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[G.R. No. 124213.

August 17, 1998] The witnesses for the prosecution were ANALIZA, Sergio Dy, Francisca
Duroja, Dr. Merly Tan, Dr. Regino Mercado, Dr. Rosemarie Cam, and Luz
Lucero. The defense relied on the testimonies of DANTE, PS/Insp. Roel Acidre,
Teresita Acain, Josephine Ollave, and Betty Orocay.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. DANTE ALFECHE y
ANALIZA started working as a domestic helper for Sergio Dy and his family in
TAMPARONG, alias WILLY, and JOHN DOE, accused, DANTE
Barangay Can-adieng in Ormoc City, Leyte, on 9 March 1994. On 11 September
ALFECHE y TAMPARONG, accused-appellant.
1994, at about 10:30 p.m., the Dy spouses were at Ipil, Leyte, attending a meeting of
the Couples for Christ. Their two grown-up children were not at home either. Only
DECISION ANALIZA and her one-year-old ward were left in the Dy residence. In accordance
PER CURIAM: with her employers instructions, she locked only the kitchen door and placed a chair
to the front door but kept it unlocked, as the Dys did not bring a key to the
door. ANALIZA was watching television in the sala when she heard a sound from
Condemned to suffer the death penalty in each of two counts of rape by the the front door, then somebody, whom she recognized as a certain Willy suddenly
Regional Trial Court of Ormoc City, Branch 12, in its Joint Decision [1] of 22 August held her hand, gagged her mouth, and pointed a knife at her. Willy had two
1995 in Criminal Cases Nos. 4615-0 and 4616-0, accused-appellant Dante Alfeche y companions, but she recognized only one of the two, namely, DANTE. While she
Tamparong (hereafter DANTE) seeks the reversal of his conviction as we review the was thus gagged and held at the point of a knife, DANTE approached her and boxed
judgment now on automatic appeal to us pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal her on her side, as a result of which she lost consciousness.[7]
Code, as amended by Section 22 of R.A. No. 7659.[2]
Upon regaining consciousness some thirty minutes later, ANALIZA found her
The two cases were commenced by complaints signed by complainant Analiza short pants removed and her private part bleeding, which was unusual because she
Duroja (hereafter ANALIZA). The accusatory portion of the complaint in Criminal was not menstruating before she was attacked. She immediately washed her private
Case No. 4615-0 reads as follows: part and took a bath.[8]

That on or about the 18th day of September 1994, at around 11:00 oclock in the Her employers arrived at 12:30 a.m. the following day, but ANALIZA did not
morning, in Brgy. Can-adieng, Ormoc City, and within the jurisdiction of this report the incident to them. Neither did she inform the authorities or her mother, who
Honorable Court, the above-named accused DANTE ALFECHE y Tamparong, Alias lived some houses away, because she was ashamed and also afraid of DANTEs
WILLY and JOHN DOE, in conspiracy with one another, treachery, and taking threat that he would kill her mother if she told anyone about the incident. [9]
advantage of superior strength, by means of violence and intimidation, with the use ANALIZA had not engaged in sexual intercourse prior to this assault.[10]
of a knife, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal
knowledge of the complainant herein ANALIZA A. DUROJA, a 17 year old lass, Again, on 18 September 1994, at about 11:00 a.m., ANALIZA was alone with
against her will. her ward in the Dy residence. She was sauting pork when suddenly, the three accused
again intruded into the house through the back door. Willy held her hand and gagged
In violation of Article 335, Revised Penal Code. her mouth, while John Doe first turned off the stove and then laid her on the floor
and pointed a knife at her. Thereupon, DANTE knelt on her legs, undressed her,
The complaint in Criminal Case No. 4616-0 [3] is similarly worded except as to the inserted his private part into hers, and made a push and pull motion. Some five
date and time the crime was committed, that is, on or about the 11 th of September minutes later, DANTE stood up and immediately put on his pants.ANALIZA saw a
1994, at around 10:30 in the evening. Only DANTE was apprehended. His co- whitish substance on her organ, which came from DANTE. The latter then placed
accused Willy and John Doe have remained at large. her left hand on a table and drove a nail into it. DANTE and his companions
forthwith left.The incident affected her work; nevertheless, she was able to finish
DANTE waived preliminary investigation.[4] Upon arraignment, he entered a preparing lunch for her employers, who arrived at noon.[11]
plea of innocence.[5] Since the two cases involved the same parties and common
evidence, the trial court ordered their consolidation and joint trial. [6] ANALIZA reported to the police that her hand was injured, and sought medical
attention therefor. She related nothing about the rape for fear that Dante would make
good his threat to kill her mother. It was only after she took poison several times that PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:
her mother came to know of the rapes. She tried to kill herself because she was then
pregnant and ashamed of what had happened to her. She gave birth to a boy on 27 Abdomen globularly enlarge[d] as to 8-9 months ACG
May 1995.[12]
Dr. Regino Mercado, City Health Officer of Ormoc City, examined ANALIZA INTERNAL EXAMINATION - admits two fingers with ease.
on 18 September 1994 and found a [p]unctured wound over the base of left
4th posterior finger. He then issued a medical certificate. [13] According to him, the Hymen - with 2,4,7,11 oclock laceration (old healed)[17]
injury could have been caused by a sharp instrument, possibly a nail; and his
interview of ANALIZA confirmed his theory. ANALIZA did not inform him who According to Dr. Tan, the hymenal lacerations could have been caused by sexual
caused the injury. He further observed that ANALIZA seemed frightened and intercourse. Her examination of ANALIZAs uterus disclosed that the fetus was about
depressed, which he attributed to her recent ordeal. On cross-examination, Dr. 8 to 9 months old; however, since ANALIZA said that she was raped in September
Mercado stated that ANALIZA did not tell him that she was raped. Neither did she 1994, or about six months prior to the examination, Dr. Tan doubted her findings and
complain of pain in her vagina, nor did she request an examination of her private requested an ultrasound test,[18] the result of which was not shown to her.[19]
part.[14]
Dr. Rosemarie Cam, who was responsible for ANALIZAs pre-natal care,
Sergio Dy, ANALIZAs employer, declared that he was not at his home on 11 declared that ANALIZAs child was born on 27 May 1995 and could have been
September 1994 between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m., as he was at a prayer meeting of the conceived on 11 September 1994 or 18 September 1994. She could not be certain as
Couples for Christ in Ipil, Leyte. He instructed ANALIZA to close the door and to the period of conception because she was unaware of ANALIZAs menstrual
windows of the house while he was away; and that if she felt sleepy while he was cycle. On cross-examination, she opined that it was also possible that the child was
still away, she should place a chair at the door to shut it so that he could get inside conceived earlier than 11 September 1994.[20]
the house without waking her. He arrived home at around 11:00 p.m. ANALIZA did
not complain of any unusual incident. On 18 September 1994 between 9:00 and DANTE had another story to tell.
11:00 a.m., Sergio was attending to his business at the corner of Hermosilla and Real
He is a native of Zamboanga, grew up in Davao City, and came to be in Ormoc
Streets in Ormoc City. He had lunch at home at around noon, but again ANALIZA
City because of his business of selling dried fish. He arrived in Ormoc City during
did not inform him of any unusual incident while he was away. On cross-
the first week of January 1993 and stayed in the house of Mylene Ablen in Barangay
examination, Sergio added that it was only sometime in March 1995 that ANALIZA
Can-adieng, which was separated by a chapel from ANALIZAs house. ANALIZA,
told him that a person nailed her hand and that she was pregnant, but she never
who was also known as Ethel in that Barangay, used to go to Ablens house to play
informed him that she was raped.[15]
computer games. Soon they became sweethearts. During the last week of January
According to Francisca Duroja, her daughter ANALIZA was a tomboy and had, 1993, he took her to the Shalom Lodging House where he gave her P200, and they
therefore, no boyfriend. She first learned that ANALIZA was pregnant when the had sexual congress. They repeated their tryst in February 1993. They stopped seeing
latter attempted suicide by drinking poison sometime in March 1995 at the office of each other when he got involved with Naomi Marilao, whom he considered his
Engineer Lucero. She brought her daughter, who was already in a serious condition, common-law wife. He later lived with Teresa Acain, whom he met because Teresas
to the Ormoc District Hospital. At the hospital ANALIZA explained that she mother retailed dried fish. He maintained a relationship with these three women only.
[21]
attempted suicide because she became pregnant after she was raped; and she
identified her assailants as DANTE, Willy, and an unknown person.Francisca and her
It was on 24 August 1994 that he eloped with Teresa Acain. Accompanied by a
daughter then went to the police to complain about the incident. After the rape
certain Babie, they went to the house of Josephine Ollave at Barangay Patag, Ormoc
charges were filed in court, a certain Joe Burgos came to her house and offered,
City, where they stayed until the end of September 1994. At around 10:30 p.m. of 11
allegedly on behalf of DANTE, to settle the cases amicably, but she rejected the
September 1994, he was at Josephines house with Teresa and the other occupants
offer.[16]
thereof. Throughout his stay at Josephines house, he never went to Ormoc City
Dr. Merly Tan, a medical officer of the Department of Obstetrics and proper.[22]
Gynecology at the Ormoc District Hospital, testified that ANALIZA was previously
However, on 16 September 1994, at around 6:00 p.m., he met with ANALIZA
handled by the medical department when she attempted suicide. Later, or on 31
at the Boy Scout Canteen. He then asked her to check-in with him at the Rajah
March 1995, she examined ANALIZA in connection with the rape incident. Her
Lodging House because he had a reserved room there. She acquiesced, but once
findings were summarized as follows:
there he noticed that her tummy was already hard and that turned [him] off. He asked
her whether it was true that three persons had trespassed her house and raped ANALIZA to a lodging house. Betty left the canteen and proceeded to Zenaidas Inn
her. She confirmed the story, added that her hand had been pierced with a nail, and where she was to meet her boyfriend. At past 7:00 p.m. she saw DANTE proceed to
even showed him the location of her wound. But she did not divulge the identity of the Rajah Lodging House. Afterwards, while Betty was having dinner with her
her assailants, much less accuse him of perpetrating the offense. She then asked for boyfriend at the Inn, she saw ANALIZA go to that same lodging house.[28]
money, and he gave her P40. He first learned of the charge against him on 29 March
1995 when he was arrested.[23] DANTE denied knowing any Willy or John Doe. Perceiving an attempt by the defense to destroy ANALIZAs credibility by
portraying her as a prostitute and a woman of loose morals, the prosecution sought to
On cross-examination, DANTE disclosed that while in transit at Cebu City, he prove ANALIZAs good moral character by presenting Luz Lucero as rebuttal
met Mylene Ablen and her husband, who told him that there was a good business in witness. The 61-year-old Luz worked as a secretary to her husband and as a
Ormoc City. He was then traveling with card gamblers, being himself a hustler. In councilwoman in her barangay. She has known ANALIZA since the latter was a little
Ormoc City, Mylene told him that ANALIZA could be easily gotten if she was given girl, as ANALIZA lived only two houses away from their house. ANALIZA worked
money; hence, he surmised that ANALIZA was no longer a virgin. He then courted at the Lucero residence, washing clothes. About once a week, she would join the
ANALIZA, and soon they became sweethearts. While he admitted having asked Joe Luceros for a stroll at the plaza and for picnics. Later, she worked at the Dy
Burgos for help, he denied having asked the latter to seek an amicable settlement of residence; but after completing her chores for the Dys, ANALIZA would still play
the case.[24] with the Lucero children at the latters house. Luz never saw this girl in the company
of male friends despite her tomboyish behavior. ANALIZA could not be a prostitute;
Teresita Acain, DANTEs alleged lover since June 1994 and who claimed to be for if she were, Luz would not have allowed her children to befriend the former. [29]
married to him, testified that she was supposed to go to Tacloban City on 24 August
1994. Instead, she eloped with DANTE. Accompanied by Betty Orocay, they went to The trial court found the defense witnesses and the tale they spun not credible
the residence of Josephine Ollave in Barangay Patag, Ormoc City, where they stayed enough. It could not believe that DANTE, a fish vendor without extraordinary looks,
until 27 September 1994. On 11 September 1994, at around 10:00 p.m., she and could hook a 17-year-old virgin while he was still a stranger in her place; or that the
DANTE were just about to go to sleep at Josephines house. She could recall no same woman would jump to bed with him on the first opportunity to do so. On the
instance when he left the room where they were staying.On 18 September 1994, at other hand, it found ANALIZA to be a more credible witness, especially that she told
about 11:00 a.m., she and DANTE were cleaning Josephines house and tending to her story in between sobs. Moreover, her positive testimony prevailed over DANTEs
the pigs.[25] alibi. It found sufficient reason for her delay in reporting her experience, and
recognized that after drawing courage she went on to endure a public trial. It opined
Josephine Ollave recalled that on 24 August 1994, at around 7:00 p.m., her that even if DANTE and ANALIZA were sweethearts from January to February
sister Betty, together with DANTE and a certain Teresa, came to her house in 1993, he could still have raped her on 11 and 18 September 1994. And although she
Barangay Patag. She remembered the date because it was her sons birthday. Betty was unconscious during the alleged rape on 11 September 1994, it believed that the
asked her to allow the couple to stay over because they had just eloped. Josephine circumstances, when collectively considered, were sufficient to establish the crime of
acceded to the request. On 11 September 1994, at about 10:00 p.m., she was at home rape.
with her husband, DANTE, and Teresa. On 18 September 1994, at around 11:00
a.m., she, her husband, DANTE, and Teresa were tending to the hogs; after which The trial court appreciated the aggravating circumstances of nighttime (in the
DANTE went inside the house. DANTE and Teresa left her house during the last case of the first rape) and dwelling against DANTE. It also recognized that the
week of September 1994. On cross-examination she informed the court that her offense was committed by three persons and with the use of a knife. It then imposed
house was only a 30- to 40-minute ride away from Ormoc City by motorcab.[26] the supreme penalty of death; thus:
Police Inspector Roel Acidre, Commanding Officer of the Mobile Force
Company of Ormoc City Police Command based in Camp Downes, Ormoc City, WHEREFORE, decision is hereby rendered in criminal case No. 4615 finding the
testified that on 18 September 1994, at around 8:00 p.m., Francisca Duroja and her accused DANTE ALFECHE guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape defined and
daughter ANALIZA came to report that the latters hand was pierced with a nail by penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act
DANTE. Acidre told the two to go to any hospital for medical treatment and bring No. 7659. Appreciating the aggravating circumstance of dwelling with no mitigating
the result for appropriate legal action, but they never returned to the police station.[27] circumstance to offset it, this court imposes upon the same DANTE ALFECHE the
penalty of DEATH. Decision is also hereby rendered in criminal case no. 4616
Betty Orocay testified that at around 4:00 p.m. of 16 February 1995 she saw finding the accused DANTE ALFECHE guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape
DANTE enter the Boy Scout Canteen in Ormoc City while she was eating at the said defined and penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by
establishment. She asked DANTE to join her for snacks, and the latter obliged. Later Republic Act No. 7659. Appreciating the aggravating circumstance of dwelling and
ANALIZA arrived, and DANTE approached her. Betty heard DANTE invite nighttime with no mitigating circumstance to offset any of the two, this court
imposes upon the said DANTE ALFECHE the penalty of DEATH. Further, the said COURT
Dante Alfeche is directed to indemnify ANALIZA DUROJA the sum of THIRTY
THOUSAND PESOS in criminal case no. 4615 and the further sum of THIRTY Q Before you became unconscious, were you bleeding already?
THOUSAND PESOS in criminal case no. 4616 as compensation for moral damages, A Not yet, Your Honor.
and to pay the cost.
COURT
Since the penalty imposed was death, this case was brought to us for automatic Continue.
review and judgment.[30]
PROS. FULACHE
In his Appellants Brief, DANTE contends that the trial court gravely erred (a)
in convicting him for two counts of rape and sentencing him to suffer the death So that you did not know what happened when you were unconscious?
penalty in each; and (b) in holding him liable to pay the complainant P60,000 as civil
COURT
indemnity.
Of course.
DANTE maintains that the alleged rape on 11 September 1994 was not proved
beyond reasonable doubt because ANALIZA was unconscious at the time and could WITNESS
not therefore testify as to the pertinent circumstances. On the other hand, the Office
of the Solicitor General (OSG) claims that there were sufficient established A I did not know anything, Sir.[35]
circumstances to constitute an unbroken chain leading to no other hypothesis than As regards the second rape, DANTE again argues that the offense was never
that DANTE was guilty of the crime charged, and that these circumstances were proved beyond reasonable doubt. The uncorroborated testimony of ANALIZA
sufficient to convict him. These circumstances were as follows: cannot be a basis for conviction.[36] Moreover, her testimony was contrary to human
experience because the activities of the rapists, from their turning off the stove in the
(a) While Analiza was watching television at her employers house on kitchen to the forced sexual intercourse, presumably coupled with resistance from
September 11, 1994 at around 10:30 in the evening, three (3) persons entered her, could not have been accomplished in nine (9) minutes, even with military
the house; (b) One of the men whom she knew as Willy suddenly held her precision. Another source of doubt was her activity when the accused entered the
hand, gagged her mouth and pointed a knife at her; (c) Another man whom kitchen. She testified that she had not yet prepared lunch; but, on cross-examination,
she recognized as appellant approached her and boxed her at her side; (d) she said that she was sauting vegetables, which she later changed to pork.DANTE
Because of appellants punch, Analiza lost consciousness; she regained maintains that the discrepancies are material because ANALIZA took pains to
consciousness about thirty (30) minutes later; and (e) When she woke up, specify the acts of the accused in relation to what she was doing at the time; hence,
Analiza felt something unusual; she noticed that her shorts had been removed her testimony as to what she was doing must be as consistent as her insistence on the
and her vagina was bleeding. (Citations omitted). alleged acts of the accused.

We agree with DANTE that the first alleged rape was not sufficiently The OSG states that the inconsistencies relied upon by DANTE refer to
proved. Since rape is not normally committed in the presence of witnesses, [31] the collateral and minor matters, which do not detract from ANALIZAs positive
only evidence that can oftentimes be offered to establish the guilt of the accused is testimony. Even the most candid witnesses have been known to make inconsistent
the complainants testimony.[32] Said testimony must be clear and positive to prove statements; but these do not necessarily impair their credibility and, instead, may
that the acts which constitute the elements of rape were committed. [33] Although even be a badge of truthfulness. What is significant is that ANALIZA categorically
ANALIZA was unconscious when the first rape was allegedly committed, she could stated that the accused entered her employers house and sexually assaulted her.
have described circumstances constituting an unbroken chain of events that would We believe that the aforementioned details the accuseds length of stay and the
indicate that the offense was actually perpetrated by the accused. [34] In this case, dish ANALIZA was preparing are insignificant. Since it was not shown that
ANALIZAs unconsciousness broke the chain of events from which we could have ANALIZA looked at a watch before and after the accuseds assault, she could not be
inferred the occurrence of the offense. ANALIZAs testimony says as much: expected to give an accurate appraisal of the accuseds length of stay. Furthermore, a
PROS. FULACHE misestimation of time is too immaterial to discredit the testimony of a witness,
especially where time is not an essential element or has no substantial bearing on the
Q Why do you say that you do not know what was the cause of the bleeding in fact of the commission of the offense.[37] Likewise, since several months passed
your sexual organ? before ANALIZA told her story to the trial court, she could not be expected to
[47]
remember what dish she was preparing at the time unless the same had a significant DANTE maintains that ANALIZAs behavior after the rape rendered her
connection with the events that transpired on that date. allegations incredible.
As the OSG emphasizes, the victim should not be presumed to have total recall The OSG contends that there is no standard human response to a crime; hence,
of the incident.[38] Indeed, this Court cannot, in rape cases, expect the poor victim to ANALIZAs opting to finish her chores after she was raped should not discredit her
give an accurate account of the traumatic and dreadful experience that she had testimony. ANALIZA also gave a plausible explanation for her failure to report the
undergone.[39] Neither inconsistencies on trivial matters nor innocent lapses affect the rape, that is, she was ashamed and afraid.
credibility of a witness.[40] On the contrary, they may be considered badges of
veracity or manifestations of truthfulness on material points in the testimony. [41] Put We disagree with DANTEs view that the complainants age is the basis for the
in another way, minor inconsistencies even tend to strengthen rather than weaken the application of the aforequoted principle. He even concedes that the precept has been
credibility of a witness because they erase any suspicion of rehearsed testimony. employed in cases involving 17- and 18-year-old victims, as well as married women,
[42]
At any rate, the circumstances mentioned by DANTE do not touch upon the area where the circumstances so warrant.[48] Therefore, it is the totality of the
of inquiry, that is, the acts allegedly perpetrated by the accused which constituted the circumstances, and not the victims age alone, which determines whether the principle
offense. should be applied.

DANTE also asserts that the element of force or intimidation indispensable in Anent the victims conduct following the alleged rape, there is no standard form
rape was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. ANALIZA testified that one of the of behavior in this regard. In one case, after having been raped, the victim accepted
accused, who was never identified, pointed a knife at her while DANTE was raping a P20 bill from the rapist and then went home. [49] In another case, some twelve hours
her. This testimony was inconsistent, uncorroborated, and incredible. Furthermore, after the rape, the victim accompanied her sister to attend a wake; and there she
ANALIZA gave no information on where or how she was threatened with the knife, played card games and jumped with joy whenever she won.[50] In a few other cases,
or what the unidentified accused was doing with the knife while DANTE was raping the victims merely kept silent about their harrowing experience despite opportunities
her. She also failed to prove any struggle against her attackers, which would preclude to divulge the same.[51] In these examples the oldest of the victims was 16 years old,
a finding that force or intimidation was employed.[43] but we will not jump into the sweeping conclusion that the victims age is the
controlling factor in upholding her credibility. It is more correct to state that the
The OSG claims that force and intimidation attended the commission of the victims discernment of the consequences of the rape, in relation to her reaction to the
second rape, consisting in (1) Willys holding ANALIZAs hand, gagging her mouth, offense, influences our assessment of the victims trustworthiness. Thus, in a case
and keeping her immobile on the floor; (2) John Does pointing a knife at her; and (3) where the alleged victim was an adult, the absence of any manifestation of her
DANTEs kneeling on her legs, further immobilizing her. outrage demonstrated the dubiousness of the charge[52] because the victim in such a
case could be deemed to have sufficient recognition of the impact on her of the
We reiterate that for rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or offense.
intimidation employed in accomplishing the crime be so great or of such character as
could not be resisted. What is necessary is that the force or intimidation be sufficient ANALIZA was only 17 years old when she was sexually assaulted. Her
to consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind.[44] We have also held that educational attainment is Grade VI.[53] She lived most of her life as a servant of one
intimidation is addressed to the mind of the victim, and must be viewed according to household or another.[54] It was not shown that she was a woman of above average
her perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the offense. intelligence.
[45]
ANALIZA elaborated on how she was held down by the three
assailants. Regardless of how she was threatened with a knife, ANALIZA made it We must not discredit her story of rape merely because after the rape she did
clear that she could not resist the accuseds attack. other things which could not be expected from one who had just been raped. In the
first incident, ANALIZA simply washed her bloodied private part after she regained
DANTE next disputes the application of the principle that no woman in her consciousness; and in the second incident, she finished her cooking. We have said
right senses would concoct a tale so repugnant to her virtue and undergo the rigors of before that the workings of the human mind when placed under emotional stress are
a public trial concerning her very honor, because this is no guaranty that all self- unpredictable, and that people react differently. In such a given situation, some may
inflicted indignities are for the sake of truth. [46] He theorizes that the said principle is shout; some may faint; and some may be shocked into insensibility; while others
applicable when the victim is between 12 and 16 years old and clad in the armor of may openly welcome the intrusion.[55]
innocence. A kindred test of the complainants credibility is her conduct after the
alleged sexual assault. Such conduct must be consistent with human behavior; As to ANALIZAs failure to immediately report her ordeal, the same was due
otherwise, the complainants uncorroborated testimony is deemed incredible. mainly to her feeling of shame. We keep in mind the fact that ANALIZA grew up in
the province under a code of behavior characterized by shyness and chastity. We also
take judicial notice of the Filipinas inbred modesty and antipathy in airing publicly
things which affect her honor.[56] Indeed, there are many victims of rape who would As to the suggestion that ANALIZA was a prostitute, that alone, even if it be
rather keep to themselves forever than make public a painful and humiliating secret. conceded, cannot absolve him of his liability for rape. First, prostitutes can be
[57]
victims of rape.[64] Second, it was not shown that ANALIZA remained a prostitute up
to 18 September 1994. Our own meticulous review of the evidence convinces us that
Appreciating the foregoing circumstances together, we cannot expect ANALIZA was not a prostitute; and the testimony of DANTE on this is simply
ANALIZA to act in accordance with the norms of behavior demanded of mature incredible in itself, let alone the fact that we do not find him to be a credible
women.[58] person. For evidence to be believed it must not only proceed from the mouth of a
A review of her testimony convinces us with moral certainty that DANTE credible witness, but must also be credible in itself. [65] To us, DANTE is a confessed
raped her on 18 September 1994. Further strengthening our conclusion is the fact scoundrel portraying himself to be a veritable Casanova whose story is gravid
that the trial judge gave full faith and credit to her testimony. It is doctrinally withimplausibilities.
entrenched that the evaluation of the testimonies of witnesses by the trial court is The only issue left is the penalty which may be imposed on DANTE for the
received on appeal with the highest respect because such court has the direct rape on 18 September 1994. The trial court imposed the death penalty pursuant to
opportunity to observe the witnesses on the witness stand and determine whether Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, in view of the
they are telling the truth or not.[59] As we stated in People v. De Guzman:[60] finding that the crime was committed by three persons and with the use of a knife,
and was attended with the aggravating circumstance of dwelling.
[T]he trial judge is able to detect that sometimes thin line between fact and
prevarication that will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. That It must be first observed that the complaints in Criminal Cases Nos. 4615-0 and
line may not be discernible from a mere reading of the impersonal record by 4616-0 charge DANTE and his co-accused with rape in violation of Article 335,
the reviewing court. The record will not reveal those tell-tale signs that will Revised Penal Code, instead of Article 335, Revised Penal Code, as amended by
affirm the truth or expose the contrivance, like the angry flush of an insisted R.A. No. 7659. Before Article 335 was amended by R.A. No. 7659 the penalty for
assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a rape when committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons
reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply. The record will not was reclusion perpetua to death. Its third paragraph read:
show if the eyes have darted in evasion or looked down in confession or gazed
steadily with a serenity that has nothing to distort or conceal. The record will Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by
not show if tears were shed in anger, or in shame, or in remembered pain, or in two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
feigned innocence. Only the judge trying the case can see all these and on the
basis of his observations arrive at an informed and reasoned verdict.[61] This paragraph was not touched by R.A. No. 7659. Nevertheless, from the
ratification on 2 February 1987 of the Constitution until the effectivity of R.A. No.
Furthermore, no ulterior motive was shown by DANTE why ANALIZA would 7659 on 31 December 1993[66]the imposition of the death penalty was
concoct a story of rape and openly accuse him thereof. It is settled that where there is constitutionally prohibited pursuant to Section 14(2), Article III of the former.[67]
no evidence that the principal witness for the prosecution was actuated by improper
motive, the presumption is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled to The complaints in the cases below do not use the language of the law, viz., with
full faith and credit.[62] the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons. In lieu of deadly weapon, the
complaints use knife; and, there is no specific allegation that the crime was
Against ANALIZAs story, DANTE has his alibi and tangential attack on the committed by two or more persons, but only an allegation of conspiracy among the
moral character of ANALIZA whom he pictured to us to be a prostitute. three accused. These allegations are, however, sufficient for purposes of the above-
quoted third paragraph of Article 335.
His alibi must fail not only because he was positively identified by ANALIZA
as the one who raped her on 18 September 1994, but also because he was unable to A deadly weapon is any weapon or instrument made and designed for offensive
prove the requisites of the defense of alibi. For alibi to prosper it is not enough to or defensive purposes, or for the destruction of life or the infliction of injury; or one
prove that the accused was somewhere else when the crime was committed, but he which, from the manner used, is calculated or likely to produce death or serious
must also demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the bodily harm.[68] In our jurisdiction, it has been held that a knife[69] is a deadly weapon.
crime scene at the time the crime was committed. [63] Per his own evidence, DANTE
was just in another barangay (Patag) in Ormoc City on 18 September 1994. He did Also, since the complaints charge three persons with the crime of rape, namely,
not dare show how far is that to Barangay Can-adieng where the rape took place. DANTE, alias Willy, and John Doe, who allegedly acted in conspiracy, it is too plain
and obvious that two or more persons are alleged to have committed the crime. The
evidence proved that, indeed, the three acted in concert to commit the crime of rape Court that the law is constitutional and the death penalty should be imposed in the
on 18 September 1994 charged in Criminal Case No. 4615-0. case at bar.
The foregoing notwithstanding, it is timely to remind prosecutors to exercise Lastly, we note that the trial court awarded moral damages only without the
due care in the preparation of complaints or informations to the end that civil indemnity provided for in Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code. Pursuant to
circumstances which by specific provisions of law change the nature of the crime or that Article and the latest case law, [77] ANALIZA should be awarded P75,000 as
upgrade the penalty therefor must be specifically alleged using the language of the indemnity. As to moral damages, a conviction for rape may properly carry with it an
law.[70] award therefor.[78] Here we find the award justified because ANALIZA was
compelled to attempt suicide out of shame of what had happened to her and of the
Parenthetically, we also note that the complaints allege treachery as an resulting pregnancy. Given this extreme consequence of DANTEs offense, we raise
aggravating circumstance. Under Article 14 of the Penal Code treachery is applicable the award of moral damages from P30,000 to P50,000. In addition, ANALIZA is
only to crimes against persons. At the time ANALIZA was raped, rape was a crime entitled to an award of exemplary damages in the amount of P10,000 in view of the
against chastity, although under the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 (R.A. No. 8353), presence of one aggravating circumstance. [79] Furthermore, since ANALIZA begot a
approved on 30 September 1997, rape is already a crime against persons. child by reason of the rape, DANTE must acknowledge and support the offspring
By way of conclusion, we do not hesitate to rule that in Criminal Case No. pursuant to Article 345 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 201 of the
4615-0, the crime was committed with the use of a deadly weapon and by two or Family Code.[80]
more persons under the third paragraph of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered REVERSING the judgment in
amended. The generic aggravating circumstance of dwelling[71] justified the Criminal Case No. 4616-0 and ACQUITTING accused-appellant DANTE
imposition of the greater penalty of death. [72] Dwelling was clearly established during ALFECHE y Tamparong on ground of reasonable doubt. However, the judgment in
the cross-examination of ANALIZAs mother by the defense. Thus: Criminal Case No. 4615-0 convicting said accused-appellant of the crime of rape
Q Is it not a fact that Analiza was staying in the house of her employer Mr. and committed on 18 September 1994 and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of death
Mrs. Dy, the whole year of 1994? is AFFIRMED, with the modification that (1) an indemnity is hereby imposed in the
amount of P75,000; (2) the award of moral damages is increased from P30,000
A Yes, sir. to P50,000; and (3) exemplary damages in the amount of P10,000 is also awarded in
favor of the victim ANALIZA DUROJA.
Q And being employed as domestic helper, Analiza would stay in the house of Mr.
and Mrs. Dy day and night? Accused-appellant is further ordered to acknowledge and support the offspring
born of the rape. The amount of support shall be determined by the trial court after
A Yes, sir.
due notice and hearing, with support in arrears to be reckoned from the date the
Q And only very seldom that Analiza goes to your house? appealed decision was promulgated by the trial court.

