximum;

However, they shall be entitled to a deduction of their preventive imprisonment from the
term of their sentences in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by R.A. No. 6127.

3) To pay jointly the heirs of Larry Erese the amount of P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity, P25,000 as exemplary damages, P18,000 as actual expenses and P5,000 as
temperate damages; and the heirs of Mr. Almeron: P50,000 as civil indemnity, P25,000
as exemplary damages, P38,000.00 as actual expenses and P5,000.00 as temperate
damages.

With costs against them.

However, with respect to accused Boyet Ginyang, the court ACQUITS him of the offense
charged since the prosecution had failed to overcome, with the required quantum of
evidence, the constitutional presumption of innocence. Consequently, the Chief of the
BJMP, Cabarroguis, Quirino, is hereby ordered to immediately release him from
confinement unless being held for some other lawful cause; and to make a report hereon
within three (3) days from receipt hereof.[69]

On 1 August 2003, the appellants filed a Notice of Appeal [70] raising questions of law and
facts.

On 7 June 2004, the Court initially resolved to accept the appeal, docketed as G.R. No.
159843,[71] and required the appellants to file their Brief.[72]

However, on 5 October 2005, we resolved to transfer the case to the Court of Appeals in
view of our ruling in People v. Mateo.[73] The case was then docketed as CA-G.R. CR-HC
No. 01940.

On 29 December 2006, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision, the dispositive
portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the July 24, 2003 Decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Maddela, Quirino, Branch 38, in Civil Case No. 39-18, is hereby MODIFIEDonly
in that, in addition to the award already given by the trial court, in consonance with
current jurisprudence, the heirs of ERESE are also entitled to moral damages
of P50,000 and in addition to the award already given by the trial court, the heirs of
ALMERON are also entitled to moral damages of P50,000.00.

Pursuant to Section 13(c), Rule 124 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure as
amended by A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC dated September 28, 2004, which became effective
on October 15, 2004, this judgment of the Court of Appeals may be appealed to the
Supreme Court by notice of appeal filed with the Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals.
[74]

From the Court of Appeals, the case was then elevated to this Court for automatic
review. In a Resolution[75] dated 5 September 2007, we required the parties to file their
respective supplemental briefs, if they so desired, within 30 days from notice.
In a Manifestation[76] filed on 30 October 2007, the People informed the Court that it will
no longer file a supplemental brief, as the arguments raised by appellants had already
been discussed in the brief[77] filed before the Court of Appeals.

Appellants, on the other hand, filed their supplemental brief on 28 November 2007.

As a final plea for their innocence, appellants ask this Court to consider the following
assignment of errors:

I.IN GIVING COMPLETE CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE PRINCIPAL


WITNESS OF THE PROSECUTION DESPITE THE PRESENCE OF FACTS TAINTING
THE CREDIBILITY OF THE WITNESS. Cherry

II.

IN DISREGARDING THE DEFENSE OF THE APPELLANTS, WHICH WAS


CORROBORATED BY THE FINDINGS OF THE FORENSIC CHEMIST.

To state differently, appellants argue that their guilt was not proven beyond
reasonable doubt in view of the trial courts error in the appreciation of the
evidence for and against them. They fault the trial courts over-reliance on the
testimony of the prosecutions main witness and its failure to consider the glaring
inconsistencies in Cherry Roses previous accounts of the shooting incident.

The appeal lacks merit.

Appellants insist that Cherry Rose is not a credible witness in view of the conflicting
answers she gave in her sworn statement before the police, [78] in the preliminary
investigation of the case and in her testimony in open court. They contend that the trial
court failed to scrutinize the entirety of the statements made by Cherry Rose vis--vis the
shooting incident.

Appellants called attention to the fact that during the preliminary investigation of the
case, Cherry Rose stated that a man wearing a white Giordano T-shirt shot Larry
after Larry handed his wristwatch.[79] Thereafter, when Cherry Rose was asked
whom she saw wearing a white Giordano T-shirt, she pointed to Boy Guinhicna.
[80]
With respect to appellant Robert Buduhan, Cherry Rose identified him as the one
who shot Orlando Pascua.[81]

In the testimony of Cherry Rose in open court, however, she identified appellant
Robert as the man who was wearing a white Giordano T-shirt and who shot Larry
Erese.[82]

Also, in Cherry Roses sworn statement before the police, she narrated that the group
of the appellants, consisting of five persons, was already inside the RML Canteen before
the shooting incident occured.[83] However, in her direct examination, Cherry Rose
stated that appellant Robert had only three other companions.[84]

Finally, in the preliminary investigation, appellants pointed out that Cherry Rose
unhesitatingly admitted that Larry Erese was her intimate boyfriend and that was
why she embraced him after the latter was shot.[85]

In her cross-examination, however, Cherry Rose stated that Larry was only a
customer and not her boyfriend.[86] When questioned about her prior statement about
this fact given during the preliminary investigation, Cherry Rose changed her answer
and said that Larry was indeed her boyfriend.[87]

Taking all these circumstances into account, appellants argue that, judging from the
conflicting statements of Cherry Rose, the identification of the accused is highly doubtful.

We are not persuaded.

As between statements made during the preliminary investigation of the case and the
testimony of a witness in open court, the latter deserves more credence. Preliminary
investigations are commonly fairly summary or truncated in nature, being
designed simply for the determination, not of guilt beyond reasonable doubt, but
of probable cause prior to the filing of an information in court. It is the statements
of a witness in open court which deserve careful consideration.[88]

In any event, Section 13, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, on the matter of
inconsistent statements by a witness, is revealing:

Section 13. How witness impeached by evidence of inconsistent statements. Before a


witness can be impeached by evidence that he has made at other times statements
inconsistent with his present testimony, the statements must be related to him, with
the circumstances of the times and places and the persons present, and he must
be asked whether he made such statements, and if so, allowed to explain them. If
the statements be in writing they must be shown to the witness before any
question is put to him concerning them.

The rule that requires a sufficient foundation to be first lay before introducing
evidence of inconsistent statements of a witness is founded upon common sense
and is essential to protect the character of a witness. His memory is refreshed by
the necessary inquiries, which enable him to explain the statements referred to and to
show that they were made by mistake, or that there was no discrepancy between them
and his testimony.[89]

In the present case, the statements made by Cherry Rose during the preliminary
investigation with respect to the identities of the accused were not related to her
during the trial. Indeed, it is only during the appeal of this case that appellants pointed
out the supposed inconsistencies in Cherry Roses identification of the appellants in
order to destroy her credibility as a witness. No opportunity was ever afforded her to
provide an explanation. Without such explanation, whether plausible or not, we
are left with no basis to evaluate and assess her credibility, on the rationale that it
is only when no reasonable explanation is given by a witness in reconciling her
conflicting declarations that she should be deemed impeached.[90]

In this regard, what the defense brought to Cherry Roses attention during the trial were
her contradictory statements about her romantic relationship with Larry Erese. As a
result of this confrontation, Cherry Rose changed her answer. We rule, however, that
this inconsistency relates only to an insignificant aspect of the case and does not
involve a material fact in dispute.

Inasmuch as the above-stated mandatory procedural requirements were not complied


with, the credibility of Cherry Rose as a witness stands unimpeached. As found by the
trial court, the testimony of Cherry Rose was straightforward throughout. The appellants
were not able to adduce any reason or motive for her to bear false witness against
them. As a matter of fact, Cherry Rose testified during cross-examination that she did
not personally know appellant Robert, and that she had first seen him only during the
night when the shooting incident took place.[91]

As the trial judge who penned the assailed decision did not hear the testimonies
of the witnesses for the prosecution,[92] the rule granting finality to the factual
findings of trial courts does not find applicability to the instant case.[93]

After a careful review of the entire records of this case, the Court finds no reason to
disagree with the factual findings of the trial court that all the elements of the crime of
Robbery with Homicide were present and proved in this case.

Quite obvious from the foregoing testimony is that the act of appellant Robert and his
companion in blue T-shirt of poking their guns towards Larry and Romualde,
respectively, and the announcement of a hold-up were what caused Larry to give his
watch to Robert. At this point, there already occurred the taking of personal property that
belonged to another person, which was committed with violence or intimidation against
persons.

Likewise, the intent to gain may already be presumed in this case. Animus lucrandi or
intent to gain is an internal act, which can be established through the overt acts of the
offender.[99] The unlawful act of the taking of Larrys watch at gunpoint after the
declaration of a hold-up already speaks well enough for itself. No other intent may be
gleaned from the acts of the appellants group at that moment other than to divest Larry
of his personal property.

