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G.R. No.

74433 September 14, 1987 the accused was in Manila reviewing for the 1983 Bar examinations.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, His wife was left behind in their residence in Tacloban, Leyte (pp.
vs. 45-47, 65, tsn, Sept. 24, 1984).
FRANCISCO ABARCA, accused-appellant. On July 15, 1984, the accused was in his residence in Tacloban,
Leyte. On the morning of that date he went to the bus station to go
SARMIENTO, J.: to Dolores, Eastern Samar, to fetch his daughter. However, he was
This is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Palo, Leyte, not able to catch the first trip (in the morning). He went back to the
sentencing the accused-appellant Francisco Abarca to death for the complex crime of station in the afternoon to take the 2:00 o'clock trip but the bus had
murder with double frustrated murder. engine trouble and could not leave (pp. 5-8, tsn, Nov. 28, 1985). The
The case was elevated to this Court in view of the death sentence imposed. With the accused, then proceeded to the residence of his father after which
approval of the new Constitution, abolishing the penalty of death and commuting all he went home. He arrived at his residence at the V & G Subdivision
existing death sentences to life imprisonment, we required the accused-appellant to in Tacloban City at around 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon (pp. 8-9,
inform us whether or not he wished to pursue the case as an appealed case. In tsn, Id.).
compliance therewith, he filed a statement informing us that he wished to continue Upon reaching home, the accused found his wife, Jenny, and
with the case by way of an appeal. Khingsley Koh in the act of sexual intercourse. When the wife and
The information (amended) in this case reads as follows: Koh noticed the accused, the wife pushed her paramour who got his
xxx xxx xxx revolver. The accused who was then peeping above the built-in
The undersigned City Fiscal of the City of Tacloban accuses Francisco cabinet in their room jumped and ran away (pp. 9-13, tsn, Id.).
Abarca of the crime of Murder with Double Frustrated Murder, The accused went to look for a firearm at Tacloban City. He went to
committed as follows: the house of a PC soldier, C2C Arturo Talbo, arriving there at around
That on or about the 15th day of July, 1984, in the City of Tacloban, 6:30 p.m. He got Talbo's firearm, an M-16 rifle, and went back to his
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the house at V & G Subdivision. He was not able to find his wife and Koh
above-named accused, with deliberate intent to kill and with there. He proceeded to the "mahjong session" as it was the
evident premeditation, and with treachery, armed with an "hangout" of Kingsley Koh. The accused found Koh playing mahjong.
unlicensed firearm (armalite), M-16 rifle, did then and there wilfully, He fired at Kingsley Koh three times with his rifle (pp. 13-19,
unlawfully and feloniously attack and shot several times KHINGSLEY tsn, Id.). Koh was hit. Arnold and Lina Amparado who were
PAUL KOH on the different parts of his body, thereby inflicting upon occupying a room adjacent to the room where Koh was playing
said KHINGSLEY PAUL KOH gunshot wounds which caused his mahjong were also hit by the shots fired by the accused (pp. 34-49,
instantaneous death and as a consequence of which also caused tsn, Sept. 24, 1984). Kingsley Koh died instantaneously of
gunshot wounds to LINA AMPARADO and ARNOLD AMPARADO on cardiorespiratory arrest due to shock and hemorrhage as a result of
the different parts of their bodies thereby inflicting gunshot wounds multiple gunshot wounds on the head, trunk and abdomen (pp. 28-
which otherwise would have caused the death of said Lina 29, tsn, Sept. 24, 1984; see also exh. A): Arnold Amparado was
Amparado and Arnold Amparado, thus performing all the acts of hospitalized and operated on in the kidney to remove a bullet (pp.
execution which should have produced the crimes of murders as a 17-23, tsn, Oct. 17, 1984; see also exh. C). His wife, Lina Amparado,
consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of was also treated in the hospital as she was hit by bullet fragments
causes independent of his will, that is by the timely and able (p. 23, tsn, Id.). Arnold Amparado who received a salary of nearly
medical assistance rendered to Lina Amparado and Arnold P1,000.00 a month was not able to work for 1-1/2 months because
Amparado which prevented their death. 1 of his wounds. He spent P15,000.00 for medical expenses while his
xxx xxx xxx wife spent Pl,000.00 for the same purpose (pp. 24-25, tsn, Id. ). 2
On arraignment, the accused-appellant pleaded not guilty. The Solicitor General On March 17, 1986, the trial court rendered the appealed judgment, the dispositive
states accurately the facts as follows: portion whereof reads as follows:
Khingsley Paul Koh and the wife of accused Francisco Abarca, Jenny, xxx xxx xxx
had illicit relationship. The illicit relationship apparently began while

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WHEREFORE, finding the accused, Francisco Abarca guilty beyond These rules shall be applicable, under the same circumstances, to
reasonable doubt of the complex crime of murder with double parents with respect to their daughters under eighteen years of age,
frustrated murder as charged in the amended information, and and their seducers, while the daughters are living with their parents.
pursuant to Art. 63 of the Revised Penal Code which does not Any person who shall promote or facilitate prostitution of his wife
consider the effect of mitigating or aggravating circumstances when or daughter, or shall otherwise have consented to the infidelity of
the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty in relation to Art. 48, the other spouse shall not be entitled to the benefits of this article.
he is hereby sentenced to death, to indemnify the heirs of Khingsley We agree with the Solicitor General that the aforequoted provision applies in the
Paul Koh in the sum of P30,000, complainant spouses Arnold and instant case. There is no question that the accused surprised his wife and her
Lina Amparado in the sum of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), paramour, the victim in this case, in the act of illicit copulation, as a result of which,
without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay he went out to kill the deceased in a fit of passionate outburst. Article 247 prescribes
the costs. the following elements: (1) that a legally married person surprises his spouse in the
It appears from the evidence that the deceased Khingsley Paul Koh act of committing sexual intercourse with another person; and (2) that he kills any of
and defendant's wife had illicit relationship while he was away in them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter. These elements are
Manila; that the accused had been deceived, betrayed, disgraced present in this case. The trial court, in convicting the accused-appellant of murder,
and ruined by his wife's infidelity which disturbed his reasoning therefore erred.
faculties and deprived him of the capacity to reflect upon his acts. Though quite a length of time, about one hour, had passed between the time the
Considering all these circumstances this court believes the accused accused-appellant discovered his wife having sexual intercourse with the victim and
Francisco Abarca is deserving of executive clemency, not of full the time the latter was actually shot, the shooting must be understood to be the
pardon but of a substantial if not a radical reduction or continuation of the pursuit of the victim by the accused-appellant. The Revised Penal
commutation of his death sentence. Code, in requiring that the accused "shall kill any of them or both of them . . .
Let a copy of this decision be furnished her Excellency, the President immediately" after surprising his spouse in the act of intercourse, does not say that
of the Philippines, thru the Ministry of Justice, Manila. he should commit the killing instantly thereafter. It only requires that the death
SO ORDERED. 3 caused be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the accused after
xxx xxx xxx chancing upon his spouse in the basest act of infidelity. But the killing should have
The accused-appellant assigns the following errors committed by the court a quo: been actually motivated by the same blind impulse, and must not have been
I. influenced by external factors. The killing must be the direct by-product of the
IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED FOR THE CRIME AS CHARGED INSTEAD OF ENTERING A accused's rage.
JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION UNDER ARTICLE 247 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE; It must be stressed furthermore that Article 247, supra, does not define an
II. offense. 5 In People v. Araque, 6 we said:
IN FINDING THAT THE KILLING WAS AMENDED BY THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE xxx xxx xxx
OF TREACHERY. 4 As may readily be seen from its provisions and its place in the Code,
The Solicitor General recommends that we apply Article 247 of the Revised Penal the above-quoted article, far from defining a felony, merely
Code defining death inflicted under exceptional circumstances, complexed with provides or grants a privilege or benefit — amounting practically to
double frustrated murder. Article 247 reads in full: an exemption from an adequate punishment — to a legally married
ART. 247. Death or physical injuries inflicted under exceptional person or parent who shall surprise his spouse or daughter in the
circumstances. — Any legally married person who, having surprised act of committing sexual intercourse with another, and shall kill any
his spouse in the act of committing sexual intercourse with another or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter, or shall inflict
person, shall kill any of them or both of them in the act or upon them any serious physical injury. Thus, in case of death or
immediately thereafter, or shall inflict upon them any serious serious physical injuries, considering the enormous provocation and
physical injury, shall suffer the penalty of destierro. his righteous indignation, the accused — who would otherwise be
If he shall inflict upon them physical injuries of any other kind, he criminally liable for the crime of homicide, parricide, murder, or
shall be exempt from punishment. serious physical injury, as the case may be — is punished only
with destierro. This penalty is mere banishment and, as held in a

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case, is intended more for the protection of the accused than a a finding of double frustrated murder against the accused-appellant, and being the
punishment. (People vs. Coricor, 79 Phil., 672.) And where physical more severe offense, proposes the imposition of reclusion temporal in its maximum
injuries other than serious are inflicted, the offender is exempted period pursuant to Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code. This is where we disagree.
from punishment. In effect, therefore, Article 247, or the The accused-appellant did not have the intent to kill the Amparado couple. Although
exceptional circumstances mentioned therein, amount to an as a rule, one committing an offense is liable for all the consequences of his act, that
exempting circumstance, for even where death or serious physical rule presupposes that the act done amounts to a felony. 9
injuries is inflicted, the penalty is so greatly lowered as to result to But the case at bar requires distinctions. Here, the accused-appellant was not
no punishment at all. A different interpretation, i.e., that it defines committing murder when he discharged his rifle upon the deceased. Inflicting death
and penalizes a distinct crime, would make the exceptional under exceptional circumstances is not murder. We cannot therefore hold the
circumstances which practically exempt the accused from criminal appellant liable for frustrated murder for the injuries suffered by the Amparados.
liability integral elements of the offense, and thereby compel the This does not mean, however, that the accused-appellant is totally free from any
prosecuting officer to plead, and, incidentally, admit them, in the responsibility. Granting the fact that he was not performing an illegal act when he
information. Such an interpretation would be illogical if not absurd, fired shots at the victim, he cannot be said to be entirely without fault. While it
since a mitigating and much less an exempting circumstance cannot appears that before firing at the deceased, he uttered warning words ("an waray
be an integral element of the crime charged. Only "acts or omissons labot kagawas,") 10 that is not enough a precaution to absolve him for the injuries
. . . constituting the offense" should be pleaded in a complaint or sustained by the Amparados. We nonetheless find negligence on his part.
information, and a circumstance which mitigates criminal liability or Accordingly, we hold him liable under the first part, second paragraph, of Article 365,
exempts the accused therefrom, not being an essential element of that is, less serious physical injuries through simple imprudence or negligence. (The
the offense charged-but a matter of defense that must be proved to records show that Arnold Amparado was incapacitated for one and one-half
the satisfaction of the court-need not be pleaded. (Sec. 5, Rule 106, months; 11 there is no showing, with respect to Lina Amparado, as to the extent of
Rules of Court; U.S. vs. Campo, 23 Phil., 368.) her injuries. We presume that she was placed in confinement for only ten to fourteen
That the article in question defines no crime is made more manifest days based on the medical certificate estimating her recovery period.) 12
when we consider that its counterpart in the old Penal Code (Article For the separate injuries suffered by the Amparado spouses, we therefore impose
423) was found under the General Provisions (Chapter VIII) of Title upon the accused-appellant arresto mayor (in its medium and maximum periods) in
VIII covering crimes against persons. There can, we think, hardly be its maximum period, arresto to being the graver penalty (than destierro). 13
any dispute that as part of the general provisions, it could not have WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby MODIFIED. The accused-appellant
possibly provided for a distinct and separate crime. is sentenced to four months and 21 days to six months of arresto mayor. The period
xxx xxx xxx within which he has been in confinement shall be credited in the service of these
We, therefore, conclude that Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code penalties. He is furthermore ordered to indemnify Arnold and Lina Amparado in the
does not define and provide for a specific crime, but grants a sum of P16,000.00 as and for hospitalization expense and the sum of P1,500.00 as
privilege or benefit to the accused for the killing of another or the and for Arnold Amparado's loss of earning capacity. No special pronouncement as to
infliction of serious physical injuries under the circumstances costs.
therein mentioned. ... 7 IT IS SO ORDERED
xxx xxx xxx
Punishment, consequently, is not inflicted upon the accused. He is banished, but that
is intended for his protection. 8
It shall likewise be noted that inflicting death under exceptional circumstances, not
being a punishable act, cannot be qualified by either aggravating or mitigating or
other qualifying circumstances, We cannot accordingly appreciate treachery in this
case.
The next question refers to the liability of the accused-appellant for the physical
injuries suffered by Lina Amparado and Arnold Amparado who were caught in the
crossfire as the accused-appellant shot the victim. The Solicitor General recommends

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[G.R. No. 123819. November 14, 2001] house, wearing a violet-colored blouse with floral prints, and was carrying three bags
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. STEPHEN MARK --- a paper bag, a violet Giordano bag and a thick brown leather bag with the
WHISENHUNT, accused-appellant. trademark of Mitsubishi. He brought Elsa to accused-appellants condominium unit.[7]
DECISION At 2:00 p.m., Elsa told Demetrio to go to the Apex office in Mandaluyong to
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: deliver a paper bag to Amy Serrano, the Personnel Manager. He proceeded to the
This is a direct appeal from the decision [1] of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig Apex office, and then returned to Platinum. Accused-appellant asked him to stay
City, Branch 152, in Criminal Case No. 102687, the dispositive portion of which states: because he had to drive Elsa home at 10:00 p.m. He waited until a little past 10:00
WHEREFORE, finding the accused Stephen Mark Whisenhunt guilty beyond p.m. When he had not heard from accused-appellant, he told Lucy, the housemaid,
reasonable doubt of murder defined and penalized under Art. 248, Revised Penal that he was going home.[8]
Code, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the The following day, Demetrio again reported at accused-appellants unit. At
accessory penalties provided for by law, to pay the heirs of the deceased the amount around noon, Lucy asked if he had seen a kitchen knife which was missing. He then
of P100,000.00 representing actual expenses for the funeral services and wake for 5 overheard Lucy ask accused-appellant who told her that the kitchen knife was in his
days, P3,000,000.00 by way of moral damages, exemplary damages in the amount of bedroom. Demetrio saw accused-appellant go inside the room and, shortly
P1,000,000.00 and attorneys fees in the amount of P150,000.00. thereafter, hand the knife to Lucy.[9]
SO ORDERED.[2] At 3:40 p.m., Lucy told Demetrio to buy cigarettes for accused-appellant. He
On November 19, 1993, accused-appellant was formally charged with the went out to buy the cigarettes and gave them to Lucy. At 5:00 p.m., accused-
murder of Elsa Santos-Castillo, under an Information which read: appellant told Demetrio to go home.[10]
That on or about September 24, 1993, in the Municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila, On September 25, 1993, Demetrio reported at the Platinum Condominium at
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named around 8:00 a.m. He was allowed by accused-appellant to go to Apex to follow up his
accused did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill and salary. While he was there, Amy Serrano asked him if Elsa was still in accused-
taking advantage of superior strength, attack, assault and use personal violence upon appellants condominium unit. Although Demetrio did not see Elsa there, he answered
the person of one Elsa Elsie Santos Castillo by then and there stabbing her with a yes. Amy gave him black plastic garbage bags which he turned over to accused-
bladed weapon in different parts of her body, thereby inflicting upon her mortal appellant upon his return to the condominium. The latter then ordered him to drive
wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of her death and thereafter Lucy to Cubao and to go home to get some clothes, since they were leaving for Bagac,
outraged or scoffed her corpse by then and there chopping off her head and different Bataan. On the way to Cubao, Lucy told Demetrio that she was going home. He
parts of her body. dropped her off in front of the Farmers Market. Thereafter, he proceeded to his
CONTRARY TO LAW.[3] house in Fairview, Quezon City, to pick up some clothes, then returned to the
The case was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City and was raffled to condominium at around 10:00 a.m.[11]
Branch 152. On January 6, 1994, accused-appellant was arraigned with the assistance Accused-appellant asked him to check the fuel gauge of the car. He was told to
of counsel de parte. He entered a plea of not guilty.[4] go to Apex to get a gas slip and then to gas up. At around noon, he went back to the
The evidence shows that accused-appellant and the deceased, Elsa Santos- condominium.He had lunch outside at Goodah, then returned to accused-appellants
Castillo, also known as Elsie, were lovers. They met at the Apex Motor Corporation unit and stayed in the servants quarters.[12]
where accused-appellant was the Manager while Elsa was the Assistant Personnel While Demetrio was in the servants quarters watching television, accused-
Manager. Both accused-appellant and Elsa were married, but they were estranged appellant came in. He asked Demetrio how long he wanted to work for him. Demetrio
from their respective spouses. In April 1993, Elsa resigned from Apex presumably to replied that he was willing to work for him forever, and expressed his full trust in
avoid the nasty rumors about her illicit affair with accused-appellant.[5] It appears, him. Upon hearing this, accused-appellant shed tears and embraced Demetrio. Then
however, that she continued her affair with accused-appellant even after she accused-appellant said, May problema ako, Rio. Demetrio asked what it was, and
resigned from Apex Motor Corporation. accused-appellant told him that Elsa was dead. Demetrio asked, Bakit mo siya
On September 23, 1993, Demetrio Ravelo, an Apex employee assigned to drive pinatay?[13] Accused-appellant answered that he did not kill Elsa, rather she died
for accused-appellant, reported for work at 8:30 a.m. at the latters condominium unit of bangungot.[14]
at the Platinum Condominium, Annapolis Street, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Demetrio suggested that Elsas body be autopsied, but accused-appellant said
Manila.[6] Accused-appellant ordered him to fetch Elsa at her parents house in that he had already beheaded her. He asked Demetrio if he wanted to see the
Blumentritt, Manila at 10:30 a.m. He found Elsa standing at a corner near her parents decapitated body, but the latter refused. The two of them went to Shoppesville at the

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Greenhills Shopping Center and bought a big bag with a zipper and rollers, colored they passed a place called Kabog-kabog, he saw accused-appellant take out an ATM
black and gray.[15] Demetrio noticed that accused-appellant seemed nervous and his card. Accused-appellant burned the middle of the card, twisted it and threw it out of
eyes were teary and bloodshot. the window. They arrived at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue at 2:30
When they returned to the condominium, accused-appellant asked Demetrio to p.m. Demetrio asked accused-appellant if he can get off since he wanted to go home
help him wrap the body in the black garbage bags. Demetrio entered accused- to Fairview. Before Demetrio left, accused-appellant told him, Rio, you and your
appellants bathroom and found the dismembered hands, feet, trunk and head of a family can go on a vacation. I will give you money. Accused-appellant then gave
woman. He lifted the severed head by the hair and, when he lifted it, he saw Elsas Demetrio P50.00 for his transportation going to Fairview.[23]
face. He placed this in a black trash bag.He helped accused-appellant place the other When Demetrio got home, he immediately told his family what happened. His
body parts in three separate garbage bags. They packed all the garbage bags in the wife told him to report the incident to Fiscal Joey Diaz. Demetrio and his wife went to
bag with the zipper and rollers, which they had bought in Shoppesville. Then, they the house of Fiscal Diaz in Fairview to talk to him.[24]
brought the bag down and loaded it in the trunk of accused-appellants car. After that, The following morning, September 27, 1993, Fiscal Diaz, Demetrio, his wife and
they boarded the car. Demetrio took the wheel and accused-appellant sat beside him his brothers went to the Department of Justice. They were referred to the National
in front.[16] Bureau of Investigation, where Demetrio gave his statement before Atty. Artemio
It was almost 2:00 p.m. when Demetrio and accused-appellant left the Sacaquing, head of the Anti-Organized Crime Division.[25]
condominium. Accused-appellant told Demetrio to drive around Batangas and Initially, Atty. Sacaguing could not believe what he heard and thought Demetrio
Tagaytay City. After leaving Tagaytay, they entered the South Luzon Expressway and was exaggerating. He dispatched a team of NBI agents, headed by Marianito
headed towards Sta. Rosa, Laguna. When they were near Puting Kahoy and Silangan, Panganiban, to verify Demetrios report.[26] Accompanied by Demetrio, the team
accused-appellant told Demetrio to turn into a narrow road. Somewhere along that proceeded to Barangay Polong, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Rosa, Laguna. There, they found a
road, accused-appellant ordered Demetrio to stop the car.[17] crowd of people gathered around the mutilated parts of a human body along the
Accused-appellant alighted and told Demetrio to get the bag in the road.[27] The body parts had been discovered by tricycle drivers. The Sta. Rosa Police,
trunk. Accused-appellant took the plastic bags inside the bag and dumped them by under Chief Investigator SPO3 Alipio Quintos, was already conducting an
the roadside. Then, accused-appellant returned the empty bag in the trunk and investigation. Agent Panganiban radioed Atty. Sacaguing in Manila that Demetrios
boarded the car. He called Demetrio and said, Tayo na Rio, tuloy na tayo sa Bataan. It report was positive.[28]
was already 6:30 p.m.[18] The mutilated body parts were brought to the Lim de Mesa Funeral Parlor in Sta.
Demetrio drove to the Sta. Rosa exit gate, along the South Luzon Expressway, Rosa. Two NBI agents, together with Demetrio, went to the house of Elsas family to
through EDSA and towards the North Luzon Expressway. They stopped at a gasoline inform them of her death. The NBI agents accompanied Elsas two sisters, Amelia
station to refuel.They then took the San Fernando, Pampanga exit, and were soon en Villadiego and Elida Santos, to the funeral parlor, where they identified the body parts
route to the Whisenhunt family mansion in Bagac, Bataan.[19] as belonging to Elsa.
Before reaching Bagac, accused-appellant ordered Demetrio to stop the car on In the morning of September 28, 1993, accused-appellant was arrested by
top of a bridge. Accused-appellant told Demetrio to get off and to throw a bag into operatives of the NBI as he drove up to his parking space at Apex Motor
the river. Later, they passed another bridge and accused-appellant again told Corporation.[29] When Atty. Sacaguing approached and introduced himself, accused-
Demetrio to pull over. Accused-appellant alighted and threw Elsas clothes over the appellant became nervous and started to tremble.[30]
bridge. On the way, Demetrio noticed that accused-appellant took something from a Accused-appellant was brought to the NBI in his car. When he arrived there,
bag, tore it to pieces and threw it out of the window. When they passed Pilar, Bataan, Atty. Sacaguing informed him that it may be necessary to impound the car since,
accused-appellant threw Elsas violet Giordano bag.As they reached the road based on Demetrios statement, the same was used in the commission of the
boundary of Bagac, accused-appellant wrung a short-sleeved dress with violet and crime. Accused-appellant asked permission to retrieve personal belongings from the
green stripes, and threw it on a grassy lot.[20] car. After getting his things from the car, accused-appellant opened the trunk to place
It was about midnight when accused-appellant and Demetrio arrived at the some items inside. When he opened the compartment, the people around the car
mansion. Demetrio was unable to sleep that night, as he was scared that he might be moved away because of the foul stench that emanated from inside. Atty. Sacaguing
the next victim.[21] inspected the interior of the trunk and found stains on the lawanit board lying flat
The next morning, at 11:00 a.m., accused-appellant ordered Demetrio to clean inside the compartment, which he suspected to be blood. Thus, he instructed his
the trunk of the car, saying, Rio, linisan mo ang sasakyan para ang compartment hindi agents to fetch a technician from the NBI Chemistry Division to examine the stain. [31]
babaho.[22] At 1:00 p.m., accused-appellant and Demetrio started off for Manila. As

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During Atty. Sacaguings interview of accused-appellant, he noticed contusions Head, decapitated, level above 4th cervical vertebra; both hands severed cutting
on accused-appellants lower lip and cheek. As standard procedure, and in order to completely the lower ends of both radius and ulna; both legs, disarticulated at knee
rule out any accusation of violence on accused-appellant on the part of the NBI joints and cut-off with both patellar bones, missing; both feet, disarticulated at the
agents, Atty. Sacaguing ordered a medical examination of accused-appellant.[32] ankle joints and cut-off; all soft tissues of both thighs and perineum, removed,
The Medico-Legal Officer found contusions on accused-appellants left exposing completely the femoral bones and partially the pelvic bone,
periumbilical region, right elbow, left and right forearms and right leg. [33] Incised wounds: 19.5 cms., left axillary area; 55.0 cms., thoraco-abdominal area, along
That same afternoon, before the close of office hours, accused-appellant was median line, with the abdominal incision involving the whole thickness and the
brought to the Department of Justice for inquest. [34] However, accused-appellant thoracic incision involving the soft tissues and cutting the sternum from the xiphoid
moved that a preliminary investigation be conducted, and signed a waiver of the process up to the level of the third cartilage; from the 3 rd cartilage up to the lower
provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. Hence, he was detained at the border of the neck.
NBI.[35] Abdominal organs, removed from the abdominal cavity.
On September 29, 1993, armed with a search warrant, [36] the NBI agents Contusions: 26.0 x 16.5 cms., face, more on the left side involving the forehead,
conducted a search of the condominium unit of accused-appellant. They recovered temporal, nasal, orbital and maxillary areas; 25.0 x 11.0 cms., deltoid area, extending
hair strands from underneath the rubber mat and rugs inside accused-appellants down to the upper 2/3, arm, left.
bathroom.[37] In accused-appellants bedroom, they found bloodstains on the Incised Wound, 3.0 cms., neck area, along anterior median line.
bedspread and covers. They also found a pair of Topsider shoes with bloodstains, a Hematoma, scalp, massive, temporo-parietal, left.
bottle of Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup, and some more hair strands on the STAB WOUNDS:
lampshade.[38] 1. 1.8 cms., elliptical, clean-cut edges, oriented obliquely with sharp infero-lateral
Later that day, Demetrio Ravelo accompanied some NBI agents to retrace the extremity and blunt supero-medial extremity, located at the mammary area, right; 3.0
route he took with accused-appellant going to Bataan, with the objective of retrieving cms., from the anterior median line, directed backwards, downwards and laterally,
the items thrown away by accused-appellant. They were able to recover a violet bag, involving the soft tissues, cutting completely the 4th cartilage, right side, into the right
one brown sandal and a shirt with violet and green floral prints, [39] which were thoracic cavity, penetrating the lower of the right lung with an approximate depth 8.5
brought to the NBI office. Amelia Santos Villadiego, Elsas sister, was summoned to cms.
identify the items.[40] 2. 0.8 cm., elliptical, clean-cut edges, oriented almost vertically, with sharp inferior
In the meantime, Caroline Y. Custodio, Supervising Forensic Biologist of the NBI, extremity and blunt superior extremity, located at the inframammary area, left, 1.1
who conducted comparative examinations between the hair specimens found in cms., from the anterior median line, directed backwards, downwards and medially,
accused-appellants bathroom and hair samples taken from the victim while she lay in involving the soft tissues only with an approximate depth of 2.0 cms.
state, found that the questioned hair specimen showed similarities to the hair taken 3. 2.0 cms., elliptical, clean-cut edges, oriented obliquely, with sharp infero-lateral
from the victim.[41] extremity and blunt supero-medial extremity, located at the inframammary area, left,
Custodio further reported that the bloodstains on the bed cushion cover, 2.2 cms., from the anterior median line, directed backwards, downwards, and from
bedspread and Topsider shoes, all found inside accused-appellants bedroom, gave left to right, involving the soft tissues, into the left thoracic cavity, perforating the
positive results for human blood, showing reactions of Group B. [42] The bloodstains on diaphragm, into the abdominal cavity, penetrating the right lobe of the liver with an
the plywood board taken from accused-appellants vehicle were also examined and approximate depth 10.0 cms.
found to give positive results for human blood showing reactions of Group B. [43] On Brain, markedly softened and reduced to grayish white, pultaceous mass.
the other hand, the examination of blood taken from the victim likewise showed Other visceral organs, putrified,
reactions of Group B.[44] Stomach is almost empty.
Dr. Ronaldo B. Mendez, the Medico-Legal Officer who conducted the autopsy, CAUSE OF DEATH: --- STAB WOUNDS.[47]
concluded that the cause of death of Elsa Santos Castillo were stab wounds. [45] Dr. In his defense, accused-appellant alleged that he stayed home on September 23,
Mendez found one stab wound on the right breast which penetrated the right 1993 because he was not feeling well. He denied that he asked Demetrio Ravelo to
lung. He also found two stab wounds under the left breast which penetrated the fetch Elsa. He refuted Demetrios testimony that accused-appellant asked him to buy
diaphragm and abdominal cavity, and also penetrated the right portion of the cigarettes, or that accused-appellant told him to go home at 5:00 p.m.. Rather,
liver.[46] More particularly, the autopsy yielded the following postmortem findings: accused-appellant maintained that he did not see Demetrio at any time in the
Body in moderately advanced stage of decomposition. afternoon of September 24, 1993.[48]

