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Criminal Law II (armalite), M-16 rifle, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and

feloniously attack and shot several times KHINGSLEY PAUL KOH on

Crimes against Persons CASES the different parts of his body, thereby inflicting upon said
KHINGSLEY PAUL KOH gunshot wounds which caused his
Republic of the Philippines instantaneous death and as a consequence of which also caused
Manila the different parts of their bodies thereby inflicting gunshot wounds
which otherwise would have caused the death of said Lina
SECOND DIVISION Amparado and Arnold Amparado, thus performing all the acts of
execution which should have produced the crimes of murders as a
G.R. No. 74433 September 14, 1987 consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of
causes independent of his will, that is by the timely and able medical
assistance rendered to Lina Amparado and Arnold Amparado which
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
prevented their death. 1
FRANCISCO ABARCA, accused-appellant.
xxx xxx xxx

On arraignment, the accused-appellant pleaded not guilty. The

Solicitor General states accurately the facts as follows:
Khingsley Paul Koh and the wife of accused Francisco Abarca,
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Palo,
Jenny, had illicit relationship. The illicit relationship apparently began
Leyte, sentencing the accused-appellant Francisco Abarca to death for
while the accused was in Manila reviewing for the 1983 Bar
the complex crime of murder with double frustrated murder.
examinations. His wife was left behind in their residence in Tacloban,
Leyte (pp. 45-47, 65, tsn, Sept. 24, 1984).
The case was elevated to this Court in view of the death sentence
imposed. With the approval of the new Constitution, abolishing the
On July 15, 1984, the accused was in his residence in Tacloban,
penalty of death and commuting all existing death sentences to life
Leyte. On the morning of that date he went to the bus station to go to
imprisonment, we required the accused-appellant to inform us whether or
Dolores, Eastern Samar, to fetch his daughter. However, he was not
not he wished to pursue the case as an appealed case. In compliance
able to catch the first trip (in the morning). He went back to the
therewith, he filed a statement informing us that he wished to continue
station in the afternoon to take the 2:00 o'clock trip but the bus had
with the case by way of an appeal.
engine trouble and could not leave (pp. 5-8, tsn, Nov. 28, 1985). The
accused, then proceeded to the residence of his father after which he
The information (amended) in this case reads as follows: went home. He arrived at his residence at the V & G Subdivision in
Tacloban City at around 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon (pp. 8-9,
xxx xxx xxx tsn, Id.).

The undersigned City Fiscal of the City of Tacloban accuses Upon reaching home, the accused found his wife, Jenny, and
Francisco Abarca of the crime of Murder with Double Frustrated Khingsley Koh in the act of sexual intercourse. When the wife and
Murder, committed as follows: Koh noticed the accused, the wife pushed her paramour who got his
revolver. The accused who was then peeping above the built-in
That on or about the 15th day of July, 1984, in the City of Tacloban, cabinet in their room jumped and ran away (pp. 9-13, tsn, Id.).
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, with deliberate intent to kill and with evident
premeditation, and with treachery, armed with an unlicensed firearm
The accused went to look for a firearm at Tacloban City. He went to Francisco Abarca is deserving of executive clemency, not of full
the house of a PC soldier, C2C Arturo Talbo, arriving there at around pardon but of a substantial if not a radical reduction or commutation
6:30 p.m. He got Talbo's firearm, an M-16 rifle, and went back to his of his death sentence.
house at V & G Subdivision. He was not able to find his wife and Koh
there. He proceeded to the "mahjong session" as it was the Let a copy of this decision be furnished her Excellency, the President
"hangout" of Kingsley Koh. The accused found Koh playing mahjong. of the Philippines, thru the Ministry of Justice, Manila.
He fired at Kingsley Koh three times with his rifle (pp. 13-19, tsn, Id.).
Koh was hit. Arnold and Lina Amparado who were occupying a room SO ORDERED. 3
adjacent to the room where Koh was playing mahjong were also hit
by the shots fired by the accused (pp. 34-49, tsn, Sept. 24, 1984). xxx xxx xxx
Kingsley Koh died instantaneously of cardiorespiratory arrest due to
shock and hemorrhage as a result of multiple gunshot wounds on the The accused-appellant assigns the following errors committed by the
head, trunk and abdomen (pp. 28-29, tsn, Sept. 24, 1984; see also court a quo:
exh. A): Arnold Amparado was hospitalized and operated on in the
kidney to remove a bullet (pp. 17-23, tsn, Oct. 17, 1984; see also
exh. C). His wife, Lina Amparado, was also treated in the hospital as
she was hit by bullet fragments (p. 23, tsn, Id.). Arnold Amparado
who received a salary of nearly P1,000.00 a month was not able to IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED FOR THE CRIME AS CHARGED
work for 1-1/2 months because of his wounds. He spent P15,000.00 INSTEAD OF ENTERING A JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION UNDER
for medical expenses while his wife spent Pl,000.00 for the same ARTICLE 247 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE;
purpose (pp. 24-25, tsn, Id. ). 2
On March 17, 1986, the trial court rendered the appealed judgment,
the dispositive portion whereof reads as follows: IN FINDING THAT THE KILLING WAS AMENDED BY THE QUALIFYING
xxx xxx xxx
The Solicitor General recommends that we apply Article 247 of the
WHEREFORE, finding the accused, Francisco Abarca guilty beyond Revised Penal Code defining death inflicted under exceptional
reasonable doubt of the complex crime of murder with double circumstances, complexed with double frustrated murder. Article 247
frustrated murder as charged in the amended information, and reads in full:
pursuant to Art. 63 of the Revised Penal Code which does not
consider the effect of mitigating or aggravating circumstances when ART. 247. Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional
the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty in relation to Art. 48, he circumstances. Any legally married person who, having surprised
is hereby sentenced to death, to indemnify the heirs of Khingsley his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another
Paul Koh in the sum of P30,000, complainant spouses Arnold and person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or
Lina Amparado in the sum of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the physical injury, shall suffer the penalty of destierro.
If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he
It appears from the evidence that the deceased Khingsley Paul Koh shall be exempt from punishment.
and defendant's wife had illicit relationship while he was away in
Manila; that the accused had been deceived, betrayed, disgraced These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to
and ruined by his wife's infidelity which disturbed his reasoning parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age,
faculties and deprived him of the capacity to reflect upon his acts. and their seducers, while the daughters are living with their parents.
Considering all these circumstances this court believes the accused
Any person who shall promote or facilitate prostitution of his wife or serious physical injury, as the case may be is punished only
daughter, or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of the with destierro. This penalty is mere banishment and, as held in a
other spouse shall not be entitled to the benefits of this article. case, is intended more for the protection of the accused than a
punishment. (People vs. Coricor, 79 Phil., 672.) And where physical
We agree with the Solicitor General that the aforequoted provision applies injuries other than serious are inflicted, the offender is exempted
in the instant case. There is no question that the accused surprised his from punishment. In effect, therefore, Article 247, or the exceptional
wife and her paramour, the victim in this case, in the act of illicit circumstances mentioned therein, amount to an exempting
copulation, as a result of which, he went out to kill the deceased in a fit of circumstance, for even where death or serious physical injuries is
passionate outburst. Article 247 prescribes the following elements: (1) inflicted, the penalty is so greatly lowered as to result to no
that a legally married person surprises his spouse in the act of committing punishment at all. A different interpretation, i.e., that it defines and
sexual intercourse with another person; and (2) that he kills any of them penalizes a distinct crime, would make the exceptional
or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter. These elements are circumstances which practically exempt the accused from criminal
present in this case. The trial court, in convicting the accused-appellant of liability integral elements of the offense, and thereby compel the
murder, therefore erred. prosecuting officer to plead, and, incidentally, admit them, in the
information. Such an interpretation would be illogical if not absurd,
Though quite a length of time, about one hour, had passed between the since a mitigating and much less an exempting circumstance cannot
time the accused-appellant discovered his wife having sexual intercourse be an integral element of the crime charged. Only "acts or omissons .
with the victim and the time the latter was actually shot, the shooting must . . constituting the offense" should be pleaded in a complaint or
be understood to be the continuation of the pursuit of the victim by the information, and a circumstance which mitigates criminal liability or
accused-appellant. The Revised Penal Code, in requiring that the exempts the accused therefrom, not being an essential element of
accused "shall kill any of them or both of them . . . immediately" after the offense charged-but a matter of defense that must be proved to
surprising his spouse in the act of intercourse, does not say that he the satisfaction of the court-need not be pleaded. (Sec. 5, Rule 106,
should commit the killing instantly thereafter. It only requires that the Rules of Court; U.S. vs. Campo, 23 Phil., 368.)
death caused be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the
accused after chancing upon his spouse in the basest act of infidelity. But That the article in question defines no crime is made more
the killing should have been actually motivated by the same blind manifest when we consider that its counterpart in the old Penal Code
impulse, and must not have been influenced by external factors. The (Article 423) was found under the General Provisions (Chapter VIII)
killing must be the direct by-product of the accused's rage. of Title VIII covering crimes against persons. There can, we think,
hardly be any dispute that as part of the general provisions, it could
It must be stressed furthermore that Article 247, supra, does not define an not have possibly provided for a distinct and separate crime.
offense. 5 In People v. Araque, 6 we said:
xxx xxx xxx
xxx xxx xxx
We, therefore, conclude that Article 247 of the Revised
As may readily be seen from its provisions and its place in Penal Code does not define and provide for a specific crime, but
the Code, the above-quoted article, far from defining a felony, merely grants a privilege or benefit to the accused for the killing of another
provides or grants a privilege or benefit amounting practically to or the infliction of serious physical injuries under the circumstances
an exemption from an adequate punishment to a legally married therein mentioned. ... 7
person or parent who shall surprise his spouse or daughter in the act
of committing sexual intercourse with another, and shall kill any or xxx xxx xxx
both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon
them any serious physical injury. Thus, in case of death or serious Punishment, consequently, is not inflicted upon the accused. He is
physical injuries, considering the enormous provocation and his banished, but that is intended for his protection. 8
righteous indignation, the accused who would otherwise be
criminally liable for the crime of homicide, parricide, murder, or
It shall likewise be noted that inflicting death under exceptional of arresto mayor. The period within which he has been in confinement
circumstances, not being a punishable act, cannot be qualified by either shall be credited in the service of these penalties. He is furthermore
aggravating or mitigating or other qualifying circumstances, We cannot ordered to indemnify Arnold and Lina Amparado in the sum of P16,000.00
accordingly appreciate treachery in this case. as and for hospitalization expense and the sum of P1,500.00 as and for
Arnold Amparado's loss of earning capacity. No special pronouncement
The next question refers to the liability of the accused-appellant for the as to costs.
physical injuries suffered by Lina Amparado and Arnold Amparado who
were caught in the crossfire as the accused-appellant shot the victim. The IT IS SO ORDERED.
Solicitor General recommends a finding of double frustrated murder
against the accused-appellant, and being the more severe offense, Yap (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Paras, and Padilla JJ., concur.
proposes the imposition of reclusion temporal in its maximum period
pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. This is where we
disagree. The accused-appellant did not have the intent to kill the
Amparado couple. Although as a rule, one committing an offense is liable
for all the consequences of his act, that rule presupposes that the act
done amounts to a felony. 9

But the case at bar requires distinctions. Here, the accused-appellant was
not committing murder when he discharged his rifle upon the deceased.
Inflicting death under exceptional circumstances is not murder. We
cannot therefore hold the appellant liable for frustrated murder for the
injuries suffered by the Amparados.

This does not mean, however, that the accused-appellant is totally free
from any responsibility. Granting the fact that he was not performing an
illegal act when he fired shots at the victim, he cannot be said to be
entirely without fault. While it appears that before firing at the deceased,
he uttered warning words ("an waray labot kagawas,") 10 that is not
enough a precaution to absolve him for the injuries sustained by the
Amparados. We nonetheless find negligence on his part. Accordingly, we
hold him liable under the first part, second paragraph, of Article 365, that
is, less serious physical injuries through simple imprudence or
negligence. (The records show that Arnold Amparado was incapacitated
for one and one-half months; 11 there is no showing, with respect to Lina
Amparado, as to the extent of her injuries. We presume that she was
placed in confinement for only ten to fourteen days based on the medical
certificate estimating her recovery period.) 12

For the separate injuries suffered by the Amparado spouses, we therefore

impose upon the accused-appellant arresto mayor (in its medium and
maximum periods) in its maximum period, arresto to being the graver
penalty (than destierro). 13

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby MODIFIED. The

accused-appellant is sentenced to four months and 21 days to six months
and thereafter outraged or scoffed her corpse by then and there chopping
off her head and different parts of her body.

The case was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City and
[G.R. No. 123819. November 14, 2001] was raffled to Branch 152. On January 6, 1994, accused-appellant was
arraigned with the assistance of counsel de parte. He entered a plea of
not guilty.[4]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. STEPHEN The evidence shows that accused-appellant and the deceased, Elsa
MARK WHISENHUNT, accused-appellant. Santos-Castillo, also known as Elsie, were lovers. They met at the Apex
Motor Corporation where accused-appellant was the Manager while Elsa
DECISION was the Assistant Personnel Manager. Both accused-appellant and Elsa
were married, but they were estranged from their respective spouses. In
April 1993, Elsa resigned from Apex presumably to avoid the nasty
rumors about her illicit affair with accused-appellant.[5] It appears,
This is a direct appeal from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court however, that she continued her affair with accused-appellant even after
of Pasig City, Branch 152, in Criminal Case No. 102687, the dispositive she resigned from Apex Motor Corporation.
portion of which states:
On September 23, 1993, Demetrio Ravelo, an Apex employee
WHEREFORE, finding the accused Stephen Mark Whisenhunt guilty assigned to drive for accused-appellant, reported for work at 8:30 a.m. at
beyond reasonable doubt of murder defined and penalized under Art. the latters condominium unit at the Platinum Condominium, Annapolis
248, Revised Penal Code, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty Street, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila.[6] Accused-appellant ordered
of reclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties provided for by law, to him to fetch Elsa at her parents house in Blumentritt, Manila at 10:30
pay the heirs of the deceased the amount of P100,000.00 representing a.m. He found Elsa standing at a corner near her parents house, wearing
actual expenses for the funeral services and wake for 5 days, a violet-colored blouse with floral prints, and was carrying three bags --- a
P3,000,000.00 by way of moral damages, exemplary damages in the paper bag, a violet Giordano bag and a thick brown leather bag with the
amount of P1,000,000.00 and attorneys fees in the amount of trademark of Mitsubishi. He brought Elsa to accused-appellants
P150,000.00. condominium unit.[7]
At 2:00 p.m., Elsa told Demetrio to go to the Apex office in
SO ORDERED.[2] Mandaluyong to deliver a paper bag to Amy Serrano, the Personnel
Manager. He proceeded to the Apex office, and then returned to
On November 19, 1993, accused-appellant was formally charged Platinum.Accused-appellant asked him to stay because he had to drive
with the murder of Elsa Santos-Castillo, under an Information which read: Elsa home at 10:00 p.m. He waited until a little past 10:00 p.m. When he
had not heard from accused-appellant, he told Lucy, the housemaid, that
That on or about September 24, 1993, in the Municipality of San Juan, he was going home.[8]
Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully The following day, Demetrio again reported at accused-appellants
and feloniously, with intent to kill and taking advantage of superior unit. At around noon, Lucy asked if he had seen a kitchen knife which
strength, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the person of was missing. He then overheard Lucy ask accused-appellant who told her
one Elsa Elsie Santos Castillo by then and there stabbing her with a that the kitchen knife was in his bedroom. Demetrio saw accused-
bladed weapon in different parts of her body, thereby inflicting upon her appellant go inside the room and, shortly thereafter, hand the knife to
mortal wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of her death Lucy.[9]
At 3:40 p.m., Lucy told Demetrio to buy cigarettes for accused- black trash bag. He helped accused-appellant place the other body parts
appellant. He went out to buy the cigarettes and gave them to Lucy. At in three separate garbage bags. They packed all the garbage bags in the
5:00 p.m., accused-appellant told Demetrio to go home.[10] bag with the zipper and rollers, which they had bought in
Shoppesville. Then, they brought the bag down and loaded it in the trunk
On September 25, 1993, Demetrio reported at the Platinum of accused-appellants car. After that, they boarded the car. Demetrio took
Condominium at around 8:00 a.m. He was allowed by accused-appellant the wheel and accused-appellant sat beside him in front.[16]
to go to Apex to follow up his salary. While he was there, Amy Serrano
asked him if Elsa was still in accused-appellants condominium It was almost 2:00 p.m. when Demetrio and accused-appellant left
unit. Although Demetrio did not see Elsa there, he answered yes. Amy the condominium. Accused-appellant told Demetrio to drive around
gave him black plastic garbage bags which he turned over to accused- Batangas and Tagaytay City. After leaving Tagaytay, they entered the
appellant upon his return to the condominium. The latter then ordered him South Luzon Expressway and headed towards Sta. Rosa, Laguna. When
to drive Lucy to Cubao and to go home to get some clothes, since they they were near Puting Kahoy and Silangan, accused-appellant told
were leaving for Bagac, Bataan. On the way to Cubao, Lucy told Demetrio to turn into a narrow road. Somewhere along that road,
Demetrio that she was going home. He dropped her off in front of the accused-appellant ordered Demetrio to stop the car.[17]
Farmers Market. Thereafter, he proceeded to his house in Fairview,
Accused-appellant alighted and told Demetrio to get the bag in the
Quezon City, to pick up some clothes, then returned to the condominium
at around 10:00 a.m.[11] trunk. Accused-appellant took the plastic bags inside the bag and
dumped them by the roadside. Then, accused-appellant returned the
Accused-appellant asked him to check the fuel gauge of the car. He empty bag in the trunk and boarded the car. He called Demetrio and
was told to go to Apex to get a gas slip and then to gas up. At around said, Tayo na Rio, tuloy na tayo sa Bataan. It was already 6:30 p.m.[18]
noon, he went back to the condominium. He had lunch outside
Demetrio drove to the Sta. Rosa exit gate, along the South Luzon
at Goodah, then returned to accused-appellants unit and stayed in the
servants quarters.[12] Expressway, through EDSA and towards the North Luzon
Expressway. They stopped at a gasoline station to refuel. They then took
While Demetrio was in the servants quarters watching television, the San Fernando, Pampanga exit, and were soon en route to the
accused-appellant came in. He asked Demetrio how long he wanted to Whisenhunt family mansion in Bagac, Bataan.[19]
work for him. Demetrio replied that he was willing to work for him forever,
Before reaching Bagac, accused-appellant ordered Demetrio to stop
and expressed his full trust in him. Upon hearing this, accused-appellant
shed tears and embraced Demetrio. Then accused-appellant said, May the car on top of a bridge. Accused-appellant told Demetrio to get off and
to throw a bag into the river. Later, they passed another bridge and
problema ako, Rio. Demetrio asked what it was, and accused-appellant
told him that Elsa was dead. Demetrio asked, Bakit mo siya accused-appellant again told Demetrio to pull over. Accused-appellant
pinatay?[13] Accused-appellant answered that he did not kill Elsa, rather alighted and threw Elsas clothes over the bridge. On the way, Demetrio
noticed that accused-appellant took something from a bag, tore it to
she died of bangungot.[14]
pieces and threw it out of the window. When they passed Pilar, Bataan,
Demetrio suggested that Elsas body be autopsied, but accused- accused-appellant threw Elsas violet Giordano bag. As they reached the
appellant said that he had already beheaded her. He asked Demetrio if road boundary of Bagac, accused-appellant wrung a short-sleeved dress
he wanted to see the decapitated body, but the latter refused. The two of with violet and green stripes, and threw it on a grassy lot.[20]
them went to Shoppesville at the Greenhills Shopping Center and bought
It was about midnight when accused-appellant and Demetrio arrived
a big bag with a zipper and rollers, colored black and gray.[15] Demetrio
noticed that accused-appellant seemed nervous and his eyes were teary at the mansion. Demetrio was unable to sleep that night, as he was
and bloodshot. scared that he might be the next victim.[21]

When they returned to the condominium, accused-appellant asked The next morning, at 11:00 a.m., accused-appellant ordered
Demetrio to help him wrap the body in the black garbage bags. Demetrio Demetrio to clean the trunk of the car, saying, Rio, linisan mo ang
entered accused-appellants bathroom and found the dismembered sasakyan para ang compartment hindi babaho.[22] At 1:00 p.m., accused-
hands, feet, trunk and head of a woman. He lifted the severed head by appellant and Demetrio started off for Manila. As they passed a place
the hair and, when he lifted it, he saw Elsas face. He placed this in a called Kabog-kabog, he saw accused-appellant take out an ATM
card. Accused-appellant burned the middle of the card, twisted it and
threw it out of the window. They arrived at the corner of EDSA and items inside. When he opened the compartment, the people around the
Quezon Avenue at 2:30 p.m. Demetrio asked accused-appellant if he can car moved away because of the foul stench that emanated from
get off since he wanted to go home to Fairview. Before Demetrio left, inside. Atty. Sacaguing inspected the interior of the trunk and found stains
accused-appellant told him, Rio, you and your family can go on a on the lawanit board lying flat inside the compartment, which he
vacation. I will give you money. Accused-appellant then gave Demetrio suspected to be blood. Thus, he instructed his agents to fetch a
P50.00 for his transportation going to Fairview.[23] technician from the NBI Chemistry Division to examine the stain.[31]
When Demetrio got home, he immediately told his family what During Atty. Sacaguings interview of accused-appellant, he noticed
happened. His wife told him to report the incident to Fiscal Joey contusions on accused-appellants lower lip and cheek. As standard
Diaz. Demetrio and his wife went to the house of Fiscal Diaz in Fairview procedure, and in order to rule out any accusation of violence on
to talk to him.[24] accused-appellant on the part of the NBI agents, Atty. Sacaguing ordered
a medical examination of accused-appellant.[32]
The following morning, September 27, 1993, Fiscal Diaz, Demetrio,
his wife and his brothers went to the Department of Justice. They were The Medico-Legal Officer found contusions on accused-appellants
referred to the National Bureau of Investigation, where Demetrio gave his left periumbilical region, right elbow, left and right forearms and right
statement before Atty. Artemio Sacaquing, head of the Anti-Organized leg.[33]
Crime Division.[25]
That same afternoon, before the close of office hours, accused-
Initially, Atty. Sacaguing could not believe what he heard and thought appellant was brought to the Department of Justice for
Demetrio was exaggerating. He dispatched a team of NBI agents, headed inquest.[34] However, accused-appellant moved that a preliminary
by Marianito Panganiban, to verify Demetrios report.[26]Accompanied by investigation be conducted, and signed a waiver of the provisions of
Demetrio, the team proceeded to Barangay Polong, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Rosa, Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. Hence, he was detained at the
Laguna. There, they found a crowd of people gathered around the NBI.[35]
mutilated parts of a human body along the road.[27]The body parts had
been discovered by tricycle drivers. The Sta. Rosa Police, under Chief On September 29, 1993, armed with a search warrant,[36] the NBI
Investigator SPO3 Alipio Quintos, was already conducting an agents conducted a search of the condominium unit of accused-
investigation. Agent Panganiban radioed Atty. Sacaguing in Manila that appellant. They recovered hair strands from underneath the rubber mat
and rugs inside accused-appellants bathroom.[37] In accused-appellants
Demetrios report was positive.[28]
bedroom, they found bloodstains on the bedspread and covers. They also
The mutilated body parts were brought to the Lim de Mesa Funeral found a pair of Topsider shoes with bloodstains, a bottle of Vicks Formula
Parlor in Sta. Rosa. Two NBI agents, together with Demetrio, went to the 44 cough syrup, and some more hair strands on the lampshade.[38]
house of Elsas family to inform them of her death. The NBI agents
accompanied Elsas two sisters, Amelia Villadiego and Elida Santos, to Later that day, Demetrio Ravelo accompanied some NBI agents to
the funeral parlor, where they identified the body parts as belonging to retrace the route he took with accused-appellant going to Bataan, with the
Elsa. objective of retrieving the items thrown away by accused-appellant. They
were able to recover a violet bag, one brown sandal and a shirt with violet
In the morning of September 28, 1993, accused-appellant was and green floral prints,[39] which were brought to the NBI office. Amelia
arrested by operatives of the NBI as he drove up to his parking space at Santos Villadiego, Elsas sister, was summoned to identify the items.[40]
Apex Motor Corporation.[29] When Atty. Sacaguing approached and
introduced himself, accused-appellant became nervous and started to In the meantime, Caroline Y. Custodio, Supervising Forensic
tremble.[30] Biologist of the NBI, who conducted comparative examinations between
the hair specimens found in accused-appellants bathroom and hair
Accused-appellant was brought to the NBI in his car. When he samples taken from the victim while she lay in state, found that the
arrived there, Atty. Sacaguing informed him that it may be necessary to questioned hair specimen showed similarities to the hair taken from the
impound the car since, based on Demetrios statement, the same was victim.[41]
used in the commission of the crime. Accused-appellant asked
permission to retrieve personal belongings from the car. After getting his Custodio further reported that the bloodstains on the bed cushion
things from the car, accused-appellant opened the trunk to place some cover, bedspread and Topsider shoes, all found inside accused-
appellants bedroom, gave positive results for human blood, showing backwards, downwards and laterally, involving the soft tissues, cutting
reactions of Group B.[42] The bloodstains on the plywood board taken from completely the 4th cartilage, right side, into the right thoracic cavity,
accused-appellants vehicle were also examined and found to give penetrating the lower of the right lung with an approximate depth 8.5 cms.
positive results for human blood showing reactions of Group B.[43]On the
other hand, the examination of blood taken from the victim likewise 2. 0.8 cm., elliptical, clean-cut edges, oriented almost vertically, with
showed reactions of Group B.[44] sharp inferior extremity and blunt superior extremity, located at the
inframammary area, left, 1.1 cms., from the anterior median line, directed
Dr. Ronaldo B. Mendez, the Medico-Legal Officer who conducted the
backwards, downwards and medially, involving the soft tissues only with
autopsy, concluded that the cause of death of Elsa Santos Castillo were
an approximate depth of 2.0 cms.
stab wounds.[45] Dr. Mendez found one stab wound on the right breast
which penetrated the right lung. He also found two stab wounds under the
left breast which penetrated the diaphragm and abdominal cavity, and 3. 2.0 cms., elliptical, clean-cut edges, oriented obliquely, with sharp
also penetrated the right portion of the liver.[46]More particularly, the infero-lateral extremity and blunt supero-medial extremity, located at the
autopsy yielded the following postmortem findings: inframammary area, left, 2.2 cms., from the anterior median line, directed
backwards, downwards, and from left to right, involving the soft tissues,
into the left thoracic cavity, perforating the diaphragm, into the abdominal
Body in moderately advanced stage of decomposition.
cavity, penetrating the right lobe of the liver with an approximate depth
10.0 cms.
Head, decapitated, level above 4th cervical vertebra; both hands severed
cutting completely the lower ends of both radius and ulna; both legs,
Brain, markedly softened and reduced to grayish white, pultaceous mass.
disarticulated at knee joints and cut-off with both patellar bones, missing;
both feet, disarticulated at the ankle joints and cut-off; all soft tissues of
both thighs and perineum, removed, exposing completely the femoral Other visceral organs, putrified,
bones and partially the pelvic bone,
Stomach is almost empty.
Incised wounds: 19.5 cms., left axillary area; 55.0 cms., thoraco-
abdominal area, along median line, with the abdominal incision involving CAUSE OF DEATH: --- STAB WOUNDS.[47]
the whole thickness and the thoracic incision involving the soft tissues
and cutting the sternum from the xiphoid process up to the level of the In his defense, accused-appellant alleged that he stayed home on
third cartilage; from the 3rd cartilage up to the lower border of the neck. September 23, 1993 because he was not feeling well. He denied that he
asked Demetrio Ravelo to fetch Elsa. He refuted Demetrios testimony
Abdominal organs, removed from the abdominal cavity. that accused-appellant asked him to buy cigarettes, or that accused-
appellant told him to go home at 5:00 p.m.. Rather, accused-appellant
Contusions: 26.0 x 16.5 cms., face, more on the left side involving the maintained that he did not see Demetrio at any time in the afternoon of
forehead, temporal, nasal, orbital and maxillary areas; 25.0 x 11.0 cms., September 24, 1993.[48]
deltoid area, extending down to the upper 2/3, arm, left. On September 25, 1993, accused-appellant alleged that he was
feeling better, hence, told Demetrio that they were to leave for Bagac,
Incised Wound, 3.0 cms., neck area, along anterior median line. Bataan that afternoon. They left the condominium at about 1:00 to 1:30
p.m. and proceeded straight to Bagac. When they arrived at Bagac,
Hematoma, scalp, massive, temporo-parietal, left. accused-appellant went straight to the kitchen and met his mother, father,
aunt and grandmother. Demetrio got the things out of the car and then
STAB WOUNDS: asked accused-appellants permission to take the car to go to the town.[49]
Accused-appellants mother, Mrs. Nieves Whisenhunt, testified that
1. 1.8 cms., elliptical, clean-cut edges, oriented obliquely with sharp accused-appellant arrived at their beach house in Bagac, Bataan on
infero-lateral extremity and blunt supero-medial extremity, located at the September 25, 1993 at 5:00 p.m. At 7:00 the next morning, she saw
mammary area, right; 3.0 cms., from the anterior median line, directed
accused-appellant clad in beach attire. Later that day, she and her hour. The door of the bathroom was open, and she saw that there was
husband had lunch at the clubhouse, which was about three to four nobody inside. The following morning, they passed by the condominium
minutes drive from their house. When they returned home at 2:00 p.m., before proceeding to Bagac, Bataan. They went inside accused-
accused-appellant and his driver, Demetrio, had already left.[50] This was appellants bedroom and talked to him. As in the last two occasions, Ms.
corroborated by accused-appellants aunt, Ms. Frances Sison.[51] Sison saw through the open door of the bathroom that there was no one
Accused-appellant claimed that he went jet-skiing in the morning of
September 25, 1993. He alleged that the water was choppy and caused Theresa Whisenhunt, accused-appellants sister-in-law, testified that
his jet-ski to lose control. As a result, he suffered bruises on his chest and between December 21, 1991 and January 15, 1992, and again from the
legs. Thereafter, he went home, cleaned up, changed clothes and middle of April, 1992 to May 15, 1992, she slept in the bedroom
rested. Later, as he was going down the stairs, he slipped and extended subsequently occupied by accused-appellant in the Platinum
his arm to stop his fall. He had lunch with this family. At 1:30 p.m., he and Condominium; that she regularly has her menstruation around the end of
Demetrio left Bagac for Manila.[52] every month; and that her blood type is B.[59]
According to accused-appellant, he first learned of Elsas death when On January 31, 1996, the trial court promulgated the appealed
he was arrested by the NBI on September 28, 1993.[53] He denied having judgment, convicting accused-appellant of the crime of murder,
anything to do with her death, saying that he had no reason to kill her sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordering
since he was in love with her.[54] Sometime during his relationship with him to pay the heirs of the deceased actual damage, moral damages,
Elsa, he claimed having received in the mails two anonymous letters. The exemplary damages and attorneys fees.[60]
first one reads:
Accused-appellant interposed an appeal from the adverse decision of
the trial court, alleging that:
Salamat sa pagpapahiram mo ng sasakyan at driver. Pero masyado kang
pakialamero, Steve. Walanghiya ka. Para kang demonyo. Pinakialaman I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED
mo ang di sa yo. Lintik lang ang walang ganti.Matitiyempuhan din OF THE CRIME CHARGED;
kita. Putang ina mo.[55]
The second letter says:
Ang kay Pedro kay Pedro. Kapag pinakialaman ay kay San Pedro ang III THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN REJECTING,
tungo. Mahal mo ba ang pamilya mo? Iniingatan mo ba ang pangalan DISREGARDING AND/OR NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO
mo? Nakakasagasa ka na.[56] THE DEFENSE OF THE ACCUSED.[61]
Much of the evidence on accused-appellants complicity was elicited
At first, accused-appellant ignored the letters. But when he told Elsa from Demetrio Ravelo, the so-called prosecution star witness.[62] On the
about them, she got very upset and worried. She said the letters came premise that accused-appellants guilt or innocence depends largely on
from Fred, her estranged husband.[57] the weight of his testimony, this Court has carefully scrutinized and
Ms. Frances Sison, accused-appellants aunt, testified that she and examined his version of the events, and has found that Demetrio Ravelos
her mother visited accused-appellant at 3:00 p.m. on September 23, narrative is both convincing and consistent in all material points.
1993. She went inside the bedroom and talked to accused-appellant for Before accused-appellant confessed to Demetrio Ravelo what had
about 30 minutes. While they were there, Ms. Sison testified that she did happened to Elsa Castillo, he first asked the latter how long he was
not see anyone else in the bedroom. She also said the door of the willing to work for him, and how far his loyalty will go. This was logical if
bathroom inside the room was open, and there was nobody inside. The accused-appellant wanted to ensure that Demetrio would stand by his
next day, at 4:00 p.m., she went back to visit accused-appellant. Again, side after learning what he was about to reveal. More importantly,
they went inside accused-appellants bedroom and stayed there for one
Demetrios description of Elsas dismembered body, as he found it in it is regarded as evidence of the highest order. It speaks more eloquently
accused-appellants bathroom, perfectly jibed with the appearance of the than a hundred witnesses.[69]
mutilated body parts, as shown in the photographs presented by the
prosecution.[63] While it may be true that there was no eyewitness to the death of
Elsa, the confluence of the testimonial and physical evidence against
Likewise, the mutilated body parts, as well as the other items thrown accused-appellant creates an unbroken chain of circumstantial evidence
by accused-appellant along the road to Bataan, were found by the NBI that naturally leads to the fair and reasonable conclusion that accused-
agents as Demetrio pointed, which confirms that, indeed, the latter appellant was the author of the crime, to the exclusion of all
witnessed how accused-appellant disposed of Elsas body and personal others. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted to in proving the identity
belongings one by one. of the accused when direct evidence is not available, otherwise felons
would go scot-free and the community would be denied proper
All in all, the testimony of Demetrio Ravelo bears the ring of truth and protection. The rules on evidence and jurisprudence sustain the
sincerity. The records show that he did not waver even during lengthy and conviction of an accused through circumstantial evidence when the
rigorous cross-examination. In fact, the trial court gave full faith and credit
following requisites concur: (1) there must be more than one
to his testimony, stating: circumstance; (2) the inference must be based on proven facts; and (3)
the combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond doubt
The Court had opportunity to observe the demeanor of Demetrio Ravelo of the guilt of the accused.[70]
when he took the witness stand on several occasions. He was extensively
cross-examined by one of the defense counsel and he withstood the In the case at bar, the following circumstances were successfully
same creditably. Demetrio Ravelo is a very credible witness and his proven by the prosecution without a shadow of doubt, to wit: that Elsa
testimony is likewise credible.[64] Santos Castillo was brought to accused-appellants condominium unit on
September 23, 1993; that on September 24, 1993, accused-appellants
This Court has consistently ruled that factual findings of the trial court housemaid was looking for her kitchen knife and accused-appellant gave
deserve the highest respect. This is based on the fact that the trial judge it to her, saying that it was in his bedroom; that on September 25, 1993,
is in the best position to assess the credibility of the witnesses who accused-appellant and Demetrio Ravelo collected the dismembered body
appeared before his sala as he had personally heard them and observed parts of Elsa from the bathroom inside accused-appellants bedroom; that
their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial.[65] Especially, accused-appellant disposed of the body parts by a roadside somewhere
where issues raised involve the credibility of witnesses, the trial courts in San Pedro, Laguna; that accused-appellant also disposed of Elsas
findings thereon will not be disturbed on appeal absent any clear showing personal belongings along the road going to Bagac, Bataan; that the
that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts, or mutilated body parts of a female cadaver, which was later identified as
circumstances of weight or substance, which could have affected the Elsa, were found by the police and NBI agents at the spot where
result of the case.[66] Succinctly put, findings of fact of the trial court Demetrio pointed; that hair specimens found inside accused-appellants
pertaining to the credibility of witnesses command great weight and bathroom and bedroom showed similarities with hair taken from Elsas
respect since it had the opportunity to observe their demeanor while they head; and that the bloodstains found on accused-appellants bedspread,
testified in court.[67] covers and in the trunk of his car, all matched Elsas blood type.