The appellants acted in conspiracy in perpetrating the crimes charged. As found by the
trial court, conspiracy was proved by the concurrence of the following facts: that the four
men were together when they entered the RML canteen; that they occupied the same
table; that they were all armed during that time; that while the robbery was in progress,
neither Rudy nor the one in blue T-shirt with black jacket prevented the robbery or the
killing of the victims; that all four fired their firearms when the robbery was going on and
that they fled all together and were seen running by the police before they were
intercepted just a few meters from the scene of the crime.

There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the
commission of a felony and decide to commit it. The same degree of proof necessary to
prove the crime is required to support a finding of criminal conspiracy. Direct proof,
however, is not essential to show conspiracy.[100] Proof of concerted action before, during
and after the crime, which demonstrates their unity of design and objective is sufficient.
[101]

As the fatal shooting of both Larry Erese and Romualde Almeron happened on the
occasion of the robbery and was subsequent thereto, both of the appellants must be
held liable for the crime of Robbery with Homicide on two counts.

The defense of appellants of alibi is at best weak when faced with the positive
identification of the appellants by the prosecutions principal witness. It is elemental that
for alibi to prosper, the requirements of time and place must be strictly met. This means
that the accused must not only prove his presence at another place at the time of the
commission of the offense but he must also demonstrate that it would be physically
impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at that time. [102] In the present case,
there was absolutely no claim of any fact that would show that it was well nigh
impossible for appellants to be present at the locus criminis. In fact, they all testified that
they were going towards the vicinity of the area of the shooting incident when the police
apprehended them.

The testimonies of Robert Buduhan and Boyet Ginyang were also markedly inconsistent
on the material date as to when the witnesses in the shooting incident identified
them. Robert Buduhan testified that the three lady witnesses came to identify them at
the municipal jail on the evening of 26 July 1998.[103] However, in the direct examination
of Boyet Ginyang, he testified that said witnesses arrived on the morning of 25 July
1998.[104] This fact only tends to lend suspicion to their already weak alibi.

Appellants likewise cannot rely on the negative findings of Police Inspector Chua-
Camarao on the paraffin tests conducted in order to exculpate themselves. The said
witness herself promptly stated that paraffin test results are merely corroborative of the
major evidence offered by any party, and they are not conclusive with respect to the
issue of whether or not the subjects did indeed fire a gun. As previously mentioned, the
positive and negative results of the paraffin test can also be influenced by certain factors
affecting the conditions surrounding the use of the firearm, namely: the wearing of
gloves by the subject, perspiration of the hands, wind direction, wind velocity, humidity,
climate conditions, the length of the barrel of the firearm or the open or closed trigger
guard of the firearm.

Lastly, the persistent claim of appellants of the illegality of their warrantless arrest, due to
the lack of personal knowledge on the part of the arresting officers, deserves scant
consideration. As aptly stated in People v. Salazar,[105] granting arguendo that appellants
were illegally arrested, such arrest did not invest these eyewitness accounts with
constitutional infirmity as "fruits of the poisonous tree." Considering that their conviction
could be secured on the strength of the testimonial evidence given in open court, which
are not inadmissible in evidence, the court finds no reason to further belabor the matter.

A determination of the appropriate imposable penalties is now in order.

The prescribed penalty for Robbery with Homicide under Article 294 of the Revised
Penal Code, as amended, is reclusion perpetua to death. In accordance with Article 63
of the Revised Penal Code, when the law prescribes a penalty composed of two
indivisible penalties, and there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, the
lesser penalty shall be applied.

The RTC and the Court of Appeals thus correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.

As regards the charge for the death of Orlando Pascua and the injuries sustained by
Fernando Pera and Gilbert Cortez, the trial court aptly held that the prosecution failed to
substantiate the same. No witnesses were presented to testify as to the circumstances
leading to the said incidents, and neither were they proved to be caused by the criminal
actions of the appellants.

The two courts below committed a mistake, however, in convicting the appellants
separately of the crime of Homicide for the death of Romualde Almeron. It bears
stressing that in the special complex crime of Robbery with Homicide, so long as the
intention of the felon is to rob, the killing may occur before, during or after the robbery. It
is immaterial that death would supervene by mere accident, or that the victim of
homicide is other than the victim of robbery, or that two or more persons are killed.
Once a homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of the robbery, the felony
committed is the special complex crime of Robbery with Homicide.[106]

As to the award of damages, we hold that the heirs of Larry Erese and Romualde
Almeron are each entitled to the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto. This
award for civil indemnity is mandatory and is granted to the heirs of the victim without
need of proof other than the commission of the crime.[107]

We agree with the Court of Appeals grant of moral damages in this case even in the
absence of proof for the entitlement to the same. As borne out by human nature and
experience, a violent death invariably and necessarily brings about emotional pain and
anguish on the part of the victims family. It is inherently human to suffer sorrow, torment,
pain and anger when a loved one becomes the victim of a violent or brutal killing. [108] The
heirs of Erese and Almeron are thus entitled to moral damages in the amount
of P50,000.00 each.

On the award of actual damages, we hold that the heirs of Larry Erese are entitled to the
award of temperate damages for P25,000.00, in lieu of the lower amount ofP18,000 that
was substantiated by a receipt. In People v. Villanueva,[109] we have laid down the rule
that when actual damages proven by receipts during the trial amount to less
than P25,000.00, the award of temperate damages for P25,000.00 is justified in lieu of
actual damages of a lesser amount. Conversely, if the amount of actual damages
proven exceeds P25,000.00, then temperate damages may no longer be
awarded. Actual damages based on the receipts presented during trial should instead be
granted.

However, with respect to the award of the amount of P38,000.00 to the heirs of
Romualde Almeron, the same is incorrect since the receipt presented therefor covers
only the amount of P26,000.00. The award of actual damages should be reduced
accordingly. The grant of temperate damages to the heirs of Almeron is thus deleted.

The award of exemplary damages is likewise deleted, as the presence of any


aggravating circumstance was neither alleged nor proved in this case.[110]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision dated 29 December 2006 of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01940 is hereby MODIFIED as follows:

1. For the death of Larry Erese, appellants Robert Buduhan y Bullan and Rudy
Buduhan y Bullan are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery with
Homicide and sentenced each to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

2. For the death of Romualde Almeron, appellants Robert Buduhan y Bullan


and Rudy Buduhan y Bullan are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery
with Homicide and sentenced each to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

3. Appellants shall be entitled to a deduction of their preventive imprisonment


from the term of their sentences in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal
Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 6127.

4. Appellants are ordered to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of Larry
Erese as follows: (a) P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) P50,000.00 as moral damages;
and (c) P25,000.00 as temperate damages.

5. Appellants are ordered to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of


Romualde Almeron as follows: (a) P50,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) P50,000.00 as
moral damages; and (c) P26,000.00 as actual damages.

6. For reasons herein stated, appellants are ACQUITTED of the separate


crime of Homicide for the death of Romualde Almeron.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Pp v. De Guzman, 288 SCRA 346 (1998)

The Court is once again confronted with the dilemma of having to choose between the
testimony of a mother and her teen-age son and that of the man they claim is
responsible for the violent demise of their familys breadwinner and first-born son.
For the death of Ernesto Trilles and his son Edwin, accused-appellant Dennis de
Guzman and two others who remain at large were charged with two counts of murder
before the Regional Trial Court of Legazpi City on June 14, 1994, to wit:

That on or about the 13th day of April, 1994, in the City of Legazpi, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, all armed
with handguns, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another for a
common purpose, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously and with
treachery and abuse of superior strength, shoot with a handgun one ERNESTO
TRILLES,[3] thereby inflicting upon the latter injuries which directly caused his death, to
the damage and prejudice of his heirs.

At the trial, the prosecution presented the testimonies of Rosita and Anthony Trilles to
shed light on the incident. Their combined narration follows.

On the night of April 13, 1994, while Rosita was preparing supper in their modest home
at Sitio Malangka, Taysan, Legazpi City, a young man whom she knew by face but
whose name she did not know barged in through the kitchen door and shot her
husband Ernesto in the head with a short firearm. As Ernesto lay sprawled on the
kitchen floor, the man shot him again on the chest.[4] The man, who was later identified
as accused-appellant Dennis de Guzman, then faced the horrified oldest son and
asked him if he was Edwin.