6
On September 25, 1993, accused-appellant alleged that he was feeling better, following morning, they passed by the condominium before proceeding to Bagac,
hence, told Demetrio that they were to leave for Bagac, Bataan that afternoon. They Bataan. They went inside accused-appellants bedroom and talked to him. As in the
left the condominium at about 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. and proceeded straight to last two occasions, Ms. Sison saw through the open door of the bathroom that there
Bagac. When they arrived at Bagac, accused-appellant went straight to the kitchen was no one inside.[58]
and met his mother, father, aunt and grandmother. Demetrio got the things out of Theresa Whisenhunt, accused-appellants sister-in-law, testified that between
the car and then asked accused-appellants permission to take the car to go to the December 21, 1991 and January 15, 1992, and again from the middle of April, 1992 to
town.[49] May 15, 1992, she slept in the bedroom subsequently occupied by accused-appellant
Accused-appellants mother, Mrs. Nieves Whisenhunt, testified that accused- in the Platinum Condominium; that she regularly has her menstruation around the
appellant arrived at their beach house in Bagac, Bataan on September 25, 1993 at end of every month; and that her blood type is B.[59]
5:00 p.m. At 7:00 the next morning, she saw accused-appellant clad in beach On January 31, 1996, the trial court promulgated the appealed judgment,
attire. Later that day, she and her husband had lunch at the clubhouse, which was convicting accused-appellant of the crime of murder, sentencing him to suffer the
about three to four minutes drive from their house. When they returned home at penalty of reclusion perpetua, and ordering him to pay the heirs of the deceased
2:00 p.m., accused-appellant and his driver, Demetrio, had already left.[50] This was actual damage, moral damages, exemplary damages and attorneys fees.[60]
corroborated by accused-appellants aunt, Ms. Frances Sison.[51] Accused-appellant interposed an appeal from the adverse decision of the trial
Accused-appellant claimed that he went jet-skiing in the morning of September court, alleging that:
25, 1993. He alleged that the water was choppy and caused his jet-ski to lose I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED OF THE CRIME
control. As a result, he suffered bruises on his chest and legs. Thereafter, he went CHARGED;
home, cleaned up, changed clothes and rested. Later, as he was going down the II. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PROSECUTION WAS
stairs, he slipped and extended his arm to stop his fall. He had lunch with this ABLE TO PRESENT ENOUGH CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT
family. At 1:30 p.m., he and Demetrio left Bagac for Manila. [52] THE CONCLUSION THAT THE ACCUSED IS GUILTY OF THE CRIME
According to accused-appellant, he first learned of Elsas death when he was CHARGED;
arrested by the NBI on September 28, 1993.[53] He denied having anything to do with III THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN REJECTING, DISREGARDING AND/OR NOT
her death, saying that he had no reason to kill her since he was in love with GIVING CREDENCE TO THE DEFENSE OF THE ACCUSED.[61]
her.[54] Sometime during his relationship with Elsa, he claimed having received in the Much of the evidence on accused-appellants complicity was elicited from
mails two anonymous letters. The first one reads: Demetrio Ravelo, the so-called prosecution star witness.[62] On the premise that
Salamat sa pagpapahiram mo ng sasakyan at driver. Pero masyado kang accused-appellants guilt or innocence depends largely on the weight of his testimony,
pakialamero, Steve. Walanghiya ka. Para kang demonyo. Pinakialaman mo ang di sa this Court has carefully scrutinized and examined his version of the events, and has
yo. Lintik lang ang walang ganti. Matitiyempuhan din kita. Putang ina mo.[55] found that Demetrio Ravelos narrative is both convincing and consistent in all
The second letter says: material points.
Steve, Before accused-appellant confessed to Demetrio Ravelo what had happened to
Ang kay Pedro kay Pedro. Kapag pinakialaman ay kay San Pedro ang tungo. Mahal Elsa Castillo, he first asked the latter how long he was willing to work for him, and
mo ba ang pamilya mo? Iniingatan mo ba ang pangalan mo? Nakakasagasa ka na.[56] how far his loyalty will go. This was logical if accused-appellant wanted to ensure that
At first, accused-appellant ignored the letters. But when he told Elsa about Demetrio would stand by his side after learning what he was about to reveal. More
them, she got very upset and worried. She said the letters came from Fred, her importantly, Demetrios description of Elsas dismembered body, as he found it in
estranged husband.[57] accused-appellants bathroom, perfectly jibed with the appearance of the mutilated
Ms. Frances Sison, accused-appellants aunt, testified that she and her mother body parts, as shown in the photographs presented by the prosecution. [63]
visited accused-appellant at 3:00 p.m. on September 23, 1993. She went inside the Likewise, the mutilated body parts, as well as the other items thrown by
bedroom and talked to accused-appellant for about 30 minutes. While they were accused-appellant along the road to Bataan, were found by the NBI agents as
there, Ms. Sison testified that she did not see anyone else in the bedroom. She also Demetrio pointed, which confirms that, indeed, the latter witnessed how accused-
said the door of the bathroom inside the room was open, and there was nobody appellant disposed of Elsas body and personal belongings one by one.
inside. The next day, at 4:00 p.m., she went back to visit accused-appellant. Again, All in all, the testimony of Demetrio Ravelo bears the ring of truth and
they went inside accused-appellants bedroom and stayed there for one hour. The sincerity. The records show that he did not waver even during lengthy and rigorous
door of the bathroom was open, and she saw that there was nobody inside. The

7
cross-examination. In fact, the trial court gave full faith and credit to his testimony, accused-appellant gave it to her, saying that it was in his bedroom; that on
stating: September 25, 1993, accused-appellant and Demetrio Ravelo collected the
The Court had opportunity to observe the demeanor of Demetrio Ravelo when he dismembered body parts of Elsa from the bathroom inside accused-appellants
took the witness stand on several occasions. He was extensively cross-examined by bedroom; that accused-appellant disposed of the body parts by a roadside
one of the defense counsel and he withstood the same creditably. Demetrio Ravelo is somewhere in San Pedro, Laguna; that accused-appellant also disposed of Elsas
a very credible witness and his testimony is likewise credible.[64] personal belongings along the road going to Bagac, Bataan; that the mutilated body
This Court has consistently ruled that factual findings of the trial court deserve parts of a female cadaver, which was later identified as Elsa, were found by the police
the highest respect. This is based on the fact that the trial judge is in the best position and NBI agents at the spot where Demetrio pointed; that hair specimens found inside
to assess the credibility of the witnesses who appeared before his sala as he had accused-appellants bathroom and bedroom showed similarities with hair taken from
personally heard them and observed their deportment and manner of testifying Elsas head; and that the bloodstains found on accused-appellants bedspread, covers
during the trial.[65] Especially, where issues raised involve the credibility of witnesses, and in the trunk of his car, all matched Elsas blood type.
the trial courts findings thereon will not be disturbed on appeal absent any clear Accused-appellant makes capital of the fact that the Medico-Legal Officer, Dr.
showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts, or Mendez, did not examine the pancreas of the deceased notwithstanding Demetrios
circumstances of weight or substance, which could have affected the result of the statement that, according to accused-appellant, Elsa died of bangungot, or
case.[66] Succinctly put, findings of fact of the trial court pertaining to the credibility of hemorrhage of the pancreas. Because of this, accused-appellant insists that the cause
witnesses command great weight and respect since it had the opportunity to observe of death was not adequately established.Then, he relied on the controverting
their demeanor while they testified in court.[67] testimony of his witness, lawyer-doctor Ernesto Brion, who was himself a Medico-
Perhaps more damning to accused-appellant is the physical evidence against Legal Officer of the NBI for several years, to the effect that the autopsy report
him. The findings of the forensic biologist on the examination of the hair samples and prepared by Dr. Mendez was unreliable and inconclusive. The trial court noted,
bloodstains all confirm Elsas death inside accused-appellants bedroom. On the other however, that Dr. Brion was a biased witness whose testimony cannot be relied upon
hand, the autopsy report revealed that Elsa was stabbed at least three times on the because he entered his appearance as one of the counsel for accused-appellant and,
chest. This, taken together with Demetrios testimony that accused-appellant kept the in such capacity, extensively cross-examined Dr. Mendez. Accused-appellant counters
kitchen knife inside his bedroom on September 24, 1993, leads to the inescapable that there is no prohibition against lawyers giving testimony. Moreover, the trial
fact that accused-appellant stabbed Elsa inside the bedroom or bathroom. courts ruling would imply that lawyers who testify on behalf of their clients are
Physical evidence is a mute but eloquent manifestation of truth, and it ranks presumed to be lying.
high in the hierarchy of our trustworthy evidence. [68] For this reason, it is regarded as By rejecting the testimony of Dr. Brion, the trial court did not mean that he
evidence of the highest order. It speaks more eloquently than a hundred witnesses.[69] perjured himself on the witness stand. Notably, Dr. Brion was presented as expert
While it may be true that there was no eyewitness to the death of Elsa, the witness. His testimony and the questions propounded on him dealt with his opinion
confluence of the testimonial and physical evidence against accused-appellant creates on the probable cause of death of the victim. Indeed, the presentation of expert
an unbroken chain of circumstantial evidence that naturally leads to the fair and testimony is one of the well-known exceptions to the rule against admissibility of
reasonable conclusion that accused-appellant was the author of the crime, to the opinions in evidence.[71] In like manner, Dr. Mendez was presented on the stand to
exclusion of all others. Circumstantial evidence may be resorted to in proving the give his own opinion on the same subject. His opinion differed from that of Dr. Brion,
identity of the accused when direct evidence is not available, otherwise felons would which is not at all unusual. What the trial court simply did was to choose which ---
go scot-free and the community would be denied proper protection. The rules on between two conflicting medico-legal opinions --- was the more plausible. The trial
evidence and jurisprudence sustain the conviction of an accused through court correctly lent more credence to Dr. Mendezs testimony, not only because Dr.
circumstantial evidence when the following requisites concur: (1) there must be more Brion was a biased witness, but more importantly, because it was Dr. Mendez who
than one circumstance; (2) the inference must be based on proven facts; and (3) the conducted the autopsy and personally examined Elsas corpse up close.
combination of all circumstances produces a conviction beyond doubt of the guilt of In any event, the foregoing does not detract from the established fact that Elsas
the accused.[70] body was found mutilated inside accused-appellants bathroom. This clearly indicated
In the case at bar, the following circumstances were successfully proven by the that it was accused-appellant who cut up Elsas body to pieces. Naturally, accused-
prosecution without a shadow of doubt, to wit: that Elsa Santos Castillo was brought appellant would be the only suspect to her killing. Otherwise, why else would he cut
to accused-appellants condominium unit on September 23, 1993; that on September up Elsas body as if to conceal the real cause of her death?
24, 1993, accused-appellants housemaid was looking for her kitchen knife and

8
As already stated above, Demetrios testimony was convincing. Accused- However, the other circumstance of outraging and scoffing at the corpse of the
appellant attempts to refute Demetrios statements by saying that he had repeatedly victim was correctly appreciated by the trial court. The mere decapitation of the
reprimanded the latter for discourteous and reckless driving, and that he had already victims head constitutes outraging or scoffing at the corpse of the victim, thus
asked the latter to tender his resignation. Thus, accused-appellant claims that qualifying the killing to murder.[77] In this case, accused-appellant not only beheaded
Demetrio imputed Elsas death on him in order to get back at him. This Court finds the Elsa. He further cut up her body like pieces of meat. Then, he strewed the
cruel treatment by an employer too flimsy a motive for the employee to implicate dismembered parts of her body in a deserted road in the countryside, leaving them to
him in such a gruesome and hideous crime. Rather than entertain an accusation of ill- rot on the ground. The sight of Elsas severed body parts on the ground, vividly
motive and bad faith on Demetrio Ravelo, this Court views his act of promptly depicted in the photographs offered in evidence, is both revolting and horrifying. At
reporting the incident to his family and, later, to the authorities, as a genuine desire the same time, the viewer cannot help but feel utter pity for the sub-human manner
to bring justice to the cruel and senseless slaying of Elsa Santos Castillo, whom he of disposing of her remains.
knew well. In a case with strikingly similar facts, we ruled:
Accused-appellant also argues that his arrest was without a warrant and, Even if treachery was not present in this case, the crime would still be murder
therefore, illegal. In this regard, the rule is settled that any objection involving a because of the dismemberment of the dead body. One of the qualifying
warrant of arrest or procedure in the acquisition by the court of jurisdiction over the circumstances of murder under Article 248, par. 6, of the Revised Penal Code is
person of an accused must be made before he enters his plea, otherwise the outraging or scoffing at (the) person or corpse of the victim. There is no question that
objection is deemed waived.[72] In other words, it is too late in the day for accused- the corpse of Billy Agotano was outraged when it was dismembered with the cutting
appellant to raise an issue about his warrantless arrest after he pleaded to a valid off of the head and limbs and the opening up of the body to remove the intestines,
information and after a judgment of conviction was rendered against him after a full- lungs and liver. The killer scoffed at the dead when the intestines were removed and
blown trial. hung around Victorianos neck as a necklace, and the lungs and liver were facetiously
Accused-appellant presented in evidence two supposedly threatening letters described as pulutan.[78]
which, according to Elsa, were written by the latters husband. There is nothing in Hence, the trial court was correct in convicting accused-appellant of the crime of
these letters which will exculpate accused-appellant from criminal liability. The murder, qualified by outraging and scoffing at the victims person or corpse. [79] This
threats were directed at accused-appellant, not Elsa. The fact remains that Elsa was circumstance was both alleged in the information and proved during the trial. At the
last seen alive in accused-appellants condominium unit, and subsequently discovered time of its commission, the penalty for murder was reclusion temporal maximum to
dead in accused-appellants bathroom. Surely, the place where her dead body was death.[80] No aggravating or mitigating circumstance was alleged or proved; hence,
found does not support the theory that it was Fred Castillo who was probably the penalty shall be imposed in its medium period. [81] Therefore, the trial courts
responsible for her death. imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua was correct, and need not be
We do not agree with the trial court that the prosecution sufficiently proved the modified.
qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength. Abuse of superiority is present However, the damages awarded by trial court should be modified. Elida Santos,
whenever there is inequality of forces between the victim and the aggressor, Elsas sister, testified that the funeral expenses was only P50,000.00.[82] Hence, the
assuming a situation of superiority of strength notoriously advantageous for the trial court erred when it awarded the amount of P100,000.00. Basic is the
aggressor and selected or taken advantage of by him in the commission of the jurisprudential principle that in determining actual damages, the court cannot rely on
crime.[73] The fact that the victim was a woman does not, by itself, establish that mere assertions, speculations, conjectures or guesswork but must depend on
accused-appellant committed the crime with abuse of superior strength.There ought competent proof and on the best obtainable evidence of the actual amount of the
to be enough proof of the relative strength of the aggressor and the victim. [74] loss. Actual damages cannot be presumed but must be duly proved with reasonable
Abuse of superior strength must be shown and clearly established as the crime certainty.[83]
itself.[75] In this case, nobody witnessed the actual killing. Nowhere in Demetrios The award of moral damages in murder cases is justified because of the physical
testimony, and it is not indicated in any of the pieces of physical evidence, that suffering and mental anguish brought about by the felonious acts, and is thus
accused-appellant deliberately took advantage of his superior strength in recoverable in criminal offenses resulting in death.[84] It is true that moral damages
overpowering Elsa. On the contrary, this Court observed from viewing the photograph are not intended to enrich the victims heirs or to penalize the convict, but to obviate
of accused-appellant[76] that he has a rather small frame. Hence, the attendance of the spiritual sufferings of the heirs.[85] Considering, however, the extraordinary
the qualifying circumstance of abuse of superior strength was not adequately proved circumstances in the case at bar, more particularly the unusual grief and outrage
and cannot be appreciated against accused-appellant. suffered by her bereaved family as a result of the brutal and indecent mutilation and

9
disposal of Elsas body, the moral damages to be awarded to them should be more
than the normal amount dictated by jurisprudence. However, the amount of
P3,000,000.00 awarded by the trial court as moral damages is rather excessive. The
reasonable amount is P1,000,000.00 considering the immense sorrow and shock
suffered by Elsas heirs.
The award of attorneys fees of P150,000.00 was duly proved, [86] and thus should
be affirmed.
Finally, the heirs of Elsa Santos Castillo should be indemnified for her death. In
murder, the civil indemnity has been fixed by jurisprudence at P50,000.00. The grant
of civil indemnity in murder requires no proof other than the fact of death as a result
of the crime and proof of accused-appellants responsibility therefor.[87]
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 152,
in Criminal Case No. 102687, finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of murder, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, is
AFFIRMED with the following MODIFICATIONS: Accused-appellant is ORDERED to pay
the heirs of Elsa Santos Castillo actual damages in the amount of P50,000.00; civil
indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00; moral damages in the amount of
P1,000,000.00; exemplary damages in the amount of P1,000,000.00; and attorneys
fees in the amount of P150,000.00. Costs against accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., concur.

10
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. INOCENCIO GONZALEZ, Dino were shouting at each other so that he did not hear the shot. Andres then got
JR., accused-appellant. out of his vehicle to warn the appellant not to flee. He then took the wounded
members of his family to the exit where there was an ambulance standing by. The
DECISION three were then taken to the Sta. Monica Hospital and were later transferred to the
Quezon City Medical Center.
GONZAGA-REYES, J.: The defenses version of the incident is that Andres cut the appellants path by
positioning his FX obliquely along the appellants lane from the latters left side. Andres
Many unfortunate tragedies would not have happened if the improvident use of then got out of his vehicle, stood beside the appellants car window, and repeatedly
a firearm did not exacerbate a simple altercation over traffic. This is one of them. cursed the appellant, Putang ina mo, ang tanda-tanda mo na hindi ka pa
On a day intended to pay homage to the dead, a pregnant woman was shot to marunong magmaneho. Ang bobo-bobo mo.[3] The appellant stayed inside his car and
death in the course of her husbands altercation with the accused-appellant and his allegedly replied, Pasensiya ka na hindi kita nakita, nasilaw ako. Aksidente lang. The
son along the Garden of Remembrance within the Loyola Memorial Park in appellant Gonzalez and another witness for the defense, Quidic, testified that Noel
Marikina. The trial court found the accused guilty of the complex crime of murder and Andres went back to his vehicle to move it in such a way that it is straight in front of
two counts of frustrated murder and accordingly sentenced him to death. This case is the appellants car. Andres allegedly got out of his vehicle again and continued
before us on automatic review. shouting and cursing at the appellant.[4] Dino, the appellants son, who rode in another
The details of what actually transpired in the few seconds immediately vehicle decided to go back when he did not see his fathers car behind him. When
preceding the shooting are controverted by both parties but the events leading to this Dino arrived at the scene he confronted Andres and the two had an altercation. Both
tragedy are not disputed. Dino and the appellant stated that Andres remained outside his vehicle during the
In the afternoon of October 31, 1998 at about 2:30 p.m. both the families of the altercation with Dino.When Andres suddenly reached for something inside his
private complainant Noel Andres and that of the accused-appellant Inocencio vehicle, Dino froze on the spot where he stood. This prompted the appellant to get
Gonzalez were on their way to the exit of the Loyola Memorial Park. The appellant his gun from the glove compartment and feeling that his son was threatened he got
was driving a white Isuzu Esteem with his grandson and three housemaids, while the out of his car ready to shoot. When he saw that Andres did not have a weapon he put
private complainant was driving a maroon Toyota FX with his pregnant wife Feliber down his hand holding the gun. This is when the appellants daughter Trisha who was
Andres, his two year old son, Kenneth, his nephew Kevin and his sister-in-law, Francar riding in Dinos car arrived at the scene, walked past Dino and Andres, and pushed the
Valdez. At the intersection near the Garden of Remembrance, while the accused- appellant away. She hugged her father and in the process held his hand holding the
appellant Gonzalez was turning left towards the exit and the complainant Noel gun. The appellant tried to free his hand and with Trishas substantial body weight
Andres was headed straight along the road to the exit their two vehicles almost pushing against him the appellant lost his balance and the gun accidentally fired.The
collided. Noel Andres was able to timely step on the brakes. The appellant continued accused stated that he did not know he shot somebody until the private complainants
driving along his way while Noel Andres drove behind the appellants vehicle for some sister-in-law, Francar Valdez, got out of the vehicle carrying a bloodied small boy. The
time and cut him off when he found the opportunity to do so. [1] Noel Andres then got defense claims that the appellant did not try to flee and even told the complainants
out of his vehicle and knocked on the appellants car window. [2] This is as far as their sister-in-law to take the wounded to the hospital.
versions of the incident coincide. On November 4, 1998 an Information for the complex crime of Murder, Double
The prosecutions version of the incident is that Noel Andres calmly told the Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder was filed against herein accused-
appellant to be careful with his driving and informed the latter that he, Andres, is appellant:
with his family and to this Gonzalez allegedly replied, Accidents are accidents, whats
your problem. Andres stated that he saw the appellant turning red in anger so he That on or about the 31st day of October 1998, in the city of Marikina, Philippines and
decided to go back to his vehicle when he was blocked by the appellants son who within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then
said, Anong problema mo sa erpat ko. Andres testified that he felt threatened and so and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent to kill, attack, assault and
he immediately boarded his vehicle, sat at the drivers seat, closed the door, and employ personal violence by means of treachery and abuse of superior strength upon
partially opened the car window just wide enough to talk back to appellants son, the person of Noel Andres y Tomas, by then and there shooting him with a Glock cal.
Dino. Suddenly, one of his passengers said Binaril kami. He turned to his wife Feliber 9mm pistol but instead hitting one Feliber Andres y Ordoo, on the left back portion of
Andres and saw her bloodied and unconscious. He turned around and saw his son her head, thereby inflicting upon her serious and mortal wound which directly caused
Kenneth and nephew Kevin were also wounded. Andres admitted in court that he and her death, as well as hitting John Kenneth Andres y Ordoo and Kevin Valdez y

11
Ordoo physical injuries which ordinarily would have caused their death, thus antecedent facts showing that the accused fired on Noel Andres but instead hit and
performing all the acts of execution which would have produced the crime of murder caused the fatal injuries to the victims John Kenneth Andres, Kevin Valdez and Feliber
as a consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of some cause or Andres resulting to the ultimate death of the latter. The court takes further judicial
causes, independent of their will, that is, the timely and able medical assistance admissions of the accused made in their memorandum demonstrating the existence
rendered to John Kenneth Andres y Ordoo and Kevin Valdez y Ordoo to their damage of five (5) sequences of events leading to the death of Feliber Andres and the
and prejudice as well as to the damage and prejudice of the heirs of Feliber Andres y wounding of John Kenneth Andres and Kevin Valdez which are as follows: First is
Ordoo. when Noel Andres overtook the car driven of the accused and cut cross his path;
Second is when Noel Andres alighted from his vehicle and confronted Inocencio; Third
On arraignment the accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the crimes charged. is when Noel had an argument with Dino Gonzalez, the son of the accused; Forth is
The case records show that Feliber Andres, the wife of Noel Andres did not die when, Inocencio seeing his son having confrontation with Noel, got his gun to protect
instantaneously. She lived to give birth to a baby girl[5] by caesarian section and died Dino; and Fifth is when Inocencio had a struggle with his daughter. Trisha Gonzalez,
the following morning on November 1, 1998. The Autopsy Report[6] states: who tried to reach for the gun and as a result of which Inocencio lost his balance and
as he was falling backward to his side, his right arm holding the gun hit the rear
FINDINGS: Fairly nourished, fairly developed female cadaver, with post mortem window of the Tamaraw FX van and the gun accidentally went off hitting the victim,
lividity. Conjunctivae are pale. Lips and nail beds are cyanotic. Surgical incisions were who were all then inside the van.
noted at left tempero-parietal region. Surgical incisions is also noted at the abdominal The court likewise take judicial notice on the feature of the automatic pistol used in
region secondary to a caesarian section. this case which is capable of unquestionable demonstration or ought to be known to
HEAD: (1) gunshot wound, point of entry, left fronto-temporal region, measuring 1 by judges because of their judicial functions. Practically, the stages before an automatic
0.9 cm, 9 cm from the anterior midline, with a uniform abraided collar measuring 0.2 firearm would be capable of firing are as follows: 1) the loading of a bullet into the
cm., directed posteriorwards, slightly downwards, and medialwards, fracturing the chamber of the gun; 2) the cocking of the hammer, if uncocked; 3) the releasing of
frontal, and left temporal bones, lacerating the left cerebral hemisphere, with a the safety pin; 4) the pressing of the trigger to unleash the hammer so that the firing
deformed slug fragment embedded and recovered at the posterior lobe of the left pin will hit the cartridge to propel the bullet out to hit the target. Realistically, it
cerebral hemisphere. (2) hematoma, left orbital region, measuring 4.5 by 2 cm, 4 cm demonstrates that a gun will not fire even if the bullet is loaded in its chamber if the
from the anterior midline. There are subdural and subarachnoidal hammer is uncocked; or even if cocked if the safety pin is engaged; or even if the
hemorrages. Stomach contains 1 glassful of partially digested food particles mostly safety pin is disengaged if the trigger will not be pressed. However, even if the gun is
rice and meaty material. fired if it is not aimed and leveled to the target, the purpose of firing it shall not be
CONCLUSION: Cause of death is gunshot wound on the head. achieved. Contrarily, once a gun is drawn against a person, the means methods and
forms employed for its execution is already conceived. And once it is tended directly
and specifically to insure its execution, it consequently produces the conscious and
Kenneth and Kevin were treated for extraction of metallic fragments on their
deliberate intention. Finally if all the acts of execution had been effectively done
faces. They were discharged from the hospital six days later or on November 6, 1998.
without risk on the part of the offender arising from any defense coming from the
On June 25, 1999 the trial court rendered judgement finding that the shooting
offended party, treachery results. In brief, there is treachery when the offender
was attended by the qualifying circumstance of treachery and held the appellant
commits any crime against persons, employing means, methods and forms in the
guilty of the complex crime of murder for the death of Feliber Andres and for two
execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without
counts of frustrated murder for the injuries sustained by Kenneth Andres and Kevin
risk to himself arising from any defense which the offended party might make (People
Valdez and sentenced the appellant to the maximum of the imposable penalty which
vs. Mesa 276 SCRA 407; People vs. Carlos Patrolla, Jr. G. R. No. 112445, March 7,
is death. The trial court held:
1996). To appreciate treachery two (2) conditions must be present, to wit: 1) the
employment of means of execution that give the person attacked no opportunity to
Beforehand, the Court takes note of the judicial admissions on the verbal declarations
defend himself or retaliate; and 2) the means of execution were deliberately or
of the accused that the court a quo has jurisdiction over the case; that he owns the
consciously adopted.(People vs. Azugue, 268 SCRA 711; People vs. Pea, G. R. No.
black Gluck 9 mm. automatic pistol; that the said gun will never fire even if he drops
116022, July 1, 1998, p. 1)
it; that only one bullet was fired from his gun; and that the victim Feliber Andres is
In the case at bar and guided with the above-quoted doctrinal cases, logically, the
already dead. With this exegesis and the declarations in open court of the eyewitness
accused is positive of the crime charged against him. When he alighted with a drawn
of both the prosecution and some of the defense, there is no real dispute on the
12
gun to protect his son and released all the safety measures of his gun as he fired and In his appeal, Gonzalez submits the following assignments of error:
missed at Noel who was then unarmed, but instead hit Kevin Valdez, John Kenneth
Andres and Feliber Andres which resulted to the death of the latter, demonstrate that 1. The trial court committed reversible error when it found that treachery was
the accused has executed the two (2) conditions to generate treachery enough to present.
qualify the crime committed to murder. 2. The trial court committed reversible error when it presumed that there was
treachery by taking judicial notice of the feature of the automatic pistol involved in
XXXX XXXXX XXXX this case.
3. The trial court committed reversible error when it violated the constitutional right
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the accused Inocencio Gonzalez, Jr., y of the accused-appellant to due process when it took judicial notice of the feature of
Esquivel is hereby found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of the automatic pistol involved in this case without notice.
Murder with Double Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder penalized under Art. 4. The trial court committed reversible error when it found Accused-Appellant guilty
248, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 in relation to Article 48 of the Revised beyond reasonable doubt of the complex crime of Murder with Double Frustrated
Penal Code and is sentenced to suffer the maximum penalty of Death by lethal Murder.
injection. 5. The trial court committed reversible error when it failed to appreciate the
The accused is further ordered to pay the following civil liabilities: mitigating circumstances of passion or obfuscation, lack of intention to commit so
grave a wrong, provocation or threat on the part of the offended party immediately
1. To the private complainant Noel Andres: preceded the act, incomplete defense of relative, and voluntary surrender.
6. The trial court committed reversible error when it failed to find that the shooting
incident was accidental.
a) the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Feliber Andres;
7. The trial court committed reversible error when it gave credence to the testimonies
b) the amount of P3,363,663.60 as indemnity for the loss of earning
of prosecution witnesses Elmer Ramos and Moises Castro.
capacity of the deceased Feliber Andres;
8. The trial court committed reversible error when it disregarded the basic principle
c) the amount of P98,384.19 as funeral expenses;
that the accused is presumed innocent and his guilt must be proven beyond
d) the amount of P271,800.56 for the hospitalization expenses incurred for
reasonable doubt.
the injuries sustained by the deceased Feliber Andres and the amount
9. The trial court committed reversible error when it ordered Accused-Appellant to
of P23,622.58 representing the expenses for the untimely delivery of
pay for the civil liabilities.
the child Ma. Clarisse Andres;
e) the amount of P51,566.00 representing the hospitalization expenses for
the injuries sustained by the victim John Kenneth Andres; The appellant seeks a reversal and prays that judgment be rendered exempting
f) the amount of P150,000.00 as moral damages suffered for the untimely him from criminal and civil liabilities. Appellant declared that he had no intention to
death of his wife Feliber Andres and for the injuries caused to his son shoot Noel Andres much less his wife nor the children. He lost his balance when his
John Kenneth Andres; daughter Trisha approached and pushed him backwards to stop him from joining Dino
g) the amount of P50,000.00 as and by way of attorneys fees and a fee of and Noel Andres but the appellant tried to free his right hand holding the gun and it
P2,000.00 per appearance; and accidentally fired. The single bullet fired hit the last window on the left side of the
h) the costs of the suit. Tamaraw FX. The appellant claims that he did not see the passengers inside the
vehicle at the time of the shooting. This is corroborated by the testimony of two
witnesses for the prosecution who testified that the windows of Andres vehicle are
2. To the private complainant Nicasio Valdez:
heavily tinted so that a person outside the vehicle would not be able to see if there
are people inside. It is also argued that had the appellant intended to shoot Noel
a) the amount of P73,824.75 as actual damages for the injuries sustained
Andres he could have simply done so by shooting at him directly. The defense asserts
by the victim Kevin Valdez; and
that the evidence for the prosecution failed to establish the attendance of treachery
b) the amount of P75,000.00 as and by way of moral damages.
and without the attendance of the said qualifying circumstance the crime committed
is homicide, not murder.
SO ORDERED.

