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Republic of the Philippines

G.R. No. L-64965 July 18, 1991

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
JOVEN BAUSING and MANUEL LOROSO, accused-appellants.
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Manuel Tesiorna for accused-appellants.

This is an appeal from the decision * of the Regional Trial Court of Dapa, Surig
ao Del Norte, Branch XXXI, convicting appellants of the crime of murder, the dec
retal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, viewed in the light of the foregoing, the Court finds the accused JOV
EN BAUSING and MANUEL LOROSO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURD
ER qualified with treachery. There being no aggravating circumstance and mitigat
ing circumstance, the Court hereby sentences JOVEN BAUSING and MANUEL LOROSO, to
suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA; to indemnify the heirs of the late AL
EXANDER MANTILLA, jointly and severally, the amount of Twelve Thousand Pesos (P1
2,000.00); without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; with the acces
sory penalties imposed by law and to pay the costs. (Rollo, p. 66)
The facts, as summarized by the trial court, are as follows:
. . . last August 3, 1978, approximately 9:15 o'clock in the evening, the victim
, Alexander Mantilla, as incumbent Barangay Councilman and a Ronda Member of Bar
angay Consuelo, General Luna, Surigao Del Norte, while performing his official d
uties, was at the billiard hall of accused Manuel Loroso, together with the foll
owing persons, namely: Ruirino Crisologo, Domingo Teraytay, Estanislao Sunico, A
ureliano Pacanor, Segundiano Pacanor, Edisimo Minglana, Barangay Captain Rufo Bu
nga, Pepito Tokong, Juanito Tokong, Manuel Loroso, Joven Bausing and Valentin Ba
There were two (2) billiard tables and on them the following persons were playin
g: Domingo Teraytay, Barangay Captain Rufo Bunga, Juanito Tokong and Estanislao
The billiard game was first interrupted when Domingo Teraytay and Manuel Loroso
were grappling for the knife which was protruding at the back pocket of the form
er, the knife was ultimately taken with the assistance of Estanislao Sunico and
Aureliano Pacanor. Manuel Loroso, as owner of the billiard hall, confiscated the
knife in order to prevent any trouble therein.
Thereafter, Valentin Bausing, sometimes called "Rodolfo", clattered the billiard
balls which caused Alexander Mantilla to admonish him to stop his act as he was
not concerned with the game.
Without any word, accused Manuel Loroso who came from the back of Mantilla, held
the hands of the latter while being raised when all of a sudden, Joven Bausing
appeared in the scene, with unsheathed sharp pointed bolo (Exh. "A") which was h
idden inside the umbrella (Exh. "B") thrust many times said bolo upon Mantilla.
Mantilla was released only by Loroso, after the victim was staggering unconsciou
sly who later fell dead outside the billiard hall. (Rollo, pp. 29-31)
Appellants Bausing and Loroso were then charged with murder with assault upon an
agent of person in authority. Both pleaded not guilty to the charge and after t
rial, the trial court rendered the judgment which appellants now seek to be reve
During the trial, the prosecution established the guilt of appellants through th
e testimonies of Crisologo, Tokong, Teraytay and Minglana, among others, who wer
e all present at the billiard hall when the incident happened.
Crisologo testified that in the billiard hall, he saw Manuel Loroso and Domingo
Teraytay grappling with each other for possession of a knife. The others present
in the hall tried to pacify the two and the knife was taken by Estanislao Sunic
o. He also testified that he saw Valentin Bausing making trouble inside the bill
iard hall and was advised by the deceased Alexander Mantilla to stop as he had n
othing to do with the game. At this point, Manuel Loroso approached the deceased
from behind and took hold of the latter's hands, whereupon Joven Bausing ran to
wards them repeatedly thrusting a sharp pointed bolo at the victim (Alexander Ma
ntilla) who kicked his assailant in a futile attempt to defend himself. The vict
im was hit below his left breast and right breast. Weakened and already down, ap
pellant Joven Bausing again stabbed the helpless victim on the mouth after which
appellants Bausing and Loroso walked away (TSN, March 8, 1979, pp. 3-11; Origin
al Records, pp. 172-180).
The above testimony of Crisologo was corroborated in all material points by the
testimonies of (1) Pepito Tokong who was inside the billiard hall because of rai
n (TSN, April 25, 1979, pp. 3-12; Original Records, pp. 218-227); (2) Domingo Te
raytay who was also playing billiards (TSN, June 28, 1979, pp. 3-16; Original Re
cords, pp. 250-263); and (3) Edisimo Minglana who was also in the hall watching
the billiard game (TSN, November 13, 1979, pp. 14-17; Original Records, pp. 232-
All of the above witnesses gave exactly the same version of the gruesome and mer
ciless killing of Alexander Mantilla to the effect that the deceased was only tr
ying to stop Valentin Bausing from making trouble when Manuel Loroso approached
the deceased from behind, held both of the latter's hands, while the accused Jov
en Bausing, father of Valentin, suddenly attacked Mantilla and stabbed the latte
r several times. As the victim staggered towards the door, he fell flat on his f
ace. Not satisfied with the injuries already inflicted by him, accused Bausing h
eld the head of the fallen victim and stabbed the latter on the armpit, hacked h
im at the left arm biceps, forearm and mouth.
In this appeal, appellants raise the following errors:
(Appellant's Brief, pp. 1-2; Rollo, p. 85 c-d)
Appellants' assignment of errors being interrelated, the same shall be addressed
Joven Bausing admitted the killing of the deceased but invokes the justifying ci
rcumstance of defense of a relative in a bid to escape criminal liability. After
a careful examination of the verdict rendered by the trial court, We find no co
mpelling reason to reverse the judgment of conviction.
In order that the justifying circumstance of defense of a relative may be proper
ly invoked, the following requisites must concur: (1) unlawful aggression; (2) r
easonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) in cas
e the provocation was given by the person attacked, that the one making the defe
nse had no part therein (Art. 11, par. 1 & 2, Revised Penal Code).
The first requisite is indispensable. There can be no self-defense unless it is
proven that there had been unlawful aggression on the part of the person injured
or killed by the assailant. If there is no unlawful aggression, there is nothin
g to prevent or repel (People vs. Malazzab, 160 SCRA 123 [1988]; Ortega v. Sandi
ganbayan [1990]). In addition, for unlawful aggression to be appreciated, there
must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, and not
merely a threatening or intimidating attitude (People v. Pasco, Jr., supra; Peo
ple vs. Rey, 172 SCRA 149 [1989] and the accused must present Proof of positivel
y strong act of real aggression (Pacificar v. Court of Appeals 125 SCRA 716 [198
3]; People v. Aquiatan, 123 SCRA 501 [1983]; People v. Aquino, 124 SCRA 835 [198
3]). Unlawful aggression must be such as to put in real peril the life or person
al safety of the person defending himself or of a relative sought to be defended
and not an imagined threat.
In the case at bar, appellant Bausing's claim of unlawful aggression committed b
y the deceased has not been sufficiently established to warrant the appreciation
of defense of a relative as a justifying circumstance. All four prosecution wit
nesses who were eyewitnesses to the killing of Mantilla testified categorically
that no unlawful aggression was committed by the deceased. The victim merely adm
onished Valentin Bausing, son of appellant Joven, to stop meddling with the game
going on. Appellant's claim of defense of his son cannot prevail over the posit
ive testimonies of the eyewitnesses pointing beyond reasonable doubt that he (ap
pellant) was the aggressor who treacherously assaulted the deceased.
More importantly, appellant Bausing already admitted the killing of Mantilla. Ha
ving made the admission, it is thus incumbent upon the accused to prove the just
ifying circumstance to the satisfaction of the court in order to be relieved of
any criminal liability. In such instances, the accused must proffer strong, clea
r and convincing evidence of self-defense and depend not on the infirmity of the
prosecution, for even if the latter was weak, the plea of self-defense cannot p
rosper especially so where the accused himself has admitted the killing, as in t
he case at bar (People v. Bayocot, 174 SCRA 285 [1989]; People v. Masangkay, 157
SCRA 320 [1988]; People v. Abagon, 161 SCRA 255 [1988]; People v. Tesorero, 71
SCRA 579 [1976]; People v. Llamera, 51 SCRA 48 [1973]; People v. Bauden, 77 Phil
. 105 [1946]; People v. Ansoyon, 75 Phil. 772 [1946]).
Appellant Loroso next contends that the trial court erred in holding that Ederes
a Tokong's testimony has been unrebutted and therefore fatal to the defense. Lor
oso argues that he has in fact testified as a sur-rebuttal witness and rebutted
the testimony of Tokong point by point.
The argument is devoid of merit and need not be discussed at length. What the tr
ial court meant when it said that the testimony of Tokong was unrebutted is the
fact that appellant Lorozo failed to rebut the testimony of Tokong that after th
e killing of Mantilla, said appellant slept in their (spouses Tokong's) house wi
th bloodstains on his shirt and pair of trousers and that the blanket and beddin
gs used by him were also stained by blood. The trial court's pronouncement did n
ot mean that no sur-rebuttal witness was ever presented by the defense.
The nature, character, location and number of the wounds suffered by the decease
d belie any supposition that the deceased was the unlawful aggressor (People v.
Marciales, 166 SCRA 436 [1988]). As reflected in the autopsy report and the test
imony of Dr. Prospero Tayco, the deceased suffered seventeen (17) incised wounds
, including the "through and through" incised wound of the heart, 21 inches long
with entrance at the apex of the heart which is the primary cause of death and
massive blood loss secondary thereto, aside from the numerous abrasions and avul
sions (Autopsy Report, Exh. 15, Original Records). In contrast, both Valentin an
d Joven Bausing suffered no injury. The infliction of the 17 wounds on the decea
sed could only lead to the conclusion that Mantilla was the victim of aggression
and not the unlawful aggressor.
On the other hand, appellant Loroso faults the trial court for classifying his d
enial of participation in the killing of the deceased as one of alibi. Appellant
claims that he was busy pumping air into his petromax lamp lighting the billiar
d hall at the time the incident occurred and ran away as soon as he saw blood af
ter the second thrust by appellant Bausing. Appellant's defense would therefore
appear as a simple denial of his participation in the commission of the offense.
Appellant's unsubstantiated disclaimer of participation cannot be given any cred
ence. Self-serving as it is, his denial of participation in the commission of th
e crime cannot prevail over the forthright and positive testimonies by the prose
cution witnesses as they uniformly pointed to him as having held both hands of M
antilla from behind and raised them upwards while Joven Bausing suddenly appeare
d on one side of Mantilla, unsheathed the bolo inside the umbrella he (Bausing)
was carrying and stabbed the victim continuously. Loroso released his hold of Ma
ntilla only when the latter was already on the verge of death as a result of the
stab wounds inflicted by appellant Bausing. The weak denials of appellant canno
t prevail over the clear and positive testimonies of the eyewitnesses regarding
his participation in the killing of the deceased. (People v. Bocatcat, Sr., 188
SCRA 175 [1990]; People v. Delavin, 148 SCRA 25 [1987]; People v. Alcid, 135 SCR
A 280 [1985]; People v. Tuscano, 137 SCRA 203 [1985]) for it is a settled rule t
hat greater weight is given to the positive identification of the accused by the
prosecution witnesses than to the accused's plain denial of participation in th
e commission of the crime (People vs. de Mesa, 188 SCRA 48 [1990]; citing People
v. Canada, 144 SCRA 121 [1986]; People vs. Mostoles, Jr., 124 SCRA 906 [1983]).
That the killing of Alexander Mantilla is murder qualified by treachery is borne
out by the records. The victim was not only unarmed but was also deprived of ev
ery means to defend himself from the treacherous attack. Loroso held both hands
of the deceased victim while Joven Bausing suddenly appeared and started stabbin
g the victim. In People v. Mahusay (138 SCRA 452 [1985]), this Court ruled that
there is treachery where the victim was held tightly by one of the accused befor
e his co-accused stabbed him, as in the case at bar. The appellants executed the
crime in a manner that tended directly and specially to ensure its execution wi
thout risk to themselves arising from the defense which the deceased might have
made (Art. 14, par. 16, Revised Penal Code; People v. Pacabes, 137 SCRA 158 [198
The presence of conspiracy was inferred from the concerted acts of both the accu
sed. They both approached the victim almost simultaneously. As one held the vict
im's hands tightly from behind and raised them upward, the other delivered the f
atal stabs which caused Mantilla's death. The manner by which Loroso held the vi
ctim's hands from behind which clearly prevented the latter from defending himse
lf and without which act the crime would not have been accomplished, makes appel
lant Loroso a conspirator and a principal by indispensable cooperation (People v
. Martinez, 127 SCRA 260 [1985]). Where the accused by their acts aimed at the s
ame object, one performing one part and another performing another part so as to
complete it, with a view to the attainment of the same object, and their acts w
ere concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, con
certed action and concurrence of sentiments, the lower court was justified in co
ncluding that the defendants were engaged in conspiracy wherein the act of one i
s the act of all (People v. Manlolo, 169 SCRA 394 [1989]). Conspiracy can be inf
erred from and proven by the acts of the accused themselves when said acts point
to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interests (Pe
ople v. Monadi, 97 Phil. 575 [1955]).
The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender invoked by Joven Bausing dese
rves scant consideration. While appellant Bausing claims to have voluntarily sur
rendered to Pat. Arturo Esparrago of Surigao del Norte Police Station on the nig
ht of the incident, records of the case show that appellants were in fact arrest
ed on August 28, 1978 as per return made by Station Commander Saturnino Plaza of
General Luna, Surigao del Norte Police Force (Original Records, p. 7). The miti
gating circumstance of voluntary surrender cannot be appreciated considering tha
t the return of the warrant of arrest showed that appellant was in fact arrested
WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification as to
the indemnification which is hereby increased to P50,000.00.
Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
[G.R. No. 147789. January 14, 2004]
ALEXANDER P. RUGAS, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
as amended, of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 23419 (CR)
affirming with modification the decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of Romb
lon, Branch 81, in Criminal Case No. 2095.
The Antecedents
On December 11, 1997, the petitioner Alexander P. Rugas was charged with Frustra
ted Homicide in an Information, the accusatory portion of which reads:
That on or about the 16th day of September 1997, at around 9:00 oclock in the ev
ening, in barangay Taclobo, municipality of San Fernando, province of Romblon, P
hilippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accuse
d, with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
attack, assault and stab with a deadly weapon one GERBERTO RAFOL, inflicting up
on the latter critical injuries in different parts of his body, which ordinarily
would cause the death of said Gerberto D. Rafol, thus performing all the acts o
f execution which should have produced the felony of homicide, as a consequence,
but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will
of the accused and that is by the timely and able medical assistance rendered t
o the victim which prevented his death.
Contrary to law.[3]
The petitioner was duly arraigned, assisted by counsel and entered a plea of not
The Case for the Prosecution
As synthesized by the trial court and adopted by the Court of Appeals, the prose
cution was able to establish the following:
At around 9:00 oclock in the evening of September 16, 1997, Herberto (or Gerbert
o) Rafol was conversing with Perla Perez in the street fronting the house of And
a Romano in barangay Taclobo, San Fernando, Romblon, when the accused Alexander
P. Rugas, suddenly stabbed him at his left thigh. He faced him to know who stabb
ed him but the accused stabbed him on his stomach. He ran and shouted for help.
Somebody helped him in boarding him to a tricycle and he was brought to the hosp
ital at Cajidiocan where Dr. Fermin M. Fatalla operated on him and issued the me
dico-legal certificate, dated September 25, 1977 (Exh. F) and he drew a sketch (
Exh. G). Dr. Fatalla found a stab wound on the right upper quadrant of the abdom
en, 3 cms. in length and about 4 to 5 cms. in depth penetrating the abdominal ca
vity as well as the right lobe of the liver. This was a fatal wound, involving a
s it did the liver, one of the vital organs of the body. The patient could die o
f severe hemorrhage if no surgical operation was done. And he immediately operat
ed the patient upon arrival at the hospital. The second stab wound was 7.5 cms.
in length located at the lower left quadrant or at the uppermost part of the lef
t lateral thigh. This was not a fatal wound. Both could have been caused by any
sharp pointed or bladed instrument like a knife. The first stab wound could have
been inflicted with the assailant in front of the victim or at the right side o
f the victim or somewhere obliquely to the right of the patient, using his right
or left hand. The second stab wound could have been inflicted with the assailan
t in front or could be on the left side of the victim, obliquely to the side of
the victim, which he could inflict if he comes from the rear or from the back of
the victim using his right hand.
According to private complainant, he first saw the accused coming about twenty-f
ive (25) meters from him. He directly came to him and he did not know that he wa
s holding a knife. He just came all of a sudden and he did not know he would sta
b him. Before this incident, they did not quarrel and had no misunderstanding.
He spent a total of P25,390.00 as a result of these injuries he sustained. (Exhs
. B, B-1 and B-2; Exhs. C, C-1 to C-41; and Exhs. E-1 to E-10).[4]
The petitioner invoked self-defense. He testified that at about 9:00 a.m. on Sep
tember 16, 1997, he was in the house of his aunt at Barangay Taclobo, San Fernan
do, Romblon. His aunt had asked him to take care of her children. While he was i
n the kitchen slicing lemon, he heard someone shouting outside the house: Get ou
t those who are brave! He then pocketed the knife he was using and went out of t
he house to find out what the commotion was all about.
Outside, the petitioner saw Crispulo Romano, Joval Rones and Herberto Rafol. Raf
ol was armed with a bolo. He went out of the gate and asked Rafol, Why are you l
ike that? Peeved, Rafol handed his bolo over to Rones and approached the petitio
ner, kicking him on the left arm. The two then had a fistfight. When the petitio
ner saw Rones raise his bolo, he pulled out the knife from his pocket to defend
himself. Rafol also pulled out a knife of his own. The petitioner then stabbed R
afol on the front portion of his body, and the latters knife fell to the ground.
The petitioner picked up his knife and stabbed Rafol anew. He then faced Rones,
who ran away. The petitioner did not notice where Romano had gone. He then fled
from the scene of the crime and proceeded to the house of his aunt.
The petitioners testimony was corroborated in part by Jovy Vicente. He testified
that at about 9:00 p.m. on September 16, 1997, he was wheeling his bicycle on h
is way home. He passed by Rafol who was then conversing with Perla Perez. He saw
Rafol holding an empty bottle of gin and Romano holding a bolo. The two were al
ready inebriated. He saw the petitioner emerge from the gate of his aunts house
and walk past him on his right side.
The petitioners aunt, Perla Perez, testified that she saw Rafol holding a bolo.
When she saw the petitioner and Rafol throwing stones at each other, she was so
petrified that she frantically fled from the scene, her legs trembling. However,
she contradicted herself when she also testified that she saw Rafol hand over h
is bolo to Rones, and Rafol and the petitioner boxing each other. Afraid, she fl
ed from the scene. She did not witness the stabbing of Rafol by the petitioner.
The trial court, thereafter, rendered judgment convicting the petitioner of the
crime charged and sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty, appreciating again
st him the generic aggravating circumstance of treachery. The decretal portion o
f the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused ALEXANDER P. RUGAS, GUILTY beyond reason
able doubt of the crime of Frustrated Homicide under the Information, dated Dece
mber 11, 1997, and hereby sentences him to a prison term of not less than 6 year
s and 1 day of prision correccional, as minimum, to 10 years and 1 day of prisio
n mayor, as maximum, with the accessories of the law, to pay Herberto Rafol the
sum of P25,390.00 as and for actual expenses, without subsidiary imprisonment in
case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.
The period of preventive imprisonment the accused had undergone shall be credite
d in his favor to its full extent in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised P
enal Code, as amended.[5]
The trial court declared that the petitioner failed to prove that he acted in se
lf-defense when he stabbed the victim twice on the left side of the body and on
the uppermost portion of the left thigh. The petitioner likewise failed to surre
nder to the police authorities and give a statement stating that he stabbed the
victim in self-defense, and account for the knife he used in stabbing the victim
. The court also declared that the petitioners testimony and those of his witnes
ses contradicted each other.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court with mo
difications, with the following ratiocinations:
The defense proved that there was unlawful aggression on the part of the victim
when he allegedly kicked the accused. This is just the mere claim of the accused
