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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 186490. June 28, 2017.]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES , plaintiff-appellee, vs. NILO DIAZ Y


INDINO , accused-appellant.

NOTICE

Sirs/Mesdames :

Please take notice that the Court, Second Division, issued a Resolution dated 28
June 2017 which reads as follows:
"G.R. No. 186490 (People of the Philippines, plaintiff-appellee v. Nilo
Diaz y Indino, accused-appellant)
We resolve the appeal of the decision 1 dated 31 July 2008, of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 02700 affirming the trial court's decision.
Charged before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 275 of Las Pias City were
accused-appellant Nilo Diaz y Indino (Nilo) and his brother Nelson I. Diaz (Nelson) in an
information that reads: HTcADC

That on or about August 9, 1998, in the City of Las Pias and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and
confederating together, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously
stab Rolando Elegino with the use of a screw driver, with treachery, taking
advantage of superior strength, and as a result thereof, said Rolando Elegino
died instantly, and with cruelty by deliberately outraging or sco ng at the
victim's person or corpse by burying his body and thereafter dug the bones and
dumped them into a river. 2
In its 30 March 2006 decision, 3 the trial court found Nilo guilty of the crime of
murder, de ned and punished under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. Nelson, on
the other hand, was acquitted by the trial court for insufficient evidence.
The case for the prosecution hinges on the extrajudicial confession of Nilo as
there were neither eyewitnesses nor any physical evidence to corroborate the
surrounding circumstances of the crime.
At around 11:30 p.m. of 8 August 1998, Nilo, intent on killing Margarito Carangue
(Margarito), who was then in his house at Better Living Subdivision, Bicutan, Paraaque
City, went there to talk to Rolando Elegino (Rolando), the caretaker. Shortly after, they
each got hammers and struck Margarito who was sleeping on the couch. To conceal
the crime, they decided to chop the body into parts which they then dumped into the
septic tank.
Thereafter, Rolando asked Nilo to drop him off at the airport. On their way, Nilo
chanced upon Nelson walking home. He got out of the car and talked to Nelson and
con ded to him what happened and said he also needed to kill Rolando. Nelson agreed
and rode in the car.
On their way to the airport, Nilo made a turn to CAA Road, Las Pias City. As soon
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as they entered a dark area, Nilo and Nelson took turns stabbing Rolando with a
screwdriver. When they realized that Rolando was already dead, they proceeded back to
the Carangue residence. Nelson alighted earlier as Nilo told him that he would take care
of the body. CAIHTE

Thereafter, Nilo wrapped Rolando's body in a plastic bag and buried the body at
the back portion of the house. More than two (2) months later, Nilo came back to
retrieve the body only to throw it into the nearby river.
After his narration in the statement dated 2 January 1999, 4 Nilo said that he
killed Margarito because he and his family were evicted from the house; and he killed
Rolando because he needed to conceal the killing of Margarito.
In his defense, Nilo denied committing the crime claiming that he was detained at
the time of the alleged incident. He adduced evidence proving that he was detained
from 5 to 6 August 1998, at the Western Police District Station 5; and from 6 to 10
August 1998, at the Manila City Jail. He was only discharged from jail on 10 August
1998, two (2) days after the crime happened.
Nilo likewise argued that his extrajudicial confession is inadmissible as evidence
because it was a direct result of his illegal arrest, interrogation without counsel and
valid waiver, torture, and undue delay in bringing him for inquest. He points out that his
confession clearly reflects that the advice given by the police investigators consisted of
long questions following his monosyllabic answers with no effort to determine if he
actually understood what was being explained to him.
In his testimony, Nilo narrated how police o cers, without a warrant of arrest,
arrived at his house and invited him for questioning for the murder of Margarito.
Although he initially refused, Nilo, along with his wife and his son, went with the police
officers to the police station because they were threatened with harm.
At the police station, Nilo and his family were interviewed by the police o cers
and by Mayor Alfredo Lim, who was then the television host of Katapat. It was to Mayor
Lim that he rst confessed to the murder of Margarito. His wife was also interviewed
and she said that Nilo killed Margarito with the help of Rolando. She later explained that
she had said this because Nilo was being tortured in front of her and their son.
In sum, Nilo claimed that he was wrongfully implicated and was forced to admit a
crime that he did not commit.
The Trial Court Ruling
After trial on the merits, the trial court convicted Nilo on account of his
confession and its previous disposition on the existence of the corpus delicti 5 It
considered the extrajudicial confession valid since the lawyer who assisted Nilo
testi ed to the fact that he had properly appraised Nilo of his rights. Moreover, Nilo had
every opportunity to retract his confession and to report the maltreatment to the public
prosecutor during the preliminary investigation. The presence of the signature of his
counsel and that of the public prosecutor, before whom Nilo subscribed to the veracity
of his allegations, and the details in his confession are earmarks of the voluntariness of
his statements. aScITE