Perhaps more damning to accused-appellant is the physical evidence Accused-appellant makes capital of the fact that the Medico-Legal
against him. The findings of the forensic biologist on the examination of Officer, Dr. Mendez, did not examine the pancreas of the deceased
the hair samples and bloodstains all confirm Elsas death inside accused- notwithstanding Demetrios statement that, according to accused-
appellants bedroom. On the other hand, the autopsy report revealed that appellant, Elsa died of bangungot, or hemorrhage of the
Elsa was stabbed at least three times on the chest. This, taken together pancreas. Because of this, accused-appellant insists that the cause of
with Demetrios testimony that accused-appellant kept the kitchen knife death was not adequately established. Then, he relied on the
inside his bedroom on September 24, 1993, leads to the inescapable fact controverting testimony of his witness, lawyer-doctor Ernesto Brion, who
that accused-appellant stabbed Elsa inside the bedroom or bathroom. was himself a Medico-Legal Officer of the NBI for several years, to the
effect that the autopsy report prepared by Dr. Mendez was unreliable and
Physical evidence is a mute but eloquent manifestation of truth, and it inconclusive. The trial court noted, however, that Dr. Brion was a biased
ranks high in the hierarchy of our trustworthy evidence.[68] For this reason,
witness whose testimony cannot be relied upon because he entered his too late in the day for accused-appellant to raise an issue about his
appearance as one of the counsel for accused-appellant and, in such warrantless arrest after he pleaded to a valid information and after a
capacity, extensively cross-examined Dr. Mendez. Accused-appellant judgment of conviction was rendered against him after a full-blown trial.
counters that there is no prohibition against lawyers giving
testimony. Moreover, the trial courts ruling would imply that lawyers who Accused-appellant presented in evidence two supposedly threatening
testify on behalf of their clients are presumed to be lying. letters which, according to Elsa, were written by the latters
husband. There is nothing in these letters which will exculpate accused-
By rejecting the testimony of Dr. Brion, the trial court did not mean appellant from criminal liability. The threats were directed at accused-
that he perjured himself on the witness stand. Notably, Dr. Brion was appellant, not Elsa. The fact remains that Elsa was last seen alive in
presented as expert witness. His testimony and the questions accused-appellants condominium unit, and subsequently discovered
propounded on him dealt with his opinion on the probable cause of death dead in accused-appellants bathroom. Surely, the place where her dead
of the victim. Indeed, the presentation of expert testimony is one of the body was found does not support the theory that it was Fred Castillo who
well-known exceptions to the rule against admissibility of opinions in was probably responsible for her death.
evidence.[71] In like manner, Dr. Mendez was presented on the stand to
give his own opinion on the same subject. His opinion differed from that of We do not agree with the trial court that the prosecution sufficiently
proved the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength. Abuse
Dr. Brion, which is not at all unusual. What the trial court simply did was
to choose which --- between two conflicting medico-legal opinions --- was of superiority is present whenever there is inequality of forces between
the more plausible. The trial court correctly lent more credence to Dr. the victim and the aggressor, assuming a situation of superiority of
Mendezs testimony, not only because Dr. Brion was a biased witness, but strength notoriously advantageous for the aggressor and selected or
more importantly, because it was Dr. Mendez who conducted the autopsy taken advantage of by him in the commission of the crime. [73]The fact that
and personally examined Elsas corpse up close. the victim was a woman does not, by itself, establish that accused-
appellant committed the crime with abuse of superior strength. There
In any event, the foregoing does not detract from the established fact ought to be enough proof of the relative strength of the aggressor and the
that Elsas body was found mutilated inside accused-appellants victim.[74]
bathroom. This clearly indicated that it was accused-appellant who cut up
Elsas body to pieces. Naturally, accused-appellant would be the only Abuse of superior strength must be shown and clearly established as
the crime itself.[75] In this case, nobody witnessed the actual
suspect to her killing. Otherwise, why else would he cut up Elsas body as
if to conceal the real cause of her death? killing. Nowhere in Demetrios testimony, and it is not indicated in any of
the pieces of physical evidence, that accused-appellant deliberately took
As already stated above, Demetrios testimony was advantage of his superior strength in overpowering Elsa. On the contrary,
convincing. Accused-appellant attempts to refute Demetrios statements this Court observed from viewing the photograph of accused-
by saying that he had repeatedly reprimanded the latter for discourteous appellant[76] that he has a rather small frame. Hence, the attendance of
and reckless driving, and that he had already asked the latter to tender the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength was not
his resignation. Thus, accused-appellant claims that Demetrio imputed adequately proved and cannot be appreciated against accused-appellant.
Elsas death on him in order to get back at him. This Court finds the cruel
treatment by an employer too flimsy a motive for the employee to However, the other circumstance of outraging and scoffing at the
implicate him in such a gruesome and hideous crime. Rather than corpse of the victim was correctly appreciated by the trial court. The mere
entertain an accusation of ill-motive and bad faith on Demetrio Ravelo, decapitation of the victims head constitutes outraging or scoffing at the
this Court views his act of promptly reporting the incident to his family corpse of the victim, thus qualifying the killing to murder. [77] In this case,
accused-appellant not only beheaded Elsa. He further cut up her body
and, later, to the authorities, as a genuine desire to bring justice to the
cruel and senseless slaying of Elsa Santos Castillo, whom he knew well. like pieces of meat. Then, he strewed the dismembered parts of her body
in a deserted road in the countryside, leaving them to rot on the
Accused-appellant also argues that his arrest was without a warrant ground. The sight of Elsas severed body parts on the ground, vividly
and, therefore, illegal. In this regard, the rule is settled that any objection depicted in the photographs offered in evidence, is both revolting and
involving a warrant of arrest or procedure in the acquisition by the court of horrifying. At the same time, the viewer cannot help but feel utter pity for
jurisdiction over the person of an accused must be made before he enters the sub-human manner of disposing of her remains.
his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived.[72] In other words, it is
In a case with strikingly similar facts, we ruled: The award of attorneys fees of P150,000.00 was duly proved,[86] and
thus should be affirmed.
Even if treachery was not present in this case, the crime would still be
Finally, the heirs of Elsa Santos Castillo should be indemnified for her
murder because of the dismemberment of the dead body. One of the
death. In murder, the civil indemnity has been fixed by jurisprudence at
qualifying circumstances of murder under Article 248, par. 6, of the
P50,000.00. The grant of civil indemnity in murder requires no proof other
Revised Penal Code is outraging or scoffing at (the) person or corpse of
than the fact of death as a result of the crime and proof of accused-
the victim. There is no question that the corpse of Billy Agotano was
appellants responsibility therefor.[87]
outraged when it was dismembered with the cutting off of the head and
limbs and the opening up of the body to remove the intestines, lungs and WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City,
liver. The killer scoffed at the dead when the intestines were removed and Branch 152, in Criminal Case No. 102687, finding accused-appellant
hung around Victorianos neck as a necklace, and the lungs and liver were guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, and sentencing him to suffer
facetiously described as pulutan.[78] the penalty of reclusion perpetua, is AFFIRMED with the following
MODIFICATIONS: Accused-appellant is ORDERED to pay the heirs of
Hence, the trial court was correct in convicting accused-appellant of Elsa Santos Castillo actual damages in the amount of P50,000.00; civil
the crime of murder, qualified by outraging and scoffing at the victims indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00; moral damages in the amount of
person or corpse.[79] This circumstance was both alleged in the P1,000,000.00; exemplary damages in the amount of P1,000,000.00; and
information and proved during the trial. At the time of its commission, the attorneys fees in the amount of P150,000.00. Costs against accused-
penalty for murder was reclusion temporal maximum to death.[80] No appellant.
aggravating or mitigating circumstance was alleged or proved; hence, the
penalty shall be imposed in its medium period.[81] Therefore, the trial
courts imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua was correct, and Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Pardo,
need not be modified. JJ., concur.
However, the damages awarded by trial court should be
modified. Elida Santos, Elsas sister, testified that the funeral expenses
was only P50,000.00.[82] Hence, the trial court erred when it awarded the
amount of P100,000.00. Basic is the jurisprudential principle that in
determining actual damages, the court cannot rely on mere assertions,
speculations, conjectures or guesswork but must depend on competent
proof and on the best obtainable evidence of the actual amount of the
loss. Actual damages cannot be presumed but must be duly proved with
reasonable certainty.[83]
The award of moral damages in murder cases is justified because of
the physical suffering and mental anguish brought about by the felonious
acts, and is thus recoverable in criminal offenses resulting in death.[84] It is
true that moral damages are not intended to enrich the victims heirs or to
penalize the convict, but to obviate the spiritual sufferings of the
heirs.[85] Considering, however, the extraordinary circumstances in the
case at bar, more particularly the unusual grief and outrage suffered by
her bereaved family as a result of the brutal and indecent mutilation and
disposal of Elsas body, the moral damages to be awarded to them should
be more than the normal amount dictated by jurisprudence. However, the
amount of P3,000,000.00 awarded by the trial court as moral damages is
rather excessive. The reasonable amount is P1,000,000.00 considering
the immense sorrow and shock suffered by Elsas heirs.
On October 27, 1987, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision 4 on the
appeal of Custodio Gonzales, Sr. It modified the appealed decision in that
Republic of the Philippines the lone appellant was sentenced to reclusion perpetua and to indemnify
SUPREME COURT the heirs of Lloyd Peacerrada in the amount of P30,000.00. In all other
Manila respect, the decision of the trial court was affirmed. Further, on the basis
of our ruling in People vs. Ramos, 5 the appellate court certified this case
SECOND DIVISION to us for review.6

G.R. No. 80762 March 19, 1990 The antecedent facts are as follows:

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, At around 9:00 o'clock in the evening of February 21, 1981, Bartolome
vs. Paja, the barangay captain of Barangay Tipacla, Ajuy, Iloilo, was
FAUSTA GONZALES, AUGUSTO GONZALES, CUSTODIO awakened from his sleep by the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales.
GONZALES, SR., CUSTODIO GONZALES, JR., NERIO GONZALES Augusto informed Paja that his wife had just killed their landlord, Lloyd
and ROGELIO LANIDA, accused, CUSTODIO GONZALES, Peacerrada, and thus would like to surrender to the authorities. Seeing
SR., accused-appellant. Augusto still holding the knife allegedly used in the killing and Fausta with
her dress smeared with blood, Paja immediately ordered a nephew of his
to take the spouses to the police authorities at the Municipal Hall in
Poblacion, Ajuy. As instructed, Paja's nephew brought the Gonzales
spouses, who "backrode" on his motorcycle, to the municipal
building. 7 Upon reaching the Ajuy Police sub-station, the couple informed
the police on duty of the incident. That same night, Patrolman Salvador
In a decision 1 dated October 31, 1984, the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo, Centeno of the Ajuy Police Force and the Gonzales spouses went back to
Branch XXXVIII (38), in Criminal Case No. 13661, entitled "People of the Barangay Tipacla. Reaching Barangay Tipacla the group went to Paja's
Philippines vs. Fausta Gonzales, Augusto Gonzales, Custodia Gonzales, residence where Fausta was made to stay, while Paja, Patrolman
Custodio Gonzales, Jr., Nerio Gonzales and Rogelio Lanida," found all Centeno, and Augusto proceeded to the latter's residence at Sitio
the accused, except Rogelio Lanida who eluded arrest and up to now has Nabitasan where the killing incident allegedly occurred. 8 There they saw
remain at large and not yet arrained, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the lifeless body of Lloyd Peacerrada, clad only in an underwear,
the crime of murder as defined under Article 248 of the Revised Penal sprawled face down inside the bedroom. 9 The group stayed for about an
Code. They were sentenced "to suffer the penalty of imprisonment of hour during which time Patrolman Centeno inspected the scene and
twelve (12) years and one (1) day to seventeen (17) years and four (4) started to make a rough sketch thereof and the immediate
months of reclusion temporal, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased surroundings. 10 The next day, February 22, 1981, at around 7:00 o'clock
victim in the amount of P40,000.00, plus moral damages in the sum of in the morning, Patrolman Centeno, accompanied by a photographer,
P14,000.00 and to pay the costs." 2 The victim was Lloyd Peacerrada, went back to the scene of the killing to conduct further investigations.
44, landowner, and a resident of Barangay Aspera, Sara, Iloilo. Fausta Gonzales, on the other hand, was brought back that same day by
Barangay Captain Paja to the police substation in Ajuy. When Patrolman
Through their counsel, all the accused, except of course Rogelio Lanida, Centeno and his companion arrived at Sitio Nabitasan, two members of
filed a notice of appeal from the trial court's decision. During the the 321st P.C. Company stationed in Sara, Iloilo, who had likewise been
pendency of their appeal and before judgment thereon could be rendered informed of the incident, were already there conducting their own
by the Court of Appeals, however, all the accused-appellants, except investigation. Patrolman Centeno continued with his sketch; photographs
Custodio Gonzales, Sr., withdrew their appeal and chose instead to of the scene were likewise taken. The body of the victim was then brought
pursue their respective applications for parole before the then Ministry, to the Municipal Hall of Ajuy for autopsy.
now Department, of Justice, Parole Division. 3
The autopsy of Lloyd Peacerrada's cadaver was performed at about 9. Puncture wound, 3 cm in width, 11.5 cm in length,
11:20 a.m. on February 22, 1981; after completed, a report was made located at the anterior aspect, proximal 3rd arm left,
with the following findings: directed downward.

PHYSICAL FINDINGS 10. Stab wound, thru and thru, 2.5 cm. in width, and 5 cm.
in length, medial aspect, palm right.
1. Deceased is about 5 ft. and 4 inches in height, body
moderately built and on cadaveric rigidity. 11. Stabwound, 4 width, iliac area, right, directed
inward with portion of large intestine and mysentery

1. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, 9 cm. in length, located 12. Stab wound, 4 cm. in width, located at the posterior
at the lower 3rd anterior aspect of the arm, right, directed portion of the shoulder, right, directed downward to the
upward to the right axillary pit. aspex of the light thoracic cavity.

2. Stab wound, thru and thru, located at the proximal 3rd, 13. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 10 cm. in length, located
forearm right, posterior aspect with an entrance of 5 cm. in at the medial portion of the medial border of the right
width and 9 cm. in length with an exit at the middle 3rd, scapula.
posterior aspect of the forearm, right, with 1 cm. wound
exit. 14. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 4.5 cm. in length,
located at the posterior aspect of the right elbow.
3. Stab wound, thru and thru, located at the middle 3rd,
posterior aspect of the forearm right, 1 cm. in width. 15. Incised wound, 1 cm. in width, 2 cm. in length, located
at the posterior portion, middle 3rd, forearm, right.
4. Incised wound, 4 cm. long, depth visualizing the right
lateral border of the sternum, 6th and 7th ribs, right located 16. Lacerated wound at the anterior tantanelle with fissural
1.5 inches below the right nipple. fracture of the skull.

5. Stab wound, 2 cm. in width, 10.5 cm. in depth, directed INTERNAL FINDINGS:
inward to the thoracic cavity right, located at the left
midclavicular line at the level of the 5th rib left. 1. Stab wound No. 5, injuring the left
ventricle of the heart.
6. Stab wound, 2 cm. in width, 9.5 cm. in depth directed
toward the right thoracic cavity, located at the mid left 2. Stab wound No. 6, severely injuring the
scapular line at the level of the 8th intercostal space. right lower lobe of the lungs.

7. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, located at the base of 3. Stab wound No. 7, injuring the right
the left armpit directed toward the left thoracic cavity. middle lobe of the lungs.

8. Puncture wound, 1 cm. in width, 11 cm. in length, 4. Stab wound No. 11, injuring the
directed toward the left deltoid muscle, located at the descending colon of the large intestine, thru
upper 3rd axilla left. and thru.
5. Stab wound No. 12, severely injuring the D. Peacerrada, with the weapons with which said
apex of the right lungs (sic). accused were provided at the time, thereby inflicting upon
said Lloyd D. Peacerrada multiple wounds on different
CAUSE OF DEATH: parts of his body as shown by autopsy report attached to
the record of this case which multifarious wounds caused
MASSIVE HEMMORRHAGE DUE TO MULTIPLE the immediate death of said Lloyd D. Peacerrada.

Iloilo City, August 26, 1981. 14

The autopsy report thus showed that Dr. Rojas "found sixteen (16) When arraigned on September 16, 1981, Augusto and Fausta both
wounds, five (5) of which are fatal because they penetrated the internal entered a plea of not guilty. Before trial, however, Jose Huntoria 15 who
organs, heart, lungs and intestines of the deceased." 12 claimed to have witnessed the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada, presented
himself to Nanie Peacerrada, the victim's widow, on October 6, 1981,
On February 23, two days after the incident, Augusto Gonzales appeared and volunteered to testify for the prosecution. A reinvestigation of the
before the police sub-station in the poblacion of Ajuy and voluntarily case was therefore conducted by the Provincial Fiscal of Iloilo on the
surrendered to Police Corporal Ben Sazon for detention and protective basis of which an Amended Information, 16 dated March 3, 1982, naming
custody for "having been involved" in the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada. He as additional accused Custodio Gonzales, Sr. (the herein appellant),
requested that he be taken to the P.C. headquarters in Sara, Iloilo where Custodio Gonzales, Jr., Nerio Gonzales, and Rogelio Lanida, was filed.
his wife, Fausta, was already detained having been indorsed thereat by Again, all the accused except as earlier explained, Lanida, pleaded not
the Ajuy police force. 13 guilty to the crime.

Based on the foregoing and on the investigations conducted by the Ajuy At the trial, the prosecution presented Dr. Jesus Rojas, the Rural Health
police force and the 321st P.C. Company, an information for murder physician of Ajuy who conducted the autopsy on the body of the victim;
dated August 26, 1981, was filed by the Provincial Fiscal of Iloilo against Bartolome Paja, the barangay captain of Barangay Tipacla; Patrolman
the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales. The information read as Salvador Centeno and Corporal Ben Sazon of the Ajuy Police Force; Sgt.
follows: (ret) Nicolas Belicanao and Sgt. Reynaldo Palomo of the 321st P.C.
Company based in Sara, Iloilo; Jose Huntoria; and Nanie Peacerrada,
The undersigned Provincial Fiscal accuses FAUSTA the widow.
MURDER committed as follows: Dr. Jesus Rojas testified that he performed the autopsy on the body of the
deceased Lloyd Penacerrada at around 11:20 a.m. on February 22, 1981
That on or about the 21st day of February, 1981, in the after it was taken to the municipal hall of Ajuy. 17 His findings revealed
Municipality of Ajuy, Province of Iloilo, Philippines, and that the victim suffered from 16 wounds comprising of four (4) punctured
within the jurisdiction of this Court, the above-named wounds, seven (7) stab wounds, four (4) incised wounds, and one (1)
accused with four other companions whose identities are lacerated wound. In his testimony, Dr. Rojas, while admitting the
still unknown and are still at large, armed with sharp- possibility that only one weapon might have caused all the wounds
pointed and deadly weapons, conspiring, confederating (except the lacerated wound) inflicted on the victim, nevertheless opined
and helping each other, with treachery and evident that due to the number and different characteristics of the wounds, the
premeditation, with deliberate intent and decided purpose probability that at least two instruments were used is high. 18 The police
to kill, and taking advantage of their superior strength and authorities and the P.C. operatives for their part testified on the aspect of
number, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and the investigation they respectively conducted in relation to the incident.
feloniously attack, assault, stab, hack, hit and wound Lloyd Nanie Peacerrada testified mainly on the expenses she incurred by
reason of the death of her husband while Barangay Captain Bartolome
Paja related the events surrounding the surrender of the spouses On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Custodia Gonzales, Sr., the lone
Augusto and Fausta Gonzales to him, the location of the houses of the appellant, contended that the trial court erred in convicting him on the
accused, as well as on other matters. basis of the testimony of Jose Huntoria, the lone alleged eyewitness, and
in not appreciating his defense of alibi.
By and large, the prosecution's case rested on Huntoria's alleged
eyewitness account of the incident. According to Huntoria, who gave his The Court of Appeals found no merit in both assigned errors. In upholding
age as 30 when he testified on July 27, 1982, 19 at 5:00 o'clock in the Huntoria's testimony, the appellate court held that:
afternoon on February 21, 1981, he left his work at Barangay Central, in
Ajuy, Iloilo where he was employed as a tractor driver by one Mr. Piccio, . . . Huntoria positively identified all the accused, including
and walked home; 20 he took a short-cut route. 21 While passing at the the herein accused-appellant, as the assailants of
vicinity of the Gonzales spouses' house at around 8:00 o'clock in the Peacerrada. (TSN, p. 43, July 27, 1982) The claim that
evening, he heard cries for help. 22 Curiosity prompted him to approach Huntoria would have difficulty recognizing the assailant at
the place where the shouts were emanating. When he was some 15 to 20 a distance of 15 to 20 meters is without merit, considering
meters away, he hid himself behind a clump of banana that Huntoria knew all the accused. (Id., pp. 37-39) If
trees. 23 From where he stood, he allegedly saw all the accused ganging Huntoria could not say who was hacking and who was
upon and takings turns in stabbing and hacking the victim Lloyd stabbing the deceased, it was only because the assailant
Peacerrada, near a "linasan" or threshing platform. He said he clearly were moving around the victim.
recognized all the accused as the place was then awash in
moonlight. 24 Huntoria further recounted that after the accused were As for the delay in reporting the incident to the authorities,
through in stabbing and hacking the victim, they then lifted his body and we think that Huntoria's explanation is satisfactory. He said
carried it into the house of the Gonzales spouses which was situated he feared for his life. (Id., pp. 50-51, 65) As stated
some 20 to 25 meters away from the "linasan". 25 Huntoria then in People vs. Realon, 99 SCRA 442, 450 (1980): "The
proceeded on his way home. Upon reaching his house, he related what natural reticence of most people to get involved in a
he saw to his mother and to his wife 26 before he went to sleep. 27Huntoria criminal case is of judicial notice. As held in People
explained that he did not immediately report to the police authorities what v. Delfin, '. . . the initial reluctance of witnesses in this
he witnessed for fear of his life. 28 In October 1981 however, eight months country to volunteer information about a criminal case and
after the extraordinary incident he allegedly witnessed, bothered by his their unwillingness to be involved in or dragged into
conscience plus the fact that his father was formerly a tenant of the victim criminal investigations is common, and has been judicially
which, to his mind, made him likewise a tenant of the latter, he thought of declared not to affect credibility.'"
helping the victim's widow, Nanie Peacerrada. Hence, out of his volition,
he travelled from his place at Sitio Nabitasan, in Barangay Tipacla It is noteworthy that the accused-appellant self admitted
Municipality of Ajuy, to Sara, Iloilo where Mrs. Peacerrada lived, and that he had known Huntoria for about 10 years and that he
related to her what he saw on February 21, 1981. 29 and Huntoria were in good terms and had no
misunderstanding whatsoever. (TSN, p. 33, July 18, 1984)
Except Fausta who admitted killing Lloyd Peacerrada in defense of her He said that he could not think of any reason why Huntoria
honor as the deceased attempted to rape her, all the accused denied should implicate him. (Id., p. 34) Thus, Huntoria's
participation in the crime. The herein accused-appellant, Custodio credibility. is beyond question. 33
Gonzales, Sr., claimed that he was asleep 30 in his house which was
located some one kilometer away from the scene of the crime 31 when the The Court of Appeals likewise rejected the appellant's defense of
incident happened. He asserted that he only came to know of it after his alibi. 34 The appellate court, however, found the sentence imposed by the
grandchildren by Augusto and Fausta Gonzales went to his house that trial court on the accused-appellant erroneous. Said the appellate court:
night of February 21, 1981 to inform him. 32
Finally, we find that the trial court erroneously sentenced
The trial court disregarded the version of the defense; it believed the the accused-appellant to 12 years and 1 day to 17 years
testimony of Huntoria.
and 4 months of reclusion temporal. The penalty for victim. Finally, without any evidence on that point, P.C. investigators of
murder under Article 248 is reclusion temporal in its the 321st P.C. Company who likewise conducted an investigation of the
maximum period to death. As there was no mitigating or killing mentioned in their criminal complaint 38 four other unnamed
aggravating circumstance, the imposible penalty should persons, aside from the spouses Augusto and Fausta Gonzales, to have
be reclusion perpetua. Consequently, the appeal should conspired in killing Lloyd Peacerrada.
have been brought to the Supreme Court. With regard to
the indemnity for death, the award of P40,000.00 should Now on the medical evidence. Dr. Rojas opined that it is possible that the
be reduced to P30,000.00, in accordance with the rulings sixteen wounds described in the autopsy report were caused by two or
of the Supreme Court. (E.g., People v. De la Fuente, 126 more bladed instruments. Nonetheless, he admitted the possibility that
SCRA 518 (1983); People v. Atanacio, 128 SCRA 31 one bladed instrument might have caused all. Thus, insofar as Dr. Rojas'
(1984); People v. Rado, 128 SCRA 43 (1984); People v. testimony and the autopsy report are concerned, Fausta Gonzales'
Bautista, G.R. No. 68731, Feb. 27, 1987).35 admission that she alone was responsible for the killing appears not at all
too impossible. And then there is the positive testimony of Dr. Rojas that
The case, as mentioned earlier, is now before us upon certification by the there were only five wounds that could be fatal out of the sixteen
Court of Appeals, the penalty imposed being reclusion perpetua. described in the autopsy report. We shall discuss more the significance of
these wounds later.
After a careful review of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, we
find the same insufficient to convict the appellant of the crime charged. It is thus clear from the foregoing that if the conviction of the appellant by
the lower courts is to be sustained, it can only be on the basis of the
To begin with, the investigation conducted by the police authorities leave testimony of Huntoria, the self-proclaimed eyewitness. Hence, a
much to be desired. Patrolman Centeno of the Ajuy police force in his meticulous scrutiny of Huntoria's testimony is compelling.
sworn statements 36 even gave the date of the commission of the crime
as "March 21, 1981." Moreover, the sketch 37 he made of the scene is of To recollect, Huntoria testified that he clearly saw all the accused,
little help. While indicated thereon are the alleged various blood stains including the appellant, take turns in hacking and stabbing Lloyd
and their locations relative to the scene of the crime, there was however Peacerrada, at about 8:00 o'clock in the evening, on February 21, 1981,
no indication as to their quantity. This is rather unfortunate for the in the field near a "linasan" while he (Huntoria) stood concealed behind a
prosecution because, considering that there are two versions proferred on clump of banana trees some 15 to 20 meters away from where the crime
where the killing was carried out, the extent of blood stains found would was being committed. According to him, he recognized the six accused
have provided a more definite clue as to which version is more credible. as the malefactors because the scene was then illuminated by the moon.
If, as the version of the defense puts it, the killing transpired inside the He further stated that the stabbing and hacking took about an hour. But
bedroom of the Gonzales spouses, there would have been more blood on cross-examination, Huntoria admitted that he could not determine who
stains inside the couple's bedroom or even on the ground directly under it. among the six accused did the stabbing and/or hacking and what
And this circumstance would provide an additional mooring to the claim of particular weapon was used by each of them.
attempted rape asseverated by Fausta. On the other hand, if the
prosecution's version that the killing was committed in the field near the ATTY. GATON (defense counsel on cross-
linasan is the truth, then blood stains in that place would have been more examination):
than in any other place.
Q And you said that the moon was bright, is
The same sloppiness characterizes the investigation conducted by the it correct?
other authorities. Police Corporal Ben Sazon who claimed that accused
Augusto Gonzales surrendered to him on February 23, 1981 failed to A Yes, Sir.
state clearly the reason for the "surrender." It would even appear that
Augusto "surrendered" just so he could be safe from possible revenge by Q And you would like us to understand that
the victim's kins. Corporal Sazon likewise admitted that Augusto never you saw the hacking and the stabbing, at
mentioned to him the participation of other persons in the killing of the
that distance by the herein accused as Q I noticed in your direct testimony that you
identified by you? could not even identify the weapons used
because according to you it was just
A Yes, sir, because the moon was brightly flashing?
A Yes, sir.39
Q If you saw the stabbing and the hacking,
will you please tell this Honorable Court who (Emphasis supplied)
was hacking the victim?
From his very testimony, Huntoria failed to impute a definite and specific
A Because they were surrounding act committed, or contributed, by the appellant in the killing of Lloyd
Peacerrada and were in constant Peacerrada.
movement, I could not determine who did
the hacking. It also bears stressing that there is nothing in the findings of the trial court
and of the Court of Appeals which would categorize the criminal liability of
ATTY. GATON: the appellant as a principal by direct participation under Article 17,
paragraph 1 of the Revised Penal Code. Likewise, there is nothing in the
The interpretation is not clear. evidence for the prosecution that inculpates him by inducement, under
paragraph 2 of the same Article 17, or by indispensable cooperation
COURT: under paragraph 3 thereof. What then was the direct part in the killing did
the appellant perform to support the ultimate punishment imposed by the
They were doing it rapidly. Court of Appeals on him?

A The moving around or the hacking or the Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code provides how criminal liability is
"labu" or "bunu" is rapid. I only saw the incurred.
rapid movement of their arms, Your Honor,
and I cannot determine who was hacking Art. 4. Criminal liability Criminal liability shall be
and who was stabbing. But I saw the incurred:
hacking and the stabbing blow.
1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although the
ATTY. GATON: wrongful act done be different from that which he intended.

Q You cannot positively identify before this 2. By any person performing an act which would be an
Court who really hacked Lloyd offense against persons or property, were it not for the
Peacerrada? inherent impossibility of its accomplishment or on account
of the employment of inadequate or ineffectual means.
A Yes sir, I cannot positively tell who did the
hacking. (Emphasis supplied.)

Q And likewise you cannot positively tell this Thus, one of the means by which criminal liability is incurred is through
Honorable Court who did the stabbing? the commission of a felony. Article 3 of the Revised Penal Code, on the
other hand, provides how felonies are committed.
A Yes sir, and because of the rapid
Art. 3. Definition Acts and omissions punishable by law two, three, or four of them. And stretching the logic further, it is possible,
are felonies (delitos). nay probable, that all the fatal wounds, including even all the non-fatal
wounds, could have been dealt by Fausta in rage against the assault on
Felonies are committed not only by means of deceit (dolo) her womanhood and honor. But more importantly, there being not an iota
but also by means of fault (culpa). of evidence that the appellant caused any of the said five fatal wounds,
coupled with the prosecution's failure to prove the presence of conspiracy
There is deceit when the act is performed with deliberate beyond reasonable doubt, the appellant's conviction can not be
intent; and there is fault when the wrongful act results from sustained.
imprudence, negligence, lack of foresight, or lack of skill.
Additionally, Huntoria's credibility as a witness is likewise tarnished by the
(Emphasis supplied.) fact that he only came out to testify in October 1981, or eight long months
since he allegedly saw the killing on February 21, 1981. While ordinarily
Thus, the elements of felonies in general are: (1) there must be an act or the failure of a witness to report at once to the police authorities the crime
omission; (2) the act or omission must be punishable under the Revised he
Penal Code; and (3) the act is performed or the omission incurred by had witnessed should not be taken against him and should not affect his
means of deceit or fault. credibility,41 here, the unreasonable delay in Huntoria's coming out
engenders doubt on his veracity. 42 If the silence of coming out an alleged
Here, while the prosecution accuses, and the two lower courts both eyewitness for several weeks renders his credibility doubtful, 43 the more
found, that the appellant has committed a felony in the killing of Lloyd it should be for one who was mute for eight months. Further, Huntoria's
Peacerrada, forsooth there is paucity of proof as to what act was long delay in reveiling what he allegedly witnessed, has not been
performed by the appellant. It has been said that "act," as used in Article satisfactorily explained. His lame excuse that he feared his life would be
3 of the Revised Penal Code, must be understood as "any bodily endangered is too pat to be believed. There is no showing that he was
movement tending to produce some effect in the external world." 40 In this threatened by the accused or by anybody. And if it were true that he
instance, there must therefore be shown an "act" committed by the feared a possible retaliation from the accused, 44 why did he finally
appellant which would have inflicted any harm to the body of the victim volunteer to testify considering that except for the spouses Augusto and
that produced his death. Fausta Gonzales who were already under police custody, the rest of the
accused were then still free and around; they were not yet named in the
original information, 45 thus the supposed danger on Huntoria's life would
Yet, even Huntoria, as earlier emphasized, admitted quite candidly that
still be clear and present when he testified.
he did not see who "stabbed" or who "hacked" the victim. Thus this
principal witness did not say, because he could not whether the appellant
"hacked or "stabbed" victim. In fact, Huntoria does not know what specific Moreover, Huntoria is not exactly a disinterested witness as portrayed by
act was performed by the appellant. This lack of specificity then makes the prosecution. He admitted that he was a tenant of the deceased. In
the case fall short of the test laid down by Article 3 of the Revised Penal fact, he stated that one of the principal reasons why he testified was
Code previously discussed. Furthermore, the fact that the victim because the victim was also his landlord.
sustained only five fatal wounds out of the total of sixteen inflicted, as
adverted to above, while there are six accused charged as principals, it xxx xxx xxx
follows to reason that one of the six accused could not have caused or
dealt a fatal wound. And this one could as well be the appellant, Q Now, Mr. Huntoria, why did it take you so
granted ex gratia argumenti that he took part in the hacking and stabbing long from the time you saw the stabbing and
alleged by Huntoria. And why not him? Is he not after all the oldest hacking of Lloyd Peacerrada when you
(already sexagenarian at that time) and practically the father of the five told Mrs. Peacerrada about what
accused? And pursuing this argument to the limits of its logic, it is happened to her husband?
possible, nay even probable, that only four, or three, or two of the
accused could have inflicted all the five fatal wounds to the exclusion of A At first I was then afraid to tell anybody
else but because I was haunted by my
conscience and secondly the victim was Finally, while indeed alibi is a weak defense, 51 under appropriate
also my landlord I revealed what I saw to circumstances, like in the instant case in which the participation of the
the wife of the victim.46 appellant is not beyond cavil it may be considered as exculpatory. Courts
should not at once look with disfavor at the defense of alibi for if taken in
xxx xxx xxx the light of the other evidence on record, it may be sufficient to acquit the
accused. 52
(Emphasis ours.)
In fine, the guilt of the appellant has not been proven beyond reasonable
At this juncture, it may be relevant to remind that under our doubt.
socioeconomic set-up, a tenant owes the very source of his livelihood, if
not existence itself, from his landlord who provides him with the land to WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and
till. In this milieu, tenants like Huntoria are naturally beholden to their SET ASIDE and the appellant is hereby ACQUITTED. Costs de oficio.
landlords and seek ways and means to ingratiate themselves with the
latter. In this instance, volunteering his services as a purported SO ORDERED.
eyewitness and providing that material testimony which would lead to the
conviction of the entire family of Augusto Gonzales whose wife, Fausta, Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.
has confessed to the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada, would, in a perverted
sense, be a way by which Huntoria sought to ingratiate himself with the
surviving family of his deceased landlord. This is especially so because
the need to get into the good graces of his landlord's family assumed a
greater urgency considering that he ceased to be employed as early as
May 1981. 47 Volunteering his services would alleviate the financial
distress he was in. And Huntoria proved quite sagacious in his choice of
action for shortly after he volunteered and presented himself to the
victim's widow, he was taken under the protective wings of the victim's
uncle, one Dr. Biclar, who gave him employment and provided lodging for
his family. 48 Given all the foregoing circumstances, we can not help but
dismiss Huntoria as an unreliable witness, to say the least.