When the latter said yes, he too was shot and hit near the collarbone. [5] Before he
was shot, his uncle who was Rositas brother, Loreto Aringo, was seen near the
eaves of the house. Addressing him, Edwin pleaded for his life saying, Tio, do not
shoot me. I did not do anything wrong. Because Edwin had punched him the night
before, Aringo ignored his nephew and even egged on the gunman, shouting, Anong
tio-tio gadanon an (What Tio, Tio, he should be killed).[6] Anthony, the other son of Rosita
who was hiding under the table, heard his brother pleading with de Guzman, Dont kill
me Tio.[7]

In a short while, Rosita fled and on her way out, espied her cousin, Adriano
Casiban, standing near the kitchen door.[8] Then she heard more gunshots, the same
gunshots heard by Anthony who at the time was still under the table. [9] Like his mother,
he, too, was allowed to escape by his uncles and the man whose name he did not
know but whom he knew was staying with his uncle Adriano. Rosita sought refuge
at the house of her sister, Hedelyn Bandoquillo and spent the night there. This was
confirmed by the latter, who testified as a rebuttal witness for the prosecution.[10]

In the morning, Rosita reported the incident to Barrio Captain Nelson Aringo, another
cousin, who accompanied her to the police headquarters. Mother and son failed to
mention the names of Aringo and Casiban to the police during the investigation,
and both declared at the time that the suspect was unknown or unidentified.
When confronted later with these earlier statements, they explained that at the
time of the incident, although they recognized the face of Dennis de Guzman, they
were not aware of his identity, which is why they told the police that the suspect was
unknown or unidentified. In her confusion, Rosita even said that it was Casiban who
shot the boy. Later, she was not even sure if Casiban fired a gun or if he had a gun
at all, because she was at the moment already running away.[13]
Aringo and Casiban, having gone into hiding, only the defense of de Guzman was heard
at the trial. Dennis de Guzman denied all the accusations against him and set up an alibi
for his defense. He relied on the testimonies of four witnesses, all close friends of
his family,[14] to support his story that on the date and time of the occurrence, he
was at a party at San Jose, Maslog, Legazpi City, which is about three kilometers
from Taysan.[15]

Dennis de Guzman claimed that he and his mother Adelina went to her hometown of
San Jose, Maslog, Legazpi City on April 5, 1994, to visit his ailing grandmother. They
stayed with his grandmother whose name he did not even know, and during his free
time, he helped with some chores and played with friends like Charlie Padilla. On April
13, 1994, Charlies mother Estelita, a childhood friend of Adelinas, celebrated her 52th
birthday, and she decided to treat her town mates to a free dance. Charlie, Dennis, and
her brothers, Felicito and Jerry Watiwat, helped in setting up the light and sound systems
for the dance. They started at around 3:00 oclock in the afternoon and finished by 6:30
p.m. After a dinner break at 7:00 oclock, the two youngsters manned the music station
until midnight.[16]

On cross-examination, de Guzman admitted that his mothers sister Lolita was the
wife of Adriano Casiban.[17]

Hedelyn Bandoquillo was presented by the prosecution to debunk de Guzmans claim


that he stayed with his grandmother when he was in the province. She said that on at
least four occasions, she saw him at his uncle Adrianos house at Sitio Polot,
Taysan, Legazpi City, which is about half a kilometer from Sitio Malangka and was
sure he was staying there.[18]

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing findings and left no choice but to follow in
complete obedience the stenosis of a rigorous law that in spirit demands an eye for an
eye, a tooth for a tooth, (LEX TALIONIS) after being convinced beyond a wisp of a doubt
of the guilt of accused DENNIS DE GUZMAN, he is hereby sentenced to suffer in
Criminal Case No. 6717 the penalty ofDEATH

In this automatic review, Dennis de Guzman argues that the trial court erred in
appreciating the evidence and in concluding that he was positively identified by
the prosecution witnesses.

After going through the records and evidence of this case, we are convinced that Dennis
de Guzman was correctly convicted by the trial court for the death of Ernesto and Edwin
Trilles.

Accused-appellant makes much of the failure of the eyewitnesses to give his name or
even his description during the initial police investigation of the incident. When Rosita
reported the shooting of her husband and son to the police in the morning of April 14,
1994, she stated that they were shot by an unknown suspect, and made no mention of
either her older brother Loreto Aringo or her cousin Adriano Casiban.[19] For his part,
Anthony executed an affidavit dated April 19, 1994, referring to the assailant as an
unidentified man. He also did not implicate his uncles, Aringo or Casiban.[20]

The Court believes that the eyewitnesses to the crimes did identify accused-appellant
as the man who shot the victims. In the first place, when they testified at the trial
they positively pointed out to de Guzman as the malefactor.[21] Any doubt cast by
their earlier statements was laid to rest when they were put on the witness stand. In the
case of Jacobo v. Court of Appeals,[22] we affirmed the doctrine that an affidavit
cannot prevail over testimonial evidence uttered in open court, viz.:

An affidavit being taken ex parte is almost always incomplete and often inaccurate,
sometimes from partial suggestion, and sometimes from want of suggestion and
inquiries, without the aid of which the witness may be unable to recall the connected
collateral circumstances necessary for the correction of the first suggestion of his
memory and for his accurate recollection of all that belongs to the subject.[23]

Thus, while an affiant usually merely signs an affidavit which was prepared by another, in
this case,[24] the Assistant City Prosecutor, a witness testifies in court with more
spontaneity, drawing from a memory no longer befuddled by the initial shock of
the occurrence, uttering his own words with minimum guidance or coaxing. If
testimonial evidence is superior to an affidavit, then with more reason should it
prevail over a mere police report which is not even under oath.

In the second place, in her affidavit dated April 19, 1994, [25] Rosita made a more
complete narration of the incident and implicated Aringo and Casiban. She even
managed to identify de Guzman by his surname.[26] Anthony, on the other hand,
stated in his affidavit that although the suspect was unidentified, he could recognize the
latter if spotted, and that is precisely what he did when he testified on November 8,
1995.

Finally, when confronted with their initial reports, both witnesses explained that
although they said the suspect was unknown or unidentified, they were merely
referring to his name. As far as physical attributes were concerned, they had no doubt
that they could recognize the man who snuffed out the life of their loved ones in the blink
of an eye.

Through all these, de Guzman could only deny the charges and come up with an alibi
which falls short of the standards set through time for its acceptability as a foolproof
defense. He was allegedly at the dance held at San Jose, Maslog, Legazpi City when
the crime was being committed at Sitio Malangka, Taysan.

Yet, the records show that Maslog is a mere three kilometers from Taysan and there are
even well-trodden shortcuts which could drastically reduce travel time from one town to
the other. If anything, it signifies that it was still possible for him to have been at the
crime scene even as he claims that he was elsewhere at the time. In this regard, his
defense of alibi must fail.
Furthermore, the positive identification of de Guzman as the man who shot the
victims cannot be overcome by his denial and alibi. The fact that he was not
immediately named by the eyewitnesses when they reported the incident to the police is
likewise of no moment considering that they knew him by face and even identified him in
open court. As we reiterated in the recent case of Bautista v. Court of Appeals:[28]

Positive identification, where categorical and consistent and without any showing
of ill motive on the part of the eyewitness testifying on the matter, prevails over
alibi and denial which if not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence are
negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law.[29]
In view of these disquisitions, the Court agrees with the court a quo that the guilt of
Dennis de Guzman in the slaying of Ernesto and Edwin Trilles on the night of April 13,
1994, has been proved by the prosecution beyond any reasonable doubt.

WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated June 6, 1996, in Criminal Case No. 6717
and No. 6718 is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the penalty is reduced
from death to reclusion perpetua in both cases for the reasons aforestated and the
indemnity to Rosita Trilles and Anthony Trilles reduced to P 50,000.00 each Costs
against accused-appellant.

Design Sources International, Inc. v. Eristingcol, G.R. No. 193966, 19 February 2014

DESKTOP.

Borromeo v. CA, L-31342, 07 April 1976

1. Before the year 1933, defendant [Jose A. Villamor] was a distributor of lumber
belonging to, Mr. Miller who was the agent of the Insular Lumber Company in
Cebu City. Defendant being a friend and former classmate of plaintiff [Canuto O.
Borromeo] used to borrow from the latter certain amounts from time to time.

2. On one occasion with some pressing obligation to settle with Mr. Miller,
defendant borrowed from plaintiff a large sum of money for which he mortgaged
his land and house in Cebu City.

3. Mr. Miller filed civil action against the defendant and attached his properties
including those mortgaged to plaintiff, inasmuch as the deed of mortgage in favor
of plaintiff could not be registered because not properly drawn up.