A Yes, sir.[73] In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending Article 83
of the Revised Penal Code, upon finality of this decision, let the records of the case
Dwelling is considered an aggravating circumstance because primarily of the be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the President for possible exercise of the
sanctity of privacy the law accords to human abode. The dwelling need not be owned pardoning power.
by the victim.[74]Thus, in People v. Basa,[75] dwelling was appreciated, although the
victims were killed while sleeping as guests in the house of another. As aptly stated Costs against the accused-appellant.
in People v. Balansi:[76] [O]ne does not lose his right of privacy where he is offended
SO ORDERED.
in the house of another because as [an] invited guest [or a housemaid as in the instant
case], he, the stranger, is sheltered by the same roof and protected by the same Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
intimacy of life it affords. It may not be his house, but it is, even for a brief moment, Mendoza, Panganiban, Martinez, Quisumbing and Purisima, JJ., concur.
home to him. He is entitled to respect even for that short moment. Regalado, J., on official leave
Premises considered, his conviction in Criminal Case No. 4615-0 and the
penalty imposed, death, must stand. Four members of this Court maintain their
position that Republic Act No. 7659, insofar as it prescribes the death penalty, is
unconstitutional; but they nevertheless submit to the ruling of the majority of the
[G. R. No. 148233. June 8, 2004] On December 25, 1996, appellant admittedly reported for work and drove the
taxi, but he did not return it on the same day as he was supposed to.
Q: Now, Mr. Witness, on December 25, 1996, did you report for work?
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. LUISITO D. A: Yes, sir.
BUSTINERA, appellant.
Q: Now, since you reported for work, what are your duties and
responsibilities as taxi driver of the taxi company?
DECISION
A: That we have to bring back the taxi at night with the boundary .
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Q: How much is your boundary?
From the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 217, Quezon City
A: P780.00, sir.
finding appellant Luisito D. Bustinera guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified
theft[2] for the unlawful taking of a Daewoo Racer GTE Taxi and sentencing him to Q: On December 25, 1996, did you bring out any taxi?
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, he comes to this Court on appeal.
A: Yes, sir.
In an information[3] dated June 17, 1997, appellant was indicted as follows:
Q: Now, when ever (sic) you bring out a taxi, what procedure [do] you
follow with that company?
The undersigned accuses LUISITO D. BUSTINERA of the crime of Qualified Theft,
committed as follows: A: That we have to bring back the taxi to the company and before we
leave we also sign something, sir.
That on or about the 25th day of December up to the 9th day of January, 1997, in
Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused being then employed as one [of] the taxi Q: What is that something you mentioned?
Drivers of Elias S. Cipriano, an Operator of several taxi cabs with business address A: On the record book and on the daily trip ticket, sir.
at corner 44 Commonwealth Avenue, iliman (sic), this City, and as such has free
access to the taxi he being driven, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and Q: You said that you have to return your taxi at the end of the day, what is
feloniously with intent to gain, with grave abuse of confidence reposed upon him by then the procedure reflect (sic) by your company when you return a
his employer and without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, take, steal taxi?
and carry away a Daewoo Racer GTE Taxi with Plate No. PWH-266
A: To remit the boundary and to sign the record book and daily trip ticket.
worth P303,000.00, Philippine Currency, belonging to Elias S. Cipriano, to the
damage and prejudice of the said offended party in the amount of P303,000.00. Q: So, when you return the taxi, you sign the record book?
A: Yes, sir.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
Q: You mentioned that on December 25, 1996, you brought out a taxi?
Upon arraignment[4] on March 27, 2000, appellant, assisted by counsel de
A: Yes, sir.
oficio, entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
Q: What kind of taxi?
From the evidence for the prosecution, the following version is established.
A: Daewoo taxi, sir.
Sometime in 1996, Edwin Cipriano (Cipriano), who manages ESC Transport,
the taxicab business of his father, hired appellant as a taxi driver and assigned him to Q: Now did you return the taxi on December 25, 1996?
drive a Daewoo Racer with plate number PWH-266. It was agreed that appellant
would drive the taxi from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m, after which he would return it to A: I was not able to bring back the taxi because I was short of my
ESC Transports garage and remit the boundary fee in the amount of P780.00 per day. boundary, sir.[6]
[5]
The following day, December 26, 1996, Cipriano went to appellants house to
ascertain why the taxi was not returned.[7] Arriving at appellants house, he did not
find the taxi there, appellants wife telling him that her husband had not yet arrived. Hence, the present appeal anchored on the following assigned errors:
[8]
Leaving nothing to chance, Cipriano went to the Commonwealth Avenue police
station and reported that his taxi was missing.[9] I.

On January 9, 1997, appellants wife went to the garage of ESC Transport and THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONCLUDING WITHOUT
revealed that the taxi had been abandoned in Regalado Street, Lagro, Quezon City. CONCRETE BASIS THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT HAS INTENT TO
[10]
Cipriano lost no time in repairing to Regalado Street where he recovered the taxi. GAIN WHEN HE FAILED TO RETURN THE TAXI TO ITS GARAGE.
[11]

Upon the other hand, while appellant does not deny that he did not return the II.
taxi on December 25, 1996 as he was short of the boundary fee, he claims that he did
not abandon the taxi but actually returned it on January 5, 1997; [12] and that on THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT
December 27, 1996, he gave the amount of P2,000.00[13] to his wife whom he GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF QUALIFIED
instructed to remit the same to Cipriano as payment of the boundary fee [14] and to tell THEFT.[25]
the latter that he could not return the taxi as he still had a balance thereof.[15]
Appellant, however, admits that his wife informed him that when she went to It is settled that an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case open
the garage to remit the boundary fee on the very same day (December 27, 1996), for review, and it becomes the duty of the appellate court to correct such errors as
[16]
Cipriano was already demanding the return of the taxi.[17] may be found in the judgment even if they have not been specifically assigned. [26]

Appellant maintains though that he returned the taxi on January 5, 1997 and Appellant was convicted of qualified theft under Article 310 of the Revised
signed the record book,[18] which was company procedure, to show that he indeed Penal Code, as amended for the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. However, Article
returned it and gave his employer P2,500.00[19] as partial payment for the boundary 310 has been modified, with respect to certain vehicles,[27] by Republic Act No. 6539,
fee covering the period from December 25, 1996 to January 5, 1997. as amended, otherwise known as "AN ACT PREVENTING AND PENALIZING
CARNAPPING.
Continuing, appellant claims that as he still had a balance in the boundary
fee, he left his drivers license with Cipriano;[20] that as he could not drive, which was When statutes are in pari materia[28] or when they relate to the same person or
the only work he had ever known, without his drivers license, and with the obligation thing, or to the same class of persons or things, or cover the same specific or
to pay the balance of the boundary fee still lingering, his wife started working on particular subject matter,[29]or have the same purpose or object, [30] the rule dictates
February 18, 1997 as a stay-in maid for Cipriano, with a monthly salary that they should be construed together interpretare et concordare leges legibus, est
of P1,300.00,[21] until March 26, 1997 when Cipriano told her that she had worked optimus interpretandi modus.[31] Every statute must be so construed and harmonized
off the balance of his obligation; [22] and that with his obligation extinguished, his with other statutes as to form a uniform system of jurisprudence, [32] as this Court
drivers license was returned to him.[23] explained in City of Naga v. Agna,[33] viz:

Brushing aside appellants claim that he returned the taxi on January 5, 1997 . . . When statutes are in pari materia, the rule of statutory construction dictates that
and that he had in fact paid the total amount of P4,500.00, the trial court found him they should be construed together. This is because enactments of the same legislature
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified theft by Decision of May 17, 2001, the on the same subject matter are supposed to form part of one uniform system; that
dispositive portion of which is quoted verbatim: later statutes are supplementary or complimentary to the earlier enactments and in
the passage of its acts the legislature is supposed to have in mind the existing
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused guilty beyond legislation on the same subject and to have enacted its new act with reference
reasonable doubt as charged, and he is accordingly sentenced to suffer the penalty thereto. Having thus in mind the previous statutes relating to the same subject matter,
of Reclusion Perpetua and to pay the costs. whenever the legislature enacts a new law, it is deemed to have enacted the new
provision in accordance with the legislative policy embodied in those prior statutes
In the service of his sentence, accused is ordered credited with four-fifths (4/5) of the unless there is an express repeal of the old and they all should be construed
preventive imprisonment undergone by him there being no showing that he agreed in together. In construing them the old statutes relating to the same subject matter
writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners. should be compared with the new provisions and if possible by reasonable
construction, both should be so construed that effect may be given to every
provision of each. However, when the new provision and the old relating to the
SO ORDERED.[24] (Emphasis and italics in the original)
same subject cannot be reconciled the former shall prevail as it is the latter such unlawful taking of a motor vehicle would fall within the purview of either
expression of the legislative will . . . [34] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; theft or robbery which was certainly the case before the enactment of said
citations omitted) statute.[42] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; citations omitted.)

The elements of the crime of theft as provided for in Article 308 of the Revised It is to be noted, however, that while the anti-carnapping law penalizes the
Penal Code are: (1) that there be taking of personal property; (2) that said property unlawful taking of motor vehicles, it excepts from its coverage certain vehicles such
belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with intent to gain; (4) that the taking as roadrollers, trolleys, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn mowers, amphibian trucks
be done without the consent of the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished and cranes if not used on public highways, vehicles which run only on rails and
without the use of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things.[35] tracks, and tractors, trailers and tractor engines of all kinds and used exclusively for
agricultural purposes. By implication, the theft or robbery of the foregoing vehicles
Theft is qualified when any of the following circumstances is present: (1) the would be covered by Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended and the
theft is committed by a domestic servant; (2) the theft is committed with grave abuse provisions on robbery, respectively.[43]
of confidence; (3) the property stolen is either a motor vehicle, mail matter or large
cattle; (4) the property stolen consists of coconuts taken from the premises of a From the foregoing, since appellant is being accused of the unlawful taking of a
plantation; (5) the property stolen is fish taken from a fishpond or fishery; and (6) the Daewoo sedan, it is the anti-carnapping law and not the provisions of qualified theft
property was taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, which would apply as the said motor vehicle does not fall within the exceptions
or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance.[36] mentioned in the anti-carnapping law.
On the other hand, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended defines The designation in the information of the offense committed by appellant as
carnapping as the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another one for qualified theft notwithstanding, appellant may still be convicted of the crime
without the latter's consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation of of carnapping. For while it is necessary that the statutory designation be stated in the
persons, or by using force upon things. The elements of carnapping are thus: (1) the information, a mistake in the caption of an indictment in designating the correct
taking of a motor vehicle which belongs to another; (2) the taking is without the name of the offense is not a fatal defect as it is not the designation that is controlling
consent of the owner or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons or but the facts alleged in the information which determines the real nature of the crime.
by using force upon things; and (3) the taking is done with intent to gain.[37] [44]

Carnapping is essentially the robbery or theft of a motorized vehicle, [38] the In the case at bar, the information alleges that appellant, with intent to gain,
concept of unlawful taking in theft, robbery and carnapping being the same.[39] took the taxi owned by Cipriano without the latters consent. [45] Thus, the indictment
alleges every element of the crime of carnapping, [46] and the prosecution proved the
In the 2000 case of People v. Tan[40] where the accused took a Mitsubishi same.
Gallant and in the later case of People v. Lobitania[41] which involved the taking of a
Yamaha motorized tricycle, this Court held that the unlawful taking of motor Appellants appeal is thus bereft of merit.
vehicles is now covered by the anti-carnapping law and not by the provisions on
qualified theft or robbery. That appellant brought out the taxi on December 25, 1996 and did not return it
on the same day as he was supposed to is admitted.[47]
There is no arguing that the anti-carnapping law is a special law, different from Unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is the taking of the motor vehicle without
the crime of robbery and theft included in the Revised Penal Code. It particularly the consent of the owner, or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons,
addresses the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another or by using force upon things; it is deemed complete from the moment the offender
without the latter's consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation of gains possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same.[48]
persons, or by using force upon things. But a careful comparison of this special law
with the crimes of robbery and theft readily reveals their common features and While the nature of appellants possession of the taxi was initially lawful as he
characteristics, to wit: unlawful taking, intent to gain, and that personal property was hired as a taxi driver and was entrusted possession thereof, his act of not
belonging to another is taken without the latter's consent. However, the anti- returning it to its owner, which is contrary to company practice and against the
carnapping law particularly deals with the theft and robbery of motor owners consent transformed the character of the possession into an unlawful one.
[49]
vehicles. Hence a motor vehicle is said to have been carnapped when it has been Appellant himself admits that he was aware that his possession of the taxi was no
taken, with intent to gain, without the owner's consent, whether the taking was done longer with Ciprianos consent as the latter was already demanding its return.
with or without the use of force upon things. Without the anti-carnapping law,
Q: Also you said that during your direct testimony that when you gave Assuming, despite the totally inadequate evidence, that the taking
your wife the P2,500.00, you also told her to go to the company to was temporary and for a joy ride, the Court sustains as the better view[57] that which
ask the company for permission for you to use the taxi since you holds that when a person, either with the object of going to a certain place, or
were then still short of the boundary. Alright, after telling that to learning how to drive, or enjoying a free ride, takes possession of a vehicle
your wife and after seeing your wife between December 27, 1996 belonging to another, without the consent of its owner, he is guilty of theft because
and January 5, 1997, did you ask your wife what was the answer of by taking possession of the personal property belonging to another and using it, his
the company to that request of yours? intent to gain is evident since he derives therefrom utility, satisfaction,
enjoyment and pleasure. Justice Ramon C. Aquino cites in his work Groizard
A: He did not allow me, sir, and he even [got] angry with me. who holds that the use of a thing constitutes gain and Cuello Calon who calls it
Q: So, when did you learn that the company was not agreeable to your hurt de uso.[58] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; citation omitted)
making use of the taxicab without first returning it to the company?
Besides, the trial court did not believe appellants claim that he in fact returned
A: Before the new year, sir. the taxi on January 5, 1997.
Q: When you said new year, you were referring to January 1, 1997?
The Court can not (sic) believe accuseds assertion that he returned the subject
A: Either December 29 or December 30, 1996, sir. vehicle on January 5, 1997 to the garage and that he had in fact paid the amount
Q: So, are you telling us that even if you knew already that the of P4,500.00 in partial payment of his unremitted boundary for ten (10) days. He
company was not agreeable to your making use of the taxicab could not even be certain of the exact amount he allegedly paid the taxicab
continually (sic) without returning the same to the company, you owner. On direct-examination, he claimed that he paid Edwin Cipriano on December
still went ahead and make (sic) use of it and returned it only on 27, 1996 the amount of P2,000.00 and it was his wife who handed said amount to
January 5, 1997. Cipriano, yet on cross-examination, he claimed that he gave P2,500.00 to his wife on
that date for payment to the taxicab owner.[59]
A: Yes, sir.[50] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Appellant assails the trial courts conclusion that there was intent to gain with The rule is well-entrenched that findings of fact of the trial court are accorded
the mere taking of the taxi without the owners consent. He maintains that his reason the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal absent any clear
for failing to return the taxi was his inability to remit the boundary fee, his earnings showing that the trial court had overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts
that day not having permitted it; and that there was no intent to gain since the taking or circumstances of weight and significance which, if considered, would alter the
of the taxi was not permanent in character, he having returned it. result of the case.[60] The reason for the rule being that trial courts have the distinct
advantage of having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment
Appellants position does not persuade. and manner of testifying or their conduct and behavior during the trial.[61]
Intent to gain or animus lucrandi is an internal act, presumed from the unlawful Other than his bare and self-serving allegations, appellant has not shown any
taking of the motor vehicle.[51] Actual gain is irrelevant as the important scintilla of evidence that he indeed returned the taxi on January 5, 1997.
consideration is the intent to gain. [52] The term gain is not merely limited to pecuniary
benefit but also includes the benefit which in any other sense may be derived or Q: You said that you returned the taxi on January 5, 1997, correct?
expected from the act which is performed. [53] Thus, the mere use of the thing which A: Yes, sir.
was taken without the owners consent constitutes gain.[54]
Q: Now, Mr. Witness, did you sign any record when you returned the
In Villacorta v. Insurance Commission[55] which was reiterated in Association of taxi?
Baptists for World Evangelism, Inc. v. Fieldmens Insurance Co, Inc.,[56] Justice
Claudio Teehankee (later Chief Justice), interpreting the theft clause of an insurance A: Yes, sir.
policy, explained that, when one takes the motor vehicle of another without the
Q: Do you have any copy of that record?
latters consent even if the motor vehicle is later returned, there is theft, there being
intent to gain as the use of the thing unlawfully taken constitutes gain: A: They were the one (sic) in-charge of the record book and I even
voluntarily left my drivers license with them, sir.
Q: You said that you did not return the taxi because you were short of (sic) can be no suppletory effect of the rules for the application of penalties under the
boundary, did you turn over any money to your employer when you Revised Penal Code or by other relevant statutory provisions based on, or
returned the taxi? applicable only to, the rules for felonies under the Code. While it is true that the
penalty of 14 years and 8 months to 17 years and 4 months is virtually
A: I gave them [an] additional P2,500.00, sir. equivalent to the duration of the medium period of reclusion temporal, such
Q: At the time when you returned the taxi, how much was your short technical term under the Revised Penal Code is not given to that penalty for
indebtedness (sic) or short boundary (sic)? carnapping. Besides, the other penalties for carnapping attended by the
qualifying circumstances stated in the law do not correspond to those in the
A: I was short for ten (10) days, and I was able to pay P4,500.00. Code. The rules on penalties in the Code, therefore, cannot suppletorily apply to
Republic Act No. 6539 and special laws of the same formulation. For this reason, we
Q: Do you have any receipt to show receipt of payment for
hold that the proper penalty to be imposed on each of accused-appellants is an
this P4,500.00?
indeterminate sentence of 14 years and 8 months, as minimum, to 17 years and 4
A: They were the ones having the record of my payment, and our months, as maximum.[67] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied; citations omitted)
agreement was that I have to pay the balance in installment.
[62]
(Emphasis supplied) Appellant being then culpable for carnapping under the first clause of Section
14 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended, the imposable penalty is imprisonment for
While appellant maintains that he signed on January 5, 1997 the record book
not less than 14 years and 8 months, not more than 17 years and 4 months, [68] for, as
indicating that he returned the taxi on the said date and paid Cipriano the amount
discussed above, the provisions of the Revised Penal Code cannot be applied
of P4,500.00 as partial payment for the boundary fee, appellant did not produce the
suppletorily and, therefore, the alleged aggravating circumstance of grave abuse of
documentary evidence alluded to, to substantiate his claim. That such alleged record
confidence cannot be appreciated.
book is in the possession of Cipriano did not prevent him from producing it as
appellant has the right to have compulsory process issued to secure the production of Applying Section 1 of Act No. 4103,[69] as amended, otherwise known as the
evidence on his behalf.[63] Indeterminate Sentence Law, if the offense is punishable by a special law, the court
shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the maximum term of which
The trial court having convicted appellant of qualified theft instead of
shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the minimum term shall not be
carnapping, it erred in the imposition of the penalty. While the information alleges
less than the minimum prescribed by the same the penalty imposed being a range. [70]
that the crime was attended with grave abuse of confidence, the same cannot be
appreciated as the suppletory effect of the Revised Penal Code to special laws, as WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
provided in Article 10 of said Code, cannot be invoked when there is a legal Branch 217, in Crim Case No. Q-97-71956, finding appellant Luisito D. Bustinera
impossibility of application, either by express provision or by necessary implication. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified theft, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE,
[64]
and another judgment entered in its place, finding him guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of carnapping under Republic Act No. 6539, as amended and
Moreover, when the penalties under the special law are different from and are
sentencing him to an indeterminate penalty of Fourteen (14) Years and Eight (8)
without reference or relation to those under the Revised Penal Code, there can be no
Months, as minimum, to Seventeen (17) Years and Four (4) Months, as maximum.
suppletory effect of the rules, for the application of penalties under the said Code or
by other relevant statutory provisions are based on or applicable only to said rules for SO ORDERED.
felonies under the Code.[65]
Vitug, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Corona, JJ., concur.
Thus, in People v. Panida[66] which involved the crime of carnapping and the
penalty imposed was the indeterminate sentence of 14 years and 8 months, as
minimum, to 17 years and 4 months, as maximum, this Court did not apply the
provisions of the Revised Penal Code suppletorily as the anti-carnapping law
provides for its own penalties which are distinct and without reference to the said
Code.
G.R. No. L-28547 February 22, 1974
The charge being simple carnapping, the imposable penalty is imprisonment for not
less than 14 years and 8 months and not more than 17 years and 4 months. There
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, It is important to note the positions of Gorriceta and his three companions on the
vs. front seat of the track. Gorriceta the driver, was on the extreme left. Next to him on
ELIAS JARANILLA, RICARDO SUYO, FRANCO BRILLANTES and his right was Suyo. Next to Suyo was Brillantes. On the extreme right was Jaranilla.
HEMAN GORRICETA, accused. ELIAS JARANILLA, RICARDO SUYO, and
FRANCO BRILLANTES, defendants-appellants. While the truck was traversing the detour road near the Mandurriao airport, then
under construction, Gorriceta saw in the middle of the road Patrolmen Ramonito
Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Assistant Solicitor General Jabatan and Benjamin Castro running towards them. Gorriceta slowed down the
Felicisimo R. Rosete and Solicitor Antonio M. Martinez for plaintiff-appellee. truck after Patrolman Jabatan had fired a warning shot and was signalling with his
flashlight that the truck should stop. Gorriceta stopped the truck near the policeman.
Sixto P. Dimaisip for defendants-appellants. Jabatan approached the right side of the truck near Jaranilla and ordered all the
occupants of the truck to go down. They did not heed the injunction of the
policeman.

AQUINO, J.:p Brillantes pulled his revolver but did not fire it. Suyo did nothing. Jaranilla, all of a
sudden, shot Patrolman Jabatan. The shooting frightened Gorriceta. He immediately
started the motor of the truck and drove straight home to La Paz, another district of
This is an appeal of defendants Elias Jaranilla, Ricardo Suyo and Franco Brillantes the city. Jaranilla kept on firing towards Jabatan.
from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Iloilo, which convicted them of
robbery with homicide, sentenced each of them to reclusion perpetua and ordered
them to pay solidarily the sum of six thousand pesos to the heirs of Ramonito Jabatan Jaranilla, Suyo and Brillantes alighted in front of Gorriceta's house. Gorriceta parked
and the sum of five hundred pesos to Valentin Baylon as the value of fighting cocks the truck inside the garage. Jaranilla warned Gorriceta not to tell anybody about the
(Criminal Case No. 11082). incident. Gorriceta went up to his room. After a while, he heard policemen shouting
his name and asking him to come down. Instead of doing so, he hid in the ceiling. It
was only at about eight o'clock in the morning of the following day that he decided
The evidence for the prosecution shows that at around eleven o'clock in the evening to come down. His uncle had counselled him to surrender to the police. The
of January 9, 1966, Gorriceta, who had just come from Fort San Pedro in Iloilo City, policemen took Gorriceta to their headquarters. He recounted the incident to a police
was driving a Ford pickup truck belonging to his sister, Remia G. Valencia. While he investigator.
was in front of the Elizalde Building on J. M. Basa Street, he saw Ricardo Suyo,
Elias Jaranilla and Franco Brillantes. They hailed Gorriceta who stopped the truck.
Jaranilla requested to bring them to Mandurriao, a district in another part of the city. Victorino Trespeces, whose house was located opposite the house of Valentin Baylon
Gorriceta demurred. He told Jaranilla that he (Gorriceta) was on his way home. on Taft Street in Mandurriao, testified that before midnight of January 9, 1966, he
conducted a friend in his car to the housing project in the vicinity of the provincial
hospital at Mandurriao. As he neared his residence, he saw three men emerging from
Jaranilla prevailed upon Gorriceta to take them to Mandurriao because Jaranilla the canal on Taft Street in front of Baylon's house. He noticed a red Ford pickup
ostensibly had to get something from his uncle's place. So, Jaranilla, Brillantes and truck parked about fifty yards from the place where he saw the three men. Shortly
Suyo boarded the pickup truck which Gorriceta drove to Mandurriao. thereafter, he espied the three men carrying roosters. He immediately repaired to the
police station at Mandurriao. He reported to Patrolmen Jabatan and Castro what he
Upon reaching Mandurriao, Gorriceta parked the truck at a distance of about fifty to had just witnessed. The two policemen requested him to take them in his car to the
seventy meters from the provincial hospital. Jaranilla, Suyo and Brillantes alighted place where he saw the three suspicious-looking men. Upon arrival thereat, the men
from the vehicle. Jaranilla instructed Gorriceta to wait for them. The trio walked in and the truck were not there anymore.
the direction of the plaza. After an interval of about ten to twenty minutes, they
reappeared. Each of them was carrying two fighting cocks. They ran to the truck. Trespeces and the policemen followed the truck speeding towards Jaro. On reaching
the detour road leading to the airport, the policemen left the car and crossed the
Jaranilla directed Gorriceta to start the truck because they were being chased. runway which was a shortcut. Their objective was to intercept the truck. Trespeces
Gorriceta drove the truck to Jaro (another district of the city) on the same route that turned his car around in order to return to Mandurriao. At that moment he heard
they had taken in going to Mandurriao. gunshots. He stopped and again turned his car in the direction where shots had
emanated. A few moments later, Patrolman Castro came into view. He was running.
He asked Trespeces for help because Jabatan, his comrade, was wounded. Patrolman There was no promulgation of the judgment as to Jaranilla, who, as already stated,
Castro and Trespeces lifted Jabatan into the car and brought him to the hospital. escaped from jail (See Sec. 6, Rule 120, Rules of Court).
Trespeces learned later that Jabatan was dead.
However, the notice of appeal filed by defendants' counsel de oficio erroneously
Doctor Raymundo L. Torres, the chief medico-legal officer of the Iloilo City police included Jaranilla. Inasmuch as the judgment has not been promulgated as to
department, conducted an autopsy on the remains of Patrolman Jabatan. He found: Jaranilla, he could not have appealed. His appeal through counsel cannot be
entertained. Only the appeals of defendants Suyo and Brillantes will be considered.
(1) Contusion on left eyebrow.
In convicting Suyo, Jaranilla and Brillantes of robo con homicidio, the trial court
(2) Bullet wound one centimeter in diameter, penetrating left assumed that the taking of the six fighting cocks was robbery and that Patrolman
anterior axilla, directed diagonally downward to the right, Jabatan was killed "by reason or on the occasion of the robbery" within the purview
perforating the left upper lobe of the lungs through and through, of article 294 of the Revised Penal Code.
bitting the left pulmonary artery and was recovered at the right
thoracic cavity; both thoracic cavity was full of blood. In this appeal the appellants contend that the trial court erred in not finding that
Gorriceta was the one who shot the policeman and that Jaranilla was driving the Ford
Cause of death: Shock, hemorrhage, secondary to bullet wound. truck because Gorriceta was allegedly drunk. Through their counsel de oficio, they
further contend that the taking of roosters was theft and, alternatively, that, if it was
Valentin Baylon, the owner of the fighting cocks, returned home at about six o'clock robbery, the crime could not be robbery with homicide because the robbery was
in the morning of January 10, 1966. He discovered that the door of one of his cock already consummated when Jabatan was killed.
pens or chicken coops (Exhs. A and A-1) was broken. The feeding vessels were
scattered on the ground. Upon investigation he found that six of his fighting cocks After evaluating the testimonies of Gorriceta and Brillantes as to who was driving
were missing. Each coop contained six cocks. The coop was made of bamboo and the truck and who shot policeman, this Court finds that the trial court did not err in
wood with nipa roofing. Each coop had a door which was locked by means of nails. giving credence to Gorriceta's declaration that he was driving the truck at the time
The coops were located at the side of his house, about two meters therefrom. that Jaranilla shot Jabatan.

