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Confession obtained by torture Conjares and witnessed by one Atty.

Noiles and Miss Ester Magbag,


stenographer of Fiscal Conjares.
Republic of the Philippines From these statements executed by accused Renato Ortilla, it appears that on
SUPREME COURT July 20, 1969, the latter was mauled by Ladislao Garcia, Rolando Reyes and
Manila Bentot. On July 22, 1969, at about 11:00 in the evening, accused Ortilla saw
EN BANC Ladislao Garcia in front of the Jefferson Memorial Library. He went home,
G.R. No. L-31653 May 18, 1984 got the hand grenade and returned to the library. He hid behind the wall of a
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, building near the Kentucky restaurant and from there he threw the hand
vs. grenade at the direction of Ladislao Garcia. He ran away and heard the
RENATO ORTILLA Y PANGANIBAN, defendant-appellant. explosion while in flight. The person found dead after the grenade throwing
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. was not Ladislao Garcia but his friend Rodolfo Carlos.
Edcel C. Lagman for defendant-appellant. An information for murder (Criminal Case No. CCC-V-1345) was filed
against Renato Ortilla y Panganiban, as follows:
RELOVA, J.: That on or about the 22nd day of July, 1969, at nighttime, purposely sought
About 11:00 in the evening of July 22, 1969, a tragic occurrence took place to better accomplish his criminal design, did then and there willfully,
at Magsaysay Boulevard, Sta. Mesa, Manila, when a loud explosion rocked unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kin and with evident premeditation,
the facade of the building housing the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Library. treachery, and by means of explosion, attack, assault and use personal
It was caused by a hand grenade which bored a small crater on the pavement. violence upon the person of Rodolfo Carlos y Salazar, by then and there
As the smoke cleared, Rodolfo Carlos y Salazar laid prostrate on the ground, suddenly and treacherously throwing at the latter a handgrenade causing the
dead. Cause of death was "shock and hemorrhage due to multiple sharpnel same to explode, thereby inflicting upon the said Rodolfo Carlos y Salazar
wounds on the right arm, chest and lower extremities with laceration on the mortal wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of his death. (page
lungs and muscles." (Exhibits B, B-1 & D). 1, Records).
Thereafter, Manila Police Department operatives picked up accused Renato
Ortilla y Panganiban at his residence at 3181 Mariano Street, Sta. Mesa, After trial, the when Circuit Criminal Court of Manila rendered judgment
Manila, for questioning, He was brought to the MPD headquarters at Isaac finding accused Renato Ortilla y Panganiban guilty beyond reasonable doubt
Peral Street (now United Nations Avenue) where during tile investigation, he "as principal of the crime of murder qualified by the use of explosive and
denied any participation in the "grenade throwing" incident. Because he had there being proven the aggravating circumstance of treachery without ally
then a blackeye on his right eye, he explained that he was mauled on July 20, mitigating circumstance to consider, sentence him to DEATH, to indemnify
1969 by Ladislao Garcia, Rolando Reyes and one Bentot. the heirs of the victim herein Rodolfo Carlos y Salazar the sum of P12,000.00;
Detective Wenceslao Sunga, a neighbor of accused Ortilla, arrived, vouched P10,000.00 by way of moral damages suffered and another P10,000.00 by
for the latter and promised to produce him anytime when needed. Ortilla was way of exemplary damages and to pay the costs."
released until July 26, 1969 when he was again picked up by the police who The plea of accused-appellant Renato Ortilla for the reversal of his conviction
believed that he was really involved in the "grenade throwing" incident. Upon is based on insufficiency of evidence as the confessions attributed to him were
interrogation, he admitted in his own handwriting, consisting of two pages, involuntary and there was no testimonial evidence to justify the finding that
to have thrown the grenade at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Library he was guilty of the crime charged. Appellant claims that he was not at the
(Exhibit G), with two (2) annexes, also in his own handwriting-one, a sketch scene of the crime before, during and after the fatal explosion. Appellant and
showing how he committed the crime (Exhibit G-1) and the other, a drawing his witnesses declared that between 9:00 and 10:00 in the evening of July 22,
of the form of the grenade he used (Exhibit G-2). He also executed another 1969 he was in the house of Detective Sunga at Peling Street, asking advice
statement (Exhibit H) in question and answer form. All these statements were from the latter regarding the mauling incident which he suffered in the hands
subscribed and sworn to before Manila Assistant City Fiscal Ricardo of Ladislao Garcia and his companions. After an hour or so he went to a wake

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and stayed there for about twenty minutes. He then went in front of the house Police Department, who examined appellant on July 30, 1969. Dr. Lara
of Aling Teresa and conversed with her and Mang Kulas. They were submitted a report (Exhibit 2) of his examination on appellant, to wit:
conversing when they heard a loud explosion. They inquired from each other (5) Also externally are found the following marks and/or complaints:
where the explosion came from. Mang Kulas and he (appellant) went to the (a) A brownish linear mark about 4 cm. x 0.2 cm. faintly visible transversely
direction where they heard the sound until they reached the Jefferson Library. across the anterior lower right arm.
There they saw the victim, Rodolfo Carlos y Salazar, his boyhood friend (b) A similar brownish linear, two (2) parallel marks or impression as of a
prostrate on the ground. After staying for about half an hour, Ortilla returned band, about 5 cm. long x 1.5 cm. apart, located in the anterior lower left arm.
in front of Aling Teresa's house and they talked about the incident. Some (c) Spotty brownish marks, multiple two (2) in the anterior left wrist and two
neighbors then invited him for a cup of coffee and thereafter, he went home. (2) in the dorsemedial right wrist, averred by him to be prior impression made
Further, appellant claims that when the police took him from his house again by handcuff applied around his wrist.
on July 26, 1969 he was tortured or maltreated and intimidated into signing (d) Subject complains of pain in the anterior right chest, anterior aspect of the
Exhibits G, G-1, G-2 & H. While he was being investigated, he was neck, and in the postero-lateral neck, but there are no swelling or color
blindfolded and hit several times in the different parts of his body, at one time changes. (page 62, Records)
made to lie down and then water poured on his face. Regarding the That the above injuries were four (4) days old at the time of the examination
maltreatment he suffered at the hands of the police investigators, he testified, jibe with the statement of appellant that the police inflicted those injuries
as follows: upon him on July 26, 1969. Hereunder is the cross-examination on Dr. Lara
Q You said that you were brought to a place which you did not know and by the Prosecuting Fiscal.
then you were stamped and kicked, what happened next? Q So this subject you examined at about 6:00 P.M. on July 30, 1969, came
A I was told to sit down, sir. And my arms were tied. from the City Jail, is that correct?
Q Was there anything which happened to you after you were stamped and A Yes, sir.
kicked? Q And from the nature of the description of the injuries which are contained
A They pushed me on my chest and also on my lips and they also boxed me in Exh. 2, do you agree with me, Doctor, that they are old injuries?
on my private parts. A I have stated that they are several days old in my report.
Q How many times was it done to you? Q And it could possibly be, as you stated, to your estimate 4 days old?
A Three times, sir. A About.
Q What did you feel? Q Could it be more than 4 but it could not be more than 10?
A It was painful, sir. A The extent of 10 days is beyond consideration. If it is 10 days old the lineal
Q You also said that you were blindfolded with a towel with the policemen mark will disappear. As it is brownish in color, I put the period more or less
pouring water into your nostrils, can you demonstrate to the court how you about 4 days because it can still be seen.
were blindfolded with a towel? COURT:
Interpreter: Q So letter (a) under par. 5, how many days, can this be assumed as 10 days
Witness demonstrating how his face was covered with a towel. old when you examined the accused on August 30?
Q While you were thus covered with a towel and they were pouring water A I don't think so, your Honor.
into your nostrils — I withdraw that question. What else happened to you? Q How about letter (b)?
A They were shocking my mouth, sir. A The same, it is not 10 days.
Q What else happened to you while in that position? Q How about (c)
A Somebody was riding on my stomach, sir. A Also not 10 days.
(TSN, August 25, 1969 hearing, page 11.) Q So(a), (b) and (c) can not be 10 days old?
His declaration received confirmation from a competent and neutral source, A No. your Honor.
Dr. Mariano Lara, then Chief of the Medico-Legal Division of the Manila (TSN, August 21, 1969 hearing, pp. 14-15).

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The fact is, the prosecution did not present an eyewitness regarding the
Identity of appellant that he was the one who threw the hand grenade. The
conviction of appellant was predicated solely on the confessions which are
being attacked because of their involuntary character. As stated in People vs.
Bagasala, 39 SCRA 236, 241, where the confession is involuntary, due to
maltreatment or induced by fear or intimidation, there is a violation of the
constitutional provision that no person shall be compelled to be a witness
against himself. "Any form of coercion whether physical, mental or
emotional thus stamps it with inadmissibility. What is essential for its validity
is that it proceeds from the free will of the person confessing." Involuntary
confessions are rejected by all the courts because they are not legal evidence.
If the accused satisfactorily shows that it was made involuntarily, the
confession stands discredited in the eyes of the law and is a thing which never
existed. (U.S. v. Santos, 24 Phil. 329; People vs. Panopio, 75 Phil. 767).
In the absence of direct evidence linking herein appellant in the commission
of the crime charged, what remains only are his extrajudicial supposed
confessions. However, appellant vehemently maintained his innocence
during the trial and claimed that he was forced to sign the same. The fact that
after the maltreatment appellant was prevailed upon to sign the extra-judicial
confessions, the same became worthless evidence. The result is, there is no
sufficient evidence upon which appellant's conviction may be sustained.
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment appealed from is reversed and appellant is
hereby ACQUITTED and ordered released forthwith from custody unless he
is detained for some other offense. With costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
Fernando, C.J., Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro,
Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, Gutierrez, Jr. and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.

Trial confession in non-custodial setting Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

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G.R. No. 70091 December 29, 1986 latter to fall to the ground. He described that the hands of the DECEASED
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, were tied at the back, ENCIPIDO was behind the DECEASED, while
vs. MANATAD and DE LA PEÑ;A were on the sides. 1 On orders of ENCIPIDO
BRIGIDO ENCIPIDO, CHARLITO MANATAD, JESUS RUBIO, RUDY also known as "Commander Tanga," DE LA PEÑ;A, also called "Agosto de
LUMARDA, JOSE CABAGERAN, EDDIE DE LA PEÑ;A, CRIS la Pena struck the Deceased's neck with a bolo which almost I severed the
RAMIREZ, and JESUS or JOHN DOE, accused, BRIGIDO ENCIPIDO, latter's head. Frightened, witness Alciso fled from the scene.
CHARLITO MANATAD, and EDDIE DE LA PEÑ;A accused-appellants. After learning from friends and neighbors that those who had killed the
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. DECEASED were detained, Alciso went to the jail to find out for himself if
Ignacio P. Moleta for accused-appellants. they were among the group responsible for the death of the DECEASED, and
because "I was afraid that I will be the next one to be killed by them." He
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: recognized APPELLANTS as among the suspects. When he asked DE LA
On March 30, 1982, Jose Lacumbes (hereinafter referred to as the PENA why he was in jail, the latter answered that it was because they were
DECEASED), a resident of Barangay Mabini in the Municipality of Tubajon, the ones who had beheaded the DECEASED. Alciso was unable to talk to
Surigao del Norte, was found killed by his wife and children near the hut in ENCIPIDO and MANATAD.
their farm in Sitio Capacohan in the same barangay. Post Mortem findings Before Alciso there was another prosecution witness presented, Armando
performed the following morning were: Bagacay whose testimony turned out to be hearsay but which nevertheless is
l) Incised wound of the neck. reproduced here to complete the evidence for the prosecution. He testified
2) Eight [8] multiple stab wounds at the back; one [1] inch in length and two that while he was massaging one of the accused, Rudy Lainarda on March
and a half [2½] inches in depth. 10, 1982, the latter told him that his ailment was caused by witchcraft of the
3) Removed right external ear. victim, Jose Lacumbes, and that he would seek the aid of the rebels to cut
4) Contusions left lumbar region. Lacumbes' head. Four days later, Bagacay met one of those originally
5) Both hands tied at the back with rattan. indicted, Jesus Rubio, who confided to him that they would cut Lacumbes'
CAUSE OF DEATH: Hemorrhage, severe, secondary to incised wounds of neck for making Lumarda sick and for being responsible for all i the
the neck and multiple stab wounds at the back. witchcraft in the community. Subsequently, witness Bagacay heard of the
On February 2, 1983, in Criminal Case No. 14 of the Regional Trial Court, death of Lacumbes at the hands of the rebels.
10th Judicial Region, Branch 32 (the CASE BELOW), the following eight Two other prosecution witnesses supported testimony Alciso Jorge Ortega,
(8) persons: (1) Brigido ENCIPIDO (2) Charlito MANATAD, (3) Eddie DE INP Station Commander of Loreto, Agusan del Norte, testified that when he
LA PENA (hereinafter referred to as APPELLANTS), (4) Jesus Rubio, (5) had just arrived from Surigao City at about 2:30 o'clock P.M. of May 1, 1982,
Rudy Lumarda, (6) Jose CABAGERAN (7) Cris Ramirez, and (8) Jesus or and while still at the wharf, he was met by ENCIPIDO who introduced
John Doe were charged with Murder for the death of the DECEASED. Only himself as "Commander Tanga," invited him (Ortega) for a drink so he could
fly APPELLANTS were tried, the other five accused having remained at talk to the latter personally. Having ac cepted the invitation, the two
large. proceeded to a store where ENCIPIDOs fourteen companions were already
A review of the prosecution evidence presented in the CASE BELOW can waiting. They introduced themselves as rebels and offered to help the
begin with the testimony of Felicisimo Alciso. This witness narrated that he municipal government. In the course of the conversation, ENCIPIDO and DE
went to the hut of the DECEASED in the afternoon of March 30, 1982, in LA PEÑ;A disclosed to the Station Commander that they were the ones who
order to get some chickens which the latter had promised him but that, before had beheaded the DECEASED, killed a certain Benny and one Balaba, and
reaching the hut, he heard a gunshot. He stopped and saw that the who were responsible for all the killings in Dinagat Island.
DECEASED was being tied and subjected to fist blows. There were three The other prosecution witness, Mariano Espina, the Municipal Mayor of
persons who mauled the DECEASED, while others stayed at a distance. Loreto, testified that in the evening of that same day of May 1, 1982, Station
Then, somebody struck the DECEASED with the butt of a gun causing the Commander Jorge Ortega informed him that Commander Tanga" and his men

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wanted to pay him a courtesy call. They arrived at about 8:00 in the evening DECEASED nor who killed him that during the whole day of March 30,
at his house. They introduced themselves and placed their sidearms on a table 1982, he was plowing the field tenanted by his mother-in-law at Barangay
as a sign of goodwill. At the time, there were about 2 policemen and 3 CHDF Malinao; that he started plowing early in the morning and stopped at about
men outside the house but no arrests were made, nor were firearms 5:00 o'clock P.M. after which he stayed home. Barangay Captain Sergio
confiscated, as a sign of reciprocal goodwill "Commander Tanga" then Peniones partially corroborated MANATAD's testimony by stating that he
confided to the Mayor his mission to cooperate with his administration as saw MANATAD plowing the i field in the morning of March 30, 1982.
they had heard that he was a good Mayor. He also informed the Mayor that MANATAD's wife, Bienvenida Edusma also testified that her husband
he had been a member of the NPA since he was 13 years old; that he had stayed home after 5:00 o'clock P.M. of that day as he was tired after the day's
already killed many people, including the DECEASED, so that the latter work; that, in fact, she quarreled with her husband because he refused to
could no longer harm other people with his witchcraft. For his part, DE LA accompany her in bringing their sick child to Tubajon on so that she went
PEÑ;A brought out a sharp-pointed knife and tried to test its sharpness, alone carrying the child even though she was then seven months pregnant.
admitted having cut the neck of the DECEASED, and even showed the latter's In a Decision promulgated by the Trial Court on December 5, 1984,
ear, dried by that time. APPELLANTS were found guilty of Murder and sen tenced to reclusion
The foregoing testimonies were buttressed from a most unexpected source. perpetua to pay damages to the heirs of the DECEASED in the amount of
DE LA PEÑ;A, to the surprise of APPELLANT APPELLANTS' common P12,000.00 and to pay 3/8 of the costs.
counsel testified in open Court that, although he belonged to the group of On behalf of APPELLANTS, counsel de officio filed a Motion for
"Commander Tanga," the latter, MANATAD and a third individual merely Reconsideration before the Trial Court on December 26, 1984, which the
forced him to join, threatening to kill him if he refused; that he was with the latter denied for having been filed more than fifteen (5) days after the
group from March 28, 1982; that he was present on March 30, 1982 when promulgation date of December 5, 1984. A Notice of Appeal filed before the
"Commander Tanga" and MANATAD killed the DECEASED but that he then Intermediate Appellate Court was allowed as an appeal not from the
was merely standing by; that the duo were the first ones apprehended, and judgment but from the Order denying the Motion for Reconsideration. The
after them he was also arrested by the CHDF. penalty imposed by the Trial Court being reclusion perpetual the appeal was
In their defense, ENCIPIDO and MANATAD denied having I killed the indorsed to this instance, which we accepted in the interest of substantial
victim and interposed the defense of alibi. ENCIPIDO claimed that on March justice.
30, 1982, he was sawing lumber from morning till 3:00 P.M. at Barangay Boa APPELLANTS raise the following Assignments of Error:
for a certain Norberto Bukid. After working he rested in Bukid's house and A
did not leave the place. He further testified that he did not know the The lower Court erred in giving credence to the hearsay testimonies of
DECEASED nor the Station Commander, nor the Municipal Mayor except prosecution witnesses Mariano Espina and George Ortega basing therefrom
when he surrendered his .45 caliber pistol to the latter on May 2, 1982 after its findings of conviction;
which he was arrested. He decided to surrender his pistol because he was B
afraid he might be apprehended for having an unlicensed firearm. The lower Court erred in giving credence to the incredible and hearsay
MANATAD and DE LA PENA were also placed in jail with him. Thereafter, testimony of Felicisimo Alciso the alleged eyewitness;
with seven others, he was taken to PC head- quarters at Surigao City where C
they were severely maltreated and he was forced to sign an affidavit admitting The lower Court erred in appreciating the so-called judicial admission of
that he is "Commander Tanga" responsible for the killing of the DECEASED accused Eddie de la Pena as against his co-accused Brigido ENCIPIDO and
and other persons. He denied having admitted to the Station Commander and Charlito Manatad;
to the Municipal Mayor his Identi ty as "Commander Tanga" or that he had D
killed the DECEASED and other persons besides. The lower Court erred in convicting appellants Brigido ENCIPIDO and
MANATAD, for his part, also denied all imputations against him, stating that Charlito Manatad;
he only came to know ENCIPIDO in jail; that he did not know the E

