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We resolve the appeal, filed by Teofilo Rey Buyagan (appellant), from the decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA)
dated December 19, 2008 in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01938. The CA decision[2] affirmed with modification the October
30, 2000 decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 6, Baguio City, finding the appellant guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, and sentencing him to suffer the death

The RTC Ruling

In its October 30, 2000 decision, the RTC found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex
crime of robbery with homicide.

The CA Decision

On intermediate appellant review, the CA affirmed the RTC decision, but modified the penalty imposed on the
appellant from death to reclusion perpetua. The CA held that the appellant acted in concert with John Doe in
committing the crime; in fact, he shot Calixto to facilitate the escape of John Doe. It explained that in the special
complex crime of robbery with homicide, as long as the intention of the felon is to rob, the killing may occur before,
during or after the robbery. The appellate court also ruled that the appellant failed to impute any ill motive against
the prosecution witnesses who positively identified him as the person who shot Calixto and PO2 Osorio. It also
disregarded the appellants denial for being incredible.[4]

Our Ruling In this final review, we deny the appeal, but further modify the penalty imposed and the awarded

Sufficiency of Prosecution Evidence

Essential for conviction of robbery with homicide is proof of a direct relation, an intimate connection between the
robbery and the killing, whether the latter be prior or subsequent to the former or whether both crimes were
committed at the same time.[5] In the present case, we find no compelling reason to disturb the findings of the RTC,
as affirmed by the CA. The eyewitness accounts of the prosecution witnesses are worthy of belief as they were clear
and straightforward and were consistent with the medical findings of Dr. Vladimir Villaseor. Melvyn Pastor and
Cristina Calixto positively identified the appellant as the person who shot Calixto at the back of his head as the latter
was grappling with John Doe; Orlando Viray, Jeanie Tugad, Allan Santiago, and Joel Caldito all declared that the
appellant shot PO2 Osorio at the market while the latter was chasing him. Significantly, the appellant never imputed
any ill motive on the part of these witnesses to falsely testify against him.

The lower courts correctly ruled that the appellant and John Doe acted in conspiracy with one another. Conspiracy
exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to
commit it. Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused before, during, and after the commission of the
crime which indubitably point to and are indicative of a joint purpose, concert of action and community of interest.
For conspiracy to exist, it is not required that there be an agreement for an appreciable period prior to the
occurrence; it is sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense, the malefactors had the same purpose
and were united in its execution.[6]

The records show that after John Doe robbed the WT Construction Supply store, he casually walked away from the
store but Calixto grabbed him. While John Doe and Calixto were grappling with each other, the appellant suddenly
appeared from behind and shot Calixto on the head. Immediately after, both the appellant and John Doe ran towards
the Hilltop Road going to the direction of the Hangar Market. Clearly, the two accused acted in concert to attain a
common purpose. Their respective actions summed up to collective efforts to achieve a common criminal objective.
In People v. Ebet,[7] we explained that homicide is committed by reason or on the occasion of robbery if its
commission was (a) to facilitate the robbery or the escape of the culprit; (b) to preserve the possession by the culprit
of the loot; (c) to prevent discovery of the commission of the robbery; or, (d) to eliminate witnesses in the
commission of the crime. As long as there is a nexus between the robbery and the homicide, the latter crime may
be committed in a place other than the situs of the robbery. Under the given facts, the appellant clearly shot Calixto
to facilitate the escape of his robber-companion, John Doe, and to preserve the latters possession of the stolen

The Proper Penalty

The special complex crime of robbery with homicide is penalized, under Article 294, paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal
Code, with reclusion perpetua to death. Since the aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm had
been alleged and proven during trial, the lower court correctly sentenced the appellant to suffer the death penalty
pursuant to Article 63[8] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Nonetheless, we cannot impose the death penalty
in view of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9346, entitled An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.
Pursuant to this law, we affirm the CAs reduction of the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua for each count,
with the modification that the appellant shall not be eligible for parole.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 19, 2008 in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01938
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Appellant Teofilo Rey Buyagan is hereby declared guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide


Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify the
Decision1 of the Sandiganbayan, dated July 26, 2001, in Criminal Case No. 18257, finding the petitioner Zenaida V.
Sazon guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Robbery Extortion. 2 Likewise assailed is the Sandiganbayans
Resolution3 dated November 16, 2001 denying petitioners motion for reconsideration.