4. Plaintiff then pressed the defendant for settlement of his obligation, but defendant
instead offered to execute a document promising to pay his indebtedness even
after the lapse of ten years.

5. Liquidation was made and defendant was found to be indebted to plaintiff in the
sum of P7, 220.00, for which defendant signed a promissory note therefor on
November 29, 1933 with interest at the rate of 12% per annum, agreeing to pay
'as soon as I have money'.

6. The note further stipulates that defendant 'hereby relinquish, renounce, or


otherwise waive my rights to the prescriptions established by our Code of Civil
Procedure for the collection or recovery of the above sum of P7,220.00 at any
time even after the lapse of ten years from the date of this instrument'.

7. After the execution of the document, plaintiff limited himself to verbally requesting
defendant to settle his indebtedness from time to time.

8. Plaintiff did not file any complaint against the defendant within ten years from the
execution of the document as there was no property registered in defendant's
name, who furthermore assured him that he could collect even after the lapse of
ten years. After the last war, plaintiff made various oral demands, but defendants
failed to settle his account, hence the present complaint for collection."

9. It was then noted in the decision under review that the Court of First Instance of
Cebu did sentence the original defendant, the deceased Jose A. Villamor, to pay
Canuto O. Borromeo, now represented by petitioners, the sum of P7,220.00
within ninety days from the date of the receipt of such decision with interest at the
rate of 12% per annum from the expiration of such ninety-day period.

10. That was the judgment reversed by the Court of Appeals in its decision of March
7, 1964, now the subject of this petition for review. The legal basis was the lack of
validity of the stipulation amounting to a waiver in line with the principle "that a
person cannot renounce future prescription."

11. The rather summary and curt disposition of the crucial legal question of
respondent Court in its five-page decision, regrettably rising not too-far-above the
superficial level of analysis hardly commends itself for approval. In the first place,
there appeared to be undue reliance on certain words employed in the written
instrument executed by the parties to the total disregard of their intention. That
was to pay undue homage to verbalism.

12. That was to ignore the warning of Frankfurter against succumbing to the vice of
literalism in the interpretation of language whether found in a constitution, a
statute, or a contract. Then, too, in effect it would nullify what ought to have been
evident by a perusal that is not-too-cursory, namely, that the creditor moved by
ties of friendship was more than willing to give the debtor the utmost latitude as
to when his admittedly scanty resources will allow him to pay. He was not
renouncing any right; he was just being considerate, perhaps excessively so.
Under the view of respondent Court, however, what had been agreed upon was
in effect voided. That was to run counter to the well-settled maxim that between
two possible interpretations, that which saves rather than destroys is to be
preferred. What vitiates most the appealed decision, however, is that it would
amount not to just negating an agreement duly entered into but would put a
premium on conduct that is hardly fair and could be characterized as duplicitous.
Certainly, it would reflect on a debtor apparently bent all the while on repudiating
his obligation. Thus he would be permitted to repay an act of kindness with base
ingratitude. Since as will hereafter be shown, there is, on the contrary, the
appropriate construction of the wording that found its way in the document, one
which has all the earmarks of validity and at the same time is in consonance with
the demands of justice and morality, the decision on appeal, as was noted at the
outset, must be reversed.
1. The facts rightly understood argue for the reversal of the decision arrived at by
respondent Court of Appeals. Even before the event that gave rise to the loan in
question, the debtor, the late Jose A. Villamor, being a friend and a former classmate,
used to borrow from time to time various sums of money from the creditor, the late
Canuto O. Borromeo. Then faced with the need to settle a pressing obligation with a
certain Miller, he did borrow from the latter sometime in 1933 what respondent Court
called "a large sum of money for which he mortgaged his land and house in Cebu
City." 5 It was noted that this Miller did file a suit against him, attaching his properties
including those he did mortgage to the late Borromeo, there being no valid objection to
such a step as the aforesaid mortgage, not being properly drawn up, could not be
registered. Mention was then made of the late Borromeo in his lifetime seeking the
satisfaction of the sum due with Villamor unable to pay, but executing a document
promising "to pay his indebtedness even after the lapse of ten years." 6 It is with such a
background that the words employed in the instrument of November 29, 1933 should be
viewed. There is nothing implausible in the view that such language renouncing the
debtor's right to the prescription established by the Code of Civil Procedure should be
given the meaning, as noted in the preceding sentence of the decision of respondent
Court, that the debtor could be trusted to pay even after the termination of the ten-year
prescriptive period. For as was also made clear therein, there had been since then
verbal requests on the part of the creditor made to the debtor for the settlement of such
a loan. Nor was the Court of Appeals unaware that such indeed was within the
contemplation of the parties as shown by this sentence in its decision: "Plaintiff did not
file any complaint against the defendant within ten years from the execution of the
document as there was no property registered in defendant's name who furthermore
assured him that he could collect even after the lapse of ten years." 7
2. There is much to be said then for the contention of petitioners that the reference to the
prescriptive period is susceptible to the construction that only after the lapse thereof
could the demand be made for the payment of the obligation. Whatever be the obscurity
occasioned by the words is illumined when the light arising from the relationship of close
friendship between the parties as well as the unsuccessful effort to execute a mortgage,
taken in connection with the various oral demands made, is thrown on them. Obviously,
it did not suffice for the respondent Court of Appeals. It preferred to reach a conclusion
which for it was necessitated by the strict letter of the law untinged by any spirit of good
morals and justice, which should not be alien to legal norms. Even from the standpoint of
what for some is strict legalism, the decision arrived at by the Court of Appeals calls for
disapproval. It is a fundamental principle in the interpretation of contracts that while
ordinarily the literal sense of the words employed is to be followed, such is not the case
where they "appear to be contrary to the evident intention of the contracting parties,"
which "intention shall prevail." 8 Such a codal provision has been given full force and
effect since the leading case of Reyes v. Limjap, 9 a 1910 decision. Justice Torres, who
penned the above decision, had occasion to reiterate such a principle when he spoke for
the Court in De la Vega v. Ballilos 10 thus: "The contract entered into by the contracting
parties which has produced between them rights and obligations is in fact one of
antichresis, for article 1281 of the Civil Code prescribes among other things that if the
words should appear to conflict with the evident intent of the contracting parties, the
intent shall prevail." 11 In Abella v. Gonzaga, 12 this Court through the then Justice
Villamor, gave force to such a codal provision when he made clear that the inevitable
conclusion arrived at was "that although in the contract Exhibit A the usual words 'lease,'
'lessee,' and 'lessor' were employed, that is no obstacle to holding, as we do hereby
hold, that said contract was a sale on installments, for such was the evident intention of
the parties in entering into said contract. 13 Only lately in Nielson and Company v.
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company, 14 this Court, with Justice Zaldivar, as ponente,
after stressing the primordial rule that in the construction and interpretation of a
document, the intention of the parties must be sought, went on to state: "This is the basic
rule in the interpretation of contracts because all other rules are but ancillary to the
ascertainment of the meaning intended by the parties. And once this intention has been
ascertained it becomes an integral part of the contract as though it had been originally
expressed therein in unequivocal terms ... ." 15While not directly in point, what was said
by Justice Labrador in Tumaneng v. Abad 16 is relevant: "There is no question that the
terms of the contract are not clear on the period of redemption. But the intent of the
parties thereto is the law between them, and it must be ascertained and enforced." 17 Nor
is it to be forgotten, following what was first announced in Velasquez v. Teodoro 18 that
"previous, simultaneous and subsequent acts of the parties are properly cognizable
indicia of their true intention." 19
There is another fundamental rule in the interpretation of contracts specifically referred
to in Kasilag v. Rodriguez, 20as "not less important" 21 than other principles which "is to
the effect that the terms, clauses and conditions contrary to law, morals and public order
should be separated from the valid and legal contract when such separation can be
made because they are independent of the valid contract which expresses the will of the
contracting parties. Manresa, commenting on article 1255 of the Civil Code and stating
the rule of separation just mentioned, gives his views as follows: 'On the supposition that
the various pacts, clauses, or conditions are valid, no difficulty is presented; but should
they be void, the question is as to what extent they may produce the nullity of the
principal obligation. Under the view that such features of the obligation are added to it
and do not go to its essence, a criterion based upon the stability of juridical relations
should tend to consider the nullity as confined to the clause or pact suffering therefrom,
except in cases where the latter, by an established connection or by manifest intention of
the parties, is inseparable from the principal obligation, and is a condition, juridically
speaking, of that the nullity of which it would also occasion.' ... The same view prevails in
the Anglo-American law as condensed in the following words: 'Where an agreement
founded on a legal consideration contains several promises, or a promise to do several
things, and a part only of the things to be done are illegal, the promises which can be
separated, or the promise, so far as it can be separated, from the illegality, may be valid.
The rule is that a lawful promise made for a lawful consideration is not invalid merely
because an unlawful promise was made at the same time and for the same
consideration, and this rule applies, although the invalidity is due to violation of a
statutory provision, unless the statute expressly or by necessary implication declares the
entire contract void. ..." 22
Nor is it to be forgotten that as early as Compania Agricola Ultramar v. Reyes, 23
decided in 1904, the then Chief Justice Arellano in a concurring opinion explicitly
declared: "It is true that contracts are not what the parties may see fit to call them, but
what they really are as determined by the principles of law." 24 Such a doctrine has been
subsequently adhered to since then. As was rephrased by Justice Recto in Aquino v.
Deala: 25 "The validity of these agreements, however, is one thing, while the juridical
qualification of the contract resulting therefrom is very distinctively another." 26 In a recent
decision, Shell Company of the Phils., Ltd. vs. Firemen's Insurance Co. of Newark, 27 this
court, through Justice Padilla, reaffirmed the doctrine thus: "To determine the nature of a
contract courts do not have or are not bound to rely upon the name or title given it by the
contracting parties, should there be a controversy as to what they really had intended to
enter into, but the way the contracting parties do or perform their respective obligations,
stipulated or agreed upon may be shown and inquired into, and should such
performance conflict with the name or title given the contract by the parties, the former
must prevail over the latter." 28 Is it not rather evident that since even the denomination of
the entire contract itself is not conclusively determined by what the parties call it but by
the law, a stipulation found therein should likewise be impressed with the
characterization the law places upon it?
What emerges in the light of all the principles set forth above is that the first ten years
after November 29, 1933 should not be counted in determining when the action of
creditor, now represented by petitioners, could be filed. From the joint record on appeal,
it is undoubted that the complaint was filed on January 7, 1953. If the first ten-year
period was to be excluded, the creditor had until November 29, 1953 to start judicial
proceedings. After deducting the first ten-year period which expired on November 29,
1943, there was the additional period of still another ten years. 29 Nor could there be any
legal objection to the complaint by the creditor Borromeo of January 7, 1953 embodying
not merely the fixing of the period within which the debtor Villamor was to pay but
likewise the collection of the amount that until then was not paid. An action combining
both features did receive the imprimatur of the approval of this Court. As was clearly set
forth in Tiglao v. The Manila Railroad Company: 30 "There is something to defendant's
contention that in previous cases this Court has held that the duration of the term should
be fixed in a separate action for that express purpose. But we think the lower court has
given good reasons for not adhering to technicalities in its desire to do substantial
justice." 31 The justification became even more apparent in the latter portion of the
opinion of Justice Alex Reyes for this Court: "We may add that defendant does not claim
that if a separate action were instituted to fix the duration of the term of its obligation, it
could present better proofs than those already adduced in the present case. Such
separate action would, therefore, be a mere formality and would serve no purpose other
than to delay." 32 There is no legal obstacle then to the action for collection filed by the
creditor. Moreover, the judgment of the lower court, reversed by the respondent Court of
Appeals, ordering the payment of the amount due is in accordance with law.
3. There is something more to be said about the stress in the Tiglao decision on the
sound reasons for not adhering to technicalities in this Court's desire to do substantial
justice. The then Justice, now Chief Justice, Concepcion expressed a similar thought in
emphasizing that in the determination of the rights of the contracting parties "the interest
of justice and equity be not ignored." 33 This is a principle that dates back to the earliest
years of this Court. The then Chief Justice Bengzon in Arrieta v. Bellos, 34 invoked equity.
Mention has been made of "practical and substantial justice," 35 "[no] sacrifice of the
substantial rights of a litigant in the altar of sophisticated technicalities with impairment of
the sacred principles of justice," 36 "to afford substantial justice" 37 and "what equity
demands." 38 There has been disapproval when the result reached is "neither fair, nor
equitable." 39 What is to be avoided is an interpretation that "may work injustice rather
than promote justice." 40 What appears to be most obvious is that the decision of
respondent Court of Appeals under review offended most grievously against the above
fundamental postulate that underlies all systems of law.
WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Court of Appeals of March 7, 1964 is
reversed, thus giving full force and effect to the decision of the lower court of November
15, 1956. With costs against private respondents.
Concepcion, C.J., Zaldivar, Castro, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and
Esguerra, JJ., concur.
Makalintal, J., is on leave.