At any rate, there is another reason why we find the alleged participation
of the appellant in the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada doubtful it is
contrary to our customs and traditions. Under the Filipino family tradition
and culture, aging parents are sheltered and insulated by their adult
children from any possible physical and emotional harm. It is therefore
improbable for the other accused who are much younger and at the prime
of their manhood, to summon the aid or allow the participation of their 65-
year old 49 father, the appellant, in the killing of their lone adversary,
granting that the victim was indeed an adversary. And considering that
the appellant's residence was about one kilometer from the scene of the
crime, 50 we seriously doubt that the appellant went there just for the
purpose of aiding his three robust male sons (Custodia Jr., Nerio, and
Augusta), not to mention the brother and sister, Rogelio and Fausta, in
the killing of Lloyd Peacerrada, even if the latter were a perceived
b. P226,298.36, as actual damages;

FIRST DIVISION c. P7,200,000.00, representing compensable earnings lost by

reason of Arnulfo B. Tuadles death;
d. P3,000,000.00 or the stipulated P1,000,000.00 each for the
three (3) children of Arnulfo B. Tuadles, and another
[G.R. No. 128900. July 14, 2000] P500,000.00 for the widow, Ma. Odyssa Suzette Tecarro-
Tuadles, as moral damages;
e. P50,000.00, as exemplary damages;
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALBERTO S.
CARTALLA, JR., accused-appellants.
In case of insolvency of accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet,
shall be liable to pay, jointly and severally, one-third (1/3) of the above-
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: adjudicated sums or the amount of P3,675,432.78 unto the said heirs of
Arnulfo B. Tuadles.
This is an appeal from the Decision dated April 30, 1997, rendered by
the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 156 in Criminal Case No. In any event, the foregoing civil liabilities shall all be without subsidiary
111232-H, for Murder, the dispositive portion of which is quoted imprisonment in case of insolvency.
hereunder, to wit:
Being instruments of the crime, let the caliber .9mm Beretta Mode 92F
WHEREFORE, finding accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet, with Serial Number BER-041965-Z, including its black magazine and five
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, qualified by (5) live bullets, which are presently under the custody of the Court, be
treachery as charged in the Information, and there being no mitigating or confiscated and forfeited in favor of the Government and turned over to
any aggravating circumstance, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the the Firearms and Explosives Office, Camp Crame, Quezon City.
penalty of reclusion perpetua, pursuant to Sec. 6 of Republic Act No.
7659 entitled An Act to Impose The Death Penalty On Certain Heinous Let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of accused ALBERTO
Crimes and Art. 63, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code. S. ANTONIO @ Ambet from the San Juan Municipal Jail to the Bureau of
Corrections, Muntinlupa City.
In the service of his sentence, accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet
shall be credited in full with the period of his preventive imprisonment. SO ORDERED.[1]

The guilt of both accused JUANITO NIETO y NEMER and HONORIO C. On that fateful morning of November 2, 1996, what should have been
CARTALLA, JR., as accessories, having also been established beyond an amiable game of cards between two erstwhile friends turned into a
any reasonable doubt, each of them is hereby sentenced to suffer the deadly confrontation resulting in the fatal shooting of one by the hand of
indeterminate penalty of two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day of the other. The victim, Arnulfo Arnie Tuadles, a former professional
prision correcional as minimum to eight (8) years and one (1) day of basketball player, succumbed instantaneously to a single gunshot wound
prision mayor as maximum. right between the eyes, inflicted with deadly precision by the bullet of a
.9mm caliber Beretta pistol.
Accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet is likewise hereby ordered to
pay, unto the heirs of Arnulfo B. Tuadles, the following sums: Convicted of murder by the trial court as the killer is Alberto Ambet S.
Antonio, a one-time chairman of the Games and Amusement Board
(GAB). It was during his stint as such that he and Tuadles became
a. P50,000.00, as indemnity for the death of Arnulfo B. Tuadles;
socially acquainted. They somehow lost touch, but later became
reacquainted when they both started frequenting the International his home in Greenmeadows Subdivision, Quezon City, after which they
Business Club (IBC), located along Wilson Street in San Juan, Metro proceeded to the San Juan Police Station. With them was SPO4 Nieto, a
Manila, which houses amenities such as a dining room, music bar and member of the San Juan Police Force. They remained at Antonios
gameroom. Often, the two would meet with other members and friends to residence for several hours, during which time Antonio made phone calls
play cards in the gameroom at the second floor of the club. Their and summoned his lawyer. At around 3:00 oclock in the afternoon,
preferred games were poker or pusoy dos, ordinary poker or Russian Antonio, accompanied by SPO4 Nieto, placed himself and his gun in the
poker. Their bets always ran into the tens of thousands of pesos. custody of San Juan Mayor Jinggoy Estrada and the police
authorities. Later, the two security guards and SPO4 Nieto were driven
The tragic events began to unravel in the final hours of November 1, back to the club where they waited for the police investigators. Sometime
1996. Antonio, Tuadles, and a certain Danny Debdani, then president of thereafter, SG Bobis narrated the events and executed his statement at
the IBC, had agreed to meet at the club for another poker session, their the police station, a statement which he would repudiate three (3) days
third night in a row. Antonio arrived at the club first, followed by Tuadles later.
at around midnight. Debdani, however, failed to appear, so after waiting
for sometime, Antonio and Tuadles decided to play pusoy dos, a game for On November 18, 1996, an Information was filed against Antonio for
two (2) players only. They continued playing until morning, pausing only the crime of murder. Also charged as accessories were SPO4 Nieto and
when either of them had to visit the restroom. They stopped playing at SPO1 Honorio Cartalla, Jr. The Information alleged that:
around 9:00 oclock in the morning of November 2, 1996, to eat breakfast.
On or about November 2, 1996, in San Juan, Metro Manila and within the
When it came time to tally their scores and collect the winnings from
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused Antonio, armed with a
the loser, an argument arose. It is at this point where the prosecution and
gun, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to
the defense presented two very different scenarios. The prosecution
kill and with treachery, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the
alleged and sought to prove that in the course of an argument, without
person of Arnulfo Arnie Tuadles, by then and there suddenly,
warning or cause, Antonio pulled his gun from behind his back and shot
unexpectedly, deliberately and without provocation, shooting Arnulfo
Tuadles at very close range, thus employing treacherous means to
Arnie Tuadles on his forehead, right between the eyes, thereby inflicting
accomplish the nefarious deed. The pivotal evidence presented by the
upon the latter mortal wound which was the direct and immediate cause
prosecution was the testimony of one Jose Jimmy T. Bobis, a security
of his death;
guard who testified as to how the shooting of Tuadles occurred.
On the other hand, the defense hinged its opposing arguments on The accused Nieto, without having participated in said crime of murder,
the testimony of accused Antonio himself, who testified that their either as principal or accomplice, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully
argument was caused by Tuadles refusal to pay Antonios winnings. In the and feloniously take part subsequent to its commission, with abuse of his
middle of a heated altercation where they traded expletives, Tuadles public functions and position as a public officer, by harboring or assisting
suddenly grabbed Antonios gun from atop a sidetable. Fearing for his life, the accused Antonio, by then and there failing to arrest and surrender
Antonio claimed that he reached for Tuadles hand and they grappled for immediately the said accused Antonio to the authorities and by giving
possession of the gun. As they wrestled, a single shot roared, Tuadles fell false information which tended to deceive the investigating authorities;
face down to the floor, and Antonio was left too stunned to recall who had and
actually pulled the trigger. In fine, Antonio alleged that the shooting was
accidental, and his only motivation was to defend himself. He also refuted The accused Cartalla, Jr., without having participated in said crime of
the testimony of the prosecutions eyewitness, averring that SG Bobis murder either as principal or accomplice, did then and there wilfully,
could not have seen the actual shooting since he (Bobis) and co-accused unlawfully and feloniously take part subsequent to its commission, with
SPO4 Juanito Nieto, who were alerted by Antonios yells, reached the abuse of his public functions and position as a public officer, by
scene when Tuadles had already been shot and was lying on the floor. concealing or destroying the effects or instruments of the body of the
While Tuadles lay bloodied and still, no one remembered to call an crime, in order to prevent its discovery, by then and there removing the
ambulance or check if he was still alive. Instead, and there is no dispute laser sight of the gun used in shooting Tuadles, deliberately omitting to
in these succeeding events, Antonio convinced the two (2) security take steps to preserve the evidence at the scene of the crime, and
guards, prosecution eyewitness SG Bobis included, to accompany him to
purposely failing to call on the crime laboratory service of the proper THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT SUFFICIENT
Upon arraignment, co-accused SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. entered a plea of
Not Guilty. Accused Antonio and SPO4 Nieto both refused to enter a VI
plea, and the trial court entered a plea of not guilty for both of them.
After trial on the merits, all three accused were found guilty as P7,200,000.00 AS COMPENSABLE EARNINGS LOST BY REASON OF
charged, imposing on them the appropriate penalties and ordering them ARNIE TUADLES DEATH, DESPITE INADEQUATE EVIDENCE TO
to pay to the heirs of Tuadles various amounts as and for indemnity and SUPPORT SUCH AWARD.
damages, set forth in the dispositive portion quoted above. All three
accused filed separate appeals assailing the trial courts findings and
Appellant Antonio assails the trial courts judgment on the following THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN AWARDING PALPABLY EXCESSIVE
INCREDIBILITIES, AND OMISSIONS ON SUBSTANTIAL MATTERS. Appellant SPO4 Nieto likewise questions the trial courts decision,
arguing that:



Appellant Cartalla, Jr. also challenged the said decision on the
THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE RECORD IS Antonio. On the other hand, appellant Antonio suggests that it was
SO REPLETE WITH EVIDENCES THAT THERE ARE REASONABLE Colonel Lucas Managuelod of the EPD who coerced SG Bobis to change
DOUBTS TO HOLD HIM AS SUCH. his statement and testimony so that the murder charge against appellant
Antonio would be strengthened.
There is no question that SG Bobis second statement and court
testimony, on the one hand, contradicted what he previously narrated in
THE COURT A QUO COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR AND HAS NOT his first statement, on the other hand. The question therefore is: Which is
SHOWN FAIRNESS IN NOT CONSIDERING FULLY THE GOOD FAITH, more credible and of more value to the courts in ascertaining the guilt or
THE TIME HE DELIVERED THE SPECIMEN OR PIECES OF PHYSICAL It is a matter of judicial experience that affidavits or statements
EVIDENCE OF THE CRIME TO THE PNP-CLS, CAMP CRAME, taken ex parte are generally considered incomplete and inaccurate. Thus,
QUEZON CITY. by nature, they are inferior to testimony given in court, and whenever
there is inconsistency between the affidavit and the testimony of a
III witness in court, the testimony commands greater weight.[6] Moreover,
inconsistencies between the declaration of the affiant in his sworn
THE LOWER COURT HAS COMMITTED A SERIOUS MISTAKE IN statements and those in open court do not necessarily discredit said
DISREGARDING THE SIXTEEN (16) YEARS OF ACTIVE POLICE witness.[7] Thus, the trial court followed precedents in giving more
SERVICE OF SPO1 HONORIO CARTALLA, JR. SHOWN WITH credence to SG Bobis testimony given in open court despite his having
DEDICATION AND LOYALTY THERETO SUSTAINING MORE HIS executed an earlier statement which was inconsistent with his testimony.
INNOCENCE OF THE CRIME CHARGED HEREIN.[5] Besides, when confronted with his first contradictory statement, SG
Bobis explained the reasons why he was moved to give false information
Considering that appellant Antonio is the principal accused, we shall in his first statement. He had testified that moments after he saw
deal first with the issues raised in his appeal, foremost of which is the appellant Antonio shoot Tuadles, the appellant warned him: Ikaw, wag
credibility of the prosecutions sole eyewitness, SG Jose Jimmy kang tumistigo, ha.[8] Later, he and the other security guard, SG Olac,
Bobis. Appellant Antonio challenges SG Bobis worth and credibility as an were allegedly coerced to go to the appellants house in Quezon City. He
eyewitness on two (2) grounds. also testified that while they were there, appellant Antonio and his lawyer
First, SG Bobis, in his first sworn statement before the San Juan instructed him (Bobis), should the police investigator ask him who shot
authorities averred that he did not see the actual shooting since he was Tuadles, to say that what happened was only an accident.[9]
still ascending the stairs leading to the second floor where the crime took At the police station, appellant SPO4 Nieto allegedly told SG Bobis to
place when he heard the gunshot. Days later, in a second statement say that they were both outside the club when the trouble started,
taken at the Eastern Police District (EPD) and in his testimony before the saying: kailangan ipalabas natin na nasa labas tayo ng club.[10] Bobis
trial court, SG Bobis negated his earlier statement, this time averring that stated that he was confused and afraid, and, therefore, told the police
he had indeed seen appellant Antonio pull his gun from behind, and with investigator, appellant Cartalla, Jr., on November 2, 1996, that he did not
neither warning nor provocation, aim the gun at the head of Tuadles and see appellant Antonio shoot Tuadles because he was still ascending the
shoot the latter pointblank. This complete turnabout in SG Bobis stairs when the gun went off.
testimony, according to appellant Antonio, is a sure sign of the said
witness unreliability, incredibility, and unworthiness. He also points out Apparently, it was not only fear that ruled his thoughts and actions at
the contradictions and inconsistencies between SG Bobis first and that time, but also remorse and confusion. As found by the trial court:
second statements and court testimony.
He admits that he had acted contrary to the ethical standards and code of
Second, appellant Antonio belittles SG Bobis reasons for giving the conduct of private security guards when he did not make a formal report
San Juan Police investigators false information in his first statement, to his superior about the shooting incident of November 2, 1996 at the
saying that nobody threatened SG Bobis if he testified against appellant Club but countered that this was because accused Antonio had taken him
to the latters house. This being so, neither was he able to put said information about a criminal case and their aversion to be involved in
accused Antonio under arrest. criminal investigations due to fear of reprisal is not uncommon, and this
fact has been judicially declared not to adversely affect the credibility of
Added to this was the fact that even accused Nieto, a policeman in active witnesses.[13]
service who was with them at the time and who should have done so, had
Apart from the issue of SG Bobis having given an earlier
also failed to arrest accused Antonio, more so with him and SG Olac who
contradictory statement, his direct testimony and answers under cross-
are just ordinary security guards. (Dahil po maam, si SPO4 Nieto, pulis na
examination appear clear and convincing. We agree with the trial court
po ang kasama namin, hindi niya po nagawa na arestuhin si Mr. Ambet
when it held:
Antonio mas lalo po kami na ordinary guard lang po.)
But it is SG Bobis whom the Court finds credible.
True, he had his service .38 caliber in his possession at the
time. Nevertheless, because accused Antonio looked: parang galit pa sila
sa amin he can not, as in fact he did not, insist that instead of going to the Why he had executed a first, then a second statement, totally in conflict
with each other, SG Bobis had fully explained to the satisfaction of the
house of accused Antonio, he will effect the arrest.[11]
Court. His lowly station in life had been taken advantage of by accused
Antonio and Nieto. These two (2) had thought that they had succeeded in
Nevertheless, Bobis stated that his conscience bothered him, and
completely prevailing upon SG Bobis. For did not SG Bobis tell their lies?
seeing Tuadles widow crying on television, he gathered enough resolve
and courage to finally tell the truth to the police authorities at the
EPD. When he testified in open court, SG Bobis did not waver in his Still, the conscience of a good man had won over.
declaration that he witnessed appellant Antonio suddenly pull his gun
from behind and shoot Tuadles three (3) feet away. SG Bobis had redeemed himself. He gave spontaneous and
straightforward answers to the gruelling questions propounded on him
Rule 132, Section 13 of the Rules of Court provides that: and had stuck to his truth.

Before a witness can be impeached by evidence that he has made at The Court had painstakingly, taken note of each of the witnesses
other times statements inconsistent with his present testimony, the demeanor on the stand. While SG Bobis was steadfast with his words,
statements must be related to him, with the circumstances of the times accused Antonio and Nieto were evidently recalling from a script. The
and places and the persons present, and he must be asked whether he other prosecution witnesses, SG Olac and Romeo M. Solano were, like
made such statements, and if so, allowed to explain them. If the SG Bobis, untainted in their testimonies.[14]
statements be in writing they must be shown to the witness before any
question is put to him concerning them. (Underscoring ours). Finding nothing that would compel us to conclude otherwise, we
respect the findings of the trial court on the issue of the credibility of SG
Thus, this Court has uniformly held that: Bobis as an eyewitness, especially considering that the trial court was in
a better position to decide the question, having heard the witness himself
Previous statements cannot serve as bases for impeaching the credibility and observed his deportment and manner of testifying during the trial.[15]
of a witness unless his attention was first directed to the discrepancies
In the recent case of People v. Pili, this Court had occasion to rule
and he was then given an opportunity to explain them. It is only when no
reasonable explanation is given by a witness in reconciling his conflicting that:
declarations that he should be deemed impeached.[12]
It is doctrinally settled that the assessments of the credibility of witnesses
and their testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court,
We find no reason to discredit the trial courts finding that the reasons
given by SG Bobis sufficiently explained the conflicting declarations he because of its unique opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and
made in his two (2) sworn statements and in his court to note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling
testimony. Therefore, he cannot be impeached as an eyewitness. This examination. These are the most significant factors in evaluating the
Court also recognizes that the initial reticence of witnesses to volunteer sincerity of witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face of
conflicting testimonies. Through its observations during the entire There is an oft-quoted adage that a person may be able to avoid his
proceedings, the trial court can be expected to determine, with enemies, but he can never run away from himself. SG Bobis may have
reasonable discretion, whose testimony to accept and which witness to momentarily avoided incurring the wrath of the appellants by acceding to
believe. Verily, findings of the trial court on such matters will not be their dictates, but he could not escape the proddings of his
disturbed on appeal unless some facts or circumstances of weight have conscience. He realized he had to right a wrong, and this he did with
been overlooked, misapprehended or misinterpreted so as to materially selflessness and at great risk to himself.
affect the disposition of the case.[16]
Furthermore, appellants could not impute any ill motive on the part of
SG Bobis except the statement that it was Colonel Lucas Managuelod of
And in People v. Deleverio, this Court ruled that:
the EPD who told him how to testify.Thus, his positive and categorical
declarations on the witness stand under solemn oath without convincing
It is axiomatic to point out, furthermore, that in an appeal, where the evidence to the contrary deserve full faith and credence.[20]
culpability or innocence of an accused would hinge on the issue of
credibility of witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, findings of Appellant Antonio, however, would seek to completely avoid
the trial court are entitled to and given the highest degree of respect.[17] culpability by claiming that the shooting of Tuadles was caused by mere
accident without his fault or intention of causing it, or that he acted in self-
Moreover, in People v. Reynaldo, we reiterated the principle that: defense.
Well-entrenched in our jurisprudence is the rule that where an
The matter of assigning values to declarations on the witness stand is accused admits having killed the victim but invokes self-defense to
best and most competently performed by the trial judge who, unlike escape criminal liability, he assumes the burden of proof to establish his
appellate magistrates, can weigh the testimony of a witness in the light of plea of self-defense by clear, credible and convincing evidence.[21] To
his demeanor, conduct and attitude as he testified, and is thereby placed successfully interpose self-defense, appellant Antonio must clearly and
in a more competent position to discriminate between the true and the convincingly prove: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2)
false.[18] the reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the
attack; and (3) the person defending himself must not have provoked the
There are other reasons why the eyewitness testimony of SG Bobis victim into committing the act of aggression.[22]
was given full faith and credit. SG Bobis, a mere security guard, realized
he was no match to appellants Antonio and SPO4 Nieto. The former, a Without granting that his testimony is an accurate narration of the
wealthy businessman, is known as an intimate friend of people in events that took place, we shall discuss the points raised by appellant
power. Appellant Antonio admitted in court that he surrendered himself Antonio only for the purpose of determining whether the requisites of self-
and his gun to Mayor Jinggoy Estrada, who was his good friend. Hours defense were attendant as claimed. In his testimony appellant Antonio
later, he went to see then Vice President Joseph Estrada in Tagaytay City alleged that Tuadles committed an act of aggression when he (Tuadles)
so he (Antonio) could tell his friend, the Vice President, what happened in grabbed the gun which was on top of a sidetable. Appellant Antonio then
his own words.[19] concluded that Tuadles had the sole intention of using the gun against
him (Antonio), so he grappled with Tuadles to prevent the latter from
Appellant SPO4 Nieto was a member in active duty of the San Juan shooting him. His bare testimony, uncorroborated as it is, does not
Police Force who was close to appellant Antonio. Considering SG Bobis convince us that Tuadles would, so to speak, beat him to the draw. The
lowly station in life, as compared to that of the said appellants, it is testimony of Bobis shows that Tuadles was calm in answering Appellant
understandable that his initial reaction to the shocking events would be Antonios loud invectives, and it would be hard to imagine Tuadles as the
one of intimidation, if not fear. SG Bobis believed then, and no one can aggressor under such a situation. And even if Tuadles had grabbed the
fault him for thinking so, that going against the instructions and dictates of gun, it could very well have been that Tuadles intended to keep the gun
appellant Antonio and SPO4 Nieto would make life very difficult for him, away from appellant Antonio to prevent the latter from using it against him
knowing they were well-connected to the powers that be. This perceived considering the state of mind and the foul mood appellant Antonio was
threat, whether real or imagined, compelled him to take the easy way out in. This would be a more believable scenario since even appellant
and just repeat what appellants told him to say. Antonio admitted that he was suffused with anger, his temper short due to
three (3) consecutive sleepless nights.
Appellant Antonio never said that Tuadles aimed or pointed the gun preserving the fingerprints on the gun. Not only that, appellant Antonio
at him. There is no evidence, apart from appellant Antonios also handed the gun to Mayor Jinggoy Estrada. Thus, one tangible piece
uncorroborated testimony, that Tuadles made an attempt to shoot of evidence that could have proven his claim of self-defense or accident
him. Hence, there is no convincing proof that there was unlawful was unfortunately lost due to his lack of presence and due care.
aggression on the part of Tuadles. For unlawful aggression to be
appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or Appellant Antonios ambivalence in his choice of defenses is clear
imminent danger thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating from the records. First, he denies that he pulled the trigger because it was
Tuadles who was holding the gun. Then he says that he cannot recall
attitude.[23] The burden of proving unlawful aggression lay on appellant
Antonio, but he has not presented incontrovertible proof that would stand who fired the gun so it could have very well been either him or Tuadles
careful scrutiny before any court. Lacking this requirement, appellant who did it. Next, he admits firing the gun, but he did it in self-
Antonios claim of self-defense cannot be appreciated. He cannot even defense. Only, he could not indubitably prove that there was unlawful
claim it as an extenuating circumstance.[24] aggression on the part of Tuadles. Failing there, he again admitted
shooting Tuadles, but that it was an accident. Again, he failed to prove
Besides, it cannot be said that appellant Antonio did not provoke that he was in the process of performing a lawful act when he shot
Tuadles, if indeed the latter had grabbed the gun from the table. Antonio Tuadles.
himself admitted that he was shouting and cursing Tuadles while in a
furious rage. Such a threatening stance could be interpreted as a When an accused invokes self-defense or claims that it was an
provocation which could have prompted Tuadles to get the gun so that accident to escape criminal liability, he admits having caused the death of
appellant Antonio, in his anger, would not be able to use it against the victim. And when he fails to prove by clear and convincing evidence
Tuadles. If ever there was provocation, it was certainly coming from the positiveness of that justifying circumstance, having admitted the
appellant Antonio, not from Tuadles. killing, conviction of the accused is inescapable.[26] Appellant Antonio had
to rely on the strength of his evidence and not on the weakness of the
In the alternative, appellant Antonio claims that the shooting of prosecutions evidence for, even if the latter were weak, his invoking self-
Tuadles was an accident. He further argues that Tuadles was killed while defense is already an open admission of responsibility for the killing.[27] As
he, Antonio, was performing a lawful act with due care, and without fault it was, appellant Antonios testimony is not only uncorroborated by
or intention of causing it. Having ruled that appellant Antonio failed to independent and competent evidence, but also doubtful by itself[28] for
prove his claim of self-defense, (i.e., there was no unlawful aggression on being ambivalent and self-serving.[29]
the part of Tuadles and provocation coming from Antonio himself), there
Having admitted responsibility for the killing of Tuadles, appellant
is no basis for us to argue with appellant Antonio that he was performing
a lawful act when he shot Tuadles.[25] Antonio claims the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. On this
score, we find merit in his claim considering that all the elements in order
We note that appellant Antonios version of how the shooting took that voluntary surrender may be appreciated were attendant in his
place leaves much room for conjecture. It is true that there is no fixed case. First, he had not been actually arrested; Second, he surrendered
dictum on the reaction of a person under the circumstances of a sudden himself to a person in authority; and Third, his surrender was voluntary. It
death he may have caused. He could react in a variety of ways, some of is of no moment that appellant Antonio did not immediately surrender to
them even irrational. However, we respect the trial courts findings. The the authorities, but did so only after the lapse of about six (6) hours. In the
trial court upheld the prosecutions version thus sustaining the theory that case of People v. Bautista,[30] the voluntary surrender of the accused to a
if Antonio indeed shot Tuadles by accident, the natural reaction expected police authority four (4) days after the commission of the crime was
of him would be to immediately see to it that Tuadles be brought to a considered attenuating. There is no dispute that appellant Antonio
hospital or get medical attention at the quickest time possible. Instead, voluntarily surrendered to the mayor, a person in authority, before he was
appellant Antonio left Tuadles, who was supposed to be his good friend, arrested, hence the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender should
lying dead on the floor for several hours. If indeed he and Tuadles both be considered in appellant Antonios favor.[31]
had their hands on the gun and there was no telling who actually pulled
the trigger, we agree that appellant Antonio should have seen to it that no Appellant Antonio also claims the mitigating circumstance of
sufficient provocation on the part of Tuadles. To avail of this mitigating
one else would touch the gun barehanded to preserve the fingerprints on
it. Instead, he gave the gun to SPO4 Nieto who had no concern for circumstance, it must be shown that the provocation originated from the
offended party.[32] However, apart from his own testimony, appellant
Antonio has not proven by convincing evidence that he was provoked by A sudden and unexpected attack constitutes the absence of alevosia
Tuadles. He claimed that Tuadles provoked him when the latter refused where it did not appear that the aggressor had consciously adopted a
or could not pay his winning. Refusal to pay cannot be a mitigating mode of attack intended to facilitate the perpetration of the homicide
provocation for appellant Antonio to kill Tuadles. An unpaid debt cannot, without risk to himself, as where the appellant followed the victims when
and never will, be a reason to shoot the debtor dead. Besides, appellant the latter refused appellant's invitation to have some more alcoholic
Antonio had no other proof that he won and that the argument arose from drinks.[37]
Tuadles refusal to pay. His bare testimony is, at best, self-
serving. Accordingly, appellant Antonio is not entitled to the benefit of the The mere suddenness of attack does not, of itself suffice for a finding of
mitigating circumstance of sufficient provocation.[33] alevosia if the mode adopted by the accused does not positively tend to
prove that they thereby knowingly intended to insure the accomplishment
There is, however, a significant and consequential aspect of the case
of their criminal purpose without any risk to themselves arising from the
which the trial court overlooked and disregarded.
defense that might be offered.[38]
As earlier stated, we find no sufficient reason to disagree with the trial
court when it relied on the testimony of SG Bobis. However, we have The aggravating circumstance of treachery is not present when decision
carefully examined said testimony, the records of this petition, and the to attack was arrived at on the spur of the moment.[39]
justifications of the trial court upon which it based its decision.
There is no basis for the trial courts conclusion that accused Antonio The annotations are similarly consistent. It is not enough that the
consciously and deliberately adopted his mode of attack to insure the means, methods, or form of execution of the offense was without danger
accomplishment of his criminal design without risk to himself.[34] It ruled to the offender arising from the defense or retaliation that might be made
that treachery qualified the killing to murder. The trial court did not explain by the offended party. It is further required, for treachery to be
the basis for the qualification except for a terse citation that there was a appreciable, that such means, method or form was deliberated upon or
sudden attack and the victim had no opportunity to defend himself or to consciously adopted by the offender.[40] Such deliberate or conscious
retaliate. As stated by counsel for appellant, out of the 71-page decision, choice was held non-existent where the attack was the product of an
typed single space, the trial court devoted only a few sentences to the impulse of the moment.[41]
issue of treachery. The trial court's ruling that the mere suddenness of an attack makes
There was no treachery in this case. the killing a murder because of treachery is not consistent with the
decisions of this Court.[42] Conscious deliberation or conscious adoption of
It is not only the sudden attack that qualifies a killing into the mode of attack has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. For it is
murder. There must be a conscious and deliberate adoption of the mode likewise an established principle that the quantum of evidence to prove a
of attack for a specific purpose. person's being guilty of a crime is also required to prove treachery. The
same degree of proof to dispel any reasonable doubt is required before
All the evidence shows that the incident was an impulse killing. It was
any conclusion may also be reached respecting the attendance of
a spur of the moment crime.
treachery, whether as qualifying or aggravating, in a criminal
The precedents are many. They are consistent. Among them: case.[43] There is no such proof in this case.
There is no dispute that prior to the shooting, appellant Antonio and
Mere suddenness of attack is not enough to constitute treachery where Tuadles spent several hours having fun playing "pusoy dos." The
accused made no preparation or employed no means, method and form situation turned ugly, however, when Tuadles could not pay to appellant
of execution tending directly and specially to insure the commission of a Antonio his alleged winnings. An argument arose, with appellant Antonio
crime and to eliminate or diminish risk from defense which the victim may and Tuadles standing face to face three (3) feet away from each other, a
take.[35] fact attested to by the defense and even by the prosecution eyewitness
A sudden and unexpected attack would not constitute alevosia where the
aggressor did not consciously adopt a mode of attack intended to Accordingly to SG Bobis, Tuadles and Antonio were arguing. Antonio
perpetrate the homicide without risk to himself.[36] even called out: Sarge! Sarge! Sarge! Just before the shooting, Bobis
heard Antonio saying: Putang ina ka kasi.The argument precluded the It was Antonio's sudden anger and heated passion which drove him
presence of treachery. If Antonio had consciously adopted means and to pull his gun and shoot Tuadles. Said passion, however, cannot co-exist
methods to kill Tuadles, there was no reason to call for a Sergeant or any with treachery. In passion, the offender loses his reason and control. In
eyewitness for that matter. treachery, on the other hand, the means employed is adopted
consciously and deliberately. One who, in the heat of passion, loses his
To the point is our ruling in the case of People v. Alacar,[44] where we reason and self-control, cannot consciously employ a particular means,
held that there was no treachery where the attempt to kill resulted from a method or form of attack in the execution of the crime. [49] Thus, the killing
verbal altercation. More recently, in People v. Salvador, we pronounced
of Tuadles by appellant Antonio was not attended by treachery.
That the treachery, which was alleged in the information and
There would be no treachery when the victim was placed on guard, such favorably considered by the trial court to elevate the killing to murder, was
as when a heated argument preceded the attack, or when the victim was not proven by convincing evidence[50] is advocated by the Solicitor
standing face to face with his assailants and the initial assault could not General in the Appellee's Brief. He agreed with Appellant Antonio's
have been unforseen.[45] (Underscoring Ours) contention on the matter:
On the basis of the evidence at hand, appellee is constrained to
Even if it could be said that the attack was sudden, there would still agree with this particular submission of Antonio. Antonio and Tuadles
be no treachery. In People v. Chua,[46] we reiterated our consistent view engaged in pusoy dos. In the beginning, they were heard laughing and
that: kidding each other (nagtatawanan at nagkakantiyawan). Later, the banter
turned into verbal altercation.
While the killing itself appears to have occurred on sudden impulse, it was
preceded by acts of appellant showing hostility and a heated temper that Under the circumstances, Tuadles became aware of the incipient
indicated an imminent attack and should have put the deceased on violence. Hence, Tuadles could have braced himself with the aggression
guard. of Antonio. There is no treachery when the killing results from a verbal
altercation or spat between the victim and the assailant such that the
Thus, treachery could not be appreciated where the victim was victim must have been forewarned of the impending danger. In this case,
forewarned and could have anticipated the aggression of the Bobis testified that he saw Antonio and Tuadles facing each other before
accused. Since the sudden shooting of Tuadles was preceded by a Antonio raised his hand and shot Tuadles on the forehead. The proximate
heated verbal altercation between Tuadles and appellant Antonio, as distance of three feet between Tuadles and Antonio immediately before
admitted by both prosecution and defense, then it cannot be concluded the fatal shooting allowed and gave Tuadles opportunity to defend
that the shooting was committed with treachery. himself.[51]

It is also clear that appellant Antonio did not set out or plan to kill Consequently, Antonio can only be convicted of the lesser crime of
Tuadles in the first place. His criminal act was an offshoot of their homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal code.
argument which neither of them had foreseen.Hence, there was no Having been found guilty of the crime of homicide, the penalty that
treachery because treachery requires that the mode of attack must have should be imposed on appellant Antonio should be reduced to reclusion
been thought of by the offender and must have sprung from an temporal under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code. There being one
unforeseen occurrence.[47] (1) mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender, the penalty to be
In People v. Nitcha,[48] we held that: imposed shall be the minimum period of reclusion temporal, that is, from
twelve (12) years and one (1) day to fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
To establish treachery, the evidence must show that the accused made months. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum of the
some preparation to kill the victim in such a manner as to ensure the penalty to be imposed shall be the penalty next lower which is prision
execution of the crime or to make it impossible or hard for the person mayor in any of its periods.[52] Therefore, appellant Alberto Antonio is
attacked to defend himself. A killing done at the spur of the moment is not hereby sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one
treacherous. (Underscoring ours) (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
months of reclusion temporal, as maximum.
Appellant Antonio challenges the award of compensatory and moral = P8,001,000.00
damages to the heirs of Tuadles, arguing that said award was
unsupported by adequate evidence. In arriving at the amount of Considering that moral damages may be awarded without proof of
P7,200,000.00 as compensatory damages, the trial court relied pecuniary loss, the Court shall take into account the circumstances
completely on the testimony of the victim's widow, Suzette Tuadles, who obtaining in the case and assess damages according to its
stated that at the time of his death, Tuadles was earning P50,000.00 a discretion.[58] We agree with appellant Antonio that the trial court's award
month from his construction business. Applying the formula laid down by of moral damages was excessive. While there is no hard and fast rule in
this Court in the cases of Villa Rey Transit v. CA,[53] and People v. the determination of what would be a fair amount of moral damages, each
Quilaton,[54]the trial court arrived at the amount of P7,200,000.00 as case must be governed by its own peculiar circumstances.[59] And though
compensatory damages for loss of earning capacity. Appellant Antonio moral damages are incapable of pecuniary estimation to compensate the
argues that the trial court cannot just rely on the sole testimony of Suzette claimants for actual injury, they are not designed to enrich the
Tuadles, otherwise, it would be basing its computation on mere complainants at the expense of the accused.[60]
speculation, conjecture, or guess work.
Applied to this case, we recognize that Tuadles was the sole support
In People v. Silvestre[55] and People v. Verde,[56] we held that the of his family and they will also be deprived of his love and
absence of documentary evidence to support the prosecution's claim for companionship. No amount of money could ever compensate for their
damages for loss of earning capacity of the deceased does not preclude loss. While the award of moral damages may help ease the emotional
recovery of said damages. There, we awarded damages for loss of and psychological trauma that they continue to suffer, this Court has not
earning capacity computed on the basis of the testimonies of the victim's granted so large an amount as moral damages. Accordingly, we find that
wives. This was reiterated in People v. Dizon,[57] where we held that: the amount of P3,000,000.00 granted by the trial court in this case is
excessive, and the same is therefore reduced to P500,000.00.Moreover,
As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the there being no aggravating circumstances attendant in this case, the
claim for damages for loss of earning capacity. In People vs. Verde (G. R. award of exemplary damages should also be deleted.[61]
No. 119077, February 10, 1999), the non-presentation of documentary
We now come to the errors assigned by appellant SPO4 Juanito M.
evidence to support the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity did
not prevent this Court from awarding said damages. The testimony of the Nieto. He argues that the trial court erred in convicting him as an
victim's wife as to the earning capacity of her murdered husband, who accessory. The trial court's grounds for finding him guilty are: (1) he failed
to arrest appellant Antonio; and (2) he gave false information tending to
was then 48 years old and was earning P200.00 a day as a tricycle
driver, sufficed to establish the basis for such an award. x x x As in deceive the investigating authorities.[62]
People vs. Verde, the Court is inclined to grant the claim for damages for The Revised Penal Code in Article 19 defines an accessory as one
loss of earning capacity despite the absence of documentary who has knowledge of the commission of the crime, yet did not take part
evidence. (Underscoring ours) in its commission as principal or accomplice, but took part in it
subsequent to its commission by any of three modes: (1) profiting himself
In the case at bar, however, the award for compensatory damages or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of the crime; (2)
should be calculated as follows: concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or
instruments thereof in order to prevent its discovery; and (3) harboring,
Net earning capacity (x) = life expectancy x gross annual income - living
concealing, or assisting in the escape of the principals of the crime,
provided the accessory acts with abuse of his public functions or when
(50% of
the offender is guilty of treason, parricide, murder, or an attempt to take
gross annual income)
the life of the Chief Executive, or is known to be habitually guilty of some
x = 2(80-40) x [P600,000.00 - 300,000.00]
other crime.[63]
Under paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Revised Penal Code, there are
= 26.67 x P300,000.00 two (2) classes of accessories, one of which is a public officer who
harbors, conceals or assists in the escape of the principal. Such public
officer must have acted with abuse of his public functions, and the crime
committed by the principal is any crime, provided it is not a light fact. This fact is sufficiently demonstrated in the records, and he has been
felony. Appellant SPO4 Nieto is one such public officer, and he abused unable to explain his conduct in refusing to make an investigation of this
his public function when he failed to effect the immediate arrest of serious occurrence, of which complaint was made to him, and
accused Antonio and to conduct a speedy investigation of the crime consequently he should suffer a penalty two degrees inferior to that
committed. designated by paragraph 2 of article 405 of the Code, by virtue of article
68 thereof.
The evidence in the case at bar, insofar as appellant Nieto's
culpability is concerned, shows that in the middle of the argument
Appellant Nieto knew of the commission of the crime. Right before
between appellant Antonio and the deceased, Antonio called Nieto by
the shooting, appellant Antonio called him and he immediately went
shouting, Sarge! Sarge! Hearing this, SG Bobis woke Nieto up and the
upstairs. He saw that appellant shot Tuadles.Despite this knowledge, he
latter went upstairs. Immediately thereafter, appellant Antonio shot
failed to arrest appellant and, instead, left the crime scene together with
Tuadles, and then ordered Nieto to get the scoresheet and the cards from
the latter. To this extent, he assisted appellant Antonio in his escape.[66]
the table, which Nieto did. Antonio, Nieto and Bobis went
downstairs. Antonio told guards Bobis and Ernesto Olac to go with them, Furthermore, as correctly found by the trial court, appellant Nieto
and they all boarded Antonio's Mercedes Benz van, including Nieto. They provided false information to deceive the investigating authorities. He
arrived at Antonio's residence in Greenmeadows Subdivision at around instructed Bobis to answer falsely to the questions of the investigating
11:30 o'clock in the morning. There, they had coffee while Antonio made officer, in order to make it appear that there were no eyewitnesses to the
some telephone calls. Soon after, a certain Atty. Abaya arrived and talked incident and thus make it more difficult for the police to solve the crime.
to the two security guards, while Nieto was present. Nieto then told Bobis
that in his statement, he should say that the two of them, i.e., Bobis and Accordingly, the court a quo was correct in convicting appellant as an
Nieto, were seated outside the entrance of the Club when the incident accessory to the crime, and he should be sentenced to suffer the penalty
took place. At 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Nieto, Bobis and Olac prescribed by law. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, we impose
returned to the Club. They waited outside until members of the San Juan on appellant Nieto the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto
police, together with Mayor Jinggoy Estrada and Vice Mayor Philip Cezar, mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years of prison correccional, as maximum.
arrived at 6:00 o'clock in the evening. After the police investigated the Finally, we come to appellant SPO1 Honorio Cartalla, Jr.'s
scene, they proceeded to the police station. There, Nieto reiterated his appeal. After carefully reviewing the facts and issues raised therein, we
instruction to Bobis to say that the two of them were outside the find that the trial court erred in finding said appellant guilty as an
club. While Bobis gave his statement to the police, Nieto remained in front accessory.
of him and dictated to him what he should answer to the questions of the
police investigator.[64] The trial court's sole reason for convicting appellant SPO1 Cartalla,
Jr. was his failure to produce the laser sight of the gun as evidence during
The foregoing facts were culled from the testimony of SG the trial. However, such omission does not amount to concealing or
Bobis. Appellant Nieto's actuations immediately after the commission of destroying the body of the crime or effects or instruments thereof to
the crime demonstrate his liability as an accessory.Being a police officer prevent its discovery. The laser sight had been surrendered to the police
in the active service, he had the duty to arrest appellant Antonio after the authorities so there was no more need for discovery. Its loss thereafter
latter committed a crime in his presence, and which he himself does not make appellant SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. an accessory. At most, as
witnessed. Unfortunately, he failed to do what was incumbent upon him to custodian thereof, he may be made answerable administratively.
do. Instead, he rode with the offender to the latter's house where they
stayed for more than five (5) hours. In the early case of U. S. v. Yacat, et In his testimony, he made clear that the loss was not intentional. He
al., it was held:[65] further stated:
Q Finally, Mr. Cartalla, what can you say about the charge against you
It is, however, unquestionable that Pedro Ureta, who was the local as alleged in the information that you tried to conceal or destroy
president of the town of Cabiao at the time the crime was committed, has the effects or body of the crime to prevent its discovery?
incurred criminal liability. Abusing his public office, he refused to
prosecute the crime of homicide and those guilty thereof, and thus made A It's not true, sir.
it possible for them to escape, as the defendant Pedro Lising did in
Q Why? envelope, I placed it in my drawer. On the second day, I was really
busy on that day because I was the only one. I was asking for
A Because I did not conceal anything, I did not destroy anything on the assistance because I would go out, I will investigate and then I just
body of the crime and as far as I know, I did all my job as found out when I was about to submit the laser to the laboratory, I
investigator and I worked for it up to the wee hours of the morning gave the envelope together with the transmittal and when it was
up to the next morning, I still did it and I gathered evidence and I being received, he checked it and he said Sgt. Where is the laser
submitted it to the Crime Laboratory and even when at the time, I sight? and I said it's there, attached. And he said please look at it.
have been hearing that I will not be the one who will investigate,
they got it from me without proper notice, that they will take over COURT
the investigation, I still did my job, and on the fifth, I was asked by
Prosecutor Llorente to retrieve the slug and what I did was even Who told you that?
the investigation is not with me, I still did it, I still went to the IBC A The person who received, your Honor.
and I still worked hard, I even remember
Atty. Flaminiano
But in your transmittal, you wrote there that there was a laser?
We want to make of record that the witness is now in tears at this
moment. A Yes, your Honor. When I saw the envelope, there was no laser, I
was planning to go back right away but I just said, okay, I will just
COURT cross it out and I did not erase because I want that I will not hide
Continue. anything. It has happened because maybe somebody is interested
or I might have left in my drawer. Because I will not hide it. That's
A The companion of Inspector de Leon and PO2 Rojas even said that why I did not sno-pake it and I just crossed it out so it can be read
this policeman is very hardworking, even the investigation is not together with my initial and when I came back, I asked them who
with him anymore, but still, he's working and I answered him, touched my things.
whatever, whatever they will charge to me, maybe it's just their job
and so, I will also do my job. Because as far as I know, I will not COURT
be implicated because I have not done anything, I have not done What answer did you get?
the charges that they filed against me, I was surprised when I was
given a confirmation that I was an accessory that is why my A There was no answer. Nobody was answering me, nobody was
youngest child even told me "kala ko Papa, Mabait ka?" and I told talking.[67]
him that it's not true. For me, I have not done anything like that. From the foregoing, it is clear that appellant SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. did
Atty. Fernandez not intentionally conceal or destroy the laser sight, and the prosecution
failed to prove that he did so with intent to derail the prosecution of the
That's all for the witness, your Honor. principal accused. On the other hand, while the laser sight was an
accessory device attached to the gun, it was not essential to the
commission, investigation and prosecution of the crime. The gun itself,
The way I look at your case, you are indicted here as an accessory which was the instrument of the crime, was surrendered to the authorities
because according to one of the witnesses, the gun together with and presented as evidence in court. The failure of appellant SPO1
the laser sight was handled to you and when that gun reached Cartalla, Jr. to present the laser sight as part of the evidence did not in
Crame, the laser sight was no longer there, answer me, what any way affect the outcome of the trial, much less prevent the discovery
happened? of the crime. Furthermore, there is no showing that appellant SPO1
Cartalla, Jr. profited by the non-presentation of the laser sight.
A The truth, your Honor, is, when the gun was submitted to me by
Inspector Cabrera, the laser sight was there, I immediately made Thus, under the definition of an accessory under the Revised Penal
the transmittal for the laboratory and I described what is there, Code and jurisprudence, appellant Cartalla, Jr.'s omission does not make
together with the laser and after that, I placed it in a brown him liable as an accessory to the crime committed by appellant
Antonio. Even the Solicitor General submits that there are no grounds to For failure to prove accused-appellant SPO1 Honorio Cartalla, Jr.'s
convict appellant Cartalla, to wit: guilt beyond reasonable doubt as accessory to the crime, he is
ACQUITTED and absolved of all liability, both criminal or civil.
At the time the laser sight was turned over to Cartalla, the crime or
In case of insolvency of appellant Alberto S. Antonio @ Ambet,
its corpus delicti had been discovered. Hence, the loss of the laser sight
appellant Juanito Nieto y Nemer shall be liable to pay one-half (1/2) of the
could not have prevented the discovery of the crime. The essential
above-adjudicated sums or the amount of P4,388,649.18 unto the said
instrument of the crime, namely, a caliber .9 mm Beretta Model 92F with
heirs of Arnulfo B. Tuadles.
serial number BER-041965-7 and black magazine had been preserved
and presented as evidence. In all other respects, the judgment of the trial court is AFFIRMED.
Neither could Cartalla be said to have profited with the non-presentation
of the laser sight as this was not proved by the prosecution. Either way, Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman), joins Justice Puno in his concurring &
concealing or profiting, there is no convicting motive for Cartalla to have dissenting opinion.
so committed. More so, as Cartalla was the investigating officer on the Puno, J., see concurring & dissenting opinion.
case. Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., concur.