which is not corroborated by Mrs. Perez who testified that there was a fistfigh
t between the two. Perla Perez declared that the two had a fistfight because of
the shout, the brave come out (tsn, Dec. 2, 1998, p. 7). Aside from this, when a
sked by the court if the accused was injured when he was kicked at the eyebrow,
the accused said no. Simply, this Court does not believe that the victim kicked
the accused at the eyebrow. The accused was apparently inconsistent, as the tria
l court observed in its ratiocination, is exemplified to wit: True, he claimed t
hat Rafol kicked him in his left arm before the alleged fistfight between him an
d Rafol (Alexander P. Rugas, Jr., on direct examination, tsn, May 14, 1999, p. 6
), yet he would point later to his eyebrow as sustaining no injury as a result o
f the kick by Rafol (supra, on cross-examination, p. 10) likewise, when asked in
what part of the body he stabbed Herberto Rafol of the first time, he answered
in front, with the accused waving his hand up and down (supra, p. 13), when actu
ally it was almost directly on the left side of the body of Rafol at the uppermo
st part of the left lateral thigh and certainly not in front as demonstrated by
the accused (please refer also to sketch G).
As questions were profounded (sic) on both the prosecutions and defenses witness
es, it can be traced that they knew each other. If this is the case, it can be s
aid therefore, that complainant knew that the one whom he claimed to be he was t
alking with at the time was the aunt of the accused. Yet, the victim has no appr
ehension in his claim that he was called by Mrs. Perla Perez. As this court went
over the testimony of the prosecutions witnesses, it finds their testimony to b
e more consistent and credible. Capole, another prosecutions witness, testified
that he saw the accused with a knife running towards the victim. The defense obv
iously tried to destroy the testimony of the said witness but this Court believe
s that it failed.
While on the other hand, the defense witness Perla Perez answers were evasive an
d not responsive to the questions profounded (sic) when cross-examination was un
dertaken on her. In her direct examination, she testified that she had a compani
on Violeta Eling (tsn, Dec. 2, 1998, p. 3), they were near the street where the
store was also near (supra, p. 4). But when Alex went out to ask Why are you lik
e that? allegedly to the victim, Perez declared that she was then alone. And Yol
anda was far (tsn, Dec. 2, 1998, p. 29). This court also notes Perez testimony a
t first that the victim broke a bottle of gin but who later admitted that she di
d not see it but only overheard it from a certain Yolanda. But according to her,
Yolanda was far from her. This court doubts the credibility of this witness. Be
sides, she admitted she had not witnessed anything except that she heard the sho
uting and thereafter left then.
Certainly, this court is not impressed with the theory of the accused that the v
ictim, Rafol, was holding a bolo at the time but handed it later allegedly to on
e Joval Rones. That at the course of the fistfight, complainant drew a knife whi
le Joval Rones was raising his hand holding the bolo. These two aggressors were
armed if we are to believe the defense but despite of that, accused with a mere
knife and who was not ready for a fight if he is to be believed because he was s
licing a lemon at the kitchen then faced his aggressors without fear. Again, if
we would take hook line and sinker the defenses theory, there are three companio
ns of the victim so that, there were four in all. Yet, it is surprising and cont
rary to human nature and experience that accused never suffered even a slight in
jury. The physical facts in the instant case reveals that accused did not act in
In the present case, the defense claimed that the victim shouted while in the st
reet Get out those who are brave. So that accused got out and asked why are you
like that? Then a fistfight ensued. We opine that accused herein voluntarily and
practically face a fight. The rule is when one agrees to engage in a fight, he
cannot plead self-defense because there is no unlawful aggression to speak of.
Also, we find application by analogy of an old ruling of the Supreme Court, whic
h held as follows:
The court a quo rejected the claim of self-defense interposed by the appellant.
We find that such plea cannot be availed of because no unlawful aggression, so t
o speak, was committed by the deceased, Rodolfo Saldo, and Hernando Caunte again
st the appellant. Appellants version of the incident was to the effect that he h
ad come to the aid of Villafria at the latters call when Villafria boxed Mariano
Dioso and engaged the group of Dioso, Saldo and Caunte in a fight. In other wor
ds, he voluntarily joined the fight, when he did not have to. He voluntarily exp
osed himself to the consequences of a fight with his opponents. Granting arguend
o that the first attack came from Dioso or Saldo or Caunte, yet same cannot be c
onsidered an unlawful or unexpected aggression. The first attack which came from
either is but an incident of the fight. (People vs. Kruse, C.A., 64 O.G. 12632)
: (Reyes, Revised Penal Code on Crim. Law, 12th Ed., 1981, p. 168) (underscoring
Granting arguendo that the victim and his companion have had shouted, get out th
ose who are brave, the accuseds name was never mentioned or called out. The vict
im was then in the street but the accused went out from the house and asked the
victim why they were like that which only shows that he exposed himself to the c
onsequences of a fight as explained by the Supreme Court in the aforequoted ruli
In this case, the petitioner asserts that contrary to the findings of the trial
court and the Court of Appeals, he proved that he acted in complete self-defense
when he stabbed Rafol. Rones raised a hand that held a bolo and Rafol was armed
with a knife. They had a confederate in the person of Romano. He was alone agai
nst three adversaries, two of whom were armed with lethal weapons, so he stabbed
Rafol to defend himself. Rafol kicked him on the eyebrow and as a consequence,
he suffered disgrace and humiliation. The petitioner contends that Rafols act of
kicking him without justifiable cause can be considered as an unlawful aggressi
on, citing the ruling of this Court in People v. Sabio.[7]
The petition has no merit.
First. The determination of the unlawful aggressors identity, as between the app
ellant or the victim, is a factual issue.[8] In this case, the trial court ruled
that the appellant, not the victim, was the unlawful aggressor, and that the ap
pellants evidence to prove his defense was incredible, thus:
The accused interposed, in effect, self-defense. There is no showing, however, t
hat he voluntarily surrendered to the authorities even on the barangay level. Ne
ither did he inform any such authorities that he acted in self-defense. No polic
e statements whatever were executed by him or by any witness in his behalf. The
knife he used was unaccounted for. While the victim, Herberto Rafol, almost died
due to one of his stab wounds the accused admittedly inflicted upon him, assail
ant Alexander P. Rugas, Jr. was unable to exhibit even the slightest scratch on
himself. True, he claimed that Rafol kicked him on his left arm before the alleg
ed fistfight between him and Rafol (Alexander P. Rugas, Jr., on direct examinati
on, tsn, May 14, 1999, p. 6), yet he would point later to his eyebrow as sustain
ing no injury as a result of the kick by Rafol (supra on cross examination, p. 1
0); likewise, when asked in what part of the body he stabbed Herberto Rafol for
the first time, he answered in front, with the accused waving his hand up and do
wn (supra, p. 13), when actually it was almost directly on the left side of the
body of Rafol at the uppermost part of the left lateral thigh and certainly not
in front as demonstrated by the accused (please refer also to the sketch, Exh. G
These badges of guilt or circumstances coupled with the failure of the accused t
o prove self-defense which he invoked, in effect, by clear and convincing eviden
ced are fatal to his defense. As the burden of proof is shifted on him, he must
consequently rely on the strength of his evidence and not on the weakness of tha
t of the prosecution. (People vs. Edgar Umadhay Travasas, et al., G.R. No. 11954
4, August 3, 1998, Kapunan, J.; Case Digests of Supreme Court Decisions, August
3, 1998, Vol. 40, No. 2, p. 275). His version failed to convince as against that
of the prosecution. His conviction must follow.[9]
Case law has it that the findings of the trial court and its assessment and prob
ative weight of the testimonies of witnesses are accorded by the Court high resp
ect, if not conclusive effect, especially when affirmed by the CA, and in the ab
sence of any justifiable reason to deviate from the said findings. This is in vi
ew of the trial courts unique advantage of being able to monitor and observe at
close range the deportment and conduct of witnesses as they testify. We have rev
iewed the records and found no such justification to modify the trial courts fin
Second. Like alibi, self-defense is inherently a weak defense which can be easil
y fabricated.[10] When the accused interposes self-defense, he hereby admits hav
ing caused the injuries of the victim. The burden of proof then shifts on him to
prove, with clear and convincing evidence, the confluence of the essential requ
isites for such a defense, namely: (a) unlawful aggression on the part of the vi
ctim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed and to prevent or repel it;
(c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.
The accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the prosec
utions, for even if the latter is weak, it cannot be disbelieved after the accus
ed has admitted the killing.[11] In People v. Alfaro,[12] and People v. Camacho,
[13] we held that the failure of the accused to account for the presentation of
the bladed weapon allegedly used by the victim is fatal to his plea of self-defe
nse. In this case, the appellant failed to account for the knife supposedly held
by the victim and the bolo which the victim allegedly handed over to Rones. He
also failed to account for the knife he used in stabbing the victim and to surre
nder himself and the said knife to the police authorities and to admit having st
abbed the victim in self-defense.[14] Such failure rejects appellants claim of s
Third. The petitioners reliance on our ruling in People v. Sabio,[16] citing the
ruling of the Supreme Court of Spain on January 20, 1904, is misplaced. In that
case, the Court ruled that a slap on the face is an unlawful aggression since t
he face represents a person and his dignity. Slapping the face of a person is a
serious personal attack; it is a physical assault, coupled with a willful disgra
ce, nay, a defiance, of an individuals personality; and it may, therefore, be fr
equently regarded as placing in real danger a persons dignity, rights and safety
. In this case, there is no evidence that the victim slapped the petitioner. The
petitioner merely claimed that he was hit on his eyebrow which the trial court
and the Court of Appeals found to be baseless. This reliance on People v. Sabio
to sustain the claim that the petitioner intended to defend his honor, is incons
istent with his testimony that he stabbed the victim to defend himself from an i
mminent physical assault when the latter pulled out a knife. This is also incons
istent with the fact that the victim was stabbed three times.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that treachery attended
the commission of the crime and that it was merely a generic aggravating and no
t a qualifying circumstance. As found by the trial court, the attack on the vict
im was so sudden and unexpected that the victim had no time to prepare and defen
d himself.[17] However, such modifying circumstance was not alleged in the Infor
mation as mandated by Section 8, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Proce
dure.[18] Thus, treachery cannot be considered by the Court even as a generic ag
gravating circumstance. Although the crime took place before the said Rule took
effect, it should nevertheless be applied retroactively as it is favorable to th
e appellant.[19]
Under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for homicide is reclusi
on temporal in its full range. The penalty for frustrated homicide is one degree
lower than reclusion temporal, or prision mayor, which has a range of from 6 ye
ars and one day to 12 years. From the penalty of prision mayor shall be taken th
e maximum of the indeterminate penalty, taking into account the modifying circum
stances attendant in the commission of the crime, if any. There being no modifyi
ng circumstances in the instant case, the maximum of the indeterminate penalty s
hall be taken from the medium period of prision mayor, which has a range of from
eight years and one day to ten years. The minimum of the indeterminate penalty
shall be taken from the full range of the penalty not lower than prision mayor,
which is prision correccional, with a range of from six months and one day to si
x years.
The trial court failed to award moral and exemplary damages to the victim. The d
ecision of the trial court shall, thus, be modified. The appellant is ordered to
pay P25,000.00 as moral damages[20] to the victim Herberto D. Rafol, and P25,00
0.00 as exemplary damages,[21] conformably to current jurisprudence.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the Court of Appeals affirming th
e decision of the Regional Trial Court of Romblon, Branch 81, is AFFIRMED WITH M
ODIFICATION. Petitioner Alexander P. Rugas is found GUILTY beyond reasonable dou
bt of frustrated homicide defined and penalized under Article 247 in relation to
Article 6 of the Revised Penal Code, and there being no modifying circumstance
in the commission of the crime, is hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate p
enalty of from six (6) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) ye
ars of prision mayor in its medium period, as maximum. The petitioner is hereby
directed to pay to the victim Herberto D. Rafol P25,000.00, as moral damages, an
d P25,000.00, as exemplary damages. Costs against the petitioner.
Puno, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, and Tinga, JJ., concur.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ROBERTO ESTRADA, accused-
This is an automatic review of the death penalty imposed on accused-appellant by
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44, Dagupan City in Criminal Case No. 94-00860
-D.[1] We nullify the proceedings in the court a quo and remand the case for pro
per disposition.
In an Information dated December 29, 1994, accused-appellant Roberto Estrada y L
opez was charged with the crime of murder for the killing of one Rogelio P. Mara
rac, a security guard. The Information reads:
That on or about the 27th day of December 1994 in the City of Dagupan, Philippin
es and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
ROBERTO ESTRADA Y LOPEZ, being then armed with a butchers knife, with intent to
kill one ROGELIO P. MARARAC with treachery and committed in a holy place of wor
ship, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and criminally, attack, assault a
nd use personal violence upon the latter by stabbing him, hitting him on vital p
arts of his body with the said weapon, thereby causing his death shortly thereaf
ter due to Cardiorespiratory Arrest, Massive Intrathoracic Hemorrhage, Stab Woun
d as per Autopsy Report and Certificate of Death both issued by Dr. Tomas G. Cor
nel, Assistant City Health Officer, this City, to the damage and prejudice of th
e legal heirs of said deceased ROGELIO P. MARARAC in the amount of not less than
FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), Philippine currency, and other consequential
Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.
Dagupan City, Philippines, December 29, 1994.[2]
At the arraignment on January 6, 1995, accused-appellants counsel, the Public At
torneys Office, filed an Urgent Motion to Suspend Arraignment and to Commit Accu
sed to Psychiatric Ward at Baguio General Hospital. It was alleged that accused-
appellant could not properly and intelligently enter a plea because he was suffe
ring from a mental defect; that before the commission of the crime, he was confi
ned at the psychiatric ward of the Baguio General Hospital in Baguio City. He pr
ayed for the suspension of his arraignment and the issuance of an order confinin
g him at the said hospital.[3]
The motion was opposed by the City Prosecutor. The trial court, motu proprio, pr
opounded several questions on accused-appellant. Finding that the questions were
understood and answered by him intelligently, the court denied the motion that
same day.[4]
The arraignment proceeded and a plea of not guilty was entered by the court on a
ccused-appellants behalf.[5]
The prosecution presented four (4) witnesses, namely: (1) Dr. Tomas Cornel, the
Assistant Health Officer of Dagupan City who issued the death certificate and co
nducted the autopsy on the victim; (2) Crisanto Santillan, an eyewitness to the
incident; (3) SPO1 Conrado Francisco, one of the policemen who apprehended accus
ed-appellant; and (4) Rosalinda Sobremonte, the victims sister. The prosecution
established the following facts:
In the morning of December 27, 1994, at the St. Johns Cathedral, Dagupan City, t
he sacrament of confirmation was being performed by the Roman Catholic Bishop of
Dagupan City on the children of Dagupan. The cathedral was filled with more tha
n a thousand people. At 11:00 A.M., nearing the close of the rites, the Bishop w
ent down the altar to give his final blessing to the children in the front rows.
While the Bishop was giving his blessing, a man from the crowd went up and walk
ed towards the center of the altar. He stopped beside the Bishops chair, turned
around and, in full view of the Catholic faithful, sat on the Bishops chair. The
man was accused-appellant. Crisanto Santillan, who was assisting the Bishop at
the rites, saw accused-appellant. Santillan approached accused-appellant and req
uested him to vacate the Bishops chair. Gripping the chairs armrest, accused-app
ellant replied in Pangasinese: No matter what will happen, I will not move out!
Hearing this, Santillan moved away.[6]
Some of the churchgoers summoned Rogelio Mararac, the security guard at the cath
edral. Mararac went near accused-appellant and told him to vacate the Bishops ch
air. Accused-appellant stared intensely at the guard. Mararac grabbed his nights
tick and used it to tap accused-appellants hand on the armrest. Appellant did no
t budge. Again, Mararac tapped the latters hand. Still no reaction. Mararac was
about to strike again when suddenly accused-appellant drew a knife from his back
, lunged at Mararac and stabbed him, hitting him below his left throat. Mararac
fell. Accused-appellant went over the victim and tried to stab him again but Mar
arac parried his thrust. Accused-appellant looked up and around him. He got up,
went to the microphone and shouted: Anggapuy nayan dia! (No one can beat me here
!). He returned to the Bishops chair and sat on it again. Mararac, wounded and b
leeding, slowly dragged himself down the altar.[7]
Meanwhile, SPO1 Conrado Francisco, who was directing traffic outside, received a
report of a commotion inside the cathedral. Rushing to the cathedral, SPO1 Fran
cisco saw a man, accused-appellant, with red stains on his shirt and a knife in
one hand sitting on a chair at the center of the altar. He ran to accused-appell
ant and advised him to drop the knife. Accused-appellant obeyed. He dropped the
knife and raised his hands. Thereupon, Chief Inspector Wendy Rosario, Deputy Pol
ice Chief, Dagupan City, who was attending the confirmation rites at the Cathedr
al, went near accused-appellant to pick up the knife. Suddenly, accused-appellan
t embraced Chief Inspector Rosario and the two wrestled with each other. Chief I
nspector Rosario was able to subdue accused-appellant. The police came and when
they frisked appellant, they found a leather scabbard tucked around his waist.[8
] He was brought to the police station and placed in jail.
In the meantime, Mararac, the security guard, was brought to the hospital where
he expired a few minutes upon arrival. He died of cardio-respiratory arrest, mas
sive, intra-thoracic hemorrhage, stab wound.[9] He was found to have sustained t
wo (2) stab wounds: one just below the left throat and the other on the left arm
. The autopsy reported the following findings:
1. Stab wound, along the parasternal line, level of the 2nd intercostal space, l
eft, 1 x 1 penetrating. The edge of one side of the wound is sharp and pointed.
2. Stab wound, antero-lateral aspect, distal 3rd, arm, left, x x . The edge of o
ne side of the wound is sharp and pointed.
Massive intrathoracic, left, hemorrhage with perforation of the upper and lower
lobe of the left lung. The left pulmonary blood vessel was severely cut.[10]
After the prosecution rested its case, accused-appellant, with leave of court, f
iled a Demurrer to Evidence. He claimed that the prosecution failed to prove the
crime of murder because there was no evidence of the qualifying circumstance of
treachery; that there was unlawful aggression by the victim when he tapped accu
sed-appellants hand with his nightstick; and that accused-appellant did not have
sufficient ability to calculate his defensive acts because he was of unsound mi
The Demurrer to Evidence was opposed by the public prosecutor. He alleged that t
he accused pretended to be weak, tame and of unsound mind; that after he made th
e first stab, he furiously continued stabbing and slashing the victim to finish
him off undeterred by the fact that he was in a holy place where a religious cer
emony was being conducted; and the plea of unsound mind had already been ruled u
pon by the trial court in its order of January 6, 1995.[12]
On February 21, 1995, a letter was sent by Inspector Wilfredo F. Valdez, Jail Wa
rden of Dagupan City to the trial court. Inspector Valdez requested the court to
allow accused-appellant, who was confined at the city jail, to be treated at th
e Baguio General Hospital to determine whether he should remain in jail or be tr
ansferred to some other institution. The other prisoners were allegedly not comf
ortable with appellant because he had been exhibiting unusual behavior. He tried
to climb up the jail roof so he could escape and see his family.[13]
As ordered by the trial court, the public prosecutor filed a Comment to the jail
wardens letter. He reiterated that the mental condition of accused-appellant to
stand trial had already been determined; unless a competent government agency c
ertifies otherwise, the trial should proceed; and the city jail warden was not t
he proper person to determine whether accused-appellant was mentally ill or not.
In an order dated August 21, 1995, the trial court denied the Demurrer to Eviden
ce.[15] Accused-appellant moved for reconsideration.
While the motion for reconsideration was pending, on February 26, 1996, counsel