Baylon reported the loss to the police at Mandurriao. At about ten o'clock, a group of The improbability of appellants' theory is manifest. The truck belonged to Gorriceta's
detectives came to his house together with the police photographer who took pictures sister. He was responsible for its preservation. He had the obligation to return it to his
of the chicken coops. The six roosters were valued at one hundred pesos each. Two sister in the same condition when he borrowed it. He was driving it when he saw
days later, he was summoned to the police station at Mandurriao to identify a rooster Brillantes, Jaranilla and Suyo and when he allegedly invited them for a paseo. There
which was recovered somewhere at the airport. He readily identified it as one of the is no indubitable proof that Jaranilla knows how to drive a truck.
six roosters which was stolen from his chicken coop (Exh. B).
The theory of the defense may be viewed from another angle. If, according to the
Gorriceta, Jaranilla, Suyo and Brillantes were charged with robo con homicidio with appellants, Gorriceta asked Jaranilla to drive the truck because he (Gorriceta) was
the aggravating circumstances of use of a motor vehicle, nocturnity, band, contempt drunk then that circumstance would be inconsistent with their theory that Gorriceta
of or with insult to the public authorities and recidivism. The fiscal utilized Gorriceta shot Jabatan. Being supposedly intoxicated, Gorriceta would have been dozing when
as a state witness. Hence, the case was dismissed as to him. Jabatan signalled the driver to stop the truck and he could not have thought of killing
Jabatan in his inebriated state. He would not have been able to shoot accurately at
On February 2, 1967, after the prosecution had rested its case and before the defense Jabatan. But the fact is that the first shot hit Jabatan. So, the one who shot him must
had commenced the presentation of its evidence, Jaranilla escaped from the have been a sober person like Jaranilla.
provincial jail. The record does not show that he has been apprehended.
Moreover, as Jaranilla and his two comrades were interested in concealing the
The judgment of conviction was promulgated as to defendants Suyo and Brillantes fighting cocks, it was Jaranilla, not Gorriceta, who would have the motive for
on October 19, 1967 when it was read to them in court. They signed at the bottom of shooting Jabatan. Consequently, the theory that Gorriceta shot Jabatan and that
the last page of the decision. Jaranilla was driving the truck appears to be plausible.
Was the taking of the roosters robbery or theft? There is no evidence that in taking de los comprendidos en el parrafo primero del articulo 299, ... .
the six roosters from their coop or cages in the yard of Baylon's house violence (Tomo 26, Leyes Publicas 479).
against or intimidation of persons was employed. Hence, article 294 of the Revised
Penal Code cannot be invoked. The term "lugar no habitado" is erroneously translated. as "uninhabited place", a
term which may be confounded with the expression "uninhabited place" in articles
Neither could such taking fall under article 299 of the Revised Penal Code which 295 and 300 of the Revised Penal Code, which is the translation of despoblado and
penalizes robbery in an inhabited house (casa habitada), public building or edifice which is different from the term lugar no habitado in article 302. The term lugar no
devoted to worship. The coop was not inside Baylon's house. Nor was it a habitado is the antonym of casa habitada (inhabited house) in article 299.
dependency thereof within the meaning of article 301 of the Revised Penal Code.
One essential requisite of robbery with force upon things under Articles 299 and 302
Having shown the inapplicability of Articles 294 and 299, the next inquiry is whether is that the malefactor should enter the building or dependency, where the object to be
the taking of the six roosters is covered by article 302 of the Revised Penal Code taken is found. Articles 299 and 302 clearly contemplate that the malefactor should
which reads: enter the building (casa habitada o lugar no habitado o edificio). If the culprit did
not enter the building, there would be no robbery with force upon things. (See Albert,
ART. 302. Robbery in an uninhabited place or in private building.Any robbery Revised Penal Code, 1932 edition, p. 688).
committed in an uninhabited place or in a building other than those mentioned in the
first paragraph of article 299, if the value of the property exceeds 250 pesos, shall be Thus, where the accused broke the show-window of the Bombay Palace Bazar at
punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods provided that Rizal Avenue, Manila and removed forty watches therefrom, the crime was theft and
any of the following circumstances is present: not robbery because he did not enter the building. The show-window was outside the
store. (People vs. Adorno, CA 40 O. G. 567, per Montemayor, J., who later became a
1. If the entrance has been effected through any opening not member of this Court). *
intended for entrance or egress.
In the instant case, the chicken coop where the six roosters were taken cannot be
2. If any wall, roof, floor or outside door or window has been considered a building within the meaning of article 302. Not being a building, it
broken. cannot be said that the accused entered the same in order to commit the robbery by
means of any of the five circumstances enumerated in article 302.
3. If the entrance has been effected through the use of false keys,
picklocks or other similar tools. The term "building" in article 302, formerly 512 of the old Penal Code, was
construed as embracing any structure not mentioned in article 299 (meaning not an
4. If any door, wardrobe, chest, or any sealed or closed furniture or "inhabited house or public building or edifice devoted to worship" or any
receptacle has been broken. dependency thereof) used for storage and safekeeping of personal property. As thus
construed, a freight car used for the shipment of sugar was considered a private
building. The unnailing of a strip of cloth nailed over the door, the customary manner
5. If any closed or sealed receptacle, as mentioned in the preceding of sealing a freight car, was held to constitute breaking by force within the meaning
paragraph, has been removed, even if the same be broken open of article 512, now article 302. (U.S. vs. Magsino, 2 Phil. 710).
elsewhere.
The ruling in the Magsino case is in conflict with the rulings of the Supreme Court of
xxx xxx xxx Spain that a railroad employee who, by force, opens a sealed or locked receptacle
deposited in a freight car, does not commit robbery. He is guilty of theft because
In this connection, it is relevant to note that there is an inaccuracy in the English a railroad car is neither a house nor a building within the meaning of article 302
translation of article 302. The controlling Spanish original reads: which corresponds to article 525 of the 1870 Spanish Penal Code. Article 302 refers
to houses or buildings which, while not actually inhabited, are habitable. Thus, a pig
ART. 302. Robo en lugar no habitado o edificio particular.El sty is not a building within the meaning of article 302. The stealing of hogs from a
robo cometido en un lugar no habitado o en un edificio que no sea pig sty is theft and not robbery, although the culprit breaks into it. Article 302 refers
to habitable buildings. (Guevara, Revised Penal Code, 1939 Edition, pages 555-6,
citing II Hidalgo Codigo Penal 636-7, 642, which in turn cites the decisions of the The twenty-four year old Jabatan was an agent of authority on night duty at the time
Spanish Supreme Court dated March 2, 1886 and April 25, 1887). ** of the shooting. He was wearing his uniform. The killing should be characterized as a
direct assault (atentado) upon an agent of authority (Art. 148, Revised Penal Code)
As may be seen from the photographs (Exhs. A and A-1) Baylon's coop, which is complexed with homicide. The two offenses resulted from a single act. (Art. 48,
known in the dialect as tangkal or kulungan, is about five yards long, one yard wide Revised Penal Code; People vs. Guillen, 85 Phil. 307; People vs. Lojo, Jr., 52 Phil.
and one yard high. It has wooden stilts and bamboo strips as bars. The coop barely 390).
reaches the shoulder of a person of average height like Baylon. It is divided into six
compartments or cages. A compartment has an area of less than one cubic yard. A The evidence for the prosecution does not prove any conspiracy on the part of
person cannot be accommodated inside the cage or compartment. It was not intended appellants Jaranilla, Suyo and Brillantes to kill Jabatan. They conspired to steal the
that a person should go inside that compartment. The taking was effected by forcibly fighting cocks. The conspiracy is shown by the manner in which they perpetrated the
opening the cage and putting the hands inside it to get the roosters. theft. They went to the scene of the crime together. They left the yard of Baylon's
residence, each carrying two roosters. They all boarded the getaway truck driven by
Therefore, the taking of the six roosters from their coop should be characterized as Gorriceta.
theft and not robbery. The assumption is that the accused were animated by single
criminal impulse. The conduct of the accused reveals that they conspired to steal the The theft was consummated when the culprits were able to take possession of the
roosters. The taking is punishable as a single offense of theft. Thus, it was held that roosters. It is not an indispenable element of theft that the thief carry, more or less far
the taking of two roosters in the same place and on the same occasion cannot give away, the thing taken by him from its owner (People vs. Mercado, 65 Phil. 665;
rise to two crimes of theft (People vs. De Leon, 49 Phil. 437, citing decision of Duran vs. Tan, 85 Phil. 476; U.S vs. Adiao, 38 Phil. 754).
Supreme Court of Spain dated July 13, 1894 and 36 C. J. 799; People vs. Tumlos, 67
Phil. 320; People vs. Villanueva, 49 O.G. 5448, L-10239, August 7, 1953). It is not reasonable to assume that the killing of any peace officer, who would
forestall the theft or frustrate appellants' desire to enjoy the fruits of the crime, was
Nocturnity and use of a motor vehicle are aggravating. Those circumstances part of their plan. There is no evidence to link appellants Suyo and Brillantes to the
facilitated the commission of the theft. The accused intentionally sought the cover of killing of Jabatan, except the circumstance that they were with Jaranilla in the truck
night and used a motor vehicle so as to insure the success of their nefarious when the latter shot the policeman. Gorriceta testified that Suyo did not do anything
enterprise (People vs. Tan, 89 Phil. 647, 660; People vs. Gardon, 104 Phil. 372). when Jabatan approached the right side of the truck and came in close proximity to
Jaranilla who was on the extreme right. Brillantes pulled his revolver which he did
Also to be appreciated against appellants Suyo and Brillantes is the aggravating not fire (47, 53-55 tsn). Mere presence at the scene of the crime does not necessarily
circumstance of recidivism which was alleged in the information. They admitted make a person a co-principal thereof.
their previous convictions for theft (130, 132 tsn; Exhs. I and J; Art. 14[9], Revised
Penal Code). Jaranilla heard Gorriceta's testimony that he (Jaranilla) shot Jabatan. Instead of
taking the witness stand to refute the testimony of Gorriceta, Jaranilla escaped from
The theft of six roosters valued at six hundred pesos is punishable by prision jail. That circumstance is an admission of guilt.
correccional in its minimum and medium periods (Art. 309[3], Revised Penal Code).
That penalty should be imposed in its maximum period because only aggravating The instant case is different from People vs. Mabassa, 65 Phil. 568 where the victim
circumstances are present (Art. 64[3], Revised Penal Code). was killed on the occasion when the accused took his chickens under the house. It is
distinguishable from the People vs. Gardon, 104 Phil. 372 and People vs.
Although recidivists, appellants Suyo and Brillantes are not habitual delinquents. Salamudin No. 1, 52 Phil. 670 (both cited by the Solicitor General) where the
They are entitled to an indeterminate sentence (Sec. 2, Act No. 4103). robbery was clearly proven and the homicide was perpetrated on the occasion of the
robbery. As already noted, theft, not robbery, was committed in this case.
With respect to the killing of Patrolman Jabatan, it has already been noted that the
evidence for the prosecution points to Jaranilla as the malefactor who shot that The situation in this case bears some analogy to that found in the People vs. Basisten,
unfortunate peace officer. The killing was homicide because it was made on the spur 47 Phil. 493 where the homicide committed by a member of the band was not a part
of the moment. The treacherous mode of attack was not consciously or deliberately of the common plan to commit robbery. Hence, only the person who perpetrated the
adopted by the offender (U.S. vs. Namit, 38 Phil. 926; People vs. Tumaob, 83 Phil. killing was liable for robbery with homicide. The others were convicted of robbery
738; People vs. Abalos, 84 Phil. 771). only.
There is a hiatus in the evidence of the prosecution as to the participation of Suyo I would like to make the observation, however, that I cannot find any error in the
and Brillantes in the killing of Jabatan by Jaranilla. As already stated, no robbery literal translation of the term "lugar no habitado" used in the controlling Spanish text
with homicide was committed. Therefore, it cannot be concluded that those two Article 302 into "uninhabited place" appearing in the English version. The correct
appellants have any responsibility for Jabatan's death. Their complicity in the concept of the said term as used in Article 302 is indeed different from the
homicide committed by Jaranilla has not been established. "uninhabited place" contemplated in Articles 295 and 300, which means
"despoblado" or open country referring to a "lugar", meaning place, site or space
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the trial court convicting appellants Ricardo Suyo where nobody lives or is usually found. And, of course, it is also clear to me that
and Franco Brillantes of robbery with homicide is reversed. They are acquitted of Article 302 refers to as an "uninhabited place" is really an unoccupied or uninhabited
homicide on the ground of reasonable doubt. house, the antonym of the "casa habitada" referred to in Article 299. But I cannot
bring self to the thought that the word "lugar" in Article 302 may literally be
As co-principals with Elias Jaranilla in the theft of the six fighting cocks, they are (a) translated to anything else than "place, site space". I simply cannot see in it the
each sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor as specific connotation of house or building. Maybe it is the wording of the Spanish text
minimum to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional as maximum that is somewhat inaccurate, unless it can be shown, which I am afraid cannot be
and (b) ordered to indemnify solidarily the complainant, Valentin Baylon, in the sum done, that colloquially or somewhere in the Spanish speaking world, said word
of five hundred pesos (P500). Each appellant should pay one-third of the costs. means house or building or any structure wherein personal properties may be
deposited, stored or kept.
As to the liability of Elias Jaranilla for theft and homicide, with direct assault upon
an agent of authority, trial court should render a new judgment consistent with this I would prefer to footnote Article 302 the same way Justice Luis B. Reyes of the
opinion (See Sec. 19, Art. IV, Constitution). Court of Appeals does, thus:

So ordered. The "uninhabited place" mentioned in Article 302 is a building,


because paragraphs Nos. 1 and 3 speak of "entrance," which
necessarily refers to a building. (The Revised Penal Code by Luis
Zaldivar (Chairman), Fernando, Antonio and Fernandez, JJ., concur. B. Reyes, Vol. II, 1968, p. 617.)

In that way, I believe the true and correct meaning of the provision is clarified
without attributing any possible misconstruction to faulty literal translation, which I
am convinced does not exist. I reiterate, the error in translation noted in the main
opinion is inevitable for while the literal translation is indubitably accurate, on the
other hand, as a matter of construction, the correct interpretation is different.
Evidently, the Spanish text uses "lugar" for house, building or structure, and, to my
Separate Opinions mind, that is not the sense that word is usually understood in Spanish. But I agree
that what is contemplated in Article 302 is not "despoblado" but simply an
unoccupied or uninhabited house, building or structure. In other words, it appears
that the correct expression that should be in Article 302 is "uninhabited house,"
disregarding, consequently, the inaccurate reference to "lugar" in the Spanish text
BARREDO, J., concurring: and sticking, by way of construction, to the correct concept of the thing really
contemplated.
I concur.

I am in full accord with the findings of fact and the legal rationalization and
conclusions in the main opinion very ably written for the Court by Mr. Justice
Aquino.
Separate Opinions
BARREDO, J., concurring: and sticking, by way of construction, to the correct concept of the thing really
contemplated.
I concur.

I am in full accord with the findings of fact and the legal rationalization and
conclusions in the main opinion very ably written for the Court by Mr. Justice [G.R. No. 129774. December 29, 1998]
Aquino.

I would like to make the observation, however, that I cannot find any error in the
literal translation of the term "lugar no habitado" used in the controlling Spanish text NARCISO A. TADEO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE
Article 302 into "uninhabited place" appearing in the English version. The correct PHILIPPINES, respondent.
concept of the said term as used in Article 302 is indeed different from the
"uninhabited place" contemplated in Articles 295 and 300, which means DECISION
"despoblado" or open country referring to a "lugar", meaning place, site or space
PARDO, J.:
where nobody lives or is usually found. And, of course, it is also clear to me that
Article 302 refers to as an "uninhabited place" is really an unoccupied or uninhabited
house, the antonym of the "casa habitada" referred to in Article 299. But I cannot The case before the Court is an appeal via certiorari taken by petitioner from
bring self to the thought that the word "lugar" in Article 302 may literally be the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing the petition for certiorari to annul
translated to anything else than "place, site space". I simply cannot see in it the the trial courts order denying his demurrer to evidence in eight (8) cases for violation
specific connotation of house or building. Maybe it is the wording of the Spanish text of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 filed
that is somewhat inaccurate, unless it can be shown, which I am afraid cannot be against him before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94, Quezon City.
done, that colloquially or somewhere in the Spanish speaking world, said word Complainant Ms. Luz M. Sison was the owner of commercial apartments at
means house or building or any structure wherein personal properties may be 731 Edsa corner Ermin Garcia, Cubao, Quezon City.[1]
deposited, stored or kept.
In 1985, petitioners wife leased from complainant one unit of the apartment at a
I would prefer to footnote Article 302 the same way Justice Luis B. Reyes of the monthly consideration of P7,000.00, for a period of five years. After two years, she
Court of Appeals does, thus: also leased the adjacent apartment at an additional monthly consideration
of P4,000.00. However, in early 1988, petitioners wife incurred rental arrears with
complainant in the amount of P113,300.00. In order to settle the account, petitioner
The "uninhabited place" mentioned in Article 302 is a building,
negotiated with complainant. He issued eight (8) postdated checks dated February 8,
because paragraphs Nos. 1 and 3 speak of "entrance," which
1988 to August, 1988, payable to complainant covering the unpaid rental arrears
necessarily refers to a building. (The Revised Penal Code by Luis
of P113,300.00. All the checks bounced upon deposit with the drawee bank. After
B. Reyes, Vol. II, 1968, p. 617.)
the last check was returned to complainant unpaid, with the notation DAIF, meaning
drawn against insufficient funds stamped thereon, on October 13, 1988,
In that way, I believe the true and correct meaning of the provision is clarified complainants counsel wrote petitioner demanding that the unpaid checks be
without attributing any possible misconstruction to faulty literal translation, which I redeemed within three (3) days from receipt of the letter.[2]
am convinced does not exist. I reiterate, the error in translation noted in the main
opinion is inevitable for while the literal translation is indubitably accurate, on the On October 26, 1988, petitioner wrote complainant expressing willingness to
other hand, as a matter of construction, the correct interpretation is different. discuss the matter with her counsel. However, he did not redeem the unpaid checks;
Evidently, the Spanish text uses "lugar" for house, building or structure, and, to my indeed, he did not even mention any intention to pay complainant or to make
mind, that is not the sense that word is usually understood in Spanish. But I agree arrangements for payment of the dishonored checks.[3]
that what is contemplated in Article 302 is not "despoblado" but simply an
unoccupied or uninhabited house, building or structure. In other words, it appears On January 9, 1989, Assistant Prosecutor Jesus E. Bigornia, Jr. of Quezon City,
filed with the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, eight (8) Informations charging
that the correct expression that should be in Article 302 is "uninhabited house,"
disregarding, consequently, the inaccurate reference to "lugar" in the Spanish text petitioner with violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, which were consolidated
before Branch 94.[4] Petitioner then moved to quash the informations on the ground
that the court lacked jurisdiction over the subject cases.[5] On June 24, 1990, the trial It is not required, much less indispensable, for the prosecution to present the
court denied the motion.[6] After petitioner entered a plea of not guilty to the drawee banks representative as a witness to testify on the dishonor of the checks
charges, on April 30, 1991, the trial court conducted a pre-trial at which the parties because of insufficiency of funds. The prosecution may present, as it did in this case,
marked their respective documentary evidence. Thereafter, the trial court declared only complainant as a witness to prove all the elements of the offense charged.
the pre-trial of the cases closed and terminated.[7] [15]
She is a competent and qualified witness to testify that she deposited the checks to
her account in a bank; that she subsequently received from the bank the checks
On March 29, 1993, at the trial of the cases, the prosecution presented the returned unpaid with a notation drawn against insufficient funds stamped or written
testimony of complainant Luz Sison to prove the charges against petitioner. After her on the dorsal side of the checks themselves, or in a notice attached to the dishonored
cross-examination, the prosecution rested its case, and formally offered the checks duly given to complainant, and that petitioner failed to pay complainant the
documentary exhibits marked at the pre-trial.[8] value of the checks or make arrangements for their payment in full within five (5)
On May 15, 1994, without prior leave of court, petitioner filed a demurrer banking days after receiving notice that such checks had not been paid by the drawee
to evidence on the ground that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence bank.[16] Otherwise stated, complainants sole testimony suffices to identify the
proving all the elements of the offense charged. The prosecution filed an opposition dishonored checks with the drawee banks notation stamped or written on the dorsal
thereto. On November 27, 1994, the trial court declared that there exists a prima side drawn against insufficient funds or in a notice attached thereto and such notice
facie case after the prosecution has presented its evidence and rested its case and of dishonor given to the drawer. A legal presumption arises that petitioner had
accordingly denied the demurrer to evidence for lack of merit. [9] On January 13, knowledge of the making of the checks, the due presentment to the drawee bank for
1995, the trial court also denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.[10] payment, the dishonor and the reason therefor written, stamped or notice of dishonor
attached by the drawee bank to the returned checks. [17] Such prima facie presumption
On September 7, 1995, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a special civil proves that petitioner has knowledge of the insufficiency of funds. [18] Unless
action for certiorari seeking to annul the lower courts orders denying his demurrer to rebutted, the prosecution may rely on such presumption to establish that element of
evidence.[11] the offense charged. It is for petitioner, as accused, to rebut the presumption,
disputable as it is.[19] Otherwise, the presumption would be sufficient basis to convict.
After due proceedings, on February 7, 1997, the Court of Appeals
rendered decision dismissing the petition, for lack of merit.[12] The Court of Appeals Consequently, in the case below, the prosecution has proved all the essential
ruled that certiorari does not lie to challenge the trial elements of the offense charged with the sole testimony of complainant Luz Sison.
courts interlocutory order denying the accuseds motion to dismiss. Appeal in due
time is the proper remedy in order to have the findings of facts of the respondent We note that petitioner did not ask the trial court for leave to file a demurrer to
judge reviewed by a superior court. evidence. In such case, he loses the right to adduce evidence in his defense.[20]

Hence, this petition. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court hereby AFFIRMS the appealed decision of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. SP No. 37503.
We deny the petition. We agree with the Court of Appeals that certiorari does
not lie to review a trial courts interlocutory order denying a motion to dismiss (or to We remand the records to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with
acquit), which is equivalent to a demurrer to evidence, filed after the prosecution had this opinion, which shall be limited to the lower courts imposition of the proper
presented its evidence and rested its case. An order denying a demurrer to evidence is sentence on petitioner and its promulgation with notice to the parties.
interlocutory. It is not appealable. Neither can it be the subject of a petition Costs against petitioner.
for certiorari. From such denial, appeal in due time is the proper remedy,
not certiorari, in the absence of grave abuse of discretion or excess of jurisdiction, or SO ORDERED.
an oppressive exercise of judicial authority.[13]
Romero, Kapunan and Purisima, JJ., concur.
However, petitioner submits that the trial court acted with grave abuse of
discretion when the court held that there exists a prima facie case, disregarding the
prosecutions failure to present as witness a representative of the drawee bank to
testify on the dishonor of the questioned checks as an element of the offense
charged. He insists that the testimony of the banks representative is mandatory.[14]
We do not agree.
[G.R. No. 142565. July 29, 2003]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. NESTOR G. SORIANO the room to get a T-shirt and put it on. But Nestor did his worst; he went to Honeys
alias Boy, appellant. room and set on fire her clothes in the cabinet.
Honey fled to the ground floor; Nestor followed her. As the conflagration was
DECISION now engulfing the second story of the house, Honey frantically shouted to her uncle
BELLOSILLO, J.: Simplicio Cabrera, who was residing next door, Boy is setting the house on fire,
referring to Nestor.[7]
WHAT STARTED OUT AS AN ORDINARY LOVERS QUARREL turned out On the ground floor Nestor grappled with Honey and choked her as he dragged
to be a nightmarish inferno for the residents of Datu Abing Street, Calinan, Davao her towards the kitchen. She told him that it would be better for him to kill her than
City. The unmitigated passion and impulses incessantly burning in the heat of the to set the house on fire as it would endanger the neighboring houses. After initially
moment ignited the series of events that resulted in the conflagration of 18 pointing a knife at Honey, Nestor finally laid down his knife and hurriedly went back
September 1998 mercilessly destroying the houses along its path. The age-old to the second floor only to see the entire area in flames. They had no choice but to
forewarning that he who plays close to the fire shall ultimately be consumed by its leave as the fire spread rapidly to the neighboring houses. As a result, the house
flames fits literally and figuratively into this tragic tale of lust, love, betrayal and occupied by Honey was totally burned together with five (5) neighboring
isolation. After the smoke had dissipated and the heat simmered down, Nestor G. houses[8] owned individually by Fructuosa Jambo, Ruth Fernandez, Orlando Braa,
Soriano found himself charged before the RTC of Davao City with and later Simplicio Cabrera and Perla Clerigo.[9]
convicted of Destructive Arson penalized under Art. 320 of The Revised Penal
Code, as amended by Sec. 10, par. 1, RA 7659, and sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Subsequently, on 21 September 1998 an Information was filed against accused-
[1] appellant Nestor G. Soriano alias Boy for Arson.[10] On 30 October 1998,
the Information was amended to specify the charge as Destructive Arson[11] under
The factual backdrop: About midnight of 17 September onto the early dawn of Art. 320, Sec. 10, as amended by RA 7659 and PD 1613. Again on 18 January 1999,
18 September 1998 accused-appellant Nestor G. Soriano was having an argument [12]
upon prior motion of accused through counsel for reinvestigation, the prosecution
with his live-in partner Honey Rosario Cimagala concerning their son Nestor, Jr., filed a second Amended Information charging the accused with the same crime of
nicknamed Otoy. Honey worked as Guest Relations Officer (GRO) in a Metro arson but under Art. 320, Sec. 10 as amended by RA 7659 and PD 1744, and adding
Manila beer house. The disagreement stemmed from the fact that Honeys brother, the phrase motivated by spite or hatred towards the occupant of the property, as a
Oscar Cimagala, took their child out without the consent of accused-appellant who special aggravating circumstance, further including the name of Orlando Braa whose
wanted both Honey and Otoy instead to return with him to Manila. But Honey house worth P1,000,000.00 was also burned.
refused. As their discussion wore on accused-appellant intimated to Honey his desire
to have sex with her, which he vigorously pursued the night before with much In the trial, Honey Rosario Cimagala, Oscar Cimagala, Fructuosa Jambo, Ruth
success. This time Honey did not relent to the baser instincts of Nestor; instead, she Fernandez, Orlando Braa, Simplicio Cabrera and Perla Clerigo, among others, were
kicked him as her stern rebuke to his sexual importuning. presented as witnesses for the prosecution.