The facts, as established by the evidence presented, are as follows:

Petitioner was a Senior Forest Management Specialist of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR), National Capital Region (NCR).4 On September 24, 1992, the DENR-NCR issued Travel Order No. 09-92-409
directing the petitioner and a certain Carlos Gubat I (Gubat) to proceed to Karuhatan and Navotas, both in Metro
Manila, to perform the following:1. To investigate [an] intelligence report on the alleged arrival of illegal shipment
of poles and piles to Navotas, Metro Manila; and 2. [To] verify illegal resaw operation of Honway Lumber, Karuhatan,
Metro Manila.5

On September 25, 1992, petitioner and her team, composed of Gubat and Forester Nemesio Ricohermoso,
conducted a surveillance in Karuhatan and Navotas. While looking for the office of Vifel Shipyard, subject of the
travel order, the team chanced upon the R&R Shipyard (R&R) and asked from the lady guard for Mr. Rodrigo Opena
(Mr. Opena), the Operations Manager.6 As the petitioner knew Mr. Opena, the former wanted to inquire from the
latter where Vifel Shipyard was.7 In the course of their conversation with the lady guard, the team spotted squared
logs, which they claimed to be "dungon" logs piled at the R&R compound. Upon a closer look, the team noticed that
the squared logs were mill-sawn and bore hatchet marks with a number indicating inspection by the DENR. Since
"dungon" logs were banned species, the team asked for the pertinent documents relative thereto. However, the
same could not be produced at that time; hence, they decided to return on October 1. 8

On October 1, 1992, petitioner and her team returned to R&R to check the necessary documents they were looking
for. Yet again, Mr. Opena could not produce the documents as they were then allegedly in the possession of the
auditing section of their main office. Petitioner insisted that the subject logs were banned species and, thus,
threatened Mr. Opena that he could be arrested and that the logs could be confiscated. Mr. Opena, however,
claimed that the logs that were seen by the petitioner were "yakal" and "tangile" and not "dungon." 9

On October 7, 1992, Atty. Teresita Agbi, the lawyer of R&R, met with the petitioner to talk about the subject logs.
Petitioner instructed Atty. Agbi to proceed to the bakeshop at the ground floor of the formers office.10 There, Atty.
Agbi informed the petitioner that she had in her possession the receipts covering the subject logs; but the latter
averred that the receipts were not sufficient as there were additional requirements11 to be submitted. Believing that
Atty. Agbi could not produce the required documents, petitioner initially demanded the payment ofP300,000.00 if
no papers would be submitted; P200,000.00 if incomplete; and P100,000.00 if the papers were complete.12

On October 13, 1992, petitioner made a final demand of P100,000.00 in exchange for the favor of "fixing" the papers
of the alleged "hot logs." She even offered Atty. Agbi P25,000.00 as her share in the amount.13 Atty. Agbi reported
the matter to the police. Consequently, an entrapment operation against the petitioner was planned wherein Atty.
Agbi would agree to pay P100,000.00 to settle the issue with the petitioner.14

On October 14, 1992, the day of the scheduled entrapment operation, Atty. Agbi, together with Senior Police Officer
1 Edwin Anaviso (SPO1 Anaviso), SPO1 Pablo Temena (SPO1 Temena) and SPO2 Renato Dizon (SPO2 Dizon) went to
the Maxs Restaurant in EDSA, Caloocan City, where they would meet the petitioner. 15 Upon seeing Atty. Agbi,
petitioner instructed the former to drop the envelope containing the money in the taxicab parked outside. Atty.
Agbi, however, could not comply since her P25,000.00 commission had not yet been segregated from
the P100,000.00. Petitioner thus offered to segregate it at the ladies room.16 As soon as Atty. Agbi handed over the
envelope containing the money, petitioner placed her wallet and handkerchief inside the envelope; 17then SPO2
Dizon immediately accosted and handcuffed the petitioner while SPO1 Temena took pictures of the incident.18

Petitioner, for her part, denied the above accusation. She averred that it was in fact Atty. Agbi who proposed the
settlement which she, however, rejected. When offered a brown envelope containing money, petitioner allegedly
stood up and prepared to leave, but a man came from nowhere and immediately handcuffed her while another man
took pictures.At about 11 oclock in the evening, petitioner was brought to the assistant prosecutor for
inquest.20 Thereafter, an Information for Robbery Extortion was filed against the petitioner, the accusatory portion
of which reads:

That on or about October 14, 1992, in Kalookan City, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused, a public officer, being then the supervisor of the Department of Environment and
Natural Resources (D[E]NR), taking advantage of her public position and which offensed (sic) was committed in
relation to her office, by means of intimidation and with intent to gain, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously demand, take and extort from the IRMA FISHING & TRADING COMPANY as represented herein by ATTY.
TERESITA A. AGBI, the amount of P100,000.00 to prevent the confiscation of more or less thirty (30) pcs. of logs,
which are found in the compound of RNR Marine Inc., purportedly for unauthorize[d] possession of the said logs,
and belonging to the said Irma Fishing & Trading Company, to the damage and prejudice of the said owner in the
aforementioned amount of P100,000.00.