for accused-appellant filed a Motion to Confine Accused for Physical, Mental and
Psychiatric Examination. Appellants counsel informed the court that accused-app
ellant had been exhibiting abnormal behavior for the past weeks; he would shout
at the top of his voice and cause panic among the jail inmates and personnel; th
at appellant had not been eating and sleeping; that his co-inmates had been comp
laining of not getting enough sleep for fear of being attacked by him while asle
ep; that once, while they were sleeping, appellant took out all his personal eff
ects and waste matter and burned them inside the cell which again caused panic a
mong the inmates. Appellants counsel prayed that his client be confined at the N
ational Center for Mental Health in Manila or at the Baguio General Hospital.[16
] Attached to the motion were two (2) letters. One, dated February 19, 1996, was
from Inspector Pedrito Llopis, Jail Warden, Dagupan City, addressed to the tria
l court judge informing him of appellants irrational behavior and seeking the is
suance of a court order for the immediate psychiatric and mental examination of
accused-appellant.[17] The second letter, dated February 21, 1996, was addressed
to Inspector Llopis from the Bukang Liwayway Association, an association of inm
ates in the Dagupan City Jail. The letter, signed by the president, secretary an
d adviser of said association, informed the jail warden of appellants unusual be
havior and requested that immediate action be taken against him to avoid future
violent incidents in the jail.[18]
On September 18, 1996, the trial court denied reconsideration of the order denyi
ng the Demurrer to Evidence. The court ordered accused-appellant to present his
evidence on October 15, 1996.[19]
Accused-appellant did not take the witness stand. Instead, his counsel presented
the testimony of Dr. Maria Soledad Gawidan,[20] a resident physician in the Dep
artment of Psychiatry at the Baguio General Hospital, and accused-appellants med
ical and clinical records at the said hospital.[21] Dr. Gawidan testified that a
ppellant had been confined at the BGH from February 18, 1993 to February 22, 199
3 and that he suffered from Schizophrenic Psychosis, Paranoid Typeschizophrenia,
paranoid, chronic, paranoid type;[22] and after four (4) days of confinement, h
e was discharged in improved physical and mental condition.[23] The medical and
clinical records consisted of the following: (1) letter of Dr. Alfredo Sy, Munic
ipal Health Officer, Calasiao, Pangasinan to Dr. Jesus del Prado, Director, BGH
referring accused-appellant for admission and treatment after a relapse of his v
iolent behavior;[24] (2) the clinical cover sheet of appellant at the BGH;[25] (
3) the consent slip of appellants wife voluntarily entrusting appellant to the B
GH;[26] (4) the Patients Record;[27] (5) the Consent for Discharge signed by app
ellants wife;[28] (6) the Summary and Discharges of appellant;[29] (7) appellant
s clinical case history;[30] (8) the admitting notes;[31] (9) Physicians Order F
orm;[32] (10) the Treatment Form/ medication sheet;[33] and (11) Nurses Notes.[3
The trial court rendered a decision on June 23, 1997. It upheld the prosecution
evidence and found accused-appellant guilty of the crime charged and thereby sen
tenced him to death, viz:
WHEREFORE, the court finds accused Roberto Estrada y Lopez guilty beyond reasona
ble doubt of the crime of Murder and in view of the presence of the aggravating
circumstance of cruelty which is not offset by any mitigating circumstance, the
accused is sentenced to suffer the Death Penalty and to indemnify the heirs of t
he deceased in the amount of P50,000.00.
The accused is ordered to pay the sum of P18,870.00 representing actual expenses
and P100,000.00 as moral damages.
In this appeal, accused-appellant assigns the following errors:
The basic principle in our criminal law is that a person is criminally liable fo
r a felony committed by him.[37] Under the classical theory on which our penal c
ode is mainly based, the basis of criminal liability is human free will.[38] Man
is essentially a moral creature with an absolutely free will to choose between
good and evil.[39] When he commits a felonious or criminal act (delito doloso),
the act is presumed to have been done voluntarily,[40] i.e., with freedom, intel
ligence and intent.[41] Man, therefore, should be adjudged or held accountable f
or wrongful acts so long as free will appears unimpaired.[42]
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the law presumes that every person i
s of sound mind[43] and that all acts are voluntary.[44] The moral and legal pre
sumption under our law is that freedom and intelligence constitute the normal co
ndition of a person.[45] This presumption, however, may be overthrown by other f
actors; and one of these is insanity which exempts the actor from criminal liabi
The Revised Penal Code in Article 12 (1) provides:
ART. 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability.The following are ex
empt from criminal liability:
1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid i
When the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines
as a felony (delito), the court shall order his confinement in one of the hospi
tals or asylums established for persons thus afflicted, which he shall not be pe
rmitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same court.
An insane person is exempt from criminal liability unless he has acted during a
lucid interval. If the court therefore finds the accused insane when the alleged
crime was committed, he shall be acquitted but the court shall order his confin
ement in a hospital or asylum for treatment until he may be released without dan
ger. An acquittal of the accused does not result in his outright release, but ra
ther in a verdict which is followed by commitment of the accused to a mental ins
In the eyes of the law, insanity exists when there is a complete deprivation of
intelligence in committing the act. Mere abnormality of the mental faculties wil
l not exclude imputability.[48] The accused must be so insane as to be incapable
of entertaining a criminal intent.[49] He must be deprived of reason and act wi
thout the least discernment because there is a complete absence of the power to
discern or a total deprivation of freedom of the will.[50]
Since the presumption is always in favor of sanity, he who invokes insanity as a
n exempting circumstance must prove it by clear and positive evidence.[51] And t
he evidence on this point must refer to the time preceding the act under prosecu
tion or to the very moment of its execution.[52]
To ascertain a persons mental condition at the time of the act, it is permissibl
e to receive evidence of the condition of his mind within a reasonable period bo
th before and after that time.[53] Direct testimony is not required.[54] Neither
are specific acts of derangement essential to establish insanity as a defense.[
55] Circumstantial evidence, if clear and convincing, suffices; for the unfathom
able mind can only be known by overt acts. A persons thoughts, motives, and emot
ions may be evaluated only by outward acts to determine whether these conform to
the practice of people of sound mind.[56]
In the case at bar, there is no direct proof that accused-appellant was afflicte
d with insanity at the time he killed Mararac. The absence of direct proof, neve
rtheless, does not entirely discount the probability that appellant was not of s
ound mind at that time. From the affidavit of Crisanto Santillan[57] attached to
the Information, there are certain circumstances that should have placed the tr
ial court on notice that appellant may not have been in full possession of his m
ental faculties when he attacked Mararac. It was highly unusual for a sane perso
n to go up to the altar and sit on the Bishops chair while the Bishop was admini
stering the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation to children in a jampacked cathedral.
It goes against normal and ordinary behavior for appellant, without sufficient
provocation from the security guard, to stab the latter at the altar, during sac
ramental rites and in front of all the Catholic faithful to witness. Appellant d
id not flee, or at least attempt to flee after the stabbing. He nonchalantly app
roached the microphone and, over the public address system, uttered words to the
faithful which no rational person would have made. He then returned to the Bish
ops chair and sat there as if nothing happened.
Accused-appellants history of mental illness was brought to the courts attention
on the day of the arraignment. Counsel for accused-appellant moved for suspensi
on of the arraignment on the ground that his client could not properly and intel
ligently enter a plea due to his mental condition. The Motion for Suspension is
authorized under Section 12, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure wh
ich provides:
Sec. 12. Suspension of arraignment.The arraignment shall be suspended, if at the
time thereof:
(a) The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which e
ffectively renders him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to
plead intelligently thereto. In such case, the court shall order his mental exam
ination and, if necessary, his confinement for such purpose.
(b) x x x.
The arraignment of an accused shall be suspended if at the time thereof he appea
rs to be suffering from an unsound mental condition of such nature as to render
him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently
thereto. Under these circumstances, the court must suspend the proceedings and
order the mental examination of the accused, and if confinement be necessary for
examination, order such confinement and examination. If the accused is not in f
ull possession of his mental faculties at the time he is informed at the arraign
ment of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, the process is itsel
f a felo de se, for he can neither comprehend the full import of the charge nor
can he give an intelligent plea thereto.[58]
The question of suspending the arraignment lies within the discretion of the tri
al court.[59]And the test to determine whether the proceedings will be suspended
depends on the question of whether the accused, even with the assistance of cou
nsel, would have a fair trial. This rule was laid down as early as 1917, thus:
In passing on the question of the propriety of suspending the proceedings agains
t an accused person on the ground of present insanity, the judges should bear in
mind that not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency i
s sufficient to justify such suspension. The test is to be found in the question
whether the accused would have a fair trial, with the assistance which the law
secures or gives; and it is obvious that under a system of procedure like ours w
here every accused person has legal counsel, it is not necessary to be so partic
ular as it used to be in England where the accused had no advocate but himself.[
60] In the American jurisdiction, the issue of the accuseds present insanity or
insanity at the time of the court proceedings is separate and distinct from his
criminal responsibility at the time of commission of the act. The defense of ins
anity in a criminal trial concerns the defendants mental condition at the time o
f the crimes commission. Present insanity is commonly referred to as competency
to stand trial[61] and relates to the appropriateness of conducting the criminal
proceeding in light of the defendants present inability to participate meaningf
ully and effectively.[62] In competency cases, the accused may have been sane or
insane during the commission of the offense which relates to a determination of
his guilt. However, if he is found incompetent to stand trial, the trial is sim
ply postponed until such time as he may be found competent. Incompetency to stan
d trial is not a defense; it merely postpones the trial.[63]
In determining a defendants competency to stand trial, the test is whether he ha
s the capacity to comprehend his position, understand the nature and object of t
he proceedings against him, to conduct his defense in a rational manner, and to
cooperate, communicate with, and assist his counsel to the end that any availabl
e defense may be interposed.[64] This test is prescribed by state law but it exi
sts generally as a statutory recognition of the rule at common law.[65] Thus:
[I]t is not enough for the x x x judge to find that the defendant [is] oriented
to time and place, and [has] some recollection of events, but that the test must
be whether he has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a
reasonable degree of rational understandingand whether he has a rational as well
as factual understanding of the proceedings against him.[66]
There are two distinct matters to be determined under this test: (1) whether the
defendant is sufficiently coherent to provide his counsel with information nece
ssary or relevant to constructing a defense; and (2) whether he is able to compr
ehend the significance of the trial and his relation to it.[67] The first requis
ite is the relation between the defendant and his counsel such that the defendan
t must be able to confer coherently with his counsel. The second is the relation
of the defendant vis-a-vis the court proceedings, i.e., that he must have a rat
ional as well as a factual understanding of the proceedings.[68]
The rule barring trial or sentence of an insane person is for the protection of
the accused, rather than of the public.[69] It has been held that it is inhuman
to require an accused disabled by act of God to make a just defense for his life
or liberty.[70] To put a legally incompetent person on trial or to convict and
sentence him is a violation of the constitutional rights to a fair trial[71] and
due process of law;[72] and this has several reasons underlying it.[73] For one
, the accuracy of the proceedings may not be assured, as an incompetent defendan
t who cannot comprehend the proceedings may not appreciate what information is r
elevant to the proof of his innocence. Moreover, he is not in a position to exer
cise many of the rights afforded a defendant in a criminal case, e.g., the right
to effectively consult with counsel, the right to testify in his own behalf, an
d the right to confront opposing witnesses, which rights are safeguards for the
accuracy of the trial result. Second, the fairness of the proceedings may be que
stioned, as there are certain basic decisions in the course of a criminal procee
ding which a defendant is expected to make for himself, and one of these is his
plea. Third, the dignity of the proceedings may be disrupted, for an incompetent
defendant is likely to conduct himself in the courtroom in a manner which may d
estroy the decorum of the court. Even if the defendant remains passive, his lack
of comprehension fundamentally impairs the functioning of the trial process. A
criminal proceeding is essentially an adversarial proceeding. If the defendant i
s not a conscious and intelligent participant, the adjudication loses its charac
ter as a reasoned interaction between an individual and his community and become
s an invective against an insensible object. Fourth, it is important that the de
fendant knows why he is being punished, a comprehension which is greatly depende
nt upon his understanding of what occurs at trial. An incompetent defendant may
not realize the moral reprehensibility of his conduct. The societal goal of inst
itutionalized retribution may be frustrated when the force of the state is broug
ht to bear against one who cannot comprehend its significance.[74]
The determination of whether a sanity investigation or hearing should be ordered
rests generally in the discretion of the trial court.[75] Mere allegation of in
sanity is insufficient. There must be evidence or circumstances that raise a rea
sonable doubt[76] or a bona fide doubt[77] as to defendants competence to stand
trial. Among the factors a judge may consider is evidence of the defendants irra
tional behavior, history of mental illness or behavioral abnormalities, previous
confinement for mental disturbance, demeanor of the defendant, and psychiatric
or even lay testimony bearing on the issue of competency in a particular case.[7
In the case at bar, when accused-appellant moved for suspension of the arraignme
nt on the ground of accuseds mental condition, the trial court denied the motion
after finding that the questions propounded on appellant were intelligently ans
wered by him. The court declared::
x x x
It should be noted that when this case was called, the Presiding Judge asked que
stions on the accused, and he (accused) answered intelligently. As a matter of f
act, when asked where he was born, he answered, in Tayug.
The accused could answer intelligently. He could understand the questions asked
of him.
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the Urgent Motion to Suspend Arraignment and to Co
mmit Accused to Psychiatric Ward at Baguio General Hospital, is hereby DENIED.
The fact that accused-appellant was able to answer the questions asked by the tr
ial court is not conclusive evidence that he was competent enough to stand trial
and assist in his defense. Section 12, Rule 116 speaks of an unsound mental con
dition that effectively renders [the accused] unable to fully understand the cha
rge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. It is not clear whether accu
sed-appellant was of such sound mind as to fully understand the charge against h
im. It is also not certain whether his plea was made intelligently. The plea of
not guilty was not made by accused-appellant but by the trial court because of h
is refusal to plead.[80]
The trial court took it solely upon itself to determine the sanity of accused-ap
pellant. The trial judge is not a psychiatrist or psychologist or some other exp
ert equipped with the specialized knowledge of determining the state of a person
s mental health. To determine the accused-appellants competency to stand trial,
the court, in the instant case, should have at least ordered the examination of
accused-appellant, especially in the light of the latters history of mental illn
If the medical history was not enough to create a reasonable doubt in the judges
mind of accused-appellants competency to stand trial, subsequent events should
have done so. One month after the prosecution rested its case, the Jail Warden o
f Dagupan City wrote the trial judge informing him of accused-appellants unusual
behavior and requesting that he be examined at the hospital to determine whethe
r he should remain in jail or be placed in some other institution. The trial jud
ge ignored this letter. One year later, accused-appellants counsel filed a Motio
n to Confine Accused for Physical, Mental and Psychiatric Examination. Attached
to this motion was a second letter by the new Jail Warden of Dagupan City accomp
anied by a letter-complaint of the members of the Bukang Liwayway Association of
the city jail. Despite the two (2) attached letters,[81] the judge ignored the
Motion to Confine Accused for Physical, Mental and Psychiatric Examination. The
records are barren of any order disposing of the said motion. The trial court in
stead ordered accused-appellant to present his evidence.[82]
Dr. Gawidan testified that the illness of accused-appellant, i.e., schizophrenia
, paranoid type, is a lifetime illness and that this requires maintenance medica
tion to avoid relapses.[83] After accused-appellant was discharged on February 2
2, 1993, he never returned to the hospital, not even for a check-up.[84]
Accused-appellant did not take the witness stand. His counsel manifested that ac
cused-appellant was waiving the right to testify in his own behalf because he wa
s suffering from mental illness.[85] This manifestation was made in open court m
ore than two (2) years after the crime, and still, the claim of mental illness w
as ignored by the trial court. And despite all the overwhelming indications of a
ccused-appellants state of mind, the judge persisted in his personal assessment
and never even considered subjecting accused-appellant to a medical examination.
To top it all, the judge found appellant guilty and sentenced him to death!
Section 12, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure speaks of a mental
examination.[86] The human mind is an entity, and understanding it is not purely
an intellectual process but depends to a large degree upon emotional and psycho
logical appreciation.[87] Thus, an intelligent determination of an accuseds capa
city for rational understanding ought to rest on a deeper and more comprehensive
diagnosis of his mental condition than laymen can make through observation of h
is overt behavior. Once a medical or psychiatric diagnosis is made, then can the
legal question of incompetency be determined by the trial court. By this time,
the accuseds abilities may be measured against the specific demands a trial will
make upon him.[88]
If the mental examination on accused-appellant had been promptly and properly ma
de, it may have served a dual purpose[89] by determining both his competency to
stand trial and his sanity at the time of the offense. In some Philippine cases,
the medical and clinical findings of insanity made immediately after the commis
sion of the crime served as one of the bases for the acquittal of the accused.[9
0] The crime in the instant case was committed way back in December 1994, almost
six (6) years ago. At this late hour, a medical finding alone may make it impos
sible for us to evaluate appellants mental condition at the time of the crimes c
ommission for him to avail of the exempting circumstance of insanity.[91] Noneth
eless, under the present circumstances, accused-appellants competence to stand t
rial must be properly ascertained to enable him to participate in his trial mean
By depriving appellant of a mental examination, the trial court effectively depr
ived appellant of a fair trial. The trial courts negligence was a violation of t
he basic requirements of due process; and for this reason, the proceedings befor
e the said court must be nullified. In People v. Serafica,[92] we ordered that t
he joint decision of the trial court be vacated and the cases remanded to the co
urt a quo for proper proceeding. The accused, who was charged with two (2) count
s of murder and one (1) count of frustrated murder, entered a plea of guilty to
all three charges and was sentenced to death. We found that the accuseds plea wa
s not an unconditional admission of guilt because he was not in full possession
of his mental faculties when he killed the victim; and thereby ordered that he b
e subjected to the necessary medical examination to determine his degree of insa
nity at the time of commission of the crime.[93]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44, Dagupan Ci
ty in Criminal Case No. 94-00860-D convicting accused-appellant Roberto Estrada
and sentencing him to death is vacated and the case is remanded to the court a q
uo for the conduct of a proper mental examination on accused-appellant, a determ
ination of his competency to stand trial, and for further proceedings.
Republic of the Philippines