13
The appellant also points out that the trial court made the factual finding that Finally, the appellant assigns as error the trial courts rejection of the mitigating
the shooting happened in a matter of seconds and that it was preceded by a heated circumstances pleaded by the defense which allegedly attended the commission of
argument between the parties. Such being the case, it is argued that the shooting the crime, i.e., lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong, passion and obfuscation,
could not have been attended by treachery. There was no time for the appellant to incomplete defense of a relative and voluntary surrender. The appellant asserts that
consciously and deliberately employ the mode of attack against Noel Andres, nor these mitigating circumstances were duly proven during the trial and are supported
against any one of the actual victims, to insure its execution and at the same time to by the evidence on record. The private complainant Noel Andres testified that he saw
eliminate any form of retaliation from the alleged intended victim. And yet, the trial the appellant getting red in anger after they, Andres and the appellant, had a heated
court, contrary to the evidence on record, held that the loading of the bullet into the argument immediately prior to the shooting. These admitted circumstances show
chamber of the gun, the cocking of the hammer, the release of the safety pin and the that the appellant was not in his proper state of mind at the time of the
pulling of the trigger by the appellant of his automatic pistol constitute conscious and shooting. First, he was angered by Andres abusive language and later he got out of his
deliberate effort to employ the gun as a means of committing the crime and car with a loaded gun to protect his son from a perceived danger. The appellant clams
resultantly, qualified its commission by treachery. Such a finding presupposes that the that his willingness to help the injured and his voluntary surrender to the police
appellant loaded the gun to shoot Noel Andres only that very moment when his son should likewise be considered as mitigating circumstances in the imposition of
Dino and Noel Andres were arguing. This conclusion has no basis on record. The penalties.
appellant testified that his gun was loaded before he left the house and two The Solicitor-General agrees with the appellant that the crime was not attended
witnesses for prosecution stated in court that a few seconds after Noel Andres and by the qualifying circumstance of treachery and hence the crime committed by the
Dino started shouting at each other, the appellant got out of his car and shot at the appellant for the death of Feliber Andres is homicide, not murder. The appellee takes
last window on the left side of the complainants vehicle. Further, the appellant into consideration that the shooting was preceded by a heated argument and that the
assigns as error the procedure adopted by the trial court in taking judicial notice that supposed victim was placed on guard that attack was imminent. It also appears that
the gun used by the appellant is an automatic pistol and as such, it will not fire unless the shooting was done impulsively. There is no evidence that the appellant
aimed at the intended target. The procedure taken by the trial court is contrary to deliberately employed the means of attack to insure execution of the crime and at
Section 3, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court.[7] The trial court should have given both the same time eliminate the risk of retaliation from the private complainant. The
parties the opportunity to present evidence, expert evidence, if necessary, to inform appellee also agrees with the appellant that the trial court erred in equating the use
the court on the subject matter. The appellant argues that the factual finding borne of an automatic pistol with treachery. The trial court made the factual finding that the
by such erroneous procedure is equally erroneous. The gun used by the appellant is a appellants automatic pistol would not fire unless aimed and the trigger is deliberately
semi-automatic and not an automatic pistol which means that the pistol used has no pulled and hence treachery attended the shooting. The appellee submits that if we
external safety pin to be released and that the hammer need not be cocked. The follow the reasoning of the trial court it would appear that the appellant intended to
pulling of the trigger, intentional or not, will fire the gun. The use of a semi-automatic shoot at the complainants vehicle only as the shot was fired at the last window on the
pistol does not necessarily imply treachery. left side of the FX away from where Andres was allegedly seated. The fact that the
Appellant also argues that the testimonies of prosecution witnesses Castro and gun was drawn and fired does not mean that the mode of attack was consciously and
Ramos were improperly given credence by the trial court. The appellant contends deliberately employed.
that a reading of their testimonies would show that their narration of the incident is However, with respect to the injuries sustained by Kevin and Kenneth, the
rather absurd and would show that they did not witness the actual shooting. Defense appellee disagrees with the contention that the appellant is liable only for slight
witnesses, Gonzalez and his daughter, Trisha, on the other hand, testified that Castro physical injuries. The injuries sustained by both children are head injuries and could
and Ramos arrived at the scene only after the shooting. have caused their death if not for the immediate medical attention given them. The
As regards the injuries sustained by Kevin and Kenneth, it is argued that number of days spent in the hospital is not determinative of the severity of the
considering that there was no intent to kill and that they stayed in the hospital only wounds. Their nature and location should instead be considered. The appellant
for six days, the crime committed is physical injuries. It is argued that the trial court cannot escape liability for frustrated homicide for the injuries of the two children on
erred in awarding damages. The bunch of receipts allegedly representing the medical the ground that he fired a single shot at the vehicle of Noel Andres. He is liable for all
expenses incurred for the injuries sustained by the victims was erroneously admitted the consequences of his unlawful act even if the crime committed is different from
in evidence, without first requiring the prosecution to establish the authenticity of the that intended.
receipts. The appellant also points out that the award for loss of earning capacity has As regards the pleaded mitigating circumstances, appellee asserts that none can
no basis as the deceased was unemployed at the time of the incident. be considered in favor of the appellant. There is evidence on record that the

14
appellant did not voluntarily surrender to the police and it appears from the retaliation from the intended victim.[11] Accordingly, it has been consistently held by
testimonies of witnesses that he entertained the possibility of flight but his car was this court that chance encounters, impulse killing or crimes committed at the spur of
stuck in traffic along the exit of the memorial park. His pretense of incomplete the moment or that were preceded by heated altercations are generally not attended
defense of a relative is belied by his own admission that when he saw that Noel by treachery for lack of opportunity of the accused to deliberately employ a
Andres did not have a gun he lowered his hand holding the gun. There was allegedly treacherous mode of attack.[12] Thus, the sudden attack made by the accused due to
no threat on the life of his son at the time of the shooting, no uncontrollable fear nor his infuriation by reason of the victims provocation was held to be without
irresistible force that would mitigate the commission of the offense. treachery. Sudden attacks made by the accused preceded by curses and insults by the
The Solicitor-General also seeks to uphold the pecuniary awards granted by the victim or acts taunting the accused to retaliate or the rebellious or aggressive
trial court. The appellee alleges that it is not denied by the appellant that Feliber behavior of the victim were held to be without treachery as the victim was sufficiently
Andres was a 38 year old registered nurse at the time of the shooting. Although she forewarned of reprisal.[13] For the rules on treachery to apply the sudden attack must
was then unemployed on account of her pregnancy, she still had earning capacity and have been preconceived by the accused, unexpected by the victim and without
the trial court properly applied the salary of a government nurse under the salary provocation on the part of the latter.[14]
standardization scheme in the computation of damages for the loss of earning This Court has also had occasion to state that whether or not the attack
capacity. The receipts presented in evidence by the prosecution to establish succeeds against its intended victim or injures another or whether the crime
hospitalization and other medical expenses incurred by the private complainants by committed is graver than that intended is immaterial, as long as it is shown that the
reason of the injuries suffered by the victims were duly authenticated by the attack is attended by treachery, the said qualifying circumstance may still be
prosecution witnesses and there is no dispute that they are exact copies of the considered by the court.[15] Thus, the determining factor on whether or not the
original receipts presented in court. The objections raised by the appellant in this commission of a crime is attended by treachery is not the resulting crime committed
regard were duly met by the evidence presented by the private complainants. but the mode of attack employed in its execution.[16]
In sum, the appellee asserts that considering that the appellant fired a single Treachery is never presumed. It is required that the manner of attack must be
shot and in the process committed four offenses the appellant should be held liable shown to have been attended by treachery as conclusively as the crime itself. [17]
for the complex crime of homicide for the death of Feliber Andres, double frustrated We affirm the recommendation of the Solicitor-General that the shooting was
homicide against Kevin and Kenneth and attempted homicide against Noel not attended by treachery and accordingly the crime committed for the death of
Andres. Under the rules on complex crimes the penalty for the gravest offense, Feliber Andres is homicide and not murder.
i.e., reclusion temporal for homicide, should be imposed in its maximum period. The encounter between Noel Andres and the appellant was a chance
The appeal has merit. encounter. They were total strangers before their vehicles almost collided at an
Treachery under par.16 of Article 14 of the Revised Penal Code is defined as the intersection inside the memorial park. Unfortunately, heated exchange of remarks
deliberate employment of means, methods or forms in the execution of a crime that followed the near collision was fanned by a short temper, which in the case of
against persons which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk the appellant, was augmented by the improvident use of a firearm.
to the offender arising from the defense which the intended victim might raise. For From a reading of the transcript of the testimonies of the witnesses, it would
treachery to be appreciated two elements must concur: 1) the employment of means appear that Noel Andres, who had his pregnant wife and child with him, among
of execution that would insure the safety of the accused from retaliatory acts of the others, on board the Tamaraw FX provoked the altercation. After the near collision of
intended victim and leaving the latter without an opportunity to defend himself and his vehicle with that of the appellant, he tailed behind the latters car towards the exit
2) the means employed were deliberately or consciously adopted by the until he had the chance to cut him off to scold him for his failure to observe traffic
offender.[8] The suddenness of the attack, the infliction of the wound from behind the rules.[18] Andres stated in court that he calmly told the appellant to be careful with his
victim, the vulnerable position of the victim at the time the attack was made or the driving and denied that he was angry when he alighted from his vehicle to confront
fact that the victim was unarmed do not by themselves render the attack as the appellant.[19] His statement is belied by the witnesses, two prosecution witnesses
treacherous.[9]This is of particular significance in a case of an instantaneous attack included, who uniformly testified that Andres quarreled with or shouted and cursed
made by the accused whereby he gained an advantageous position over the victim at the appellant for the latters recklessness at the intersection.[20] The appellant
when the latter accidentally fell and was rendered defenseless. [10] The means narrated in court that Andres repeatedly shouted at him, Putang ina mo, ang tanda-
employed for the commission of the crime or the mode of attack must be shown to tanda mo na gago ka pa.[21] Andres hostile behavior towards the appellant is evident
have been consciously or deliberately adopted by the accused to insure the from his statement in court that he noticed the appellant turning red in anger. [22] It is
consummation of the crime and at the same time eliminate or reduce the risk of highly improbable for Gonzalez to have turned red in anger had Andres been polite,

15
as he claims he was, in scolding Gonzalez. Andres could have simply communicated to vehicle, as the defense submits, it is clear that the shot was fired away from Noel
the appellant his disgust for the latters bad driving when he overtook the appellants Andres. The bullet hit Feliber near her temple above the left eye indicating that she
car near the scene of the shooting but instead he chose to block the appellants path, was facing left towards her husband when the shot was fired. [30] The direct hit on
insult and virtually provoke the appellant to retaliate. Felibers head shows that the angle of the shot was indeed away from Noel
Andres stated in court that when he noticed Gonzalez infuriation he Andres. Even the eyewitness for the prosecution testified that had the appellant
immediately walked towards his vehicle, because according to him the altercation intended to kill Noel Andres he could have shot directly at him, considering that Noel
was over. On his way to his FX he met another man, whom he later found out to be Andres was just a few steps away from him[31] and that Noel Andres was visible from
the appellants son, Dino. It appears that the altercation was far from over because the outside because his window was partially open.[32] The pictures show that the
again Andres had a shouting match this time with Dino. [23] In a matter of seconds, the bullet hole was on the third window on the left side of the Tamaraw FX [33] belying any
appellant alighted from his car and fired a single shot at the last window on the left attempt to shoot Noel Andres. Two prosecution witnesses Ramos and Castro
side of Andres vehicle at an angle away from Noel Andres.The single bullet fired hit unequivocally declared that nothing or no one prevented Gonzalez from shooting
Feliber Andres on the forehead near the temporal region above the left eye and the directly at Noel Andres and that Gonzalez could have simply done so if he wanted
two children with metallic fragments of the bullet on their faces, one at the cheek and to. But after alighting from his car, Gonzalez took a few steps and shot at the left side
the other below his left eye. window of the FX.[34]
The prosecution did not present evidence as to the exact seating arrangement The fact that the appellant fired his gun from behind the victim does not by itself
of the victims inside the vehicle; suffice it to say, that an examination of the pictures amount to treachery. There is no evidence on record that the appellant deliberately
of the vehicle[24]one of which shows a mass of blood stains on the left side (towards positioned himself behind the victim to gain advantage over him when he fired the
the drivers seat) of the white seat cover below the head rest [25], would show that the shot. On the contrary, the evidence before us reveals that the position of the
deceased Feliber must have been seated at the front passengers seat and the children appellants car was not of his own doing but it became so when Noel Andres overtook
at the middle row behind the drivers seat.[26] Another picture shows a bullet hole on his car and cut off his path.
the last window on the left side of the vehicle[27]and another shows that the front We note further, that the appellant did not act belligerently towards Noel
windshield appears undamaged.[28] A ballistics expert appeared in court for the Andres even after the latter cut off the appellants path. Andres stated in court that
prosecution and testified that the bullet fired at the FX came from the appellants gun, the appellant did not alight from his car nor opened his window until he, Andres,
which fact was admitted by the defense. The prosecution did not inquire from the tapped on it.[35] For his part Gonzalez categorically stated in court that he did not
ballistics expert regarding the trajectory of the bullet or the approximate distance of point his gun nor threatened Andres during their short spat. [36] Gonzalez, although he
the appellant from the FX when he fired his gun to establish whether or not the had his gun in his car, did not react to Andres cursing until the latter was having an
appellant aimed for Noel or Feliber or simply fired indiscriminately at the latters altercation with the appellants son, Dino. Gonzalez claimed that he perceived that his
vehicle.[29] son was in imminent danger.[37] Whether he overreacted or he shot at Andres vehicle
At first blush it would seem that the shooting of Feliber Andres was attended by out of rage over Andres aggressive behavior, one thing appears clear to us, that the
treachery as she was inside the FX witnessing her husbands altercation, first, with the shooting was not done in cold blood. It is undisputed that the windows of the FX are
appellant then with the appellants son, totally defenseless from the shot that came heavily or darkly tinted so that a person outside would not see if anybody was
suddenly from her left side. Public outrage over the death of Feliber was heightened inside.[38]The pictures of the FX[39] on record confirm the testimonies of both
by the fact that she was then pregnant with her second child and her death left a new prosecution and defense witnesses that the other passengers of the FX were not
born baby girl and a two year old boy motherless. visible from the outside. Gonzalez admitted in court that Noel Andres mentioned that
However, a meticulous review of the evidence prevents a conclusive finding of he has passengers with him while he was shouting and cursing at Gonzalez but there
treachery and any doubt must be resolved, like the fact of the commission of an is no indication that Gonzalez had any opportunity to see the passengers when he
offense, in favor of the accused. The pictures indicate that Gonzalez fired at the FX at fired the shot. The totality of the evidence on record fails to support a conclusion that
an angle away from Noel Andres and that Gonzalez was not aiming at anybody in Gonzalez deliberately employed the mode of attack to gain undue advantage over the
particular. It is not disputed that the appellants car was directly behind the intended nor the actual victim. Without any decisive evidence to the contrary,
complainants FX and that Gonzalez who was then seated at the drivers seat alighted treachery cannot be considered; thus the crime committed is homicide. [40]
from his car, took a few steps then fired at the left side of the FX. Whether Noel The trial courts finding that the loading of the gun, the cocking of the hammer
Andres was seated at the drivers seat inside his vehicle when Gonzalez fired at the FX, and finally the pulling of the trigger constitute a deliberate effort on the part of
as the prosecution asserts, or was standing by the door of the drivers seat outside his appellant to use the gun as a means of a treacherous attack is patently erroneous. A

16
single and continuous attack cannot be divided into stages to make it appear that physical injuries.[47] We have earlier pointed out that the intent to kill is absent in this
treachery was involved.[41] The entire incident happened in a matter of minutes, as case. It was also found that one small metallic fragment was extracted from Kenneth
testified to by witnesses, and as noted by the trial court. [42] It was error to our mind below his left eye while another fragment was extracted from Kevin immediately
for the trial court to divide the assault in stages to arrive at the conclusion that the below the level of his skin before the cheek bone. [48] An examination of the
mode of attack was consciously employed by the appellant. Contrary to the finding of testimonies of the attending physicians, showed that the wounds sustained by the
the trial court that the appellant prepared the gun before getting out of his car, the two children from the metallic fragments are not in themselves fatal but may cause
appellant testified that he loaded his gun before he left the house and that it was death if left untreated. One of the attending physician testified in court that the
ready to fire when he alighted his car. There was no time for him to reflect on the fragments themselves will not cause complication, it is the entry of the fragment or
mode of attack since he just picked up his gun and alighted from his car and shot at the open wound that is susceptible to infection. [49] Two small fragments were no
the FX a few seconds after Dino and Noel Andres started shouting at each longer extracted from the face of Kevin Valdez, as the doctor deemed it to be without
other.[43] We note further that the trial court pointed out that from the fact that the danger of complication.[50] We note that the various sizes of the metallic fragments
appellant prepared his gun to shoot, this was an indication of the deliberate were not established, at least to give an indication of the severity of the wounds
employment of the gun as a means to kill; i.e. that the use of an automatic pistol sustained. Both children were discharged after six days of treatment and there is no
shows that the shooting was attended by treachery. showing that they required subsequent treatment or that they were immobilized for
We do not agree that the weapon used, by itself, is determinative of treachery, a greater number of days by reason of the injuries sustained. Considering the nature
unless it is shown, and it is not herein shown, that the appellant deliberately used the and location of their injuries and the number of days required for their treatment, we
gun to insure the commission of the crime and to render the unarmed victim find that the crime committed for the injuries sustained by the children are two
defenseless. As discussed above, the encounter between the appellant and the counts of slight physical injuries under Art. 266 of the Revised Penal Code which
Andresses was a chance encounter and the appellants gun was in the glove imposes a penalty of arresto menor or imprisonment for 1 to 30 days for injuries
compartment of his car even before he left his house. The shooting was clearly a spur sustained that has incapacitated the victim for one to nine days or required medical
of the moment or impulsive decision made by the appellant preceded by a heated attendance for the same period. For evident lack of criminal intent to kill the
altercation at the instance of the private complainant. Jurisprudence teaches us that complainant, Noel Andres, as above stated, the information for attempted homicide
under the circumstances, treachery is not obtaining. In the case of People vs. must fail.
Valles,[44] the accused, a security guard, fired his Armalite and mortally wounded the The mitigating circumstances of voluntary surrender, passion and obfuscation,
victim when the latter approached the accused four times insisting on entering the incomplete defense of a relative and lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong,
workplace wearing improper uniform, then cursed and insulted and challenged the pleaded by the defense, were not convincingly proved and none can be considered in
accused to a fight. We held that the shooting was not attended by treachery as the the imposition of penalties. The testimony of prosecution witness contradicts the
shooting was preceded by a heated altercation at the instance of the victim. It is to be appellants pretense of voluntary surrender. Witness Ramos testified that the
noted that the kind of weapon used against an unarmed victim was not taken into appellant drove away towards the gate of the memorial park while he was
consideration in determining the attendance of treachery; it is the mode of attack questioning him after the shooting and had not Noel Andres and onlookers blocked
employed by the accused under the particular circumstances of a case that his path the appellant could have fled the scene of the crime. [51]
determines its attendance in the commission of a crime. We find that the prosecution The mitigating circumstance of passion and obfuscation is also not obtaining. For
has not discharged its burden to show that the shooting was attended by treachery this mitigating circumstance to be considered, it must be shown that (1) an unlawful
and we are convinced that the crime committed for the death of Feliber Andres is act sufficient to produce passion and obfuscation was committed by the intended
homicide. victim; (2) that the crime was committed within a reasonable length of time from the
As regards the injuries sustained by the two children we find that the crime commission of the unlawful act that produced the obfuscation in the accuseds mind;
committed are two counts of slight physical injuries. The intent to kill determines and that (3) the passion and obfuscation arose from lawful sentiments and not from a
whether the crime committed is physical injuries or homicide and such intent is made spirit of lawlessness or revenge.[52] Noel Andres act of shouting at the appellants son,
manifest by the acts of the accused which are undoubtedly intended to kill the who was then a nurse and of legal age, is not sufficient to produce passion and
victim.[45] In a case wherein the accused did not know that a person was hiding behind obfuscation as it is claimed by the accused. Besides, the appellants son, Dino was
a table who was hit by a stray bullet causing superficial injuries requiring treatment shouting back at Noel Andres. It was not a case wherein the appellants son appeared
for three days, the crime committed is slight physical injuries. [46] In case of doubt as to helpless and oppressed that the appellant lost his reason and shot at the FX of Noel
the homicidal intent of the accused, he should be convicted of the lesser offense of Andres. The same holds true for the appellants claim of provocation on the part of

17
Noel Andres. Provocation must be sufficient to excite a person to commit the wrong by the prosecution. The award for loss of earning capacity is likewise sustained for the
committed and that the provocation must be commensurate to the crime reason that while Feliber Andres was pregnant and was unemployed at the time of
committed. The sufficiency of provocation varies according to the circumstances of death, it is not disputed that she was a registered nurse and had earning
the case.[53] The aggressive behavior of Noel Andres towards the appellant and his son capacity. Noel Andres also testified that he and his wife had plans to go back to Saudi
may be demeaning or humiliating but it is not sufficient provocation to shoot at the Arabia to work after Feliber had given birth to their second baby. While there is no
complainants vehicle. evidence as to Felibers actual income at the time of her death, in view of her
The plea for the appreciation of the mitigating circumstance of incomplete temporary separation from work because of her pregnancy, we do not consider it
defense of a relative is also unmeritorious since the act of Andres in cursing and reversible error for the trial court to peg her earning capacity to that of the salary of a
shouting at the appellant and his son do not amount to an unlawful aggression government nurse under the salary standardization law, as a fair estimate or
against them, Dino Gonzalez. Finally, the plea for the appreciation of the mitigating reasonable assessment of her earning capacity at the time of her death. It would be
circumstance of lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong is likewise devoid of grossly inequitous to deny her spouse and her minor children damages for the
merit. This mitigating circumstance is obtaining when there is a notable disparity support that they would have received, considering clear evidence on record that she
between the means employed by the accused to commit a wrong and the resulting did have earning capacity at the time of her death.
crime committed. The intention of the accused at the time of the commission of the The awards for moral damages for the death of Feliber Andres and for the
crime is manifested from the weapon used, the mode of attack employed and the injuries sustained by the two children, which under the circumstances are reasonable,
injury sustained by the victim.[54] The appellants use of a gun, although not are likewise sustained.
deliberately sought nor employed in the shooting, should have reasonably placed the WHEREFORE, the decision of the trial court is hereby MODIFIED. The appellant is
appellant on guard of the possible consequences of his act. The use of a gun is hereby found guilty of homicide for the death of Feliber Andres and is sentenced to
sufficient to produce the resulting crimes committed. an indeterminate sentence of 8 years and 1 day of prision mayor in its medium
For the death of Feliber Andres, and in the absence of any mitigating period, as minimum, to 14 years 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal in its
circumstance, the appellant is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of 8 medium period, as maximum. For each count of the slight physical injuries committed
years and 1 day of prision mayor, in its medium period, as minimum to 14 years 8 against Kenneth Andres and Kevin Valdez, the appellant is hereby sentenced to 20
months and 1 day of reclusion temporal in its medium period, as maximum. For each days of arresto menor.
count of the slight physical injuries committed against Kenneth Andres and Kevin The pecuniary awards granted by the trial court are hereby sustained.
Valdez, the appellant is hereby sentenced to 20 days of arresto menor in its medium
period. SO ORDERED
The rules on the imposition of penalties for complex crimes under Art. 48 of the
Revised Penal Code are not applicable in this case. Art. 48 applies if a single act
constitutes two or more grave and less grave felonies or when an offense is a
necessary means of committing another; in such a case, the penalty for the most
serious offense shall be imposed in its maximum period. Art. 9 of the Revised Penal
Code in relation to Art. 25 defines grave felonies as those to which the law attaches
the capital punishment or afflictive penalties from reclusion perpetua to prision
mayor; less grave felonies are those to which the law attaches a penalty which in its
maximum period falls under correctional penalties; and light felonies are those
punishable by arresto menor or fine not exceeding two hundred pesos. Considering
that the offenses committed by the act of the appellant of firing a single shot are one
count of homicide, a grave felony, and two counts of slight physical injuries, a light
felony, the rules on the imposition of penalties for complex crimes, which requires
two or more grave and/or less grave felonies, will not apply.
The pecuniary award granted by the trial court for actual damages was duly
established by the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses as supported by the
original receipts for hospitalization and other medical expenses presented in evidence

18
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ALBERTO S. ANTONIO, SPO4 Let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO
JUANITO N. NIETO and SPO1 HONORIO CARTALLA, JR., accused-appellants. @ Ambet from the San Juan Municipal Jail to the Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa
DECISION City.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: SO ORDERED.[1]
This is an appeal from the Decision dated April 30, 1997, rendered by the On that fateful morning of November 2, 1996, what should have been an
Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 156 in Criminal Case No. 111232-H, for amiable game of cards between two erstwhile friends turned into a deadly
Murder, the dispositive portion of which is quoted hereunder, to wit: confrontation resulting in the fatal shooting of one by the hand of the other. The
WHEREFORE, finding accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet, GUILTY beyond victim, Arnulfo Arnie Tuadles, a former professional basketball player, succumbed
reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder, qualified by treachery as charged in the instantaneously to a single gunshot wound right between the eyes, inflicted with
Information, and there being no mitigating or any aggravating circumstance, he is deadly precision by the bullet of a .9mm caliber Beretta pistol.
hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, pursuant to Sec. 6 of Convicted of murder by the trial court as the killer is Alberto Ambet S. Antonio, a
Republic Act No. 7659 entitled An Act to Impose The Death Penalty On Certain one-time chairman of the Games and Amusement Board (GAB). It was during his stint
Heinous Crimes and Art. 63, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code. as such that he and Tuadles became socially acquainted. They somehow lost touch,
In the service of his sentence, accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet shall be but later became reacquainted when they both started frequenting the International
credited in full with the period of his preventive imprisonment. Business Club (IBC), located along Wilson Street in San Juan, Metro Manila, which
The guilt of both accused JUANITO NIETO y NEMER and HONORIO C. CARTALLA, JR., houses amenities such as a dining room, music bar and gameroom.Often, the two
as accessories, having also been established beyond any reasonable doubt, each of would meet with other members and friends to play cards in the gameroom at the
them is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of two (2) years, four second floor of the club. Their preferred games were poker or pusoy dos, ordinary
(4) months and one (1) day of prision correcional as minimum to eight (8) years and poker or Russian poker. Their bets always ran into the tens of thousands of pesos.
one (1) day of prision mayor as maximum. The tragic events began to unravel in the final hours of November 1,
Accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet is likewise hereby ordered to pay, unto the 1996. Antonio, Tuadles, and a certain Danny Debdani, then president of the IBC, had
heirs of Arnulfo B. Tuadles, the following sums: agreed to meet at the club for another poker session, their third night in a
a. P50,000.00, as indemnity for the death of Arnulfo B. Tuadles; row. Antonio arrived at the club first, followed by Tuadles at around
b. P226,298.36, as actual damages; midnight. Debdani, however, failed to appear, so after waiting for sometime, Antonio
c. P7,200,000.00, representing compensable earnings lost by reason of and Tuadles decided to play pusoy dos, a game for two (2) players only. They
Arnulfo B. Tuadles death; continued playing until morning, pausing only when either of them had to visit the
d. P3,000,000.00 or the stipulated P1,000,000.00 each for the three (3) restroom. They stopped playing at around 9:00 oclock in the morning of November 2,
children of Arnulfo B. Tuadles, and another P500,000.00 for the widow, 1996, to eat breakfast.
Ma. Odyssa Suzette Tecarro-Tuadles, as moral damages; When it came time to tally their scores and collect the winnings from the loser,
e. P50,000.00, as exemplary damages; an argument arose. It is at this point where the prosecution and the defense
f. Costs. presented two very different scenarios. The prosecution alleged and sought to prove
In case of insolvency of accused ALBERTO S. ANTONIO @ Ambet, accused JUANITO that in the course of an argument, without warning or cause, Antonio pulled his gun
NIETO y NEMER and HONORIO C. CARTALLA, JR., shall be liable to pay, jointly and from behind his back and shot Tuadles at very close range, thus employing
severally, one-third (1/3) of the above-adjudicated sums or the amount of treacherous means to accomplish the nefarious deed. The pivotal evidence presented
P3,675,432.78 unto the said heirs of Arnulfo B. Tuadles. by the prosecution was the testimony of one Jose Jimmy T. Bobis, a security guard
In any event, the foregoing civil liabilities shall all be without subsidiary imprisonment who testified as to how the shooting of Tuadles occurred.
in case of insolvency. On the other hand, the defense hinged its opposing arguments on the testimony
Being instruments of the crime, let the caliber .9mm Beretta Mode 92F with Serial of accused Antonio himself, who testified that their argument was caused by Tuadles
Number BER-041965-Z, including its black magazine and five (5) live bullets, which are refusal to pay Antonios winnings. In the middle of a heated altercation where they
presently under the custody of the Court, be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the traded expletives, Tuadles suddenly grabbed Antonios gun from atop a
Government and turned over to the Firearms and Explosives Office, Camp Crame, sidetable. Fearing for his life, Antonio claimed that he reached for Tuadles hand and
Quezon City. they grappled for possession of the gun. As they wrestled, a single shot roared,
Tuadles fell face down to the floor, and Antonio was left too stunned to recall who

19
had actually pulled the trigger. In fine, Antonio alleged that the shooting was preserve the evidence at the scene of the crime, and purposely failing to call on the
accidental, and his only motivation was to defend himself. He also refuted the crime laboratory service of the proper agencies for appropriate action.
testimony of the prosecutions eyewitness, averring that SG Bobis could not have seen Contrary to law.[2]
the actual shooting since he (Bobis) and co-accused SPO4 Juanito Nieto, who were Upon arraignment, co-accused SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. entered a plea of Not
alerted by Antonios yells, reached the scene when Tuadles had already been shot and Guilty. Accused Antonio and SPO4 Nieto both refused to enter a plea, and the trial
was lying on the floor. court entered a plea of not guilty for both of them.
While Tuadles lay bloodied and still, no one remembered to call an ambulance After trial on the merits, all three accused were found guilty as charged,
or check if he was still alive. Instead, and there is no dispute in these succeeding imposing on them the appropriate penalties and ordering them to pay to the heirs of
events, Antonio convinced the two (2) security guards, prosecution eyewitness SG Tuadles various amounts as and for indemnity and damages, set forth in the
Bobis included, to accompany him to his home in Greenmeadows Subdivision, dispositive portion quoted above. All three accused filed separate appeals assailing
Quezon City, after which they proceeded to the San Juan Police Station. With them the trial courts findings and disposition.
was SPO4 Nieto, a member of the San Juan Police Force. They remained at Antonios Appellant Antonio assails the trial courts judgment on the following assigned
residence for several hours, during which time Antonio made phone calls and errors:
summoned his lawyer. At around 3:00 oclock in the afternoon, Antonio, accompanied I
by SPO4 Nieto, placed himself and his gun in the custody of San Juan Mayor Jinggoy THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONY OF JOSE
Estrada and the police authorities. Later, the two security guards and SPO4 Nieto JIMMY BOBIS WHICH CONFLICTS DRASTICALLY NOT ONLY WITH HIS INITIAL
were driven back to the club where they waited for the police DECLARATIONS BUT ALSO WITH HIS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED STATEMENT, AND WHICH
investigators. Sometime thereafter, SG Bobis narrated the events and executed his TESTIMONY IS TAINTED WITH SERIOUS INCONSISTENCIES, INCREDIBILITIES, AND
statement at the police station, a statement which he would repudiate three (3) days OMISSIONS ON SUBSTANTIAL MATTERS.
later. II
On November 18, 1996, an Information was filed against Antonio for the crime THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT TREACHERY ATTENDED THE
of murder. Also charged as accessories were SPO4 Nieto and SPO1 Honorio Cartalla, COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE CHARGED.
Jr. The Information alleged that: III
On or about November 2, 1996, in San Juan, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING CREDENCE TO THE VERSION OF APPELLANT
of this Honorable Court, the accused Antonio, armed with a gun, did then and there ALBERTO AMBET ANTONIO.
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill and with treachery, attack, IV
assault and use personal violence upon the person of Arnulfo Arnie Tuadles, by then THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT APPRECIATING THE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES
and there suddenly, unexpectedly, deliberately and without provocation, shooting OF VOLUNTARY SURRENDER.
Arnulfo Arnie Tuadles on his forehead, right between the eyes, thereby inflicting upon V
the latter mortal wound which was the direct and immediate cause of his death; THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT SUFFICIENT PROVOCATION ON THE
The accused Nieto, without having participated in said crime of murder, either as PART OF THE VICTIM ARNULFO ARNIE TUADLES IMMEDIATELY PRECEDED THE
principal or accomplice, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take COMMISION OF THE IMPUTED ACT, AND IN NOT APPRECIATING THIS MITIGATING
part subsequent to its commission, with abuse of his public functions and position as CIRCUMSTANCE.
a public officer, by harboring or assisting the accused Antonio, by then and there VI
failing to arrest and surrender immediately the said accused Antonio to the THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN AWARDING THE SUM OF P7,200,000.00 AS
authorities and by giving false information which tended to deceive the investigating COMPENSABLE EARNINGS LOST BY REASON OF ARNIE TUADLES DEATH, DESPITE
authorities; and INADEQUATE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT SUCH AWARD.
The accused Cartalla, Jr., without having participated in said crime of murder either as VII
principal or accomplice, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN AWARDING PALPABLY EXCESSIVE MORAL DAMAGES TO
part subsequent to its commission, with abuse of his public functions and position as THE HEIRS OF ARNIE TUADLES.
a public officer, by concealing or destroying the effects or instruments of the body of VIII
the crime, in order to prevent its discovery, by then and there removing the laser THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING APPELLANT ALBERTO AMBET ANTONIO GUILTY
sight of the gun used in shooting Tuadles, deliberately omitting to take steps to BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME OF MURDER.[3]