It is submitted that the non-production of the laser sight by Cartalla did not
make him an accessory to the crime committed by Antonio, although he CONCURRING AND DISSENTNG OPINION

may be administratively liable for the loss of a part of the evidence for the
prosecution in this case.[68]
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the appealed Decision in
Criminal Case No. 111232-H is hereby MODIFIED. Accused-appellant I agree with the majority decision except its finding that treachery
Alberto "Ambet" Antonio is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of did not attend the killing of the victim, Arnulfo Tuadles, and the
the crime of HOMICIDE and is correspondingly sentenced to suffer the conclusion that the accused-appellant, Alberto "Ambet" Antonio, should
indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, not be held guilty of murder but only of homicide.
as minimum to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion
For proper perspective, I wish to relate the relevant facts on the issue
temporal, as maximum. Accused-appellant Juanito Nieto y Nemer is
of treachery.
likewise found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as accessory to the
crime of HOMICIDE, and is correspondingly sentenced to suffer the On November 2, 1996, at about 9:30 a.m., the victim, Arnulfo "Arnie"
indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to Tuadles, 40 years old, a former professional basketball player and a
four (4) years of prision correccional, as maximum. family man, was shot to death by accused-appellant Alberto "Ambet"
Antonio, 59 years old and former Chairman of the Games and
Accused-appellant Antonio is likewise ordered to pay to the heirs of
Amusement Board. The murder weapon was a 9mm Beretta Model 92F
Arnulfo B. Tuadles the following sums:
pistol, with a laser sight.1 Tuadles sustained a single gunshot wound on
(1) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Arnulfo B. Tuadles; the forehead, between the eyes.2 The bullet hit the brain and exited at
the right portion of the back of the head.3 He died due to "intracranial
(2) P226,298.36 as actual damages; hemmorhage."4
(3) P8,001,000.00 as compensatory damages for loss of earning Dr. Jaime Leal, Medico-Legal Officer at the PNP Crime Laboratory,
capacity; conducted the autopsy examination on the Tuadles. His examination
(4) P500,000.00 as moral damages; and showed that Tuadles was shot at close range, specifically at a distance
of less than 12 inches.5 The bullet's trajectory was directed backwards,
(5) Costs. slightly upwards and to the right.6
The autopsy also revealed that Tuadles suffered five (5) abrasions Antonio. Bobis was taken aback by the incident. When he regained his
("gasgas"), located on his forehead, nose, tip of nose, cheek, and right composure, he asked Antonio: "Boss, bakit nangyari ito." Antonio did not
lower lip. He sustained these abrasions as he collapsed on the floor after immediately respond but later pointed his finger at Bobis and then
he was shot. There were also contusions on Tuadles' forehead and lower warned: "Ikaw, huwag kang tumistigo, ha!" Bobis kept quiet due to
lip that could have been sustained when his face hit a hard blunt object, fear. They all went downstairs. Olac who heard the gunfire inquired from
and hematomas on both eyes caused by the "pulling of the blood in the Bobis what happened. He told him that Antonio shot Tuadles. Antonio
spaces between the eyes." He had a lacerated wound on the cheek which then commanded Bobis to get the key of Tuadles' car. He did as he was
could have been caused by a forcible contact of the skin with a hard blunt told. Only two vehicles were parked in the premises of the club: the
object, such as chairs or tables, when he was falling to the floor.7 All the Mercedes Benz van of Antonio and the car of Tuadles. They boarded the
injuries were located on the head of the victim. van, with Antonio driving. Following them was the car of Tuadles driven
by Antonio's driver. The driver left Tuadles' car near Shaw Blvd. and rode
Security guard Jose Jimmy Bobis gave the eyewitness account of in the van. They headed to the house of Antonio. They left the club at
the shooting. He reported at the IBC Club in Greenhills, San Juan, on
10:00 a.m. and arrived at Antonio's house in Green Meadows at 11:30
November 2, 1996 at 7:00 a.m. He relieved co-security guard Ernesto a.m. On instruction of Antonio, his driver burned the score sheet and
Olac. At that time, there were only five (5) people inside the club: Antonio, the cards. They stayed at Antonio's house for several hours while
Tuadles, SP04 Juanito Nieto, Olac and Bobis. Antonio and Tuadles were Antonio conferred with his lawyer. Antonio's lawyer told Bobis that he
at the second floor playing "pusoy dos", SP04 Nieto and Olac were should say that the shooting was an accident. SPO4 Nieto instructed
sleeping in the dining area at the ground floor, while Bobis was in the bar, Bobis to claim that he was outside the entrance of the club when the
also at the ground floor, keeping watch of the premises. shooting took place. Bobis, Nieto, Olac and Antonio's driver returned to
In the course of his duty, Bobis heard Antonio and Tuadles laughing the club at 5:00 p.m. Thirty minutes later, a team of policemen from San
and teasing each other ("nagkakantiyawan") while playing "pusoy Juan arrived. They found the lifeless body of Tuadles sprawled on the
dos". He recognized the voice of Antonio because it was loud in contrast second floor.
to Tuadles' voice which was soft. At past 9:00 a.m., he heard Antonio say Police investigator SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. took the statement of Bobis
in a loud voice: "Di ba may usapan tayo na ang mag pa pass ay mag-ta- that same day. In his statement, Bobis denied seeing the shooting
tap ng dalawang beses sa ibabaw ng mesa?" Antonio then said "Sige incident. On November 4, 1996, Bobis happened to watch the television
". Tuadles' response was almost inaudible because he spoke in a soft, and he saw the crying Mrs. Tuadles while being interviewed. Bothered
cool voice (mahina at malamig ang boses).8 Again, Antonio spoke: "Barya by his conscience, he requested the operations manager of their
lang itong pinagla-laruan natin" (We are only playing for loose security agency to bring him to the Eastern Police District. On November
change). Tuadles kept silent. Antonio then called: "Sarge, 5, 1996, he gave another statement to the EPD and revealed the
Sarge, Sarge!," referring to SPO4 Nieto. Bobis walked to the sleeping truth that fateful day of November 2, 1996.
Nieto and informed him that Antonio was calling him. They went to the
second floor and saw Antonio and Tuadles standing between the billiard Given these facts, the majority holds that treachery did not
table and the "pusoy" table. They were facing each other but at a certain attend the killing of Tuadles.
angle, and about three feet of space separated them. Antonio appeared,
There is treachery (alevosia) when the offender commits any of the
hiding his right hand behind his back. He (Antonio) cursed "putang ina ka
kasi". Tuadles uttered something which Bobis could not understand crimes against the person, employing means, methods or forms in the
because Tuadles' back was turned on him. Antonio then quickly raised his execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution,
without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party
right hand, pointed a gun at the face of Tuadles and fired the
gun ("Mabilis na inangat niya ang kanang kamay niya at itinapat sa might make.11
mukha ni Arnie Tuadles at ipinutok ang baril ").9 Tuadles twisted to the The two elements that must be proved to establish treachery are: (1)
right and fell on the floor face down. Antonio removed the gun's the employment of means of execution which would ensure the safety of
magazine, cocked it and replaced its magazine. The gun had a laser the offender from defensive and retaliatory acts of the victim, giving the
light attached to its end.10 Antonio ordered SPO4 Nieto to get the score victim no opportunity to defend himself, and (2) the means, method and
sheet and the cards laying on top of a table. SPO4 Nieto placed the cards manner of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted by the
on a paper, folded it several times, and placed it inside the clutch bag of offender.12
I respectfully submit that the killing of Tuadles was characterized by of the body. The mere fact that the killing was attended by much
treachery. violence or that a great many wounds were inflicted is not relevant in this
regard, as such a killing is just as likely (or perhaps more likely) to have
First. There is little doubt that the first element of treachery was
been on impulse. Conduct by the defendant afterthe killing in an effort to
proved by the prosecution. The victim, Tuadles, had absolutely no
avoid detection and punishment is obviously not relevant for purposes of
opportunity to defend himself from the aggression of showing premeditation and deliberation, as it only goes to show the
Antonio. The attack was sudden, coming as it did like a thunderbolt defendant's state of mind at the time and not before or during the killing."
from a blue sky. It was preceded by a not too serious argument about a
(emphasis ours)
rule of the "pusoy dos" game which appeared to have been overlooked by
Tuadles. The little argument agitated Antonio but not
The evidence proves the deliberateness of the attack made by
Tuadles. Hence, the attack was unexpected especially because
Antonio. The attack was done with swiftness. It was motivated by the
Tuadles and Antonio did not have any prior misunderstanding. Tuadles
failure of Tuadles to follow an agreement on the "pusoy" game. The
even endearingly called Antonio "uncle". Likewise, Tuadles was a
deliberateness of the attack is also shown by the fact that Tuadles was
basketball player when Antonio served as Chairman of the Games and
shot at close range, with the muzzle of the gun less than 12 inches
Amusement Board.
from Tuadles' forehead.Antonio aimed at Tuadles' forehead, between
Second. The prosecution also proved the second element of the eyes. The bullet penetrated Tuadles' brain, destroyed its right
treachery that "the means, method and manner of execution hemisphere and caused Tuadles' instantaneous death. Clearly, Antonio
were deliberately and consciously adopted by the offender." This chose to shoot Tuadles at a vital part of his body. As a result, Tuadles
element deals with the subjective aspect of treachery, hence, the more became an instant statistic of the graveyard.
difficult element to determine. We are not, however, without any
With due respect, I do not agree with the majority that the case
established jurisprudence in determining whether the accused-
at bar involves a spur of the moment killing, hence, there is no
appellant deliberately and consciously adopted the means, method and
treachery. The majority states that there was a prior heated
manner of killing the victim. The authoritative La Fave and Scott, after a
altercation between Tuadles and Antonio. The heated altercation
survey of court rulings, tell us of the relevant evidence to consider, viz:13
allegedly forewarned Tuadles of the attack. The so-called heated
altercation, however, is not well-established by the evidence. A
"On the basis of events before and at the time of the killing, the trier of replay of the facts will reveal that eyewitness Bobis initially heard the two
fact will sometimes be entitled to infer that the defendant actually teasing each other ("nagkakantiyawan"). Later, an argument developed
premeditated and deliberated his intentional killing. Three categories of between them which cannot be characterized as a "heated
evidence are important for this purpose: (1) facts about how and what the altercation." Bobis testified as follows: 14
defendant did prior to the actual killing which show he was engaged in
activity directed toward the killing, that is, planning activity; (2) facts "Q: Now, this matter of 'kantiyawan' and 'nagtatawanan' iyong dalawa,
about the defendant's prior relationship and conduct with the victim from how long did this continue during the period of time you were
which motive may be inferred; and (3) facts about the nature of the there?
killing from which it may be inferred that the manner of killing was so
particular and exacting that the defendant must have intentionally killed A: A few seconds only.
according to a preconceived design. Illustrative of the first category are xxxxxxxxx
such acts by the defendant as prior possession of the murder weapon,
surreptitious approach of the victim, or taking the prospective victim to a Q: Would you be in a position to recognize the voices of Ambet
place where others are unlikely to intrude. In the second category are Antonio and Arnie Tuadles?
prior threats by the defendants to do violence to the victim, plans or A: Yes, sir.
desires of the defendant which would be facilitated by the death of the
victim, and prior conduct of the victim known to have angered the Q: Why?
defendant. As to the third category, the manner of killing, what is A: Arnie Tuadles' voice is soft and Ambet Antonio's voice is loud.
required is evidence (usually based upon examination of the victim's
body) showing that the wounds were deliberately placed at vital areas
Q: Let's focus on Mr. Antonio, you said his voice was loud, did you A: 'Barya lang and pinagla-laruan natin.' It's only a (sic) loose change
hear him mentioned (sic) anything at that time? that we are playing with here.
Atty. Flaminiano: Q: Did you hear any word from Mr. Tuadles?
Leading, your Honor. A: No more, sir."
COURT: In sum, it was only Antonio who appeared agitated during the
alleged altercation. Tuadles spoke in a soft and cool voice that Bobis
Answer. could hardly hear and understand him. The characterization of the
A: Yes, sir. argument that preceded the shooting of is decisive of the issue of
treachery. I submit that the argument between Antonio and Tuadles
Q: What did you hear? was trivial for it merely concerned the inadvertence of Tuadles to tap
xxxxxxxxx the table when making a pass. Nothing in the records shows that Tuadles
violated the rule intentionally. Nothing shows the degree of damage
A: Di ba may usapan tayo na ang mag-pa-pass ay mag-ta-tap ng suffered by Antonio as a consequence of Tuadles' omission. It is thus my
dalawang beses sa ibabaw ng mesa? submission that the argument appears to be slight and cannot justify the
xxxxxxxxx conclusion that Antonio acted in the heat of passion or on impulse in
killing the victim.
Q: Before you heard this statement, did you hear other things from Mr.
Ambet Antonio apart from what you have said, before that? The case of People vs. Cruz 16 is apropos. In said case, the accused
and the victim were "compadres" for having stood as sponsors in the
A: None, sir. baptism of a common friend. The accused used to drive one of the
tricycles of the victim until the latter sold the tricycle the accused was
driving. It was claimed that the accused bore a grudge against the victim
Q: Was there any comment that you heard from Mr. Tuadles? because of the said incident. At any rate, while the victim was talking with
a co-tricycle driver along the street while waiting for passengers, the
A: Yes, sir. accused appeared and approached the victim. Upon nearing the victim,
Q: What did you hear from Mr. Tuadles? accused angrily uttered, "Pare, walang presidente presidente sa akin" as
he simultaneously drew out a gun from the front portion of his waist and
A: I could not understand because his voice was soft and ... shot the victim with it point blank, hitting the upper left eyebrow of the
Prosecutor Llorente: latter which caused him to fall on the ground. Thereafter, accused
left. This Court rejected the claim of the accused that the shooting was
May we put on record the answer of the witness in Tagalog? accidental and noted with approval the observation of the Solicitor
General that "if the shooting of the victim were accidental, accused would
have come to his aid and taken him to a hospital, instead of abandoning
Granted. him." The Court further held that the accused was liable for murder. The
victim was unarmed. He did not have the least suspicion of the accused's
A: "Mahina at malamig ang boses." design to shoot him. In contrast, accused had a gun. The victim,
Despite the soft response from Tuadles, Antonio continued with his therefore, had no chance to defend himself against the latter's frontal
outburst, thus:15 attack. Treachery qualified the killing to murder.

"Q: Going back now to Mr. Antonio, did you hear him again mentioned With due respect to the majority, I find the killing of the victim
(sic) or say other things? Tuadles qualified by treachery. I vote to convict accused-appellant
Antonio of murder as charged.
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you hear from Mr. Ambet Antonio?
The Amended Information for Murder in Criminal Case No. 91-4606
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT That on or about the 13th day of July, 1991, in the
Manila Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said Claudio
SECOND DIVISION Teehankee, Jr. y Javier, armed with a handgun, with intent
to kill and evident premeditation, and by means of
treachery, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously attack, assault and shoot with the said
G.R. Nos. 111206-08 October 6, 1995 handgun Maureen Navarro Hultman who was hit in the
head, thereby inflicting moral wounds which directly
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, caused the death of the said Maureen Hultman.

Finally, the Information for Frustrated Murder in Criminal Case No. 91-
4607 reads:
That on or about the 13th day of July, 1991, in the
Three (3) separate Informations were filed against accused Claudio Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within
Teehankee, Jr. for the shooting of Roland John Chapman, Jussi Olavi the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
Leino and Maureen Hultman. Initially, he was charged with: MURDER for accused, while armed with a handgun, with intent to kill,
the killing of ROLAND CHAPMAN, and two (2) FRUSTRATED MURDER treachery and evident premeditation did then and there
for the shooting and wounding of JUSSI LEINO and MAUREEN wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shoot
HULTMAN. When Hultman died on October 17, 1991, during the course one Jussi Olavi Leino on the head, thereby inflicting
of the trial, the Information for Frustrated Murder against accused was gunshot wounds, which ordinarily would have caused the
amended to MURDER.1 death of said Jussi Olavi Leino, thereby performing all the
acts of execution which would have produced the crime of
murder as a consequence, but nevertheless did not
The Information for murder in Criminal Case No. 91-4605 thus reads:
produce it by reason of cause or causes independent of
his will, that is, due to the timely and able medical
That on or about the 13th day of July, 1991, in the assistance rendered to said Jussi Olavi Leino which
Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within prevented his death.
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said Claudio
Teehankee, Jr. y Javier, armed with a handgun, with intent
Contrary to law.4
to kill and evident premeditation and by means of
treachery, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously attack, assault and shoot with and shoot with In the two (2) Informations for frustrated murder initially filed against
the said handgun Roland John Chapman who war hit in accused, bail was set at twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) each. No
the chest, thereby inflicting mortal wounds which directly bail was recommended for the murder of Roland John Chapman. A
caused the death of said Roland John Chapman. petition for bail was thus filed by accused. Hearing was set on August 9,
1991, while his arraignment was scheduled on August 14, 1991.
Contrary to law.2
At the hearing of the petition for bail on August 9, 1991, the prosecution After a while, Maureen requested Leino to take her home at Campanilla
manifested that it would present the surviving victim, Jussi Leino, to testify Street, Dasmarias Village, Makati. Chapman tagged along. 12 When they
on the killing of Chapman and on the circumstances resulting to the entered the village, Maureen asked Leino to stop along Mahogany Street,
wounding of the witness himself and Hultman. Defense counsel Atty. about a block away from her house in Campanilla Street. She wanted to
Rodolfo Jimenez objected on the ground that the incident pending that walk the rest of the way for she did not like to create too much noise in
day was hearing of the evidence on the petition for bail relative to the going back to her house. She did not want her parents to know that she
murder charge for the killing of Chapman only. He opined that Leino's was going home that late. Leino offered to walk with her while Chapman
testimony on the frustrated murder charges with respect to the wounding stayed in the car and listened to the radio. 13
of Leino and Hultman would be irrelevant.5
Leino and Maureen started walking on the sidewalk along Mahogany
Private prosecutor, Atty. Rogelio Vinluan, countered that time would be Street. When they reached the corner of Caballero and Mahogany
wasted if the testimony of Leino would be limited to the killing of Streets, a light-colored Mitsubishi box-type Lancer car, driven by accused
Chapman considering that the crimes for which accused were charged Claudio Teehankee, Jr., came up from behind them and stopped on the
involved only one continuing incident. He pleaded that Leino should be middle of the road. Accused alighted from his car, approached them, and
allowed to testify on all three (3) charges to obviate delay and the asked: "Who are you? (Show me your) I.D." Leino thought accused only
inconvenience of recalling him later to prove the two (2) frustrated murder wanted to check their identities. He reached into his pocket, took out his
charges.6 plastic wallet, and handed to accused his Asian Development Bank (ADB)
I.D. 14 Accused did not bother to look at his I.D. as he just grabbed Leino's
By way of accommodation, the defense suggested that if the prosecution wallet and pocketed it. 15
wanted to present Leino to testify on all three (3) charges, it should wait
until after the arraignment of accused on August 14, 1991. The defense Chapman saw the incident. All of a sudden, he manifested from behind
pointed out that if accused did not file a petition for bail, the prosecution Leino and inquired what was going on. He stepped down on the sidewalk
would still have to wait until after accused had been arraigned before it and asked accused: "Why are you bothering us?" Accused pushed
could present Leino.7 Chapman, dug into his shirt, pulled out a gun and fired at him. Chapman
felt his upper body, staggered for a moment, and asked: "Why did you
The private prosecutor agreed to defer the hearing on the petition for bail shoot me?" Chapman crumpled on the sidewalk. Leino knelt beside
until after arraignment of accused on the condition that there shall be trial Chapman to assist him but accused ordered him to get up and leave
on the merits and, at the same time, hearing on the petition for bail. The Chapman alone. 16
defense counsel acceded.8
Accused then turned his ire on Leino. He pointed gun at him and asked:
Upon arraignment, accused pleaded not guilty to the three (3) charges. "Do you want a trouble?" Leino said "no" and took a step backward. The
The prosecution then started to adduce evidence relative to all three (3) shooting initially shocked Maureen. When she came to her senses, she
cases. No objection was made by the defense.9 became hysterical and started screaming for help. She repeatedly
shouted: "Oh, my God, he's got a gun. He's gonna kill us. Will somebody
A replay of the facts will show that on July 12, 1991, Jussi Olavi Leino help us?"
invited Roland Chapman, Maureen Hultman and other friends for a party
at his house in Forbes Park, Makati. The party started at about 8:30 p.m. All the while, accused was pointing his gun to and from Leino to Maureen,
and ended at past midnight. They then proceeded to Roxy's, a pub where warning the latter to shut up. Accused ordered Leino to sit down on the
students of International School hang out. 10 After an hour, they sidewalk. Leino obeyed and made no attempt to move away. Accused
transferred to Vintage, another pub in Makati, where they stayed until stood 2-3 meters away from him. He knew he could not run far without
past 3:00 a.m. of July 13, 1991. Their group returned to Roxy's to pick up being shot by accused.
a friend of Maureen, then went back to Leino's house to eat. 11
Maureen continued to be hysterical. She could not stay still. She strayed
to the side of accused's car. Accused tried but failed to grab her. Maureen
circled around accused's car, trying to put some distance between them.
The short chase lasted for a minute or two. Eventually, accused caught was adequately illuminated by a Meralco lamppost at the time of the
Maureen and repeatedly enjoined her to shut up and sit down beside incident. 29
Leino. 17
After the gunman sped away, Mangubat ran outside his employer's house
Maureen finally sat beside Leino on the sidewalk. Two (2) meters away and went near the scene of the crime. He noticed security guard Florece
and directly in front of them stood accused. 18 For a moment, accused along Caballero Street. A man on a bike passed by and Mangubat
turned his back from the two. He faced them again and shot Leino. Leino requested him to report the shooting incident to the security officers of
was hit on the upper jaw, fell backwards on the sidewalk, but did not lose Dasmarias Village. 30 Meanwhile, Florece returned to his post and
consciousness. Leino heard another shot and saw Maureen fall beside narrated to his employer, Mrs. Helen Roxas, what he saw. Mrs. Roxas
him. He lifted his head to see what was happening and saw accused repaired to the crime scene while Florece noted the incident in his
return to his car and drive away. 19 logbook (Exhibit "B"). He also jotted down the license plate control
number of the gunman's car as 566. 31
Leino struggled to his knees and shouted for help. He noticed at least
three (3) people looking on and standing outside their houses along The security guards of Dasmarias Village came after a few minutes.
Caballero Street. 20 The three were: DOMINGO FLORECE, a private They rushed Leino and Maureen to the Makati Medical Center for
security guard hired by Stephen Roxas to secure his residence at #1357 treatment. 32
Caballero Street, Dasmarias Village, Makati; 21 VICENTE MANGUBAT,
a stay-in driver of Margarita Canto, residing at #1352 Caballero Street, The Makati police and agents of the NBI also came. Patrolman JAMES
corner Mahogany Street, Dasmarias Village; 22 and AGRIPINO BALDADO of the Makati police, together with SPO3 ALBERTO
CADENAS, a private security guard assigned at the house of Rey FERNANDEZ, investigated the incident. 33 Their initial investigation
Dempsey, located at #1351 Caballero Street, corner Mahogany Street, disclosed that the gunman's car was a box-type Mitsubishi Lancer with
Dasmarias Village. 23 plate control number 566. They checked the list of vehicles registered
with the village Homeowners' Association and were able to track down
Security guards Florece and Cadenas were then on duty at the house of two (2) Lancer cars bearing plate control number 566. One was
their employer, while driver Mangubat was in his quarters, preparing to registered in the name of JOSE MONTAO of 1823 Santan Street,
return to his own house. These three (3) eyewitnesses heard the first Dasmarias Village, with plate number PKX 566, and another was traced
gunshot while at their respective posts. to accused CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, JR., of 1339 Caballero Street,
Dasmarias Village, with plate number PDW 566.
Upon hearing the first shot, Florece went out to Caballero Street to see
what was happening, while Mangubat and Cadenas peeped over the SALVADOR RANIN, Chief of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the
fence of their employer's house and looked out to Caballero Street. Each NBI, was also tasked by then NBI Director Alfredo Lim 34 to head a team
saw a man (Chapman) sprawled on the ground, another man (Leino) to investigate the shooting. Ranin's team immediately proceeded to the
sitting on the sidewalk, a third man standing up ad holding a gun and a house of Jose Montao35 where they found ahead of them the Makati
woman (Hultman). They saw the gunman shoot Leino and Hultman and police and operatives of the Constabulary Highway Patrol. Ranin tried to
flee aboard his Lancer car. However, because of Florece's distance from verify from Mrs. Montao whether the white Lancer car registered in the
the scene of the crime, 24 he was not able to discern the face of the name of Mr. Montao and bearing plate number 566 was the gunman's
gunman. He saw the control numbers of the gunman's car as 566. He car. Mrs. Montao denied and declared they had already sold the car to
described the gateway car as a box-type Lancer, its color somewhat Saldaa Enterprises. She averred the car was being used by one Ben
white ("medyo maputi"). 25 Cadenas noticed in full the plate number of the Conti, a comptroller in said company, who resides in Cubao, Quezon City.
getaway car and gave it as PDW 566. He described the car as silver Mrs. Montao called up her husband and informed him about the
metallic gray. 26 Both Cadenas and Mangubat saw the gunman's face. investigation. She also called up Conti and asked him to bring the car to
They had a good look at him. Cadenas was then a mere four (4) meters the house. 36
away from the gunman's car, 27 while Mangubat was about twenty (20)
meters away from the scene of the crime. 28 The three confirmed that the Jose Montao came around noon. Conti followed with white Lancer car.
corner of Caballero and Mahogany Streets where the shooting took place Ranin brought them to the NBI office for investigation, together with
Lancer car. At the NBI Ranin inquired from Montao the whereabouts of pointed to a light gray car. Ranin told him that the color of the car he
his car on July 12 and 13, 1991. Montao informed him that the car was pointed to was not white but light gray. 43
at the residence of his employee, Ben Conti, at E. Rodriguez Street,
Cubao, Quezon City, the night of July 12, 1991. In the morning of July 13, Ranin then asked Cadenas if he could identify the gunman. Cadenas
1991, Conti drove the car to their office at Saldaa Enterprises. Conti replied in the affirmative. Ranin led Cadenas to his office and showed him
confirmed this information. Ranin received the same confirmation from ten (10) pictures of different men (Exhibits "CC-1" to "CC-10) taken from
two (2) NBI agents who made a countercheck of the allegation. Upon the NBI files. One of the pictures belonged to accused Claudio
Ranin's request, Montao left his car at the NBI parking lot pending Teehankee, Jr. Cadenas studied the pictures, picked accused's picture
identification by possible witnesses. 37 (Exhibit "CC-7"), and identified him as the gunman. Cadenas wrote his
name and the date at the back of said picture. Atty. Alex Tenerife of the
On July 14, 1991, a team of NBI agents conducted an on-the-spot NBI then took down Cadenas' statement. 44
investigation and neighborhood inquiry of the shooting incident. They
interviewed Domingo Florece and asked him to report to their office the Ranin sent his agents and the witnesses to the Makati Regional Trial
next day for further investigation.38 They also interviewed Agripino Court to apply for a search warrant. After a searching examination of the
Cadenas who was reluctant to divulge any information and even denied witnesses, Judge Rebecca Salvador issued a search warrant (Exhibit
having witnessed the incident. Sensing his reluctance, they returned to "RR"), authorizing the NBI to search and seize the silver metallic gray,
Cadenas' post at Dasmarias Village that night and served him a 1983 Mitsubishi Lancer car owned by accused, bearing plate number
subpoena, inviting him to appear at the NBI office for investigation the PDW 566. Ranin and his agents drove to accused's house at #1339
next day. 39 The NBI agents also talked with Armenia Asliami, an Egyptian Caballero Street, Dasmarias Village, to implement the warrant. 45
national residing at #1350 Caballero Street, Dasmarias Village, near the
scene of the crime. Asliami informed the agents that the gunman's car At accused's house, Ranin informed Mrs. Pilar Teehankee, mother of
was not white but light gray. A foreign national, Asliami was afraid and accused, of their search warrant. Ranin also told Mrs. Teehankee that
refused to give a statement about the incident. The agents exerted every they had orders from Director Lim to invite accused to the NBI office for
effort to convince Asliami to cooperate, assuring her of their protection. investigation. Mrs. Teehankee informed them that accused was not in the
Ranin even asked a representative of the Egyptian embassy to coax house at that time. She excused herself, went to the kitchen and called up
Asliami to cooperate. They failed. 40 someone on the phone. 46

On July 15, 1991, Florece and Cadenas appeared at the NBI office as In the meantime, Ranin and his men slipped to the Teehankee garage
summoned. Florece readily executed a sworn statement.41 Cadenas, and secured accused's car. After a while, Mrs. Teehankee joined them.
however, continued to feign ignorance and bridled his knowledge of the Ranin asked her for the car keys but she told him that the keys were with
incident. He was lengthily interviewed. At around 2:00 p.m., the NBI accused. Upon Ranin's request, Mrs. Teehankee got in touch with
agents informed SOG Chief Ranin that Cadenas was still withholding accused on the phone. Ranin conversed with accused and invited him to
information from them. Ranin talked to Cadenas in his office. Cadenas the NBI for investigation. Accused assured Ranin that he would report to
confided to Ranin his fear to get involved in the case. He was the NBI later that day. The agents then towed the car of accused to the
apprehensive that the gunman would harass or harm him or his family. NBI office. 47
After Ranin assured him of NBI protection, Cadenas relented. 42
At around 9:00 p.m., accused's brother, Raul Teehankee, arrived at the
The next day, July 16, 1991, Cadenas gave a full disclosure to Ranin. He NBI office and waited for accused. Accused came, escorted by three (3)
described the gunman's car as a box-type Lancer with plate number PDW Makati policemen, after an hour. He informed them that he just came from
566. He was brought to the NBI parking lot where Montao's white Lancer the Makati police station where he was also investigated. He told Lim that
car was parked to identify the gunman's car. Ranin asked Cadenas if he was given a statement to the Makati police and was brought to the PC
Montao's was the gunman's car. Cadenas replied that its color was Crime Laboratory for paraffin test. 48
different. Ranin directed him to look around the cars in the parking lot and
to point the color that most resembled the color of the gunman's car. He
Accused's NBI investigation started. Lim asked accused of the The agents brought back accused to the NBI. They prepared and referred
whereabouts of his Lancer car at the time of the shooting. Accused the cases of murder and double frustrated murder against accused to the
claimed that his car was involved in an accident a few weeks back and Department of Justice for appropriate action. At the inquest, Fiscal Dennis
was no longer functioning. The car had been parked in his mother's Villa-Ignacio did not recommend bail insofar as the murder charge was
house at Dasmarias Village since then. Due to the lateness of the concerned. Hence, accused was detained at the NBI. 57
evening, the group decided to continue the investigation the following
day. 49 The shooting incident was also investigated by the Makati Police. Pat.
Baldado went to see security guard Vicente Mangubat at his post, at the
The next day, July 17, 1991, after breakfast at the Manila Hotel, Lim residence of his employer in Dasmarias Village. Baldado interviewed
pressed accused on what really happened at Dasmarias Village. Mangubat and invited him to the Makati police station where his
Accused said he did not see anything. Lim apprised accused that he statement (Exhibit "D") was taken. 58
would be confronted with some eyewitnesses. Accused sank into
silence. 50 The next day, July 16, 1991, at about 8:30 a.m., Pat. Baldado fetched
Mangubat from his house and brought him to the Makati police station. At
Lim directed Ranin to prepare a lineup at his office. Accused was the station, Baldado told him to wait for a man who would be coming and
requested to join the lineup composed of seven (7) men and he acceded. see if the person was the gunman. Mangubat was posted at the top of the
Cadenas was called from an adjoining room 51 and Ranin asked him to stairs at the second floor of the station. 59
identify the gunman from the lineup. Forthwith, Cadenas pointed to
accused. 52 Accused merely stared at Cadenas. 53 After a couple of hours, accused, came with Makati police Major Lovete.
He ascended the stairs, passed by Mangubat and proceeded to Major
On the same day, then Asst. Director Epimaco Velasco, Ranin and two Lovete's office at the second floor. While accused was going up the stairs,
(2) other agents brought accused to Forbes Park for further identification Pat. Baldado inquired from Mangubat if accused was the gunman.
by the surviving victim, Jussi Leino. Leino has just been discharged from Mangubat initially declined to identify accused, saying that he wanted to
the hospital the day before. Since Leino's parents were worried about his see the man again to be sure. He also confided to Pat. Baldado that he
safety, they requested the NBI to conduct the identification of the gunman was nervous and afraid for accused was accompanied by a police Major.
in Forbes Park where the Leinos also reside. The NBI agreed. 54 When accused came out from Major Lovete's office, Pat. Baldado again
asked Mangubat if accused was the gunman. Mangubat nodded his head
House security agents from the U.S. embassy fetched Leino at his house in response. 60 Accused, together with Major Lovete and Pat. Baldado,
and escorted him and his father to a vacant house in Forbes Park, along boarded a Mercedes Benz and left. Mangubat was brought back to his
Narra Avenue. After a couple of minutes, Leino was brought out of the post at Dasmarias Village by other Makati
house and placed in a car with slightly tinted windows. The car was policemen.61
parked about five (5) meters away from the house. Inside the car with
Leino was his father, NBI-SOG Chief Salvador Ranin and a driver. Leino Two (2) days later, Pat. Baldado visited Mangubat at his employer's
was instructed to look at the men who would be coming out of the house house and asked him again if accused was really the gunman. Once
and identify the gunman from the lineup. 55 more, Mangubat answered in the affirmative. Pat. Baldado told Mangubat
that he would no longer ask him to sign a statement which he (Baldado)
A group of five to six men (including accused) then came out of the earlier prepared (Exhibit "HHH"). 62 Baldado then left. 63
unoccupied house, into the street, in a line-up. Leino noticed that one of
them was wearing sunglasses. Since Leino could not yet speak at that In the afternoon of July 23, 1991, Mangubat was also questioned by the
time due to the extensive injury on his tongue, he wrote down on a piece NBI agents. Director Lim asked Mangubat if he could recognize the
of paper a request for one of the men in the lineup to remove his gunman. Mangubat said he could. Mangubat was shown twelve (12)
sunglasses. Leino handed this written request to his father. The men in pictures (Exhibits "E" to "E-11) of different men and was asked to identify
the lineup were herded back inside the house. After a couple of minutes, the gun gunman from them. He chose one picture (Exhibit "E-10"), that of
they again stepped out and none was wearing sunglasses. From the accused, and identified him as the gunman. Mangubat's statement was
lineup, Leino identified accused as the gunman. 56
taken. He was asked to return to the NBI the next day to make a personal No demonstrable evidence of fracture. Note of radioopaque foreign
identification. 64 body (bullet fragments) along the superior alveolar border on the
right. No remarkable findings.
When Mangubat returned, a lineup was prepared in Lim's office in the
presence of the media. At that time, accused's counsels, Attys. Jimenez CT SCAN #43992 July 13, 1991
and Malvar, were at the office of then Asst. Director Epimaco Velasco
protesting to the submission of accused to identification. They pointed out Small hyperdensities presumably bullet and bone fragments in the
that since the cases against accused had already been filed in court and right palatine, tongue and tonsillar regions with associated soft
they have secured a court order for the transfer of accused to the Makati tissue swelling.
municipal jail, any identification of accused should be made in the
courtroom. Asst. Director Velasco insisted on the identification as it was Anterior maxillary bone comminuted fracture.
part of their on-going investigation. Eventually, accused's counsels
acquiesced but requested that identification be made without the Temporal lobe contusions with small hematomata on the right side.
presence of the media. Velasco turned them down and explained that if
accused is not identified n the lineup, the media coverage would favor Minimal subarachnoid hemorrhage.
accused. 65
Intact bone calvarium.
All that time, accused was at the SOG office. He refused to join the lineup
at Lim's office and remained seated. Ranin was compelled to bring to the
xxx xxx xxx 67
SOG office the men composing the lineup and he asked them to go near
accused. Ranin then told Mangubat to go in the office. Mangubat pointed
to accused as the gunman. Dr. Pedro Solis, testified that the bullet entered the left temple of Leino.
After entering Leino's head, it fractured his upper jaw and his front teeth.
Some of the bullet fragments pierced his palette and tongue. Brain
With the identification of accused by Mangubat, the NBI wrote finis to its
scanning revealed contusions on the temporal lobe and hemorrhage on
investigation. 66
the covering of the brain. Physical deformity resulted as a consequence
of the gunshot wound because of the fractured upper jaw and the loss of
JUSSI LEINO, the surviving victim, suffered the following injuries: the front teeth. Sutures were performed on the upper portion of his
tongue. Nonetheless, Leino's injuries on the tongue caused him difficulty
FINDINGS: in speaking. 68