- versus -



G.R. No. 188320

CORONA, C.J., Chairperson,
June 29, 2010

Parricide is the most terrible and unnatural of crimes.[1]

It is said that, in Romulus time, there was no penalty for parricide because it
was considered a crime too evil ever to be committed. While parricide in those d
ays referred to the murder of ones own parent or ascendant, the killing of ones
own offspring, which the terms modern meaning now includes, is equally horrendou
s and deserving of the stiffest penalty.
This is an appeal from the February 25, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals (C
A) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01406, which affirmed the August 2, 2005 Decision in C
riminal Case Nos. 98-169605-06 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 26 in M
anila. The RTC found accused-appellant Honorio Tibon guilty beyond reasonable do
ubt of two counts of parricide.
The Facts
Two Informations charged Tibon of the following:
Criminal Case No. 98-169605
That on or about the 12th day of December, 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippi
nes, the said accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
with intent to kill, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the person o
f one KEEN GIST TIBON Y SUMINGIT, 3 years of age and his legitimate son, by then
and there stabbing him several times on the chest with a bladed weapon, thereby
inflicting upon the said KEEN GIST TIBON Y SUMINGIT stab wounds which were the
direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter.

Criminal Case No. 98-169606

That on or about the 12th day of December, 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippi
nes, the said accused did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously,
with intent to kill, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the person o
f one REGUEL ALBERT TIBON Y SUMINGIT, 2 years of age and his legitimate son, by
then and there stabbing him several times on the chest with a bladed weapon, the
reby inflicting upon the said REGUEL ALBERT TIBON Y SUMINGIT stab wounds which w
ere the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter.
At his arraignment, Tibon entered a plea of not guilty. A trial on the merits en
The prosecution presented witnesses Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Jose M. Bagku
s; Francisco Abella Abello, Jr., Tibons neighbor; Medico-Legal Officer Dr. Emman
uel Aranas of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory; Gina Sumingit, Ti
bons common-law wife and mother of the two victims; and Renato Tibon, brother of
Tibon. Tibon was the sole witness for the defense.
During trial, the following facts were established:

Accused-appellant and his common-law wife Gina Sumingit (Gina) lived together as
husband and wife since 1994. They had two children, Keen Gist (KenKen) and Regu
el Albert (Reguel).[2] They lived with accused-appellants parents and siblings o
n the third floor of a rented house in C.M. Recto, Manila.[3] Due to financial d
ifficulties, Gina went to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper, leaving accuse
d-appellant with custody of their two children.[4] After some time, accused-appe
llant heard from his sister who was also working in Hong Kong that Gina was havi
ng an affair with another man. After the revelation, he was spotted drinking a l
ot and was seen hitting his two children.[5]
On the night of December 12, 1998, at around 11:30 p.m., accused-appellants moth
er[6] and his siblings, among them Zernan and Leilani, went to accused-appellant
s room. They saw accused-appellant with KenKen and Reguel. The two children appe
ared lifeless and bore wounds on their bodies. When accused-appellant realized t
hat his mother and siblings had seen his two children lying on the floor, accuse
d-appellant stabbed himself on the chest with a kitchen knife, to the shouts of
horror of his mother and siblings. He tried to end his life by jumping out the w
indow of their house.[7] Accused-appellant sustained a head injury from his fall
but he and his two children, KenKen ande Reguel, were rushed to Mary Johnston H
ospital by his siblings Renato and Leilani and some of their neighbors. Once at
the hospital, accused-appellant received treatment for his injuries. The two chi
ldren, however, could no longer be revived.[8]
Gina called long distance on December 13, 2008 and asked about KenKen and Reguel
. When told about the stabbing incident, she immediately flew back to Manila the
next day.[9]
Dr. Aranas acted on a written request from the Western Police District (WPD) Hom
icide Division and the Certificates of Identity and Consent for Autopsy signed b
y KenKen and Reguels aunt Leilani Tibon. His examination of the victims cadavers
showed that Reguel, who was attacked while facing the assailant, sustained abra
sions on the forehead, cheeks, and chin and five (5) stab wounds, four (4) of wh
ich were caused by a sharp bladed instrument and fatal. The doctor further obser
ved that for a two-year old to be attacked so violently, the killer must have be
en extremely angry.[10]
The body of three-year old KenKen sustained three (3) stab wounds on the left si
de of the chest, which were likewise fatal, as these pierced his heart and left
WPD Police Investigator SPO3 Bagkus interviewed Tibon while he was undergoing tr
eatment from stab wounds on the chest and head injuries under police security at
the Jose Reyes Medical Center. After being informed by SPO3 Bagkus of his const
itutional rights, Tibon confided that he was despondent and voluntarily admitted
to stabbing KenKen and Reguel.[12] Tibons sister Leilani, likewise, told SPO3 B
agkus that Tibon was responsible for the killings. [13]
Gina confronted Tibon at the hospital where he was confined. She said the latter
confessed to stabbing their children and begged for her forgiveness. She added
that he even wrote a letter again the next year asking to be forgiven. Supported
by receipts, she claimed that she spent PhP 173,000 for the wake and funeral of
her two children. When asked if she could quantify the damage caused to her in
terms of money, she said it was for PhP 500,000.[14]
Tibon denied the charges against him and raised insanity as defense. He said tha
t he could not recall what happened on the night he allegedly stabbed his two ch
ildren. He also could not remember being taken to the hospital. He said he was o
nly informed by his siblings that he had killed KenKen and Reguel, causing him t
o jump off the window of their house.[15]
The Ruling of the Trial Court
The RTC found for the prosecution. It gave full faith and credit to the witnesse
s who testified against Tibon. In contrast, Tibons testimony was found unworthy
of belief. In spite of his defense of insanity, the trial court noted that he wa
s in full control of his faculties before, during, and after he attacked his two
children. The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads:
eyond reasonable doubt of the crime of two (2) counts of Parricide, and sentenci
ng him in each case to suffer the extreme penalty of DEATH and to pay the heirs
of the victims KEEN GIST TIBON and REGUEL ALBERT TIBON P75,000.00 each as civil

The Ruling of the Appellate Court

On appeal, the CA affirmed the findings of the RTC and found that the defense di
d not overcome the presumption of sanity. The appellate court stressed that evid
ence of insanity after the commission of an offense may be accorded weight only
if there is also proof of abnormal behavior immediately before or simultaneous t
o the commission of the crime. It reduced the penalty meted to Tibon to reclusio
n perpetua.
The fallo of the CA decision states:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the 2 August 2005 decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Manila (Branch 26) in Criminal Case No. 98-169605-06 finding accu
sed-appellant Honorio Tibon y Deiso guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
of parricide on two (2) counts, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as to penalty. Pur
suant to Republic Act No. 9346, the penalty of death imposed upon accused-appell
ant is reduced to reclusion perpetua, without eligibility for parole.

Tibon maintains his innocence on appeal to this Court.

On August 3, 2009, this Court notified the parties that they may submit suppleme
ntal briefs if they so desired. The parties manifested their willingness to subm
it the case on the basis of the records already submitted.

The Issue
The Ruling of this Court
Tibon argues that the exempting circumstance of insanity was established, theref
ore overthrowing the presumption of sanity. Combined with Tibons testimony, Tibo
ns medical record with the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) and his stra
nge behavior allegedly show an unstable mind deprived of intelligence. That he h
ad no recollection of the stabbing incident is further proof of his insanity. Hi
s criminal act of stabbing his children was, thus, involuntary.
The People, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, on the other han
d, rebuts the argument of Tibon by asserting that his mental state, as ascertain
ed by the NCMH, referred to his condition to stand trial and not his mental stat
e before and during the commission of the crimes with which he was charged. Furt
hermore, Tibons non-recollection of the stabbing incident does not prove his ins
anity and amounts merely to a general denial. The People argues that, contrary t
o the requirements on establishing insanity, Tibon was unable to present any com
petent witness who could explain his mental condition. Lastly, the reduction of
civil indemnity from PhP 75,000 to PhP 50,000 is recommended, since the crimes w
ere not attended by any aggravating circumstances.
We affirm Tibons conviction.
The Revised Penal Code defines parricide as follows:
Art. 246. Parricide. Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whe
ther legitimate or illegitimate, or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or hi
s spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished by the penalty of r
eclusion perpetua to death.
Parricide is committed when: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed
by the accused; (3) the deceased is the father, mother, or child, whether legiti
mate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other descendant, or th
e legitimate spouse of the accused.[18]
This appeal admits that parricide has indeed been committed. The defense, howeve
r, banks on Tibons insanity to exempt him from punishment.
The defense has unsatisfactorily shown that Tibon was insane when he stabbed his
two young sons. Article 12 of the Code states:
Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. The following are exempt fro
m criminal liability:
1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted
during a lucid interval. x x x
The aforementioned circumstances are not easily available to an accused as a suc
cessful defense. Insanity is the exception rather than the rule in the human con
dition.[19] While Art. 12(1) of the Revised Penal Code provides that an imbecile
or insane person is exempt from criminal liability, unless that person has acte
d during a lucid interval, the presumption, under Art. 800 of the Civil Code, is
that every human is sane. Anyone who pleads the exempting circumstance of insan
ity bears the burden of proving it[20] with clear and convincing evidence.[21] I
t is in the nature of confession and avoidance. An accused invoking insanity adm
its to have committed the crime but claims that he or she is not guilty because
of insanity. The testimony or proof of an accused's insanity must, however, rela
te to the time immediately preceding or coetaneous with the commission of the of
fense with which he is charged.[22] We agree with the Solicitor General that the
mental records Tibon wishes to support his defense with are inapplicable to the
theory he espouses. The NCMH records of his mental health only pertain to his a
bility to stand trial and not to his mental state immediately before or during t
he commission of the crimes.
The change in Tibons behavior was triggered by jealousy. He acted out of jealous
rage at the thought of his wife having an affair overseas. Uncontrolled jealous
y and anger are not equivalent to insanity. Nor is being despondent, as Tibon sa
id he was when interviewed by the police. There is a vast difference between a g
enuinely insane person and one who has worked himself up into such a frenzy of a
nger that he fails to use reason or good judgment in what he does.[23] We reiter
ate jurisprudence which has established that only when there is a complete depri
vation of intelligence at the time of the commission of the crime should the exe
mpting circumstance of insanity be considered.[24]
It is apt to recall People v. Ocfemia[25] where this Court ruled that the profes
sed inability of the accused to recall events before and after the stabbing inci
dent, as in the instant case, does not necessarily indicate an aberrant mind but
is more indicative of a concocted excuse to exculpate himself. It is simply too
convenient for Tibon to claim that he could not remember anything rather than f
ace the consequences of his terrible deed.
The requirements for a finding of insanity have not been met by the defense. As
the appellate court noted, Tibons unusual behavior prior to and after he committ
ed parricide do not meet the stringent standards on an insanity plea as required
by this Court. The presumption of sanity has not been overcome. In contrast, th
e prosecution, as found by the lower courts, sufficiently established evidence t
hat Tibon voluntarily killed his two children on the night of December 12, 1998.
On this matter, We find no reason to reverse the findings of fact made by the t
rial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
A final word. Parricide is differentiated from murder and homicide by the relati
onship between the killer and his or her victim. Even without the attendant circ
umstances qualifying homicide to murder, the law punishes those found guilty of
parricide with reclusion perpetua to death, prior to the enactment of Republic A
ct No. (RA) 9346 (An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the
Philippines). The commission of parricide is punished more severely than homicid
e since human beings are expected to love and support those who are closest to t
hem. The extreme response of killing someone of ones own flesh and blood is inde
ed unnatural and tragic. Tibon must thus be handed down the harshest penalty for
his crimes against his innocent children.

Penalty Imposed
In view of RA 9346, the appellate court correctly modified the sentence of Tibon
to reclusion perpetua.
Pecuniary Liability
When death occurs due to a crime, the following damages may be awarded: (1) civi
l indemnity ex delicto for the death of the victim; (2) actual or compensatory d
amages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; and (5) temperate damages.[26]

