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Criminal Law Digests – March 2001

Jan 24
Posted by Magz
PEOPLE v. ROBERT NUÑEZ y LAGASCA
G.R. No. 112092. March 1, 2001
Accused was found guilty of Illegal possession of firearm resulting to the death of the victim and
pursuant to P.D. 1866 in relation to the 1987 Constitution the court sentences the said accused to
suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and with costs.
HELD:
Appellant was convicted of “illegal possession of firearms resulting to the death of the victim.”
At the time of the commission of the crime, the existing jurisprudence was People v. Quijada.
The SC held then that the use of an unlicensed firearm in a killing results in two separate crimes
— one for the aggravated form of illegal possession of firearm and two, for homicide or murder.
In the meantime, however, Congress passed Republic Act No. 8294, 27 which lowered the
penalties for illegal possession of firearms. Further, Section 1, third par. of R.A. No. 8294
provides — If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use
of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
In the present case, there were four cases filed against appellant which were all separately tried.
Hence, the evidence as to the homicide and frustrated homicide cases were neither adopted nor
presented before the trial court trying the illegal possession case. For this reason, there is a dearth
of evidence on record to support the finding of homicide and/or frustrated homicide.
The Court held that accordingly, appellant should only be convicted of simple illegal possession
of firearms. The lowered penalties as provided in R.A. No. 8294, being favorable to the accused,
should be applied retroactively.

PEOPLE v. PEDRO SASPA, ET AL.


G.R. No. 123069 March 1, 2001
The trial court found both Pedro Saspa and Rafael Sumiling principally liable for the murder of
Isidro Hayo, and sentenced each of them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, together
with its accessory penalties, and ordered them to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amount
of P50,000.00.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the trial court’s holding that appellants employed superior strength in the
execution of the crime, thus qualifying the killing to murder. When appellants attacked the
victim, they had the advantage of numerical superiority and were carrying high-powered
firearms; whereas the victim was unarmed and utterly defenseless, not to mention that he was
taken by surprise by the swiftness of the assault. Clearly, there was a notorious inequality
between the strength of the victim and his assailants. The Court, however, did not sustain the trial
court’s appreciation of the aggravating circumstances of band and ignominy. A band consists of
at least four armed malefactors acting together in the commission of an offense. The prosecution
failed to prove that there were at least four armed men — Thelma testified that three of Isidro’s
assailants were armed, while Sulpicio did make any declaration as to how many of his son’s
attackers were actually armed. Neither did the prosecution prove the existence of ignominy,
which is a circumstance that adds disgrace and obloquy to the material injury caused by the
crime. There was no showing that appellants deliberately employed means which would cause
more suffering or humiliation to the victim.
At the time the crime was committed the penalty for death was reclusion temporal in the
maximum period to death. In the absence of any aggravating and mitigating circumstances, the
penalty should be imposed in its medium period, or reclusion perpetua. The SC found
appellants guilty of the crime of murder, and sentenced them each to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs.

PEOPLE v. MARIO CALDONA y LLAMAS


G.R. No. 126019 March 1, 2001
Accused was found guilty of raping his 15-yr old daughter. He was sentenced to suffer the
penalty of death.
HELD:
The SC found accused guilty, but sentenced him to suffer reclusion perpetua instead of death.
The Court said that when a victim of rape says she has been defiled, she says in effect all that is
necessary to show that rape has been inflicted on her and so long as her testimony meets the test
of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. As in most rape cases,
accused-appellant assails the credibility of the victim. However, the SC has consistently held that
the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of complainant’s testimony is entitled to great
weight, absent any showing that some facts were overlooked which, if considered, would affect
the outcome of the case.
Nevertheless, while the guilt of the accused-appellant was proved beyond reasonable doubt, the
Court finds the imposition of the death penalty against him unwarranted. The circumstances
under the amendatory provisions of R.A. No. 7659, Section 11, are in the nature of qualifying
circumstances which can not be proved as such unless alleged in the information. Even if such
circumstances are proved, the death penalty can not be imposed where the sane were not
properly alleged in the Information.
However, while the qualifying circumstance of relationship has been alleged in the Information,
it is devoid of any averment on private complainant’s minority. Since one of the twin
requirements mentioned, namely, minority, was not alleged in the Information, accused-appellant
can neither be convicted for qualified rape nor could the death penalty be meted upon him
because to do so would be to deprive him of the right to be informed of the nature and cause of
the accusation against him.

PEOPLE v. RODELIO PERALTA


G.R. No. 131637 March 1, 2001
Accused was found guilty of the crime of murder, qualified by treachery as charged in the
Information and sentenced to suffer the penalty reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. With regard to the issue of conspiracy, the SC
held that it was amply and sufficiently proven in this case. Accused-appellants approached the
victim from behind. When accused-appellant Quiambao told Peralta to stab the victim, accused-
appellant Peralta yanked the left shoulder of Ramon and immediately stabbed the latter on his
chest. After the stabbing, both accused-appellants fled and were apprehended only after more
than nine (9) years from the filing of the criminal case in court. These acts taken together, are
sufficient to establish the existence of a common design among accused-appellants to commit the
offense charged.
With regard to the presence of the aggravating circumstance of treachery, the SC also agreed
with the lower court. In crimes against persons, treachery exists when the accused employs,
means, methods, and forms which directly and specially ensure its execution, without risk to
himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. To rule that treachery
exists in the commission of the crime it must be shown that at the time of the attack, the victim
was not in a position to defend himself and accused-appellants consciously and deliberately
adopted the particular means, methods or forms of the attack employed by him. In the instant
case, the victim was stabbed on his chest. While the stab wound appears frontal, it was shown
that accused-appellants came from behind and yanked the victim’s shoulder in order to inflict the
fatal blow. The manner of attack was duly proven and the infliction of the stab wound was the
result of a deliberate act. At the time of the fatal attack, the victim was standing in front of the
parlor while waiting for his wife. The victim, at that moment was unaware of what would befall
him and was not given an opportunity to defend himself or retaliate.

PEOPLE v. ALFREDO NARDO


G.R. No. 133888 March 1, 2001
Accused was found guilty of raping his 14-yr old daughter, and was sentenced to suffer the
penalty of death. For humanitarian reasons, however, the trial court recommended that the
DEATH penalty be commuted to RECLUSION PERPETUA.
HELD:
The SC found accused guilty, and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of death. The concurrence
of the two special qualifying circumstances, namely the victim’s minority and the relationship
between the victim and the culprit, increases the penalty of rape to one (1) degree, thus resulting
in the imposition of the death penalty. In order to be appreciated as qualifying circumstances,
however, these must be properly pleaded in the indictment. In addition, the qualifying
circumstances should be duly proved during the trial.
The SC held that these requirements were met in this case. The Information sufficiently alleges
that accused-appellant is the father of the victim, and that the latter was fourteen (14) years old at
the time of commission of the rape. These elements, furthermore, were categorically affirmed by
Elizabeth Nardo, the victim’s mother and the most competent witness. Moreover, the victim’s
birth date and her relationship to accused-appellant were shown by her Certificate of Baptism.
This was presented by her mother, Elizabeth, in lieu of her Certificate of Live Birth, which was
destroyed by fire. The baptismal certificate, coupled by her mother’s testimony, is sufficient to
establish victim’s age.
PEOPLE v. JESSIE VENTURA COLLADO
G.R. Nos. 135667-70 1 March 1, 2001
The trial court found accused-appellant guilty of statutory rape and sentenced him to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua. Likewise, it found him guilty of three (3) counts of acts of
lasciviousness and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of six (6) years of prision correctional
in its maximum period for each count. It also ordered him to indemnify the private complainant
in the amount of P50,000.00, and P100,000.00 for moral damages.
HELD:
The trial court was correct in finding accused-appellant guilty of three (3) counts of acts of
lasciviousness. The SC took however to its finding that statutory rape was committed by him on
5 June 1993. A thorough evaluation of the records will show that accused-appellant should only
be convicted for acts of lasciviousness and not for consummated rape.
The SC held that absent any showing of the slightest penetration of the female organ, i.e.
touching of either the labia of the pudendum by the penis, there can be no consummated rape; at
most, it can only be attempted rape, if not acts of lasciviousness.
The SC found accused guilty of 4 counts of acts of lasciviousness, aggravated by obvious
ungratefulness. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, accused-appellant was sentenced to
an indeterminate prison term of four (4) months and twenty (20) days of arresto mayor maximum
as minimum, to four (4) years six (6) months and ten (10) days of prision correccional maximum
as maximum, in each count of Acts of Lasciviousness. Accused-appellant was further directed to
pay the private complainant P30,000.00 as civil indemnity, P40,000.00 for moral damages,
P20,000.00 for exemplary damages, in each of the four (4) counts of Acts of Lasciviousness, and
to pay the costs.

PEOPLE v. BALTAZAR AMION y DUGADUGA


G.R. No. 140511. March 1, 2001
Accused was found guilty as Principal by Direct Participation of the crime of Murder, qualified
by treachery, defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by
R. A. 7659. The following ordinary aggravating circumstances were present in the commission
of the crime:
1. Abuse of public office due to the use of his service firearm in the killing;
2. Use of motor vehicle which facilitated the commission of the crime; and
3. Aid of armed men in the commission of the crime.
There is present only one (1) mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.
The accused was sentenced to suffer the MAXIMUM PENALTY OF DEATH.
HELD:
The SC held that with respect to the attendant circumstances, the use of a motor vehicle cannot
be considered as an aggravating circumstance, as the police vehicle used to reach the Sanicas
residence was not used directly or indirectly to facilitate the criminal act.
Neither may the aggravating circumstance of aid of armed men be appreciated in this case. The
trial court found that during the shooting, an armed companion was on board the patrol car
pointing his rifle in the direction of Dejoras. In the first place, this aggravating circumstance
contemplates more than one armed man, as the use of the plural form easily suggests. In the
second place, the requisites of this aggravating circumstance are: 1) that armed men or persons
took part in the commission of the crime, directly or indirectly, and 2) that the accused availed
himself of their aid or relied upon them when the crime was committed. Neither circumstance
was proven present; it is clear from the evidence that the accused-appellant carried out the killing
all by himself and did not rely on his companion for assistance.
The SC also did not agree that the fact that accused-appellant used his service firearm in shooting
Vaflor should be considered as an aggravating circumstance as he took advantage of his public
position. There is authority to the effect that for public position to be appreciated as an
aggravating circumstance, the public official must use his influence, prestige and ascendancy
which his office gives him in realizing his purpose. In the absence of proof that advantage was
taken by appellant, the aggravating circumstance of abuse of position could not be properly
appreciated against him.
In view of the absence of aggravating circumstances and the presence of one mitigating
circumstance, the penalty imposed by the trial court should be modified. The penalty for murder
Under Article 248 is reclusion perpetua to death. Pursuant to Article 63, in case of two
indivisible penalties, when the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating
circumstance and there is no aggravating circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied. Hence
the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua.

PEOPLE v. MANUEL PEREZ y MAGPANTAY


G.R. No. 113265. March 5, 2001
Accused was found guilty of raping a 12-yr old, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. Appellant is the common-law husband of the victim’s mother.
HELD:
Having examined the entire record, the SC found that the totality of the evidence presented by
the prosecution proved beyond doubt all the elements of rape. Private complainant testified as to
how appellant had carnal knowledge of her. The carnal knowledge took place under
circumstances of violence and intimidation. Her testimony is supported by the results of the
medico-legal examination conducted upon her at the police crime laboratory. Moreover, she
positively pointed to appellant in open court as the person responsible for her defilement.
Against said positive identification, appellant’s puerile defense of denial will not hold water, for
he does not even deny that he was with the offended party at the time of the commission of the
crime. Moreover, his attempts to cast ill motive on private complainant or her family for
fabricating the charge of rape against him have no evidentiary weight. It would be most
unnatural for a young and immature girl to fabricate a story of rape by her mother’s common-law
spouse; allow a medical examination of her genitalia; and subject herself to a public trial and
possible ridicule, all because her maternal relatives want her mother to separate from her
common-law spouse. Perforce, appellant’s conviction must stand.
As to the penalty imposed, the SC held that the trial court correctly sentenced appellant to
reclusion perpetua. Note that the rape complained of in this case took place on May 31, 1990 or
way before the restoration of the death penalty for cases of qualified rape by virtue of R.A. No.
7659. The death penalty law took effect only on December 31, 1993, as per the Court’s holding
in People v. Simon, 234 SCRA 555, 569 (1994).

PEOPLE v. ROQUE “UKING” ELLADO


G.R. No. 124686. March 5, 2001
Appellant was convicted of the crime of murder, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. The SC held that both of the accused acted in
concert in the assault on the victim. They had the same purpose and were united in its execution.
Conspiracy exists at the time of the commission of the offense. Their actuation could only point
to the existence of a pre-conceived plan to maim and kill the victim. Where the acts of the
accused collectively and individually demonstrate the existence of a common design towards the
accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident, and all the perpetrators
will be liable as principals.
The SC also held that the acts of appellant indicate that he and Bakunawa had planned the attack
in a manner that would catch the victim unaware. Their move initially was in the guise of a
conciliatory overture. It served to cover their nefarious plot. Even if it was Bakunawa who
inflicted the fatal wound, liability also exists on the part of appellant notwithstanding non-
participation in every detail in the execution of the crime. The deceptive manner by which the
two accused fatally assaulted the victim shows that they had intended to catch him off guard, to
insure the success of the attack. An unexpected and sudden attack under circumstances which
render the victim unable and unprepared to defend himself by reason of the suddenness and
severity of the attack constitutes alevosia.
As treachery attended the killing of the victim, the offense committed by appellant and his co-
accused Bakunawa is murder. However, the aggravating circumstances of evident premeditation
and abuse of superior strength alleged in the information to be attendant cannot be appreciated,
as the elements of the former were not proven, and the latter is deemed absorbed by treachery.

PEOPLE v. JULIO HERIDA, ET AL.


G.R. No. 127158 March 5, 2001
Accused was found guilty of the crime of murder, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua. Accused Jamila, on the other hand, was acquitted for failure of the
prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
HELD:
The SC agreed with appellant that nowhere in the assailed judgment is it shown how the trial
court arrived at its conclusion that the killing of the victim was attended by treachery. There was
absolutely no showing from the testimony of the witness how the attack commenced; no indicia
whether the attack was so sudden and unexpected that it afforded the victim no chance to defend
himself. In the absence of this information, treachery cannot be established from the
circumstances. Treachery cannot be presumed; it must be proved by clear and convincing
evidence as clearly as the killing itself. Where the attack was not treacherous, the number of
aggressors would constitute abuse of superior strength. Abuse of superior strength, therefore,
qualifies the killing as murder.
In finding the killing aggravated by evident premeditation, the trial court characterized the
method of attack as deliberately and consciously adopted by the three attackers. For evident
premeditation to be appreciated, the following must be proven: (1) the time when the accused
decided to commit the crime; (2) an overt act manifestly indicating that he has clung to his
determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between the decision and the execution to allow
the accused to reflect upon the consequences of his act. In the instant case, however, there is no
showing of the time when appellant and his confederates decided to commit the crime. Neither is
there proof to show how appellant and the other two assailants planned the killing of the victim.
Nor is there any evidence showing how much time elapsed before the plan was executed. Absent
all these, the conclusion by the trial court that evident premeditation qualified the killing of
Delara is devoid of any factual mooring.
With regard to the issue of conspiracy, there was a transparent manifestation of their common
sentiment to inflict harm and injury upon the victim. First, while Rene and Edmund were
hacking and stabbing the victim, appellant was with them, pounding him with a concrete hollow
block. Evidently, appellant was performing overt acts, which directly or indirectly contributed to
the execution of the crime. Second, after the victim somehow managed to fend off his attackers
and flee, all three attackers pursued him.
Clearly, the aforementioned acts point to a common purpose, concert of action, and community
of interest among the assailants. In conspiracy, it is immaterial who inflicted the fatal blows. A
conspirator, no matter how minimal his participation, is as guilty as the principal perpetrator of
the crime.

PEOPLE v. ALFREDO IBO


G.R. No. 132353 March 5, 2001
Accused was convicted of the crime of murder, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. The court found that there was treachery in the
taking of the life of the victim as without any warning, accused-appellant suddenly and
unexpectedly shot the victim in front of his family right in his own home. Neither the victim nor
his family had any opportunity to put up any defense. The mode of attack was executed in such a
manner that retaliation was not possible. The victim did not even have an inkling of the danger to
his life, the attack against him being sudden and unexpected. The prosecution has effectively
shown that the shooting was calculated as to ensure the infliction of the fatal wounds without
giving the victim and his family any opportunity to put up a defense. The qualifying
circumstance of treachery having been likewise proven beyond reasonable doubt, the accused-
appellant is guilty of the crime of murder.
At the time of the commission of the crime in 1995, the penalty for murder was reclusion
perpetua to death. There being no aggravating nor mitigating circumstance, the SC held that the
trial court correctly sentenced accused-appellants to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

PEOPLE v. JOMER CABANSAY y PALERMO


G.R. No. 138646. March 6, 2001
Accused was found guilty of the crime of murder. After considering in his favor the mitigating
circumstance of surrender, the accused was sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua.
HELD:
The accused admits the killing of the victim but denies any liability by invoking self-defense.
Taking into account the version of the prosecution, the theory of self-defense is not tenable. At
the outset, we mentioned that for self-defense to prosper, all the essential elements thereof must
be adequately proven by the accused. Unlawful aggression, the first of these three essential
elements, presupposes an actual, sudden and unexpected attack or imminent danger on the life
and limb of the person defending himself. Without this element, there can be no successful
invocation of self-defense. When the accused stabbed the victim, the latter and his companions
were conversing and sorting “bulang”. They posed no threat or danger to the accused. If there is
any aggression present in this case, it would be that authored by the accused which resulted in
the death of Castillo. Absent the element of unlawful aggression, the theory of self-defense of the
accused collapses. Inevitably, the result would be the conviction of the accused springing from
his own admission that he killed the victim.
Anent the qualifying circumstance of treachery, the SC held that it was duly proven by the
prosecution. In this case, the qualifying circumstance of treachery was established by the
prosecution witness who testified that he and the victim, together with two other companions,
were conversing and sorting “bulang” when the accused suddenly and without provocation
stabbed the victim. The location of the wound indicates that the victim was stabbed by the
accused from the back. After the victim fell to his side, the accused-appellant made a follow-up
thrust. The witness, who was shocked by the suddenness of the attack, was likewise stabbed by
the accused three times.
The SC held that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender was properly appreciated by
the trial court. Prosecution witness SPO4 Patrocinio Abesia himself testified that the mother of
the accused interceded for the latter’s surrender, and subsequently, the accused voluntarily
surrendered to him.

PEOPLE v. ANTONIO SAMUDIO


G.R. No. 126168. March 7, 2001
All of the accused-appellants were found guilty of the crime of murder, and sentenced to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
With regard to the claim of self-defense of Samudio, he failed to discharge this burden
convincingly for he did not adequately support his allegation of self-defense. No one
corroborated his testimony that the aggression was initiated by the victim. Thus, his testimony is
self-serving. An accused who invokes self-defense has to rely on the strength of his evidence and
not on the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence, for, even if the latter were weak, it could not
be disbelieved after his open admission of responsibility for the killing.
It is alleged in the Information that the killing was qualified by treachery, evident premeditation,
abuse of superior strength and disregard of respect due to the offended party on account of his
rank. However, the SC held that the trial court failed to make a finding as to the existence of any
of these qualifying circumstances.
In the instant case, treachery cannot be appreciated considering that the only eyewitness to the
actual stabbing, did not see the initial stage and particulars of the attack on the victim. Similarly,
the prosecution failed to establish the attendance of evident premeditation. There was no proof or
showing of (1) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly
indicating that the offender had clung to his determination; and (3) a sufficient lapse of time
between the determination to commit and the execution thereof, to allow the offender to reflect
on the consequence of his act. None of these elements of evident premeditation can be fairly
inferred from the evidence adduced by the prosecution in the case at bar.
Neither can abuse of superior strength be appreciated. Mere superiority in number is not enough
to constitute superior strength. The prosecution did not present any direct proof that there was a
deliberate intent on the part of the accused-appellants to take advantage of the obvious inequality
of force between the victim and the accused-appellants.
The qualifying circumstance of “disregard of respect due to the offended party on account of his
rank, being a barangay captain” alleged in the information is likewise unavailing. The
prosecution failed to establish proof of the specific facts demonstrating that Samudio’s act of
killing the victim was deliberately intended to disregard or insult the respect due him on account
of his rank as a barangay captain.
Absent any of the above qualifying circumstances, the crime committed is not murder, but only
homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code which is punishable by reclusion
temporal. It appears, however, that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender should be
appreciated in Samudio’s favor. To be thus considered, three (3) requisites must be proven,
namely, (a) the offender had not actually been arrested; (b) the offender surrender himself to a
person in authority; and (c) the surrender was voluntary.
The acts of Samudio vis-a-vis those of his co-accused failed to establish beyond reasonable
doubt the presence of conspiracy. Since the sole prosecution witness to the actual killing, did not
see its inception and the details as to how it progressed, the prosecution failed to adduce
sufficient evidence to completely establish the existence of conspiracy among the accused. It
bears stressing that conspiracy must be proved as convincingly and indubitably as the crime
itself. Nonetheless, the failure of the prosecution to prove the existence of conspiracy does not
eliminate any criminal liability on the part of the other accused-appellants. Although they could
not be convicted as a co-principal, they are liable as accomplices.

PEOPLE v. ERNESTO ICALLA y INES


G.R. No. 136173. March 7, 2001
Accused was found guilty of the crime of murder, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death.
HELD:
The SC noted that appellant faults the trial court for its reliance on circumstantial evidence.
However, it is well-settled that direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only
matrix wherefrom a trial court may draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. Conviction may still
be proper if factual circumstances duly proven by the prosecution constitute an unbroken chain
which lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion that the accused is guilty to the exclusion of all
others. To support a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the concurrence of the
following requisites is essential: (a) there must be more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from
which the inference of guilt is based must be proved; and (c) the combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Even if there is no
eyewitness to the crime, responsibility therefor can be established by the totality of the duly
proven facts that yield an inevitable conclusion consistent with the guilt of the accused.
The offense committed is not murder. Appellant cannot be held liable for the crime of murder as
charged in the information, but only for homicide, which was the offense proved. As observed by
the OSG, there is no evidence as to the manner in which the assault was made or how the
stabbing began and developed. Although the deceased sustained five wounds, some of which
were at the back, this fact by itself does not constitute treachery which would qualify the killing
to murder. There being no eyewitness to the killing or evidence on the mode of attack adopted by
appellant, treachery could not be appreciated in this case as a qualifying circumstance.
Likewise, there is a dearth of evidence to establish evident pre-meditation as either a qualifying
or generic aggravating circumstance. While the witnesses may have testified regarding incidents
prior to the killing, there is no evidence that appellant had ever conceived or expressed a resolve
to kill the victim.

PEOPLE v. CONRADO SALADINO Y DINGLE


G.R. Nos. 137481-83 & 138455 March 7, 2001
Accused was convicted of three (3) counts of rape for raping his 13-yr old niece. Taking into
account the qualifying circumstance of the minority of the victim and her relationship to
accused-appellant, the lower court meted three (3) death penalties pursuant to RA 7659. The trial
court also found accused-appellant guilty of attempted rape, and sentenced him to serve an
indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor minimum as minimum,
to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal minimum, as
maximum.
HELD:
The SC said that the victim’s failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance did not make voluntary
her submission to the criminal acts of the accused-appellant. They held that the “(i)ntimidation
must be viewed in the light of the victim’s perception and judgment at the time of the
commission of the crime and not by any hard and fast rule; it is therefore enough that it produces
fear — fear that if the victim does not yield to the bestial demands of the accused something
would happen to her at that moment or even thereafter as when she is threatened with death if
she reports the incident.” The failure to shout or offer resistance was not because she consented
to the deed but because she honestly believed she would be killed if she shouted or resisted. Such
threat is sufficient intimidation as contemplated by our jurisprudence on rape. And be that as it
may, if resistance would nevertheless be futile because of a continuing intimidation, then offering
none at all would not mean consent to the assault as to make the victim’s participation in the
sexual act voluntary.
However, the lower court erred in imposing the death penalty. In People v. Ramos 20 the
concurrence of the minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender, being special
qualifying circumstances should be alleged in the information, otherwise, the death penalty
cannot be imposed. In the case at bar, although the prosecution did prove complainant’s minority
and relationship to accused-appellant, it failed to implead both minority and relationship in the
four (4) Informations filed against accused-appellant. It is not enough that the relationship was
subsequently proved during the trial. Both relationship and minority must be alleged in the
Information to qualify the crime as punishable by death. To hold otherwise would deny accused-
appellant’s constitutional right to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation
against him. Thus, he can only be convicted of simple rape, punishable by reclusion perpetua.
The imposition of an indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor
minimum as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion
temporal minimum as maximum, in attempted rape is also erroneous. The proper penalty for rape
in the attempted stage should be two (2) degrees lower than the penalty for consummated rape,
or prision mayor. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the maximum imposable penalty
should be taken from prision mayor in its medium period and the minimum from prision
correccional.

PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. EUGENIO MANGOMPIT


G.R. Nos. 139962-66 March 7, 2001
Accused was found guilty for 5 counts of rape, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death for
each count. He was found guilty for raping his 16-yr old niece.
HELD:
The SC found the accused guilty, but reduced the penalty to reclusion perpetua for each count. In
the case at bench, the trial court apparently relied on the 1st special circumstance introduced by
R.A. 7659, that of minority of the victim and relationship with the offender, in imposing the
death penalty. However, the concurrence of the minority of the victim and her relationship to the
offender should be specifically alleged in the information conformably with the right of an
accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. Even though the
minority of Marites and her relationship with accused-appellant were proven beyond doubt, the
death penalty cannot be imposed because both of these qualifying circumstances were not
alleged in the information. Therefore, despite the five (5) counts of rape committed by accused-
appellant, he cannot be sentenced to the supreme penalty of death. Accordingly, the penalty of
death imposed by the trial court should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.
The SC held that the trial court likewise correctly imposed the amount of P25,000 for each count
of rape, or a total of P125,000.00, as and by way of exemplary damages. Under Article 2230 of
the New Civil Code, “(I)n criminal offenses, exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability
may be imposed when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances.”
In the case at bench, the aggravating circumstances of relationship, dwelling, and, for two of the
charges, nighttime were proven to have attended the commission of the crime. Relationship, that
of uncle and niece, was proven by the testimony of the victim and by the admission of accused-
appellant himself. Dwelling was likewise proven as it was shown that the five incidents of rape
were all committed inside the house of the family of the victim where accused-appellant was
staying as a houseguest. Finally, the aggravating circumstance of nighttime was likewise proven
in two of the five rape incidents as it was shown that accused-appellant waited until late in the
night when the other family members were in deep slumber before consummating his carnal
desire for the victim.

PEOPLE v. ARNEL MATARO


G.R. No. 130378. March 8, 2001
Accused-appellants were found guilty for the crime of murder, and both were sentenced to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of the victim.
HELD:
The accused appellants invoke the “equipoise” rule because their guilt had not been established
beyond reasonable doubt. The SC said that it has enumerated the requisites for credible
identification in the case of
People v. Teehankee, Jr., 249 SCRA 54 (1995) as follows:
1) the witness’ opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime;
2) witness’ degree of attention at that time;
3) the accuracy of any prior description given by the witness;
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) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. 18
The Court held that in their view, these requirements were met. In the instant case, there is no
question that both witnesses had the opportunity to view the incident as it unfolded before them
with a degree of attention that allowed them to take in the important details and recall them
clearly. Moreover, as repeatedly stressed, appellate court should accord to the factual findings of
trial courts and their evaluation great weight and respect concerning the credibility of witnesses.
The conditions of visibility being favorable and these witnesses not appearing to be biased, the
conclusion of trial courts regarding the identity of the malefactors should normally be accepted.
The SC also held that the trial court did not err in qualifying the killing as murder. There was
treachery in this case since, as testified to by prosecution witness Fernandez, the victim had
already dismissed the appellants after they talked to him. The victim was deliberately allowed to
enjoy a false sense of security. They shot the victim when the latter had his hands raised. The SC
therefore affirmed the ruling of the lower court, but made modifications with the costs to be paid
by the accused.

PEOPLE v. RICKY ROGER AUSTRIA


G.R. No. 134279 March 8, 2001
Accused was found guilty of the crime of murder, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua with all the accessory penalties provided by law, and to pay the costs.
HELD:
The SC held that the inconsistencies in Rowena Junio’s testimony do not refer to incidental or
collateral matters. The basis of her identification of accused-appellant as the victim’s assailant
was precisely her purported familiarity with accused-appellant. She did not pick him out of a
police line-up nor did she provide the police with a description of the assailant. She pointed to
accused-appellant because she allegedly knew him prior to the killing. If the witness was not at
all familiar with accused-appellant, the prosecution’s whole case collapses for such familiarity
was its very foundation.
In the face of doubts regarding the familiarity of the witness with the alleged assailant, the
distance of the witness from the scene and the visibility conditions thereat assume greater
significance. The prosecution did not show, however, whether the intensity of the defective lamp
was sufficient to enable the witness to see accused-appellant’s face, considering her distance
from the scene.
Accused-appellant invoked alibi, which he failed to corroborate with other evidence.
Nevertheless, this circumstance would not sustain his conviction. As a rule, alibis should be
considered with suspicion and received with caution, not only because they are inherently weak
and unreliable, but also because they can easily be fabricated. But equally fundamental is the
axiom that evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be
allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the defense. And, where the prosecution’s
evidence is weak or just as equally tenuous, alibi need not be inquired into.
The prosecution has also failed to establish any motive on the part of the accused-appellant to
kill the deceased. While generally, the motive of the accused is immaterial and does not have to
be proven, proof of the same becomes relevant and essential when, as in this case, the identity of
the assailant is in question.
Considering the apparent unreliability of the evidence proffered by the prosecution, this Court is
constrained to rule for an acquittal. In all criminal cases, all doubts should be resolved in favor of
the accused on the principle that it is better to liberate a guilty man than to unjustly keep in
prison one whose guilt has not been proven by the required quantum of evidence. Conviction, it
is said, must rest on nothing less than a moral certainty of guilt that we find here to be wanting.
The SC reversed the decision of the lower court, and acquitted the accused on ground of
reasonable doubt.

PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. RODOLFO VILLADARES


G.R. No. 137649 March 8, 2001
Accused was found guilty of raping a 12-yr old girl, and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
Accused assails the credibility of the witness and the supposed inconsistencies in the testimonies.
The SC still affirmed the ruling of the lower court.
First. It is doctrinal that the evaluation by the trial court of the testimony of a witness is accorded
with highest respect because the trial court had the direct and singular opportunity to observe the
facial expression, gesture and tone of voice of a witness while testifying and therefore,
competent to determine whether or not the witness is telling the truth.
Second. The alleged inconsistency between the testimony of Eliza (victim) and Emma, that is,
that the latter testified that Eliza shouted, is trivial and cannot affect the veracity of their
testimonies. Inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses which refer to minor and
insignificant details do not destroy their credibility. Such minor inconsistencies even manifest
truthfulness and candor and erase any suspicion of rehearsed testimony.
Third. The inconsistencies in Emma’s statement before the police authorities and her testimony
in open court cannot detract from Eliza’s testimony that she was raped on July 20, 1996 by
accused-appellant. Discrepancies and/or inconsistencies between a witness’ affidavit and
testimony in open court do not impair credibility as affidavits are taken ex parte and are often
incomplete or inaccurate for lack of or absence of searching inquiries by the investigating officer.
In any event, we find that Emma’s testimony in court sufficiently corroborates that of Eliza on
material points.
Lastly, with or without the medical certificate, the testimony of Eliza, as corroborated by her
sister Emma is sufficient to convict. This Court has ruled that a medical examination of the
victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape; and that a victim’s testimony alone if
credible is sufficient to convict the appellant of the crime.

PEOPLE v. EFREN VALEZ


G.R. No. 136738. March 12, 2001
Accused was found guilty of raping a 12-yr old girl, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of death.
In the Information that was filed, it was indicated that there was abuse of confidence and trust,
the accused being the husband of complainant’s half-sister.
HELD:
Accused-appellant maintains that he should only be convicted for acts of lasciviousness because
there was no sexual intercourse. The SC held that it is well-settled that where the accused tried to
insert his penis into his victim’s vagina, that was all that was necessary to commit consummated
rape. Full penetration of the victim’s genital organ is not required in order to sustain a conviction
for rape. In fact, so long as there was an attempt to insert, even without rupture of the hymen,
rape is considered to have already been consummated. In this case, undoubtedly, there is no issue
as to whether or not there was insertion or penetration which calls for a fine distinction between
mere brushing or “epidermal contact” and actual touching or sliding into the female organ as
enunciated in the case of People v. Campuhan.
The SC found the accused guilty, but reduced the penalty to reclusion perpetua. Minority and
relationship under the first paragraph are special qualifying circumstances which qualify rape to
warrant the mandatory penalty of death. As such, they must both be specifically pleaded in the
Information and proven during trial. These two circumstances, minority and relationship, must
concur; otherwise, if only one is proven during trial, even if the Information alleged both, the
death penalty cannot be imposed. And, as special qualifying circumstances, the same must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt as the crime itself.
In the case under review, the SC found that evidence is wanting as to the special qualifying
circumstance of minority. The only proof as to the minority of the complainant is her testimony
during direct examination that she was 13 years old and a Grade VI student. No other proof, was
presented by the prosecution to establish complainant’s minority at the time of the incident. Even
complainant’s mother failed to testify as to her daughter’s age on the witness stand.
As to filiation, the Court notes that the circumstance of relationship by affinity within the third
civil degree was properly alleged in the Information which stated that accused-appellant “is the
husband of complainant’s half-sister and likewise duly proven during trial. Complainant herself
declared that accused-appellant was the husband of her elder sister. The mother of the
complainant and mother in-law of the accused also testified that accused-appellant is his son-in-
law. Moreover, the accused himself admitted that the victim is his sister-in-law. This
notwithstanding, for failure of the prosecution to establish minority by proof beyond reasonable
doubt, the death penalty cannot be imposed.

People v. Nellie Cabais y Gamuela


G.R. No. 129070. March 16, 2001
Accused was convicted of illegal recruitment committed in large scale by a syndicate, and
sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine. She was also convicted for two counts of estafa, and
sentenced to (a) in Criminal Case No. 13999-R, to six (6) months and one (1) day of prision
correccional, as minimum, to seven (7) years, eight (8) months and twenty-one (21) days of
prision mayor, as maximum, and to indemnify the offended party Joan Merante, in the amount of
P40,000.00 as actual damages, and costs; (b) in Criminal Case No. 14000-R, to six (6) months
and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years, eight (8) months and
twenty (20) days of prision mayor, as maximum, and to indemnify the offended party, Nancy
Oidi, in the amount of P21,000.00 as actual damages, and costs.
HELD:
The essential elements of illegal recruitment committed in large scale are: (1) that the accused
engaged in acts of recruitment and placement of workers as defined under Article 13 (b) or in
any prohibited activities under Article 34 of the Labor Code; (2) that the accused had not
complied with the guidelines issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, particularly
with respect to the requirement to secure a license or an authority to recruit and deploy workers,
either locally or overseas; and (3) that the accused committed the unlawful acts against three (3)
or more persons, individually or as a group.
Accused-appellant contends that she was not involved in recruitment but was merely an
employee of a recruitment agency. An employee of a company or corporation engaged in illegal
recruitment may be held liable as principal, together with his employer, if it is shown that he
actively and consciously participated in illegal recruitment. In this case, accused was the one
who informed complainants of job prospects in Korea and the requirements for deployment. She
also received money from them as placement fees. All of the complainants testified that they
personally met accused-appellant and transacted with her regarding the overseas job placement
offers. Complainants parted with their money, evidenced by receipts signed by accused Cabais
and accused Forneas. Thus, accused-appellant actively participated in the recruitment of the
complainants.
Furthermore, accused-appellant did not possess any license to engage in recruitment activities, as
evidenced by a certification from the POEA and the testimony of a representative of said
government agency. Her acts constituted recruitment, and considering that she admittedly had no
license or authority to recruit workers for overseas employment, accused-appellant is guilty of
illegal recruitment. Despite the fact that she was just an ordinary employee of the company, her
criminal liability would still stand for being a conspirator with the corporate officers in
undertaking illegal recruitment activities. Since the recruitment involves three or more persons,
accused-appellant is guilty of illegal recruitment in a large scale punishable under Article 39 of
the Labor Code with life imprisonment and a fine of one hundred thousand pesos.
As to the charges of estafa, accused-appellant contends that she is not liable for the offenses
charged because she did not appropriate for her own use the money given to her by complainants
as placement and passport fees. The elements of estafa are: (a) that the accused defrauded
another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit, and (b) that damage or prejudice capable
of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third person. From the foregoing, the
fact that the money was appropriated by accused for her own use is not an element of the crime
of estafa. Thus, accused-appellant Cabais’ contention under such ground is untenable. Moreover,
accused-appellant misrepresented herself to complainants as one who can make arrangements for
job placements in Korea. Complainants were successfully induced to part with their money,
causing them damage and prejudice. Consequently, accused-appellant is guilty of estafa.

People v. Edgardo Liad


G.R. Nos. 133815-17. March 22, 2001
Facts:
Accused-appellants were found guilty as principals by direct participation of the crime of
robbery with homicide, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. They were also
found guilty of illegal possession of firearms, and sentenced to suffer the penalty of four (4)
years, nine (9) months and eleven (11) days to five (5) years, four (4) months and twenty (20)
days of prision correctional sic.
Held:
The Court finds that the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt the existence of a
conspiracy between accused-appellants and the deceased. In conspiracy, direct proof of a
previous agreement to commit a crime is not necessary. It may be deduced from the mode and
manner by which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the accused
themselves when such point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of
interest. Conspiracy may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during or after the
commission of the crime. In this case, there were several circumstances immediately before,
during and after the robbery indubitably which show that the perpetrators were one in their
purpose to rob the victim. Where conspiracy is shown, the precise extent of participation of each
accused in the crime is secondary and the act of one may be imputed to all the conspirators.
The SC held that the trial court, therefore, did not err in convicting accused-appellants of robbery
with homicide. Whenever homicide has been committed as a consequence or on the occasion of
the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as
principals for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide, although they did not actually
take part in the homicide.
In cases involving illegal possession of firearm, the requisite elements are: (a) the existence of
the subject firearm and (b) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed the firearm does not
have the corresponding license or permit to possess. The latter is a negative fact that constitutes
an essential ingredient of the offense of illegal possession, and it is the duty of the prosecution
not only to allege it but also to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. The Court agrees with accused-
appellants and the Solicitor General that the prosecution in this case failed to prove the second
element.
The SC does not agree with the contention of the Solicitor General that since a paltik is a
homemade gun, is illegally manufactured as recognized in People v. Fajardo, and cannot be
issued a license or permit, it is no longer necessary to prove that it is unlicensed. This appears to
be, at first blush, a very logical proposition. The Court, however, yield to it because Fajardo did
not say that paltiks can in no case be issued a license or a permit, and that proof that a firearm is
a paltik dispenses with proof that it is unlicensed.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - March 2001

Criminal Law Digests – February 2001


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
PEOPLE V. REYNALDO DE VILLA
GR 124639; Feb1, 2001
Accused was charged of raping a 12yr old minor who is his niece by affinity.
ISSUE:
Nature of Rape: Penalty; Whether the death penalty should be imposed
HELD:
SIMPLE RAPE! RECLUSION PERPETUA! Although, art. 335, RPC says, death penalty shall
be imposed when the victim is under 18 and the offender…is a relative by affinity within the
third civil degree… such circumstances (minority and relationship) are in the nature of
qualifying circumstances which should be alleged in the information and proved at the trial
(Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, Dec1, 2000). IN THIS CASE, the prosecution failed to
allege the relationship of the accused with the victim, Thus the accused cannot be convicted of
qualified rape punishable by death but only simple rape punishable by reclusion perpetua.

PEOPLE V. FERNANDEZ
GR 137647; Feb.1, 2001
Accused was charged of raping the 15yr old daughter of his common law spouse.
HELD:
SIMPLE RAPE! RECLUSION PERPETUA! Although art.335 of the RPC says that death
penalty shall be imposed when the victim is under 18 and the offender is …the common-law
spouse of the parent of the victim… having been charged only of simple rape in the information,
the accused is held guilty only of simple rape with the penalty of reclusion perpetua
PEOPLE V. LAUT, ET AL.
GR 137751; Feb1, 2001
The three accused were charged of murder.
HELD:
GUILTY! The Defense of self-defense and alibi was outweighed by the positive and categorical
eyewitness accounts corroborated by the extent of hack wounds on the victim; MURDER! The
killing was qualified by abuse of superior strength.

PEOPLE V. BAYOD
GR 122664; Feb 5, 2001
Accused was charged with murder and frustrated homicide
HELD:
Accused is GUILTY of MURDER and FRUSTRATED MURDER not frustrated HOMICIDE.
There was intent to kill and treachery, accused and his companions ganged up with advantage in
number and strength, in both instances; a felony is frustrated when the offender performs all the
acts of execution which would produce the felony as a consequence which nevertheless, do not
produce it by reason or causes independent of the will of the perpetrator. In this case, timely
medical attention.

PEOPLE V. BAYANG
GR 134402; Feb 5, 2001
Accused was charged of robbery with homicide
HELD:
GUILTY and sentenced to reclusion perpetua under art. 294, RPC. Although there were NO
eyewitness accounts of the robbery with homicide, the circumstantial evidence presented was
sufficient to convict. Under the revised rules on evidence, circumstantial evidence is sufficient,
when a) there is more than one circumstance; b) the facts from which the inferences are derived
are proven; and c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to produce conviction beyond
reasonable doubt. In affirming convictions beyond reasonable doubt the degree of proof required
is NOT proof that excludes all possibility of error but only moral, not absolute certainty, is what
the fundamental law requires.

PEOPLE V. PABILLANO
GR 108618; Feb.6, 2001
Accused was found guilty of the complex crime of robbery with homicide by the trial court.
HELD:
Accused are guilty or robbery with homicide and were sentenced to reclusion perpetua; Alibi is a
weak defense. It should be rejected when the identity of the accused is sufficiently and positively
established by eyewitnesses to the offense. Note there is no law that a police line-up is an
essential requisite to proper identification.

PEOPLE V. LOYOLA
GR 126026; Feb.6, 2001
The trial court sentenced the accused to reclusion perpetua for the
rape of a 16yr old girl while aboard a bus.
HELD:
Accused is guilty and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The defenses of alibi and denial by
the accused were found unavailing in the face of positive and credible testimony of prosecution
witnesses. Note, no young Filipina of decent repute even in modern times, would publicly admit
she had been raped unless that was the truth. Accused was not able to prove that he and the
victim were indeed lovers. Likewise, the claim of lack of force or intimidation cannot prevail.
The TEST is whether the threat or intimidation produces a reasonable fear in the mind of the
victim that is she resists or does not yield to the desires of the accused, the threat would be
carried out. Where resistance would be futile, offering none at all does not amount to consent to
sexual assault. Lastly, an offer of marriage which occurred in this case is an admission of guilt.

PEOPLE V. RAYOS
GR 133823; Feb.7,2001
Accused was charged of raping a 9yr. old girl
HELD:
Accused is guilty and sentenced to DEATH in accordance with art 335 of the RPC (as amended
by RA 7659) or where on the occasion of a rape homicide was committed, the penalty is death. !
The guilt of the accused was established through circumstantial evidence, taken in entirety
unmistakably pointing to guilt. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted in the absence of
eyewitnesses and is sufficient for conviction if, a)there is more than one circumstance; b) the
facts from which that inferences were derived are proven; and c) the combination of all
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

PEOPLE V. FRANCISCO
GR 135200; Feb.7,2001
The trial court found the accused guilty of qualified rape sentencing him to death for raping his
daughter.
HELD:
SIMPLE RAPE with the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua; The prosecution failed to allege the
qualifying circumstance of relationship between the accused and the victim in the information.
This is not a mere technicality but a concept of due process as provided in the Constitution.