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The lower Court erred in refusing to give due course to appellants' motion for The defense further claims that Alciso could not have recognized the
reconsideration holding that it was filed out of time when its judgment assailants because he was at a distance of 80 to 90 meters away from the scene
accordingly has become final; of, the crime. In another instance, however, he said that the place of the killing
F was about "20 arms length" from the hut of the DECEASED, while he was
The lower Court erred in convicting appellant Eddie de la Peñ;a. also about the same distance from the hut at that time. The distances stated
The evidence against APPELLANTS, taken en conjunto" justifies the finding were merely his estimates and can be moderately exact or moderately inexact
of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. specially with provincial folk. The important fact is that even from where he
1. Eyewitness Felicisimo Alciso positively Identified APPELLANT as was, he witnessed the incident and his description of it was corroborated by
among the group who led the DECEASED out of his hut, with his hands tied the admission of APPELLANTS, themselves and supported by the autopsy
behind his back, and thereafter mauled him and hacked his neck in the findings on the cadaver. As this Court ruled in People vs. Hamtig et al., 6 the
afternoon of March 30, 1982. The autopsy findings, particularly, the "incised credibility of the testimony of a witness is not affected by some flaws and
wound of the neck," "contusions left lumbar region" and "both hands tied at inconsistencies in minor details, if as regards the main incident, the Identities
the back with rattan" confirm his description of what he had witnessed. of the malefactors, the testimonies appear to be consistent with each other."
The defense contents, however, that said witness could not have recognized And although it was admittedly the first time that Alciso saw the malefactors,
APPELLANTS. it does not necessarily follow that he could not have recognized their faces.
It is true that at the start of his testimony, he had stated that he did not Persons observing a startling occurrence would strive to know the ones
recognize the assailants. Thus: involved specially where as in this case the DECEASED was not unknown
Q. Who were the persons who mauled Jose Lacumbes during that time? to Alciso.
A. I saw that there were three of them but I could not recognize them; and Next, it is argued that Alcisos testimony that he went to i the jail to verify the
there were some other persons who were staying from a distance. 2 Identity of the malefactors is not worthy of credence. Concededly, that
That testimony, however, referred to the early stage of the incident when the actuation was unusual However, as the witness explained he did so because
victim was being mauled. Subsequently, in respect of the killing itself, the he feared that he may be the next one to be Killed And the fact that he asked
witness declared: DE LA PEÑ;A why the latter was in jail does not necessarily lead to the
Fiscal Sandangal conclusion, as alleged, that he had not witnessed the occurrence. A friendly
Could you not recognize the three persons who killed Jose Lacumbes? question was more likely to evoke candid answer.
Witness: There is nothing strange either in Alcisos not having mentioned the culprits
I could recognize the three persons who killed Jose Lacumbes. 3 by name in his sworn statement taken more than three months after the
Then he described specifically: incident, having referred to them merely as "five persons." As is wen known
Q. What else did you see, if any? "an affidavit is not prepared by the affiant himself Omissions and
A. I saw that somebody was beating Jose Lacumbes with the use of a gun, misunderstanding . are not infrequent, particularly under circumstances of
and when Jose Lacumbes fell down, Commander Tanga commanded Eddie hurry and impatience." 7
de la Pena to cut the head of the victim but the head was not severed from the ENCIPIDO and DE LA PEÑ;A verbally acknowledged their guilt before
body. 4 Station Commander Ortega and Municipal Mayor Espina when they
After pointing to the APPELLANTS in the Courtroom and replying to a individually boasted that they had killed the DECEASED so that the latter
question by the Court, Alciso further explained: could no longer harm other people with his witchcraft. They admitted that
Court (addressing to the witness) When did you know the accused by their they had beheaded the DECEASED. DE LA PEÑ;A even showed the Mayor
names? the DECEASED's dried ear which he had severed, Further, while I i in jail,
WITNESS: In the jail your Honor. Before I met them in the jail I already DE LA PEÑ;A also admitted to Alciso when the latter I asked him the reason
recognized their faces but I just do not know their names. Later on, I already for their confinement, that it was because they were the ones who had
know their names. 5 beheaded the DE CEASED. These oral confessions indicating complicity in

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the commission of the crime with which they are charged are admissible in witchcraft of the DECEASED and the evil doings of some people. There is
evidence against the declarants ENCIPIDO and DE LA PEÑ;A pursuant to no proof whatsoever that the extrajudicial admissions in question were
Sections 22 8 and 29 9 of the Rules of Court. It is the fact that admissions were coerced or concocted by those officials, who are responsible public officers
made by APPELLANTS and against their own interest which gives them and presumed to have regularly performed their functions and against whose
their evidentiary value. 10 impartiality nothing has been proven. The fact that no arrest were made by
It is also to be noted that APPELLANTS' extra-judicial confessions were them immediately after the disclosures do not necessarily belie their
independently made without collusion, are Identical with each other in their testimonies since the spirit of "reciprocal goodwill" pervaded the encounters.
material respects and confirmatory of the other. They are, therefore, also Arrests were made, however, the day after, or on May 2, 1982.
admissible as circumstantial evidence against their co-accused implicated APPELLANTS had the opportunity during the trial to refute their verbal
therein to show the probability of the latter's actual participation in the admissions as in fact, they denied having made them, but their denials do not
commission of the crime. 11 They are also admissible as corroborative ring with truth in the face of other inculpating evidence.
evidence against the others, it being clear from other facts and circumstances 3. The additional incriminating evidence was furnished by DE LA PEÑ;A
presented that persons other than the declarants themselves participated in the who, in open Court, under oath, testified that he belonged to "Commander
commission of the crime charged and proved. 12 They are what is commonly Tanga's" group, was with them since two days before the incident, and that
known as interlocking confession and constitute an exception to the general he was with ENCIPIDO and MANATAD when they killed the DECEASED.
rule that extrajudicial confessions/admissions are admissible in evidence only DE LA PEÑ;AS declaration confirms the existence of the group, their
against the declarants thereof. responsibility for the killing and, at the very least, his presence during the
And while it may be that ENCIPIDOS written statement before the PC on commission of the crime.
May 6, 1982 confessing to the killing of the DECEASED was not presented True, DE LA PEÑ;A exculpated himself by stating that he was only forced
at the trial no presumption of wilful suppression of evidence may be levelled to join the group and was merely standing by when the killing occurred. A
against the prosecution on account of its non-production. Apparently, for the statement involving guilt does not, however, lose its character as a confession
prosecution, it was not important or necessary to bolster up its case. from the fact that it was accompanied by statements of an exculpatory nature,
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The argument that the testimonies of Station Commander Ortega, Mayor it being "the natural tendency of every transgressor, with perhaps very rare
Espina, and Alciso as to the extrajudicial admissions made to them exceptions, to acquit himself while he can do so from all liability that might
respectively by ENCIPIDO and/or DE LA PEÑ;A constitute hearsay, and arise from his act, or at least mitigate it in the eyes of the law and those of his
thus inadmissible, is not well taken. Oral confessions may be proved by any fellowmen". 15 Like other evidence, it must be weighed, believed, or
competent witness by whom they were heard, the same as any other fact: disbelieved in whole or in part, as reason may decide. Herein, the exculpatory
The rule is that any person, otherwise competent as a witness, who heard the statement has been proven false by Alcisos credible account that upon
confession, is competent to testify as to the substance of what he heard if he ENCIPIDOS orders, DE LA PEÑ;A hacked the DECEASED's neck with a
heard and understood an of it. An oral confession need not be repeated bolo which almost severed the latter's head, which testimony is confirmed by
verbatim, but in such case it must be given in its substance. (23 C.J.S. 196). the autopsy finding of "incised wound on the neck." It was likewise proven
Proof of the contents of an oral extrajudicial confession may be made by the false by DE LA PEÑ;As own extrajudicial admission to the Municipal Mayor
testimony of a person who testifies that he was present, heard, understood, that he had hacked the DECEASED's neck and severed his ear, which is
and remembers the substance of the conversation or statement made by the buttressed by the post mortem finding of "removed right external ear."
accused. (Underhill's Criminal Evidence, 4th Ed., Niblack, sec. 278, p. 551). DE LA PEÑ;AS judicial admission is admissible not only against him but
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against his co-accused ENCIPIDO and MANATAD as well. The general rule
ENCIPIDOS and DE LA PEÑ;A's extrajudicial acknowledgments of guilt to that the confession of an accused may be given in evidence against him but
the Municipal Mayor and the INP Station Commander are not necessarily that it is not competent evidence against his co-accused, admits of exceptions.
incredible for, in their minds, they were not "confessing" but bragging of their Thus, this Court has held that where several accused are tried together for the
exploits" in the belief that they were saving the community from the same complaint, the testimony lawfully given by one during the trial

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implicating the others is competent evidence against the latter. 16 "The witnesses, a matter that the Trial Court had unequalled competence to
extrajudicial admission or confession of a co-conspirator out of court is consider and decide since it was in a vantage position to observe the conduct
different from the testimony given by a co-accused during trial. The first is and demeanor of the witnesses of both sides while testifying, an opportunity
admissible against the declarant alone, but the second is perfectly admissible not afforded to Appellate Courts. Its findings as to credibility should not be
against his co-accused," 17 who had the right and opportunity to cross- disturbed and are entitled to great weight unless there is some fact of record
examine the declarant. In this case, counsel de officio had such opportunity that has been overlooked or the significance of which has been misconstrued,
21
to cross-examine DE LA PEÑ;A but did not avail of it because in his own which exceptions we find absent herein.
words: The last assigned error delving on the refusal of the Trial Court to give due
Atty Moleta: I would like to inform the Honorable Court that I am in quandary course to appellants' Motion for Reconsideration on the ground that the
It is my duty as counsel-de-oficio to be candid to this Honorable Court. The judgment had become final is no longer of any consequence since all the
witness has not actually followed what I intimated to him to be the nature of grounds therefor have been elevated to and considered by this Court on
his appeal.
testimony. 18 In fine, the threads of evidence woven together establish APPELLANTS'
In other words, the reason counsel refrained from cross examination was not guilt to a moral certainty.
because he was not given the opportunity to do so but because DE LA PEÑ;A WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed except as to
did not follow counsel's bidding as to the nature of his testimony. The the civil indemnity, which is hereby increased to P30,000.00 in accordance
coached testimony failed but the truth prevailed. Besides, defense counsel with recent jurisprudence. With proportionate costs.
could have presented rebuttal evidence to overcome DE LA PEÑ;A's SO ORDERED.
testimony if he had chosen to do so but did not. Feria, Fernan, Narvasa, Alampay, Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras and Feliciano,
Thus, MANATAD's direct participation in the commission of the crime with JJ., concur.
which he is charged has been established by DE LA PEÑ;A's declaration in Teehankee, C.J., reserves his vote.
open Court that "Commander Tanga and Charlito Manatad killed a certain
person," and the corroborative testimony of Alciso who categorically testified
that MANATAD was on one side of the DECEASED, DE LA PEÑ;A on the
other and ENCIPIDO at the back when they perpetrated the offense with
which they are changed. In MANATAD's respect, therefore, it is not
necessary to invoke conspiracy" to support his conviction.
The defense of alibi separately interposed by ENCIPIDO and MANATAD
cannot prevail over their positive Identification by eyewitness Also by
ENCIPIDOS verbal acknowledgments of guilt, and by DE LA PEÑ;A's
judicial and extra- i judicial admission/confession, which are interlocking and
ad-missible as against themselves and as against the others whom they also
implicated. Neither were ENCIPIDO and MANATAD able to prove that they
were at some place for such a period of time that it was impossible for them
to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. Barangay
Boa where ENCIPIDO was allegedly sawing lumber was approximately 60
kilometers away, 19 and Barangay Malinao where MANATAD was Right to counsel in administrative investigation
supposedly plowing the field, about 12 kilometers, 20 from Barangay Mabini, EN BANC
Tubajon, Surigao where the incident occurred. [G.R. No. 137473. August 2, 2001]
In the last analysis, the core issue addresses itself to the credibility of ESTELITO V. REMOLONA, petitioner, vs. CIVIL SERVICE

8
COMMISSION, respondent. be sitting beside him;
DECISION 3.2 That a conversation broke out between them until he was able to confide
PUNO, J.: his problem to Atty. Salupadin about his wife having difficulty in acquiring
The present petition seeks to review and set aside the Decision an eligibility;
rendered by the Court of Appeals dated July 31, 1998 [if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] 3.3 That Atty. Salupadin who represented himself as working at the Batasan,
upholding the decision of the Civil Service Commission which ordered the offered his help for a fee of P3,000.00;
dismissal of petitioner Estelito V. Remolona (Remolona) from the 3.4 That the following day they met at the Batasan where he gave the amount
government service for dishonesty, and the Resolution dated February 5, of P2,000.00, requirements, application form and picture of his wife;
1999[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. 3.5 That the following week, Thursday, at around 1:00 P.M., they met again
Records show that petitioner Estelito V. Remolona is the Postmaster at the Batasan where he handed to Atty. Salupadin the amount of P1,000.00
at the Postal Office Service in Infanta, Quezon, while his wife Nery plus P500.00 bonus who in turn handed to him the Report of Rating of one
Remolona is a teacher at the Kiborosa Elementary School. Nery C. Remolona with a passing grade, then they parted;
In a letter[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] dated January 3, 1991, Francisco R. 3.6 That sometime in the last week of September, he showed the Report of
America, District Supervisor of the Department of Education, Culture & Rating to the District Supervisor, Francisco America who informed her (sic)
Sports at Infanta, Quezon, inquired from the Civil Service Commission that there was no vacancy;
(CSC) as to the status of the civil service eligibility of Mrs. Remolona who 3.7 That he went to Lucena City and complained to Dr. Magsino in writing x
purportedly got a rating of 81.25% as per Report of Rating issued by the x x that Mr. America is asking for money in exchange for the appointment of
National Board for Teachers.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] Mr. America likewise his wife but failed to make good his promise. He attached the corroborating
disclosed that he received information that Mrs. Remolona was campaigning affidavits of Mesdames Carmelinda Pradillada and Rosemarie P. Romantico
for a fee of P8,000.00 per examinee for a passing mark in the teacher's board and Nery C. Remolona x x x;
examinations. 3.8 That from 1986 to 1988, Mr. America was able to get six (6) checks at
On February 11, 1991, then CSC Chairman Patricia A. Sto. Tomas P2,600.00 each plus bonus of Nery C. Remolona;
issued an Order directing CSC Region IV Director Bella Amilhasan to 3.9 That Mr. America got mad at them. And when he felt that Mr. America
conduct an investigation on Mrs. Remolona's eligibility, after verification would verify the authenticity of his wife's Report of Rating, he burned the
from the Register of Eligibles in the Office for Central Personnel Records original."
revealed "that Remolona's name is not in the list of passing and failing Furthermore, Remolona admitted that he was responsible in acquiring
examinees, and that the list of examinees for December 10, 1989 does not the alleged fake eligibility, that his wife has no knowledge thereof, and that
include the name of Remolona. Furthermore, Examination No. 061285 as he did it because he wanted them to be together. Based on the foregoing,
indicated in her report of rating belongs to a certain Marlou C. Madelo, who Director Pasion recommended the filing of the appropriate administrative
took the examination in Cagayan de Oro and got a rating of 65.00%." [if action against Remolona but absolved Mrs. Nery Remolona from any liability
!supportFootnotes][5][endif]
since it has not been shown that she willfully participated in the commission
During the preliminary investigation conducted by Jaime G. Pasion, of the offense.
Director II, Civil Service Field Office, Lucena City, Quezon, only petitioner Consequently, a Formal Charge dated April 6, 1993 was filed against
Remolona appeared. He signed a written statement of facts[if petitioner Remolona, Nery C. Remolona, and Atty. Hadji Salupadin for
!supportFootnotes][6][endif]
regarding the issuance of the questioned Report of Rating possession of fake eligibility, falsification and dishonesty.[if
of Mrs. Remolona, which is summarized in the Memorandum[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif]
A formal hearing ensued wherein the parties presented
!supportFootnotes][7][endif]
submitted by Director Pasion as follows: their respective evidence. Thereafter, CSC Regional Director Bella A.
"3.1 That sometime in the first week of September, 1990, while riding in a Amilhasan issued a Memorandum dated February 14, 1995 [if
!supportFootnotes][9][endif]
Kapalaran Transit Bus from Sta. Cruz, Laguna on his way to San Pablo City, recommending that the spouses Estelito and Nery
he met one Atty. Hadji Salupadin (this is how it sounded) who happened to Remolona be found guilty as charged and be meted the corresponding

9
penalty. counsel. He claims that the extra-judicial admission allegedly signed by him
Said recommendation was adopted by the CSC which issued is inadmissible because he was merely made to sign a blank form. He also
Resolution No. 95-2908 on April 20, 1995, finding the spouses Estelito and avers that his motion for new trial should be granted on the ground that the
Nery Remolona guilty of dishonesty and imposing the penalty of dismissal transcript of stenographic notes taken during the hearing of the case before
and all its accessory penalties. The case against Atty. Hadji Salupadin was the Regional Office of the CSC was not forwarded to the Court of Appeals.
held in abeyance pending proof of his identity. [if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] In its Finally, he pleads that the penalty of dismissal with forfeiture of all benefits
Resolution No. 965510[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] dated August 27, 1996, the is too harsh considering the nature of the offense for which he was convicted,
CSC, acting on the motion for reconsideration filed by the spouses Remolona, the length of his service in government, that this is his first offense, and the
absolved Nery Remolona from liability and held that: fact that no damage was caused to the government.
"Further, a review of the records and of the arguments presented fails to The submission of Remolona that his alleged extrajudicial confession
persuade this Commission to reconsider its earlier resolution insofar as is inadmissible because he was not assisted by counsel during the
Estelito Remolona's culpability is concerned. The evidence is substantial investigation as required under Section 12 paragraphs 1 and 3, Article III of
enough to effect his conviction. His act of securing a fake eligibility for his the 1987 Constitution deserves scant consideration
wife is proved by substantial evidence. However, in the case of Nery The right to counsel under Section 12 of the Bill of Rights is meant to
Remolona, the Commission finds her innocent of the offense charged, for protect a suspect in a criminal case under custodial investigation. Custodial
there is no evidence to show that she has used the fake eligibility to support investigation is the stage where the police investigation is no longer a general
an appointment or promotion. In fact, Nery Remolona did not indicate in her inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular suspect
Personal Data Sheet that she possesses any eligibility. It must be pointed out who had been taken into custody by the police to carry out a process of
that it was her husband who unilaterally worked to secure a fake eligibility interrogation that lends itself to elicit incriminating statements. It is when
for her. questions are initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been
WHEREFORE, the instant Motion for Reconsideration is hereby denied taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any
insofar as respondent Estelito Remolona is concerned. However, Resolution significant way. The right to counsel attaches only upon the start of such
No. 95-2908 is modified in the sense that respondent Nery Remolona is investigation. Therefore, the exclusionary rule under paragraph (2), Section
exonerated of the charges. Accordingly, Nery Remolona is automatically 12 of the Bill of Rights applies only to admissions made in a criminal
reinstated to her former position as Teacher with back salaries and other investigation but not to those made in an administrative investigation. [if
!supportFootnotes][12][endif]
benefits."
On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered its questioned decision While investigations conducted by an administrative body may at
dismissing the petition for review filed by herein petitioner Remolona. His times be akin to a criminal proceeding, the fact remains that under existing
motion for reconsideration and/or new trial was likewise denied. Hence, this laws, a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by
petition for review. counsel, irrespective of the nature of the charges and of the respondent's
Petitioner submits that the Court of Appeals erred: capacity to represent himself, and no duty rests on such body to furnish the
1. in denying petitioner's motion for new trial; person being investigated with counsel. In an administrative proceeding, a
2. in holding that petitioner is liable for dishonesty; and respondent has the option of engaging the services of counsel or not. This is
3. in sustaining the dismissal of the petitioner for an offense not work clear from the provisions of Section 32, Article VII of Republic Act No. 2260
connected in relation to his official position in the government service. (otherwise known as the Civil Service Act) and Section 39, paragraph 2, Rule
The main issue posed for resolution is whether a civil service XIV (on discipline) of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of
employee can be dismissed from the government service for an offense which Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the Administrative Code of
is not work-related or which is not connected with the performance of his 1987). Thus, the right to counsel is not always imperative in administrative
official duty. Remolona likewise imputes a violation of his right to due investigations because such inquiries are conducted merely to determine
process during the preliminary investigation because he was not assisted by whether there are facts that merit disciplinary measure against erring public

