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G.R. No. 181043 People v.

Muit October 8, 2008

People of the Philippines, Millano Muit, Sergio Pancho, Jr., Eduardo


appellee Hermano Alias "Bobby Reyes", Rolando Dequillo,
Romeo Pancho, and Joseph Ferraer,
appellants
Tinga, J.

DOCTRINE:
As a rule, an extra-judicial confession is admissible only against the person making it except when several
extra judicial statements are made by several persons charged with an offense and there could have been
no collusion in the said confessions, the fact that the statements are in all material respects identical is
confirmatory of the confession of the co-defendants and is admissible against other persons implicated
therein.

FACTS:
Muit, Pancho Jr., Dequillo, Romeo, and Ferraer were charged with Kidnapping for Ransom with Homicide,
and Carnapping.
o Muit is part of the kidnapping team;
o Pancho Jr. was the backup for the kidnapping team;
o Romeo was the trusted foreman of the victim, Engr. Ingnacio Ong. Jr. (Remeo is an insider);
o Ferraer one who was approached to use his house as safehouse.
One of the co-accused (Ferraer) was discharged from the cases because he served as a state witness.
o Ferraer did not participate in the actual execution of the kidnapping.
The group composed of Hermano, Morales, Udon, Manuel, Bokbok, and Muit succeeded in kidnapping
their intended victim.
They were to proceed in a rendezvous point with Pancho Jr.
On the way to their meeting point they were intercepted by the police.
A gun battle ensued which left all of the kidnappers dead including the victim, except for Muit.
Muit was arrested.
During trial, the prosecution presented several witnesses.
The testimony of these witnesses were corroborated by the extrajudicial confessions of Pancho Jr. and
Dequillo.
o Dequillo claimed that he was allegedly tortured when he claimed he did not have knowledge.
o Pancho Jr. claimed that he was tortured and was forced to sign an extra-judicial confession.
o It was claimed that it was only after they signed that Atty. Mallare came.
Muit also executed 2 extra-judicial confessions. He was assisted by 2 different lawyers on both occasions.
RTC Makati: all guilty of the crime charged.
o Their claims of torture were belied because the medical certificates did not indicate that such happened.
o Also, assuming they did not have those extra-judicial confessions, there was enough evidence to still
convict them.
On appeal, CA affirmed the RTC.
o The extra-judicial confessions detailing their participation were executed with the assistance of a
counsel.
o Muit, aside from his extra-judicial confession, was positively identified to have participated.
Hence this appeal to the SC.
G.R. No. 181043 People v. Muit October 8, 2008

ISSUE:
Whether or not the RTC erred in giving credence to the extra-judicial confessions of Pancho Jr. and Dequillo.
NO