The Solicitor General recommended the reduction of civil indemnity from PhP75,00
0 to PhP50,000. However, recent jurisprudence pegs civil indemnity in the amount
of PhP75,000,[27] which is automatically granted to the offended party, or his/
her heirs in case of the formers death, without need of further evidence other t
han the fact of the commission of murder, homicide, parricide and rape.[28] Peop
le v. Regalario[29] has explained that the said award is not dependent on the ac
tual imposition of the death penalty but on the fact that qualifying circumstanc
es warranting the imposition of the death penalty attended the commission of the
According to Art. 2199 of the Civil Code, one is entitled to adequate compensati
on for pecuniary loss suffered by him that is duly proved. This compensation is
termed actual damages. The party seeking actual damages must produce competent p
roof or the best evidence obtainable, such as receipts, to justify an award ther
efor.[30] We note that the trial court failed to award actual damages in spite o
f the presentation of receipts showing wake and funeral expenses (Exhibits R, R-
1, R-2, R-4, and R-5) amounting to PhP173,000. We therefore grant said amount.
Moral damages are also in order. Even in the absence of any allegation and proof
of the heirs emotional suffering, it has been recognized that the loss of a lov
ed one to a violent death brings emotional pain and anguish,[31] more so in this
case where two young children were brutally killed while their mother was away.
The award of PhP75,000.00 is proper pursuant to established jurisprudence holdi
ng that where the imposable penalty is death but reduced to reclusion perpetua p
ursuant to RA 9346, the award of moral damages should be increased from P50,000.
00 to P75,000.00.[32]
Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence, the trial court should have made accused-a
ppellant account for PhP30,000 as exemplary damages on account of relationship,
a qualifying circumstance, which was alleged and proved, in the crime of parrici
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CR-H.C. No. 01406 convicting accused-appellant Honorio Tibon y Deiso of parrici
de is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused-appellant should pay the heir
of the victims:
(1) Civil indemnity of PhP 75,000 for each victim;
(2) Actual damages of PhP 173,000;
(3) Moral damages of PhP 75,000 for each victim; and
(4) Exemplary damages of PhP 30,000 for each victim.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FELIXBERTO LAO-AS, accused-ap
On appeal is the decision[1] dated May 29, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court of B
ulacan, Branch 22, in Criminal Case No. 2303-M-91, convicting Felixberto Lao-as
for murder, imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordering hi
m to pay the victims heirs indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 with 6% interes
t from the time of filing the information with the trial court.[2]
The information against appellant dated November 19, 1991 alleged:
That on or about the 25th day of December, 1988, in the municipality of Marilao,
province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the abovenamed accused, with intent to kill one Leonardo Bastuten, did t
hen and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with evident premeditation,
abuse of superior strength and treachery, attack, assault, stab with a bladed in
strument and use personal violence on the said Leonardo Bastuten, hitting the la
tter on his body, thereby causing him stab wounds which directly caused his deat
Contrary to law. [3]
The facts of the case, as summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General and
which we find supported by the records, are as follows:
On December 24, 1998, the victim Leonardo Bastuten invited appellant, Armando Ra
mirez, Demetrio Candelisas[4] and a certain Lanchiola to his house in Tabing Ilo
g, Marilao, Bulacan to celebrate Christmas. Bastuten and the four persons he inv
ited are from Bacolod City (tsn, Nov. 16, 1994, pp. 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13).
The drinking inside the compound of the Bastuten started at about 4:00 in the af
ternoon of December 24, 1988 and ended at 5:00 in the morning of Christmas day.
The group consumed about 4 to 5 big bottles of Tanduay ESQ.
Bastuten himself did not join the drinking. (tsn, Nov. 16, 1994, pp. 12-14). At
about 10:00 in the evening of December 24, 1988, he went to sleep, while his gue
sts continued drinking. At about 5:00 oclock in the morning, Bastuten woke up an
d went outside his house. Bastuten talked with Armando Ramirez and told him that
he still wanted to sleep (tsn, Nov. 16, 1994, pp. 14, 15).
At about 5:30 in the morning, Bastuten went again downstairs but this time he di
d not talk with Ramirez. Bastuten did not do anything. Appellant who was then dr
unk and without saying a word, got a knife from his left sock and stabbed Bastut
en. Appellant was about to stab Bastuten for the second time but Ramirez, who wa
s only two feet away was able to parry the thrust. The left thumb of Ramirez was
wounded. Ramirez was not aware of any reason why appellant stabbed the victim.
After stabbing the victim, appellant ran away (tsn, Nov. 16, 1994, pp. 5-11, 15-
Demetrio Candalisas, a friend of the victim, was in the victims house taking a r
est. He heard the victim shout and say pare, nasaksak ako. He asked the victim w
ho stabbed him and the victim told him that it was appellant. He brought the vic
tim to the hospital. At the hospital, the victim told him to inform his (the vic
tims) parents (tsn, March 21, 1995, pp. 5-10).[5]
Bastutens wife, Concepcion, failed to talk with her husband, who soon could no l
onger speak. He succumbed to septicemia and reversible shocks due to the stab wo
unds on December 27, 1988.
Upon arraignment of the charge against him, appellant pleaded not guilty.[6] In
the course of trial, the following witnesses were presented by the prosecution:
(1) Concepcion Bastuten,[7] the wife of the victim; (2) Armando Ramirez, an alle
ged eyewitness to the stabbing incident; and (3) Demetrio Candilosas, who brough
t the victim to the hospital and allegedly heard him declare that he had been st
abbed by appellant.[8]
For its part, the defense presented the following witnesses: (1) Appellant, who
testified on his behalf, and (2) Bienvenido Porlaje, who testified that he saw t
he victim and appellant having a fight, with the former holding a knife.[9]
On May 29, 1996, the trial court convicted appellant of the crime of murder, dis
posing as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1) finding the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder as
penalized under Art. 247, Revised Penal Code and is hereby sentenced to suffer t
he penalty of reclusion perpetua;
2) accused is ordered to pay the following amount to the heirs of Leonardo Bastu
(a) P50,000.00 for the life of the victim Leonardo Bastuten with 6% interest on
all amount due from the filing of the information on November 29, 1991 until sai
d amounts have been fully paid.
In his appeal, appellant now claims that the trial court erred
In his brief, appellant contends that no one witnessed the stabbing of the victi
m. Hence, he argues that his culpability was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
At the same time, appellant also asserts that there was a fight between him and
the victim, wherein he defended himself but did not stab the victim.[12]
For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General avers that: (1) appellant was
identified by a prosecution witness as the assailant; (2) the victims utterance
to Demetrio Candilosas that he was stabbed by appellant is admissible as part o
f the res gestae, if not a dying declaration; (3) the flight of appellant after
the incident is indicative of his guilt; (4) there was no improper motive on the
part of the prosecution witnesses when they testified against appellant; and (5
) appellant in effect admitted stabbing and wounding the victim.
At issue is whether or not the witnesses testimonies were credible and sufficien
t to establish the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
To begin with, we had to peruse closely the records of the case. Appellants clai
m that no one witnessed the stabbing incident is belied by the records. Prosecut
ion witness Armando Ramirez testified under oath that it was appellant who infli
cted the fatal wound with a balisong which had been concealed in appellants left
sock. [13] This witness categorically stated that he was about two feet from th
e victim and appellant.[14] After the stabbing, the witness saw appellant run aw
ay.[15] Worthy of note, no one directly contradicted the testimony of Ramirez.
Ramirez was an unbiased witness, without any improper motive to falsely testify
for or against anyone. Both appellant and Ramirez testified that they were frien
ds.[16] Given the circumstances, Ramirez testimony is entitled to full faith and
credit. [17]
Furthermore, prosecution witness Demetrio Candilosas testified on trial that as
the victim staggered into his house, he declared that he had been stabbed. When
asked who had stabbed him, the victim identified appellant as the culprit. [18]
While the direct examination of Candilosas was not subjected to cross-examinatio
n, it is nonetheless admissible in evidence as counsel for appellant waived cros
s-examination of this witness. [19]
While Candilosas himself did not see the actual stabbing, the victims revelation
to him of the name of appellant as the assailant could be considered as a dying
declaration. Such ante mortem statement is evidence of the highest order becaus
e at the threshold of death, all thoughts of fabricating lies are stilled. [20]
The utterance of a victim made immediately after sustaining serious injuries may
be considered the incident speaking through the victim.[21] It is entitled to t
he highest credence.
Even if arguendo said declaration is not admitted as a dying declaration, it is
still admissible as part of the res gestae, since it was made shortly after a st
artling occurrence and under the influence thereof. Under the circumstances, the
victim evidently had no opportunity to contrive[22] his statement beforehand.
Appellant claims self-defense but at the same time denies involvement in the fat
al stabbing. His illogical stance that he did not stab the victim does not faze
his vigorous assertion that he was merely defending his own life and limb. He ad
ds that the prosecution has failed to establish any ill motive nor intent to com
mit a crime. However, he also insists that he only tried to grab from the victim
the knife that eventually killed him. [23]
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the posture of the accused is a mlange
of defenses: accident, self-defense and unawareness that a mortal wound had been
inflicted upon the victim, each of which are mutually exclusive. Accident presu
pposes lack of intention to stab the victim, while self-defense presumes volunta
riness, induced only by necessity.[24] As to his defense of accident, according
to the prosecution, a person who accidentally injures another does not perceive
any aggression that must be repelled by force. A person who says he stabbed anot
her person accidentally or in self-defense cannot at the same time pretend he di
d not know he had stabbed the other.[25]
Appellants claim of lack of motive, however, does not preclude his conviction. I
t is judicial knowledge that persons have been killed or assaulted for no reason
at all.[26] Besides, proof of motive in a criminal case becomes relevant and es
sential only when the identity of an assailant is in question.[27] This, in our
view, is not so in the present case, since Armando Ramirez positively identified
appellant as the malefactor.
The testimony of defense witness, Bienvenido Porlaje, does not fortify appellant
s allegation of innocence. Porlaje testified that on the night of December 25, 1
988, he joined a drinking session with one Badong, Armando (Ramirez), Bulldog, D
anny, Leonardo (Bastuten) and the appellant. He heard a commotion inside the vic
tims house and went inside to investigate, only to find appellant and the victim
fighting. Appellant was holding a knife. Thereafter, he saw him run away from t
he house. According to Porlaje, appellant went inside the house of the victim to
awaken the latter so as to continue their drinking spree.[28]
On cross-examination, however, Porlaje retracted his earlier statement that he w
as part of the drinking group, claiming instead that he was just a neighbor of t
he victim. When asked who among the group present went inside the house of the v
ictim, he first answered that he did not know any of them. When pressed for an a
nswer, he finally said that Ramirez went inside the house.[29] These contradicti
ons, inconsistencies and incongruities in Porlajes testimony merely undermine ap
pellants defense.
The trial court found that the stabbing of the victim was attended by treachery.
Appellant stabbed the victim just as the latter descended from his house. Accor
ding to witness Ramirez, there was no previous altercation between the victim an
d appellant. Appellant had concealed the balisong in one of his socks prior to t
he stabbing.[30] The victim could not have anticipated that appellant would atta
ck him. He had just awakened after sleeping late on Christmas eve. Clearly, the
attack on the victim was carried out with alevosia. There is treachery or alevos
ia when the attack on an unarmed victim who has not given the slightest provocat
ion is sudden, unexpected, and without warning.[31] Even in a case where the vic
tim was stabbed in the front part of his body, we have ruled that such frontal a
ttack is treacherous when it is sudden and unexpected, and the victim is unarmed
In the present case, however, we find that dwelling is not a generic aggravating
circumstance. Ramirez witnessed the stabbing incident outside the victims house
, while Demetrio Candilosas testified that the victim staggered into his own hou
se after he had been stabbed.[33] Hence, the crime did not occur inside the vict
ims dwelling. In addition, the presence of the aggravating circumstance of dwell
ing was not alleged in the information.[34]
As to the appropriate penalty, the attendance of treachery has qualified appella
nts offense to murder, and without aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the
penalty of reclusion perpetua has been properly imposed.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch
22, dated May 29, 1996, in Criminal Case No. 2303-M-91 is AFFIRMED. Appellant Fe
lixberto Lao-as is declared GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for the MURDER of Leo
nardo Bastuten. Appellant is sentenced to RECLUSION PERPETUA and ordered to pay
the heirs of Leonardo Bastuten the amount of P50,000.00 as death indemnity with
6% interest from the filing of the information on November 29, 1991 until fully
paid. Costs against appellant.
Bellosillo (Chairman), Mendoza, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
[G.R. Nos. 130634-35. March 12, 2001]
Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza appeals from the joint decision[1] of the Regi
onal Trial Court, Branch 02, Iligan City finding him guilty beyond reasonable do
ubt of homicide and parricide and sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty[2]
of six (6) months one day (1) to six (6) years of prision correccional as minimu
m to six (6) years one (1) day to eight (8) years of prision mayor as maximum,[3
] and to pay P50,000.00 civil indemnity and the costs for the death of Jesus Esq
uierdo, and to reclusion perpetua, to pay P50,000.00 and the costs for the death
of his wife, Tita T. Oyanib.[4]
On September 11, 1995, Iligan City Prosecutor Ulysses V. Lagcao filed with the R
egional Trial Court, Iligan City two (2) separate informations charging accused
Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza with murder and parricide, as follows:
Criminal Case No. 6012
That on or about September 4, 1995, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and with
in the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, armed with a dead
ly weapon to wit: a hunting knife about six inches long and with intent to kill
and evident premeditation and by means of treachery, did then and there willfull
y, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, stab and wound one Jesus Esquierd
o, thereby inflicting upon him the following physical injuries, to wit:
Cardiorespiratory arrest
Hypovolemic shock irreversible
Multiple organ injury
Multiple stab wound chest & abdomen
and as a result thereof the said Jesus Esquierdo died.
Contrary to and in violation of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code with the a
ggravating circumstances (sic) of evident premeditation.[5]
Criminal Case No. 6018
That on or about September 4, 1995, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and with
in the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, having conceived
and (sic) deliberate intent to kill his wife Tita Oyanib, did then and there wil
lfully, unlawfully and feloniously and with evident premeditation, attack, assau
lt, stab and wound his wife, as a result of said attack, the said Tita Oyanib di
Contrary to and in violation of Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code.[6]
The prosecutor recommended no bail for the temporary liberty of accused Manolito
Oyanib y Mendoza in both cases.
On September 11, 1995, accused voluntarily surrendered to the police authorities
[7] and was immediately detained at the Iligan City Jail.[8]
On January 17, 1996, the trial court arraigned accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza
by reading the informations against him and translating them into the Visayan d
ialect.[9] He pleaded not guilty to both charges.
As the two (2) cases arose from the same set of facts, the trial court conducted
a joint trial.
Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza (hereafter Manolito) and Tita T. Oyanib (herea
fter Tita) were married on February 3, 1979[10] and had two (2) children, Desilo
r and Julius. They lived in Purok 1, Tambacan, Iligan City.
In 1994, due to marital differences, Manolito and Tita separated, with Manolito
keeping custody of their two (2) children. Tita rented a room at the second floo
r of the house of Edgardo Lladas (hereafter Edgardo), not far from the place whe
re her family lived.
At about 9:30 in the evening of September 4, 1995, while Edgardo and his family
were watching TV at the sala located at the ground floor of their house at Purok
3-A, Tambacan, Iligan City, they heard a commotion coming from the second floor
rented by Tita. The commotion and the noise lasted for quite some time. When it
died down, Edgardo went upstairs to check.[11]
Upstairs, Edgardo saw Tita wearing a duster, bloodied and sprawled on the floor.
He saw Manolito stabbing Jesus Esquierdo (hereafter Jesus) while sitting on the
latters stomach. Jesus was wearing a pair of long black pants. When Edgardo ask
ed Manolito what he was doing, accused told Edgardo not to interfere.
Thereafter, Edgardo left the house and called the police. Meanwhile, the neighbo
rs brought Tita to the hospital. She died on the way to the hospital.[12]
SPO3 Eduard Tubil, police investigator, General Investigation Office, Iligan Cit
y Police Command, Precinct I, Poblacion, Iligan City said that at about 9:00 in
the evening of September 4, 1995, while he was on duty, he received an informati
on regarding a stabbing incident at the Llagas residence at Purok 3-A, Tambacan,
Iligan City.[13]
At the crime scene, SPO3 Tubil saw the lifeless body of Jesus lying face up with
several stab wounds in different parts of the body. Jesus was clad in t-shirt a
nd long pants. From the crime scene, he recovered a knife. Afterwards, he went t
o Dr. Uy Hospital to check on Tita; he was informed that she was dead. Manolito
was the suspect in the killing of Jesus and Tita.[14] The incident was recorded
in the police blotter as Entry No. 137138.[15]
On September 5, 1995, Dr. Leonardo A. Labanon, Medico-Legal Officer, Iligan City
examined the bodies of Jesus and Tita.[16] Jesus sustained multiple stab wounds
, and those inflicted in the right and left chests and stomach were fatal.[17] T
he cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest, hypovolemic shock irreversible,
multiple organ injury and multiple stab wound chest and abdomen.[18]
Likewise, Tita sustained several stab wounds, with the fatal wounds inflicted in
the left chest and right side of the abdomen. The cause of death was cardioresp
iratory arrest, hypovolemic shock and multiple stab wound.[19]
As heretofore stated, in 1994, following a series of arguments, Manolito and Tit
a decided to live separately. Manolito retained custody of their two (2) childre
n. Immediately after the separation, Tita stayed at her friend Merlyns house for
two (2) months. Afterwards, she transferred to the Lladas residence, located at
Purok 3, G. Tambacan, Iligan City, and rented the second floor.[20] The rented
space consisted mainly of a sala with one adjoining room. It was arranged in a m
anner that if one enters the main entrance door, one is immediately led to the s
ala and from the sala, directly to the door of the adjoining room.
Despite their separation, Manolito tried to win Tita back and exerted all effort
s towards reconciliation for the sake of the children. However, Tita was very re
luctant to reconcile with Manolito.[21] In fact, she was very open about her rel
ationship with other men and would flaunt it in front of Manolito. One time, he
chanced upon his wife and her paramour, Jesus, in a very intimate situation by t
he hanging bridge at Brgy. Tambacan, Iligan City.[22] Manolito confronted Tita a
nd Jesus about this. He censured his wife and reminded her that she was still hi
s wife. They just ignored him; they even threatened to kill him.[23]
In the evening of September 4, 1995, after supper, his daughter Desilor handed M
anolito a letter from the Iligan City National High School. The letter mentioned
that his son Julius failed in two (2) subjects and invited his parents to a mee
ting at the school. Because he had work from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in t
he afternoon the next day, Manolito went to Titas house to ask her to attend the
school meeting in his behalf.[24]
Upon reaching Titas rented place, he heard sounds of romance (kissing) coming fr
om the inside. He pried open the door lock using a hunting knife. He caught his
wife Tita and Jesus having sexual intercourse. Jesus was on top of Tita and his
pants were down to his knees.
Upon seeing him, Jesus kicked Manolito in the cheek. Manolito immediately stabbe
d Jesus. Though Jesus was 59 in height and weighed about 70 kg., the suddenness
of the assault caused him to lose his balance and fall down. Manolito took advan
tage of this opportunity and stabbed Jesus in the stomach. Tita left the room up
on seeing Manolito, only to come back armed with a Tanduay bottle. She hit Manol
ito in the head, while at the same time shouting kill him Jake, kill him Jake.[2
In the commotion, Manolito stabbed Jesus, hitting him in the abdomen. Jesus fell
down and Manolito stabbed him again. Meanwhile, Tita stabbed Manolito in the ar
m with the broken Tanduay bottle. This angered Manolito and he stabbed Tita in t
he left breast. He stabbed her three (3) more times in different parts of her bo
dy. Tita fell near the lifeless body of her paramour. It was at this point that
Edgardo, the owner of the house Tita was renting, appeared from the ground floor
and inquired about what had happened. Manolito told Edgardo not to interfere be
cause he had nothing to do with it.
Thereafter, Manolito left the house of Edgardo and went to Kilumco, Camague, Ili
gan City and stayed at the wake of his friends neighbor. He threw away the knife
he used in stabbing his wife and her paramour. At around 4:00 in the morning of
the following day, he went to Camague Highway to catch a bus for Lentogan, Auro
ra, Zamboanga. While in Lentogan, he heard over radio DXIC that there was a call
for him to surrender. He heeded the call and gave himself up to the police auth
orities in Precinct 2, Nonocan, Iligan City.[26]
When asked why he was carrying a knife when he went to his wifes place, Manolito
said that he brought it for self-defense. Prior to the incident, he received th
reats from his wife and her paramour, Jesus, that they would kill him so they co
uld live together.[27]
After trial, on May 26, 1997, the trial court promulgated a joint decision findi
ng accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged. The dispositive
portion reads:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing findings and pronouncements and having
carefully observed the demeanor of witnesses, this Court hereby declares accused
MANOLITO OYANIB y Mendoza GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homici
de (Crim. Case No. II-6012) and Parricide (Crim. Case No. II-6018) and appreciat
ing the two (2) mitigating circumstances of passion or obfuscation and voluntary
surrender without any aggravating circumstances to consider, this Court sentenc
es accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza to suffer an imprisonment as follows:
1) In Criminal Case No. II-6012:
To an Indeterminate Penalty ranging from SIX (6) MONTHS ONE (1) DAY to SIX (6) Y
EARS as Minimum to Six (6) YEARS ONE (1) DAY to EIGHT (8) YEARS as Maximum; to i
ndemnify heirs of Jesus Esquierdo the sum of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, and
to pay the costs.
2) In Criminal Case No. II-6018:
To RECLUSION PERPETUA pursuant to Republic Act No. 7659; to indemnify heirs of h
is wife P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and to pay the costs.
It is likewise ordered that the aforesaid imprisonment is subject to the forty (
40) years limitation prescribed in Article 70 of the Revised Penal Code.
Accused is likewise entitled to full credit of his preventive imprisonment.
Iligan City, Philippines, May 26, 1997.
Presiding Judge[28]
On June 17, 1997, accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza interposed an appeal from th
e joint decision of the trial court to the Supreme Court.[29]
Accused admitted the killings. He argued that he killed them both under the exce
ptional circumstances provided in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. He rais
ed several errors allegedly committed by the trial court, which boiled down to t
he basic issue of whether accused is entitled to the exceptional privilege under
Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code.[30] He questioned the trial courts appre
ciation of the facts and the evidence, contending that it ignored and overlooked
vital pieces of physical evidence material to the defense of the accused, like
the photograph of the lifeless body of Jesus. Accused contends that the photogra
ph graphically showed that Jesus pants were wide open, unzipped and unbuttoned,
revealing that he was not wearing any underwear, lending credence to his defense
that he caught his wife and her paramour in the act of sexual intercourse. On t
he other hand, the Solicitor General submitted that accused-appellant failed to
discharge the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that he kille
d the victims under the exceptional circumstances contemplated in Article 247 of
the Revised Penal Code. Hence, the trial court did not err in denying him the e
xempting privilege under the Article.[31]
We find the appeal meritorious.
At the outset, accused admitted killing his wife and her paramour. He invoked Ar
ticle 247 of the Revised Penal Code as an absolutory and an exempting cause. An
absolutory cause is present where the act committed is a crime but for reasons o
f public policy and sentiment there is no penalty imposed.[32]
Having admitted the killing, it is incumbent upon accused to prove the exempting
circumstances to the satisfaction of the court in order to be relieved of any c
riminal liability. Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code prescribes the followin
g essential elements for such a defense: (1) that a legally married person surpr
ises his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another person;
(2) that he kills any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereaf
ter; and (3) that he has not promoted or facilitated the prostitution of his wif
e (or daughter) or that he or she has not consented to the infidelity of the oth
er spouse.[33] Accused must prove these elements by clear and convincing evidenc
e, otherwise his defense would be untenable. The death caused must be the proxim
ate result of the outrage overwhelming the accused after chancing upon his spous
e in the act of infidelity. Simply put, the killing by the husband of his wife m
ust concur with her flagrant adultery.[34]
There is no question that the first element is present in the case at bar. The c
rucial fact that accused must convincingly prove to the court is that he killed
his wife and her paramour in the act of sexual intercourse or immediately therea
After an assiduous analysis of the evidence presented and the testimonies of the
witnesses, we find accused to have acted within the circumstances contemplated
in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. Admittedly, accused-appellant surprise
d his wife and her lover in the act of sexual intercourse.
To the mind of the court, what actually happened was that accused chanced upon J
esus at the place of his wife. He saw his wife and Jesus in the act of having se
xual intercourse. Blinded by jealousy and outrage, accused stabbed Jesus who fou
ght off and kicked the accused. He vented his anger on his wife when she reacted
, not in defense of him, but in support of Jesus. Hence, he stabbed his wife as
well several times. Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza surrendered to the police
when a call for him to surrender was made.
The law imposes very stringent requirements before affording the offended spouse
the opportunity to avail himself of Article 247, Revised Penal Code. As the Cou
rt put it in People v. Wagas:[35]
The vindication of a Mans honor is justified because of the scandal an unfaithfu
l wife creates; the law is strict on this, authorizing as it does, a man to chas
tise her, even with death. But killing the errant spouse as a purification is so
severe as that it can only be justified when the unfaithful spouse is caught in
flagrante delicto; and it must be resorted to only with great caution so much s
o that the law requires that it be inflicted only during the sexual intercourse
or immediately thereafter.
WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 02, Iligan City in Criminal Cases Nos. II-6012 and II-6018. The Court se
ntences accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza to two (2) years and four (4) months o
f destierro.[36] He shall not be permitted to enter Iligan City, nor within a ra
dius of one hundred (100) kilometers from Iligan City.[37]
Costs de oficio.
G.R. No. L-68790 January 23, 1987
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
Fajardo, Lagunsad, Juan Lanoria & Diesmos Law Offices for accused-appellant.