= Abrasion, 0.5 cm., temporal area, left. Dr. Solis also testified as to the relative position of Leino and the gunman.
He opined that the muzzle of the gun, like in the case of Maureen, must
= Wound, gunshot, entrance, circular in shape, 1.0 cm. in diameter, have been at a higher level than the victim's head. He concluded that the
located at the upper lip, mouth, along the medial line, directed gun must have been pointed above Leino's head considering the
backwards and downwards, fracturing the maxillary bone and acuteness and downward trajectory of the bullet. 69
central and lateral incisors, both sides, to the buccal cavity then
lacerating the tongue with fragments of the bullet lodged in the right Dr. Leovigildo C. Isabela, a neuro-surgeon at the Makati Medical Center,
palatine, tongue and tonsillar region. operated on MAUREEN HULTMAN. He testified that when he first saw
Maureen, she was unconscious and her face was bloodied all over.
SKULL Maureen had a bullet hole on the left side of the forehead, above the
CHEST FOR RIBS X-RAY #353322 eyebrow. Brain tissues were oozing out of her nostrils and on the left side
July 13, 1991 of the forehead where the bullet entered. 70
They brought Maureen to the x-ray room for examination of her skull. She A team of doctors operated on Maureen's brain. They tried to control the
was also given a CT scan. The examination revealed that she suffered internal bleeding and remove the splintered bullets, small bone fragments
injuries on the skull and brain. There were several splintered bullets in her and dead tissues. The main bullet was recovered behind Maureen's right
brain and the major portion of the bullet, after it fragmented, was lodged jaw. There was also an acute downward trajectory of the bullet. Hence, it
beneath her right jaw. 71 was opined that Maureen was shot while she was seated. 77

Maureen was rushed to the operating room for surgery. Dr. Isabela led a With each passing day, Maureen's condition deteriorated. Even if
team who operated on her brain to arrest the bleeding inside her head, Maureen survived, she would have led a vegetating life and she would
remove devitalized brain tissues and retrieve the splintered bullets have needed assistance in the execution of normal and ordinary
embedded in her brain. Due to the extensive swelling of Maureen's brain routines. 78 She would have been completely blind on the left eye and
and her very unstable condition, he failed to patch the destroyed there was possibility she would have also lost her vision on the right eye.
undersurface covering of her brain. 72 After the surgery, Maureen's vital All her senses would have been modified and the same would have
signs continued to function but she remained unconscious. She was affected her motor functions. There was practically no possibility for
wheeled to the ICU for further observation. Maureen to return to normal. 79

Two (2) weeks later, brain tissues and fluid continue to flow out of Maureen did not survive her ordeal. After ninety-seven (97) days of
Maureen's nostrils due to the unpatched undersurface covering of her confinement in the hospital, she ceased to be a breathing soul on October
brain, leaving the swollen portion of her brain exposed. A second surgery 17, 1991.
was made on July 30, 1991 to repair Maureen's brain covering. He used
the fascia lata of Maureen's right thigh to replace the destroyed covering For his exculpation, accused relied on the defense of denial and alibi.
of the brain. Nonetheless, Maureen remained unconscious. The trickle of Accused claimed that on said date and time, he was not anywhere near
brain tissues through her nose was lessened but Maureen developed the scene of the crime. He alleged that he was then in his house at #53
infection as a result of the destruction of her brain covering. Maureen San Juan, Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig. He slept at around 1:00 a.m. on July
developed brain abscess because of the infection. She underwent a third 13, 1991 and woke up at around 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. that same morning.
operation to remove brain abscess and all possible focus of infection. 73 Accused avowed his two (2) maids could attest to his presence in his
house that fateful day. 80
Testifying on the extensive injuries suffered by Maureen Hultman, Dr.
Solis explained that Maureen was shot at the left side of the forehead. Accused averred that he only came to know the three (3) victims in the
The bullet entry was at 1.5 cm. above the eyebrow. Upon entering the Dasmarias shooting when he read the newspaper reports about it. He
forehead, the bullet fragmented into pieces and went from the left to the denied knowing prosecution eyewitnesses Agripino Cadenas and Vicente
right side of the temple, fracturing the frontal bone of the skull. The bullet Mangubat before they identified him as the gunman. 81
eventually settled behind the right jaw of Maureen. 74
Accused admitted ownership of a box-type, silver metallic gray Mitsubishi
The wound inflicted on Maureen was mortal for it hit one of the most vital Lancer, with plate number PDW 566. He, however, claimed that said car
parts of the body, the brain. When Maureen was subjected to CT scan, ceased to be in good running condition after its involvement in an
they discovered hemorrhage in her brain. After the bullet hit her head, it accident in February 1991. Since May 1991 until the day of the shooting,
caused hemorrhagic lesion on the ventricles of the brain and the second his Lancer car had been parked in the garage of his mother's house in
covering of the brain. 75 Dasmarias Village. He has not used this car since then. Accused,
however, conceded that although the car was not in good running
The bullet also injured Maureen's eye sockets. There was swelling condition, it could still be used. 82
underneath the forehead brought about by edema in the area. Scanning
also showed that Maureen's right jaw was affected by the fragmented Accused said that on July 16, 1991, he went to the Makati police station
bullet. The whole interior portion of her nose was also swollen. 76 at around 5:00 p.m. upon invitation of Chief of Police Remy Macaspac
and Major Lovete who wanted to ask him about the ownership of the
Lancer car parked in his mother's house. He readily gave a statement to drove it to Makati from the shop in Quezon City. He did not bring the car
the Makati police denying complicity in the crime. He submitted himself to to their house in Pasig for it was still scheduled for further repairs and
a paraffin test. He was accompanied by the Makati police to the Crime they preferred to have the repair done in a shop in Makati. Teehankee III
Laboratory in Camp Crame and was tested negative for gunpowder claimed that from that time on, he was prohibited by his father from using
nitrates. 83 After the test, he asked the Makati policemen to accompany the car because of his careless driving. He kept the keys to the car and
him to the NBI for he had earlier committed to his mother that he would since he was busy in school, no further repair on said car had been
present himself to Director Lim. 84 made. 91

He arrived at Director Lim's office at about 9:30 to 10:00 p.m. He Accused also imputed the commission of the crimes at bar to Anders
furnished Lim with the statement he earlier gave to the Makati police. Hultman, adoptive father of deceased victim Maureen Hultman. He
Thereafter, Lim detained him at the NBI against his will. 85 capitalized on a newspaper report that the gunman may have been an
overprotective father. This theory was formed when an eyewitness
The following day, July 17, 1991, Lim and his agents brought him to the allegedly overheard Maureen pleading to the gunman: "Huwag Daddy.
Manila Hotel for breakfast. When they returned to the NBI, he was asked Huwag, Daddy." The defense presented Anders Hultman as a hostile
to proceed to Lim's office. On his way, he saw a lineup formed inside witness.
Lim's office. The NBI agents forced him to join the lineup and placed him
in the number seven (7) slot. He observed that the man who was to ANDERS HULTMAN, testified that he is a Swedish national. He and
identify him was already in the room. As soon as he walked up to the Vivian Hultman were married in the Philippines in 1981. Vivian had two
lineup, Cadenas identified him as the gunman. 86 (2) children by her previous marriage, one of whom was Maureen. He
legally adopted Vivian's two (2) daughters in 1991. He and Vivian had
A second identification was made on the same day at a house in Forbes three (3) children of their own. 92
Park. The NBI agents brought him to Forbes Park but he never saw Jussi
Leino who allegedly identified him as the gunman in a lineup. 87 The defense confronted Anders with one of the angles of the crime in the
initial stage of the investigation, i.e., that Maureen was overhead pleading
A third identification was conducted on July 24, 1991. He was then seated to the gunman: "Huwag, Daddy. Huwag, Daddy." Anders explained that
at the office of Ranin for he refused to join another lineup. Despite his Maureen could not have uttered those words for Maureen never spoke
protest, the NBI agents insisted on the conduct of the identification and Tagalog. He also said that all his children call him "Papa," not "Daddy." 93
ordered a group of men to line up alongside him. While thus seated, he
was identified by Mangubat as the gunman. He complained that he was On July 12, 1991, he and Vivian permitted Maureen to have a night out
not assisted by counsel at any stage of said investigation. 88 but instructed her to be home by 2:00 a.m. Maureen just received her first
salary in her first job and she wanted to celebrate with friends. At the time
The defense also presented CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE III, son of accused of the shooting, he and his wife were sleeping in their house. He woke up
Claudio Teehankee, Jr. He testified that from May 1989 to February 1991, at around 5:15 a.m. of July 13, 1991 when a security guard came to their
he had been using his father's Lancer car bearing plate number PDW 566 house and informed them about the killings. 94
in going to school. 89
Anders admitted he had been vocal about the VIP treatment accorded to
In February 1991, while driving his father's Lancer car, he accidentally hit accused at the Makati municipal jail. On several occasions, he checked
a bicycle driver and two (2) trucks parked at the side of the road. The on accused in jail and discovered that accused was not in his cell. The jail
accident resulted in the death of the bicycle driver and damage to his guards even covered up accused's whereabouts. His complaint was
father's car, 90especially on its body. The timing of the engine became a investigated by the Congressional Committee on Crime Prevention,
little off and the car was hard to start. They had the car repaired at headed by Congressman Concepcion. 95
Reliable Shop located in Banawe Street, Quezon city. After a month, he
brought the car to the residence of his grandmother, Pilar Teehankee, at
Dasmarias Village, Makati. He personally started the car's engine and
The defense also presented two (2) Makati policemen, PAT. JAMES F. said Report, she noted that accused was subjected to paraffin test more
BALDADO and SPO3 ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, who investigated the than seventy-two (72) hours after the shooting incident. She explained
shooting. that 72 hours is the reasonable period within which nitrate residues may
not be removed by ordinary washing and would remain on the hands of a
Pat. Baldado testified that in the course of his investigation, he learned person who has fired a gun. 102
from Mr. Jose Montao that he sold his white Lancer car, with plate
number PKX 566, to Saldaa Lending Investors in February 1991. This ATTY. MANUEL Q. MALVAR, one of accused's counsel of record, also
car was assigned to Ben Conti, Operations Manager of said company and took the stand for the defense. He testified that in the course of handling
was in the residence of Conti at the time of the shooting. The other the cases, he was able to confer with Ponferrada, Cadenas' supervisor at
witnesses he interviewed confirmed that Montao's white Lancer car was the Security agency where Cadenas was employed. Ponferrada informed
not in the vicinity of Montao's residence at the time of the incident. 96 him that Cadenas confided to him that he was tortured at the NBI and
was compelled to execute a statement. Ponferrada, allegedly, refused to
SPO3 Fernandez testified that he interviewed security guard Vicente testify. Atty. Malvar, however, admitted the defense did not compel the
Mangubat. Mangubat saw the gunman and the get-away car but could not attendance of Ponferrada by subpoena. On rebuttal, Cadenas denied the
give the central letters of the car's license plate. Fernandez went to one of torture story.
the houses at the corner of Mahogany and Caballero Streets and asked
the maid therein if he could use the phone. After placing a call, the maid Atty. Malvar also admitted that he and Atty. Jimenez were aware of the
told him that he saw the gunman and heard one of the victims say: irregularities committed in the off-court identification of their client. When
"Daddy, don't shoot. Don't, don't." Fernandez tried to get the maid's name asked what he did to remedy this perceived irregularity, Malvar said he
but the latter refused. The defense did not present this maid in court nor objected to the conduct of the lineup. When further pressed whether he
asked the court to subpoena her to testify. Neither was the alleged filed a petition for review raising this issue with the Department of Justice
statement of the maid included in the Progress Report (Exhibit "13") upon the filing of the cases therewith, he said he did not. He offered the
prepared by the Makati police investigators. 97 excuse that he deferred to Atty. Jimenez, the principal counsel of accused
at that time. He also declared that although they knew that arraignment
SPO3 Fernandez saw Mangubat the next time on July 16, 1991 when he would mean waiver of the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the
and Baldado fetched the latter at Dasmarias Village for identification of investigation and preliminary investigation, he and Atty. Jimenez allowed
the gunman at the Makati police station. accused to be arraigned. 103

At the police station, Fernandez and Baldado posted Mangubat at the The defense likewise relied on a number of news accounts reporting the
lobby. After a few minutes, accused and company arrived. When accused progress in the investigation of the case. It presented seven (7)
passed by them, they instructed Mangubat to look around and see if he newspaper reporters as witnesses, viz: Nestor Barrameda of the Manila
could identify the gunman. Mangubat failed to identify accused. Mangubat Times, Martin Marfil and Dave Veridiano of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,
told Fernandez that the gunman was younger and shorter than Nida Mendoza of Malaya, Itchie Kabayan and Alex Allan of the People's
accused. 98 Journal and Elena Aben of the Manila Bulletin. The bulk of defense
evidence consists of newspaper clippings and the testimonies of the news
SPO3 Fernandez also took the statement of security guard Domingo reporters, thus:
Florece (Exhibit "MM"). It was signed by Florece in his presence. In said
statement, Florece described the gunman's car as "medyo puti" NESTOR BARRAMEDA, a news reporter of the Manila Times identified
(somewhat white). 99 two (2) news reports as having been partly written by him. One was a
ELIZABETH AYONON, forensic chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory, METRO KILLINGS" (Exhibit "1"), appearing on the July 16, 1991 issue of
testified on the paraffin test she conducted on July 17, 1991 on both the Manila Times. 104 He, however, clarified that a news report is usually
hands of accused. 100 As per Chemistry Report No. C 274-91, 101 the test the product of collaborative work among several reporters. They follow
yielded a negative result of gunpowder nitrates on accused's hands. In the practice of pooling news reports where several reporters are tasked to
cover one subject matter. The news editor then compiles the different from previous news reports of other newspapers. He admitted that the
reports they file and summarizes them into one story. 105 only portion he wrote based on an actual interview with NBI Asst. Director
Velasco was Exhibit "I-E."
The defense lifted only certain portions of Exhibit "1" and marked them in
evidence as follows: Barrameda identified another news item in the July 23, 1991 issue of the
Manila Times, entitled: "NBI INSISTS IT HAS "RIGHT" SUSPECT IN
Exhibit "1-A": CHAPMAN SLAY" which was marked as Exhibit "2." Certain portions
thereof, which were not written by Barrameda, 107 were lifted by the
Bello directed NBI Deputy Director Epimaco Velasco to defense and offered in evidence, viz:
take over the investigation of the murders of Roland
Chapman, 21, Eldon Maguan, 25, and three members of a Exhibit "2-a"
family Estrellita Vizconde and her daughters, Carmela,
19, and Anne Marie Jennifer, 7. Superintendent Lucas Managuelod, CIS director for the
national capital region, claims, however, that another
Exhibit "1-B" security guard, Vic Mangubat, had testified before the
police that another man, not Teehankee, had fired at
Police said that Chapman's assailant could have been Chapman and his companions.
angered when Hultman, a 10th grader at the International
School in Makati was escorted home by Chapman after Exhibit "2-b"
going to a disco.
The CIS official added that the absence of nitrite or powder
Exhibit "1-C" burns on Teehankee's hands as shown by paraffin tests at
the CIS laboratory indicated that he may not have fired the
The lone gunman, witnesses told police, first pistol- gun. 108
whipped Hultman.
MARTIN MARFIL, a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer identified two
Exhibit "l-D" (2) newspaper clippings which were partly written by him.

The same witnesses said Chapman and Leino were shot One news item, which appeared on the July 17, 1991 issue of the
when they tried to escape. Philippine Daily Inquirer, was entitled: "FBI JOINS PROBE OF DASMA
SLAY" (Exhibit "3"). 109
Exhibit "1-E"
Again, the defense marked in evidence certain portions of Exhibit "3",
Other angles thus:

Velasco said "we are pursuing two angles" in the Chapman Exhibit "3-a"
Witnesses said Hultman talked with the gunman whom she
One, he said, is the jealousy angle and the other is a called "Daddy" shortly before Chapman's shooting.
"highly sensitive" matter that might involve influential
people. 106 Exhibit "3-b"

Barrameda testified that he had no personal knowledge of the content of

the news items marked as Exhibits "1-C" to "1-D". He just culled them
But Ranin said they were also looking into reports that They said Teehankee, the last remaining owner of a car
Hultman was a dancer before she was adopted by her with plate control number 566 who had not been
foster parent. questioned, voluntarily went to police headquarters upon
invitation of Makati police chief Superintendent Remy
Exhibit "3-c" Macaspac. 113

Investigations showed that the gunman sped along The defense presented EXHIBITS "1-5" to prove: (a) the alleged
Caballero street inside the village after the shooting and concerted effort of the investigators to implicate accused as the lone
was believed to have proceeded toward Forbes Park using gunman; (b) that there were other suspects aside from accused and that
the Palm street gate. someone whom Maureen called as "Daddy" was the actual gunman; (c)
that the initial police investigation showed that the gunman's car was a
On cross-examination, Marfil admitted that he did not write Exhibits "3-a" white Lancer with plate no. 566; and, (d) that after the NBI took over the
and "3-c". He just reiterated previous reports in other newspapers. They investigation, the white Lancer car of the gunman became a silver gray
were based on speculations. Lancer of accused and thereafter, he became the gunman.

Marfil also wrote some portions of a news item, entitled: "TEEHANKEE ITCHIE CABAYAN, a reporter of the People's Journal identified the
SON HELD FOR DASMA SLAY," which appeared on the July 18, 1991 portions she wrote in the news item, entitled: ''I WILL HOUND YOU",
issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Exhibit "4"), viz: which appeared on the October 24, 1991 issue of People's Journal
(Exhibit "6"). She identified the source of her information as Mr. Anders
Exhibit "4-B" Hultman himself. 114

According to NBI Director Alfredo Lim, the break in the The portions thereof were marked in evidence by the defense, viz:
case came when the witness showed up and said that the
gunman was on board a silver-metallic Lancer. Exhibit "6-a"

Exhibit "4-C" "I will be visiting him often and at the most unexpected
occasion," Hultman said the day after his 17-year old
The witness said the gunman was standing a few feet daughter was cremated. 115
away near the car and was talking to Hultman, who was
shouting "Huwag! Daddy!" several times. 110 Exhibit "6-b"

Marfil's source of information was Director Lim. On cross- The day Maureen died, a congressional hearing granted
examination, Marfil admitted that the news reports marked as the Hultman family's request for permission to visit
Exhibits "3" and "4" were written based on information available at Teehankee in his cell "at anytime of their choice."
that time. 111
Exhibit "6-c"
NIDA MENDOZA, a reporter of the Malaya identified a news report,
entitled: "TEEHANKEE SON HELD ON DASMA SLAYING," which "If on my next visit he still refuses to come out and is still
appeared on the July 18, 1991 issue of Malaya. She testified that she hiding behind the curtain," Hultman said, "Congress told
wrote a portion thereof, marked as Exhibit "5-c", and the sources of her me that I can take the curtain down and jail authorities will
information were several Makati policemen. 112 Exhibit "5-c" reads: pull him out." 116

Makati policemen, meanwhile, disputed NBI accounts that

Teehankee was arrested at his house.
ALEX ALLAN, also a reporter of People's Journal co-wrote the news item Exhibit "8-a"
marked as Exhibit "6". Specifically, he wrote Exhibits "6-d" and "6-
e" 117 which read: At the Criminal Investigation Service, however, an
investigator who asked not to be identified insisted that the
Exhibit "6-d" NBI got the wrong man. The NBI has taken over the case
from the CIS.
"Kaawaawa naman ang mga Hultmans, tulungan natin
sila," Ong was quoted as telling Vergel de Dios. Exhibit "8-c"

Exhibit "6-e" He said the CIS will shortly identify the suspect killer whom
he described as "resembling Teehankee but looks much
BIR insiders said Ong has shown a keen interest in the younger."
Chapman-Hultman, Vizconde and Eldon Maguan cases
because he belongs to a secret but very influential multi- Exhibit "8-e"
sectoral group monitoring graft and corruption and other
crimes in high levels of government and society. 118 The source said that the police's "prime witness," identified
only as Mangubat, saw everything that happened in the
Allan was not able to check or verify the information in Exhibit "6-e" given early morning of July 13. The witness, however, failed to
to him by BIR insiders for the latter refused to be identified. 119 identify Teehankee as the gunman. 122

Exhibit "6" and its sub-markings were offered to prove: (a) the alleged Veridiano was shown another news report, entitled: "CIS GIVES UP
blind and consuming personal rage and bias of Anders Hultman against CHAPMAN SLAY CASE", which appeared on the July 26, 1991 issue of
accused; and (b) the unwarranted pressure, prejudice and prejudgment the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Exhibit 9). 123 He wrote the entire news
by some congressional leaders in favor of the Hultmans in violation of due account, 124 portions of which were marked by the defense in evidence,
process. thus:

DAVE VERIDIANO, a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, identified Exhibit "9-a"
the news account which appeared on the July 16, 1991 issue of the
Inquirer, entitled: "DASMA SLAY SUSPECT IDENTIFIED" (Exhibit "7"). The CIS pulled out from the case a day after its so-called
He wrote a portion of said article (Exhibit "7-c") and the source of his "surprise witness" picked Claudio Teehankee, Jr. from an
information was Camp Crame. 120 It reads: NBI lineup.

Exhibit "7-c" He gathered this information from his source but he was not able
to interview Mangubat himself. 125
Witnesses said the gunman fled aboard a white Mitsubishi
Lancer with plate number "566." The witnesses cannot tell Exhibit "9-b"
the plate's control letters. 121
Sira ulo pala siya (Mangubat). Ilang beses kong pinarada
Veridiano likewise identified a news item which appeared on the July sa kanya si Bobby (Teehankee Jr.) puro iling siya. Hindi
1991 issue of the Inquirer, entitled: "N.B.I. FINDINGS DISPUTED, raw ito ang suspect. Ngayon bigla niyang ituturo, said a
SECOND WITNESS TAGS TEEHANKEE" (Exhibit "8"). The portions of red-faced Makati investigator who, as usual, did not want
said news item which he wrote were marked in evidence by the to be identified.
defense, viz:
ELENA ABEN, a reporter from the Manila Bulletin, wrote the entire article, seriously wounded when the gunmen sprayed the car with
entitled: "US DIPLOMAT'S SON SHOT DEAD", which appeared on the bullets.
July 14, 1991 issue of the Manila Bulletin (Exhibit "10"). 126 Two (2)
portions thereof were marked as evidence by the defense, viz: The gunmen escaped after the shooting. Lim said he will
announce later the names of the detained suspects after
Exhibit "10-a-1" their initial investigation. 128

The victims were on their way home in Olanileino's Finally, his article, entitled: "MAKATI SLAY SUSPECT IDENTIFIED"
Mercedez Benz with a diplomat's plate number when a (Exhibit "23"), which appeared on the July 18, 1991 issue of the Manila
white Lancer with plate number PKX-566 blocked its path. Bulletin, was introduced by the defense in evidence as follows:

Exhibit "10-a-2" Exhibit "23-a-1"

US embassy spokesman Stanley Schrager said The NBI said Teehankee was one of four men who
Chapman's father is a communications specialist. He said blocked Chapman's car on Mahogany St. in the
the shooting could be the result of an altercation on the subdivision.
street. 127
Exhibit "23-a-2"
Finally, VICTOR VEGA, a reporter of the Manila Bulletin, identified the
news account he wrote which appeared on the July 16, 1991 issue of the Witnesses said they saw Teehankee order Chapman and
Bulletin, entitled: "4 MURDER SUSPECTS FALL" (Exhibit "22"). Portions his two companions, Maureen Hultman and Jussi
of said news item were marked by the defense as follows: Olanileino, a Finn, to get out of their car.

Exhibit "22-b" Exhibit "23-a-3"

. . . He was shot to death by a group of armed men at the They identified the car used by the suspect, a silver gray
corner of Mahogany and Caballero Sts. in Dasmarias Lancer with plate No. PDW 566. They added that they saw
Village at past 4 a.m. Friday. the same car in the garage of the Teehankee family. 129

Exhibit "22-c" On cross-examination, Vega declared that the source of his two (a)
stories was the NBI and they were based on information available to the
The NBI sources said that jealousy sparked the slaying of NBI at that time 130
Chapman who was killed in front of his friends on his way
home from a party. The armed men, on board a white The prosecution recalled to the stand eyewitness VICENTE MANGUBAT
Lancer car, blocked the path of the victim's Mercedes Benz as its rebuttal witness. Mangubat insisted that he was able to identify
car inside the village before the shooting. accused when he saw the latter at the Makati police station. Her
reiterated that the next day, Pat. Baldado of the Makati police went to his
Exhibit "22-a-1" place of work in Dasmarias Village and asked him if he was sure about
the identity of the gunman. He told Baldado he was positive. Baldado
The gunmen then alighted from their car and at gunpoint then said him he would no longer require him to sign the statement he
ordered Chapman to alight from the car. They shot prepared for him earlier. 131
Chapman several times in the body, while his companions
identified as Maureen Hultman, and Jussi Olanileino, were LEONORA C. VALLADO, chief of the Forensic Chemistry Division of the
NBI, was also presented as a prosecution rebuttal witness. She testified
that extensive washing of hands or excessive perspiration can eliminate (1) In criminal Case No. 91-4605, finding accused Claudio
gunpowder nitrates lodged on skin pores of the hands. Continued J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
washing with hot water can induce perspiration and remove nitrate offense of Murder, qualified by treachery, for the fatal
residue embedded in the skin pores. Application of vinegar on the hand shooting of Roland John Chapman, and sentencing said
can register the same effect. 132 accused to suffer imprisonment of Reclusion perpetua, and
to pay the heirs of the said deceased the sum of Fifty
She testified that their practice at the NBI is to take the paraffin test on a Thousand Pesos (P50, 000.00), Philippine Currency, plus
suspect within 72 hours from the time of the alleged firing of a gun, during moderate or temperate and exemplary damages in the
which time, any possible trace of nitrate may still be found. 133 sum of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00),
Philippine Currency;
She divulged that questions have been raised regarding the reliability of
the paraffin test. She related that she once attended a training in Baguio (2) In Criminal Case No. 91-4606, finding accused Claudio
City where they tried to test the accuracy of a paraffin test. In said J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
training, two (2) NBI agents fired a .38 revolver. One of them washed his offense of Murder, qualified by treachery, for the fatal
hands. They then subjected both agents to a paraffin test using shooting of Maureen Navarro Hultman, and sentencing him
diphylamine reagent. Both yielded a negative result. Thus, she opined, to suffer imprisonment of Reclusion Perpetua, and to pay
the result of a paraffin test should merely be taken as a corroborative the heirs of the said deceased the sum of Fifty Thousand
evidence and evaluated together with other physical evidence. 134 Pesos (P50,000.00), Philippine Currency, plus the sums of
Two Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Four Hundred
The records show that the case was set for hearing on October 29, 1992 Sixty-One Pesos and Eighty-Three Centavos
for the presentation by the defense of sur-rebuttal evidence. However, a (P2,350,461.83), Philippine Currency, as actual damages;
day before the scheduled hearing, the defense filed a Thirteen Million Pesos (P13,000,000.00), Philippine
Constancia 135 manifesting that it shall waive its right to present sur- Currency, for loss of earning capacity of the said
rebuttal evidence, the same being unneccesary. The defense, however, deceased; and One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00),
declared that this is without prejudice to the presentation of its evidence in Philippine Currency, as moral, moderate and exemplary
the trial proper should the same be necessary. damages;

At the hearing of October 29, 1992, the defense counsels did not appear. (3) In Criminal Case No. 91-4607, finding accused Claudio
The prosecution moved in open court that the main cases and the petition J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
for bail be submitted for decision in view of the absence of defense offense of Frustrated Murder, qualified by treachery, for the
counsels who had manifested that they would no longer present their sur- shooting of Jussi Olavi Leino, and sentencing him to suffer
rebuttal evidence. The motion was granted and the parties were given ten the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years of prision
(10) days from receipt of the Order within which to submit their mayor, as minimum, to ten (10) years and one (1) day
simultaneous Memorandum. 136 It does not appear that the defense of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the said
objected to this Order. The records show that the defense even filed a offended party the sum of Thirty Thousand Pesos
motion asking for additional time to file its Memorandum. 137 In due time, (P30,000.00), Philippine Currency; plus the sum of One
both parties submitted their respective Memorandum. Hundred Eighteen Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Nine
Pesos and Eighty-Four Centavos (P118,369.84),
On December 22, 1992, the trial court convicted accused CLAUDIO Philippine Currency, and another sum equivalent in
TEEHANKEE, JR. of the crimes charged. 138The dispositive portion of the Philippine Pesos of U.S. $55,600.00, both as actual
Decision reads: damages; an amount equivalent in Philippine Pesos of
U.S. $40,000.00, as loss of earning capacity of said
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby offended party; and One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00),
renders judgment: Philippine Currency, as moral, moderate and exemplary
(4) In all these three cases ordering said accused to pay all VI. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN AWARDING
the offended parties the sum of Three Million Pesos ATTORNEY'S FEES OF THREE MILLION PESOS
(P3,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, as and for attorney's (P3,000,000.00).
fees and expenses of litigation; and
(5) To pay the costs in these three cases. JUDGMENT ON THE MERITS AND ON THE PETITION
Consequently the petition for bail is hereby denied for utter ACCUSED THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT

Accused hired a new counsel in the person of Atty. Nicanor B. We shall discuss these alleged errors in seriatim.
Gatmaytan, Jr. He filed a Motion for New Trial, 139alleging for the first time
that the trial court erred in considering as submitted for decision not only Appellant was convicted on the strength of the testimonies of three (3)
the petition for bail but also the case on the merits. He claimed that eyewitnesses who positively identified him as the gunman. He vigorously
accused's right to adduce further evidence was violated. His motion for assails his out-of-court identification by these eyewitnesses.
new trial was denied.
He starts by trying to discredit the eyeball account of Jussi Leino, the lone
Accused interposed the present appeal. 140 He contends that: surviving victim of the crimes at bar. Appellant urges:

I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE First, that Leino's identification of him outside an unoccupied house in
WHO SHOT HIM, ROLAND CHAPMAN AND MAUREEN Second, that Leino saw his pictures on television and the newspapers
NAVARRO HULTMAN. before he identified him.