10
officers and employees, with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of office, he enjoys and possesses a certain influence and power which renders
government service. As such, the hearing conducted by the investigating the victims of his grave misconduct, oppression and dishonesty less disposed
authority is not part of a criminal prosecution.[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] and prepared to resist and to counteract his evil acts and actuations. The
In the case at bar, Remolona was not accused of any crime in the private life of an employee cannot be segregated from his public life.
investigation conducted by the CSC field office. The investigation was Dishonesty inevitably reflects on the fitness of the officer or employee to
conducted for the purpose of ascertaining the facts and whether there is a continue in office and the discipline and morale of the service. [if
!supportFootnotes][14][endif]
prima facie evidence sufficient to form a belief that an offense cognizable by
the CSC has been committed and that Remolona is probably guilty thereof The principle is that when an officer or employee is disciplined, the
and should be administratively charged. Perforce, the admissions made by object sought is not the punishment of such officer or employee but the
Remolona during such investigation may be used as evidence to justify his improvement of the public service and the preservation of the publics faith
dismissal. and confidence in the government.[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif]
The contention of Remolona that he never executed an extra-judicial The general rule is that where the findings of the administrative body
admission and that he merely signed a blank form cannot be given credence. are amply supported by substantial evidence, such findings are accorded not
Remolona occupies a high position in government as Postmaster at Infanta, only respect but also finality, and are binding on this Court. [if
!supportFootnotes][16][endif]
Quezon and, as such, he is expected to be circumspect in his actions specially It is not for the reviewing court to weigh the conflicting
where he is being administratively charged with a grave offense which carries evidence, determine the credibility of witnesses, or otherwise substitute its
the penalty of dismissal from service. own judgment for that of the administrative agency on the sufficiency of
Remolona insists that his dismissal is a violation of his right to due evidence.[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] Thus, when confronted with conflicting
process under Section 2(3), Article XI (B) of the Constitution which provides versions of factual matters, it is for the administrative agency concerned in
that no officer or employee in the Civil Service shall be removed or the exercise of discretion to determine which party deserves credence on the
suspended except for cause. Although the offense of dishonesty is punishable basis of the evidence received.[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] The rule, therefore, is
under the Civil Service law, Remolona opines that such act must have been that courts of justice will not generally interfere with purely administrative
committed in the performance of his function and duty as Postmaster. matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of government agencies
Considering that the charge of dishonesty involves the falsification of the unless there is a clear showing that the latter acted arbitrarily or with grave
certificate of rating of his wife Nery Remolona, the same has no bearing on abuse of discretion or when they have acted in a capricious and whimsical
his office and hence, he is deemed not to have been dismissed for cause. This manner such that their action may amount to an excess of jurisdiction.[if
!supportFootnotes][19][endif]
proposition is untenable.
It cannot be denied that dishonesty is considered a grave offense We have carefully scrutinized the records of the case below and we
punishable by dismissal for the first offense under Section 23, Rule XIV of find no compelling reason to deviate from the findings of the CSC and the
the Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292. And the rule is Court of Appeals. The written admission of Remolona is replete with details
that dishonesty, in order to warrant dismissal, need not be committed in the that could have been known only to him. No ill-motive or bad faith was ever
course of the performance of duty by the person charged. The rationale for imputed to Director Pasion who conducted the investigation. The
the rule is that if a government officer or employee is dishonest or is guilty presumption that official duty has been regularly performed remains
of oppression or grave misconduct, even if said defects of character are not unrebutted.
connected with his office, they affect his right to continue in office. The The transmittal of the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the
Government cannot tolerate in its service a dishonest official, even if he formal hearing before the CSC is entirely a matter of discretion on the part of
performs his duties correctly and well, because by reason of his government the Court of Appeals. Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95 of this Court
position, he is given more and ample opportunity to commit acts of clearly states that in resolving appeals from quasi-judicial agencies, it is
dishonesty against his fellow men, even against offices and entities of the within the discretion of the Court of Appeals to have the original records of
government other than the office where he is employed; and by reason of his the proceedings under review transmitted to it.[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] Verily,

11
the Court of Appeals decided the merits of the case on the bases of the
uncontroverted facts and admissions contained in the pleadings filed by the
parties.
We likewise find no merit in the contention of Remolona that the
penalty of dismissal is too harsh considering that there was no damage caused
to the government since the certificate of rating was never used to get an
appointment for his wife, Nery Remolona. Although no pecuniary damage
was incurred by the government, there was still falsification of an official
document that constitutes gross dishonesty which cannot be countenanced,
considering that he was an accountable officer and occupied a sensitive
position.[if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
for Public Officials and Employees enunciates the State policy of promoting
a high standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the public service. [if
!supportFootnotes][22][endif]

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.


SO ORDERED.

Right to counsel before officer conducting preliminary investigation

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT

12
Manila time of the commission of the crimes in February, 1980, they had been
EN BANC separated for three years. Eugenia, who was then 57 years old, stayed in the
G.R. No. L-57184-85 November 14, 1986 conjugal home in Cumbado, Balamban, Cebu with two of their children, one
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, of whom was mentally incapacitated. To support her dependents, Eugenia
vs. worked as copra-maker earning eight pesos a day.
EUGENIA ABANO, ELISEO CABAÑA alias LUCIO CABAÑA and Agripino, 55 years old, lived with another woman, 50-year old widow
PABLO CABAÑA alias TEOFILO CABAÑA, defendants-appellants. Bienvenida Cumad, at the Abanos' hut some 400 meters away from the
conjugal home. Only a bridge separated the Abanos' conjugal home from the
FERNAN, J.: hut which was actually located in Tunga, Cantuod, Balamban, Cebu.
Before Us on automatic review is the decision of the Cebu-Bohol Circuit Behind Eugenia's house was another hut which used to be a pig pen. Elevated
Criminal Court in Criminal Cases Nos. CCC-XIV-2147 and CCC-XIV-2148, from the ground by about two feet, only a sack served as its door. It was
which found Eugenia Abano guilty of the crimes of parricide and murder, and occupied by Rodolfo Abano, a son of Eugenia and Agripino, and his family.
Eliseo and Teofilo, both surnamed Cabana, of two murders. Two death At around 7:00 o'clock in the evening of February 7, 1980, Rodolfo's wife,
penalties were imposed on each of the accused. Concordia, saw Eugenia partaking of supper with Eliseo Cabana and Teofilo
The information dated May 7, 1980 in Criminal Case No. CCC-XIV-2147 Cabana at the former's house. Concordia knew Eliseo and Teofilo because
for parricide and murder alleges: they were medicine men or quack doctors who frequented Cumbado to treat
That on or about the 7th day of February, 1980 at 11:30 o'clock in the evening, sick persons.
more or less, in Sitio Tunga, Barangay Cantuod, Municipality of Balamban, Just before midnight or at around 11:30 o'clock that night, Concordia was
Province of Cebu, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable sleeping near the door of their hut, with her four children lying between her
Court, the above-named accused Eugenia Abano, then united in lawful and her husband, when she was awakened by someone pulling her hair. As
wedlock with Agripino Abano, and conspiring, confederating and mutually the hut was lighted by a kerosene lamp, she recognized the man pulling her
helping one another with Eliseo Cabana alias Lucio Cabana and Pablo hair to be Eliseo. With Eliseo was his son, Teofilo. Eliseo was standing on
Cabana alias Teofilo Cabana, armed with sharp bladed weapons, with evident the ground but he was able to reach for her hair use of her position near the
premeditation and treachery and in consideration of a prize or reward for the door.
accomplishment of their criminal purposes, with deliberate intent to kill, did Eliseo tried to cover her mouth and cautioned her not to make any noise.
then and there wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously attack, assault and stab Afraid of what he might do to her with the bolo [pinuti] she noticed he was
the said Agripino Abano with the weapons aforecited thereby inflicting upon carrying, Concordia jumped out of the hut. Eliseo then ordered her to
the latter multiple wounds on the vital parts of the body which injuries caused, accompany him to her father-in-law, Agripino. Along the way, Eliseo and
as a consequence, the instantaneous death of the victim. Teofilo instructed her to tell Agripino that his son Rodolfo [Concordia's
In addition to the above qualifying circumstances, the offense was committed husband] was suffering from a stomach ache and that he should be brought
with the aid of armed men; superior strength and arms; nighttime; in to a doctor.
consideration of the prize or reward and perpetrated in the dwelling of the Upon reaching Agripino's hut, Concordia called him saying, "Tay, Tay, wake
victim. up, bring Rudy to the doctor because he is suffering stomach ache." 2
Except for the difference in the name of the accused, the absence of the Agripino answered by asking her why Rudy had stomach ache. Concordia
allegation on the accused's relationship to the victim and the fact that told him that Rudy had eaten something raw.
Bienvenida Cumad is Identified as the victim, the information for murder in Eliseo then dragged Concordia towards the road, pointed the bolo at her and
Criminal Case No. CCC-XIV-2148 is also dated May 7, 1980 and couched said, "You run now, but do not tell your husband about this because if you
in basically the same language. will tell him I win kill your husband and all the members of your family." 3
The prosecution's version of the crimes is as follows: Concordia ran and hid for some time under the big stove between Eugenia's
Eugenia Tolero Abano and Agripino Abano were married in 1948. 1 At the house and her hut before proceeding home.

13
Delia Cumad, the 15-year-old daughter of Bienvenida, who was then sleeping Mancia Delfin but she was mistaken for the legal wife of Agripino by Doctor
in one of the two rooms of Agripino's hut was likewise awakened by Ladislao V. Diola, Jr. who conducted the autopsy on the two victims. 8
Concordia's voice. She heard Concordia telling Agripino that Rudy was sick Bienvenida sustained an avulsion which penetrated her skull and four
because he ate something raw. Then she noticed Agripino pass by her on his lacerated wounds in the anterior portion of the neck, the right lumbar region,
way to the hut's door. When Agripino was already downstairs, Delia heard an the right iliac region and the right wrist. The inferior vena cava on both sides
impact the sound of which resembled that of the hacking of a banana trunk. 4 of her neck and the left carotid arteries were lacerated. 9
Then she heard Agripino calling out, "Day, help Day, I am hacked." Delia Agripino Albano also died of "cardio-respiratory arrest secondary to shock
tried to prevent her mother Bienvenida from going down the hut but the latter and hemorrhage due to multiple wounds on the head, trunk and extremeties."
10
persisted. Bienvenida brought along a kerosene lamp. Because she was afraid, He sustained twelve lacerated wounds and an abrasion on the head and
Delia did not even try to peep through the window to see what was happening. neck, and twenty-one lacerated wounds, five stab wounds and an avulsion in
Neither did she hear Bienvenida and Agripino mention any names while they his trunk and extremities. He had a half-moon fracture in his cranium
were outside the hut. 5 extending from the left to the right temporal bone and other fractures in his
Almost an hour later, Delia came down the hut. She looked for Agripino and orbital and ethmoidal bones, third cervical vertebra, seventh rib and left
Bienvenida but failed to find them. Scared, she ran to the house of Rosario elbow joint. He also suffered a subarachnoidal hemorrhage of the brain, and
Montero. On the way, Delia met Rudy and Concordia Abano. Rudy asked her laceration in his upper lobe left lung, middle lobe right lung, septum, right
where she was going. Delia replied that she was going to the house of Rosario ventricle and right kidney. 11
Montero. She did not tell them what happened to Agripino and Bienvenida. In the course of the investigation conducted by the police, Delia Cumad,
As it was too quiet in Rosario's house, Delia proceeded to the house of Pesing Rodolfo Abano, Concordia Abano, Eugenia Abano, Eliseo Cabana and Pablo
Baynas to whom she related what had transpired at their hut. Pesing [Teofilo] Cabana were interrogated. Significantly, only the interrogations of
accompanied her back to their hut. Four meters from that hut, they found the Rodolfo and Delia were reduced to writing. 12
lifeless body of Bienvenida. In his sworn statement, 13 Rodolfo narrated that at about twelve noon of
Rodolfo Abano was awakened by his mother Eugenia at around midnight. February 9, 1980, his mother, Eugenia, revealed to him that she hired Eliseo
She asked him to transport Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana to Matab-ang, Toledo and Pablo [Teofilo] Cabana to kill Agripino and his common-law wife.
City in his motorized tricycle. When Rodolfo said that he would rather Because of that statement, Vicente S. Cabahug, the substation commander of
transport them in the morning, Eugenia told him that Eliseo and Teofilo were the Balamban Police Force, interrogated Eugenia. At the trial court, Cabahug
in a hurry. related how he investigated Eugenia. He testified thus:
At that time, Concordia was feeding her baby but she accompanied Rodolfo Q. After the revelation of Rodolfo Abano that it was her mother who hired
to the garage to get the motorized tricycle. It was on the way to the garage the other two accused to kill the deceased Agripino Abano and Bienvenida
that they met Delia Cumad. Cumad, what else did you do?
From the garage, Rodolfo went back to his hut where, after Concordia had A. After the revelation of the said Rodolfo Abano of the killing of the father
alighted from the tricycle, Eugenia boarded it. Near her house, Eugenia got and the common-law wife, I investigated Eugenia Abano as she was made to
off and Eliseo and Teofilo boarded the tricycle. As he was ferrying them to stay around, then at about 11:00 o'clock on February 11 in the morning, 1980,
Matab-ang, Rodolfo noticed that they were carrying a piece of sack that was she admitted and confirmed the revelation of her son, Rodolfo Abano.
rolled over a two-feet-long object. From Matab-ang, Rodolfo went back to COURT [To the witness]:
Cantuod. There he met Bernie Verdeflor who told him that his father and his Q. But what did she admit?
common-law wife were dead. A. She admitted and she narrated to me that she even burst into tears telling
Bienvenida D. Cumad died of cardio-respiratory arrest secondary to shock me of the agony that she suffered for the last three years her husband was
and hemorrhage due to multiple wounds on the neck [head], trunk and living in the house with a girl aside from her and they were living 200 meters
extremities." 6 In the medico-legal necropsy report, she is Identified as away where she lives and she confided and confessed that she was forced to
Bienvenida Delfin Abano. 7 Actually, her maiden name was Bienvenida hire the two accused, these Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana to kill her husband and

14
common-law wife. 14 they admitted that they were the ones who killed Agripino Abano and
xxx xxx xxx Bienvenida Cumad. Eliseo Cabana admitted that he was the one who killed
ATTY. VELOSO: Agripino Abano while the other one, Teofilo Cabana admitted that he was the
Q. According to you, Eugenia Abano admitted hiring the present two accused one who killed Bienvenida Cumad.
who appeared to be father and son. Q. Who was present when you interrogated Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana?
A. Yes. A. We were plenty. We have T/Sgt. Paddy. Baron, Pat. Kiyamko, Pat.
Q. Now. You asked her what was the prize or reward? Cabanero, then we have Pat. Leonor Dagohoy of the Pinamungahan Police
A. Yes, I asked her. Station and Antonio Mahinay also of the Pinamungahan Police Station were
Q. What did she say? present when we confronted Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana at the Pinamungahan
A. According to Eugenia Abano she told the two accused, Teofilo and Eliseo Police Station
Cabana that the consideration was the proceeds of the passenger tricycle that Q. In your investigation of the accused Eliseo Cabana and Teofilo Cabana
she was going to sell after the killing of her husband and the paramour. did you come to know what weapons were used by them in the commission
Q. In other words, she promised to pay the consideration after the act of of the crime?
killing has already taken place? A. We asked them the weapon that they used.
A. Yes. Q. What was their answer?
Q. Did she tell you what guarantee she issued in order that the father and son A. Eliseo Cabana said he used a bolo, locally known as pinuti and Teofilo
Cabanas would really execute the act? Cabana admitted also that he used a bolo, locally known as pinuti. 21
A. She did not give any guarantee. The municipal circuit judge set the preliminary investigation of the case on
Q. So that was only the promise? February 9, 1980. On that date, all the accused appeared in court but they
A. According to her only the promise. 15 were not assisted by counsel. Eugenia and Concordia manifested that they
According to Cabahug, he reduced Eugenia's statement in writing but he did wanted the investigation postponed to February 28. Notwithstanding, the
not bring his notes in court because they were "just more or less [a] scratch." investigating judge assigned one Atty. Sarmiento as counsel for Concordia
16
who was thereafter investigated. 22
On the strength of those confessions, Cabahug filed on February 11, 1980, a Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana waived their right to present evidence in the
complaint for parricide with murder and double murder against Eugenia and preliminary investigation. Eugenia also waived her right to further
"Eliseo Doe and Pablo Doe" before the municipal circuit court of Balamban- preliminary investigation. 23 Those waivers were the subject of two orders
Asturias. Said complaint was amended three times: first, to fill in the full both dated February 28, 1980. 24
names of Eliseo and Teofilo; second, to include "Cording Abano" as one of At the continuation of the investigation on March 4, 1980, Atty. Cosme
the accused; and third, to reflect Concordia's full name. Montesclaros, who "appeared for the accused" but who was actually
On February 14, 1980, the municipal circuit judge issued a warrant for the appearing only for Concordia, presented Eugenia as a witness. She testified
arrest of Eugenia, Concordia, Eliseo and "Pablo." 17 Eugenia and Concordia that on February 3, 1980, she forged an agreement with Eliseo and Teofilo to
voluntarily surrendered to the police. 18 Eliseo was arrested in Toledo City kin Agripino and Bienvenida as she herself could not "do it" because she is a
while he and his wife were selling mangoes. 19 He led the arresting officers woman and that on the night of February 7, she was with Eliseo and Teofilo
to Pinamungahan, Cebu, where his son Teofilo [Pablo] was also arrested. 20 when they threatened and pulled the hair of Concordia although she did not
After their arrest Eliseo and Teofilo were interrogated by Cabahug thus: proceed to the latter's hut. 25
Q. Having arrested both Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana, did you investigate them? In view of Eugenia's admissions, Atty. Montesclaros moved to dismiss the
A. No. Because we brought along with us Eliseo Cabana to Pinamungahan charge against Concordia on the ground that she was threatened at that time.
26
and put him in jail when we went up the mountain to arrest Eliseo [sic] Said counsel then filed a memorandum in support of said motion to dismiss.
27
Cabana. When Teofilo Cabana arrived after his arrest we confronted [sic] The prosecution opposed it alleging that Concordia's defense of duress was
them to the Pinamungahan Police Station. When they were confronted by us incredible and fabricated because she was a "principal by direct participation