PEOPLE V. CORDERO
GR 136894-96; Feb.7, 2001
Accused, a 63-yr-old was charged of 3 counts of rape of the Nana sisters, one was 13 and the
other 15.
HELD:
GUILTY and sentenced to reclusion perpetua on each information charged. The assertions of the
accused cannot stand against the testimonies and positive identification of the two rape victims.
Alibi is weak and age is not a determinant of the inability to have carnal knowledge rather it is
impotency, which nonetheless should be proven by the defense.

PEOPLE V. RONDILLA
GR 134368; Feb.8,2001
The accused was sentenced to death by the trial court in accordance with art 335 of the RPC for
raping his own daughter.
HELD:
The accused is guilty but only of simple rape for the prosecution merely charged him of simple
rape. Nonetheless he is guilty and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Hardly can any defense
stand a chance against the unimpeached testimony of the young victim in great detail the sexual
assault. The testimony is even given greater weight when the victim accuses a close relative.

PEOPLE V. NAVARRO
GR 132696 Feb.12,2001
Accused was convicted by the trial court for the crime of murder with the use of an unlicensed
firearm.
HELD:
GUILTY! Trial court Affirmed and the accused was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The crime
was murder because the killing was attended with treachery. There was no opportunity for the
deceased to retaliate or defend himself, the particular means employed which was the use of a
motor vehicle, and, the circumstance of nighttime, all point to the nature of the killing. On the
issue of the firearm, there can be no separate conviction for the illegal use of a firearm. As the
law now stands, this is merely considered as an aggravating circumstance (P.D. 1866 as amended
by RA 8294). Since the death penalty was not yet effective at the time of the offense, the penalty
is reclusion perpetua. The original penalty for murder was reclusion temporal but since there was
an aggravating circumstance of the use of an unlicensed firearm, the penalty was raised to
reclusion perpetua.

PEOPLE. V. OPTANA
GR 133922; Feb.12,2001
4 information for the violation of the sec. 5 RA7610 (Special Protection of Children against
Child Abuse) and 4 informations for rape were filed against the accused.
HELD:
The SC affirms the decision of the trial court convicting the accused for one incident of rape,
sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and one charge violating RA7610, sentencing him to suffer
8yrs and 1 day of prison mayor as minimum to 17 yrs. and 4mos of reclusion temporal as
maximum. The other informations failed to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Likewise,
charging the accused with two different offenses for the same act committed on the same date
against the same victim is erroneous and illegal except where the law itself so allows. This is not
allowed by RA7610. It specifically provides that in instances where the victim is under 12, the
case should fall under art. 335 of the RPC, thus only cases where the victim is over 12 but under
18 can fall under this law. In the case at bar, where the accused was charged for several occasions
of rape and abuse the conviction or acquittal on the informations was based on the age of the
child, the concept of non-multiplicity of suits, and the evidence presented. Thus, only one rape
case prospered (incident when the child was below 12) and one violation of RA7610 (when the
child was above 12 but below 18).

PEOPLE V. VELASCO
GR 128089; Feb13,2001
The accused was indicted for parricide under art 246 of the RPC for the killing of his wife.
HELD:
The accused is guilty of parricide and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua. Parricide is
committed when 1) a person is killed; 2)the deceased is killed by the accused; 3)the deceased is
the…or the legitimate spouse of the accused. The key element is the relation of the offender to
the victim. In case of a marital relationship the best evidence is the marriage certificate. The own
testimony of the accused as married to the victim may also be taken as an admission against
penal interest. The case was proved through circumstantial evidence sufficiently establishing the
malefactor, destroying the presumption of innocence, and fulfilling the standard of moral
certainty. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted in the absence of eyewitnesses and is
sufficient for conviction if, a)there is more than one circumstance; b) the facts from which that
inferences were derived are proven; and c) the combination of all circumstances is such as to
produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Further, a conviction based on such can be
upheld if the circumstances established would lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing
to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the author of the crime.

PEOPLE V. PEREZ
GR 134756; Feb.13,2001
Accused was found guilty of murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua by the trial court.
HELD:
Accused is guilty of murder. A frontal attack does not necessarily rule out treachery. Although
the shots were taken facing the accused, according to witnesses, the victim was eating merienda
with her back turned to the accused when he came; the victim only stood and faced him after he
cursed her. The accused deliberately sought the manner of the attack, going to the victim’s
barangay, armed with a pistol, approaching the victim from behind and shooting her at close
range. Treachery was present. The attack was sudden and the victim was defenseless, had no
opportunity to escape, and lastly, there was no risk to the accused when he fired his gun.

PEOPLE V. GUZMAN
GR 117952-53; Feb.14,2001
The accused was found guilty by the trial court of violating RA 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of
1972).
HELD:
The accused is GUILTY. The accused was caught in flagrante delicto, possessing an unlicensed
firearm. The search conducted thereafter was valid. It was within the immediate control of the
arrested person. Likewise, the drugs and paraphernalia obtained where in plain view of the police
when the accused was arrested. Quoting PEOPLE v. Khor, the elements of illegal possession of
dangerous drugs are: 1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified as a
prohibited drug; 2) such possession is not authorized by law; and 3) the accused freely and
consciously possessed the said drug. All elements concurring, the accused is thus guilty. Lastly,
the accused failed to quash the information against him before arraignment thus he is estopped
from questioning the legality of his arrest.

PEOPLE V. YBANEZ
GR 136257; Feb.14, 2001
Accused was charged of raping a 10yr old girl who is the daughter of his common law spouse.
He was sentenced to death by the trial court.
HELD:
Accused was sentenced by the SC to reclusion perpetua convicting him only of simple rape. The
prosecution failed to indicate the relationship of the accused to the victim in the information thus
merely charging Ybanez of simple rape. Convicting the accused of an offense not specifically
charged in the complaint is a violation of his right to due process.
PEOPLE V. AVECILLA
GR117033; Feb.15, 2001
Accused was charged of qualified illegal possession of a firearm; accused willfully, unlawfully,
and feloniously with intent to kill, and actually killing a victim as a consequence, possess and
carry an unlicensed firearm.
ISSUE:
Conviction and Retroactivity of RA8294 (An act Amending the Provisions of PD 1866)
HELD:
SC dismissed the case. Originally he could have been convicted of illegally possessing a firearm
separately from his conviction on the killing that occurred as a consequence thereof, which
happened in 1991. With the passage of RA 8294 in 1997 amending PD1866, the possession of an
unlicensed firearm has become merely an aggravating circumstance to a murder or homicide
charge. As a general rule, penal laws have prospective effect EXCEPT where the new law will be
advantageous to the accused, as in this case, sparing him of two separate convictions.

PEOPLE V. PAGDAYAWON
GR 130522; Feb.15,2001
Accused, a police officer was charged of raping his 11yr. Old stepdaughter. Both circumstances,
minority and relationship was indicated in the complaint. The trial court sentenced the accused to
death.
HELD:
The accused is guilty. The witness is credible and there was indeed force and intimidation in the
act. The penalty prescribed by the trial court was also correct. Under art335 of the RPC, death
penalty shall be imposed when the victim is under 18 and the offender is the stepparent of the
victim. Such information was formally included in the charge.

PEOPLE V. B. TUMANON
GR 135066, Feb.15, 2001
The accused were charged on murder.
HELD:
The accused are guilty of murder. There was abuse of superior strength shown through
superiority in number and the use of arms. To take advantage of superior strength is to use force
out of proportion to the means available to the person attacked to defend himself. Conspiracy
was also present. It is not necessary that there be a previous plan or agreement to commit the
assault. It is sufficient that at the time of the aggression, all the accused, by their acts, gave
evidence of common intent to kill the victim, so that the act of one becomes the act of all and all
of them will thus be liable as principals.

PEOPLE v. NAAG
GR No. 136394; Feb. 15, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty by the lower court of the special complex crime of
robbery with rape.
ISSUE:
Was there rape? Was he guilty of the special complex crime of robbery with rape?
HELD:
There was rape. In rape cases, what is material is that there is penetration no matter how slight.
The only essential point is to prove the entrance or at least the introduction of the male organ into
the labia of the pudendum. The moment the accused¹s penis knocks at the door of the of the
pudenda it suffices to constitute the crime of rape. Accused is guilty of separate crimes of rape
and theft. Facts show that the primary intent of accused was to rape the victim and not to rob her.
Moreover, the crime of taking away the property is theft and not robbery because of the absence
of violence and intimidation.

PEOPLE v. MACAYA
GR No. 137185-86; Feb 15, 2001
Accused was charged of raping the two children of his common-law spouse in two separate
complaints and was found guilty in both cases and was sentenced to reclusion perpetua in one
case and death in the other.
HELD:
NO. The accused was charged only with simple rape. Under Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code,
the death penalty shall be imposed when rape is committed against a victim who is under 18
years of age, and the offender among other circumstances, is the common-law spouse of the
parent of the victim. But these circumstances must be alleged in the complaint or information.
Otherwise, even if the minority of the victim and the relationship of the victim and the accused
are established during the trial, he cannot be punished for a graver offense than that with which
he is charged. He can only be convicted of simple rape the imposable penalty for which is
reclusion perpetua.

PEOPLE v. ALBIOR
GR No. 115079; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty by the lower court of rape and was sentenced to a penalty
of reclusion perpetua.
ISSUE:
Is the absence of spermatozoa in the victim¹s genitalia negate rape? Do minor inconsistencies in
victim¹s testimonies destroy credibility?
HELD:
Absence of spermatozoa in the victim¹s genitalia does not negate rape. Further, as for appellant¹s
claim that the victim did not suffer complete lacerations and other signs of physical violence,
suffice it to say that even the absence of hymenal laceration does not rule out sexual abuse,
especially when the victim is of tender age. Nor is it necessary for the victim to suffer external
injuries in order for the crime of rape to be established. As for the minor inconsistencies, these
are badges of truthfulness and candor for they erase the suspicion the testimony was
rehearsed. Also, victims are not expected to have a total recall of the incident.

PEOPLE v. NAVARRA
GR No. 119361, Feb 19, 2001
The accused-appellants were charged and found guilty by the RTC of illegal recruitment
committed in a large scale resulting to economic sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.
ISSUE:
Did the RTC err in disregarding their defense of denial and in finding them guilty of the offense
charged.
HELD:
Denials, without clear and convincing evidence to support them, can not sway judgement. They
are self-serving statements and are inherently weak. Decision of lower court affirmed. Illegal
recruitment has 2 essential elements: first, the offender has no valid license or authority required
by law to enable him to lawfully engage in recruitment or placement of workers; second, the
offender undertakes any activity within the meaning of recruitment and placement defined under
Article 13 (b), or any prohibited practices enumerated under Art 34 of the Labor Code. A non-
licensee or non-holder of authority means any person, corporation or entity without a valid
license or authority to engage in recruitment or placement from the Secretary of Labor, or whose
license or authority has been suspended, revoked or cancelled by the POEA or the Sec. of Labor.
Under Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code, recruitment and placement refer to, any
act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers, and
includes referrals, contract services, promising, or advertising for employment, locally or abroad,
for profit or not: Provided, that any person or entity which in any manner, offers or promises for
a fee employment to 2 or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment or placement.
Accused-appellants committed acts of recruitment and placement, such as promises to the
complainants of profitable employment abroad and acceptance of placement fees. They were
also not authorized to recruit workers for overseas employment as certified by the DOLE. Art. 38
(b) of the Labor Code provides that illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving
economic sabotage if any of the following qualifying circumstances exists: first, when illegal
recruitment is committed by a syndicate; second when it is committed in a large scale, committed
against three or more persons individually or as a group.

PEOPLE v. BLAZO
GR No. 127111; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of rape and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua.
ISSUE:
Whether the prosecution proved the accused¹s guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
HELD:
Delay in criminal accusation is not an indication of a fabricated charge, if such charge is
satisfactorily explained. A young girl, such as the victim in this case, cannot be expected to have
the courage and intelligence of a mature woman to immediately report her defilement, especially
when accompanied by a death threat. A medical examination and a medical certificate are merely
corroborative and are not indispensable to the prosecution of a rape case. Lacerations of the
hymen, while considered as the most telling and irrefutable physical evidence of a penile
invasion, are not always necessary to establish the commission of rape, where other evidence is
available to show consummation

PEOPLE v. MURILLO
GR No. 128851-56; Feb 19, 2001
Accused were charge and found guilty of rape and were sentenced to death.
ISSUE:
Whether the penalty of death was correct?
HELD:
NO. The death sentence given to the accused was based on the following attendant
circumstances: first, the victim is under the custody of the police or military officers, and second,
when committed by and member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine
National Police or any law enforcement agency. To merit the punishment of death, these
circumstances must be properly alleged in the information. For the prosecution¹s failure to do so,
these circumstances cannot be appreciated as aggravating circumstances, therefore the proper
penalty is reclusion perpetua.

PEOPLE v. MOLINA
GR No. 133917; Feb 19, 2001
Accused were charged and found guilty of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 for having
in their possession 946.9 grams of marijuana and were sentenced to death.
HELD:
NO. Accused-appellants manifested no outward indication that would justify their arrest. In
holding a bag on board a trisikad, accused-appellants could not be said to be committing,
attempting to commit, or have committed a crime. There was no probable cause in arresting the
accused thus making the arrest illegal. Because the arrest was illegal, so was the search made by
the police officers. This being the case, the evidence is inadmissible and the accused are found
not guilty of the alleged offense.

PEOPLE vs AWING
GR No. 133919-20; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of 2 counts of rape against his stepdaughter.
ISSUE:
Whether the lower court gave him the correct sentence of death?
HELD:
NO. Sec. 11 of R.A. No. 7659 imposes the death penalty when the rape victim is under 18 years
of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or
affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the victim¹s parent. Both the
age of the offended party and the filiation or kinship with the accused must be alleged in the
information as part of the constitutional right of the accused to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him. In this case, complainant¹s age n the accusatory portion of
the informations were omitted, hence appellant was only charged of simple rape and not
qualified rape. The proper penalty to be imposed to the appellant is reclusion perpetua and not
death.

PEOPLE v. TOLENTINO
GR No. 139834; Feb 19, 2001
Accused was charged and convicted for committing the crime of rape.
HELD:
Victim will not go through the humiliation if it is not to seek justice, hence her testimony is
credible. Also, there was no showing that the victim was impelled by ill motive to testify against
the accused. Conviction for rape may be based on circumstantial evidence when the victim
cannot testify on the actual commission of the rape because she was unconscious when the act
was committed, provided that one circumstance is duly proved and the totality or the unbroken
chain of the circumstances proven lead to no other logical conclusion than accused¹s guilt.

PEOPLE v. MUSTAPA
GR No. 141244; Feb. 19, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of violating Sec. 16 of RA No 6425 (Dangerous Drugs
Act) and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
ISSUE:
Whether the court erred in not appreciating the accused¹s testimony denying ownership of bag
containing shabu?
HELD:
Lower Court¹s decision affirmed. Denial is a weak form of defense, particularly when it is not
substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. The defense of denial or frame-up, like alibi, has
been viewed by courts with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and is a common and standard
defense ploy in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Also, issues raised
by the defense are factual and involves credibility of witnesses, a matter addressed to the trial
court because it is in a better position to decide such questions. It is a well-entrenched doctrine
that the trial court¹s findings are entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed
on appeal. Also, minor inconsistencies or discrepancies in the testimony of prosecution witnesses
refer merely to minor details and does not impair the credibility of witnesses. Witnesses are not
expected to remember everything that happened in exact detail, since a long time has already
lapsed.

PEOPLE v. CONSEJERO
GR No. 118334; Feb 20, 2001
Accused-appellant was charged and found guilty of the crime of robbery with homicide and was
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
ISSUE:
Whether accused-appellant was guilty beyond reasonable doubt?
HELD:
The circumstances proved constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair conclusion, that
the appellant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The circumstances or a combination thereof
should point to overt acts of the appellant that would logically lead to the conclusion that the
appellant is guilty. Rule 113, Sec 4 of the Rules of Court provides the requisites for the
sufficiency of circumstantial evidence: a) there is more than one circumstance; b) facts from
which the inferences are derived are proven; and c) combination of all the circumstances is such
to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. However, the crime committed was not
robbery with homicide; in this case, the primary purpose of the accused was not to rob but to
take the life of the victim, the taking of property came only as an afterthought subsequent to the
killings. The crimes committed are separate offenses of homicide, murder, and theft.

PEOPLE v. TIO
GR Nos. 132482-83; Feb 20, 2001
Accused was charged and found guilty of committing the crime of murder qualified by treachery
and with the aggravating circumstance of use of unlicensed firearm and sentenced him to
reclusion perpetua.
ISSUE:
Whether relationship of witnesses to the victim affects their credibility?
HELD:
NO. Relationship per se does no give rise to a presumption of bias or ulterior motive, nor does it
ipso facto impair the credibility or tarnish the testimony of the witnesses. The eyewitnesses were
not shown to have any ill feeling or resentment against the appellant as to prevaricate and impute
upon him a heinous crime. Besides, there is also a mere chance witness that pointed to the
appellant as the assailant and whose account of the incident coincided with the accounts of the
other witnesses. Moreover, the eyewitness accounts of the prosecution witnesses not only
reinforced and corroborated each other but were also confirmed by the physical evidence.

PEOPLE v. ENDINO
GR. No. 133026; Feb 20, 2001
The crime of murder was charged against accused Endino and accused-appellant Galgarin.
Galgarin was arrested and convicted for the crime of murder qualified by treachery, while on the
other hand Endino remained at large.
HELD:
Admission of videotaped confessions is proper. The interview was recorded on video and it
showed accused-appellant unburdening his guilt willingly, openly and publicly in the presence of
newsmen. Such confession does not form part of custodial investigation, as it was not given to
police officers but to media men in an attempt to elicit sympathy and forgiveness from the
public.
PEOPLE v. DE LEON
GR No. 124297; Feb 21, 2001
Accused-appellant was charge and convicted of several counts of the crime of rape and was
sentenced to suffer the penalty of death.
HELD:
GUILTY. Rule 110, Sec. 11 provides that it is not necessary for the information to allege the
exact date and the time of the commission of the crime is such is not an essential ingredient of
the offense. In the crime of rape, the date of the commission is not an essential element. The
delay in reporting the crime committed can also be attributed to the tender age of the victim and
the moral ascendancy of the accused over the victim. Oftentimes, a rape victim’s actions are
moved by fear rather than by reason, and because of this, failure of the victim to report the crime
immediately is not indicative of fabrication. Also, victims are not expected to recall the exact and
accurate account of their traumatic experiences. However, accused cannot be sentenced to death
because the information against him failed to allege victim¹s minority and her relationship to the
accused. RA 7659 enumerates the circumstances that justify the imposition of the death penalty.
Consistent with the accused¹s right to be informed of the nature and the cause of the accusation
against him, these circumstances must be specifically pleaded or alleged with certainty in the
information and proven during the trial. Accused is guilty only of simple rape and sentenced only
to reclusion perpetua on each count of rape.

PEOPLE V. ZUNIEGA
GR 126117; Feb. 21,2001
Accused was charged for the murder of a certain Aujero.
HELD:
Accused is guilty of murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua (since the accused was found
guilty by the trial court prior to the effectivity of the death penalty law the proper penalty is
reclusion perpetua). The facts show that the accused perpetrated the crime in such a way that he
easily rendered his victim totally defenseless, with no opportunity to escape or defend himself,
and without the slightest provocation. NOTE: 1)The circumstance that the judge who penned the
decision did not personally hear the testimonies of witnesses does not disturb the decision more
so when the judgment is supported by evidence on record such as the transcript of stenographic
notes. 2) Failure of a witness to reveal at once the identity of the perpetrator of a felony does not
impair the credibility of the witness more so if the delay has been adequately explained, such as
due to fear of a great danger to his life and/or his family.

PEOPLE V. BOLIVAR
GR130597; Feb. 21, 2001
Three accused were charged of murder.
HELD:
The accused were guilty of murder and were sentenced to reclusion perpetua. The accused alibi
cannot prosper against positive identification of prosecution witnesses. For alibi to prosper 2
requisites must concur: 1) accused must prove that he was at another place at the time of the
crime; and 2)the accused must demonstrate that it would be physically impossible for him to be
at the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. The court also found that there was
conspiracy, as inferred from the acts of the accused before, during and after the crime, which are
indicative of a joint purpose, concerted action, and concurrence of sentiments.

PEOPLE V. VELASQUEZ
GR132635 & 143872-75; Feb. 21, 2001
Accused was found guilty by the trial court of Acts of Lasciviousness against his 2 yr. old
granddaughter and the crime of Rape against his alleged stepdaughter who is a minor. He was
sentenced to death for the rape.
HELD:
SC found the accused guilty of acts of lasciviousness and simple rape which modified his
sentence for the rape to reclusion perpetua. NOTE: (A)On the 1st charge: acts of
lasciviousness… 1)By failing to invoke the lack of a preliminary investigation during the trial,
the court deems that the accused has waived the same; 2)The testimony of the mother of the 2 yr.
Old child/victim is sufficient considering the victim’s age and the medical examination
conducted. B) On 2nd charge: rape of his alleged minor stepdaughter…1)The sole testimony of
the victim is sufficient; 2) The three yr. delay in the filing of a complaint does not necessarily
mean that the charge was fabricated. The delay was due to fear; 3) The penalty for the rape is
reclusion perpetua since the court found the marriage of the accused to the victim’s mother as
doubtful, the information against the accused being different from what was actually proven, that
the relationship of the accused to the victim is one of daughter of a common law spouse, the
crime was considered as only simple rape punishable by reclusion perpetua.
PEOPLE V. MANALO
GR 135964-71; Feb. 21, 2001
Accused was charged of 8 counts of rape of two minors (4 counts of rape for each child). One
was 6 yrs. old and the other 7.
HELD:
The accused is guilty and is sentenced to death. According to art.335 of the RPC, the death
penalty shall be imposed if rape is committed on a child below seven yrs. of age.

PEOPLE v. FERNANDO SABALAN


G.R. No. 134529. February 26, 2001.
Accused was convicted of incestuous rape (raped 12-yr old daughter), and meted out with the
supreme penalty of death.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court, but lowered the penalty to reclusion perpetua.
The settled rule is that when the issue involves the credibility of a witness, the trial court’s
assessment is entitled to great weight, even finality, unless it is shown that it was tainted with
arbitrariness or there was an oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence.
It must be stressed that the law does not impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving
resistance, particularly when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter submits
herself to the rapist’s will for fear for life or personal safety. It suffices that the threat or
intimidation produces a reasonable fear in the mind of the victim that if she resists or does not
yield to the desires of the accused-appellant, the threat would be carried out.
Accused was meted out with the penalty of reclusion perpetua, since the special circumstance of
minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender was not alleged and proven. In the
case at bar, the information alleged the special qualifying circumstance of relationship and
minority. The prosecution evidence, however, is insufficient to prove the minority of the victim.
Besides the bare declaration of the victim as to her age, there was no independent evidence
presented by the prosecution that could accurately show her age. We have held that the minority
of the victim must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. Failure to
sufficiently establish the victim’s age will bar any finding of rape in its qualified form.

PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. RAYMUNDO VISAYA


G.R. No. 136967 February 26, 2001
Accused was convicted of murder (with circumstances of treachery and conspiracy), and meted
out with the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. It is well settled that conspiracy exists when
two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to
commit it. The presence of the element of conspiracy among the accused can be proven by their
conduct before, during or after the commission of the crime showing that they acted in unison
with each other, evincing a common purpose or design. In such case, the act of one becomes the
act of all, and each of the accused will thereby be deemed equally guilty of the crime committed.
The prosecution was able to establish that accused and the other suspects, by their acts at the
time of the aggression, manifested a common intent or desire to kill the victim, so that the act of
Visaya became also the act of appellant Ocampo. Moreover, their coordinated escape from the
crime scene when somebody shouted “sibat na” confirmed the existence of conspiracy.
With regard to the circumstance of treachery, it exists when the offender employs means,
methods, or forms in the execution of the offense which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.
In the case at bar, the evidence showed that the unsuspecting victim was completely unprepared
for the unexpected attack as he was facing a wall and totally deprived of a chance to ward off or
escape from the criminal assault.

THE PEOPLE v. EDGAR CAWAYAN y CRUZ


G.R. No. 128117. February 28, 2001.
Accused was found guilty of murder attended by the generic aggravating circumstance that the
crime was committed in the dwelling of the offended party (morada), but offset by the alternative
mitigating circumstance of intoxication. He was sentenced to the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. Two witnesses, Vilma and Maricris, positively
identified accused-appellant as the assailant. Accused’s alibi cannot overcome the eyeball
testimonies, especially since it has not been shown that it was impossible for him to be
physically at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. For the defense of alibi to
prosper, it is not enough that the accused can prove his being at another place at the time of its
commission; it is likewise essential that he can show physical impossibility for him to be at the
locus delicti.

PEOPLE v. DANIEL MAURICIO Y PEREZ


G.R. No. 133695. February 28, 2001.
The trial court found accused guilty of raping his 11-yr old daughter and sentenced him to death.
He was also found guilty of attempted rape in the other case, and sentenced to seventeen (17)
years, four (4) months, and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal maximum.
HELD:
With regard to the first criminal case, the SC convicted the accused of simple rape, punishable by
reclusion perpetua. In the case at bar, although the Information did properly allege the
complainant’s minority, it failed to specify the relationship between the complainant and
accused-appellant. It is not enough that the relationship was subsequently proved during the trial.
Both relationship and minority must be alleged in the Information to qualify the crime as
punishable by death.
With regard to the second criminal case, the SC ruled that the evidence on record cannot sustain
a conviction for attempted rape. There is an attempt when the offender commences the
commission of a felony directly by overt acts, and does not perform all the acts of execution
which should produce the felony by reason of some cause or accident other than his own
spontaneous desistance. Applying the above definition to the facts of the case, it would be
stretching the imagination to construe the act of the accused of throwing the victim to her bed as
an overt act that will “logically and necessarily ripen” into rape. The external act must have a
direct and necessary connection with the crime that the accused intended to commit. Whether
accused indeed intended to commit the crime of rape cannot be seen merely from this particular
act. Thus, accused should be acquitted of the charge of attempted rape.

PEOPLE v. CASTANITO GANO


G.R. No. 134373 February 28, 2001
Accused was convicted of the crime of robbery with homicide, and sentenced to the penalty of
death. The core issue now before us is whether the three (3) killings should be appreciated as
separate aggravating circumstances to warrant the imposition of the penalty of death.
HELD:
The SC found the accused guilty of robbery with homicide, but imposed the penalty of reclusion
perpetua. It should be noted that there is no law providing that the additional rape/s or homicide/s
should be considered as aggravating circumstance. The enumeration of aggravating
circumstances under Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code is exclusive as opposed to the
enumeration in Article 13 of the same Code regarding mitigating circumstances where there is
specific paragraph (paragraph 10) providing for analogous circumstances.
It is true that the additional rapes (or killings in the case of multiple homicide on the occasion of
the robbery) would result in an “anomalous situation” where from the standpoint of the gravity
of the offense, robbery with one rape would be on the same level as robbery with multiple rapes.
However, the remedy lies with the legislature. A penal law is liberally construed in favor of the
offender and no person should be brought within its terms if he is not clearly made so by the
statute.

PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. BLESIE VELASCO


G.R. Nos. 135231-33 February 28, 2001
The accused was convicted of 3 counts of rape (rape of his 12-yr old stepdaughter), and
sentenced to death for each count.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. In qualified rape, the concurrence of the
minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender must both be alleged and proved with
certainty, otherwise the death penalty cannot be imposed.
Since the allegation of minority (twelve 12 years old) in the Informations was established by the
complainant herself, who is considered competent to testify on her age as it constitutes an
assertion of family tradition, 67 and by the open admission of the accused as well as the
categorical finding of the trial court, then such fact is deemed established with certainty. In this
case, the birth certificate or any other official document proving minority serves no other purpose
than to corroborate the testimonies of the competent witnesses and the categorical finding of the
trial court.
The second circumstance to be established is the relationship of the accused to the complaining
witness. In this case, such a relationship was also shown by the testimonies of witnesses.
PEOPLE v. FILOMENO SERRANO
G.R. No. 137480 February 28, 2001
Accused was convicted for the crime of rape, aggravated by the fact that the victim was the
minor daughter of the accused. He was sentenced to suffer the penalty of DEATH.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. In imposing the penalty of death, the trial court
took into consideration the testimonial and documentary evidence adduced. The SC agreed that it
has been duly established that the victim is the daughter of accused-appellant and that she was
only thirteen years old at the time of her sexual assault. Proof of these circumstances are the
marriage contract between accused-appellant and Adeluisa (“Adel”) Biato Agos, and the
certificate of live birth of victim indicating therein that she was the second child of accused-
appellant and Adeluisa (“Adel”) Biato Agos, and that she was born on June 13, 1983. Accused-
appellant never disowned this relationship when he was put on the stand during the trial. There
was likewise no competent evidence presented by accused-appellant to rebut the documents
presented by the prosecution.

PEOPLE v. REFORMADOR VIDAL y BALLADARES


G.R. No. 137946. February 28, 2001.
Accused was found guilty of the crime of rape, and was sentenced to suffer the penalty of
reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
The SC upheld the decision of the lower court. The issues raised by accused-appellant boil down
to a question of the credibility of the complainant’s testimony. The SC found the contentions to
be without merit. First. The SC found no reason to reverse the findings of the trial court that
complainant was raped. It is settled that the evaluation by the trial court of the testimony of a
witness is accorded the highest respect because the trial court had the opportunity to observe the
facial expression, gesture, and voice tone of a witness while testifying and, therefore, competent
to determine whether or not the witness is telling the truth. Furthermore, the alleged
inconsistency is minor and inconsequential in nature and does not detract from the fact that
complainant was raped.
Second. In rape cases, the prosecution is not bound to present witnesses other than complainant
herself, as accused-appellant may be convicted solely on the testimony of complainant, provided
the same is credible, natural, convincing, and otherwise consistent with human nature and the
normal course of things. The testimony of complainant complied with such standards.
Third. The failure of complainant to shout or offer tenacious resistance does not imply her
submission to accused-appellant’s desires. To be sure, it is not required that the victim of rape
resists her assailant unto death. All that is necessary is that the force or intimidation employed
against complainant enabled the assailant to effect sexual penetration.
Fourth. The absence of fresh injuries in complainant’s private part does not negate rape as proof
of hymenal lacerations is not an element of rape. Fifth. Accused-appellant’s contention that he
and complainant were lovers is not worthy of any consideration at all. He presented no witness to
corroborate his claim. Sixth. While it is true that flight raises the presumption of guilt on the part
of an accused, the converse does not necessarily mean innocence. There is no rule that, in every
instance, the fact that the accused did not flee is a proof of his innocence. It is not unnatural for a
criminal, as in this case, to desist from leaving the place where the crime was committed to feign
innocence.

THE PEOPLE v. SANDY HINTO y BUENO


G.R. Nos. 138146-91. February 28, 2001.
In the first criminal case, accused was found guilty of the crime of rape, and was sentenced to
suffer the penalty of death. He was also found guilty of 45 counts of acts of lasciviousness, there
being the presence of the aggravating circumstance of relationship. He was sentenced to suffer
the indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years, as minimum, to fifteen (15) years, both of
reclusion temporal, as maximum, in each of the forty-five (45) cases and to pay the costs of the
suit.
HELD:
The SC affirmed the decision of the lower court. With regard to the credibility of witnesses,
settled is the rule that the trial court’s evaluation of the credibility of the testimony of witnesses
is entitled to great respect. Unless shown that it has overlooked some facts which would affect
the result of the case, the trial court’s factual findings will not be disturbed by the appellate court.
With regard to the defense of alibi, it is settled that for the defense of alibi to prosper, there must
be proof not only that the accused was at some other place at the time the crime was committed
but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the
alleged crime.
Under Art. 335, par. 7(1) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 7659, if the victim is
under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a common-law spouse of the parent of the
victim, the imposable penalty is death. In these cases, the information for rape alleges that the
victim was under 18 years of age at the time she was raped and that accused-appellant is the
common-law spouse of her mother. Her birth certificate was offered as evidence in this case. It
was also proven during the trial that accused-appellant is the common-law spouse of the victim’s
mother. Considering the foregoing, the SC was constrained to affirm the death sentence imposed
by the trial court on accused-appellant.

PEOPLE v. EDGARDO MACEDA


G.R. No. 138805 February 28, 2001
Accused was convicted for the crime of rape of a mental retardate, and sentenced to suffer the
penalty of death.
HELD:
With regard to the contention of accused that the prosecution failed to prove that force or
intimidation was used against complainant, the SC found the contention to be unmeritorious. To
begin with, under Art. 266-A (1)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, 34 the crime of rape
may be committed by a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman through force, threat,
or intimidation. The force necessary in rape is relative. The intimidation must be judged in the
light of the victim’s perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime, and not
by any hard and fast rule. It must be stressed that complainant in this case does not possess the
intelligence of an average individual. Indisputably, her mental faculties are different from those
of a fully-functioning adult; hence, the degree of force or intimidation needed to overwhelm her
is less than what it would take to frighten an ordinary woman.
Furthermore, it is erroneous for accused-appellant to contend that no rape was committed
because the prosecution failed to prove that the mental age of the victim was equivalent to a girl
below 12 years old. It must be emphasized that this requirement is necessary if the charge is
statutory rape under Art. 266-A, par. 1(d). In this case, complainant was deprived of reason, and,
under Art. 266-A, par. 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, having sexual intercourse with her, even
if accomplished without the use of force or intimidation, constitutes rape.
However, the trial court erred when it imposed the penalty of death on accused-appellant under
Art. 266-B (10) of the RPC. True enough, accused-appellant knew of the mental condition of the
victim prior to and at the time of the incident, as evidenced by his own admission in open court.
Be that as it may, accused-appellant cannot be meted the death penalty. Under Art. 266-B in
relation to Art. 266-A, par. (1), of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, simple rape is
punishable by reclusion perpetua. When rape is committed by an assailant who has knowledge of
the victim’s mental retardation, the penalty is increased to death. This circumstance must,
however, be alleged in the information because it is a qualifying circumstance which increases
the penalty and changes the nature of the offense. In this case, while accused-appellant admitted
that he knew complainant to be a mental retardate, this fact was not alleged in the information.
Therefore, even if it was proved, it cannot be appreciated as a qualifying, but only as a generic
aggravating, circumstance. Accordingly, accused-appellant must be sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua for the crime of simple rape.

Reference:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - February 2001

Criminal Law Digests – October – November 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
OCTOBER 2000
PEOPLE V. SANTIAGO
GRNO.129371 OCT. 4, 2000
Appellant was convicted of murder for shooting the victim after a prior street altercation that
erupted when the parties’ vehicles collided.
Held:
Only Homicide. No treachery. Treachery must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, or as
conclusively as the killing itself. When the witnesses did not see how the attack was carried out
and cannot testify how it began, the trial court cannot presume from the circumstances of the
case that there was treachery. Treachery cannot be considered where the lone witness did not see
the commencement of the assault. Since the lone witness failed to witness the initial attack
inflicted upon the victim, treachery cannot be considered a qualifying circumstance.
All the elements of evident premeditation must also be proven. Premeditation to kill must be
plain notorious and sufficiently proven by the evidence of outward acts showing the intent to kill.
A 15-minute interval is not sufficient time for the accused to coolly reflect on their plan to kill
the victim. In one case, 30 minutes was held also insufficient time between determination to
commit and the execution is insufficient for full meditation on the consequences of the act.
Liability of one whose participation in crime was limited to driving for the killers is only that of
an accomplice. The lack of complete evidence of conspiracy, which creates the doubt whether he
has acted as principal or an accomplice, implies the court to resolve the question in favor of the
accused.

PEOPLE V. BAWANG
GRNo.-131942 October 5, 2000
A case of incestuous rape.
Held:
The fact that the hymen is intact does not prove absence of sexual intercourse and the presence
of laceration does not prove defloration. The hymen may be lacerated due to some other causes
not sexual intercourse.
The qualifying circumstance provided by RA7658 for the imposition of death penalty is present
in the information–minority and relationship having been averred. However, it is the burden of
the prosecution to prove the victim was below 18 when the rape was committed in order to
justify the imposition of the death penalty. In this case, no evidence was given–not even a
Certificate of Live Birth.

PEOPLE V. LOPEZ
GRNo.-132168 October 10, 2000
An old woman was hacked to death by appellant because of a land dispute.
Held:
There was treachery. Accused suddenly and unexpectedly grabbed the hair of the deceased and
simultaneously hacked her to death. The deceased had no inkling whatsoever of the murderous
intent of the accused. The essence of treachery is that the attack comes without warning and in a
swift, deliberate and unexpected manner, affording the unarmed and unsuspecting victim no
chance to resist, to avoid or escape.
Abuse of superiority was proved. She was unarmed. The accused was a 22-year old male, in the
prime of his life, and armed with a deadly weapon. Since aloveosia is already appreciated as a
qualifying circumstance, abuse of superiority is absorbed therein.
The fact that the victim has 7 hacking wounds does not conclusively demonstrate cruelty. The
number of wounds does not per se give rise to cruelty. The test is whether the accused
deliberately and sadistically augmented the wrong by committing another wrong not necessary
for its commission, or inhumanely increased the victim’s suffering, or outraged or scoffed at his
person or corpse. Records are bereft of evidence showing the accused continued to hack the
victim when she was already dead. Passion or obfuscation to be appreciated must arise from
lawful sentiments. The act of victim demanding the family of appellant to vacate her land was
not unlawful or unjust. The exercise of a lawful right cannot be a proper source of obfuscation
that may be considered a mitigating circumstance.
NOVEMBER 2000
PEOPLE V. BALMORIA
GRNo.-134539 November 15, 2000
A case of rape of an eight-year old.
Held:
It is not uncommon for young girls to conceal for some time the assault against their virtue
because of the threat on their lives. A young girl, unlike a mature woman, can not be expected to
have the courage and intelligence to immediately report a sexual assault committed against her
especially when a death threat hangs ver her head. We cannot reject the testimony of victim on
the ground that her 3 other companions were not awakened by her groans while she was being
raped. It is not impossible to commit rape in a small room even if there are several persons in it.

PEOPLE V. MOYONG
GRNo.-135413-15 November 15, 2000
Facts:
The hotel guests and manager were stabbed to death in a room. Appellant was caught while
fleeing the establishment with stained clothes.
Held:
A conviction based on circumstantial evidence is proper if:1)there is more than just one
circumstance in attendance;2)the facts from which inferences can be derived are adequately
proven;3)the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond
reasonable doubt. These circumstances must be consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is
guilty of the crime sought to be established and can lead to no rational assumption that may be
congruent with the innocence of the accused. Since no eyewitness was presented and no
evidence was shown on how the killings transpired the aggravating and qualifying circumstances
cannot be appreciated.

PEOPLE V. PACANA
G.R. No.97472-73 Nov.20, 2000
A case of murder and frustrated murder.
Held:
If the accused was positively identified by the victim himself who harbored no ill motive against
the former, the defense of alibi must fail. In any even the proof of motive is not indispensable for
conviction when there is positive identification. Motive assumes significance only when there is
no showing of who the perpetrator of the crime might be. An appeal taken by one or more of
several accused shall not effect those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the
appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter. Hence, the reduction of the indeterminate
penalty for the frustrated murder case shall affect not only the appellant but also those who
withdrew their appeal.
PEOPLE v. CASTURIA
G.R. No.-122819 Nov 20, 2000
Appellant was convicted of murder.
Held:
For conspiracy to exist it does not require an appreciable period lapsed prior to the occurence. It
is sufficient that the form and manner in which the attack was accomplished clearly indicate
unity of action and purpose. The accused act of mauling the victim and thereafter handling the
bolo to his brother who hacked the victim.

PEOPLE V. ALVAREZ
G.R. No.-121769 November 22, 2000
Appellant was convicted of murder after shooting the victim with a bardog–a locally made
shotgun.
Held:
It is well-settled that the testimony of a self-confessed accomplice or co-conspirator imputing the
blame for the killing and implicating his co-accused cannot by itself and without corroboration,
be considered as proof to a moral certainty that the latter had committed or participated in the
commission of the crime. Thus, it is required that the testimony be substantially corroborated by
other evidence in all its material points. The reason for the above cited rule is that the testimony
of a co-conspirator proceeds from a polluted source. It must be received with caution because, as
is usual with human nature, a culprit, confessing a crime, is likely to put to blame as far as
possible on others rather than himself.
The settled rule is that testimony of a witness ma be believed in part and disbelieved in part as
the corroborative evidence or improbabilities of the case may require. There was treachery.
Victim was unaware of the evil design of the accused and his group who concealed themselves
behind colon grasses. Being unarmed, he could not offer resistance nor attempt to escape from
their sudden and unexpected attack. Conspiracy was present, the assailants one after the other
shot at the victim.
PEOPLE v. VELASQUEZ
G.R. No.-137383-84 Nov. 23, 2000
Appellant used a toy gun in abducting and raping the victim.
Held:
The mere fact that Karen did not attempt to escape when the opportunity resented itself should
not be construed as a manifestation of consent and does not necessarily negate her charge of rape
or taint her credibility considering the accused employed force and intimidation. A complainant’s
act in immediately reporting the commission of rape is a factor in strengthening her credibility.
Appellant imputes no ill motive towards the victim to falsely accuse him. In the absence of such
motive, it is presumed that no such motive exists. To support a conviction for rape, the court may
rely solely on the testimony of the victim provided such testimony is credible, natural,
convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. By its nature, rape
is committed with the least possibility of being seen by the public.

Reference:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - October - November 2000

Criminal Law Digests – September 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
PEOPLE V. ALBERTO DANO
G.R. NO. 117690
Acused was convicted of murder. An extrajudicial confession was made. Defense interposed
self-defense.
HELD:
Extrajudicial statement is inadmissible because of violation of constitutional rights during
custodial investigation. A suspect’s confession, whether verbal or non-verbal, when taken
without the assistance of counsel without a valid waver of such assistance regardless of the
absence of coercion, or the fact that it had been voluntarily given, is inadmissible in evidence,
even if appellant’s confession were gospel truth. However, his statements made to the barangay
captain, who is neither police officer nor a law enforcement agent is admissible. When an
accused invokes self-defense, the onus probandi to show that the killing was justified shifts to
him. Even if the prosecution’s evidence was weak, it could not be readily dismissed after the
accused had openly admitted his responsibility for the killing.

PEOPLE V. PAUL LAPIZ


G.R. NO. 129239
Accused was convicted of rape. He questions the credibility of the testimony of the complainant.
HELD:
There are 3 guiding principles in the review of rape cases: (1) to accuse a man of rape is easy, but
to disprove it is difficult though the accused may be innocent; (2) considering that in the nature
of things, only 2 persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony of the
complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) evidence for the prosecution must
stand or fall on its own merits and should not be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of
the evidence for the defense. Equally unquestionable is the principle that as long as the
complainant’s testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on its basis.

PEOPLE V. ARMANDO JUAREZ


G.R. NO. 128158
The accused were found guilty of rape. Defense put up denial and alibi.
HELD:
Alibi is a weak defense which becomes even weaker in the face of the positive identification of
appellants by the prosecution witness. Denial and alibi unsubstantiated by clear and convincing
evidence are negative and self-serving evidence bearing no real weight in law and jurisprudence.
Moreover, alibi might be aptly considered only when an accused had been shown to be in some
other place at the crucial time and that it would have been physically impossible form him to be
at the locus criminis or its immediate vicinity at the time of the commission of the crime. The
presence of the appellants at the crime scene immediately after the victim was raped indicates
strongly that they were the culprits. Also, there is nothing to show that the victim was moved by
any ill motive to testify falsely against the accused. She did not know them before the fateful
evening. Her honest and straightforward testimony deserves full faith and credence.