VI. Admissibility

Sections 3-4, Rule 128

SEC. 3. Admissibility of evidence.Evidence is admissible when it is relevant to


the issue and is not excluded by the law or these rules.(3a)

SEC. 4. Relevancy; collateral matters.Evidence must have such a relation to


the fact in issue as to induce belief in its existence or non-existence. Evidence
on collateral matters shall not be allowed, except when it tends in any reasonable
degree to establish the probability or improbability of the fact in issue.(4a)

Pp v. Yatco, supra

1. Trial of the case started on May 3, 1955, and in several hearings the prosecution
had been presenting its evidence. During the progress of the trial on May 18,
1955, while the prosecution was questioning one of its witnesses, Atty. Arturo
Xavier of the National Bureau of Investigation, in connection with the making of a
certain extra-judicial confession (allegedly made before him) by defendant Juan
Consunji to the witness, counsel for the other defendant Alfonso Panganiban
interposed a general objection to any evidence on such confession on the ground
that it was hearsay and therefore incompetent as against the other accused
Panganiban.

2. The Court below ordered the exclusion of the evidence objected to, but on an
altogether different ground: that the prosecution could not be permitted to
introduce the confessions of defendants Juan Consunji and Alfonso Panganiban
to prove conspiracy between them, without prior proof of such conspiracy by a
number of definite acts, conditions, and circumstances. Thereafter, according to
the transcript, the following remarks were made:

FISCAL LUSTRE:
May we know from counsel if he is also objecting to the admissibility of the confession of
Consunji as against the accused Consunji himself?

COURT:
That would be premature because there is already a ruling of the Court that you cannot
prove a confession unless you prove first conspiracy thru a number of indefinite acts,
conditions and circumstances as required by law.

Wherefore, this petition for certiorari was brought before this Court by the Solicitor
General, for the review and annulment of the lower Court's order completely
excluding any evidence on the extrajudicial confessions of the accused Juan
Consunji and Alfonso Panganiban without prior proof of conspiracy.

We believe that the lower Court committed a grave abuse of discretion in ordering the
complete exclusion of the prosecution's evidence on the alleged confessions of the
accused Juan Consunji at the stage of the trial when the ruling was made.
Section 14, Rule 123, Rules of Court, is specific as to the admissibility of the extrajudicial
confession of an accused, freely and voluntarily made, as evidence against him.

SEC. 14. Confession. The declaration of an accused expressly acknowledging the


truth of his guilt as to the offense charged may be given in evidence against him.

Under the rule of multiple admissibility of evidence, even if Consunji's confession may
not be competent as against his co-accused Panganiban, being hearsay as to the latter,
or to prove conspiracy between them without the conspiracy being established by other
evidence, the confession of Consunji was, nevertheless, admissible as evidence of the
declarant's own guilt (U. S. vs. Vega, 43 Phil. 41; People vs. Bande, 50 Phil. 37;

People vs. Buan, 64 Phil. 296), and should have been admitted as such.
The rule cited by the Court below in support of its exclusion of the proffered evidence is

Sec. 12 of Rule 123, providing that:


The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its existence
may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator after the conspiracy is shown by
evidence other than such act or declaration.

Manifestly, the rule refers to statements made by one conspirator during the pendency of
the unlawful enterprises ("during its existence") and in furtherance of its object, and not
to a confession made, as in this case, long after the conspiracy had been brought to an
end (U. S. vs. Empeinado, 9 Phil., 613; U. S. vs. Raymundo, 14 Phil., 416; People vs.
Badilla, 48 Phil., 718; People vs. Nakpil, 52 Phil., 985).

Besides, the prosecution had not yet offered the confessions to prove conspiracy
between the two accused, nor as evidence against both of them. In fact, the alleged
confessions (both in writing and in tape recordings) had not yet even been identified (the
presentation of Atty. Xavier was precisely for the purpose of identifying the confessions),
much less formally offered in evidence. For all we know, the prosecution might still be
able to adduce other proof of conspiracy between Consunji and Panganiban before their
confessions are formally offered in evidence. Assuming, therefore, that section 12 of
Rule 123 also applies to the confessions in question, it was premature for the
respondent Court to exclude them completely on the ground that there was no prior
proof of conspiracy.