Upon arraignment, petitioner entered a plea of "Not Guilty." 22 After trial on the merits, the Sandiganbayan rendered
a Decision23 convicting the petitioner of the crime of robbery extortion. The dispositive portion of the assailed
decision is quoted hereunder:

WHEREFORE, the accused, ZENAIDA SAZON y VENTURA, is hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of ROBBERY EXTORTION, defined under Article 293, and penalized under paragraph 5, Article 294 (as amended
by Section 9, Republic Act No. 7659)
The court found that the elements of robbery with intimidation were established by the prosecution. 25 It was pointed
out that if the interest of petitioner was merely the submission by R&R of the required documents, she should have
required that they meet at her office and not at a restaurant. 26 Her liability, said the court, was not negated by the
eventual admission of Irma Fishing and Trading Co. that the required documents could not be produced. 27

Hence, the instant petition on the following grounds: I. WITH DUE RESPECT, THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY

Apart from the instant criminal case, the DENR filed an administrative complaint against the petitioner for grave
misconduct in the performance of official duty, but the same was dismissed for lack of interest on the part of the
complainant. Another administrative case was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, but the same was likewise

Petitioners insistence on her acquittal of the crime of robbery with intimidation hinges on the alleged absence of
the elements of the crime. She specifically questions the Sandiganbayans conclusion that she employed intimidation
in order to extort P100,000.00 from R&R. Petitioner strongly doubts that the threat of confiscation of the subject
logs created fear in the mind of R&R or its employees. Absent such element, says the petitioner, her exoneration is
clearly indicated.30We do not agree with the petitioner.

In appeals to this Court from the Sandiganbayan, only questions of law may be raised, not issues of fact. The factual
findings of the Sandiganbayan are binding upon this Court. 31 The Supreme Court should not be burdened with the
task of re-examining the evidence presented during the trial of the case. This rule, however, admits of exceptions,
to wit: 1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise or conjectures; 2) the inference
made is manifestly mistaken; 3) there is grave abuse of discretion on the part of the lower court or agency; 4) the
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; 5) said findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific
evidence on which they are based; and 6) the findings of fact of the Sandiganbayan are premised on an absence of
evidence on record.32 However, we find no reason to disturb the factual findings of the Sandiganbayan, as none of
these exceptions is present in this case.

Petitioner was charged with robbery defined and penalized under Articles 293 33 and 294(5)34 of the Revised Penal
Code (RPC), otherwise known as simple robbery. Simple robbery is committed by means of violence against or
intimidation of persons.35 The elements of robbery as defined in Article 293 of the RPC are the following: a) that
there is personal property belonging to another; b) that there is unlawful taking of that property; c) that the taking
is with intent to gain; and d) that there is violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things. 36

Indeed, the prosecution adequately established the above elements.

As to what was taken, it is undisputed that petitioner demanded and eventually received from R&R P100,000.00, a
personal property belonging to the latter. The amount was placed inside a brown envelope and was given to
petitioner while inside Maxs Restaurant in EDSA, Caloocan City.

As to how the money was taken, it was proven that P100,000.00 was unlawfully taken by the petitioner from R&R,
with intent to gain and through intimidation. In robbery, there must be an unlawful taking or apoderamiento, which
is defined as the taking of items without the consent of the owner, or by means of violence against or intimidation
of persons, or by using force upon things. 37 Taking is considered complete from the moment the offender gains
possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same. In the instant case, it was adequately
proven that petitioner received and took possession of the brown envelope containing the money; she even placed
her wallet and handkerchief inside the envelope. At that point, there was already "taking."
As a public officer employed with the DENR, petitioner was tasked to implement forestry laws, rules and regulations.
Specifically, she had the power to make reports on forestry violations which could result in the eventual confiscation
of logs if the possession thereof could not be justified by the required documents; and the prosecution of violators
thereof. Undoubtedly, petitioner could not demand and eventually receive any amount from private persons as a
consideration for the formers non-performance of her lawful task. More so, in the instant case where the petitioner
threatened the complainants with possible confiscation of the logs and prosecution if they would not accede to her
demand for P100,000.00. Under such circumstances, the eventual receipt of the said amount by the petitioner
makes the taking "unlawful."