Incensed by her negative response, Nestor nastily retorted: [S]he is now Accused-appellant was the lone witness for his defense.
arrogant and proud of her brother who now supported (sic) her and her children. [2] He On 3 September 1999, the RTC of Davao City, Branch 17, found Nestor G.
added that since he returned from Manila, the house had become unlucky, referring Soriano alias Boy guilty of Destructive Arson as charged pursuant to RA 7659, Sec.
to that belonging to her aunt Fe Cimagila then occupied by Honey located at Datu 10, par. 1, as amended, and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua. The court a
Abing Street, Calinan, Davao City.[3] quo also ordered him to pay the complainants whose houses were likewise burned
In the heated exchanges, Nestor struck Honey in the forehead. You are hurting together with that of Fe Cimagala in the following manner: Fructuosa Jambo,
me, she snapped back, just like what you did to me in Manila.[4] Simplicio Cabrera, Perla Clerigo, Orlando Braa and Oscar Cimagala P1,000,000.00
each as estimated value of their respective houses, including another amount
Nestor then moved away as he muttered: It is better that I burn this house, [5] and of P100,000.00 each as moral damages and P50,000.00 each by way of exemplary
then took a match from the top of a cabinet, lighted a cigarette and set fire to the damages, and the costs of suit.
plastic partition that served as divider of Honeys room.[6]
Arson is the malicious burning of property. Under Art. 320 of The Revised
With her naked body precariously draped in a towel, Honey instinctively took Penal Code, as amended, and PD 1613, Arson is classified into two kinds:
off her covering and doused off the flame with it. Then she rushed to her cabinet in (1) Destructive Arson (Art. 320) and (2) other cases of arson (PD 1613). This
classification is based on the kind, character and location of the property building, the prosecution is not bound to produce further evidence of his wrongful
burned, regardless of the value of the damage caused. intent.[15] If there is an eyewitness to the crime of Arson, he can give in detail the acts
of the accused. When this is done the only substantial issue is the credibility of the
Article 320 of The Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659, contemplates witness.[16] In the crime of Arson, the prosecution may describe the theatre of the
the malicious burning of structures, both public and private, hotels, buildings, crime and the conditions and circumstances surrounding it. Evidence of this type is
edifices, trains, vessels, aircraft, factories and other military, government or part of the res gestae.[17]
commercial establishments by any person or group of persons. [13] The classification
of this type of crime is known as Destructive Arson, which is punishable It is well settled in our jurisdiction that the factual findings of the court a quo as
by reclusion perpetua to death. The reason for the law is self-evident: to effectively well as the conclusions on the credibility of witnesses are generally not disturbed.
discourage and deter the commission of this dastardly crime, to prevent the We have no cogent reason to deviate from this rule in the case at bar.
destruction of properties and protect the lives of innocent people. Exposure to a
brewing conflagration leaves only destruction and despair in its wake; hence, the On the basis of the categorical testimony of Honey Rosario Cimagala positively
State mandates greater retribution to authors of this heinous crime. The exceptionally identifying accused-appellant as the one responsible for the burning of the house of
severe punishment imposed for this crime takes into consideration the extreme Fe Cimagala in the early morning of 18 September 1998, the trial court found the
danger to human lives exposed by the malicious burning of these structures; the accused Nestor G. Soriano guilty as charged.
danger to property resulting from the conflagration; the fact that it is normally The accuseds denial of the crime cannot be an adequate defense against the
difficult to adopt precautions against its commission, and the difficulty in pinpointing charge. In People v. Mahinay[18] we held that mere denial by witnesses particularly
the perpetrators; and, the greater impact on the social, economic, security and when not corroborated or substantiated by clear and evidencing evidence cannot
political fabric of the nation. prevail over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.
If as a consequence of the commission of any of the acts penalized under Art. Denial being in the nature of negative and self-serving evidence is seldom given
320, death should result, the mandatory penalty of death shall be imposed. weight in law. Positive and forthright declarations of witnesses are even held to be
worthier of credence than a self-serving denial.
On the other hand, PD 1613 which repealed Arts. 321 to 326-B of The Revised
Penal Code remains the governing law for Simple Arson. This decree contemplates We agree with the court a quo that the quantum of proof required to convict an
the malicious burning of public and private structures, regardless of size, not accused in a criminal case has been satisfied in the present dispute. Proof beyond
included in Art. 320, as amended by RA 7659, and classified as other cases of arson. reasonable doubt does not mean such a degree of proof as, excluding the possibility
These include houses, dwellings, government buildings, farms, mills, plantations, of error, produces absolute certainty. Only moral certainty is required, or that degree
railways, bus stations, airports, wharves and other industrial establishments. of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind.[19]
[14]
Although the purpose of the law on Simple Arson is to prevent the high incidence The legal basis of the trial court for convicting accused-appellant is Art. 320,
of fires and other crimes involving destruction, protect the national economy and par. 1, of The Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659, Sec. 10, par. 1. Under
preserve the social, economic and political stability of the nation, PD 1613 tempers this provision, a person found guilty of Destructive Arson is punishable by reclusion
the penalty to be meted to offenders. This separate classification of Simple perpetua to death where the burning affects one (1) or more buildings or edifices,
Arson recognizes the need to lessen the severity of punishment commensurate to the consequent to one single act of burning, or as a result of simultaneous burnings, or
act or acts committed, depending on the particular facts and circumstances of each committed on several or different occasions.
case.
However, we believe that the applicable provision of law should be Sec. 3, par.
Under Sec. 4 of PD 1613, if special aggravating circumstances are present in 2, of PD 1613,[20] which imposes a penalty of reclusion temporal to reclusion
the commission of Simple Arson, the penalty under Sec. 3 shall be imposed in its perpetua for other cases of arson as the properties burned by accused-appellant are
maximum period: (a) If committed with intent to gain; (b) If committed for the specifically described as houses, contemplating inhabited houses or dwellings under
benefit of another; (c) If the offender is motivated by spite or hatred towards the the aforesaid law. The descriptions as alleged in the second Amended
owner or occupant of the property burned; and, (d) If committed by a syndicate, or Information particularly refer to the structures as houses rather than as buildings or
group of three (3) or more persons. If by reason, or on the occasion of Simple edifices. The applicable law should therefore be Sec. 3, par. 2, of PD 1613, and not
Arson death results, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed. Art. 320, par. 1 of the Penal Code. In case of ambiguity in construction of penal laws,
Although intent may be an ingredient of the crime of Arson, it may be inferred it is well-settled that such laws shall be construed strictly against the government,
from the acts of the accused. There is a presumption that one intends the natural and literally in favor of the accused.
consequences of his act; and when it is shown that one has deliberately set fire to a
The elements of arson under Sec. 3, par. 2, of PD 1613 are: (a) there is the resentment accused-appellant felt came from the realization that he may never
intentional burning; and (b) what is intentionally burned is an inhabited house or see his son again once he left Davao; that his utter frustration in trying to convince
dwelling. Incidentally, these elements concur in the case at bar. Honey Rosario Cimagala to return to Manila with their son brought with it a
reduction of his rational faculties within that moment in time. Although emanating
The nature of Destructive Arson is distinguished from Simple Arson by the from lawful sentiments, the actuations of accused-appellant led to his criminal act of
degree of perversity or viciousness of the criminal offender. The acts committed burning the Cimagala home, and other neighboring houses. In other words, accused-
under Art. 320 of The Revised Penal Code constituting Destructive Arson are appellant was in a state of extreme emotional stress.
characterized as heinous crimes for being grievous, odious and hateful offenses
and which, by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, Mr. Justice Adam C. Carson, in his concurring opinion in United States v.
atrocity and perversity are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards Butardo,[24] gives his view on the graduation of penalties for the crime
and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society.[21] On of Arson under the Spanish Penal Code. In the old law on which The Revised Penal
the other hand, acts committed under PD 1613 constituting Simple Arson are crimes Code is based, he comments that the authors clearly had in mind certain
with a lesser degree of perversity and viciousness that the law punishes with a lesser considerations in imposing penalties of exceptional severity in the various cases of
penalty. In other words, Simple Arson contemplates crimes with less significant arson. The observations of Mr. Justice Carson in Butardo are thus still relevant in our
social, economic, political and national security implications than Destructive Arson. contemporary interpretation of criminal law:
However, acts falling under Simple Arson may nevertheless be converted
into Destructive Arson depending on the qualifying circumstances present. The authors of the Spanish Penal Code, in imposing penalties of exceptional severity
In the present case, the act committed by accused-appellant neither appears to in certain cases of arson, clearly had in mind:
be heinous nor represents a greater degree of perversity and viciousness as
distinguished from those acts punishable under Art. 320 of The Revised Penal Code. First. The extreme danger to which human lives may be exposed by the malicious
No qualifying circumstance was established to convert the offense to Destructive burning of dwelling houses and the like;
Arson. The special aggravating circumstance that accused-appellant was motivated
by spite or hatred towards the owner or occupant of the property burned cannot be Second. The danger to property resulting from widespread conflagrations;
appreciated in the present case where it appears that he was acting more on impulse,
heat of anger or risen temper rather than real spite or hatred that impelled him to give Third. The fact that it is extremely difficult to adopt precautions against the
vent to his wounded ego.[22] Nothing can be worse than a spurned lover or a commission of the crime, and to discover the perpetrators after its commission.
disconsolate father under the prevailing circumstances that surrounded the burning of
the Cimagala house. Thus, accused-appellant must be held guilty of Simple Formerly, where these elements marked the commission of the crime, the single
Arson penalized under Sec. 3, par. 2, of PD 1613 for the act of intentionally burning
penalty prescribed by law was that of death, but this severity was finally relaxed, and
an inhabited house or dwelling. while exceptionally severe penalties are still imposed in such cases, the authors of
In addition, we find that there exists a mitigating circumstance that should have the Penal Code appear to have endeavored to graduate these penalties in
been appreciated by the trial court in determining the penalty to be imposed on the accordance with the degree of danger to life and property, resulting from the
accused-appellant: a circumstance similar and analogous to passion and obfuscation. commission of the crime.
[23]
An impulse of invidious or resentful feelings contemplates a situation akin to
passion and obfuscation. This circumstance is mitigating since, like passion and To this end the severest penalties are prescribed for the malicious burning of edifies
obfuscation, the accused who acts with these feelings suffers a diminution of his in which large numbers of persons are assembled. Less harsh, but still very severe
intelligence and intent, a reduction in his mental and rational faculties. penalties are imposed on those setting fire to dwelling houses and other buildings
more or less permanently occupied. Less severe penalties on those guilty of burning
It has been satisfactorily shown by the court a quo that the lovers quarrel unoccupied dwellings, the penalty being more or less severe as the house appeared
between Nestor Soriano and Honey Rosario Cimagala ignited the chain of events to be situated so as to make a widespread conflagration more or less probable. And
that led to the conflagration that occurred in the early dawn of 18 September 1998. finally, sufficient, but not notably harsh penalties are prescribed in cases where the
Passions were inflamed in the evening of 17 September 1998 due to the impending property of others is set on fire under conditions which do not suggest special
return of Soriano to Manila the following day with the prospect of leaving behind in danger to human life or the likelihood of considerable destruction of property.
Davao his son Otoy who bears his namesake Nestor Jr. But reason, unfortunately, did
not prevail; emotions took control of the events that were to unfold. His efforts went
to naught; his attempts to win back his forbidden love were likewise thwarted. Verily,
In a concurring opinion, this time in U.S. v. Burns, Mr. Justice Ignacio Villamor the mayhem caused by accused-appellant, he never fled the scene of the crime; in
explains the rationale behind the penalties for Arson:[25] fact, he watched helplessly as the flames consumed the Cimagala home and the
neighboring houses. He did not resist the police authorities when he was invited for
In the opinion of Groizard, one of the most famous commentators on the Spanish questioning at the police station to shed light on the incident.
Penal Code, of which ours is but a copy, it is the potential damage that is considered Thus, applying Mr. Justice Carsons exceptional severity standard as regards the
here in fixing the grave penalty of cadena temporal to cadena perpetua. The risk imposition of penalties for the crime of Arson, the degree of criminality involved in
which a person runs who may be found in a place that is burned, whether it be a the accused-appellants act is lessened by the fact that he acted on
building, a farm-house, a hut or shelter, or a vessel in port, is what constitutes the an impulse that diminished his reasoning faculties, thus mitigating the punishment to
gravity which is the object of this crime; just as the damaging intent of the agent, be imposed. The proper penalty to be imposed should therefore take into
manifested by his setting fire to a place where he knows there is one or more consideration the analogous mitigating circumstance to passion and obfuscation
persons, gives an idea of his subjective perversity. under Art. 13, par. 10, as discussed above, in relation to Art. 64, par. 2, of The
Revised Penal Code.[26]
The same author adds: In the classification of the crime attention must be given to
the intention of the author. When fire is used with the intent to kill a determined Under Sec. 3, par. 2, of PD 1613, in relation to Art. 64, par. 2, of The Revised
person who may be in a shelter, and that object is secured, the crime committed is Penal Code, the imposable penalty for simple arson is reclusion
not that defined herein, but that of murder, penalized in article 418 (art. 403 of the temporal to reclusion perpetua the range of which is twelve (12) years and one (1)
Penal Code of the Philippines), with the penalty of cadena temporal in its maximum day to reclusion perpetua. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty
degree to death (Groizard, Vol. 8, p. 45). next lower in degree to the imposable penalty is prision mayor the range of which is
six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years in any of its periods. Under the
Accused-appellant is undoubtedly responsible for the fire that occurred in the circumstances, it is believed that an indeterminate prison term of six (6) years four
wee hours of 18 September 1998 that razed to the ground the Cimagala home and a (4) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor minimum as minimum to fourteen
number of other houses in the vicinity. Still, we believe that the record shows that the (14) years two (2) months and ten (10) days of the minimum of reclusion
elements discussed by Mr. Justice Carson in his separate concurring opinion temporal to reclusion perpetua as maximum may be imposed on the accused.
in Butardo are wanting. We are therefore not adequately convinced that imposing the As to the award of damages, this Court has consistently held that proof is
exceptionally severe penalty of reclusion perpetua is proper in the case at bar. required to determine the reasonable amount of damages that may be awarded to the
First. There appears to be no reckless disregard for human lives indicative of a victims of conflagration. As a rule, therefore, actual or compensatory damages must
cold, calculating, wicked and perverse intention to burn the Cimagala home. The be proved and not merely alleged. We believe that the records do not adequately
action of accused-appellant was the result of a lovers tiff between him and Honey reflect any concrete basis for the award of actual damages to the offended parties.
over their son, Otoy, and concerning the future of their unbridled relationship. His The court a quo granted the award solely on the bare assertions of the complaining
spontaneous, albeit criminal, act was carried out without any intention to exterminate witnesses. Moral damages cannot be awarded in this case, as there is no evidentiary
human lives. His purpose in going to Davao was to convince his lover to move back basis to justify it. However, accused-appellants civil liability is beyond cavil; what
with him to Manila and bringing along their son Otoy. needs to be resolved is the amount of indemnity he should pay to the owners of the
burned houses for the damage caused. In lieu thereof, this Court may award
Second. Neither was there any reckless disregard for the rights of the temperate or moderate damages to the victims of the conflagration in accordance
neighboring property owners. The criminal act of burning the Cimagala home was with Art. 2224 of the Civil Code. Indeed, the records evince that the victims suffered
carried out by accused-appellant in a diminished emotional state, which mitigates his some pecuniary loss although the amount thereof cannot be proved with certainty.
criminal liability to a lesser degree of criminality. Consequently, temperate damages in the amount of P250,000.00 which is considered
reasonable under the circumstances should be awarded to each of the complaining
Third. The testimony of Honey clearly points to accused-appellant as the witnesses or their heirs as the case may be.
perpetrator of the crime. However, the conduct of accused-appellant after he
consummated the crime, i.e., when he set fire to the clothes of Honey, is material in Exemplary or corrective damages should likewise be awarded as a way to
determining the severity of the penalty to be imposed. After his impulsive act of correct future conduct of this nature and preserve the public good. Such damages are
setting fire to both the plastic partition of the room and Honeys clothes, he attempted designed to reshape behavior that is socially deleterious in its consequences.
[27]
to mend his ways immediately by attempting to put out the flames although it was Hence, exemplary or corrective damages in the amount of P50,000.00 for each of
too late. His act of burning Honeys clothes set in motion a chain of events that spun the above-mentioned complaining witnesses or their heirs is fair and just under the
out of control and led to the blaze that destroyed houses in its path. However, despite premises.
It must be noted that accused-appellant became an unwitting victim of his own
extra-marital indiscretions. His flawed emotional disposition coupled with a lapse in That on or about the 24th day of May 1996, in the municipality of San Miguel,
judgment became his own undoing as he now languishes in jail for choosing the road province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
to perdition. Although he has no one to blame but himself for his vicissitudes, we the above-named accused, armed with a bladed instrument, did then and there
believe that the lessons to be learned from this sad and miserable chapter of his life willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with lewd designs, by means of force and
are more than adequate from which he can gain insight and wisdom, while he sits intimidation have carnal knowledge of the said Analyn dela Cruz y Viola, 11 years of
patiently in his prison cell waiting for the day when he can once again breathe the age, against her will. 2
invigorating air of freedom.
Upon his arraignment, Jimmy pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. 3 Pre-trial
WHEREFORE, Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City finding ensued, followed by the trial on the merits of the case.
accused-appellant NESTOR G. SORIANO guilty of Destructive
Arson is MODIFIED to Simple Arson under Sec. 3, par. 2, of PD 1613, and the The evidence for the prosecution, culled from the testimonies of the victim Analyn
penalty imposed on him REDUCED to an indeterminate prison term of six (6) years de la Cruz and her mother Lolita Viola de la Cruz, is as follows:chanrob1es virtual
four (4) months and twenty (20) days of prision mayor minimum as minimum to 1aw library
fourteen (14) years two (2) months and ten (10) days of reclusion temporal minimum
as maximum. Temperate damages in the amount of P250,000.00 and exemplary Analyn was 10 years and 11 months old on the day of the alleged rape, having been
damages of P50,000.00 are AWARDED to each of complaining witnesses Fructuosa born on 23 June 1985. She filed the complaint with the assistance of her mother,
L. Jambo, Simplicio B. Cabrera, Francisco Clerigo, Orlando Braa and Oscar T. Lolita, who is Jimmys first cousin. Prior to the filing of this case and the assumption
Cimagala. Costs against accused-appellant. of custody by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Analyn lived with
SO ORDERED. her grandmother in Sta. Ines, San Miguel, Bulacan; while her mother lived with her
second husband in another house within the same barangay. 4
Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr. and Tinga, JJ., concur.
At around 9:00 a.m. of 24 May 1996, while Analyn was playing with her friend near
the house of Jimmys sister Nini in Sta. Ines, San Miguel, Bulacan, Jimmy, who was
staying in Ninis house during the day, called out Analyn to buy cooking oil for him
from the store nearby. He gave her P5.00 and a glass for the cooking oil. When she
EN BANC returned to Ninis house, Jimmy asked her to get the feeding bottle of his niece near
the bed, which was in a slightly elevated portion of the house. She then went to get
[G.R. No. 139181. October 27, 2003.] the bottle. Jimmy followed her and, producing a knife, ordered Analyn to remove her
shorts and underwear. Fearing for her safety, Analyn acceded. Jimmy then proceeded
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. JIMMY AQUINO y to remove his clothes and force himself on top of her. With a knife in his right hand
VIOLA, Appellant. pressed against her left palm, he began to have sexual intercourse with her. Once
during the ordeal, he applied to her genitals the cooking oil she bought. Jimmy
DECISION stopped his assault only after two hours, or at around 11:00 a.m., when he heard the
voice of his brother-in-law outside the house. He forthwith ordered Analyn to get
dressed and get out of the house. Analyn went home and reported the rape to her
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: grandmother. 5

Later in the afternoon, Analyn went to the poultry farm where her mother worked
Before us on automatic review is the 7 June 1999 Decision of the Regional Trial and told her that "Tio Imi" had raped her. 6 Lolita went to the Barangay Council of
Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 21, in Criminal Case No. 1310-M-98 convicting Sta. Ines and reported the rape. Councilman Ismael Julian asked Barangay Tanod
appellant Jimmy Aquino of the crime of statutory rape and sentencing him to the Rolando Viola to fetch Jimmy. Under interrogation by Ismael, Jimmy admitted to
penalty of death. 1chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary having asked Analyn to undress. The councilman prepared a statement, 7 which was
signed by him, Jimmy and Lolita, wherein it was stated that the nature of the
The Information under which Jimmy was charged reads:chanrob1es virtual 1aw complaint was that Jimmy had asked Analyn to remove her clothes because he
library wanted to see what her vagina looked like. Even if the statement did not mention
rape, Lolita signed it thinking it would merely be used as evidence that she had made Late that same afternoon, Rolando Viola, a barangay tanod, came and informed him
a complaint. 8 that Lolita was making a complaint against him (Jimmy) with the barangay
councilor. He (Jimmy) went to where Ismael Julian and Lolita were and, when
Analyn was also sent for, and though she testified to having signed a document upon confronted, admitted to having asked Analyn to pull down her shorts because he was
the request of the barangay tanods, she did not know what document she signed. 9 curious about her. He signed a statement made by Ismael that was in question-and-
Analyns signature does not appear in the statement signed by her mother and answer form, and both he and Lolita were made to sign the same document. The
Jimmy.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary issue of rape was not discussed during that confrontation, and he had no idea of the
charge until he was arrested in his house on 12 November 1997 and brought to the
According to Lolita, she was frustrated by the lack of action by the Barangay provincial jail. 16
officials. She attributed it to the fact that Jimmy was a relative of many of them, and
that they wanted her to settle the case with him. Thinking that Jimmy had fled, she Antonio Clemente, a first cousin of both Jimmy and Lolita, corroborated Jimmys
did not pursue the complaint. It was only on 20 August 1997, Jimmys birthday, that story. He testified that on the day of the alleged rape, he was fixing the fence in the
she spotted Jimmy in the house of his grandmother. Her rage renewed. she tried to go back of Ninis house. He could see into the house of Nini because the back wall was
to the police in San Miguel, Bulacan, but the policemen refused to help her because almost non-existent. At around 10:00 a.m. he asked Jimmy for food and gave him
Jimmy was the nephew of the incumbent barangay captain at that time. 10 money to buy cooking oil and ice. Afterwards, he heard children laughing and he
saw Analyn with her shorts around her knees. He even jokingly asked the children to
With the help of her friend Celia Manese, she, together with Analyn, filed on 10 do the same so that they could eat some of the camote. 17
November 1997 a complaint with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Miguel,
Bulacan. The next day, Analyn was examined at the Philippine National Police Rolando Viola, a barangay tanod and an uncle of both the appellant and the victims
Crime Laboratory in Malolos, Bulacan. 11 The examining physician, Dr. Manuel mother, testified to having seen Antonio fix the house. Sometime before 10:00 a.m.,
Aves, found old healed hymenal lacerations, which the parties admitted. 12 he went looking for Antonio because he wanted to have his roof fixed. While he was
conferring with Antonio, he saw Analyn and Jimmy watching television inside Ninis
For his defense, Jimmy interposed a basic denial. His version of the events is that on house. He also testified that the state of Ninis house at that time was such that
24 May 1996, he was in the house of his sister Nini where he usually stayed during although he was at the back, he could see into the house and out into the street and at
the day, sometimes to take care of his niece. Around two meters away was Antonio passers-by because the front and back walls were dilapidated and almost non-
Clemente, a first cousin of Jimmy and Lolita and a carpenter by profession, who was existent. 18
hired by Nini to put up a fence in the back of the house. 13
He also testified that he was present when Lolita reported to Barangay Councilman
At approximately 9:00 a.m., Analyn arrived and watched television with Jimmy. Ismael Julian that Analyn was ordered by the appellant to take off her lower apparel.
Sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., Antonio got hungry and asked Jimmy for He was even the one who fetched the appellant from his house to be investigated. He
merienda. Because none was available, Antonio gave Jimmy P5.00 to buy ice and was likewise present during the investigation. 19 This testimony was corroborated by
some cooking oil to fry camote (sweet potatoes). Jimmy, in turn, gave Analyn the Ismael Julian. 20
money and bid her to buy the items in a store nearby. She returned with the cooking
oil worth P3.00 but without the ice, and gave the P2.00 to Jimmy. 14 Alberto Viola, uncle of Jimmy and granduncle of Analyn, declared that he had been
taking care of Jimmy ever since the latter was 10 years old, after Jimmys father
At one point while the camote was being fried, Jimmy became curious about the died. He testified that at around 10:30 a.m. of 24 May 1996, while he was cooking
rumors he had heard about the beautiful appearance of Analyns private organ. To see lunch in his house, he heard children laughing. From his kitchen in the back of the
it for himself, he asked Analyn to pull down her shorts. The latter agreed. When house, he had a view of the front of Ninis house, where he saw children. Noticing
Analyns shorts were down, a group of children entered the house and laughed when nothing extraordinary, he continued cooking. At around noon, Jimmy came over and
they saw Analyn. Among this group were Analyns younger brother Jonathan ate with him. 21
Duklayan, and Antonios son Jervy Clemente. Antonio also looked in to see what
was happening. He saw Analyn with her shorts around her knees and her underwear Teresita Bacuan, another cousin of Analyn and a close friend, testified that at 11:00
exposed. The children then asked whether they could have some of the camote being a.m. of 24 May 1996, Analyn came by her house to tell her that "Tio Imi" had almost
fried. Antonio playfully asked them to also pull down their shorts as a condition to succeeded in raping her (Analyn). Teresita was worried that a rape had in fact been
giving them any. 15 committed and asked Analyn whether the latter was just ashamed to admit it. Analyn
assured her that nothing happened because of the timely arrival of one Jervy and
other small children. Teresita confronted Jervy Clemente, who then denied having With costs against the accused.
witnessed any attempt at rape. Teresitas testimony also included revelations from
Analyn that sometime in April of 1997, Analyn was having sexual intercourse with SO ORDERED. 28
her boyfriend named Ryan Ramos. 22
The records were elevated to us.
The witnesses for the appellant denied Jimmys flight. They testified that they had
seen him working in the field or in a construction, 23 watching television in Ninis In his Appellants Brief, Jimmy contends that the trial court erred in (1) holding that
house, or buying something in the store, and sometimes in the company of Analyn. the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses are direct and credible, and (2) ignoring
24 the truth and credibility of the witnesses for the defense. On the other hand, the
Office of the Solicitor General, representing the People of the Philippines, agrees
The defense put forward several motives for Lolita to have constrained Analyn to with the trial court in giving full faith and credence to Analyns narration of the facts
accuse him of rape. One was for the money that Lolita was claiming to settle the that warranted the conviction of the accused.
case. After the case was filed, she wanted P10,000 to settle the case, and later,
according to her neighbor Lerma, she wanted P50,000. 25 The second was because In reviewing rape cases, three guiding principles must be borne in mind: (1) an
of a land dispute over the inheritance between Lolitas father Edilberto and Jimmys accusation for rape may be made with facility, for it is difficult to prove but more
uncle Alberto. 26 The third was revenge in that Jimmys sister Lala was instrumental difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the
in putting in jail the father of Lolitas friend Celia Manese for raping his intrinsic nature of the crime where two persons are involved, the testimony of the
stepdaughter. 27 complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the
prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw
After trial, the trial court rendered the decision now on review. Convinced of the strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. 29
overall veracity of Analyns claim, the trial court gave no weight to the testimonies
of the witnesses for the defense because of their relation to Jimmy. Reasoning that Taking into account the totality of the evidence presented, we cannot sustain the
lust is not a respecter of time and place, it found inconsequential the testimonies of conviction of the appellant for the crime of rape.
the witnesses that the house where the rape was allegedly committed was located
near a store or artesian well. It could find no reason why either Analyn or her mother The main issue in this case is whether on the day of 24 May 1996, Jimmy Aquino
Lolita would fabricate a story of rape when to do so would subject Analyn to an had carnal knowledge of Analyn de la Cruz. Because Analyn was under 12 years old,
emotional ordeal and humiliation. On Analyns claim that Jimmy raped her for two her age takes the place of force and intimidation in vitiating her consent, and only an
hours, the court attributed this to Jimmys youth and strong physical condition as a evidence of carnal knowledge is necessary. 30 The presence of a deadly weapon only
probable "sexual athlete," or else to a condition called satyriasis, which describes qualifies the offense. 31
excessive sexual desire.
Excluding the peripheral motives and actuations of the secondary players in this
Finding, therefore, that rape was committed and that the accused used a deadly drama, we are once again tasked with the duty of weighing the testimony of the
weapon in its commission, the trial court declared:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library victim as against the appellant. As a general rule the trial courts findings as to the
credibility of witnesses are entitled to great weight and should largely remain
As to the penalty to be imposed, the law provides that for Statutory Rape, the penalty undisturbed. 32 On review, an appellate court may reverse these findings when there
is Reclusion Perpetua: whereas if committed with the use of a deadly weapon, it appears on record some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which has been
should be Reclusion Perpetua to Death. Inasmuch as the circumstance of using of the overlooked or misinterpreted that could. affect the result of a case. 33 It is on this
fan knife which is a deadly weapon, was established, it is hereby deemed to be one ground that we find that the trial court committed a reversible error in completely
that aggravated the commission of the offense. Accordingly, Accused Jimmy V. disregarding all other evidence contrary to what was deemed as the irrefutable
Aquino is hereby sentenced to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH by lethal testimony of the complainant.
injection.
The trial court found Analyns demeanor while she testified to the rape as frank,
Further, he is hereby ordered to indemnify Analyn dela Cruz the sum of P75,000.00 straightforward, sincere, and unshaken despite the rigid cross-examination. True, the
(in line with the case of People v. Victor, G.R. No. 127903, July 9, 1998) and to pay positive testimony of a credible complainant is sufficient basis for the conviction of
moral damages of P100,000.00. rape, for jurisprudence recognizes that a victim who cries rape, more so if she is a
minor, almost always says all that are needed to signify that the crime has been
committed. 34 It is also true that a woman would not make a charge of rape for that Analyn was present during the investigation. 42 Analyn would have also seized
reasons other than to seek justice for what is the truth. 35 We must consider, the opportunity to give her side that what happened was rape, not just
however, a principle equally fundamental: that evidence to be worthy of credit must "undressing."cralaw virtua1aw library
not only proceed from a credible source but must, in addition, be credible in itself. 36
In this regard, the probability of the testimony of Analyn is suspect in light of the Furthermore, it was only one-and-a-half years after the incident, or in November
totality of the evidence presented for and against the Appellant. 1997, that a complaint for rape was filed by Analyn and her mother before the MTC
of San Miguel, Bulacan. We find her reasons for the delay to be unsatisfactory.
Analyn was unyielding on the point that Jimmy did the pumping motion while on top
of her for two hours, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. of 24 May 1996. 37 Ordinarily, this We cannot subscribe to the conclusion of the trial court that the witnesses of the
improbability would be attributable to confusion or perhaps a failure to communicate appellant should be discredited or otherwise disregarded because they are his
her sense of time or the sequence of events, especially when accounting for Analyns relatives. It must be remembered that the witnesses presented were as much related
age. The trial judge, therefore, disregarded this improbability by factoring in the to the complainant as they were to the appellant. On the one hand, a bias in favor of
probability of Jimmys sexual prowess. However, the adamancy of Analyn as to the the appellant does not, on its face, exist. On the other hand, a bias against the
continuity of the rape, when confronted with the presence of children in the same complainant cannot be explained on the mere recognition that society treats with
cramped one-room house, as well as the declarations of the other witnesses who saw scorn a non-virgin who is deflowered against her will, 43 as declared by the trial
Analyn and Jimmy at intervals during that time, creates an uncertainty as to whether court. There was no malice or favor exhibited by any of the witnesses in favor of the
a rape could have occurred during that time.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary appellant or against the complainant. Neither was there an indication in the record as
to any wish to discredit Analyns character. Even the allegation that she had sexual
The accused presented Antonio Clemente and Rolando Viola who testified to having experiences with her boyfriend at the age of 12 years was only to explain the old
seen Analyn and Jimmy between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. watching television. They healed hymenal lacerations.
also testified as to the arrival or the presence of children in the house of Nini
sometime before 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Even Analyns mother, Lolita, claimed In view of the consistency and credibility of the witnesses presented by the defense,
that her son Jonathan had seen the rape and was the first to report it to her. Lolitas who equally withstood strict scrutiny during trial, we must give weight to the
statement is hearsay, but it indicates, at the very least, Jonathans presence in Ninis evidence for the defense and make room for the uncertainty that arises out of it. At
house during that time. Moreover, the statement signed by Jimmy and Lolita most is what has been admitted by the appellant that he asked Analyn to undress on
mentions the presence of Jonathan and other children, who laughed at Analyn after 24 May 1996. Whether it was a prelude to sexual intercourse or to truly satisfy his
seeing her in a state of undress. 38 Independent is the testimony of Teresita Bacuan curiosity is debatable. Whether this event continued into the consummation of the
that Analyn mentioned the appearance of Jervy Clemente in Ninis house as the sexual act remains uncertain.
reason why Jimmy was unable to consummate the rape. It is unfortunate that none of
the children could be made to testify. Both parties show that their presence or From the consistent and credible evidence of the defense, we find that the scales
absence would have been material. Although the statements of the children cannot be have to be tipped again, if not in favor of the appellant, then to balance the scales and
used for being hearsay, the fact that several witnesses acknowledged their presence to reaffirm the precept that when inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of
during the time of the rape is noteworthy. two or more explanations, one consistent with innocence and the other with guilt,
such evidence would not meet the test of moral certainty and would not support a
It is also significant to note that both Barangay Councilman Ismael Julian and conviction. 44
Barangay Tanod Rolando Viola testified that what Analyns mother, Lolita, reported
to them was that Jimmy ordered Analyn to undress or in the dialect, "pinaghubo." 39 However, while the appellant cannot be held guilty of the charge of rape on the
There is nothing in the record of such investigation that indicates that she or her ground of reasonable doubt, we find that his act of directing Analyn to remove her
mother complained of rape. The record of the investigation, which bears the lower apparel constitutes an act of lasciviousness under Article 336 of the Revised
signatures of Ismael, Jimmy, and Lolita and was identified and marked as Exhibit "1" Penal Code. Section 4, Rule 120 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
during the trial, reflects Jimmys admission to having asked Analyn to undress. authorizes, in cases of variance between the offense charged and that proved, the
Lolita, who had finished grade six, 40 testified during her cross-examination that she conviction of an accused of the offense proved which is included in the offense
knew the contents of the record before she affixed her signature therein. 41 If what charged, or of the offense charged which is included in that which is proved. In
Analyn had reported to her mother was one of rape, the latter would have been so People v. Caralipio, 45 we ruled that although an accused is charged in the
enraged that she would not sign that document and would have, instead, insisted that information with the crime of rape, he can be convicted of acts of lasciviousness,
the complaint for rape be likewise reflected in the record. Moreover, it is undisputed which is included in rape.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
The elements of the crime of acts of lasciviousness are as follows:chanrob1es virtual Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Sandoval-
1aw library Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Carpio Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna
and Tinga, JJ., concur.
1. The offender commits an act of lasciviousness or lewdness;
Ynares-Santiago, J., on official leave.
2. The act is done (a) by using force or intimidation, (b) when the offended party is
deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or (c) when the offended party is under
12 years of age; and