15
and indispensable cooperation." 28 A. I never told Concordia that I was the one who instigated the two accused
Nevertheless, on March 13, 1980, the investigating judge issued an order to kill my husband and give them rewards out of the proceeds of the
discharging Concordia as an accused and forwarding the records of the case motorcycle in the possession of my husband because I do not have possession
to the Court of First Instance for trial on the merits. In ordering Concordia's of the motorcycle. After my husband lived with another woman he brought
discharge the investigating judge noted that she was a mother of four children the motorcycle and it was my son who drove that motorcycle in conducting
the youngest of whom was still being breastfed for which reason she should passengers.
not be made "to undergo the travails of confinement in jail pending Q. Who is that son?
termination" of the case for humanitarian considerations. 29 Q. Rodolfo Abano.
Thereafter, the assistant provincial fiscal filed the two informations quoted A. Rodolfo Abano testified that on February 9, 1980 he went to your house
and mentioned earlier. At their arraignment, the three accused pleaded not and there you confessed to him that you were the one who induced the two
guilty. 30 accused in consideration of a reward to kill your husband and his paramour,
They interposed alibi as their defense. Eugenia testified that on February 7, what can you say to this testimony?
1980, she was making copra in Singing, Balamban until 5:00 o'clock in the Q. That is not true.
afternoon when she returned home. She did not entertain any visitors and was A. What is the truth?
in bed at 8:00 o'clock. She was awakened at 4:00 o'clock the following Q. I did not tell him that I instigated the killing of my husband. I never had
morning by Rodolfo who informed her that his Papa had been killed. 31 any ire against my husband.
Eugenia narrated that when she asked Rodolfo who killed his father, Rodolfo A. Do you know Lt. Vicente Cabahug
answered that he did not know. She told him to report the killing to the Q. Yes, sir.
municipal authorities but she herself was detained and investigated by the A. Lt. Cabahug testified that you told him that you were the one who induced
police on suspicion that she "caused the death" of her husband. 32 On her the two other accused to kin your husband and his paramour in consideration
detention and investigation, Eugenia testified thus: of a reward, what can you say about this?
COURT [To witness]: Q. It was Vicente Cabahug who told me to admit everything so that my
Q. You were detained ahead of Concordia Abano? daughter-in-law will not be implicated and that I will not be included in the
A. Yes, sir. case, instead I will be made a witness for the prosecution
Q. COURT. Proceed. A. Can you give any reason why Concordia Abano and Rudy Abano would
A. ATTY. DE LA VICTORIA — testify against you in these cases?
Q. How about your co-accused , did you see them in that detention cell where Q. Yes, sir, it is because the police had requested Rudy to ask me to admit so
you and Concordia Abano were detained? that Concordia will be dropped from the case because she has many children
A. Yes, after they were arrested. and I will not be included and instead I will be made a witness.
Q. By the way, where did the police actually place you? COURT [To witness]:
A. In the office of the Chief of Police. Q. Do you mean to say that you admit the crime only for this reason?
Q. Do you mean to say you were not actually placed inside the cell? A. I was compelled to tell statements against myself because the Chief of
A. That is right. Police told me that I will not be included in this case. 33
Q. Concordia Abano testified before this Court that sometime on February Eugenia acknowledged that she had a lawyer during the preliminary
14, 1980 you confided to her that you were the one who instigated the two investigation but her lawyer, Atty. Rafael de la Victoria, was absent during
accused to kill your husband in consideration of a reward in concept of the its continuation on March 4, 1981. She testified further:
proceeds of the motorcycle which was in the possession of your husband, Q. Do you know the reason why the Court proceeded with the preliminary
what can you say to that? investigation in the absence of your lawyer?
A. That is not true. FISCAL —
Q. What is the truth then? The witness is incompetent.

16
COURT — for three years I never did anything against him because I have no ill-reefing
May answer. against my husband.
WITNESS- ATTY. DE LA VICTORIA —
A. Yes, I know. I want to make of record that the witness is crying in the course of her
ATTY. DE LA VICTORIA — testimony on that point.
Q. What was the purpose? COURT —
A. So that Concordia Abano will be released. Make it of record. 34
Q. Were you able to testify in that preliminary investigation which was On cross-examination, Eugenia disclosed that she allowed Agripino and
conducted on March 4, 1980 by the Municipal Court of Balamban? Bienvenida to live in their conjugal hut on the land of
A. Yes, sir. Mendoza which she and Agripino used to till as tenants therein, because
Q. Who presented you there since you were not represented by a lawyer? Agripino was "brave" and he used to box and maltreat her whenever she
A. They forced me to testify so that Concordia will be released. expressed her objection to Agripino's cohabitation with Bienvenida. Eugenia
Q. Who forced you? surmised that it was his paramour who induced her husband to maltreat her
A. The Chief of Police. so that she would die and Agripino and Bienvenida would Eugenia also
Q. Can you tell the court what have you testified in that proceeding.? admitted that she knew be free to live together. 35 Eliseo and "Pablo" Cabana
A. I testified there against myself because I cannot bear looking at my because as quack doctors, they treated the children of Rodolfo. 36
grandchildren, the children of Concordia Abano who were small and who According to Eugenia, she voluntarily went to the municipal building on
were in jail with Concordia and who were crying all the time and Concordia February 11, 1980 to seek protection after she heard rumors that Agripino's
requested me to own everything in this case so she will be released. brothers and sisters were threatening to kill her. 37 In the municipal building,
Q. What was the result of that hearing on preliminary investigation on March Rodolfo requested her to admit the crimes so that his wife could be released
4, 1980? and then, he apologized to her for the statements against her that he had given
A. Concordia was released, the police. 38 Eugenia insisted that she admitted participation in the crimes
COURT [To witness]: because of the request of her son. 39
Q. You said that you were unable to bear the sight of your grandchildren in To establish the whereabouts of Eliseo Cabana when the crimes were
jail and so you managed to have Concordia Abano released, what did you committed, the defense presented in court his wife, Patricia. She testified that
testify to in the preliminary investigation that caused Concordia Abano to be on the night of February 7, her husband was at home in Bairan, Toledo City
released? and that when she woke up at 4:00 o'clock in the morning, Eliseo was still
A. I testified there that I was the one who ordered because I was confused asleep. 40 She stated that her husband did not use Lucio as an alias because
that time. he was known as either Li or Eli among his friends and neighbors. 41
Q. Order to what? Eliseo himself admitted that he was familiarly known as Eli. 42 He was a
A. I was the one who ordered the killing. farmer who was also engaged in mending pots and pans and in making
Q. Whom? handles or scabbards of bolos. He denied being a quack doctor. 43
A. My husband. After he and his son Teofilo were arrested on February 14, 1980 in Toledo
Q. What was your reason for being confused. That is not a reason for ordering City and Pinamungahan, respectively, they were detained at the Balamban
the killing? jail, where they were handcuffed the whole night. When their handcuffs were
A. I was confused of the sorrows I felt that I was suspected of ordering the removed in the morning, a policeman told them that two deaths had occurred
killing of my husband. I did not do it. in Cantuod and, with a gun pointed at them, that policeman told them to admit
Q. Did you not state for the reason of the killing the fact that your husband the killings otherwise he would break their heads. Eliseo was not able to say
was living with another woman? a thing but he took cover behind a cemented wall. Later, a policeman named
A. That is not true, because, although my husband was living with that woman Boy Rosario told them to affix their thumbmarks to a document the contents

17
of which were not read to them. 44 statements because of her confused mind and her pity for Concordia whom
It was Rodolfo Abano or Rudy who categorically told them to admit having she wanted released from jail because she was breastfeeding a child and her
perpetrated the killings and to produce two bolos so they could be exonerated. other children were all crying inside the jail. 58
45
One of the bolos thus presented was owned by Ambrosio Pilapil. 46 Eliseo The prosecution did not present any rebuttal witnesses.
told the police about it and the latter took it from Pilapil sometime in On January 27, 1981, the lower court rendered the decision under
February, 1980. Pilapil had delivered it to Eliseo in order that a scabbard consideration. The lower court stated that the "web of circumstantial
could be made for it and Eliseo returned it to Pilapil on February 25, 1980. 47 evidence" produced "beyond all doubt, complete proof of the guilt" of
The other bolo, Exhibit B, was recovered in Eliseo's house by the police. Eugenia Abano as principal by inducement and Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana as
According to Eliseo, Rudy Abano left it with him early in the morning of principals by direct and actual participation. 59 It considered as "evidence of
February 8, 1980 with the intention of bartering it with one chicken which high caliber and of great persuasive value" Eugenia's confession which, it
Rudy needed for his daughter's birthday. 48 believed, "was not extracted from her under custodial interrogation by police
Eliseo expressed his belief that Rodolfo and Concordia Abano were involved authorities." 60
in the killings but that they pointed to other persons indiscriminately so that In the instant mandatory review, Eugenia Abano, through her counsel de
they could extricate themselves from the charges. 49 Although he admitted oficio, contends that the lower court erred in: [a] appreciating against her, her
having been convicted of homicide in another case, Eliseo denied alleged verbal extrajudicial confession and her inculpatory statements during
involvement in the murders of Agripino and Bienvenida. 50 the preliminary investigation on March 4, 1980 after she had waived her right
For his part, Teofilo Cabana, a farmer and coconut-gatherer, testified that on to such investigation, in the absence of her counsel and without her being
February 7 and 8, 1980, he was in his house in Binabag, Pinamungahan, informed of her rights under Section 20, Article IV of the Constitution, and
Cebu. 51 He denied having participated in the murders of Agripino and [b] failing to acquit her in both cases on the ground that the prosecution failed
Bienvenida. 52 He stated that he did not use Pablo as an alias and labelled as to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
lies the prosecution's allegation that he and his father were quack doctors. For Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana, the same counsel de oficio avers that the
Special counsel Gabriel Trocio, Jr. testified that on February 27, 1980, he lower court erred in: [a] appreciating against them their alleged extrajudicial
administered the oath of Rodolfo Abano who retracted his statement confession and that of their co-accused, Eugenia Abano, as well as the latter's
implicating his own mother. In his sworn retraction, Rodolfo stated that he confession during the preliminary investigation; [b] giving fun faith and
was forced to make said statement because he wanted his wife to be released credit to the testimony of Concordia Abano and [c] failing to acquit the
as he and his wife were in a "difficult and bitter situation" inasmuch as his accused on grounds of reasonable doubt.
pregnant wife had to breastfeed their youngest child in jail. 53 In view of the absence of eyewitnesses to the killings, the confessions of the
Defense counsel Rafael de la Victoria testified that on February 18, 1980, accused are of great importance in the disposition of these cases.
Rodolfo Abano sought the help of the Citizens Legal Assistance Office in Understandably, the appellant's assignments of errors are focused on the issue
behalf of his wife and mother. 54 He asserted that contrary to Rodolfo's of whether the rights of the accused had been properly protected when they
allegation, the latter voluntarily executed his affidavit of retraction. 55 made self-incriminating statements. The Constitutional provision involved
According to Atty. De la Victoria, he filed before the investigating judge a states thus:
motion to postpone the preliminary investigation on February 28, 1980 to SEC. 20. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Any
March 6, 1980 56 but it was not acted upon. When he learned that Eugenia person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the
confessed during the continuation of the preliminary investigation on March right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed of such right. No
4, 1980 while he, as her counsel could not appear in court, Atty. De la Victoria force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the
confronted Eugenia who told him that she was "constrained" to make self- free will shall be used against him. Any confession obtained in violation of
incriminating statements during that hearing. 57 Consequently, on March 8, this section shall be inadmissible in evidence. [Art. IV]
1980, Eugenio executed a sworn statement professing innocence of the As the confessions in question were taken during the effectivity of the 1973
crimes charged against her and stating that she made self-incriminating Constitution" the aforequoted constitutional provision is applicable in this

18
case. 61 investigation, all that was needed was for the investigating judge to remind
In People vs. Duero, G.R. No. 52016, May 13, 1981, 104 SCRA 379, this her that she was under oath and that she should "ten the truth and nothing but
Court discussed extensively the procedural safeguards for in-custody the truth."
interrogation of accused persons. In that case, wherein no eyewitnesses But the Solicitor General overlooked an aspect in the presentation of Eugenia
testified to the brutal killing of an octogenarian, the chief of police, as her daughter-in-law's witness which cannot pass the test of fundamental
corroborated by the sworn statements of two other policemen, testified that fairness. She was presented as such witness after she had waived her right to
the accused voluntarily confessed to the killing. In ruling against the preliminary investigation and at a time when she was unassisted by counsel.
admissibility of the alleged oral confession, this Court stressed the fact that As it were, Eugenia, an unschooled copra-maker, was left to fend for herself
the prosecution failed to prove that before the accused made his alleged oral in a proceeding wherein she herself was the accused.
confession, he was informed of his rights to remain silent and to have counsel What added gall to her bitter predicament was the fact that she was presented
as there was no proof that he knowingly and intelligently waived those rights. as a witness to forestall the further detention of her daughter-in-law and insure
The Duero ruling is applicable in this case. the latter's discharge as her co-accused only to find herself in the precarious
While Eugenia Abano was free to go home from February 8, 1980 when she situation of answering questions the implications of which may have been
was first "invited" for questioning by Chief of Police Cabahug until the time beyond her comprehension. Ironically, the investigating judge cited "human
she confessed on February 11, 1980, she was in fact in the custody of the considerations" as a reason for discharging Concordia as an accused,
police notwithstanding Cabahug's assertion that she was "not exactly placed unmindful of the fact that in allowing Eugenia to incriminate herself, he was
in jail." 62 trampling on her rights as an accused.
Concededly, Cabahug informed Eugenia that she needed a lawyer. But there As this Court enunciated in Chavez vs. Court of Appeals, L-29169, August
is no proof that Cabahug offered to secure one of her at the instance of the 19, 1968, 24 SCRA 663, 680 and in Bermudez vs. Castillo, 64 Phil. 483, 488,
State especially after she had manifested that she could not afford to hire her the rule against self-incrimination positively intends to avoid and prohibit the
own counsel. 63 Cabahug's omission to make such offer is a grave one. It certainly inhuman procedure of compelling a person "to furnish the missing
rendered her alleged confession inadmissible. 64 evidence necessary for his conviction." In the Chavez case, we express the
Similarly, there is no evidence that Eugenia was informed of her right to view that the rule may apply even to a co-defendant in a joint trial
remain silent. Neither is there proof that she had voluntarily, knowingly and The situation would have been different had Eugenia been assisted by counsel
intelligently waived that right. 65 during the preliminary investigation For the- she could have availed herself
Moreover, as the unchallenged testimony of Eugenia reveals, she made the of legal advice on when to refrain from answering incriminating questions.
confession because the chief of police promised that she would "not be We consider the absence of Eugenia's counsel when she appeared as witness
included in the case" as she would be discharged as a prosecution witness. during the preliminary investigation as an irreparable damage which rendered
Considering her emotional and mental state at that time, that promise must inadmissible her alleged confession.
have overcome Eugenia's better judgment. It became a factor which The inadmissibility in evidence of the accused's extrajudicial confession,
contributed to the inadmissibility of her confession. 66 notwithstanding, We find the "web of circumstantial evidence" which the trial
Chief of police Cabahug's uncorroborated testimony on the confessions of court found sufficient for conviction, to have remained unimpaired. Under
Eliseo and Teofilo Cabana is likewise bereft of indications that he had Section 5 of Rule 133, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if:
observed the procedural safeguards mandated by the Constitution to which [a] there is more than one circumstance; [b] the facts from which the
the Cabanas are entitled as a matter of right. In fact, from Eliseo's unrebutted inferences are derived are proven; and [c] the combination of all the
testimony, use of threats to extract their alleged confessions is evident. 67 circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.
We agree with the Solicitor General that the municipal judge who conducted These requirements have been satisfied in the case at bar.
the preliminary investigation need not apprise Eugenia of the nature and Concordia testified that she saw Eugenia Abano with her co-accused, Eliseo
gravity of the charges against her and the consequences of her admission and Teofilo Cabana, taking supper together at the former's house hours before
thereof when she appeared as witness for Concordia Abano. During that the commission of the crimes; that Eliseo and Teofilo forced her [Concordia]

19
to accompany them to Agripino's hut and in order to draw Agripino out of The Court sympathizes with the most pitiful plight of Eugenia Abano. How
said hut, instructed her to say that her husband Rodolfo needed to be brought she must have suffered during the three years that her husband lived with his
to a doctor because of a stomach ache; and that after she returned to her hut, paramour. The wound in her heart, occasioned by the separation, never had a
Eugenia woke Rodolfo to ask him to bring Eliseo and Teofilo in his motorized chance to heal, but was kept raw and bleeding by the brazen and cruel
tricycle to Matab-ang, Toledo City. This testimony was not rebutted, but in behavior of her husband maintaining a love nest so near the abandoned wife.
fact corroborated in part by Delia Cumad, who testified to hearing Concordia Four hundred meters in an urban area may seem a long distance, but not so
calling to Agripino to bring Rodolfo to a doctor as he was suffering from a in a rural community where the next-door neighbor may be housed at an even
stomach ache; and by Rodolfo himself, who testified to his being roused from greater distance. It is indeed in cases like this, that the bounden duty of the
sleep by his mother Eugenia with the request to bring the Cabanas to Matab- court to apply the law becomes a painful task and the maxim "dura lex, sed
ang, Toledo City. Noteworthy is the fact that her request came shortly after lex" makes its full impact felt. In view of the exceptional circumstances
the victims were hacked to death as it was while Rodolfo and Concordia were obtaining in the case at bar, the Court recommends executive clemency for
on their way to get the tricycle from the garage that they met Delia, who was accused-appellant Eugenia Abano.
then on her way to a neighbor's house to seek help. WHEREFORE, the decision of the Cebu-Bohol Circuit Criminal Court in
Rodolfo testified that from the garage, he went back to his hut, where after Criminal Cases Nos. CCC-XIV-2147 and CCC-XIV-2148, is hereby
Concordia had alighted from the tricycle, Eugenia, boarded it up to a place affirmed with the modification that the civil indemnities for the heirs of the
near the latter's hut where she got off and the Cabanas in turn boarded it. deceased Agripino Abano and the heirs of the deceased Bienvenida Cumad
Rodolfo likewise stated that he noticed the Cabanas carrying a piece of sack are hereby increased to P30,000.00 each. For lack of necessary votes, the two
rolled over a two-foot object. death penalties imposed on each of the accused are hereby commuted to
The events narrated by Concordia, Delia and Rodolfo constitute an unbroken reclusion perpetua. Let copies of this decision be furnished the Minister of
chain of natural and rational circumstances, which corroborate each other and Justice.
point beyond reasonable doubt to the complicity of the accused in the crimes. SO ORDERED.
The defense attempted to discredit Concordia by turning the tables on her. No
reason nor motive was however proferred why Concordia would commit the
crimes or why she would falsely accuse her own mother-in-law and the
Cabanas, who were virtual strangers and against whom she held no grudge,
of crimes so grave. On the other hand, among the persons implicated, it was
Eugenia Abano who had the motive to order the killing of her husband and
his paramour. Her initial protestation that she harbored no ill-feelings toward
her husband and his common-law wife was totally negated by her very own Right to counsel during identification confrontation
testimony that Agripino used to box and maltreat her every time she objected
to his cohabitation with Bienvenida and the suspicion she expressed that it Republic of the Philippines
was Bienvenida who induced her husband to maltreat her so that she would SUPREME COURT
die and they would be free to live together. Because her husband was "brave" Manila
she could not do anything openly about the situation and she merely kept her SECOND DIVISION
resentment concealed within her. Human nature as it is, the tendency is for G.R. No. L-68969 January 22, 1988
pent-up emotions to grow and magnify, rather than diminish and disappear, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
particularly where the cause thereof is constantly present, as in the case at vs.
bar, and it is not uncommon in the realm of human experience for such USMAN HASSAN y AYUN, respondent.
emotions to burst and translate themselves into violence-thus, the so-called
crimes of passion. SARMIENTO, J.:

20
This is a pauper's appeal of the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court of evening of July 23, 1981; that he was a backrider in the motorcycle of Ramon
Zamboanga City, Ninth Judicial Region Branch XIII, dated January 25, 1984, when they went to buy mangoes at Fruit Paradise near the Barter Trade Zone
which "finds the accused USMAN HASSAN y AYUN guilty beyond in Zamboanga City that while he was selecting mangoes, he saw a person stab
reasonable doubt as principal of the Crime of MURDER, and there being Ramon who was seated at his red Honda motorcycle which was parked about
neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstance attending the commission of two or three meters from the fruit stand where he Samson) was selecting
the crime, and pursuant to Paragraph No. 1 of Article 64 of the Revised Penal mangoes; that he saw the assailant stab Ramon "only once" and that after the
Code, hereby imposes upon the said accused the penalty of RECLUSION stabbing, the assailant ran towards the PNB Building. When asked at the
PERPETUA and all its accessory penalties; to indemnify the heirs of the cross-examination if he knew the assailant, Samson said, "I know him by face
deceased victim Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro the amount of P12,000.00 and to but I do not know his name." 5
pay the costs." 2 This sole eyewitness recounted the stabbing thus: "While Ramoncito Pichel,
Usman Hassan was accused of murder for stabbing to death Ramon Pichel, Jr. was holding the motorcycle with both of his hands, the assailant come
Jr. y Uro, 24, single, and a resident of Zamboanga City. 3 At the time of his from behind, held his left hand and stabbed him from behind on his chest
death on July 23,1981, the deceased was employed as manager of the sand while the victim was sitting on the motorcycle." He claimed that he was able
and gravel business of his father. On the other hand, Hassan was an illiterate, to see the assailant because it was very bright there that Ramon was facing
15-year-old pushcart cargador. 4 the light of a petromax lamp, and that all these happened in front of the fruit
The quality of justice and the majesty of the law shine ever brightest when stand a — distance of about 6 to 7 meters from the side of the road.
they are applied with more jealousy to the poor, the marginalized, and the Samson described the assailant as wearing a white, short-sleeved t-shirt and
disadvantaged. Usman Hassan, the herein accused-appellant, belongs to this maong pants, but "he did not see if the aggressor was wearing shoes," that the
class. At the time of the alleged commission of the crime, he was poor, assailant stabbed Ramon with a knife but "he did not exactly see what kind
marginalized, and disadvantaged. He was a flotsam in a sea of violence, of knife it was, and he did not see how long the knife was He said he brought
following the odyssey of his widowed mother from one poverty-stricken area the wounded Ramon to the Zamboanga City General Hospital in a tricycle.
to another in order to escape the ravages of internicine war and rebellion in On cross-examination, Samson testified:
Zamboanga del Sur. In the 15 years of Hassan's existence, he and his family xxx xxx xxx
had to evacuate to other places for fear of their lives, six times. His existence Q When you rushed Ramon Pichel, Jr. to the hospital you came to know that
in this world has not even been officially recorded; his birth has not been he was already dead, is that correct?
registered in the Registry of Births because the Samal tribe, to which he A Yes, sir, I learned that he was already dead.
belongs, does not see the importance of registering births and deaths. Q In the hospital, were you investigated by the police?
Usman was convicted on the bases of the testimony of a lone eyewitness for A They just asked the description of that person as to his attire and his
the prosecution and the sloppiness of the investigation conducted by the appearance.
police investigator, Police Corporal Rogelio Carpio of the Homicide and Q And it was while in the hospital that you told them the description of the
Arson Section of the Zamboanga City Police Station, who also testified for one who stabbed Ramon Pichel, Jr.?
the prosecution. A Yes, Sir.
We rule that Usman Hassan's guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt Q And the body of Ramon Pichel, Jr., was brought to the Funeraria La
and that Usman Hassan must, therefore, be set free. Merced?
The lone eyewitness for the prosecution is Jose Samson, 24 years old when A Yes, sir,
he testified, married, and a resident of Zamboanga City. On the day of the Q Can you recall what time was that?
killing, he was employed at the sand and gravel business of the father of the A I do not know what time was that.
deceased but was jobless at the time of his examination-in-chief on February Q And it was all La Merced Funeraria that the police brought to you the
3, 1982. accused?
He testified that he was with Ramon Pichel, Jr. at about 7:00 o'clock in the A...

21
Q For Identification? Hassan, whom this Officer brought along?
A Yes, sir. A-17. Yes, Sir.
Q And he was alone when you Identified him? Q-18. Was he the very person, who attacked and stabbed your companion,
A Yes he was alone. Ramon Pitcher, Jr.?
Q Aside from working with the Pichel family in their sand and gravel A-18. Yes, Sir, he was the very person who attacked and stabbed my
business, do you have any blood relationship with them? companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., that evening in question.
A Yes. sir. 6 Q-19. Why?
(Emphasis supplied) A-19. Because his face and other physical appearance were fully noted by me
xxx xxx xxx and this I cannot forget for the rest of my life.
What comes as a surprise is that Samson's statement 7 which was taken only Q-20. Before this incident, was there any altercation that had ensued while in
on July 25, 1981, two days after the stabbing, and sworn to only on July 27, the process of buying some mangoes in that area?
1981, also two days after it was taken, or four days after the killing, was never A-20. None Sir.
presented or mentioned by the prosecution at all. The information was Q-21. Were you able to note what kind of knife used by said Usman Hassan
practically forced out of Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, a witness for the in stabbing your companion, Ramon Pitcher Jr.?
People, during his cross-examination. 8 The sworn statement contained the A-21: None Sir,
following questions and answers: Q-22. Well, I have nothing more to ask of you, do you have anything more
xxx xxx xxx to say, add or alter in this statement?
Q-14. What and please narrate it to me briefly in your own words, the incident A-22. No more Sir.
you are referring? Q-23. Are you willing to give a supplemental statement if needed in the
A-14. While I was busy selecting some mangoes, I saw unidentified person future?
whom I can recognize by face if seen again embraced my companion Ramon A-23. Yes, Sir. 9
Pitcher Jr. while the latter was aboard his motorcycle parked within the area. (Emphasis supplied)
That this person without much ado, and armed with a knife suddenly stabbed xxx xxx xxx
him (Ramon). That by coincidence to this incident, our eye met each other The version of the sole eyewitness appearing in his statement 10 is
and immediately thereafter, he fled the area toward the Philippine National substantially the same as that embodied in the "Case Report," Exhibit it "C",
Bank (PNB). That this unidentified person was sporting a semi-long hair, by Police Corporal Carpio, also admitted a s Exhibit "2." This exhibit for the
dressed in White Polo-Shirt (Short sleeve), maong pants height to more or prosecution confirms the sworn statement of witness Samson that an
less 5'5, Dark Complexion. That as this unidentified person fled the area I unidentified person, whom he recognized only by face, appeared and without
immediately came to aid my companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., and rushed him any provocation, the latter embraced the victim and stabbed the same
to Zamboanga General Hospital, on board a Tricycle. That may companion allegedly with a knife." The rest of the Case Report: is also significant in that
(Ramon) did not whispered (sic) any words to me for he was in serious it confirms the confrontation between the accused and Jose Samson in the
condition and few minutes later, he expired. funeral parlor arranged by the police Investigator and prosecution witness,
Q-15. Was tills unidentified person was with companion when he attack (sic) Corporal Carpio.
Ramon Pitcher Jr.? xxx xxx xxx
A-15. He was alone Sir. From this end, a follow-up was made within the premises of the Old Barter
Q-16. Can you really Identified (sic) this person who attacked and stabbed Trade, wherein the person of USMAN HASSAN Y AYUN, of Paso Bolong,
your companion, Ramon Pitcher, Jr., that evening in question? this City, was arrested in connection with the above stated incident. That this
A-16. Yes, Sir, Officer and companions arrested this person Usman due to his physical
Q-17. Do you still remember that confrontation we made at the Office of La appearance, which was fully described by victim's companion. Jose Samson.
Merced Funeral Homes, wherein you were confronted with one Usman During his arrest, a knife, measuring to more or less seven (7) inches in blade

22
was confiscated in his possession. The person of Usman Hassan was brought was the cause of death, that the same was inflicted on the victim while the
along at the La Merced Funeral Homes for a confrontation with victims alleged accused was in front of him." 15
companion, Jose Samson and in this confrontation, Jose Samson positively The investigation of this case by the Homicide/Arson Section of the
Identified said Usman Hassan as the very person who stabbed the victim. Zamboanga Southern Police Sector, 16 at Zamboanga City, particularly by
Usman Hassan, on the other hand, denied the charges levelled against hub Police Corporal Rogelio P. Carpio, leaves much to be desired. For one, we
and admitted ownership of said knife; claiming among other things that he are not satisfied with the procedure adopted by the police investigators in the
used said knife for slicing mangoes. 11 Identification of the accused as the assailant. We have no doubt that Usman
xxx xxx xxx Hassan was "presented" alone 17 to Jose Samson by the police investigator
We hold that the evidence for the prosecution in its entirety does not satisfy and prosecution witness, Police Corporal Carpio, and his police companions,
the quantum of proof — beyond reasonable doubt — required by the at the office of the La Merced Funeral Homes in Zamboanga City. As
Constitution, the law, and applicable jurisprudence to convict an accused correctly termed by the very evidence 18 of the prosecution, the procedure
person. The said evidence denies us the moral certainty which would allow adopted by the police investigators was a confrontation" between Jose
us to pronounce, without uneasiness of conscience. Usman Hassan y Ayun Samson, Jr. and Usman. Earlier, on direct examination, Corporal Carpio
guilty of the killing of the deceased Ramon Pichel, Jr. y Uro, and condemn testified that Usman was alone when he was brought to Samson for
him to life imprisonment and in effect turning him into a flotsam again in a confrontation in the funeral parlor. However, on cross-examination, Carpio
sea of convicted felons in which he would be a very young stranger. made a turnabout by saying that the accused was Identified by Samson in a
In evaluating the worth of the testimony of the lone eyewitness for the "police line-up;" this tergiversation we dare say, was an afterthought, more
prosecution against the denial and alibi of the accused, value judgment must the result of an over or careless cross-examination, augmented by the leading
not be separated from the constitutionally guaranteed presumption of questions 19 of the trial judge rather than a fastidiousness if not sincerity, on
innocence. the part of the police investigator, to honestly correct erroneous statements in
When the evidence for the prosecution and the evidence for the accused are his examination-in-chief. The fact remains that both Samson and the accused
weighed, the scales must be tipped in favor of the latter. This is because of testified clearly and unequivocably that Usman was alone when presented to
the constitutional presumtion of innocence the accused enjoys as a counter- Samson by Carpio. There was no such police line-up as the police
foil to the awesome authority of the State that is prosecuting him. investigator, to honestly correct erreoneous statements in his examination-in-
The element of doubt, if reasonable in this case, must operate against the chief. The fact remains that both Samson and the accused testified clearly and
inference of guilt the prosecution would draw from its evidence. That unequivocably that Usman was alone when presented to Samson by Carpio.
evidence, as it happens, consists only of the uncorroborated statement of the There was no such police investigator claimed on second thought.
two policemen which, as previously observed, is flawed and therefore The manner by which Jose Samson, Jr. was made to confront and Identify the
suspect. 12 accused alone at the funeral parlor, without being placed in the police line-
The testimony of Jose Samson, the lone eyewitness, is weak and up, was "pointedly suggsestive, generated confidence where there was none,
unconvincing. And so with the evidence sought to be introduced by Police activated visual imagination, and, all told, subserted his reliability as
Corporal Carpio. We discover, for example, that the expert testimony of the eyewitness. This unusual, coarse, and highly singular method of
medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation, Dr. Valentin Identification, which revolts against the accepted principles of scientific
Bernalez, presented by the prosecution, contradicted, on material points, the crime detection, alienates the esteem of every just man, and commands
testimony of the one eyewitness, Jose Samson. While Samson averred on the neither our respect nor acceptance." 20
witness stand that he saw the assailant stab the deceased "from behind on his Moreover, the confrontation arranged by the police investigator between the
chest" 13 only once, the NBI medico-legal officer Identified two stab wounds, self-proclaimed eyewitness and the accused did violence to the right of the
one at the front portion of the chest at the level and third rib, (sic) and another latter to counsel in all stages of the investigation into the commission of a
stab wound located at the left arm posterior aspect." 14 The same medical crime especially at its most crucial stage — the Identification of the accused.
expert also concluded from the nature and location of the chest wound, which As it turned out, the method of Identification became just a confrontation. At

23
that critical and decisive moment, the scales of justice tipped unevenly 'a notorious and a deadly police character" in Zamboanga City, with a long
against the young, poor, and disadvantaged accused. The police procedure record of arrests. In that resolution, Fiscal Murillo said the same Benhar Isa
adopted in this case in which only the accused was presented to witness was tagged as 'also a suspect in the stabbing of Ramon Pichel, Jr. to death and
Samson, in the funeral parlor, and in the presence of the grieving relatives of the stabbing of Pastor Henry Villagracia at the Fruit Paradise, this City." The
the victim, is as tainted as an uncounselled confession and thus falls within said resolution further states that "with regards to this incident or witnesses
the same ambit of the constitutionally entrenched protection. For this ever testified for fear of possible reprisals." 27
infringement alone, the accused-appellant should be acquitted. The trial of Usman Hassan began on October 27, 1981. Benhar Isa himself
Moreover, aside from this slipshod Identification procedure, the rest of the was killed by a policeman on August 28, 1981, while he (Isa) "was apparently
investigation of the crime and the preparation of the evidence for prosecution under the influence of liquor armed with a knife (was) molesting and
were done haphazardly, perfunctorily, and superficially. Samson was not extorting money from innocent civilians' and "making trouble." 28 The
investigated thoroughly and immediately after the incident. As previously records of the case at bar do not show any attempt on the part of Corporal
mentioned, his statement was taken by the investigator only two days after Carpio, or any other police officer, to investigate or question Benhar Isa in
the murder of Ramon Pichel, Jr. and sworn only two days after it had been connection with the killing of Pichel, Jr. Was it fear of the notorious police
taken. Similarly, there is nothing in the record to show that the fruit vendor— character that made the police officers disregard the possible connection
from whom Samson and the deceased were buying mangoes that fateful between the slaying of Ramon and that of the person (Harun Acan y Arang
evening and who certainly must have witnessed the fatal stabbing—was of the Ministry of National Defense) 29 who was allegedly stabbed by Benhar
investigated, or why he was not investigated. Nor is any explanation given as Isa a day after the killing of Ramon Jr.? And yet questioning Isa might have
to why the companion 21 of the accused at the time Corporal Carpio arrested provided that vital link to the resolution of Usman's guilt or innocence. But
him (accused) 'sitting on a pushcart " 22 at about 8:00 P.M. (around 7:00 P.M., why should the police officers investigate Isa when Usman Hassan was
according to Usman) of that same evening near the scene of the crime, was already in custody and could be an available fall guy? Usman Hassan, instead,
not also investigated when he could have been a material witness of the became a victim of a grave injustice. Indeed, Usman Hassan is too poor to
killing or of the innocence of the accused. In addition, the knife and its wage a legal fight to prove his innocence. And he is so marginalized as to
scabbard, 23 Confiscated by Carpio from Usman (tucked on the right side of claim and deserve an honest-to-goodness, thorough, and fair police
his waist") at the time of his arrest, were not even subjected to any testing at investigation with all angles and leads pursued to their logical, if not
all to determine the presence of human blood which could be typed and scientific, conclusions. Sadly circumstanced as he is, the authority of the State
compared with the blood type of the deceased. A crime laboratory test — had was too awesome for him to counteract.
Carpio or the prosecuting fiscal, or even the trial judge, insisted on it — would The appealed decision made much ado of the admission by Usman "that he
have revealed whether or not the knife in question (confiscated from the was arrested at the former barter trade, which is a place just across the place
accused by Carpio one hour after the alleged commission of the crime) had of the stabbing at the Fruit Paradise." 30 The trial judge found it "therefore
indeed been the weapon used to kill Ramon. The police investigator instead strange that on the very evening of the stabbing incident he was still at the
nonchalantly dismissed this sin of omission by saying that the knife could barter trade area by 8:00 o'clock in the evening when he usually comes to the
have been cleaned or the bloodstain could have been taken away. 24 This city proper at about 6:00 o'clock in the morning and goes home at past 5:00
presumption of the deadly weapon's having been "cleaned" of bloodstains is o'clock and sometimes 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon." 31 Usman's explanation
tantamount to pronouncing the accused of being guilty. — that, at around 7:00 o'clock P.M., he was waiting for transportation to take
Our doubt about the guilt of the accused is further deepened by a resolution, him home — was found by the trial court as 'flimsy and weak since he did
25
in a separate case, 26 of Assistant City Fiscal of Zamboanga City and not explain why he had to go home late that evening." 32 But the whole trouble
deputized Tanod bayan Prosecutor Pablo Murillo, which clearly reveals that is nobody asked him. The trial judge did not propound any single question to
on July 24, 1981, a day after the killing of Ramon Pichel, Jr., a similar the accused, and only three to his mother on innocuous matters, by way of
stabbing took place at Plaza Pershing near the place of the earlier incident, clarification, if only to put on record what the mother and son could articulate
with the suspect in that frustrated homicide case being a certain Benhar Isa, with clarity. Taking into account their poverty and illiteracy, the mother and