To constitute robbery, the taking should be accompanied by intent to gain. Intent to gain, or animus lucrandi, as an
element of the crime of robbery, is an internal act; hence, presumed from the unlawful taking of things.38Actual gain
is irrelevant as the important consideration is the intent to gain. 39 Having established that the amount
of P100,000.00 was unlawfully taken by the petitioner from R&R for her personal benefit, intent to gain was likewise
proven. Lastly, we agree with the Sandiganbayan that petitioner employed intimidation in order to obtain the
amount ofP100,000.00 from R&R.

Intimidation is defined in Blacks Law Dictionary as unlawful coercion; extortion; duress; putting in fear. 40 In robbery
with intimidation of persons, the intimidation consists in causing or creating fear in the mind of a person or in
bringing in a sense of mental distress in view of a risk or evil that may be impending, real or imagined. Such fear of
injury to person or property must continue to operate in the mind of the victim at the time of the delivery of the

Applying this principle to the pertinent facts of the instant case, it is noteworthy that: On September 25, 1992,
petitioner discovered the questioned logs and asked that the supporting documents be shown; on October 1, she
formally demanded the submission of the required documents; on October 7, she demanded payment of a particular
sum of money while offering to "fix" the problem; on October 13, she made the final demand; and on October 14,
the representatives of R&R parted with their P100,000.00. While it appears that initially, petitioner only demanded
the submission of the supporting documents to show that R&Rs possession of the subject logs was legal, she agreed
to talk about the matter outside her office. This circumstance alone makes her intentions highly suspect. The same
was confirmed when petitioner eventually demanded from R&R the payment of a particular sum of money,
accompanied by threats of prosecution and confiscation of the logs.1avvphi1

From the foregoing, and in light of the concept of intimidation as defined in various jurisprudence, we find and so
hold that the P100,000.00 "grease money" was taken by the petitioner from R&Rs representatives through
intimidation. By using her position as Senior Management Specialist of the DENR, petitioner succeeded in coercing
the complainants to choose between two alternatives: to part with their money, or suffer the burden and humiliation
of prosecution and confiscation of the logs.

In all of the above cases, the Court was convinced that there was sufficient intimidation applied by the accused on
the offended parties inasmuch as the acts of the accused engendered fear in the minds of their victims and hindered
the free exercise of their will.

As in the aforesaid cases, petitioner herein was a public officer who, in the performance of her official task,
discovered the subject logs which she claimed to be banned species. By reason of said discovery, she had the power
to bring the offenders to the proper authorities. As such public officer, she abused her authority and demanded from
the offenders the payment of a particular sum of money, accompanied by an assurance that the latter would no
longer be prosecuted. Eventually, money was given to the petitioner. We, therefore, find no reason to depart from
the above conclusion.

We would like to stress that the Constitution guarantees that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. This means proving the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable
doubt. Reasonable doubt is present when, after the comparison and consideration of all the evidence adduced, the
minds of the judges are left in a condition that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction, a moral certainty, of
the truth of the charge, a certainty that convinces and directs the understanding, and satisfies the reason and
judgment of those who are bound to act conscientiously upon it. 46 To be sure, proof beyond reasonable doubt does
not demand absolute certainty and the exclusion of all possibility of error. 47

We find, however, that the Sandiganbayan failed to appreciate the aggravating circumstance of "abuse of public
position."48 The fact that petitioner was Senior Forest Management Specialist of the DENR situated her in a position
to perpetrate the offense. It was on account of petitioners authority that the complainants believed that they could
be prosecuted and the subject logs confiscated unless they gave her what she wanted. Consequently, we find that a
modification of the penalty imposed by the Sandiganbayan is in order. 9WHEREFORE, premises considered, the
petition is DENIED.