The accused, Carlo LAGRANA, appeals from the judgment of the Regional Trial Cour
t, Oriental Mindoro (Calapan), Branch 39, convicting him, as principal, of Murde
r. sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the deceas
ed, Benito Adarlo, in the amount of P8,000.00.
The other accused, Frangeline SALAZAR, who was found guilty as an accomplice and
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty, did not appeal. 1
The evidence for the prosecution discloses that at around 8:00 P.M. on 3 Decembe
r 1981, Benito Adarlo (the Victim, for short) was seated along the road near the
store of Eladio de Villa in Dao, Naujan Oriental Mindoro, with the accused SALA
ZAR. The latter was holding one of the Victim's right arm under the armpit. Whil
e thus positioned, LAGRANA, who is an uncle of SALAZAR, arrived. LAGRANA focused
the lighted flashlight he was then carrying at the face of the Victim and forth
with hit the latter on the head with a piece of wood ("kakawati"). about one met
er in length. As a result, the Victim fell face downward, unconscious. He never
regained consciousness until he died in the provincial hospital on 6 December 19
The autopsy findings disclosed the cause of death as "shock secondary to severe
intracranial hemorrhage secondary to skull fracture secondary to head trauma." 2
The Victim's brother, Nestor Adarlo, who was nearby, ran to the succor of his br
other only to be challenged by LAGRANA. Nestor, however, ignored the challenge a
nd carried his brother to their house, which was not too distant from the scene
of the incident.
In addition to Nestor, another eyewitness to the incident was Pio Sigalat, who h
appened also to be on his way to the store of Eladio de Villa, behind LAGRANA, a
t a distance of about five (5) meters. Sigalat saw LAGRANA carrying a flashlight
and a piece of wood and ultimately hitting the Victim on the head.
LAGRANA and SALAZAR were summoned by the police authorities the following mornin
g of 4 December 1981 for investigation, but were initially released.
Subsequently, however, they were both charged with Murder. Trial proceeded only
against LAGRANA initially, while SALAZAR stood trial only after his arrest in 19
LAGRANA invoked self defense claiming that the Victim, who was then drunk, chase
d him with a knife for which reason he hit the Victim with a piece of "kakawati"
when the latter thrust the knife at him.
SALAZAR, for his part, claimed that he and the Victim drank liquor before the in
cident and that, because the Victim was challenging him, he left the latter behi
nd as he was afraid. Continuing, he recounted that the following morning when in
formed by his mother that policemen were looking for him, he and LAGRANA went to
the police station to report but that they were both sent home.
The Trial Court gave no credence to the defense of either accused and convicted
LAGRANA as principal and SALAZAR, as accomplice of Murder, with the qualifying c
ircumstance of treachery, unattended by any generic aggravating or mitigating ci
rcumstance. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:
ACCORDINGLY, the Court finds accused Carlo Lagrana and Frangeline Salazar guilty
beyond reasonable doubt, as principal and accomplice, respectively, of the crim
e of Murder, punishable with reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death,
as regards the principal, under Article 248 in relation to Article 46 of the Rev
ised Penal Code, and with prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion tempo
ral in its medium period, as regards the accomplice, under Article 248 in relati
on to Article 52 of the said code. Considering that there is neither generic agg
ravating nor mitigating circumstance, the penalty should be imposed in its mediu
m period. The Indeterminate Sentence Law is not applicable to accused Carlo Lagr
ana, considering the penalty imposable on him, but applicable to accused Frangel
ine Salazar.
Accused Carlo Lagrana, as principal, is hereby sentenced to suffer reclusion per
petua (life imprisonment), together with the accessory penalties provided for by
law, while accused Frangeline Salazar, as accomplice, is sentenced to suffer im
prisonment of SIX (6) YEARS, ONE (1) MONTH and ELEVEN (11) DAYS of prision mayor
, as minimum, to TWELVE (12) YEARS, FIVE (5) MONTHS and ELEVEN (11) DAYS of recl
usion temporal, as maximum, together with the accessory penalties provided for b
y law Both accused are ordered to indemnify the legal heirs of the deceased Beni
to Adarlo in the amount of P12,000.00, by way of actual damages, P8,000.00 to be
paid by accused Carlo Lagrana and P4,000.00 by Frangeline Salazar, the same to
be enforced in accordance with the provisions of Article 110 of the Revised Pena
l Code, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the co
The accused shall be credited with the full term of their preventive imprisonmen
t, if they have any to their credit, pursuant to the provisions of Article 29 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 6127, provided that the
accused shall have agreed to abide with the disciplinary rules imposed upon conv
icted prisoners, otherwise, they shall be entitled to only four-fifths (4/5) of
the preventive imprisonment. 3
Only LAGRANA has appealed, who does not question his conviction nor the characte
rization of the crime, but merely raises as the lone assignment of error that
The Court erred in brushing aside the litigating circumstance of voluntary surre
nder and imposing upon accused-appellants penalties that are over and above thos
e that they deserve.
Indeed, LAGRANA's guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Two credible pr
osecution eyewitnesses identified him as the main culprit. His plea of self-defe
nse, uncorroborated as it is, fails to overcome the clear and direct testimony o
f these witnesses. The crime is Murder, attended by treachery, considering the m
ethod by which LAGRANA attacked the Victim without risk to himself arising from
any defense which the Victim might have made.
The evidence on record does not support voluntary surrender, as contended. As ap
tly pointed out by the Trial Court:
Although both accused reported to the police authorities the following day after
the commission of the crime, it was not for the purpose of submitting themselve
s unconditionally. Accused Carlo LAGRANA claimed self-defense when interrogated,
while accused Frangeline Salazar did not give any statement, either verbal or w
Accused did not go to the police authorities to surrender but merely to report t
he incident. Indeed, they never evinced any desire to own the responsibility for
the killing of the deceased (People vs. Regales, 6 SCRA 830).
Indeed, wanting in this case are the following requisites for voluntary surrende
r to be considered mitigating:
A surrender to be voluntary must be spontaneous, showing the intent of the accus
ed to submit himself unconditionally to the authorities, either (1) because he a
cknowledges his guilt, or (2) because lie wishes to save them the trouble and ex
penses necessarily incurred in his search and capture. 4
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, with the modification
that LAGRANA shall indemnify the heirs of the decease, Benito Adario, in the amo
unt of P20,000.00 with costs.
Yap (Chairman), Narvasa, Cruz, Feliciano and Gancayco, JJ., concur.
As a rule, the precise time of the commission of the rape need not be alleged in
the complaint. Although appellant is guilty of rape, the death penalty imposed
by the trial court should nonetheless be reduced to reclusion perpetua, because
the Information failed to allege his relationship with the victim.
The Case
For automatic review before this Court is the May 10, 1999 Decision[1] of the Re
gional Trial Court (RTC) of Lipa City (Branch 12) in Criminal Case No. 0460-97,
finding Avelino Latag y Dita guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape. The decreta
l portion of the Decision reads:
x x x x x x x x x
Anent Crim. Case No. 0460-97, the Court finds Avelino Latag y Dita alias Pauto g
uilty beyond reasonable doubt, as principal, of the crime of Rape, as defined an
d penalized under Article 335, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R
epublic Act. No. 7659 and sentences him to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH [
and] to pay the costs of this suit. In addition, he is also ordered to indemnify
Stephanie Sarmiento and/or her heirs the sum of P75,000.00, to pay the amount o
f P10,000.00, as moral damages, pursuant to Article 2219(3) of the Civil Code an
d the sum of P5,000.00, as exemplary damages pursuant to Article 2229 of the sam
e Code, in order that this case may serve as an object lesson to the public that
no uncle may ever again deprive his niece of the right to grow up and discover
the wonder of womanhood in the normal way.[2]
Appellant was charged with two counts of rape, one in the criminal Complaint fil
ed by Charen May L. Sarmiento and in another, by Stephanie L. Sarmiento. The Com
plaints, both dated June 24, 1997 and docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 0458-97 and
0460-97, respectively, read as follows:
Criminal Case No. 0458-97
That on or about the 5th day of April, 1997 in the evening, at Sitio Santol, Bar
angay Nangkaan,[3] Municipality of Mataasnakahoy,[4] Province of Batangas, Phili
ppines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accu
sed, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
and feloniously lie with and have carnal knowledge of the said twelve (12) year
-old girl, Charen May Sarmiento y Latag, against her will and consent.[5]
Criminal Case No. 0460-97
That sometime in the month of April, 1997, at Sitio Santol, Barangay Nagkaan, Mu
nicipality of Mataasnakahoy, Province of Batangas, Philippines and within the ju
risdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force a
nd intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously lie wit
h and have carnal knowledge of the said ten (10) year-old girl, Stephanie Sarmie
nto y Latag, against her will and consent.[6]
During his arraignment on August 27, 1997,[7] appellant, with the assistance of
his counsel,[8] pleaded not guilty to both charges. After trial in due course, t
he court a quo rendered the assailed decision.
The Facts
Version of the Prosecution
In its Brief, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) presents the prosecution
s version of the facts in the following manner:
Stephanie L. Sarmiento was born in Manila to the Spouses Virgilio and Babylita L
atag Sarmiento. Stephanie and her brothers and sisters lived with their parents
in Paco, Manila until they transferred to Sitio Santol, Brgy. Nangkaan, Mataas n
a Kahoy, Batangas in their maternal grandparents house. In June 1996, the Spouse
s Sarmiento left all their children at said house as Virgilio had to attend to h
is occupation as a taxi driver in Manila.
In April, 1997, at nigh[t]time, appellant Avelino Latag raped Stephanie. Stephan
ie at that time was only ten (10) years old. On that night of April, 1997, Steph
anie was sleeping with her brothers and sisters, Charen May (12), Daisy (4), Reg
ienalyn (3), Jandie (1) and Jenevecher (7), and their Tiya Nancy (10) and Tiyo R
onaldo (11) at the second floor of the house. While Stephanie was sleeping, appe
llant removed her short pants and panty which roused her from sleep. After appel
lant removed his short pants and briefs, he placed himself on top of her and ins
erted his penis into her vagina.
Stephanie tried to resist by removing his penis from her vagina, but when she tr
ied to remove it, appellant would box her. She felt pain in her vagina when appe
llant succeeded in inserting his penis into her vagina. She was not able to shou
t because everytime she would attempt to do so, appellant would slap her. Appell
ant stayed on top of her for about one (1) minute. While she was being abused, h
er grandparents, brothers and sisters, and her aunt and uncle, were sound asleep
. After raping her, appellant went back to the lower portion of the house where
he normally slept. Stephanie was able to recognize appellant Avelino Latag becau
se of the lighted kerosene lamp placed on top of the cabinet at the place she ha
d been sleeping.
After the incident, Stephanie reported the incident to her older sister, Charen
May. The sisters reported the incident to their maternal grandparents but they d
id not believe the children.
Stephanie and Charen May submitted themselves to a medical examination on May 8,
1997 at the Lipa City District Hospital before Dr. Alex Agato. Upon internal ex
amination of Stephanie, Dr. Agato found her vaginal opening inflamed and admitte
d the 5th digit of his examining finger, right hand, with difficulty up to 2 cms
. in depth. Dr. Agato also noted that the hymen was absent, which was not natura
l, and its absence was due to penetration of an object, probably a finger or a p
enis. Dr. Agato also found that the vaginal opening could be seen and not coopte
d, something unusual for a ten (10) year-old girl because normally for her age,
the vaginal opening can hardly be seen. Dr. Agato issued a medico-legal certific
ate in favor of Stephanie Sarmiento dated May 8, 1997 and concluded that she was
no longer a virgin.[9] (Citations omitted)
Version of the Defense
On the other hand, the version of the defense is as follows:
Enrique Latag averred that Stephanie Sarmiento is his granddaughter, while Aveli
no Latag is his son. Stephanie and her sister Charen Mae arrived in their house
sometime in the month of June and lived with him at Nagkaraan, Mataasnakahoy, Ba
tangas for almost one (1) year. He was the one who supported them.
He came to know for the first time that his two (2) sons Yolito and Avelino Lata
g were charged with rape when Avelino was apprehended. Stephanie did not complai
n to him regarding the alleged rape committed by his sons. During the trial of t
hese cases, he talked to Stephanie regarding the filing of these cases, but the
latter just kept quiet.
On the month of April 1997, his son Avelino lived at the house of his kumpare be
cause he was working with the latters son.
Avelino Latag denied the allegation that he raped Stephanie Sarmiento sometime i
n the month of April 1997. He was then living in the house of the kumpare of his
He claimed that Stephanie is his niece, being the daughter of his sister. Stepha
nie, together with her brothers and sisters, arrived in their house at Nagkaan,
Mataasnakahoy, Batangas in order to reside thereat. There are seven (7) children
of her sister. When Stephanie and her brothers and sisters lived at Barangay Na
ngkaan, their father likewise lived at the house of his uncle Rogelio Tipan at M
ataas Na Lupa. Whenever his brother-in-law would be scolded by his uncle, he wou
ld sleep in their house. His brother-in-law was staying in the house of his uncl
e because their house is very small.
While his nieces and nephews were living in their house, he lived at the house o
f the kumpare of his father near the lakeshore at [S]itio Santol. He started liv
ing at the house of the kumpare of his father in February 1996 up to May 1997. H
e was then working with his fathers kumpare in a construction. During the entire
period of his stay at the house of his fathers kumpare, there was no occasion t
hat he sleeps in their own house. It was always late in the evening when they ca
me from work, so he did not have time to go home and sleep in their house.
His brother-in-law had mauled his sister many times. The last time that his sist
er was mauled by his brother-in-law was on April 1997 in their house. He and his
brother Yolito were then present, so they helped each other in likewise mauling
their brother-in-law.[10] (Citations omitted)
Ruling of the Trial Court
For insufficiency of evidence, the trial court acquitted appellant of the rape o
f Charen May. However, it found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of raping Ste
phanie. The lower court held that he had sexually assaulted Stephanie during one
night in April 1997.
The trial court, after carefully evaluating and observing the conduct and demean
or of Stephanie on the witness stand, found her credible. It gave weight and cre
dence to her candid and sincere testimony because, aside from being clear and po
sitive, it was devoid of any artificiality and infused with truth and sincerity.
The court a quo found it unthinkable that a 10-year-old child would fabricate s
uch a serious charge as rape against her own uncle and consequently expose herse
lf to the humiliation and embarrassment of a medical examination and a public tr
Discarding the denial and alibi proffered by appellant, the trial court held tha
t these defenses were inherently weak and could not prevail over the positive an
d credible testimony of the victim. Appellant palpably failed to show that it wa
s physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the time of i
ts commission.
Hence, this automatic review before us.[11]
The Issues
Appellant raises the following errors for our consideration:
The trial court gravely erred in not considering the Information in Criminal Cas
e No. 0460-97 insufficient to support a judgment of conviction for failure of th
e prosecution to state the precise date of the commission of the alleged rape, i
t being an essential element of the crime charged.
The trial court gravely erred in imposing the penalty of death upon accused-appe
llant despite failure of the prosecution to allege in the information the relati
onship between the victim and accused-appellant on the assumption that he is gui
lty of the crime charged.[12]
The Courts Ruling
We affirm the conviction of appellant for the crime of rape, but reduce the pena
lty to reclusion perpetua for the failure of the Complaint to allege his relatio
nship with the victim.
First Issue:
Date of Commission
Appellant contends that Section 6[13] of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court requires
that the approximate time of the commission of the offense must be stated in th
e complaint or information. According to him, this requirement was not followed
in the instant case. He contends that since the sexual act in a crime of rape mu
st be proved to have been committed during a precise date and time, the Complain
t against him should have been considered fatally defective and, thus, void. He
further argues that the doctrine laid down in United States v. Javier Dichao[14]
applies to this case. In Dichao, we held that the allegation in the Complaint r
egarding the date and time of the rape was too indefinite to give the accused th
erein an opportunity to prepare his defense. In such a situation, the alibi of t
he accused would never be able to prosper.
Citing Ilo v. Court of Appeals,[15] appellant herein argues further that any evi
dence presented by the prosecution cannot cure this alleged fatal defect, as his
right to be informed of the nature of the offense charged against him would be
jeopardized. As the accused, his constitutionally protected right to be informed
of the nature and cause of the accusation against him would be violated.
We find his arguments bereft of merit. Although the Complaint alleged that the c
rime was committed sometime in the month of April, 1997, the trial court did not
err in convicting him of rape.
First, the precise time or date of the commission of an offense need not be alle
ged in the complaint or information, unless it is an essential element of the cr
ime charged.[16] In rape, it is not.[17] Section 11 of Rule 110 of the Rules of
Court provides:
SEC. 11. Date of the commission of the offense. It is not necessary to state in
the complaint or information the precise date the offense was committed except w
hen it is a material ingredient of the offense. The offense may be alleged to ha
ve been committed on a date as near as possible to the actual date of its commis
Furthermore, People v. Gianan[18] explained as follows:
It is settled that the time of the commission of the rape is not an element ther
eof, as this crime is defined in Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code. The gravame
n of the crime is the fact of carnal knowledge under any of the circumstances en
umerated therein, i.e., (1) by using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman i
s deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under t
welve years of age or is demented. In accordance with Rule 110, 11, as long as i
t alleges that the offense was committed at any time as near to the actual date
at which the offense was committed, an information is sufficient. x x x.
x x x x x x x x x
Indeed, this Court has held that the allegations that rapes were committed, befo
re and until October 15, 1994, sometime in the year 1991 and the days thereafter
, and on or about and sometime in the year 1998 constitute sufficient compliance
with Rule 110, 11. In any event, even if the information failed to allege with
certainty the time of the commission of the rapes, the defect, if any, was cured
by the evidence presented during the trial and any objections based on this gro
und must be deemed waived as a result of accused-appellants failure to object be
fore arraignment. Accused-appellants remedy was to move either for a bill of par
ticulars of for the quashal of the information on the ground that it does not co
nform substantially to the prescribed form.[19]
The rationale for Section 6 of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court is to inform the a
ccused of the nature and cause of the accusation.[20] This right has not been vi
olated in the present case. Appellants counsel took an active part in the trial
by cross-examining the prosecution witnesses and presenting evidence for the def
ense. It is now too late in the day for appellant to claim that the Complaint wa
s defective. Furthermore, the defense never objected to the presentation of the
prosecution evidence proving that the offense had been committed in April 1997.
It has not been shown that the testimony of the victim (to the effect that she h
ad been raped during that month) caught appellant by surprise and thus made it d
ifficult for him to defend himself properly.
Moreover, the Complaint states all the facts that, with sufficient definiteness
and clarity, would fully apprise him of the nature and cause of the accusation a
gainst him, in compliance with his constitutional right to be so informed.
Second, appellants reliance on Dichao is misplaced. The ruling of the Court ther
ein is not applicable to the present case due to differences in the factual scen
arios. In People v. Magbanua,[21] we ruled:
x x x A careful study of the Dichao case reveals that what was questioned therei
n was an order of the trial court sustaining a demurrer to an information on the
ground that it failed to substantially conform to the prescribed form when it d
id not allege the time of the commission of the offense with definiteness. The i
nformation therein stated that the sexual intercourse occurred [o]n or about and
during the interval between October, 1910, to August, 1912, which statement of
time the Court described as x x x so indefinite and uncertain that it does not g
ive the accused the information required by law x x x and the x x x opportunity
to prepare his defense x x x. The lower court in allowing the demurrer authorize
d the dismissal of the case against the accused herein. The Court upheld the ord
er of the trial court. x x x.[22]
The accused in Dichao submitted, within the prescribed time, a Motion to quash t
he Information. In the present case, however, no such motion was ever filed by a
ppellant before the trial court. As he never raised any objection to the suffici
ency of the Complaint, he is thus deemed to have waived whatever formal defect i
t had.[23]
To repeat, the Complaint alleges that the rape was committed sometime in the mon
th of April, 1997. This is a period that displays definiteness and certainty, un
like in Dichao in which the time of the commission of the crime, as stated in th
e Information, was too indefinite -- on or about and during the interval between
October, 1910, to August, 1912. Two years was too long an interval that it was
extremely difficult for the accused to plead alibi as a defense. Thus, the Court
was impelled in that case to declare thus:
In the case before us the statement of the time when the crime is alleged to hav
e been committed is so indefinite and uncertain that it does not give the accuse
d the information required by law. To allege in an information that the accused
committed rape on a certain girl between October, 1910, and August, 1912, is too
indefinite to give the accused an opportunity to prepare his defense, and that
indefiniteness is not cured by setting out the date when a child was born as a r
esult of such crime. x x x.[24]
Third, appellant did not raise before the trial court any objection to the alleg
ed insufficiency of the Complaint. Consequently, he is deemed to have waived wha
tever objections he had, and he cannot now seek affirmative relief.[25]
Objections as to matters of form or substance in the complaint or information ca
nnot be made for the first time on appeal.[26] The remedy available, which appel
lant did not pursue before the RTC, was to move either for a bill of particulars
[27] in order to be properly informed of the exact date of the alleged rape; or
for the quashal[28] of the Complaint on the ground that it did not conform subst
antially to the prescribed form.