3. The offended party is another person of either sex. 46

These elements are present in the case at bar. From the environmental circumstance [G.R. No. 118971. September 15, 1999]
under which the act was done, lewd design can be imputed to Jimmy. He was alone
with Analyn when he ordered her to remove her drawers. He claimed that his
purpose was to see her private organ because of the alleged rumors that it (Analyns
genitalia) was "beautiful and big." 47 Such act was not out of sheer curiosity but RODOLFO R. VASQUEZ, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, THE
rather out of lascivious curiosity. Notably, on cross-examination, he testified that he REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, BRANCH 40, and THE
never tried "to peep to see the private organs" of his sisters to confirm whether they PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
were big and beautiful. He also acknowledged that it is "very immoral for a man to
look and stare at the private organ of a lady." 48 SYNOPSIS

In any event, the appellant cannot escape liability for his act of ordering Analyn to In an information filed in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Rodolfo R.
undress for him to see her private part. Such was an act of lewdness perpetrated Vasquez was charged with libel for allegedly having made false and malicious
against Analyn, who at the time was only 10 years and 11 months old, having been imputations that Barangay Chairman Jaime Olmedo was engaged in land grabbing
born on 23 June 1985 as evidenced by her Certificate of Live Birth. 49 For such act and was involved in illegal gambling and stealing of chicken at the Tondo Foreshore
of lasciviousness, Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code prescribes as penalty Area, Tondo Manila. The trial court found Vasquez guilty of libel as charged. On
prision correctional, whose duration is from 6 months and day to 6 years. There appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto. Hence, this petition.
being no modifying circumstances, the penalty should be imposed in its medium Even if the defamatory statement is false, no liability can attach if it relates to
period, which ranges from 2 years, 4 months, and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months of official conduct, unless the public official concerned proves that the statement was
imprisonment. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the appellant should be made with actual malice - that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless
made to suffer an indeterminate penalty ranging from 4 months of arresto mayor, as disregard of whatever it was false or not. In this case, the prosecution failed to prove
minimum, to 4 years of prision correctional, as maximum. not only that the charges made by petitioner were false but also that petitioner made
them with knowledge of their falsity or with reckless disregard of whether they were
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, false or not.
Branch 21, in Criminal Case No. 1310-M-98 finding appellant Jimmy Aquino guilty
of the crime of rape is hereby modified. As modified, said appellant is hereby found A rule placing on the accused the burden of showing the truth of allegations of
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of acts of lasciviousness and is official misconduct and/or good motives and justifiable ends for making such
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor, as allegations would, above all, infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of
minimum, to four (4) years of prision correctional, as maximum. If he has already expression. Without free speech and assembly, discussions of our most abiding
served that sentence, his immediate release from custody is hereby ordered unless he concerns as a nation would be stifled.
is being held for other legal grounds.
SYLLABUS
Costs de oficio. 1. REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; INFORMATION FOR
LIBEL; MUST GENERALLY SET OUT PARTICULAR DEFAMATORY
SO ORDERED. WORDS VERBATIM AS PUBLISHED; CASE AT BAR.- While the general
rule is that the information must set out the particular defamatory words accused will be entitled to an acquittal even though he does not prove that the
verbatim and as published and that a statement of their substance is insufficient, imputation was published with good motives and for justifiable ends.
a defect in this regard may be cured by evidence. In this case, the article was
presented in evidence, but petitioner failed to object to its introduction. Instead, 8. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR.- In this case, contrary to the findings of the trial
he engaged in the trial of the entire article, not only of the portions quoted in court, on which the Court of Appeals relied, petitioner was able to prove the
the information, and sought to prove it to be true. In doing so, he waived truth of his charges against the barangay official. In denouncing
objection based on the defect in the information. Consequently, he cannot raise the barangay chairman in this case, petitioner and the other residents of the
this issue at this late stage. Tondo Foreshore Area were not only acting in their self-interest but engaging in
the performance of a civic duty to see to it that public duty is discharged
2. CRIMINAL LAW; LIBEL; ELEMENTS.- To find a person guilty of libel under faithfully and well by those on whom such duty is incumbent. The recognition
Art. 353 of the Revised Penal Code, the following elements must be proved: (a) of this right and duty of every citizen in a democracy is inconsistent with any
the allegation of a discreditable act or condition concerning another; (b) requirement placing on him the burden of proving that he acted with good
publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person defamed; and (d) existence motives and for justifiable ends. For that matter, even if the defamatory
of malice. statement is false, no liability can attach if it relates to official conduct, unless
the public official concerned proves that the statement was made with actual
3. ID.; ID.; WHEN IS AN ALLEGATION DEFAMATORY.- An allegation is malice - that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of
considered defamatory if it ascribes to a person the commission of a crime, the whether it was false or not. This is the gist of the ruling in the landmark case
possession of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, of New York Times v. Sullivan, which this Court has cited with approval in
condition, status or circumstance which tends to dishonor or discredit or put several of its own decisions. This is the rule of actual malice. In this case, the
him in contempt, or which tends to blacken the memory of one who is dead. prosecution failed to prove not only that the charges made by petitioner were
4. ID.; ID.; PUBLICATION; LIBELOUS STATEMENT COMMUNICATED false but also that petitioner made them with knowledge of their falsity or with
TO A THIRD PERSON.- There is publication if the material is communicated reckless disregard of whether they were false or not. As already stated,
to a third person. It is not required that the person defamed has read or heard however, in accordance with Art. 361, if the defamatory matter either
about the libelous remark. What is material is that a third person has read or constitutes a crime or concerns the performance of official duties, and the
heard the libelous statement, for a mans reputation is the estimate in which accused proves the truth of his charge, he should be acquitted.
others hold him, not the good opinion which he has of himself. 9. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; FREEDOM OF
5. ID.; ID.; IDENTIFIABILITY.- On the other hand, to satisfy the element of EXPRESSION; EMBRACES RIGHT TO DENOUNCE OFFICIAL
identifiability, it must be shown that at least a third person or a stranger was MISCONDUCT.- A rule placing on the accused the burden of showing the
able to identify him as the object of the defamatory statement. truth of allegations of official misconduct and/or good motives and justifiable
ends for making such allegations would not only be contrary to Art. 361 of the
6. ID.; ID.; MALICE; WHEN PRESENT.- Finally, malice or ill will must be Revised Penal Code. It would, above all, infringe on the constitutionally
present. Art. 354 of the Revised Penal Code provides: Every defamatory guaranteed freedom of expression. Such a rule would deter citizens from
imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no good intention performing their duties as members of a self-governing community. Without
and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following cases: 1. free speech and assembly, discussions of our most abiding concerns as a nation
A private communication made by any person to another in the performance of would be stifled. As Justice Brandeis has said, public discussion is a political
any legal, moral or security duty; and 2. A fair and true report, made in good duty and the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.
faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other
official proceedings which are not of confidential nature, or of any statement,
report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by
public officers in the exercise of their functions. DECISION
7. ID.; ID.; DEFAMATION AGAINST PUBLIC OFFICIAL; ACCUSED MENDOZA, J.:
SHOULD BE ACQUITTED WHERE TRUTH OF ALLEGATION
PROVED.- Under Art. 361 of the Revised Penal Code, if the defamatory The question for determination in this case is the liability for libel of a citizen
statement is made against a public official with respect to the discharge of his who denounces a barangay official for misconduct in office. The Regional Trial
official duties and functions and the truth of the allegation is shown, the Court of Manila, Branch 40, found petitioner guilty and fined him P1,000.00 on the
ground that petitioner failed to prove the truth of the charges and that he was kaugnay ng pagrereklamo sa pangangamkam ng lupa noong 1984, sabi pa ni
motivated by vengeance in uttering the defamatory statement. On appeal, the Court Vasquez.
of Appeals, in a decision[1] dated February 1, 1995, affirmed. Hence, this petition for
review. The decision appealed from should be reversed. Based on the newspaper article, Olmedo filed a complaint for libel against
The facts are not in dispute. Petitioner Rodolfo R. Vasquez is a resident of the petitioner alleging that the latters statements cast aspersions on him and damaged his
Tondo Foreshore Area. Sometime in April 1986, he and some 37 families from the reputation. After conducting preliminary investigation, the city prosecutor filed the
area went to see then National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Lito following information in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 40:
Atienza regarding their complaint against their Barangay Chairman, Jaime
Olmedo. After their meeting with Atienza and other NHA officials, petitioner and his The undersigned accuses RODOLFO R. VASQUEZ of the crime of libel committed
companions were met and interviewed by newspaper reporters at the NHA as follows:
compound concerning their complaint. The next day, April 22, 1986, the following
news article[2] appeared in the newspaper Ang Tinig ng Masa: That on or about April 22, 1986, in the city of Manila, Philippines, the said accused,
with malicious intent of impeaching the reputation and character of one Jaime
Nananawagan kahapon kay pangulong Corazon Aquino ang 38 mahihirap na Olmedo, chairman of Barangay 66, Zone 6 in Tondo, Manila, and with evident intent
pamilya sa Tondo Foreshore Area na umanoy inagawan ng lupa ng kanilang of exposing him to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, did then and there willfully,
barangay chairman sa pakikipagsabwatan sa ilang pinuno ng National Housing unlawfully, feloniously and maliciously caused the publication of an article entitled
Authority sapul 1980. 38 Pamilya Inagawan ng Lupa in Ang Tinig ng Masa, a daily newspaper sold to the
public and of general circulation in the Philippines in its April 22, 1986 issue, which
Sinabi nila na nakipagsabwatan umano si Chairman Jaime Olmedo ng barangay 66, portion of the said article reads as follows:
Zone 6, Tondo Foreshore Area, sa mga project manager ng NHA upang makamkam
ang may 14 na lote ng lupa sa naturang lugar. Nananawagan kahapon kay pangulong Corazon Aquino ang 38 mahihirap na
pamilya sa Tondo Foreshore Area na umanoy inagawan ng lupa ng kanilang
Binanggit ni Rodolfo R. Vasquez, 40, Tagapagsalita ng (mga) pamilyang apektado, barangay chairman sa pakikipagsabwatan sa ilang pinuno ng National Housing
na umaabot lang sa 487.87 metro kuwadrado ang kabuuan ng mga lupa na Authority sapul 1980.
kinatitirikan ng mga barung-barung ng 38 pamilya.
Sinabi nila na nakipagsabwatan umano si Chairman Jaime Olmedo ng barangay 66,
Naninirahan na kami sa mga lupang nabanggit sapul 1950 at pinatunayan sa mga Zone 6, Tondo Foreshore Area sa mga project manager ng NHA upang makamkam
survey ng NHA noong nakalipas na taon na may karapatan kami sa mga lupang ito ang may 14 na lote ng lupa sa naturang lugar.
ng pamahalaan, ani Vasquez.
x x x Pawang lupa ng gobyerno ang mga lupa at ilegal man na patituluhan, nagawa
Pawang lupa ng gobyerno ang mga lupa at ilegal man na patituluhan, nagawa ito ni ito ni Olmedo sa pakikipagsabwatan sa mga project manager at legal officers ng
Olmedo sa pakikipagsabwatan sa mga project manager at legal officers ng NHA, NHA, sabi ni Vasquez.
sabi ni Vasquez.
Sinabi rin ng mga pamilya na protektado ng dating pinuno ng city hall ng Maynila,
Sinabi rin ng mga pamilya na protektado ng dating pinuno ng city hall ng Maynila, MHS Minister Conrado Benitez, at ilang pinuno ng pulisya ang barangay chairman
MHS Minister Conrado Benitez, at ilang pinuno ng pulisya ang barangay chairman kaya nakalusot ang mga ginawa nitong katiwalian.
kaya nakalusot ang mga ginawa nitong katiwalian.
Bukod sa pagkamkam ng mga lupaing gobyerno, kasangkot din umano si Olmedo sa
Bukod sa pagkamkam ng mga lupaing gobyerno, kasangkot din umano si Olmedo sa mga ilegal na pasugalan sa naturang lugar at maging sa mga nakawan ng manok. x x
mga ilegal na pasugalan sa naturang lugar at maging sa mga nakawan ng manok. x

Sapin-sapin na ang mga kaso na idinulog namin noong nakalipas na mga taon, pero with which statements, the said accused meant and intended to convey, as in fact he
pinawalang saysay ang lahat ng iyon, kabilang na ang tangkang pagpatay sa akin did mean and convey false and malicious imputations that said Jaime Olmedo is
engaged in landgrabbing and involved in illegal gambling and stealing of chickens at
the Tondo Foreshore Area, Tondo, Manila, which statements, as he well knew, were said allegations were made by him before the local press people in the pursuit of
entirely false and malicious, offensive and derogatory to the good name, character fairness and truthfulness and not in bad faith (pp. 8-9, id.); that the only inaccurate
and reputation of said Jaime Olmedo, thereby tending to impeach, besmirch and account in the published article of Ang Tinig ng Masa is the reference to the 487.87
destroy the honor, character and reputation of Jaime Olmedo, as in fact, the latter sq.m. lot, on which Olmedos residence now stands, attributed by the reporter as the
was exposed to dishonor, discredit, public hatred, contempt and ridicule. lot currently occupied by appellants and his fellow complainants (pp. 4-5, tsn, Nov.
15, 1989; pp. 4-5, tsn, January 15, 1990); and that after the interview, he never
Contrary to law. expected that his statement would be the cause of the much-publicized libelous
article (pp. 4-6, tsn, Nov. 15, 1989).[4]
Upon being arraigned, petitioner entered a plea of not guilty, whereupon the
case was tried. The prosecution presented Barangay Chairman Olmedo and his It is true petitioner did not directly admit that he was the source of the
neighbor, Florentina Calayag, as witnesses. On the other hand, the defense presented statements in the questioned article. What he said in his sworn statement [5] was that
Ciriaco Cabuhat, Nicasio Agustin, Estrelita Felix, Fernando Rodriguez all residents the contents of the article are true in almost all respects, thus:
of the Tondo Foreshore Area and petitioner as its witnesses. 9. Tama ang nakalathala sa pahayagang Ang Masa maliban na lang sa
On May 28, 1992, the trial court rendered judgment finding petitioner guilty of tinutukoy na ako at ang mga kasamahang maralitang taga-lungsod ay
libel and sentencing him to pay a fine of P1,000.00. On appeal, the Court of Appeals nakatira sa humigit kumulang 487.87 square meters sapagkat ang
affirmed in toto. Hence, this petition for review. Petitioner contends that nabanggit na 487.87 square meters ay siyang kinatitirikan ng bahay ni
Barangay Chairman Olmedo kung saan nakaloob ang anim na lote -
I. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE isang paglabag sa batas o regulasyon ng NHA;
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT PINPOINTING PETITIONER
AS THE SOURCE OF THE ALLEGED LIBELOUS ARTICLE. 10. Ang ginawa kong pahayag na nailathala sa Ang Masa ay sanhi ng
aking nais na maging mabuting mamamayan at upang maituwid ang
II. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE mga katiwaliang nagaganap sa Tondo Foreshore Area kung saan ako at
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT PETITIONER sampu ng aking mga kasamang maralitang taga-lungsod ay apektado
IMPUTED THE QUESTIONED ACTS TO COMPLAINANT. at naaapi.
III. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE This was likewise what he stated in his testimony in court both on direct [6] and on
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT THE ALLEGED cross-examination.[7] However, by claiming that what he had told the reporter was
IMPUTATIONS WERE MADE MALICIOUSLY. made by him in the performance of a civic duty, petitioner in effect admitted
authorship of the article and not only of the statements attributed to him therein, to
IV. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
wit:
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT WHICH FAILED TO
APPRECIATE PETITIONERS DEFENSE OF TRUTH.
Pawang lupa ng gobyerno ang mga lupa at ilegal man na patituluhan, nagawa ito ni
V. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE Olmedo sa pakikipagsabwatan sa mga project manager at legal officers ng NHA,
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT ALL THE ELEMENTS sabi ni Vasquez.
OF LIBEL WERE PROVEN.
We will deal with these contentions in the order in which they are made. ....

First. Petitioner claims he was unfairly singled out as the source of the Sapin-sapin na ang mga kaso na idinulog namin noong nakalipas na mga taon, pero
statements in the article when any member of the 38 complainant-families could pinawalang saysay ang lahat ng iyon, kabilang na ang tangkang pagpatay sa akin
have been the source of the alleged libelous statements. [3] The reference is to the kaugnay ng pagrereklamo sa pangangamkam ng lupa noong 1984, sabi pa ni
following portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals: Vasquez.

. . . In his sworn statement, appellant admitted he was the source of the libelous Petitioner cannot claim to have been the source of only a few statements in the
article (Exh. B). He affirmed this fact when he testified in open court as follows: article in question and point to the other parties as the source of the rest, when he
That his allegation on the act of landgrabbing by Olmedo was based on the alleged
report and pronouncements of the NHA representatives (p. 5, tsn, Oct. 18, 1989); that
admits that he was correctly identified as the spokesperson of the families during the 2. A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or
interview. remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings which
are not of confidential nature, or of any statement, report or speech
Second. Petitioner points out that the information did not set out the entire news delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public
article as published. In fact, the second statement attributed to petitioner was not officers in the exercise of their functions.
included in the information. But, while the general rule is that the information must
set out the particular defamatory words verbatim and as published and that a In this case, there is no doubt that the first three elements are present. The
statement of their substance is insufficient, [8] United States v. Eguia, 38 Phil. 857 statements that Olmedo, through connivance with NHA officials, was able to obtain
(1918).8 a defect in this regard may be cured by evidence. [9] In this case, the article title to several lots in the area and that he was involved in a number of illegal
was presented in evidence, but petitioner failed to object to its introduction. Instead, activities (attempted murder, gambling and theft of fighting cocks) were clearly
he engaged in the trial of the entire article, not only of the portions quoted in the defamatory. There is no merit in his contention that landgrabbing, as charged in the
information, and sought to prove it to be true. In doing so, he waived objection based information, has a technical meaning in law.[16] Such act is so alleged and proven in
on the defect in the information. Consequently, he cannot raise this issue at this late this case in the popular sense in which it is understood by ordinary people. As held
stage.[10] in United States v. Sotto:[17]
Third. On the main issue whether petitioner is guilty of libel, petitioner
contends that what he said was true and was made with good motives and for . . . [F]or the purpose of determining the meaning of any publication alleged to be
justifiable ends. libelous that construction must be adopted which will give to the matter such a
meaning as is natural and obvious in the plain and ordinary sense in which the public
To find a person guilty of libel under Art. 353 of the Revised Penal Code, the would naturally understand what was uttered. The published matter alleged to be
following elements must be proved: (a) the allegation of a discreditable act or libelous must be construed as a whole. In applying these rules to the language of an
condition concerning another; (b) publication of the charge; (c) identity of the person alleged libel, the court will disregard any subtle or ingenious explanation offered by
defamed; and (d) existence of malice.[11] the publisher on being called to account. The whole question being the effect the
publication had upon the minds of the readers, and they not having been assisted by
An allegation is considered defamatory if it ascribes to a person the the offered explanation in reading the article, it comes too late to have the effect of
commission of a crime, the possession of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any removing the sting, if any there be, from the words used in the publication.
act, omission, condition, status or circumstance which tends to dishonor or discredit
or put him in contempt, or which tends to blacken the memory of one who is dead.[12]
Nor is there any doubt that the defamatory remarks referred to complainant and
There is publication if the material is communicated to a third person. [13] It is were published. Petitioner caused the publication of the defamatory remarks when he
not required that the person defamed has read or heard about the libelous made the statements to the reporters who interviewed him.[18]
remark. What is material is that a third person has read or heard the libelous
The question is whether from the fact that the statements were defamatory,
statement, for a mans reputation is the estimate in which others hold him, not the
malice can be presumed so that it was incumbent upon petitioner to overcome such
good opinion which he has of himself.[14]
presumption. Under Art. 361 of the Revised Penal Code, if the defamatory statement
On the other hand, to satisfy the element of identifiability, it must be shown that is made against a public official with respect to the discharge of his official duties
at least a third person or a stranger was able to identify him as the object of the and functions and the truth of the allegation is shown, the accused will be entitled to
defamatory statement.[15] an acquittal even though he does not prove that the imputation was published with
good motives and for justifiable ends.[19]
Finally, malice or ill will must be present. Art. 354 of the Revised Penal Code
provides: In this case, contrary to the findings of the trial court, on which the Court of
Appeals relied, petitioner was able to prove the truth of his charges against the
Every defamatory imputation is presumed to be malicious, even if it be true, if no barangay official. His allegation that, through connivance with NHA officials,
good intention and justifiable motive for making it is shown, except in the following complainant was able to obtain title to several lots at the Tondo Foreshore Area was
cases: based on the letter[20] of NHA Inspector General Hermogenes Fernandez to
petitioners counsel which reads:
1. A private communication made by any person to another in the
performance of any legal, moral or security duty; and 09 August 1983
Atty. Rene V. Sarmiento Lot No. 7 is titled in the name of Jaime Olmedo, consisting an area of 151.67 sq.
m. A four-door apartment owned by Mr. Olmedo is being rented to uncensused
Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) residents.

55 Third Street 3. Block 262, SB 8, Area III

New Manila, Quezon City Lot No. 13 is allocated to Delfin Olmedo, nephew of Jaime Olmedo, but this lot is
not yet titled.
Dear Atty. Sarmiento:
4. Block 256, SB 5, Area III
In connection with your request that you be furnished with a copy of the results of
the investigation regarding the complaints of some Tondo residents against Chairman Victoria Olmedo, uncensused, is a daughter of Jaime Olmedo. Her structure is
Jaime Olmedo, we are providing you a summary of the findings based on the erected on a non-titled lot. The adjacent lot is titled in the name of Victoria. It was
investigation conducted by our Office which are as follows: issued OCT No. 10217 with an area of 202.23 sq. m. Inside this compound is another
structure owned and occupied by Amelia Dofredo, a censused houseowner. The titled
1. Based on the subdivision plan of Block 260, SB 8, Area III, Jaime Olmedos lot of Victoria now has an area of 338.20 sq. m.
present structure is constructed on six lots which were awarded before by the defunct
Land Tenure Administration to different persons as follows: For your information.

Lot 4 - Juana Buenaventura - 79.76 sq. m. (s/t) HERMOGENES C. FERNANDEZ

Lot 6 - Servando Simbulan - 48.50 sq. m. Inspector General

Lot 7 - Alfredo Vasquez - 78.07 sq. m. Public Assistance & Action Office

Lot 8 - Martin Gallardo - 78.13 sq. m. In addition, petitioner acted on the basis of two memoranda, [21] both dated November
29, 1983, of then NHA General Manager Gaudencio Tobias recommending the filing
Lot 9 - Daniel Bayan - 70.87 sq. m. of administrative charges against the NHA officials responsible for the alleged
irregular consolidation of lots [in Tondo to Jaime and Victoria Olmedo.]
Lot 1 - Fortunato de Jesus - 85.08 sq. m. (OIT No. 7800) With regard to the other imputations made by petitioner against complainant, it
must be noted that what petitioner stated was that various charges (for attempted
The above-mentioned lots were not yet titled, except for Lot 1. Fortunato de Jesus murder against petitioner, gambling, theft of fighting cocks) had been filed by the
sold the said lot to a certain Jovita Bercasi, a sister-in-law of Jaime Olmedo. The residents against their barangay chairman but these had all been dismissed. Petitioner
other remaining lots were either sold to Mr. Olmedo and/or to his immediate was able to show that Olmedos involvement in the theft of fighting cocks was the
relatives. subject of an affidavit-complaint,[22] dated October 19, 1983, signed by Fernando
Rodriguez and Ben Lareza, former barangay tanods of Barangay 66, Zone 6,
Tondo. Likewise, petitioner presented a resolution,[23] dated March 10, 1988, of the
Lot 14 is also titled in the name of Mariano Bercasi, father-in-law of Jaime Olmedo,
Office of the Special Prosecutor in TBP-87-03694, stating that charges of
with an area of 47.40 sq. m.
malversation and corrupt practices had been filed against Olmedo and nine (9) other
barangay officials but the same were dismissed. Indeed, the prosecutions own
The lot assigned to Chairman Olmedo has a total area of 487.87 sq. m. evidence bears out petitioners statements. The prosecution presented the
resolution[24]in TBP Case No. 84-01854 dismissing the charge of attempted murder
2. Block 261, SB 8, Area III filed by petitioner against Jaime Olmedo and his son-in-law, Jaime Reyes. The
allegation concerning this matter is thus true.
It was error for the trial court to hold that petitioner only tried to prove that the As already stated, however, in accordance with Art. 361, if the defamatory matter
complainant [barangay chairman] is guilty of the crimes alluded to; accused, either constitutes a crime or concerns the performance of official duties, and the
however, has not proven that the complainant committed the crimes. For that is not accused proves the truth of his charge, he should be acquitted.[29]
what petitioner said as reported in the Ang Tinig ng Masa. The fact that charges had
been filed against the barangay official, not the truth of such charges, was the issue. Instead of the claim that petitioner was politically motivated in making the
charges against complainant, it would appear that complainant filed this case to
In denouncing the barangay chairman in this case, petitioner and the other harass petitioner. Art. 360 of the Revised Penal Code provides:
residents of the Tondo Foreshore Area were not only acting in their self-interest but
engaging in the performance of a civic duty to see to it that public duty is discharged Persons responsible.Any person who shall publish, exhibit, or cause the publication
faithfully and well by those on whom such duty is incumbent. The recognition of this or exhibition of any defamation in writing or by similar means, shall be responsible
right and duty of every citizen in a democracy is inconsistent with any requirement for the same.
placing on him the burden of proving that he acted with good motives and for
justifiable ends. The author or editor of a book or pamphlet, or the editor or business manager of a
For that matter, even if the defamatory statement is false, no liability can attach daily newspaper, magazine or serial publication, shall be responsible for the
if it relates to official conduct, unless the public official concerned proves that the defamations contained therein to the same extent as if he were the author thereof. . . .
statement was made with actual malicethat is, with knowledge that it was false or
with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. This is the gist of the ruling in Yet, in this case, neither the reporter, editor, nor the publisher of the newspaper
the landmark case of New York Times v. Sullivan,[25] which this Court has cited with was charged in court. What was said in an analogous case [30] may be applied mutatis
approval in several of its own decisions. [26] This is the rule of actual malice. In this mutandis to the case at bar:
case, the prosecution failed to prove not only that the charges made by petitioner
were false but also that petitioner made them with knowledge of their falsity or with It is curious that the ones most obviously responsible for the publication of the
reckless disregard of whether they were false or not. allegedly offensive news report, namely, the editorial staff and the periodical itself,
A rule placing on the accused the burden of showing the truth of allegations of were not at all impleaded. The charge was leveled against the petitioner and,
official misconduct and/or good motives and justifiable ends for making such curiouser still, his clients who have nothing to do with the editorial policies of the
allegations would not only be contrary to Art. 361 of the Revised Penal Code. It newspaper. There is here a manifest effort to persecute and intimidate the petitioner
would, above all, infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of for his temerity in accusing the ASAC agents who apparently enjoyed special
expression. Such a rule would deter citizens from performing their duties as privilegesand perhaps also immunitiesduring those oppressive times. The non-
members of a self- governing community. Without free speech and assembly, inclusion of the periodicals was a transparent hypocrisy, an ostensibly pious if not at
discussions of our most abiding concerns as a nation would be stifled. As Justice all convincing pretense of respect for freedom of expression that was in fact one of
Brandeis has said, public discussion is a political duty and the greatest menace to the most desecrated liberties during the past despotism.[31]
freedom is an inert people.[27]
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and the
Complainant contends that petitioner was actuated by vengeful political motive petitioner is ACQUITTED of the crime charged.
rather than by his firm conviction that he and his fellow residents had been deprived
of a property right because of acts attributable to their barangay chairman. The Court SO ORDERED.
of Appeals, sustaining complainants contention, held:
Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Panganiban,
Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, and Ynares-Santiago,
That the said imputations were malicious may be inferred from the facts that JJ., concur.
appellant and complainant are enemies, hence, accused was motivated by vengeance
in uttering said defamatory statements and that accused is a leader of Ciriaco
Cabuhat who was defeated by complainant when they ran for the position of
barangay captain. . . .[28]
G.R. No. 172716 November 17, 2010
JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner, postponing his arraignment until after his arrest.5 Petitioner sought reconsideration
vs. but as of the filing of this petition, the motion remained unresolved.
HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the Metropolitan
Trial Court, Branch 71, Pasig City, and EVANGELINE PONCE, Respondents. Relying on the arrest order against petitioner, respondent Ponce sought in the RTC
the dismissal of S.C.A. No. 2803 for petitioners loss of standing to maintain the suit.
DECISION Petitioner contested the motion.

CARPIO, J.: The Ruling of the Trial Court

The Case In an Order dated 2 February 2006, the RTC dismissed S.C.A. No. 2803, narrowly
grounding its ruling on petitioners forfeiture of standing to maintain S.C.A. No.
The petition seeks the review1 of the Orders2 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig 2803 arising from the MeTCs order to arrest petitioner for his non-appearance at the
City affirming sub-silencio a lower courts ruling finding inapplicable the Double arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366. Thus, without reaching the merits of
Jeopardy Clause to bar a second prosecution for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in S.C.A. No. 2803, the RTC effectively affirmed the MeTC. Petitioner sought
Homicide and Damage to Property. This, despite the accuseds previous conviction reconsideration but this proved unavailing.6
for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries arising from the same
incident grounding the second prosecution. Hence, this petition.