PEOPLE V. ROBERTO BANIGUID


G.R. NO. 137714
Accused was found guilty of raping his minor daughter. He questions credibility of complainant.
HELD:
There are 3 guiding principles in reviewing rape cases: (1) an accusation of rape can be made
with facility, it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to
disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only 2 persons are usually
involved, the testimony of the complainant is scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the
evidence for the prosecution stands or falls on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw
strength from the weakness of the defense. Even if the complainant is less than chaste, this fact
would not detract from the fact that appellant violated her. As long as the victim’s testimony
measures up to the standard of credibility, the fact that she had sexual relations with other men
would not destroy or affect her credibility. The moral character of the victim is immaterial in
rape cases. For even a prostitute can be the victim of rape.

PEOPLE V. JIMMY DAGAMI


G.R. NO. 123111
Accused was found guilty of murder. In his defense, he denied responsibility and pointed to a
certain person as the real culprit. One eyewitness was presented by prosecution.
HELD:
The testimony of a single witness, if credible and positive, is sufficient to produce a conviction.
Appellants likewise failed to show any ill-motive on the part of the witness. There is no showing
of improper motive, the presumption is that they were not so actuated and their testimonies are
entitled to full faith and credit.

PEOPLE V. LITO ROSALES


G.R. NO. 126402
Accused was convicted of rape. He raises the credibility of complainant’s testimony.
HELD:
The general rule in criminal cases is that the conclusions as to the credibility of witnesses in rape
cases lie heavily on the sound judgment of the trial court which is accorded great weight and
respect, if not conclusive effect. In this case, there is nothing that would warrant a deviation
from the general rule.

PEOPLE V. EDGARDO ALORO


G.R. NO. 129208
Accused was convicted of 2 counts of rape. He was convicted on the basis of the lone testimony
of the victim despite lack of physical injuries.
HELD:
It is doctrinally settled that the lone testimony of a rape victim, by itself, is sufficient to convict if
credible. Equally settled is the principle that when a woman declares that she has been raped,
she says in effect all that is necessary to mean that she has been raped and where the testimony
passes the test of credibility, the accused can be convicted on the basis thereof. Further, in
proving rape cases, it is not necessary that the act was committed with genital injury. And a
finding that the victim’s hymen is intact, as in this case, does not disprove rape. In fact, a medial
examination is not indispensable in the prosecution for rape.

PEOPLE V. FAUSTINO CAMPOS


G.R. NO. 133373-77
Accused, 72 years of age, was convicted of 5 counts of rape committed against 2 minors. He
insists in his appeal that he could not be convicted considering that the medical examination
showed that the complaining witnesses suffered no lacerations, abrasions or contusions.
HELD:
Medical examination is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape. In fact, there can be rape
even if the medical examination shows no vaginal laceration. Medical findings only serve to
corroborate the testimonies of the victims. The accused may be convicted on the basis of the
lone uncorroborated testimony of the rape victim provided that her testimony is clear, positive,
convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of this.

PEOPLE V. WALPAN LADJAALAM


G.R. NO. 136149-51
The accused was convicted of the crime of direct assault with multiple attempted homicide for
firing an M14 rifle to police men who were about to enter his house to serve a search warrant.
Further, he was also convicted for illegal possession of firearm.
HELD:
RA no. 8294 penalizes simple illegal possession of firearms, provided that the person arrested
committed “no other crime”. Furthermore, if the person is held liable for murder or homicide,
illegal possession of firearms is an aggravating circumstance, but not a separate offense. Hence,
where an accused was convicted of direct assault with multiple attempted homicide for firing an
unlicensed M14 rifle at several policemen who were about to serve a search warrant, he cannot
be held guilty of the separate offense of illegal possession of firearms. Neither can such
unlawful act be considered to have aggravated the direct assault.
PEOPLE V. AMADEO TRELLES
G.R. NO. 137659
Accused was convicted of raping a 22 year old retardate woman. He questions credibility of
complainant.
HELD:
A mental retardate or a feebleminded person is not, per se, disqualified from being a witness, her
mental condition not being a vitiation of her credibility. It is now universally accepted that
intellectual weakness, no matter what form it assumes, is not a valid objection to the competency
of a witness so long as the latter can still give a fairly intelligent and reasonable narrative of the
matter testified to.

PEOPLE V. SPO1 ERNESTO ULEP


G.R. NO. 132547
Accused was convicted of murder. He interposed self-defense and justifying circumstance of
fulfillment of a duty.
HELD:
Preliminarily, having admitted the killing, the accused assumed the burden of proving legal
justification therefore. He must establish clearly and convincingly how he acted in the
fulfillment of his official duty and/or in complete self-defense, otherwise, he must suffer all the
consequences of his malefaction. He has to rely on the quantitative and qualitative strength of
his own evidence, not on the weakness of the prosecution, for even if it were weak, it could not
be disbelieved after he had admitted the killing. To justify the incident as fulfillment of a duty, 2
requisites must concur: (1) that he acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful exercise of
a right or an office; (2) that the injury caused or the offense committed be the necessary
consequence of the due performance of duty or the lawful exercise of such right or office.
The second shot, which was the fatal shot was uncalled for and therefore was no longer a
necessary consequence of appellant’s due performance of duty. Thus, only an incomplete
justifying circumstance of fulfillment of a duty can be appreciated.

PEOPLE V. EDGAR BACALSO


G.R. NO. 129055
Accused was convicted of the complex crime of double murder with frustrated murder. The
conviction hinges on the testimony of 2 prosecution witnesses.
HELD:
In every criminal case, the task of the prosecution is always two-pronged: (1) to prove beyond
reasonable doubt the commission of the crime charged; and (2) to establish with the same
quantum of proof the identity of the person or persons responsible therefore, for even if the
commission of the crime is given, there can be no conviction without the identity of the
malefactor being likewise clearly ascertained.
The identification of the perpetrator of the crime bears heavily on the reasonableness or
probability of the testimony of the prosecution witness. There is unfortunately, no single test to
determine with all exactitude the probity of testimony, and the courts can only give conformity to
the quotidian knowledge, observation and experience of man. It has been observed that the most
positive testimony of a witness may be contradicted on the fact that the testimony is contrary to
common observation or experience or the common principles by which the conduct of mankind
is governed. The courts are not required to believe that which they judicially know to be
incredible. A close scrutiny of the accounts given by the witnesses produce a serious doubt as to
the veracity of the malefactor’s identity almost as if it were merely contrived to pin the liability
of the crime upon appellant.

PEOPLE V. ABE VALDEZ


G.R. NO. 129296
Accused was found guilty of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972., An extrajudicial
confession was made as to the ownership of marijuana plants.
HELD:
The marijuana plants seized were product of an illegal search because of the absence of search
warrant and are therefore inadmissible in evidence. The voluntary confession of ownership of
marijuana was in violation of the custodial rights because of the absence of competent and
independent counsel, and thus, inadmissible too. In sum, both the object evidence and the
testimonial evidence as to the appellant’s voluntary confession of ownership of the prohibited
plants relied upon to prove appellant’s guilt failed to meet the test of constitutional competence.
Without these, the prosecution’s remaining evidence did not even approximate the quantum of
evidence necessary to warrant appellant’s conviction. Hence, the presumption of innocence on
his favor stands.
PEOPLE V. FERIGEL OLIVA
G.R. NO. 122110
Accused was convicted of arson and murder.
HELD:
There are 2 elements of arson: (1) that there is intentional burning; (2) that what is intentionally
burned is an inhabited house or dwelling. Proof of corpus delicti is indispensable in prosecution
for felonies and offense. Corpus delicti is the body or substance of the crime. It refers to the fact
that a crime has actually been committed. Corpus delicti is the fact of the commission of the
crime that may be proved by the testimonies of the witnesses. In arson, the corpus delicti rule is
satisfied by proof of the bare occurrence of the fire and of its having been intentionally caused.
The uncorroborated testimony of a single eyewitness, if credible, may be enough to prove the
corpus delicti and to warrant conviction. Here, corpus delicti of the arson and murder was duly
proven beyond reasonable doubt.

PEOPLE V. ELMEDIO CAJARA


G.R. NO. 122498
Accused was convicted of qualified rape and sentenced to death. The victim was the sister of the
common law wife of the accused.
HELD:
Although the circumstance of relationship by affinity within the third civil degree was alleged in
the information, evidence for the prosecution clearly showed the lack or absence of such
circumstance to qualify the rape because the accused and the sister of the victim were common
law husband and wife and were not legally married at the time of the tape. The accused and the
victim cannot be said to be related by affinity within the third civil degree at the time of the
commission of the crime.

PEOPLE V. OSCAR NOGAR


G.R. NO. 133946
Accused was convicted of statutory rape committed against a 9 year old girl. However, during
trial, the fact of age was not proven. Can the accused be convicted of simple rape when the
charge against him was for statutory rape?
HELD:
It is too late to assail the duplicitous character of the information as no objection was raised in a
motion to quash before a plea to the information is made. The defect is deemed waived.

PEOPLE V. EFREN TEMANEL


G.R. NO. 97138-39
The accused were convicted of Robbery with Homicide. They contend that in as much as they
were the only ones apprehended and held for trial, their non-flight should have been considered
as indication of their innocence.
HELD:
While flight indicates guilt, non-flight does not mean innocence.

PEOPLE V. ARMANDO QUILATAN


G.R. NO. 132725
Accused was convicted of incestuous rape committed against his 13 year old daughter. He
questions credibility of the complainant.
HELD:
The bare denial of the accused cannot overcome the categorical testimony of the victim. Denial,
when unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, as in this case, is a negative and self-
serving evidence which deserves no greater evidentiary value than the testimony of credible
witnesses who testify on affirmative matters.

PEOPLE V. PEDRO ABUNGAN


G.R. NO. 136843
Accused was convicted of murder. He died pending appeal.
HELD:
The death of the appellant pending appeal and prior to the finality of conviction extinguished his
criminal and civil liabilities (civil liability ex delicto) arising from the delict or crime. Hence, the
criminal case against him, not the appeal, should be dismissed. However, it must be added that
his civil liability may be based on sources of obligation other than delict. For this reason, the
victims may file a separate civil action against his estate, as may be warranted by law or
procedural rules.

PEOPLE V. CARUNGAL AND ESPINOSA


G.R. No.123299 Sept. 29, 2000
This is a hold-up but a passenger was a policeman. He was stabbed. Later a tabloid reported that
his gun was found with a killed hold-upper not a party to the case.
Held:
In the light of positive identification, appellant’s defense of alibi and denial must fail. Positive
testimony is stronger that negative testimony, and alibi becomes worthless in the face of positive
identification of the accused. For alibi to prosper it must be shown that it was physically
impossible to be at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission (place of alibi was only 5
minutes away).
Even if there are flaws in the testimony as to who stabbed the victim is immaterial because
conspiracy was proven. They masqueraded as passengers, positioned themselves strategically
inside the jeep, pulled out their knives simultaneously, concertedly inflicted stab wounds upon
learning that he was a policeman. It is no moment that an accused has not taken part in the actual
commission of every act constituting the crime. The precise modality or extent of participation of
each individual conspirator becomes secondary since the act of one is the act of all.
As to the report of the gun, it is merely hearsay. The authors of the newspaper reports had no
personal knowledge of the identity of the perpetrators. Such was only obtained from the police
investigators handling the case. This fact is of no moment for a possession thereof could have
reached this person for a number of reasons.

PEOPLE V. PO2 RODEL SAMONTE


G.R. No.126048 Sept.29, 2000
There was a shooting incident resulting to the death of Perez. Accused was detailed in the
Mayor’s Office. His revolver and a 38 palter was taken from him. Branch 9 acquitted him of the
crime of homicide but Branch 3 found him guilty of illegal possession of firearms aggravated by
homicide under PD1866.
Issue:
W/N the doctrine of P v Quijada stating that qualified illegal possession of firearms and
homicide are distinct and separate offenses is still followed.
Held:
No. Applying the new law RA8249 in P v Molina the Court has declared that under the
amendment in said law that if homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed
forearm, such use of the same should only be considered as an aggravating circumstance.

PEOPLE V. JOSE PATRIARCA


G.R. No.135457 Sept.29, 2000
Accused was found guilty of murdering a fellow member of the NPA. Accused now appeals on
the ground that the crime of murder is an offense committed in pursuance or in furtherance of
rebellion.
HELD:
The court acquitted the appellant. His application for amnesty was approved and one of the acts
listed in the resolution of the Nat’l Amnesty Commission is the killing of the victim in this case.
The approval was pursuant to Proc. No 347 granting amnesty to all persons who shall apply
who have committed crimes on or before June 1 1995 in pursuit of their political beliefs.
Pardon is granted by the Chief Executive. It is a private act, which must be pleaded and proved
by the person pardoned, because the courts take no notice thereof; while amnesty by
Proclamation of the CE with the concurrence of Congress is a public act of w/c the courts should
take judicial notice. Pardon is granted to one after conviction; while amnesty is granted to classes
of person or communities who may be guilty of political offenses, generally before or after the
institution of the criminal prosecution and sometimes after conviction. Pardon looks forward and
relieves the offender from the consequences of an offense of which he has been convicted, it
abolishes or forgives the punishment thus it does not work the restoration of the rights to hold
public office or right of suffrage unless such rights be expressly restored by the terms of the
pardon and it in no case exempts the culprit from the payment of the civil indemnity imposed
upon him by the sentence (Art 36).

PEOPLE V. GENOSA
GRNo.-135891 Sept. 29, 2000
Appellant was found guilty of parricide. She now requests an examination by psychologists to
determine her state of mind then under the ground of the “battered woman syndrome”.
Held:
There are four characteristics of the syndrome:1)woman believes that the violence was her
fault;2)she has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere;3)she fears for
her life and/or the children’s lives;4)she has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent
and omniscient. Trapped in a cycle of violence and constant fear, it is not unlikely that she would
succumb to her helplessness and fail to perceive possible solutions to the problem than to injure
or kill her batterer. She is seized by fear of an existing or impending lethal aggression and thus
would have no opportunity beforehand to deliberate o her acts and to choose a less fatal means of
eliminating her sufferings.
Petition granted. In P v Pares, after a final conviction of appellant therein, the Court granted his
Urgent Omnibus Motion and allowed him to undergo mental and neuralgic other examinations to
determine that he was a deaf-mute. Based on that finding and that he was unaided in the trial, he
was granted a rearrangement and retrial. This action is justified on the rule that only upon proof
of guilt beyond reasonable doubt may an accused to consigned to a lethal injection chamber.
Also as Justice Pun said, man should be adjudged or held accountable for wrongful acts so long
as free will appears unimpaired.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
Posted in Digests
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - September 2000

Criminal Law Digests – August 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
PEOPLE V. FRANCISCO VILLANOS
G.R. NO. 126648
Accused was convicted of rape. The victim was raped when unconscious.
HELD:
In cases where the victim is raped in a state of unconsciousness, the fact of sexual assault and the
identity of the assailant can be established from the events preceding or following the victim’s
loss of consciousness. True, there was no test conducted to determine the presence of any
sedative or drug in the drinks given to the victims which caused them to lose momentarily
control of their faculties. But this is of little consequence as the same is not an indispensable
element in a prosecution for rape. Under the circumstances, it suffices that the victim was found
to have been unconscious at the time the offender had carnal knowledge of her.

PEOPLE V. BLAS ROSARIO


G.R. NO. 122769
Accused were convicted of murder. Defense assails credibility of prosecution’s lone witness.
HELD:
Assessment of the credibility of witnesses lies within the province and competence of the trial
courts. Appellate courts will not disturb the credence, or lack of it, accorded by the trial court to
the testimonies of the witnesses, unless it be clearly shown that the latter could have overlooked
or disregarded arbitrarily the facts and circumstances of significance in the case. In the case at
bar, the findings of the trial court are supported by substantial evidence.

PEOPLE V. PONCIANO AGLIPA


G.R. NO. 130941
Accused was found guilty of murder and frustrated murder. Defense interposed self-defense.
HELD:
The burden of proof shifts to the person invoking self-defense, who, with clear and convincing
evidence must establish all the following requisites: (a) unlawful aggression on the part of the
victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; (c) lack of
sufficient provocation on the part of the person claiming self-defense. Upon failure to establish
these requisites, conviction is inevitable because the accused, by setting up self-defense, admits
being the author of the killing.
PEOPLE V. RAMWELL LOMIBAO
G.R. NO. 135855
Accused was convicted of raping his 11 year old daughter. Defense interposed denial.
HELD:
Defense of alibi is the weakest of all defenses for it is easy to contrive and difficult to prove. A
positive identification of the accused made by an eyewitness prevails over such a defense. The
denial of the accused cannot prevail over the categorical testimony of the victim that he raped
her. The absence of convincing evidence showing any improper motive on the part of the
principal witness for the prosecution strongly tends to sustain the conclusion that no such
improper motive exists, and that their testimonies are worthy of full faith and credit. Even if the
victim was not familiar with the precise date of the commission of the offense and the time of its
occurrence, this fact does not convince the court that she was not raped by him. The date of
commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime. However, since relationship was
not alleged in the information, death sentence cannot be imposed in the absence of the qualifying
circumstance.

PEOPLE V. ELMER FEGIDERO


G.R. NO. 113446
Accused was convicted of robbery with homicide. He was committed based on circumstantial
evidence.
HELD:
Direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a trial court may
draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. Circumstantial evidence suffices to convict if the ff.
elements are present: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the
inferences are derived are proven; (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to
produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. A judgment of conviction based on
circumstantial evidence can be sustained only when the circumstances proved form an unbroken
chain which leads to a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of
all others, as the culprit. In the case at bar, the combination of all the circumstancial evidence
presented established the participation of the accused in the robbery and death of the victim.

PEOPLE V. CRISPIN CANONIGO


G.R. NO. 133649
Accused was convicted of statutory rape committed against an 11 year old girl in full view of the
latter’s 5 year old sister. Death was imposed.
HELD:
Death cannot be imposed. In the case at bar, the attendant aggravating circumstance that the
victim was raped in full view of a relative within the third civil degree of consanguinity was not
alleged in the information filed against the accused. Further, trial court erred in considering this
as statutory rape. To effectively prosecute for statutory rape, its elements must be set out in the
complaint or information to apprise the accused of the crime of which he is being charged. The
gravamen of the offense of statutory rape is in having carnal knowledge with a girl under 12
years of age. In the case a bar, although it was established during the trial that the victim was
only 11 years old at the time the crime was committed, the information filed against the accused
charged him with having carnal knowledge of a girl who is 12 years of age.

PEOPLE V. BERNALDO DOCDOC


G.R. NO. 134679
Accused was convicted of rape.
HELD:
There is an absence of physical evidence to corroborate victim’s claim of resistance. Verily, the
law does not impose on the rape victim the burden of proving resistance where force was used on
her. However, in the case at bar, where the victim’s narration of the rape incident is open to
doubt and does not jibe with human experience, physical evidence of bruises and scratches on
her face or arms which were allegedly pinned behind her back would have spoken louder than
words.

PEOPLE V. DELANO MENDIOLA


G.R. NO. 134846
Accused was convicted of raping his 5 year old daughter.
HELD:
A rape victim who testifies in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner and
remains consistent is a credible witness. The lone testimony of the victim, which if credible and
free from any serious and material contradictions, as in this case, is enough basis for the
accused’s prosecution and conviction.

PEOPLE V. JOCELYN ACBANGIN


G.R. NO. 117216
Accused was convicted of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. Two days after the taking of
the child, she informed the child’s parents of the whereabouts of the child.
HELD:
In cases of kidnapping, if the person detained is a child, the question is whether there was actual
deprivation of the child’s liberty and whether it was the intention of the accused to deprive the
parents of the custody of the child. The child in this case was deprived of liberty. True, she was
treated well, however, there is still kidnapping. For there to be kidnapping, it is not necessary
that the victim be placed in an enclosure. It is enough that the victim is restrained from going
home. The intention to deprive the child’s parents of her custody is indicated by the accused’s
hesitation for 2 days to disclose the whereabouts of the child and more so by her actual taking of
the child. Accused’s motive at this point is not relevant. It is not an element of the crime. The
fact that she later on felt remorse and showed the child’s parents where the former was, cannot
absolve her. At that point, the crime was consummated.
The testimony of the child is also credible. A witness’ young age will not deter him or her from
being a competent and credible witness. To be a competent child witness, the following must be
met: (a) capacity of observation; (b) capacity of recollection; (c) capacity of communication

PEOPLE V. VIVENCIO LABUGUEN


G.R. NO. 127849
Accused was convicted of robbery with homicide. Defense interposed denial and alibi. He was
convicted based on circumstantial evidence.
HELD:
Circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if: (a) there is more than one circumstance;
(b) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; (c) the combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses spawn and generate facts which constitute an unbroken
chain of events leading to the inevitable conclusion of guilt on the part of the appellant.

PEOPLE V. POTENCIANO ARCO


G.R. NO. 132062
Accused was convicted of raping a 10 year old child. Defense interposed alibi.
HELD:
Not only was accused’s alibi weak, it also did not rule out the possibility of his having committed
the crime. It was not physically impossible therefore, for the accused to be at the crime scene,
rape the victim and go back to his work.

PEOPLE V. AGAPITO AGRAVANTE


G.R. NO. 119955
Accused was convicted of raping a 14 year old retardate. He contends that victim’s testimony is
unreliable because of her mental capacity or state of mind.
HELD:
A mental retardate is not for this reason alone disqualified from being a witness. In this case, the
victim was able to intelligently make known such perceptions or narrate them truthfully despite
the grueling examination by both prosecutor and defense counsel.

PEOPLE V. PEDRO DUCTA


G.R. NO. 13460
Accused was convicted of raping a 43 year old retarded woman.
HELD:
State of mental retardation of a victim of rape can be established by evidence other than the
medical findings of a specialist. So also, the court has said that a woman need not be completely
deprived of reason for sexual intercourse by a man with her to constitute the crime of rape. The
term “deprived of reason” has been construed to include the feeble-minded although coherent
and those suffering from mental deficiency or some form of mental disorder. Further, a mental
retardate who has the ability to make known her perceptions is still a competent witness.
PEOPLE V. MARIO MYRNO TAN
G.R. NO. 120672
Accused was found guilty of estafa. Appellant contends that the prosecution failed to
sufficiently prove that the merchandise he ordered were delivered to and received by him or his
authorized representatives. Thus, he argues, he cannot be held liable for estafa since he was not
able to obtain the goods from the private complainant by means of the check he issued.
HELD:
Art 315 (2)(d) of the RPC penalizes any person who shall defraud another by postdating a check
or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the offender has no funds in the bank. The
transaction between the parties here is in the nature of contract of sale. The contract of purchase
and sale is reciprocal and from it arises not only the obligation to deliver the thing but also that
of paying the price. In this case, there is no ample proof that appellant or his representatives ever
received the merchandise. Since no damage was sustained by complainant in as much as
appellant received nothing of value from the complainant, appellant cannot be held guilty of
estafa. He had no obligation to pay or to make good the issued check.

PEOPLE V. PEDRO GABIANA


G.R. NO. 123543
Accused was convicted of raping an 11 year old girl. Appellant interposed the defense of denial
and alibi.
HELD:
Basic is the rule that alibi which is easy to concoct cannot prevail over the positive identification
by the witnesses. What is more, appellant utterly failed to prove that it was physically
impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the approximate time of his commission.

PEOPLE V. IAN CONTRERAS


G.R. NO. 137123-34
Accused was convicted of raping several children. On appeal to CA, the accused escaped from
jail.
HELD:
His appeal should be dismissed. He cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the Court to seek a review
of his conviction after he has made a mockery of the judicial process by escaping from prison.
However, this does not affect the review in criminal cases where death penalty had been imposed
because review in such case is not only automatic but also mandatory.

PEOPLE V. AGUSTIN AGPAWAN


G.R. NO. 123853
Accused was convicted of murder. Conspiracy and treachery were found by court.
HELD:
Conspiracy exists when 2 or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of
a felony and decide to commit it. Proof of the agreement need not rest on direct evidence as the
same may be inferred from the conduct of the parties indicating a common understanding among
them with respect to the commission of the offense. Conspiracy was established in the instant
case by the concerted and synchronized actions of the accused and his companions in carrying
out the ambush. Treachery was also correctly appreciated as the method employed in the
execution of the crime ensured no risk to the assailants arising from the defense which their
victims might put up.

PEOPLE V. FELIX ANTIDO


G.R. NO. 129217
The 2 accused were convicted of murder. Defense questions adequacy of evidence and finding
of treachery.
HELD:
One of the witnesses is a victim himself having been stabbed by the appellant. As such, his
testimony, standing alone, can be made the basis of accused’s prosecution and conviction, if such
testimony meets the test of credibility. The matter of accuracy of the identification by the victim
of the offenders is a factual issue resolved by the trial court which should be given weight on
appeal, unless there are convincing indications that certain facts or circumstances of weight and
significance have been overlooked. An unexpected and sudden attack under circumstances which
render the victim unable and unprepared to defend himself by reason of the suddenness and
severity of the attack constitutes alevosia and the fact that the act was frontal does not preclude
the presence of treachery.

PEOPLE V. ROBERTO BANIHIT


G.R. NO. 132045
Accused was convicted of raping his 9 year old niece. He contends that death penalty should not
be imposed since the information accuse him of rape under Art 335 par 3 which is punishable by
reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
What is controlling in an information should not be the title of the complaint, nor the designation
of the offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated, these being, by and
large, mere conclusions of law made by the prosecutor, but the description of the crime charged
and the particular facts therein cited. The real nature of the criminal charge is determined not
from the caption or preamble of the information nor from the specification of the law allegedly
violated, but from the actual recital of facts alleged in the body of the information. However, the
relationship to the victim, while proven by competent evidence, was not sufficiently alleged in
the information.

PEOPLE V. RENATO PUZON


G.R. NO. 123156-59
Accused was found guilty of statutory rape for raping his own daughters. The victims testified
that appellant was not able to insert his penis into their vagina because they kept on moving in an
effort to evade the sex organ of the appellant. However, they recounted that the penis of
appellant touched the lips of their vagina and they felt pain in the process. The information
indicted him for the crime of rape with force and intimidation under par 1 of Art. 335, although
the prosecutor established that complainants were below 12 years old at the time of the rape.
HELD:
Conviction of appellant for statutory rape absent any allegation in the information that the
complainants were below 12 years old at the time of the rape and not for rape through force or
intimidation which was the method alleged would violate the right of the appellant to be
informed of the nature of the accusation against him, which right is granted by the Constitution.
Convicting appellant of a crime not alleged while he is concentrating his defense against the
offense alleged would be unfair and underhanded.
However, the force or intimidation employed by the culprit and resistance put up by the victim
are not necessary for the conviction of the perpetrator. In incestuous rape, the absence of
violence or offer of resistance by the victim would not matter because of the overpowering and
overbearing moral ascendancy by the father over his daughter. Lack of penetration cannot
exculpate appellant. Settled is the rule that complete penetration is not essential. The slightest
touching of the lips of the female organ or labia of the pudendum constitutes rape.

PEOPLE CARLOS MENEQUE


G.R. NO. 129964-65
Accused was convicted of 2 counts of murder. Accused invoked self-defense.
HELD:
A plea of self-defense automatically shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution to the
defense since such a plea means that the accused admits to having performed the criminal act,
but disclaims legal liability on the ground that his life had been exposed to harm first before he
committed the act in defense of himself. Thus, when the accused invokes self-defense, he must
rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence,
for even if the latter were weak, it could not be disbelieved after the accused’s open admission of
responsibility for the killing. In the case at bar, apart from self-serving statements, appellant’s
testimony is uncorroborated by independent and competent evidence, thus cannot be given
weight.

PEOPLE V. SEGUNDO CANO


G.R. NO. 130631
Accused was convicted of 2 counts of rape committed against his 15 year old daughter. He
assails delay in filing of complaint and interposed alibi as defense.
HELD:
By itself, delay in prosecuting rape is not an indication of fabricated charges. The charge is only
rendered doubtful if the delay was unreasonable and unexplained.

PEOPLE V. MARIO LACBAYAN


G.R. NO. 125006
The 2 accused were convicted of murder. In their defense, appellants denied any knowledge of
the incident. They assail the credibility of prosecution witnesses by pointing to alleged
inconsistencies.
HELD:
It is perfectly natural for different witnesses testifying on the occurrence of a crime to give
varying details as there may be some details which one witness may notice while the other may
not observe or remember. In fact, jurisprudence even warns against a perfect dove tailing of
narration by different witnesses as it could mean that their testimonies were prefabricated and
rehearsed. Finally, a careful examination of the evidence on record shows that while the
prosecution witnesses differ in their narration of trivial details like those mentioned on appeal,
they did not waver in their identification of the appellants as the perpetrators of the crime.

PEOPLE V. CESAR MELENDRES


G.R. NO. 133999-4001
Accused was convicted of 3 counts of rape committed against the 11 year old daughter of his
common law wife. He contends that accused and complainant were actually lovers.
HELD:
In rape cases falling under Art 335 (3) – when the woman is under 12 years of age or is
demented, 2 elements must be established to hold the accused guilty of rape: (1) that the accused
had carnal knowledge of a woman; (2) that the woman is below 12 years of age. Proof of consent
of the woman is immaterial. Sexual intercourse with a woman below 12 years old is statutory
rape. Her consent to the intercourse is involuntary because she is considered to have no will of
her own.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
Posted in Digests
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - August 2000

Criminal Law Digests – July 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
PEOPLE V. AGAPITO LISTERIO
G.R. NO. 122099
The accused was convicted of murder and frustrated murder committed with conspiracy. He
assails the testimony of the witness as insufficient to convict him of her crime charged.
HELD:
It is well settled that witnesses are to be weighed, not numbered, such that the testimony of a
single, trustworthy and credible witness could be sufficient to convict an accused. The trial court
found the witness’ testimony as candid and straightforward. Court defer to the lower court’s
findings consistent with the principle that the trial judge is the best and the most competent
person who can weigh and evaluate the testimony of witnesses.
Conspiracy was also proven. A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an
agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. To establish the
existence of a conspiracy, direct proof is not essential since it may be shown by facts and
circumstances from which may be logically inferred the existence of a common design among
the accused to commit the offense charged, or it may be deduced from the mode and manner in
which the offense was perpetrated. If there is a chain of circumstances to that effect, conspiracy
can be established.

PEOPLE V. ELMER YPARRAGUIRE


G.R. NO. 124391
Accused was convicted of raping a mentally retarded girl. Appellant contends that the trial court
never acquired jurisdiction over the case because the complainant was signed and filed by the
chief of police and not by the complainant.
HELD:
Pursuant to Section 5, Rule 110 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the offended party can
initiate a prosecution for rape even if she is a minor, unless she is incompetent or incapable of
doing so upon grounds other than her minority. Although the victim in this case is no longer a
minor, it is undisputed that she is a mental retardate and suffering from physical deformity. No
woman would come out in the open, inform the authorities of the injustice done to her, unless her
purpose is to redress the wrong done against her honor. Once the violation of the law becomes
known through a direct original participation initiated by the victim, the requirement of Art 344
of the RPC to the effect that the offense of rape shall not be prosecuted excerpt upon a complaint
filed by the offended party or her parents are satisfied. Said provision is not determinative of the
jurisdiction of courts over the private offenses because the same is governed by the Judiciary
law, not the RPC. The complaint required in Art 344 is but a condition precedent to the exercise
by the proper authorities of the power to prosecute the guilty parties. The complaint simply
starts the prosecutory proceeding but does not confer jurisdiction on the court to try the case.

PEOPLE V. KENNETH CANEDO


G.R. NO. 128382
Accused was convicted of murder.
HELD:
Accused acquitted on reasonable doubt. The records do not show how witness described
appellant and which description enabled an anonymous person to point at appellant as the one
who stabbed the victim. In the absence of these critical details of description, we cannot adjudge
whether the appellant was correctly and properly identified. Further, the crime was committed
when a dance was being held. The fight was a rumble, participated in by a lot of people. All
theses circumstances should make the identification of appellant difficult and we should be extra
careful in evaluating witness’ testimony. Positive identification of malefactors should not be
disregarded just because the name of some of them were supplied to the eyewitness. But in such
cases, the description of the criminal was detailed and fitted the accused. In the instant case,
these reliable details which could provide a good index for identification are missing.

PEOPLE V. PETRONIL CASTILLO


G.R. NO. 130205
Accused was convicted of raping the 9 year old daughter of his live-in partner. He assails the
credibility of testimony since there are inconsistencies with the executed affidavit.
HELD:
Although there are omissions in the affidavit, such omissions did not diminish nor affect her
credibility as a witness. Ex parte affidavits are generally considered incomplete and inaccurate
and will thus not prevail over a witness statements on the stand.

PEOPLE V. ORLIE SULTAN


G.R. NO. 130594
Accused was convicted of carnapping with homicide. Appellant’s defense is alibi and denial.
They also content that their identification in the police line up was a violation of their
constitutional right and thus inadmissible.
HELD:
Alibis are generally considered with suspicion and are always received with caution, not only
because they are inherently weak and unreliable, but also because they can easily be fabricated.
Ergo, for alibi to serve as a basis for acquittal, the accused must establish by clear and
convincing evidence (a) his presence at another place at the time of the perpetration of the crime
and (b) that it would be physically impossible for him to have her at the scene of the crime.
Since accused was unable to present witnesses to corroborate his testimony, his alibi cannot be
appreciated.
In resolving the admissibility of and relying on out of court identification of suspects, courts
have adopted the totality of circumstances test where they consider the following factors: (1) he
witness’ opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) the witness degree of
attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior description given by the witness; (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) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. Applying
this, there was no violation of constitutional right. The witnesses positively identified the 3
accused inside the jail. The 3 accused were in the company of other inmates. Thus, they were in
a group.

PEOPLE V. ROBERT ARANETA


G.R. NO. 137604
The accused was convicted of the crime of murder. He anchors his defense on mistaken identity
and denial and alibi.
HELD:
The appellant’s claim that witness was mistaken in naming him as “Gilbert Araneta” and not
“Robert Araneta” does not destroy her credibility and is not sufficient to exculpate him. For
even assuming that the accused real name is Robert, it is sufficient that she was positive as to his
physical identity as a participant in the shooting of her son from her personal knowledge for
purposes of identifying him in the present case. Given the positive identification made by the
lone prosecution witness, the appellant’s uncorroborated defense of denial and alibi must fail.
However, treachery and evident premeditation were not established, therefore, the crime
committed can only be homicide, not murder. Abuse of superiority was however established.
Considering that the victim when assaulted was unarmed, he was therefore no match to his 3
adversaries who were all armed with handguns. Our jurisprudence is exemplified by the holding
that where 3 armed persons attacked the defenseless victim but there was no proof as to how the
attack commence and treachery was not proved, the fact that there were 3 armed assailants would
constitute abuse of superior strength.

PEOPLE V. ROSENDO MENDEZ


G.R. NO. 132546
Accused was found guilty of raping his 16 year old step daughter. He assails the defective
information.
HELD:
The failure of the information to state that the accused raped the victim “through force or
intimidation” is not a fatal omission in this case because the complaint alleged the ultimate fact
that the accused raped the victim “by means of force”. So at the outset, the appellant could have
readily ascertained that he was being accused of rape committed through force, a charge that
sufficiently complies with Art 335. However, since the information alleges that the victim was
his daughter, when in truth the actual relationship of the appellant with the victim is that of
stepfather and stepdaughter, the appellant can be held liable only for simple rape.

PEOPLE V. BERNARDINO CARANGUIAN


G.R. NO. 124514
Accused was convicted of murder. He assails credibility of witness and interposed alibi as
defense.
HELD:
The prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was appellant who perpetrated
the killing. The information given by the witnesses at the identity of appellant is hearsay. The
hearsay rule bars the testimony of a witness who merely recites what someone else has told him,
whether orally or in writing. Section 36 of Rule 130 provides that a witness can testify only to
those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge that is, which are derived from his own
perception, except as otherwise provided in the rules. In fact, the witness’ testimony is even
double or multiple hearsay since it is based upon “third hand” information related to the witness
by someone who heard it from others. Multiple hearsay is no more competent than single
hearsay.

PEOPLE V. FERNANDO DIASANTA


G.R. NO. 128108
Accused was convicted of the crime of rape committed against his 12 year old daughter. He
interposed alibi ad defense.
HELD:
Established is the rule that testimonies of rape victims especially of child victims are given full
weight and credit. Well settled is the rule that when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says that
she has been rapes, she says in effect all that is necessary to prove that rape was committed.
Considering the categorical and unequivocal testimonies of the victim and an eyewitness,
appellant’s alibi and self-serving denial cannot prosper.

PEOPLE V. RAELITO LIBRANDO


G.R. NO. 132251
The accused were convicted of murder. Appellants point out that they have no reason to assault
the deceased since they had never any quarrel with the victim. They also assail the credibility of
the child witness.
HELD:
While it is true that they have no motive to assault the deceased, nevertheless, it is hornbook
knowledge that crimes have been attributed to persons who appear to have no reasons for
committing them as long as they have been clearly identified as the offenders. Motive gains
importance only when the identity of the culprit is suspect. It is also well-established that any
child regardless of age can be competent witness if he can perceive and can make known his
perceptions to others and that he is capable of relating truthfully facts for which he is examined.
The child’s competence as a witness are: (a) capacity of observation; (b) capacity of recollection;
(c) capacity of communication. The child’s lone testimony is sufficient to sustain a conviction.
PEOPLE V. ROBERT FIGUEROA
G.R. NO. 134056
Accused was convicted of violating Sec 14-A of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 972 –
Unauthorized manufacture of regulated drugs. He contends that since his alleged co-conspirator
was acquitted due to insufficiency of evidence to prove that she conspired with him, he should
likewise be acquitted.
HELD:
Once a conspiracy is established, the act of one is the act of all, and each of the conspirators is
liable for the crimes committed by the other conspirators. It follows then that if the prosecution
fails to prove conspiracy, the alleged conspirators should be held individually responsible for
their own respective acts. Accordingly, appellant’s criminal liability in this case must be judged
on the basis of his own acts as established by the quantum of proof required in criminal cases.

PEOPLE V. EVANGELINE ORDONO


G.R. NO. 129593 143533-35
Accused was convicted of 2 counts of illegal recruitment and 2 counts of estafa.
HELD:
To be convicted for illegal recruitment, 2 elements must concur: (1) the offender has no valid
license or authority required by law to enable one to lawfully engage in recruitment and
placement of workers; and (2) he undertakes either any activity within the meaning of
“recruitment and placement”. The 2 elements were proven. The testimonies of complainant
corroborated each other and were buttressed by other prosecution witnesses.
The elements of estafa are: (1) the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by
means of deceit; and (2) damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused by
offended party. These were also established in the case.

PEOPLE V. MEYNARD PANGANIBAN


G.R. NO. 133028
Accused was convicted of estafa. Appellant contends that his conviction should be reversed
because the element of fraud or deceit was not proven. He insists that the “stop payment” order
was made in good faith and was not meant to evade payment of the debt.
HELD:
Despite his denials during testimony, it is obvious that appellant was aware at the time he made
the postdated checks for several creditors that he would have several debts maturing at the same
time, of which are recoverable from the same bank account. Then knowing that the balance is
not sufficient to cover complainant’s check, he immediately ordered the drawee bank to stop its
payment. These circumstances, taken together, indicate appellant’s intent to deceive and defraud
at the time he issued the check. The indeterminate sentence law must also be applied.

PEOPLE V. LEONCIO ALIVIANO


G.R. NO. 133985
Accused was convicted of raping a 7 year old girl. He interposed denial and assails the
admissibility of the medical certificate since the doctor who prepared it was not presented.
HELD:
Concededly, the subject medical certificate cannot be given any probative value. It is settled that
since a medical certificate involves an opinion of one who must first be established as an expert
witness, it could not be given weight nor credit unless the doctor who issued it be presented in
court to show his qualifications. In any case, medical certificate is not indispensable to prove the
commission of rape. It is merely a corroborative evidence. The lone testimony of the
complainant which is credible and free from serious and material contradictions is sufficient to
warrant the conviction of appellant.

PEOPLE V. LUDIGARIO CANDELARIO


G.R. NO. 125550
Accused was convicted of the crime of robbery with multiple rape. One of the accused is a
youth offender and was thus placed under the custody of DSWD, Regional Rehabilitation Center
for Youth. DSWD recommended that the case of the accused be dismissed and his custody be
transferred to his father after taking into account the minor’s performance in the rehabilitation
center.
HELD:
The Final Report and Recommendation of the DSWD should be referred to the RTC for its
appropriate action and disposition. Where the DSWD recommends the discharge of a youthful
offender, it is the trial court before whom the report and recommendation is subject to judicial
review. Recommendation alone is not sufficient to warrant the release of a youthful offender.
The youthful offender however is not to be tries anew by the trial court. The inquiry is not a
criminal prosecution but is rather limited to the determination of the offender’s proper education
and his moral and social fitness to re-join the community.

PEOPLE V. FEDERICO ULGASAN


G.R. NO. 131824-26
Accused was convicted of 3 counts of rape committed against an 11 year old girl. Accused
interposed denial and alibi. He assails the credibility of witness.
HELD:
A witness who testified in a categorical, straightforward, spontaneous and frank manner and
remained consistent on cross-examination is a credible witness. When the accused was positively
identified by the victim who harbored no ill motive against the accused, the defense of alibi must
fail. For the defense of alibi to prosper, it is essential that he can show physical impossibility for
him to be at the locus criminis. In the case at bar, it is possible for appellant to be present at the
scene of the crime.

PEOPLE V. ROLDAN BOHOL


G.R. NO. 130587
Accused was convicted of kidnapping with murder. He interposed alibi as defense.
HELD:
For alibi to be tenable, accused must establish by clear and convincing evidence that he was
somewhere else when the crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to
be at the crime scene at the time of the commission of the crime. Here, the alleged place where
the accused was at the time of the crime was only 40 meters from the place where the victim was
shot. It was not physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the time of the
shooting.

PEOPLE V. MARCOS MUCAM


G.R. NO. 137276
Accused was convicted of robbery with homicide. He questions sufficiency of evidence to
warrant conviction.
HELD:
As a rule, the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is
binding on appellate courts, absent any fact or circumstance of weight and substance that may
have been overlooked, misapprehended or misapplied. In this case, the court a quo committed
serious lapses which warrant the acquittal of the appellant.

PEOPLE V. ERNESTO DELA CRUZ


G.R. NO. 118967
Accused was convicted of murder. Defense interposed denial and alibi. He questions credibility
of sole witness and testimonies being insufficient to sustain conviction. He points
inconsistencies between the witness’ testimony and her declarations during preliminary
investigation.
HELD:
The testimony of a sole witness, if found convincing and credible by the trial court is sufficient
to support a finding of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Declarations at the preliminary
investigation which are conducted to determine the existence of a probable cause and to secure
the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, should not be equated with
testimonies before the court. While transcripts of a preliminary investigation may form part of
the records of the case, testimony taken at the trial on the merits of the case where the adverse
party has the full opportunity to cross-examine the witness and to ferret out the truth, deserves
more credence. Similarly, sworn statements that are taken ex-parte are generally incomplete and
therefore, discrepancies between statements made on the witness stand and those in an affidavits
are generally subordinated in importance in open court declarations because they are often times
not in such a state as to afford him a fair opportunity of narrating in full the incident which
transpired.

PEOPLE V. ALBERTO ANTONIO


G.R. NO. 128900
Accused was convicted of murder. He questions credibility of witness because the latter’s first
statement differed with his succeeding statements and his testimony in open court.
HELD:
Affidavits or statements taken ex-parte are generally considered incomplete and inaccurate.
Thus, by nature, they are inferior to testimony given in court and whenever there is inconsistency
between the affidavit and the testimony of a witness in court, the testimony commands greater
weight. Moreover, inconsistencies between the declaration of the affiant in his sworn statements
and those in open court do not necessarily discredit said witness. Previous statements cannot
serve as bases for impeaching the credibility of a witness unless his attention was first directed to
the discrepancies 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 declarations that he
should be deemed impeached.
Further, in an appeal, where the culpability or innocence of an accused would hinge on the issue
of credibility of witnesses and the veracity of their testimonies, findings of trial court are entitled
to and given the highest degree of respect. There was no treachery. It is not only the sudden
attack that qualifies a killing into murder. There must be a conscious and deliberate adoption of
the mode of attack for a specific purpose. All the evidence shows was that the incident was an
impulse killing. It was a spur of the moment crime. A sudden and unexpected attack would not
constitute alevosia where the aggressor did not consciously adopt a mode of attack intended to
penetrate the homicide without risk to himself.