Second Issue:
Appellant contends that the trial court erred in appreciating his relationship w
ith Stephanie as a qualifying circumstance and consequently imposing upon him th
e death penalty. Since his being her uncle was not alleged in the Complaint, the
relationship should not have been used by the trial court to qualify the crime.
We agree.
It must be noted that the rape was committed prior to the effectivity of RA No.
8353, otherwise known as The Anti-Rape Law of 1997. Applicable then is the old p
rovision -- Section 11 of RA No. 7659, amending Article 335 of the Revised Penal
Code -- which states in part:
SEC. 11. Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed.
x x x x x x x x x
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with a
ny of the following attendant circumstances:
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a par
ent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity with
in the third civil degree, or the common-law-spouse of the parent of the victim.
Indeed, the death penalty cannot be imposed upon the perpetrator, if his relatio
nship with the victim is not duly alleged in the complaint or information.[29] I
f the offender is merely a relation -- not a parent, ascendant, step-parent, gua
rdian, or common law spouse of the mother of the victim -- the specific relation
ship must be alleged in the information, i.e., that he is a relative by consangu
inity or affinity [as the case may be] within the third civil degree.[30] Both m
inority and actual relationship must be alleged and proved; if not, a conviction
for rape in its qualified form will be barred.[31] In the present case, while t
he minority of the victim was properly alleged in the Complaint, her relationshi
p with appellant was not specifically stated therein.
We are convinced that appellant raped the complainant. We do not doubt the trial
courts assessment of the evidence or appellants culpability for the crime charg
It is doctrinal that the competence and the credibility of witnesses are best de
termined by the trial court because of its unique opportunity to observe their d
eportment while testifying.[32] Likewise, well-settled is the rule that when a w
oman -- more so when she is a minor -- says she has been raped, she says in effe
ct all that is required to prove the ravishment.[33] Binding and conclusive on t
his Court are the trial courts factual findings, absent any arbitrariness or ove
rsight of facts or circumstances of weight and substance.[34] In the present cas
e, the court a quo gave more credence to the positive testimony of the victim, a
nd we find no reason to set aside its factual findings.
The victim testified how appellant had defiled her on that fateful night:
Q Will you please tell us how Avelino Latag rape[d] you?
A He raped me in the evening of April 1997, sir.
Q In what exact place in your house were you raped by Avelino Latag?
A At the place where he was lying down, sir.
x x x x x x x x x
Q Now, you said that you were raped by this Avelino Latag, will you please tell
the court how he [did it to] you?
A He undressed me, thereafter he also remove[d] his clothes, after that he inser
ted his private organ to my private organ, sir.
Q By the way who undressed you?
A Avelino Latag, sir.
x x x x x x x x x
Q After removing your short and panty and after Avelino Latag also removed his s
hort and brief what else did he do, if any?
A He inserted his private organ into my private organ, sir.
Q Will you please tell the Honorable Court the position of Avelino Latag in rela
tion to you when he inserted his private organ into your private organ?
A He laid me down and he also lie[d] down, sir.
Q Where was he, was he on top of you while inserting his private part to your pr
ivate part?
A Yes[,] sir.
Q What were you doing while he was on top of you and inserting his private part
into your vagina?
A I was removing it and whenever I was removing it he boxed me, sir.
Q You said that you were removing something whenever you removed it you were bei
ng boxed by Avelino Latag[,] what was that something that you were removing?
A His private organ which was inserted into my private organ, sir.
x x x x x x x x x
Q How did you come to know that it was inserted into your private part?
A Because I felt pain, sir.
Q What was the cause of that [pain]?
A The inside of my vagina was painful, sir.
Q Why was it painful?
A I felt pain because he inserted his private organ into my private organ, sir.
Q How long did Avelino Latag stay on top of you and inserted his private part in
to your private part?
A Only one (1) minute, sir.
Q Did you not shout when he stayed on top of you and inserted his private part i
nto your private part?
A No, sir.
Q Why?
A Whenever I shout[ed] he slapped me, sir.[35]
Civil Liability
We likewise modify the civil liability imposed by the RTC upon appellant. In lin
e with prevailing jurisprudence, the amount of P75,000 indemnity ex delicto shou
ld be reduced to P50,000[36] because he is guilty only of simple, not qualified,
rape. The amount of P75,000 is awarded as indemnity ex delicto only if the crim
e of rape is qualified by any of the circumstances under which the death penalty
is authorized by applicable laws.[37]
On other hand, the award of P10,000 as moral damages should be increased to P50,
000.[38] Likewise, the increase of the amount of exemplary damages from P5,000 t
o P25,000[39] is proper, even if the relationship of appellant with the victim w
as not alleged in the Complaint. Since the prosecution was able to give, during
the trial, ample proof of their relationship, this civil liability has sufficien
t basis.[40]
WHEREFORE, the May 10, 1999 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lipa C
ity, Branch 12, finding appellant guilty of qualified rape, is MODIFIED. He is f
ound GUILTY of SIMPLE RAPE only and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua. Furthermore, he is ordered to pay the victim indemnity ex d
elicto of P50,000, moral damages of P50,000 and exemplary damages of P25,000. No
pronouncement as to costs.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Vitug, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez,
Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, and Tin
ga, JJ., concur.
[G. R. No. 132550. February 19, 2001]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. RAMON MARIO Y MINA, accused-a
It has been consistently held that when a woman, especially one who is the daugh
ter of the accused, cries rape, she has, in effect, said all that is necessary t
o establish that rape was committed against her.[1] However, does this principle
still hold true if the victim cannot recall how the alleged rape was committed
as she was asleep and never woke up throughout the incident? We answer in the ne
On April 28, 1997, accused-appellant Ramon Mario y Mina was charged with the cri
me of rape before the Regional Trial Court of Romblon, Branch 81. The informatio
n reads:
That on or about the 6th day of March, 1997, at around 12:00 midnight, in [B]ara
ngay Agtongo, [M]unicipality of Romblon, [P]rovince of Romblon, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously had carnal knowledge of his daughte
r EMILY MARIO, a fourteen year old girl, against her will.
Contrary to law.[2]
Upon his arraignment, on July 8, 1997, accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, p
leaded not guilty to the offense charged.
The version of the prosecution is primarily anchored on the testimonies of Emily
Mario, the victim, and Ramil Mario, the victims brother.
Emily is the eldest child among the six children of accused-appellant and Edita
Mario.[3] She was fourteen (14) years old and a Grade V or Grade VI student when
she was allegedly sexually ravished. At around 10:00 p.m. of May 6, 1997, she w
as in their house and was about to go to sleep beside her younger siblings when
accused-appellant approached her and asked if he could sleep beside her.[4] She
refused. Angered by her refusal, accused-appellant kicked her.[5] Accused-appell
ant then returned to his bed while Emily went to sleep beside her siblings[6] on
the floor of their house.[7] Accused-appellants wife was not then around becaus
e she was staying in the Municipality of Romblon during weekdays as a helper in
the house of a certain Rene Fajilagutan.[8]
When Emily awoke at around 3:00 a.m., she was surprised to see that she was no l
onger on the floor but already lying on her parents bed.[9] She felt her whole b
ody ache and her vagina was painful, wet and sticky.[10] Dumbfounded, she looked
around and saw accused-appellant wrapped in a blanket and lying on the floor.[1
1] Thereupon, accused-appellant told her: Madasok lang da gapaindi pa. (It alrea
dy entered but still you refused or It is just being inserted but still you refu
se).[12] Realizing that she was violated during her sleep, Emily cried.[13] She
recalled that it was already the third time that her father raped her; once when
she was in grade III and again when she was in grade V.[14]
Emily went back to sleep and got out of bed at around 5 a.m. to prepare breakfas
t.[15] Accused-appellant was no longer around at that time since he went to work
.[16] After finishing breakfast, she and three of her siblings, including Ramil,
then eleven years old, proceeded to school.[17] On their way to school, Ramil t
old Emily of what he witnessed the previous night.[18] He recounted that at arou
nd midnight, he woke up to urinate.[19] After relieving himself, he tried to sle
ep again but could not.[20] It was at this point when he saw accused-appellant l
ift Emily from the floor and lay her on the bed.[21] Accused-appellant next open
ed the skirt of Emily and took off her dress and her panty.[22] Thereafter, accu
sed-appellant took off his brief, held his penis and inserted it into the vagina
of Emily, making pumping motions.[23] Accused-appellant then stood up, put back
the clothes of Emily as well as his own clothes.[24]
After lunch break, Emily decided to skip her afternoon classes to report the inc
ident to her mother.[25] At around 3 p.m., she left for the town of Romblon to s
ee her mother.[26] Emily told her of the reprehensible act committed by her fath
er.[27] Her mother got angry and commented that accused-appellant is stupid and
mindless.[28] Her mother instructed her to stay in Romblon while she proceeded t
o their house to confront accused-appellant.[29] Emily spent the night at her gr
andaunts house in Bagtasan.[30] The following day, she was brought by her mother
to the police station where she filed a complaint for rape against accused-appe
llant.[31] Thereafter, they proceeded to the hospital where Dr. Victorio Benedic
to, the Rural Health Physician, examined her.[32]
Dr. Benedicto testified that after examining Emily, he issued a medico-legal cer
tificate where he noted that the victims vagina easily admitted a thumb; that it
had scars at 2, 5 and 7 oclock positions; and that the victim suffered no exter
nal physical injuries.[33] She opined that a hard object could have previously p
enetrated Emily's vagina and that she was no longer a virgin.[34]
The prosecution also presented Teodino Martinez, the Provincial Warden of Romblo
n, who declared that accused-appellant was incarcerated in the provincial jail d
uring the pendency of this case.[35] He was, however, able to escape on April 26
,1997. On that day, a group of Seventh Day Adventists conducted a bible study at
the provincial jail.[36] As the group was leaving the premises of the provincia
l jail, accused-appellant surreptitiously mingled with them pretending to be one
of them and, thus, was able to evade the prison guards.[37] For three days, the
jail authorities searched for accused-appellant. On April 29, 1997, he was surr
endered to the authorities by his two (2) brothers, Editho and Raymundo Mario.[3
8] Martinez conducted an investigation surrounding accused-appellants escape. Ac
cused-appellant told him that the reason why he left the jail was to look for hi
s wife to ask for forgiveness.[39]
On the other hand, the defense had a totally different account of what transpire
On March 6, 1997, accused-appellant went home from work.[40] He found his childr
en at home except his eldest, Emily, who had already gone out of their house.[41
] Emily was used to going out to watch betamax movies in other peoples houses or
attend overnight dances and parties,[42] sometimes sleeping in her friends hous
e and would return the following day.[43] Knowing that Emily would not come home
that evening, accused-appellant, after checking on his other children who were
already sleeping, retired to bed at around 8:30 p.m.[44] He woke up at 6:00 a.m.
the following day, prepared breakfast for his children and proceeded to work.[4
5] Later on, he was informed by his neighbor, Ben Mindoro, that Emily returned t
o their house at around 8:00 a.m. that day and did not go to school.[46]
To refute the testimony of Ramil Mario, the defense put to the witness stand Ray
mundo Mario (accused-appellants brother), Noemi Selosa (the wife of Raymundo Mar
io), and Valentina Mindoro (accused-appellants aunt).
Noemi Selosa testified that on March 10, 1997, she accompanied Edita Mario and R
amil Mario to the police station.[47] Ramil Mario gave his statement before the
police investigator with regard to what he witnessed on the night of March 6, 19
97.[48] When Ramil finished giving his statement, the investigator noted that hi
s story did not tally with the account previously given by Emily to the police t
hat she was raped by accused-appellant.[49] Instead, Ramil told the police that
he did not see his father rape Emily. Because of this, Edita Mario instructed Ra
mil Mario to tell the police that he saw accused-appellant take off the shorts o
f Emily and rape her. She was able to convince her son that if he would do what
he was told, his father could be released from jail.[50] She also warned him tha
t if he did not follow what she told him, she would not let him eat.[51] Ramil M
ario complied with her mothers instructions.[52]
Raymundo Mario testified that in the afternoon of March 10, 1997, Ramil Mario, h
is nephew, went to his house after giving his statement at the police station.[5
3] When Ramil saw his uncle, he cried and hugged him.[54] Raymundo Mario asked w
hat was wrong[55] and Ramil Mario said that his mother forced him to tell the po
lice that his father raped Emily. She also assured him that if he made that stor
y to the police, his father would be released from jail.[56]
Valentina Mindoro told the court that she lives in the house of Raymundo Mario a
nd Noemi Selosa.[57] In the afternoon of March 10, 1997, Ramil Mario arrived in
their house crying.[58] He approached his uncle, Raymundo Mario, and asked him w
hy his father had not yet been released from jail as he (the father) was not at
fault.[59] It was then that Ramil Mario admitted that he was coached by his moth
er to testify against his father.[60]
In its Decision, dated December 12, 1997, the trial court found accused-appellan
t guilty of raping his daughter and sentenced him to suffer the supreme penalty
of death. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused RAMON MARIO Y MINA GUILTY beyond reasona
ble doubt of the heinous crime of Rape under the aforequoted Information, dated
April 14, 1997, and hereby sentences him to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH.
He is ordered to pay the victim, his daughter Emily Mario, the sum of P50,000.0
0 as civil indemnity without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and
to pay the costs.[61]
Hence, this appeal where accused-appellant raises the following as his lone assi
gnment of error:
In finding accused-appellant guilty, the trial court considered the alleged stat
ement made by accused-appellant: Madasok lang da gapaindi ka pa (It already ente
red but still you refused or It is just being inserted but still you refuse), as
an admission that he raped his daughter. We do not agree.
An admission under Section 26, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court[63] applies to sta
tements made by an accused which directly or impliedly point towards an acknowld
gement of guilt for the crime charged.[64]
In order that an admission may be appreciated against the accused, the statement
must have been clear and unequivocal such that a reasonable construction of the
same would lead to an acknowledgement of the fact sought to be proven.[65] Bein
g merely an inference, an admission, standing alone, is insufficient to authoriz
e a conviction unless backed up by some other proof which would show the culpabi
lity of the accused.[66]
We agree with the finding of the trial court that accused-appellants statement:
Madasok lang da gapaindi a pa (It already entered but still you refused or It is
just being inserted, but still you refused),[67] is an admission under Section
26 of Rule 130. However, would this admission, standing alone, create an inferen
ce that accused-appellant raped his daughter[68] in that he was able to actually
penetrate her vagina with his sex organ? For one thing, there was no mention at
all that what was inserted was accused-appellant's sex organ. Neither was there
an indication that the insertion was made into her sex organ.
While the victim claims that she was raped, she admittedly did not awake during
the entire length of the episode when she was being undressed and her panty remo
ved, when her legs were spread, when his body was pressed against hers, when his
penis entered into her private parts and when accused-appellant was doing pumpi
ng motions into her vagina. In recalling the events that transpired on March 6,
1997, Emily testified:
Q Now, at about 10:00 oclock in the evening, do you recall what happened to you?
A Yes, sir.
Q What happened?
A My father said, can I sleep beside you?
Q When he said those words, where were you?
A At the side, beside my younger siblings.
Q Now, what happened after that?
A I said, I dont want to sleep with you.
Q Because you did not want to sleep with your father, what happened?
A My father got angry.
Q When he became angry with you, when he got angry, what happened?
A He counted one (1) up to three (3)
Q Up to three (3)?
A Yes, sir.
Q When he counted, what did you do?
A I remained in the place where I was sleeping and I kept quiet.
Q When you remained in the place where you were lying and you kept quiet, what h
A He approached me and kicked me on my feet.
Q Will you please demonstrate before this Honorable Court what part of your body
was hit?
A Here, sir (Witness is pointing to her right lower leg).
Q When you were hit by this kick of your father, what did you do?
A I still kept quiet and he returned to his bed and when he returned again I ran
towards the center where my siblings were lying.
Q When he returned again, what did he do, what happened?
A He said, why would you not let me sleep beside you, theres nothing wrong with
it, you are my child.
Q When he told you that, what happened?
A I kept quiet on my place and I did not answer him.
Q What did you do after that?
A There I felt asleep beside my siblings.
Q And what time did you wake that evening?
A When I woke up it was already 3:00 oclock in the morning.
Q Where were you lying when you woke up at about 3:00 oclock that early morning?
A I was already on bed.
Q When you woke up on bed, what did you feel if you felt any?
A My whole body was aching and my vagina was also aching and wet and sticky.
Q At 3:00 oclock, did you see where your father was?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where?
A On his bed.
Your Honor, the witness did not say bed, she said sa kanyang higa-an.
A I saw father where he was sleeping.
x x x