While a security guard was manning his post at the open parking area of a supermarket, he saw the accused, Aristotel
Valenzuela, hauling a push cart loaded with cases of detergent and unloaded them where his co-accused, Jovy
Calderon, was waiting. Valenzuela then returned inside the supermarket, and later emerged with more cartons of
detergent. Thereafter, Valenzuela hailed a taxi and started loading the cartons inside. As the taxi was about to leave,
the security guard asked Valenzuela for the receipt of the merchandize. The accused reacted by fleeing on foot, but
were subsequently apprehended at the scene. The trial court convicted both Valenzuela and Calderon of the crime
of consummated theft. Valenzuela appealed before the Court of Appeals, arguing that he should only be convicted
of frustrated theft since he was not able to freely dispose of the articles stolen. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
trial courts decision, thus the Petition for Review was filed before the Supreme Court.

Whether or not the crime of theft has a frustrated stage.

No. Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code provides that a felony is consummated when all the elements necessary for
its execution and accomplishment are present. In the crime of theft, the following elements should be present: (1)
that there be taking of personal property; (2) that said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with
intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without the consent of the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished
without the use of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things. The Court held that theft is
produced when there is deprivation of personal property by one with intent to gain. Thus, it is immaterial that the
offender is able or unable to freely dispose the property stolen since he has already committed all the acts of
execution and the deprivation from the owner has already ensued from such acts. Therefore, theft cannot have a
frustrated stage, and can only be attempted or consummated.


That on or about the 12th day of April, 1986, in the City of Iloilo, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Court,
said accused, conspiring and confederating among themselves, working together and helping one another, armed
with guns and handgrenade and with the use of violence or intimidation employed on the person of Severino Choco,
Mary Choco, Mimie Choco and Rodita Hablero did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally take and carry
away, with intent of gain, cash in the amount of P20,000.00, two (2) Men's wrist watches, one (1) Lady's Seiko quartz
wrist watch and one (1) Lady's Citizen wrist watch and assorted jewelries, all valued at P50,000.00; that on the
occasion and by reason of said robbery, Mary Choco suffered serious physical injuries under paragraph 2 of Article
263, Bienvenido Salvilla likewise suffered serious physical injuries and Reynaldo Canasares also suffered physical
injuries; that the said accused also illegally detained, at the compound of the New Iloilo Lumber Company, Iznart
Street, Iloilo City, Severino Choco, owner/proprietor of said Lumber Company, Mary Choco, Mimie Choco, who is a
minor, being 15 years of age, and Rodita Hablero, who is a salesgirl at said Company; that likewise on the occasion
of the robbery, the accused also asked and were given a ransom money of P50,000.00; that the said crime was
attended by aggravating circumstances of band, and illegal possession of firearms and explosives; that the amount
of P20,000.00, the ransom money of P50,000.00, two (2) Men's wrist watches, two (2) lady's wrist watches, one (1)
.38 caliber revolver and one (1) live grenade were recovered from the accused; to the damage and prejudice of the
New Iloilo Lumber Company in the amount of P120,000.00.

The evidence for the prosecution may be re-stated as follows:

On 12 April 1986, a robbery was staged by the four accused at the New Iloilo Lumber Yard at about noon time. The
plan was hatched about two days before. The accused were armed with homemade guns and a hand grenade. When
they entered the establishment, they met Rodita Hablero an employee thereat who was on her way out for her meal
break and announced to her that it was a hold-up. She was made to go back to the office and there Appellant Salvilla
pointed his gun at the owner, Severino Choco, and his two daughters, Mary and Mimie the latter being a minor 15
years of age, and told the former that all they needed was money. Hearing this, Severino told his daughter, Mary, to
get a paper bag wherein he placed P20,000.00 cash (P5,000.00, according to the defense) and handed it to Appellant.
Thereafter, Severino pleaded with the four accused to leave the premises as they already had the money but they
paid no heed. Instead, accused Simplicio Canasares took the wallet and wristwatch of Severino after which the latter,
his two daughters, and Rodita, were herded to the office and kept there as hostages.

At about 2:00 o'clock of the same day, the hostages were allowed to eat. The four accused also took turns eating
while the others stood guard. Then, Appellant told Severino to produce P100,000.00 so he and the other hostages
could be released. Severino answered that he could not do so because it was a Saturday and the banks were closed.

In the meantime, police and military authorities had surrounded the premises of the lumber yard. Major Melquiades
B. Sequio Station Commander of the INP of Iloilo City, negotiated with the accused using a loud speaker and appealed
to them to surrender with the assurance that no harm would befall them as he would accompany them personally
to the police station. The accused refused to surrender or to release the hostages.