PEOPLE V. ROLANDO BAYBADO


G.R. NO. 132136
Accused was convicted for raping his own daughter. He interposed alibi as defense,.
Information however failed to allege the minority of the complainant.
HELD:
For evidence to be believed, it must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but
must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can
approve as probable under the circumstances. The test to determine the value of the testimony of
a witness is whether such is in conformity with knowledge and consistent with the experience of
mankind. Whatever is repugnant to these standards becomes incredible that lies outside pf
judicial cognizance. In this case, the testimony of appellant barely meets the minimum standard
of credibility. Accused however is guilty only of simple rape as there was no allegation as to the
minority of the complainant.

PEOPLE V. VALENTIN MATIBAG


G.R. NO. 110515
Accused was convicted of murder. Statements from 2 witnesses were taken. However, only
1witnes was presented.
HELD:
Their extrajudicial statement of the witness who was not placed in the witness stand should not
be considered because it deprived the defense of its right to cross-examination. The veracity of
her statements, not having been ascertained, should not have been given any probative value at
all. Be that as it may, her testimony is merely corroborative and its exclusion will not affect the
finding of guilt of the accused.

PEOPLE V. BERNARDO DAROY


G.R. NO. 118942
The accused was convicted of murder. Defense questions the credibility of witnesses.
HELD:
Well-entrenched is the tenet that this Court will not interfere with the trial court’s assessment of
the credibility of the witnesses absent any indication or showing that the trial court has
overlooked some material facts or gravely abused its discretion. The matter of assigning values
to declarations at the witness stand is best and most competently performed or carried out by a
trial judge, who, unlike appellate magistrate, can weigh such testimony in light of the accused’s
behavior, demeanor, conduct and attitude at the trial.

PEOPLE V. ANICETA AQUINO


G.R. NO. 130742
Accused was convicted of estafa. Trial court found conspiracy on the acts of the accused
appellant of facilitating and initiating the meeting between the other 2 accused and the
complainant and in convincing the latter to sell rice to the former and following it up till the
delivery of the same.
HELD:
Court is not convinced that conspiracy to defraud complainant was proven. A conspiracy exists
when 2 or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and
decide to commit it. It is the unity of purpose and intention in the commission of a crime. To
establish conspiracy, there must be proof that 2 or more persons agreed to commit the crime.
However, mere knowledge, acquiescence or agreement to cooperate is not enough to constitute
one as a conspirator, absent any active participation in the commission of the crime, with a view
to the furtherance of the common design and purpose. And to be he basis of conviction,
conspiracy must be proven in the same manner as any element of the criminal ct itself. The same
degree of proof required to establish the crime is necessary to support a finding of the presence
of conspiracy, that is, it must be shown to exist s clearly and convincingly as the commission of
the offense itself.

PEOPLE V. BETH BANZALES


G.R. NO. 132289
Accused was found guilty of illegal recruitment in large scale. Defense challenges the
sufficiency of the prosecution’s evidence.
HELD:
Despite non presentation of POEA officer to testify, the POEA certification will suffice to prove
that she has no permit to engage in the business. POEA certification is a pubic document issued
by a public officer in the performance of an official duty, hence, it is a prima facie evidence of
the facts therein stated. Public documents are entitled to presumption of regularity, consequently,
the burden of proof rests upon him who alleges the contrary.

PEOPLE V. ANTHONY MELCHOR PALMONES


G.R. NO. 136303
The accused were convicted of murder. Defense interposed alibi as defense. The conviction of
the 2 accused was based largely on the alleged dying declaration of the victim made to 2
witnesses of the prosecution and the apparent weakness of their defense.
HELD:
Dying declaration is one of the exceptions to the rule of inadmissibility of hearsay evidence. The
requirement are: (1) it must concern the crime and the surrounding circumstances of the
declarant’s death; (2) at the time it was made, the declarant was under a consciousness of
impending death; (3) the declarant was competent as a witness; (4) the declaration was offered in
a criminal case for murder, homicide or parricide where the declarant was the victim. In the
instant case, it was not established by the prosecution that the statements of the declarant were
made under the consciousness of impending death. No proof to this effect was ever presented by
the prosecution.
Neither may the alleged statements be admissible as part of the res gestae. Res gestae refers to
those exclamations and statements made by either the participants, victims, or spectators to a
crime immediately before, during, or after the commission of a crime when the circumstances are
such that the statements were made as a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the
excitement of the occasion ands there was no opportunity for the declarant to deliberate and to
fabricate a false statement. In order to admit the statements as evidence part of res gestae, the
element of spontaneity is critical.

PEOPLE V. ROLANDO CARDEL


G.R. NO. 105582
The accused were convicted of murder. They boxed and stabbed a snatcher who was caught
while running with the loot. Conspiracy, treachery and abuse of superior strength were found by
the trial court. Defense interposed alibi.
HELD:
The defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the appellants by the
prosecution witnesses. Conspiracy was not proven. The existence of conspiracy is never
presumed. It is axiomatic that the prosecution must establish conspiracy beyond reasonable
doubt. Hence, appellant will be separately adjudged according to the extent of their individual
participation in the commission of the crime charged in the information.
Treachery was also not present. The fact that the victim had a stab wound at the back is not, in
itself, indicative of treachery. Where treachery is alleged, the manner of attack must be proven.
It cannot be presumed or concluded merely on the basis of the resulting crime. Also, the
appellant does not appear to have consciously adopted the mode of attack to facilitate the killing
of the victim without risk to himself. The stabbing was the result of a rash and impetuous
impulse of the moment, rather than from a deliberate act of will, thus negating the existence of
treachery.
Abuse of superior strength may not be appreciated to qualify the killing to the crime of murder
for the reason that the same is not alleged in the information. It has been the rule that qualifying
circumstances must be properly pleaded in the indictment.

PEOPLE V. ARIEL PEDROSO


G.R. NO. 125128
The accused was convicted of robbery with homicide. He was sentenced by the trial court to
suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua to death.
HELD:
Under Art. 63 of the Revised Penal Code, if an accused is found guilty of a felony for which the
law prescribes a penalty composed of 2 indivisible penalties, the trial court judge has to impose
one or the other, not both. Since no aggravating circumstance was alleged in the information and
since neither was any mitigating circumstance established by the defense, the lesser penalty of
Reclusion Perpetua should be imposed.

PEOPLE V. DOMINADOR GUILLERMO


G.R. NO. 111292
The accused were convicted of murder. Defense interposed alibi.
HELD:
Prosecution witness’ inconsistencies are more than enough to engender some doubt as to the guilt
of the appellants. The “onus probandi” in establishing the guilt of an accused for a criminal
offense lies with the prosecution. The burden must be discharged by it on the strength of its own
evidence and not on the weakness of the evidence for the defense or the lack of it. Proof beyond
reasonable doubt, or that quantum of proof sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would
convince and satisfy the conscience of those who are to act in judgment, is indispensable to
overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. The overriding consideration is not
whether the court doubts the innocence of the accused but whether it entertains a reasonable
doubt as to his guilt.

PEOPLE V. LIBERATO GIGANTO, SR.


G.R. NO. 123077
The accused were convicted of murder. The defense interposed alibi. Conviction was rendered
based on the testimony of he eyewitness.
HELD:
Trial court relied on the weakness of the defense rather than on the strength of the prosecution
evidence, by emphasizing that alibi is a weak defense. It is settled that where the evidence of the
prosecution is itself feeble, particularly as to the identity of the accused as the author of the
crime, the defense of alibi assumes importance and acquires commensurate strength. The rule
that alibi must be satisfactorily proven was never intended to change the burden of proof in
criminal cases, otherwise, the accused would be put in the difficult position of proving his
innocence even where the prosecution’s evidence is vague and weak. The prosecution cannot
profit from the weakness of the appellant’s alibi. It must rely on the strength of its evidence and
establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

PEOPLE V. ERNST GEORG HOLZER


G.R. NO. 132323
The accused were convicted of estafa. Appellants contend that their liability is only civil and not
criminal since the check was issued only to secure the loan they obtained from complainant and
that there was no deceit on their part because they duly informed the complainant that the check
was not yet funded.
HELD:
The elements of estafa involved in this case are: (1) the offender has postdated or issued a check
in payment of an obligation contracted at the time of the postdating or issuance; (2) at the time of
postdating or issuance of said check, the offender has no funds in the bank or the funds deposited
were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check; (3) the payee has been defrauded. The
drawer of the dishonored check is given 3 days from receipt of the notice of dishonor to deposit
the amount necessary to cover the check. Otherwise, a prima facie presumption of deceit will
arise which must then be overcome by the accused. In this case, no evidence of deceit
accompanied the issuance of the check. The prosecution presented evidence to show that a
notice of dishonor had been sent to appellant. The complainant actually knew at the time of the
issuance of the check that it was not funded and that the money to cover it was still to come from
Switzerland.

PEOPLE V. JIMMY ANTONIO


G.R. NO. 128149
The accused was found guilty of 3 counts of rape. Appellants make issue of the trial; court’s
reliance on the victim’s testimony.
HELD:
Credible, natural and convincing testimony of the victim is sufficient basis to convict. The
inconsistencies pointed out cannot overthrow the trial court’s conviction. For a discrepancy in
testimony to acquit, such must refer to significant facts crucial to the guilt or innocence of the
accused. Inconsistencies irrelevant to the elements of the crime are not grounds to reverse the
conviction. Further, appellants were at large for 5 years. Flight indicates guilt. Accused’s acts of
not confronting their accuser goes against the principle that the first impulse of an innocent man
when accused with wrong doing is to express his innocence at the first opportune time.

PEOPLE V. ALEJANDRO SURILLA


G.R. NO. 129164
The accused was found guilty of the crime of rape committed against his 14 year old daughter.
HELD:
There are 3 guiding principles in rape cases: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility;
it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent to disprove; (2)
in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only 2 persons are usually involved, the
testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for
the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from
the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Here, the trial court’s finding as to the credibility
of the complainant’s testimony deserve respect. Further, the accused escaped from jail and was
only recaptured. Flight is an implied admission of guilt and his desire to evade responsibility
therefore. Death penalty however cannot be imposed because relationship of complainant with
the accused was not alleged in the information.

PEOPLE V. SALVACION CAPARAS


G.R. NO. 133568
Accused was found guilty of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1072. Appellant questions
judgment of conviction because there was no showing that a sale of prohibited drug took place.
She argues that the prosecution has failed to establish that money or specifically “marked
money” was paid or exchanged hands between her and the supposed poseur-buyer. She theorizes
that in a contract of sale, the payment of the contract price is essential to consummate the
transaction. Considering that there was no payment made, the contract of sale was not
consummated and inevitably, the accused cannot be convicted for the illegal sale of prohibited
drug.
HELD:
Under Sec 4, the act of selling or acting as broker in a sale of marijuana and other prohibited
drugs consummates the crime. It punishes the mere act of delivery of prohibited drugs after the
offer to buy by the entrapping officer has been accepted by the seller. The absence of the marked
money does not create a hiatus in the evidence for the prosecution as long as the sale of the
dangerous drugs is adequately proven and the drug subject of the transaction is presented before
the court. In every prosecution for the illegal sale of dangerous drugs, what is material and
indispensable is the submission of proof that the sale of illicit drug took place between the seller
and the poseur-buyer.

PEOPLE V. ROLAND MOLINA


G.R. NO. 134777-78
Accused was found guilty of murder and frustrated murder. Accused denied commission of the
crime and imputed the same to another person.
HELD:
As weighed against the positive identification of accused by one of his victims, which was
further corroborated by an eyewitness to the scene, and the absence of any showing of ill-motive
on their part other than their quest for justice, appellant’s denial of the commission of the crime
and imputation of the same to another person is demolished to obscurity. Besides, the imputation
of the crime to another malefactor was heard of only during his testimony, and was never raised
before the police authorities during the investigation. Clearly, his bare denial amounts to nothing
more than negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of weight in law. As to the amount of
damages, prevailing jurisprudence sets the civil indemnity for death in the amount of P50,000,
which can be awarded without need of further proof other than the death of the victim. With
respect to actual damages, the court can only grant such amount for expenses if they are
supported by receipts. Moral damages may be recovered in criminal offenses resulting in
physical injuries but there must be a factual basis for the award. As to exemplary damages, there
being one aggravating circumstance, exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000 may be
awarded in both murder and frustrated murder case pursuant to Art 2230 of the New Civil Code.
PEOPLE V. FEDERICO CAMPANER
G.R. NO. 130500 & 143834
The accused was found guilty of 2 counts of rape against his 15 year old daughter of his common
law spouse.
HELD:
In evaluating the credibility of rape victims, the court has repeatedly held that it is not unnatural
for inconsistencies to creep into the testimony of a rape victim, especially one who is of tender
age, as the witness is narrating the details of a harrowing experience. So long as the testimony is
consistent on material points, slightly conflicting statements will not undermine the witness’
credibility nor the veracity of her testimony. On the contrary, these mistakes in fact strengthen,
rather than weaken, the complainant’s credibility as they erase suspicion that the testimony is
rehearsed. However, death cannot be imposed since the relationship of the complainant with the
accused was not alleged in the information.

PEOPLE V. MARCELINO SAN JUAN


G.R. NO. 112449-50
Accused was convicted of (1) robbery with rape and (2) highway robbery. He contends that
since he did not flee from his residence, he should be exonerated.
HELD:
It is true that the flight of an accused is competent evidence against him tending to establish his
guilt. However, no law nor jurisprudence holds that non-flight per se is conclusive proof of his
innocence. Further, for alibi to be validly invoked, the accused must not only prove that he was
somewhere else when the crime was committed but must also establish that it was physically
impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the commission of the crime.

PEOPLE V. RICARDO TORTOSA


G.R. NO.116739
Accused was convicted of murder. He questions the credibility of witnesses.
HELD:
The trial court did not err in giving full faith and credit to the testimonies of the prosecution
witness. The record is bereft of any evidence to show that the witnesses had improper motive to
testify falsely against appellant and the rule is well settled that absent evidence showing any
reason or motive for a prosecution witness to perjure, the logical conclusion is that no such
improper motive exists, and that the testimony is worthy of full faith and credit.

PEOPLE V. JAIME BALACANO


G.R. NO. 127156
Accused was found guilty of the crime of rape committed against his 14 year old step daughter.
He contends that there is reasonable doubt as to his guilt to warrant his acquittal.
HELD:
“Reasonable doubt” is not a mere guess that the appellant may or may not be guilty. It is such a
doubt that a reasonable man may entertain after a fair review and consideration of the evidence.
It is a state of mind engendered by insufficient proof. But, time and again, the Court has ruled
that the lone testimony of the victim may suffice to convict the rapist. When a victim says she
has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed and
if her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.
Further, absence of threats does not negate the charge of rape. Although it is true that there were
no physical injuries found in the victim’s body, in rape cases, absence of bodily threats does not
matter where there is an existing relationship between the appellant and the victim, resulting to
moral ascendancy of the former over the latter.

PEOPLE V. RAMIL SAMOLDE


G.R. NO. 128551
Accused was convicted of murder. Accused executed an extrajudicial confession. He also
admitted in open court to the commission of the crime.
HELD:
Extrajudicial confession of accused is not admissible in evidence. He was not informed of his
constitutional right before his statements were taken. However, his open court testimony is
enough to convict him. His subsequent allegation that he was given money to accept culpability
deserves scant consideration. Judicial confession constitutes evidence of a high order. The
presumption is that no sane person would deliberately confess to the commission of a crime
unless prompted to do so by truth and conscience. Further, accused went into hiding. Flight has
been held to be an indication of guilt.

PEOPLE V. ERIC BAID


G.R. NO. 129667
Accused was convicted of rape committed against a mental patient. He contends that as
complainant is schizophrenic, her testimony should not have been given credence by the trial
court. Further, he contends that victim consented with the sex.
HELD:
Notwithstanding her mental illness, complainant showed that she was qualified to be a witness.
She could perceive and was capable of making known her perceptions to others. Her testimony
indicates that she could understand questions particularly relating to the incident and could give
her responsive answers to them. Although complainant herself admitted that she agreed to have
sex with him after he gave her a stick of cigarette, it should be stressed that complainant was in
no position to give her consent. Accused is to be convicted under Art 335 par 2, rape of a
woman deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious. The phrase “deprived of reason” has been
construed to include those suffering from mental abnormality or deficiency or some other form
of mental retardation, those who are feebleminded although coherent.

PEOPLE V. ANTONIO DE LA TONGGA


G.R. NO. 133246
Accused was convicted of murder. Defense argues that prosecution failed to establish the
identity of the assailant.
HELD:
The finding of the trial court as to the credibility of the witnesses deserves respect. Further, the
defense of alibi is so weak. In order to prosper, it must be so convincing as to preclude any
doubt that the accused could not have been physically present at the place of the crime or its
vicinity at the time of the commission of the crime. Further, treachery was properly appreciated.
The fact that the victim had been forewarned by somebody against possible attack does not
negate the presence of treachery. What is important is that the victim was attacked even before
he and his companions could get out of the tricycle. The mode of attack ensured the commission
of the crime without risk to the accused.

PEOPLE V. OSCAR MANSUETO


G.R. NO. 135196
The accused was convicted of murder. Defense interposed denial and alibi.
HELD:
Alibi is an inherently weak defense, easy to fabricate and highly unreliable. For said defense to
prosper, he accused must not only prove that he was at some other place at the time the crime
was committed but that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the
time of the alleged crime. However, this was not shown here.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
Posted in Digests
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - July 2000

Criminal Law Digests – June 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz

People v Robles
G.R. No.-101335 June 8,2000
Appellant was convicted of robbery with homicide.He was apprehended after admitting the
crime. He was with the other perpetratorsin a taxi which was stopped in a routine inspection.
Held:
The unexplained possession of stolen articles gives rise to apresumption of theft, unless it is
proved that the owne of the articles was deprived of possession by violence, intimidation, in
which case the presumption becomes one of robbery.In robbery with homicide cases, the
prosecution need only to prove these elements: 1)the taking of personal property is perpetrated
by means of violence or intimidation against a person; 2)property taken belongs to another; 3)the
taking is characterized by intent to gain or animus lucrandi, and 4)on the occasion of the robbery
or by reason thereof the crime of homicide, here used in a generic sense is committed.The
homicide may precede the robbery or may occur after the robbery.What is essential is that there
an intimate connection between robbery ad the killing whether the latter be prior or subsequent
to the former or whether both crimes be committed at the same time.The rule is that whenever
homicide has been committed as a consequence of or on occasion of the robbery, all those who
took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals of the crime of robbery
with homicide although they did not take part in the homicide, unless it clearly appears they
endeavored to prevent the homicide.

People v Antonio
G.R. No.-122473 June 8,2000
This is a case of incestuous rape.
Held:
Rape may be committed even when the rapist and the victim are not alone, or while the rapist’s
spouse are asleep, or in a small room where other family members also slept.A daughter would
not accuse her own father of such unspeakable crime as incestuous rape had she really not been
aggrieved.It is highly improbable for a woman, especially one of tender age, to concoct a brutal
tale of ravishment, allow a gynecologic examination, and undergo the humiliation of a public
trial if she is not motivated solely by a desire to have the culprit apprehended and punished.

People v Mumar
G.R. No.-123155 June 8,2000
The victim was shot while his back was turned towards his assailants.
Held:
A direct proof to show that the accused had come to an agreement to commit a felony is not
necessary.It is sufficient that all the accused manifested by their acts a common intent to do harm
to the victim.

People v Monieva
G.R. No.123912 June 8,2000
The victim was hacked with a bolo and was decapitated by the appellant.
Held:
Inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony referring to minor details and not upon the
basic aspect of the crime do not impair the witness credibility. Even where a witness is found to
have deliberately falsified the truth in some particular, and it was not shown that there was such
intended prevarication, it is not required that the entire testimony be rejected, since such portions
thereof deemed worthy of belief may be credited.
Abuse of superior strength means to purposely use excessive force out of proportion to the
means available to the person attacked to defend himself. Before it may be appreciated, it must
be clearly shown that there was deliberate intent on the part of the malefacto to take advantage
thereof.The prosecution is of the opinion that since the appellant was armed with a bolo and was
chasing the unarmed victim who was trying to flee, this shows that the latter was powerless to
offer resistance thereby admitting his inferiority and superiority of the defendant.This is mere
conjecture, it was not all apparent that the appellant consciously adopted that particular means.
The mere fact that the victim was running away from the appellant who was wielding a bolo
shows that the victim was aware of the danger to himself, thus negating the suddenness of the
attack for which reason treachery cannot be appreciated.

People v Cambi
G.R. No.127131 June 8, 2000
The 15 yr old complainant was rape by the appellant.
Held:
The absence of illumination in the place of the commission of the crime does not detract from
the positive identification by Margie of the appellant as her assailant. Although visibility is an
important factor in the identification of a criminal offender, its relative significance depends
largely on the attending circumstances and the discretion of the trial court.In the case at bar, the
assailant was well known to Margie as the former was her employer.Also, the voice of the
appellant was heard when he uttered threats against the complainant.It has been this Court’s
observation that it is the most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to strive to see the
looks and faces of their assailants and observe the manner in which he crime was committed.
Not every rape victim can be expected to act conformably to the usual expectations of
everyone.Some may shout, some may faint; and some may be shocked into insensibility, while
others may openly welcome the intrusion. The force or violence that is required in rape cases is
relative.When applied, it need not be overpowering or irresistible.It is enough that it has enabled
the offender to consummate his purpose to bring about the desired result.It is not even necessary
that the offender be armed with a weapon.

PEOPLE V. OSCAR CARILLO


G.R. NO. 129528
Oscar Carillo together with Eduardo Candare were accused of murder. The physical evidence
shows that the death of the victim was caused by 2 stab wounds probably caused by 2 separate
instruments. Candare executed an affidavit admitting sole responsibility. Prosecution presented
a second cousin of the victim as its main witness.
HELD:
Physical evidence ranks high in the hierarchy of evidence. As physical evidence is compatible
with the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses but inconsistent with the claim of the defense
witnesses, the former should prevail. For the same reason, the court cannot accept as true the
affidavit of Candare owning sole responsibility for the crime.
Relationship per se does not automatically discredit a witness. In fact, kinship by blood or
marriage to the victim would deter one from implicating innocent persons as one’s natural
interest would be to secure conviction by the real culprit.

PEOPLE V. ROMEO CAPILI


G.R. NO. 130588
Accused was convicted of murder. Three high school students testified for the prosecution and
claimed that they actually saw the accused in flagrante delicto actually striking and submerging
the head of the victim in the river. Right after the incident, accused apparently saw them by the
riverbank and offered them a ride across the river, to which they readily acceded.
HELD:
Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must
be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as
probable under the circumstances. There can never be a better gauge by which a witness’
testimony may be evaluated and analyzed than the ordinary common human experience.
In this case, it is rather unnatural, to say the least, actually defying sound reasons for 3 young
students, to allow themselves to be ferried by an adult male whom they have just recently
witnessed kill and drown a helpless and unsuspecting victim. It makes the court wonder if the 3
supposed eye witness directly saw the actual killing in this case.

PEOPLE V. RUFINO TESTON & ROGELIO GACO


G.R. NO. 134938
The 3 accused were charged with murder. The prosecution presented one eyewitness. The
defense interposed self-defense. Accused questions trial court’s appreciation of the credibility of
the prosecution witness as unbelievable and biased.
HELD:
The trial court’s evaluation of a witness’ trustworthiness is entitled to highest respect for it has
the distinct opportunity to observe directly the demeanor of a witness and to determine whether
he is telling the truth. Moreover, the defense has not presented any evidence that witness was
impelled by dubious or improper motives, therefore, it must be presumed that he was not so
moved. The testimony of a single prosecution witness, if found credible and positive, is
sufficient to convict, for the truth is not established by the number of witnesses, but by the
quality of their testimonies.
Besides, credibility of witness is no longer the issue since self-defense was invoked as justifying
circumstance. Whenever the accused admits inflicting a fatal injury on his victim and invokes
self-defense, the burden of proof immediately shifts from the prosecution to the defense, the
accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the weakness of the
prosecution’s evidence.

PEOPLE V. JOSE GERAL ALIAS “JOSE”


G.R. NO. 122283
Accused was convicted of murder. He assails the credibility of the prosecution witness and the
sufficiency of evidence against him.
HELD:
On the credibility of witnesses, appellate courts accord the highest respect to the assessment
made by the trial court. Moreover, patent inconsistencies in and between appellant’s testimony
and those of his witnesses only undermine appellant’s defense.
PEOPLE V. MACARIO U. CASTILLO
G.R. NO. 111734-35
Spouses Castillo were convicted as conspirators in the kidnapping for ransom of Wilhelmina.
The victim is a businesswoman engaged in the real estate business. The 2 accused are both her
sales agents on commission basis.
HELD:
Conspiracy need not be proved by direct evidence. It may be inferred from the conduct of all
accused before, during and after the commission of the crime. The conduct should point to a
joint purpose and design, concerted action and community of interest. Conspiracy may be
proved by circumstantial evidence or deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense
was perpetrated. Here, the spouses referred the main perpetrator to the victim. The perpetrator
who posed as buyer did not even inform the seller who referred him, which is contrary to
common practice.

PEOPLE V. EPIE ARLALEJO


G.R. NO. 127841
The accused was convicted for Robbery with Homicide in an information alleging conspiracy.
The 2 accused hoisted the defense of denial and alibi. One of the accused was acquitted and so
the accused questions his conviction because in as much as conspiracy was not proved by the
prosecution, the appellant should likewise be acquitted.
HELD:
By its nature, conspiracy is a joint offense as one person cannot conspire alone. In conspiracy,
the commission of a crime is through the joint act or intent of 2 or more persons. However, there
is nothing irregular with the acquittal of one of the supposed co-conspirators and the conviction
of another. Generally, conspiracy is only a means by which a crime is committed as the mere act
of conspiring is not by itself punishable. Hence, it does not follow that one person alone cannot
be convicted when there is a finding of conspiracy. As long as the acquittal of a co-conspirator
does not remove the basis of a charge of conspiracy, one defendant may be found guilty of the
offense.
In the case at bar, it is incorrect to state that the accused was acquitted because conspiracy was
not proved. The evidence established beyond doubt the existence of conspiracy to rub.
However, the evidence proved only the existence of a conspiracy but not the culpability of the
appellant. The trial court noted that the victims had no sufficient opportunity to recognize the
acquitted accused. The evaluation of evidence reveals that the same is true insofar as the
appellant is concerned.

PEOPLE V. DOMINADOR HISTORILLO


G.R. NO. 130408
Appellant was convicted for raping his 12 year old daughter and was sentenced to death. Appeal
assails the criminal complaint which was not under oath and is therefore void. Also, prosecution
failed to establish the use of force in the occasion of the crime. Further, the penalty of death was
also questioned as the information does not allege the age of the victim and her relationship with
the offender.
HELD:
A complaint presented by a private person when not sworn by him is not necessarily void. The
want of an oath is a mere defect of form which does not affect the substantial rights of the
defendant on the merits. The law does not impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving the
resistance where there is intimidation. Moreover, in a crime of rape committed by a father
against his own daughter, the father’s moral ascendancy and influence over the latter substitutes
for violence or intimidation.
Age and relationship are special qualifying circumstances that changes the nature of simple rape
by producing a qualified form punishable by death. Since the charge of rape in the complaint is
not in its qualified form so as to fall under the special qualifying circumstance stated in section
11 of RA 7659, the penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed.

PEOPLE V. ROBERTO ESTRADA


G.R. NO. 130487
Accused was convicted for murder and sentenced to death. Defense interposed insanity with
proof of his history of mental illness filed for suspension of arraignment and suspension of
proceedings. Both were denied without subjecting accused to mental examination.
HELD:
Case remanded for the conduct of a proper mental examination to determine competency to stand
trial. By depriving appellant of mental examination, the trial court effectively deprived appellant
of a fair trial and the proceedings before the court are therefore nullified. He who invokes
insanity as an exempting circumstance must prove it by clear and positive evidence. The
absence of direct proof however, does not entirely discount the probability that accused was not
of sound mind at that time. In passing the question of the propriety of suspending the
proceedings, the test is found in the question whether the accused would have a fair trial with the
assistance which the law secures or gives. There are 2 distinct matters to be determined under
this test (1) whether the defendant is sufficiently coherent to provide his counsel with
information necessary or relevant to constructing a defense and (2) whether he is able to
comprehend the significance of the trial and his relation to it.
The determination of whether a sanity investigation or hearing should be ordered rests generally
in the discretion of the trial court. In the case, the trial court took it solely upon itself to
determine the sanity of the accused. The trial judge however is not a psychiatrist or psychologist
or some other expert equipped with the specialized knowledge of determining the state of a
person’s mental health. The court should have at least ordered the examination of the accused,
especially in the light of the latter’s history of mental item.

PEOPLE V. VENANCIO FRANCISCO


G.R. NO. 130490
Accused was convicted of murder and slight physical injuries. The trial court imposed penalty of
reclusion temporal maximum to reclusion perpetua medium. In imposing the penalty, the trial
court applied the Indeterminate Sentence Law stating that RA 7659 (An act to impose the death
penalty on certain heinous crimes) made the penalty of reclusion perpetua divisible.
HELD:
Notwithstanding RA 7659, the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua remains an indivisible penalty.
Although RA 7659 has fixed the duration of reclusion perpetua to 20 years and 1 day to 40 years,
there was no clear legislative intent to alter its original classification as an indivisible penalty. It
remains as an indivisible penalty.

PEOPLE V. MARCELO NAVA JR.


G.R. NO. 130509-12
Accused was convicted of 4 counts of rape of his 13 year old daughter. The information does not
allege the age of the victim and her relationship with the offender. He was sentenced to death
and made to pay civil indemnity only.
HELD:
Crime is only simple rape since the information does not allege the age of victim and her
relationship with he offender. Civil indemnity is mandatory upon the finding of the fact of rape;
it is distinct from and should not be denominated as moral damages which are based on different
jural foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound discretion. An award of
50,000 as moral damages for each of the counts of rape is granted in recognition of the victim’s
injury as being inherently concomitant with and necessarily resulting from the odious crime of
rape and to warrant per se an award of moral damages.

PEOPLE VS ROMEO ARILLAS


G.R. NO. 130593
Accused was convicted for raping his 16 year old daughter. He was sentenced to death despite
the fact that the information does not allege the age of the victim and her relationship with the
offender.
HELD:
When the age and the relationship are not alleged in the information, such should not be
considered as special qualifying circumstances that will change the nature of simple rape and
punish offender with the penalty of death. If the qualifying circumstance is not alleged but
proved, it shall only be considered as an aggravating circumstance. It is a denial of the right of
an accused to be informed of the nature of the accusation against him and consequently a denial
of due process if he is convicted of a crime in its qualified form notwithstanding the fact that the
information on which he was arraigned charges him only of the crime in its simple form by not
specifying the circumstance that qualifies the crime.

PEOPLE V. ANGEL RIOS


G.R. NO. 132632
Accused was convicted of murder. The crime was preceded by a heated argument. The accused
left and came back minutes after the altercation and stabbed victim at the latter’s terrace.
HELD:
Homicide and not murder. Treachery was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Qualifying and
aggravating circumstances before being taken into consideration for the purpose of increasing the
degree of the penalty to be imposed must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as that
which establishes the commission of the act charged as a criminal offense. Dwelling was
correctly considered aggravating. The word dwelling includes every dependency of the house
that forms part thereof.

PEOPLE V. JOEL TANEZA


G.R. NO. 121668
Accused was convicted of murder for shooting a bakery delivery man. The victim was brought
to the hospital and subjected to an operation. He was interviewed and he named the accused as
his assailant. He died a day after giving his statement.
HELD:
The statement was considered as a dying declaration and is admissible in evidence as part of the
res gestae. The requirements for the admissibility of an ante-mortem statement are: (1) it must
concern the crime and the surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death; (2) at the time it
was made, the declarant was under a consciousness of impending death; (3) the declarant was
competent as a witness; (4) the declaration was offered in a criminal case for homicide, murder
or parricide in which the decedent was the victim. Although it may not be ascertained from the
written statement whether the victim was speaking with a consciousness of impending death, the
degree and seriousness of the wounds and the fact that death supervened shortly afterwards may
be considered as substantial evidence that the declaration was made by the victim with full
realization that he was in a dying condition.

PEOPLE V. WILSON DREU


G.R. NO. 126282
Accused was convicted of rape. He interposed the defense that he and the victim was
sweethearts. He offered marriage but was rejected.
HELD:
The “sweethearts defense” cannot be appreciated as the defense failed to come up with
convincing proof. Indeed, the accused bears the burden of proving that he and the complainant
had an affair which naturally led to a sexual relationship. The guilt of the accused was also
established by the fact that he offered marriage to the complainant after the incident was reported
to the authorities. As a rule in rape cases, an offer of marriage is an admission of guilt.

PEOPLE V. PATROLMAN DOMINGO BELBES


G.R. NO. 124670
Accused was convicted of murder. He interposed self-defense and that he acted in the fulfillment
of a duty.
HELD:
Self defense cannot be appreciated. Where the accused admits to killing the victim in self
defense, the burden of evidence shifts to him. For a person not to incur criminal liability when he
acts in the fulfillment of a duty, 2 requisites must concur: (1) that the offender acted in the
performance of a duty; (2) that the injury or offense committed be the necessary consequence of
the due performance of such right or office. However, second requisite here was not proved
since killing need not be a necessary consequence of his duty.

PEOPLE V. JOHNNY DELA CRUZ


G.R. NO. 133921
Accused was convicted of rape. The charge was filed 12 years after the alleged incident, when
the victim was already 20 years old.
HELD:
An accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it
is even more difficult for the person accused, although innocent to disprove the charge. In rape
cases, the testimony of the complainant must stand or fall on its own merits and should never be
allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence of the defense. The long delay of
the complainant in reporting the incident makes it difficult for the court not to have compelling
doubts on the veracity of her episode. Proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt not proven.

PEOPLE V. ROLANDO FLORES


G.R. NO. 124977
Accused was convicted of murder. The conviction was based purely on circumstantial evidence
because there was no eye witness to the actual killing of the victim.
HELD:
A judgment of conviction based purely on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the
following requisites concur: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from which the
inferences are derived are proven; (3) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to
produce conviction beyond reasonable doubt. The corollary rule is that the circumstances proven
must constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to
the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person.

PEOPLE V. FELIPE HOFILENA


G.R. NO. 134772
Accused was convicted of raping a 12 year old girl. The accused interposed alibi as defense.
HELD:
When a victim of rape says that she has been defiled, she says in effect all that is necessary to
show that rape has been inflicted on her and so long as her testimony meets the test of credibility,
the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof. In the absence of strong and convincing
evidence, alibi could not prevail over the positive testimony of the victim, who had no improper
motive to testify falsely against him.

PEOPLE V. HENRY FLORES


G.R. NO. 116794
Accused was convicted of murder. Only one eyewitness was presented.
HELD:
The testimony of a single witness, if credible and positive, is sufficient to produce a conviction.

PEOPLE V. HERMOGENES FLORA


G.R. NO. 125909
The 2 accused (Hermogenes and Edwin) were convicted for the murder of Emerita and Ireneo
and the attempted murder of Flor. The 2 were found to have conspired to kill Ireneo. However,
during the commission of the crime, Emerita was also killed and Flor hit by a bullet.
HELD:
Co-conspirators are liable only for acts done pursuant to the conspiracy. For other acts done
outside the contemplation of the co-conspirators or which are not the necessary and logical
consequence of the intended crime, only the actual perpetrators are liable. Evidence only shows
conspiracy to kill Ireneo and no one else. Hence, both can be convicted for the murder of
Ireneo. However, only Hermogenes who fired at Emerita and Flor can be convicted for the
murder of Emerita and Flor respectively.

PEOPLE V. EDDY PANEZA


G.R. NO. 131829
The 3 accused were convicted of highway robbery. They assert that they cannot be convicted of
highway robbery as the crime was not committed by at least 4 persons as required in Article 306
of the Revised Penal Code.
HELD:
Highway robbery is now governed by PD No. 532, otherwise known as Anti-Piracy and Anti-
Highway Robbery Law of 1974. It is no longer required that there be at least 4 armed persons
forming a band of robbers. The no. of offenders is no longer an essential element of the crime of
highway robbery. PD 532 only requires proof that persons were organized for the purpose of
committing highway robbery indiscriminately. The robbery must be directed not only against
specific, intended or preconceived victims but against any and all prospective victims.

PEOPLE V. JUDGE ESTRELLA ESTRADA


G.R. NO. 124461
Motion for the return of seized goods on the ground that the warrant was illegal. Further, the
seized medicines were found genuine but were only illegally imported.
HELD:
Even if the medicines were genuine if the seller has no permit from the appropriate government
agency, the drugs or medicines cannot be returned although the search warrant was declared
illegal.

PEOPLE V. MARIANO AUSTRIA


G.R. NO. 123539
Accused, 82 years old at the time of the commission of the offense, was convicted of the crime
of rape. He raises as defense the 2 week delay in reporting the offense and his alleged
impotency.
HELD:
Delay or vacillation in criminal accusations do not necessarily impair the complainant’s
credibility if such delay is satisfactorily explained. It is not uncommon to conceal rape because
of rapist’s threats to life, fear of public humiliation and lack of courage. Silence is not an odd
behavior of a rape victim. The presumption is always in favor of potency. Impotency is
considered an abnormal condition and should not be presumed. The doctor’s testimony stated
that his sex organ was diseased but never was there even a hint that accused was impotent. The
trial court also observed that accused was still strong, agile and capable of committing the sexual
act and seriously doubts that he is 82 years old.

PEOPLE V. ABDULAJID SABDANI


G.R. NO. 134262
The accused was convicted of murder. He interposed self-defense as defense.
HELD:
The accused who invokes self-defense admits authorship of the killing and therefore the burden
of proof shifts to him who must then establish with clear and convincing evidence all the
elements of self-defense. Accused failed to prove unlawful aggression. Unlawful aggression
presupposes not merely a threatening/intimidating attitude, but an actual and sudden attack or an
imminent danger thereof, which imperils one’s life or limb. In the case at bar, there was no sign
that victim was armed other than the fact that his hands were tucked inside his shirt. Accused
did not ascertain whether victim was really armed, or warn him to drop his weapon.

PEOPLE V. ROLANDO TABANGGAY


G.R. NO. 130504
Accused was convicted of raping his 2 minor children. He was sentenced to suffer the supreme
penalty of death.
HELD:
Penalty reduced to reclusion perpetua. The victim’s minority was not sufficiently proved. In
accusations involving incestuous rape, the relationship of the accused with the offended party as
well as the latter’s age must be alleged in the information and proven by the prosecution with
competent evidence during their trial. A bare photocopy of the victim’s birth certificate which is
neither certified nor offered formally in evidence is not sufficient proof of the victim’s age.

PEOPLE V. PEPE LOZADA


G.R. NO. 130589
As Danilo Morin and his cousin were walking one evening, Lozada followed from behind and
shot Morin to death. Lozada was convicted of murder appreciating treachery as a qualifying
circumstance.
HELD:
Affirmed. There was treachery since Morin was unsuspectingly shot from behind. The essence
of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by an aggressor on an unsuspecting victim,
depriving the latter of any chance to defend himself and thereby ensuring its commission without
risk to himself. The 2 conditions for treachery to be considered as qualifying circumstance are:
(1) employment of means, methods and manner of execution to ensure the safety of the
malefactor from defensive and retaliatory acts of the victim; (2) and the deliberate adoption of
such means, methods and manner of execution.

PEOPLE V. ARMANDO REANZARES


G.R. NO. 130656
Accused was held guilty of highway robbery with homicide. Accused interposed alibi as
defense. He questions credibility of witness.
HELD:
For alibi to be believed it must be shown that: (a) the accused was in another place at the time of
the commission of the offense; and (b) it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime
scene. This was not shown here. However, he cannot be held liable for highway robbery.
Conviction for highway robbery requires proof that several accused were organized for the
purpose of committing it indiscriminately. There is no proof in the instant case that the accused
and his cohorts organized themselves to commit highway robbery. Neither is there proof that
they attempted to commit robbery as to show the “indiscriminate” perpetration thereof. On the
other hand, what the prosecution established was only a single act of depredation is not what is
contemplated under PD 532 as its objective is to deter and punish lawless elements who commit
acts of depredation upon persons and properties of innocent and defenseless inhabitants who
travel from one place to another.
Accused should be held liable for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide as the
allegation in the information are enough to convict him therefore.

PEOPLE V. REYNALDE LAZARTE


G.R. NO. 130711
Accused was convicted of the crime of murder. Accused interposed self-defense.
HELD:
In instances where an accused acknowledges full responsibility for the death of the victim but
claims self-defense, the burden of evidence is transferred to the accused to prove that his taking
of a life was justified and that he did not incur any criminal liability for the same. In order that
he may be acquitted, the accused must prove that the 3 circumstances are present, namely: (a)
unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to
prevent or repel it; (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the accused. Unlawful
aggression was not proven. The alleged revolver used by the victim was not even presented in
evidence. Further, accused did not even voluntarily surrender and opted to remain silent about
the incident. A person claiming self-defense would have reported the incident to the police as he
has nothing to hide.
As to civil liability, aside from the ordinary indemnity of P50,000 accused is obliged to
compensate the heirs of the victim for the latter’s lose of earning capacity and pay the heirs of
the victim moral damages for the mental anguish suffered by them.

PEOPLE V. ERNESTO SANTOS


G.R. NO. 131103 & 143472
Accused was found guilty of 2 counts of rape of his 14 year old daughter. The information
alleges that the crime was committed on or about sometime in 1988 and 1989. He avers that
such allegations are indefinite and have deprived him of the right to be informed of the nature
and cause of the accusation against him.
HELD:
It is too late for the accused to question the form or substance of the information in these cases
since he did not move to quash the information before he was arraigned. Further, in the crime of
rape, the date of the commission is not an essential element of the crime.

PEOPLE V. PACITA ORDONO


G.R. NO. 132154
The 2 accused were convicted of the special complex crime of rape with homicide attended with
conspiracy on the bases of their extra judicial confession. An interview with a radio announcer
was also done where the 2 accused accepted responsibility for the crime. They now assail their
conviction as their confession was attended by infirmities’ i.e. mainly the lack of counsel to assist
them during custodial investigation.
HELD:
The absence of counsel renders the extra judicial confession inadmissible. The presence of the
mayor, municipal judge and the family of the accused during the confession did not cure the
defect. However, statements spontaneously made by a suspect to a news reporter on televised
interview are deemed voluntary and are admissible in evidence. By analogy, statements made by
herein accused to a radio announcer should likewise be held admissible. The interview was not
in the nature of an investigation, and thus, the uncounselled confession did not violate accused’s
constitutional rights.

PEOPLE V. BENIDO ALCARTADO


G.R. NO. 132379-82
The 2 accused, stepfather and step grandfather of the victim, were convicted of rape and
sentenced to suffer supreme penalty of death. The information, however, does not allege the
relationship of the accused with the victim.
HELD:
The absence of the allegation of relationship in the information converted the crime to simple
rape which is not punishable by death. Qualifying circumstances must be properly pleaded in the
indictment. If the same are not pleaded, but are proved, they shall be considered only as
aggravating circumstances.

PEOPLE V. ARNOLD RATUNIL


G.R. NO. 137270
The accused was convicted of the crime of rape with the use of force. Accused used sweetheart
defense. He presented a letter written by the victim asking for money from the accused since she
was leaving town.
HELD:
In a rape case, the testimony of the complainant is scrutinized with great caution, for the crime is
usually known only to her and to her rapist. The dubious behavior of the alleged victim after the
rape detracts from her credibility and creates reasonable doubt that may lead to the acquittal of
the accused. Conviction always rests on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, never on the
weakness of that of the defense.