Q Miss Mario, aside from asking you for him to sleep with you the night of March
6, 1997 you do not know any other things that your father did to you?
A No more.
Q That your father raped you that evening of March 6 or in the night of March 6,
1997, you only got that information from your brother?
A And I also came to know about it because at 3:00 early in the morning, he said
, madasok lang da gapaindi pa meaning, it already entered but still you refused.
Q This was stated by your father at 3:00 oclock in the morning?
A Yes, sir.
Q And so, if not for the statement of your father, you do not know about it?
A Yes, sir.
Q And so, the actual incident that happened you do not know because you were asl
A Yes, sir.
Q And what do you understand by rape? Do you understand what is rape?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is rape?
A Raping the girls.
Q What do you mean by ginagahasa?
A Used.
Q What is ginagamit?
A Had sexual intercourse.
Q And you only came to know that you were raped by your father, from whom?
A From Ramil, and I also came to know about it because he was the only one there
and he had raped me before.
Q You are talking of the time when you were Grade III?
A Yes, sir.
Q When did Ramil tell you that you were raped by your father?
A The following morning.
Q What time?
A In my estimate it was already 6:30 oclock.
Q 6:30 oclock in the morning of March 7?
A Yes, sir, it was March 7 because the incident happened March 6 and if it is al
ready 12:00 oclock past it was already March 7.
Q And that was the only time that you came to know about it?
A What?
Q That you were raped by your father?
A Because before when I was studying in Grade III he raped me and when I was stu
dying in Grade V he raped me again.
Q But we were talking of raped on March 6, 1997, without the information given t
o you by Ramil Mario at 6:30 oclock in the morning of March 7, 1997 you really d
o not know what happened to you?
A No, sir.
Q What do you mean by saying no, yes sir?
A Yes, sir.
Q And you are sure about that?
A Yes, sir.[69]
It is clear from her testimony that she was not aware of what happened between t
he time she fell asleep until she woke up in the bed of her parents. Her conclus
ion that she was raped by accused-appellant was only deduced from the latters st
atement Madasok lang da gapaindi ka pa.
Be that as it may, her testimony adequately establishes the fact that on that fa
teful night, her father did something to her which made her whole body ache and
her most private part feel wet and sticky. Possibly, it was rape, if his penis p
enetrated her vagina. Possibly it could only be acts of lasciviousness if the pe
netration or insertion was caused by another object like accused-appellant's fin
gers. The probing fingers could have involuntarily produced a wet and sticky fee
ling on the part of the victim by the stimulation of her private parts. Whether
victim's body ached, it cannot be reasonably ascertained if she was telling the
truth or simply exaggerating. The facts at hand would more persuasively support
the theory that the offense committed by accused-appellant was acts of lasciviou
sness.[70] Foremost is that Emily was not awakened by the molestation of his fat
her. Unlike in rape where the perpetrator would normally place his weight atop h
is victim, penetrate his organ into her vagina and make thrusting motions which
would readily awaken the victim if sleeping, where only the finger of the assail
ant or some other object is inserted into the victim's private parts, which is l
ess obtrusive, there is the possibility of the victim not awaking throughout the
Indeed, it is perplexing that the victim would remain asleep as she was being un
dressed, intruded into and subjected to a push and pull movement made on her pri
vate parts. There is no pretense that she was drugged or otherwise rendered unco
nscious to facilitate the alleged rape. The case of People vs. Corcina[71] cited
by the Solicitor General to support his claim that carnal knowledge is possible
with a woman without her knowledge due to deep slumber, is not on all fours wit
h the factual circumstances of the present case. In Corcina, the victim was a ma
rried woman who already had a daughter and, as such, accustomed to sexual interc
ourse.[72] The victim in the said case awoke in the middle of the rape since she
felt the weight of a man on top of her.[73] In the present case, Emily was tota
lly unaware of her being raped.
The testimony of prosecution witness, Ramil Mario, on what transpired between th
e time that the victim slept on the floor until she woke up on the bed of her pa
rents, leaves much to be desired. The trial court did not give much credence to
it, being incoherent. This was shown when Ramil Mario was recalled to the witnes
s stand as the prosecutions rebuttal witness in view of his uncle Raymundo Mario
's earlier testimony that Ramil was coached by his mother to testify against his
father. Judge Placido Marquez had to conduct a very lengthy clarificatory exami
nation of this witness in order to determine if he really understood the stateme
nts he was making. Towards the end of the Judge's examination, he made the follo
wing observations:
The truth to this Court I will be frank with you there is a ring of truth to you
r statement that your mother told you to say to the police station that you saw
your father doing this things like pumping motion on Emily telling you so that y
our father will be released from jail it is the Court's perception. You may not
understand this because you are too young but we have to tell you this but maybe
after your college graduation you can read the transcript and this Court told y
ou this that you see Ramil the mother your mother might be using your love for y
our father see so that you would be manipulated to tell the police what he did s
o that your father will be released because you love your father. That is all Ra
mil, I am not sure if you understand. Most likely you must understand. For the r
ecord at least. [74]
Furthermore, the defense counsels cross-examination of Ramil Mario during rebutt
al reveals why the testimony of this eyewitness was discounted by the trial cour
t. Although already 11 years old, he did not know what the word "year" means. He
did not know that his birthday, or Christmas day comes once in a year. When ask
ed what are the months and the year, he could only give eight (8), mentioning De
cember ahead of October. Thus:
x x x
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q You are now 11 years old Mr. Mario?
A Yes, sir.
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q And what is your birthday?
A January 6, 1986.
Q So that you were 1 year old on January 6, 1987, correct?
No. Is not as simple as it seem. We don't know whether he knows how to compute.
That is the question.
Why don't we asked him on January 6, 1987, what is your age?
Clarify. You satisfy.
Yes, we will satisfy.
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q On January 6, 1987, how old were you?
A I was 10.
That is what I said before and I am saying it now that this little boy from Alad
does not know what is a year.
No. The question was only a span of one (1) year. And yet the he must have heard
1987, Your Honor.
Let us asked him, clarify.
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q Do you know the difference between 86 and 87?
A No, sir.
Your Honor please, why don't we asked the witness directly how many months a yea
r and what are the month in the year. What does he understand by a year.
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q You have gone to school. Have you finished Grade 3?
A No, sir.
Q You are still going to school?
A Still going to school.
Q What school?
A In Alad.
Q Alad Elementary school?
A Lamao Elementary school.
Q Grade 3?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q So, you are now absent?
A Yes, Your Honor.
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q Now, do you know what is a month from January to December?
A Yes, sir.
Q Please tell us?
A Enero, February, March, May, July, August, December, October, no more.
It is now very obvious, Your Honor, as we have said earlier he does not know.
Now, Your Honor, we will asked one question and we will leave the matter to the
Q Do you know your birthday only comes once a year?
He only blew his candle once a year. It does not prove, Your Honor that this wit
ness does not know what year and month by asking him whether his birthday happen
s once a year he might relate that his birthday happens blowing candle over a ca
ke once a year.
A I don't know.
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q How about Christmas, do you know that christmas comes once a year also.
What is the point? Does he understand what is a year and how many months a year
when he cannot mention a month and a year he could only count 8 months and it is
not in the order
A No, sir.
ATTY. MADRONA continuing:
Q How about the birthdays of your brothers and sisters, you also know that it co
mes once a year also?
If he cannot understand his own birthday much more the birthdays of his brother
and sister.
A No, sir.
We are through with the witness, Your Honor. [75]
Based on the foregoing, it is evident why the trial court doubted the testimony
of the prosecutions sole eyewitness. Due to his inability to comprehend simple q
uestions, Judge Marquez correctly entertained the thought that Ramil Mario might
not have witnessed the alleged rape committed on March 6, 1997 but was only coa
xed by his mother into testifying against his father. Thus, the trial court's ap
preciation of this witness testimony is reflected in its decision:
xxx. The testimony of Ramil Mario is no longer needed because (t)ruth is establi
shed not by the number of witnesses but by the quality of their testimonies and
the lone testimony of the victim in the crime of rape if credible is sufficient
to sustain a conviction. It is axiomatic that witnesses are to be weighed, not n
umbered. For after all, there is no law which requires that the testimony of a s
ingle witness needs corroboration except when the law so expressly requires.[76]
On the other hand, Dr. Victorio Benedicto testified that Emily was no longer a v
irgin at the time he conducted the medico-legal examination since her vagina eas
ily admitted the introduction of a thumb. There were no fresh lacerations on the
victims vagina but only scars at 2, 5 and 7 o clock positions. The absence of f
resh lacerations renders doubtful the prosecutions assertion that Emily was rape
d on March 6, 1997. The medico-legal findings indicating old scars in her vagina
tend to buttress the claim of Emily that she was raped by her father when she w
as 8 years old. Unfortunately, this incident is not included in the information.
What has been established is that an object was inserted into her vagina which r
esulted in her having felt pain and that she noticed to be wet and sticky after
she found herself on his parents' bed alongside accused-appellant who blurted ou
t "(M)adasok lang da gapaindi a pa."[77] What was inserted into her vagina could
be accused-appellant's finger or another object not necessarily his penis; henc
e, what was committed was the crime of acts of lasciviousness.
This crime was not alleged in the information against accused-appellant. Neverth
eless, an accused may be convicted of a lesser crime than that with which he is
charged if such lesser offense is necessarily included in the one charged.[78]
Considering that the crime of acts of lasciviousness or abusos dishonestos is ne
cessarily included in rape, the accused who is charged with latter crime may be
convicted with the former.[79]
The alternative circumstance of relationship under Article 15[80] of the Revised
Penal Code should be appreciated against accused-appellant. In crimes of chasti
ty such as rape and acts of lasciviousness, relationship is considered as aggrav
ating.[81] It was expressly alleged in the information and duly proven during tr
ial that the offended party is the daughter of accused-appellant; hence, relatio
nship aggravates the offense committed by accused-appellant.
The felony of acts of lasciviousness is punishable by prision correccional.[82]
There being one aggravating circumstance (relationship), the penalty of prision
correccional in its maximum period shall be imposed upon appellant.[83]
Under Section 1 of Art. No. 1403, the Court shall sentence the accused to an ind
eterminate sentence, the minimum of which shall be within the range of the penal
ty next lower to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the offense, arre
sto mayor in this case. The maximum term of the indeterminate sentence shall be
that which, in view of the attending circumstances, could be properly imposed un
der the rules of the Code, which we have previously detemined to be prision corr
eccional in its maximum period.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appealed decision is MODIFIED in that a
ccused-appellant RAMON MARIO Y MINA is found GUILTY of the crime of ACTS OF LASC
IVIOUSNESS and sentenced to suffer the indeterminate sentence of 6 months of arr
esto mayor as minimum to 6 years of prision correccional as maximum and the amou
nt of P10,000.00 as moral damages.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbin
g, Pardo, Buena, Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon, Jr., and Sandoval-Gutierrez, J
J., concur.
[1] People vs. Balmoria, 287 SCRA 687, 707-708 (1998); People vs. Tabugoca, 285
SCRA 312, 329 (1998); People vs. Tumala, Jr., 284 SCRA 436, 439 (1998).
[2] Rollo, p. 5.
[3] TSN, 14 August 1997, p. 8.
[4] Id., at 9.
[5] Id., at 10.
[6] Id.
[7] TSN, 14 August 1997, p. 10, 21.
[8] TSN, 17 September 1997, pp. 5-6.
[9] TSN, 14 August 1997, p. 11.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Id., at 22.
[12] Id., at 18.
[13] Id., at 25.
[14] Id., at 20, 26.
[15] Id., at 11.
[16] Id., at 12.
[17] Id.
[18] TSN, 15 August 1997, p. 10.
[19] Id., at 5.
[20] Id.
[21] TSN dated 15 August 1997, p. 8.
[22] Id, at 7.
[23] Id.
[24] Id.; 23 October 1997, p. 28.
[25] TSN dated 14 August 1997, p. 13.
[26] Ibid.
[27] Id., at 13-14.
[28] Id., p. 14.
[29] Id., at 15.
[30] Id.
[31] Id.
[32] TSN dated 14 August 1997, p. 17.
[33] Id., at 29; Exhibit B.
[34] TSN, 14 August 1997, p. 29.
[35] Id., at 3.
[36] Id., at 6.
[37] Id.
[38] TSN, 14 August 1997, p. 4.
[39] Id., at 5.
[40] TSN, 17 September 1997, p. 11.
[41] Id., at 20.
[42] Id., at 8-9.
[43] Id.
[44] TSN dated 17 September 1997, p. 17.
[45] Id., at 4, 13 .
[46] Id., at 20.
[47] TSN, 30 September 1997, p. 3.
[48] Id., at 4.
[49] Id., at 6.
[50] Id.
[51] TSN, 30 September 1997, p. 17.
[52] Id., at 7.
[53] TSN, 16 October 1997, p. 4.
[54] TSN, 13 November 1997, p. 16.
[55] TSN, 16 October 1997, p. 5.
[56] Ibid.
[57] TSN, 13 November 1997, p. 5.
[58] Ibid.
[59] TSN, 13 November 1997, p. 6.
[60] Id., at 8.
[61] Rollo, pp. 15-19.
[62] Id., at 36.
[63] 26. Admissions of a party.- The act, declaration or omission of a party as
to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against him.
[64] People vs. Maqueda, 242 SCRA 565, 583 (1995); People vs. Lorenzo, 240 SCRA
624, 639 (1995);
[65] CMS Logging, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 211 SCRA 374, 380-381 (1992).
[66] People vs. Maqueda, 242 SCRA 565, 583 (1995); People vs. Lorenzo, 240 SCRA
624, 638-639 (1995).
[67] Rollo, p. 14.
[68] ART. 335. When and how rape is committed. -- Rape is committed by having ca
rnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
1. By using force or intimidation;
2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
3. When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by tw
o or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has become insane, the
penalty shall be death.
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed by reason o
r on the occasion thereof, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, a homicide is committed, the pena
lty shall be death.
The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with a
ny of the following attendant circumstances:
1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a par
ent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity wit
hin the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim
2. when the victim is under the custody of the police or military authorities.
3. when the rape is committed in full view of the husband, parent, any of the ch
ildren or other relatives within the third degree of consanguinity.
4. when the victim is a religious or a child below seven (7) years old.
5. when the offender knows that he is afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome (AIDS) disease.
6. when committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Ph
ilippine National Police or any law enforcement agency.
7. when by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has suffered perman
ent physical mutilation. (As amended by Republic Act No. 7659)
[69] TSN, 14 August 1997, pp. 9-20.
[70] ART. 336. Acts of lasciviousness. -- Any person who shall commit any act of
lasciviousness upon other persons of either sex, under any of the circumstances
mentioned in the preceding article, shall be punished by prision correccional.
[71] 53 Phil 234 (1929).
[72] Id., at 238.
[73] Ibid.
[74] TSN, 16 October 1997, pp. 23-32 (Emphasis supplied).
[75] Id., at 33-39.
[76] Rollo, p. 16 (Emphasis supplied).
[77] See note 67.
[78] Secs. 4 & 5, Rule 120 of the Rules of Court provides:
SEC. 4. Judgments in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there i
s variance between the offense charged in the complaint or information, and that
proved or established by the evidence, and the offense as charged is included o
r necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the
offense charged included in that which is proved.
SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in another.- An offense charged
necessarily includes that which is proved, when some of the essential elements o
r ingredients of the former, as this is alleged in the complaint or information,
constitute the latter. And an offense is charged is necessarily is necessarily
included in the offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former con
stitute or form a part of those constituting the latter.
[79] Dulla vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123164, February 18, 2000; People vs.
Mariano, 50 Phil. 587 (1927).
[80] ART. 15. Their concept. Alternative circumstances are those which must be t
aken into consideration as aggravating or mitigating according to the nature and
effects of the crime and other conditions attending its commission. They are th
e relationship, intoxication and the degree of instruction and education of the
The alternative circumstance of relationship shall be taken when the offended pa
rty is the spouse, ascendant, descendant, legitimate, natural or adopted brother
or sister, or relative by affinity in the same degrees of the offender.
x x x
[81] People vs. Matrimonio, 215 SCRA 613, 634-635 (1992).
[82] Supra, note 69.
[83] Article 64, Revised Penal Code.
ART. 64. Rules for the application of penalties which contain three periods.--In
cases in which the penalties prescribed by law contain three periods, whether i
t be a single divisible penalty or composed of three different penalties, each o
ne of which forms a period in accordance with the provisions of Articles 76 and
77, the court shall observe for the application of the penalty the following rul
es, according to whether there are or are not mitigating or aggravating circumst
x x x
3. When only an aggravating circumstance is present in the commission of the act
, they shall impose the penalty in its maximum period.
x x x