Thereafter, OIC Mayor, Rosa Caram, of Iloilo City arrived and joined the negotiations. In her dialogue with the
accused, which lasted for about four hours, Appellant demanded P100,000.00, a coaster, and some raincoats. She
offered them P50,000.00 instead, explaining the difficulty of raising more as it was a Saturday. Later, the accused
agreed to receive the same and to release Rodita to be accompanied by Mary Choco in going out of the office. When
they were out of the door, one of the accused whose face was covered by a handkerchief, gave a key to Mayor
Caram. With this, Mayor Caram unlocked the padlocked door and handed to Rodita the P50,000.00, which the latter,
in turn, gave to one of the accused. Rodita was later set free but Mary was herded back to the office.

Mayor Caram, Major Sequio and even volunteer radio newscasters continued to appeal to the accused to surrender
peacefully but they refused.1wphi1 UItimatums were given but the accused did not budge. Finally, the police and
military authorities decided to launch an offensive and assault the place. This resulted in injuries to the girls, Mimie
and Mary Choco as well as to the accused Ronaldo and Reynaldo Canasares. Mary suffered a "macerated right lower
extremity just below the knee" so that her right leg had to be amputated. The medical certificate described her
condition as "in a state of hemorrhagic shock when she was brought in to the hospital and had to undergo several
major operations during the course of her confinement from April 13, 1986 to May 30, 1986."

For his part, Appellant Salvilla confirmed that at about noon time of 12 April 1986 he and his co-accused entered the
lumber yard and demanded money from the owner Severino Choco He demanded P100,000.00 but was given only
P5,000.00, which he placed on the counter of the office of the lumber yard. He admitted that he and his co-accused
kept Severino, his daughters, and Rodita inside the office. He maintained, however, that he stopped his co-accused
from getting the wallet and wristwatch of Severino and, like the P5,000.00 were all left on the counter, and were
never touched by them. He claimed further that they had never fired on the military because they intended to
surrender. Appellant's version also was that during the gunfire, Severino's daughter stood up and went outside; he
wanted to stop her but he himself was hit by a bullet and could not prevent her. Appellant also admitted the appeals
directed to them to surrender but that they gave themselves up only much later.

After trial, the Court a quo meted out a judgment of conviction and sentenced each of the accused "to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties provided by law and to pay the costs."

Appellant Salvilla's present appeal is predicated on the following Assignments of Error:

1. The lower court erred in holding that the crime charged was consummated and in not holding that the same was
merely attempted. 2. The lower court erred in not appreciating the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender."

Upon the facts and the evidence, we affirm.The defense contends that "The complete crime of larceny
(theft/robbery) as distinguished from an attempt requires asportation or carrying away, in addition to the taking, In
other words, the crime of robbery/theft has three consecutive stages: 1) the giving 2) the taking and 3) the carrying
away or asportation And without asportation the crime committed is only attempted" (Memorandum for Appellant
Salvilla, Records, p. 317).

There is no question that in robbery, it is required that there be a taking of personal property belonging to another.
This is known as the element of asportation the essence of which is the taking of a thing out of the possession of the
owner without his privity and consent and without the animus revertendi (Aquino, Revised Penal Code, p. 97, citing 5
C.J. 607). In fact, if there is no actual taking, there can be no robbery. Unlawful taking of personal property of another
is an essential part of the crime of robbery.

Appellant insists that while the "giving" has been proven, the "taking" has not. And this is because neither he nor his
three co-accused touched the P5,000.00 given by Severino nor the latter's wallet or watch during the entire incident;
proof of which is that none of those items were recovered from their persons.Those factual allegations are
contradicted by the evidence. Rodita, the lumberyard employee, testified that upon demand by Appellant, Severino
put P20,000.00 inside a paper bag and subsequently handed it to Appellant. In turn, accused Simplicio Canasares
took the wallet and wristwatch of Severino. In respect of the P50,000.00 from Mayor Caram, Rodita declared that
the Mayor handed the amount to her after she (the Mayor) had opened the padlocked door and that she thereafter
gave the amount to one of the holduppers. The "taking" was, therefore, sufficiently proved (TSN, July 1, 1987, pp.
12-13, 15-16, 27-31). The money demanded, and the wallet and wristwatch were within the dominion and control
of the Appellant and his co-accused and completed the taking.