PEOPLE V. EDISON ARELLANO


G.R. NO. 122477
Accused was convicted of murder. He assails credibility of the witnesses.
HELD:
Positive identification, where categorical and consistent, without any showing of ill-motive on
the part of the eyewitnesses testifying on the matter prevails over alibi and denial which if not
substantiated by clear and convincing evidence are negative and self-serving evidence
undeserving of weight in law. However, appellant should be convicted of homicide not murder
since treachery was not established. Appellant’s stabbing of the victim was done on an impulse.
As appellant did not consciously adopt the means of attack, treachery cannot be appreciated.
As regards the monetary award, aside from the civil indemnity in the amount of P50,000 in
accordance with Art. 2206 of the Civil Code, the defendant shall be liable for the loss of the
earning capacity of the deceased and the indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter; such
indemnity shall be assessed and awarded by the court, unless the deceased on account of
permanent and physical disability not caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity at the
time of award. The amount of loss of earning capacity is based mainly on 2 factors: (1) the
number of years of which the damages shall be computed; and (2) the rate at which the losses
sustained by the respondent should be fixed.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
Posted in Digests
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - June 2000

Criminal Law Digests – May 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
People V Tanoy
G.R. No 115692 May 12,2000
After a prior incident, the victim went to the police station. The victim therein found the
appellant who is a policeman. After, a few exchanges appellant shot the victim with an armalite
hitting him in the chest. He alleges that they were grappling for the gun before the “accident”
occured thus he is entitled to an exempting circumstance under par 4 Art 12.
Held:
The shooting was intentional as shown by the location and nature of the wounds. Also a brown
envelope remained tucked under his arm and was bloodied after he was shot.If they were
grappling for possession of the gun then the envelope containing his complaint should have
fallen.It would be highly inconceivable for a retired PC colonel to hold the barrel of the gun
pointing towards him while grappling for its possession.
It is settled jurisprudence that the assessment of the credibility of the witnesses lies within the
province and expertise of the trial courts.Absent any showing of abuse of discretion or that trial
courts overlooked material and relevant facts which could affect the outcome of the case, their
findings are accorded great weight and respect.
There is also treachery in the commission of the crime. The deceased did not expect any attack
coming from the accused when he went to the police station. Treachery may still be appreciated
even when the victim was forewarned of the danger to his person.What is decisive is that the
execution of the attack mde it impossible for the victim to defend himself or retaliate.The victim
was totally defenseless when he went out of his hiding place(went behind a cemented wall when
the accused pointed the gun).he was 71 years old and his left hand was extended as if in
supplication and surrender but the accused shot him nonetheless.

People v Avillana
GRNo119621 May 12,2000
Accused was convicted for murder by the lower court.He allegedly approached the victim and
two others while they were waiting for a jeepney.He stabbed the victim in the chest and attacked
the two others who were able to escape.
Held:
Conviction affirmed. The testimony of the sole witness is upheld.Witnesses are weighed, not
numbered, such that the testimony of a single, trustworthy and credible witness could be
sufficient to convict./there is no showing that the implication by the witness was ill-
motivated.Where the locus criminis afforded good visibility and where no improper motive can
be attributed to the prosecution eyewitnesses for testifying against the accused, then his version
of the offense deserves much weight.Alibi,though supported by the testimonies of friends,
weakens in the face of positive identification by one credible, unbiased witness.His place was
only 1 kilometer from the scene.There was treachery as the victim was caught by surprise and
defenseless when accused made his stealthful approach from behind and lunged a knife into the
victim’s chest.

People v de Leon
GRNo-124338-41 May 12,2000
The victim, a ten year old girl, was raped by the appellant in the tobacco field in four occasions.
Appellant avers he was on the field with his wife.
Held:
While denial is a legitimate defense in rape cases, bare denials cannot overcome the categorical
testimony of the victim.Also, when there is an inconsistency between affidavits and the
testimony of a witness in court, the testimony commands greater weight.Delay in reporting rape
incidents in the face of threats of pysical violence, cannot be taken against the victim.It is fear,
springing from the initial rape, that the perpetrator hopes to build up a climate of extreme
sychologiccal terror,w/c would, he hopes, numb his victim to silence and submissiveness.

People v PO1 Maing


GRNo122112 May 12, 2000
The victim was shot four times with a witness standing three meters away.The witness reported
the incident that the victim was gunned down by an unidentified assailant. Two weeks later he
executed an affidavit pinpointing the appellant. In the witness stand he denied having identified
the assailant and clarified that he only heard rumors on who was the killer from his
townmates.The appellant was in a mosque only 5oo meters away and there was motive, the
appellant was boxed and kicked by the victim before.
Held:
Despite his familiarity with appellant’s figure, the witness still failed to identify the assailant of
the victim.He only based his testimony from rumors, thus he did not have first-hand knowledge
of the identity of the assailant.His testimony was pure hearsay and has no evidentiary
weight.Without any testimony positively identifying accused as the gunman nor any evidence
directly linking him as the author of the crime, the appellant cannot be convicted of the
murder.he enjoys the presumption of innocence, which can only be overcome by reasonable
doubt.Mere suspicions or conjectures, however strong, can never become substitutes for this
required quantum of proof.There must be moral certainty that the accused is guilty.Appellant’s
alibi may be the weakest of all defenses.Nonetheless, this weakness ought not be used as proof of
his guilt.The prosecution must rest on the strength of its evidence and not rely on the weakness
of the defense.

People v Madarang
Gr. No. 132319 May 12,2000
Appellant was convicted of parricide for stabbing his wife, causing her death. Appellant alleges
he was in a state of insanity and claims he had no recollection of the stabbing incident.He insists
that he was deprived of intelligence , making his act involuntary.His psychiatric evaluation
revealed he was suffering from schizophrenia but after two years in the National Center for
Mental Health his condition improved thus, he was released.
Held:
In the Philippines, the courts have established a more stringent criterion for insanity to be
exempting as it is required that there must be a complete deprivation of intelligence in
committing the act,i.e., the accused is deprived of reason; he acted without the least discernment
because there is a complete absence of the power to discern, or that there is total deprivation of
the will.Mere abnormality of the mental faculties will not exclude imputability.The issue of
insanity is a question of fact.The state or condition of a man’s mind can only be measured and
judged by his behavior.Establishing one’s insanity requires testimony of an expert witness, such
as a psychiatrist.The proof must relate to the time preceding or coetaneous with the commisssion
of the offense with which he is charged.None of the witnesses declared that he exhibited any of
the symptoms associated with schizophrenia immediately before or simultaneous with the
stabbing incident.Also schizophrenics have lucid intervals during which they are capable of
distinguishing right from wrong.

People v Dequito
G.R. No.-132544 May 12,2000
A fifteen year old girl was raped by the common-law husband of her sister in the field.
Held:
A torn underwear is not indispensable to prove the crime of rape.Rape can be committed without
damaging the apparel of the victim.The victim testified that appellant already started to remove
her clothes but she ran away. He caught up with her and forced himself on her.The delay in
reporting the incident can not diminish her credibility.Our consistent doctrine is that delay in
reporting a rape, if sufficiently explained, does not affect the credibility of the witness.In this
case, she was dependent on him, her parents were absent.Appellant threatened that he would
leave the victim’s sister if the victim reported the incident. Also the information is sufficient
alleging therein that rape was committed on or about the month of July 1996.Thus, the
prosecutor’s error in stating that what was being tried was the last rape committed in July in his
offer of proof did not prejudice the rights of the appellant.Also, counsel for the defendant did not
object to the offer of victim’s testimony. Sec 34-36 of Rule 132 govern.

People v Rimorin
GRNo-124309 May 16,2000
Two persons were kidnapped and brought to a forest area where they were killed.The bodies
were set afire while in a pit then buried in the same spot.A helper of the suspects and the families
of the victims were threatened with retaliation if they reported the incident.Ten years later, the
helper, after learning that one of the suspects have died, reported the incident and the bodies
were then exhumed. Appellants were convicted of kidnapping with murder.
Issue:
W/N guilt was established beyond reasonable doubt.
Held:
The trial courts are in the best position to view the witness’ demeanor and deportment during the
trial. Since the offense were committed prior to RA7659 on Deceber 31, 1993 thus said law
amending Art267 of the RPC providing: “when the victim is killed or dies as a consequence of
the detention or is raped or is subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty
shall be imposed.”Since in this instance the purpose of the appellant and his companions when
they kidnapped the victims was to kill them the two counts of complex crime of kidnapping with
murder is valid. However, as ruled in P v Ramos 297SCRA618, the rule now is: where the
person kidnapped is killed in the course of the detention, regardless of whether the killing was
purposely sought or was merely an afterthought, the kidnapping and murder or homicide can no
longer be complexed under the last paragraph of Art267as amended by RA7659.
There was also treachery as the victims’ hands were tied behind their backs when they were
killed.However, there is no evident premeditation.there was no showing by the prosecution of the
1)time when the offender determined to commit the crime 2)act manifestly indicating that the
offender had clung to his determination3)sufficient lapse of time between the determination to
commit the crime and the execution thereof, to allow the offender to reflect on the consequence
of his act.

People v Obrero
G.R. No.-122142 May 17, 2000
Appellant was convicted of robberry with homicide.He executed a written confession as a result
of a custodial ivestigation.The issue is whether such is valid.
Held:
The extrajudicial confession was invalid. The perfunctory reading of the Miranda rights is
inadequate to transmit information to the suspect. Also, Art IIISec12(1) requires an independent
and competent counsel of the suspect’s choice. Atty de los Reyes was not an independent
counsel being the PC Captain and Station Commander. As held in P v Bandula, the independent
counsel cannot be a special prosecutor, private or public prosecutor, municipal attorney or
counsel of the police whose interest is adverse to the accused.
While there is evidence to the homicide consisting of the corpus delicti, there is no evidence of
the robbery except the confession. The lack of objection of appellant to the introduction of the
constitutionally proscribed evidence did not satisfy the burden of proof which rested on the
prosecution. Acquitted of robbery with homicide.
People v Toledano
G.R. No.-110220 May 18,2000
Bunao, while a member of Sangguniang Bayan, entered into a lease contract covering 2 public
market stalls.Two administrative cases were filed against against him violating RA3019 and
R6713 with the Ombudsman.However, said cases were dismissed. An information for violation
of Sec41(1) in relation to Sec221 of BP337 was filed against respondent before the RTc of Iba,
Zambales which prohibits gov’t officials from engaing in any business transaction with the local
gernment unit.The RTC, upon motion of the accused, dismissed the criminal case on the ground
of the dismissal of the administrative cases.
Held:
There is nothing in the law(Art 89RPC) which states that exoneration from an administrative
charge extinguishes criminal liability.It is a fundamental principle of administrative law that
administrative law that administrative cases a independent from criminal actions for the same act
or omission. RA 7160,LGC of 1991, which replaced BP337 reenacted in its Sec89 the legal
provision of Sec 41 of BP337.Thus, the act committed before the reenactment continuous to be a
crime.

People v Saragina
G.R. No.-128281 May 30,2000
Accused stabbed and klled a Vulpangco, who uttered malicious remarks and showed his private
part to the appellant’s sister a week earlier. He admits the incident but claims it was self-defense.
Held:
Because of this claim, the burden of proof was shifted to the appellant to establish the elements
thereofa)unlawful aggression on the part of the victim;b)reasonable necessity of the means
employed to prevent or repel it; c)lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person
defending himself. The first element is lacking.Evidence must positively show that there was a
previous unlawful and unprovoked attack on the person of the accused which placed him in
danger and justified him in inflicting harm upon his assailant hrough the employment of
reasonable means to repel the aggression. In this, case the appellant attacked the victim while the
latter was fanning charcoal.
The second element is also absent.The nature, location and number of the wounds belie
appellant’s defense.Even considering he was able to wrest the knife away from Vulpanco and
stab him on the chest, he still ran after the victim and stabbed him againin the face. However,
there was no treachery because before he attacked, the appellant uttered “Ano pare, umpisahan
na natin?”.Also, victim’s niece shouted “Tiyong Takbo”.The victim was able to run away bu the
accused caught up with him.Treachery cannot be appreciated when the victim was aware of the
attack against him and was even able to flee even though briefly from his attacker.
Also, there is o evident premeditation.The prosecution failed to adduce evidence showing when
and how the accused planned and prepared to kill Vulpangco.The mere fact that the accused
learned that Vulpangco was pestering his sister a week before the killing is insufficient to prove
evident premeditation beyond reasonable doubt.
People v Babera
G.R. No.-130609, May 30,2000
Appellant was convicted of two counts of rape. He raped a 17 yr old having moderate retardation
with the use of a balisong.
Held:
Since the participants are usually the only witnesses in crimes of this nature, the conviction or
acquittal of the accused would virtually depend on the credibility of the complainant’s testmony.
The trial court observed that the victim remained consistent and answered in a frank, sincere and
straighforward manner. Also, factual findings of the trial court are generally sustained on appeal
unless arbitrary or baseless.

People v Francisco
The appellant was convicted of frustrated murder.Together with two more persons, he assaulted
and stabbed Ariel while seated in the driver’s seat of a jeepney.
Held:
The mere fact that the principal witness was the victim of the crime does not make him a biased
witness and does not make his testimony incredible.It would be unnatural and illogical for him to
impute the crime to an innocent person and let the culprit escape prosecution.
A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission
of a crime and decide to do it.Proof of the agreement need not rest on direct evidence as the same
may be inferred from the conduct of the parties indicating a common understanding among them
with respect to the commission of the offense.It is not necessary to show that two or more
persons met together and entered into an explicit agreement setting out the details of an unlawful
scheme or the details by which an illegal objective is to be carried out.It may be deduced from
the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated or inferred from the acts of the
accused evincing a joint or common purpose and design, concerted action and community of
interest.In this case, the two John Does pulled the victim out of the jeepney.As the victim was
getting down, he was stabbed by the appellant. As to Antonio his participation was limited to
shouting “heto na sila”.In a case, we ruled that the phrase “andiyan na”, which has similar import
with the phrase herein, does not have conclusive conspiratorial meaning for the supposedly
damning utterances are susceptible of varied inerpretations.One’s overt act, to be shown in
pursuance of the conspiracy, may consist of active participation in the actual commission of the
crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to his conspirators by being present at the time
of the commission of the crime, by exerting moral ascendancy over the other co-conspirators by
moving them to execute or implement the conspiracy.
As to Ricardo’s physical disability, the limp suffered by him due to polio has not been shown to
restrict his means of action, defense or communication with his fellow beings as required by Art
13(8). The location of the stab wounds (stomach) manifest his intention to kill thus contradicting
his claim of not intending to commit so grave a wrong.
The mitigating circumstance of sufficient provocation must immediately preceded the act and
that it was adequate to excite a person to commit a wrng, which must accordingly be
proportionate in gravity.
The lack of aversion in the information of “intent to kill” does not not make it insufficient.An
information is sufficient if it states the designation of the offense by statute.The information
more than substantially satisfies the requirement of designating the offense of frustrated murder
considering that it contains the acts constituting the felony, the name of the crime by statue and
the stage (frustrated) of the commission of the crime by definition.Besides the absence of the
averment of intent to kill may be inferred from the allegation that the stab wound would have
caused the death of the victim.

People v Balora
G.R. No.-124976 May 31, 2000
The victim was raped inside the cubicle of the women’s restroom of the cinema theater of
Manuela Complex.The appellant went over the divider and banged the head of the victim on the
wall.After the incident, he was captured by the guards and mobbed by the other watchers.
Held:
Appellant avers that the victim could not be made to lie on the floor there being a toilt bowl in
the middle an the cubicle was too small.The evil in man has no conscience.The beast in him
bears no respect for time and place, driving him to commit rae anywhere–even in places where
people congregate.Rape does not necessarily have to be committed in an isolated place and can
in fact be committed in places which to many would appear to be unlikely and high-risk venues
for sexual advances.
Physical resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the
victim and the latter submits herself, against her will, to the rapist’s advances because of fear for
her life and personal safety.it is sufficient that the intimidation produces fear in the mind of the
victim that if she did not submit to the bestial demands of the accused, somehing far worse
would befall her at the time she was being molested. In P v Luzorate we held that intimidation
was addressed to the mind of the victim and therefore subjective, its presence could not be tested
by any hard-and-fast rule but must be viewed in light of the victim’s perception and judgment at
the time of the crime.When a victim become paralyzed with fear, she cannot be expected to think
and act coherently, her failure to take advantage of the early opportuniy to escape does not
automatically vitiate the credibilityoher account.Complainant cannot be faulted for not taking
any action inasmuch as different people react differently to a given type of situation, there being
no standard form of human behavioral response when one is confronted with a strange, startling
or frightful experience.
Lack of lacerated wounds does not negate sexual intercourse.A freshly broken hymen is not a
essential element of rape. e part of the victim;b)reaonable nec

People v Alicante
G.R. No.-127026-27 May 31,2000
The appellant, a father, raped his 13 yr old daughter fifteen times impregnating her.
Held:
The purpose of a formal offer is to enable the trial judge to know the purpose or purposes fro
which the proponent is representing the evidence.As it is the victim herself who testified, to state
the reason for the presentaiton of said witness is to state the obvious.The Court has consistently
upheld that the presumptio hominis that a young filipina will not charge a person with rape if it is
not true, does not go against theconstitutional presumption of innocence.It has been decided, in
case of statutory crimes, that no constitutional provision is violated by a statute providing that
proof by the Sate fo some material fact or facts shall constitute prima facie evidence of guilt, and
that then the burdeen is shifted to the defendant for the purpose of showing that such act or acts
are innocent and are committed without unlawful intention. The actor in the affidavit of
desistance, as worded, was the mother.Thus, it cannot be given weight.Also, an affidavit of
desistance by itself, even when construed as pardon in so-called private crimes is not a ground
for the dismissal of the criminal case once the action has been instituted. Sec 11 RA7659 applies
the offender being a parent.Thus the penalty of death is to be imposed

People v Mendoza
GRNo-128890 May 31, 2000
While playing mahjong the victim was suddenly attacked from behind with a bolo by Sanches
and stabbed by the appellant.
Held:
We uphold the testimony of the witness.In the absence of proof to the contrary and by the
defense’s failure to impugn the credibility of prosecution witness Ignacio.
In criminal jurisprudence, when the issue is one of credibility of witnesses, appellate courts will
not disturb the findings of the trial court for it is in a better position to decide the question,
having heard the witnesses and obsereved their deortment and manner of testifying.There are are
exceptions:a)when patent inconsistencies in the statement of witnesses are ignored by the trial
court, or b) when the conclusions arrived at are clearly unsupported by the evidence.
As the victim was totally unprepared for the unexpected attack from behind with no weapon to
resist it, the stabbing could only be describes as trechearous.As the attack waas synchronl,
sudden and unexpected, treachery was evident.But the trial court erred in appreciating the
aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength since this is deemed absorbed in
treachery.

People v Traya
G.R. No. 129052 May 31, 2000
This is a case of incestuous rape.
Held:
The fact of minority of the victim was not stated in the Information.Only the relationship of the
victim as daughter of the offender was alleged therein.The rule is that the elements of minority of
the victim and her realtionship to the offender must concur.The failure toa llege on of these
elements precludes the imposition of the death penalty. There being no allegation of the minority
of the victim in the Information, he cannot be convicted of qualified rape as he was not informed
that he is being accused of qualified rape.

People v Magat
G.R. No.-130026 May 31, 2000
This is a case of incestuous rapeTwo informations were filed against appellant.Upon
arraignment, he pleaded guilty but bargained for a lesser penalty for each case.The mother of the
complainant and the public prosecutor agreed and an order was issued the same day imposing
tenyears imprisonment for each case.After three months, the cases were revived at the instance of
the complainant on the ground that the penalty was too light.Appellant was re-arraigned and he
entered a plea of not guilty.Two months later, he entered anew a plea of guilty.The court then
imposed the enalty of death.He now appeals on the ground that there was double jeopardy upon
the re-arraignment and trial on the same information.
Held:
The first order issued by the trial is void ab initio on the ground that the accused’s plea is not the
plea bargaining contemplated by law and the rules of procedure.The only instance where a plea
bargaining is allowed under the Rules is when the accused pleads guilty to a lesser offense.Sec 2
Rule 116 (note that there is a new set of Rules of Criminal Procedure).Here the reduction of the
penalty is only a consequence of the plea of guilt to a lesser penalty.The appellant did not plead
to a lesser offense but pleaded guilty to the rape charges and only baargained for a lesser
penalty.He did not plea bargain but made conditions on the penalty to be imposed.This is
erroneous because by pleading guilty to the offense charged, accused should be sentenced to the
penalty to which he pleaded.It is the essence of a plea of guilty that that the accused admits
absolutely and unconditionally hid guilt and responsibilty for the offense imputed to him.Hence,
an accused may not foist a conditional plea of guilty on the court by admitting his guilt provided
that a certain penalty will be meted unto him. Since the judgment of conviction is void, double
jeopardy will not lie. Whatever procedural infirmity in the arraignment of the accused was
rectified when he was re-arraigned and entered a new plea.he did not question the procedural
errors in the first arrraignment and having failed to do so, waived the errors in procedure.
Under the present rule, if the present rule, if accused enters a plea of guilty the trial courts are
now enjoined to conduct searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the
consequences of his plea, to require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt and
precise degree of culpability, and to ask if he so desires to present evidence in his behalf and
allow him to do so.

People v Mamac
G.R. No.-130332 May 31,2000
Appellant woke up the victim by poking her with along stick while lying alongside her brother
and sister.When she opened the window, she saw appellant brandishing a bolo and ordered her to
go dwon.Appellant brought her to the bank of the river and raped her there while sticking the
bolo at her.
Held:
We have long recognized that different people react differently to a given type of situation and
there is no standard behavioral response when one is confronted with a strange,startling or
frightful experience.Appellant cannot claim that the victim had no reason to be cowed outside
by his mere act of stabbing her with a stick or mere brandishing of the bolo. The information
does not charge appellant with qualified rape and he cannot be sentenced to death.Unlike a
generic aggravating circumsance which may be proved even if not alleged, aqualifying
aggravating cannnot be proved unless alleged in the information.It must be alleged to properly
inform the acused of the nature and cause of accusation against him in order not to violate due
process.
The appellant is not a step-grandfather.he co-habited and lived with the materialgrandmother of
Bernadette without the benefit of marriage.The word “step”, when used as a prefix in
conjunction with a degree of kinship, is repugnant to blood relationship and is indicative of
relationship by affinity.There is no relationship by affinity between Bernadetted and appellant,
thus he cannot be considered as a step-grandfather.At most he is a common law husband of
Bernadette’s grandmother thus not a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by
consanguinity or affinity within the 3rd civil degree or the common law spouse of the parent of
the victim.Thus only recusion perpetua may be imposed.

People v Decena
G.R. No.-131843 May 31,2000
Appellant raped the daughter of his common-law wife.
Held:
The minority and the relationship of the complainant to the accused must be alleged in the
information in order to convict the appellant of qualified rape.Qualifying circumstances under
Sec11 of RA7659 must be alleged with particularity in the information to be proved and used in
the imposition of the penalty.It would be a denial of due process, if he is charged with simple
rape but convicted of its qualified form punishable by death although the attendant circumstance
qualifying the offense and resulting in capital punishment was not aleged in the indictment under
which he was arraigned.

People v Cotas
G.R. No.132043 May 31,2000
Appellant stabbed the victim whiles sleeping. He alleges that it was self-defense.
Held:
Even Assuming that the victim was the aggressor, it is clear that at the time was killed, the
danger to accused has already ceased.It is a settled rule that when unlawful aggression ceases,
the defende has no longer any right to kill or wound the former aggressor, otherwise, retaliation
and not self-defense is committed. There was treachery.It is settled that if the victim, whenkilled,
was sleeping or had just awakened, the killing is with treachery because in such cases, the victim
was not in a position to put up any form of defense.

People v Obosa
G.R. No.-132069 May 31, 2000
The appellant, with two other persons, waylaid former Secretary of Local Government Jaime
Ferrer and his driver. The appellant’s defense is that as aprison inmate who based on prison
records was inside the compound of the Nat’l Bilibid Prisons Prisons on the date and time of the
incident, he could not have participated in the ambush; and if indeed he was able to leave the
prison premises it is unbelievable that an escaped convict would return to prison.
Held:
The cited circumstances do not present a physical impossibility for the appellant to have
participated in the commission of the crime.First, the log book presented in court referred only to
the south gate.The Director of the Bureau of Prisons testified that Obosa was given preferential
treatment in prison and was allowed to park his vehicle inside the prison compound despite
prohibition.
Appellant’s objection to the admissibility of the testimony of an inmate that the accused confided
his participation in the crime is without merit.A convicted felon is not disqualified by the Rules
of Evidence from testifying in Court.The judgment of conviction did not rest on the alleged
confession made by Obosa.Treachery is present for the car was shot at while it was slowing
down as it approached a corner ensuring the accomplishment of the attack and eliminating any
risk from possible defenses that the victim may put up.

People v Gomez
G.R. No.-132171May 31,2000
Appellant stabbed the victim while in a drinking session.
Held:
Physical ipossibility in relation to alibi takes into consideration not only the geographical
distance between the scene of the crime and the place where accused maintains he was at, but
more importantly, the accessibility between these two points—in the instant case, how this
distance translate to hours of travel.Thus, although geographical distances may be taken judicial
notice of, this alone will not suffice for purposses of proving an alibi, because it remains for the
defense to prove the relative accessibility of accused from the scene of the crime at the time the
crime was committed.The defense should have introduced evidence of a verage travel time as of
that day from between the two points—and it should have done so during the trial, not on appeal.
The burden is upon the accused to present credible and tangible proof of physical impossibility
to be at the scene of the crime; otherwise, an alibi may not prevail over the positive testimony
and clear identification of the accused by prosecution witnesses.
Also, the presence of treachery is not discounted by the fact that the killing was effected by a
single stab wound or that the attack was frontal—for as long as the method employedtended
directly and especially to ensure the execution of the crime without risk of defense or retaliation
of the offender.

P v Leonardo
G.R. No.-133109 May 31,2000
The appellant was convicted of homicide.The lower court relyed solely on the testimony of
victim’s father.
Held:
The rule as to motive and how it affects the witness’ credibility is: absent evidence to show any
reason or motive why witnesses for the prosecution should have testified falsely, the logical
conclusion is that no improper motive existed and that their testimony is worthy of full faith and
credit.On the other hand, if for any motive there is a possibility that a witness might have been
prompted to testify falsely, courts should be on guard in assessing the witness’ credibility. it is
basic in criminal law that the prosecution has the obligation of proving beyond reasonable doubt
the identity of the malefactor and his participation in the crime or offense charged.Such degree
of proof does not mean excluding the possibility of error, as producing absolute certainty.Only
moral certainy is required or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an unprejudiced
mind.Only when the conscience is satisfied that the crime has been committed by the person on
trial should the sentence be for conviction.

People v Contega
G.R. No.-133579 May 31,2000
The victim was found bleeding while lying face down on the floor. When asked who his assailant
was he answered; “Rogelio,former pakyaw worker.”
Held:
It is axiomatic that the prosecution bears not only the onus to show that a crime has been
committed but also to establish beyond reasonable doubt the identity of the person or persons
who should be responsible therefor.The utterance of the victim did not sufficiently identify the
appellant.The prosecution has not eliminated the possibility that another piecemeal worker with
the name “Rogelio” was employed by the Barbas. The conclusion that accused was the same
person referred to by the prosecution has not been established beyond reasonable doubt. Alibi is
a weak defense because it is easy to fabricate and concoct between relative, friends and even
those not related to the offender. In order to sustain a conviction for robbery with homicide, it is
necessary that the robbery itself be established as conclusively as any other essential element of
the crime.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - May 2000

Criminal Law Digests – April 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
PEOPLE VS. DELOS SANTOS
G.R. No. 121906. April 5, 2000.
Qualifying circumstance – alleged in the information
Accused-appellant was sentenced to death after he was convicted of raping his stepdaughter. He
argues that the Information filed against him failed to state that he is the stepfather of the victim,
hence, his relationship with the victim may not be considered as a qualifying circumstance to
justify the imposition of the death penalty.
Held:
The circumstances under the amendatory provisions of Section 11 of Republic Act 7659 the
attendance of any which mandates the single indivisible penalty of death, instead of the standard
penalty of reclusion perpetua to death prescribed in Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, are
in the nature of qualifying circumstances.” Qualifying circumstances must be properly pleaded in
the indictment.

PEOPLE VS. PAVILLARE


G. R. No. 129970. April 5, 2000.
Police line-ups
Kidnapping with ransom
Accused-appellants were charged and convicted of kidnapping for ransom for abducting an
Indian national. He contends that the identification made by the private complainant in the
police line-up is inadmissible because the appellant stood at the line-up without the assistance of
counsel, and that the money given to them was not ransom money but was given in exchange for
their dropping of the charges of rape against private complainant.
Held:
The accused-appellant’s defense is without merit. Section 12 (1) Art III of the Commission
states that “Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right
to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If
the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights
cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.” Thus the prohibition for
custodial investigation conducted without the assistance of counsel. Any evidence obtained in
violation of the constitutional mandate is inadmissible in evidence. The prohibition however,
does not extend to a person in a police line-up because that stage of an investigation is not yet a
part of custodial investigation. It has been repeatedly held that custodial investigation
commences when a person is taken into custody and is singled out as a suspect in the
commission of the crime under investigation and the police officers begin to ask questions on the
suspect’s participation therein and which tend to elicit an admission. The stage of an
investigation wherein a person is asked to stand in a police line-up has been held to be outside
the mantle of protection of the right to counsel because it involves a general inquiry into an
unsolved crime and is purely investigatory in nature. It has also been held that an uncounseled
identification at the police line-up does not preclude the admissibility of an in-court
identification.
The duration of the detention even if only for a few hours does not alter the nature of the crime
committed. The crime of kidnapping is committed by depriving the victim of liberty whether he
is placed in an enclosure or simply restrained from going home. As squarely expressed in Article
267, above-quoted the penalty of death is imposable where the detention is committed for the
purpose of extorting ransom, and the duration of the detention is not material.

PEOPLE vS. REGALA


G.R. No. 130508. April 5, 2000.
Robbery with rape
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of robbery with rape.
Held:
It should be noted that there is no law providing that the additional rape/s or homicide/s should
be considered as aggravating circumstance. The enumeration of aggravating circumstances under
Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code is exclusive as opposed to the enumeration in Article 13 of
the same code regarding mitigating circumstances where there is a specific paragraph (paragraph
10) providing for analogous circumstances.
It is true that the additional rapes (or killings in the case of multiple homicide on the occasion of
the robbery) would result in an “anomalous situation” where from the standpoint of the gravity
of the offense, robbery with one rape would be on the same level as robbery with multiple rapes.
However, the remedy lies with the legislature. A penal law is liberally construed in favor of the
offender and no person should be brought within its terms if he is not clearly made so by the
statute.
In view of the foregoing, the additional rape committed by herein accused-appellant should not
be considered as aggravating. The penalty of reclusion perpetua imposed by the trial court is
proper.
PEOPLE vs. ALVERO
G.R. Nos. 134536-38. April 5, 2000.
Held:
The allegation of the exact time and date of the commission of the crime are not important in a
prosecution for rape. This is because the precise time of the commission of the crime is not an
essential element of rape and it has no substantial bearing on its commission. Rule 110, Section
11 of the Rules of Court provides that it is not necessary to state in the complaint or information
the precise time at which the offense was committed except when time is a material ingredient of
the offense, but the act may be alleged to have been committed at any time as near to the actual
date at which the offense was committed as the information or complaint will permit. It is
equally settled that a variance of a few months between the time set out in the indictment and
that established by the evidence during trial has been held not to constitute an error so serious as
to warrant reversal of a conviction solely on that score.

PEOPLE v. ROCHE, et al.


G.R. No. 115182(6 April 2000)
Accused-Appellants were charged and convicted of murder based on testimonies of witnesses
which contradicted each other and was inconsistent with the physical evidence. The sole reliable
testimony does not show complicity among the appellants before, during, or after the
commission of the crime.
Held:

1. On oral testimony of witnesses


A witness whose testimony is perfect in all aspects, without a flaw and remembering even the
minutest details which jibe beautifully with one another, lays herself open to suspicion of having
been [coached] or having memorized statements earlier rehearsed.

1. On importance of physical evidence


Physical evidence is a mute but an eloquent manifestation of truth, and it ranks high in our
hierarchy of trustworthy evidence. In criminal cases such as murder or rape where the accused
stands to lose his liberty if found guilty, this Court has, in many occasions, relied principally
upon physical evidence in ascertaining the truth.

1. On Conspiracy
For conspiracy to exist, proof of an actual planning of the perpetration of the crime is not a
conditionprecedent. It may be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was
perpetrated or inferred from the acts of the accused evincing a joint or common purpose and
design, concerted action and community of interest.
Conspiracy must be proved as indubitably as the crime itself through clear and convincing
evidence, not merely by conjecture. To hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by reason of
conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the
complicity. Hence, conspiracy exists in a situation where at the time the malefactors were
committing the crime, their actions impliedly showed unity of purpose among them, a concerted
effort to bring about the death of the victim. In a great majority of cases, complicity was
established by proof of acts done in concert, i.e., acts which yield the reasonable inference that
the doers thereof were acting with a common intent or design. Therefore, the task in every case is
determining whether the particular acts established by the requisite quantum of proof do

1. On being an accomplice
The following requisites must concur in order that a person may be considered an accomplice:
(a) community of design, i.e., knowing that criminal design of the principal by direct
participation, he concurs with the latter in his purpose;
(b) he cooperates in the execution of the offense by previous or simultaneous acts; and,
(c) there must be a relation between the acts done by the principal and those attributed to the
person charged as accomplice.

People v. Bago
G.R. No. 122290(6 April 2000)
Appellant was accused and convicted of the crime of qualified theft through taking cold-rolled
steel from the company which he is employed as a leader in the cutting department.
Held:
Clearly, when all the elements of theft were established, to wit: (1) there was a taking of
personal property; (2) the property belongs to another; (3) the taking was without the consent of
the owner; (4) the taking was done with intent to gain; and (5) the taking was accomplished
without violence or intimidation against the person or force upon things. When the theft is
committed with grave abuse of confidence, accused is guilty of qualified theft.
In the crime of theft, if the value of the thing stolen exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty shall be
prision mayor in its maximum period and one year for each additional P10,000.00, but the total
penalty shall not exceed twenty years or reclusion temporal. However, if that crime of theft is
attended by any of the qualifying circumstances which convert the taking into qualified theft, the
penalty next higher by two degrees shall be imposed, that is, at least, reclusion perpetua.

People v. Suza
G.R. No. 130611(6 April 2000)
Appellant was convicted of the crime of robbery with homicide, based on the testimony of a lone
eye-witness who saw how he and his co-accused killed the victim, and was sure that they took
the victim’s clothes, money and other wares, which she sold.
Held:

1. On the crime of robbery with homicide.


It is well settled that in order to sustain a conviction for robbery with homicide, it is necessary
that the robbery itself be proven conclusively as any other essential element of a crime. In order
for the crime of robbery with homicide to exist, it is necessary that it be clearly established that a
robbery has actually taken place, and that, as a consequence or on the occasion of such robbery, a
homicide be committed. Where the evidence does not conclusively prove the robbery, the killing
of the victim would therefore, be classified either as a simple homicide or murder, depending
upon the absence or presence of any qualifying circumstance, and not the complex offense of
robbery with homicide.

1. On the aggravating circumstance of use of superior strength


There was a clear and notorious disparity of force between the victim and the aggressors as the
former was unarmed and alone. The felons took advantage of their collective strength to
overwhelm their comparatively defenseless victim. Thus, it was held that “an attack made by a
man with a deadly weapon upon an unarmed and defenseless woman constitutes the
circumstance of abuse of that superiority which his sex and the weapon used in the act afforded
him, and from which the woman was unable to defend herself.

People v. Ramos
G.R. No. 120280 (12 April 2000)
The appellant was convicted of raping his own 10-year old daughter and relies solely on the
defense of denial of the said accusation against him.
Held:
A rape victim’s testimony is entitled to greater weight when she accuses a close relative of
having raped her, as in the case of a daughter against her father. Earlier and long-standing
decisions of this Court have likewise held that when a woman testifies that she has been raped,
she says all that is needed to signify that the crime has been committed. This is true when made
against any man committing the crime; it is more so when the accusing words are said against a
close relative.

People v. Aspiras
G.R. No. 121203(12 April 2000)
The appellant is a policeman who was positively identified by a witness to be the killer of the
victim, who was gun-downed during a political rally. The witness is alleged to be biased against
the appellant since he has a grudge against the latter.
Held:
a. As to credibility of a witness
The credibility of a witness could not be affected by an alleged grudge where said witness was
not discredited on cross-examination.

1. As to damages awarded
Only actual expenses supported by receipts shall be granted as actual damages. As to future
earnings of the victim, it is computed by multiplying the years for which the victim could have
worked with his employer were it not for his death by his annual gross earnings.
People v. Francisco
G.R. 121682(12 April 2000)
Appellant was convicted of the crime of murder qualified by the aggravating circumstance of
treachery and pleads the justifying circumstance of defense of relative.
HELD:
a. On the claim of defense of relative
As correctly pointed out by the trial court, anyone who admits the killing of a person but invokes
the defense of relative to justify the same has the burden of proving these elements by clear and
convincing evidence. The accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence and not on the
weakness of that of the prosecution, for even if the prosecution evidence is weak it cannot be
disbelieved if the accused has admitted the killing.
b. On the essence of treachery
There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person, employing
means, methods, or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and especially to ensure
its execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might
make. In People v. Belaro, the Court explained that the essence of treachery is a swift and
unexpected attack on the unarmed victim without the slightest provocation on the part of the
victim. Even a frontal attack can, therefore, be treacherous if it is sudden and unexpected and the
victim is unarmed.
The swift and unexpected attack by accused-appellant rendered the victim helpless. The rule that
treachery may be shown if the victim is attacked from behind does not mean it cannot be
appreciated if the attack is frontally launched. The suddenness of the shooting, without the
slightest provocation from the victim who was unarmed and has no opportunity to defend
himself, ineluctably qualified the crime with treachery.

People v. Ballenas
G.R. No. 124299(12 April 2000)
The appellants abducted a 19-year old girl from her dwelling, raped her several times, and
stabbed her to death 13 times.
HELD:

1. On the aggravating circumstances of nighttime and cruelty


For the court to consider nighttime as an aggravating circumstance, it must have been
deliberately taken by the perpetrator to augment the wrong they committed, not being necessary
for its completion. It has been held that when the scene of the crime was sufficiently illuminated
by a lamp, nocturnity cannot be appreciated.
The aggravating circumstance of cruelty is present when “the wrong done in the commission of
the crime is deliberately augmented by causing other wrong not necessary for its
commission”.There is cruelty when the culprit enjoys and delights in making his victim suffer
slowly and gradually, causing him unnecessary physical pain in the consummation of the
criminal act.
b. Whether the accused indeed committed forcible abduction with rape
The accused committed the crime of forcible abduction with rape punished under Article 335 of
the Revised Penal Code in relation to Article 342 and 48 of the same Code. The two elements of
forcible abduction are (1) the taking of a woman against her will and (2) with lewd designs. The
crime of forcible abduction with rape is a complex crime that occurs when there is carnal
knowledge with the abducted woman under the following circumstances: (1) by using force or
intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and (3) when
the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented

People v. Rojas
G.R. No. 125292(12 April 2000)
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of rape, after he was positively identified by his
victim in a 20-man police line-up, twice.
HELD:
Amidst the sea of faces before her, the victim readily pointed out accused-appellant as her
attacker. This positive identification of accused-appellant will prevail over the defense of alibi
and denial of accused-appellant. Besides, for the defense of alibi to prosper, accused-appellant
must show that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the
approximate time of its commission.

People v. Razonable
G.R. No. 128085-87(12 April 2000)
Appellant was charged and convicted of murder for hacking to death a neighbor, qualified by
treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength. Supreme Court held that the
aggravating circumstance were not proven by conclusive evidence.
HELD:
a. As to evident premeditation
Like treachery, the requisites of evident premeditation must be proven by clear and convincing
evidence. The requisites of evident premeditation are: a.] the time when the accused determined
to commit the crime, b.] an act manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his
determination, and c.] sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow
them to reflect upon the consequences of their act.
b. As to abuse of superior strength
Abuse of superior strength requires, at base, a deliberate intent on the part of the malefactor to
take advantage thereof. Besides the inequality of comparative force between the victim and the
aggressor, there must be a situation of strength notoriously selected and made use of by the
offender in the commission of the crime.

People v. Orio
G.R. No. 128821(April 12, 2000)
Appellants, both armed with Balisongs attacked and killed their unarmed victim. They were
charged and convicted of murder qualified by treachery, evident premeditation, and abuse of
superior strength.
HELD:

1. As to the aggravating circumstance of Treachery


There is treachery when the offenders commit any of the crimes against persons employing
means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.
In order that alevosia may be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, it must be shown that :
a.] the malefactor employed means, method or manner of execution affording the person attacked
no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and b.] the means, method or manner of
execution was deliberately or consciously adopted by the offender. However, the fact that both
accused-appellants were armed with bladed weapons while their victim was unarmed and
defenseless does not make the attack treacherous. Treachery must be proved by clear and
convincing evidence or as conclusively as the killing itself.

1. As to the aggravating circumstance of Evident Premeditation


Mere presumptions and inferences, no matter how logical and probable they might be would not
suffice to establish evident premeditation. In the case at bar, there was no evidence of the
planning and preparation to kill the victim. In fact, no attempt was ever made to establish the
requisites of evident premeditation, viz : a.] the time when the accused determined to commit the
crime, b.] an act manifestly indicating that the accused has clung to his determination, and c.]
sufficient lapse of time between such determination and execution to allow them to reflect upon
the consequences of their act. In the absence of any evidence of the planning to kill or when the
plan was conceived, there is no basis for appreciating evident premeditation.

1. As to the aggravating circumstance of Abuse of Superior Strength


Abuse of superior strength, however, attended the killing of Domingo Francisco. Abuse of
superior strength requires, at base, a deliberate intent on the part of the malefactor to take
advantage thereof. Besides the inequality of comparative force between the victim and the
aggressor, there must be a situation of strength notoriously selected and made use of by the
offender in the commission of the crime.

People v. Baer
G.R. No. 130333(April 12, 2000)
The appellant is the step grandfather of the victim who at her tender age was repeatedly raped by
the appellant. The appellant argued that the victim did not resist his alleged sexual assault, since
she did not even scream. As to the amount of force required to constitute rape.
HELD:
In rape cases, the force applied need not be irresistible. It merely has to be enough to
successfully carry out the assailant’s carnal desire. In the present case, appellant did apply
sufficient force and intimidation to consummate his lustful desire.

People v. Adoc
G.R. No. 133647(April 12, 2000)
The victim was held by Danny and Tony while Eddie delivered several blows, flowed by Tony
stabbing the victim. Appellants questioned their conviction of murder and the liability imposed
on each of them, since it is not clear who inflicted the fatal wound. Whether there is conspiracy
between the appellants.
HELD:
Conspiracy exists when two or more person come to an agreement concerning the commission of
a felony and decide to commit it. It need not be proved by direct evidence but may be inferred
from the acts of the accused. It is sufficient that the accused acted in concert at the time of the
commission of the offense, that they had the same purpose or common design, and that they were
united in its execution. Coming now to the instant case, the successive acts of the accused – the
blow delivered by EDDIE, while DANNY and TONY were holding Ricky; followed
immediately by the infliction of a second blow by DANNY; and finally, the stabbing of the
victim by TONY – clearly manifest the existence of a common intent among the three accused to
commit the crime. Since conspiracy has been established, there is no need to determine who
among the accused delivered the fatal blow. All of the accused are liable as principals regardless
of the extent and character of their participation, for in conspiracy the act of one is the act of all.