HELD:
The elements of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention are the following: (a) the accused is
a private individual; (b) the accused kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his
liberty; (c) the act of detention or kidnapping is illegal; and (d) in the commission of the offense, any of the
four circumstances mentioned in Article 267 is present. The essence of the crime of kidnapping is the actual
deprivation of the victim's liberty, coupled with indubitable proof of intent of the accused to effect the
same. The totality of the prosecution's evidence in this case established the commission of kidnapping for
ransom with homicide.
On the other hand, Republic Act No. 6539, or the Anti-Carnapping Act, as amended, defines "carnapping"
as the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another without the latter's consent, or
by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things. The crime was
committed in this case when the victim's Pajero was forcibly taken away from him contemporaneously with
his kidnapping at the construction site.
The kidnapping for ransom with homicide and the carnapping were established by the direct testimony of
Ferraer, Seraspe and Chavez. Ferraer testified on how the group approached and convinced him to let them
use his house to keep the victim they planned to kidnap. They planned the crime in Ferraer's house and
waited for the call from Romeo to inform them when the victim would be at the construction site. The
group received a call from Romeo on 2 December 1997 informing them that the victim was already at the
construction site, and so they went there to carry out their plan. At the construction site, as testified to by
Seraspe and Chavez, Muit and the other members of the group pointed their guns at the victim and his
companion and ordered them to lie prostrate on the ground. After getting the keys to the Pajero from
Seraspe, they forced the victim to board the vehicle with Muit driving it. They immediately reported the
kidnapping of the victim to the police and the kidnappers were intercepted by the group led by Supt.
Mission. Supt. Mission testified that the kidnappers refused to surrender and engaged the police in a shoot-
out in which the victim was among the casualties. Muit was one of the two persons who survived the shoot
out, but was apprehended by the police. Pancho, Jr. returned to the house of Ferraer alone when the group
did not arrive at their meeting place. Ferraer, Pancho, Jr., and Pancho, Sr. learned from the news that the
group engaged the police in a shoot-out and most of them were killed, and that Muit was arrested by the
police.
After investigation, the police were able to apprehend appellants Pancho, Jr., Romeo, and Dequillo who all
took part in the botched criminal conspiracy to kidnap the victim. During the investigation, Pancho, Jr.,
Dequillo, and Muit, with the assistance of their counsels and family members, executed extra-judicial
confessions divulging their respective roles in the planning and execution of the crimes.
Even though Pancho, Jr., Dequillo and Romeo did not participate in the actual abduction of the victim,
they should still be held liable, as the courts below did, because of the existence of conspiracy. Conspiracy
is a unity of purpose and intention in the commission of a crime. Where conspiracy is established, the
precise modality or extent of participation of each individual conspirator becomes secondary since the act
of one is the act of all. The degree of actual participation in the commission of the crime is immaterial.
The conspiracy to kidnap the victim was proven through circumstantial evidence. The group thoroughly
planned the kidnapping in Ferraer's house and patiently waited for the day when the victim would be at the
construction site. Then on 2 December 1997, the group received a call from Romeo so they proceeded to
the construction site and carried out their plan.
All the appellants took active part in the criminal conspiracy and performed different roles to consummate
their common plan. The roles which Muit and his other companions played in the actual abduction were
described earlier. As for Dequillo, he was the one who procured the guns used by the group. Pancho, Jr.
served as the driver of the back-up vehicle, and Romeo was the group's informant.
G.R. No. 181043 People v. Muit October 8, 2008

The extra judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit strengthened the case against them.
o There is nothing on record to support appellants claim that they were coerced and tortured
into executing their extra judicial confessions.
o One of the indicia of voluntariness in the execution of appellants extra judicial statements is that
each contains many details and facts which the investigating officers could not have known and
could not have supplied, without the knowledge and information given by appellants.
o Moreover, the appellants were assisted by their lawyers when they executed their statements.
Atty. Mallare testified that Pancho, Jr. and Dequillo executed their statements voluntarily and affixed
their signatures after he talked with them alone and informed them of their constitutional rights.
Muit, on the other hand, was assisted by counsels in each instance when he executed his two extra judicial
confessions; his second statement was even witnessed by his uncle, Bonifacio, and his brother, Dominador.
o Muit cannot just conveniently disclaim any knowledge of the contents of his extra judicial
confession. Nevertheless, in Muits case, he was also positively identified by Seraspe and Chavez
(witnesses presented by the prosecution, they were there when the kidnapping happened) as the one
who pointed a gun at them during the kidnapping and ordered them to lay prostrate on the ground.
Appellants claims of torture are not supported by medical certificates from the physical examinations done
on them.
o These claims of torture were mere afterthoughts as they were raised for the first time during trial;
appellants did not even inform their family members who visited them while they were imprisoned
about the alleged tortures.
o Dequillo, for his part, also had the opportunity to complain of the alleged torture done to him to the
Department of Justice when he was brought there. Claims of torture are easily concocted, and
cannot be given credence unless substantiated by competent and independent corroborating evidence.
The extra judicial confessions of Pancho, Jr., Dequillo, and Muit also strengthened the prosecutions case
against Romeo.
o The rule that an extra judicial confession is evidence only against the person making it
recognizes various exceptions.
o One such exception is where several extra judicial statements had been made by several
persons charged with an offense and there could have been no collusion with reference to said
several confessions, the fact that the statements are in all material respects identical is
confirmatory of the confession of the co-defendants and is admissible against other persons
implicated therein.
They are also admissible as circumstantial evidence against the person implicated therein to
show the probability of the latters actual participation in the commission of the crime and may
likewise serve as corroborative evidence if it is clear from other facts and circumstances that
other persons had participated in the perpetration of the crime charged and proved.
These are known as interlocking confessions. Nonetheless, the RTC, in convicting Romeo,
relied not only on the aforesaid extra judicial statements but also on Ferraers testimony that
Romeo was introduced to him in his house as the informant when they were planning the
kidnapping.