24
son needed as much, if not more, help, than the trial judge extended to the that she is unschooled and she belongs to a tribe that does not register births,
prosecution witnesses during their examination by asking them clarificatory deaths or marriages, however, it is strange that she only took pains to find out
and mostly leading questions. In that sense and to that extent, the accused was the year of birth of her son Usman. For this reason, the Court granted a motion
disadvantaged. of the defense on September 13, 1982, to have the herein accused examined
A fact that looms large, though mutely to testify on the innocence of the by a competent dentist to determine his age. However, the findings of the
accused but the importance of which was brushed away by the trial judge was dentist of Zamboanga General Hospital which is marked as Exhibit "5" shows
the presence of the accused near the scene (about 100 to 150 meters away) the following: "age cannot be determined accurately under present mouth
soon after the stabbing (he testified at around 7:00 P.M. although Police conditions. Approximately, he can be from 14 to 21 years of age." This
Corporal Carpio stated it was 8:00 P.M.) where he was found sitting on his simply means that the herein accused could either be 14 years of age or 21
pushcart with a companion. If he were the assailant, he would have fled. But years of age, or any age in between those aforestated years. From the
the trial court instead indulged in conjecture, foisting the probability that the observation of this court, the accused Usman Hassan was about 18 years of
accused 'was lulled by a false sense of security in returning to the place (of age at the time he committed this crime and this observation is based on his
the stabbing), when no police officers immediately responded and appeared personal appearance, his size and facial features and other personal
at the scene of the crime," adding 'there are numerous cases in the past where characteristics, hence he can not be classified as a youthful offender under
criminals return to the scene of their crimes, for reasons only psychologist Article. 189 of Presendential Decree No. 603, as ammended by Presedential
can explain." 33 It must have escaped the trial court's attention that Usman has Decree No. 1179. In the case of U.S. vs. Mallari, 29 Phil. 13 and People vs.
no criminal record, and, therefore, he could not be generally classed with Reyes and Panganiban, CA 48 O.G. 1022, cited in the Edition, Page 680, it
criminals. In the second place, the trial court's rationalization ignores the was ruled by the Supreme Court that "In cases where the age of the culprit is
biblical truism recognized by human nature and endorsed with approval by at issue as a basis for claiming an exempting mitigating circumstance, it is
this Court that "(T)he wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous incumbent upon the accused to establish that circumstance ad any other
are as bold as a lion." 34 elements of defense. 38
And now as a penultimate observation, we could not help but note the total Considering that the age of the accused could exempt him from punishment
absence of motive ascribed to Usman for stabbing Ramon, a complete or cause the suspension of his sentence under Articles 12 and 80, respectively
stranger to him. While, as a general rule, motive is not essential in order to of the Revised Penal Code, if found guilty, more meticulousness and care
arrive at a conviction, because, after all, motive is a state of mind, 35 should have been demanded of medical or scientific sources, and less reliance
procedurally, however, for purposes of complying with the requirement that on the observation of the judge as had happened in this case. The preliminary
a judgment of guilty must stem from proof beyond reasonable doubt, the lack findings of the dentist that the accused could be anywhere between fourteen
of motive on the part of the accused plays a pivotal role towards his acquittal. to twenty one years, despite the difficulty of arriving at an accurate
This is especially true where there is doubt as to the Identity of the culprit 36 determination due to Hassan's mouth condition, would have placed the trial
as when 'the Identification is extremely tenuous," 37 as in this case. judge on notice that there is the probability that the accused might be
We can not end this travail without adverting to the cavalier manner in which exempted from criminal liability due to his young age. All the foregoing
the trial court disregarded the claimed young age of Usman Hassan. indicates that the accused had not been granted the concern and compassion
The defense claims that the accused Usman Hassan is a minor, basing such with which the poor, marginalized, and disadvantaged so critically deserve.
claim on the testimony of Lahunay Hassan, the mother of said accused, who It is when judicial and police processes and procedures are thoughtlessly and
declared that her son Usman Hassan, who is one of her four (4) children, was haphazardly observed that cries of the law and justice being denied the poor
born in the year 1967. She testified that she was just told by a person coming are heard. In any event, all this would not be of any moment now, considering
from their place about the year of the birth of her son Usman. However on the acquittal of the accused herein ordered.
cross-examination, Lahunay Hassan cannot even remember the date or year WHEREFORE, the decision is hereby REVERSED, and the accused Usman
of birth of her other children. The failure of Lahunay Hassan to remember the Hassan y Ayun is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. His release from
date or year of birth of her children is of course understandable, considering confinement is hereby Ordered, unless he is held for another legal cause. With

25
costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

Uncounselled confession inadmissible

SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 125938. April 4, 2003]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. JOEL JANSON and RICKY
PINANTAO alias OGCO, appellants.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
On appeal is the decision[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch XVII, Kidapawan, Cotabato promulgated on September 15, 1995,
declaring appellants guilty of the crime of robbery with rape, and sentencing
each of them to the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, and ordering them to pay
P30,000.00 and P10,000.00 in favor of Marites Alcantara and Cesario
Alcantara, respectively.
The information filed on August 31, 1987 alleged:
That on or about the 24th day of March 1986, at about 10:00 oclock in the
evening at Barangay Mateo, Municipality of Kidapawan, Province of
Cotabato, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused JOEL JANSON, RICKY PINANTAO alias OGCO in
company with alias ABDUL, alias PUTO, JOHN DOE and PETER DOE,

26
who are still at large and whose names are still unknown, constituting a band that while Janson and Pinantao were masked during the incident, she
and armed with long and short firearms, conspiring, confederating and recognized them through their body built, physical appearance, and their
mutually helping one another, with intent to gain, with force and intimidation, voices while speaking in Manobo.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif]
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take and carry away, MARITES[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] ALCANTARA testified that she was thirteen
at gun point, cash money in the amount of P1,400.00, three (3) pieces of wrist (13) years old at the time of the incident. She corroborated the testimony of
watches, one (1) can coffee beans and one (1) chicken and if converted into her mother and added that after the group entered their house and hogtied her
cash it amounted to P1,845.00 or a total amount of Three Thousand Two father, the appellants entered her room and turned off the lights inside.
Hundred Fourty (sic) Five Pesos (P3,245.00), Philippine Currency, owned by Someone poked a gun at her. Then Ricky Pinantao, who had an amputated
Mr. & Mrs. CESARIO ALCANTARA; and on the same occasion, the above- right hand; Joel Janson, and Abdul Jona raped her. In open court she
named accused, with the use of force, violence and intimidation and armed identified appellants Pinantao and Janson as two of her abusers, claiming that
with firearms, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take they were previously known to her. She claimed that she knew Ricky because
turns in having carnal knowledge with one MARITESS ALCANTARA, a he was their neighbor and that he often went to their house to buy bananas,
girl about 13 years old, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. CESARIO ALCANTARA, while she knew Joel because he often went to their barangay to visit his
against her will and consent, to the damage and prejudice of the aforesaid relatives. She likewise claimed that while the appellants turned off the lights
persons in the aforesaid amount. in their house, there was a full moon that night which gave her enough light
All contrary to law with the aggravating circumstances of dwelling, nighttime to see her abusers. She immediately told her parents that she was raped, and
and the use of unlicensed firearms. she underwent medical examination the following day.[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif]
Kidapawan, Cotabato, August 31, 1987.[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] DANTE ALCANTARA testified that on the day of the robbery he was only
On December 9, 1987, both accused pleaded not guilty. [if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] nine (9) years old. He said he recognized appellants Janson and Pinantao
Trial then ensued. because they were their neighbors. On cross-examination, he admitted that
For the prosecution, the following witnesses were presented: Teresa the four robbers were masked, but the witness insisted that he was able to
Alcantara, Marites Alcantara, Dante Alcantara, Cesario Alcantara, Dr. Cesar recognize Pinantao with his cut wrist and mustache, and also Janson because
Manuel, Atty. Jorge Zerrudo, and police officers Pedro Idpan, Jr. and Ortello of his built.[if !supportFootnotes][7][endif]
Achas. CESARIO ALCANTARA testified that on March 24, 1986, their house was
TERESA ALCANTARA testified that on March 24, 1986 at about 10:00 in robbed and his daughter was raped. He admitted that during the incident, he
the evening, the accused with six (6) other companions asked for food. She was not able to identify the perpetrators since he was hogtied face
asked them to come back the following day but they threatened to strafe and downwards, and he was covered with a blanket.[if !supportFootnotes][8][endif]
burn the house if they are not let in. The accused then entered the house and The prosecution also presented DR. CESAR MANUEL. He testified that the
once inside, made all occupants lie down before covering them with a blanket. physical examination he conducted on Marites Alcantara a day after the
The accused demanded money from Teresa and she gave them P1,000. She incident revealed that there were lacerations between the labia majora, labia
was brought to the kitchen and someone guarded her. For a while, there was minora, and the prepuce caused by a sharp instrument. There was also the
complete silence. Then she went inside the room of her daughter Marites, and presence of seminal fluid in the vagina of the victim indicating that there was
saw her totally naked. Her daughter told her that she was raped. She gave an actual sexual contact.[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif]
additional P1,000 to the accused who also got two (2) wristwatches worth ATTY. JORGE ZERRUDO testified that he only assisted appellant Janson in
P690.00, two (2) Seiko watches worth P443.00, a chicken worth waiving his right to counsel, and that the sworn statement was already
approximately P20.00, and one can of coffee beans. The appellants were prepared when he signed it. Nevertheless, he asked appellant Janson if the
speaking among themselves in the Manobo dialect. contents of the statement were true, and whether he wished to be assisted by
Teresa identified appellants Janson and Pinantao as two of the men who counsel.[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif]
robbed their house and raped her daughter that night. She testified that she P/SGT. PEDRO IDPAN, JR. testified that he was a member of the Integrated
knew appellants since they were their neighbors at Mateo. She also claimed National Police (INP), Kidapawan, Cotabato, assigned in the investigation of

27
the crime of robbery with rape involving appellant Joel Janson. He identified cross-examination, he said that he was put in jail for another crime, robbery.[if
!supportFootnotes][16][endif]
Jansons sworn statement saying it was signed by him without being forced.
He admitted that during the investigation, there was no lawyer present and Appellant RICKY PINANTAO also denied the accusation against him,
that Atty. Zerrudo signed the affidavit only after the investigation was saying that he did not know Marites and Cesario Alcantara. He claimed that
conducted. He claimed, however, that prior to the custodial investigation, he he was arrested in March 1987 because he was implicated by appellant Janson
informed Janson of his constitutional rights and that despite being a Manobo, as one of the perpetrators of the crime, per instruction of one Cristina Agio. [if
Janson fully understood Cebuano,[if !supportFootnotes][11][endif] which was the !supportFootnotes][17][endif]

language used during the custodial investigation. On September 15, 1995, the Regional Trial Court rendered judgment thus:
Finally, P/SGT. ORTELLO ACHAS testified that he was at the police station WHEREFORE, prescinding from all of the foregoing considerations, the
when Teresa Alcantara appeared on June 24, 1986, and requested that she be Court hereby pronounces the accused Ricky Pinantao alias Ogco and Joel
accompanied to the jail to identify the person who was earlier apprehended Janson guilty of the crime of Robbery with Rape beyond reasonable doubt
and detained. She identified the person as appellant Joel Janson. On cross- and accordingly, sentences Ricky Pinantao and Joel Janson each to undergo
examination, P/Sgt. Achas admitted that he was not the one who conducted a prison term of Reclusion Perpetua and to indemnify Marites Alcantara the
the investigation on the person of Joel Janson and that he could not remember sum of P30,000.00; to indemnify Cesario Alcantara the sum of P10,000.00.
whether appellant Janson who was then sixteen (16) years old and a Manobo No award of other damages in the absence of proof thereof.
was assisted by a lawyer. Neither could he remember whether a mental or SO ORDERED.[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif]
physical examination was made upon Janson.[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif] Both appellants filed their notices of appeal and submitted separate appellants
For the defense, the following witnesses were presented: Datu Amado briefs. Appellant Ricky Pinantao averred that:
Pinantao, Atty. Francis Palmones, Jr., and the two appellants: Joel Janson and I
Ricky Pinantao. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING THE ALLEGED EXTRA-
DATU AMADO PINANTAO testified that he is an uncle of Ricky Pinantao, JUDICIAL CONFESSION OF APPELLANT JOEL JANSON, SAID
and that they belong to a cultural minority group, the Manobos. He admitted EVIDENCE BEING INADMISSIBLE BECAUSE IT WAS OBTAINED IN
that they lived near the house of Cesario Alcantara. He said that on March VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED
24, 1986, appellant Pinantao was in their house and that it was impossible for AND SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN AGAINST HIS CO-ACCUSED
him to be elsewhere because earlier, in 1985, Pinantao was hacked by one RICKY PINANTAO, UNDER THE INTER ALIOS ACTA RULE AS
Bernardo Agio resulting in the amputation of Pinantaos hand. He averred that AGAINST HIS CO-ACCUSED RICKY PINANTAO EITHER FOR
Pinantao could not go out of their house because at the time of the incident, PROBABLE CAUSE AND THE RESULTANT CONVICTION OF RICKY
the wound he sustained was not yet completely healed.[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] PINANTAO;
ATTY. FRANCIS PALMONES, JR., testified that he notarized the sworn II
statement[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] of the appellant Janson on April 3, 1987, THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO
marked as Exh. 4 and that Janson affirmed and understood the contents of THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES OF THE ALCANTARA FAMILY
said affidavit because it was translated to him in the Visayan vernacular. [if WHICH WERE SHOT THROUGH WITH MATERIAL
!supportFootnotes][15][endif]
CONTRADICTIONS, INCONSISTENCIES AND UNNATURAL
Appellant JOEL JANSON, for his own defense, declared that he was assisted TESTIMONIES; and
by a lawyer when he was investigated and made to sign a sworn statement III
before the police on June 26, 1986. But he denied the accusation against him THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE
and claimed that he was not assisted by counsel during the custodial PROSECUTION MISERABLY FAILED TO ESTABLISH THE GUILT OF
investigation. He claimed that he did not know how to read or write, and that THE ACCUSED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, AND THAT IN
he was made to execute a sworn statement before a certain policeman named FACT THERE WAS A REASONABLE DOUBT IN THE IDENTITIES
Ulep. Only after the investigation did Atty. Zerrudo sign the document. On AND GUILT OF BOTH ACCUSED.[if !supportFootnotes][19][endif]

28
Appellant Joel Janson, for his part, averred that: Pinantao, Joel Janson, and Abdul Jona.[if !supportFootnotes][26][endif] She said that she
I came to know Ricky Pinantao because he is a neighbor and that he often goes
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT ACCUSED- to their house to buy bananas. She also said that she came to know Joel Janson
APPELLANT JOEL JANSON WAS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE because he is always going to Mateo since he has a relative there. [if
!supportFootnotes][27][endif]
PROSECUTION WITNESSES; and
II Upon cross-examination, however, Marites admitted that she was not certain
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT of the identity of her perpetrators at the time of the incident or immediately
JOEL JANSON GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF ROBBERY WITH RAPE thereafter. According to her, it was only after Joel Janson was apprehended
DESPITE THE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO PROVE HIS for another crime, and after he confessed to the police, that she was able to
GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.[if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] confirm her suspicion. When asked in open court, she was not able to
Simply put, the issues in this case are as follows: (1) Was the guilt of satisfactorily explain the discrepancy in her initial sworn statement before the
appellants Janson and Pinantao proved beyond reasonable doubt? (2) Is the police and her testimony later.
extrajudicial confession of Janson admissible as evidence for the Pertinent portions of her testimony in court are instructive:
prosecution? and (3) May said confession be used against co-accused Q: Was this Ricky Pinantao armed when he entered your room?
Pinantao? A: No sir, he wasnt.
We find the appeal impressed with merit. Appellants should be acquitted. Q: Where (sic) you afraid of him?
Generally, the findings of the trial court concerning credibility of witnesses A: No, sir.
are accorded great weight and respect because it had the opportunity to Q: Knowing that, according to you, you know him, did you not question him,
observe closely in the first instance the demeanor of the witnesses presented Ricky, why are you doing this to me?
before it.[if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] However, when the trial court overlooked or A: I did not because I was only suspecting.[if !supportFootnotes][28][endif]
misunderstood significant contrarieties in the testimony of witnesses which xxx
if considered would materially affect the result of the conviction, such Q: Is it not Marites, to refresh your memory, is it not that when a sworn
findings will not bind this Court.[if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] Such is the case at statement was taken from your (sic), you stated in your affidavit that you did
hand. not recognize anybody?
Consistent with the testimonies of Teresa, Marites, Cesario, and Dante A: That was what I stated in my statement.[if !supportFootnotes][29][endif]
Alcantara, we can gather that what transpired that fateful night is as follows: xxx
In the evening of March 24, 1986, six (6) men came to the house of Cesario Q: Miss Marites, in this sworn statement of yours, which was already marked
Alcantara threatening to strafe and burn it should they not be let in. Once as Exhibit E for the prosecution and Exhibit 1 for the defense, there is a
inside, the masked group of men turned off the lights, hogtied Cesario, pushed question here: Can you recognized (sic) any of the four men or any of the six
him facedown and covered him with blankets. They asked for money and men that robbed and raped you? [you answered, I do not know anyone sir.
Teresa gave them P400.[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif] Teresa was then led to the Now] in your testimony here, you said that you know the two accused, how
kitchen. During this time, her daughter Marites was raped [if will you reconcile this one?
!supportFootnotes][24][endif]
by four men. Then Marites was led to the kitchen where A: It is like this, what I am telling now in Court is the one true, during that
the culprits threatened to abduct her if her mother would not give them time, when the statement was taken on me (sic), I have already suspect in my
money. Teresa then gave them an additional P1,000 while the group took mind and I could not tell their names but there were some evidence that
three wristwatches, one can of coffee, and one chicken. Then they left the dovetailed in my mind, like, the cut wrist of the one perpetrator, Ricky
house, all the while speaking in the Manobo dialect.[if !supportFootnotes][25][endif] Pinantao and the mustache. And these are the things that I recall.
While the testimonies of the witnesses up to this point are credible and Q: Now, how come that you did not tell the police of the perpetrators during
undisputed, it is unfortunate that the certainty ends here. that time of investigation?
Marites testified in open court that she was raped by Ricky alias Ogco A: Sir, it is very hard to name names during that time when a statement was

29
taken on me. But when this Joel Janson was first apprehended, it was xxx
confirmed by his statement to the policeman. (sic)[if !supportFootnotes][30][endif] Q: Will you please explain why you reported the incident after three months?
xxx A: It was only upon hearing through radio DXND the name of this person
Q: So, when Joel Janson was apprehended, that was the time you confirmed Joel Janson who was reported to have robbed the corn of a certain Atty. Jalipa,
that he was the perpetrator? that I reported to the police.
A: xxx Yes, sir. Q: That was the only reason why you reported to the police after three months
xxx already?
Q: Therefore, you failed to recognize Joel Janson during said time of the A: It is like this: After hearing that, I went to the police right then and there.
incident? I saw this Joel Janson who was the person among those who raped my
A: I knew him through his body built. daughter and entered our house.
xxx Q: If you knew already that Joel Janson was among those persons who robbed
Q: So, you merely assumed that Joel Janson is one of those persons who you, why did you not report to the police immediately?
robbed you, because of the aforesaid statement, that his alleged statement in A: The following morning, I immediately reported, sir.
the police? Q: And you gave sworn statement before the police on the following
A: Yes, sir. morning?
xxx A: Not yet, sir.
Q: According to you, you have confirmed your suspicion of this Joel Janson Q: Of course, this Joel Janson was unmasked when those six men came to
after he was apprehended? your house?
A: Yes, sir. A: This Joel Janson and Ricky Pinantao were the one (sic) wearing mask.
Q: In the same manner you confirmed your suspicion of Ricky Pinantao after Q: In other words, during the incident you failed to recognize outright who
he was apprehended? were those persons masked?
A: He himself revealed. Aside from that I already suspected because of his A: I identified them through their body built and voice because they were
cut wrist and his mustache.[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] (emphasis ours) speaking Manobo.
While courts generally brush aside inconsequential contradictions between Q: But you identified them because of their voice?
declarations of the affiant in her sworn statements and those in court, the rule A: Voice and bodybuilt.
is otherwise where the discrepancies touch on substantial and irreconcilable Q: But of course, you did not actually see the face of Joel Janson?
facts such as those omissions in the affidavit concerning important details A: How can I see when he is masked.
which the affiant would not have failed to mention and which omission could xxx
well affect the credibility of the affiant.[if !supportFootnotes][32][endif] If indeed, the Q: You only mentioned his (Joel Jansons) name (to the police) after you heard
victim recognized one of her assailants as Ricky Pinantao because of his his name over the DXND?
amputated hand, she should have mentioned such glaring trait the first time A: Yes...[if !supportFootnotes][33][endif] (emphasis ours)
she gave her statement to the investigating officers. But she never mentioned What stands out in the testimonies of the victims is that they were uncertain
anything. On the contrary, she admitted that she did not recognize any of her of the identities of the masked men who committed the robbery and rape that
assailants. She also admitted that it was only after Joel Janson was night and anchored their suspicion on the alleged confession of Joel Janson.
apprehended and confessed to the crime, implicating Ricky Pinantao, that she This confession, however, is itself inadmissible for failing to meet the
confirmed her suspicion. constitutional requirements for admissibility.
The testimony of Teresa Alcantara is also riddled with uncertainties: The lawyer who allegedly assisted Joel Janson in the waiver of his right to
Q: How many day had lapsed (sic) before you reported the incident to the counsel, Atty. Zerrudo, testified:
police? Q: In other words, this sworn statement marked Exhibit B was already
A: Three months after the incident. typewritten and prepared when it was brought to you by the police?