People v. Reyes
G.R. No. 133647(April 12, 2000)
The appellants assails the ruling of the court finding that conspiracy attended their attack to the
victim. Whether direct evidence is necessary to prove conspiracy.
HELD:
Direct proof of previous agreement to commit a crime is not necessary. It may be deduced from
the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the
accused which point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interest.
The actuations of the appellants clearly established a conspiracy. One started the attack with an
utterance coupled with the actual stabbing of victim. Finally, the rest of the assailants’
companions ganged up on the helpless victim by successively stabbing and hitting him. All these
acts sufficiently prove that they conspired to kill victim.

People v. Antolin
G.R. No. 133880(April 12, 2000)
The appellant was convicted of raping a 23-year old mental retardate with a mind of a 4-year old
girl. The appellant questions the credibility of the victim since she is the sole witness against
him. What is the importance of credibility of the victim in rape.
HELD:
In a prosecution for rape the complainant’s credibility becomes the most important issue since
her testimony alone is sufficient for a verdict of conviction. It is well established that when the
credibility of a witness is questioned, the appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings
of the trial court, considering that it is in a more advantageous position to determine the issue as
it heard the witness and observed his deportment during trial. The exceptions to the rule are
when such evaluation was reached arbitrarily, or when the trial court overlooked, misunderstood
or misapplied certain facts or circumstances of weight and substance which could affect the
result of the case.

People v. Fraga
G.R. No. 134130-33(April 12, 2000)
The appellant had an altercation before they embarked to go out to sea, after they came back the
accused with his CAFGU firearm went to the house of the victim and shot him to death. The
appellant raises the defense of self-defense. Whether or not the appellant is entitled to the
justifying circumstance of self-defense.
HELD:
The invocation of self-defense is an admission of the killing and of its authorship. By this
admission, the burden of proof shifts to the accused who must now establish with clear and
convincing evidence all the elements of this justifying circum, stance, to wit: (a) unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent
or repel it; and, (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person resorting to self-
defense. In proving these elements, the accused must rely on the strength of his own evidence.
He can no longer assail the weakness of the evidence against him simply because it cannot be
disbelieve after his open admission of responsibility for the killing. Indeed, a plea of self-defense
cannot be justifiably appreciated where it is not only uncorroborated by independent and
competent evidence, but also extremely doubtful by itself. It is an oft- repeated rule that the
nature and number of wounds inflicted by the accused are constantly and unremittingly
considered as important indicia which disprove a plea for self-defense because they demonstrate
a determined effort to kill the victim and not just defend oneself.
People v. Estroco
G.R. No. 111941(April 27 2000)
In order to appreciate allevosia, it must clearly appear that the method of assault adopted by the
aggressor was deliberately chosen with a special view to the accomplishment of the act without
risk to the assailant from any defense that the party assailed might make. While a victim may
have been warned of a possible danger to his person, in treachery, what is decisive is that the
attack was executed in such a manner as to make it impossible for the victim to retaliate.

People v. Guiwan
G.R. No. 117324(April 27, 2000)
The victim was the biological daughter of the appellant who was raped several times by the latter
and was only able to disclose such bestial acts after two years.
HELD:
Two important doctrines on rape
• The moral influence of a father over his daughter suffices to establish rape.
• At any rate, although a woman may be viewed by the public as unchaste or impure she can
still be raped as she is still free to refuse a man’s lustful advances. The victim’s character
in rape is immaterial.

People v. Legaspi
G.R. No. 117802(April 27 2000)
What is required to establish the defense of alibi?
Alibi is one of the weakest defenses an accused can invoke, and the courts have always looked
upon it with caution, if not suspicion, not only because it is inherently unreliable but likewise
because it is rather easy to fabricate. To prosper, alibi must strictly meet the requirements of time
and place. Thus, we have consistently ruled that it does not suffice to prove that the accused was
somewhere else at the time of the commission of the crime. Similarly, jurisprudence dictates that
the element of physical impossibility be clearly shown; The accused must clearly establish that
he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have been physically present at the locus
criminis or its immediate vicinity at the time of the commission of the crime.
What constitutes robbery with homicide?
In this specie of offense, the phrase “by reason” covers homicide committed before or after the
taking of personal property of another, as long as the motive of the offender (in killing a person
before the robbery) is to deprive the victim of his personal property which is sought to be
accomplished by eliminating an obstacle or opposition, or to do away with a witness or to defend
the possession of stolen property.
What is the proof necessary to establish conspiracy?
Similar to the physical act constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt. For this purpose overt acts of the accused may consist of active
participation in the actual commission of the crime itself, or it may consist of moral assistance to
his co-conspirators by being present at the time of the commission of the crime, or by exerting
moral ascendancy over the other co-conspirators by moving them to execute or implement the
conspiracy.

People v. Acuram
G.R. No. 117954(April 27, 2000)
The appellant shot the victim who later died. After charges were filed and his commanding
officer was told of the incident, he was ordered not to leave camp, where he surrendered.
HELD:
Whether the accused is entitled to the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender
The essence of voluntary surrender is spontaneity and the intent of the accused to give himself up
and submit himself unconditionally to the authorities either because he acknowledges his guilt or
he wishes to save them the trouble and expense necessarily incurred in his search and capture. In
this case, it was appellant’s commanding officer who surrendered him to the custody of the court.
Being restrained by one’s superiors to stay within the camp without submitting to the
investigating authorities concerned, is not tantamount to voluntary surrender as contemplated by
law.

People v. Villa
G.R. No. 129899(April 27, 2000)
The appellant fired his rifle at the victim causing the latters death. After such incident the
appellant surrendered to his commanding officer and pleaded guilty before the court but claimed
the defense of temporary insanity. Whether the appellant is entitled to the defense of insanity.
HELD:
No. The fact that immediately after the incident (accused) thought of surrendering to the law-
enforcement authorities is incontestable proof that he knew that what he had done was wrong
and that he was going to be punished for it.” Similarly, a feeling of remorse is inconsistent with
insanity, as it is a clear indication that he was conscious of his acts, he acknowledged his guilt
and was sorry for them.

People v. Castillo
G.R. No. 130188 (April 27, 2000)
The lone witness saw the appellant running out of the house of his cousin, after a shot was heard.
His cousin was later found dead. The appellant was convicted of murder.
Whether or not the testimony of the lone witness was sufficient.
No, the witness only testified that the appellant fled the scene of the crime in a rush with a gun.
Flight, in most cases, strongly indicates guilt. As a lone circumstantial evidence, however, it does
not suffice as plurality of circumstantial evidence is required before guilt beyond reasonable
doubt may be inferred from such indirect proof. To fully dispose of this issue, the motive of
accused-appellant is a key element in the web of circumstantial evidence.

People v. Bautista
G.R. No. 131840(April 27, 2000)
The appellants were convicted for conspiring to murder the victim. One of the co-conspirators
surrendered voluntarily. Whether the liability of each co-conspirator should be always equal.
HELD:
No. Since the existence of a conspiracy does not prevent the appreciation of a mitigating
circumstance exclusively in favor of the co-conspirator to whom such circumstance may relate,
to him alone.
What constitutes civil liability arising from a crime?
The civil liability of accused-appellants for indemnity for death and actual and moral damages,
however, is solidary and not joint as ruled by the trial court. Moral Damages. Under Art. 2206 of
the Civil Code, the spouse, legitimate and illegitimate descendants and ascendants of the
deceased are entitled to moral damages “for mental anguish by reason of the death of the
deceased.” The victim’s widow testified that she suffered pain from the death of her husband.
Thus, in accordance with recent decisions of this Court, accused-appellants should be awarded
the additional amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages. Exemplary Damages. Under Art. 2230
of the Civil Code, “exemplary damages as a part of the civil liability may be imposed when the
crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances.”

People v. Muyco
G.R. No. 132252(April 27 2000)
As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for loss of earning
capacity. In People v. Verde, the non-presentation of evidence to support the claim for damages
for loss of earning capacity did not prevent the Court from awarding said damages. The
testimony of the victim’s wife as to earning capacity of her murdered husband, who 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.
In that case, Erwin Gesmundo was only 15 years old at the time of his death and was earning a
daily wage of P100.00 as a construction worker. As in People v. Verde, this Court is inclined to
grant the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity despite the absence of documentary
evidence. To be able to claim damages for loss of earning capacity despite the nonavailability of
documentary evidence, there must be oral testimony that: (a) the victim was self-employed
earning less than the minimum wage under the current labor laws and judicial notice was taken
of the fact that in the victim’s line of work, no documentary evidence is available; (b) the victim
was employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the minimum wage under current labor
laws.

People v. Sultan
G.R. No. 132470(April 27, 2000)
The victim was abducted by the appellant, who brought her to his house. When they arrived at
the appellant’s house the victim was divested of her jewelry and other valuables, afterwhich she
was raped several times. The appellant was convicted of the special complex crime of robbery
with homicide. Whether multiple rape can be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
HELD:
No. In several cases the Court realized that there was no law providing for the additional rape/s
or homicide/s for that matter to be considered as aggravating circumstance. It further observed
that the enumeration of aggravating circumstances under Art. 14 of the Revised Penal Code is
exclusive, unlike in Art. 13 of the same Code which enumerates the mitigating circumstances
where analogous circumstances may be considered, hence, the remedy lies with the legislature.
Consequently, unless and until a law is passed providing that the additional rape/s or homicide/s
may be considered aggravating, the Court must construe the penal law in favor of the offender as
no person may be brought within its terms if he is not clearly made so by the statute. Under this
view, the additional rape committed by accused-appellant is not considered an aggravating
circumstance. Applying Art. 63, par. (2), of the Revised Penal Code which provides that “(i)n all
cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the following
rules shall be observed in the application thereof x x x x 2. (w)hen there are neither mitigating
nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed, the lesser penalty shall be
applied,” the lower penalty of reclusion perpetua should be imposed on accused-appellant.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
Posted in Digests
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - April 2000

Criminal Law Digests – March 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
PEOPLE v. PAMBID
G.R. No. 124453. March 15, 2000
Defense of Insanity
Facts:
A man diagnosed of schizophrenia and mild mental retardation raped a six-year old girl.
Accused pleaded not guilty on the ground of insanity.
Held:
Accused-appellant’s plea of insanity is unacceptable. While Art. 12(1) of the Revised Penal Code
provides that an imbecile or insane person is exempt from criminal liability, unless he has acted
during a lucid interval, the presumption under Art. 800 of the Civil Code is that every man is
sane. Anyone who pleads the exempting circumstance of insanity bears the burden of proving it.
He must show that he was completely deprived of reason when he committed the crime charged,
for mere abnormality of his mental faculties does not exclude imputability.

PEOPLE v. FRONDA
G.R. No. 130602. March 15, 2000.
Direct Evidence v. Circumstantial Evidence
Facts:
Three students were convicted of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act after they allegedly
delivered a brick of marijuana to policemen who posed as buyers.
Held:
To be caught flagrante delicto necessarily implies positive identification by the eyewitness or
eyewitnesses. Such is a “direct evidence” of culpability, which is “that which proves the fact in
dispute without the aid of any inference or presumption”, in contrast to circumstantial evidence,
which is “the proof of facts from which taken collectively the existence of the particular fact in
dispute may be inferred as a necessary or probable consequence.” Circumstantial evidence,
however, is not a weaker form of evidence vis-a-vis direct evidence, for our rules make no
distinction between direct evidence of fact and evidence of circumstances from which the
existence of a fact may be inferred. No greater degree of certainty is required when the evidence
is circumstantial than when it is direct; for in either case, the trier of fact must be convinced
beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.
Under the Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence would be sufficient for conviction if the
following concur: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the
inferences are derived are proved; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to
produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Or, as jurisprudentially formulated, a judgment
of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be upheld only if the circumstances proven
constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the
accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person, i.e., the circumstances proven must
be consistent with each other and consistent with the hypothesis that the accused is guilty.

PEOPLE v. ARIZAPA
G.R. No. 131814. March 15, 2000.
Improvident plea of guilt
Facts:
Accused was sentenced to death after being convicted of incestuously raping his stepdaughter.
Held:
The record discloses the failure of the lower court to make a searching inquiry on whether the
accused’s admission of guilt was voluntarily made and whether he understood the legal
implications of such admission. However, since the trial court extensively received evidence in
determining the guilt of the accused, the manner in which the plea of guilt was made, whether
improvidently or not, loses its significance for the simple reason that the conviction of the
accused was based on the evidence proving his commission of the offense charged and not on his
admission in open court; his conviction may only be set aside when the improvident plea of guilt
was the sole basis for the condemnatory judgment.

PEOPLE v. FABON
G.R. No. 133226. March 16, 2000
Aggravating circumstance – Robbery with homicide
Circumstantial evidence
Held:
The proper designation of the crime committed is robbery with homicide aggravated by rape.
When rape and homicide co-exist in the commission of robbery, it is the first paragraph of
Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code that applies, the rape to be considered as an aggravating
circumstance. Moreover, dwelling is also considered aggravating in cases such as this primarily
because of the sanctity of privacy that the law accords to the human abode. Dwelling is
aggravating in robbery with violence or intimidation because this class of robbery can be
committed without the necessity of trespassing the sanctity of the offended party’s house.
Circumstantial evidence is defined as that which indirectly proves a fact in issue. Under Section
4 of Rule 133 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict
an accused if the following requisites concur: (a) there is more than one circumstance, (b) the
facts from which the inferences are derived are proven, and (c) the combination of all the
circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

PEOPLE V. MACARSE
G.R. No. 121780. March 17, 2000
Defense of Alibi
Facts:
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of Highway Robbery with Homicide. His main
defense was alibi.
Held:
For alibi to be believed, the following must be shown: (a) presence of accused-appellant in
another place at the time of the commission of the offense, and (b) physical impossibility for him
to be at the scene of the crime.
PEOPLE v. MANRIQUEZ
G.R. Nos. 122510-11. March 17, 2000.
Waiver of Counsel; Extrajudicial Confession
Conspiracy
Treachery
Facts:
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of Murder. He impugned the validity of his
waiver of counsel and extrajudicial confession and denied conspiracy and the attendance of
treachery.
Held:
One’s right to be informed of the right to remain silent and to counsel contemplates the
transmission of meaningful information rather than just the ceremonial and perfunctory recitation
of an abstract constitutional principle. It is not enough for the interrogator to merely repeat to the
person under investigation the provisions of Section 12, Article III of the 1987 Constitution; the
former must also explain the effects of such provision in practical terms — e.g., what the person
under interrogation may or may not do — and in a language the subject fairly understands. The
right to be informed carries with it a correlative obligation on the part of the police investigator
to explain, and contemplates effective communication, which results in the subject’s
understanding of what is conveyed. Since it is comprehension that is sought to be attained, the
degree of explanation required will necessarily vary and depend on the education, intelligence,
and other relevant personal circumstances of the person undergoing investigation. In further
ensuring the right to counsel, it is not enough that the subject is informed of such right; he should
also be asked if he wants to avail of the same and should be told that he could ask for counsel if
he so desired or that one could be provided him at his request. If he decides not to retain a
counsel of his choice or avail of one to be provided for him and, therefore, chooses to waive his
right to counsel, such waiver, to be valid and effective, must still be made with the assistance of
counsel, who, under prevailing jurisprudence, must be a lawyer.
A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission
of a felony and decide to commit it. To establish the existence of a conspiracy, direct proof is not
essential since it may be shown by facts and circumstances from which may be logically inferred
the existence of a common design among the accused to commit the offense charged, or it may
be deduced from the mode and manner in which the offense was perpetrated.
There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing
means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make,
which means that no opportunity was given to the latter to do so.

PEOPLE V. SAPAL
G.R. No. 124526. March 17, 2000.
Irregularities in arrest
Conviction based on proof beyond reasonable doubt
Accused-appellant was arrested based on a warrant issued against him after he failed to attend
his arraignment. He contends that certain irregularities attended his arrest, and that the
prosecution failed to show his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Held:
Admittedly, accused is deemed to have waived his right to question the irregularities attending
his arrest for his failure to raise the same at the opportune time, i.e., before he entered his plea.
Nonetheless, the peculiar factual circumstances surrounding the case, e.g., the police authorities’
failure to comply with the clear directive of the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Barrios, the
undue delay in preparing the documents relating to the arrest of accused and his wife and in
delivering them to the proper authorities for inquest, and the failure of the law enforcers to
provide accused with a counsel during the custodial investigation, effectively destroy the
presumption of regularity in the performance by Gomez and his colleagues of their duties. Such
being the case, the presumption of regularity cannot be made the sole basis of the conviction of
accused.
It is well-settled that “where the circumstances shown to exist yield two or more inferences, one
of which is consistent with the presumption of innocence while the other or others may be
compatible with the finding of guilt, the court must acquit the accused: for the evidence does not
fulfill the test of moral certainty and is insufficient to support a judgment of conviction.”
PEOPLE v. SAN DIEGO
G.R. No. 129297. March 17, 2000
Rape – Jurisprudential guidelines
Held:
In rape cases, courts are guided by the following considerations:
1) An accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for
the person, though innocent, to disprove the same;
2) In view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually
involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and
3) The evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to
draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.
The test of sufficiency of force or intimidation in rape is whether it produces a reasonable fear in
the victim that if she resists or does not give in to the sexual demands of the accused, the threat
would be carried out.

PEOPLE V. CHE CHUN TING


G.R. Nos. 130568-69. March 21, 2000
Warrantles searches and seizures
Fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted for dispatching in transit and having in his
possession large amounts of shabu. He contends that the shabu is inadmissible in evidence as it
was seized without a valid search warrant.
Held:
The lawful arrest being the sole justification for the validity of the warrantless search under the
exception, the same must be limited to and circumscribed by the subject, time and place of the
arrest. As to subject, the warrantless search is sanctioned only with respect to the person of the
suspect, and things that may be seized from him are limited to “dangerous weapons” or
“anything which may be used as proof of the commission of the offense.” With respect to the
time and place of the warrantless search, it must be contemporaneous with the lawful arrest.
Stated otherwise, to be valid, the search must have been conducted at about the time of the arrest
or immediately thereafter and only at the place where the suspect was arrested, or the premises or
surroundings under his immediate control.
It must be stressed that the purposes of the exception are only to protect the arresting officer
against physical harm from the person being arrested who might be armed with a concealed
weapon, and also to prevent the person arrested from destroying the evidence within his reach.
The exception therefore should not be strained beyond what is needed in order to serve its
purposes.
As a consequence of the illegal search, the things seized on the occasion thereof are inadmissible
in evidence under the exclusionary rule. They are regarded as having been obtained from a
polluted source, the “fruit of a poisonous tree.” However, objects and properties the possession
of which is prohibited by law cannot be returned to their owners notwithstanding the illegality of
their seizure. Thus, the shabu seized by the NARCOM operatives, which cannot legally be
possessed by the accused under the law, can and must be retained by the government to be
disposed of in accordance with law.

PEOPLE V. ADILA, JR.


G.R. No. 133434. March 21, 2000.
Defense of alibi
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted for incestuously raping his 11-year old
stepdaughter. He interposed the defense of denial and alibi.
Held:
The defense of alibi interposed by the accused-appellant hardly deserves any serious
consideration. For this defense to prosper, the accused must prove, among other things, that not
only has he been at some other place at the time of the commission of the crime but that it would
have also been physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time thereof.

PEOPLE v. SAPINOSO
G.R. No. 122540. March 22, 2000.
Held:
In rape cases, three well-known principles guide the Court, namely: (1) an accusation for rape
can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though
innocent, to disprove, (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where two persons
are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution,
and (3) the evidence of the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be
allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Likewise, when the
complainant in a rape case, more so if she is a minor, testifies that she has been raped, she says in
effect all that is necessary to show rape has been committed, the offended party most often being
the only one available to prove directly the commission of rape. The credibility of the
complainant is, thus, of utmost importance, for the accused may be convicted solely on the basis
of the complainant’s testimony if the same meets the test of credibility. Furthermore, we have
held that the conduct of the victim immediately following the alleged sexual assault is of utmost
importance in establishing the truth or falsity of the charge of rape.
Well-settled is the rule that alibi is an inherently weak defense which cannot prevail over the
positive identification of the accused by the victim. For alibi to prosper, the defendant must
prove not only (1) that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed but (2) it must be
likewise demonstrated that he was so far away that he could not have been physically present at
the place of the crime or its immediate vicinity at the time of its commission.

PEOPLE V. DEDACE
G.R. No. 132551. March 22, 2000
Statutory rape
Held:
The gravamen of statutory rape is carnal knowledge of a woman below twelve (12) years of age.
It is well-settled that complete or full penetration of the complainant’s private part is not
necessary to consummate rape. What is essential is that there be penetration of the sexual organ,
no matter how slight. Neither is the rupture of the hymen essential for the offense of
consummated rape. It is enough that there is proof of entrance of the male organ within the labia
of the pudendum. Therefore, it is unnecessary to show to what extent penetration of the woman’s
body has been made.

PEOPLE v. MAMALIAS
G.R. No. 128073. March 27, 2000
Appeal of an accused-escapee
Held:
The general rule is that a party appealing who flees the jurisdiction, pending the appeal, is in
contempt of the authority of the court and of the law and places himself in a position to speculate
on the chances for a reversal, meanwhile keeping out of the reach of justice and preparing to
render the judgment nugatory or not, at his option. Moreover, the escapee loses his standing in
court and unless he surrenders or submits to the jurisdiction of the court, he is deemed to have
waived any right to seek relief from the court. Be that as it may, the escape of an accused-
appellant during the pendency of his appeal will not necessarily prevent the Court from
exercising its jurisdiction in exceptional cases.

PEOPLE v. MITRA
G.R. No. 130669. March 27, 2000.
Rape – physical resistance
Held:
It is well-settled that “physical resistance need not be established in rape when intimidation is
exercised upon the victim and the latter submits herself, against her will, to the rapist’s advances
because of fear for her life and personal safety.” It is sufficient that the intimidation produces
fear in the mind of the victim that if she did not submit to the bestial demands of the accused,
something far worse would befall her at the time she was being molested. As pronounced by the
Court, “if resistance would nevertheless be futile because of intimidation, then offering none at
all does not mean consent to the assault so as to make the victim’s submission to the sexual act
voluntary.”

PEOPLE V. MERIS
PEOPLE v. MERIS
G.R Nos. 117145-50 & 117447. March 28, 2000
Jurisdiction over person of the accused
Estafa
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of illegal recruitment in large scale and estafa.
She contends that her conviction was erroneous because the court never acquired jurisdiction
over her person, as her arrest was illegal, and that the prosecution failed to establish estafa.
Held:
Jurisdiction over the person of the accused is acquired either by arrest or voluntary appearance in
court. Hence, granting arguendo that accused-appellant’s arrest was defective, such is deemed
cured upon her voluntary submission to the jurisdiction of the court. It should be stressed that the
question of legality of an arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the
accused. Consequently, if objections based on this ground are waived, the fact that the arrest was
illegal is not sufficient cause for setting aside an otherwise valid judgment. The technicality
cannot render the subsequent proceedings void and deprive the State of its right to convict the
guilty when all the facts on record point to the culpability of the accused.
Estafa is committed by any person who defrauds another by using a fictitious name, or falsely
pretends to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or
imaginary transactions, or by means of similar deceits executed prior to or simultaneously with
the commission of the fraud. The offended party must have relied on the false pretense,
fraudulent act or fraudulent means of the accused-appellant and as a result thereof, the offended
party suffered damages.

PEOPLE V. TIPAY
G.R. No. 131472. March 28, 2000
Rape – Jurisprudential guidelines
Held:
The Court has laid down certain guiding principles in reviewing rape cases, to wit: (a) an
accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is
even more difficult for the person accused, although innocent, to disprove the charge; (b)
considering the intrinsic nature of the crime, only two persons are usually involved in the crime
of rape, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution, and (c) the
evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot be allowed to draw
strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.

PEOPLE v. CULA
G.R. No. 133146. March 28, 2000
Rape – physical resistance; burden of proving victim’s minority
Held:
The law does not impose upon a rape victim the burden of proving resistance. Physical resistance
need not be established in rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and she submits
herself against her will to the rapist’s lust because of fear for life and personal safety.
At all events, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove with certainty the fact that the victim
was below 18 when the rape was committed in order to justify the imposition of the death
penalty. The record of the case is bereft of any independent evidence, such as the victim’s duly
certified Certificate of Live Birth, accurately showing private complainant’s age.

PEOPLE v. BARREDO
G.R. No. 133832. March 28, 2000
Rape
Held:
In rape cases, the courts are guided by the long-standing rule that penetration is not essential for
conviction of the culprit. Mere knocking at the doors of the pudenda, so to speak, by the
accused’s penis suffices to constitute the crime of rape, and the fact that her hymen is still intact
does not negate its commission.

PEOPLE v. CABINGAS
G.R. No. 79679. March 28, 2000.
Rape with a feeble-minded person
Held:
Sexual intercourse with a feeble-minded woman is rape. The offense charged is within the
contemplation of paragraph 2 of Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, like when the offender
had carnal knowledge of a woman deprived of reason.

PEOPLE v. CAVERTE
G.R. No. 123112. March 30, 2000
Self-defense; treachery
Accused appellant was charged and convicted of murder and frustrated murder.
Held:
There is self-defense when the following elements concur: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of
the person injured or killed by the offender; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to
prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending
himself. It is a doctrinal rule that when an unlawful aggression that has begun no longer exists,
the one making a defense has no right to kill or even to wound the former aggressor.
There is treachery when two conditions concur, to wit: (1) the employment of means of
execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate; and (2)
deliberate or conscious adoption of the means of execution. Treachery exists where the attack
was perpetrated suddenly and without warning.

PEOPLE V. AQUINO
G.R. No. 129288. March 30, 2000.
Robbery with homicide
Accused-appellants were charged and convicted of the complex crime of robbery with homicide.
They contend that they should have been convicted of homicide only.
Held:
The elements of the crime were proved beyond reasonable doubt. In any event, in robbery with
homicide, the important consideration is that there be a nexus between the robbery and the
killing whether prior, subsequent to or committed at the same time.

PEOPLE V. BALTAZAR
G.R. No. 115990. March 30, 2000.
Held:
The more pressing issue is whether all the elements of rape as alleged in the Information were
duly proved by the prosecution. Here we find the following duly established beyond reasonable
doubt. First, appellant had carnal knowledge with the victim.

PEOPLE V. BASE
PEOPLE v. BASE
G.R. No. 109773. March 30, 2000
Extrajudicial confessions
Conspiracy; treachery
Held:
For an extrajudicial confession to be admissible, it must be: 1.] voluntary; 2.] made with the
assistance of competent and independent counsel; 3.] express; and 4.] in writing. While the initial
choice in cases where a person under custodial investigation cannot afford the services of a
lawyer is naturally lodged in the police investigators, the accused really has the final choice as he
may reject the counsel chosen for him and ask for another one. A lawyer provided by the
investigators is deemed engaged by the accused where he never raised any objection against the
former’s appointment during the course of the investigation and the accused thereafter subscribes
to the veracity of his statement before the swearing officer. Verily, to be an effective counsel “[a]
lawyer need not challenge all the questions being propounded to his client. The presence of a
lawyer is not intended to stop an accused from saying anything that might incriminate him but,
rather, it was adopted in our Constitution to preclude the slightest coercion as would lead the
accused to admit something false. The counsel, however, should never prevent an accused from
freely and voluntarily telling the truth.”
When, as in this case, “[a]n extrajudicial statement satisfies the requirements of the Constitution,
it constitutes evidence of a high order because of the strong presumption that no person of
normal mind would deliberately and knowingly confess to a crime unless prompted by truth and
conscience. The defense has the burden of proving that it was extracted by means of force,
duress, promise or reward.”
Section 3, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court provides that “[a]n extrajudicial confession made by an
accused shall not be sufficient ground for conviction, unless corroborated by evidence of corpus
delicti.” In this case the prosecution presented other evidence to prove the two elements of
corpus delicti, to wit: a.] a certain result has been proven, i.e. a man has died; and 2.] some
person is criminally responsible.
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission
of a felony and decide to commit it. Direct proof is not essential, for conspiracy may be inferred
from the acts of the accused prior to, during or subsequent to the incident. Such acts must point
to a joint purpose, concert of action or community of interest.
There is treachery “[w]hen the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing
means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might
make.” The essence of alevosia is the swift and unexpected attack on the unarmed victim
without the slightest provocation on the victim’s part. The fact that treachery may be shown if
the victim is attacked from behind does not mean it can not also be appreciated if the attack is
frontal. Even a frontal attack can be treacherous when it is sudden and the victim is unarmed.

PEOPLE v. CAMPUHAN
G.R. No. 129433. March 30, 2000.
Stages of rape
In the case of People v. Orita, the SC held that rape was consummated from the moment the
offender had carnal knowledge of the victim since by it he attained his objective. All the
elements of the offense were already present and nothing more was left for the offender to do,
having performed all the acts necessary to produce the crime and accomplish it. We ruled then
that perfect penetration was not essential; any penetration of the female organ by the male organ,
however slight, was sufficient. The Court further held that entry of the labia or lips of the female
organ, even without rupture of the hymen or laceration of the vagina, was sufficient to warrant
conviction for consummated rape. We distinguished consummated rape from attempted rape
where there was no penetration of the female organ because not all acts of execution were
performed as the offender merely commenced the commission of a felony directly by overt acts.
The inference that may be derived therefrom is that complete or full penetration of the vagina is
not required for rape to be consummated. Any penetration, in whatever degree, is enough to raise
the crime to its consummated stage.
But the Court in Orita clarified the concept of penetration in rape by requiring entry into the
labia or lips of the female organ, even if there be no rupture of the hymen or laceration of the
vagina, to warrant a conviction for consummated rape. While the entry of the penis into the lips
of the female organ was considered synonymous with mere touching of the external genitalia,
e.g., labia majora, labia minora, etc., the crucial doctrinal bottom line is that touching must be
inextricably viewed in light of, in relation to, or as an essential part of, the process of penile
penetration, and not just mere touching in the ordinary sense. In other words, the touching must
be tacked to the penetration itself. The importance of the requirement of penetration, however
slight, cannot be gainsaid because where entry into the labia or the lips of the female genitalia
has not been established, the crime committed amounts merely to attempted rape.
Where the accused failed to achieve an erection, had a limp or flaccid penis, or an oversized
penis which could not fit into the victim’s vagina, the Court nonetheless held that rape was
consummated on the basis of the victim’s testimony that the accused repeatedly tried, but in vain,
to insert his penis into her vagina and in all likelihood reached the labia of her pudendum as the
victim felt his organ on the lips of her vulva, or that the penis of the accused touched the middle
part of her vagina. Thus, touching when applied to rape cases does not simply mean mere
epidermal contact, stroking or grazing of organs, a slight brush or a scrape of the penis on the
external layer of the victim’s vagina, or the mons pubis, as in this case. There must be sufficient
and convincing proof that the penis indeed touched the labias or slid into the female organ, and
not merely stroked the external surface thereof, for an accused to be convicted of consummated
rape. As the labias, which are required to be “touched” by the penis, are by their natural situs or
location beneath the mons pubis or the vaginal surface, to touch them with the penis is to attain
some degree of penetration beneath the surface, hence, the conclusion that touching the labia
majora or the labia minora of the pudendum constitutes consummated rape.
Thus, a grazing of the surface of the female organ or touching the mons pubis of the pudendum is
not sufficient to constitute consummated rape. Absent any showing of the slightest penetration of
the female organ, i.e., touching of either labia of the pudendum by the penis, there can be no
consummated rape; at most, it can only be attempted rape, if not acts of lasciviousness.

PEOPLE v. BALTAZAR
G.R. No. 115990. March 31, 2000
Elements of Rape
Evidentiary value of medical examinations
Held:
The more pressing issue is whether all the elements of rape as alleged in the Information were
duly proved by the prosecution. Here we find the following duly established beyond reasonable
doubt. First, appellant had carnal knowledge with the victim. Second, carnal knowledge took
place by using force or intimidation. Appellant insists that “the complainant did not offer any
tenacious resistance to the alleged sexual assault.” Nowhere is it required in our law or
jurisprudence, however, that a woman must offer “tenacious” resistance to a sexual assault. The
law does not impose upon the rape victim the burden of proving resistance. We have held
countless of times that “the force or violence required in rape cases is relative. When applied, it
need not be overpowering or irresistible; it is enough that it has enabled the offender to
consummate his purpose or to bring about the desired result.” For rape to exist, it is not
necessary that the force or intimidation employed in accomplishing the crime be so great or of
such character as could not be resisted. What is necessary is that the force or intimidation be
sufficient to consummate the purpose which the accused had in mind. Thus we have held that
physical resistance need not be established in rape cases when intimidation is exercised upon her
and she submits herself against her will to the rapist’s lust because of fear for her life and
personal safety. The victim’s failure to resist the accused’s assault successfully and to escape
when the opportunity presented itself should not be construed as a manifestation of consent.
Thirdly, the coitus was against her will and without her consent.
Insofar as the evidentiary value of a medical examination is concerned, we have held that “a
medical examination of the victim, as well as the medical certificate, is merely corroborative in
character and is not an indispensable element in rape. What is important is that the testimony of
private complainant about the incident is clear, unequivocal and credible.” A medical
examination is not indispensable to the prosecution of rape as long as the evidence on hand
convinces the court that a conviction for rape is proper.

PEOPLE v. SUITOS
G.R. No. 125280. March 31, 2000
Defense of Alibi
Accused-appellant was charged and convicted of murder. His defense was one of alibi.
Held:
For alibi to prosper, the accused should prove not only that he was at some other place when the
crime was committed but also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the locus
criminis at the time of the commission.

PEOPLE vs. CUPINO


G.R. No. 125688. March 31, 2000.
Cupino and Dejoras were charged and convicted for conspiring to commit murder.
Held:
Conspiracy must be proved as indubitably as the crime itself through clear and convincing
evidence, not merely by conjecture. To hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by reason of
conspiracy, he must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the
complicity. Hence, conspiracy exists in a situation where at the time the malefactors were
committing the crime, their actions impliedly showed unity of purpose among them, a concerted
effort to bring about the death of the victim. In a great majority of cases, complicity was
established by proof of acts done in concert, i.e., acts that yielded the reasonable inference that
the doers thereof were acting with a common intent or design. Therefore, the task in every case is
determining whether the particular acts established by the requisite quantum of proof do
reasonably yield that inference.”
PEOPLE vs. ABALDE
G.R. No. 123113. March 31, 2000.
Rape – guidelines
Held:
In the disposition of rape cases, the Court is guided by the following principles: (1) an accusation
for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person
accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape
where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be
scrutinized with extreme caution, and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on
its own merits and cannot draw strength from the weakness of the evidence of the defense.

PEOPLE VS. AMIGABLE


G.R. No. 133857. March 31, 2000
Medical examination / findings – evidentiary value in rape cases
Held:
Lack of lacerated wounds does not negate sexual intercourse. A freshly broken hymen is not an
essential element of rape. For that matter, in crimes against chastity, the medical examination of
the victim is not an indispensable element for the prosecution of the crime as her testimony
alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict the accused as in this case.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
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Criminal Law Digests – February 2000


Jan 24
Posted by Magz

People v. Pedro Lumacang


February 1, 2000
Brothers Lumacang went out on a drinking spree with 2 friends and the deceased Elmer Salac.
Without warning, Pedro unsheathed his hunting knife and stabbed Elmer Salac. They were
charged with murder, which crime was attended with the qualifying circumstances of treachery,
abuse of superior strength, and generic aggravating circumstance of nighttime. RTC found them
guilty. Only Pablo appealed.
Held:
The essence of treachery is a swift and unexpected attack on an unarmed victim without the
slightest provocation on his part. The the severity of the assault during the first incident of
stabbing had already rendered the deceased completely defenseless. That he was able to run
away to seek succor does not negate the presence of alevosia because the wounded victim, in
fact, had little opportunity to run far. He was easily overtaken by the three brothers who
mercilessly stabbed him to death.
There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against the person employing
means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specifically to insure
execution without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make.
Since treachery has already been appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, abuse of superior
strength should not have been considered separately inasmuch as it is absorbed in treachery. For
night time to be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance it must be shown that the accused
had purposely sought such period to facilitate the commission of the crime or to prevent its
discovery or to evade the culprit’s capture.

People v. Alberto Blanco Y Señora


February 1, 2000
Edgardo Tolentino and Arnel Leovido were riding a tricycle. During the trip, the driver, Blanco,
allowed 3 men to board the tricycle, accelerated its speed, and engaged in a different route than
that intended by Tolentino and Leovido. Sensing that something was wrong, both passengers
jumped out the moving tricycle. After they jumped, Tolentino found out that Leovido had been
stabbed by one of the three men who boarded the tricycle. Leovido died. Alberto Blanco, and
Arturo Punzalan were charged with murder
Held:
For the defense of alibi to prosper, appellant must prove not only that he was elsewhere when the
crime was perpetuated but also that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the
crime scene or its immediate vicinity at the approximate time of its commission. Appellant failed
to demonstrate either scenario. Where there is absence of strong and convincing evidence, alibi
cannot prevail over the positive identification of appellant by an eyewitness to the stabbing
incident, who has no improper motive to testify falsely.
There is conspiracy where, at the time the malefactors were committing the crime, their actions
showed a unity of purpose among them, a concerted effort to bring about the death of the victim.
Thus, although it appears that it was one of appellant’s co-accused who dealt Leovido the death
blow, appellant performed acts to carry out the felonious killing complained of, for which he
should be held answerable.

People v. Jalosjos
February 3, 2000
The accused-appellant, Romeo G. Jalosjos is a full-fledged member of Congress who is now
confined at the national penitentiary while his conviction for statutory rape on two counts and
acts of lasciviousness on six counts is pending appeal. The accused-appellant filed this motion
asking that he be allowed to fully discharge the duties of a Congressman, including attendance at
legislative sessions and committee meetings despite his having been convicted in the first
instance of a non-bailable offense. Does membership in Congress exempt an accused from
statutes and rules which apply to validly incarcerated persons in general?
Held:
True, election is the expression of the sovereign power of the people. In the exercise of suffrage,
a free people expects to achieve the continuity of government and the perpetuation of its benefits.
However, inspite of its importance, the privileges and rights arising from having been elected
may be enlarged or restricted by law. The election to the position of Congressman is not a
reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are
not substantial distinctions which lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom
and restricted in liberty of movement. Lawful arrest and confinement are germane to the
purposes of the law and apply to all those belonging to the same class. Imprisonment is the
restraint of a man’s personal liberty; coercion exercised upon a person to prevent the free
exercise of his power of locomotion.

People v. Nicolas
February 4, 2000
MELANDRO NICOLAS y FAVELLA was convicted by the court a quo of two (2) counts of
statutory rape and one (1) simple rape committed against his own daughter, Shellome Nicolas y
Dalisay. The statutory rapes were committed when Shellome was only eleven (11) years old
while the simple rape was perpetrated when she was already twelve (12).
Held:
We strongly sustain his conviction. The rule is settled that this Court does not generally disturb
the findings of fact of the trial court. Having observed the manner, conduct and demeanor of the
witnesses while on the stand, the trial court is clearly in a better position to determine the weight
to be given to their respective testimonies. Unless there is a clear showing that it overlooked
certain facts and circumstances which might alter the result of the case, this Court accords
respect, even finality, to these findings of fact made by the trial court.
The pattern of instilling fear, utilized by the perpetrator in incestuous rape to intimidate his
victim into submission, is evident in virtually all cases that have reached this Court. The
relationship of the victim to the perpetrator magnifies this terror, because the perpetrator is a
person normally expected to give solace and protection to the victim.

People v. Llanes
February 4, 2000
Appellants Nicanor Llanes and Leandro Llanes were charged with the crime of murder in the
RTC.
Held:
The declaration of a dying person, made under a consciousness of an impending death, may be
received in any case wherein his death is the subject of inquiry, as evidence of the cause and
surrounding circumstances of such death. The essential requisites for the admission of a dying
declaration under Section 37 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court are, viz: (a) the declaration must
concern the cause and surrounding circumstances of the declarant’s death; (b) at the time the
declaration was made, the declarant was under the consciousness of an impending death; (c) the
declarant was at that time competent as a witness; and (d) the declaration is offered in any case
wherein the declarant’s is the subject of inquiry. All these requisites have been met in this case.
It is a well-settled rule that different witnesses testifying on the circumstances of a criminal event
would naturally differ in various details. The fact that witnesses Arevalo and Valenzuela gave
varying testimonies as to the dying declaration of the victim does not indicate that they are lying.
A truth-telling witness is not always expected to give an error-free testimony, considering the
lapse of time and the treachery of human memory.

People v. Magdato
February 7, 2000
Before us for automatic review of the Criminal Cases finding accused-appellant Pepito Alama
Magdato (hereafter PEPITO) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of six (6) counts of rape committed
on her 12-year old daughter Cherry Ann Magdato.
Held:
We find to be correct the penalty of death imposed by the trial court for each of the six (6) crimes
of qualified rape. Such penalty is justified under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by R.A. 7659. The informations for rape in these cases explicitly allege that CHERRY
ANN is the daughter of PEPITO and she was only twelve (12) years old when he committed the
rapes in question. Under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of
R.A. No. 7659, the death penalty shall be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with, inter
alia, the following attendant circumstances:
1. When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, stepparent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil
degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.

PEOPLE v. ALFREDO CABANDE


G.R. No. 132747. February 8, 2000
Appellant Alfredo Cabande appeals the July 24, 1997 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Malolos, Bulacan (Branch 16) in a Criminal Case, finding him guilty of two counts of murder
and sentencing him to two terms of reclusion perpetua. The accused appealed that the State did
not correctly appreciate the evidence of the accused. The Court addressed the following matters:
(1) sufficiency of the prosecution evidence, (2) presence of qualifying circumstances and (3)
damages.
HELD:
Well-settled is the rule that the trial court’s findings on the credibility of witnesses and their
testimonies are accorded great weight and respect, in the absence of a clear showing that some
facts or circumstances of weight or substance that could have affected the result of the case have
been overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied. Thus, the SC found no reason to reverse or
modify the trial court’s assessment.
There is treachery when one commits any of the crimes against persons by employing means,
methods or forms in the execution thereof without risk to oneself arising from the defense which
the offended party might make. The mere fact that there was a feud between appellant and the
victims did not necessarily prove that the attack was expected. As the solicitor general pointed
out, what was decisive was the suddenness of the attack which made it impossible for the victims
to retaliate, flee, or defend themselves.
In line with current jurisprudence, we affirm the award of indemnity ex delicto to the heirs of
each victim in the sum of P50,000 or a total of P100,000. This may be awarded without need of
proof other than the commission of the crime. We cannot sustain, however, the award of
exemplary damages, which are awarded only in the presence of one or more aggravating
circumstances. None was established in this case.

PEOPLE v. CORNELIA SUELTO


G.R. No. 126097. February 8, 2000
Accused-appellant Cornelia Suelto alias Rogelia Suelto appeals from the judgment rendered by
the RTC finding her guilty of the murder of Isabel Ruales. The prosecution’s case rests primarily
on the testimony of two witnesses who claimed to have personally witnessed the killing. Â h Y
HELD:
Alibis are generally considered with suspicion and are always received with caution, not only
because they are inherently weak and unreliable, but also because they can be easily fabricated.
Therefore, for alibi to serve as a basis for acquittal, the accused must establish by clear and
convincing evidence (a) his presence at another place at the time of the perpetration of the
offense and (b) that it would thus be physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of
the crime. Furthermore, the alibi must receive credible corroboration from disinterested
witnesses.We hold that accused has failed to establish her alibi by clear and convincing evidence.
The trial court found that the killing of Isabel Ruales by accused was attended by the qualifying
circumstance of treachery. Treachery exists when the offender commits any of the crimes against
persons, employing means, methods, or forms which tend directly and specially to insure the
execution of the crime without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party
might make.

PEOPLE v. DIOLO BARITA


G.R. No. 123541. February 8, 2000
Diolo Barita (BARITA), Denver Golsing (GOLSING) and Dionisio Cuison (CUISON) were
charged with violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425, the accused was charged
with selling and delivering more or less 2,800 grams of dried marijuana. In support of his appeal,
BARITA denies any participation in the alleged sale of marijuana. He claims that no buy-bust
operation was conducted and that the accusation against him was all part of a frame-up. To prove
this, BARITA alleges that the prosecution evidence is replete with numerous flaws and glaring
inconsistencies.
HELD:
Accused-appellants’ defense of “frame-up” does not convince us of their innocence. Such
defense has been invariably viewed by this Court with disfavor for it can easily be concocted but
difficult to prove and is a common and standard line of defense in most prosecutions arising from
violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Any person who sells or acts as a broker in the sale of
marijuana shall be punished with reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five
hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos if 750 grams or more of marijuana is sold.