The Facts Petitioner denies absconding. He explains that his petition in S.C.A. No. 2803
constrained him to forego participation in the proceedings in Criminal Case No.
Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason Ivler (petitioner) 82366. Petitioner distinguishes his case from the line of jurisprudence sanctioning
was charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 71 (MeTC), dismissal of appeals for absconding appellants because his appeal before the RTC
with two separate offenses: (1) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical was a special civil action seeking a pre-trial relief, not a post-trial appeal of a
Injuries (Criminal Case No. 82367) for injuries sustained by respondent Evangeline judgment of conviction.7
L. Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide
and Damage to Property (Criminal Case No. 82366) for the death of respondent Petitioner laments the RTCs failure to reach the merits of his petition in S.C.A.
Ponces husband Nestor C. Ponce and damage to the spouses Ponces vehicle. 2803. Invoking jurisprudence, petitioner argues that his constitutional right not to be
Petitioner posted bail for his temporary release in both cases. placed twice in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense bars his prosecution in
Criminal Case No. 82366, having been previously convicted in Criminal Case No.
On 7 September 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge in Criminal Case No. 82367 for the same offense of reckless imprudence charged in Criminal Case No.
82367 and was meted out the penalty of public censure. Invoking this conviction, 82366. Petitioner submits that the multiple consequences of such crime are material
petitioner moved to quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 for placing only to determine his penalty.
him in jeopardy of second punishment for the same offense of reckless imprudence.
Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the RTCs decision
The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the two cases. 3 forfeiting petitioners standing to maintain his petition in S.C.A. 2803. On the merits,
respondent Ponce calls the Courts attention to jurisprudence holding that light
After unsuccessfully seeking reconsideration, petitioner elevated the matter to the offenses (e.g. slight physical injuries) cannot be complexed under Article 48 of the
Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157 (RTC), in a petition for certiorari Revised Penal Code with grave or less grave felonies (e.g. homicide). Hence, the
(S.C.A. No. 2803). Meanwhile, petitioner sought from the MeTC the suspension of prosecution was obliged to separate the charge in Criminal Case No. 82366 for the
proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366, including the arraignment on 17 May slight physical injuries from Criminal Case No. 82367 for the homicide and damage
2005, invoking S.C.A. No. 2803 as a prejudicial question. Without acting on to property.
petitioners motion, the MeTC proceeded with the arraignment and, because of
petitioners absence, cancelled his bail and ordered his arrest.4 Seven days later, the In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, we granted the Office of the Solicitor Generals
MeTC issued a resolution denying petitioners motion to suspend proceedings and motion not to file a comment to the petition as the public respondent judge is merely
a nominal party and private respondent is represented by counsel.
The Issues bondsman potentially liable on its bond (subject to cancellation should the bondsman
fail to produce the accused within 30 days); the defendant retains his standing and,
Two questions are presented for resolution: (1) whether petitioner forfeited his should he fail to surrender, will be tried in absentia and could be convicted or
standing to seek relief in S.C.A. 2803 when the MeTC ordered his arrest following acquitted. Indeed, the 30-day period granted to the bondsman to produce the accused
his non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366; and (2) if in the underscores the fact that mere non-appearance does not ipso facto convert the
negative, whether petitioners constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy Clause accuseds status to that of a fugitive without standing.
bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366.
Further, the RTCs observation that petitioner provided "no explanation why he
The Ruling of the Court failed to attend the scheduled proceeding"12 at the MeTC is belied by the records.
Days before the arraignment, petitioner sought the suspension of the MeTCs
We hold that (1) petitioners non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 in light of his petition with the RTC in
82366 did not divest him of personality to maintain the petition in S.C.A. 2803; and S.C.A. No. 2803. Following the MeTCs refusal to defer arraignment (the order for
(2) the protection afforded by the Constitution shielding petitioner from prosecutions which was released days after the MeTC ordered petitioners arrest), petitioner
placing him in jeopardy of second punishment for the same offense bars further sought reconsideration. His motion remained unresolved as of the filing of this
proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366. petition.

Petitioners Non-appearance at the Arraignment in Petitioners Conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367
Criminal Case No. 82366 did not Divest him of Standing Bars his Prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366
to Maintain the Petition in S.C.A. 2803
The accuseds negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in jeopardy of
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellants escape from custody or violation punishment for the same offense"13protects him from, among others, post-conviction
of the terms of his bail bond are governed by the second paragraph of Section 8, Rule prosecution for the same offense, with the prior verdict rendered by a court of
124,8 in relation to Section 1, Rule 125, of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure competent jurisdiction upon a valid information.14 It is not disputed that petitioners
authorizing this Court or the Court of Appeals to "also, upon motion of the appellee conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367 was rendered by a court of competent
or motu proprio, dismiss the appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or jurisdiction upon a valid charge. Thus, the case turns on the question whether
confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign country during the pendency of the Criminal Case No. 82366 and Criminal Case No. 82367 involve the "same offense."
appeal." The "appeal" contemplated in Section 8 of Rule 124 is a suit to review Petitioner adopts the affirmative view, submitting that the two cases concern the
judgments of convictions. same offense of reckless imprudence. The MeTC ruled otherwise, finding that
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries is an entirely separate
offense from Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property
The RTCs dismissal of petitioners special civil action for certiorari to review a pre- "as the [latter] requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not."15
arraignment ancillary question on the applicability of the Due Process Clause to bar
proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 finds no basis under procedural rules and
jurisprudence. The RTCs reliance on People v. Esparas9 undercuts the cogency of its We find for petitioner.
ruling because Esparas stands for a proposition contrary to the RTCs ruling. There,
the Court granted review to an appeal by an accused who was sentenced to death for Reckless Imprudence is a Single Crime,
importing prohibited drugs even though she jumped bail pending trial and was thus its Consequences on Persons and
tried and convicted in absentia. The Court in Esparas treated the mandatory review of Property are Material Only to Determine
death sentences under Republic Act No. 7659 as an exception to Section 8 of Rule the Penalty
124.10
The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts, were prosecuted
The mischief in the RTCs treatment of petitioners non-appearance at his under the same provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, namely, Article
arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366 as proof of his loss of standing becomes 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses. The text of the provision reads:
more evident when one considers the Rules of Courts treatment of a defendant who
absents himself from post-arraignment hearings. Under Section 21, Rule 11411 of the Imprudence and negligence. Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defendants absence merely renders his commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall
suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this article shall be
its medium period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of imposed upon the offender who fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such
arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have help as may be in this hand to give.
constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall
be imposed. Structurally, these nine paragraphs are collapsible into four sub-groupings relating to
(1) the penalties attached to the quasi-offenses of "imprudence" and "negligence"
Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which (paragraphs 1-2); (2) a modified penalty scheme for either or both quasi-offenses
would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in (paragraphs 3-4, 6 and 9); (3) a generic rule for trial courts in imposing penalties
its medium and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, (paragraph 5); and (4) the definition of "reckless imprudence" and "simple
the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed. imprudence" (paragraphs 7-8). Conceptually, quasi-offenses penalize "the mental
attitude or condition behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or
When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in foresight, the imprudencia punible,"16 unlike willful offenses which punish the
damage to the property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging intentional criminal act. These structural and conceptual features of quasi-offenses
from an amount equal to the value of said damages to three times such value, but set them apart from the mass of intentional crimes under the first 13 Titles of Book II
which shall in no case be less than twenty-five pesos. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.

A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any Indeed, the notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or simple, are distinct
person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if species of crime, separately defined and penalized under the framework of our penal
done maliciously, would have constituted a light felony. laws, is nothing new. As early as the middle of the last century, we already sought to
bring clarity to this field by rejecting in Quizon v. Justice of the Peace of Pampanga
In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound discretion, the proposition that "reckless imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a way of
without regard to the rules prescribed in Article sixty-four. committing it x x x"17 on three points of analysis: (1) the object of punishment in
quasi-crimes (as opposed to intentional crimes); (2) the legislative intent to treat
quasi-crimes as distinct offenses (as opposed to subsuming them under the mitigating
The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable: circumstance of minimal intent) and; (3) the different penalty structures for quasi-
crimes and intentional crimes:
1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower than those
provided in the first two paragraphs of this article, in which case the court The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that "reckless
shall impose the penalty next lower in degree than that which should be imprudence" is not a crime in itself but simply a way of committing it and merely
imposed in the period which they may deem proper to apply. determines a lower degree of criminal liability is too broad to deserve unqualified
assent. There are crimes that by their structure cannot be committed through
2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the Automobile imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious mischief, etc. In truth, criminal
Law, to death of a person shall be caused, in which case the defendant shall negligence in our Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere quasi offense, and dealt
be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. with separately from willful offenses. It is not a mere question of classification or
terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in negligence or
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or failing to do imprudence, what is principally penalized is the mental attitude or condition behind
an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia
precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act, taking punible. x x x x
into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical
condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place. Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of felonies, operating
only to reduce the penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the mitigating
Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as
which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory would require that the
manifest. corresponding penalty should be fixed in proportion to the penalty prescribed for
each crime when committed willfully. For each penalty for the willful offense, there
would then be a corresponding penalty for the negligent variety. But instead, our chain of jurisprudence on double jeopardy as applied to Article 365 starting with
Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the penalty for reckless imprudence at arresto People v. Diaz,25 decided in 1954. There, a full Court, speaking through Mr. Justice
mayor maximum, to prision correccional [medium], if the willful act would Montemayor, ordered the dismissal of a case for "damage to property thru reckless
constitute a grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range imprudence" because a prior case against the same accused for "reckless driving,"
all the way from prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the arising from the same act upon which the first prosecution was based, had been
actual penalty for criminal negligence bears no relation to the individual willful dismissed earlier. Since then, whenever the same legal question was brought before
crime, but is set in relation to a whole class, or series, of crimes. 18 (Emphasis the Court, that is, whether prior conviction or acquittal of reckless imprudence bars
supplied) subsequent prosecution for the same quasi-offense, regardless of the consequences
alleged for both charges, the Court unfailingly and consistently answered in the
This explains why the technically correct way to allege quasi-crimes is to state that affirmative in People v. Belga26(promulgated in 1957 by the Court en banc, per
their commission results in damage, either to person or property.19 Reyes, J.), Yap v. Lutero27 (promulgated in 1959, unreported, per Concepcion, J.),
People v. Narvas28 (promulgated in 1960 by the Court en banc, per Bengzon J.),
Accordingly, we found the Justice of the Peace in Quizon without jurisdiction to hear People v. Silva29 (promulgated in 1962 by the Court en banc, per Paredes, J.), People
a case for "Damage to Property through Reckless Imprudence," its jurisdiction being v. Macabuhay30 (promulgated in 1966 by the Court en banc, per Makalintal, J.),
limited to trying charges for Malicious Mischief, an intentional crime conceptually People v. Buan31 (promulgated in 1968 by the Court en banc, per Reyes, J.B.L.,
incompatible with the element of imprudence obtaining in quasi-crimes. acting C. J.), Buerano v. Court of Appeals32 (promulgated in 1982 by the Court en
banc, per Relova, J.), and People v. City Court of Manila33 (promulgated in 1983 by
the First Division, per Relova, J.). These cases uniformly barred the second
Quizon, rooted in Spanish law20 (the normative ancestry of our present day penal prosecutions as constitutionally impermissible under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
code) and since repeatedly reiterated,21 stands on solid conceptual foundation. The
contrary doctrinal pronouncement in People v. Faller22that "[r]eckless impudence is
not a crime in itself x x x [but] simply a way of committing it x x x,"23 has long been The reason for this consistent stance of extending the constitutional protection under
abandoned when the Court en banc promulgated Quizon in 1955 nearly two the Double Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses was best articulated by Mr. Justice
decades after the Court decided Faller in 1939. Quizon rejected Fallers J.B.L. Reyes in Buan, where, in barring a subsequent prosecution for "serious
conceptualization of quasi-crimes by holding that quasi-crimes under Article 365 are physical injuries and damage to property thru reckless imprudence" because of the
distinct species of crimes and not merely methods of committing crimes. Faller accuseds prior acquittal of "slight physical injuries thru reckless imprudence," with
found expression in post-Quizon jurisprudence24 only by dint of lingering doctrinal both charges grounded on the same act, the Court explained:34
confusion arising from an indiscriminate fusion of criminal law rules defining Article
365 crimes and the complexing of intentional crimes under Article 48 of the Revised Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a specific
Penal Code which, as will be shown shortly, rests on erroneous conception of quasi- act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for that same
crimes. Indeed, the Quizonian conception of quasi-crimes undergirded a related act. For the essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under article 365 of
branch of jurisprudence applying the Double Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses, the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if
barring second prosecutions for a quasi-offense alleging one resulting act after a intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the
prior conviction or acquittal of a quasi-offense alleging another resulting act but negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is
arising from the same reckless act or omission upon which the second prosecution only taken into account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the substance of
was based. the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the injurious result should
affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal negligence) remains one
Prior Conviction or Acquittal of and the same, and can not be split into different crimes and prosecutions.35 x x x
Reckless Imprudence Bars (Emphasis supplied)
Subsequent Prosecution for the Same
Quasi-Offense Evidently, the Diaz line of jurisprudence on double jeopardy merely extended to its
logical conclusion the reasoning of Quizon.
The doctrine that reckless imprudence under Article 365 is a single quasi-offense by
itself and not merely a means to commit other crimes such that conviction or There is in our jurisprudence only one ruling going against this unbroken line of
acquittal of such quasi-offense bars subsequent prosecution for the same quasi- authority. Preceding Diaz by more than a decade, El Pueblo de Filipinas v.
offense, regardless of its various resulting acts, undergirded this Courts unbroken Estipona,36 decided by the pre-war colonial Court in November 1940, allowed the
subsequent prosecution of an accused for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to erred in not sustaining petitioners plea of double jeopardy and submits that "its
property despite his previous conviction for multiple physical injuries arising from affirmatory decision dated January 28, 1969, in Criminal Case No. 05123-CR finding
the same reckless operation of a motor vehicle upon which the second prosecution petitioner guilty of damage to property through reckless imprudence should be set
was based. Estiponas inconsistency with the post-war Diaz chain of jurisprudence aside, without costs." He stressed that "if double jeopardy exists where the reckless
suffices to impliedly overrule it. At any rate, all doubts on this matter were laid to act resulted into homicide and physical injuries. then the same consequence must
rest in 1982 in Buerano.37 There, we reviewed the Court of Appeals conviction of an perforce follow where the same reckless act caused merely damage to property-not
accused for "damage to property for reckless imprudence" despite his prior death-and physical injuries. Verily, the value of a human life lost as a result of a
conviction for "slight and less serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence," vehicular collision cannot be equated with any amount of damages caused to a
arising from the same act upon which the second charge was based. The Court of motors vehicle arising from the same mishap."40 (Emphasis supplied)
Appeals had relied on Estipona. We reversed on the strength of Buan:38
Hence, we find merit in petitioners submission that the lower courts erred in
Th[e] view of the Court of Appeals was inspired by the ruling of this Court in the refusing to extend in his favor the mantle of protection afforded by the Double
pre-war case of People vs. Estipona decided on November 14, 1940. However, in the Jeopardy Clause. A more fitting jurisprudence could not be tailored to petitioners
case of People vs. Buan, 22 SCRA 1383 (March 29, 1968), this Court, speaking thru case than People v. Silva, 41 a Diaz progeny. There, the accused, who was also
Justice J. B. L. Reyes, held that involved in a vehicular collision, was charged in two separate Informations with
"Slight Physical Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence" and "Homicide with Serious
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a specific Physical Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence." Following his acquittal of the former,
act of reckless imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for that same the accused sought the quashal of the latter, invoking the Double Jeopardy Clause.
act. For the essence of the quasi offense of criminal negligence under Article 365 of The trial court initially denied relief, but, on reconsideration, found merit in the
the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an imprudent or negligent act that, if accuseds claim and dismissed the second case. In affirming the trial court, we
intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes thus the quoted with approval its analysis of the issue following Diaz and its progeny People
negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is v. Belga:42
only taken into account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the substance of
the offense. And, as the careless act is single, whether the injurious result should On June 26, 1959, the lower court reconsidered its Order of May 2, 1959 and
affect one person or several persons, the offense (criminal negligence) remains one dismissed the case, holding:
and the same, and can not be split into different crimes and prosecutions.
[T]he Court believes that the case falls squarely within the doctrine of double
xxxx jeopardy enunciated in People v. Belga, x x x In the case cited, Ciriaco Belga and
Jose Belga were charged in the Justice of the Peace Court of Malilipot, Albay, with
. . . the exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the Peace (now the crime of physical injuries through reckless imprudence arising from a collision
Municipal) Court of Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the charge of slight physical injuries between the two automobiles driven by them (Crim. Case No. 88). Without the
through reckless imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical aforesaid complaint having been dismissed or otherwise disposed of, two other
injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the province, criminal complaints were filed in the same justice of the peace court, in connection
where both charges are derived from the consequences of one and the same vehicular with the same collision one for damage to property through reckless imprudence
accident, because the second accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy for (Crim. Case No. 95) signed by the owner of one of the vehicles involved in the
the same offense.39 (Emphasis supplied) collision, and another for multiple physical injuries through reckless imprudence
(Crim. Case No. 96) signed by the passengers injured in the accident. Both of these
Thus, for all intents and purposes, Buerano had effectively overruled Estipona. two complaints were filed against Jose Belga only. After trial, both defendants were
acquitted of the charge against them in Crim. Case No. 88. Following his acquittal,
Jose Belga moved to quash the complaint for multiple physical injuries through
It is noteworthy that the Solicitor General in Buerano, in a reversal of his earlier reckless imprudence filed against him by the injured passengers, contending that the
stance in Silva, joined causes with the accused, a fact which did not escape the case was just a duplication of the one filed by the Chief of Police wherein he had just
Courts attention: been acquitted. The motion to quash was denied and after trial Jose Belga was
convicted, whereupon he appealed to the Court of First Instance of Albay. In the
Then Solicitor General, now Justice Felix V. Makasiar, in his MANIFESTATION meantime, the case for damage to property through reckless imprudence filed by one
dated December 12, 1969 (page 82 of the Rollo) admits that the Court of Appeals of the owners of the vehicles involved in the collision had been remanded to the
Court of First Instance of Albay after Jose Belga had waived the second stage of the imprudence. Having first prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in the
preliminary investigation. After such remand, the Provincial Fiscal filed in the Court Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant,
of First Instance two informations against Jose Belga, one for physical injuries the prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to press in this case the more serious
through reckless imprudence, and another for damage to property through reckless charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence which
imprudence. Both cases were dismissed by the Court of First Instance, upon motion arose out of the same alleged reckless imprudence of which the defendant have been
of the defendant Jose Belga who alleged double jeopardy in a motion to quash. On previously cleared by the inferior court.43
appeal by the Prov. Fiscal, the order of dismissal was affirmed by the Supreme Court
in the following language: . Significantly, the Solicitor General had urged us in Silva to reexamine Belga (and
hence, Diaz) "for the purpose of delimiting or clarifying its application."44 We
The question for determination is whether the acquittal of Jose Belga in the case filed declined the invitation, thus:
by the chief of police constitutes a bar to his subsequent prosecution for multiple
physical injuries and damage to property through reckless imprudence. The State in its appeal claims that the lower court erred in dismissing the case, on the
ground of double jeopardy, upon the basis of the acquittal of the accused in the JP
In the case of Peo[ple] v. F. Diaz, G. R. No. L-6518, prom. March 30, 1954, the court for Slight Physical Injuries, thru Reckless Imprudence. In the same breath said
accused was charged in the municipal court of Pasay City with reckless driving State, thru the Solicitor General, admits that the facts of the case at bar, fall squarely
under sec. 52 of the Revised Motor Vehicle Law, for having driven an automobile in on the ruling of the Belga case x x x, upon which the order of dismissal of the lower
a fast and reckless manner ... thereby causing an accident. After the accused had court was anchored. The Solicitor General, however, urges a re-examination of said
pleaded not guilty the case was dismissed in that court for failure of the Government ruling, upon certain considerations for the purpose of delimiting or clarifying its
to prosecute. But some time thereafter the city attorney filed an information in the application. We find, nevertheless, that further elucidation or disquisition on the
Court of First Instance of Rizal, charging the same accused with damage to property ruling in the Belga case, the facts of which are analogous or similar to those in the
thru reckless imprudence. The amount of the damage was alleged to be P249.50. present case, will yield no practical advantage to the government. On one hand, there
Pleading double jeopardy, the accused filed a motion, and on appeal by the is nothing which would warrant a delimitation or clarification of the applicability of
Government we affirmed the ruling. Among other things we there said through Mr. the Belga case. It was clear. On the other, this Court has reiterated the views
Justice Montemayor expressed in the Belga case, in the identical case of Yap v. Hon. Lutero, etc., L-
12669, April 30, 1959.45 (Emphasis supplied)
The next question to determine is the relation between the first offense of violation of
the Motor Vehicle Law prosecuted before the Pasay City Municipal Court and the Article 48 Does not Apply to Acts Penalized
offense of damage to property thru reckless imprudence charged in the Rizal Court Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
of First Instance. One of the tests of double jeopardy is whether or not the second
offense charged necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged The confusion bedeviling the question posed in this petition, to which the MeTC
in the former complaint or information (Rule 113, Sec. 9). Another test is whether succumbed, stems from persistent but awkward attempts to harmonize conceptually
the evidence which proves one would prove the other that is to say whether the facts incompatible substantive and procedural rules in criminal law, namely, Article 365
alleged in the first charge if proven, would have been sufficient to support the second defining and penalizing quasi-offenses and Article 48 on complexing of crimes, both
charge and vice versa; or whether one crime is an ingredient of the other. x x x under the Revised Penal Code. Article 48 is a procedural device allowing single
prosecution of multiple felonies falling under either of two categories: (1) when a
xxxx single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies (thus excluding from
its operation light felonies46); and (2) when an offense is a necessary means for
The foregoing language of the Supreme Court also disposes of the contention of the committing the other. The legislature crafted this procedural tool to benefit the
prosecuting attorney that the charge for slight physical injuries through reckless accused who, in lieu of serving multiple penalties, will only serve the maximum of
imprudence could not have been joined with the charge for homicide with serious the penalty for the most serious crime.
physical injuries through reckless imprudence in this case, in view of the provisions
of Art. 48 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The prosecutions contention In contrast, Article 365 is a substantive rule penalizing not an act defined as a felony
might be true. But neither was the prosecution obliged to first prosecute the accused but "the mental attitude x x x behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care
for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence before pressing the more or foresight x x x,"47 a single mental attitude regardless of the resulting
serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless
consequences. Thus, Article 365 was crafted as one quasi-crime resulting in one or When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in
more consequences. damage to the property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging
from an amount equal to the value of said damage to three times such value, but
Ordinarily, these two provisions will operate smoothly. Article 48 works to combine which shall in no case be less than 25 pesos.
in a single prosecution multiple intentional crimes falling under Titles 1-13, Book II
of the Revised Penal Code, when proper; Article 365 governs the prosecution of The above-quoted provision simply means that if there is only damage to property
imprudent acts and their consequences. However, the complexities of human the amount fixed therein shall be imposed, but if there are also physical injuries there
interaction can produce a hybrid quasi-offense not falling under either models that should be an additional penalty for the latter. The information cannot be split into
of a single criminal negligence resulting in multiple non-crime damages to persons two; one for the physical injuries, and another for the damage to property, x x
and property with varying penalties corresponding to light, less grave or grave x.53(Emphasis supplied)
offenses. The ensuing prosecutorial dilemma is obvious: how should such a quasi-
crime be prosecuted? Should Article 48s framework apply to "complex" the single By "additional penalty," the Court meant, logically, the penalty scheme under Article
quasi-offense with its multiple (non-criminal) consequences (excluding those 365.
amounting to light offenses which will be tried separately)? Or should the
prosecution proceed under a single charge, collectively alleging all the consequences Evidently, these approaches, while parallel, are irreconcilable. Coherence in this field
of the single quasi-crime, to be penalized separately following the scheme of demands choosing one framework over the other. Either (1) we allow the
penalties under Article 365? "complexing" of a single quasi-crime by breaking its resulting acts into separate
offenses (except for light felonies), thus re-conceptualize a quasi-crime, abandon its
Jurisprudence adopts both approaches. Thus, one line of rulings (none of which present framing under Article 365, discard its conception under the Quizon and Diaz
involved the issue of double jeopardy) applied Article 48 by "complexing" one quasi- lines of cases, and treat the multiple consequences of a quasi-crime as separate
crime with its multiple consequences48 unless one consequence amounts to a light intentional felonies defined under Titles 1-13, Book II under the penal code; or (2)
felony, in which case charges were split by grouping, on the one hand, resulting acts we forbid the application of Article 48 in the prosecution and sentencing of quasi-
amounting to grave or less grave felonies and filing the charge with the second level crimes, require single prosecution of all the resulting acts regardless of their number
courts and, on the other hand, resulting acts amounting to light felonies and filing the and severity, separately penalize each as provided in Article 365, and thus maintain
charge with the first level courts.49 Expectedly, this is the approach the MeTC the distinct concept of quasi-crimes as crafted under Article 365, articulated in
impliedly sanctioned (and respondent Ponce invokes), even though under Republic Quizon and applied to double jeopardy adjudication in the Diaz line of
Act No. 7691,50 the MeTC has now exclusive original jurisdiction to impose the most cases.1avvphi1
serious penalty under Article 365 which is prision correccional in its medium period.
A becoming regard of this Courts place in our scheme of government denying it the
Under this approach, the issue of double jeopardy will not arise if the "complexing" power to make laws constrains us to keep inviolate the conceptual distinction
of acts penalized under Article 365 involves only resulting acts penalized as grave or between quasi-crimes and intentional felonies under our penal code. Article 48 is
less grave felonies because there will be a single prosecution of all the resulting acts. incongruent to the notion of quasi-crimes under Article 365. It is conceptually
The issue of double jeopardy arises if one of the resulting acts is penalized as a light impossible for a quasi-offense to stand for (1) a single act constituting two or more
offense and the other acts are penalized as grave or less grave offenses, in which case grave or less grave felonies; or (2) an offense which is a necessary means for
Article 48 is not deemed to apply and the act penalized as a light offense is tried committing another. This is why, way back in 1968 in Buan, we rejected the Solicitor
separately from the resulting acts penalized as grave or less grave offenses. Generals argument that double jeopardy does not bar a second prosecution for slight
physical injuries through reckless imprudence allegedly because the charge for that
The second jurisprudential path nixes Article 48 and sanctions a single prosecution offense could not be joined with the other charge for serious physical injuries
of all the effects of the quasi-crime collectively alleged in one charge, regardless of through reckless imprudence following Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code:
their number or severity,51 penalizing each consequence separately. Thus, in Angeles
v. Jose,52 we interpreted paragraph three of Article 365, in relation to a charge The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge for slight physical injuries
alleging "reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and less serious through reckless imprudence could not be joined with the accusation for serious
physical injuries," as follows: physical injuries through reckless imprudence, because Article 48 of the Revised
Penal Code allows only the complexing of grave or less grave felonies. This same
[T]he third paragraph of said article, x x x reads as follows:
argument was considered and rejected by this Court in the case of People vs. [Silva] 365, befitting crimes occupying a lower rung of culpability, should cushion the effect
x x x: of this ruling.

[T]he prosecutions contention might be true. But neither was the prosecution WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE the Orders dated 2
obliged to first prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries through reckless February 2006 and 2 May 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch
imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of homicide with serious 157. We DISMISS the Information in Criminal Case No. 82366 against petitioner
physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first prosecuted the defendant Jason Ivler y Aguilar pending with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City,
for the lesser offense in the Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, Branch 71 on the ground of double jeopardy.
which acquitted the defendant, the prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to
press in this case the more serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of
through reckless imprudence which arose out of the same alleged reckless the House of Representatives.
imprudence of which the defendant has been previously cleared by the inferior court.
SO ORDERED.
[W]e must perforce rule that the exoneration of this appellant x x x by the Justice of
the Peace x x x of the charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence,
prevents his being prosecuted for serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the province, where both charges are [G.R. No. 119574. March 19, 1998]
derived from the consequences of one and the same vehicular accident, because the
second accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy for the same
offense.54 (Emphasis supplied)
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee vs. ROBERT
Indeed, this is a constitutionally compelled choice. By prohibiting the splitting of GUNGON y SANTIAGO and VENANCIO ROXAS y
charges under Article 365, irrespective of the number and severity of the resulting ARGUELLES, accused,ROBERT GUNGON y SANTIAGO, accused-
acts, rampant occasions of constitutionally impermissible second prosecutions are appellant.
avoided, not to mention that scarce state resources are conserved and diverted to
proper use.
DECISION

Hence, we hold that prosecutions under Article 365 should proceed from a single PER CURIAM:
charge regardless of the number or severity of the consequences. In imposing
penalties, the judge will do no more than apply the penalties under Article 365 for For a direct automatic review by this Court, conformably with Article 47 of the
each consequence alleged and proven. In short, there shall be no splitting of charges Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 22 of Republic Act No. 7659, is the
under Article 365, and only one information shall be filed in the same first level decision, dated 15 February 1995, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City,
court.55 Branch 96, convicting accused-appellant Roberto Gungon Y Santiago of the crimes
of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with frustrated murder, of carnapping and
Our ruling today secures for the accused facing an Article 365 charge a stronger and of robbery in three separate Information filed against him and two other persons.
[1]
simpler protection of their constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy Clause. The informations averred
True, they are thereby denied the beneficent effect of the favorable sentencing
In Criminal Case No. 94-54285 for Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention
formula under Article 48, but any disadvantage thus caused is more than
with Frustrated Murder
compensated by the certainty of non-prosecution for quasi-crime effects qualifying
as "light offenses" (or, as here, for the more serious consequence prosecuted
belatedly). If it is so minded, Congress can re-craft Article 365 by extending to That on or about January 12, 1994 in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the
quasi-crimes the sentencing formula of Article 48 so that only the most severe jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring,
penalty shall be imposed under a single prosecution of all resulting acts, whether confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there by means of
penalized as grave, less grave or light offenses. This will still keep intact the distinct force, violence against and intimidation of person and at gunpoint, willfully,
concept of quasi-offenses. Meanwhile, the lenient schedule of penalties under Article unlawfully, and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain AGNES GUIRINDOLA,
a female, thereby depriving her of her liberty, and thereafter bring her to an and in the course of execution thereof, shoot and fatally wounded Agnes Guirindola
uninhabited place in Barangay Bagong Pook, San Jose, Batangas and then and there, with a handgun, which is clearly unnecessary in the commission of the crime, to the
with intent to kill and with treachery, evident premeditation, and abuse of superior damage and prejudice of said Agnes Guirindola, in such amount as may be awarded
strength, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot her in the face with a hand gun, to her under the provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
thus performing all the acts of execution which would produce the crime of
MURDER as consequence, but which, nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of CONTRARY TO LAW.[4]
causes independent of the will of the accused , that is, the able and timely medical
assistance given to said Agnes Guirindola which prevented her death, resulting to her The trial court gave a full account of the evidence submitted by the prosecution
utmost grief, sorrow, sufferings and sleepless night, compensable in actual, moral that led to the indictments.
and exemplary damages in such amounts as may be awarded to them under the
provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon of 12 January 1994. Agnes Guirindola, a 20-
year old De La Salle University student, was driving a red Nissan Sentra car with
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2] Plate No. TKR-837 along Panay Avenue, Quezon City, on her way to a bookstore,
and thereafter, to fetch her mother, Mrs. Elvira Guirindola, from work when a man,
In Criminal Case No. 94-54286 for Carnapping passing himself off as a traffic enforcement officer and wearing a PNP reflectorized
vest, flagged her down and motioned her to execute a U-turn towards him. She
complied. Lowering the right front window of her car, she asked the man, whose
That on or about January 12, 1994, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the name she later learned to be Venancio Roxas, what traffic violation she had
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together, committed. Roxas replied that she had wrongly traversed a one-way street where,
confederating and mutually helping one another, with intent to gain and by means of barely two days ago, a little girl had figured in an accident. Agnes surrendered her
force, violence against and intimidation of person and at gunpoint, did then and drivers license. Roxas, giving her what appeared to be a ticket, remarked, Miss,
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, take and carry away one Nissan Sentra kunwari pirmahan mo ito,[5] but seeing that it was not the usual traffic ticket, she
Model 1993 with Plate No. TKR-837, then driven by Agnes Guirindola in such merely put a check sign and returned it. Roxas told her to open the door. He came on
amount as may be awarded to them under the Civil Code of the Philippines. board the car and directed Agnes to proceed to the next intersection where Roxas
motioned her to turn left. After executing a left turn, she stopped and handed over to
CONTRARY TO LAW.[3] him a fifty pesos (P50.00) bill which he accepted. He then returned her license.