30
A: Yes, sir, that is correct.[if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] Court: He signed it after the investigation?
xxx A: The prepared testimony.
Q: But before he was brought to your office allegedly to assist him in his Court: After the investigation?
waiving of his right, he was already subjected to investigation as this sworn A: After the investigation.[if !supportFootnotes][37][endif] (emphasis ours)
statement was already prepared? Clearly, the alleged extrajudicial confession of appellant Joel Janson cannot
A: That is true, but not signed. be admitted in evidence. The manner by which it was obtained violated
Q: Of course he was not assisted because he was already subjected to police accuseds constitutional right to counsel.
investigation in his waiving of his constitutional rights? It is well-settled that the Constitution abhors an uncounselled confession or
A: May be, I am not sure about that. That was may be, that was already admission and whatever information is derived therefrom shall be regarded
prepared when they came to my office but only unsigned. as inadmissible in evidence against the confessant.[if !supportFootnotes][38][endif]
Q: What was prepared, the whole investigation or this entire part or that part As provided for in Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution,
of waiving his rights? (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall
A: As far as I can remember, it was already prepared, Your Honor.[if have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have
!supportFootnotes][35][endif]
competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the
xxx person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one.
Q: Atty. Zerrudo, we are clear to the fact that this document was already These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
prepared before when it was brought to your office? counsel.
A: Yes, sir.[if !supportFootnotes][36][endif] (emphasis ours) xxx
The investigating police officer, P/Sgt. Pedro Idpan, also admitted in open (3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or the preceding
court that the sworn statement of appellant Joel Janson was taken without the section shall be inadmissible against him.
presence of counsel and that this statement together with the waiver of his In People v. Javar,[if !supportFootnotes][39][endif] this Court was clear in pronouncing
right to counsel, was already prepared when it was presented to Atty. Zerrudo that any statement obtained in violation of the Constitution, whether
for signing. exculpatory or inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be inadmissible in
As shown by the transcript: evidence. Even if the confession contains a grain of truth, if it was made
Q: But the accused during the investigation was not assisted by counsel, is without the assistance of counsel, it becomes inadmissible in evidence,
that right? regardless of the absence of coercion or even if it had been voluntarily
A: At the time when I conducted the investigation, the counsel is not yet given.[if !supportFootnotes][40][endif] In People v. Gomez,[if !supportFootnotes][41][endif] citing
present. People v. Rodrigueza,[if !supportFootnotes][42][endif] this Court held that Section
Q: In other words, during the conduct of the investigation there was no 12(1), Article III of the Constitution requires the assistance of counsel to a
counsel being present assisting the accused Joel Janson? person under custody even when he waives the right to counsel.
A: None, sir. Under the Constitution and existing law as well as jurisprudence, a confession
Q: So in all the sworn statement of the accused Joel Janson made earlier was to be admissible must satisfy the following requirements: (1) it must be
made without the assistance of counsel? (sic) voluntary; (2) it must be made with the assistance of competent and
A: When I prepared the investigation I advised him to get a counsel of his independent counsel; (3) it must be express; and (4) it must be in writing. [if
!supportFootnotes][43][endif]
own choice but the counsel was not yet present.
Q: He was not assisted by counsel during the conduct of the investigation? The purpose of providing counsel to a person under custodial investigation is
A: Yes, sir. to curb the uncivilized practice of extracting confession by coercion no matter
Court : What do you mean, Sergeant, Atty. Zerrudo was not yet present? how slight, as would lead the accused to admit something false. What is
A: When I conducted the investigation, Atty. Zerrudo was not present. sought to be avoided is the evil of extorting from the very mouth of the person
xxx undergoing interrogation for the commission of an offense, the very evidence

31
with which to prosecute and thereafter convict him. These constitutional implicating another may not be utilized unless repeated in open court or when
guarantees have been made available to protect him from the inherently there is an opportunity for the co-accused to cross-examine the confessant on
coercive psychological, if not physical, atmosphere of such investigation. [if his extrajudicial statements. It is considered hearsay as against said co-
!supportFootnotes][44][endif]
accused under the res inter alios acta rule, which ordains that the rights of a
While the Constitution sanctions the waiver of the right to counsel, it must, party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration, or omission of another. [if
!supportFootnotes][52][endif]
however, be voluntary, knowing, and intelligent, made in the presence and
with the assistance of counsel,[if !supportFootnotes][45][endif] and it must be in writing. For all the foregoing considerations, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court
Indeed, any waiver of the right to counsel without the assistance of counsel finding Janson and Pinantao guilty of the crime of robbery with rape fails to
has no evidentiary value.[if !supportFootnotes][46][endif] persuade us that appellants have been adequately identified as the
In this case, it cannot be said that the waiver of the right to counsel was made perpetrators of the heinous offense. In our view, to affirm that judgment of
knowingly and intelligently. Appellant Joel Janson was illiterate, and a minor conviction on the basis of contradictory testimony of prosecution witnesses
of sixteen (16) years at the time of the offense. As held in the case of People and the flawed extrajudicial confession of appellant Joel Janson is to sanction
v. Bonola,[if !supportFootnotes][47][endif] where the accused was unschooled and only a possible miscarriage of justice.
nineteen (19) years old when arrested, it is difficult to believe that considering What befell the Alcantara family, particularly to Marites, is abhorrent and
the circumstances, the accused made an intelligent waiver of his right to should be condemned. But after due reflection and deliberation, we still find
counsel. In such instances, the need for counsel is more pronounced. difficulty in sustaining the trial courts conclusion regarding appellants guilt
It is also important to mention that the investigating officers already had a because of inconclusive identification. Doubts persist in our mind as to who
prepared statement when they went to the lawyer who is supposed to assist are the real malefactors. Yes, a complex offense has been perpetrated, but
appellant Janson in waiving his right to counsel. who are the perpetrators? How we wish we had DNA or other scientific
This is not what is contemplated by law. In People v. Quidato, Jr.,[if evidence to still our doubts! But we have only uncertain testimonies to rely
!supportFootnotes][48][endif]
where the police officers already prepared the affidavits on. It is only when the conscience is satisfied that the persons on trial are the
of the accused when they were brought to the CLAO (now PAO) lawyer, and ones who committed the offense that the judgment should be for conviction.
the latter explained the contents of the affidavits in Visayan to the accused Only when there is proof beyond reasonable doubt can we be certain that,
who affirmed the veracity and voluntary execution of the same, the court held after trial, only those responsible should be made answerable. [if
!supportFootnotes][53][endif]
that the affidavits are inadmissible in evidence even if they were voluntarily The evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its
given. As also ruled in People v. Compil,[if !supportFootnotes][49][endif] the belated own merit and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the
arrival of the CLAO lawyer the following day, even if prior to the actual evidence for the defense.[if !supportFootnotes][54][endif] In this exacting standard, the
signing of the uncounseled confession, does not cure the defect of lack of prosecution failed. It follows that the judgment of the lower court convicting
counsel for the investigators were already able to extract incriminatory appellants ought to be set aside for failure to meet the quantum of evidence
statements from the accused therein. Thus, in People v. De Jesus,[if constitutionally required.
!supportFootnotes][50][endif]
we said that admissions obtained during custodial WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of
interrogations without the benefit of counsel, although later reduced to Kidapawan, Cotabato, Branch XVII, in Criminal Case No. 2016 is hereby
writing and signed in the presence of counsel, are still flawed under the REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Appellants Joel Janson and Ricky Pinantao
Constitution. are ACQUITTED, on grounds of reasonable doubt, and ordered released
As pointed out in People v. Deniega,[if !supportFootnotes][51][endif] if the lawyers role from prison unless they are being held for some other lawful cause. The
is reduced to being that of a mere witness to the signing of a priorly prepared Director of Prisons is DIRECTED to implement this Decision and to report
document albeit indicating therein compliance with the accuseds to this Court immediately the action taken hereon within five (5) days from
constitutional rights, the constitutional standard is not met. receipt hereof.
Finally, the invalid extrajudicial confession of Joel Janson cannot be used SO ORDERED.
against Ricky Pinantao. An extrajudicial confession by an accused

32
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-69844 February 23, 1988
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ROMEO POLICARPIO y MIRANDA, accused-appellant.

GANCAYCO, J.:
Convicted of violation of Section 4 Art. II of Republic Act No. 6425 as
amended in a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Rizal, the dispositive
part of which reading as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for
Violation of Section 4. Article II of Republic Act 6425 as amended, the court
hereby sentenced the accused to suffer a penalty of CADENA PERPETUA
and to pay a fine of P30,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency with costs against the accused.
The accused shall be entitled to the full term of his preventive imprisonment
pursuant to Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic
Act 6127, provided he abides by the rules imposed upon convicted prisoners,
otherwise, he shall only be entitled to 4/5.
accused Romeo Policarpio y Miranda now interposed, this appeal to this
Court alleging that the trial court committed the following assigned errors:
I
THE LOWER COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WERE

33
VIOLATED BY THE APPREHENDING NARCOTICS AGENTS. accused. From the accused was confiscated the marked P20.00 bill on his
II front pocket. After the arrest of the accused, the latter led his captors to his
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT ACCUSED- house and the operatives seized another six (6) small plastic bags of dried
APPELLANT WAS APPREHENDED IN THE ACT OF SELLING marijuana leaves together with rolling papers contained in a bigger plastic
MARIJUANA, OR IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER, AND IN FAILING bag marked Tie Tae Toe (Exhibit "C" to "C-6") placed on a top of the
TO FIND THAT HE WAS CHASED AND CAUGHT IN A RICEFIELD refrigerator at the kitchen of their house. Arrested with the accused is a certain
BETWEEN SITIOS BAGONG BAYAN AND SAN JUAN AT person Rogelio Policarpio, who turned out to be his cousin and who was
DARANGAN, BINANGONAN, RIZAL. earlier convicted by this Court for Possession of Dried Marijuana Leaves in
III Criminal Case No. 273-B of this Court. The accused and the confiscated
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO GIVE CREDENCE TO prohibited drugs were brought to Camp Crame and the Marijuana leaves were
THE TESTIMONY OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT AND HIS WITNESS turned over to the PCCL for examination (Exhibit "D"). The PCCL conducted
ISIDRO PARALEJAS. examination over the evidence thus (sic) over, and rendered its Chemistry
IV Report with the finding that the evidence thus examined gave a positive result
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT for the test for marijuana (Exhibit "A" to "A-3"). At the PC Headquarters, the
GUILTY OF VIOLATING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4, ARTICLE accused Romeo Policarpio signed a bond paper acknowledging that the six
II OF REPUBLIC ACT 6425 AS AMENDED. (6) small plastic bags of marijuana leaves were confiscated from him (Exhibit
The facts of the case as found by the court a quo are as follows: "G" to "G-2"). He likewise signed a document acknowledging the fact that
On June 16,1984 at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon, operatives of the Narcotics the marked P20.00 bill was confiscated from him (Exhibit "F" to "F-1").
Command, Camp Crame headed by P/Capt. Gabriel Paile swooped down at Similarly, accused signed a sworn statement where he opted not to give
Bagong Bayan, Kalawaan, Darangan, Binangonan, Rizal, after receiving an statement until he is represented by a counsel (Exhibit "J" to "J-2").
information that the accused alias Dupong is engaged in the sale and Under the first assigned error appellant claims that Exhibit G which is a
distribution of marijuana and other prohibited drugs and tagged as the main receipt signed by appellant acknowledging that six (6) small plastic bags of
source at the area. The team was organized earlier by Lt. Col. Manuel T. marijuana leaves were confiscated from him and Exhibit F a receipt signed
Raval, Commanding officer, 13th NRU Narcotics Command and was by appellant acknowledging that the P20.00 bill involved in the purchase of
dispatched to the target area to entrap the accused Romeo Policarpio, the marijuana leaves was confiscated from him are not admissible in evidence
accordingly, Pat. Mangila will pose as a buyer and was handed the marked as they were taken in violation of his constitutional right.
P20.00 bill (Exhibit "I" to "I-3") with which to buy the stuff before they What the records show is that appellant was informed of his constitutional
proceeded to the area of operation. At about 2:00 p.m. same date, the right to be silent and that he may refuse to give a statement which maybe used
operatives arrived at Bagong Bayan, Kalawaan, Darangan, Binangonan, against him, that is why he refused to give such a written statement unless it
Rizal. Leaving their vehicle at a distance, they posted themselves at strategic is made in the presence of his lawyer as shown by the paper he signed to this
places. The poseur buyer Pat. Enrico Mangila, together with the informant, effect. 1 However, he was made to acknowledge that the six (6) small plastic
looked for the accused and at about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of same date bags of dried marijuana leaves were confiscated from him by signing a receipt
2
Pat. Mangila and the informant were able to locate the accused in front of his and to sign a receipt for the P 20.00 bill as purchase price of the dried
house. Thereafter, Pat. Mangila was introduced by the informant to the marijuana leaves he sold to Pat. Mangila. 3
accused as the person who needs some marijuana leaves, and after they had Obviously the appellant was the victim of a clever ruse to make him sign
talked with the accused for a while, the accused gave Pat. Mangila two small these alleged receipts which in effect are extra-judicial confessions of the
plastic bags containing dried marijuana leaves and rolling paper (Exhibit "B" commission of the offense. Indeed it is unusual for appellant to be made to
to "B-4"). In turn Pat. Mangila gave to the accused the marked P20.00 bill sign receipts for what were taken from him. It is the police officers who
(Exhibit "I" to "I-3"). As previously arranged, Pat. Mangila scratched his head confiscated the same who should have signed such receipts. No doubt this is
and his companions, Pfc. Basco and Mendiola grabbed and arrested the a violation of the constitutional right of appellant to remain silent whereby he

34
was made to admit the commission of the offense without informing him of
his right. 4 Such a confession obtained in violation of the Constitution is
inadmissible in evidence.
The second, third, and fourth assigned errors are factual in nature wherein the
appellant raises the question of credibility of the witnesses and reiterates his
defense denying that he had been apprehended in the act of selling marijuana
and receiving P 20.00 as payment thereof He alleges that he was then at a
mahjong session and that he was pursued by the police when they came.
The too-well known rule in this jurisdiction is that the findings of facts of the
trial court are conclusive in this proceeding and will not be disturbed unless
some facts or circumstances may have been overlooked that may otherwise
affect the result of the case. The Court finds no reason to depart from this rule Section 13 Right to bail
in the present case. 5.1 Application for bail moots habeas corpus
While the Court now holds that the receipts for the six (6) plastic bags of
marijuana and the P20.00 bill which appellant was made to sign 5 are not Republic of the Philippines
admissible in evidence against him, nevertheless there is ample evidence in SUPREME COURT
the record other than these receipts to establish the commission of the offense Manila
by the appellant. Prosecution witnesses Pat. Enrico Mangila and Pfc. Jose SECOND DIVISION
Basco were present and categorically attested to the fact that the appellant G.R. No. L-61770 January 31, 1983
sold two (2) tea bags of dried marijuana leaves to Mangila and received as JOSE S. BAGCAL, petitioner,
consideration thereof P 20.00. 6 vs.
While the appellant attempts to discredit the testimony of said police officers, HON. ROLANDO R. VILLARAZA, Presiding Judge of the City Court of
he has not shown any improper motive why they should testify in the manner Cagayan de Oro City, Branch II, respondent.
that they did. Thus their testimonies are entitled to full faith and credence. 7 RESOLUTION
As a matter of fact courts give much credence to entrapping police officers,
as in this case, as they are presumed to be in the regular performance of ABAD SANTOS, J.:
official duties. 8 Acting on Jose S. Bagcal's petition asking for the issuance of a writ of habeas
Drug addiction is one of the most pernicious evils that has ever crept into our corpus alleging that he was illegally detained, We issued the writ on October
society. More often than not it is the young who constitute the greater 19, 1982, returnable to the Executive Judge of the Court of First Instance
majority of the citizenry who are the victims. It is of common knowledge that (now Regional Trial Court) of Cagayan de Oro City, on November 8, 1982.
drug addicts become useless if not dangerous members of society and in some After due hearing, Judge Eulalio D. Rosete rendered a decision on November
instances turn up to be among the living dead. This is the reason why the 17, 1982, with the following disposition:
courts and law enforcement agencies should continue in their relentless IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered denying
campaign not merely to minimize but to totally eradicate the evil before it is the petition for the release of the petitioner but ordering the Respondent Hon.
too late. And everyone must be involved in this drive if we are to succeed. Rolando R. Villaraza to hear the petition for bail filed by the petitioner at the
The peddlers of drugs are actually agents of destruction. They deserve no less soonest time and as speedy as possible, to determine only if the evidence
than the maximum penalty. supporting the charge of murder is strong, and if not, to fix the bail.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED in toto with costs Petitioner has appealed the decision to Us; he asks that he be immediately
against accused-appellant. released from detention. Respondent Judge Rolando R. Villaraza, on the other
SO ORDERED. hand, has asked Us to clarify his role in respect of the hearing for bail.

35
Petitioner was arrested on February 28, 1982, by the Philippine Constabulary.
The arrest was without warrant. He has been detained at Camp Alagar,
Cagayan de Oro City, since his arrest to the present.
On August 6, 1982, the City Fiscal of Cagayan de Oro filed an information
for murder against petitioner with the Municipal Trial Court of Cagayan de
Oro presided by respondent Judge Rolando R. Villaraza. The information was
accompanied by the affidavits of several persons.1äwphï1.ñët They were not
subscribed before Judge Villaraza who did not ask the affiants to ratify their
oaths nor did he ask them searching questions. The information has no
certification by the City Fiscal that he had conducted a preliminary
investigation. Indeed, if the City Fiscal had conducted a preliminary
investigation, the information should have been filed in the Court of First
Instance which had jurisdiction to try the case on its merits. It is obvious that
the information was filed with Judge Villaraza so that he would conduct a
preliminary examination and thereafter issue a warrant of arrest.
Judge Villaraza under the circumstances mentioned above issued a warrant
for the arrest of petitioner. The circumstances attending the issuance of the
warrant of arrest have been invoked in the petition for habeas corpus. And it
is the warrant of arrest that has been invoked in the return of the writ to justify
petitioner's detention and it is also the basis for the decision of Judge Rosete
on denying the petition.
Petitioner claims, and Judge Rosete agrees, that respondent Judge Villaraza
should not have issued a warrant of arrest without a preliminary examination
of the witnesses for the prosecution. However, Judge Rosete held, and We
agree, that although the warrant of arrest was irregularly issued, any infirmity
attached to it was cured when petitioner submitted himself to the jurisdiction
of the court by applying for bail, submitting a memorandum in support
thereof, and filing a motion for reconsideration when his application was
denied.
WHEREFORE, We affirm the decision of Judge Rosete with the sole
modification that the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court in Cagayan
de Oro City and not the municipal trial court, should conduct a hearing on the
application for bail. If he finds the evidence against petitioner to be strong,
he should deny bail but if he finds the evidence not sufficiently strong, he
should grant bail. The record of the case against petitioner should be elevated
to the aforesaid Executive Judge.
SO ORDERED.