The trial court concluded that Nilo was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of murder, sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordered
him to pay the heirs of Rolando the sum of P50,000.00 as indemnification.
The CA Ruling
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In the assailed decision, the CA ruled that Nilo's extrajudicial confession was
procured in accordance with law. All the requisites for the validity of an extrajudicial
confession were complied with: (1) he was assisted by a counsel of his own choice; (2)
his responses were full, detailed, and informative; and (3) contrary to his claim, there
was no evidence of compulsion, duress, or violence on his person. Otherwise, he would
have complained against the investigator concerned.
The CA did not give much credence to Nilo's defense that he was detained
because the documents he adduced were belied by the positive statements of the
private complainants that they saw him at the crime scene on 8 August 1998. Another
witness even testi ed that he heard Nilo planning the killing of Rolando. More
importantly, Nilo's confession was freely and consciously executed. All together, the CA
found these to be hard and concrete evidence that he was able to leave the place where
he was being detained.
On 8 July 2015, in G.R. No. 176736, 6 this Court held that Nilo's confession was
deemed inadmissible as evidence because he was deprived of the right to counsel at
the start of the custodial investigation. Nevertheless, Nilo's conviction for the murder of
Margarito was a rmed based on pieces of evidence, which substantially established
the same matters contained in his extrajudicial confession. This judgment became nal
and executory on 26 October 2015.
OUR RULING
Nilo's appeal is without merit.
Once again, we are asked to evaluate and weigh the prosecution's evidence
against Nilo with his defense of alibi. We likewise resolve the admissibility of his
extrajudicial confession.
An extrajudicial confession must be (a) voluntary, (b) made with the assistance
of counsel, (c) express, and (d) in writing, to be admissible as evidence against the
accused. 7 This rule nds its roots from the constitutional rights of the accused and the
rights of the accused under custodial investigation.
Article III, Section 12 of the Constitution provides:
(1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense
shall have the right to remain silent and to have competent and independent
counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of
counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in
writing and in the presence of counsel.DETACa

xxx xxx xxx


(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this
or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.
(emphasis, italics and underlining supplied)
Simultaneously, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7438 8 categorically requires that "any
person arrested, detained, or under custodial investigation shall at all times be assisted
by counsel." 9 Under this law, custodial investigation includes the practice of inviting a
person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have
committed. 1 0 This law also states that an extrajudicial confession must be in writing
and signed by the person under custodial investigation in the presence of his counsel.
11

In the present case, there is no doubt that Nilo executed his sworn statement in
the presence of his counsel. He even confessed before the media and his family
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members. However, it bears stressing that at the time he was subjected to questioning
at the police station, there is no evidence on record that he was informed of his right to
counsel and, as a result, was not equipped with one. Clearly, Nilo's rights were violated.
The records would show that immediately after being taken into custody on 29
December 1998, Nilo was already questioned about the death of Margarito. The only
account when Nilo was apprised of his right to counsel was when he had already
executed his sworn statement on 2 January 1999. Thus, prior to the later date, while
Nilo was in the custody of his arresting o cers and under investigation, he was not
able to confer with any lawyer.
Under these circumstances, therefore, we are constrained to rule that Nilo's
confession is inadmissible as evidence against him. In truth, these were the same
sentiments of this Court when it ruled on Nilo's appeal from his conviction for
Margarito's murder. The Court said:
Clear from the foregoing is the fact that the accused was not informed of
his rights under Section 12 (1) Article III of the Constitution when he was invited
to the police headquarters and questioned on December 29, 1999, i.e., when the
period of custodial investigation commenced. The accused was deprived of his
right to counsel at the start of the custodial investigation. Thus, the process that
led to the execution of his extrajudicial confession on January 2, 1999 was
awed. As we held in a similar case, "(t]he constitutional requirement is not met
properly where the lawyer is called in only when the accused is about to put his
confession in writing." (People v. Delmo , 439 Phil. 212, 254 (2002)) In
accordance with Section 12 (3), Article III of the Constitution, the written
extrajudicial confession of the accused dated January 2, 1999 is inadmissible
in evidence against him. 1 2
We see no reason to deviate from this Court's earlier ruling that the extrajudicial
confession is inadmissible, especially when this is already the law of the case. 1 3
The inadmissibility of his confession notwithstanding, given the earlier ruling of
this Court, we likewise a rm Nilo's guilt for the murder of Rolando given that the lower
courts have already evaluated the weight of his denial and alibi. With only this to offer
for his defense, and due to the positive testimony of the prosecution's witnesses
thus, debunking his alibi Nilo's conviction should stand. HEITAD