20
Appellant SPO4 Nieto likewise questions the trial courts decision, arguing that: coerced SG Bobis to change his statement and testimony so that the murder charge
I against appellant Antonio would be strengthened.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING NIETO AS AN ACCESSORY There is no question that SG Bobis second statement and court testimony, on
II the one hand, contradicted what he previously narrated in his first statement, on the
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE CRIME COMMITTED BY THE other hand. The question therefore is: Which is more credible and of more value to
PRINCIPAL ACCUSED ANTONIO WAS MURDER[4] the courts in ascertaining the guilt or innocence of the accused?
Appellant Cartalla, Jr. also challenged the said decision on the following grounds: It is a matter of judicial experience that affidavits or statements taken ex
I parte are generally considered incomplete and inaccurate. Thus, by nature, they are
THE COURT OF ORIGIN HAS COMMITTED A BLATANT ERROR IN CONVICTING SPO1 inferior to testimony given in court, and whenever there is inconsistency between the
HONORIO CARTALLA, JR. AS ACCESSORY TO THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE FACT affidavit and the testimony of a witness in court, the testimony commands greater
THAT THE RECORD IS SO REPLETE WITH EVIDENCES THAT THERE ARE REASONABLE weight.[6] Moreover, inconsistencies between the declaration of the affiant in his
DOUBTS TO HOLD HIM AS SUCH. sworn statements and those in open court do not necessarily discredit said
II witness.[7] Thus, the trial court followed precedents in giving more credence to SG
THE COURT A QUO COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR AND HAS NOT SHOWN FAIRNESS IN Bobis testimony given in open court despite his having executed an earlier statement
NOT CONSIDERING FULLY THE GOOD FAITH, DILIGENCE AND HARD WORK EXERTED which was inconsistent with his testimony.
BY SPO1 HONORIO CARTALLA, JR. WHEN HE INVESTIGATED THE CASE ON HAND TILL Besides, when confronted with his first contradictory statement, SG Bobis
THE TIME HE DELIVERED THE SPECIMEN OR PIECES OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF THE explained the reasons why he was moved to give false information in his first
CRIME TO THE PNP-CLS, CAMP CRAME, QUEZON CITY. statement.He had testified that moments after he saw appellant Antonio shoot
III Tuadles, the appellant warned him: Ikaw, wag kang tumistigo, ha.[8] Later, he and the
THE LOWER COURT HAS COMMITTED A SERIOUS MISTAKE IN DISREGARDING THE other security guard, SG Olac, were allegedly coerced to go to the appellants house in
SIXTEEN (16) YEARS OF ACTIVE POLICE SERVICE OF SPO1 HONORIO CARTALLA, JR. Quezon City. He also testified that while they were there, appellant Antonio and his
SHOWN WITH DEDICATION AND LOYALTY THERETO SUSTAINING MORE HIS lawyer instructed him (Bobis), should the police investigator ask him who shot
INNOCENCE OF THE CRIME CHARGED HEREIN.[5] Tuadles, to say that what happened was only an accident. [9]
Considering that appellant Antonio is the principal accused, we shall deal first At the police station, appellant SPO4 Nieto allegedly told SG Bobis to say that
with the issues raised in his appeal, foremost of which is the credibility of the they were both outside the club when the trouble started, saying: kailangan ipalabas
prosecutions sole eyewitness, SG Jose Jimmy Bobis. Appellant Antonio challenges SG natin na nasa labas tayo ng club.[10] Bobis stated that he was confused and afraid,
Bobis worth and credibility as an eyewitness on two (2) grounds. and, therefore, told the police investigator, appellant Cartalla, Jr., on November 2,
First, SG Bobis, in his first sworn statement before the San Juan authorities 1996, that he did not see appellant Antonio shoot Tuadles because he was still
averred that he did not see the actual shooting since he was still ascending the stairs ascending the stairs when the gun went off.
leading to the second floor where the crime took place when he heard the Apparently, it was not only fear that ruled his thoughts and actions at that time,
gunshot. Days later, in a second statement taken at the Eastern Police District (EPD) but also remorse and confusion. As found by the trial court:
and in his testimony before the trial court, SG Bobis negated his earlier statement, He admits that he had acted contrary to the ethical standards and code of conduct of
this time averring that he had indeed seen appellant Antonio pull his gun from private security guards when he did not make a formal report to his superior about
behind, and with neither warning nor provocation, aim the gun at the head of Tuadles the shooting incident of November 2, 1996 at the Club but countered that this was
and shoot the latter pointblank. This complete turnabout in SG Bobis testimony, because accused Antonio had taken him to the latters house. This being so, neither
according to appellant Antonio, is a sure sign of the said witness unreliability, was he able to put said accused Antonio under arrest.
incredibility, and unworthiness. He also points out the contradictions and Added to this was the fact that even accused Nieto, a policeman in active service who
inconsistencies between SG Bobis first and second statements and court testimony. was with them at the time and who should have done so, had also failed to arrest
Second, appellant Antonio belittles SG Bobis reasons for giving the San Juan accused Antonio, more so with him and SG Olac who are just ordinary security
Police investigators false information in his first statement, saying that nobody guards. (Dahil po maam, si SPO4 Nieto, pulis na po ang kasama namin, hindi niya po
threatened SG Bobis if he testified against appellant Antonio. On the other hand, nagawa na arestuhin si Mr. Ambet Antonio mas lalo po kami na ordinary guard lang
appellant Antonio suggests that it was Colonel Lucas Managuelod of the EPD who po.)

21
True, he had his service .38 caliber in his possession at the time. Nevertheless, evidently recalling from a script. The other prosecution witnesses, SG Olac and Romeo
because accused Antonio looked: parang galit pa sila sa amin he can not, as in fact he M. Solano were, like SG Bobis, untainted in their testimonies.[14]
did not, insist that instead of going to the house of accused Antonio, he will effect the Finding nothing that would compel us to conclude otherwise, we respect the
arrest.[11] findings of the trial court on the issue of the credibility of SG Bobis as an eyewitness,
Nevertheless, Bobis stated that his conscience bothered him, and seeing Tuadles especially considering that the trial court was in a better position to decide the
widow crying on television, he gathered enough resolve and courage to finally tell the question, having heard the witness himself and observed his deportment and manner
truth to the police authorities at the EPD. When he testified in open court, SG Bobis of testifying during the trial.[15]
did not waver in his declaration that he witnessed appellant Antonio suddenly pull his In the recent case of People v. Pili, this Court had occasion to rule that:
gun from behind and shoot Tuadles three (3) feet away. It is doctrinally settled that the assessments of the credibility of witnesses and their
Rule 132, Section 13 of the Rules of Court provides that: testimonies is a matter best undertaken by the trial court, because of its unique
Before a witness can be impeached by evidence that he has made at other times opportunity to observe the witnesses firsthand and to note their demeanor, conduct
statements inconsistent with his present testimony, the statements must be related and attitude under grilling examination. These are the most significant factors in
to him, with the circumstances of the times and places and the persons present, and evaluating the sincerity of witnesses and in unearthing the truth, especially in the face
he must be asked whether he made such statements, and if so, allowed to explain of conflicting testimonies. Through its observations during the entire proceedings, the
them. If the statements be in writing they must be shown to the witness before any trial court can be expected to determine, with reasonable discretion, whose
question is put to him concerning them. (Underscoring ours). testimony to accept and which witness to believe. Verily, findings of the trial court on
Thus, this Court has uniformly held that: such matters will not be disturbed on appeal unless some facts or circumstances of
Previous statements cannot serve as bases for impeaching the credibility of a witness weight have been overlooked, misapprehended or misinterpreted so as to materially
unless his attention was first directed to the discrepancies and he was then given an affect the disposition of the case.[16]
opportunity to explain them. It is only when no reasonable explanation is given by a And in People v. Deleverio, this Court ruled that:
witness in reconciling his conflicting declarations that he should be deemed It is axiomatic to point out, furthermore, that in an appeal, where the culpability or
impeached.[12] innocence of an accused would hinge on the issue of credibility of witnesses and the
We find no reason to discredit the trial courts finding that the reasons given by veracity of their testimonies, findings of the trial court are entitled to and given the
SG Bobis sufficiently explained the conflicting declarations he made in his two (2) highest degree of respect.[17]
sworn statements and in his court testimony. Therefore, he cannot be impeached as Moreover, in People v. Reynaldo, we reiterated the principle that:
an eyewitness. This Court also recognizes that the initial reticence of witnesses to The matter of assigning values to declarations on the witness stand is best and most
volunteer information about a criminal case and their aversion to be involved in competently performed by the trial judge who, unlike appellate magistrates, can
criminal investigations due to fear of reprisal is not uncommon, and this fact has been weigh the testimony of a witness in the light of his demeanor, conduct and attitude as
judicially declared not to adversely affect the credibility of witnesses. [13] he testified, and is thereby placed in a more competent position to discriminate
Apart from the issue of SG Bobis having given an earlier contradictory between the true and the false.[18]
statement, his direct testimony and answers under cross-examination appear clear There are other reasons why the eyewitness testimony of SG Bobis was given
and convincing. We agree with the trial court when it held: full faith and credit. SG Bobis, a mere security guard, realized he was no match to
But it is SG Bobis whom the Court finds credible. appellants Antonio and SPO4 Nieto. The former, a wealthy businessman, is known as
Why he had executed a first, then a second statement, totally in conflict with each an intimate friend of people in power. Appellant Antonio admitted in court that he
other, SG Bobis had fully explained to the satisfaction of the Court. His lowly station in surrendered himself and his gun to Mayor Jinggoy Estrada, who was his good
life had been taken advantage of by accused Antonio and Nieto. These two (2) had friend. Hours later, he went to see then Vice President Joseph Estrada in Tagaytay City
thought that they had succeeded in completely prevailing upon SG Bobis. For did not so he (Antonio) could tell his friend, the Vice President, what happened in his own
SG Bobis tell their lies? words.[19]
Still, the conscience of a good man had won over. Appellant SPO4 Nieto was a member in active duty of the San Juan Police Force
SG Bobis had redeemed himself. He gave spontaneous and straightforward answers who was close to appellant Antonio. Considering SG Bobis lowly station in life, as
to the gruelling questions propounded on him and had stuck to his truth. compared to that of the said appellants, it is understandable that his initial reaction
The Court had painstakingly, taken note of each of the witnesses demeanor on the to the shocking events would be one of intimidation, if not fear. SG Bobis believed
stand. While SG Bobis was steadfast with his words, accused Antonio and Nieto were then, and no one can fault him for thinking so, that going against the instructions and

22
dictates of appellant Antonio and SPO4 Nieto would make life very difficult for him, Appellant Antonio never said that Tuadles aimed or pointed the gun at
knowing they were well-connected to the powers that be. This perceived threat, him. There is no evidence, apart from appellant Antonios uncorroborated testimony,
whether real or imagined, compelled him to take the easy way out and just repeat that Tuadles made an attempt to shoot him. Hence, there is no convincing proof that
what appellants told him to say. there was unlawful aggression on the part of Tuadles. For unlawful aggression to be
There is an oft-quoted adage that a person may be able to avoid his enemies, appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger
but he can never run away from himself. SG Bobis may have momentarily avoided thereof, and not merely a threatening or intimidating attitude.[23] The burden of
incurring the wrath of the appellants by acceding to their dictates, but he could not proving unlawful aggression lay on appellant Antonio, but he has not presented
escape the proddings of his conscience. He realized he had to right a wrong, and this incontrovertible proof that would stand careful scrutiny before any court. Lacking this
he did with selflessness and at great risk to himself. requirement, appellant Antonios claim of self-defense cannot be appreciated. He
Furthermore, appellants could not impute any ill motive on the part of SG Bobis cannot even claim it as an extenuating circumstance.[24]
except the statement that it was Colonel Lucas Managuelod of the EPD who told him Besides, it cannot be said that appellant Antonio did not provoke Tuadles, if
how to testify. Thus, his positive and categorical declarations on the witness stand indeed the latter had grabbed the gun from the table. Antonio himself admitted that
under solemn oath without convincing evidence to the contrary deserve full faith and he was shouting and cursing Tuadles while in a furious rage. Such a threatening
credence.[20] stance could be interpreted as a provocation which could have prompted Tuadles to
Appellant Antonio, however, would seek to completely avoid culpability by get the gun so that appellant Antonio, in his anger, would not be able to use it against
claiming that the shooting of Tuadles was caused by mere accident without his fault Tuadles. If ever there was provocation, it was certainly coming from appellant
or intention of causing it, or that he acted in self-defense. Antonio, not from Tuadles.
Well-entrenched in our jurisprudence is the rule that where an accused admits In the alternative, appellant Antonio claims that the shooting of Tuadles was an
having killed the victim but invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability, he accident. He further argues that Tuadles was killed while he, Antonio, was performing
assumes the burden of proof to establish his plea of self-defense by clear, credible a lawful act with due care, and without fault or intention of causing it. Having ruled
and convincing evidence.[21] To successfully interpose self-defense, appellant Antonio that appellant Antonio failed to prove his claim of self-defense, (i.e., there was no
must clearly and convincingly prove: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; unlawful aggression on the part of Tuadles and provocation coming from Antonio
(2) the reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel the attack; himself), there is no basis for us to argue with appellant Antonio that he was
and (3) the person defending himself must not have provoked the victim into performing a lawful act when he shot Tuadles.[25]
committing the act of aggression.[22] We note that appellant Antonios version of how the shooting took place leaves
Without granting that his testimony is an accurate narration of the events that much room for conjecture. It is true that there is no fixed dictum on the reaction of a
took place, we shall discuss the points raised by appellant Antonio only for the person under the circumstances of a sudden death he may have caused. He could
purpose of determining whether the requisites of self-defense were attendant as react in a variety of ways, some of them even irrational. However, we respect the trial
claimed. In his testimony appellant Antonio alleged that Tuadles committed an act of courts findings. The trial court upheld the prosecutions version thus sustaining the
aggression when he (Tuadles) grabbed the gun which was on top of a theory that if Antonio indeed shot Tuadles by accident, the natural reaction expected
sidetable. Appellant Antonio then concluded that Tuadles had the sole intention of of him would be to immediately see to it that Tuadles be brought to a hospital or get
using the gun against him (Antonio), so he grappled with Tuadles to prevent the latter medical attention at the quickest time possible. Instead, appellant Antonio left
from shooting him. His bare testimony, uncorroborated as it is, does not convince us Tuadles, who was supposed to be his good friend, lying dead on the floor for several
that Tuadles would, so to speak, beat him to the draw. The testimony of Bobis shows hours. If indeed he and Tuadles both had their hands on the gun and there was no
that Tuadles was calm in answering Appellant Antonios loud invectives, and it would telling who actually pulled the trigger, we agree that appellant Antonio should have
be hard to imagine Tuadles as the aggressor under such a situation. And even if seen to it that no one else would touch the gun barehanded to preserve the
Tuadles had grabbed the gun, it could very well have been that Tuadles intended to fingerprints on it. Instead, he gave the gun to SPO4 Nieto who had no concern for
keep the gun away from appellant Antonio to prevent the latter from using it against preserving the fingerprints on the gun. Not only that, appellant Antonio also handed
him considering the state of mind and the foul mood appellant Antonio was in. This the gun to Mayor Jinggoy Estrada. Thus, one tangible piece of evidence that could
would be a more believable scenario since even appellant Antonio admitted that he have proven his claim of self-defense or accident was unfortunately lost due to his
was suffused with anger, his temper short due to three (3) consecutive sleepless lack of presence and due care.
nights. Appellant Antonios ambivalence in his choice of defenses is clear from the
records. First, he denies that he pulled the trigger because it was Tuadles who was

23
holding the gun. Then he says that he cannot recall who fired the gun so it could have As earlier stated, we find no sufficient reason to disagree with the trial court
very well been either him or Tuadles who did it. Next, he admits firing the gun, but he when it relied on the testimony of SG Bobis. However, we have carefully examined
did it in self-defense. Only, he could not indubitably prove that there was unlawful said testimony, the records of this petition, and the justifications of the trial court
aggression on the part of Tuadles. Failing there, he again admitted shooting Tuadles, upon which it based its decision.
but that it was an accident. Again, he failed to prove that he was in the process of There is no basis for the trial courts conclusion that accused Antonio consciously
performing a lawful act when he shot Tuadles. and deliberately adopted his mode of attack to insure the accomplishment of his
When an accused invokes self-defense or claims that it was an accident to criminal design without risk to himself.[34] It ruled that treachery qualified the killing
escape criminal liability, he admits having caused the death of the victim. And when to murder. The trial court did not explain the basis for the qualification except for a
he fails to prove by clear and convincing evidence the positiveness of that justifying terse citation that there was a sudden attack and the victim had no opportunity to
circumstance, having admitted the killing, conviction of the accused is defend himself or to retaliate. As stated by counsel for appellant, out of the 71-page
inescapable.[26]Appellant Antonio had to rely on the strength of his evidence and not decision, typed single space, the trial court devoted only a few sentences to the issue
on the weakness of the prosecutions evidence for, even if the latter were weak, his of treachery.
invoking self-defense is already an open admission of responsibility for the There was no treachery in this case.
killing.[27] As it was, appellant Antonios testimony is not only uncorroborated by It is not only the sudden attack that qualifies a killing into murder. There must
independent and competent evidence, but also doubtful by itself [28] for being be a conscious and deliberate adoption of the mode of attack for a specific purpose.
ambivalent and self-serving.[29] All the evidence shows that the incident was an impulse killing. It was a spur of
Having admitted responsibility for the killing of Tuadles, appellant Antonio the moment crime.
claims the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender. On this score, we find The precedents are many. They are consistent. Among them:
merit in his claim considering that all the elements in order that voluntary surrender Mere suddenness of attack is not enough to constitute treachery where accused
may be appreciated were attendant in his case. First, he had not been actually made no preparation or employed no means, method and form of execution tending
arrested;Second, he surrendered himself to a person in authority; and Third, his directly and specially to insure the commission of a crime and to eliminate or diminish
surrender was voluntary. It is of no moment that appellant Antonio did not risk from defense which the victim may take.[35]
immediately surrender to the authorities, but did so only after the lapse of about six A sudden and unexpected attack would not constitute alevosia where the aggressor
(6) hours. In the case of People v. Bautista,[30] the voluntary surrender of the accused did not consciously adopt a mode of attack intended to perpetrate the homicide
to a police authority four (4) days after the commission of the crime was considered without risk to himself.[36]
attenuating. There is no dispute that appellant Antonio voluntarily surrendered to the A sudden and unexpected attack constitutes the absence of alevosia where it did not
mayor, a person in authority, before he was arrested, hence the mitigating appear that the aggressor had consciously adopted a mode of attack intended to
circumstance of voluntary surrender should be considered in appellant Antonios facilitate the perpetration of the homicide without risk to himself, as where the
favor.[31] appellant followed the victims when the latter refused appellant's invitation to have
Appellant Antonio also claims the mitigating circumstance of sufficient some more alcoholic drinks.[37]
provocation on the part of Tuadles. To avail of this mitigating circumstance, it must be The mere suddenness of attack does not, of itself suffice for a finding of alevosia if the
shown that the provocation originated from the offended party.[32] However, apart mode adopted by the accused does not positively tend to prove that they thereby
from his own testimony, appellant Antonio has not proven by convincing evidence knowingly intended to insure the accomplishment of their criminal purpose without
that he was provoked by Tuadles. He claimed that Tuadles provoked him when the any risk to themselves arising from the defense that might be offered.[38]
latter refused or could not pay his winning. Refusal to pay cannot be a mitigating The aggravating circumstance of treachery is not present when decision to attack was
provocation for appellant Antonio to kill Tuadles. An unpaid debt cannot, and never arrived at on the spur of the moment.[39]
will, be a reason to shoot the debtor dead. Besides, appellant Antonio had no other The annotations are similarly consistent. It is not enough that the means,
proof that he won and that the argument arose from Tuadles refusal to pay. His bare methods, or form of execution of the offense was without danger to the offender
testimony is, at best, self-serving. Accordingly, appellant Antonio is not entitled to the arising from the defense or retaliation that might be made by the offended party. It is
benefit of the mitigating circumstance of sufficient provocation. [33] further required, for treachery to be appreciable, that such means, method or form
There is, however, a significant and consequential aspect of the case which the was deliberated upon or consciously adopted by the offender. [40] Such deliberate or
trial court overlooked and disregarded. conscious choice was held non-existent where the attack was the product of an
impulse of the moment.[41]

24
The trial court's ruling that the mere suddenness of an attack makes the killing a To establish treachery, the evidence must show that the accused made some
murder because of treachery is not consistent with the decisions of this preparation to kill the victim in such a manner as to ensure the execution of the crime
Court.[42]Conscious deliberation or conscious adoption of the mode of attack has to be or to make it impossible or hard for the person attacked to defend himself. A killing
proved beyond reasonable doubt. For it is likewise an established principle that the done at the spur of the moment is not treacherous. (Underscoring ours)
quantum of evidence to prove a person's being guilty of a crime is also required to It was Antonio's sudden anger and heated passion which drove him to pull his
prove treachery. The same degree of proof to dispel any reasonable doubt is required gun and shoot Tuadles. Said passion, however, cannot co-exist with treachery. In
before any conclusion may also be reached respecting the attendance of treachery, passion, the offender loses his reason and control. In treachery, on the other hand,
whether as qualifying or aggravating, in a criminal case.[43] There is no such proof in the means employed is adopted consciously and deliberately. One who, in the heat of
this case. passion, loses his reason and self-control, cannot consciously employ a particular
There is no dispute that prior to the shooting, appellant Antonio and Tuadles means, method or form of attack in the execution of the crime. [49] Thus, the killing of
spent several hours having fun playing "pusoy dos." The situation turned ugly, Tuadles by appellant Antonio was not attended by treachery.
however, when Tuadles could not pay to appellant Antonio his alleged winnings. An That the treachery, which was alleged in the information and favorably
argument arose, with appellant Antonio and Tuadles standing face to face three (3) considered by the trial court to elevate the killing to murder, was not proven by
feet away from each other, a fact attested to by the defense and even by the convincing evidence[50] is advocated by the Solicitor General in the Appellee's
prosecution eyewitness himself. Brief. He agreed with Appellant Antonio's contention on the matter:
Accordingly to SG Bobis, Tuadles and Antonio were arguing. Antonio even called On the basis of the evidence at hand, appellee is constrained to agree with this
out: Sarge! Sarge! Sarge! Just before the shooting, Bobis heard Antonio particular submission of Antonio. Antonio and Tuadles engaged in pusoy dos. In the
saying:Putang ina ka kasi. The argument precluded the presence of treachery. If beginning, they were heard laughing and kidding each other (nagtatawanan at
Antonio had consciously adopted means and methods to kill Tuadles, there was no nagkakantiyawan). Later, the banter turned into verbal altercation.
reason to call for a Sergeant or any eyewitness for that matter. Under the circumstances, Tuadles became aware of the incipient
To the point is our ruling in the case of People v. Alacar,[44] where we held that violence. Hence, Tuadles could have braced himself with the aggression of
there was no treachery where the attempt to kill resulted from a verbal Antonio. There is no treachery when the killing results from a verbal altercation or
altercation.More recently, in People v. Salvador, we pronounced that: spat between the victim and the assailant such that the victim must have been
There would be no treachery when the victim was placed on guard, such as when a forewarned of the impending danger. In this case, Bobis testified that he saw Antonio
heated argument preceded the attack, or when the victim was standing face to face and Tuadles facing each other before Antonio raised his hand and shot Tuadles on the
with his assailants and the initial assault could not have been forehead.The proximate distance of three feet between Tuadles and Antonio
unforseen.[45] (Underscoring Ours) immediately before the fatal shooting allowed and gave Tuadles opportunity to
Even if it could be said that the attack was sudden, there would still be no defend himself.[51]
treachery. In People v. Chua,[46] we reiterated our consistent view that: Consequently, Antonio can only be convicted of the lesser crime of homicide under
While the killing itself appears to have occurred on sudden impulse, it was preceded Article 249 of the Revised Penal code.
by acts of appellant showing hostility and a heated temper that indicated an Having been found guilty of the crime of homicide, the penalty that should be
imminent attack and should have put the deceased on guard. imposed on appellant Antonio should be reduced to reclusion temporal under Article
Thus, treachery could not be appreciated where the victim was forewarned and 249 of the Revised Penal Code. There being one (1) mitigating circumstance of
could have anticipated the aggression of the accused. Since the sudden shooting of voluntary surrender, the penalty to be imposed shall be the minimum period
Tuadles was preceded by a heated verbal altercation between Tuadles and appellant of reclusion temporal, that is, from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to fourteen (14)
Antonio, as admitted by both prosecution and defense, then it cannot be concluded years and eight (8) months. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum
that the shooting was committed with treachery. of the penalty to be imposed shall be the penalty next lower which is prision mayor in
It is also clear that appellant Antonio did not set out or plan to kill Tuadles in the any of its periods.[52] Therefore, appellant Alberto Antonio is hereby sentenced to an
first place. His criminal act was an offshoot of their argument which neither of them indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as
had foreseen. Hence, there was no treachery because treachery requires that the minimum, to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal, as
mode of attack must have been thought of by the offender and must have sprung maximum.
from an unforeseen occurrence.[47] Appellant Antonio challenges the award of compensatory and moral damages to
In People v. Nitcha,[48] we held that: the heirs of Tuadles, arguing that said award was unsupported by adequate

25
evidence. In arriving at the amount of P7,200,000.00 as compensatory damages, the Applied to this case, we recognize that Tuadles was the sole support of his
trial court relied completely on the testimony of the victim's widow, Suzette Tuadles, family and they will also be deprived of his love and companionship. No amount of
who stated that at the time of his death, Tuadles was earning P50,000.00 a month money could ever compensate for their loss. While the award of moral damages may
from his construction business. Applying the formula laid down by this Court in the help ease the emotional and psychological trauma that they continue to suffer, this
cases of Villa Rey Transit v. CA,[53] and People v. Quilaton,[54] the trial court arrived at Court has not granted so large an amount as moral damages. Accordingly, we find
the amount of P7,200,000.00 as compensatory damages for loss of earning that the amount of P3,000,000.00 granted by the trial court in this case is excessive,
capacity. Appellant Antonio argues that the trial court cannot just rely on the sole and the same is therefore reduced to P500,000.00. Moreover, there being no
testimony of Suzette Tuadles, otherwise, it would be basing its computation on mere aggravating circumstances attendant in this case, the award of exemplary damages
speculation, conjecture, or guess work. should also be deleted.[61]
In People v. Silvestre[55] and People v. Verde,[56] we held that the absence of We now come to the errors assigned by appellant SPO4 Juanito M. Nieto. He
documentary evidence to support the prosecution's claim for damages for loss of argues that the trial court erred in convicting him as an accessory. The trial court's
earning capacity of the deceased does not preclude recovery of said damages. There, grounds for finding him guilty are: (1) he failed to arrest appellant Antonio; and (2) he
we awarded damages for loss of earning capacity computed on the basis of the gave false information tending to deceive the investigating authorities.[62]
testimonies of the victim's wives. This was reiterated in People v. Dizon,[57] where we The Revised Penal Code in Article 19 defines an accessory as one who has
held that: knowledge of the commission of the crime, yet did not take part in its commission as
As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for principal or accomplice, but took part in it subsequent to its commission by any of
damages for loss of earning capacity. In People vs. Verde (G. R. No. 119077, February three modes: (1) profiting himself or assisting the offender to profit by the effects of
10, 1999), the non-presentation of documentary evidence to support the claim for the crime; (2) concealing or destroying the body of the crime, or the effects or
damages for loss of earning capacity did not prevent this Court from awarding said instruments thereof in order to prevent its discovery; and (3) harboring, concealing,
damages. The testimony of the victim's wife as to the earning capacity of her or assisting in the escape of the principals of the crime, provided the accessory acts
murdered husband, who was then 48 years old and was earning P200.00 a day as a with abuse of his public functions or when the offender is guilty of treason, parricide,
tricycle driver, sufficed to establish the basis for such an award. x x x As in People vs. murder, or an attempt to take the life of the Chief Executive, or is known to be
Verde, the Court is inclined to grant the claim for damages for loss of earning capacity habitually guilty of some other crime.[63]
despite the absence of documentary evidence. (Underscoring ours) Under paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Revised Penal Code, there are two (2)
In the case at bar, however, the award for compensatory damages should be classes of accessories, one of which is a public officer who harbors, conceals or assists
calculated as follows: in the escape of the principal. Such public officer must have acted with abuse of his
Net earning capacity (x) = life expectancy x gross annual income - living expenses public functions, and the crime committed by the principal is any crime, provided it is
(50% of not a light felony. Appellant SPO4 Nieto is one such public officer, and he abused his
gross annual income) public function when he failed to effect the immediate arrest of accused Antonio and
x = 2(80-40) x [P600,000.00 - 300,000.00] to conduct a speedy investigation of the crime committed.
3 The evidence in the case at bar, insofar as appellant Nieto's culpability is
= 26.67 x P300,000.00 concerned, shows that in the middle of the argument between appellant Antonio and
= P8,001,000.00 the deceased, Antonio called Nieto by shouting, Sarge! Sarge! Hearing this, SG Bobis
Considering that moral damages may be awarded without proof of pecuniary woke Nieto up and the latter went upstairs. Immediately thereafter, appellant
loss, the Court shall take into account the circumstances obtaining in the case and Antonio shot Tuadles, and then ordered Nieto to get the scoresheet and the cards
assess damages according to its discretion.[58] We agree with appellant Antonio that from the table, which Nieto did. Antonio, Nieto and Bobis went downstairs. Antonio
the trial court's award of moral damages was excessive. While there is no hard and told guards Bobis and Ernesto Olac to go with them, and they all boarded Antonio's
fast rule in the determination of what would be a fair amount of moral damages, each Mercedes Benz van, including Nieto. They arrived at Antonio's residence in
case must be governed by its own peculiar circumstances.[59] And though moral Greenmeadows Subdivision at around 11:30 o'clock in the morning. There, they had
damages are incapable of pecuniary estimation to compensate the claimants for coffee while Antonio made some telephone calls. Soon after, a certain Atty. Abaya
actual injury, they are not designed to enrich the complainants at the expense of the arrived and talked to the two security guards, while Nieto was present. Nieto then
accused.[60] told Bobis that in his statement, he should say that the two of them, i.e., Bobis and
Nieto, were seated outside the entrance of the Club when the incident took place. At