36
5.2 Meaning of capital offense thus far presented by the prosecution, had established the material facts
constituting the crime charged inclusive of the collateral circumstances. It is
significant that the distinguished counsel who was appointed by this Court to
Republic of the Philippines represent Henry Parba on appeal does not seriously dispute those facts, which
SUPREME COURT are tersely summarized in the Solicitor-General's brief, as follows:
Manila At around 10:00 p.m. of March 24, 1981, Roy Salgado, a prosecution
EN BANC eyewitness, while conversing with his buddies (barkada) in front of the store
G.R. No. L-63409 May 30, 1986 of Epifanio Clerigo in Tubod Iligan City saw Bonifacio Tolo bringing the
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, victim, Alejandra Dalidig, from a waiting shed towards an unoccupied hut
vs. located in Manauang Iligan City (pp. 5-7, tsn, May 19, 1982).
HENRY PARBA defendant-appellant. Roy Salgado knew Dalidig was insane because she was the woman who was
The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. residing at Dodo Benti's house (id.).
Leonardo T Siguion Reyna counsel de oficio for Parba. While following Bonifacio Tolo to the hut, Roy Salgado saw his cousin, the
accused-appellant, in the yard of the hut. He was able to recognize accused-
NARVASA, J.: appellant because of a fluorescent lamp installed atop a post (p. 30, Id).
By judgment promulgated on December 10, 1982 in Criminal Case No. 1462, Shortly thereafter, Bonifacio Tolo brought the victim inside the hut. Roy
by the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte (Branch I, Iligan City), Salgado peeped inside and saw Bonifacio Tolo having sex with the victim.
Henry Parba was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Roy Salgado then saw Henry Parba go inside the hut after Bonifacio was
attempted rape with homicide and correspondingly sentenced "to the supreme through, the latter going straight to the Banana plantation to change his
penalty of death, with the accessories prescribed by law; to indemnify the clothes (pp. 9-10, Id).
heirs of the deceased Alejandra Dalidig in the sum of P12,000.00, without Roy Salgado peeped again and saw accused-appellant taking hold of victim's
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs. " The arm and embracing her. The victim was heard shouting as she was being
case is before this Court on automatic review (subpar: (1), par. 3, Sec. 17, boxed by accused-appellant several times. Roy Salgado, thinking of the
R.A. No. 296; Sec. 5(2), Art. X, Constitution). victim's safety, asked accused-appellant to stop. Appellant instead told
Henry Parba entered a plea of not guilty upon being arraigned in the Court a Salgado to just go home because he (Salgado) had nothing to do with the
quo on July 20, 1981, under an Amended Information charging him with victim (pp. 11-12, 4546, Id). To avoid any conflict, Roy Salgado went home
attempted rape with homicide "contrary to and in violation of Article 335 as and slept.
amended by Republic Act No. 2632 and Republic Act 4111, with the Thereafter, at around 1:00 o'clock in the morning of March 25, 1981, Roy
agravating circumstances that it was committed in a secluded place; that the Salgado was awakened by accused-appellant who was carrying a double-
wrong done in (the) commission of the crime ... (was) deliberately augmented bladed hunting knife (pp. 13; 33- 35, Id) wrapped in a carton. Acting sleepy,
by causing other wrong not necessary for its commission, and (that) the accused-appellant stood up and told Roy Salgado he forgot his shoes at the
accused is a recidivist. " Trial was subsequently conducted in due course. banana plantation (id). Accused-appellant then left.
After five (5) witnesses had been presented by the prosecution, the hearing In the early morning (6:00 a.m.) of March 25, 1981, a certain Sgt. Francisco
scheduled on October 29, 1982 was postponed to November 15, 1982, at the Englatiera, who was assigned to the Iligan City Police Station, but who was
instance of Henry Parba, through his counsel de oficio, in order that he could then in his house that early morning, saw an unusual crowd in front of a hut
"study thoroughly the feasibility of withdrawing his former plea of not guilty which was about 30 meters from his residence (pp. 5-6, tsn, Sept. 23, 1981).
and ... substitute the same with that of guilty" (ORDER, 29 October, 1982). Upon reaching the hut, where there were about 50 to 100 people around, he
On the next scheduled date of trial November 15, 1982, Henry Parba moved saw the body of the victim Dalidig with four to five stabbed wounds covered
thru counsel and was allowed by the Court to substitute his initial plea of not with banana leaves (p. 7, Id). Sgt. Englatiera was then tipped by a certain
guilty with one of guilty. After this time, the five (5) witnesses (and exhibits) Aniceto Sismar who saw accused-appellant within the vicinity at around

37
10:00 p.m. the night before (id). Accompanied by two members of his staff, Q Mr. Parba, your counsel here, Atty. Alberto Abragan, manifested that you
Sgt. Englatiera proceeded to the house of a certain Edgar Parba. The latter have intimated to him your desire to withdraw your former plea of not guilty
was not in the house but accused-appellant was there (p. 8. Id). and to substitute the same with that of guilty, is that correct?
After a series of interrogation, accused-appellant, trembling and turning pale, A Yes, Your Honor.
confessed that he killed the victim because she refused to have sex with him Q Do you know the consequences of your offer?
(p. 9, Id). Accused-appellant was immediately brought to the Police Station A Yes, Your Honor.
(p. 11, Id). Q In other words, you are admitting all the allegations here in the information.
It was Pat. Milo Parades who took down the written sworn statement (Exh. A Yes, Your Honor.
"A", p. 12, tsn, Feb. 26, 1982) of accused- appellant admitting responsibility Q And that you actually committed all the acts alleged therein?
after the latter was fully apprised of his constitutional rights (p. s, tsn, March A Yes, Your Honor.
19, 1982). The investigation was conducted in the Cebuano Bisayan dialect Q Has your lawyer explained to you the import and meaning of all the words
which the appellant fully understands (p. 14, tsn, supra). " appearing therein?
Both Henry Parba's counsel and the Solicitor-General are in agreement as A Yes, Your Honor.
regards what transpired at the hearing of November 15, 1982. In his brief, the COURT:
former reproduces pages 2 to 7 of the transcript of stenographic notes, viz: And do you know, as a matter of fact, that because of your offer the Court
FISCAL ULYSSES LAGCAO: will have to sentence you accordingly. This is a grave offense.
The same appearance for the prosecution, Your Honor, we are ready. A Yes, Your Honor.
ATTY. ALBERT ABRAGAN: COURT:
Respectfully appearing for the accused, Your Honor. The accused has Q And despite your awareness of the consequences of your offer you still
intimated to this representation that he will change his plea of not guilty to insist in withdrawing your former plea of not guilty and to substitute the same
that of guilty. with that of guilty?
COURT: A Yes, Your Honor.
Usually in cases like this we require the presentation of all the evidence COURT:
necessary to show the extent of liability of the accused, but considering that Well, in view of this you read the information again to the accused.
the prosecution has already presented several witnesses perhaps that will ... (Court Interpreter, Mr. Saidali Gandamra reading the information to the
FISCAL LAGCAO: accused
Nevertheless. Your Honor, after the accused have formally entered a plea of COURT:
guilty, I will be presenting my documentary evidence. Q By the way, Mr. Defense Counsel, have you explained to your client the
COURT: consequences of his offer?
You mean you are no longer presenting other witnesses? ATTY. ABRAGAN:
FISCAL LAGCAO: Yes, Your Honor, during the last hearing.
No more, Your Honor, I will just present our documentary exhibits. COURT:
COURT: The possible penalty, as well as the meaning and import of all the words
So you believe that on the basis of the evidence already presented it is appearing in the information? ATTY. ABRAGAN Yes, Your Honor, but I
sufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt? did not explain the allegation of recidivism and I think it is in the amended
FISCAL LAGCAO: information, Your Honor.
Yes, Your Honor. COURT:
COURT: Alright, you read the amended information to the accused.
(To the accused) FISCAL LAGCAO:
Come here May we be allowed to withdraw the allegation of recidivism, Your Honor, as

38
we have not established that. FISCAL LAGCAO:
COURT: Thru the testimony of Ludovina Frasco, Your Honor.
You mean you are not sure whether you have presented any evidence in COURT:
support thereof and therefore you are going to withdraw it now? Q You came to know later on that this woman was suffering from mental
FISCAL LAGCAO: abnormality?
Yes, Your Honor. COURT: You have here the amended information, Fiscal; A The following day, sir. (pp. 8-10, tsn, Nov. 15, 1982).
it appears on page 21 of the record, you delete the particular portion regarding The other relevant occurrences on that day, November 15, 1982, are set out
recidivism You delete that, initial it, and place the date today. in the Decision of the Court a quo, as regards which there is again no dispute.
COURT INTERPRETER: In order to complete the records of the case, Fiscal Ulysses Lagcao offered in
(After reading the amended information to the accused evidence Exhibits A, A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, B, B-1, C, C-1, C-2, D and E, and
Q Do you understand the information? the testimonies of Sgt. Francisco Englatiera, Pat. Milo Parades, Roy Salgado,
A Yes, sir. Dr. Livey Villarin and Ludovina Frasco.
Q What is your plea? A Guilty. (tsn, pp. 2-7, Nov. 15, 1982). After the prosecution had rested its case, the defense counsel invoked the
And the Solicitor-General's brief, in turn, reproduces pages 8 to 10 of the mitigating circumstances of passion and obfuscation and other circumstances
same transcript, viz: of a similar nature and analogous to those mentioned in paragraphs 8 and 9
COURT: of Article 13 of the Revised Penal Code. Fiscal Lagcao admitted the existence
Q In other words, Mr. Accused, by your plea of guilty you are admitting also of said mitigating circumstances.
the following aggravating circumstances: (1) that the crime was committed Judgment was thereafter promulgated, convicting Henry Parba of the crime
in a secluded place and (2) the wrong done was deliberately augmented by charged and sentencing him as aforestated, "to the supreme penalty of death,
causing other wrong not necessary for its commission? etc. "
A Yes, Your Honor. This judgment Henry Parba now assails in this Court. It is claimed by his
COURT: counsel that:
With respect to the other allegations, Mr. Defense Counsel, have you already 1) the lower Court erred in accepting the accused's plea of guilty which was
explained them to the accused? improvidently made; and
ATTY. ABRAGAN 2) assuming, without conceding, that the accused did not make an
I have not explained that aggravating circumstances. improvident plea of guilty and should rightfully be convicted, the lower Court
COURT: erred in disregarding the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority in
Do you know this statement here, the meaning or import of this statement that determining the penalty to be imposed.
"by means of force and violence", you commenced the commission of rape The first point that appellant's counsel attempts to make is-
upon one Alejandra Dalidig? ... that the plea of guilty was hastily accepted by the trial court; and that the
ACCUSED: accused did not fully understand the meaning, import and effect of such plea
A Yes, Your Honor. to a capital offense. The trial court simply asked the accused whether he
Q And in your comprehension or understanding, you also admit that you did realized that because of his plea of guilty he will be sentenced accordingly.
all these? There is no evidence that the court took great care and patience in explaining
A Yes, Your Honor. to him all the allegations in the amended information in the native dialect.
Q And that you also know that the woman was not in her normal frame of There is also no evidence that the trial court explained to him the gravity of
mind? the offense charged. And more importantly, there is no evidence that the trial
A I do not know, Your Honor, that she was a mentally defective woman. court explained to the accused that despite such plea of guilty and other
COURT: ordinary mitigating circumstances which may be considered as present
Fiscal, did you have any of this? herein, there is no other recourse but to sentence him to the mandatory penalty

39
of death. Thus, the trial court failed to exercise patience and circumspection proceedings. This Court holds that upon these facts on record, the Trial Court
in explaining the meaning of the accusation to the accused and the full import had—
of his plea of guilty (appellant's brief, pp. 76-77, rollo). ...exercised that patience and circumspection which is enjoined of trial judges
Appellant's argument cannot be sustained in the light of the facts on record. in explaining to the accused the nature and meaning of the accusation and the
The record shows that through his counsel de oficio, appellant asked for and full import of their plea of guilty. This injunction on trial judges in hearing a
was granted a postponement of two weeks or so so that he could "study capital offense where the accused entered a plea of guilty, reiterated in the
thoroughly the feasibility of withdrawing his former plea of not guilty and ... case of People vs. Baluyot (75 SCRA 148, 154) relied upon by appellant,
substitute the same with that of guilty." The record further shows that in appears fully complied with in the instant case. The record speaks for itself,
response to questions of the court, appellant affirmed his counsel's and nothing more need hardly be said on this score. (People vs. Pascual, Jr.,
manifestation of his desire to change his plea from not guilty to guilty. He 109 SCRA 197, 204).
also affirmed not only his awareness of the consequences of his offer to Of no little significance is the circumstance that appellant's decision to change
change his plea and that the change of plea would imply that he was his plea from not guilty to guilty was reached after the prosecution had
"admitting all the allegations ... in the information, " but also that in fact, he presented five (5) witnesses whose evidence, as aforestated, satisfactorily
had "actually committed all the acts" described in the information. Appellant proved the commission by appellant of the crime charged, inclusive of his
also confirmed that his lawyer had explained to him "the import and meaning spontaneous and voluntary acknowledgment thereof on no less than two (2)
of all the words appearing" in the indictment. He affirmed, too, his knowledge occasions: the first, verbally, at his residence, and the second, in writing, at
that because of the change of plea "the Court will have to sentence ... (him) the police station.
accordingly," and that the offense was "a grave offense"; and he declared that This Court is satisfied, therefore, that no error is imputable to the Court a quo
despite knowing all "the consequences," he would "still insist" on his not only in its appreciation of the evidence, as establishing appellant's
preferred change of plea. The record moreover shows that the Court also culpability independently of his plea of guilty, but also in its determination
questioned appellant's counsel and obtained from the latter the assurance that that the change by the appellant of his plea from not guilty to guilty had been
he had explained to his client the consequences of the offer of change of plea, done knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily with full awareness and
"as well as the meaning and import of all the words appearing in the understanding of the nature and consequences thereof.
information," except "the allegation of recidivism" which, however, was The second point raised by appellant's court-appointed counsel, upon the
quickly withdrawn by the fiscal. The record shows, furthermore, that after the other hand, is well taken. The Lower Court did err "in disregarding the
amended information had once again been read to the accused, and in answer privileged mitigating circumstance of minority in determining the penalty to
to still other questions by the Court a quo, appellant Parba stated that he knew be imposed. "
that by his plea of guilty he was "admitting also the ... aggravating That Henry Parba was seventeen (17) years of age at the time he perpetrated
circumstances: (1) that the crime was committed in a secluded place, and (2) the offense of which he has been found guilty is clearly shown by the
the wrong was deliberately augmented by causing other wrong not necessary evidence (Exh. A). Given this undisputed fact, Parba avers that he is entitled
for its commission;" and that he understood the "meaning and import" of the to the benefits of Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code, viz:
statement that "by means of force and violence ... (he) commenced the Art. 68. Penalty to be imposed upon a person under eighteen years of age. -
commission of rape upon one Alejandra Dalidig." In fact, "in (his) When the offender is a minor under eighteen years and his case is one coming
comprehension or understanding," he admitted having done those acts. The under the provisions of the paragraph next to the last of article 80 of this
record finally discloses the fact, not impugned by appellant, that the Trial Code, the following rules shall be observed:
Court's explanation "was translated by the Court Interpreter in the Bisayan 1. Upon a person under fifteen but over nine years of age, who is not
dialect which the accused speaks and understands" (Decision, p. 8, rollo), and exempted from liability by reason of the court having declared that he acted
that all throughout the proceedings on November 15, 1982, the day appellant with discernment, a discretionary penalty shall be imposed, but always lower
voluntarily changed his plea from not guilty to guilty, his counsel de oficio by two degrees at least than that prescribed by law for the crime which he
was present and assisted him, just as he had done at all other prior committed.

40
2. Upon a person over fifteen and under eighteen years of age the penalty next
lower than that prescribed by law shall be imposed, but always in the proper
period.
The Solicitor-General shares this view. And this Court declares their views
to be correct.
The case of People vs. Ramos, 94 SCRA 843, adverted to by the Court a quo,
in which it was ruled that regardless of the presence of mitigating
circumstances, when a person is found guilty of rape with homicide (or
attempted rape with homicide), for which the law prescribes the single,
indivisible penalty of death, courts do not have "any discretion with respect
to the severity of the penalty to be imposed," does not preclude the application
of Article 68 to the appellant herein. Ramos obviously had reference to
ordinary mitigating circumstances, not to the privileged mitigating
circumstance dealt with in Article 68 which has the effect of lowering the
penalty by one or two degrees than that prescribed by law. Thus, in
accordance with said Article 68, the proper penalty imposable upon appellant
is not death but reclusion perpetua.
WHEREFORE, with the modification above-mentioned, i.e., the reduction of
the penalty imposed upon accused-appellant Henry Parba from death to
reclusion perpetual the judgment of the Trial Court is affirmed in all other
respects.
SO ORDERED.

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Restriction of provisional liberty as bail The court has power to prohibit person admitted to bail from leaving the
country because this is a necessary consequence of the nature and function of
Manotoc vs. CA (May 30, 1986) a bail bond. The condition imposed upon petitioner to make himself available
at all times whenever the court requires his presence operates as a valid
StartFragment restriction on his constitutional right to travel. In case he will be allowed to
Manotoc vs. CA | May 30, 1986 leave the country without sufficient reason, he may be placed beyond the
reach of courts.

FACTS: Furthermore, petitioner failed to satisfy trial court and CA of the urgency of
his travel, duration thereof, as well as consent of his surety to the proposed
Ricardo Manotoc Jr. was one of the two principal stockholders of Trans- travel. He was not able to show the necessity of his travel abroad. He never
Insular Management Inc. and the Manotoc Securities Inc. (stock brokerage indicated that no other person in his behalf could undertake such business
house). He was in US for a certain time, went home to file a petition with transaction.
SEC for appointment of a management committee for both businesses. Such
was granted. However, pending disposition of a case filed with SEC, the Article 3 Sec6: “The liberty of abode and of changing the same… shall not
latter requested the Commissioner of Immigration not to clear him for be impaired except upon lawful order of the court….” According to SC, the
departure. Consequently, a memorandum to this effect was issued. order of trial court in releasing petitioner on bail constitutes such lawful order
as contemplated by the provision on right to travel.
There was a torrens title submitted to and accepted by Manotoc Securities Inc
which was suspected to be fake. 6 of its clients filed separate criminal
complaints against the petitioner and Leveriza, President and VP
respectively. He was charged with estafa and was allowed by the Court to
post bail.

Petitioner filed before each trial court motion for permission to leave the
country stating his desire to go to US relative to his business transactions and
opportunities. Such was opposed by the prosecution and was also denied by
the judges. He filed petition for certiorari with CA seeking to annul the prior
orders and the SEC communication request denying his leave to travel
abroad.

According to the petitioner, having been admitted to bail as a matter of right,


neither the courts that granted him bail nor SEC, which has no jurisdiction
over his liberty, could prevent him from exercising his constitutional right to
travel.

ISSUE: WON petitioner’s constitutional right to travel was violated.

HELD: NO.

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