II. THE PROSECUTION HAS FAILED TO ESTABLISH Third, that Leino's interview at the hospital was never put in writing.
DOUBT. Fourth, that the sketch of appellant based on the description given by
Leino to the CIS agents was suppressed by the NBI. It is surmised that
III. THE PUBLICITY GIVEN THE CASE AGAINST THE the sketch must have been among the evidence turned over to the NBI
APPELLANT WAS MASSIVE, OVERWHELMING, AND when the latter assumed jurisdiction over the investigation.
ACCUSED OF RIGHT TO IMPARTIAL TRIAL. Lastly, that Leino could not have remembered the face of appellant. The
shooting lasted for only five (5) minutes. During that period, his gaze
IV. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE could not have been fixed only on the gunman's face. His senses were
KILLING OF CHAPMAN AND HULTMAN AND THE also dulled by the five (5) bottles of beer he imbibed that night.
TREACHERY. It is understandable for appellant to assail his out-of-court identification by
the prosecution witnesses in his first assignment of error. Eyewitness
V. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GRANTING identification constitutes vital evidence and, in most cases, decisive of the
EXORBITANT MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES success or failure of the prosecution. Yet, while eyewitness identification
AND LOSS OF EARNING CAPACITY. is significant, it is not as accurate and authoritative as the scientific forms
of identification evidence such as the fingerprint or DNA testing. Some office as it was cramped with people and with high security
authors even describe eyewitness evidence as "inherently risk. 145 Leino's fear for his safety was not irrational. He and his
suspect." 141 The causes of misidentification are known, thus: companions had been shot in cold blood in one of the exclusive,
supposedly safe subdivisions in the metropolis. Atty. Salvador Ranin,
xxx xxx xxx Chief of the Special Operations Group of the NBI, correctly testified that
there is no hard and fast rule as to the place where suspects are
Identification testimony has at least three components. identified by witnesses. Identification may be done in open field. It is often
First, witnessing a crime, whether as a victim or a done in hospitals while the crime and the criminal are still fresh in the
bystander, involves perception of an event actually mind of the victim. 146
occurring. Second, the witness must memorize details of
the event. Third, the witness must be able to recall and Appellant cannot also gripe that Leino saw his pictures and heard radio
communicate accurately. Dangers of unreliability in and TV accounts of the shooting before he personally identified him.
eyewitness testimony arise at each of these three stages, Indeed, the records show that on July 15, 1991, while Leino was still in
for whenever people attempt to acquire, retain, and the hospital, he was shown three (3) pictures of different men by the
retrieve information accurately, they are limited by normal investigators. He identified appellant as the gunman from these pictures.
human fallibilities and suggestive influences. (Emphasis He, however, categorically stated that, before the mug shot identification,
Supplied) 142 he has not seen any picture of appellant or read any report relative to the
shooting incident. 147 The burden is on appellant to prove that his mug
Out-of-court identification is conducted by the police in various ways. It is shot identification was unduly suggestive. Failing proof of impermissible
done thru show-ups where the suspect alone is brought face to face with suggestiveness, he cannot complain about the admission of his out-of-
the witness for identification. It is done thru mug shots where photographs court identification by Leino.
are shown to the witness to identify the suspect. It is also done thru line-
ups where a witness identifies the suspect from a group of persons lined We have no reason to doubt the correctness of appellant's identification
up for the purpose. Since corruption of out-of-court identification by Leino. The scene of the crime was well-lighted by a Meralco lamp
contaminates the integrity of in-court identification during the trial of the post. Appellant was merely 2-3 meters away when he shot Leino. The
case, courts have fashioned out rules to assure its fairness and its incident happened for a full five (5) minutes. Leino had no ill-motive to
compliance with the requirements of constitutional due process. In falsely testify against appellant. His testimony at the trial was
resolving the admissibility of and relying on out-of-court identification of straightforward. He was unshaken by the brutal cross-examination of the
suspects, courts have adopted the totality of circumstances test where defense counsels. He never wavered in his identification of appellant.
they consider the following factors, viz: (1) the witness' opportunity to view When asked how sure he was that appellant was responsible for the
the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) the witness' degree of attention at crime, he confidently replied: "I'm very sure. It could not have been
that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior description given by the witness; somebody else." 148
(4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the identification;
(5) the length of time between the crime and the identification; and, (6) Appellant cannot likewise capitalize on the failure of the investigators to
the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. 143 reduce to a sworn statement the information revealed by Leino during his
hospital interviews. It was sufficiently established that Leino's extensive
Using the totality of circumstances test, we hold that the alleged injuries, especially the injury to his tongue, limited his mobility. The day he
irregularities cited by appellant did not result in his misidentification nor identified appellant in the line-up, he was still physically unable to speak.
was he denied due process. There is nothing wrong in Leino's He was being fed through a tube inserted in his throat. 149 There is also
identification of appellant in an unoccupied house in Forbes Park. The no rule of evidence which requires the rejection of the testimony of a
records reveal that this mode was resorted to by the authorities for witness whose statement has not been priorly reduced to writing.
security reasons. 144 The need for security even compelled that Leino be Reliance by appellant on the case of People v. Alindog 150 to erode
fetched and escorted from his house in Forbes Park by U.S. embassy Leino's credibility is misplaced. In Alindog, accused was acquitted not
security officials and brought to the house where he was to make the solely on the basis of delay in taking his statement, but mainly on the
identification. The Leinos refused to have the identification at the NBI finding that the prosecution evidence was, at best, circumstancial and
"suspiciosly short in important details," there being no investigation from NBI officials that he agreed to cooperate with the authorities. 153 The
whatsoever conducted by the police. Court has taken judicial notice of the natural reticence of witnesses to get
involved in the solution of crimes considering the risk to their lives and
We also reject appellant's contention that the NBI suppressed the sketch limbs. In light of these all too real risks, the court has not considered the
prepared by the CIS on the basis of the description given by Leino. There initial reluctance of fear-gripped witnesses to cooperate with authorities
is nothing on the record to show that said sketch was turned over by the as an authorities as an indicium of credibility. 154 It will not depart from this
CIS to the NBI which could warrant a presumption that the sketch was ruling.
suppressed. The suspicion that the sketch did not resemble appellant is
not evidence. It is unmitigated guesswork. Appellant's assertion that Cadenas was tortured by the NBI is not borne
out by the records. Supposedly, Cadenas passed on to his superior, a
We are not likewise impressed with the contention that it was incredible certain Ponferrada, information about his torture. The allegation is an out
for Leino to have remembered appellant's face when the incident and out hearsay as Ponferrada was not presented in the witness stand.
happened within a span of five (5) minutes. Five (5) minutes is not a short Cadenas himself stoutly denied this allegation of torture. The claim of
time for Leino to etch in his mind the picture of appellant. Experience torture is also belied by the fact that Cadenas' entire family was allowed
shows that precisely because of the unusual acts of bestiality committed to stay with him at the NBI headquarters and likewise extended
before their eyes, eyewitnesses, especially the victims to a crime, can protection. 155
remember with a high degree of reliability the identity of criminals. 151 We
have ruled that the natural reaction of victims of criminal violence is to Appellant then discredits his identification by VICENTE MANGUBAT,
strive to see the appearance of their assailants and observe the manner citing the testimony of defense witness Pat. James Baldado of the Makati
the crime was committed. Most often, the face end body movements of Police. Pat. Baldado testified that Mangubat failed to identify appellant as
the assailant create an impression which cannot be easily erased from the gunman the first time he was brought to the Makati police station.
their memory. 152 In the case at bar, there is absolutely no improper Mangubat, however, belied Baldado's story. He declared he positively
motive for Leino to impute a serious crime to appellant. The victims and identified appellant as the gunman at the Makati police station. He
appellant were unknown to each other before their chance encounter. If averred that the day after he identified appellant, Pat. Baldado returned to
Leino identified appellant, it must be because appellant was the real his place of work in Dasmarias and asked him again whether appellant
culprit. was the gunman. Again, he replied in the affirmative. Forthwith, Pat.
Baldado said he would no longer ask him to sign a statement (Exhibit
Appellant also assails his identification by Cadenas. He contends that "HHH") 156 earlier prepared by Baldado. In said statement previously
Cadenas did not witness the crime. He stresses that when the prepared by Baldado, Mangubat was supposed to state that appellant,
Dasmarias security force and the Makati police conducted an on-the- whom he saw at the Makati police station, was NOT the gunman. We give
spot investigation on the day of the incident, neither came across more weight to the testimony of Mangubat. We find nothing in the records
Cadenas. The next day, in the afternoon of July 14, 1991, an NBI agent to suspect that Mangubat would perjure himself. The Court cannot be as
interviewed Cadenas and asked if he saw the incident. He merely replied: generous to Pat. Baldado of the Makati Police. Mr. Hultman has proved
"Nakita ko pero patay na." He did not volunteer information to anyone as that the Makati police, including some of its jail officials, gave appellant
to what he supposedly witnessed. That same night, the NBI subpoenaed favored treatment while in their custody. The anomaly triggered nothing
him for investigation. He went to the NBI the next morning. It was only the less than a congressional investigation.
next day, July 16, 1991, that he gave his statement to the NBI. Cadenas
allegedly told Ponferrada, his supervisor, that the NBI tortured him. II

We reject appellant's submission. Cadenas' initial reluctance to reveal to We now rule on appellant's second assignment of error, i.e., that the trial
the authorities what he witnessed was sufficiently explained during the court erred in not holding that the prosecution failed to establish his guilt
trial. He related that he feared for his and his family's safety. His fear was beyond reasonable doubt.
not imaginary. He saw with his own eyes the senseless violence
perpetrated by appellant. He knew appellant belonged to an influential First, he claims the trial court erred in citing in its Decision his involvement
family. It was only after consistent prodding and assurance of protection in previous shooting incidents for this contravenes the rule 157 that
evidence that one did or omitted to do a certain thing at one time is not In the case at bar, the reference by the trial judge to reports about the
admissible to prove that he did or omitted to do the same or similar thing troublesome character of appellant is a harmless error. The reference is
at another time. Second, the NBI failed to conduct an examination to not the linchpin of the inculpatory evidence appreciated by the trial judge
compare the bullets fired from the gun at the scene of the crime with the in convicting appellant. As aforestated, the appellant was convicted
bullets recovered from the body of Chapman. Third, the prosecution mainly because of his identification by three (3) eyewitnesses with high
eyewitnesses described the gunman's car as white, but the trial court credibility.
found it to be silver mettalic gray. Fourth, appellant could not have been
the gunman for Mangubat, in his statement dated July 15, 1991, said that The NBI may have also failed to compare the bullets fired from the fatal
he overheard the victim Maureen Hultman plead to the gunman, thus: gun with the bullets found at the scene of the crime. The omission,
"Please, don't shoot me and don't kill me. I promise Mommy, Daddy." however, cannot exculpate appellant. The omitted comparison cannot
Appellant also contends that a maid in a house near the scene of the nullify the evidentiary value of the positive identification of appellant.
crime told Makati police Alberto Fernandez that she heard Maureen say:
"Daddy don't shoot. Don't." Fifth, the NBI towed accused's car from There is also little to the contention of appellant that his Lancer car was
Dasmarias Village to the NBI office which proved that the same was not not in running condition. Allegedly, this was vicariously proved when the
in good running condition. Lastly, the result of the paraffin test conducted NBI towed his car from Dasmarias Village where it was parked to the
on appellant showed he was negative of nitrates. NBI office. Again, the argument is negated by the records which show
that said car was towed because the NBI could not get its ignition key
Appellant points to other possible suspects, viz:. ANDERS HULTMAN, which was then in the possession of appellant. Clearly, the car was towed
since one of the eyewitnesses was quoted in the newspapers as having not because it was not in running condition. Even appellant's evidence
overheard Maureen plead to the gunman: "Huwag, Daddy."; and, (b) show that said car could run. After its repairs, appellant's son, Claudio
JOSE MONTAO, another resident of Dasmarias Village, who had a Teehankee III, drove it from the repair shop in Banawe, Quezon City to
white Lancer car, also bearing license plate number 566. Dasmarias Village, in Makati, where it was
parked. 162
We reject appellant's thesis as bereft of merit.
Nor are we impressed by the alleged discrepancies in the eyewitnesses'
Appellant cannot hope to exculpate himself simply because the trial judge description of the color of the gunman's car. Leino described the car as
violated the rule on res inter alios actawhen he considered his light-colored; Florece said the car was somewhat white ("medyo
involvement in previous shooting incidents. This stance is a specie of a puti"); 163 Mangubat declared the car was white; 164 and Cadenas testified
mid-1800 rule known as the English Exchequer Rule pursuant to which "a it was silver metallic gray. 165 These alleged discrepancies amount to no
trial court's error as to the admission of evidence was presumed to have more than shades of differences and are not meaningful, referring as they
caused prejudice and therefore, almost automatically required a new do to colors white, somewhat white and silver metallic gray. Considering
trial." 158 The Exchequer rule has long been laid to rest for even English the speed and shocking nature of the incident which happened before the
appellate courts now disregard an error in the admission of evidence break of dawn, these slight discrepancies in the description of the car do
"unless in its opinion, some substantial wrong or miscarriage (of justice) not make the prosecution eyewitnesses unworthy of credence.
has been occasioned." 159 American courts adopted this approach
especially after the enactment of a 1915 federal statute which required a Appellant's attempt to pin the crimes at bar on Anders Hultman, the
federal appellate court to "give judgment after an examination of the adoptive father of Maureen Hultman, deserves scant consideration.
entire record before the court, without regard to technical errors, defects, Appellant cites a newspaper item 166 where Maureen was allegedly
or exceptions which do not affect the substantial rights of the overheard as saying to the gunman: "Huwag, Daddy. Huwag, Daddy."
parties." 160 We have likewise followed the harmless error rule in our The evidence on record, however, demonstrates that Anders Hultman
jurisdiction. In dealing with evidence improperly admitted in trial, we could not have been the gunman. It was clearly established that Maureen
examine its damaging quality and its impact to the substantive rights of could not have uttered said statement for two (2) reasons: Maureen did
the litigant. If the impact is slight and insignificant, we disregard the error not speak Tagalog, and she addressed Anders Hultman as "Papa," not
as it will not overcome the weight of the properly admitted evidence "Daddy." 167Moreover, Leino outrightly dismissed this suspicion. While still
against the prejudiced party. 161 in the hospital and when informed that the Makati police were looking into
this possibility, Leino flatly stated that Anders Hultman was NOT the into a carnival. In another instance, he was allegedly given the "finger
gunman. 168 Leino is a reliable witness. sign" by several young people while he was leaving the courtroom on his
way back to his cell.
Appellant cannot also capitalize on the paraffin test showing he was
negative of nitrates. Scientific experts concur in the view that the paraffin We cannot sustain appellant's claim that he was denied the right to
test has ". . . proved extremely unreliable in use. The only thing that it can impartial trial due to prejudicial publicity. It is true that the print and
definitely establish is the presence or absence of nitrates or nitrites on the broadcast media gave the case at bar pervasive publicity, just like all high
hand. It cannot be established from this test alone that the source of the profile and high stake criminal trials. Then and now, we rule that the right
nitrates or nitrites was the discharge of a firearm. The person may have of an accused to a fair trial is not incompatible to a free press. To be sure,
handled one or more of a number of substances which give the same responsible reporting enhances an accused's right to a fair trial for, as
positive reaction for nitrates or nitrites, such as explosives, fireworks, well pointed out, "a responsible press has always been regarded as the
fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and leguminous plants such as peas, beans, handmaiden of effective judicial administration, especially in the criminal
and alfalfa. A person who uses tobacco may also have nitrate or nitrite field . . . The press does not simply publish information about trials but
deposits on his hands since these substances are present in the products guards against the miscarriage of justice by subjecting in the police,
of combustion of tobacco." 169 In numerous rulings, we have also prosecutors, and judicial processes to extensive public scrutiny and
recognized several factors which may bring about the absence of criticism." 173
gunpowder nitrates on the hands of a gunman, viz: when the assailant
washes his hands after firing the gun, wears gloves at the time of the Pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to
shooting, or if the direction of a strong wind is against the gunman at the fair trial. The mere fact that the trial of appellant was given a day-to-day,
time of firing. 170 In the case at bar, NBI Forensic Chemist, Leonora gavel-to-gavel coverage does not by itself prove that the publicity so
Vallado, testified and confirmed that excessive perspiration or washing of permeated the mind of the trial judge and impaired his impartiality. For
hands with the use of warm water or vinegar may also remove one, it is impossible to seal the minds of members of the bench from pre-
gunpowder nitrates on the skin. She likewise opined that the conduct of trial and other off-court publicity of sensational criminal cases. The state
the paraffin test after more than seventy-two (72) hours from the time of of the art of our communication system brings news as they happen
the shooting may not lead to a reliable result for, by such time, the straight to our breakfast tables and right to our bedrooms. These news
nitrates could have already been removed by washing or form part of our everyday menu of the facts and fictions of life. For
perspiration. 171 In the Report 172 on the paraffin test conducted on another, our idea of a fair and impartial judge is not that of a hermit who is
appellant, Forensic Chemist Elizabeth Ayonon noted that when appellant out of touch with the world. We have not installed the jury system whose
was tested for the presence of nitrates, more than 72 hours has already members are overly protected from publicity lest they lose their
lapsed from the time of the alleged shooting. impartiality. Criticisms against the jury system are mounting and Mark
Twain's wit and wisdom put them all in better perspective when he
III observed: "When a gentleman of high social standing, intelligence, and
probity swears that testimony given under the same oath will outweigh
In his third assigned error, appellant blames the press for his conviction with him, street talk and newspaper reports based upon mere hearsay, he
as he contends that the publicity given to his case impaired his right to an is worth a hundred jurymen who will swear to their own ignorance and
impartial trial. He postulates there was pressure on the trial judge for stupidity . . . Why could not the jury law be so altered as to give men of
high-ranking government officials avidly followed the developments in the brains and honesty an equal chance with fools and miscreants?" 174 Our
case (as no less than Vice-President Joseph Estrada and then judges are learned in the law and trained to disregard off-court evidence
Department of Justice Secretary Franklin Drilon attended some of the and on-camera performances of parties to a litigation. Their mere
hearings and, President Corazon Aquino even visited victim Maureen exposure to publications and publicity stunts does not per se fatally infect
Hultman while she was still confined at the hospital). He submits that the their impartiality.
trial judge failed to protect him from prejudicial publicity and disruptive
influences which attended the prosecution of the cases. He claims there At best, appellant can only conjure possibility of prejudice on the part of
were placards displayed during the hearing of the cases, spectators the trial judge due to the barrage of publicity that characterized the
inside the courtroom clapped their hands and converted the proceedings investigation and trial of the case. In Martelino, et al. v. Alejandro, et
a1., 175 we rejected this standard of possibility of prejudice and adopted of young people were pointing dirty fingers at accused in
the test of actual prejudice as we ruled that to warrant a finding of full view of policemen. Forthwith, the trial judge declared
prejudicial publicity, there must be allegation and proof that the judges that he could not be dissuaded by public sentiments. He
have been unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the noted that the clapping of hands by the public was just a
barrage of publicity. In the case at bar, the records do not show that the reaction at the spur of the moment. He then admonished
trial judge developed actual bias against appellant as a consequence of the audience not to repeat it. 179
the extensive media coverage of the pre-trial and trial of his case. The
totality of circumstances of the case does not prove that the trial judge 3. At the hearing of July 14, 1992, the parties again argued
acquired a fixed opinion as a result of prejudicial publicity which is on the coverage of the trial by the press. The defense
incapable of change even by evidence presented during the trial. alleged that the media coverage will constitute mistrial and
Appellant has the burden to prove this actual bias and he has not deny accused's constitutional right to due process. It
discharged the burden. invoked the provision in the Rules of Court which allows
the accused to exclude everybody in the courtroom, except
We have minutely examined the transcripts of the proceedings and they the organic personnel. The prosecutor, however, argued
do not disclose that the trial judge allowed the proceedings to turn into a that exclusion of the public can be ordered only in
carnival. Nor did he consent to or condone any manifestation of unruly or prosecution of private offenses and does not apply to
improper behavior or conduct inside the courtroom during the trial of the murder cases. He added that the public is entitled to
case at bar. The transcripts reveal the following: observe and witness trial of public offenses. He quoted the
U.S. case of Sheppard v. Maxwell 180 where it was held: "A
1. At the August 14, 1991 hearing, the defense counsel responsible press is always regarded as the handmaiden
called the attention of the court to the visible display of a of effective judicial administration especially in the criminal
placard inside the courtroom. Acting on the manifestation, field. The press does not simply publish information about
the trial judge immediately directed that the placard be trials but guards against the miscarriage of justice by
hidden. Only then did he order the start of the arraignment subjecting the police, the prosecutors and judicial
of accused. 176 processes to extensive public scrutiny and criticism. What
transpires in the courtrooms public property." The trial
On the same hearing, the defense counsel asked for the judge then ruled that the media should be given a chance
exclusion of the media after they had enough opportunity to cover the proceedings before the trial proper but,
to take pictures. The court granted defense's request, thereafter, he prohibited them from taking pictures during
noting that the courtroom was also too crowded. 177 the trial. They were allowed to remain inside the courtroom
but were ordered to desist from taking live coverage of the
2. During the testimony of Domingo Florece, an argument proceedings. 181
ensued between the defense lawyer and the fiscal. When
part of the audience clapped their hands, the defense 4. At the August 14, 1992 hearing, before the hearing
counsel invoked Rule 119, Section 13 of the Rules of began, the trial judge gave the media two (2) minutes to
Court and moved for the exclusion of the public. Assistant take video coverage and no more. Trial then ensued. 182
Prosecutor Villa-Ignacio objected on the ground that the
public was not unruly. The trial judge noted that there were 5. At the September 8, 1992 hearing, the trial judge again
yet no guidelines drafted by the Supreme Court regarding gave the media two (2) minutes to take pictures before the
media coverage of the trial proceedings. 178Collaborating trial proper. Afterwards, the reporters were duly
defense counsel, Atty. Malvar, complained that the admonished to remain silent, to quietly observe the
outpouring of sympathy by spectators inside the courtroom proceedings and just take down notes. 183
has turned the proceedings into a carnival. He also
manifested that he personally saw that when accused was
being brought back to his cell from the courtroom, a group
6 On September 10, 1992 before the start of the afternoon Chapman appeared from behind Leino and asked what was going on.
session, the judge admonished the media people present Chapman then stepped down on the sidewalk and inquired from appellant
in the courtroom to stop taking pictures. 184 what was wrong. There and then, appellant pushed Chapman, pulled a
gun from inside his shirt, and shot him. The gun attack was unexpected.
Parenthetically, appellant should be the last person to complain against "Why did you shoot me?" was all Chapman could utter.
the press for prejudicial coverage of his trial. The records reveal he
presented in court no less than seven (7) newspaper reporters and relied Concededly, the shooting of Chapman was carried out swiftly and left him
heavily on selected portions of their reports for his defense. The defense's with no chance to defend himself. Even then, there is no evidence on
documentary evidence consists mostly of newspaper clippings relative to record to prove that appellant consciously and deliberately adopted his
the investigation of the case at bar and which appeared to cast doubt on mode of attack to insure the accomplishment of his criminal design
his guilt. The press cannot be fair and unfair to appellant at the same without risk to himself. It appears to us that appellant acted on the spur of
time. the moment. Their meeting was by chance. They were strangers to each
other. The time between the initial encounter and the shooting was short
Finally, it would not be amiss to stress that on May 29, 1992, the trial and unbroken. The shooting of Chapman was thus the result of a rash
judge voluntarily inhibited himself from further hearing the case at bar to and impetuous impulse on the part of appellant rather than a deliberate
assuage appellant's suspicion of bias and partiality. 185 However, upon act of will. We have consistently ruled that mere suddenness of the attack
elevation of the trial judge's voluntary Order of Inhibition to this Court, we on the victim would not, by itself, constitute treachery. 187 Hence, absent
directed the trial judge to proceed with the trial to speed up the any qualifying circumstance, appellant should only be held liable for
administration of justice. 186 We found nothing in the conduct of the Homicide for the shooting and killing of Chapman.
proceedings to stir any suspicion of partiality against the trial judge.
As to the wounding of Jussi Leino and the killing of Maureen Hultman, we
IV hold that treachery clearly attended the commission of the crimes. The
evidence shows that after shooting Chapman in cold blood, appellant
In his fourth assigned error, appellant claims that treachery was not ordered Leino to sit on the pavement. Maureen became hysterical and
present in the killing of Hultman and Chapman, and the wounding of wandered to the side of appellant's car. When appellant went after her,
Leino for it was not shown that the gunman consciously and deliberately Maureen moved around his car and tried to put some distance between
adopted particular means, methods and forms in the execution of the them. After a minute or two, appellant got to Maureen and ordered her to
crime. Appellant asserts that mere suddenness of attack does not prove sit beside Leino on the pavement. While seated, unarmed and begging
treachery. for mercy, the two were gunned down by appellant. Clearly, appellant
purposely placed his two victims in a completely defenseless position
The three (3) Informations charged appellant with having committed the before shooting them. There was an appreciable lapse of time between
crimes at bar with treachery and evident premeditation. Evident the killing of Chapman and the shooting of Leino and Hultman a period
premeditation was correctly ruled out by the trial court for, admittedly, the which appellant used to prepare for a mode of attack which ensured the
shooting incident was merely a casual encounter or a chance meeting on execution of the crime without risk to himself. Treachery was thus
the street since the victims were unknown to appellant and vice-versa It, correctly appreciated by the trial court against appellant insofar as the
however, appreciated the presence of the qualifying circumstance of killing of Hultman and the wounding of Leino are concerned.
V and VI
We hold that the prosecution failed to prove treachery in the killing of
Chapman. Prosecution witness Leino established the sequence of events We come now to the civil liability imposed against appellant. Appellant
leading to the shooting. He testified that for no apparent reason, appellant posits that the awards of moral and exemplary damages and for loss of
suddenly alighted from his car and accosted him and Maureen Hultman earning capacity of Maureen Hultman, Roland Chapman and Jussi Leino
who were then walking along the sidewalk. Appellant questioned who were exorbitant. He likewise claims that the trial court's award of
they were and demanded for an I.D. After Leino handed him his I.D., attorney's fees was excessive.
In its Decision, the trial court awarded to Jussi Leino end the heirs of ". . . subject to the provisions of Art. 2177, and of the
victims Hultman and Chapman the following damages: pertinent provisions of Chapter 2, Preliminary Title on
Human Relations, and of Title XVIII of this Book (Book IV)
1. For the murder of Roland John Chapman, appellant was regulating damages." (Art. 1161, Civil Code)
sentenced to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of
Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as indemnity for death Thus, "every person criminally liable for a felony is also
and the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos civilly liable." (Art. 100, Revised Penal Code). This civil
(P500,000.00) as moderate or temperate and exemplary liability, in case the felony involves death, includes
damages. indemnification for consequential damages (Art. 104, id.)
and said consequential damages in turn include ". . . those
2. For the murder of Maureen Navarro Hultman, appellant suffered by his family or by a third person by reason of the
was sentenced to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum crime." (Art. 107, id.) Since these provisions are subject,
of: Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as indemnity for however, as above indicated, to certain provisions of the
death; Two Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Four Civil Code, (w)e will now turn to said provisions.
Hundred Sixty-One Pesos and Eighty-Three Centavos
(P2,350,461.83) as actual damages; Thirteen Million The general rule in the Civil Code is that:
Pesos (P13,000,000.00) for loss of earning capacity of
deceased; and, One Million Pesos as moral, moderate and In crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant
exemplary damages. shall be liable for all damages which are the
natural and probable consequences of the
3. For the shooting of Jussi Olavi Leino, appellant was act or omission complained of. It is not
sentenced to pay: Thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as necessary that such damages have been
indemnity for the injury; One Hundred Eighteen Thousand foreseen or could have reasonably foreseen
Three-Hundred Sixty Nine Pesos and Eighty-Four by the defendant. (Art. 2202)
Centavos (P118,369.84) and the sum equivalent in
Philippine pesos of U.S.$55,600.00, both as actual When, however, the crime committed involves death, there
damages; an amount equivalent in Philippine pesos of is Art. 2206 which provides thus:
U.S.$40,000.00, for loss of earning capacity of Jussi Leino;
and, One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral, The amount of damages for death caused by a crime
moderate and exemplary damages. or quasi-delict shall be at least three thousand pesos
even though there may have been mitigating
4. In all three cases, appellant was also ordered to pay circumstances. In addition:
each of the offended parties the sum of One Million Pesos
(or a total of three million pesos) for attorney's fees and (1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the
expenses of litigation. earning capacity of the deceased, and the indemnity
shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such indemnity
5. Costs of litigation. 188 shall in every case be assessed and awarded by the
court, unless the deceased on account of permanent
The early case of Heirs of Raymundo Castro v. Bustos 189 discussed in physical disability not caused by the defendant, had
detail the matter of damages recoverable in case of death arising from a no earning capacity at the time of his death;
felony, thus:
(2) If the deceased was obliged to give support
When the commission of a crime results in death, the civil according to the provisions of article 291, the
obligations arising therefrom are governed by penal laws, recipient who is not an heir called to the descendant's
inheritance by law of testate or intestate succession, Stated differently, when death occurs as a result of a
may demand support from the person causing the crime, the heirs of the deceased are entitled to the
death, for a period not exceeding five years, the following items of damages:
exact duration to be fixed by the court;
1. As indemnity for the death of the victim of the offense
(3) The spouse, legitimate or illegitimate descendants P12,000.00 (now P50,000.00), without the need of any
and ascendants of the deceased may demand moral evidence or proof of damages, and even though there may
damages for mental anguish by reason of the death have been mitigating circumstances attending the
of the deceased. commission of the offense.

The amount of P3,000 referred to in the above article has 2. As indemnity for loss of earning capacity of the deceased
already been increased by this Court first, to P6,000.00 an amount to be fixed by the court according to the
in People v. Amansec, 80 Phil. 426, and lately to circumstances of the deceased related to his actual income
P12,000.00 in the case of People v. Pantoja, G.R. No. L- at the time of death and his probable life expectancy, the
18793, promulgated October 11, 1968 190, and it must be said indemnity to be assessed and awarded by the court as
stressed that this amount, as well as the amount of moral a matter of duty, unless the deceased had no earning
damages, may be adjudicated even without proof of capacity at said time on account of permanent disability not
pecuniary loss, the assessment of the moral damages caused by the accused. If the deceased was obliged to give
being "left to the discretion of the court, according to the support, under Art. 291, Civil Code, the recipient who is not
circumstances of each case." (Art. 2216) an heir, may demand support from the accused for not more
than five years, the exact duration to be fixed by the court.
Exemplary damages may also be imposed as a part of this
civil liability when the crime has been committed with one 3. As moral damages for mental anguish, an amount to
or more aggravating circumstances, such damages being be fixed by the court. This may be recovered even by the
"separate and distinct from fines and shall be paid to the illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the deceased.
offended party." (Art. 2230). Exemplary damages cannot
however be recovered as a matter of right; the court will 4. As exemplary damages, when the crime is attended by
decide whether or not they should be given. (Art. 2233) one or more aggravating circumstances, an amount to be
fixed in the discretion of the court, the same to be
In any event, save as expressly provided in connection considered separate from fines.
with the indemnity for the sole fact of death (1st par., Art.
2206) and is cases wherein exemplary damages are 5. As attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, the actual
awarded precisely because of the attendance of amount thereof, (but only when a separate civil action to
aggravating circumstances, (Art. 2230) ". . . damages to be recover civil liability has been filed or when exemplary
adjudicated may be respectively increased or lessened damages are awarded).
according to the aggravating or mitigating circumstances,"
(Art. 2204) "but the party suffering the loss or injury must 6. Interests in the proper cases.
exercise the diligence of a good father of a family to
minimize the damages resulting from the act or omission in 7. It must be emphasized that the indemnities for loss of
question." (Art. 2203) "Interest as a part of the damages, earning capacity of the deceased and for moral damages
may, in a proper case, be adjudicated in the discretion of are recoverable separately from and in addition to the fixed
the Court." (Art. 2211) As to attorneys' fees and expenses sum of P12,000.00 (now P50,000.00) corresponding to the
of litigation, the same may be recovered only when indemnity for the sole fact of death, and that these damages
exemplary damages have been granted (Art. 2208, par. 1) may, however, be respectively increased or lessened
or . . . when there is a separate civil action.
according to the mitigating or aggravating circumstances, as adoptive father of Maureen, is not entitled to said award. Only the
except items 1 and 4 above, for obvious reasons. 191 parents by nature of Maureen should inherit from her.

We shall first review the damages awarded to the heirs of ROLAND We reject the argument. Under the Family Code which was already in
JOHN CHAPMAN in light of the law and the case law. effect at the time of Maureen's death, Anders Hultman, as adoptive father,
is entitled to the award made by the trial court. Article 190 of the Family
Appellant claims that the award of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) Code provides:
pesos as moderate or temperate and exemplary damages to the heirs of
Roland John Chapman was baseless. xxx xxx xxx

We start with the observation that the trial court should not have lumped (2) When the parents, legitimate or illegitimate, or the
together the awards for moderate or temperate and exemplary damages legitimate descendants of the adopted concur with the
at Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00), without specifying the adopters, they shall divide the entire estate, one-half to be
particular amount which corresponds to each, as they are of a different inherited by the parents or ascendants and the other half,
kind. We shall, however, consider their propriety and reasonableness. by the adopters;

The amount of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) pesos cannot be xxx xxx xxx
given as temperate or moderate damages for the records do not show
any basis for sustaining the award. Nor can it be given as exemplary (5) When only the adopters survive, they shall inherit the
damages. The killing of Chapman was not attended by either evident entire estate;
premeditation or treachery. Be that as it may, the award can be
considered as one for moral damages under Article 2206 (3) of the New It does not appear on the records whether Maureen was survived by her
Civil Code. 192 It states: natural father. During the trial of these cases, only Vivian and Anders
Hultman testified on their claim of damages. Hence, we find that the
Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a award of damages in their favor has sufficient factual and legal basis.
crime . . . shall be at least (fifty thousand pesos, under
current jurisprudence) . . . In addition: Appellant also urges that the award to the heirs of Maureen Hultman of
One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral and exemplary damages is
xxx xxx xxx unjustified or, at the very least, exorbitant and should be reduced.

(3) The spouse, legitimate or illegitimate descendants and We hold that the award of One Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos is amply
ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages justified by the circumstances. The records reveal that Maureen
for mental anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. recovered between life and death for ninety-seven (97) days. Her family
experienced the peaks and valleys of unspeakable suffering. During that
Moreover, considering the shocking and senseless aggression committed time, she underwent brain surgery three (3) times. Her condition was
by appellant, we increase the amount of moral damages to One Million never stable and remained critical. It was always touch and go with death.
(P1,000,000.00) pesos for the death of Chapman. She could not be left alone at the hospital. Her parents had to be
perpetually by her side at least six (6) to seven (7) hours daily. After the
We next rule on the legality of damages awarded to the heirs of shooting, their siblings had to be sent back to Sweden for their safety.
MAUREEN NAVARRO HULTMAN. Left unattended, her family's business took a downspin. Soon, her
family's assets were depleted, then wiped out. A total of twenty-three (23)
Appellant argues that the damages for the death of Maureen should be doctors attended to her and their bills ballooned without abatement. They
awarded to her mother, Vivian Hultman, and her natural father. He were forced to rely on the goodness of the gracious. Her family started
contends that under Article 352 of the New Civil Code, Anders Hultman receiving contributions from other people to defray the medical expenses
and hospital bills. 193 Maureen never regained consciousness until her had to relocate his entire family to Europe where he felt they would be
demise on October 17, 1991, at the tender age of seventeen. Under the safe. 197 Under the foregoing circumstances, we find that an award of One
foregoing circumstances, we thus find the award of One Million Pesos Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos to Jussi Leino as indemnity for moral
(P1,000,000.00) as moral damages to be reasonable. damages is justified and reasonable.

Moreover, we find that the grant of exemplary damages is called for by As in the case of Hultman, since the shooting of Leino was committed
the circumstances of the case. Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, 194 in with treachery and pursuant to Article 2229 of the New Civil
addition to the award of moral damages, exemplary or corrective Code, 198 appellant is additionally adjudged liable for the payment to Leino
damages may be adjudged in order to deter the commission of similar of Two Million (P2,000,000.00) pesos as exemplary damages.
acts in the future. The award for exemplary damages is designed to
permit the courts to mould behavior that has socially deleterious We come now to the trial court's monetary award to compensate the
consequences. Its imposition is required by public policy to suppress the LOSS OF EARNING CAPACITY OF VICTIMS JUSSI LEINO and
wanton acts of an offender. MAUREEN HULTMAN.

In the case at bar, appellant's unprovoked aggression snuffed the life of To be compensated for loss of earning capacity, it is not necessary that
Maureen Hultman, a girl in the prime of her youth. Hultman and her the victim, at the time of injury or death, is gainfully employed.
companions were gunned down by appellant in cold-blood, for no Compensation of this nature is awarded not for loss of earnings but for
apparent reason. Appellant's vicious criminality led to the suffering of his loss of capacity to earn money. In Cariaga v. Laguna Tayabas Bus
victims and their families. Considering our soaring crime rate, the Company, 199 we awarded to the heirs of Cariaga a sum representing loss
imposition of exemplary damages against appellant to deter others from of his earning capacity although he was still a medical student at the time
taking the lives of people without any sense of sin is proper. Moreover, of injury. However, the award was not without basis for Cariaga was then
since the killing of Hultman was attended by treachery and pursuant to a fourth year medical student at a reputable school; his scholastic record,
Article 2229 of the new Civil Code, 195 we impose an award of Two Million which was presented at the trial, justified an assumption that he would
(P2,000,000.00) pesos as exemplary damages against appellant for the have been able to finish his course and pass the board in due time; and a
death of Maureen Hultman. doctor, presented as witness for the appellee, testified as to the amount
of income Cariaga would have earned had he finished his medical
We now review the award of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as studies.
moral, moderate and exemplary damages to victim JUSSI LEINO.
In the case at bar, the trial court awarded the amount, equivalent in
From the record, it is incontrovertible that Leino likewise suffered Philippine pesos, of Forty capacity of JUSSI LEINO. We agree with
extensive injuries as a result of the shooting. His upper jaw bone was appellant that this amount is highly speculative and should be denied
shattered. He would need a bone transplant operation to restore it. His considering that Leino had only earned a high school degree at the
tongue was also injured. He partially lost his sense of taste for his taste International School, Manila, in 1989. He went back to Finland to serve
buds were also affected. When he was discharged from the hospital, he the military and has just arrived in Manila in February 1991 to pursue his
had difficulty in speaking and had to be fed through a tube running down ambition to become a pilot. At the time of the shooting on July 13, 1991,
his nose. He lost eight of his teeth. The roots of his teeth were cut off and he has just enrolled at the Manila Aero Club to become a professional
the raw nerves were exposed. But all these speak only of his physical pilot. He was thus only on his first year, first semester, in said school and
injuries and suffering. More devastating was the emotional strain that was practically, a mere high school graduate. Under the foregoing
distressed Leino. His parents were in Europe for a vacation at the time of circumstances, we find the records wanting with substantial evidence to
the shooting. Only a neighbor attended to him at the hospital. It took two justify a reasonable assumption that Leino would have been able to finish
(2) days for his father to come and comfort by his bedside. Leino had his studies at the Manila Aero Club and ultimately become a professional
trouble sleeping in peace at night. The traumatic event woke him up in the pilot.
middle of the night. Black memories of the incident kept coming back to
mind. 196 Understably, the ill-effects of the incident spilled over his family.
Seppo Leino, Jussi's father, was tortured by thoughts of insecurity. He
We now pass upon the propriety of the award of Thirteen Million Pesos In any event, what was proved on record is that after graduating from high
(P13,000,000.00) for loss of earning capacity of deceased MAUREEN school, Maureen took up a short personality development course at the
HULTMAN. We find that the award is not supported by the records. John Roberts Powers. Maureen was employed at the John Roberts
Powers at the time of her death. It was her first job. In fact, she had just
In adjudging an award for Maureen's loss of earning capacity, the trial received her first salary, for which reason she went out with her friends to
court incorrectly used the monthly salary of a secretary working in celebrate on that fateful day. However, neither the nature of her work nor
Sweden, computed at two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) a month, as per her salary in said company was disclosed at the trial. Thus, to compute
the estimate given by Anders Hultman. Nowhere in the records does it the award for Maureen's loss of earning capacity, we are constrained to
appear that, at the time of her death, Maureen had acquired the skills use the minimum wage prevailing as of the date of her death (October 17,
needed for a secretarial job or that she intended to take a secretarial 1991), i.e., one hundred eighteen pesos (P118.00). 201 Allowing for
course in preparation for such job in Sweden. Anders Hultman himself reasonable and necessary expenses in the amount of P19,800.00, her
testified that there was uncertainty as to Maureen's future career path, net income per annum would amount to P26,859.17. 202 Hence, using the
thus: formula repeatedly adopted by this Court: 203 (2/3 x [80 age of victim at
time of death]) x a reasonable portion of the net income which would have
ATTY. VINLUAN: been received by the heirs as support, 204 we fix the award for loss of
earning as capacity of deceased Maureen Hultman at Five Hundred
Q Mr. Witness, if Maureen would not been Sixty-Four Thousand Forty-Two Pesos and Fifty-Seven Centavos
(sic) shot and she continued her studies, (P564,042.57).
what professional career would she (sic) like
to pursue considering her interests and It also bears emphasis that in the computation of the award for loss of
inclinations? earning capacity of the deceased, the life expectancy of the deceased's
heirs is not factored in. The rule is well-settled that the award of damages
WITNESS: for death is computed on the basis of the life expectancy of the deceased,
and not the beneficiary. 205
A That is very difficult to say. She has just
turned 17 and our projection is that, Lastly, appellant seeks a reduction of the award of attorney's fees in the
certainly she would have been an artist in amount of Three Million Pesos (P3,000,000.00), claiming that the same is
the creative side. She would have become exorbitant.
an actress or a movie producer or probably
she would have been a college graduate. We disagree. The three (3) private complainants were represented by the
ACCRA law firm, with Atty. Rogelio Vinluan as lead counsel. They agreed
ATTY. VINLUAN: to pay the amount of One Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos each as
attorney's fees and for litigation expenses. The three criminal cases were
Q But if you would just say based on the consolidated. A continuous trial was conducted, with some hearings
salary of a secretary in Sweden, how much having both morning and afternoon sessions. The trial lasted for almost
would she have much earned? one and a half years. More than forty (40) witnesses testified during the
hearings. Several pleadings were prepared and filed. A total of sixty-eight
(68) documentary exhibits were presented by the prosecution. Incidents
A. Not less than Two Thousand Dollars a
related to the trial of the cases came up to this Court for review at least
month. 200
twice during the pendency of the trial. 206 Given these circumstances and
the evident effort exerted by the private prosecutor throughout the trial,
Clearly, there is no factual basis for the award of thirteen million the trial court's award of a total of Three Million (P3,000,000.00) pesos as
(P13,000,000.00) pesos to the heirs of Maureen far loss of earning attorney's fees and litigation expenses appears just and reasonable.
capacity as a probable secretary in Sweden.
In his last assigned error, appellant urges that the hearings conducted on including evidence in support of the claim for damages.
the cases, where no less than forty-one (41) witnesses were presented by These witnesses were extensively cross-examined by the
the parties, 207 were merely hearings on the petition for bail concerning defense counsels. The defense never objected that
the murder charge for the killing of Roland Chapman, and not a trial on evidence on damages would be unnecessary if its intention
the merits of all three (3) cases. Appellant insists that after the termination was really to limit presentation of evidence to appellant's
of the hearing, he still had the right to adduce evidence at the trial proper. petition for bail.
He claims he was denied due process when the trial court considered all
the cases submitted for decision after the defense waived its right to 2. After the prosecution and the defense rested their
present its surrebuttal evidence. cases, the trial court issued an Order 211 directing the
parties to submit their Memorandum, after which "the main
Appellant's position is untenable. This issue was resolved at the very first case as well as the petition for bail are respectively
hearing of the cases on August 9, 1991. The incident then pending was submitted for Decision and Resolution." After receipt of this
appellant's petition for bail for the murder of Chapman. It will be Order, the defense counsel filed two (2) motions for
remembered that, initially, there was only one murder charge against extension of time to file the defense Memorandum. In both
appellant since Maureen Hultman succumbed to death during the course Motions, the defense did not object to the trial court's
of the proceedings on October 17, 1991. Order submitting for decision the main case and the
petition for bail. Neither did it move for a reconsideration of
Thus, at the initial hearing on August 9, 1991, the incident for resolution this Order and notify the court that it still had witnesses to
was appellant's petition for bail. The prosecution sought to present the present.
surviving victim, Jussi Leino, to testify on all three (3) charges to obviate
delay and inconvenience since all three (3) charges involved one 3. In compliance with said Order, appellant's counsel, Atty.
continuing incident. Appellant, through counsel, objected to the testimony Rodolfo Jimenez, filed a Memorandum and Supplemental
of Leino insofar as the two (2) frustrated murder charges (with respect to Memorandum praying for accused's acquittal. This is
the wounding of Leino and Hultman) were concerned. He argued that inconsistent with the defense's position that the hearing
since the pending incident was the petition for bail with respect to the conducted was only on the petition for bail. If the defense
killing of Chapman, any testimony relative to the two (2) other charges in insist that what was submitted for decision was only his
which bail were recommended was irrelevant. petition for bail, he would have only prayed that he be
granted bail.
After arguments, the defense suggested that if the prosecution would
present Leino to testify on all three (3) charges, it should wait until after 4. Upon receipt of the notice of promulgation of judgment
accused's arraingment on August 14, 1991. 208 The prosecution agreed from the trial court, the defense did not interpose any
on the condition that there shall be trial on the merits and, at the same objection to the intended promulgation. In fact, the defense
time, hearing on the petition for bail. Defense counsel agreed. 209 attended the promulgation of the Decision and manifested
that they were ready therefor.
As agreed upon, accused was arraigned and the prosecution presented
Jussi Leino as its first witness to testify on all three (3) cases. No All these clearly show that the merits of the cases and the petition for bail
objection was made by the defense. 210 were heard simultaneously and appellant acquiesced thereto. Moreover,
appellant's right to present additional evidence was not abridged by the
Subsequent proceedings likewise disprove appellant's insistence that the trial court. On the contrary, the records disclose that the trial court
hearings conducted by the trial court were limited to the petition for afforded the defense fair opportunity to adduce its evidence. It took the
bail, viz: defense almost one and a half years to submit its evidence. The defense
presented more than twenty (20) witnesses and several documentary
1. The prosecution presented all their witnesses and evidence. It was only after the trial court rendered a decision against
documentary evidence relative to the shooting incident, appellant that he filed a motion for new
trial, 212 through his new counsel, Atty. Gatmaytan, Jr. For the first time,
he alleged that the joint decision of the cases, both on the merits and on the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years of prision
the petition for bail, was irregular for he was not given a chance to mayor as minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8)
present further evidence to corroborate his alibi. We note that in his months of reclusion temporal as maximum, and to pay the
motion for new trial, 213 appellant did not even identify his alleged said offended party the following amounts: (P30,000.00)
additional witnesses and the substance of their testimonies. Nor was it pesos as Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) pesos as
shown that he could not have produced these evidence at the trial with indemnity for his injuries; One Hundred Eighteen
reasonable diligence. Appellant's motion was a patent ploy to delay the Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Nine pesos and Eighty-
decision on his cases. His motion was properly denied by the trial court. Four Centavos (P118,369.84) and equivalent in Philippine
Pesos of U.S.$55,600.00, both as actual damages; One
IN VIEW WHEREOF, we hereby AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATIONS the Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos as moral damages; and,
Decision of the trial court, dated December 22, 1992, thus: Two Million (P2,000,000.00) pesos as exemplary
(1) In Criminal Case No. 91-4605, finding accused Claudio
J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the (4) In all three cases, ordering said accused to pay each of
crime of Homicide for the shooting of Roland John the three (3) offended parties the sum of One Million Pesos
Chapman, and sentencing said accused to suffer an (P1,000,000.00; or a total of Three Million [P3,000,000.00]
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of eight (8) years pesos] for attorney's fees and expenses of litigation; and
and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to fourteen
(14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion (5) To pay the costs in all three (3) cases.
temporal as maximum, and to pay the heirs of the said
deceased the following amounts: Fifty Thousand SO ORDERED.
(P50,000.00) pesos as indemnity for the victim's death;
and, One Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos as moral Regalado, Mendoza and Francisco, JJ., concur.
Narvasa, C.J., is on leave.
(2) In Criminal Case No. 91-4606, finding accused Claudio
J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Murder, qualified by treachery, for the shooting of
Maureen Navarro Hultman, and sentencing him to suffer
imprisonment of reclusion perpetua, and to pay the heirs of
the said deceased the following amounts: Fifty Thousand
(P50,000.00) pesos as indemnity for her death; Two Million
Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Four Hundred Sixty-One
Pesos and Eighty-Three Centavos (P2,350,461.83) as
actual damages; Five Hundred Sixty-Four Thousand
Fourty-Two Pesos and Fifty-Seven Centavos
(P564,042.57) for loss of earning capacity of said
deceased; One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral
damages; and Two Million (P2,000,000.00) pesos as
exemplary damages.