It is particularly noteworthy that the exclusion of the proferred confessions was not made
on the basis of the objection interposed by Panganiban's counsel, but upon an
altogether different ground, which the Court issued motu proprio.

Panganiban's counsel objected to Consunji's confession as evidence of the guilt of the


other accused Panganiban, on the ground that it was hearsay as to the latter. But the
Court, instead of ruling on this objection, put up its own objection to the
confessions that it could not be admitted to prove conspiracy between Consunji and
Panganiban without prior evidence of such conspiracy by a number of indefinite acts,
conditions, circumstances, etc. and completely excluded the confessions on that ground.
By so doing, the Court overlooked that the right to object is a mere privilege which the
parties may waive; and if the ground for objection is known and not reasonably made,
the objection is deemed waived and the Court has no power, on its own motion, to
disregard the evidence (Marcella vs. Reyes, 12 Phil., 1).
We see no need for the present to discuss the question of the admissibility of the
individual extrajudicial confessions of two or more accused for the purpose of
establishing conspiracy between them through the identity of the confessions in
essential details. After all, the confessions are not before us and have not even been
formally offered in evidence for any purpose.

Suffice it to say that the lower Court should have allowed such confessions to be given
in evidence at least as against the parties who made them, and admit the same
conditionally to establish conspiracy, in order to give the prosecution a chance to get into
the record all the relevant evidence at its disposal to prove the charges. At any rate, in
the final determination and consideration of the case, the trial Court should be able to
distinguish the admissible from the inadmissible, and reject what, under the rules of
evidence, should be excluded.

Once more, attention should be called to the ruling of this Court in the case of Prats &
Co. vs. Phoenix Insurance Co., 52 Phil., 807, 816-817:

In the course of long experience we have observed that justice is most effectively and
expeditiously administered in the courts where trial objections to the admission of proof
are received with least favor. The practice of excluding evidence on doubtful objections
to its materiality or technical objections to the form of the questions should be avoided.
In a case of any intricacy it is impossible for a judge of first instance, in the early stages
of the development of the proof, to know with any certainty whether testimony is relevant
or not; and where there is no indication of bad faith on the part of the Attorney offering
the evidence, the court may as a rule safely accept the testimony upon the statement of
the attorney that the proof offered will be connected later. Moreover, it must be
remembered that in the heat of the battle over which the presides, a judge of first
instance may possibly fall into error in judging of the relevancy of proof where a fair and
logical connection is in fact shown. When such a mistake is made and the proof is
erroneously ruled out, the Supreme Court, upon appeal, often finds itself embarrassed
and possibly unable to correct the effects of the error without returning the case for a
new trial, a step which this Court is always very loath to take. On the other hand, the
admission of proof in a court of first instance, even if the question as to its form,
materiality, or relevancy is doubtful, can never result in much harm to either litigant,
because the trial judge is supposed to know the law; and it is duty, upon final
consideration of the case, to distinguish the relevant and material from the irrelevant and
immaterial. If this course is followed and the cause is prosecuted to the Supreme Court
upon appeal, this Court then has all the material before it necessary to make a correct
judgment.
There is greater reason to adhere to such policy in criminal cases where questions arise
as to admissibility of evidence for the prosecution, for the unjustified exclusion of
evidence may lead to the erroneous acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the
charges, from which the People can no longer appeal.
Wherefore, the order excluding the confessions of the accused Juan Consunji and
Alfonso Panganiban is annulled and set aside and the Court below is directed to
proceed with the trial in accordance with law and this opinion. Costs against respondents
Juan Consunji and Alfonso Panganiban. So ordered.

Pp v. Toledo, 51 Phil 825 (1928)

ALCOLM, J.:
This is an appeal taken by Eugenio Toledo from a judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Mindoro, finding him guilty of the crime of homicide, and sentencing
him therefor to imprisonment for fourteen years, eight months, and one
day, reclusion temporal, with the corresponding accessory penalties, indemnity,
and costs.
Sisenando Holgado and Filomeno Morales had disputes about the occupation of
certain land situated in the municipality of Pinamalayan, Province of Mindoro. On
the morning of June 15, 1927, the two men happened to meet. The argument
was renewed, and they agreed to fight. They did engage in a bolo duel with a
fatal result for Filomeno Morales, who was killed almost instantly. Sisenando
Holgado was also seriously wounded but was able to proceed to a neighboring
house. From there Sisenando Holgado was taken to the municipal building where
he made a sworn statement before the municipal president, in which he declared
that only he and Filomeno Morales fought. About one month later, Sisenando
Holgado died from the wounds received in the fight.
The prosecution and the defense alike agree on the facts above outlined. The
disputable point is whether the accused Eugenio Toledo intervened in the quarrel
and dealt a mortal blow to Filomeno Morales. For the prosecution, there was
presented the witness Justina Villanueva, the querida of Filomeno Morales, who
testified to the presence and participation of Eugenio Toledo. Her testimony was
partially corroborated by that of the witness Justina Llave. On the other hand, the
theory for the defense was that Toledo was in another place when the fight
between Morales and Holgado occurred and that his only participation was on
meeting Holgado, who was his landlord or master, in helping him to a nearby
house. To this effect is the testimony of the accused and of Conrado Holgado, the
son of Sisenando Holgado. The defense also relied upon the affidavit of
Sisenando Holgado, Exhibit 1, which was identified by the municipal president of
Pinamalayan.
Counsel de oficio in this court makes the following assignment of errors:
I. The lower court erred in not admitting in evidence Exhibit 1.
II. The lower court erred in not finding that accused-appellant Eugenio Toledo did
not take part in the fight between accused Sisenando Holgado and deceased
Filomeno Morales, resulting in the death of the latter.
III. The lower court erred in not giving accused-appellant Eugenio Toledo the
benefit of a reasonable doubt." Exhibit 1 above-mentioned in assignment of error
No. 1, made originally in Tagalog, in translation reads as follows:
AFFIDAVIT
I. Sisenando Holgado, married, of legal age, and resident of this municipality of
Pinamalayan, Province of Mindoro, P. I., after being sworn in accordance with law, state
the following:
My additional homestead situated in Calingag was cleaned by me and is at present
planted with palay (rice), on which I also plant hemp, but the hemp planted by my
workers is frequently uprooted by Filomeno Morales who claims that said land is his,
whereas when I was cleaning said land nobody objected to it, but now that it is already
cleaned, Filomeno Morales says that one-half of the land occupied by me is his; for this
reason I decided to see Filomeno Morales about this matter and when I talked to him
this morning (Wednesday) at about nine o'clock, at the hemp plantation of Victorio
Saudan situated in Calingag, he told me that if I should plant there anything he would cut
my neck, and to this I answered that if he was going to cut my neck we would fight and
thereupon he stabbed me with a penknife and then I slashed at him; after this we
separated, and went to Dalmacio Manlisic's house. When we fought, there was nobody
present.
Question by president: When you went to the house of Dalmacio Manlisic, did you not
meet anybody before reaching said house?
Answer: I met one of my workers named Eugenio Toledo, who accompanied me to the
house of Dalmacio Manlisic.
Question by president: How do you know that the hemp you planted on your land above-
mentioned was frequently uprooted by Filomeno Morales?
Answer: Because he said as to my worker named Eulogio Supleo.
Question by president: Do you have anything more to say about the incident?
Answer: No more.
In testimony of all that I stated above, I signed this document in the presence of two