26
5:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Nieto, Bobis and Olac returned to the Club. They waited such omission does not amount to concealing or destroying the body of the crime or
outside until members of the San Juan police, together with Mayor Jinggoy Estrada effects or instruments thereof to prevent its discovery. The laser sight had been
and Vice Mayor Philip Cezar, arrived at 6:00 o'clock in the evening. After the police surrendered to the police authorities so there was no more need for discovery. Its
investigated the scene, they proceeded to the police station. There, Nieto reiterated loss thereafter does not make appellant SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. an accessory. At most, as
his instruction to Bobis to say that the two of them were outside the club. While custodian thereof, he may be made answerable administratively.
Bobis gave his statement to the police, Nieto remained in front of him and dictated to In his testimony, he made clear that the loss was not intentional. He further
him what he should answer to the questions of the police investigator.[64] stated:
The foregoing facts were culled from the testimony of SG Bobis. Appellant Q Finally, Mr. Cartalla, what can you say about the charge against you as alleged in
Nieto's actuations immediately after the commission of the crime demonstrate his the information that you tried to conceal or destroy the effects or body of
liability as an accessory. Being a police officer in the active service, he had the duty to the crime to prevent its discovery?
arrest appellant Antonio after the latter committed a crime in his presence, and A It's not true, sir.
which he himself witnessed. Unfortunately, he failed to do what was incumbent upon Q Why?
him to do. Instead, he rode with the offender to the latter's house where they stayed A Because I did not conceal anything, I did not destroy anything on the body of the
for more than five (5) hours. In the early case of U. S. v. Yacat, et al., it was held:[65] crime and as far as I know, I did all my job as investigator and I worked for it
It is, however, unquestionable that Pedro Ureta, who was the local president of the up to the wee hours of the morning up to the next morning, I still did it and I
town of Cabiao at the time the crime was committed, has incurred criminal gathered evidence and I submitted it to the Crime Laboratory and even when
liability.Abusing his public office, he refused to prosecute the crime of homicide and at the time, I have been hearing that I will not be the one who will
those guilty thereof, and thus made it possible for them to escape, as the defendant investigate, they got it from me without proper notice, that they will take
Pedro Lising did in fact. This fact is sufficiently demonstrated in the records, and he over the investigation, I still did my job, and on the fifth, I was asked by
has been unable to explain his conduct in refusing to make an investigation of this Prosecutor Llorente to retrieve the slug and what I did was even the
serious occurrence, of which complaint was made to him, and consequently he investigation is not with me, I still did it, I still went to the IBC and I still
should suffer a penalty two degrees inferior to that designated by paragraph 2 of worked hard, I even remember
article 405 of the Code, by virtue of article 68 thereof. Atty. Flaminiano
Appellant Nieto knew of the commission of the crime. Right before the shooting, We want to make of record that the witness is now in tears at this moment.
appellant Antonio called him and he immediately went upstairs. He saw that COURT
appellant shot Tuadles. Despite this knowledge, he failed to arrest appellant and, Continue.
instead, left the crime scene together with the latter. To this extent, he assisted A The companion of Inspector de Leon and PO2 Rojas even said that this
appellant Antonio in his escape.[66] policeman is very hardworking, even the investigation is not with him
Furthermore, as correctly found by the trial court, appellant Nieto provided false anymore, but still, he's working and I answered him, whatever, whatever
information to deceive the investigating authorities. He instructed Bobis to answer they will charge to me, maybe it's just their job and so, I will also do my
falsely to the questions of the investigating officer, in order to make it appear that job. Because as far as I know, I will not be implicated because I have not
there were no eyewitnesses to the incident and thus make it more difficult for the done anything, I have not done the charges that they filed against me, I was
police to solve the crime. surprised when I was given a confirmation that I was an accessory that is why
Accordingly, the court a quo was correct in convicting appellant as an accessory my youngest child even told me "kala ko Papa, Mabait ka?" and I told him
to the crime, and he should be sentenced to suffer the penalty prescribed by that it's not true. For me, I have not done anything like that.
law.Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, we impose on appellant Nieto the Atty. Fernandez
indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) That's all for the witness, your Honor.
years of prison correccional, as maximum. COURT
Finally, we come to appellant SPO1 Honorio Cartalla, Jr.'s appeal. After carefully The way I look at your case, you are indicted here as an accessory because
reviewing the facts and issues raised therein, we find that the trial court erred in according to one of the witnesses, the gun together with the laser sight was
finding said appellant guilty as an accessory. handled to you and when that gun reached Crame, the laser sight was no
The trial court's sole reason for convicting appellant SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. was his longer there, answer me, what happened?
failure to produce the laser sight of the gun as evidence during the trial. However,

27
A The truth, your Honor, is, when the gun was submitted to me by Inspector a caliber .9 mm Beretta Model 92F with serial number BER-041965-7 and black
Cabrera, the laser sight was there, I immediately made the transmittal for magazine had been preserved and presented as evidence.
the laboratory and I described what is there, together with the laser and Neither could Cartalla be said to have profited with the non-presentation of the laser
after that, I placed it in a brown envelope, I placed it in my drawer. On the sight as this was not proved by the prosecution. Either way, concealing or profiting,
second day, I was really busy on that day because I was the only one. I was there is no convicting motive for Cartalla to have so committed. More so, as Cartalla
asking for assistance because I would go out, I will investigate and then I just was the investigating officer on the case.
found out when I was about to submit the laser to the laboratory, I gave the It is submitted that the non-production of the laser sight by Cartalla did not make him
envelope together with the transmittal and when it was being received, he an accessory to the crime committed by Antonio, although he may be
checked it and he said Sgt. Where is the laser sight? and I said it's there, administratively liable for the loss of a part of the evidence for the prosecution in this
attached. And he said please look at it. case.[68]
COURT WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the appealed Decision in Criminal Case
Who told you that? No. 111232-H is hereby MODIFIED. Accused-appellant Alberto "Ambet" Antonio is
A The person who received, your Honor. found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of HOMICIDE and is
COURT correspondingly sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of ten (10) years and
But in your transmittal, you wrote there that there was a laser? one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum to fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months
A Yes, your Honor. When I saw the envelope, there was no laser, I was planning to of reclusion temporal, as maximum. Accused-appellant Juanito Nieto y Nemer is
go back right away but I just said, okay, I will just cross it out and I did not likewise found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as accessory to the crime of
erase because I want that I will not hide anything. It has happened because HOMICIDE, and is correspondingly sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of
maybe somebody is interested or I might have left in my drawer. Because I six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum, to four (4) years of prision correccional,
will not hide it. That's why I did not sno-pake it and I just crossed it out so it as maximum.
can be read together with my initial and when I came back, I asked them Accused-appellant Antonio is likewise ordered to pay to the heirs of Arnulfo B.
who touched my things. Tuadles the following sums:
COURT (1) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of Arnulfo B. Tuadles;
What answer did you get? (2) P226,298.36 as actual damages;
A There was no answer. Nobody was answering me, nobody was talking.[67] (3) P8,001,000.00 as compensatory damages for loss of earning capacity;
From the foregoing, it is clear that appellant SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. did not (4) P500,000.00 as moral damages; and
intentionally conceal or destroy the laser sight, and the prosecution failed to prove (5) Costs.
that he did so with intent to derail the prosecution of the principal accused. On the For failure to prove accused-appellant SPO1 Honorio Cartalla, Jr.'s guilt beyond
other hand, while the laser sight was an accessory device attached to the gun, it was reasonable doubt as accessory to the crime, he is ACQUITTED and absolved of all
not essential to the commission, investigation and prosecution of the crime. The gun liability, both criminal or civil.
itself, which was the instrument of the crime, was surrendered to the authorities and In case of insolvency of appellant Alberto S. Antonio @ Ambet, appellant Juanito
presented as evidence in court. The failure of appellant SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. to present Nieto y Nemer shall be liable to pay one-half (1/2) of the above-adjudicated sums or
the laser sight as part of the evidence did not in any way affect the outcome of the the amount of P4,388,649.18 unto the said heirs of Arnulfo B. Tuadles.
trial, much less prevent the discovery of the crime. Furthermore, there is no showing In all other respects, the judgment of the trial court is AFFIRMED.
that appellant SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. profited by the non-presentation of the laser sight. SO ORDERED.
Thus, under the definition of an accessory under the Revised Penal Code and Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman), joins Justice Puno in his concurring & dissenting
jurisprudence, appellant Cartalla, Jr.'s omission does not make him liable as an opinion.
accessory to the crime committed by appellant Antonio. Even the Solicitor General Puno, J., see concurring & dissenting opinion.
submits that there are no grounds to convict appellant Cartalla, to wit: Kapunan, and Pardo, JJ., concur.
CONCURRING AND DISSENTNG OPINION
At the time the laser sight was turned over to Cartalla, the crime or its corpus
delicti had been discovered. Hence, the loss of the laser sight could not have PUNO, J.:
prevented the discovery of the crime. The essential instrument of the crime, namely, I agree with the majority decision except its finding that treachery did
not attend the killing of the victim, Arnulfo Tuadles, and the conclusion that the

28
accused-appellant, Alberto "Ambet" Antonio, should not be held guilty of murder but feet of space separated them. Antonio appeared, hiding his right hand behind his
only of homicide. back. He (Antonio) cursed "putang ina ka kasi". Tuadles uttered something which
For proper perspective, I wish to relate the relevant facts on the issue of Bobis could not understand because Tuadles' back was turned on him. Antonio then
treachery. quickly raised his right hand, pointed a gun at the face of Tuadles and fired the
On November 2, 1996, at about 9:30 a.m., the victim, Arnulfo "Arnie" Tuadles, gun ("Mabilis na inangat niya ang kanang kamay niya at itinapat sa mukha ni Arnie
40 years old, a former professional basketball player and a family man, was shot to Tuadles at ipinutok ang baril ").9 Tuadles twisted to the right and fell on the floor face
death by accused-appellant Alberto "Ambet" Antonio, 59 years old and former down. Antonio removed the gun's magazine, cocked it and replaced its magazine. The
Chairman of the Games and Amusement Board. The murder weapon was a 9mm gun had a laser light attached to its end.10 Antonio ordered SPO4 Nieto to get the
Beretta Model 92F pistol, with a laser sight.1 Tuadles sustained a single gunshot score sheet and the cards laying on top of a table. SPO4 Nieto placed the cards on a
wound on the forehead, between the eyes.2 The bullet hit the brain and exited at the paper, folded it several times, and placed it inside the clutch bag of Antonio. Bobis
right portion of the back of the head.3 He died due to "intracranial hemmorhage."4 was taken aback by the incident. When he regained his composure, he asked Antonio:
Dr. Jaime Leal, Medico-Legal Officer at the PNP Crime Laboratory, conducted the "Boss, bakit nangyari ito." Antonio did not immediately respond but later pointed his
autopsy examination on the Tuadles. His examination showed that Tuadles was shot finger at Bobis and then warned: "Ikaw, huwag kang tumistigo, ha!" Bobis kept quiet
at close range, specifically at a distance of less than 12 inches.5 The bullet's trajectory due to fear. They all went downstairs. Olac who heard the gunfire inquired from Bobis
was directed backwards, slightly upwards and to the right. 6 what happened. He told him that Antonio shot Tuadles. Antonio then commanded
The autopsy also revealed that Tuadles suffered five (5) abrasions ("gasgas"), Bobis to get the key of Tuadles' car. He did as he was told. Only two vehicles were
located on his forehead, nose, tip of nose, cheek, and right lower lip. He sustained parked in the premises of the club: the Mercedes Benz van of Antonio and the car of
these abrasions as he collapsed on the floor after he was shot. There were also Tuadles. They boarded the van, with Antonio driving.Following them was the car of
contusions on Tuadles' forehead and lower lip that could have been sustained when Tuadles driven by Antonio's driver. The driver left Tuadles' car near Shaw Blvd. and
his face hit a hard blunt object, and hematomas on both eyes caused by the "pulling rode in the van. They headed to the house of Antonio. They left the club at 10:00 a.m.
of the blood in the spaces between the eyes." He had a lacerated wound on the cheek and arrived at Antonio's house in Green Meadows at 11:30 a.m. On instruction of
which could have been caused by a forcible contact of the skin with a hard blunt Antonio, his driver burned the score sheet and the cards. They stayed at Antonio's
object, such as chairs or tables, when he was falling to the floor. 7 All the injuries were house for several hours while Antonio conferred with his lawyer. Antonio's lawyer
located on the head of the victim. told Bobis that he should say that the shooting was an accident. SPO4 Nieto
Security guard Jose Jimmy Bobis gave the eyewitness account of the instructed Bobis to claim that he was outside the entrance of the club when the
shooting. He reported at the IBC Club in Greenhills, San Juan, on November 2, 1996 at shooting took place. Bobis, Nieto, Olac and Antonio's driver returned to the club at
7:00 a.m. He relieved co-security guard Ernesto Olac. At that time, there were only 5:00 p.m. Thirty minutes later, a team of policemen from San Juan arrived. They
five (5) people inside the club: Antonio, Tuadles, SP04 Juanito Nieto, Olac and found the lifeless body of Tuadles sprawled on the second floor.
Bobis.Antonio and Tuadles were at the second floor playing "pusoy dos", SP04 Nieto Police investigator SPO1 Cartalla, Jr. took the statement of Bobis that same day.
and Olac were sleeping in the dining area at the ground floor, while Bobis was in the In his statement, Bobis denied seeing the shooting incident. On November 4, 1996,
bar, also at the ground floor, keeping watch of the premises. Bobis happened to watch the television and he saw the crying Mrs. Tuadles while
In the course of his duty, Bobis heard Antonio and Tuadles laughing and teasing being interviewed. Bothered by his conscience, he requested the operations manager
each other ("nagkakantiyawan") while playing "pusoy dos". He recognized the voice of their security agency to bring him to the Eastern Police District. On November 5,
of Antonio because it was loud in contrast to Tuadles' voice which was soft. At past 1996, he gave another statement to the EPD and revealed the truth that fateful day
9:00 a.m., he heard Antonio say in a loud voice: "Di ba may usapan tayo na ang mag of November 2, 1996.
pa pass ay mag-ta-tap ng dalawang beses sa ibabaw ng mesa?" Antonio then Given these facts, the majority holds that treachery did not attend the killing
said "Sige ". Tuadles' response was almost inaudible because he spoke in a soft, cool of Tuadles.
voice (mahina at malamig ang boses).8 Again, Antonio spoke: "Barya lang itong There is treachery (alevosia) when the offender commits any of the crimes
pinagla-laruan natin" (We are only playing for loose change). Tuadles kept silent. against the person, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof
Antonio then called: "Sarge, Sarge, Sarge!," referring to SPO4 Nieto. Bobis walked to which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising
the sleeping Nieto and informed him that Antonio was calling him. They went to the from the defense which the offended party might make.11
second floor and saw Antonio and Tuadles standing between the billiard table and the The two elements that must be proved to establish treachery are: (1) the
"pusoy" table. They were facing each other but at a certain angle, and about three employment of means of execution which would ensure the safety of the offender

29
from defensive and retaliatory acts of the victim, giving the victim no opportunity to obviously not relevant for purposes of showing premeditation and deliberation, as it
defend himself, and (2) the means, method and manner of execution were only goes to show the defendant's state of mind at the time and not before or during
deliberately and consciously adopted by the offender.12 the killing." (emphasis ours)
I respectfully submit that the killing of Tuadles was characterized by treachery. The evidence proves the deliberateness of the attack made by Antonio. The
First. There is little doubt that the first element of treachery was proved by the attack was done with swiftness. It was motivated by the failure of Tuadles to follow
prosecution. The victim, Tuadles, had absolutely no opportunity to defend himself an agreement on the "pusoy" game. The deliberateness of the attack is also shown by
from the aggression of Antonio. The attack was sudden, coming as it did like a the fact that Tuadles was shot at close range, with the muzzle of the gun less than 12
thunderbolt from a blue sky. It was preceded by a not too serious argument about a inches from Tuadles' forehead. Antonio aimed at Tuadles' forehead, between the
rule of the "pusoy dos" game which appeared to have been overlooked by eyes. The bullet penetrated Tuadles' brain, destroyed its right hemisphere and caused
Tuadles. The little argument agitated Antonio but not Tuadles. Hence, the attack Tuadles' instantaneous death. Clearly, Antonio chose to shoot Tuadles at a vital
was unexpected especially because Tuadles and Antonio did not have any prior part of his body. As a result, Tuadles became an instant statistic of the graveyard.
misunderstanding. Tuadles even endearingly called Antonio "uncle". Likewise, Tuadles With due respect, I do not agree with the majority that the case at bar involves
was a basketball player when Antonio served as Chairman of the Games and a spur of the moment killing, hence, there is no treachery. The majority states that
Amusement Board. there was a prior heated altercation between Tuadles and Antonio. The heated
Second. The prosecution also proved the second element of treachery that "the altercation allegedly forewarned Tuadles of the attack. The so-called heated
means, method and manner of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted altercation, however, is not well-established by the evidence. A replay of the facts
by the offender." This element deals with the subjective aspect of treachery, hence, will reveal that eyewitness Bobis initially heard the two teasing each
the more difficult element to determine. We are not, however, without any other ("nagkakantiyawan"). Later, an argument developed between them which
established jurisprudence in determining whether the accused-appellant deliberately cannot be characterized as a "heated altercation." Bobis testified as follows: 14
and consciously adopted the means, method and manner of killing the victim. The "Q: Now, this matter of 'kantiyawan' and 'nagtatawanan' iyong dalawa, how long
authoritative La Fave and Scott, after a survey of court rulings, tell us of the relevant did this continue during the period of time you were there?
evidence to consider, viz:13 A: A few seconds only.
"On the basis of events before and at the time of the killing, the trier of fact will xxxxxxxxx
sometimes be entitled to infer that the defendant actually premeditated and Q: Would you be in a position to recognize the voices of Ambet Antonio and Arnie
deliberated his intentional killing. Three categories of evidence are important for this Tuadles?
purpose: (1) facts about how and what the defendant did prior to the actual killing A: Yes, sir.
which show he was engaged in activity directed toward the killing, that is, planning Q: Why?
activity; (2) facts about the defendant's prior relationship and conduct with the victim A: Arnie Tuadles' voice is soft and Ambet Antonio's voice is loud.
from which motive may be inferred; and (3) facts about the nature of the killing from Q: Let's focus on Mr. Antonio, you said his voice was loud, did you hear him
which it may be inferred that the manner of killing was so particular and exacting that mentioned (sic) anything at that time?
the defendant must have intentionally killed according to a preconceived Atty. Flaminiano:
design. Illustrative of the first category are such acts by the defendant as prior Leading, your Honor.
possession of the murder weapon, surreptitious approach of the victim, or taking the COURT:
prospective victim to a place where others are unlikely to intrude. In the second Answer.
category are prior threats by the defendants to do violence to the victim, plans or A: Yes, sir.
desires of the defendant which would be facilitated by the death of the victim, Q: What did you hear?
and prior conduct of the victim known to have angered the defendant. As to the xxxxxxxxx
third category, the manner of killing, what is required is evidence (usually based upon A: Di ba may usapan tayo na ang mag-pa-pass ay mag-ta-tap ng dalawang beses
examination of the victim's body) showing that the wounds were deliberately placed sa ibabaw ng mesa?
at vital areas of the body. The mere fact that the killing was attended by much xxxxxxxxx
violence or that a great many wounds were inflicted is not relevant in this regard, as Q: Before you heard this statement, did you hear other things from Mr. Ambet
such a killing is just as likely (or perhaps more likely) to have been on impulse.Conduct Antonio apart from what you have said, before that?
by the defendant after the killing in an effort to avoid detection and punishment is A: None, sir.

30
xxxxxxxxx to his aid and taken him to a hospital, instead of abandoning him." The Court further
Q: Was there any comment that you heard from Mr. Tuadles? held that the accused was liable for murder. The victim was unarmed. He did not have
A: Yes, sir. the least suspicion of the accused's design to shoot him. In contrast, accused had a
Q: What did you hear from Mr. Tuadles? gun. The victim, therefore, had no chance to defend himself against the latter's
A: I could not understand because his voice was soft and ... frontal attack. Treachery qualified the killing to murder.
Prosecutor Llorente: With due respect to the majority, I find the killing of the victim Tuadles
May we put on record the answer of the witness in Tagalog? qualified by treachery. I vote to convict accused-appellant Antonio of murder as
COURT: charged.
Granted.
A: "Mahina at malamig ang boses."
Despite the soft response from Tuadles, Antonio continued with his outburst,
15
thus:
"Q: Going back now to Mr. Antonio, did you hear him again mentioned (sic) or say
other things?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did you hear from Mr. Ambet Antonio?
A: 'Barya lang and pinagla-laruan natin.' It's only a (sic) loose change that we are
playing with here.
Q: Did you hear any word from Mr. Tuadles?
A: No more, sir."
In sum, it was only Antonio who appeared agitated during the alleged
altercation. Tuadles spoke in a soft and cool voice that Bobis could hardly hear and
understand him. The characterization of the argument that preceded the shooting
of is decisive of the issue of treachery. I submit that the argument between Antonio
and Tuadles was trivial for it merely concerned the inadvertence of Tuadles to tap
the table when making a pass. Nothing in the records shows that Tuadles violated the
rule intentionally. Nothing shows the degree of damage suffered by Antonio as a
consequence of Tuadles' omission. It is thus my submission that the argument
appears to be slight and cannot justify the conclusion that Antonio acted in the heat
of passion or on impulse in killing the victim.
The case of People vs. Cruz 16 is apropos. In said case, the accused and the victim
were "compadres" for having stood as sponsors in the baptism of a common
friend. The accused used to drive one of the tricycles of the victim until the latter sold
the tricycle the accused was driving. It was claimed that the accused bore a grudge
against the victim because of the said incident. At any rate, while the victim was
talking with a co-tricycle driver along the street while waiting for passengers, the
accused appeared and approached the victim. Upon nearing the victim, accused
angrily uttered, "Pare, walang presidente presidente sa akin" as he simultaneously
drew out a gun from the front portion of his waist and shot the victim with it point
blank, hitting the upper left eyebrow of the latter which caused him to fall on the
ground.Thereafter, accused left. This Court rejected the claim of the accused that the
shooting was accidental and noted with approval the observation of the Solicitor
General that "if the shooting of the victim were accidental, accused would have come

31
G.R. Nos. 111206-08 October 6, 1995 death of said Jussi Olavi Leino, thereby performing all the acts of
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, execution which would have produced the crime of murder as a
vs. consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of
CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, JR., accused-appellant. cause or causes independent of his will, that is, due to the timely
and able medical assistance rendered to said Jussi Olavi Leino which
PUNO, J.: prevented his death.
Three (3) separate Informations were filed against accused Claudio Teehankee, Jr. for Contrary to law.4
the shooting of Roland John Chapman, Jussi Olavi Leino and Maureen Hultman. In the two (2) Informations for frustrated murder initially filed against accused, bail
Initially, he was charged with: MURDER for the killing of ROLAND CHAPMAN, and two was set at twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) each. No bail was recommended for
(2) FRUSTRATED MURDER for the shooting and wounding of JUSSI LEINO and the murder of Roland John Chapman. A petition for bail was thus filed by accused.
MAUREEN HULTMAN. When Hultman died on October 17, 1991, during the course of Hearing was set on August 9, 1991, while his arraignment was scheduled on August
the trial, the Information for Frustrated Murder against accused was amended to 14, 1991.
MURDER.1 At the hearing of the petition for bail on August 9, 1991, the prosecution manifested
The Information for murder in Criminal Case No. 91-4605 thus reads: that it would present the surviving victim, Jussi Leino, to testify on the killing of
That on or about the 13th day of July, 1991, in the Municipality of Chapman and on the circumstances resulting to the wounding of the witness himself
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this and Hultman. Defense counsel Atty. Rodolfo Jimenez objected on the ground that the
Honorable Court, the said Claudio Teehankee, Jr. y Javier, armed incident pending that day was hearing of the evidence on the petition for bail relative
with a handgun, with intent to kill and evident premeditation and to the murder charge for the killing of Chapman only. He opined that Leino's
by means of treachery, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and testimony on the frustrated murder charges with respect to the wounding of Leino
feloniously attack, assault and shoot with and shoot with the said and Hultman would be irrelevant.5
handgun Roland John Chapman who war hit in the chest, thereby Private prosecutor, Atty. Rogelio Vinluan, countered that time would be wasted if the
inflicting mortal wounds which directly caused the death of said testimony of Leino would be limited to the killing of Chapman considering that the
Roland John Chapman. crimes for which accused were charged involved only one continuing incident. He
Contrary to law.2 pleaded that Leino should be allowed to testify on all three (3) charges to obviate
The Amended Information for Murder in Criminal Case No. 91-4606 reads: delay and the inconvenience of recalling him later to prove the two (2) frustrated
That on or about the 13th day of July, 1991, in the Municipality of murder charges.6
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this By way of accommodation, the defense suggested that if the prosecution wanted to
Honorable Court, the said Claudio Teehankee, Jr. y Javier, armed present Leino to testify on all three (3) charges, it should wait until after the
with a handgun, with intent to kill and evident premeditation, and arraignment of accused on August 14, 1991. The defense pointed out that if accused
by means of treachery, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and did not file a petition for bail, the prosecution would still have to wait until after
feloniously attack, assault and shoot with the said accused had been arraigned before it could present Leino. 7
handgun Maureen Navarro Hultman who was hit in the head, The private prosecutor agreed to defer the hearing on the petition for bail until after
thereby inflicting moral wounds which directly caused the death of arraignment of accused on the condition that there shall be trial on the merits and, at
the said Maureen Hultman. the same time, hearing on the petition for bail. The defense counsel acceded.8
CONTRARY TO LAW.3 Upon arraignment, accused pleaded not guilty to the three (3) charges. The
Finally, the Information for Frustrated Murder in Criminal Case No. 91-4607 reads: prosecution then started to adduce evidence relative to all three (3) cases. No
That on or about the 13th day of July, 1991, in the Municipality of objection was made by the defense.9
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this A replay of the facts will show that on July 12, 1991, Jussi Olavi Leino invited Roland
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, while armed with a Chapman, Maureen Hultman and other friends for a party at his house in Forbes Park,
handgun, with intent to kill, treachery and evident premeditation Makati. The party started at about 8:30 p.m. and ended at past midnight. They then
did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, proceeded to Roxy's, a pub where students of International School hang out. 10 After
assault and shoot one Jussi Olavi Leino on the head, thereby an hour, they transferred to Vintage, another pub in Makati, where they stayed until
inflicting gunshot wounds, which ordinarily would have caused the