The State established a "taking" sufficient to support a conviction of robbery even though the perpetrators were
interrupted by police and so did not pick up the money offered by the victim, where the defendant and an accomplice,
armed with a knife and a club respectively, had demanded the money from the female clerk of a convenience store,
and the clerk had complied with their instructions and placed money from the register in a paper bag and then
placed the bag on the counter in front of the two men; these actions brought the money within the dominion and
control of defendant and completed the taking. (Johnson vs. State, 432 So 2d 758).

"Severance of the goods from the possession of the owner and absolute control of the property by the taker, even
for an instant, constitutes asportation (Adams vs. Commonwealth, 154 SW 381; State vs. Murray, 280 SW 2d 809;
Mason vs. Commonwealth, 105 SE 2d 149) [Emphasis supplied].

It is no defense either that Appellant and his co-accused had no opportunity to dispose of the personalities taken.
That fact does not affect the nature of the crime, From the moment the offender gained possession of the thing,
even if the culprit had no opportunity to dispose of the same, the unlawful taking is complete (Reyes, Revised Penal
Code Annotated, Book II, 1981 ed., p. 594).

The crime is consummated when the robber acquires possession of the property, even if for a short time, and it is
not necessary that the property be taken into the hands of the robber, or that he should have actually carried the
property away, out of the physical presence of the lawful possessor, or that he should have made his escape with it"
(People vs. Quinn, 176 P 2d 404; Woods vs. State, 220 SW 2d 644; People vs. Beal, 39 P 2d 504; People vs. Clark, 160
P 2d 553).Contrary to Appellant's submission, therefore, a conviction for consummated and not merely attempted
Robbery is in order.

It is the contention of Appellant that Rodita could not have seen the taking because the place was dark since the
doors were closed and there were no windows. It will be recalled, however, that Rodita was one of the hostages
herself and could observe the unfolding of events. Her failure to mention the taking in her sworn statement would
not militate against her credibility, it being settled that an affidavit is almost always incomplete and inaccurate and
does not disclose the complete facts for want of inquiries or suggestions (People vs. Andaya, G.R. No. L-63862, 31
July 1987, 152 SCRA 570; People vs. Tan, et al., 89 Phil. 337 [1951]).The fact, too, that Rodita was an employee of
Severino would not lessen her credibility. The defense has not proven that she was actuated by any improper motive
in testifying against the accused.

In the last analysis, the basic consideration centers around the credibility of witnesses in respect of which the findings
of the Trial Court are entitled to great weight as it was in a superior position to assess the same in the course of the
trial (see People vs. Ornoza G.R. No. L-56283, 30 June 1987, 151 SCRA 495; People vs. Alcantara, G.R. No. L-38042,
30 June 1987, 151 SCRA 326).

Anent the second assignment of error, the "surrender" of the Appellant and his co-accused cannot be considered in
their favor to mitigate their liability. To be mitigating, a surrender must have the following requisites: (a) that the
offender had not been actually arrested; (b) that the offender surrendered himself to a person in authority or to his
agent; and (c) that the surrender was voluntary (People vs. Canamo, G.R. No. L-62043, 13 August 1985, 138 SCRA

The "surrender" by the Appellant and his co-accused hardly meets these requirements. They were, indeed, asked to
surrender by the police and military authorities but they refused until only much later when they could no longer do
otherwise by force of circumstances when they knew they were completely surrounded and there was no chance of
escape. The surrender of the accused was held not to be mitigating as when he gave up only after he was surrounded
by the constabulary and police forces (People vs. Sigayan et al., G.R. Nos. L-18523-26, 30 April 1966, 16 SCRA 839;
People vs. Mationg G.R. No. L-33488, 29 March 1982, 113 SCRA 167). Their surrender was not spontaneous as it was
motivated more by an intent to insure their safety. And while it is claimed that they intended to surrender, the fact
is that they did not despite several opportunities to do so. There is no voluntary surrender to speak of (People vs.
Dimdiman 106 Phil. 391 [1959]).

All told, the assigned errors remain unsubstantiated and we find the guilt of the accused-appellant, Bienvenido
Salvilla, established beyond reasonable doubt. Although unassigned as an error, we deem it necessary to turn now
to the nature of the linked offenses involved and the penalty imposed by the Trial Court.

Appellant and his co-accused were charged in the Information with "Robbery with Serious Physical Injuries and
Serious Illegal Detention ("Art. 295, par. 3, in conjunction with Art. 267, RPC )and sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
We agree with the Trial Court that a complex crime under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code has been committed
such that the penalty for the more serious offense of Serious Illegal Detention (Art. 267, Revised Penal Code), or
"reclusion perpetua to death," is to be imposed instead of the penalty prescribed for Robbery with Serious Physical
Injuries (Art. 294 (3), which is reclusion temporal.