PEOPLE v. GOMEZ
G.R. Nos. 131946-47. February 8, 2000
On 29 December 1995 an Information was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Parañaque
charging Rogelio Gomez y Reyes a.k.a. Philip Roger Lacson or Roger Eleazar Gomez with
illegal recruitment in large scale resulting in economic sabotage.
HELD:
Anent the first issue, we have consistently ruled that any objection to the warrant of arrest or the
procedure in the acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the person of the accused must be
made before he enters his plea, otherwise the objection is deemed waived.
The more significant issue at hand is whether the culpability of accused-appellant for illegal
recruitment in large scale and estafa has been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Under the Labor
Code, there are three (3) elements which constitute illegal recruitment in large scale. First, the
accused undertakes any recruitment activity defined under Art. 13, par. (b), or any practice
enumerated under Art. 34 of the Labor Code; second, the accused does not comply with the
guidelines issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, particularly with respect to the
securing of a license or authority to recruit and deploy workers, either locally or overseas; and
third, the accused commits the same against three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group.
On several occasions, this Court has held that there is illegal recruitment when one purports to
have the ability to send a worker abroad although without the authority or license to do so. He
may merely give such an impression in order to induce an applicant to tender payment for fees.
Although accused-appellant initially might not have done anything to encourage individuals to
apply to him for employment abroad, such fact does not in any way blot out his liability for
illegal recruitment. Recruitment is a legal term; its meaning must be understood in the light of
what the law contemplates and not of common parlance.

PEOPLE v. ALFREDO ENTILA


G.R. No. 135368. February 9, 2000
The RTC found appellant Alfredo Entila alias “Bogie” guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of kidnapping and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He contends
in his appeal that the trial court erred in rendering a decision against him.
HELD:
In convicting the appellant, the trial court relied on the oft-cited rule that denial, like alibi, is a
weak defense since it is easily fabricated or concocted. There are nonetheless settled
pronouncements of this Court to the effect that where an accused sets up alibi, or denial for that
matter, as his line of defense, the courts should not at once look at the same with wary eyes for
taken in the light of all the evidence on record, it may be sufficient to reverse the outcome of the
case as found by the trial court and thereby rightly set the accused free. Furthermore, the defense
of alibi or denial may assume significance or strength when it is amply corroborated by a
credible witness, as in the instant case.

PEOPLE v. ALFREDO ARAFILES


G.R. No. 128814. February 9, 2000
The accused was charged withed rape. Maria Corazon Dampil (Corazon) was 15 years old at the
time she was allegedly raped. Accused-appellant is her uncle. He interposed this appeal claiming
that the trial court erred in giving full faith and credit to the testimony of complaining witness.
HELD:
It is well-settled that full penile penetration is not necessary in order to consummate the crime of
rape; it is enough that the male organ touches the female external genitalia for there to be carnal
knowledge. When there is no evidence to show any improper motive on the part of the
complainant to testify against the accused or to falsely implicate him in the commission of a
crime, the logical conclusion is that the testimony is worthy of full faith and credence.

PEOPLE v. JOEY BARCELONA


G.R. No. 125341. February 9, 2000
Barcelona was charged with the rape of Dolly Maglinte, a 17 year old minor.
HELD:
In adjudging rape cases, the Court is guided by the following principles: (a) an accusation of rape
can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the person accused, though
innocent, to disprove; (b) in view of the nature of the crime in which only two persons are
involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (c) the
evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed to draw
strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense.
The Court has repeatedly held that rape is committed when intimidation is used on the victim and
the latter submitted against her will because of fear for her life or personal safety. It is not
necessary that the force or intimidation employed be so great or of such character as could not be
resisted because all that is required is that it be sufficient to consummate the purpose that the
accused had in mind. . .
While the Court has upheld the defense of consensual sex in some cases, this was on the basis of
strong evidence, consisting of letters and the testimonies of witnesses, showing that the alleged
rape was actually sex by mutual consent.Having been raised as an affirmative defense, the
“sweetheart theory” must be established by convincing proof. Accused-appellant bears the
burden of proving that he and complainant had an affair which naturally led to a sexual
relationship. This accused-appellant failed to do.

PEOPLE v. BERLY FABRO


G.R. No. 114261. February 10, 2000
Appellant Berly Fabro y Azucena, together with her common-law husband Donald Pilay y Calag
and Irene Martin, was charged with the crime of “violation of Section 21 (b) Art. IV, in relation
to Section 4, Art. II of Republic Act No. 6425: sell and/or deliver to PO2 ELLONITO
APDUHAN, who acted as poseur-buyer, one (1) kilo of dried marijuana leaves.
HELD:
As between a writing or document made contemporaneously with a transaction in which are
evidenced facts pertinent to an issue, when admitted as proof of these facts, is ordinarily
regarded as more reliable proof and of greater probative value than oral testimony of a witness as
to such facts based upon memory and recollection. The reason behind this is obvious, human
memory is fallible and its force diminishes with the lapse of time.
It must be stressed, however, that failure to present the marked money is of no great
consequence. The Dangerous Drugs Law punishes the mere act of delivery of prohibited drugs
after the offer to buy by the entrapping officer has been accepted by the prohibited drug seller. It
is clear that Section 21 (b) of R.A. 6425 punishes the mere conspiracy to commit the offense of
selling, delivering, distributing and transporting of dangerous drugs. Conspiracy herein refers to
the mere agreement to commit the said acts and not the actual execution thereof. While the rule
is that a mere conspiracy to commit a crime without doing any overt act is not punishable, the
exception is when such is specifically penalized by law, as in the case of Section 21 of Republic
Act 6425. Conspiracy as crime should be distinguished from conspiracy as a manner of incurring
criminal liability the latter being applicable to the case at bar.

PEOPLE v. EULOGIO IGNACIO


G.R. No. 134568. February 10, 2000
The RTC convicted Eulogio Ignacio of murder.The trial court ruled that appellant failed to prove
by credible, clear and convincing evidence that he had acted in lawful defense of the landowner’s
property. There was no legal reason for him to shoot the victim, an unarmed minor at the time of
the incident. The said court qualified the killing to murder because of the presence of treachery.
HELD:
In the present case, we find ample evidence that appellant did shoot the victim. It should be
stressed that appellant’s conduct cannot be justified as a lawful defense of property rights. For
this justifying circumstance to be appreciated, the accused has the burden of proving unlawful
aggression on the part of the victim and reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent
or repel it. In this case, the first requisite was not proven, because he was not attacked by the
victim. In fact, he did not even see the victim steal the crabs; he merely suspected him of doing
so. Furthermore, assuming that unlawful aggression was proven, there was no necessity to shoot
because, according to him, the victim was already running away when hit.
There is treachery when the accused unexpectedly and deliberately shoots an unarmed minor
who is thus not in a position to put up a defense or to inflict harm on the former. Voluntary
surrender is not appreciated even if the accused submits himself to the members of the barangay
tanod who, by their presence in his house, precluded his escape.
In order that the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender may be appreciated, the defense
must clearly satisfy three requisites: (a) the offender has not been actually arrested; (2) the
offender surrenders himself to a person in authority or the latter’s agent; and (c) the surrender is
voluntary. The defense must show an intent to surrender unconditionally to the authorities,
because of an acknowledgement of guilt or because of a wish to spare them the trouble and the
expense concomitant to the search and the capture of the accused.

PEOPLE v. CARLIE ALAGON


G.R. No. 126536-37. February 10, 2000
Two separate Informations were filed against ALAGON and RAFAEL, both dated February 2,
1994, charging them with two counts of murder for the deaths of Elarde Magno and Isidro
Barcelona. The case for the prosecution is woven mainly on the testimony of Remedios
Punzalan. Accused-appellants ALAGON and RAFAEL had denial for their defense.
HELD:
As a general rule, the factual findings of trial courts deserve respect and are not disturbed on
appeal, unless some facts or circumstances of weight and substance have been overlooked,
misapprehended or misinterpreted, and would otherwise materially affect the disposition of the
case. ALAGON points out, however, that this rule does not apply when the judge who penned
the decision was not the same one who had heard the prosecution witnesses testify, as in the
present case. The SC has carefully perused and considered the records of this case, and we find
no reason to alter the findings of the trial court in regard to the credibility of the prosecution
witnesses and their testimonies.
Conspiracy was not duly proven. There is conspiracy where, at the time the malefactors were
committing the crime, their actions impliedly showed a unity of purpose among them, a
concerted effort to bring about the death of the victim. Conspiracy, like the crime itself, must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt. Existence of conspiracy must be clearly and convincingly
proven. The accused must be shown to have had guilty participation in the criminal design
entertained by the slayer, and this presupposes knowledge on his part of such criminal design.

PEOPLE v. ROMMEL BALTAR


G.R. No. 130341. February 10, 2000
Three criminal complaints were filed by Kristine against Rommel Baltar. The prosecution
presented Kristine. She relayed that on four separate incidents Baltar came to her house and
forced her to have iintercourse with him.
HELD:
The evidence proving the use of force by the accused-appellant is overwhelming. Kristine also
adequately explained why she did not immediately report to the police authorities. The threats
made by accused-appellant scared her. Accused-appellant can not also dismiss the complaints

against him as merely instigated by Kristine’s mother. Even assuming that accused-appellant and
Kristine were lovers, this fact alone is not exculpatory. A sweetheart can not be forced to have
sex against her will. Love is not a license for lust. Accused-appellant’s sweetheart theory can not
stand in the light of Kristine’s positive assertions that he raped her.

PEOPLE v. APOLINAR DANDO


G.R. No. 120646. February 14, 2000
This is an appeal from a decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33, Siniloan, Laguna
finding PO3 Apolinar E. Dando (“accused-appellant”) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder.
HELD:
Well-settled is the rule that “inconsistencies on minor and trivial matters only serve to strengthen
rather than weaken the credibility of witnesses for they erase the suspicion of rehearsed. Alibi is
one of the weakest defenses in criminal cases and it should be rejected when the identity of the
accused is sufficiently and positively established by the prosecution.
The essence of treachery is that the attack comes without a warning and in a swift, deliberate and
unexpected manner, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist
or escape this case, accused-appellant, whose face was covered by a handkerchief, approached
the victim, who was merely standing by the gate in front of his house, and shot him. The victim
was undoubtedly caught unaware and had no chance of putting up any defense. Clearly,
treachery attended the commission of the crime since the attack, although frontally, was no less
sudden and unexpected, giving the victim no opportunity to repel it or offer any defense of his
person.

PEOPLE v. JULIAN CASTILLO


G.R. No. 131592-93. February 15, 2000
With the passage of Republic Act No. 8294 on June 6, 1997, the use of an unlicensed firearm in
murder or homicide is now considered, not as a separate crime, but merely a special aggravating
circumstance. In the case at bar, appellant JULIAN CASTILLO y LUMAYRO was charged with
Murder and Illegal Possession of Firearms.
HELD:
P.D. 1866, which codified the laws on illegal possession of firearms, was amended on June 6,
1997 by Republic Act 8294. Aside from lowering the penalty for said crime, R.A. 8294 also
provided that if homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use
shall be considered as a special aggravating circumstance.This amendment has two (2)
implications: first, the use of an unlicensed firearm in the commission of homicide or murder
shall not be treated as a separate offense, but merely as a special aggravating circumstance;
second, as only a single crime (homicide or murder with the aggravating circumstance of illegal
possession of firearm) is committed under the law, only one penalty shall be imposed on the
accused.
Two (2) requisites are necessary to establish illegal possession of firearms: first, the existence of
the subject firearm, and second, the fact that the accused who owned or possessed the gun did
not have the corresponding license or permit to carry it outside his residence. The onus probandi
of establishing these elements as alleged in the Information lies with the prosecution.

PEOPLE v. ABUNDIO MANGILA


G.R. No. 130203-04. February 15, 2000
Death is the most severe penalty for crime. It is imposed in incestuous rape, regardless of any
mitigating or aggravating circumstance. In the case at bar, sixteen (16) year old MADRILYN D.
MANGILA accused her father, ABUNDIO MANGILA y PAREÑO, of two (2) counts of RAPE,
allegedly committed as follows:
HELD:
Section 3, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:
“Section 3. Pleas of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence – When the accused pleads
guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and
full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt
and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence in his behalf.”
(emphasis supplied)
To breathe life into this rule, we made it mandatory for trial courts to do the following:
(1) conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the
consequences of the accused’s plea;
(2) require the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused and the precise degree of his
culpability; and
(3) inquire whether or not the accused wishes to present evidence on his behalf and allow him to
do so if he so desires.
The records show that the trial court failed to comply to the letter with these guidelines. It did not
conduct a searching inquiry on whether accused understood the legal consequences of his
admission of guilt. It is not shown that accused was informed of the effect of the concurrence of
the special qualifying circumstance of minority of the victim and his parental relationship to her.
After the accused testified on how he raped his daughter, he was not apprised that his crime is
punishable by death. The trial court also failed to explain to him that as the penalty of death is
indivisible, it shall be imposed despite any mitigating or aggravating circumstance attending its
commission. Apparently, the trial court entertained the erroneous notion that the alleged
intoxication of accused would lessen his liability.

PEOPLE v. ELRANIE MARTINEZ


G.R. No. 130606. February 15, 2000
This is an appeal from the decision of the RTC finding accused-appellant Elranie Martinez guilty
of rape of Melina and imposing on him the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
While denial is a legitimate defense in rape cases bare denials can not overcome the categorical
testimony of the victim. Here, Melina’s testimony is clear, candid, straightforward and
consistent. She had positively identified accused-appellant as her malefactor and established all
the elements of the offense. That the physical examination yielded no conclusive evidence that
she had been raped does not affect her credibility. The lack of tell-tale signs of rape on her
private part can be explained by the fact that she is a married woman with four children. This
fact actually bolsters her credibility. She had no motive to falsely implicate accused-appellant.

PEOPLE v. BULU CHOWDURY


G.R. No. 129577-80. February 15, 2000
In November 1995, Bulu Chowdury and Josephine Ong were charged before the Regional Trial
Court of Manila with the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale.
HELD:
The last paragraph of Section 6 of Republic Act (RA) states who shall be held liable for the
offense, thus:
“The persons criminally liable for the above offenses are the principals, accomplices and
accessories. In case of juridical persons, the officers having control, management or
direction of their business shall be liable.”
As stated in the first sentence of Section 6 of RA 8042, the persons who may be held liable for
illegal recruitment are the principals, accomplices and accessories. An employee of a company
or corporation engaged in illegal recruitment may be held liable as principal, together with his if
it is shown that he actively and consciously participated in illegal recruitment. It has been held
that the existence of the corporate entity does not shield from prosecution the corporate agent
who knowingly and intentionally causes the corporation to commit a crime. The corporation
obviously acts, and can act, only by and through its human agents, and it is their conduct which
the law must deter. The employee or agent of a corporation engaged in unlawful business
naturally aids and abets in the carrying on of such business and will be prosecuted as principal if,
with knowledge of the business, its purpose and effect, he consciously contributes his efforts to
its conduct and promotion, however slight his contribution may be. The law of agency, as applied
in civil cases, has no application in criminal cases, and no man can escape punishment when he
participates in the commission of a crime upon the ground that he simply acted as an agent of
any party. The culpability of the employee therefore hinges on his knowledge of the offense and
his active participation in its commission. Where it is shown that the employee was merely
acting under the direction of his superiors and was unaware that his acts constituted a crime, he
may not be held criminally liable for an act done for and in behalf of his employer.

PEOPLE v. ROGELIO GALAM


G.R. No. 114740. February 15, 2000
On appeal is the decision of the RTC convicting accused-appellant of the crime of murder,
imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
The qualifying circumstance of treachery attended the killing as the two conditions for the same
are present, i.e., (1) that at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend
himself and (2) that the offender consciously adopted the particular means, method or form of
attack employed by him. The attack was not only sudden, it was unexpected, as the victim even
cried out in surprise “Why are you firing at me, I have not done anything wrong!” Further,
appellant deliberately or consciously adopted the means of attack as shown by the fact that he
even wrapped the gun inside a jacket prior to shooting the victim.
However, evident premeditation cannot be appreciated inasmuch as the following elements were
not duly proven: (1) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act

manifestly indicating that the offender had clung to his determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of
time between the determination and the execution to allow the offender to reflect on the
consequences of his act.
Nor can the aggravating circumstance of nighttime be appreciated, for the prosecution failed to
demonstrate (1) that the malefactor particularly sought or took advantage of the darkness to
commit the offense, or (2) that nighttime facilitated the commission of the crime. Although the
crime took place at around 11:00 in the evening, the store/house where the incident occurred was
sufficiently lighted by a fluorescent lamp, and there were still people milling around because of
the dance held at a nearby plaza.

PEOPLE v. GREGORIO TOLIBAS


G.R. No. 103506. February 15, 2000
On appeal is the decision the RTC convicted accused-appellant Rodel Quijon and accused
Gregorio Tolibas of the crime of murder and sentencing them to suffer the penalty of reclusion
perpetua, to indemnify the widow of the victim in the amount of P30,000.00 and to pay the
costs.
HELD:
Once more, we are guided by the tenet that “when the issue is one of credibility of witnesses,
appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of the trial court, considering that the
latter is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses themselves and
observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial, unless it has plainly
overlooked certain facts of substance and value that if, considered, might affect the result of the
case.
For conspiracy to exist, it is not required that there be an agreement for an appreciable period
prior to the occurrence. The concerted actions of the four accused showed their intent to kill the
victim. The qualifying circumstance of treachery was present in this case as the two conditions
therefore were proved: (1) that at the time of the attack, the victim was not in a position to defend
himself and (2) that the offenders consciously adopted the particular means, method or form of
attack employed by him. Treachery absorbs the generic aggravating circumstance of abuse of
superior strength so the same need not be appreciated separately.

PEOPLE v. CIELITO BULURAN


G.R. No. 113940. February 15, 2000
On May 20, 1993, appellant Cielito Buluran and three (3) John Does were charged with the
crime of murder. The Information was later amendedwhen Leonardo Valenzuela was identified
as one of the assailants. Upon arraignment, both accused entered pleas of not guilty. On February
4, 1994, the trial court, finding conspiracy and treachery, rendered judgment convicting
appellants of murder.
HELD:
First. Appellants are estopped from questioning the validity of their respective arrests since they
never raised this issue before arraignment. Any objection involving a warrant of arrest or the
acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of an accused must be made before he enters his plea,
otherwise the objection is deemed waived. Second. There is no violation of the constitutional
rights of the accused during custodial investigation since neither one executed an extrajudicial
confession or admission. In this case, the basis of the conviction by the trial court was the
testimonies of the three eyewitnesses, Artemio Avendaño, Jacinto Castillo, and Gloria Castillo.
Third. The failure to accord appellants their right to preliminary investigation did not impair the
validity of the information nor affect the jurisdiction of the trial court. While the right to
preliminary investigation is a substantive right and not a mere formal or technical right of the
accused, nevertheless, the right to preliminary investigation is deemed waived when the accused
fails to invoke it before or at the time of entering a plea at arraignment.
The SC found that no treachery attended the killing. On numerous occasions, we have held that
where a killing was preceded by an argument or quarrel, then the qualifying circumstance of
treachery can no longer be appreciated since the victim could be said to have been forewarned
and could anticipate aggression from the assailants. Moreover, the aggravating circumstance of
evident premeditation alleged by the prosecution was not proved clearly and convincingly.
Considering that the attack was made about two minutes after the initial altercation, it cannot be
said that there was sufficient lapse of time between such determination to commit the crime and
its execution so as to allow the assailants to reflect upon the consequences of their actions.

PEOPLE v. RODOLFO BATO


G.R. No. 134939. February 16, 2000
Rodolfo Bato alias “Rudy Bato” is charged of rape and sentenced to suffer imprisonment of
reclusion perpetua. He raped Delia Hernandez, a minor of nine (9) years old, against her will, to
the damage and prejudice of the latter.

HELD:
Neither is the absence of spermatozoa in Delia’s genitalia fatal to the prosecution’s case. The
presence or absence of spermatozoa is immaterial in a prosecution for rape. The important
consideration in rape cases is not the emission of semen but the unlawful penetration of the
female genitalia by the male organ.
The crime committed is statutory rape, defined and penalized under paragraph 3 of Article 335 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11, R. A. 7659. This Court has held that if the
woman is under twelve (12) years of age, proof of force and consent becomes immaterial, not
only because force is not an element of statutory rape but the absence of free consent is
presumed when the woman is below such age. The two (2) elements of statutory rape are: (1)
that the accused had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) that the woman is below twelve (12)
years of age. Sexual congress with a girl under twelve (12) years old is always rape.”

PEOPLE v. GALLARDER
G.R. No. 133025. February 17, 2000
On 24 June 1997, GALLARDE was charged with the special complex crime of rape with
homicide of a minor.
Held:
A reading of the accusatory portion of the information shows that there was no allegation of any
qualifying circumstance. Although it is true that the term “homicide” as used in special complex
crime of rape with homicide is to be understood in its generic sense, and includes murder and
slight physical injuries committed by reason or on the occasion of rape it is settled in this
jurisdiction that where a complex crime is charged and the evidence fails to support the charge as
to one of the component offense, the accused can be convicted of the other. In rape with
homicide, in order to be convicted of murder in case the evidence fails to support the charge of
rape, the qualifying circumstance must be sufficiently alleged and proved. Otherwise, it would be
a denial of the right of the accused to be informed of the nature of the offense with which he is
charged. It is fundamental that every element of the offense must be alleged in the complaint or
information. The main purpose of requiring the various elements of a crime to be set out in an
information is to enable the accused to suitably prepare his defense. He is presumed to have no
independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense
Direct evidence of the commission of a crime is not the only matrix wherefrom a trial court may
draw its conclusion and finding of guilt. The prosecution is not always tasked to present direct
evidence to sustain a judgment of conviction; the absence of direct evidence does not necessarily
absolve an accused from any criminal liability.

PEOPLE v. REYNALDO QUILLOSA


G.R. No. 115687. February 17, 2000
The RTC convicted Quillosa of the murder of Ambrosio Ilocto, imposing upon him the penalty
of reclusion perpetua, and ordering him to indemnify the heirs of the victim the amount of
P50,000.00.
HELD:
We have long held that “the testimony of a single eyewitness is sufficient to support a conviction
so long as it is clear, straightforward and worthy of credence by the trial court. Minor and
inconsequential flaws in the testimony of the witness strengthen rather than impair his
credibility. As to appellant’s participation in the killing, the Court in previous cases have held
that holding the hand of the victim to render him immobile while he is being stabbed amounts to
an act of indispensable cooperation without which the crime would not have been accomplished.
Appellant’s act of holding the right arm of the victim, while another held the left arm, thus
enabling their third companion to stab the victim, shows that they acted together with one
purpose and design to kill the victim.
As to the crime committed, we find that treachery attended the commission of the offense, hence
the crime is murder. For treachery to be present, two conditions must be shown: (1) the
employment of means of execution that give the person attacked no opportunity to defend or
retaliate; and (2) the deliberate or conscious adoption of the means of execution.In this case,
appellant and another person held the hands of the victim to enable their companion to stab him
while he was in a defenseless position. While abuse of superior strength was alleged in the
Information, it is already absorbed in treachery and need not be appreciated separately. Evident
premeditation was not proven by the prosecution.

PEOPLE v. RADEL GALLARDE


G.R. No. 133025. February 17, 2000
This is an appeal from the judgment of the RTC finding accused-appellant Radel (hereafter
GALLARDE) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder and sentencing him to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

HELD:
We sustain GALLARDE’s contention that the trial court erred in convicting him of murder in an
information charging him of rape with homicide. A reading of the accusatory portion of the
information shows that there was no allegation of any qualifying circumstance. Although it is
true that the term “homicide” as used in special complex crime of rape with homicide is to be
understood in its generic sense, and includes murder and slight physical injuries committed by
reason or on the occasion of rape it is settled in this jurisdiction that where a complex crime is
charged and the evidence fails to support the charge as to one of the component offense, the
accused can be convicted of the other. In rape with homicide, in order to be convicted of murder
in case the evidence fails to support the charge of rape, the qualifying circumstance must be
sufficiently alleged and proved. Otherwise, it would be a denial of the right of the accused to be
informed of the nature of the offense with which he is charged.
The rules on evidence and precedents sustain the conviction of an accused through circumstantial
evidence, as long as the following requisites are present: (1) there must be more than one
circumstance; (2) the inference must be based on proven facts; and (3) the combination of all
circumstances produces a conviction beyond doubt of the guilt of the accused. The importance of
circumstantial evidence is more apparent in the prosecution of cases of rape with homicide. It is
well settled that the absence of spermatozoa in or around the vagina does not negate the
commission of rape. Our doubt on the commission of rape is based on the fact that there is at all
no convincing proof that the laceration of the vagina and the rupture of the hymen of EDITHA
were caused in the course of coitus or by a male organ.

PEOPLE v. CHEN TIZ CHANG


G.R. Nos. 131872-73. February 17, 2000
Before the Court is an appeal by Chen Tiz Chang and Chen Jung San, also known as Willy Tan
challenging the October 16, 1997 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City
(Branch 95) in a Criminal Case finding them guilty of illegal possession and sale of shabu and
sentencing each of them to two counts of reclusion perpetua.
HELD:
In a prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, it must be shown that (1) the accused
is in possession of an item or an object identified to be a prohibited or a regulated drug, (2) such
possession is not authorized by law and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said
drug. Here, as in Boco, the prosecution witnesses were able to establish these elements.
We are not persuaded by the argument that the samples examined were not taken from the drugs
seized. On the contrary, the testimonies of all the prosecution witnesses fairly established that the
shabu taken from the appellants is the same substance examined by the forensic chemist and later
presented as evidence in court. Verily, the presumption of regularity must prevail over appellants’
unfounded allegations and speculations. Appellants’ behavior during the entrapment showed that
there was conspiracy between them and a third person who got away with the buy-bust money. It
is an established rule that direct proof is not essential to establish conspiracy, as it may be
inferred from the acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, all of
which indubitably point to or indicate a joint purpose, a concert of action and a community of
interest.

PEOPLE v. RAMIL DACIBAR


G.R. No. 111286. February 17, 2000
On appeal is the decision dated January 25, 1993 of the Regional Trial Court finding appellants
guilty of the crime of murder, imposing upon them the amended penalty of reclusion perpetua
with its accessory penalties, instead of life imprisonment.
HELD:
While the principal witnesses for the prosecution did not actually see appellants shoot and kill
the victim, direct proof of their culpability is not necessary when circumstantial evidence would
suffice. The requisites thereof are: (1) there is more than one circumstance; (2) the facts from
which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is
such as to produce a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.
We have held that conspiracy need not be established by direct evidence of acts charged, but may
and generally must be proved by a number of indefinite acts, conditions and circumstances,
which vary according to the purpose accomplished. Thus, the rule is that conspiracy must be
shown to exist by direct or circumstantial evidence, as clearly and convincingly as the crime
itself. In the absence of direct proof thereof, as in the present case, it may be deduced from the
mode, method and manner by which the offense was perpetrated, or inferred from the acts of the
accused themselves when such acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action and
community of interest.
The trial court was correct in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of dwelling. Although
the triggerman fired the shot from outside the house, his victim was inside. For the circumstance
of dwelling to be considered, it is not necessary that the accused should have actually entered the
dwelling of the victim to commit the offense; it is enough that the victim was attacked inside his
own house, although the assailant may have devised means to perpetrate the assault from
without.

PEOPLE v. RAUL ACOSTA


G.R. No. 126351. February 18, 2000
Accused was charged with arson. He interposes this appeal because he claims that the trial court
erred in finding him guilty basing its conclusion merely on circumstantial evidence.
HELD:
Arson is defined as the malicious destruction of property by fire. In this case, we find the trial
court correctly held that the following circumstances taken together constitute an unbroken chain
of events pointing to one fair and logical conclusion, that accused started the fire which gutted
the house of private complainant. Although there is no direct evidence linking appellant to the
arson, we agree with the trial court in holding him guilty thereof in the light of the following
circumstances duly proved and on record.
In prosecutions for arson, proof of the crime charged is complete where the evidence establishes
(1) the corpus delicti, that is, a fire because of criminal agency; and (2) the identity of the
defendants as the one responsible for the crime.

PEOPLE v. BONIFACIO TOREJOS


G.R. No. 132217. February 18, 2000
Accused-appellant Bonifacio Torejos y Pañares @ Boning was convicted for raping a three-year-
old child and was meted the supreme penalty of death.
HELD:
Accused-appellant’s attempt to discredit ROSALIE is unconvincing. The assessment of
credibility of witnesses is primarily the function of the trial court. It is well established in this
jurisdiction that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies
are accorded great respect unless the court a quo overlooked substantial facts and circumstances
which, if considered, would materially affect the result of the case.
The information filed against TOREJOS specifically alleges that he raped MARY CRIS, a three-
year-old child. We therefore affirm the judgment of the RTC imposing the death penalty for
being in accordance with law. Four (4) members of the Court, although maintaining their
adherence to the separate opinions expressed in People v. Echegaray that R.A. 7659 insofar as it
prescribes the penalty of death is unconstitutional, nevertheless submit to the ruling of the
majority that the law is constitutional and that the death penalty should accordingly be imposed.

PEOPLE v. LIBERATO MENDIONA


G.R. No. 129056. February 21, 2000
Before this Court for automatic review is the decision finding accused-appellant Liberato
“Renato” Mendiona guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and sentencing him to
suffer the supreme penalty of death and to pay the complainant, Maricel Capongcol, the amount
of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as moral damages.
HELD:
Accordingly, the range of penalty imposable on appellant is composed of two indivisible
penalties, i.e., reclusion perpetua to death. Following Article 63 (1)of the same Code, which
provides the rules for the application of indivisible penalties, appellant was correctly meted the
supreme penalty of death since the aggravating circumstances of dwelling and unlawful entry
attended the commission of the rape. The attendance of these aggravating circumstances is not
contested by the accused-appellant.
On a final note, we correct the trial court’s erroneous classification of the award of P50,000.00 as
moral damages. In People v. Prades, we explained that “x x x the award authorized by criminal
law as civil indemnity ex delicto for the offended party x x x is mandatory upon the finding of
the fact of rape; it is distinct from and should not be denominated as moral damages which are
based on different jural foundations and assessed by the court in the exercise of sound
discretion.” Further, our more recent rulings hold that the indemnification for the victim shall be
in the increased amount of P75,000.00 if the crime of rape is committed or effectively qualified
by any of the circumstances under which the death penalty is authorized by law. Applying the
foregoing rulings, the civil indemnity to be awarded to the complainant should be seventy five
thousand pesos (P75,000.00).

PEOPLE v. RENATO DE GUZMAN


G.R. No. 118670. February 22, 2000
Renato de Guzman, Marciano Ramos, Frederick Mosqueda and Paquito Ancheta were charged
with Robbery with Homicide and were found guilty. Only De Guzman, Ramos and Mosqueda
were apprehended. Ancheta remains at-large. When they were arraigned, the three accused
entered a plea of “not guilty.” At the trial and upon motion of the prosecution, Mosqueda was
discharged and was utilized as state witness.
HELD:
The requirements for the discharge and utilization of an accused as a state witness are
enumerated in Rule 119, Section 9 of the Rules of Court, viz:
(a) There is absolute necessity for the testimony of the accused whose discharge is requested;
(b) There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offense
committed, except the testimony of the accused;
(c) The testimony of the accused can be substantially corroborated in its material points;
(d) Said accused does not appear to be the most guilty; and
(e) Said accused has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.
While this Court agrees that some of the requirements under Section 9 of Rule 119 for the
discharge of Mosqueda to become state witness were not strictly and properly met, nonetheless,
this Court does not subscribe to the suggestion of the defense that Mosqueda’s testimony should
be disregarded. This issue has long been settled. Although the trial court may have erred in
discharging the accused, such error would not affect the competency and the quality of the
testimony of the defendant. The discharge of an accused under these circumstances is not
reversible. Once his discharge is effected, the legal consequence of acquittal follows unless the
accused so discharged fails or refuses to testify pursuant to his commitment. The order for his
discharge may only be recalled in one instance, and that is when he subsequently fails to testify
against his co-accused.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - February 2000

Criminal Law Digests – November 1999


Jan 24
Posted by Magz
People v. Moroy Gallo
November 16, 1999
Moroy Gallo was convicted by the trial court of murder. He questions the testimony of the
witness, Amelita Elarmo because of her relationship with the deceased.
Held:
The Supreme Court repeated the well-settled doctrine that mere relationship of a witness to the
victim does not render her testimony less worthy of credit, especially where there is no showing
of improper motive. The Court also upheld the claim of conspiracy. To establish conspiracy it is
not essential that there be previous agreement to commit the crime; it is sufficient that there be a
common purpose and design, concerted action and concurrence of the interest and the minds of
the parties meet understandingly so as to bring about a deliberate agreement to commit the
offense charged, notwithstanding the absence of a formal agreement. The Supreme Court also
upheld the trial court’s appreciation of the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength.
The armed assailants used their greater number and superior power to overwhelm the unarmed
victim.
In addition, since the murder was committed prior to the effectivity of RA 7659, the applicable
provision is Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes murder with reclusion temporal
in its maximum period to death. The imposable penalty which has three periods, namely,
minimum (reclusion temporal), medium (reclusion perpetua) and maximum (death), makes Art.
64 of the Revised Penal Code applicable. In this case the prosecution was able to establish the
qualifying aggravating circumstances of abuse of superior strength. In the absence of any other
generic aggravating and mitigating circumstance, the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua,
the medium period of the penalty pursuant to Art. 64 of the Penal Code. Scncä

People v. Rosalinda Ariola


November 16, 1999
Elvira Obana, with Rosalinda Ariola were convicted of illegal recruitment in large scale, under
Article 38 and 39 of the Labor Code. The 6 accused presented themselves as part of the Manila
Booking Agency, and offered jobs in New Guinea. They promised employment upon the
payment of recruitment fees. The victims discovered that the office was not actually Manila
Booking Agency, and the recruiters were unlicensed.
HELD:
The crime of illegal recruitment in large scale is committed when three (3) elements concur,
namely: (a) The offender has no valid license or authority required by law to enable him to
lawfully engage in recruitment and placement of workers; (b) The offender undertakes either any
activity within the meaning of “recruitment and placement” defined under Art. 13, par. (b), of the
Labor Code.
ART. 13. Definitions. – x x x x (b) “Recruitment and placement” refers to any act of canvassing,
enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals,
contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit
or not: Provided, That any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee
employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. or
any of the prohibited acts enumerated in ART. 34. Prohibited practices. – It shall be unlawful for
any individual, entity, licensee, or holder of authority: (a) To charge or accept, directly or
indirectly, any amount greater than that specified in the schedule of allowable fees prescribed by
the Secretary of Labor, or to make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received
by him as a loan or advance; (b) To furnish or publish any false notice or information or
document in relation to recruitment or employment; (c) To give any false notice, testimony,
information or document or commit any act of misrepresentation for the purpose of securing a
license or authority under this Code; (d) To induce or to attempt to induce a worker already
employed to quit his employment in order to offer him to another unless the transfer is designed
to liberate the worker from oppressive terms and conditions of employment; (e) To influence or
to attempt to influence any person or entity not to employ any worker who has not applied for
employment through his agency; (f) To engage in the recruitment or placement of workers in
jobs harmful to public health or morality or to the dignity of the Republic of the Philippines; (g)
To obstruct or attempt to obstruct inspection by the Secretary of Labor or by his duly authorized
representatives; (h) To fail to file reports on the status of employment, placement, vacancies,
remittances of foreign exchange earnings, separation from jobs, departures and such other
matters or information as may be required by the Secretary of Labor; (i) To substitute or alter
employment contracts approved and verified by the Department of Labor from the time of actual
signing thereof by the parties up to and including the periods of expiration of the same without
the approval of the Secretary of Labor; (j) To become an officer or member of the Board or any
corporation engaged in travel agency or to be engaged directly or indirectly in the management
of a travel agency; and, (k) To withhold or deny travel documents from applicant workers before
departure for monetary or financial considerations other than those authorized under this Code
and its implementing rules and regulations.] of the same Code; and (c) The offender committed
the same against three (3) or more persons, individually or as a group.
People v. Rodrigo Lasola
November 17, 1999
This is a case for automatic review where Rodrigo Lasola was convicted of two counts of rape of
an under-aged relative.
HELD:
The Court reiterated the principle that in cases of qualified rape of an under-aged relative, the
prosecution must allege and prove the ordinary elements of 1) sexual congress, 2) with a woman,
3) by force and without consent, and in order to warrant the imposition of the death penalty, the
additional elements that 4) the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the rape and 5) the
offender is a parent (whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted) of the victim. Well-settled too,
is the doctrine that when a woman testifies that she has been raped, she says, in effect, all that is
necessary to constitute the commission of the crime, and this rule applies with more vigor when
the culprit is a close relative of the victim. The judgement of the lower court was affirmed.

People v. Joel Pinca


November 17,1999
To properly appreciate the qualifying circumstance of treachery, two conditions must first
concur: (1) the offender employed such means, method or manner of execution as to ensure his
or her safety from the defensive or retaliatory acts of the victim; and (2) the said means, method
or manner of execution was deliberately adopted. The essence of treachery is the deliberateness
and the unexpectedness of the attack, which give the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim
no chance to resist or to escape.
With respect to evident premeditation, there must be clear and convincing proof of the following:
(1) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime, (2) an act manifestly indicating
that he clung to his determination, and (3) a sufficient lapse of time between such determination
and the execution that allowed the criminal to reflect upon the consequences of his act.
For voluntary surrender to be appreciated as a mitigating circumstance, the following requisites
must concur: (1) the offender has not been actually arrested, (2) the offender surrendered to a
person in authority, and (3) the surrender was voluntary. If the only reason for the supposed
surrender is to ensure the safety of the accused whose arrest is inevitable, the surrender is not
spontaneous and hence not voluntary.
Ordinarily, intoxication may be considered either aggravating or mitigating, depending upon the
circumstances attending the commission of the crime. Intoxication has the effect of decreasing
the penalty, if it is not habitual or subsequent to the plan to commit the contemplated crime; on
the other hand, when it is habitual or intentional, it is considered an aggravating circumstance. A
person pleading intoxication to mitigate penalty must present proof of having taken a quantity of
alcoholic beverage prior to the commission of the crime, sufficient to produce the effect of
obfuscating reason. At the same time, that person must show proof of not being a habitual
drinker and not taking the alcoholic drink with the intention to reinforce his resolve to commit
the crime.

People v. Rustico Rivera


November 17,1999
The case is a review by the Court of the issue of whether the constitutional presumption of
innocence accorded to an accused has been sufficiently overcome by the State enough to sustain
the judgment of the trial court finding the indictee guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified
rape and thereby imposing upon him the death penalty.
Held:
The trial court has correctly imposed the death penalty in the case at bar after taking into account
the qaulifying circumstances of minority of the victim and the paternity relationship between
appellant and the victim, as provided for in Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, amending
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code. The crime of rape has been established. Alphamia, the
victim, is a minor (merely 10 years of age at the time of commission of the offense), and the
offender is the father of the victim. These elements have been properly alleged in the information
and proven during the trial.

People v. Mateo Balluda


November 19,1999
Appellant was convicted for violation of Republic Act No. 6425. He contends that he was neither
selling, delivering, nor transporting drugs at the time he was apprehended.
Held:
Under the Rules of Evidence, it is disputably presumed that things which a person possesses or
over which he exercises acts of ownership, are owned by him. In U.S. vs. Bandoc, the Court
ruled that the finding of a dangerous drug in the house or within the premises of the house of the
accused is prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi and is enough to convict in
the absence of a satisfactory explanation. The constitutional presumption of innocence will not
apply as long as there is some logical connection between the fact proved and the ultimate fact
presumed, and the inference of one fact from proof of another shall not be so unreasonable as to
be a purely arbitrary mandate. The burden of evidence is thus shifted on the possessor of the
dangerous drug to explain absence of animus possidendi. In the case under consideration, it is
not disputed that appellant was apprehended while carrying a sack containing marijuana.
Consequently, to warrant his acquittal, he must show that his act was innocent and done without
intent to possess, i.e. without knowledge that what he possessed was a prohibited drug.
The legality of the warrantless search and arrest in the case under scrutiny is also beyond
question. It bears stressing that appellant was caught transporting a prohibited drug in flagrante
delicto. Consequently, a peace officer or any private person, for that matter, may, without
warrant, arrest a person when in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; and the person lawfully arrested may be
searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of
an offense, without a search warrant. Hence, the warrantless search in this case, being an incident
to a lawful arrest, is in itself lawful.

People v. Pascua Galladan


November 19,1999
The accused in this case is invoking alibi as a defense. Significantly, the alibi of accused-
appellant cannot prosper. For alibi to be validly invoked, not only must he prove that he was
somewhere else when the crime was committed but he must also satisfactorily establish that it
was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene at the time of commission. In the
instant case, accused-appellant only attempted to prove that he was at a different place when Sgt.
Galladan was gunned down. He did not even attempt to establish that it was impossible for him
to be at the locus criminis when the offense was committed. For this fact alone, his alibi must
fail.

People v. Mario Basco


November 19, 1999
Under Article 14, paragraph 16 of the Revised Penal Code, there is treachery when the offender
commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, methods, or forms in the
execution thereof which tend directly and specifically to insure its execution without risk to
himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. “For treachery to be
appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, two elements must concur: (1) the employment of
means of execution which gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or
retaliate; and (2) the means of execution is deliberately or consciously adopted.”

People v. Emberga
G.R. 116616 Nov. 26, 1999
The victim supposedly attacked the Emberga brothers with a knife. The accused then threw rocks
at the victim causing the latter to drop his knife. The accused then grabbed the knife and stabbed
the victim 25 times. They were then charged with murder aggravated by treachery & cruelty.
Accused plead defense of a relative and self defense.
Held:
Both were guilty of homicide only. Treachery cannot be presumed but must be proven which was
not done here. As for the aggravating circumstance of cruelty, such is unavailing. The mere fact
that the wounds were in excess of what was indispensably necessary does not imply cruelty.
Self defense and defense of a relative may not be availed of. The alleged unlawful aggression on
the part of the victim was not proven by clear & convincing evidence. Assuming there was an
attack, the means used to repel the attack were not reasonably necessary since the victim already
dropped the knife after the accused threw rocks and could no longer threaten the accused.

People v. Suba
November 29, 1999
The accused raped his niece twice. He was caught in the act by the victim’s brother on the
second time and was reported to the police. Charged with rape, he denied the charge against him.
No sperm was found in the victim’s vagina.
Held:
Guilty. Trial courts assessment as to the credibility of witnesses is to be accorded great weight.
Both the victim and her brother positively identified the accused as the rapist.
The absence of spermatozoa in the vagina does not negate the commission of rape. There may be
a valid explanation for such absence, as when the sperm was washed away or the accused failed
to ejaculate.

People v. Paraiso
November 29, 1999
Accused, with 1 John Doe, Forced their way into the house of the victim. The victim’s 4 children
were herded into 1 room while the accused ransacked the house for cash and other valuables.
Before leaving, the accused stabbed the victim who died. He was charged of robbery with
homicide aggravated by dwelling, superior strength and disregard of sex. Accused raised the
defense of alibi.
Held:
Guilty. The defense of alibi is no good when the witnesses have positively identified the accused.
The fact that the witnesses did not identify him immediately to the police is not a defense either.
There is no standard behavior for persons confronted with a shocking incident. One may either
report the crime immediately or after a long lapse of time.
The aggravating circumstance of dwelling is appreciated since robbery may be committed
without trespassing the sanctity of the home. He who goes to another’s house to hurt or do wrong
is guiltier than he who offends elsewhere.
Superior strength is also present since there was a notorious inequality between the accused who
were both armed males and the unarmed female victim.
Disregard of sex is not an aggravating circumstance here since it only applies to crimes against
honor and persons.