32
past 3:00 a.m. of July 13, 1991. Their group returned to Roxy's to pick up a friend of Maureen fall beside him. He lifted his head to see what was happening and saw
Maureen, then went back to Leino's house to eat. 11 accused return to his car and drive away. 19
After a while, Maureen requested Leino to take her home at Campanilla Street, Leino struggled to his knees and shouted for help. He noticed at least three (3) people
Dasmariñas Village, Makati. Chapman tagged along. 12 When they entered the village, looking on and standing outside their houses along Caballero Street. 20 The three
Maureen asked Leino to stop along Mahogany Street, about a block away from her were: DOMINGO FLORECE, a private security guard hired by Stephen Roxas to secure
house in Campanilla Street. She wanted to walk the rest of the way for she did not his residence at #1357 Caballero Street, Dasmariñas Village, Makati; 21 VICENTE
like to create too much noise in going back to her house. She did not want her MANGUBAT, a stay-in driver of Margarita Canto, residing at #1352 Caballero Street,
parents to know that she was going home that late. Leino offered to walk with her corner Mahogany Street, Dasmariñas Village; 22 and AGRIPINO CADENAS, a private
while Chapman stayed in the car and listened to the radio. 13 security guard assigned at the house of Rey Dempsey, located at #1351 Caballero
Leino and Maureen started walking on the sidewalk along Mahogany Street. When Street, corner Mahogany Street, Dasmariñas Village. 23
they reached the corner of Caballero and Mahogany Streets, a light-colored Security guards Florece and Cadenas were then on duty at the house of their
Mitsubishi box-type Lancer car, driven by accused Claudio Teehankee, Jr., came up employer, while driver Mangubat was in his quarters, preparing to return to his own
from behind them and stopped on the middle of the road. Accused alighted from his house. These three (3) eyewitnesses heard the first gunshot while at their respective
car, approached them, and asked: "Who are you? (Show me your) I.D." Leino thought posts.
accused only wanted to check their identities. He reached into his pocket, took out his Upon hearing the first shot, Florece went out to Caballero Street to see what was
plastic wallet, and handed to accused his Asian Development Bank (ADB) happening, while Mangubat and Cadenas peeped over the fence of their employer's
I.D. 14 Accused did not bother to look at his I.D. as he just grabbed Leino's wallet and house and looked out to Caballero Street. Each saw a man (Chapman) sprawled on
pocketed it. 15 the ground, another man (Leino) sitting on the sidewalk, a third man standing up ad
Chapman saw the incident. All of a sudden, he manifested from behind Leino and holding a gun and a woman (Hultman). They saw the gunman shoot Leino and
inquired what was going on. He stepped down on the sidewalk and asked accused: Hultman and flee aboard his Lancer car. However, because of Florece's distance from
"Why are you bothering us?" Accused pushed Chapman, dug into his shirt, pulled out the scene of the crime, 24 he was not able to discern the face of the gunman. He saw
a gun and fired at him. Chapman felt his upper body, staggered for a moment, and the control numbers of the gunman's car as 566. He described the gateway car as a
asked: "Why did you shoot me?" Chapman crumpled on the sidewalk. Leino knelt box-type Lancer, its color somewhat white ("medyo maputi"). 25 Cadenas noticed in
beside Chapman to assist him but accused ordered him to get up and leave Chapman full the plate number of the getaway car and gave it as PDW 566. He described the
alone. 16 car as silver metallic gray. 26 Both Cadenas and Mangubat saw the gunman's face.
Accused then turned his ire on Leino. He pointed gun at him and asked: "Do you want They had a good look at him. Cadenas was then a mere four (4) meters away from the
a trouble?" Leino said "no" and took a step backward. The shooting initially shocked gunman's car, 27 while Mangubat was about twenty (20) meters away from the scene
Maureen. When she came to her senses, she became hysterical and started of the crime. 28 The three confirmed that the corner of Caballero and Mahogany
screaming for help. She repeatedly shouted: "Oh, my God, he's got a gun. He's gonna Streets where the shooting took place was adequately illuminated by a Meralco
kill us. Will somebody help us?" lamppost at the time of the incident. 29
All the while, accused was pointing his gun to and from Leino to Maureen, warning After the gunman sped away, Mangubat ran outside his employer's house and went
the latter to shut up. Accused ordered Leino to sit down on the sidewalk. Leino near the scene of the crime. He noticed security guard Florece along Caballero Street.
obeyed and made no attempt to move away. Accused stood 2-3 meters away from A man on a bike passed by and Mangubat requested him to report the shooting
him. He knew he could not run far without being shot by accused. incident to the security officers of Dasmariñas Village. 30 Meanwhile, Florece returned
Maureen continued to be hysterical. She could not stay still. She strayed to the side of to his post and narrated to his employer, Mrs. Helen Roxas, what he saw. Mrs. Roxas
accused's car. Accused tried but failed to grab her. Maureen circled around accused's repaired to the crime scene while Florece noted the incident in his logbook (Exhibit
car, trying to put some distance between them. The short chase lasted for a minute or "B"). He also jotted down the license plate control number of the gunman's car as
two. Eventually, accused caught Maureen and repeatedly enjoined her to shut up and 566. 31
sit down beside Leino. 17 The security guards of Dasmariñas Village came after a few minutes. They rushed
Maureen finally sat beside Leino on the sidewalk. Two (2) meters away and directly in Leino and Maureen to the Makati Medical Center for treatment. 32
front of them stood accused. 18 For a moment, accused turned his back from the two. The Makati police and agents of the NBI also came. Patrolman JAMES BALDADO of
He faced them again and shot Leino. Leino was hit on the upper jaw, fell backwards the Makati police, together with SPO3 ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, investigated the
on the sidewalk, but did not lose consciousness. Leino heard another shot and saw incident. 33 Their initial investigation disclosed that the gunman's car was a box-type

33
Mitsubishi Lancer with plate control number 566. They checked the list of vehicles withholding information from them. Ranin talked to Cadenas in his office. Cadenas
registered with the village Homeowners' Association and were able to track down confided to Ranin his fear to get involved in the case. He was apprehensive that the
two (2) Lancer cars bearing plate control number 566. One was registered in the gunman would harass or harm him or his family. After Ranin assured him of NBI
name of JOSE MONTAÑO of 1823 Santan Street, Dasmariñas Village, with plate protection, Cadenas relented. 42
number PKX 566, and another was traced to accused CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, JR., of The next day, July 16, 1991, Cadenas gave a full disclosure to Ranin. He described the
1339 Caballero Street, Dasmariñas Village, with plate number PDW 566. gunman's car as a box-type Lancer with plate number PDW 566. He was brought to
SALVADOR RANIN, Chief of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the NBI, was also the NBI parking lot where Montaño's white Lancer car was parked to identify the
tasked by then NBI Director Alfredo Lim 34 to head a team to investigate the shooting. gunman's car. Ranin asked Cadenas if Montaño's was the gunman's car. Cadenas
Ranin's team immediately proceeded to the house of Jose Montaño35 where they replied that its color was different. Ranin directed him to look around the cars in the
found ahead of them the Makati police and operatives of the Constabulary Highway parking lot and to point the color that most resembled the color of the gunman's car.
Patrol. Ranin tried to verify from Mrs. Montaño whether the white Lancer car He pointed to a light gray car. Ranin told him that the color of the car he pointed to
registered in the name of Mr. Montaño and bearing plate number 566 was the was not white but light gray. 43
gunman's car. Mrs. Montaño denied and declared they had already sold the car to Ranin then asked Cadenas if he could identify the gunman. Cadenas replied in the
Saldaña Enterprises. She averred the car was being used by one Ben Conti, a affirmative. Ranin led Cadenas to his office and showed him ten (10) pictures of
comptroller in said company, who resides in Cubao, Quezon City. Mrs. Montaño different men (Exhibits "CC-1" to "CC-10) taken from the NBI files. One of the pictures
called up her husband and informed him about the investigation. She also called up belonged to accused Claudio Teehankee, Jr. Cadenas studied the pictures, picked
Conti and asked him to bring the car to the house. 36 accused's picture (Exhibit "CC-7"), and identified him as the gunman. Cadenas wrote
Jose Montaño came around noon. Conti followed with white Lancer car. Ranin his name and the date at the back of said picture. Atty. Alex Tenerife of the NBI then
brought them to the NBI office for investigation, together with Lancer car. At the NBI took down Cadenas' statement. 44
Ranin inquired from Montaño the whereabouts of his car on July 12 and 13, 1991. Ranin sent his agents and the witnesses to the Makati Regional Trial Court to apply
Montaño informed him that the car was at the residence of his employee, Ben Conti, for a search warrant. After a searching examination of the witnesses, Judge Rebecca
at E. Rodriguez Street, Cubao, Quezon City, the night of July 12, 1991. In the morning Salvador issued a search warrant (Exhibit "RR"), authorizing the NBI to search and
of July 13, 1991, Conti drove the car to their office at Saldaña Enterprises. Conti seize the silver metallic gray, 1983 Mitsubishi Lancer car owned by accused, bearing
confirmed this information. Ranin received the same confirmation from two (2) NBI plate number PDW 566. Ranin and his agents drove to accused's house at #1339
agents who made a countercheck of the allegation. Upon Ranin's request, Montaño Caballero Street, Dasmariñas Village, to implement the warrant. 45
left his car at the NBI parking lot pending identification by possible witnesses. 37 At accused's house, Ranin informed Mrs. Pilar Teehankee, mother of accused, of their
On July 14, 1991, a team of NBI agents conducted an on-the-spot investigation and search warrant. Ranin also told Mrs. Teehankee that they had orders from Director
neighborhood inquiry of the shooting incident. They interviewed Domingo Florece Lim to invite accused to the NBI office for investigation. Mrs. Teehankee informed
and asked him to report to their office the next day for further investigation. 38 They them that accused was not in the house at that time. She excused herself, went to the
also interviewed Agripino Cadenas who was reluctant to divulge any information and kitchen and called up someone on the phone. 46
even denied having witnessed the incident. Sensing his reluctance, they returned to In the meantime, Ranin and his men slipped to the Teehankee garage and secured
Cadenas' post at Dasmariñas Village that night and served him a subpoena, inviting accused's car. After a while, Mrs. Teehankee joined them. Ranin asked her for the car
him to appear at the NBI office for investigation the next day. 39 The NBI agents also keys but she told him that the keys were with accused. Upon Ranin's request, Mrs.
talked with Armenia Asliami, an Egyptian national residing at #1350 Caballero Street, Teehankee got in touch with accused on the phone. Ranin conversed with accused
Dasmariñas Village, near the scene of the crime. Asliami informed the agents that the and invited him to the NBI for investigation. Accused assured Ranin that he would
gunman's car was not white but light gray. A foreign national, Asliami was afraid and report to the NBI later that day. The agents then towed the car of accused to the NBI
refused to give a statement about the incident. The agents exerted every effort to office. 47
convince Asliami to cooperate, assuring her of their protection. Ranin even asked a At around 9:00 p.m., accused's brother, Raul Teehankee, arrived at the NBI office and
representative of the Egyptian embassy to coax Asliami to cooperate. They failed. 40 waited for accused. Accused came, escorted by three (3) Makati policemen, after an
On July 15, 1991, Florece and Cadenas appeared at the NBI office as summoned. hour. He informed them that he just came from the Makati police station where he
Florece readily executed a sworn statement.41 Cadenas, however, continued to feign was also investigated. He told Lim that he was given a statement to the Makati police
ignorance and bridled his knowledge of the incident. He was lengthily interviewed. At and was brought to the PC Crime Laboratory for paraffin test. 48
around 2:00 p.m., the NBI agents informed SOG Chief Ranin that Cadenas was still

34
Accused's NBI investigation started. Lim asked accused of the whereabouts of his The next day, July 16, 1991, at about 8:30 a.m., Pat. Baldado fetched Mangubat from
Lancer car at the time of the shooting. Accused claimed that his car was involved in an his house and brought him to the Makati police station. At the station, Baldado told
accident a few weeks back and was no longer functioning. The car had been parked in him to wait for a man who would be coming and see if the person was the gunman.
his mother's house at Dasmariñas Village since then. Due to the lateness of the Mangubat was posted at the top of the stairs at the second floor of the station. 59
evening, the group decided to continue the investigation the following day. 49 After a couple of hours, accused, came with Makati police Major Lovete. He ascended
The next day, July 17, 1991, after breakfast at the Manila Hotel, Lim pressed accused the stairs, passed by Mangubat and proceeded to Major Lovete's office at the second
on what really happened at Dasmariñas Village. Accused said he did not see anything. floor. While accused was going up the stairs, Pat. Baldado inquired from Mangubat if
Lim apprised accused that he would be confronted with some eyewitnesses. Accused accused was the gunman. Mangubat initially declined to identify accused, saying that
sank into silence. 50 he wanted to see the man again to be sure. He also confided to Pat. Baldado that he
Lim directed Ranin to prepare a lineup at his office. Accused was requested to join the was nervous and afraid for accused was accompanied by a police Major. When
lineup composed of seven (7) men and he acceded. Cadenas was called from an accused came out from Major Lovete's office, Pat. Baldado again asked Mangubat if
adjoining room 51 and Ranin asked him to identify the gunman from the lineup. accused was the gunman. Mangubat nodded his head in response. 60 Accused,
Forthwith, Cadenas pointed to accused. 52 Accused merely stared at Cadenas. 53 together with Major Lovete and Pat. Baldado, boarded a Mercedes Benz and left.
On the same day, then Asst. Director Epimaco Velasco, Ranin and two (2) other Mangubat was brought back to his post at Dasmariñas Village by other Makati
agents brought accused to Forbes Park for further identification by the surviving policemen.61
victim, Jussi Leino. Leino has just been discharged from the hospital the day before. Two (2) days later, Pat. Baldado visited Mangubat at his employer's house and asked
Since Leino's parents were worried about his safety, they requested the NBI to him again if accused was really the gunman. Once more, Mangubat answered in the
conduct the identification of the gunman in Forbes Park where the Leinos also reside. affirmative. Pat. Baldado told Mangubat that he would no longer ask him to sign a
The NBI agreed. 54 statement which he (Baldado) earlier prepared (Exhibit "HHH"). 62 Baldado then
House security agents from the U.S. embassy fetched Leino at his house and escorted left. 63
him and his father to a vacant house in Forbes Park, along Narra Avenue. After a In the afternoon of July 23, 1991, Mangubat was also questioned by the NBI agents.
couple of minutes, Leino was brought out of the house and placed in a car with Director Lim asked Mangubat if he could recognize the gunman. Mangubat said he
slightly tinted windows. The car was parked about five (5) meters away from the could. Mangubat was shown twelve (12) pictures (Exhibits "E" to "E-11) of different
house. Inside the car with Leino was his father, NBI-SOG Chief Salvador Ranin and a men and was asked to identify the gun gunman from them. He chose one picture
driver. Leino was instructed to look at the men who would be coming out of the (Exhibit "E-10"), that of accused, and identified him as the gunman. Mangubat's
house and identify the gunman from the lineup. 55 statement was taken. He was asked to return to the NBI the next day to make a
A group of five to six men (including accused) then came out of the unoccupied personal identification. 64
house, into the street, in a line-up. Leino noticed that one of them was wearing When Mangubat returned, a lineup was prepared in Lim's office in the presence of
sunglasses. Since Leino could not yet speak at that time due to the extensive injury on the media. At that time, accused's counsels, Attys. Jimenez and Malvar, were at the
his tongue, he wrote down on a piece of paper a request for one of the men in the office of then Asst. Director Epimaco Velasco protesting to the submission of accused
lineup to remove his sunglasses. Leino handed this written request to his father. The to identification. They pointed out that since the cases against accused had already
men in the lineup were herded back inside the house. After a couple of minutes, they been filed in court and they have secured a court order for the transfer of accused to
again stepped out and none was wearing sunglasses. From the lineup, Leino identified the Makati municipal jail, any identification of accused should be made in the
accused as the gunman. 56 courtroom. Asst. Director Velasco insisted on the identification as it was part of their
The agents brought back accused to the NBI. They prepared and referred the cases of on-going investigation. Eventually, accused's counsels acquiesced but requested that
murder and double frustrated murder against accused to the Department of Justice identification be made without the presence of the media. Velasco turned them down
for appropriate action. At the inquest, Fiscal Dennis Villa-Ignacio did not recommend and explained that if accused is not identified n the lineup, the media coverage would
bail insofar as the murder charge was concerned. Hence, accused was detained at the favor accused. 65
NBI. 57 All that time, accused was at the SOG office. He refused to join the lineup at Lim's
The shooting incident was also investigated by the Makati Police. Pat. Baldado went office and remained seated. Ranin was compelled to bring to the SOG office the men
to see security guard Vicente Mangubat at his post, at the residence of his employer composing the lineup and he asked them to go near accused. Ranin then told
in Dasmariñas Village. Baldado interviewed Mangubat and invited him to the Makati Mangubat to go in the office. Mangubat pointed to accused as the gunman.
police station where his statement (Exhibit "D") was taken. 58

35
With the identification of accused by Mangubat, the NBI wrote finis to its Dr. Leovigildo C. Isabela, a neuro-surgeon at the Makati Medical Center, operated on
investigation. 66 MAUREEN HULTMAN. He testified that when he first saw Maureen, she was
JUSSI LEINO, the surviving victim, suffered the following injuries: unconscious and her face was bloodied all over. Maureen had a bullet hole on the left
FINDINGS: side of the forehead, above the eyebrow. Brain tissues were oozing out of her nostrils
= Abrasion, 0.5 cm., temporal area, left. and on the left side of the forehead where the bullet entered. 70
= Wound, gunshot, entrance, circular in shape, 1.0 They brought Maureen to the x-ray room for examination of her skull. She was also
cm. in diameter, located at the upper lip, mouth, given a CT scan. The examination revealed that she suffered injuries on the skull and
along the medial line, directed backwards and brain. There were several splintered bullets in her brain and the major portion of the
downwards, fracturing the maxillary bone and bullet, after it fragmented, was lodged beneath her right jaw. 71
central and lateral incisors, both sides, to the Maureen was rushed to the operating room for surgery. Dr. Isabela led a team who
buccal cavity then lacerating the tongue with operated on her brain to arrest the bleeding inside her head, remove devitalized
fragments of the bullet lodged in the right brain tissues and retrieve the splintered bullets embedded in her brain. Due to the
palatine, tongue and tonsillar region. extensive swelling of Maureen's brain and her very unstable condition, he failed to
SKULL patch the destroyed undersurface covering of her brain. 72 After the surgery,
CHEST FOR RIBS X-RAY #353322 Maureen's vital signs continued to function but she remained unconscious. She was
July 13, 1991 wheeled to the ICU for further observation.
No demonstrable evidence of fracture. Note of Two (2) weeks later, brain tissues and fluid continue to flow out of Maureen's nostrils
radioopaque foreign body (bullet fragments) along due to the unpatched undersurface covering of her brain, leaving the swollen portion
the superior alveolar border on the right. No of her brain exposed. A second surgery was made on July 30, 1991 to repair
remarkable findings. Maureen's brain covering. He used the fascia lata of Maureen's right thigh to replace
CT SCAN #43992 July 13, 1991 the destroyed covering of the brain. Nonetheless, Maureen remained unconscious.
Small hyperdensities presumably bullet and bone The trickle of brain tissues through her nose was lessened but Maureen developed
fragments in the right palatine, tongue and infection as a result of the destruction of her brain covering. Maureen developed
tonsillar regions with associated soft tissue brain abscess because of the infection. She underwent a third operation to remove
swelling. brain abscess and all possible focus of infection. 73
Anterior maxillary bone comminuted fracture. Testifying on the extensive injuries suffered by Maureen Hultman, Dr. Solis explained
Temporal lobe contusions with small hematomata on the right side. that Maureen was shot at the left side of the forehead. The bullet entry was at 1.5
Minimal subarachnoid hemorrhage. cm. above the eyebrow. Upon entering the forehead, the bullet fragmented into
Intact bone calvarium. pieces and went from the left to the right side of the temple, fracturing the frontal
xxx xxx xxx 67 bone of the skull. The bullet eventually settled behind the right jaw of Maureen. 74
Dr. Pedro Solis, testified that the bullet entered the left temple of Leino. After The wound inflicted on Maureen was mortal for it hit one of the most vital parts of
entering Leino's head, it fractured his upper jaw and his front teeth. Some of the the body, the brain. When Maureen was subjected to CT scan, they discovered
bullet fragments pierced his palette and tongue. Brain scanning revealed contusions hemorrhage in her brain. After the bullet hit her head, it caused hemorrhagic lesion
on the temporal lobe and hemorrhage on the covering of the brain. Physical on the ventricles of the brain and the second covering of the brain. 75
deformity resulted as a consequence of the gunshot wound because of the fractured The bullet also injured Maureen's eye sockets. There was swelling underneath the
upper jaw and the loss of the front teeth. Sutures were performed on the upper forehead brought about by edema in the area. Scanning also showed that Maureen's
portion of his tongue. Nonetheless, Leino's injuries on the tongue caused him right jaw was affected by the fragmented bullet. The whole interior portion of her
difficulty in speaking. 68 nose was also swollen. 76
Dr. Solis also testified as to the relative position of Leino and the gunman. He opined A team of doctors operated on Maureen's brain. They tried to control the internal
that the muzzle of the gun, like in the case of Maureen, must have been at a higher bleeding and remove the splintered bullets, small bone fragments and dead tissues.
level than the victim's head. He concluded that the gun must have been pointed The main bullet was recovered behind Maureen's right jaw. There was also an acute
above Leino's head considering the acuteness and downward trajectory of the downward trajectory of the bullet. Hence, it was opined that Maureen was shot while
bullet. 69 she was seated. 77

36
With each passing day, Maureen's condition deteriorated. Even if Maureen survived, the man who was to identify him was already in the room. As soon as he walked up to
she would have led a vegetating life and she would have needed assistance in the the lineup, Cadenas identified him as the gunman. 86
execution of normal and ordinary routines. 78 She would have been completely blind A second identification was made on the same day at a house in Forbes Park. The NBI
on the left eye and there was possibility she would have also lost her vision on the agents brought him to Forbes Park but he never saw Jussi Leino who allegedly
right eye. All her senses would have been modified and the same would have affected identified him as the gunman in a lineup. 87
her motor functions. There was practically no possibility for Maureen to return to A third identification was conducted on July 24, 1991. He was then seated at the
normal. 79 office of Ranin for he refused to join another lineup. Despite his protest, the NBI
Maureen did not survive her ordeal. After ninety-seven (97) days of confinement in agents insisted on the conduct of the identification and ordered a group of men to
the hospital, she ceased to be a breathing soul on October 17, 1991. line up alongside him. While thus seated, he was identified by Mangubat as the
For his exculpation, accused relied on the defense of denial and alibi. Accused claimed gunman. He complained that he was not assisted by counsel at any stage of said
that on said date and time, he was not anywhere near the scene of the crime. He investigation. 88
alleged that he was then in his house at #53 San Juan, Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig. He slept The defense also presented CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE III, son of accused Claudio
at around 1:00 a.m. on July 13, 1991 and woke up at around 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. that Teehankee, Jr. He testified that from May 1989 to February 1991, he had been using
same morning. Accused avowed his two (2) maids could attest to his presence in his his father's Lancer car bearing plate number PDW 566 in going to school. 89
house that fateful day. 80 In February 1991, while driving his father's Lancer car, he accidentally hit a bicycle
Accused averred that he only came to know the three (3) victims in the Dasmariñas driver and two (2) trucks parked at the side of the road. The accident resulted in the
shooting when he read the newspaper reports about it. He denied knowing death of the bicycle driver and damage to his father's car, 90especially on its body. The
prosecution eyewitnesses Agripino Cadenas and Vicente Mangubat before they timing of the engine became a little off and the car was hard to start. They had the car
identified him as the gunman. 81 repaired at Reliable Shop located in Banawe Street, Quezon city. After a month, he
Accused admitted ownership of a box-type, silver metallic gray Mitsubishi Lancer, brought the car to the residence of his grandmother, Pilar Teehankee, at Dasmariñas
with plate number PDW 566. He, however, claimed that said car ceased to be in good Village, Makati. He personally started the car's engine and drove it to Makati from the
running condition after its involvement in an accident in February 1991. Since May shop in Quezon City. He did not bring the car to their house in Pasig for it was still
1991 until the day of the shooting, his Lancer car had been parked in the garage of his scheduled for further repairs and they preferred to have the repair done in a shop in
mother's house in Dasmariñas Village. He has not used this car since then. Accused, Makati. Teehankee III claimed that from that time on, he was prohibited by his father
however, conceded that although the car was not in good running condition, it could from using the car because of his careless driving. He kept the keys to the car and
still be used. 82 since he was busy in school, no further repair on said car had been made. 91
Accused said that on July 16, 1991, he went to the Makati police station at around Accused also imputed the commission of the crimes at bar to Anders Hultman,
5:00 p.m. upon invitation of Chief of Police Remy Macaspac and Major Lovete who adoptive father of deceased victim Maureen Hultman. He capitalized on a newspaper
wanted to ask him about the ownership of the Lancer car parked in his mother's report that the gunman may have been an overprotective father. This theory was
house. He readily gave a statement to the Makati police denying complicity in the formed when an eyewitness allegedly overheard Maureen pleading to the gunman:
crime. He submitted himself to a paraffin test. He was accompanied by the Makati "Huwag Daddy. Huwag, Daddy." The defense presented Anders Hultman as a hostile
police to the Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame and was tested negative for witness.
gunpowder nitrates. 83 After the test, he asked the Makati policemen to accompany ANDERS HULTMAN, testified that he is a Swedish national. He and Vivian Hultman
him to the NBI for he had earlier committed to his mother that he would present were married in the Philippines in 1981. Vivian had two (2) children by her previous
himself to Director Lim. 84 marriage, one of whom was Maureen. He legally adopted Vivian's two (2) daughters
He arrived at Director Lim's office at about 9:30 to 10:00 p.m. He furnished Lim with in 1991. He and Vivian had three (3) children of their own. 92
the statement he earlier gave to the Makati police. Thereafter, Lim detained him at The defense confronted Anders with one of the angles of the crime in the initial stage
the NBI against his will. 85 of the investigation, i.e., that Maureen was overhead pleading to the gunman:
The following day, July 17, 1991, Lim and his agents brought him to the Manila Hotel "Huwag, Daddy. Huwag, Daddy." Anders explained that Maureen could not have
for breakfast. When they returned to the NBI, he was asked to proceed to Lim's uttered those words for Maureen never spoke Tagalog. He also said that all his
office. On his way, he saw a lineup formed inside Lim's office. The NBI agents forced children call him "Papa," not "Daddy." 93
him to join the lineup and placed him in the number seven (7) slot. He observed that On July 12, 1991, he and Vivian permitted Maureen to have a night out but instructed
her to be home by 2:00 a.m. Maureen just received her first salary in her first job and

37
she wanted to celebrate with friends. At the time of the shooting, he and his wife not be removed by ordinary washing and would remain on the hands of a person who
were sleeping in their house. He woke up at around 5:15 a.m. of July 13, 1991 when a has fired a gun. 102
security guard came to their house and informed them about the killings. 94 ATTY. MANUEL Q. MALVAR, one of accused's counsel of record, also took the stand
Anders admitted he had been vocal about the VIP treatment accorded to accused at for the defense. He testified that in the course of handling the cases, he was able to
the Makati municipal jail. On several occasions, he checked on accused in jail and confer with Ponferrada, Cadenas' supervisor at the Security agency where Cadenas
discovered that accused was not in his cell. The jail guards even covered up accused's was employed. Ponferrada informed him that Cadenas confided to him that he was
whereabouts. His complaint was investigated by the Congressional Committee on tortured at the NBI and was compelled to execute a statement. Ponferrada, allegedly,
Crime Prevention, headed by Congressman Concepcion. 95 refused to testify. Atty. Malvar, however, admitted the defense did not compel the
The defense also presented two (2) Makati policemen, PAT. JAMES F. BALDADO and attendance of Ponferrada by subpoena. On rebuttal, Cadenas denied the torture
SPO3 ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, who investigated the shooting. story.
Pat. Baldado testified that in the course of his investigation, he learned from Mr. Jose Atty. Malvar also admitted that he and Atty. Jimenez were aware of the irregularities
Montaño that he sold his white Lancer car, with plate number PKX 566, to Saldaña committed in the off-court identification of their client. When asked what he did to
Lending Investors in February 1991. This car was assigned to Ben Conti, Operations remedy this perceived irregularity, Malvar said he objected to the conduct of the
Manager of said company and was in the residence of Conti at the time of the lineup. When further pressed whether he filed a petition for review raising this issue
shooting. The other witnesses he interviewed confirmed that Montaño's white Lancer with the Department of Justice upon the filing of the cases therewith, he said he did
car was not in the vicinity of Montaño's residence at the time of the incident. 96 not. He offered the excuse that he deferred to Atty. Jimenez, the principal counsel of
SPO3 Fernandez testified that he interviewed security guard Vicente Mangubat. accused at that time. He also declared that although they knew that arraignment
Mangubat saw the gunman and the get-away car but could not give the central letters would mean waiver of the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the investigation
of the car's license plate. Fernandez went to one of the houses at the corner of and preliminary investigation, he and Atty. Jimenez allowed accused to be
Mahogany and Caballero Streets and asked the maid therein if he could use the arraigned. 103
phone. After placing a call, the maid told him that he saw the gunman and heard one The defense likewise relied on a number of news accounts reporting the progress in
of the victims say: "Daddy, don't shoot. Don't, don't." Fernandez tried to get the the investigation of the case. It presented seven (7) newspaper reporters as
maid's name but the latter refused. The defense did not present this maid in court witnesses, viz: Nestor Barrameda of the Manila Times, Martin Marfil and Dave
nor asked the court to subpoena her to testify. Neither was the alleged statement of Veridiano of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Nida Mendoza of Malaya, Itchie Kabayan
the maid included in the Progress Report (Exhibit "13") prepared by the Makati police and Alex Allan of the People's Journal and Elena Aben of the Manila Bulletin. The bulk
investigators. 97 of defense evidence consists of newspaper clippings and the testimonies of the news
SPO3 Fernandez saw Mangubat the next time on July 16, 1991 when he and Baldado reporters, thus:
fetched the latter at Dasmariñas Village for identification of the gunman at the Makati NESTOR BARRAMEDA, a news reporter of the Manila Times identified two (2) news
police station. reports as having been partly written by him. One was a news item, entitled: "JUSTICE
At the police station, Fernandez and Baldado posted Mangubat at the lobby. After a DEP'T ORDERS PROBE OF THREE METRO KILLINGS" (Exhibit "1"), appearing on the July
few minutes, accused and company arrived. When accused passed by them, they 16, 1991 issue of the Manila Times. 104 He, however, clarified that a news report is
instructed Mangubat to look around and see if he could identify the gunman. usually the product of collaborative work among several reporters. They follow the
Mangubat failed to identify accused. Mangubat told Fernandez that the gunman was practice of pooling news reports where several reporters are tasked to cover one
younger and shorter than accused. 98 subject matter. The news editor then compiles the different reports they file and
SPO3 Fernandez also took the statement of security guard Domingo Florece (Exhibit summarizes them into one story. 105
"MM"). It was signed by Florece in his presence. In said statement, Florece described The defense lifted only certain portions of Exhibit "1" and marked them in evidence as
the gunman's car as "medyo puti" (somewhat white). 99 follows:
ELIZABETH AYONON, forensic chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory, testified on the Exhibit "1-A":
paraffin test she conducted on July 17, 1991 on both hands of accused. 100 As per Bello directed NBI Deputy Director Epimaco Velasco to take over the
Chemistry Report No. C 274-91, 101 the test yielded a negative result of gunpowder investigation of the murders of Roland Chapman, 21, Eldon
nitrates on accused's hands. In said Report, she noted that accused was subjected to Maguan, 25, and three members of a family — Estrellita Vizconde
paraffin test more than seventy-two (72) hours after the shooting incident. She and her daughters, Carmela, 19, and Anne Marie Jennifer, 7.
explained that 72 hours is the reasonable period within which nitrate residues may Exhibit "1-B"