Under Article 48, a complex crime arises "when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other." The term
"necessary means" does not connote indispensable means for if it did then the offense as a "necessary means" to
commit another would be an indispensable element of the latter and would be an ingredient thereof. The phrase
"necessary means" merely signifies that one crime is committed to facilitate and insure the commission of the other
(Aquino, Revised Penal Code, Vol. I, 1987 ed., p. 624, citing Dissent, Montemayor, J., Amado Hernandez, 99 Phil.
515). In this case, the crime of Serious Illegal Detention was such a "necessary means" as it was selected by Appellant
and his co-accused to facilitate and carry out more effectively their evil design to stage a robbery.
The facts of this case differ from those in People vs. Astor, et al. (G.R. Nos. L-71765-66, 29 April 1987, 149 SCRA 325)
where the accused were convicted of Robbery but acquitted in the case for Serious Illegal Detention and where it
was held that "the detention is absorbed in the crime of robbery." For one, in Astor, there were two (2) separate
Informations filed, one for Robbery and another for Serious Illegal Detention. In the present case, only one
Information was filed charging the complex offense. For another, in Astor, the robbery had already been
consummated and the detention was merely to forestall the capture of the robbers by the police. Not so in this case,
where the detention was availed of as a means of insuring the consummation of the robbery. Further, inAstor, the
detention was only incidental to the main crime of robbery so that it was held therein:. . . were appellants themselves
not trapped by the early arrival of the police at the scene of the crime, they would have not anymore detained the
people inside since they have already completed their job. Obviously, appellants were left with no choice but to
resort to detention of these people as security, until arrangements for their safe passage were made. This is not the
crime of illegal detention punishable under the penal laws but an act of restraint in order to delay the pursuit of the
criminals by peace officers (People v. Sol, 9 Phil. 265; People v. Uday 55 Phil. 167, cited in the Revised Penal Code,
Aquino, Vol. 3, 1976 ed., p. 1337). Where the victims in a robbery case were detained in the course of robbery, the
detention is absorbed by the crime of robbery (P. v. Baysa, 92 Phil. 1008, id.). In the case at bar, the detention was
only incidental to the main crime of robbery, and although in the course thereof women and children were also held,
that threats to kill were made, the act should not be considered as a separate offense. Appellants should only be
held guilty of robbery.

In contract, the detention in the case at bar was not only incidental to the robbery but was a necessary means to
commit the same.1wphi1 After the amount of P20,000.00 was handed to Appellant, the latter and his co-accused
still refused to leave. The victims were then taken as hostages and the demand to produce an additional P100,000.00
was made as a prerequisite for their release. The detention was not because the accused were trapped by the police
nor were the victims held as security against the latter. The detention was not merely a matter of restraint to enable
the malefactors to escape, but deliberate as a means of extortion for an additional amount. The police and other
authorities arrived only much later after several hours of detention had already passed. And, despite appeals to
appellant and his co-accused to surrender, they adamantly refused until the amount of P100,000.00 they demanded
could be turned over to them. They even considered P50,000.00, the amount being handed to them, as inadequate.

The foregoing features also distinguish this case from those of U.S. v. Sol, 9 Phil. 265 [1907] where the restraint was
for no other purpose than to prevent the victims from reporting the crime to the authorities; from People v. Gamboa,
92 Phil. 1085 [1953] where the victims were taken to a place one kilometer away and shot in order to liquidate the
witnesses to the robbery; from People v. Baysa, 92 Phil. 1008 [1953]; People v. Manzanilla, 43 Phil. 167 [1922], all of
which cases were cited in Astor and where the victims were only incidentally detained so that the detention was
deemed absorbed in robbery.

In other words, unlike in the above cases, the elements of the offense of Serious Illegal Detention are present in this
case. The victims were illegally deprived of their liberty. Two females (Mary and Minnie) and a minor (Minnie), a
specified circumstance in Article 267 (3), were among those detained. The continuing detention was also for the
purpose of extorting ransom, another listed circumstance in Article 267 (last parag.) not only from the detained
persons themselves but even from the authorities who arrived to rescue them.

It follows then that as the detention in this case was not merely incidental to the robbery but a necessary means
employed to facilitate it, the penalty imposed by the Trial Court is proper.

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED. Proportio