(3) In Criminal Case No. 91-4807, finding accused Claudio

J. Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Frustrated Murder, qualified by treachery, for the
shooting of Jussi Olavi Leino, and sentencing him to suffer
Raul Billosos y de Leon and Gerry Nery y Babazon; Criminal Case No.
86-47617 against Romeo Sison y Mejia, Nilo Pacadar y Abe and Joel Tan
y Mostero; Criminal Case No. 86-47790 against Richard de los Santos y
Arambulo; Criminal Case No. 86-48538 against Joselito Tamayo y Ortia;
Republic of the Philippines and Criminal Case No. 86-48931 against Rolando Fernandez y
SUPREME COURT Mandapat. Also filed were Criminal Cases Nos. 86-49007 and 86-49008
Manila against Oliver Lozano and Benjamin Nuega as well as Annie Ferrer
charging them as accomplices to the murder of Salcedo.
The cases were consolidated and raffled to the Regional Trial Court,
Branch XLIX, Manila. All of the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge
and trial ensued accordingly. The prosecution presented twelve
G.R. Nos. 108280-83 November 16, 1995 witnesses, including two eyewitnesses, Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato
Banculo, and the police officers who were at the Luneta at the time of the
incident. In support of their testimonies, the prosecution likewise
presented documentary evidence consisting of newspaper accounts of
SANTOS, and JOSELITO TAMAYO, petitioners,
the incident and various photographs taken during the mauling.
APPEALS, respondents. The prosecution established that on July 27, 1986, a rally was scheduled
to be held at the Luneta by the Marcos loyalists. Earlier, they applied for a
permit to hold the rally but their application was denied by the authorities.
G.R. Nos. 114931-33 November 16, 1995
Despite this setback, three thousand of them gathered at the Rizal
Monument of the Luneta at 2:30 in the afternoon of the scheduled day.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, Led by Oliver Lozano and Benjamin Nuega, both members of the
vs. Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the loyalists started an impromptu
ANNIE FERRER, accused, ROMEO SISON, NILO PACADAR, JOEL singing contest, recited prayers and delivered speeches in between.
TAN, RICHARD DE LOS SANTOS, and JOSELITO TAMAYO, accused- Colonel Edgar Dula Torres, then Deputy Superintendent of the Western
appellants. Police District, arrived and asked the leaders for their permit. No permit
could be produced. Colonel Dula Torres thereupon gave them ten
minutes to disperse. The loyalist leaders asked for thirty minutes but this
was refused. Atty. Lozano turned towards his group and said "Gulpihin
PUNO, J.: ninyo ang lahat ng mga Cory infiltrators." Atty. Nuega added "Sige, sige
gulpihin ninyo!" The police then pushed the crowd, and used tear gas and
The case before us occurred at a time of great political polarization in the truncheons to disperse them. The loyalists scampered away but some of
aftermath of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. This was the time when the them fought back and threw stones at the police. Eventually, the crowd
newly-installed government of President Corazon C. Aquino was being fled towards Maria Orosa Street and the situation later stabilized.1
openly challenged in rallies, demonstrations and other public fora by
"Marcos loyalists," supporters of deposed President Ferdinand E. Marcos. At about 4:00 p.m., a small group of loyalists converged at the Chinese
Tension and animosity between the two (2) groups sometimes broke into Garden, Phase III of the Luneta. There, they saw Annie Ferrer, a popular
violence. On July 27, 1986, it resulted in the murder of Stephen Salcedo, movie starlet and supporter of President Marcos, jogging around the
a known "Coryista." fountain. They approached her and informed her of their dispersal and
Annie Ferrer angrily ordered them "Gulpihin ninyo and mga Cory
From August to October 1986, several informations were filed in court hecklers!" Then she continued jogging around the fountain chanting
against eleven persons identified as Marcos loyalists charging them with "Marcos pa rin, Marcos pa rin, Pabalikin si Marcos, Pabalikin si Marcos,
the murder of Salcedo. Criminal Case No. 86-47322 was filed against Bugbugin ang mga nakadilaw!" The loyalists replied "Bugbugin!" A few
minutes later, Annie Ferrer was arrested by the police. Somebody then Cyanosis, lips, and nailbeds.
shouted "Kailangang gumanti, tayo ngayon!" A commotion ensued and
Renato Banculo, a cigarette vendor, saw the loyalists attacking persons in Contused-abrasions: 6.0 x 2.5 cm., and 3.0 x 2.4 cm.,
yellow, the color of the "Coryistas." Renato took off his yellow shirt. 2 He frontal region, right side; 6.8 x 4.2 cm., frontal region, left
then saw a man wearing a yellow t-shirt being chased by a group of side; 5.0 x 4.0 cm., right cheek; 5.0 x 3.5 cm., face, left
persons shouting "Iyan, habulin iyan. Cory iyan!" The man in the yellow t- side; 3.5 x 2.0 cm., nose; 4.0 x 2.1 cm., left ear, pinna; 5.0
shirt was Salcedo and his pursuers appeared to be Marcos loyalists. They x 4.0 cm. left suprascapular region; 6.0 x 2.8 cm., right
caught Salcedo and boxed and kicked and mauled him. Salcedo tried to elbow.
extricate himself from the group but they again pounced on him and
pummelled him with fist blows and kicks hitting him on various parts of his Abrasions: 4.0 x 2.0 cm., left elbow; 2.0 x 1.5 cm., right
body. Banculo saw Ranulfo Sumilang, an electrician at the Luneta, rush knee.
to Salcedo's aid. Sumilang tried to pacify the maulers so he could
extricate Salcedo from them. But the maulers pursued Salcedo Lacerated wounds: 2.2 cm., over the left eyebrow; 1.0 cm.,
unrelentingly, boxing him with stones in their fists. Somebody gave upper lip.
Sumilang a loyalist tag which Sumilang showed to Salcedo's attackers.
They backed off for a while and Sumilang was able to tow Salcedo away Hematoma, scalp; frontal region, both sides; left parietal
from them. But accused Raul Billosos emerged from behind Sumilang as region; right temporal region; occipital region, right side.
another man boxed Salcedo on the head. Accused Richard de los Santos
also boxed Salcedo twice on the head and kicked him even as he was
Fractures, skull; occipital bone, right side; right posterior
already fallen.3Salcedo tried to stand but accused Joel Tan boxed him on
cranial fossa; right anterior cranial fossa.
the left side of his head and ear.4 Accused Nilo Pacadar punched Salcedo
on his nape, shouting: "Iyan, Cory Iyan. Patayin!"5 Sumilang tried to pacify
Pacadar but the latter lunged at the victim again. Accused Joselito Hemorrhage, subdural, extensive.
Tamayo boxed Salcedo on the left jaw and kicked him as he once more
fell. Banculo saw accused Romeo Sison trip Salcedo and kick him on the Other visceral organs, congested.
head, and when he tried to stand, Sison repeatedly boxed him.6 Sumilang
saw accused Gerry Neri approach the victim but did not notice what he Stomach, about 1/2 filled with grayish brown food materials
did.7 and fluid.10

Salcedo somehow managed to get away from his attackers and wipe off The mauling of Salcedo was witnessed by bystanders and several press
the blood from his face. He sat on some cement steps8 and then tried to people, both local and foreign. The press took pictures and a video of the
flee towards Roxas boulevard to the sanctuary of the Rizal Monument but event which became front-page news the following day, capturing
accused Joel Tan and Nilo Pacadar pursued him, mauling Sumilang in national and international attention. This prompted President Aquino to
the process. Salcedo pleaded for his life exclaiming "Maawa na kayo sa order the Capital Regional Command and the Western Police District to
akin. Tulungan ninyo ako." He cried: "Pulis, pulis. Wala bang pulis?"9 investigate the incident. A reward of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00)
was put up by Brigadier General Alfredo Lim, then Police Chief, for
The mauling resumed at the Rizal Monument and continued along Roxas persons who could give information leading to the arrest of the
Boulevard until Salcedo collapsed and lost consciousness. Sumilang killers.11Several persons, including Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato
flagged down a van and with the help of a traffic officer, brought Salcedo Banculo, cooperated with the police, and on the basis of their
to the Medical Center Manila but he was refused admission. So they took identification, several persons, including the accused, were apprehended
him to the Philippine General Hospital where he died upon arrival. and investigated.

Salcedo died of "hemorrhage, intracranial traumatic." He sustained For their defense, the principal accused denied their participation in the
various contusions, abrasions, lacerated wounds and skull fractures as mauling of the victim and offered their respective alibis. Accused Joselito
revealed in the following post-mortem findings: Tamayo testified that he was not in any of the photographs presented by
the prosecution12 because on July 27, 1986, he was in his house in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and, there being no
Quezon City.13 Gerry Neri claimed that he was at the Luneta Theater at other mitigating or aggravating circumstances, hereby
the time of the imposes on each of them an indeterminate penalty of from
incident. 14 Romeo Sison, a commercial photographer, was allegedly at FOURTEEN (14)YEARS, TEN (10) MONTHS and
his office near the Luneta waiting for some pictures to be developed at TWENTY (20) DAYS, of Reclusion Temporal, as minimum,
that time. 15 He claimed to be afflicted with hernia impairing his mobility; to TWENTY (20) DAYS, of Reclusion Temporal, as
he cannot run normally nor do things forcefully. 16 Richard de los Santos minimum, to TWENTY (20) YEARS of Reclusion
admits he was at the Luneta at the time of the mauling but denies hitting Temporal, as Maximum;
Salcedo. 17 He said that he merely watched the mauling which explains
why his face appeared in some of the photographs. 18 Unlike the other 3. In "People versus Richard de los Santos," Criminal Case
accused, Nilo Pacadar admits that he is a Marcos loyalist and a member No. 86-47790, the Court finds the Accused Richard de los
of the Ako'y Pilipino Movement and that he attended the rally on that Santos guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principal for the
fateful day. According to him, he saw Salcedo being mauled and like crime of Murder defined in Article 248 of the Revised Penal
Richard de los Santos, merely viewed the incident. 19 His face was in the Code and, there being no other extenuating
pictures because he shouted to the maulers to stop hitting circumstances, the Court hereby imposes on him an
Salcedo. 20 Joel Tan also testified that he tried to pacify the maulers indeterminate penalty of from FOURTEEN (14) YEARS,
because he pitied Salcedo. The maulers however ignored him. 21 TEN (10) MONTHS and TWENTY (20) DAYS of Reclusion
Temporal, as Minimum, to TWENTY (20) YEARS
The other accused, specifically Attys. Lozano and Nuega and Annie of Reclusion Temporal as Maximum;
Ferrer opted not to testify in their defense.
4. In "People versus Joselito Tamayo," Criminal Case No.
On December 16, 1988, the trial court rendered a decision finding Romeo 86-48538 the Court finds the Accused guilty beyond
Sison, Nilo Pacadar, Joel Tan, Richard de los Santos and Joselito reasonable doubt as principal, for the crime of "Murder"
Tamayo guilty as principals in the crime of murder qualified by treachery defined in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and
and sentenced them to 14 years 10 months and 20 days of reclusion hereby imposes on him an indeterminate penalty of from
temporal as minimum to 20 years of reclusion temporal as maximum. FOURTEEN (14) YEARS, TEN (10) MONTHS and
Annie Ferrer was likewise convicted as an accomplice. The court, TWENTY (20) DAYS of Reclusion Temporal, as Minimum,
however, found that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the other to TWENTY (20) YEARS of Reclusion Temporal, as
accused and thus acquitted Raul Billosos, Gerry Nery, Rolando Maximum;
Fernandez, Oliver Lozano and Benjamin Nuega. The dispositive portion
of the decision reads as follows: 5. In "People versus Rolando Fernandez," Criminal Case
No. 86-4893l, the Court finds that the Prosecution failed to
WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered in the prove the guilt of the Accused for the crime charged
aforementioned cases as follows: beyond reasonable doubt and hereby acquits him of said
1. In "People versus Raul Billosos and Gerry Nery,"
Criminal Case No. 86-47322, the Court finds that the 6. In "People versus Oliver Lozano, et al.," Criminal Case
Prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the two (2) Accused No. 86-49007, the Court finds that the Prosecution failed to
beyond reasonable doubt for the crime charged and prove the guilt of the Accused beyond reasonable doubt
hereby acquits them of said charge; for the crime charged and hereby acquits them of said
2. In "People versus Romeo Sison, et al.," Criminal Case
No. 86-47617, the Court finds the Accused Romeo Sison, 7. In "People versus Annie Ferrer," Criminal Case No. 86-
Nilo Pacadar and Joel Tan, guilty beyond reasonable 49008, the Court finds the said Accused guilty beyond
doubt, as principals for the crime of Murder, defined in reasonable doubt, as accomplice to the crime of Murder
under Article 18 in relation to Article 248 of the Revised 1. Accused-appellants Romeo Sison y Mejia, Nilo Pacadar
Penal Code and hereby imposes on her an indeterminate y Abe, Joel Tan y Mostero and Richard de los Santos are
penalty of NINE (9) YEARS and FOUR (4) MONTHS hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Murder
of Prision Mayor, as Minimum to TWELVE (12) YEARS, and are each hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty
FIVE (5) MONTHS and ELEVEN (11) DAYS of Reclusion of Reclusion Perpetua;
Temporal, as Maximum.
2. Accused-appellant Joselito Tamayo y Oria is hereby
The Accused Romeo Sison, Nilo Pacadar, Richard de los found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Santos, Joel Tan, Joselito Tamayo and Annie Ferrer are Homicide with the generic aggravating circumstance of
hereby ordered to pay, jointly and severally, to the heirs of abuse of superior strength and, as a consequence, an
Stephen Salcedo the total amount of P74,000.00 as actual indeterminate penalty of TWELVE (12) YEARS of prision
damages and the amount of P30,000.00 as moral and mayor as Minimum to TWENTY (20) YEARS of reclusion
exemplary damages, and one-half (1/2) of the costs of suit. temporal as Maximum is hereby imposed upon him;

The period during which the Accused Nilo Pacadar, 3. Accused-appellant Annie Ferrer is hereby ACQUITTED
Romeo Sison, Joel Tan, Richard de los Santos and of being an accomplice to the crime of Murder.
Joselito Tamayo had been under detention during the
pendency of these cases shall be credited to them CONSIDERING that the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua has
provided that they agreed in writing to abide by and comply been imposed in the instant consolidated cases, the said
strictly with the rules and regulations of the City Jail. cases are now hereby certified to the Honorable Supreme
Court for review. 24
The Warden of the City Jail of Manila is hereby ordered to
release the Accused Gerry Nery, Raul Billosos and Petitioners filed G.R. Nos. 108280-83 under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules
Rolando Fernandez from the City Jail unless they are of Court inasmuch as Joselito Tamayo was not sentenced to reclusion
being detained for another cause or charge. perpetua. G.R. Nos. 114931-33 was certified to us for automatic review of
the decision of the Court of Appeals against the four accused-appellants
The Petition for Bail of the Accused Rolando Fernandez sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
has become moot and academic. The Petition for Bail of
the Accused Joel Tan, Romeo Sison and Joselito Tamayo Before this court, accused-appellants assign the following errors:
is denied for lack of merit.
The bail bonds posted by the Accused Oliver Lozano and
Benjamin Nuega are hereby cancelled. 22 THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY
On appeal, the Court of Appeals 23 on December 28, 1992, modified the TO CITE ANYTHING ON RECORD TO SUPPORT THEIR
decision of the trial court by acquitting Annie Ferrer but increasing the AVERMENT THAT THERE WERE NO WITNESSES WHO
penalty of the rest of the accused, except for Joselito Tamayo, HAVE COME FORWARD TO IDENTIFY THE PERSONS
to reclusion perpetua. The appellate court found them guilty of murder RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF STEPHEN
qualified by abuse of superior strength, but convicted Joselito Tamayo of SALCEDO.
homicide because the information against him did not allege the said
qualifying circumstance. The dispositive portion of the decision reads: II

Appellants mainly claim that the Court of Appeals erred in
V sustaining the testimonies of the two in prosecution eyewitnesses,
Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato Banculo, because they are
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY unreliable, doubtful and do not deserve any credence. According
ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE CRIME COMMITTED IS to them, the testimonies of these two witnesses are suspect
MURDER AND NOT DEATH (HOMICIDE) CAUSED IN A because they surfaced only after a reward was announced by
TUMULTUOUS AFFRAY. 25 General Lim. Renato Banculo even submitted three sworn
statements to the police geared at providing a new or improved
In their additional brief, appellants contend that: version of the incident. On the witness stand, he mistakenly
identified a detention prisoner in another case as accused
I Rolando Fernandez. 27 Ranulfo Sumilang was evasive and
unresponsive prompting the trial court to reprimand him several
UTILIZING SPECULATIONS, SURMISES, NON- There is no proof that Banculo or Sumilang testified because of the
SEQUITUR CONCLUSIONS, AND EVEN THE DISPUTED reward announced by General Lim, much less that both or either of them
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT, TO UPHOLD THE ever received such reward from the government. On the contrary, the
VALIDITY OF THE VERY SAME JUDGMENT, ALL evidence shows that Sumilang reported the incident to the police and
CONTRARY TO THE RULES OF EVIDENCE. submitted his sworn statement immediately two hours after the mauling,
even before announcement of any reward. 29 He informed the police that
II he would cooperate with them and identify Salcedo's assailants if he saw
them again. 30
ADMITTING EXHIBITS "D", "G", "O", "P", "V", TO "V-48", The fact that Banculo executed three sworn statements does not make
them and his testimony incredible. The sworn statements were made to
identify more suspects who were apprehended during the investigation of 13." 39 Exhibit "O" is the Joint Affidavit of Pat. Flores and Pat. Bautista,
Salcedo's death. 31 the police intelligence-operatives who witnessed the rally and subsequent
dispersal operation. Pat. Flores properly identified Exhibit "O" as his
The records show that Sumilang was admonished several times by the sworn statement and in fact gave testimony corroborating the contents
trial court on the witness stand for being argumentative and thereof. 40 Besides, the Joint Affidavit merely reiterates what the other
evasive. 32 This is not enough reason to reject Sumilang's testimony for prosecution witnesses testified to. Identification by Pat. Bautista is a
he did not exhibit this undesirable conduct all throughout his testimony. surplusage. If appellants wanted to impeach the said affidavit, they should
On the whole, his testimony was correctly given credence by the trial have placed Pat. Flores on the witness stand.
court despite his evasiveness at some instances. Except for compelling
reasons, we cannot disturb the way trial courts calibrate the credence of Exhibits "V," "V-1" to "V-48" are photographs taken of the victim as he
witnesses considering their visual view of the demeanor of witnesses was being mauled at the Luneta starting from a grassy portion to the
when on the witness stand. As trial courts, they can best appreciate the pavement at the Rizal Monument and along Roxas Boulevard, 41 as he
verbal and non-verbal dimensions of a witness' testimony. was being chased by his assailants 42 and as he sat pleading with his
assailants. 43 Exhibits "W", "W-1" to "W-13" are photographs of Salcedo
Banculo's mistake in identifying another person as one of the accused and the mauling published in local newspapers and magazines such as
does not make him an entirely untrustworthy witness. 33 It does not make the Philippine Star, 44 Mr. and Ms. Magazine, 45 Philippine Daily
his whole testimony a falsity. An honest mistake is not inconsistent with a Inquirer, 46 and the Malaya. 47 The admissibility of these photographs is
truthful testimony. Perfect testimonies cannot be expected from persons being questioned by appellants for lack of proper identification by the
with imperfect senses. In the court's discretion, therefore, the testimony of person or persons who took the same.
a witness can be believed as to some facts but disbelieved with respect to
the others. 34 The rule in this jurisdiction is that photographs, when presented in
evidence, must be identified by the photographer as to its production and
We sustain the appellate and trial courts' findings that the witnesses' testified as to the circumstances under which they were produced. 48 The
testimonies corroborate each other on all important and relevant details of value of this kind of evidence lies in its being a correct representation or
the principal occurrence. Their positive identification of all petitioners jibe reproduction of the original, 49 and its admissibility is determined by its
with each other and their narration of the events are supported by the accuracy in portraying the scene at the time of the crime. 50 The
medical and documentary evidence on record. photographer, however, is not the only witness who can identify the
pictures he has taken. 51 The correctness of the photograph as a faithful
Dr. Roberto Garcia, the medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of representation of the object portrayed can be proved prima facie, either
Investigation, testified that the victim had various wounds on his body by the testimony of the person who made it or by other competent
which could have been inflicted by pressure from more than one hard witnesses, after which the court can admit it subject to impeachment as to
object. 35 The contusions and abrasions found could have been caused its accuracy. 52Photographs, therefore, can be identified by the
by punches, kicks and blows from rough stones. 36 The fatal injury of photographer or by any other competent witness who can testify to its
intracranial hemorrhage was a result of fractures in Salcedo's skull which exactness and accuracy. 53
may have been caused by contact with a hard and blunt object such as
fistblows, kicks and a blunt wooden instrument. 37 This court notes that when the prosecution offered the photographs as
part of its evidence, appellants, through counsel Atty. Alfredo Lazaro, Jr.
Appellants do not deny that Salcedo was mauled, kicked and punched. objected to their admissibility for lack of proper identification. 54 However,
Sumilang in fact testified that Salcedo was pummeled by his assailants when the accused presented their evidence, Atty. Winlove Dumayas,
with stones in their hands. 38 counsel for accused Joselito Tamayo and Gerry Neri used Exhibits "V",
"V-1" to "V-48" to prove that his clients were not in any of the pictures and
Appellants also contend that although the appellate court correctly therefore could not have participated in the mauling of the victim. 55 The
disregarded Exhibits "D," "G," and "P," it erroneously gave evidentiary photographs were adopted by appellant Joselito Tamayo and accused
weight to Exhibits "O," "V," "V-1" to "V-48," "W," "W-1" to "W- Gerry Neri as part of the defense exhibits. And at this hearing, Atty.
Dumayas represented all the other accused per understanding with their
respective counsels, including Atty. Lazaro, who were absent. At actually killed the deceased, but the person or persons
subsequent hearings, the prosecution used the photographs to cross- who inflicted serious physical injuries can be identified,
examine all the accused who took the witness stand. 56 No objection was such person or persons shall be punished by prison mayor.
made by counsel for any of the accused, not until Atty. Lazaro appeared
at the third hearing and interposed a continuing objection to their If it cannot be determined who inflicted the serious physical
admissibility. 57 injuries on the deceased, the penalty ofprision
correccional in its medium and maximum periods shall be
The objection of Atty. Lazaro to the admissibility of the photographs is imposed upon all those who shall have used violence upon
anchored on the fact that the person who took the same was not the person of the victim.
presented to identify them. We rule that the use of these photographs by
some of the accused to show their alleged non-participation in the crime For this article to apply, it must be established that: (1) there be
is an admission of the exactness and accuracy thereof. That the several persons; (2) that they did not compose groups organized
photographs are faithful representations of the mauling incident was for the common purpose of assaulting and attacking each other
affirmed when appellants Richard de los Santos, Nilo Pacadar and Joel reciprocally; (3) these several persons quarrelled and assaulted
Tan identified themselves therein and gave reasons for their presence one another in a confused and tumultuous manner; (4) someone
thereat. 58 was killed in the course of the affray; (5) it cannot be ascertained
who actually killed the deceased; and (6) that the person or
An analysis of the photographs vis-a-vis the accused's testimonies reveal persons who inflicted serious physical injuries or who used
that only three of the appellants, namely, Richard de los Santos, Nilo violence can be identified.62
Pacadar and Joel Tan could be readily seen in various belligerent poses
lunging or hovering behind or over the victim. 59 Appellant Romeo Sison A tumultuous affray takes place when a quarrel occurs between several
appears only once and he, although afflicted with hernia is shown merely persons and they engage in a confused and tumultuous affray, in the
running after the course of which some person is killed or wounded and the author thereof
victim. 60Appellant Joselito Tamayo was not identified in any of the cannot be ascertained.63
pictures. The absence of the two appellants in the photographs does not
exculpate them. The photographs did not capture the entire sequence of The quarrel in the instant case, if it can be called a quarrel, was between
the killing of Salcedo but only segments thereof. While the pictures did one distinct group and one individual. Confusion may have occurred
not record Sison and Tamayo hitting Salcedo, they were unequivocally because of the police dispersal of the rallyists, but this confusion
identified by Sumilang and subsided eventually after the loyalists fled to Maria Orosa Street. It was
Banculo61Appellants' denials and alibis cannot overcome their eyeball only a while later after said dispersal that one distinct group identified as
identification. loyalists picked on one defenseless individual and attacked him
repeatedly, taking turns in inflicting punches, kicks and blows on him.
Appellants claim that the lower courts erred in finding the existence of There was no confusion and tumultuous quarrel or affray, nor was there a
conspiracy among the principal accused and in convicting them of murder reciprocal aggression at this stage of the incident.64
qualified by abuse of superior strength, not death in tumultuous affray.
As the lower courts found, the victim's assailants were numerous by as
Death in a tumultuous affray is defined in Article 251 of the Revised Penal much as fifty in number65 and were armed with stones with which they hit
code as follows: the victim. They took advantage of their superior strength and excessive
force and frustrated any attempt by Salcedo to escape and free himself.
Art. 251. Death caused in a tumultuous affray. When, They followed Salcedo from the Chinese Garden to the Rizal Monument
while several persons, not composing groups organized for several meters away and hit him mercilessly even when he was already
the common purpose of assaulting and attacking each fallen on the ground. There was a time when Salcedo was able to get up,
other reciprocally, quarrel and assault each other in a prop himself against the pavement and wipe off the blood from his face.
confused and tumultuous manner, and in the course of the But his attackers continued to pursue him relentlessly. Salcedo could not
affray someone is killed, and it cannot be ascertained who defend himself nor could he find means to defend himself. Sumilang tried
to save him from his assailants but they continued beating him, hitting IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed and
Sumilang in the process. Salcedo pleaded for mercy but they ignored his modified as follows:
pleas until he finally lost consciousness. The deliberate and prolonged
use of superior strength on a defenseless victim qualifies the killing to 1. Accused-appellants Romeo Sison, Nilo Pacadar, Joel
murder. Tan and Richard de los Santos are found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of Murder without any aggravating or
Treachery as a qualifying circumstance cannot be appreciated in the mitigating circumstance and are each hereby sentenced to
instant case. There is no proof that the attack on Salcedo was suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua;
deliberately and consciously chosen to ensure the assailants' safety from
any defense the victim could have made. True, the attack on Salcedo was 2. Accused-appellant Joselito Tamayo is found GUILTY
sudden and unexpected but it was apparently because of the fact that he beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide with the
was wearing a yellow t-shirt or because he allegedly flashed the "Laban" generic aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior
sign against the rallyists, taunting them into mauling him. As the appellate strength and, as a consequence, he is sentenced to an
court well found, Salcedo had the opportunity to sense the temper of the indeterminate penalty of TWELVE (12) YEARS of prision
rallyists and run away from them but he, unfortunately, was overtaken by mayor as minimum to TWENTY (20) YEARS of reclusion
them. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack temporal as maximum;
without the slightest provocation on the part of the person being
attacked. 66 3. All accused-appellants are hereby ordered to pay jointly
and severally the heirs of Stephen Salcedo the following
The qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation was alleged in the amounts:
information against Joselito Tamayo. Evident premeditation cannot be
appreciated in this case because the attack against Salcedo was sudden (a) P74,000.00 as actual damages;
and spontaneous, spurred by the raging animosity against the so-called
"Coryistas." It was not preceded by cool thought and reflection. (b) P100,000.00 as moral damages; and

We find however the existence of a conspiracy among appellants. At the (c) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of
time they were committing the crime, their actions impliedly showed a the victim.
unity of purpose among them, a concerted effort to bring about the death
of Salcedo. Where a conspiracy existed and is proved, a showing as to Costs against accused-appellants.
who among the conspirators inflicted the fatal wound is not required to
sustain a conviction. 67 Each of the conspirators is liable for all acts of the
others regardless of the intent and character of their participation,
because the act of one is the act of all. 68
Narvasa, C.J., Regalado and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
The trial court awarded the heirs of Salcedo P74,000.00 as actual
damages, P30,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages, and one half of Francisco, J., is on leave.
the costs of the suit. At the time he died on July 27, 1986, Salcedo was
twenty three years old and was set to leave on August 4, 1986 for
employment in Saudi Arabia. 69 The reckless disregard for such a young
person's life and the anguish wrought on his widow and three small
children, 70 warrant an increase in moral damages from P30,000.00 to
P100,000.00. The indemnity of P50,000.00 must also be awarded for the
death of the victim.71
2004,[5] respectively, which in turn affirmed the 8 January
2003 Resolution[6] of the Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) of Quezon

The Assistant City Prosecutor for the OCP of Quezon City

recommended the dismissal of the criminal complaint, docketed as I.S.
THIRD DIVISION No. 02-12466, for violation of Articles 172 (Falsification by Private
Individuals and Use of Falsified Documents) and 262 (Mutilation), both of
the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Republic Act No. 7610, otherwise
GLORIA PILAR S. AGUIRRE, G. R. No. 170723 known as Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, for
Petitioner, insufficiency of evidence.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by petitioner Gloria
- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, Aguirre against respondents Pedro B. Aguirre (Pedro Aguirre), Michelina
Chairperson, S. Aguirre-Olondriz (Olondriz), Dr. Juvido Agatep (Dr. Agatep), Dr.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, Marissa B. Pascual (Dr. Pascual) and several John/Jane Does for
SECRETARY OF THE CORONA,* falsification, mutilation and child abuse.
MICHELINA S. AGUIRRE- REYES, JJ. The antecedents of the present petition are:
AGUIRRE, DR. JUVIDO AGATEP Laureano Larry Aguirre[7] used to be a charge of the Heart of Mary
and DR. MARISSA B. PASCUAL, Promulgated: Villa, a child caring agency run by the Good Shepherd Sisters and
Respondents. licensed by the Department of Social Work and Development
March 3, 2008 (DSWD). Sometime in 1978, respondent Pedro Aguirre; the latters
x--------------------------------------------------x spouse, Lourdes S. Aguirre (Lourdes Aguirre); and their four daughters,
who included petitioner Gloria Aguirre and respondent Olondriz, came to
know Larry, who was then just over a year old. The Aguirres would have
Larry spend a few days at their home and then return him to the
orphanage thereafter. In June 1980, Larry, then two years and nine
months of age, formally became the ward of respondent Pedro Aguirre
and his spouse Lourdes Aguirre by virtue of an Affidavit of Consent to
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: Legal Guardianship executed in their favor by Sister Mary Concepta
Bellosillo, Superior of the Heart of Mary Villa. On 19 June 1986, the
Aguirre spouses guardianship of Larry was legalized when the Regional
In this petition for review on certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3 of Balanga, Bataan, duly appointed them as
of Court, as amended, petitioner Gloria Pilar S. Aguirre (Gloria Aguirre) joint co-guardians over the person and property of Larry.
seeks the reversal of the 21 July 2005 Decision[2] and 5 December As Larry was growing up, the Aguirre spouses and their children
2005 Resolution,[3] both of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP noticed that his developmental milestones were remarkably delayed. His
No. 88370, entitled Gloria Pilar S. Aguirre v. Secretary of the Department cognitive and physical growth did not appear normal in that at age 3 to 4
of Justice, Michelina S. Aguirre-Olondriz, Dr. Juvido Agatep, Dra. Marissa years, Larry could only crawl on his tummy like a frog x x x;[8] he did not
B. Pascual, Pedro B. Aguirre and John and Jane Does. utter his first word until he was three years of age; did not speak in
sentences until his sixth year; and only learned to stand up and walk after
The Court of Appeals found no grave abuse of discretion on the he turned five years old. At age six, the Aguirre spouses first enrolled
part of the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) when the latter Larry at the Colegio de San Agustin, Dasmarias Village, but the child
issued the twin resolutions dated 11 February 2004[4] and 12 November experienced significant learning difficulties there. In 1989, at age eleven,
Larry was taken to specialists for neurological and psychological years old. Neurological findings and EEG results were not
evaluations. The psychological evaluation[9] done on Larry revealed the normal and he was given Tecretol and Encephabol by his
latter to be suffering from a mild mental deficiency.[10] Consequent neurologist.Psychological evaluation revealed mild to
thereto, the Aguirre spouses transferred Larry to St. John Ma. Vianney, moderate mental retardation, special education training
an educational institution for special children. was advised and thus, he was transferred to St. John
Marie Vianney. He finished his elementary and secondary
In November of 2001, respondent Dr. Agatep, a urologist/surgeon, education in the said school. He was later enrolled in a
was approached concerning the intention to have Larry, then 24 years of vocational course at Don Bosco which he was unable to
age, vasectomized. Prior to performing the procedure on the intended continue. There has been no reported behavioral problems
patient, respondent Dr. Agatep required that Larry be evaluated by a in school and he gets along relatively well with his teachers
psychiatrist in order to confirm and validate whether or not the former and some of his classmates.
could validly give his consent to the medical procedure on account of his
mental deficiency. Larry grew up with a very supportive adoptive family. He is
the youngest in the family of four sisters. Currently, his
In view of the required psychiatric clearance, Larry was brought to adoptive parents are already old and have medical
respondent Dr. Pascual, a psychiatrist, for evaluation. In a psychiatric problem and thus, they could no longer monitor and take
report dated 21 January 2002, respondent Dr. Pascual made the care of him like before. His adoptive mother has Bipolar
following recommendation: Mood Disorder and used to physically maltreat him. A year
ago, he had an episode of dizziness, vomiting and
[T]he responsibility of decision making may be given to his headaches after he was hit by his adoptive
parent or guardian.[11] mother. Consult was done in Makati Medical Center and
several tests were done, results of which were consistent
with his developmental problem. There was no evidence of
the full text of which reads acute insults. The family subsequently decided that he
should stay with one of his sisters to avoid similar incident
PSYCHIATRY REPORT and the possibility that he would retaliate although he has
21 January 2002 never hurt anybody. There has been no episode of violent
outburst or aggressive behavior. He would often keep to
GENERAL DATA himself when sad, angry or frustrated.