38
Police said that Chapman's assailant could have been angered when Investigations showed that the gunman sped along Caballero street
Hultman, a 10th grader at the International School in Makati was inside the village after the shooting and was believed to have
escorted home by Chapman after going to a disco. proceeded toward Forbes Park using the Palm street gate.
Exhibit "1-C" On cross-examination, Marfil admitted that he did not write Exhibits "3-a" and "3-c".
The lone gunman, witnesses told police, first pistol-whipped He just reiterated previous reports in other newspapers. They were based on
Hultman. speculations.
Exhibit "l-D" Marfil also wrote some portions of a news item, entitled: "TEEHANKEE SON HELD FOR
The same witnesses said Chapman and Leino were shot when they DASMA SLAY," which appeared on the July 18, 1991 issue of the Philippine Daily
tried to escape. Inquirer (Exhibit "4"), viz:
Exhibit "1-E" Exhibit "4-B"
Other angles According to NBI Director Alfredo Lim, the break in the case came
Velasco said "we are pursuing two angles" in the Chapman murder. when the witness showed up and said that the gunman was on
One, he said, is the jealousy angle and the other is a "highly board a silver-metallic Lancer.
sensitive" matter that might involve influential people. 106 Exhibit "4-C"
Barrameda testified that he had no personal knowledge of the content of the news The witness said the gunman was standing a few feet away near the
items marked as Exhibits "1-C" to "1-D". He just culled them from previous news car and was talking to Hultman, who was shouting "Huwag! Daddy!"
reports of other newspapers. He admitted that the only portion he wrote based on an several times. 110
actual interview with NBI Asst. Director Velasco was Exhibit "I-E." Marfil's source of information was Director Lim. On cross-examination,
Barrameda identified another news item in the July 23, 1991 issue of the Manila Marfil admitted that the news reports marked as Exhibits "3" and "4" were
Times, entitled: "NBI INSISTS IT HAS "RIGHT" SUSPECT IN CHAPMAN SLAY" which was written based on information available at that time. 111
marked as Exhibit "2." Certain portions thereof, which were not written by NIDA MENDOZA, a reporter of the Malaya identified a news report, entitled:
Barrameda, 107 were lifted by the defense and offered in evidence, viz: "TEEHANKEE SON HELD ON DASMA SLAYING," which appeared on the July 18, 1991
Exhibit "2-a" issue of Malaya. She testified that she wrote a portion thereof, marked as Exhibit "5-
Superintendent Lucas Managuelod, CIS director for the national c", and the sources of her information were several Makati policemen. 112 Exhibit "5-
capital region, claims, however, that another security guard, Vic c" reads:
Mangubat, had testified before the police that another man, not Makati policemen, meanwhile, disputed NBI accounts that
Teehankee, had fired at Chapman and his companions. Teehankee was arrested at his house.
Exhibit "2-b" They said Teehankee, the last remaining owner of a car with plate
The CIS official added that the absence of nitrite or powder burns control number 566 who had not been questioned, voluntarily went
on Teehankee's hands as shown by paraffin tests at the CIS to police headquarters upon invitation of Makati police chief
laboratory indicated that he may not have fired the gun. 108 Superintendent Remy Macaspac. 113
MARTIN MARFIL, a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer identified two (2) The defense presented EXHIBITS "1-5" to prove: (a) the alleged concerted effort of
newspaper clippings which were partly written by him. the investigators to implicate accused as the lone gunman; (b) that there were other
One news item, which appeared on the July 17, 1991 issue of the Philippine Daily suspects aside from accused and that someone whom Maureen called as "Daddy"
Inquirer, was entitled: "FBI JOINS PROBE OF DASMA SLAY" (Exhibit "3"). 109 was the actual gunman; (c) that the initial police investigation showed that the
Again, the defense marked in evidence certain portions of Exhibit "3", thus: gunman's car was a white Lancer with plate no. 566; and, (d) that after the NBI took
Exhibit "3-a" over the investigation, the white Lancer car of the gunman became a silver gray
Witnesses said Hultman talked with the gunman whom she called Lancer of accused and thereafter, he became the gunman.
"Daddy" shortly before Chapman's shooting. ITCHIE CABAYAN, a reporter of the People's Journal identified the portions she wrote
Exhibit "3-b" in the news item, entitled: ''I WILL HOUND YOU", which appeared on the October 24,
But Ranin said they were also looking into reports that Hultman was 1991 issue of People's Journal (Exhibit "6"). She identified the source of her
a dancer before she was adopted by her foster parent. information as Mr. Anders Hultman himself. 114
Exhibit "3-c" The portions thereof were marked in evidence by the defense, viz:

39
Exhibit "6-a" At the Criminal Investigation Service, however, an investigator who
"I will be visiting him often and at the most unexpected occasion," asked not to be identified insisted that the NBI got the wrong man.
Hultman said the day after his 17-year old daughter was The NBI has taken over the case from the CIS.
cremated. 115 Exhibit "8-c"
Exhibit "6-b" He said the CIS will shortly identify the suspect killer whom he
The day Maureen died, a congressional hearing granted the described as "resembling Teehankee but looks much younger."
Hultman family's request for permission to visit Teehankee in his Exhibit "8-e"
cell "at anytime of their choice." The source said that the police's "prime witness," identified only as
Exhibit "6-c" Mangubat, saw everything that happened in the early morning of
"If on my next visit he still refuses to come out and is still hiding July 13. The witness, however, failed to identify Teehankee as the
behind the curtain," Hultman said, "Congress told me that I can take gunman. 122
the curtain down and jail authorities will pull him out." 116 Veridiano was shown another news report, entitled: "CIS GIVES UP CHAPMAN SLAY
ALEX ALLAN, also a reporter of People's Journal co-wrote the news item marked as CASE", which appeared on the July 26, 1991 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Exhibit "6". Specifically, he wrote Exhibits "6-d" and "6-e" 117 which read: (Exhibit 9). 123 He wrote the entire news account, 124 portions of which were marked
Exhibit "6-d" by the defense in evidence, thus:
"Kaawaawa naman ang mga Hultmans, tulungan natin sila," Ong Exhibit "9-a"
was quoted as telling Vergel de Dios. The CIS pulled out from the case a day after its so-called "surprise
Exhibit "6-e" witness" picked Claudio Teehankee, Jr. from an NBI lineup.
BIR insiders said Ong has shown a keen interest in the Chapman- He gathered this information from his source but he was not able to
Hultman, Vizconde and Eldon Maguan cases because he belongs to interview Mangubat himself. 125
a secret but very influential multi-sectoral group monitoring graft Exhibit "9-b"
and corruption and other crimes in high levels of government and Sira ulo pala siya (Mangubat). Ilang beses kong pinarada sa kanya si
society. 118 Bobby (Teehankee Jr.) puro iling siya. Hindi raw ito ang
Allan was not able to check or verify the information in Exhibit "6-e" given to him by suspect. Ngayon bigla niyang ituturo, said a red-faced Makati
BIR insiders for the latter refused to be identified. 119 investigator who, as usual, did not want to be identified.
Exhibit "6" and its sub-markings were offered to prove: (a) the alleged blind and ELENA ABEN, a reporter from the Manila Bulletin, wrote the entire article, entitled:
consuming personal rage and bias of Anders Hultman against accused; and (b) the "US DIPLOMAT'S SON SHOT DEAD", which appeared on the July 14, 1991 issue of the
unwarranted pressure, prejudice and prejudgment by some congressional leaders in Manila Bulletin (Exhibit "10"). 126 Two (2) portions thereof were marked as evidence
favor of the Hultmans in violation of due process. by the defense, viz:
DAVE VERIDIANO, a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, identified the news Exhibit "10-a-1"
account which appeared on the July 16, 1991 issue of the Inquirer, entitled: "DASMA The victims were on their way home in Olanileino's Mercedez Benz
SLAY SUSPECT IDENTIFIED" (Exhibit "7"). He wrote a portion of said article (Exhibit "7- with a diplomat's plate number when a white Lancer with plate
c") and the source of his information was Camp Crame. 120 It reads: number PKX-566 blocked its path.
Exhibit "7-c" Exhibit "10-a-2"
Witnesses said the gunman fled aboard a white Mitsubishi Lancer US embassy spokesman Stanley Schrager said Chapman's father is a
with plate number "566." The witnesses cannot tell the plate's communications specialist. He said the shooting could be the result
control letters. 121 of an altercation on the street. 127
Veridiano likewise identified a news item which appeared on the July 1991 issue of Finally, VICTOR VEGA, a reporter of the Manila Bulletin, identified the news account
the Inquirer, entitled: "N.B.I. FINDINGS DISPUTED, SECOND WITNESS TAGS he wrote which appeared on the July 16, 1991 issue of the Bulletin, entitled: "4
TEEHANKEE" (Exhibit "8"). The portions of said news item which he wrote were MURDER SUSPECTS FALL" (Exhibit "22"). Portions of said news item were marked by
marked in evidence by the defense, viz: the defense as follows:
Exhibit "8-a" Exhibit "22-b"

40
. . . He was shot to death by a group of armed men at the corner of hands or excessive perspiration can eliminate gunpowder nitrates lodged on skin
Mahogany and Caballero Sts. in Dasmariñas Village at past 4 a.m. pores of the hands. Continued washing with hot water can induce perspiration and
Friday. remove nitrate residue embedded in the skin pores. Application of vinegar on the
Exhibit "22-c" hand can register the same effect. 132
The NBI sources said that jealousy sparked the slaying of Chapman She testified that their practice at the NBI is to take the paraffin test on a suspect
who was killed in front of his friends on his way home from a party. within 72 hours from the time of the alleged firing of a gun, during which time, any
The armed men, on board a white Lancer car, blocked the path of possible trace of nitrate may still be found. 133
the victim's Mercedes Benz car inside the village before the She divulged that questions have been raised regarding the reliability of the paraffin
shooting. test. She related that she once attended a training in Baguio City where they tried to
Exhibit "22-a-1" test the accuracy of a paraffin test. In said training, two (2) NBI agents fired a .38
The gunmen then alighted from their car and at gunpoint ordered revolver. One of them washed his hands. They then subjected both agents to a
Chapman to alight from the car. They shot Chapman several times paraffin test using diphylamine reagent. Both yielded a negative result. Thus, she
in the body, while his companions identified as Maureen Hultman, opined, the result of a paraffin test should merely be taken as a corroborative
and Jussi Olanileino, were seriously wounded when the gunmen evidence and evaluated together with other physical evidence. 134
sprayed the car with bullets. The records show that the case was set for hearing on October 29, 1992 for the
The gunmen escaped after the shooting. Lim said he will announce presentation by the defense of sur-rebuttal evidence. However, a day before the
later the names of the detained suspects after their initial scheduled hearing, the defense filed a Constancia 135 manifesting that it shall waive its
investigation. 128 right to present sur-rebuttal evidence, the same being unneccesary. The defense,
Finally, his article, entitled: "MAKATI SLAY SUSPECT IDENTIFIED" (Exhibit "23"), which however, declared that this is without prejudice to the presentation of its evidence in
appeared on the July 18, 1991 issue of the Manila Bulletin, was introduced by the the trial proper should the same be necessary.
defense in evidence as follows: At the hearing of October 29, 1992, the defense counsels did not appear. The
Exhibit "23-a-1" prosecution moved in open court that the main cases and the petition for bail be
The NBI said Teehankee was one of four men who blocked submitted for decision in view of the absence of defense counsels who had
Chapman's car on Mahogany St. in the subdivision. manifested that they would no longer present their sur-rebuttal evidence. The motion
Exhibit "23-a-2" was granted and the parties were given ten (10) days from receipt of the Order within
Witnesses said they saw Teehankee order Chapman and his two which to submit their simultaneous Memorandum. 136 It does not appear that the
companions, Maureen Hultman and Jussi Olanileino, a Finn, to get defense objected to this Order. The records show that the defense even filed a
out of their car. motion asking for additional time to file its Memorandum. 137 In due time, both
Exhibit "23-a-3" parties submitted their respective Memorandum.
They identified the car used by the suspect, a silver gray Lancer with On December 22, 1992, the trial court convicted accused CLAUDIO TEEHANKEE, JR. of
plate No. PDW 566. They added that they saw the same car in the the crimes charged. 138The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:
garage of the Teehankee family. 129 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court hereby renders
On cross-examination, Vega declared that the source of his two (a) stories was the judgment:
NBI and they were based on information available to the NBI at that time 130 (1) In criminal Case No. 91-4605, finding accused Claudio J.
The prosecution recalled to the stand eyewitness VICENTE MANGUBAT as its rebuttal Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of
witness. Mangubat insisted that he was able to identify accused when he saw the Murder, qualified by treachery, for the fatal shooting of Roland John
latter at the Makati police station. Her reiterated that the next day, Pat. Baldado of Chapman, and sentencing said accused to suffer imprisonment
the Makati police went to his place of work in Dasmariñas Village and asked him if he of Reclusion perpetua, and to pay the heirs of the said deceased the
was sure about the identity of the gunman. He told Baldado he was positive. Baldado sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50, 000.00), Philippine Currency, plus
then said him he would no longer require him to sign the statement he prepared for moderate or temperate and exemplary damages in the sum of Five
him earlier. 131 Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00), Philippine Currency;
LEONORA C. VALLADO, chief of the Forensic Chemistry Division of the NBI, was also (2) In Criminal Case No. 91-4606, finding accused Claudio J.
presented as a prosecution rebuttal witness. She testified that extensive washing of Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of

41
Murder, qualified by treachery, for the fatal shooting of Maureen MANGUBAT AS THE ONE WHO SHOT HIM, ROLAND CHAPMAN AND
Navarro Hultman, and sentencing him to suffer imprisonment MAUREEN NAVARRO HULTMAN.
of Reclusion Perpetua, and to pay the heirs of the said deceased the II. THE PROSECUTION HAS FAILED TO ESTABLISH THE GUILT OF THE
sum of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00), Philippine Currency, plus ACCUSED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
the sums of Two Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Four III. THE PUBLICITY GIVEN THE CASE AGAINST THE APPELLANT WAS
Hundred Sixty-One Pesos and Eighty-Three Centavos MASSIVE, OVERWHELMING, AND PREJUDICIAL AS TO EFFECTIVELY
(P2,350,461.83), Philippine Currency, as actual damages; Thirteen DEPRIVE THE ACCUSED OF RIGHT TO IMPARTIAL TRIAL.
Million Pesos (P13,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, for loss of IV. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE KILLING OF
earning capacity of the said deceased; and One Million Pesos CHAPMAN AND HULTMAN AND THE SHOOTING OF LEINO WAS
(P1,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, as moral, moderate and ATTENDED BY TREACHERY.
exemplary damages; V. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GRANTING EXORBITANT MORAL
(3) In Criminal Case No. 91-4607, finding accused Claudio J. AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND LOSS OF EARNING CAPACITY.
Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of VI. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN AWARDING ATTORNEY'S FEES OF
Frustrated Murder, qualified by treachery, for the shooting of Jussi THREE MILLION PESOS (P3,000,000.00).
Olavi Leino, and sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty VII. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RENDERING JUDGMENT ON THE
of eight (8) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to ten (10) years MERITS AND ON THE PETITION FOR BAIL AT THE SAME TIME
and one (1) day of prision mayor, as maximum, and to pay the said WITHOUT GIVING THE ACCUSED THE OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT
offended party the sum of Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00), ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE IN HIS DEFENSE ON THE MERITS OF THE
Philippine Currency; plus the sum of One Hundred Eighteen CASE AND DENYING THE ACCUSED'S MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL.
Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Nine Pesos and Eighty-Four We shall discuss these alleged errors in seriatim.
Centavos (P118,369.84), Philippine Currency, and another sum Appellant was convicted on the strength of the testimonies of three (3) eyewitnesses
equivalent in Philippine Pesos of U.S. $55,600.00, both as actual who positively identified him as the gunman. He vigorously assails his out-of-court
damages; an amount equivalent in Philippine Pesos of U.S. identification by these eyewitnesses.
$40,000.00, as loss of earning capacity of said offended party; and He starts by trying to discredit the eyeball account of Jussi Leino, the lone surviving
One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00), Philippine Currency, as moral, victim of the crimes at bar. Appellant urges:
moderate and exemplary damages. First, that Leino's identification of him outside an unoccupied house in Forbes Park
(4) In all these three cases ordering said accused to pay all the was highly irregular.
offended parties the sum of Three Million Pesos (P3,000,000.00), Second, that Leino saw his pictures on television and the newspapers before he
Philippine Currency, as and for attorney's fees and expenses of identified him.
litigation; and Third, that Leino's interview at the hospital was never put in writing.
(5) To pay the costs in these three cases. Fourth, that the sketch of appellant based on the description given by Leino to the CIS
Consequently the petition for bail is hereby denied for utter lack of agents was suppressed by the NBI. It is surmised that the sketch must have been
merit. among the evidence turned over to the NBI when the latter assumed jurisdiction over
SO ORDERED. the investigation.
Accused hired a new counsel in the person of Atty. Nicanor B. Gatmaytan, Jr. He filed Lastly, that Leino could not have remembered the face of appellant. The shooting
a Motion for New Trial, 139alleging for the first time that the trial court erred in lasted for only five (5) minutes. During that period, his gaze could not have been fixed
considering as submitted for decision not only the petition for bail but also the case only on the gunman's face. His senses were also dulled by the five (5) bottles of beer
on the merits. He claimed that accused's right to adduce further evidence was he imbibed that night.
violated. His motion for new trial was denied. It is understandable for appellant to assail his out-of-court identification by the
Accused interposed the present appeal. 140 He contends that: prosecution witnesses in his first assignment of error. Eyewitness identification
I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE ACCUSED HAD constitutes vital evidence and, in most cases, decisive of the success or failure of the
BEEN POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY JUSSI LEINO, CADENAS AND prosecution. Yet, while eyewitness identification is significant, it is not as accurate
and authoritative as the scientific forms of identification evidence such as the

42
fingerprint or DNA testing. Some authors even describe eyewitness evidence as Appellant cannot also gripe that Leino saw his pictures and heard radio and TV
"inherently suspect." 141 The causes of misidentification are known, thus: accounts of the shooting before he personally identified him. Indeed, the records
xxx xxx xxx show that on July 15, 1991, while Leino was still in the hospital, he was shown three
Identification testimony has at least three components. First, (3) pictures of different men by the investigators. He identified appellant as the
witnessing a crime, whether as a victim or a bystander, involves gunman from these pictures. He, however, categorically stated that, before the mug
perception of an event actually occurring. Second, the witness must shot identification, he has not seen any picture of appellant or read any report
memorize details of the event. Third, the witness must be able to relative to the shooting incident. 147 The burden is on appellant to prove that his mug
recall and communicate accurately. Dangers of unreliability in shot identification was unduly suggestive. Failing proof of impermissible
eyewitness testimony arise at each of these three stages, for suggestiveness, he cannot complain about the admission of his out-of-court
whenever people attempt to acquire, retain, and retrieve identification by Leino.
information accurately, they are limited by normal human We have no reason to doubt the correctness of appellant's identification by Leino.
fallibilities and suggestive influences. (Emphasis Supplied) 142 The scene of the crime was well-lighted by a Meralco lamp post. Appellant was
Out-of-court identification is conducted by the police in various ways. It is done thru merely 2-3 meters away when he shot Leino. The incident happened for a full five (5)
show-ups where the suspect alone is brought face to face with the witness for minutes. Leino had no ill-motive to falsely testify against appellant. His testimony at
identification. It is done thru mug shots where photographs are shown to the witness the trial was straightforward. He was unshaken by the brutal cross-examination of the
to identify the suspect. It is also done thru line-ups where a witness identifies the defense counsels. He never wavered in his identification of appellant. When asked
suspect from a group of persons lined up for the purpose. Since corruption of out-of- how sure he was that appellant was responsible for the crime, he confidently replied:
court identification contaminates the integrity of in-court identification during the "I'm very sure. It could not have been somebody else." 148
trial of the case, courts have fashioned out rules to assure its fairness and its Appellant cannot likewise capitalize on the failure of the investigators to reduce to a
compliance with the requirements of constitutional due process. In resolving the sworn statement the information revealed by Leino during his hospital interviews. It
admissibility of and relying on out-of-court identification of suspects, courts have was sufficiently established that Leino's extensive injuries, especially the injury to his
adopted the totality of circumstances test where they consider the following tongue, limited his mobility. The day he identified appellant in the line-up, he was still
factors, viz: (1) the witness' opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; physically unable to speak. He was being fed through a tube inserted in his
(2) the witness' degree of attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior throat. 149 There is also no rule of evidence which requires the rejection of the
description given by the witness; (4) the level of certainty demonstrated by the testimony of a witness whose statement has not been priorly reduced to writing.
witness at the identification; (5) the length of time between the crime and the Reliance by appellant on the case of People v. Alindog 150 to erode Leino's credibility is
identification; and, (6) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure. 143 misplaced. In Alindog, accused was acquitted not solely on the basis of delay in taking
Using the totality of circumstances test, we hold that the alleged irregularities cited his statement, but mainly on the finding that the prosecution evidence was, at best,
by appellant did not result in his misidentification nor was he denied due process. circumstancial and "suspiciosly short in important details," there being no
There is nothing wrong in Leino's identification of appellant in an unoccupied house in investigation whatsoever conducted by the police.
Forbes Park. The records reveal that this mode was resorted to by the authorities for We also reject appellant's contention that the NBI suppressed the sketch prepared by
security reasons. 144 The need for security even compelled that Leino be fetched and the CIS on the basis of the description given by Leino. There is nothing on the record
escorted from his house in Forbes Park by U.S. embassy security officials and brought to show that said sketch was turned over by the CIS to the NBI which could warrant a
to the house where he was to make the identification. The Leinos refused to have the presumption that the sketch was suppressed. The suspicion that the sketch did not
identification at the NBI office as it was cramped with people and with high security resemble appellant is not evidence. It is unmitigated guesswork.
risk. 145 Leino's fear for his safety was not irrational. He and his companions had been We are not likewise impressed with the contention that it was incredible for Leino to
shot in cold blood in one of the exclusive, supposedly safe subdivisions in the have remembered appellant's face when the incident happened within a span of five
metropolis. Atty. Salvador Ranin, Chief of the Special Operations Group of the NBI, (5) minutes. Five (5) minutes is not a short time for Leino to etch in his mind the
correctly testified that there is no hard and fast rule as to the place where suspects picture of appellant. Experience shows that precisely because of the unusual acts of
are identified by witnesses. Identification may be done in open field. It is often done bestiality committed before their eyes, eyewitnesses, especially the victims to a
in hospitals while the crime and the criminal are still fresh in the mind of the crime, can remember with a high degree of reliability the identity of criminals. 151 We
victim. 146 have ruled that the natural reaction of victims of criminal violence is to strive to see
the appearance of their assailants and observe the manner the crime was committed.

43
Most often, the face end body movements of the assailant create an impression that appellant, whom he saw at the Makati police station, was NOT the gunman. We
which cannot be easily erased from their memory. 152 In the case at bar, there is give more weight to the testimony of Mangubat. We find nothing in the records to
absolutely no improper motive for Leino to impute a serious crime to appellant. The suspect that Mangubat would perjure himself. The Court cannot be as generous to
victims and appellant were unknown to each other before their chance encounter. If Pat. Baldado of the Makati Police. Mr. Hultman has proved that the Makati police,
Leino identified appellant, it must be because appellant was the real culprit. including some of its jail officials, gave appellant favored treatment while in their
Appellant also assails his identification by Cadenas. He contends that Cadenas did not custody. The anomaly triggered nothing less than a congressional investigation.
witness the crime. He stresses that when the Dasmariñas security force and the II
Makati police conducted an on-the-spot investigation on the day of the incident, We now rule on appellant's second assignment of error, i.e., that the trial court erred
neither came across Cadenas. The next day, in the afternoon of July 14, 1991, an NBI in not holding that the prosecution failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable
agent interviewed Cadenas and asked if he saw the incident. He merely replied: doubt.
"Nakita ko pero patay na." He did not volunteer information to anyone as to what he First, he claims the trial court erred in citing in its Decision his involvement in previous
supposedly witnessed. That same night, the NBI subpoenaed him for investigation. He shooting incidents for this contravenes the rule 157 that evidence that one did or
went to the NBI the next morning. It was only the next day, July 16, 1991, that he omitted to do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did or
gave his statement to the NBI. Cadenas allegedly told Ponferrada, his supervisor, that omitted to do the same or similar thing at another time. Second, the NBI failed to
the NBI tortured him. conduct an examination to compare the bullets fired from the gun at the scene of the
We reject appellant's submission. Cadenas' initial reluctance to reveal to the crime with the bullets recovered from the body of Chapman. Third, the prosecution
authorities what he witnessed was sufficiently explained during the trial. He related eyewitnesses described the gunman's car as white, but the trial court found it to be
that he feared for his and his family's safety. His fear was not imaginary. He saw with silver mettalic gray. Fourth, appellant could not have been the gunman for Mangubat,
his own eyes the senseless violence perpetrated by appellant. He knew appellant in his statement dated July 15, 1991, said that he overheard the victim Maureen
belonged to an influential family. It was only after consistent prodding and assurance Hultman plead to the gunman, thus: "Please, don't shoot me and don't kill me. I
of protection from NBI officials that he agreed to cooperate with the promise Mommy, Daddy." Appellant also contends that a maid in a house near the
authorities. 153 The Court has taken judicial notice of the natural reticence of scene of the crime told Makati police Alberto Fernandez that she heard Maureen say:
witnesses to get involved in the solution of crimes considering the risk to their lives "Daddy don't shoot. Don't." Fifth, the NBI towed accused's car from Dasmariñas
and limbs. In light of these all too real risks, the court has not considered the initial Village to the NBI office which proved that the same was not in good running
reluctance of fear-gripped witnesses to cooperate with authorities as an authorities condition. Lastly, the result of the paraffin test conducted on appellant showed he
as an indicium of credibility. 154 It will not depart from this ruling. was negative of nitrates.
Appellant's assertion that Cadenas was tortured by the NBI is not borne out by the Appellant points to other possible suspects, viz:. ANDERS HULTMAN, since one of the
records. Supposedly, Cadenas passed on to his superior, a certain Ponferrada, eyewitnesses was quoted in the newspapers as having overheard Maureen plead to
information about his torture. The allegation is an out and out hearsay as Ponferrada the gunman: "Huwag, Daddy."; and, (b) JOSE MONTAÑO, another resident of
was not presented in the witness stand. Cadenas himself stoutly denied this Dasmariñas Village, who had a white Lancer car, also bearing license plate number
allegation of torture. The claim of torture is also belied by the fact that Cadenas' 566.
entire family was allowed to stay with him at the NBI headquarters and likewise We reject appellant's thesis as bereft of merit.
extended protection. 155 Appellant cannot hope to exculpate himself simply because the trial judge violated
Appellant then discredits his identification by VICENTE MANGUBAT, citing the the rule on res inter alios actawhen he considered his involvement in previous
testimony of defense witness Pat. James Baldado of the Makati Police. Pat. Baldado shooting incidents. This stance is a specie of a mid-1800 rule known as the English
testified that Mangubat failed to identify appellant as the gunman the first time he Exchequer Rule pursuant to which "a trial court's error as to the admission of
was brought to the Makati police station. Mangubat, however, belied Baldado's story. evidence was presumed to have caused prejudice and therefore, almost
He declared he positively identified appellant as the gunman at the Makati police automatically required a new trial." 158 The Exchequer rule has long been laid to rest
station. He averred that the day after he identified appellant, Pat. Baldado returned for even English appellate courts now disregard an error in the admission of evidence
to his place of work in Dasmariñas and asked him again whether appellant was the "unless in its opinion, some substantial wrong or miscarriage (of justice) has been
gunman. Again, he replied in the affirmative. Forthwith, Pat. Baldado said he would occasioned." 159 American courts adopted this approach especially after the
no longer ask him to sign a statement (Exhibit "HHH") 156 earlier prepared by Baldado. enactment of a 1915 federal statute which required a federal appellate court to "give
In said statement previously prepared by Baldado, Mangubat was supposed to state judgment after an examination of the entire record before the court, without regard

44
to technical errors, defects, or exceptions which do not affect the substantial rights of informed that the Makati police were looking into this possibility, Leino flatly stated
the parties." 160 We have likewise followed the harmless error rule in our jurisdiction. that Anders Hultman was NOT the gunman. 168 Leino is a reliable witness.
In dealing with evidence improperly admitted in trial, we examine its damaging Appellant cannot also capitalize on the paraffin test showing he was negative of
quality and its impact to the substantive rights of the litigant. If the impact is slight nitrates. Scientific experts concur in the view that the paraffin test has ". . . proved
and insignificant, we disregard the error as it will not overcome the weight of the extremely unreliable in use. The only thing that it can definitely establish is the
properly admitted evidence against the prejudiced party. 161 presence or absence of nitrates or nitrites on the hand. It cannot be established from
In the case at bar, the reference by the trial judge to reports about the troublesome this test alone that the source of the nitrates or nitrites was the discharge of a
character of appellant is a harmless error. The reference is not the linchpin of the firearm. The person may have handled one or more of a number of substances which
inculpatory evidence appreciated by the trial judge in convicting appellant. As give the same positive reaction for nitrates or nitrites, such as explosives, fireworks,
aforestated, the appellant was convicted mainly because of his identification by three fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, and leguminous plants such as peas, beans, and alfalfa. A
(3) eyewitnesses with high credibility. person who uses tobacco may also have nitrate or nitrite deposits on his hands since
The NBI may have also failed to compare the bullets fired from the fatal gun with the these substances are present in the products of combustion of tobacco." 169 In
bullets found at the scene of the crime. The omission, however, cannot exculpate numerous rulings, we have also recognized several factors which may bring about the
appellant. The omitted comparison cannot nullify the evidentiary value of the positive absence of gunpowder nitrates on the hands of a gunman, viz: when the assailant
identification of appellant. washes his hands after firing the gun, wears gloves at the time of the shooting, or if
There is also little to the contention of appellant that his Lancer car was not in the direction of a strong wind is against the gunman at the time of firing. 170 In the
running condition. Allegedly, this was vicariously proved when the NBI towed his car case at bar, NBI Forensic Chemist, Leonora Vallado, testified and confirmed that
from Dasmariñas Village where it was parked to the NBI office. Again, the argument is excessive perspiration or washing of hands with the use of warm water or vinegar
negated by the records which show that said car was towed because the NBI could may also remove gunpowder nitrates on the skin. She likewise opined that the
not get its ignition key which was then in the possession of appellant. Clearly, the car conduct of the paraffin test after more than seventy-two (72) hours from the time of
was towed not because it was not in running condition. Even appellant's evidence the shooting may not lead to a reliable result for, by such time, the nitrates could
show that said car could run. After its repairs, appellant's son, Claudio Teehankee III, have already been removed by washing or perspiration. 171 In the Report 172 on the
drove it from the repair shop in Banawe, Quezon City to Dasmariñas Village, in paraffin test conducted on appellant, Forensic Chemist Elizabeth Ayonon noted that
Makati, where it was when appellant was tested for the presence of nitrates, more than 72 hours has
parked. 162 already lapsed from the time of the alleged shooting.
Nor are we impressed by the alleged discrepancies in the eyewitnesses' description of III
the color of the gunman's car. Leino described the car as light-colored; Florece said In his third assigned error, appellant blames the press for his conviction as he
the car was somewhat white ("medyo puti"); 163 Mangubat declared the car was contends that the publicity given to his case impaired his right to an impartial trial. He
white; 164 and Cadenas testified it was silver metallic gray. 165 These alleged postulates there was pressure on the trial judge for high-ranking government officials
discrepancies amount to no more than shades of differences and are not meaningful, avidly followed the developments in the case (as no less than Vice-President Joseph
referring as they do to colors white, somewhat white and silver metallic gray. Estrada and then Department of Justice Secretary Franklin Drilon attended some of
Considering the speed and shocking nature of the incident which happened before the hearings and, President Corazon Aquino even visited victim Maureen Hultman
the break of dawn, these slight discrepancies in the description of the car do not while she was still confined at the hospital). He submits that the trial judge failed to
make the prosecution eyewitnesses unworthy of credence. protect him from prejudicial publicity and disruptive influences which attended the
Appellant's attempt to pin the crimes at bar on Anders Hultman, the adoptive father prosecution of the cases. He claims there were placards displayed during the hearing
of Maureen Hultman, deserves scant consideration. Appellant cites a newspaper of the cases, spectators inside the courtroom clapped their hands and converted the
item 166 where Maureen was allegedly overheard as saying to the gunman: "Huwag, proceedings into a carnival. In another instance, he was allegedly given the "finger
Daddy. Huwag, Daddy." The evidence on record, however, demonstrates that Anders sign" by several young people while he was leaving the courtroom on his way back to
Hultman could not have been the gunman. It was clearly established that Maureen his cell.
could not have uttered said statement for two (2) reasons: Maureen did not speak We cannot sustain appellant's claim that he was denied the right to impartial trial due
Tagalog, and she addressed Anders Hultman as "Papa," not "Daddy." 167Moreover, to prejudicial publicity. It is true that the print and broadcast media gave the case at
Leino outrightly dismissed this suspicion. While still in the hospital and when bar pervasive publicity, just like all high profile and high stake criminal trials. Then and
now, we rule that the right of an accused to a fair trial is not incompatible to a free