Well-settled is the rule that the trial court's ndings of fact, especially when
a rmed by the CA, are binding and conclusive to this Court absent any clear showing
of abuse, arbitrariness or capriciousness on the part of the lower courts. 1 4 This is
because the trial court has the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of
witnesses and is in the best position to discern whether they are telling the truth. 1 5 It is
worth stressing that the CA a rmed the RTC's ndings, according credence and great
weight to the testimonies of the prosecution's witnesses.
In the case at bar, the courts a quo did not believe Nilo's claim that he was
detained at the Manila City Jail during the period of time when the two (2) crimes were
happening. Nilo was positively identi ed at the Carangue's residence twice: first, in the
morning of 7 August 1998, when he began to work at the house; and second, in the
afternoon of 8 August 1999, when he was instructed to return. Unfortunately, these
were the dates when Nilo was supposedly detained and could not have been at the
scene of the crime.
Then again, this would not be the rst time for us to evaluate the merits of Nilo's
defense. If we were to rule otherwise, we would have to overturn not only the lower
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courts' findings, but also this Court's earlier resolution on the same defense of alibi.
Lastly, we have held in a number of cases that denial and alibi are weak defenses
which cannot prevail against positive identi cation. 1 6 Positive identi cation, where
categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive on the part of the
eyewitness, prevails over a denial which, if not substantiated by clear and convincing
evidence, is negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. They
cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who
testify on affirmative matters. 1 7
All premises being considered, and with only his inherently weak alibi to offer, we
affirm Nilo's conviction for the murder of Rolando.
Finally, we nd it proper to modify the monetary awards granted by the trial court
and, accordingly, impose the awards recommended in People v. Jugueta , 1 8 with six
percent (6%) legal interest per annum on all the monetary awards from the date of
finality of judgment until fully paid. 1 9
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Court of Appeals' decision dated 31 July 2008, in
CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 02700, with the following MODIFICATION: Nilo I. Diaz is hereby
ordered to pay the heirs of Rolando Elegino P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00
as moral damages, and P75,000.00 as exemplary damages, with legal interest at the
rate of six percent (6%) per annum on all the monetary awards from the date of nality
of judgment until fully paid. aDSIHc

SO ORDERED." (CARPIO , J., on o cial leave, PERALTA , J., Acting Chairperson


per Special Order No. 2445 dated 16 June 2017.)

Very truly yours,

MA. LOURDES C. PERFECTO


Division Clerk of Court

By:

(SGD.) TERESITA AQUINO TUAZON


Deputy Division Clerk of Court
Footnotes
1. Rollo, pp. 2-12; penned by Associate Justice (now SC Justice) Mariano C. Del Castillo, and
concurred in by Associate Justice Arcangelita M. Romilla-Lontok and Associate Justice
Romeo F. Barza.
2. Records, p. 2.

3. CA rollo, pp. 48-59; penned by Presiding Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda.


4. Records, pp. 11-14.

5. The trial court referred to its earlier disposition on the existence of the corpus delicti of the
crime when it denied Nilo's petition for bail. It said that this is already the law of the
case.

6. The appeal led by Nilo assailing the CA decision in CA-G.R. No. CR-H.C. No. 00839 a rming
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Nilo's conviction for the murder of Margarito.

7. People v. Tuniaco , 624 Phil. 345, 352 (2010) citing People v. Gallardo , 380 Phil. 182, 194
(2000).
8. An Act De ning Certain Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation
as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating O cers, and Providing
Penalties for Violations Thereof.

9. R.A. No. 7438, Section 2, paragraph (a).


10. Ibid.

11. Id., paragraph (d).


12. Rollo (G.R. No. 176736), pp. 76-77.
13. Under this doctrine, whatever is irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule or
decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case,
whether correct on general principles or not, so long as the facts on which the legal rule
or decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before thee court. (Vios v.
Pantangco, 597 Phil. 705, 718 (2009) citing Baes v. Lutheran Church in the Phils . 511
Phil. 458, 476 (2005). See also United Overseas Bank of the Phils. v. Rosemoor Mining
and Development Corporation, 560 Phil. 774, 786 (2007) citing Padillo v. Court of
Appeals, 422 Phil. 334, 351 (2001).
14. Sumbillo, et al. v. People , 624 Phil. 470, 477 (2010) citing People v. Alarcon , 546 Phil. 601,
608 (2007).
15. People v. Lalongisip, 635 Phil. 163, 173 (2010).

16. People v. Agcanas , 674 Phil. 626, 632 (2011) citing People v. Mapalo , 543 Phil. 651, 675
(2007); People v. Caraang , 463 Phil. 715, 749 (2003); People v. Caisip , 352 Phil. 1058,
1065 (1998).
17. People v. Caisip, 352 Phil. 1058, 1065 (1998).

18. G.R. No. 202124, 5 April 2016.


19. See People v. Amistoso, 701 Phil. 345, 364 (2013).

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