- and - Agnes asked Roxas where she could drop him off, instead, he suddenly pointed
a gun at her and switched off the engine, saying, Miss kailangan ko lang ito,
[6]
referring to the car. Agnes started to cry. She pleaded with Roxas to let her go and
In Criminal Case No. 94-54287 (amended) for Robbery not harm her. Instead, Roxas unlocked the rear door to let another man in. The man,
identified in open court as accused-appellant Roberto Gungon, immediately reclined
That on or about January 12, 1994 in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the her seat and pulled her over to the back seat by her arms while Roxas promptly slid
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring together, into the drivers seat. She was told that they were taking her to Philcoa but, after
confederating and mutually helping one another, with intent to gain and by means of glancing at his beeper, Gungon, told Roxas, Boss, negative Philcoa. [7] Roxas nodded.
force, violence against and intimidation of person and at gunpoint, did then and After a while, Gungon spoke to Roxas, Boss, dalhin na natin siya sa dati at doon na
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, while on board the motor vehicle of natin i-s.[8] to which Roxas again simply nodded his head without a word.
AGNES GUIRINDOLA, a 1993 Nissan Sentra with Plate No. TKR-837, and in the
course of its trip, divested and robbed said Agnes Guirindola of the following cash, Agnes, now really scared, took out a rosary from her bag and prayed.
check and personal belongings, to wit: Momentarily, Roxas pulled over and alighted from the vehicle while Gungon held
Agnes and poked a gun at her. When Roxas returned, he had with him a bottle of
Cash P1,000.00 softdrink and skyflakes which he offered to Agnes. Agnes refused to drink after
seeing some tablets floating inside the bottle. Gungon tried to persuade Agnes to take
the drink, advising her, Sige na, makakatulong ito sa iyo. [9] The car stopped a second
Check 3,000.00 time to load gas at a gasoline station. Escape was nil; Guirindola made sure of that.
The car thereafter proceeded southwards and on to the South Superhighway.
Pieces of jewelry valued at 34,000.00
Roxas took time out from the wheel at a deserted area to allow him and Gungon xxx. The crimes charged herein could have easily remained unsolved because the
to relieve themselves one after the other. Back on the road, Roxas told Gungon to victim did not know any of her tormentors. That she was abandoned in a dark and far
have Agnes partake of the softdrink but she continued to resist. Agnes took out her away place strange to her, having been saved from the claws of sure death only by
wallet to get a prayer leaflet Gungon saw a picture and asked Agnes who it was in her abductors false belief of having already done her in with a single gunshot, would
the photograph. She replied that it was her sister. Gungon then also took out some have made the escape of the criminals irreversible. Fate had it that her survival
pictures from his wallet to show to her, identifying one photograph as that of his spelled the beginning of her tormentors undoing, for her ordeal was immediately
niece and two others as those of his girlfriend and of Roxas and his girlfriend and brought to the attention of the NBI which moved and investigated without delay and
child. Once again, Gungon insisted that she take the drink. Fearing his menacing hesitation. Cartographic sketches drawn from the recollections of the victim later
look and the gun pointed at her, she took a sip from the bottle. She was, still later, started the procedure to identify the unknown perpetrators. The alacrity,
also forced to swallow two tablets which Roxas gave to Gungon. She took the tablets coordination, and ingenuity of NBI agents Regner Feneza and Miralles led to the
but had them under her tongue. success of the procedure.
When asked what she wanted to eat, she said she would prefer a McDonalds
sandwich. The car stopped at a bakery shop, where she noticed the address on the Feneza recounted that on January 17, 1994 he met at the NBI offices in Manila with
signboard reading, Sto Tomas Batangas. Roxas went out and returned with a taisan Miralles, who was earlier assigned to the case of Agnes, because Miralles had left
cake which he handed over to Agnes but she just held it. Time passed, and somehow word that he wanted to consult with Feneza. It seems that Feneza was the agent
she lost consciousness. It was about 9:30 p.m. when she found herself lying at the handling the Virginia Samaniego Villena case, another kidnapping case where
back seat with her legs on the lap of Gungon. She noticed that her pieces of jewelry, the modus operandi had striking similarities with the kidnapping of Agnes. In their
bracelets, earrings, ring, necklace and a wristwatch, as well as cash, were missing meeting, Miralles showed and lent to Feneza the cartographic sketches in the Agnes
and that her pair of shoes had been removed. She was told that the items were just kidnapping. Feneza referred to his Villena files and discovered a distinct similarity of
being meanwhile kept for her. The pair of shoes, however, were returned to her. By a cartographic sketch to some of the Villena suspects with pictures in his files. With
this time, a third man was already seated in front of the car with Roxas. Miralles permission, Feneza met with and talked to Agnes at the V. Luna Medical
Center, and showed her about 3 or 4 pictures from his files.
When it was her turn to relieve herself, Roxas stopped the car at a deserted
area. Gungon escorted her to a place not far away from the car. Just as she was As Feneza testified: When I gave the pictures to her, she looked at them and she
getting up, after relieving herself, she saw a white spark to her right and she fell. She positively identified one in the pictures to be one of her abductors, she nearly fainted
was shot. Feeling weak and unable to get up, she was still able to get a glance at at that time. Agnes had thereby positively identified Roberto Gungon, whom Feneza
Roxas walking back to the car. Then she passed out. had already met in October or November, 1992 in connection with the Villena case.
He reported this breakthrough to his superiors, who immediately authorized the
When she came to, Roxas, Gungon, and the third man, as well as the car, were
search for Gungon.
nowhere insight. She managed to get up and slowly walked down the road until she
reached a small house. Inside were two kids and a teenager, who, apparently shocked
by her appearance, hurriedly left. She was bleeding profusely from the neck and Gungon could not be arrested sooner. Based on information given to the NBI, he and
face. She looked around the house but not finding anyone, she went to the sala to lie his live-in partner had left Manila by car on a Wednesday, passed through
down. People soon arrived on a vehicle. She again lost consciousness and regained it Catbalogan Samar, and were bound for Davao. According to Feneza, an informant
only at the Batangas Regional Hospital. [10] The hospital, which was ill equipped to provided the information about Davao being the final destination; he testified: Before
give full medical treatment advised her to transfer to a Manila hospital. The medical he left, he left his pocket bell to somebody whom he was able to talk to. At the same
certificate described the gunshot wound: time; they were calling a person and they told this person that they were in Legaspi
about to board a ferry boat going to Davao. The information, Feneza disclosed how
the NBI discovered the informant. It seems that Manila Prosecutor Alice Vidal had
Gunshot wound, POE, Zygomatic area (R), POX Sub-mandibular area (L); Fx,
been approached by a certain Mrs. Atencio, supposedly Gungons mother-in-law, to
zygomatic arch & condylar area, (R) Sec to GSW; Submandibular Gland
confide Gungons whereabouts and to seek help; Prosecutor Vidal, in turn, notified
Involvement with sinus tract.[11]
the Makati Police Department, which happened to be collaborating with the NBI on
the case. The Makati Police Department relayed the developments to NBI, which
Recounting the circumstances that paved the way for the ultimate arrest of sent agents to meet with Mrs. Atencio in the office of Prosecutor Vidal, and it was
Gungon, the trial court narrated: there where Mrs. Atencio disclosed the destination of Gungon and his partner. The
pocketbell beeper was subsequently delivered my Mrs. Atencio to Feneza in Cubao,
under a receipt.
Feneza and fellow agent Arnold Lazaro flew to Davao on the following Friday, still WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered finding the accused ROBERTO
in January, but Gungon and his partner could arrive there only on Saturday. On GUNGON y SANTIAGO guilty beyond reasonable doubt:
Sunday evening, the agents located the arrested him and detained him at their
Regional Office in Davao. They flew him back to Manila of the first available flight 1. In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54285, for kidnapping and serious illegal
on Monday. At the lineup held on February 1, 1994 at the NBI offices in Manila, detention with frustrated murder, and sentencing him to death.
Agnes picked Gungon out and positively identified him as one of her kidnappers.
2. In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54286, for carnapping, and sentencing him to suffer
After the lineup identification, the NBI checked the contents of the blue bag that the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment form eighteen (18) years, as minimum, to
Gungon had brought along from Davao and found therein, among others, twenty five (25) years, as maximum; and,
a Nissan key chain with a key; a picture of a woman, another picture of a man
(Venancio Roxas), woman, and child; and a rosary. These articles were turned over to 3. In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54287, for robbery, and sentencing him to suffer the
the NBI evidence custodian and were later presented in court. Feneza and Lazaro indeterminate penalty of four (4) years of prision correctional, as minimum, to eight
prepared their joint affidavit and other papers before transmitting the matter to the (8) years of prison mayor, as maximum.
Department of Justice. Feneza readily identified and pointed to Gungon in open court
during trial.[12]
The accused shall be credited with the entire period of his preventive imprisonment
in accordance with Art. 29, Revised Penal Code, provided he is qualified thereof
The defense version varies materially from that given by the prosecution. pursuant to said legal provision.
Roberto Gungon, an employee of the Metropolitan Manila Authority, testified
that between 3:30 and 4:00 oclock in the afternoon of 12 January 1994, he had just The accused Gungon is further ordered to pay to Agnes Guirindola, as offended
come from a friends house and was waiting for a taxicab along Panay Avenue, party, moral damages in the amount of P1,000,000.00, actual damages
Quezon City, when a car stopped in front of him. It was Venancio Roxas, an of P36,161.83, representing her hospitalization and surgical expenses,
acquaintance he once met at a New Years party, who asked him where he was going. and P35,000.00, representing the value of the lost personal valuables and cash, with
Gungon replied that he was waiting for a taxicab to get him to Cubao. Roxas, who interest on all the sums at the legal rate from the filing of the informations herein
was with a lady companion, opened the door of the car and said, Halika na, at until full payment; and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages; to Mrs. Elvira Guirindola,
idadaan ka na namin. He boarded and sat at the rear. Roxas drove towards Cubao. as owner of the Nissan Sentra car involved in the carnapping case, the sum
Gungon alighted at the foot of the underpass in Cubao, only to again board the car of P218,757.90, plus interest at the legal rate from the filing of the information until
when Roxas invited him to go with them to Batangas. full payment; and double cost of suit.
Roxas proceeded to the South Superhighway with Agnes in the front right seat.
On the way, Agnes reminded Roxas that her mother was waiting for her. Agnes took These cases shall be archived as far as they concerned Venancio Roxas y Arguelles.
[14]
out her wallet and showed Gungon her ID, her picture, and her sisters picture, and in
turn, he, too, drew out his wallet from his pocket and showed Agnes his wifes
picture. The car stopped at a bakery in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, where Agnes and In the instant appeal, Gungon has continued to assert his innocence, assigning
Roxas alighted to buy a piece of cake and some softdrinks. Tired, after along drive, the following errors allegedly committed by the trial court:
Gungon and Agnes had both fallen asleep. She awoke after some time and requested
I
that the car stop to allow her to relieve herself. Gungon later learned from an
investigator that the place was somewhere in Batangas City. Roxas accompanied THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING THAT
Agnes. Gungon was left alone in the car. After about 3 to 5 minutes, he heard a APPELLANT GUNGON AND ROXAS CONSPIRED TO COMMIT
gunshot and felt that something untoward had happened. He lowered the car window THE CRIMES SUBJECT OF THE INSTANT APPEAL.
to look, and he saw someone, whom he presumed to be Roxas, coming towards his
direction, holding a gun. Agnes was not with him. Out of apprehension, he alighted II
from the car, ran away, and hid in the nearby trees until Roxas finally drove away. He THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING
took a bus back to Manila, reaching home at about 10:30 that evening.[13] APPELLANT GUNGON OF THE COMPLEX CRIME OF
In its decision, promulgated on 15 February 1995, the RTC, Hon. Lucas P. KIDNAPPING AND SERIOUS ILLEGAL DETENTION WITH
Bersamin presiding, concluded: FRUSTRATED MURDER.
III The defense, verily anchors itself on the bare denial of appellant of the specific
acts imputed by the prosecution against him. Certainly, this negative assertion cannot
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING prevail over the unimpeached testimony of the victim describing in sufficient detail
APPELLANT GUNGON OF THE CRIME OF ROBBERY. the active participation of appellant in the commission of the crimes charged. In the
IV face of the clear and positive declaration of the victim herself, the defense of denial
hardly assumes probative value and sinks down the drain even further with the
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING absence of any evidence of a sinister or nefarious motive on the part of the
APPELLANT GUNGON OF THE CRIME OF VIOLATION OF complainant to impute a crime so grave a wrong as that made out in the Information.
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6539 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE ANTI-
CARNAPPING ACT.[15] The argument that the finding of conspiracy between appellant and Venancio
Roxas to commit the crimes charged has been based by the trial court merely on
Appellants challenges, in essence, would revolve on the issue, once again, of inferences, conjectures and presumptions is bereft of merit. A conspiracy exists when
credibility of witnesses. In monotone, this Court has constantly ruled that in the two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony
determination of the veracity of testimony, the assessment by the trial court is and decide to commit it.[17] The proof of the agreement need not rest on direct
accorded the highest degree of respect and will not be distrubed of appeal unless, of evidence;[18] the agreement itself may be inferred from the conduct of the parties
course, it is seen to have acted arbitrarily or with evident partiality. Contrary to disclosing a common understanding among them relative to the commission of the
appellants contention, however, it is the Courts view that the trial court has taken due offense.[19] Jurisprudential account tells us consistently that the conduct of the
care in evaluating the testimonies given at the witness stand. This much would easily accused before, during, and after the commission of the crime may be considered to
be apparent from the following excerpts of the appealed decision. show an extant conspiracy.[20]
The trial court, exhibiting keen perception on the whole bulk of evidence before
Upon thorough consideration of the evidence, the Court finds the testimony and
it, has come up with a number of observations not only to prove conspiracy but
version of Agnes to be the truth of what transpired on January 12, 1994 and that there
likewise to establish appellants own part therein.
was no credible fact or circumstance presented in the entire course of the trial,
including her cross-examination by the Defense, by the which the neutral objective,
and uninvolved mind could reasonably doubt her sincerity and trustworthiness. The 1. Gungons presence on Panay Avenue and his meeting with Roxas were not purely
complainant and the accused were subjected to the closest personal observation coincedental and by chance but intentional and prearranged. Roxas was representing
during their stints as witnesses. There were contrasts in their demeanors on the one himself to Agnes as a traffic officer by his wearing of the PNP reflectorized vest
hand, the victim was firm, sincere, and collected when she narrated even the most while Gungon was employed by the MMA, which had a direct connection with the
painful parts of her ordeal, easily impressing the Court by her straightforward functions assumed by Roxas. Roxas and Gungon were associated with each other far
manner and strong recall of the details; while, on the other hand, although Gungon longer than the latter has admitted.
tried very much to appear cool and composed, he could not deceive the Court by
hiding behind the veneer of his feigned expressions and concealing what happened xxx xxx xxx
by a clever faade of denials.
2. Gungons insistence that Roxas was only a casual acquaintance is rejected as
xxx xxx xxx devoid of truth because it is inconsistent with and contrary to the established facts
and circumstances. The records already showed that Gungon knew several personal
Gungon failed the test of credibility by relying on an implausible defense and on circumstances about Roxas, including the fact that Roxas was formerly employed at
mere denials. To decide issues of credibility, the testimonies of witnesses are tested MMA and that Roxas was unemployed when the incident tool place, but was the
for their plausibility of probability, i.e., whether they were contrary to the natural president of a homeowners association in Commonwealth Avenue. Moreover,
course of things, or to common observation, experience, and common sense, or to Gungons conduct in relation to Roxas during the entire duration of the trip from
contrary to natural laws, or exhibit incredible coincidences. Evidence, to be believed, Panay Avenue to Batangas City, be it judged from Agnes point of view or from
must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness, but it must be credible Gungons own, exhibited a deeper and closer familiarity and association that Gungon
in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as would admit. He called Roxas boss, an appellation of familiarity, if not also
probable under the circumstances. We have no test of the truth of human testimony, subordination. He never protested his being invited to the unplanned Batangas trip.
except its conformity to our knowledge, observation, and experience. Whatever is He never asked who Agnes was, not where Roxas and Agnes had come from.
repugnant to these belongs to the miraculous and is outside of judicial cognizance. [16]
In any case, even assuming that Gungon, indeed, just happened to be on Panay Defenses presentation, exposed the Davao trip to be for what is was the flight of a
Avenue that afternoon, implying thereby that he had no prior understanding with guilty man.[21]
Roxas to meet thereat and also indicating thereby that their acquaintance was merely
casual, the Court is still puzzled: (a) why Roxas on his part, should have stopped for It would defy logic and common sense to conclude that the above
him; should have offered to convey him to wherever he was going; and should even circumstances and events implicating appellant to the crime were all purely
invite him to go on the unplanned trip to distant Batangas without notice to the latters coincidental.
family, unless they were more familiar and closer, and (b) why Gungon, on his part,
should have agreed to go to Batangas unless he was in on the plans of Roxas. The Nor did the trial court err in convicting appellant of the crime of kidnapping
unbelievable unnaturalness of Gungons disavowal of his connection with Roxas and serious illegal detention. Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code defines the
rendered his testimony suspect and implausible. felony thus:

xxx xxx xxx Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

4. Another inconsistency was detected between Gungons allegations, on one hand, Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any other manner
that he concealed himself in the nearby trees from the returning Roxas after the deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.
shooting of Agnes and allowed Roxas to leave in the Nissan car without him, so that
he returned to Manila by bus, and, on the other hand, that the Nissan keychain and 1. If kidnapping of detention shall have lasted more than three days.
the key of the bar lock were recovered from his blue bag. If he was to be believed,
how did he come into the subsequent possession of the keychain and the key unless 2. If it shall have been committed simulating public authority.
he and Roxas had met after the shooting?
3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted upon the person
xxx xxx xxx kidnapped or detained; or if threats to kill him shall have been made.

6. On account of his admitted presence during the trip, although protesting his 4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor, except when the accused is
innocence, the Court has also carefully analyzed Gungon's conduct following the any of the parents, female or a public officer.
criminal incidents and found such conduct indicative of guilt rather than innocence.
Despite his insistence to the contrary, he knew that at least one serious crime had
The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or detention was committed for the
been perpetrated because he had heard a shot and had seen Roxas returning with a
purposes of extorting ransom from the victim or any other person, even if none of the
firearm at hand but without Agnes. Yet, he never reported the incidents to anyone
circumstances abovementioned were present in the commission of the offense.
else, most of all to the authorities, despite his allegations that he thereafter continued
to report to work at MMA. The civic-minded and dedicated public servant that he
alleged himself to be notwithstanding, he did not impress the Court that he was truly When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the detention or is raped, or is
guiltless because of his unexplained failure to report to the authorities. subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed.
(As amended by Sec. 8, Republic Act No. 7659).(Underscoring ours.)
On the matter of the Davao land trip being taken on January 28, 1994, the Court
must have to consider it as positively indicative of flight. It should first be The crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention consists not only in placing a
mentioned, as a premise for this conclusion, that Gungon inextricably contradicted person in an enclosure but also in detaining that person or depriving him in any
himself on this point, since, in his direct testimony, he cited the calls made by manner of his liberty.[22]
somebody about two or three days before to the office of Ms. Atencio asking her to Actual restraint of the victims liberty was evident in the instant case from the
meet a person near the Makati Police Department about an alleged estafa case in moment Agnes was taken at gunpoint from Panay Avenue to a remote place in
relation to a roofing transaction as justification for the trip, implying that it was Batangas. The victim testified, thus:
sudden and unplanned; whereas, in the cross-examination, he stated that he and his
wife had planned the Davao trip for vacation purposes even before New Years Day, Q. What did he do with the P50.00 bill?
1994. Aside from negatively reflecting of Gungons testimonial integrity, such self-
A. He received it.
contradiction, not being a merely minor or inconsequential development in the
Q. After receiving the P50.00 bill, what did he do next? A. Yes, your honor.
A. He gave my license back. Court
Q. After getting back your license, what happened? What is your name?
A. He immediately poked a gun at me. A. Roberto Santiago Gungon, your honor.
xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx
Q. After Venancio Roxas pointed a gun at you, what happened next? State Pros. Agcaoili
A. He switched off the engine and then told me, Miss, kailangan ko lang ito. You said that after you refused to drink the bottle of softdrink being offered
by Roxas, Roxas handed the bottle over to Gungon?
Q. After that, what happened?
A. Yes, sir.
A. I was so terrified, I cried and then pleaded to him to let me go, to take
anything but not to harm me. Q. After Gungon took the bottle, what happened next?
Q. Did he heed your plea? A. He forced me to drink it, sabi niya, sige na, makakatulong ito sa iyo.
A. No, sir. xxx xxx xxx
Q. What happened next? State Pros. Agcaoili
A. After some minutes, he opened the back door of the car and then someone And what was your reaction to that remark of Gungon?
entered, another guy entered the car.
A. Of course, I still refused to drink.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. And when you refused, what happened next?
Q. After that second guy entered the car, what happened?
A. He was still holding the bottle, and then he continued to drive and then
A. He reclined the seat and he took my arm and pulled me to the back seat. stopped to a nearby gas station.
Q. While the second guy who entered the car reclined your seat, and pulled your "Q. what did you do at the gas station if you did anything?
arm towards the back seat, what was Roxas doing?
"A. He gassed up
A. He was sitting at the passenger seat and when I was at the back seat already,
he tool the drivers seat. "Q. After gassing up, what else happened?

Q. This second guy who boarded the car and pulled you towards the back seat, is "A. During that time, I was trying to escape but I cannot escape since Gungon
he inside the courtroom? was holding me and from time to time poking a gun at me.[23]

A. Yes, sir. "Q. Going back to your earlier testimony, Madam Witness, you testified earlier
that along the way, Mr. Roxas alighted from the car and bought Sprite and
Q. Will you please point to him? skyflakes, how about you and Mr. Gungon when Mr. Roxas alighted from
the car?
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
Court
"Q. What was Mr. Gungon doing while Mr. Roxas was buying softdrinks and
(Witness tapping a person in the first row) skyflakes?
Will the person tapped please rise? xxx xxx xxx
Do you wish to give your name?
"A. Gungon and I were still inside the car and he was holding me and from time "A. He just nodded.
to time poking a gun at me.
"Q. And what else happened?
xxx xxx xxx
"A. After that, Gungon said, Boss, dalhin na natin siya sa dati at doon na natin i-
"Q. You also testified earlier that along the way Roxas stopped somewhere at the S.
South Expressway and took a leak, what was Mr. Gungon doing while Mr.
Roxas was taking a leak? "Q. And how did Roxas react to that remark of Gungon?

"A. The same thing when Roxas left the car. "A. The same, he just nodded.[27]

"Q. What about when it was Mr. Gungons turn to take a leak, what was Mr.
Roxas doing? The perpetrator of the premeditated killing, albeit frustrated was hatched from the
"A. Roxas held me and he was holding the door and checking if it was locked moment the accused and his co-conspirator took the victim in Quezon City until she
and poking a gun at me.[24] was ultimately executed in Batangas to insure impunity to the perpetrators by
eliminating the only witness.
The evidence would likewise show, ineluctably, the commission of frustrated
murder. Not rebutted was the medical finding that the gunshot wound sustained by Murder is punishable under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code by reclusion
the victim would have resulted in the death of the victim had it not been for the perpetua to death if committed with the attendant circumstances, among other
proper medical attention given to her.[25] circumstances, of treachery and evident premeditation. [28] When the crime is
frustrated,f a penalty lower by one degree or, in this case, prision mayor to reclusion
The trial court has, too, properly appreciated the attendance of treachery in the temporal is imposed.
commission of the offense. Treachery exists when the offender employs means,
methods, or forms in the execution of the crime which tend directly and specially to The crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention has been correctly
insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the complexed by the trial court with frustrated murder. A complex crime is committed
offended party might take. [26] It bears stressing that the unsuspecting and defenseless when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an
victim had sustained the gunshot wound while still trying to get up after relieving offense is a necessary means for committing the other.[29]
herself. In a complex crime, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed,
The idea of killing the victim was likewise premeditated; Agnes testified: the same to be applied in its maximum period. [30] Since the kidnapping and serious
illegal detention is the more serious crime, the proper penalty under Article 267 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, should be applied in
State Pros. Agcaoili its maximum period.

After this second guy who pulled you to the back seat whom you just identified The Court finds merit, however, in appellants third assigned error.
as accused Roberto Gungon pulled you towards the back seat, what happened
Appellant would have it that the trial court erred in convicting him of robbery
next?
considering that the taking of the victims jewelry and cash were perpetrated while
the latter was asleep. The victim herself testified that shortly after the car had
"A. I was asked where they are taking me. proceeded from Sto. Tomas, Batangas, she lost consciousness and regained it only at
"Q. What was their reply if any? about 9:30 that evening. She then found herself lying at the back seat minus her
personal belongings with a total value of P38,000.00.[31]
"A. They said they are taking me to Philcoa.
Article 293 of the Revised Penal Code defines robbery to be one committed by
"Q. After telling you that they are taking you to Philcoa, what else happened? any person who, with intent to gain, shall take any personal property belonging to
another, by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or using force
"A. Gungon got his beeper and then he read it, then told Roxas, boss, negative upon anything xxx. Robbery may thus be committed two ways: (a) with violence, or
Philcoa. intimidation of persons[32] and (b) by the use of force upon things.[33] To be then liable
"Q. And what was the reaction of Roxas? for robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, the following elements
must concur.
1) that there be personal property belonging to another; four (4) months and one (1) day of prision correctional minimum period to six (6)
years of prision correccional maximum period, as minimum, to anywhere from eight
2) that there is unlawful taking of that property; (8) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day to ten (10) years of prision
3) that the taking must be with intent to gain; and mayor medium period, plus one (1) for the additional P10,000.00 in excess of
P22,000.00 value of the property taken, or eleven (11) years of prision mayor
4) that there is violence against or intimidation of any person or use of force maximum period, as maximum.
upon things.
Lastly, appellant contends that he should not have been convicted of violation
It would appear that the taking of the victims jewelry and cash came only by of Republic Act No. 6539, otherwise known as the Anti-Carnapping Act, because the
way of an afterthought on the part of the appellant. The taking was not attended by taking of the subject motor vehicle. Roxas had already acquired effective possession
violence or intimidation upon the person of Agnes. The absence, however, of of the subject vehicle. This argument would have been consequential had there been
violence or intimidation did not exculpate appellant from liability for the crime of no finding of conspiracy between appellant and Venancio Roxas. In conspiracy, to
theft, punishable by Article 308, in relation to Article 309, of the Revised Penal once again stress it, the act of the other co-conspirator and, therefore it is of no
Code, viz: moment that an accused had not taken part in the actual commission of every act
constituting the crime,[34] each of the conspirators being held in the same degree of
Art. 308. Who are liable for theft. Theft is committed by any person who, with intent liability as the others.
to gain but without violence against, or intimidation of persons nor force upon
WHEREFORE, the Court sustains the appealed decision of the trial court,
things, shall take personal property of another without the latters consent.
dated 15 February 1995, except for appellants conviction for the crime of
ROBBERY in Criminal Case No. Q-94-54287 which is hereby MODIFIED to one of
Art. 309. Penalties. Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by: THEFT of which offense appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt and
sentenced to a prison term of from two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day
1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum ans medium periods, if the value of of prision correccional, as minimum to eight (8) years, eight (8) months and one (1)
the thing stolen is more than 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos; but if day of prision mayor plus one (1) year for the additional P10,000.00 in excess
the value of the things stolen exceed the latter amount, the penalty shall be the of P20,000.00 value of the property taken or a total of nine (9) years, eight (8)
maximum period of the one prescribed in this paragraph, and one year for each months and one (1) day, as maximum. The decision of the court a quo with respect to
additional ten thousand pesos, but the total of the penalty which may be imposed Criminal Case No. Q-94-54285 and Criminal Case No. Q-94-54286 is AFFIRMED.
shall not exceed twenty years. In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54285, four members of the Court, although maintaining
their adherence to the separate opinions expressed in People vs. Echegaray (G.R. No.
The Information in Criminal Case No. Q-94-54287 contains sufficient 117472, 07 February 1997) that Republic Act No. 7659, insofar as it prescribes the
allegations, adequately proven by the prosecution during the trial, to warrant a death penalty, is unconstitutional nevertheless, bow to the ruling of the Court, by a
conviction of appellant for the crime of theft. Section 4, Rule 120, of the 1988 Rules majority vote that the law is unconstitutional and that the death penalty should be
on Criminal Procedure provides on this score; thus: according be imposed.
In accordance with Section 25 of Republic Act No, 7659, amending Article 83
Section 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there is of the Revised Penal Code, upon finality of this decision, let the records of this case
variance between the offense charged in the complaint or information, and that be forthwith forwarded to the Office of the President for possible exercise of the
proved or established by the evidence, and the offense as charged is included in or pardoning power.
necessarily includes the offense proved, included in that which is charged, or of the
offense charged included in that which is proved. SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug,
Since the value of the personal property taken from the victim amounted Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Martinez, Quisumbing and Purisima, JJ., concur.
to P38,000.000 the penalty imposable is the maximum period of the penalty
prescribed by Article 309 which is the maximum of prision mayor in its minimum
and medium periods plus one year for the additional ten thousand pesos in excess EN BANC
of P22,000.00. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty for this
particular offense of theft that may thus be imposed is anywhere from two (2) years,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 172604
y Arguelles (appellant) for the crimes of Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention
Appellee, (Formerly G.R. Nos. 155345-47)
with Frustrated Murder, Violation of Republic Act (R.A.) 6539, or the Anti-
Present:
Carnapping Act of 1972, and Theft. The Informations alleged
CORONA, C.J.,
CARPIO, In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54285 for Kidnapping and
CARPIO MORALES, Serious Illegal Detention with Frustrated Murder
VELASCO, JR., That on or about January 12, 1994 in Quezon City, Philippines, and
- versus - NACHURA, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, accused, conspiring together, confederating and mutually helping
BRION,* one another, did then and there by means of force, violence against
PERALTA, and intimidation of person and at gunpoint, willfully, unlawfully,
BERSAMIN,** and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain AGNES
DEL CASTILLO, GUIRINDOLA, a female, thereby depriving her of her liberty, and
ABAD, thereafter bring her to an uninhabited place in Barangay Bagong
VILLARAMA, Pook, San Jose, Batangas and then and there, with intent to kill and
MENDOZA, with treachery, evident premeditation, and abuse of superior
PEREZ, and strength, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously shoot her in the face
VENANCIO ROXAS y ARGUELLES, ARANAL-SERENO,* JJ. with a hand gun, thus performing all the acts of execution which
Appellant. would produce the crime of MURDER as consequence, but which,
Promulgated: nevertheless, do not produce it by reason of causes independent of
August 17, 2010 the will of the accused, that is, the able and timely medical
assistance given to said Agnes Guirindola which prevented her
death, resulting to her utmost grief, sorrow, sufferings and sleepless
night, compensable in actual, moral and exemplary damages in
such amounts as may be awarded to them under the provisions of
the Civil Code of the Philippines.