His
SISENANDO HOLGADO
Mark
witnesses and then swore to it in the presence of the municipal president here at
Pinamalayan, Mindoro, this June fifteenth, nineteen hundred twenty-seven.
In the presence of:
(Sgd.) ILLEGIBLE
HILARION NIEVA
Signed and sworn to before me, this June fifteenth, 1927.
(Sgd.) ILLEGIBLE
Municipal President
The discussion of the case in court has revealed three different points of view
among the members participating, all leading to the same result of acquittal.
Under such circumstances, it is, course, difficult for the writer of the opinion to do
entire justice to those theories which do not conform to his own. However, an
effort will be made to present the various opinions, leaving it for any individual
member to enlarge upon the same, if he so desires.
I
The Chief and Mr. Justice Villamor would disregard entirely the first assignment
of error and would, therefore, refrain from all discussion relative to the
admissibility of Exhibit 1. Confining themselves exclusively to an analysis of the
evidence other than Exhibit 1, they find that Eugenio Toledo has not been proved
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The contradictions in the testimony for the
prosecution pointed out by the trial judge do not impress these members of the
court so seriously. In reality, there being but one witness for the prosecution who,
on account of her relations with Filomeno Morales, and the land troubles, might
be expected to exaggerate, and there being on the contrary exculpatory evidence
for the defense, even without Exhibit 1, the Government has not made out its
case. Consequently, on the testimonial facts, these members vote for acquittal.
II
The second view is that for which Messrs. Justices Romualdez and Villa-Real are
responsible, and is that Exhibit 1 should have been admitted in evidence as part
of the res gestae, and that giving it effect, in relation with the other evidence, the
accused has not been proved guilty. What has heretofore been said with
reference to the state of the record need not here be repeated. It only remains to
be stated that Exhibit 1 was made by Sisenando Holgado on the same morning
that the fight occurred and without the interval of sufficient time for reflection. The
declaration of Sisenando Holgado fulfilled the test of the facts talking through the
party and not the party talking about the facts. There was such a correlation
between the statement and the fact of which it forms part as strongly tends to
negative the suggestion of fabrication or a suspicion of afterthought. The nature
and circumstances of the statement do not disclose intrinsic evidence of
premeditation as revealed in a long, coherent, closely connected story. The
modern tendency is toward the extension of the rule admitting spontaneous
declarations to meet the needs of justice when other evidence of the same fact
cannot be procured. (22 C. J., pp. 461 et seq.; U. S. vs. David [1903], 3 Phil.,
128.)
III
The third opinion in court is that held by Messrs. Justices Street, Malcolm, and
Ostrand, who would resolve the first assignment of error by holding that the court
erred in not admitting Exhibit 1 as the statement of a fact against penal interest.
Had Exhibit 1 been received, it is believed that its influence would have been felt
by the trial court. Without Exhibit 1, the appellate court is bound by the
appreciation of the evidence made in the trial court, and could, with little
propriety, set aside the findings made by a learned trial judge. The case calls for
an examination of the right of the courts to receive in evidence documents of the
character of Exhibit 1.
Hearsay evidence, with a few well recognized exceptions, it has been said on
high authority, is excluded by courts in the United States that adhere to the
principles of the common law. One universally recognized exception concerns
the admission of dying declarations. Another exception permits the reception,
under certain circumstances, of declarations of third parties made contrary to
their own pecuniary or proprietary interest. But the general rule is stated to be
that the declarations of a person other than accused confessing or tending to
show that he committed the crime are not competent for accused on account of
the hearsay doctrine.
Professor Wigmore, one of the greatest living authorities on the law of evidence,
has attempted to demonstrate the false premises on which the arbitrary limitation
to the hearsay rule rests. He shows that the limitation is inconsistent with the
language originally employed in stating the principle and is unjustified on grounds
of policy. Professor Wigmore in turn has been answered by no less a body than
the Supreme Court of Mississippi in the case of Brownvs. State of Mississippi
([1910], 37 L. R. A., New Series, 345). The editor of the Mississippi case in L. R.
A., however, comes to the support of Professor Wigmore saying the unanimity of
the decisions "is as complete as the shock which they give the general sense of
justice." The question has likewise in recent years gained attention by the
Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Donnelly vs. United States
([1913], 228 U. S., 243). There it was held that the court below properly excluded
hearsay evidence relating to the confession of a third party, then deceased, of
guilt of the crime with which defendant was charged. Mr. Justice Pitney,
delivering the opinion of the court, said: "In this country there is a great and
practically unanimous weight of authority in the estate courts against admitting
evidence of confessions of third parties, made out of court, and tending to
exonerate the accused." Mr. Justice Van Devanter concurred in the result while
Mr. Justice Holmes, with whom concurred Mr. Justice Lurton and Mr. Justice
Hughes, dissented. Mr. Justice Holmes said:
. . . The rues of evidence in the main are based on experience, logic, and
common sense, less hampered by history than some parts of the substantive
law. There is no decision by this court against the admissibility of such a
confession; the English cases since the separation of the two countries do not
bind us; the exception to the hearsay rule in the case of declarations against
interest is well known; no other statement is so much against interest as a
confession of murder; it is far more calculated to convince than dying
declarations, which would be let in to hang a man (Mattox vs. United States, 146
U. S., 140; 36 Law. ed., 917; 13 Sup. Ct. Rep., 50); and when we surround the
accused with so many safeguards, some of which seem to me excessive; I think
we ought to give him the benefit of a fact that, if proved, commonly would have
such weight. The history of the law and the arguments against the English
doctrine are so well and fully stated by Mr. Wigmore that there is no need to set
them forth at greater length. (2 Wigmore, Evidence, pars. 1476, 1477.)
In the Philippine jurisdiction, we have never felt bound to follow blindly the
principles of the common law. A reexamination of some of those principles
discloses anomalies.
A dying declaration is admitted of necessity in order, as the Supreme Court of
Mississippi states, "to reach those man slayers who perpetrate their crimes when
there are no other eyewitnesses." But the person accused of a crime, under the
same principle of necessity, is not permitted to free himself by offering in
evidence the admission of another under oath that this other committed the
crime. Again admissions are receivable against either a pecuniary or a
proprietary interest, but not against a penal interest. We fail to see why it can be
believed that a man will be presumed to tell the truth in the one instance but will
not be presumed to tell the truth in the other instance. Again the exhibit would
have been admitted against its maker at his trial, if he had not died. But the
document is held inadmissible to exonerate another. Yet the truth of the exhibit is
not different in the first case that in the second.
A study of the authorities discloses that even if given application they are not
here controlling. Most of them do not concern the confessions of declarants
shown to be deceased. Practically all of them give as the principal reason for
denying the admission of a confession of a third person that he committed the
crime with which the accused is charged, that it was not made under oath. Here
the declarant is deceased and his statements were made under oath. They also
read in such a way as to ring with the truth. When Sisenando Holgado declared
"When we fought, there was nobody present," it was at the end of just such a
rambling statement as a wounded man would be expected to make. When
Sisenando Holgado declared "I met one of my workers named Eugenio Toledo,
who accompanied me to the house of Dalmacio Manlisic," he did so in response
to a question by the municipal president. Exhibit 1 should have been received not
as conclusive evidence of innocence, but as evidence to be taken into
consideration in connection with the other proven facts.
We cannot bring this decision to a conclusion without quoting the well considered
language of Professor Wigmore on the subject, the pertinent part of a decision
coming from a court which has gained respect particularly in criminal cases, and
an editorial note. Professor Wigmore has said:
PAR. 1476. History of the Exception; Statement of Fact against Penal Interest,
excluded; Confessions of Crime by a Third Person. It is today commonly said,
and has been expressly laid down by many judges, that the interest prejudiced
by the facts stated must be either a pecuniary or a proprietary interest, and not
apenal interest. What ground in authority there is for this limitation may be found
by examining the history of the execution at large.
The exception appears to have taken its rise chiefly in two separate rivulets of
rulings, starting independently as a matter of practice, but afterwards united as
parts of a general principle. . . .
These lines of precedent proceeded independently till about the beginning of the
1800s, when a unity of principle for some of them came gradually to be perceived
and argued for. This unity lay in the circumstance that all such statements, in that
they concerned matters prejudicial to the declarant's self-interest, were fairly
trustworthy and might therefore (if he were deceased) be treated as forming an
exception to the hearsay rule.
This broad principle made its way slowly. There was some uncertainty about its
scope; but it was an uncertainty in the direction of breadth; for it was sometimes
put in the broad form that any statement by a person "having no interest to
deceive" would be admissible. This broad form never came to prevail (post, par.
1576). But acceptance was gained, after two decades, for the principle that all
declarations of facts against interest (by deceased persons) were to be received.
What is to be noted, then, is that from 1800 to about 1830 this was fully
understood as the broad scope of the principle. It was thus stated without other
qualifications; and frequent passages show the development of the principle to
this point.
But in 1884, in a case in the House of Lords, not strongly argued and not
considered by the judges in the light of the precedents, a backward step was
taken and an arbitrary limit put upon the rule. It was held to exclude the
statement of a fact subjecting the declarant to a criminal liability, and to confined
to statements of facts against either pecuniary or proprietary interest.
Thenceforward this rule was accepted in England; although it was plainly a
novelty at the time of its inception; for in several rulings up to that time such
statement had been received.
The same attitude has been taken by most American courts, excluding
confessions of a crime, or other statements of facts against penal interest, made
by third persons; although there is not wanting authority in favor of admitting such
statements.
PAR. 1477. Same: Policy of this Limitation. It is plain enough that this
limitation, besides being a fairly modern novelty, is inconsistent with the broad
language originally employed in stating the reason and principle of the present
exception (ante, pars. 1457, 1476) as well as with the settled principle upon
which confessions are received (ante, par. 1475).
But, furthermore, it cannot be justified on grounds of policy. The only plausible
reason of policy that has ever been advanced for such a limitation is the
possibility of procuring fabricated testimony to such a admission if oral. This is
the ancient rusty weapon that has always been drawn to oppose any reform in
the rules of evidence, viz., the argument of danger of abuse. This would be a
good argument against admitting any witnesses at all, for it is notorious that
some witnesses will lie and that it is difficult to avoid being deceived by their lies.
The truth is that any rule which hampers an honest man in exonerating himself is
a bad rule, even if it also hampers a villain in falsely passing for an innocent.
The only practical consequences of this unreasoning limitation are shocking to
the sense of justice; for, in its commonest application, it requires, in a criminal
trial, the rejection of a confession, however well authenticated, of a person
deceased or insane or fled from the jurisdiction (and therefore quite unavailable)
who has avowed himself to be true culprit. The absurdity and wrong of rejecting
indiscriminately all such evidence is patent.
The rulings already in our books cannot be thought to involve a settled and
universal acceptance of this limitation. In the first place, in almost all of the
rulings the declarant was not shown to be deceased or otherwise unavailable as
a witness, and therefore the declaration would have been inadmissible in any
view of the present exception (ante, par. 1456). Secondly, in some of the rulings
(for example, in North Carolina) the independent doctrine (ante, pars. 139-141)
was applicable that, in order to prove the accused's non-commission of the
offense by showing commission by another person, not merely one casual piece
of evidence suffices but a "prima facie" case resting on several concurring pieces
of evidence must be made out. Finally, most of the early rulings had in view, not
the present exception to the hearsay rule, but the doctrine of admissions (ante,
pars. 1076, 1079) that the admissions of one who is not a co-conspirator cannot
affect others jointly charged.
It is therefore not too late to retrace our steps, and to discard this barbarous
doctrine, which would refuse to let an innocent accused vindicate himself even by
producing to the tribunal a perfectly authenticated written confession, made on
the very gallows, by the rule culprit now beyond the reach of justice. Those who
watched (in 1899) with self-righteous indignation the course of proceedings in
Captain Dreyfus' trial should remember that, if that trial had occurred in our own
courts, the spectacle would have been no less shameful if we, following our own
supposed precedents, had refused to admit what the French court never for a
moment hesitated to admit, the authenticated confession of the escaped Major
Esterhazy, avowing himself the guilty author of the treason there charged. (3
Wigmore on Evidence, 2d ed., secs. 1476, 1477.)
In the case of Pace vs. State ([1911], Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, 135
Southwestern, 379), the appellant offered to prove in the trial court by the witness
Byron Kyle that on Saturday morning following the killing of the deceased on the
previous Sunday he had a conversation with Dick Cain, one of the parties to the
homicide, in which Dick Cain admitted the he killed the deceased. The court
ruled:
. . . Wherever the state seeks to fasten criminality upon the party on trial, the
accused had a right to meet and rebut any testimony which may be offered
against him in any legitimate way. If Cain had been upon trial, his confession to
the witness Kyle would have been admissible beyond any shadow of doubt, and
would have been upon trial, his confession to the witness Kyle would have been
admissible beyond any shadow of doubt, and would have been strong evidence
to go before the jury. The estate would have been seeking to introduce this and
with great earnestness, and correctly so. If appellant could prove that another
party or others committed the homicide, it might prove his innocence, and would
be strong evidence to go before the jury in his favor. Any legitimate fact or
circumstance which would meet or tend to meet the state's case and break the
force of criminative facts introduced against the accused is always admissible.
Appellant's contention was that he did not kill the deceased, but that Cain did.
The state's theory was the appellant shot the deceased, and Cain did not shoot
him. Under the rules of evidence this testimony was clearly inadmissible.
We would like finally to turn attention to what was said by the editor of L. R. A. in
his note in volume 37 hereinbefore referred to, viz:
The purpose of all evidence is to get at the truth. The reason for the hearsay rule
is that the extrajudicial and unsworn statement of another is not the best method
of serving this purpose. In other words, the great possibility of the fabrication of
falsehoods, and the inability to prove their untruth, requires that the doors be
closed to such evidence. So long therefore as a declarant is available as a
witness, his extrajudicial statement should not be heard. Where, however, the
declarant is dead or has disappeared, his previous statements, out of court, if not
inadmissible on other grounds, are the best evidence. But they are not rendered
inadmissible by the mere fact that the declarant is unavailable, something else
is necessary. One fact which will satisfy this necessity is that the declaration is or
was against the declarant's interest, and this is because no sane person will be
presumed to tell a falsehood to his own detriment.
xxx xxx xxx
Again, if, seems indisputable, the desire to close the door to falsehood which
cannot be detected dictates the exclusion of such testimony, the question as to
the effect to be given to such a confession is solely one of weight and credibility. .
..
Any man outside of a court and unhampered by the pressure of technical
procedure, unreasoned rules of evidence, and cumulative authority, would say
that if a man deliberately acknowledged himself to be the perpetrator of a crime
and exonerated the person charged with the crime, and there was other evidence
indicative of the truthfulness of the statement, the accused man should not be
permitted to go to prison or to the electric chair to expiate a crime he never
committed. Shall Judges trained and experienced in the law display less
discerning common sense that the layman and allow precedent to overcome
truth?
JUDGMENT
For three somewhat divergent reasons, we are all of the opinion that the
defendant-appellant Eugenio Toledo should be given the benefit of the
reasonable doubt which prevails in our minds. Accordingly, the judgment
appealed from will be reversed and the defendant and appellant acquitted, and
as it appears that he is now confined in Bilibid Prison, an order will immediately
issue directing his release, with costs de oficio.
Avancea, C.J., Street, Villamor, Ostrand, Romualdez and Villa-Real, JJ.,
concur.