People v. Capco, Agpoon et al


November 29, 1999
The accused were charged with robbery with homicide and physical injuries for robbing one
Alberto S. Flores of P30,000.00 in cash and, on the occasion thereof, shot him to death as well as
inflicted physical injuries on his son Bolivar J. Flores. All 4 accused were found guilty.
Held:
Accused Agpoon should be acquitted for failure to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he
committed the crime.
Well-settled is the rule that for evidence to be believed it must not only proceed from the mouth
of a credible witness but it must be credible itself. Agpoon was implicated on the sole testimony
of Bolivar who contradicted himself in Court. Besides, Agpoon’s 3 co-accused also retracted
their statements that Agpoon was with them went they barged into the store of the victims.
Supposedly, Agpoon loitered outside the store after the crime was committed. The Court state
that it is contrary to human experience for a criminal to choose to remain at the crime scene
within a considerable period of time when he could see his companions escape.

People v. Ocumen
GR 120493-94 & 117692
Ocumen was accused of murder & frustrated murder. He was at a wedding party & argued with 2
guests. He pulled out a knife and chased the 2 but went amok and stabbed 2 other people instead.
One man died while his other victim, a 14-yr. old girl, lived.
Held:
Guilty of homicide and frustrated homicide only. There was no treachery here. The fact that both
victims were unarmed does not amount to treachery. An altercation precedes both incidents.
But, the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength must be considered since his 2nd
victim was an unarmed 14-yr. old, 4’11” girl.

People v. Barellano
November 29, 1999
The victim was drinking tuba with friends when the accused walked up to the victim from behind
and shot him in the head. The victim fell to the ground and was shot again in the head. Charged
with murder, the accused raised the defense of alibi.
Held:
Guilty. The accused was positively identified by witnesses as the perpetrator of the crime.
Treachery was present since the victim was approached from behind, was unarmed and totally
defenseless.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central
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Tags: Criminal Law Digests - November 1999

Criminal Law Digests – October 1999


Jan 24
Posted by Magz

People v. Marcelino
October 1, 1999
Victims Pineda and Bajos were sent by the governor to investigate reported abuses by para-
military groups in the hinterlands. Barangay Chairman Marcelino and some of his Civilian Home
Defense (CHDF) cohorts shot to death and incinerated the corpses of said victims.
Issue:
• Was there treachery?
• Was conspiracy established to hold other accused equally liable for the murder?
Held: YES
Elements of treachery (1) the employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked
no opportunity to defend himself or to retaliate, and (2) the said means of execution was
deliberately or consciously adopted.
Victims were deliberately led toward Nabilog by Marcelino when he claimed there was a taxi
there waiting for them. When they reached Tampa Creek, said unforwarned victims were
suddenly shot to death without chance to defend themselves. Marcelino effectively ordered his
men to kill the two by means of a signal (drawing a line across his neck with a finger). The
gesture was so conspicuous that even the witness saw it. The group followed the deceased then
killed them. Their bodies were set on the ground side-by side, their clothes removed, their
personal belongings stolen. Thereafter Marcelino ordered that the bodies be burned in order to
conceal their evil deed. These circumstances, taken together, sufficiently established a unity of
purpose, community of interest and intent, which were carried out in concert. For conspiracy to
exist, there need not be an agreement for an appreciable period prior to the occurrence; it is
sufficient that at the time of the commission of the offense, the accused had the same purpose
and were united in its execution.

People v. Narido
October 1, 1999
Accused raped his 11-year-old daughter while they are gathering firewood. On another occasion,
his common law wife caught him laying on top of his daughter.
Issue:
W/N said crime is punishable by death? (special circumstance imposing death penalty
automatically – victim is under 18 years of age and offender is a parent.)
Held: No.
Guilty only of simple statutory rape and not qualified rape for want of allegation of relationship.
Said special circumstances introduced by RA 7659 which sanction automatic imposition of death
penalty partake of the nature of qualifying circumstances since these circumstances increase the
penalty for rape by one degree. Nonetheless, to be properly appreciated as a qualifying
circumstance, it must be specifically pleaded in the information. Information in this case reveals
that although the complainant’s minority was alleged, the fact of relationship, albeit proven
during the trial, was not so specified.

People v. Padama
October 1, 1999
Victim Gatchalian was chased by the two accused, each armed with a knife, and stabbed
simultaneously several times. He eventually died of severe blood loss. Said killing arose from a
previous incident where victim confronted accused regarding their plan of stealing from the store
of the former.
Issue: W/N there was treachery? Yes.
W/N there was evident premeditation? No.
Held:
The conclusion that the killing was attended with treachery or taking advantage of superior
strength, as the two accused each armed with bladed weapons and continuously attacking and
raining knife thrusts upon the unarmed and unsuspecting victim which caused his eventual death
is also not to be disturbed. The evidence shows that the two accused took turns in stabbing the
victim while the latter had already fallen down on the pavement.
Proof of the alleged resentment does not constitute conclusive proof of evident premeditation.
An expression of hatred does not necessarily imply a resolution to commit a crime; there must be
a demonstration of outward acts of a criminal intent that is notorious and manifest.

People v. Villablanca
October 1, 1999
Villablanca brothers barged in to the house of victim Pedro Natanio late at night. Pedro and his
family were awakened by their chickens flying off the perch. Victim was made to kneel on the
floor and then stabbed him on the stomach with a samurai, while the other pointed a gun to his
face. Victim rolled to his side and was again stabbed thrice which led to his death.
Issue: W/N there was treachery? Yes.
W/N there was abuse of superior strength? No.
W/N there was conspiracy? Yes.
Held:
Pedro may have been warned of a possible danger to his person. However, what is decisive is
that the attack was executed in a manner making it impossible for Pedro to retaliate. When Pedro
was made to kneel on the floor, he was unarmed. There was no risk to the accused when they
commenced the stabbing. Pedro’s helplessness was bolstered by the fact that he was suffering
from a congenital limpness which allowed him to walk only short distances.
There is no evidence that accused took advantage of superior strength. In any event, even if it
was present it was absorbed in treachery. Both accused shall suffer the same fate, as there was
conspiracy between them. When the other pointed a gun to Pedro, he provided his brother with
moral assistance. This is enough to make him a co-conspirator. It is not necessary to show that he
actually he hit and killed Pedro to make him liable for his brother’s acts.

People v. Vergel
October 4, 1999
Vergel and Duran, both drunk and armed with a gun and a fan knife, fetched and forcibly brought
victim on board a tricycle to an apartment. Vergel had carnal knowledge with said victim after he
poked the gun at her side and pulled her into a bedroom, while Duran stayed guard near the door
of the sala.
Issue: W/N there was rape?
Held: Yes.
It is clear there was rape. The prosecution was able to prove that (1) the accused had carnal
knowledge of the complainant (2) because he intimidated her by pointing a gun at her. Failure to
shout or offer tenacious resistance did not make voluntary the complainant’s submission to the
criminal acts of the accused. Such resistance is not an element of the felony. It is enough that the
malefactor intimidated the complainant into submission. Not every victim of rape can be
expected to act with reason or in conformity with the usual expectation of everyone.

People v. Yabut
October 5, 1999
Spouses Yabut on several occasions received money from complainants promising them they
will be able to work in Japan. After several cancellation of their scheduled departure,
complainants discovered that said spouses were not licensed to engage in recruitment and
placement activities. Wife eluded arrest and remains at-large. Husband contends that he was not
engaged in recruitment for overseas employment and but only in processing visas. He was
acquitted of the crime of estafa.
Issue: W/N accused could be convicted of illegal recruitment in large scale despite his acquittal
of the crime of estafa?
Held: Yes.
It is settled that a person who commits illegal recruitment may be charged and convicted
separately of illegal recruitment under the Labor Code and estafa Art. 315 of the RPC. The
former is mala prohibitum where the criminal intent of the accused is not necessary for
conviction, while estafa is mala in se where the criminal intent of the accused is crucial for
conviction.

People v. Caratay
October 5, 1999
Accused in several occasions had carnal knowledge with his common-law wife’s 13 year-old
niece. In one occasion he drugged the lugaw of said victim.
Issue: Was there rape?
Held: Yes.
We have ruled that if the ability to resist is taken away by administering a drug, even though the
woman may be conscious, sexual intercourse with her will be rape. Moral character is immaterial
in the prosecution and conviction of the accused in a rape case. We have ruled that even
prostitutes can be rape victims.

People v. Suelto
October 7, 1999
Appellant came home late, and his wife was angry with him because she believed that he came
from Sing-A-Long. Quarrel ensued resulting to death of the wife after being shot on the head.
Issue: W/N guilty of parricide?
Held: Yes.
Appellant was the only person with his wife when she was shot in their room. Considering, that
his defense was built on the theory that the shooting was purportedly accidental, appellant has
the inescapable burden of proving the elements of the exempting circumstance of accident.

People v. Floro
October 7, 1999

Witness and victim were walking along a trail on a cassava plantation owned by accused, who
suddenly appeared and shot the victim then striked the head several times with the gun.
Issue: W/N guilty of murder?
Held: Yes.
The killing in this case is murder qualified by treachery. The evidence shows that accused
suddenly sprang from the cassava plants and shot the victim. The victim was unarmed and
unsuspecting of any impending peril to his life and limb at the time he was shot by accused. The
swift and unexpected attack by accused rendered the victim helpless.
The rule that treachery may be shown if the victim is attacked from behind does not mean it
cannot be appreciated if the attack is frontally launched. The suddenness of the shooting without
the slightest provocation from he victim who was unarmed and had no opportunity to defend
himself, ineluctably qualified the crime with treachery.

People v. Ortiz
October 7, 1999
Accused threw stones on the roof of the victim’s house. After the victim hurled challenge for the
stone thrower to come out, the four accused suddenly emerged from the dark. Victim was held by
the arms and dragged towards the barangay hall. Accused fired their rifles on the ground to
dissuade witnesses from coming to his aid. Later, bursts of gunfire were heard coming from the
direction of the barangay hall. Lifeless body of the victim was later found near the barangay hall.
Issue: W/N guilty of murder? W/N there was conspiracy?
Held: Yes.
The only clear circumstance that qualifies the killing to murder in this case is the abuse of
superior strength between the victim and his four aggressors, as well as the degree of force and
the weapons used by the latter.
Conspiracy among the four assailants was proven by proof beyond reasonable doubt. The
accused were together when two of them held the victim, while one was firing his rifle. All of
them dragged the latter towards the barangay hall. To establish conspiracy, it is not necessary that
there be proof of the previous agreement to commit the crime, it being enough that the
malefactors shall have acted in concert pursuant to the same objective. At the very instant the
plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the crime and decide to pursue it, each and
everyone of the conspirators is criminally liable for the crime committed by anyone of them.

People v. Apelado
October 11, 1999
Victim Rodolfo de Jesus was overtaken by Jose Apelado and his group while walking in front of
a house. His line of way was cut. De Jesus asked him, “What is my fault to you?” He raised his
hands and prepared to fight. German hit his lower legs with a piece of wood. He fell down. The
three surrounded him. German pulled out a knife and stabbed him at his legs and then at his
throat. Apelado hacked him with a bolo using his left hand. De Jesus was hit twice – at the top of
his head and nape. Robert thrust an ice pick at his back and side below the armpit. They then ran
away and left him sprawled on the ground.
Held:
To establish conspiracy, it is not essential that there be proof as to the previous agreement to
commit a crime. It is sufficient that the form and manner in which the attack was accomplished
clearly indicate unity of action and purpose. In this instance, the fact that the assailants followed,
overtook, surrounded and took turns in inflicting injuries to the victim show a common purpose.
Abuse of superior strength also attended the commission of the crime. This circumstance is
appreciated when the aggressors purposely use excessive force out of proportion to the means of
defense available to the person attacked. In the case at bar, the aggressors who were all armed
first hit the legs of their unarmed victim which caused him to fall kneeling. This was followed by
a stab above the knee. Having deprived him of his means to stand or run, they took turns in
inflicting mortal wounds on him.
Neither treachery nor evident premeditation was present in the commission of the crime.
Treachery is absent as the accused-appellants were not entirely risk free during their attack. As
stated, the victim prepared to fight it out with the accused-appellants. Evident premeditation
cannot be considered for lack of evidence that accused-appellants preconceived the crime.

People v. Renato
October 11, 1999
Victim Ludovico Romano and his wife Melecia were selling tuba in a makeshift hut, several
meters away from the highway. Melecia sat on a bench, while Ludovico squatted on the ground,
waiting for customers to arrive. Suddenly, a shot was fired. Melecia hid herself in an irrigation
canal while Ludovico stood up and tried to find out where the shot came from. When another
shot was fired, Melecia shouted for Ludovico to duck. Ludovico then stood an arm’s length away
from the highway. It was too late, Melecia saw accused-appellant Ruben Ronato shoot Ludovico.
Victim was rushed to the hospital and died two days later.
Issue: W/N there was treachery? Yes.
Held:
The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack, without the slightest provocation
on the part of the person attacked. There is treachery when the attack on the victim was made
without giving the latter warning of any kind and thus rendering him unable to defend himself
from an assailant’s unexpected attack. What is decisive is that the attack was executed in such a
manner as to make it impossible for the victim to retaliate. As testified to by Melecia, the victim
was “squatting on the ground” in their makeshift hut when the shooting started. The victim stood
up to find out what was happening. On the third time, accused-appellant shot him point blank
and in a helpless position.

People v. Raganas
October 12, 1999
Accused entered the guardhouse of the Yasay Compound and the office beside it and forthwith
proceeded to attack, assault, and stab one Mamerto Lucion, the security guard thereat, who died
instantaneously from multiple stab wounds, after which the above-named accused destroyed, cut
off, and disconnected the electrical and communication facilities therein such as the radio power
supply unit and an intercom set and carried away one cassette recorder.
Issue: W/N accused are guilty of robbery with homicide?
Held: Yes.
In order that circumstantial evidence may be sufficient to convict, the same must comply with
these essential requisites, viz.: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which
the inference are derived are proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as
to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. All the foregoing requisites are here present.
The testimonies of Daayata, Obsioma, and Baba pieced together reveal an unbroken chain of
events that leads to but one fair and reasonable conclusion that the appellant, is guilty of the
crime charged.

People v. Lachica
October 12, 1999
Accused boarded the tricycle of Pascasio as his tricycle was running on the shoulder of the road,
he heard somebody inside the tricycle cry out ‘aray’ and felt warm blood spurt from inside the
sidecar of the tricycle landing at the back of his right palm. He then stopped the tricycle and
accused brought out victim Rodolfo Pamoleras, Jr. and started to stab him while others served as
lookout.
Issue: W/N there was conspiracy? Yes.
W/N there was treachery? Yes.
Held:
Conspiracy – The act of Junuario dela Cruz of hiring a tricycle on the pretext of needing to throw
something; their strategic seating positions inside the tricycle, depriving the deceased an
opportunity to free himself; their respective acts of stabbing the deceased, and their washing the
blood off the tricycle all evinced a unity of action and common design to kill the victim. It is not
necessary that there be evidence of a previous plan or agreement to embark upon the assault. It is
sufficient that their actions indicate a common intent such that the act of one is the act of all.
Treachery – The deceased had no inkling that he would be killed that fateful night. There was no
force employed on him when he boarded the tricycle. Neither was there a heated argument with
any of the culprits. In fact, they appeared to be in a jubilant mood even as they were singing
“Tayo na sa Heaven”. Evidently, from all appearances the deceased was lured into going with the
assailants who suddenly stabbed him inside the moving tricycle, giving the latter no opportunity
to retaliate or defend himself from the means or method consciously adopted by the felons in
taking his life. Qualifying circumstance of treachery suffices to qualify the offense to murder.

People v. Manegdeg
October 13, 1999
Accused was seen running through the rice fields towards the house of the victim. At about that

time, Federico, his wife Lorie and son Ronel, were inside their house listening to the radio.
Federico requested Ronel to switch to another radio station while he will go out to urinate and
proceeded to the door. As Federico held the door frame with his hand, he was stabbed by
appellant. Prior said incident, accused was requesting Federico’s consent to marry his daughter
but to which he replied that is more honorable for his daughter to marry son of accused.
Issue: W/N there was treachery?
Held: Yes.
Circumstances surrounding the killing of the victim Federico Abian clearly indicate the presence
of alevosia or treachery, for accused-appellant attacked the victim while he was about to exit his
house to urinate, with no inkling whatsoever that he would be attacked. A sudden and
unexpected attack, without the slightest provocation on the person of the one attacked, is the
essence of treachery. Moreover, the trial court correctly considered the generic aggravating
circumstance of dwelling. Where the crime was committed in the place of abode of the victims,
the aggravating circumstance of dwelling shall be appreciated against the accused.

People v. Gailo
October 13, 1999
Sotela and Mañale went to the store to drink beer. Some minutes later, they were joined in their
drinking by Renato Gailo and his elder brother, Ronaldo Gailo, alias “Mukong”. A minor
altercation ensued when Ronaldo boxed the victim, but the two were soon pacified and the group
resumed their drinking. Ronaldo then invited Sotela and the victim to his house, where allegedly
there was a birthday party.
On the way to the said party, Gailos assaulted the victim. Sotela witnessed Ronaldo stab the
victim on the face with a bolo, then Renato stabbed the victim on the back, and Rudy hit the
victim with a lead pipe on the neck. A minute later, three other accused arrived, and for five
minutes, helped stone the victim, hitting him on the head and body.
Issue: W/N guilty of murder?
Held: Yes.
Said killing was qualified to murder by the use of superior strength, the accused having clearly
overpowered the victim in terms of number and weapons used. We reverse, however, to the
extent that it appreciated nighttime as an aggravating circumstance. There are two tests for
nocturnity to be aggravating – the objective test, under which nocturnity is aggravating because
it facilitated the commission of the offense, and the subjective test, under which nocturnity is
aggravating because it was purposely sought by the offender in order to facilitate the
achievement of his objectives, prevent discovery or evade capture. In the instant case, there is no
evidence that nighttime was sought for any of these purposes, or that it aided the accused in the
consummation of the murder. Moreover, at the time of the killing, there was sufficient
illumination from the moon such that the two eyewitnesses were able to identify the six accused.
When the place of the crime is illuminated by light, nighttime is not aggravating.
Neither was treachery proven, as there was no showing that the attack was made swiftly and
unexpectedly as to render the victim helpless and unable to defend himself. Neither can we
appreciate the presence of evident premeditation, there having been no indication that accused-
appellants earlier resolved to kill the victim and clung to such determination for a considerable
length of time.

People v. Panique
October 13, 1999
Complainant, eldest child of the accused, was left to the care of latter when her mother went to
Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper. While complainant was asleep, accused laid himself on
top of her. When she awoke, she found accused fondling her breasts even as he inserted his penis
into her vagina. All she could do was cry, because she was afraid of her father whom she knew
was hooked on drugs.
Issue: W/N there was rape?
Held: Yes.
In a rape committed by a father against his own daughter, the former’s moral ascendancy and
influence over the latter substitutes for violence or intimidation. That ascendancy or influence
necessarily flows from the father’s parental authority, which the Constitution the laws recognize,
support and enhance, as well as from the children’s duty to obey and observe reverence and
respect towards their parents. Such reverence and respect are deeply ingrained in the minds of
Filipino children and are recognized by law. Abuse of both by a father can subjugate his
daughter’s will, thereby forcing he to do whatever he wants.
The minority of the victim and her relationship to the offender constitute a special qualifying
circumstance which should be alleged in the information and proved to warrant the imposition of
the death penalty. For this reason, said penalty should be reduced to reclusion perpetua.

People v. Langres
October 13, 1999
Sindo bothers attended a dance which ended about midnight. They proceeded to the house of
their elder brother. They sat on a bench opposite said house while sharing light moments.
Restituto greeted PO3 Langres when he came, who instead gave a fistblow on the former without
provocation. Victim Teodorico intervened to ask what is his brother’s fault. Accused drew his
gun and shot the victim at the forehead.
Issue: W/N there was self-defense?
Held: No.
The presence of unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non. At best, the victim’s brother
was discourteous to accused. Even then, such behavior could not be taken as an unlawful
aggression to justify the shooting of the victim. The unlawful aggression contemplated under the
law must come from the victim himself. Mere belief of an impending attack is not sufficient to
constitute unlawful aggression. Neither is an intimidating or threatening attitude. Even a mere
push or shove not followed by other acts placing in peril the life or personal safety of the accused
is not unlawful aggression. It is noteworthy hat the Sindo brothers were unarmed. They were
young men having a jovial, innocuous conversation when appellant passed by. Without such
imminent threat on his life, the person invoking self-defense has nothing to repel.

People v. Clemente
October 13, 1999
Complainant was selling balut in front of Lanai beerhouse when she met accused. They had
sexual intercourse in friend’s house.
Issue: W/N there was rape?
Held: No.
In rape cases alleged to have been committed by force, it is imperative for the prosecution to
establish that the element of voluntariness on the part of the victim to be absolutely lacking.
Testimony inexorably shows that complainant obviously consented to the sexual act which was
done not only once but twice. Glaring too is the fact that by her own admissions that her mouth
was not covered and that the accused was not holding or poking the pointed object at her while
doing the sexual act, she certainly had every opportunity to make an outcry against the alleged
rapist or shout for help had she wanted to. No woman would meekly give in to a sexual intruder
where her life is not in serious jeopardy.
People v. Bello
October 13, 1999
Accused allegedly raped his daughter in several occasions. His previous plea of not guilty was
substituted to a plea of guilty before the date of his scheduled cross-examination. Later, accused
moved for the reinstatement of his plea of not guilty but was denied by the trial court.
Held: Case remanded for proper arraignment.
A formal plea of not guilty should be properly entered if an accused admits the truth of some or
all the allegations of the information, but interposes excuses or additional facts which, if duly
established would exempt or relieve him in whole or in part of criminal responsibility.

People v. Aguinaldo
October 13, 1999
Accused allegedly raped his 17 year-old daughter.
Issue: W/N there was rape?
Held: No.
Complainant’s claim that she bled implies that there must have been laceration of her sex organ.
When physical evidence runs counter to testimonial evidence, conclusions as to physical
evidence must prevail. Physical evidence is that mute but eloquent manifestation of truth which
rate high in our hierarchy of trustworthy evidence.

People v. Agunos
October 13, 1999
Accused raped complainant while her husband was away serving as a poll watcher.
Issue: W/N there was rape?
Held: Yes.
Force and violence in rape cases need not be overpowering or irresistible when applied. The
record shows that amidst complainant’s pleas and struggles, accused pinned complainant’s hand
behind her back, covered her mouth with his hand and pulled her underwear to her knee before
spreading hr legs apart with such force that her undergarments were ripped. It appears that
accused remained unfazed when complainant slapped him and struggled to point the beam of the
flashlight at him not only to take a look at her assailant but apparently to deter him from
consummating his bestial desires.

People v. Gaballo
October 13, 1999
Two construction workers heard a girl scream for a distance, then saw her being hugged and
pulled by accused towards the ipil trees. When they reached the place, they saw the girl in school
uniform lying face down. They also saw the accused sitting down, who immediately ran away.
Unfortunatey, they were not able to apprehend the unidentified man.
Issue: W/N there was treachery?
Held: Yes.
Treachery is appreciated when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons,
employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to
ensure its execution, without risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party
might make. We ruled that the killing of children, who by reason of their tender years cannot be
expected to put up a defense, is considered attended with treachery even if the manner of attack
is not precisely shown.

People v. Costelo
October 13, 1999
Accused Conde grabbed victim Remy by the neck, then stabbed her at the mouth and at the back.
When Remy was able to escape from Conde, she ran towards Costelo, who pushed her towards
Conde, who again squeezed Remy’s mouth and dragged her. Pablo, who suddenly appeared, sat
on her chest and stabbed her more than fifteen times. Costelo held Remy on the shoulders in a
stooping position while the latter was being stabbed by Pablo.
Issue: W/N there was treachery?
W/N there was conspiracy?
Held: Yes.
That the locus criminis was a heavily populated area where others could thus intervene is not
significant at all. The essence of treachery is that the attack was deliberate and without warning.
The defense or retaliation contemplated here must come from the victim, not from anyone else.
Treachery was irrefutably indicated in the method by which the assailants waited for the victim
to pass by before suddenly attacking her and preventing her escape. At any rate, no help was
forthcoming because anyone inclined to lend assistance was intimidated.
Direct proof is not essential, for conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused prior to,
during or subsequent to the incident. Such acts must point to a joint purpose, concert of action or
community of interest. Hence, the victim need not be actually hit by each of the conspirators for
the act of one of them is deemed the act of all. In this case, conspiracy was shown because
Conde grabbed and stabbed the victim while Costelo impeded her escape and shoved her towards
Pablo, who in turn straddled her on the ground and stabbed her. Their prior act of waiting for the
victim outside her house affirms the existence of conspiracy, for ti speaks of a common design
and purpose.

People v. Celis
October 20, 1999
Complainant Racquel arrived from Manila at Magundanao and boarded the passenger jeep
driven by accused appellants Roque and Carlos. Upon reaching the terminal, Racquel discovered
that there was no more tricycle trip going to San Antonio. Accused invited Racquel to sleep in
their house, who agreed after the initial hesitation because she is not familiar with the area. She
was raped in several occasions, once in a makeshift hut and twice in a school building.
Issue: W/N there was a rape?
Held: Yes.

For rape to exist, it is not necessary that the force or intimidation employed be so great or of such
character as could not be resisted. It is only necessary that the force or intimidation be sufficient
to consummate the purpose which the appellant had in mind. When Racquel was dragged to the
makeshift hut by Carlos, he told her to cooperate with him or she would be shot. These threats
were enough to implant fear in the mind of the complainant, who was alone and helpless. Roque,
in turn, managed to have sexual intercourse with complainant by flashing a knife in her face.
Threatening the victim with a knife, a deadly weapon, is sufficient to cow the victim. It
constitutes an element of rape.

People v. Motos
October 20, 1999
Accused invited 7 year-old Jenalyn and her younger sister in his room. Vicitim Jenalyn fell
asleep beside her sister, who was playing with a doll. Jenalyn woke up after feeling pain and saw
accused on top of her. She was asked to take a bath but was later rushed to the hospital by her
parents due to her continuous bleeding.
Held:
Neither does the complaint allege, nor does the evidence introduced show, any qualifying
circumstance in the commission of the offense that can make the offense fall within the category
of rape punishable by death. The only penalty that can be properly decreed is the lower
indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua.

People v. Tabion
October 20, 1999
Accused in several occasions, raped his 16- year old daughter while his wife is away. She could
not resist the accused because she was afraid of him and of his threat to kill her and her family.
Issue: W/N there was rape?
Held: Yes.
In the incestuous rape of a minor, proof of force and violence exerted by the aggressor is not
essential. The moral and physical ascendancy of the father over his daughter-victim is sufficient
to cow her into submission to his bestial desires. Fear oftentimes overwhelms the victim. In the
instant case, the appellant enhanced his physical supremacy over his daughter by holding the
knife to her neck. In the face of such brutal intimidation, she knuckled under, thus enabling him
to satisfy his incestuous lust.
The death penalty may be imposed only if the information has alleged and the evidence has
proven both the age of the victim and her relationship to the victim.

People v. Maramara
October 20, 1999
A quarrel transpired between the friend of the accused and the victim in a benefit dance. Accused
shot to death victim after a rumble occurred.
Issue: W/N accused is guilty of murder?
Held: No. Guilty of Homicide only
The use of a firearm is not sufficient indication of treachery. In the absence of any convincing
proof that accused-appellant consciously and deliberately adopted the means by which he
committed the crime in order to ensure its execution, the Court must resolve doubt in favor of the
accused. Accused cannot be held liable only for death caused in a tumultuous affray because he
joined the fray purportedly to pacify the protagonist before shooting the victim.

People v. Arizala
October 20, 1999
Accused stabbed to death Sgt. Cara.
Issue: W/N accused is guilty of murder? Yes.
W/N there was self-defense? Yes.
Held:
Even if deceased hurled incentives at him and moved as if to draw something from his waist, we
are unable to establish a finding of unlawful aggression on the victim’s part. Unlawful aggression
presupposes an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, not merely a
threatening or intimidating attitude and the accused must present proof of positively strong act of
real aggression. Though deceased was in uniform, the latter did not have a firearm or a holster
for the same, and none was retrieved from the scene of the crime.
Deceased was killed with treachery. Not only was it not proven that there was provocation on the
part of the hapless victim but the attack at the back of the victim was made in such a manner that
would make it difficult for the deceased to offer an effective defense against his aggressor.

People v. Paranzo
October 26, 1999
Held:
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, states:
“Art. 335…When and how rape is committed…Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge
of a woman under any of the following circumstances:
1……By using force or intimidation;
2……When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
3……When the woman is under twelve years of age, even though neither of the circumstances
mentioned in the two next preceding paragraphs shall be present.”
Circumstances 1, 2 and 3 are alternative circumstances…When the rape is committed by using
force or intimidation, the victim does not have to be less than twelve (12) years of age…It is only
required that the proper complaint and information for rape must clearly describe the specific
circumstance which would make the carnal knowledge of a woman qualify as rape under Article
335. In addition, in rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the testimony of the
complaining witness provided such testimony is credible, natural, convincing and otherwise
consistent with human nature and the course of things.

People v. Garigadi
October 26, 1999
Defendant was convicted of rape and sentenced. He contends that the testimony of the
complainant was unsubstantiated, and contradictory.
Held:
The testimony of Gloridel was clear and convincing. Her declaration that accused-appellant
inserted his penis into her vagina was made in a straightforward and unshaken manner. Errorless
and accurate to the last detail testimony cannot be expected of Gloridel, who was seven (7) years
of age at the time of the trial. The alleged inconsistencies and lapses pointed by accused-
appellant to discredit Gloridel’s testimony, e.g. that accused-appellant merely fondled her or
inserted his finger in her vagina, are all minor and trivial details which do not touch upon the
commission of the offense. These lapses, to THE court’s mind, serve to strengthen rather than
weaken the credibility of a witness because they erase any suspicion of coached or rehearsed
testimony. The Court noted that a child of tender age cannot be expected to understand every
question asked of her in the course of examination. Ample margin of error and understanding
should be accorded to young witnesses who, much more than adults, would be gripped with
tension due to the novelty of the experience of testifying before a court.

People v. Lazaro
October 26, 1999
The accused was found guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. In his appeal the
accused-appellant raises the sole assignment of error that the trial court erred in finding the
accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal possession of firearms and
ammunition qualified by homicide.
Held:
In cases involving illegal possession of firearms under P.D. 1866 “Codifying the Laws on
Illegal/Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition, of Firearms,
Ammunition or Explosives or Instruments Used in the Manufacture of Firearms, Ammunition or
Explosives, and Imposing Stiffer Penalties for Certain Violations Thereof and for Relevant
Purposes”, as amended, the prosecution has the burden of proving the elements thereof, viz.: (a)
the existence of the subject firearm; and (b) the fact that the accused who owned or possessed it
does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess the same.
Republic Act No. 8294 has since amended P.D. No. 1866 by reducing the penalties for simple
and aggravated forms of illegal possession and considering the use of an unlicensed firearm
simply as an aggravating circumstance in murder or homicide. The law now provides:
“Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession of Firearms or
Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the Manufacture of Firearms or
Ammunition. – The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of not less
than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person who shall
unlawfully manufacture, deal in, acquire, dispose, or possess any low powered firearm such as
rimfire handgun, .380 or .32 and other firearm of similar firepower, ammunition, or machinery,
tool or instrument used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: Provided, That no
other crime was committed.
The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period and a fine of Thirty thousand pesos
(P30,000.00) shall be imposed if the firearm is classified as high powered firearm which includes
those with bores bigger than .38 caliber and 9 millimeter such as caliber .40, .41, .45 and also
lesser caliber firearms but considered powerful such as caliber .357 and caliber .22 center-fire
magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full automatic and by burst of two or three:
Provided, however, That no other crime was committed by the person arrested. If homicide or
murder is committed with the use of unlicensed firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall
be considered as an aggravating circumstance.
Thus in People v. Molina, it was held: ”Fortunately for appellants, however, RA 8294 has now
amended the said decree and considers the use of an unlicensed firearm simply as an aggravating
circumstance in murder or homicide, and not as separate offense.”

People v. Arquillos Tabuso


October 26, 1999
Arquillos Tabuso was found guilty of murder. In the service of his sentence, he is entitled to the
provision of Article 29 [Period of Preventive imprisonment deducted from term of
imprisonment. – Offenders or accused who have undergone preventive imprisonment shall be
credited in the service of their sentence consisting of deprivation of liberty, with the full time
during which they have undergone preventive imprisonment, if the detention prisoner agrees
voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted prisoners
xxx.] of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.
Held:
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement on the commission of a
felony and decide to commit it. In a number of cases, this Court ruled that similar to the physical
act constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be proven beyond reasonable
doubt. The mere presence of a person at the scene of the crime does not make him a co-
conspirator. Assumed intimacy between two persons of itself does not give that much
significance to the existence of criminal conspiracy. Conspiracy certainly transcends
companionship. Settled is the rule that to establish conspiracy, evidence of actual cooperation
rather than mere cognizance or approval of an illegal act is required.

People v. Romano Manlapaz


October 26, 1999
Accused-appellant admits that he was a passenger of the jeep of the victim, Israel Lacson but
denies that participated in the commission of the crime. He insists that when he boarded the jeep
he sat himself at the back of the jeepney as there were already several passengers on board at that
time. He argues that he was not clearly, convincingly and positively identified as the perpetrator
of the crime charged. Prosecution witness allegedly did not have ample opportunity to see the
faces of the alleged malefactors; and in fact did not actually see who fired the gun.
Held:
This Court has ruled on countless occasions that the trial court is in the best position to determine
facts and to assess the credibility of witnesses as it is in a unique position to observe the
witnesses’ deportment while testifying which opportunity the appellate court is denied on appeal;
this Court will respect the findings and conclusions of the trial court provided that they are
supported by substantial evidence on record.
The crime of robbery with homicide is a special complex crime punishable under Article 294 of
the Revised Penal Code with reclusion perpetua to death. Considering the absence of any
modifying circumstance, the penalty imposable in the present case is reclusion perpetua. [Article
63, Revised Penal Code.]

People v. William Batoon


October 26, 1999
At issue in this case is the credibility of the victim, Regina. In a prosecution for rape, the
complainant’s candor is the single most important issue. This must be primarily resolved by the
trial court because it is in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses and
observed their deportment and manner of testifying. Accordingly, the trial court’s findings are
entitled to the highest degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal unless it overlooked
or misapplied some facts which could have affected the result of the case. A painstaking review
of the records of the case show that the appellant has failed to controvert the clear, candid, and
straightforward testimony of the complainant.

People v. Rolando Espiritu


October 27, 1999
Forcible abduction, as defined and penalized under Article 342 of the Revised Penal Code, is the
taking of a woman against her will and with lewd designs, or of a girl below 12 years of age.
When the accused forcibly took away the victim, for the purpose of raping her, as in fact he did
rape her, lewd and unchaste designs existed since the commencement of the crime.
Consequently, when accused raped Aharan, he committed the complex crime of forcible
abduction with rape. The trial court correctly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua, for the
crime of forcible abduction with rape, in relation to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code.

People v. Armando de Labajan


October 27, 1999
It is well-settled that where there is no evidence, and nothing to indicate that the principal
witness for the prosecution were actuated by any improper motive, the presumption is that they
were not so actuated and their testimonies are thus entitled to full faith and credence.” “It is
doctrinally settled that the assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is a
matter best undertaken by the trial court, because of its unique opportunity to observe the
witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination.

People v. Graciano Bolivar


October 28, 1999
Renato Balbon, Joel Soberano and Graciano Bolivar were found by the lower court to be
conspirators in committing murder and frustrated murder against the victims Hugo Callao and
Damaso Suelan. The case against Bolivar was dismissed, since he died of cardio-respiratory
arrest during the trial. This is in line with the ruling in the case of People v. Bayotas, where the
Court ruled that the death of the accused pending appeal extinguishes his criminal liability as
well as the civil liability based solely thereon. The evidence on record is likewise insufficient to
convict Barrion as a principal by inducement.
Held:
Article 17 of the Revised Penal Code provides that principals are those who “directly force or
induce others” to commit an offense. “One is induced to commit a crime either by a command
(precepto) or for a consideration (pacto), or by any other similar act which constitutes the real
and moving cause of the crime and which was done for the purpose of inducing such criminal act
and was sufficient for that purpose. Where the circumstances of force, fear, price, promise or
reward are not present, the question that may arise is whether the command given by a person to
the author of the crime amounts to a criminal inducement. The inducement exists whenever the
act performed by the physical author of the crime is determined by the influence of the inducer
over the mind of him who commits the act whatever the source of such influence. Thus, the
inciting words must have great dominance and influence over the person who acts; they ought to
be direct and as efficacious, or powerful as physical or moral coercion or violence itself.
A conspiracy may be deduced from the mode and manner by which the offense was perpetrated,
however, a conspiracy must be established by positive and conclusive evidence. It cannot be
based on mere conjectures but must be established as a fact.

People v. Jeronico Lobino


October 28, 1999
Appellant was convicted for murdering his common-law wife. He contends he would not stab
her without any apparent reasons, and that he attacked her because he could no longer stand her
going home late at night and her sarcastic remarks whenever her attention was called to what she
was doing. He contends he should have been credited with the mitigating circumstance of
passion and obfuscation.
Held:
The Court disagrees. The requisites of passion and obfuscation are:

1. That there be an act, both unlawful and sufficient to produce such a condition of mind;
2. That said act which produced the obfuscation was not far removed from the commission
of the crime by a considerable length of time during which the perpetrator might recover
his normal equanimity.
It has been held that there is passional obfuscation when the crime was committed due to an
uncontrollable burst of passion provoked by prior unjust or improper acts, or due to a legitimate
stimulus so powerful as to overcome reason. The obfuscation must originate from lawful
feelings. The turmoil and unreason which naturally result from a quarrel or fight should not be
confused with the sentiment or excitement in the mind of a person injured or offended to such a
degree as to deprive him of his sanity and self-control, because the cause of this condition of
mind must necessarily have preceded the commission of the offense.

People v. Elpidio Hernando


October 28, 1999
Spouses Elpidio and Elena Hernando were convicted to reclusion perpetua for estafa. On
different dates, they issued checks to Johnny Sy which were dishonored upon presentment to the
bank. Accused spouses asserted that the checks had been issued merely an evidence of their
indebtedness to the complainant. In this case, all the checks that bounced were issued and drawn
by Elpidio Hernando’s wife, Elena Aban Hernando…The checks, all payable to cash, were
personally delivered and negotiated to Johnny Sy by Elpidio. Though he was not the drawer of
the checks, accused Elpidio coaxed the complainant to exchange the checks with cash by
guaranteeing that the checks were good checks and funded…In all the transactions, Elpidio was
present and personally received the money…Though Elena was not present during the
negotiation of the checks, except for the first transaction, she issued and signed the checks.
Held:
To constitute estafa, the act of postdating or issuing a check in payment of an obligation must be
the efficient cause of defraudation and, as such, it should be either prior to or simultaneous with
the act of fraud…The offender must be able to obtain money or property from the offended party
because of the issuance of the check or that the person to whom the check was delivered would
not have parted with his money or property had there been no check issued to him…Stated
otherwise, the check should have been issued as an inducement for the surrender by the party
deceived of his money or property and not in payment of a pre-existing obligation.” In this kind
of estafa by postdating or issuing a bad check, deceit and damage are essential elements of the
offense and have to be established with satisfactory proof to warrant conviction.
Estafa, under Article 315, paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic
Act No. 4885, has the following elements:..(1) postdating or issuance of a check in payment of
an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued; (2) lack of sufficiency of funds to
cover the check; and (3) damage to the payee thereof.

People v. Romeo Tizon


October 28, 1999
The Rules of Court have set exacting standards to be strictly complied with by the trial court in
the arraignment of an accused. Rule 116 of the Rules of Court, in part, provides:
“Section 1. Arraignment and plea; how made. – (a) The accused must be arraigned before the
court where the complaint or information has been filed or assigned for trial. The arraignment
must be made in open court by the judge or clerk by furnishing the accused a copy of the
complaint or information with the list of witnesses, reading the same in the language or dialect
known to him and asking him whether he pleads guilty or not guilty. The prosecution may,
however, call at the trial witnesses other than those named in the complaint or information.
“(b) The accused must be present at the arraignment and must personally enter his plea. Both
arraignment and plea shall be made of record, but a failure to enter of record shall not affect the
validity of the proceedings.
“(c) If the accused refuses to plead, or makes a conditional plea of guilty, a plea of not guilty
shall be entered for him.
“x x x x x x x x x
“Section 3. Plea of guilty to capital offense; reception of evidence. – When the accused pleads
guilty to a capital offense, the court shall conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and
full comprehension of the consequences of his plea and require the prosecution to prove his guilt
and the precise degree of culpability. The accused may also present evidence in his behalf.”
These rules are mandatory, affording, such as they do, the proper understanding of the all-
important constitutional mandate regarding the right of an accused to be so informed of the
precise nature of the accusation leveled against him so essential in aptly putting up his defense.
The searching inquiry, which must be recorded , requires the court to make it indubitably certain
that the accused is fully apprised of the consequences of his plea of guilt.
In sum, the searching inquiry under Section 3, Rule 116 must focus on: (1) the voluntariness of
the plea, and (2) a complete comprehension of the legal effects of the plea, so that the plea of
guilt is based on a free and informed judgment. So indispensable is this requirement that a plea
of guilt to a capital offense can be held null and void where the trial court has inadequately
discharged the duty of conducting the prescribed “searching inquiry.”

People v. Armando Sarabia


October 29, 1999
The appellant invokes the justifying circumstance of self-defense in the charge of murder against
him. Having invoked such circumstance, he is deemed to have admitted having killed the victim
and the burden of proof shifts to him to establish and prove the elements of self-defense : (a)
unlawful aggression on the part of the victim, (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed to
prevent or repel it, and (c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending
himself.
It has also been held by this Court that, “unlawful aggression is a condition sine qua non for the
justifying circumstance of self-defense.” For unlawful aggression to be appreciated, there must
be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, not merely a threatening or
intimidating and the appellant must present proof of positively strong act of real aggression.
Absent such unlawful aggression, there can be no self-defense.
If evident premeditation is also proven, it shall be considered as a generic aggravating
circumstance. “The essential elements for evident premeditation to be appreciated are: (1) the
time when the appellant decided to commit the crime; (2) an overt act showing that the appellant
clung to their determination to commit the crime; and (3) the lapse of a sufficient period of time
between the decision and the execution of the crime, to allow the appellant to reflect upon the
consequences of the act.

People v. Eduardo Altabano


October 29, 1999
The appellant raises in his defense an alibi. Firmly settled is the doctrine “that for the defense of
alibi to prosper, the accused must prove not only that he was at some other place at the time the
crime was committed but that it was likewise physically impossible for him to be at the locus
criminis at the time of the alleged crime.” In the case under scrutiny, appellants failed to prove
and demonstrate the physical impossibility of their being at the scene of the crime at the
approximate time of its commission. Moreover, “defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive
identification of the accused by the eyewitness who had no untoward motive to falsely testify.”
Conspiracy was correctly established in this case and as such, “all the conspirators are liable as
co-principals regardless of the manner and extent of their participation since in contemplation of
law, the act of one would be the act of all.”
In analyzing the facts, the Court also found that evident premeditation could not be appreciated
against appellants. Although the defamatory words uttered by the victim against Corazon Caro-
Lascano must have spawned the grudge of appellants towards the victim, the evidence for the
prosecution has not established all the elements of evident premeditation, to wit: (1) the time the
offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act indicating that the offender had clung to his
determination; and (3) sufficient lapse of time between the determination to commit the crime
and the execution thereof to allow the offender to reflect upon the consequences of his act.

Source:
Criminal Law Digests
Ateneo Central 2001
Posted in Digests
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