CONTRARY TO LAW.[3]

In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54286 for Carnapping


x--------------------------------------------------x That on or about January 12, 1994, in Quezon City, Philippines,
and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-
named accused, conspiring together, confederating and mutually
DECISION helping one another, with intent to gain and by means of force,
violence against and intimidation of person and at gunpoint, did
then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, take and carry
PERALTA, J.: away one Nissan Sentra Model 1993 with Plate No. TKR-837, then
driven by Agnes Guirindola but owned by her mother Elvira G.
Guirindola, to the damage and prejudice of said Agnes Guirindola
On appeal by way of automatic review is the Decision [1] dated January 13, and Elvira G. Guirindola in such amount as may be awarded to
2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00666, affirming the them under the Civil Code of the Philippines.

Judgment[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) convicting appellant Venancio Roxas CONTRARY TO LAW.[4]
and -
Agnes opened the right front window of the car and asked Roxas, who had
positioned himself at the front passenger side, Ano ang problema? Roxas
In Criminal Case No. 94-54287 (amended) for Robbery replied, Miss, one way street po ito. Agnes explained to the man that she usually
That on or about January 12, 1994 in Quezon City, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named passed by the same street and it was only that day that she had been caught. Roxas
accused, conspiring together, confederating and mutually helping told her that the street had been made a one-way street because a girl figured in an
one another, with intent to gain and by means of force, violence
against and intimidation of person and at gunpoint, did then and accident in the same street two days ago.[7]
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, while on board the
motor vehicle of AGNES GUIRINDOLA, a 1993 Nissan Sentra
with Plate No. TKR-837, and in the course of its trip, divested and Roxas then asked for Agnes' drivers license. After taking the drivers license,
robbed said Agnes Guirindola of the following cash, check and
Roxas handed her a piece of paper which she was asked to sign. Agnes noticed that it
personal belongings, to wit:
Cash P1,000.00 was not the usual traffic citation ticket but, nevertheless, she pretended to sign the
Check 3,000.00
Pieces of jewelry valued at 34,000.00 same by making a check thereon.[8]

and in the course of execution thereof, shoot and fatally wounded


Agnes Guirindola with a handgun, which is clearly unnecessary in When Agnes handed back the paper to Roxas, the latter asked her to open
the commission of the crime, to the damage and prejudice of said the door of the car so that he could show her the one-way sign and the other traffic
Agnes Guirindola, in such amount as may be awarded to her under
the provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines. aide at the corner of the street. Agnes let Roxas enter the car. Roxas then instructed
Agnes to drive to the corner of the street, and upon reaching the corner, Roxas
CONTRARY TO LAW.[5]
pointed to her the one-way sign and looked for the traffic aide he had told Agnes
about. The traffic aide was not there. Agnes asked Roxas where she could drop him.
The antecedent facts as culled from the records are as follows: Roxas told Agnes to make a left turn from the corner of the street and that he will
alight somewhere in Mother Ignacia. Agnes obliged and made a left turn and stopped
On January 12, 1994, around 3:00 p.m., Agnes Guirindola (Agnes), while the car. Thinking that Roxas was waiting for a bribe, Agnes took out her wallet,
cruising along Panay Avenue, Quezon City, on board a red 1993 model Nissan Sentra pulled a P50.00 bill and gave it to Roxas. After receiving the money, Roxas returned
sedan with plate number TKR-837, was suddenly flagged down by a man wearing a to Agnes her drivers license.[9]
PNP reflectorized vest. The man signaled her to make a U-turn. Agnes complied and Upon returning the drivers license to Agnes, Roxas immediately switched
made the U-turn. The man walked in front of her car and proceeded to the right side off the engine of the car and poked a gun at her saying Miss, kailangan ko ang kotse
of the car.[6] Agnes, later on, identified the man in open court as appellant, Venancio mo. Agnes, terrified and shocked by Roxas actions, cried and pleaded with him to let
Roxas (Roxas). her go and just take the car. Roxas continued to poke a gun at her, unmindful of what
Agnes was telling him.[10]
Along the superhighway, Roxas stopped the car in order to urinate. Gungon
After a while, Agnes heard a knock from outside the car. Roxas opened the guarded Agnes by holding her. When Roxas returned, Gungon alighted to relieve
rear door and then someone boarded the car, occupying the back seat. The second himself too.While Gungon was out of the car, Roxas sat at the drivers seat facing
passenger immediately reclined the drivers seat and pulled Agnes towards the back Agnes and poked his gun at her. Shortly thereafter, Gungon came back to the car and
seat. Agnes identified this man as Roberto Gungon (Gungon). Subsequently, Roxas Roxas resumed driving. When Agnes took the prayer leaflet from her wallet, Gungon
took the drivers seat and drove the car while Gungon held Agnes on the shoulder looked at her wallet and saw the picture of her sister. When asked if she was the one
[11]
with one hand, and her leg with the other. in the picture, Agnes told Gungon that it was her sister. Out of the blue, Gungon also
took his wallet and showed Agnes three (3) pictures which, according to him, were
Agnes then heard Gungon say: Boss, dalhin natin sya sa Philcoa. After the pictures of his niece, her girlfriend and that of Roxas and a lady with a little
crossing Mother Ignacia Street, Gungon got his beeper and told Roxas: Boss, dalhin child. After showing the same to Agnes, Gungon returned the said pictures to his
na natin siya sa dati, doon na natin siya i-s. Agnes became more frightened as she wallet.[16] Agnes planned to escape at that time but the car was running at a speed of
understood s to mean salvage, a lingo for summary execution.[12] 80 to 100 kilometers per hour. Agnes just continued to pray.[17]
Along the way, Roxas stopped the car and went to a sari-sari store. Gungon
was left behind, holding Agnes, and would tighten his grip every time she made a At this point, Gungon again offered the softdrink to Agnes. When she
slight move and sometimes would poke a gun at her. Upon returning to the car, refused, Gungon became mad and tightened his hold on Agnes, forcing her to drink
Roxas offered Agnes a bottle of soft drink and Skyflakes biscuit. Agnes refused so it. Sensing that Gungon was already furious, Agnes took the softdrink. After Agnes
Roxas handed the softdrink to Gungon and told him: Mamaya painom mo sa kanya drank it, Roxas told Gungon, Ipainom mo pa itong dalawang tablets dahil malaki
at pakainin mo siya. Gungon took the bottle of softdrink and tried to force Agnes to sya, mahina iyong dalawa para sa kanya. Gungon took the tablets from Roxas and
drink the contents thereof. Agnes refused because she saw tablets floating inside the forced Agnes to swallow the same. Out of fear, Agnes took the tablets, but did not
bottle. Roxas resumed driving, while Gungon held Agnes.[13] swallow them. She placed the tablets under her tongue. When Roxas and Gungon
were not looking, she took her handkerchief and spat out the tablets into the
Agnes testified that she planned to escape, but could not make a single handkerchief.[18]
move because every time she made a slight move, Gungon would poke the gun at
her. The windows of the car were tinted and remained closed.[14] Afterwards, Agnes told Roxas and Gungon that she was hungry and wanted
to eat a McDonalds sandwich. Gungon replied that they were in the province and that
there was no McDonalds there. Roxas told Agnes that they will just drop by a
Around 5:00 p.m., Agnes noticed that they were already at the South restaurant to buy something to eat. Roxas then stopped by a bakery and alighted from
Superhighway. [15] the car, while Gungon held Agnes. It was at this point that Agnes noticed the
signboard of the bakery which read something like Sto. Tomas or San Jose,
Batangas. After a while, Roxas came back with a taisan cake and offered it to Agnes room asking for help, but still the lady did not come out of the room. She then went
which she refused. At that instance, Agnes felt dizzy and fell asleep. [19] downstairs and lied down on the sofa. Only then did she notice that blood was
profusely oozing from her face and there were holes in the left side of her neck and
When Agnes woke up, she found herself lying at the back seat with her legs her right cheek.[22]
on the lap of Gungon. The car was at a standstill. She noticed from the cars clock on
the dashboard that it was about 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. She also found out that her After a while, Agnes heard a vehicle arrive and also heard voices
jewelries consisting of bracelets, pair of earrings, necklace and a watch worth saying: May taong duguan sa loob ng bahay, tulungan natin siya! Agnes was then
around P30,000.00 to P40,000.00, as well as her pair of shoes, were already gone. carried to a Fiera motor vehicle and brought to the Batangas Regional Hospital,
When she asked Gungon about them, the latter told her that they were just keeping where she was treated for her wounds and given first aid. [23] Agnes sustained the
the same for her. Agnes also lost her wallet containing a check in the amount following injuries:
[20]
of P3,000.00 and cash in the amount of P1,000.00.
Gunshot wound, POE, Zygomatic area (R), POX
Agnes also noticed that there was already a third man sitting in front of the Sudmandibular area (L); Fx, zygomatic arch & condylar area, (R)
Sec to GSW; Submandibular Gland involvement with sinus tract.
car beside Roxas who was still driving. She then asked them if she could relieve (Exhibit A, Medical Certificate dated February 1, 1994 signed by
herself. Gungon asked Roxas if Agnes would be allowed to relieve herself to which attending physician Dr. Lauro R. San Jose, Captain MC,
Neurosurgery 4-A, p. 177, Volume III, Record)
Roxas answered in the affirmative. Agnes fixed her hair and then asked Gungon for
her shoes. Gungon put the shoes on her feet. Roxas alighted from the car and opened The following day, about 3:00 a.m. of January 13, 1994, the parents of
the rear door. Gungon alighted first from the car followed by Agnes. Gungon then Agnes and the rest of the family arrived at the hospital. Her parents immediately
led Agnes to a nearby grassy area and told her, O, dyan ka na lang umihi. After arranged for her transfer to the V. Luna General Hospital (now AFP Medical Center)
Agnes relieved herself, and as she was about to get up and return to the car, she saw in Quezon City, where she was treated further, operated on and confined for forty-
white sparks at her right side and then she fell down. When she opened her eyes, she three (43) days.[24] Agnes incurred actual damages amounting to P36,161.83 for her
saw Roxas walking back towards the car with a gun in his hand. She did not see hospitalization, surgical operation and medical treatment, and suffered moral
[21]
Gungon at that particular time. Then she lost consciousness. damages the amount of which she cannot readily quantify, as a result of the ordeal
she underwent on that fateful day of January 12, 1994.[25]
When Agnes regained consciousness, she was all alone. Roxas, Gungon and
the third man, as well as the car, were no longer there. It was very dark. She followed Upon transfer of Agnes to the V. Luna General Hospital, her parents
a sparkling light that led her to a small house. Upon reaching the house, she opened immediately reported the incident to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in
the door and saw two (2) children and a teenager singing. She asked for their help Manila, which promptly conducted an investigation. On January 17, 1994, some NBI
but upon seeing her, they ran away. She then saw a lady standing at the stairs of the agents visited her for the taking of the cartographic sketches of Roxas and Gungon.
house carrying a baby. Agnes asked for her help but the lady went upstairs and On January 19, 1994, another group of NBI agents went to the hospital and showed
locked herself inside the room. Agnes followed her and knocked at the door of the
her 3 to 4 pictures of Gungon who was subsequently arrested in Davao City. On Subsequently, in a Decision[30] dated September 5, 2002, the court a quo, found
February 1, 1994, Agnes positively identified Gungon at the NBI in a police lineup Roxas guilty of Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention with frustrated murder,
consisting of 5 to 6 men. Likewise, Agnes was able to identify certain personal carnapping and theft, the dispositive portion of which reads:
effects recovered from Gungon such as her rosary beads,[26] jewelry purse,[27] key
chain with a key to the lock of her Nissan Sentra car, [28] and the check taken from her, WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in these
cases finding accused Venancio Roxas y Arguelles guilty beyond
which were all presented in evidence in the trial of Gungon as well as in the trial of reasonable doubt:
the instant case against Roxas.[29]
In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54285 for Kidnapping and
In the meantime, the NBI conducted a manhunt for Roxas. On September serious illegal detention with frustrated murder, and sentences him
11, 1995, Roxas was arrested by elements of the NBI inside the municipal hall of to suffer the maximum penalty of DEATH.

Taysan, Batangas, where he was working under the Office of the Mayor using the In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54286, for Carnapping, and
aliases Joe Villamor and Marianito Villamor. sentences him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment
from 18 years, as minimum, to 25 years, as maximum;

In Criminal Case No. Q-94-54287, for the crime of Theft,


Agnes further testified that the name of appellant Venancio Roxas was supplied by and sentences him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of
imprisonment from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day of prision
the NBI, but she was very sure that he was the person who fatally shot her. She correccional, as minimum, to 8 years, 8 months and 1 day
positively identified Roxas on January 12, 1994 during a police line-up at the NBI as of prision mayor, as maximum, plus 1 year for the
additional P10,000.00 in excess of P20,000.00 value of the
the perpetrator other than Gungon, of the crimes charged. She told the NBI agents property taken or a total of 9 years, 8 months and 1 day, as
that the person in the picture was the one who had flagged her down and shot her on maximum.

January 12, 1994.

For the defense, appellant denied committing the crimes charged against The accused shall be credited in full of his preventive
imprisonment.
him. He claimed that it was impossible for him to be at the place of incident on
January 12, 1994. He narrated that on that same day, at around 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., he Accused Roxas is also liable to pay the offended party
Agnes Guirindola, moral and exemplary damages in the amount
and a certain Tranquilino Mangiliman and two others were installing an antenna on of P1,000,000.00 and P500,000.00, respectively, actual damages in
the roof of his house. He added that he never left his house that evening. Both the amount of P36,161.83, representing her hospitalization and
related expenses, and P38,000.00 representing the value of the
Mangiliman and his wife, Hermogena Roxas, testified that on January 12, 1004, articles taken from her. Accused Roxas is likewise ordered to pay
Roxas was in his house at Feria Compound, Commonwealth Town Homes, Quezon Mrs. Elvira Guirindola the amount of P250,257.90.00, representing
the cost of repair of the subject vehicle.
City.
SO ORDERED.

August 29, 2002, Quezon City.[31]


FACT THAT THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE COURT A
QUO HAS LOST THE COLD NEUTRALITY OF AN
Roxas moved for a reconsideration of the September 5, 2002 decision of the
IMPARTIAL JUDGE, THEREBY VIOLATING THE RIGHT OF
court a quo. Likewise, noting the well-attended promulgation of the court a quos THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT TO DUE PROCESS.
II
decision, Roxas also moved for the inhibition of the Honorable Judge Demetrio WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN
Macapagal, Sr. He argued that the presence of then Justice Secretary Hernando Perez FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE
OFFENSES OF (1) KIDNAPPING AND SERIOUS ILLEGAL
showed the court's predisposition to convict him of the offenses charged. Roxas DETENTION WITH FRUSTRATED MURDER, (2)
contended that he was robbed of his right to due process because the Judge Demetrio CARNAPPING, AND (3) THEFT.

Macapagal, Sr. had lost the cold neutrality of an impartial judge required of him in
trying and resolving cases. Roxas challenged the RTC judges neutrality as he invoked that he was deprived of
his right to due process because of the unexplained presence of the former Secretary
[32]
In an Order dated October 8, 2002, the RTC denied appellants motions for of the Department of Justice, Hernando Perez, in court. He contended that the RTC
inhibition and reconsideration. was already predisposed to convict him even before trial.

Meanwhile, appellant's co-accused Roberto Gungon y Santiago was found guilty of We are unconvinced.
[33]
the same charges in a Decision dated March 19, 1998. Roxas was at-large during
the trial and was arrested only after the RTC rendered the judgment of conviction The Court finds no basis for appellant's allegation that he was deprived of due
against Gungon. Thus, the cases, as far as they concerned Roxas, was archived until process of law and that the trial conducted was far from impartial and fair. The
he was eventually arrested on September 11, 1995. imputation of bias and partiality is not supported by the record. The fact that the trial
judge opted to believe the prosecution's evidence rather than that of the defense is
not a sign of bias.[36]
Even if the RTC had allowed the presence of then Secretary Hernando Perez and the
The records of this case were originally elevated to this Court for automatic review.
media, there is no sufficient basis to show that their presence or pervasive publicity
Conformably with our ruling in People v. Mateo,[34] however, the case was referred to
unduly influenced the court's judgment. Before we could conclude that appellant
the Court of Appeals for intermediate review.
was prejudiced by the presence of the media and Secretary Perez, he must first show
In its Decision[35] dated January 13, 2006, the appellate court affirmed in toto the
substantial proof, not merely cast suspicions. There must be a showing that adverse
decision of the court a quo.
publicity indeed influenced the court's decision.[37] We found none, in this case.

Thus, this appeal, raising the following arguments:


Appellant further argued that the RTC erred in finding him guilty of the crimes
I charged against him.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN
RENDERING IN THE ABOVE-TITLED CASE DESPITE THE
Time and again, we have ruled that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of
xxxx
witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to the highest respect and will not be
Q Why were you not able to escape while you were seated
disturbed on appeal in the absence of any clear showing that the trial court and crying?
overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and A Because Gungon was holding me and everytime I just
made a slight move, he poked the gun at me, sir.[39]
substance which would have affected the result of the case. The trial court is in a
better position to decide the question of credibility, having seen and heard the xxxx

witnesses themselves and observed their behavior and manner of testifying.[38] Q While you were praying, do you know what Gungon
and Roxas were doing at that time?
We have painstakingly examined the records of the case, particularly the testimonies
for the prosecution and the defense. However, after much examination, we find no xxxx
persuasive much less compelling reason to depart from the findings of the trial court. A Yes, Roxas was driving and Gungon was still holding
me and he asked Roxas if he could relieve himself, sir.
xxxx
Agnes not only positively identified her abductors, she also graphically
narrated what happened on January 12, 1994. Actual restraint of the victim's liberty
Q After your car stopped, what happened?
was evident in the instant case from the moment Agnes was taken from Panay A He told Gungon that he'll take a leak (sic) first before
Avenue to a remote place in Batangas. Agnes testified, thus: Gungon so Roxas alighted from the car and took a leak (sic), sir.

Q - After Roberto Gungon pulled you towards the back Q How about Gungon, where was he?
seat, what happened? A - He was seated beside me, he was still holding me, sir.
A - Venancio Roxas took the driver seat and started the
car, sir. I mean, he took the driver seat and started the car. Q - After Roxas finished leaking (sic), do you know what
did he do (sic), if any?
Q What was Roberto Gungon doing after Venancio Roxas A- Yes, he went back to the car, he sat at the driver's seat,
started the car? he faced in front of me (sic), took the gun and poked it at me and
A He was holding me sir. then Gungon alighted from the car and he was the next one who
took a leak (sic), sir.
Q How was he holding you?
A One hand on my shoulder and the other one is (sic) on xxxx
my leg, sir.
Q - After Roxas alighted from the car, where were you at
xxxx that time?
A - I was still sitting at the car, with Gungon, sir.
Q What did Gungon do with the bottle?
A He still forced me but when I refused he just placed it Q- What was Gungon doing at that time?
down in the car, sir. A- Yes, we were waiting for Roxas and he was holding
my leg, sir.[40]
Q After that what happened?
A Roxas still drove and Gungon was still holding me, xxxx
then after that we went to this gasoline station to gas up, sir.
Q Previously, you testified that Gungon was holding you the victim or any other person, even if none of the circumstances
and everytime you made a slight movement he would grips (sic) above-mentioned were present in the commission of the offense.
you firmly and poke a gun at you. My question is for how long had
Gungon been doing this? When the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of the
A - Ever since he pulled me from the driver seat to the detention or is raped, or is subjected to torture or dehumanizing
back seat up to the time when we were cruising along South acts, the maximum penalty shall be imposed. (As amended by Sec.
Superhighway, sir. 8, Republic Act No. 7659).[42]

Q - Up to that while you were driving?


A Yes, sir. The evidence likewise reveal, undoubtedly, the commission of frustrated murder as
qualified by the circumstances of treachery and evident premeditation. The medical
Q When you reached Batangas, in the bakery, what was
Gungon's (sic) doing to you, if any? findings show that had it not been due to the timely and proper medical attention
A- He kept on holding me although from time to time and
given to the victim, the gunshot wound sustained by the victim would have been
only when I made a slight move, sir.[41]
fatal.

Thus, based on the foregoing testimony of Agnes, the trial court did not err in
Treachery exists when an offender commits any of the crimes against
convicting appellant of the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Article
persons, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend
267 of the Revised Penal Code defines the crime, thus:
directly and specially to ensure its execution, without risk to himself, arising from
Art. 267. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Any the defense which the offended party might make. As narrated by Agnes, she could
private individual who shall kidnap or detain another, or in any
not have been aware that she would be attacked by appellant. In the darkness of the
other manner deprive him of his liberty, shall suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death; night while she just finished relieving herself and still trying to get up, she was shot
by appellant in the head with a gun. There was no opportunity for her to defend
1. If the kidnapping or detention shall have lasted more
than three days. herself, since appellant, suddenly and without provocation, shot her as she was about
to get up. The essence of treachery is the unexpected and sudden attack on the victim
2. If it shall have been committed simulating public
authority; which renders the latter unable and unprepared to defend himself by reason of the
suddenness and severity of the attack. This criterion applies whether the attack is
3. If any serious physical injuries shall have been inflicted
upon the person kidnapped or detained, or if threats to kill him frontal or from behind.[43]
shall have been made;
Moreover, the requisites of evident premeditation was likewise duly established in
4. If the person kidnapped or detained shall be a minor,
except when the accused is any of the parents, female or a public this case, to wit: (a) the time when the accused determined to commit the crime; (b)
officer. an act manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his determination; and (c) a
sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow him to
The penalty shall be death where the kidnapping or
detention was committed for the purpose of extorting ransom from reflect upon the consequences of his act.[44]
Q What did you do when the bottle of softdrink was being
The prosecution's evidence particularly the testimony of Agnes demonstrated that
offered to you?
Gungon and Roxas had indeed planned to kill her from the time they took the car. As A - I refused to get it, sir.
Q When you refused to drink it, do you know what did
testified to by Agnes: Gungon do?
A Yes, he got mad and furious, he held me so tight and forced me
Q- You said that Roxas returned with a biscuit and a bottle of to drink it, sir.
softdrink, what was done with the biscuit and bottle of softdrink, if Q - Now, because he was furious and he was angry at you,
you know? what did you do?
A I refused to accept it, he insisted but still I refused so he just A - I took the softdrink, sir.
handed it to Gungon. He just told Gungon mamaya painom mo sa Q- After you drank that softdrink, what happened?
kanya at pakainin mo siya, sir. xxxx
Q Why did you refuse the softdrink? A Yes, sir, after drinking it Roxas offered two (2) more
A- Simply because when he handed it to me I saw tablets floating tablets to Gungon, he told to Gungon ipainom mo pa sa kanya
inside the bottle, sir.[45] itong dalawang tabletas dahil malaki siya, mahina iyong dalawa
xxxx para sa kanya.[47]
xxxx
Q At about 5:00 and 6:00 in the evening of January 12, 1994 Q Do you know what time was it when you woke up?
where were you at that time? A - I guess it was about 9:30 or 10:00 in the evening, sir.
xxxx Q How were you able to place the time?
A - There is a watch on the dashboard of the car, sir.[48]
A- Actually we were not really there, its (sic) we were headed
towards South Superhighway. I mean I dont know the exact place
but I am familiar that we were heading towards South super Thus, from the foregoing, it is evident that the commission of the
highway, sir.
killing, albeit frustrated, was formed from the moment the accused took the victim in
xxxx
Q When you reached the South Superhighway at that time Quezon City until she was ultimately executed in Batangas. The lapse of more than
what happened?
eight hours, that is, approximately from 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., satisfies the last
A While we were in the car Gungon got his beeper and then he told
Roxas Boss, negative Philcoa, sir. requisite for the appreciation of evident premeditation as there was sufficient time for
xxxx
Q While you were driving along South super highway at meditation and reflection before the commission of the crime yet appellant
that time, do you know what happened inside the car between the proceeded with the same.
three of you?
A Yes, sir. That time Gungon was still holding me and then he told Likewise, we agree that Roxas is also guilty of violation of the Anti-Carnapping
Roxas boss, dalhin na natin siya sa dati, doon na natin siya i-s. Law. R.A. 6539, otherwise known as An Act Preventing and Penalizing Carnapping,
Q After you heard that remark of Gungon, what did you
do? defines carnapping as the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to
A Well, of course I was shocked and I asked them if they were
another without the latters consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation
going to rape me or kill me or just leave me somewhere, I do not
know, sir. of persons, or by using force upon things." More specifically, the elements of the
Q After you uttered those words, do you know if Gungon
answered? crime are as follows:
A Yes, sir, he told me that dont give us ideas (sic).[46]
xxxx 1. That there is an actual taking of the vehicle;
2. That the offender intends to gain from the taking of the
The crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention has been correctly complexed
vehicle;
3. That the vehicle belongs to a person other than the by the RTC with frustrated murder. A complex crime is committed when a single act
offender himself;
4. That the taking is without the consent of the owner constitutes two or more, grave or less grave, felonies, or when an offense is a
thereof; or that the taking was committed by means of violence necessary means for committing the other.
against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things.
In a complex crime, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be imposed, the same to be applied in its maximum period. Since the kidnapping

and serious illegal detention is the more serious crime, the proper penalty under Article 267 [50] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A.

A careful examination of the evidence presented would show that all the elements of 7659, should be applied in its maximum period; thus, the penalty should be death. However, in light of R.A. 9346, or the Anti-Death Penalty Law,

carnapping were proven in this case. It cannot be denied that the 1993 Nissan Sentra which prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua instead of death is, thus, proper and

with plate number TKR-837 was unlawfully taken from Agnes without her consent ineligible for parole.

and by means of force or intimidation, considering that he and his co-accused


alternately poked a gun at Agnes. After shooting her, appellant also flee with the Likewise, in accordance with current jurisprudence, we modify the award of damages, and apply People of the Philippines v. Richard O.

subject vehicle which shows his intent to gain. Agnes also positively identified Sarcia[51] where we said:

appellant and Gungon as the ones who took the subject vehicle from her.
The principal consideration for the award of damages,
under the ruling in People v. Salome and People v. Quiachon is
Finally, we likewise agree that Roxas is only guilty of theft and not robbery as the penalty provided by law or imposable for the offense
initially charged. because of its heineousness, not the public
penalty actually imposed on the offender.

xxxx
From the records, it appears that the jewelries and cash were taken from Agnes
without the attendance of violence or intimidation upon her person. Agnes herself It should be noted that while the new law prohibits
the imposition of the death penalty, the penalty provided for by
testified that when she regained consciousness, she already found her necklace, pair
law for a heinous offense is still death and the offense is still
of earrings, watch and cash, to be missing.[49] While it was proven beyond reasonable heinous. Consequently, the civil indemnity for the victim is
still Php75,000.00.
doubt that appellant took Agnes' personal things, there was no evidence, however,
that the taking was employed with the use of force, violation and intimidation. People v. Quiachon also rationcinates as follows:
With respect to the award of damages, the appellate court,
following prevailing jurisprudence, correctly awarded the
PENALTIES following amounts: P75,000.00 as civil indemnity which is
awarded if the crime is qualified by circumstances warranting
the imposition of the death penalty; P75,000.00 as moral
damages because the victim is assumed to have suffered moral
As to the imposable penalty, we sustain the findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the
injuries, hence, entitling her to an award of moral damages even
appellate court, with modification as to the penalty for the crime of kidnapping and without proof thereof, x x x.
serious illegal detention with frustrated murder and the awarding of damages. Even if the penalty of death is not to be imposed on the
appellant because of the prohibition in R.A. No. 9346, the civil
indemnity of P75,000.00 is still proper because, following the
rationcination in People v. Victor, the said award is not
dependent on the actual imposition of the death penalty but on
the fact that qualifying circumstances warranting the
imposition of the death penalty attended the commission of the
offense. The Court declared that the award of P75,000.00
shows not only a reaction to the apathetic societal perception of
the penal law and the financial fluctuations over time but also
the expression of the displeasure of the court of the incidence of
heinous crimes against chastity.

The litmus test therefore, in the determination of the civil


indemnity is the heinous character of the crime committed, which
would have warranted the imposition of the death penalty,
regardless of whether the penalty actually imposed is reduced
to reclusion perpetua.[52]

WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of


Appeals, dated January 13, 2006, in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00666,
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION, insofar as to sentence appellant Venancio
Roxas y Arguelles to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua for the crime of
Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention with Frustrated Murder, and to declare
him ineligible for parole. Appellant is, likewise, ordered to pay Agnes
Guirindola P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages,
and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages. Costs against the appellant.

SO ORDERED.