Object / Real
Section 1, Rule 130

Phil. Movie Pictures Workers Assoc. v. Premiere


Productions, Inc., supra

Documentary

Best Evidence Rule


Sections 3-7, Rule 130
Section 3e, Rule 131

Pp v. Tandoy, 192 SCRA 98 (1990)


Fiscal of Pampanga v. Reyes, 55 Phil 905 (1931)

Qualified By

Air France v. Carrascoso, 18


SCRA 155(1966)
Compania Maritima v. Allied Free
Workers Union, 77 SCRA 24 (1977)

De Vera v. Aguilar, 218 SCRA 602 (1993)


National Power Corp. v. Codilla, G.R. No.
170491, 04 April 2007
Republic v. Marcos-Manotoc, G.R. No. 171701,
08 February 2012
E. Michael & Co., Inc. v. Enriquez, supra

Qualified By
Sections 5-6, Rule 76

Rodelas v. Aranza, 119 SCRA


16(1982)

Republic Act No. 8792, Electronic Commerce Act of


2000
Rules on Electronic Evidence

MCC Industrial Sales Corp. v.


Ssangyong Corp., G.R. No. 170633, 17
October 2007

Parol Evidence Rule


Section 9, Rule 130

Enriquez v. Ramos, 6 SCRA 219 (1962)


Land Settlement & Devt v. Garcia Plantation, 7
SCRA 750 (1963)
Woodhouse v. Halili, 93 Phil 526 (1953)
De la Rama v. Ledesma, L-28498, 143 SCRA 6
(1986)
PNR v. CFI of Albay Branch 1, 83 SCRA 569
(1978)
Ong Chua v. Carr, 53 Phil 975 (1929)
Maulini v. Serrano, 28 Phil 640 (1914)
Canuto v. Mariano, 37 Phil 840 (1918)

Qualified By

Marquez v. Espejo, G.R. No.


168387, 25 August 2010
Lechugas v. CA, 143 SCRA 335
(1986)
Abrenica v. Gonda, 34 Phil 739
(1916)

Inciong v. CA, 257 SCRA 578 (1996)


Ortanez v. CA, 266 SCRA 561 (1997)

Interpretation
Sections 10-19, Rule 130

Lambert v. Fox, 26 Phil 588 (1914)


Capital Insurance v. Sadang, 21 SCRA 1183
(1967)
Testimonial

Disqualifications
Sections 21-24, Rule 130

Pp v. Mendoza, 254 SCRA 18 (1996)


Pp v. Baid, 336 SCRA 656 (2000)
Pp v. Hayag, 101 SCRA 67 (1980)