LAUREANO AGUIRRE, 24 years old, male, high school He is currently employed in the company of his sister and
graduate of St. John [Marie Vianney], was referred for given assignment to do some photocopying, usually in the
psychiatric evaluation to determine competency to give mornings. He enjoys playing billiards and basketball with
consent for vasectomy. his nephews and, he spends most of his leisure time
watching TV and listening to music. He could perform
CLINICAL SUMMARY activities of daily living without assistance except that he
still needs supervision in taking a bath. He cannot prepare
Larry was adopted at age 3 from an orphanage and his own meal and never allowed to go out and run errands
prenatal history is not known to the adoptive family except alone. He does not have friends and it is only his adoptive
that abortion was attempted. Developmental milestones family whom he has significant relationships. He claims
were noted to be delayed.He started to walk and speak in that he once had a girlfriend when he was in high school
single word at around age 5. He was enrolled in Colegio who was more like a best friend to him. He never had
de San Agustin at age 6 where he showed significant sexual relations. He has learned to smoke and drink
learning difficulties that he had to repeat 1st and alcohol few years ago through his cousins and the
4th grades. A consult was done in 1989 when he was 11
drivers. There is no history of abuse of alcohol or any
prohibited substances. Larrys mental deficiency could be associated with
possible perinatal insults, which is consistent with the
MEDICAL STATUS EXAMINATION neuroimaging findings. Mental retardation associated with
neurological problems usually has poorer prognosis. Larry
The applicant was appropriately dressed. He was is very much dependent on his family for his needs,
cooperative and he had intermittent eye contact. Speech adaptive functioning, direction and in making major life
was spontaneous, soft, and relevant. He responded to decisions. At his capacity, he may never understand the
questions in single words or simple sentences. He was nature, the foreseeable risks and benefits, and
anxious specially at the start of the interview, with full affect consequences of the procedure (vasectomy) that his family
appropriate to mood and thought content. There was no wants for his protection. Thus, the responsibility of decision
apparent thought or perceptual disturbance. No making may be given to his parent or guardian.
suicidal/homicidal thoughts elicited. He was oriented to
time, place and person. He has intact remote and recent Marissa B. Pascual, M.D.
memory. He could do simple calculation. He could write his Psychiatrist[12]
name and read simple words. His human figure was
comparable to a 7-8 year old. He demonstrated fair
judgment and poor insight. He had fair impulse control. Considering the above recommendation, respondent Pedro
Aguirres written consent was deemed sufficient in order to proceed with
PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS the conduct of the vasectomy. Hence, on 31 January 2002, respondent
Dr. Agatep performed a bilateral vasectomy on Larry.
Psychological tests done on March 6, 1990 (Dr. Lourdes
Ledesma) and on August 4, 2000 (Dr. Ma. Teresa Gustilo- On 11 June 2002, petitioner Gloria Aguirre, respondent Pedro
Villaosor) consistently revealed mild to moderate mental Aguirres eldest child, instituted a criminal complaint for the violation of the
deficiency. Revised Penal Code, particularly Articles 172 and 262, both in relation to
Republic Act No. 7610 against respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr.
SIGNIFICANT LABORATORY EXAMS RESULTS Agatep, Dr. Pascual and several John/Jane Does before the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Quezon City.
CT scan done 09 January 2001 showed nonspecific right
deep parietal subcortical malacia. No localized mass lesion The Complaint Affidavit,[13] docketed as I.S. No. 02-12466,
in the brain. contained the following allegations:

MRI done on 10 January 2001 showed bilateral parietal x x 2. x x x Dr. Agatep and Dra. Pascual were (sic)
x volume loss, encephalomalacia, gliosis and ulegyria medical practitioners specializing in urology and psychiatry
consistent with sequela of postnatal or neonatal respectively; while respondent Pedro B. Aguirre is my
infarcts. Ex-vacuo dilatation of the atria of lateral ventricles father; Michelina S. Aguirre-Olondriz is my sister, and the
associated thinned posterior half of the corpus callosum. victim Laureano Larry Aguirre xxx is my common law
brother. JOHN and JANE DOES were the persons who,
ASSESSMENT AND RECOMMENDATION acting upon the apparent instructions of respondents
Michelina Aguirre-Olondriz and/or Pedro B. Aguirre,
Axis I None actually scouted, prospected, facilitated, solicited and/or
Axis II Mental Retardation, mild to moderate type procured the medical services of respondents Dra. Pascual
Axis III None and Dr. Agatep vis--vis the intended mutilation via bilateral
Axis IV None at present vasectomy of my common law brother Larry Aguirre
Axis V Current GAF = 50-60 subject hereof.
purportedly suffers from BIPOLAR
xxxx MOOD DISORDER x x x.

4. Sometime in March 2002, however, the Heart of Mary

Villa of the Good Shepherd Sisters was furnished a copy of To answer petitioner Gloria Aguirres accusations against them,
respondent Dra. Pascuals Psychiatry Report dated 21 respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr. Pascual
January 2004 by the DSWD, in which my common law submitted their respective Counter-Affidavits.
brother Larry was falsely and maliciously declared
incompetent and incapable of purportedly giving his own In her defense,[14] respondent Olondriz denied that she
consent to the MUTILATION VIA BILATERAL prospected, scouted, facilitated, solicited and/or procured any false
VASECTOMY intended to be performed on him by all the statement, mutilated or abused her common-law brother, Larry Aguirre.
respondents. Further, she countered that:

xxxx 3. x x x While I am aware and admit that Larry went

through a vasectomy procedure, there is
6. Based on the foregoing charade and false pretenses nothing in the Complaint which explains
invariably committed by all of the respondents in how the vasectomy amounts to a mutilation.
conspiracy with each other, on 31 January 2002, my
common law brother Larry Aguirre, although of legal age xxxx
but conspiratorially caused to be declared by respondents
to be mentally deficient and incompetent to give consent to 5. In any case, as I did not perform the vasectomy,
his BILATERAL VASECTOMY, was then intentionally, I can state with complete confidence that I
unlawfully, maliciously, feloniously and/or criminally placed did not participate in any way in the alleged
thereafter under surgery for MUTILATION VIA BILATERAL mutilation.
AUTHORIZATION ORDER from the GUARDIANSHIP 6. Neither did I procure or solicit the services of the
COURT, nor personal consent of Larry Aguirre himself. physician who performed the vasectomy,
Dr. Juvido Agatep x x x. It was my father,
Pedro Aguirre, Larrys guardian, who
In addition to the above, the complaint included therein an obtained his services. I merely acted upon
allegation that his instructions and accompanied my
brother to the physician, respondents Dra.
v. x x x without a PRIOR medical Marissa B. Pascual x x x.
examination, professional interview
of nor verification and consultation xxxx
with my mother, Lourdes Sabino-
Aguirre, respondent Dra. Pascual 10. Neither does the Complaint explain in what
baselessly, fraudulently and with manner the Complainant is authorized or
obvious intent to defame and malign has any standing to declare that Larrys
her reputation and honor, and consent was not obtained. Complainant is
worse, that of our Sabido family, not the guardian or relative of Larry. While
falsely concluded and diagnosed, via she argues that Larrys consent should have
her falsified Psychiatry Report, that been obtained the Complaint does not
my mother Lourdes Sabido-Aguirre dispute the psychiatrists findings about
Larrys inability to give consent.
that the procedure performed is reversible through another procedure
xxxx called Vasovasostomy, to wit:

13. x x x the Complaint does not even state what 8. I understand that vasectomy is reversible through a
alleged participation was falsified or the procedure called Vasovasostomy. I can also state
portion of the psychiatric report that with confidence that the procedure enables men
allegedly states that someone participated who have undergone a vasectomy to sire a
when in fact that person did not so child. Hence, no permanent damage was caused
participate. by the procedure.

Respondent Pedro Aguirre challenges the charge of falsification in
15. Again, I had no participation in the preparation the complaint, to wit:
of the report of Dr. Pascual x x x.
14. x x x I did not make it appear that any person
xxxx participated in any act or proceeding when that
person did not in fact participate x x x.
17. x x x the Complaint does not dispute that he
(Larry) is mentally deficient or incompetent xxxx
to give consent.
16. x x x I had no participation in the preparation of the
xxxx report of Dra. Pascual. She arrived at her report
independently, using her own professional
19. x x x I verified that the effect of a vasectomy judgment x x x.
operation was explained to him (Larry) by
both respondent doctors. xxxx

20. x x x I accompanied Larry and obeyed my 31. What I cannot understand about Petitas Complaint is
father on the belief that my father continues how Larry is argued to be legally a child under the
to be the legal guardian of Larry. I know of definition of one law but nonetheless and
no one else who asserts to be his legal simultaneously argued to be capacitated to give his
guardian x x x.[15] consent as fully as an adult.[18]

Alleging the same statement of facts and defenses, respondent Respondent Pedro Aguirre further clarifies that co-guardianship
Pedro Aguirre argues against his complicity in the crime of mutilation as over Larry had been granted to himself and his wife, Lourdes Aguirre,
charged and asserts that: way back on 19 June 1986 by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 3 of
Balanga, Bataan. Respondent Pedro Aguirre contends that being one of
5. In any case, as I did not perform the vasectomy, I can the legal guardians, consequently, parental authority over Larry is vested
state with complete confidence that I did not in him. But assuming for the sake of argument that Larry does have the
participate in any way in the alleged mutilation.[16] capacity to make the decision concerning his vasectomy, respondent
Pedro Aguirre argues that petitioner Gloria Aguirre has no legal
Nevertheless, he maintains that the vasectomy performed on Larry does personality to institute the subject criminal complaint, for only Larry would
not in any way amount to mutilation, as the latters reproductive organ is have the right to do so.
still completely intact.[17] In any case, respondent Pedro Aguirre explains
Just as the two preceding respondents did, respondent Dr. Agatep reputation, and miserably fails to implicate the degree of
also disputed the allegations of facts stated in the Complaint. Adopting participation of herein respondent. x x x
the allegations of his co-respondents insofar as they were material to the
charges against him, he vehemently denied failing to inform Larry of the xxxx
intended procedure. In his counter-statement of facts he averred that:
(b) Falsification. x x x I strongly aver that this felony does
(b) x x x I scheduled Larry for consultative interview x x x not apply to me since it clearly gives reference to co-
wherein I painstakingly explained what vasectomy is and respondent, Dr. Marissa Pascuals Psychiatry Report,
the consequences thereof; but finding signs of mental dated January 21, 2002, in relation with her field of
deficiency, x x x I advised his relatives and his nurse who profession, an expert opinion. I do not have any
accompanied him to have Larry examined by a psychiatrist participation in the preparation of said report, x x x neither
who could properly determine whether or not Larry x x x did I utilized (sic) the same in any proceedings to the
can really give his consent, thus I required them to secure damage to another. x x x I also deny using a falsified
first a psychiatric evaluation and clearance prior to the document x x x.
contemplated procedure.
(c) Mutilation. x x x Vasectomy does not in anyway equate
(c) On January 21, 2002, I was furnished a copy of a to castration and what is touched in vasectomy is not
psychiatric report prepared by Dr. Marissa Pascual x x x. In considered an organ in the context of law and medicine, it
her said report, Dr. Pascual found Larry to suffer from is quite remote from the penis x x x.
mental retardation, mild to moderate type and further
stated that at his capacity, he may never understand the (d) Child Abuse. x x x the complaint-affidavit is very vague
nature, the foreseeable risks and benefits and in specifying the applicability of said law. It merely avers
consequences of the procedure (vasectomy) x x x, thus the that Laureano Larry Aguirre is a child, and alleges his
responsibility of decision making may be given to his father, Pedro Aguirre, has parental authority over him x x
parent or guardian x x x. x.[20]

(d) x x x I was likewise furnished a copy of an affidavit

executed by Pedro Aguirre stating that he was the legal Similarly, respondent Dr. Pascual denied the criminal charges of
guardian of Larry x x x Pedro Aguirre gave his consent to falsification and mutilation imputed to her. She stands by the contents of
vasectomize Larry x x x. the assailed Psychiatric Report, justifying it thus:

(e) Only then, specifically January 31, 2002, vasectomy x x x My opinion of Larry Aguirres mental status was based
was performed with utmost care and diligence.[19] on my own personal observations, his responses during
my interview of him, the results of the two (2) psychological
In defense against the charge of falsification and mutilation, tests conducted by clinical psychologists, the results of
respondent Dr. Agatep argued that subject complaint should be laboratory tests, including a CT Scan and MRI, and his
dismissed for the following reasons: personal and family history which I obtained from his sister,
Michelina Aguirre-Olondriz x x x.
1. The complainant has no legal personality to file this
case. As mentioned above, she is only a common law 5. x x x the reference in my report concerning Mrs. Lourdes
sister of Larry who has a legal guardian in the person of Aguirre is not a statement of my opinion of Mrs. Aguirres
Pedro Aguirre, one of the herein respondents x x x. mental status, x x x. Rather, it is part of the patients
personal and family history as conveyed to me by Mrs.
2. x x x [t]he allegations in the complaint clearly centers on Aguirre-Olondriz.
the condition of complainants mother, Lourdes Aguirre, her
6. x x x An expression of my opinion, especially of an
expert opinion, cannot give rise to a charge for
falsification. A contrary opinion by another expert only Even the statement in the Psychiatric Report of respondent Dr.
means that the experts differ, and does not necessarily Pascual that Lourdes Aguirre had Bipolar Mood Disorder cannot be
reflect on the truth or falsity of either opinion x x x. considered falsification since

7. x x x I never stated that I examined Mrs. Aguirre, The report did not state that Lourdes Aguirre was in fact
because I never did x x x. personally interviewed by respondent Dr. Pascual and that
the latter concluded that Lourdes Aguirre has Bipolar Mood
8. I had no participation in the surgery performed on Larry Disorder. The report merely quoted other sources of
Aguirre except to render an opinion on his capacity to give information with respect to the condition of Lourdes
informed consent to the vasectomy x x x. Aguirre, in the same manner that the fact that Lourdes
Aguirre was physically abusing Larry Aguirre was also not
9. Without admitting the merits of the complaint, I submit of Dra. Pascual personal knowledge. But the fact that Dra.
that complainants are not the proper persons to subscribe Pascual cited finding, which is not of her own personal
to the same as they are not the offended party, peace knowledge in her report does not mean that she committed
officer or other public officer charged with the enforcement falsification in the process. Her sources may be wrong and
of the law violated x x x.[21] may affect the veracity of her report, but for as long as she
has not alleged therein that she personally diagnosed
Lourdes Aguirre, which allegation would not then be true,
The Assistant City Prosecutor held that the circumstances she cannot be charged of falsification. Therefore, it goes
attendant to the case did not amount to the crime of falsification. He held without saying that if the author of the report is not guilty,
that then with more reason the other respondents are not
[T]he claim of the complainant that the Psychiatric Report
was falsified, because consent was not given by Larry
Aguirre to the vasectomy and/or he was not consulted on Respecting the charge of mutilation, the Assistant City Prosecutor
said operation does not constitute falsification. It would also held that the facts alleged did not amount to the crime of mutilation
have been different if it was stated in the report that as defined and penalized under Article 262 of the Revised Penal
consent was obtained from Larry Aguirre or that it was Code, i.e., [t]he vasectomy operation did not in any way deprived (sic)
written therein that he was consulted on the vasectomy, Larry of his reproductive organ, which is still very much part of his
because that would mean that it was made to appear in physical self. He ratiocinated that:
the report that Larry Aguirre participated in the act or
proceeding by giving his consent or was consulted on the While the operation renders him the inability (sic) to
matter when in truth and in fact, he did not participate. Or if procreate, the operation is reversible and therefore, cannot
not, the entry would have been an untruthful statement. be the permanent damage contemplated under Article 262
But that is not the case. Precisely (sic) the report was of the Revised Penal Code.[24]
made to determine whether Larry Aguirre could give his
consent to his intended vasectomy. Be that as it may, the
matter of Larrys consent having obtained or not may nor The Assistant City Prosecutor,[25] in a Resolution[26] dated 8
be an issue after all, because complainants (sic) herself January 2003, found no probable cause to hold respondents Pedro
alleged that Larrys mental condition is that of a child, who Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr. Pascual liable for the complaint of
can not give consent. Based on the foregoing falsification and mutilation, more specifically, the violation of Articles 172
consideration, no falsification can be established under the and 262 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Republic Act No. 7610.
circumstances.[22] Accordingly, the Assistant City Prosecutor recommended the dismissal of
petitioner Gloria Aguirres complaint for insufficiency of evidence. The 2004 of the Secretary of Justice in I.S. No. 02-12466 are
dispositive portion of the resolution reads: hereby AFFIRMED.[30]

WHEREFORE, it is recommended that the above-

entitled case be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.[27] Petitioner Gloria Aguirres motion for reconsideration proved futile
as it was denied by the appellate court in a Resolution dated 5 December
On 18 February 2003, petitioner Gloria Aguirre appealed the
foregoing resolution to the Secretary of the DOJ by means of a Petition Hence, the present petition filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of
for Review.[28] Court, as amended, premised on the following arguments:

In a Resolution dated 11 February 2004, Chief State Prosecutor I.

Jovencito R. Zuo, for the Secretary of the DOJ, dismissed the petition. In
resolving said appeal, the Chief State Prosecutor held that: THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS,
Under Section 12, in relation to Section 7, of CONCLUDED, BASED PURPORTEDLY ON THE
Department Circular No. 70 dated July 3, 2000, the INTERNET WHICH RUNS AMUCK WITH OUR SYSTEM
Secretary of Justice may, motu proprio, dismiss outright OF THE RULE OF LAW AND THE EVIDENCE ON
the petition if there is no showing of any reversible error in RECORD, THAT BILATERAL VASECTOMY IS
the questioned resolution or finds the same to be patently PURPORTEDLY 100% REVERSIBLE BY A FUTURE
We carefully examined the petition and its
attachments and found no error that would justify a xxxx
reversal of the assailed resolution which is in accord with II.
the law and evidenced (sic) on the matter.[29]
Petitioner Gloria Aguirres Motion for Reconsideration was likewise WHEN IT REFUSED TO DIRECT THE INDICTMENT OF
denied with finality by the DOJ in another Resolution dated 12 November THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR MUTILATION AND
Resolute in her belief, petitioner Gloria Aguirre went to the Court
of Appeals by means of a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition
and Mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as amended. The foregoing issues notwithstanding, the more proper issue for
this Courts consideration is, given the facts of the case, whether or not
On 21 July 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the DOJ did not commit grave
dismissing petitioner Gloria Aguirres recourse for lack of merit. abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when the
latter affirmed the public prosecutors finding of lack of probable cause for
The fallo of the assailed decision reads: respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr. Pascual to
stand trial for the criminal complaints of falsification and mutilation in
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present relation to Republic Act No. 7610.
petition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and accordingly
DISMISSED for lack of merit. Consequently, the assailed
Resolutions dated February 11, 2004 and November 12,
In ruling that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion at the very least that the latter was informed of the intended vasectomy;
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals and b) that Lourdes Aguirre was likewise interviewed and evaluated.
explained that: Paradoxically, however, petitioner Gloria Aguirre does not in any way
state that she, instead of respondent Pedro Aguirre, has guardianship
Evidently, the controversy lies in the permanency of over the person of Larry. She only insists that respondents should have
sterilization as a result of a vasectomy operation, and the obtained Larrys consent prior to the conduct of the bilateral vasectomy.
chances of restoring fertility with a reversal surgery x x x.
In contrast, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), for public
We sustain the DOJ in ruling that the bilateral respondent DOJ, argues that the conduct of preliminary investigation to
vasectomy performed on Larry does not constitute determine the existence of probable cause for the purpose of filing (an)
mutilation even if intentionally and purposely done to information is the function of the public prosecutor.[37] More importantly,
prevent him from siring a child. the element[s] of castration or mutilation of an organ necessary for
generation is completely absent as he was not deprived of any organ
xxxx necessary for reproduction, much less the destruction of such organ.[38]

Sterilization is to be distinguished from castration: in the Likewise, in support of the decision of the Court of Appeals,
latter act the reproductive capacity is permanently removed respondents Pedro Aguirre and Olondriz assert that, fundamentally,
or damaged.[32] petitioner Gloria Aguirre has no standing to file the complaint, as she has
not shown any injury to her person or asserted any relationship with Larry
other than being his common law sister; further, that she cannot
It then concluded that: prosecute the present case, as she has not been authorized by law to file
said complaint, not being the offended party, a peace officer or a public
The matter of legal liability, other than criminal, officer charged with the enforcement of the law. Accordingly, respondents
which private respondents may have incurred for the Pedro Aguirre and Olondriz posit that they, together with the other
alleged absence of a valid consent to the vasectomy respondents Dr. Agatep and Dr. Pascual, may not be charged with,
performed on Larry, is certainly beyond the province of this prosecuted for and ultimately convicted of: 1) mutilation x x x since the
certiorari petition. Out task is confined to the issue of bilateral vasectomy conducted on Larry does not involve castration or
whether or not the Secretary of Justice and the Office of amputation of an organ necessary for reproduction as the twin elements
the City Prosecutor of Quezon City committed grave abuse of the crime of mutilation x x x are absent[39]; and 2) falsification x x x
of discretion in their determining the existence or absence since the acts allegedly constituting falsification involve matters of
of probable cause for filing criminal cases medical opinion and not matters of fact,[40] and that petitioner Gloria
for falsification and mutilation under Articles 172 (2) and Aguirre failed to prove damage to herself or to any other person.
262 of the Revised Penal Code.[33]
Respondent Dr. Agatep, in the same vein, stresses that
vasectomy is not mutilation. He elucidates that vasectomy is merely the
Petitioner Gloria Aguirre, however, contends that the Court of excision of the vas deferens, the duct in testis which transport semen[41];
Appeals and the DOJ failed to appreciate several important facts: 1) that that it is the penis and the testis that make up the male reproductive
bilateral vasectomy conducted on petitioners brother, Larry Aguirre, was organ and not the vas deferens; and additionally argues that for the crime
admitted[34]; 2) that the procedure caused the perpetual destruction of of mutilation to be accomplished, Article 262 of the Revised Penal Code
Larrys reproductive organs of generation or conception;[35] 3) that the necessitates that there be intentional total or partial deprivation of some
bilateral vasectomy was intentional and deliberate to deprive Larry forever essential organ for reproduction. Tubes, seminal ducts, vas deferens or
of his reproductive organ and his capacity to procreate; and 4) that prostatic urethra not being organs, respondent Dr. Agatep concludes,
respondents, in conspiracy with one another, made not only one but two therefore, that vasectomy does not correspond to mutilation.
(2) untruthful statements, and not mere inaccuracies when they made it
appear in the psychiatry report[36] that a) Larrys consent was obtained or
Anent the charge of falsification of a private document, respondent evidence as will establish probable cause for the filing of an information
Dr. Agatep asseverates that he never took part in disclosing any against the supposed offender.[49]
information, data or facts as contained in the contentious Psychiatric
Report. But this is not to discount the possibility of the commission of
abuses on the part of the prosecutor. It is entirely possible that the
For her part, respondent Dr. Pascual insists that the assailed investigating prosecutor may erroneously exercise the discretion lodged
Psychiatry Report was the result of her independent exercise of in him by law. This, however, does not render his act amenable to
professional judgment. Rightly or wrongly, (she) diagnosed Larry Aguirre correction and annulment by the extraordinary remedy
to be incapable of giving consent, based on interviews made by the of certiorari, absent any showing of grave abuse of discretion amounting
psychiatrist on Larry Aguirre and persons who interacted with him.[42] And to excess of jurisdiction.[50]
supposing that said report is flawed, it is, at most, an erroneous medical
diagnosis. Prescinding from the above, the courts duty in an appropriate
case, therefore, is confined to a determination of whether the assailed
The petition has no merit. executive determination of probable cause was done without or in excess
of jurisdiction resulting from a grave abuse of discretion. For courts of law
Probable cause has been defined as the existence of such facts to grant the extraordinary writ of certiorari, so as to justify the reversal of
and circumstances as would excite belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the finding of whether or not there exists probable cause to file an
the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged information, the one seeking the writ must be able to establish that the
was guilty of the crime for which he was prosecuted.[43] The term does not investigating prosecutor exercised his power in an arbitrary and despotic
mean actual and positive cause nor does it import absolute certainty.[44] It manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be patent
is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief;[45] that is, the belief that and gross as would amount to an evasion or to a unilateral refusal to
the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. A perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law. Grave abuse
finding of probable cause merely binds over the suspect to stand trial. It is of discretion is not enough.[51] Excess of jurisdiction signifies that he had
not a pronouncement of guilt.[46] jurisdiction over the case but has transcended the same or acted without
The executive department of the government is accountable for
the prosecution of crimes, its principal obligation being the faithful Applying the foregoing disquisition to the present petition, the
execution of the laws of the land. A necessary component of the power to reasons of the Assistant City Prosecutor in dismissing the criminal
execute the laws is the right to prosecute their violators,[47] the complaints for falsification and mutilation, as affirmed by the DOJ, is
responsibility of which is thrust upon the DOJ. Hence, the determination determinative of whether or not he committed grave abuse of discretion
of whether or not probable cause exists to warrant the prosecution in amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
court of an accused is consigned and entrusted to the DOJ. And by the
nature of his office, a public prosecutor is under no compulsion to file a In ruling the way he did that no probable cause for falsification and
particular criminal information where he is not convinced that he has mutilation exists - the Assistant City Prosecutor deliberated on the factual
evidence to prop up the averments thereof, or that the evidence at hand and legal milieu of the case. He found that there was no sufficient
points to a different conclusion. evidence to establish a prima facie case for the crimes complained of as
defined and punished under Articles 172, paragraph 2, and 262 of the
Put simply, public prosecutors under the DOJ have a wide range Revised Penal Code in relation to Republic Act No. 7610,
of discretion, the discretion of whether, what and whom to charge, the respectively. Concerning the crime of falsification of a private document,
exercise of which depends on a smorgasbord of factors which are best the Assistant City Prosecutor reasoned that the circumstances attendant
appreciated by (public) prosecutors.[48] And this Court has consistently to the case did not amount to the crime complained of, that is, the lack of
adhered to the policy of non-interference in the conduct of preliminary consent by Larry Aguirre before he was vasectomized; or the fact that the
investigations, and to leave to the investigating prosecutor sufficient latter was not consulted. The lack of the two preceding attendant facts do
latitude of discretion in the determination of what constitutes sufficient not in any way amount to falsification, absent the contention that it was
made to appear in the assailed report that said consent was
obtained. That would have been an untruthful statement. Neither does the 1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting,
fact that the Psychiatric Report state that Lourdes Aguirre has Bipolar signature, or rubric;
Mood Disorder by the same token amount to falsification because said
report does not put forward that such finding arose after an examination 2. Causing it to appear that persons have
of the concerned patient. Apropos the charge of mutilation, he reasoned participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in
that though the vasectomy rendered Larry unable to procreate, it was not fact so participate;
the permanent damage contemplated under the pertinent provision of the
penal code. 3. Attributing to persons who have participated in
an act or proceeding statements other than those in fact
We agree. Grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess made by them;
of jurisdiction on the part of the DOJ and the Assistant City Prosecutor
was not shown in the present case. 4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of
In the present petition, respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr.
Agatep and Dr. Pascual are charged with violating Articles 172 and 262 of 5. Altering true dates;
the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Republic Act No. 7610. Article 172,
paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code, defines the crime of falsification 6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a
of a private document, viz genuine document which changes its meaning;

Art. 172. Falsification by private individuals and 7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document
use of falsified documents. The penalty of prision purporting to be a copy of an original document when no
correccional in its medium and maximum periods and a such original exists, or including in such copy a statement
fine of not more than 5,000 pesos shall be imposed upon: contrary to, or different from, that of the genuine original; or

xxxx 8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to

the issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book.
2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party,
or with the intent to cause such damage, shall in any
private document commit any of the acts of falsification vis--vis the much criticized Psychiatric Report, shows that the acts
enumerated in the next preceding article. complained of do not in any manner, by whatever stretch of the
imagination, fall under any of the eight (8) enumerated acts constituting
the offense of falsification.
Petitioner Gloria Aguirre charges respondents with falsification of a
private document for conspiring with one another in keeping Larry in the In order to properly address the issue presented by petitioner
dark about the foregoing (vasectomy) as the same was concealed from Gloria Aguirre, it is necessary that we discuss the elements of the crime
him by the respondents x x x,[53] as well as for falsely concluding and of falsification of private document under the Revised Penal Code, a
diagnosing Lourdes Aguirre to be suffering from Bipolar Mood Disorder. crime which all the respondents have been accused of perpetrating. The
elements of said crime under paragraph 2 of Article 172 of our penal code
A scrutiny, however, of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code are as follows: 1) that the offender committed any acts of falsification,
which defines the acts constitutive of falsification, that is except those in par. 7, enumerated in Article 171; 2) that the falsification
was committed in any private document; and 3) that the falsification
Art. 171. x x x shall falsify a document by caused damage to a third party or at least the falsification was committed
committing any of the following acts: with intent to cause such damage. Under Article 171, paragraph 2, a
person may commit falsification of a private document by causing it to
appear in a document that a person or persons participated in an act or
proceeding, when such person or persons did not in fact so participate in author of the report is not guilty, then with more reason the
the act or proceeding. On the other hand, falsification under par. 3 of the other respondents are not liable.[54]
same article is perpetrated by a person or persons who, participating in
an act or proceeding, made statements in that act or proceeding and the
offender, in making a document, attributed to such person or persons As to the charge of mutilation, Art. 262 of the Revised Penal Code
statementsother than those in fact made by such person or persons. And defines the crime as
the crime defined under paragraph 4 thereof is committed when 1) the
offender makes in a document statements in a narration of facts; 2) he Art. 262. Mutilation. The penalty of reclusion
has a legal obligation to disclose the truth of the facts narrated by him; 3) temporal to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any
the facts narrated by the offender are absolutely false; and 4) the person who shall intentionally mutilate another by
perversion of truth in the narration of facts was made with the wrongful depriving him, either totally or partially, of some essential
intent of injuring a third person. organ for reproduction.

Applying the above-stated elements of the crime to the case at Any other intentional mutilation shall be punished
bar, in order that respondent Dr. Pascual, and the rest acting in by prision mayor in its medium and maximum periods.
conspiracy with her, to have committed the crime of falsification under
par. 3 and 4 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, it is essential that
that there be prima facie evidence to show that she had caused it to A straightforward scrutiny of the above provision shows that the
appear that Larry gave his consent to be vasectomized or at the very elements[55] of mutilation under the first paragraph of Art. 262 of the
least, that the proposed medical procedure was explained to Larry. But in Revised Penal Code to be 1) that there be a castration, that is, mutilation
the assailed report, no such thing was done. Lest it be forgotten, the of organs necessary for generation; and 2) that the mutilation is caused
reason for having Larry psychiatrically evaluated was precisely to purposely and deliberately, that is, to deprive the offended party of some
ascertain whether or not he can validly consent with impunity to the essential organ for reproduction. According to the public prosecutor, the
proposed vasectomy, and not to obtain his consent to it or to oblige facts alleged did not amount to the crime of mutilation as defined and
respondent Dr. Pascual to explain to him what the import of the medical penalized above, i.e., [t]he vasectomy operation did not in any way
procedure was. Further, that Larrys consent to be vasectomized was not deprived (sic) Larry of his reproductive organ, which is still very much part
obtained by the psychiatrist was of no moment, because nowhere is it of his physical self. Petitioner Gloria Aguirre, however, would want this
stated in said report that such assent was obtained. At any rate, petitioner Court to make a ruling that bilateral vasectomy constitutes the crime of
Gloria Aguirre contradicts her very own allegations when she persists in mutilation.
the contention that Larry has the mental age of a child; hence, he was
legally incapable of validly consenting to the procedure. This we cannot do, for such an interpretation would be contrary to
the intentions of the framers of our penal code.
In the matter of the supposed incorrect diagnosis of Lourdes
Aguirre, with regard to paragraph 2 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal A fitting riposte to the issue at hand lies in United States v.
Code, we quote with approval the succinct statements of the Assistant Esparcia,[56] in which this Court had the occasion to shed light on the
City Prosecutor: implication of the term mutilation. Therein we said that:

[T]he fact that Dra. Pascual cited finding, which is not of The sole point which it is desirable to discuss is
her own personal knowledge in her report does not mean whether or not the crime committed is that defined and
that she committed falsification in the process. Her sources penalized by article 414 of the Penal Code. The English
may be wrong and may affect the veracity of her report, but translation of this article reads: "Any person who shall
for as long as she has not alleged therein that she intentionally castrate another shall suffer a penalty ranging
personally diagnosed Lourdes Aguirre, which allegation from reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua." The
would not then be true, she cannot be charged of Spanish text, which should govern, uses the word
falsification. Therefore, it goes without saying that if the "castrare," inadequately translated into English as
"castrate." The word "capar," which is synonymous of Though undeniably, vasectomy denies a man his power of
"castrar," is defined in the Royal Academic Dictionary as reproduction, such procedure does not deprive him, either totally or
the destruction of the organs of generation or conception. partially, of some essential organ for reproduction. Notably, the ordinary
Clearly it is the intention of the law to punish any person usage of the term mutilation is the deprivation of a limb or essential part
who shall intentionally deprived another of any organ (of the body),[60] with the operative expression being deprivation. In the
necessary for reproduction. An applicable construction is same manner, the word castration is defined as the removal of the testies
that of Viada in the following language: or ovaries.[61] Such being the case in this present petition, the bilateral
"At the head of these crimes, according to their vasectomy done on Larry could not have amounted to the crime of
order of gravity, is the mutilation known by the name of mutilation as defined and punished under Article 262, paragraph 1, of the
'castration' which consists of the amputation of whatever Revised Penal Code. And no criminal culpability could be foisted on to
organ is necessary for generation. The law could not fail to respondent Dr. Agatep, the urologist who performed the procedure, much
punish with the utmost severity such a crime, which, less the other respondents. Thus, we find sufficient evidence to explain
although not destroying life, deprives a person of the why the Assistant City Prosecutor and the DOJ ruled the way they
means to transmit it. But bear in mind that according to this did. Verily, We agree with the Court of Appeals that the writ of certiorari is
article in order for 'castration' to exist, it is indispensable unavailing; hence, should not be issued.
that the 'castration' be made purposely. The law does not
look only to the result but also to the intention of the It is once more apropos to pointedly apply the Courts general
act. Consequently, if by reason of an injury or attack, a policy of non-interference in the conduct of preliminary investigations. As
person is deprived of the organs of generation, the act, it has been oft said, the Supreme Court cannot order the prosecution of a
although voluntary, not being intentional to that end, it person against whom the prosecutor does not find sufficient evidence to
would not come under the provisions of this article, but support at least a prima facie case.[62] The courts try and absolve or
under No. 2 of article 431." (Viada, Codigo Penal, vol. 3, p. convict the accused but, as a rule, have no part in the initial decision to
70. See to same effect, 4 Groizard, Codigo Penal, p. 525.) prosecute him.[63] The possible exception to this rule is where there is an
unmistakable showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction that will justify judicial intrusion into the precincts of
Thus, the question is, does vasectomy deprive a man, totally or the executive. But that is not the case herein.
partially, of some essential organ of reproduction? We answer in the
negative. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is
DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed 21 July 2005 Decision and 5
In the male sterilization procedure of vasectomy, the tubular December 2005 Resolution, both of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
passage, called the vas deferens, through which the sperm (cells) are No. 88370 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner Gloria
transported from the testicle to the urethra where they combine with the Aguirre.
seminal fluid to form the ejaculant, is divided and the cut ends merely SO ORDERED.
tied.[57] That part, which is cut, that is, the vas deferens, is merely a
passageway that is part of the duct system of the male reproductive
organs. The vas deferens is not an organ, i.e., a highly organized unit of
structure, having a defined function in a multicellular organism and MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
consisting of a range of tissues.[58] Be that as it may, even Associate Justice
assuming arguendo that the tubular passage can be considered an
organ, the cutting of the vas deferens does not divest or deny a man of
any essential organ of reproduction for the simple reason that it does not
entail the taking away of a part or portion of the male reproductive WE CONCUR:
system. The cut ends, after they have been tied, are then dropped back
into the incision.[59]


Associate Justice Associate Justice

Associate Justice