45
press. To be sure, responsible reporting enhances an accused's right to a fair trial for, 1. At the August 14, 1991 hearing, the defense counsel called the
as well pointed out, "a responsible press has always been regarded as the attention of the court to the visible display of a placard inside the
handmaiden of effective judicial administration, especially in the criminal field . . . The courtroom. Acting on the manifestation, the trial judge immediately
press does not simply publish information about trials but guards against the directed that the placard be hidden. Only then did he order the start
miscarriage of justice by subjecting in the police, prosecutors, and judicial processes of the arraignment of accused. 176
to extensive public scrutiny and criticism." 173 On the same hearing, the defense counsel asked for the exclusion of
Pervasive publicity is not per se prejudicial to the right of an accused to fair trial. The the media after they had enough opportunity to take pictures. The
mere fact that the trial of appellant was given a day-to-day, gavel-to-gavel coverage court granted defense's request, noting that the courtroom was
does not by itself prove that the publicity so permeated the mind of the trial judge also too crowded. 177
and impaired his impartiality. For one, it is impossible to seal the minds of members 2. During the testimony of Domingo Florece, an argument ensued
of the bench from pre-trial and other off-court publicity of sensational criminal cases. between the defense lawyer and the fiscal. When part of the
The state of the art of our communication system brings news as they happen audience clapped their hands, the defense counsel invoked Rule
straight to our breakfast tables and right to our bedrooms. These news form part of 119, Section 13 of the Rules of Court and moved for the exclusion of
our everyday menu of the facts and fictions of life. For another, our idea of a fair and the public. Assistant Prosecutor Villa-Ignacio objected on the
impartial judge is not that of a hermit who is out of touch with the world. We have ground that the public was not unruly. The trial judge noted that
not installed the jury system whose members are overly protected from publicity lest there were yet no guidelines drafted by the Supreme Court
they lose their impartiality. Criticisms against the jury system are mounting and Mark regarding media coverage of the trial proceedings. 178Collaborating
Twain's wit and wisdom put them all in better perspective when he observed: "When defense counsel, Atty. Malvar, complained that the outpouring of
a gentleman of high social standing, intelligence, and probity swears that testimony sympathy by spectators inside the courtroom has turned the
given under the same oath will outweigh with him, street talk and newspaper reports proceedings into a carnival. He also manifested that he personally
based upon mere hearsay, he is worth a hundred jurymen who will swear to their saw that when accused was being brought back to his cell from the
own ignorance and stupidity . . . Why could not the jury law be so altered as to give courtroom, a group of young people were pointing dirty fingers at
men of brains and honesty an equal chance with fools and miscreants?" 174 Our accused in full view of policemen. Forthwith, the trial judge
judges are learned in the law and trained to disregard off-court evidence and on- declared that he could not be dissuaded by public sentiments. He
camera performances of parties to a litigation. Their mere exposure to publications noted that the clapping of hands by the public was just a reaction at
and publicity stunts does not per se fatally infect their impartiality. the spur of the moment. He then admonished the audience not to
At best, appellant can only conjure possibility of prejudice on the part of the trial repeat it. 179
judge due to the barrage of publicity that characterized the investigation and trial of 3. At the hearing of July 14, 1992, the parties again argued on the
the case. In Martelino, et al. v. Alejandro, et a1., 175 we rejected this standard of coverage of the trial by the press. The defense alleged that the
possibility of prejudice and adopted the test of actual prejudice as we ruled that to media coverage will constitute mistrial and deny accused's
warrant a finding of prejudicial publicity, there must be allegation and proof that the constitutional right to due process. It invoked the provision in the
judges have been unduly influenced, not simply that they might be, by the barrage of Rules of Court which allows the accused to exclude everybody in the
publicity. In the case at bar, the records do not show that the trial judge developed courtroom, except the organic personnel. The prosecutor, however,
actual bias against appellant as a consequence of the extensive media coverage of the argued that exclusion of the public can be ordered only in
pre-trial and trial of his case. The totality of circumstances of the case does not prove prosecution of private offenses and does not apply to murder cases.
that the trial judge acquired a fixed opinion as a result of prejudicial publicity which is He added that the public is entitled to observe and witness trial of
incapable of change even by evidence presented during the trial. Appellant has the public offenses. He quoted the U.S. case of Sheppard v.
burden to prove this actual bias and he has not discharged the burden. Maxwell 180 where it was held: "A responsible press is always
We have minutely examined the transcripts of the proceedings and they do not regarded as the handmaiden of effective judicial administration
disclose that the trial judge allowed the proceedings to turn into a carnival. Nor did he especially in the criminal field. The press does not simply publish
consent to or condone any manifestation of unruly or improper behavior or conduct information about trials but guards against the miscarriage of
inside the courtroom during the trial of the case at bar. The transcripts reveal the justice by subjecting the police, the prosecutors and judicial
following: processes to extensive public scrutiny and criticism. What transpires

46
in the courtrooms public property." The trial judge then ruled that He testified that for no apparent reason, appellant suddenly alighted from his car and
the media should be given a chance to cover the proceedings before accosted him and Maureen Hultman who were then walking along the sidewalk.
the trial proper but, thereafter, he prohibited them from taking Appellant questioned who they were and demanded for an I.D. After Leino handed
pictures during the trial. They were allowed to remain inside the him his I.D., Chapman appeared from behind Leino and asked what was going on.
courtroom but were ordered to desist from taking live coverage of Chapman then stepped down on the sidewalk and inquired from appellant what was
the proceedings. 181 wrong. There and then, appellant pushed Chapman, pulled a gun from inside his shirt,
4. At the August 14, 1992 hearing, before the hearing began, the and shot him. The gun attack was unexpected. "Why did you shoot me?" was all
trial judge gave the media two (2) minutes to take video coverage Chapman could utter.
and no more. Trial then ensued. 182 Concededly, the shooting of Chapman was carried out swiftly and left him with no
5. At the September 8, 1992 hearing, the trial judge again gave the chance to defend himself. Even then, there is no evidence on record to prove that
media two (2) minutes to take pictures before the trial proper. appellant consciously and deliberately adopted his mode of attack to insure the
Afterwards, the reporters were duly admonished to remain silent, accomplishment of his criminal design without risk to himself. It appears to us that
to quietly observe the proceedings and just take down notes. 183 appellant acted on the spur of the moment. Their meeting was by chance. They were
6 On September 10, 1992 before the start of the afternoon session, strangers to each other. The time between the initial encounter and the shooting was
the judge admonished the media people present in the courtroom short and unbroken. The shooting of Chapman was thus the result of a rash and
to stop taking pictures. 184 impetuous impulse on the part of appellant rather than a deliberate act of will. We
Parenthetically, appellant should be the last person to complain against the press for have consistently ruled that mere suddenness of the attack on the victim would not,
prejudicial coverage of his trial. The records reveal he presented in court no less than by itself, constitute treachery. 187 Hence, absent any qualifying circumstance,
seven (7) newspaper reporters and relied heavily on selected portions of their reports appellant should only be held liable for Homicide for the shooting and killing of
for his defense. The defense's documentary evidence consists mostly of newspaper Chapman.
clippings relative to the investigation of the case at bar and which appeared to cast As to the wounding of Jussi Leino and the killing of Maureen Hultman, we hold that
doubt on his guilt. The press cannot be fair and unfair to appellant at the same time. treachery clearly attended the commission of the crimes. The evidence shows that
Finally, it would not be amiss to stress that on May 29, 1992, the trial judge after shooting Chapman in cold blood, appellant ordered Leino to sit on the
voluntarily inhibited himself from further hearing the case at bar to assuage pavement. Maureen became hysterical and wandered to the side of appellant's car.
appellant's suspicion of bias and partiality. 185 However, upon elevation of the trial When appellant went after her, Maureen moved around his car and tried to put some
judge's voluntary Order of Inhibition to this Court, we directed the trial judge to distance between them. After a minute or two, appellant got to Maureen and
proceed with the trial to speed up the administration of justice. 186 We found nothing ordered her to sit beside Leino on the pavement. While seated, unarmed and begging
in the conduct of the proceedings to stir any suspicion of partiality against the trial for mercy, the two were gunned down by appellant. Clearly, appellant purposely
judge. placed his two victims in a completely defenseless position before shooting them.
IV There was an appreciable lapse of time between the killing of Chapman and the
In his fourth assigned error, appellant claims that treachery was not present in the shooting of Leino and Hultman — a period which appellant used to prepare for a
killing of Hultman and Chapman, and the wounding of Leino for it was not shown that mode of attack which ensured the execution of the crime without risk to himself.
the gunman consciously and deliberately adopted particular means, methods and Treachery was thus correctly appreciated by the trial court against appellant insofar
forms in the execution of the crime. Appellant asserts that mere suddenness of attack as the killing of Hultman and the wounding of Leino are concerned.
does not prove treachery. V and VI
The three (3) Informations charged appellant with having committed the crimes at We come now to the civil liability imposed against appellant. Appellant posits that the
bar with treachery and evident premeditation. Evident premeditation was correctly awards of moral and exemplary damages and for loss of earning capacity of Maureen
ruled out by the trial court for, admittedly, the shooting incident was merely a casual Hultman, Roland Chapman and Jussi Leino were exorbitant. He likewise claims that
encounter or a chance meeting on the street since the victims were unknown to the trial court's award of attorney's fees was excessive.
appellant and vice-versa It, however, appreciated the presence of the qualifying In its Decision, the trial court awarded to Jussi Leino end the heirs of victims Hultman
circumstance of treachery. and Chapman the following damages:
We hold that the prosecution failed to prove treachery in the killing of Chapman. 1. For the murder of Roland John Chapman, appellant was
Prosecution witness Leino established the sequence of events leading to the shooting. sentenced to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of Fifty

47
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as indemnity for death and the sum of complained of. It is not necessary that such
Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) as moderate or damages have been foreseen or could have
temperate and exemplary damages. reasonably foreseen by the defendant. (Art. 2202)
2. For the murder of Maureen Navarro Hultman, appellant was When, however, the crime committed involves death, there is Art.
sentenced to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of: Fifty 2206 which provides thus:
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) as indemnity for death; Two Million The amount of damages for death caused by a
Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Four Hundred Sixty-One Pesos and crime or quasi-delict shall be at least three
Eighty-Three Centavos thousand pesos even though there may have been
(P2,350,461.83) as actual damages; Thirteen Million Pesos mitigating circumstances. In addition:
(P13,000,000.00) for loss of earning capacity of deceased; and, One (1) The defendant shall be liable for the loss of the
Million Pesos as moral, moderate and exemplary damages. earning capacity of the deceased, and the
3. For the shooting of Jussi Olavi Leino, appellant was sentenced to indemnity shall be paid to the heirs of the latter;
pay: Thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) as indemnity for the injury; such indemnity shall in every case be assessed and
One Hundred Eighteen Thousand Three-Hundred Sixty Nine Pesos awarded by the court, unless the deceased on
and Eighty-Four Centavos (P118,369.84) and the sum equivalent in account of permanent physical disability not
Philippine pesos of U.S.$55,600.00, both as actual damages; an caused by the defendant, had no earning capacity
amount equivalent in Philippine pesos of U.S.$40,000.00, for loss of at the time of his death;
earning capacity of Jussi Leino; and, One Million Pesos (2) If the deceased was obliged to give support
(P1,000,000.00) as moral, moderate and exemplary damages. according to the provisions of article 291, the
4. In all three cases, appellant was also ordered to pay each of the recipient who is not an heir called to the
offended parties the sum of One Million Pesos (or a total of three descendant's inheritance by law of testate or
million pesos) for attorney's fees and expenses of litigation. intestate succession, may demand support from
5. Costs of litigation. 188 the person causing the death, for a period not
The early case of Heirs of Raymundo Castro v. Bustos 189 discussed in detail the matter exceeding five years, the exact duration to be
of damages recoverable in case of death arising from a felony, thus: fixed by the court;
When the commission of a crime results in death, the civil (3) The spouse, legitimate or illegitimate
obligations arising therefrom are governed by penal laws, ". . . descendants and ascendants of the deceased may
subject to the provisions of Art. 2177, and of the pertinent demand moral damages for mental anguish by
provisions of Chapter 2, Preliminary Title on Human Relations, and reason of the death of the deceased.
of Title XVIII of this Book (Book IV) regulating damages." (Art. 1161, The amount of P3,000 referred to in the above article has already
Civil Code) been increased by this Court first, to P6,000.00 in People
Thus, "every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly v. Amansec, 80 Phil. 426, and lately to P12,000.00 in the case
liable." (Art. 100, Revised Penal Code). This civil liability, in case the of People v. Pantoja, G.R. No. L-18793, promulgated October 11,
felony involves death, includes indemnification for consequential 1968 190, and it must be stressed that this amount, as well as the
damages (Art. 104, id.) and said consequential damages in turn amount of moral damages, may be adjudicated even without proof
include ". . . those suffered by his family or by a third person by of pecuniary loss, the assessment of the moral damages being "left
reason of the crime." (Art. 107, id.) Since these provisions are to the discretion of the court, according to the circumstances of
subject, however, as above indicated, to certain provisions of the each case." (Art. 2216)
Civil Code, (w)e will now turn to said provisions. Exemplary damages may also be imposed as a part of this civil
The general rule in the Civil Code is that: liability when the crime has been committed with one or more
In crimes and quasi-delicts, the defendant shall be aggravating circumstances, such damages being "separate and
liable for all damages which are the natural and distinct from fines and shall be paid to the offended party." (Art.
probable consequences of the act or omission 2230). Exemplary damages cannot however be recovered as a

48
matter of right; the court will decide whether or not they should be 4. As exemplary damages, when the crime is
given. (Art. 2233) attended by one or more aggravating
In any event, save as expressly provided in connection with the circumstances, — an amount to be fixed in the
indemnity for the sole fact of death (1st par., Art. 2206) and is cases discretion of the court, the same to be considered
wherein exemplary damages are awarded precisely because of the separate from fines.
attendance of aggravating circumstances, (Art. 2230) ". . . damages 5. As attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, —
to be adjudicated may be respectively increased or lessened the actual amount thereof, (but only when a
according to the aggravating or mitigating circumstances," (Art. separate civil action to recover civil liability has
2204) "but the party suffering the loss or injury must exercise the been filed or when exemplary damages are
diligence of a good father of a family to minimize the damages awarded).
resulting from the act or omission in question." (Art. 2203) "Interest 6. Interests in the proper cases.
as a part of the damages, may, in a proper case, be adjudicated in 7. It must be emphasized that the indemnities for
the discretion of the Court." (Art. 2211) As to attorneys' fees and loss of earning capacity of the deceased and for
expenses of litigation, the same may be recovered only when moral damages are recoverable separately from
exemplary damages have been granted (Art. 2208, par. 1) or . . . and in addition to the fixed sum of P12,000.00
when there is a separate civil action. (now P50,000.00) corresponding to the indemnity
Stated differently, when death occurs as a result of a crime, the for the sole fact of death, and that these damages
heirs of the deceased are entitled to the following items of may, however, be respectively increased or
damages: lessened according to the mitigating or
1. As indemnity for the death of the victim of the aggravating circumstances, except items 1 and 4
offense — P12,000.00 (now P50,000.00), without above, for obvious reasons. 191
the need of any evidence or proof of damages, We shall first review the damages awarded to the heirs of ROLAND JOHN CHAPMAN
and even though there may have been mitigating in light of the law and the case law.
circumstances attending the commission of the Appellant claims that the award of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) pesos as
offense. moderate or temperate and exemplary damages to the heirs of Roland John Chapman
2. As indemnity for loss of earning capacity of the was baseless.
deceased — an amount to be fixed by the court We start with the observation that the trial court should not have lumped together
according to the circumstances of the deceased the awards for moderate or temperate and exemplary damages at Five Hundred
related to his actual income at the time of death Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00), without specifying the particular amount which
and his probable life expectancy, the said corresponds to each, as they are of a different kind. We shall, however, consider their
indemnity to be assessed and awarded by the propriety and reasonableness.
court as a matter of duty, unless the deceased had The amount of Five Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) pesos cannot be given as
no earning capacity at said time on account of temperate or moderate damages for the records do not show any basis for sustaining
permanent disability not caused by the accused. If the award. Nor can it be given as exemplary damages. The killing of Chapman was not
the deceased was obliged to give support, under attended by either evident premeditation or treachery. Be that as it may, the award
Art. 291, Civil Code, the recipient who is not an can be considered as one for moral damages under Article 2206 (3) of the New Civil
heir, may demand support from the accused for Code. 192 It states:
not more than five years, the exact duration to be Art. 2206. The amount of damages for death caused by a crime . . .
fixed by the court. shall be at least (fifty thousand pesos, under current jurisprudence)
3. As moral damages for mental anguish, — an . . . In addition:
amount to be fixed by the court. This may be xxx xxx xxx
recovered even by the illegitimate descendants
and ascendants of the deceased.

49
(3) The spouse, legitimate or illegitimate descendants and hospital bills. 193 Maureen never regained consciousness until her demise on October
ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental 17, 1991, at the tender age of seventeen. Under the foregoing circumstances, we thus
anguish by reason of the death of the deceased. find the award of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral damages to be
Moreover, considering the shocking and senseless aggression committed by reasonable.
appellant, we increase the amount of moral damages to One Million (P1,000,000.00) Moreover, we find that the grant of exemplary damages is called for by the
pesos for the death of Chapman. circumstances of the case. Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, 194 in addition to the
We next rule on the legality of damages awarded to the heirs of MAUREEN NAVARRO award of moral damages, exemplary or corrective damages may be adjudged in order
HULTMAN. to deter the commission of similar acts in the future. The award for exemplary
Appellant argues that the damages for the death of Maureen should be awarded to damages is designed to permit the courts to mould behavior that has socially
her mother, Vivian Hultman, and her natural father. He contends that under Article deleterious consequences. Its imposition is required by public policy to suppress the
352 of the New Civil Code, Anders Hultman as adoptive father of Maureen, is not wanton acts of an offender.
entitled to said award. Only the parents by nature of Maureen should inherit from In the case at bar, appellant's unprovoked aggression snuffed the life of Maureen
her. Hultman, a girl in the prime of her youth. Hultman and her companions were gunned
We reject the argument. Under the Family Code which was already in effect at the down by appellant in cold-blood, for no apparent reason. Appellant's vicious
time of Maureen's death, Anders Hultman, as adoptive father, is entitled to the award criminality led to the suffering of his victims and their families. Considering our
made by the trial court. Article 190 of the Family Code provides: soaring crime rate, the imposition of exemplary damages against appellant to deter
xxx xxx xxx others from taking the lives of people without any sense of sin is proper. Moreover,
(2) When the parents, legitimate or illegitimate, or the legitimate since the killing of Hultman was attended by treachery and pursuant to Article 2229
descendants of the adopted concur with the adopters, they shall of the new Civil Code, 195 we impose an award of Two Million (P2,000,000.00) pesos
divide the entire estate, one-half to be inherited by the parents or as exemplary damages against appellant for the death of Maureen Hultman.
ascendants and the other half, by the adopters; We now review the award of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral, moderate
xxx xxx xxx and exemplary damages to victim JUSSI LEINO.
(5) When only the adopters survive, they shall inherit the entire From the record, it is incontrovertible that Leino likewise suffered extensive injuries
estate; as a result of the shooting. His upper jaw bone was shattered. He would need a bone
It does not appear on the records whether Maureen was survived by her natural transplant operation to restore it. His tongue was also injured. He partially lost his
father. During the trial of these cases, only Vivian and Anders Hultman testified on sense of taste for his taste buds were also affected. When he was discharged from
their claim of damages. Hence, we find that the award of damages in their favor has the hospital, he had difficulty in speaking and had to be fed through a tube running
sufficient factual and legal basis. down his nose. He lost eight of his teeth. The roots of his teeth were cut off and the
Appellant also urges that the award to the heirs of Maureen Hultman of One Million raw nerves were exposed. But all these speak only of his physical injuries and
Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral and exemplary damages is unjustified or, at the very suffering. More devastating was the emotional strain that distressed Leino. His
least, exorbitant and should be reduced. parents were in Europe for a vacation at the time of the shooting. Only a neighbor
We hold that the award of One Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos is amply justified by the attended to him at the hospital. It took two (2) days for his father to come and
circumstances. The records reveal that Maureen recovered between life and death comfort by his bedside. Leino had trouble sleeping in peace at night. The traumatic
for ninety-seven (97) days. Her family experienced the peaks and valleys of event woke him up in the middle of the night. Black memories of the incident kept
unspeakable suffering. During that time, she underwent brain surgery three (3) times. coming back to
Her condition was never stable and remained critical. It was always touch and go with mind. 196 Understably, the ill-effects of the incident spilled over his family. Seppo
death. She could not be left alone at the hospital. Her parents had to be perpetually Leino, Jussi's father, was tortured by thoughts of insecurity. He had to relocate his
by her side at least six (6) to seven (7) hours daily. After the shooting, their siblings entire family to Europe where he felt they would be safe. 197 Under the foregoing
had to be sent back to Sweden for their safety. Left unattended, her family's business circumstances, we find that an award of One Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos to Jussi
took a downspin. Soon, her family's assets were depleted, then wiped out. A total of Leino as indemnity for moral damages is justified and reasonable.
twenty-three (23) doctors attended to her and their bills ballooned without As in the case of Hultman, since the shooting of Leino was committed with treachery
abatement. They were forced to rely on the goodness of the gracious. Her family and pursuant to Article 2229 of the New Civil Code, 198 appellant is additionally
started receiving contributions from other people to defray the medical expenses and

50
adjudged liable for the payment to Leino of Two Million (P2,000,000.00) pesos as A That is very difficult to say. She has just turned
exemplary damages. 17 and our projection is that, certainly she would
We come now to the trial court's monetary award to compensate the LOSS OF have been an artist in the creative side. She would
EARNING CAPACITY OF VICTIMS JUSSI LEINO and MAUREEN HULTMAN. have become an actress or a movie producer or
To be compensated for loss of earning capacity, it is not necessary that the victim, at probably she would have been a college graduate.
the time of injury or death, is gainfully employed. Compensation of this nature is ATTY. VINLUAN:
awarded not for loss of earnings but for loss of capacity to earn money. In Cariaga Q But if you would just say based on the salary of
v. Laguna Tayabas Bus Company, 199 we awarded to the heirs of Cariaga a sum a secretary in Sweden, how much would she have
representing loss of his earning capacity although he was still a medical student at the much earned?
time of injury. However, the award was not without basis for Cariaga was then a A. Not less than Two Thousand Dollars a
fourth year medical student at a reputable school; his scholastic record, which was month. 200
presented at the trial, justified an assumption that he would have been able to finish Clearly, there is no factual basis for the award of thirteen million (P13,000,000.00)
his course and pass the board in due time; and a doctor, presented as witness for the pesos to the heirs of Maureen far loss of earning capacity as a probable secretary in
appellee, testified as to the amount of income Cariaga would have earned had he Sweden.
finished his medical studies. In any event, what was proved on record is that after graduating from high school,
In the case at bar, the trial court awarded the amount, equivalent in Philippine pesos, Maureen took up a short personality development course at the John Roberts
of Forty capacity of JUSSI LEINO. We agree with appellant that this amount is highly Powers. Maureen was employed at the John Roberts Powers at the time of her death.
speculative and should be denied considering that Leino had only earned a high It was her first job. In fact, she had just received her first salary, for which reason she
school degree at the International School, Manila, in 1989. He went back to Finland to went out with her friends to celebrate on that fateful day. However, neither the
serve the military and has just arrived in Manila in February 1991 to pursue his nature of her work nor her salary in said company was disclosed at the trial. Thus, to
ambition to become a pilot. At the time of the shooting on July 13, 1991, he has just compute the award for Maureen's loss of earning capacity, we are constrained to use
enrolled at the Manila Aero Club to become a professional pilot. He was thus only on the minimum wage prevailing as of the date of her death (October 17, 1991), i.e., one
his first year, first semester, in said school and was practically, a mere high school hundred eighteen pesos (P118.00). 201 Allowing for reasonable and necessary
graduate. Under the foregoing circumstances, we find the records wanting with expenses in the amount of P19,800.00, her net income per annum would amount to
substantial evidence to justify a reasonable assumption that Leino would have been P26,859.17. 202 Hence, using the formula repeatedly adopted by this Court: 203 (2/3 x
able to finish his studies at the Manila Aero Club and ultimately become a [80 — age of victim at time of death]) x a reasonable portion of the net income which
professional pilot. would have been received by the heirs as support, 204 we fix the award for loss of
We now pass upon the propriety of the award of Thirteen Million Pesos earning as capacity of deceased Maureen Hultman at Five Hundred Sixty-Four
(P13,000,000.00) for loss of earning capacity of deceased MAUREEN HULTMAN. We Thousand Forty-Two Pesos and Fifty-Seven Centavos (P564,042.57).
find that the award is not supported by the records. It also bears emphasis that in the computation of the award for loss of earning
In adjudging an award for Maureen's loss of earning capacity, the trial court capacity of the deceased, the life expectancy of the deceased's heirs is not factored
incorrectly used the monthly salary of a secretary working in Sweden, computed at in. The rule is well-settled that the award of damages for death is computed on the
two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) a month, as per the estimate given by Anders basis of the life expectancy of the deceased, and not the beneficiary. 205
Hultman. Nowhere in the records does it appear that, at the time of her death, Lastly, appellant seeks a reduction of the award of attorney's fees in the amount of
Maureen had acquired the skills needed for a secretarial job or that she intended to Three Million Pesos (P3,000,000.00), claiming that the same is exorbitant.
take a secretarial course in preparation for such job in Sweden. Anders Hultman We disagree. The three (3) private complainants were represented by the ACCRA law
himself testified that there was uncertainty as to Maureen's future career path, thus: firm, with Atty. Rogelio Vinluan as lead counsel. They agreed to pay the amount of
ATTY. VINLUAN: One Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos each as attorney's fees and for litigation expenses.
Q Mr. Witness, if Maureen would not been (sic) The three criminal cases were consolidated. A continuous trial was conducted, with
shot and she continued her studies, what some hearings having both morning and afternoon sessions. The trial lasted for
professional career would she (sic) like to pursue almost one and a half years. More than forty (40) witnesses testified during the
considering her interests and inclinations? hearings. Several pleadings were prepared and filed. A total of sixty-eight (68)
WITNESS: documentary exhibits were presented by the prosecution. Incidents related to the

51
trial of the cases came up to this Court for review at least twice during the pendency intention was really to limit presentation of evidence to appellant's
of the trial. 206 Given these circumstances and the evident effort exerted by the petition for bail.
private prosecutor throughout the trial, the trial court's award of a total of Three 2. After the prosecution and the defense rested their cases, the trial
Million (P3,000,000.00) pesos as attorney's fees and litigation expenses appears just court issued an Order 211 directing the parties to submit their
and reasonable. Memorandum, after which "the main case as well as the petition for
VII bail are respectively submitted for Decision and Resolution." After
In his last assigned error, appellant urges that the hearings conducted on the cases, receipt of this Order, the defense counsel filed two (2) motions for
where no less than forty-one (41) witnesses were presented by the parties, 207 were extension of time to file the defense Memorandum. In both
merely hearings on the petition for bail concerning the murder charge for the killing Motions, the defense did not object to the trial court's Order
of Roland Chapman, and not a trial on the merits of all three (3) cases. Appellant submitting for decision the main case and the petition for bail.
insists that after the termination of the hearing, he still had the right to adduce Neither did it move for a reconsideration of this Order and notify
evidence at the trial proper. He claims he was denied due process when the trial court the court that it still had witnesses to present.
considered all the cases submitted for decision after the defense waived its right to 3. In compliance with said Order, appellant's counsel, Atty. Rodolfo
present its surrebuttal evidence. Jimenez, filed a Memorandum and Supplemental Memorandum
Appellant's position is untenable. This issue was resolved at the very first hearing of praying for accused's acquittal. This is inconsistent with the
the cases on August 9, 1991. The incident then pending was appellant's petition for defense's position that the hearing conducted was only on the
bail for the murder of Chapman. It will be remembered that, initially, there was only petition for bail. If the defense insist that what was submitted for
one murder charge against appellant since Maureen Hultman succumbed to death decision was only his petition for bail, he would have only prayed
during the course of the proceedings on October 17, 1991. that he be granted bail.
Thus, at the initial hearing on August 9, 1991, the incident for resolution was 4. Upon receipt of the notice of promulgation of judgment from the
appellant's petition for bail. The prosecution sought to present the surviving victim, trial court, the defense did not interpose any objection to the
Jussi Leino, to testify on all three (3) charges to obviate delay and inconvenience since intended promulgation. In fact, the defense attended the
all three (3) charges involved one continuing incident. Appellant, through counsel, promulgation of the Decision and manifested that they were ready
objected to the testimony of Leino insofar as the two (2) frustrated murder charges therefor.
(with respect to the wounding of Leino and Hultman) were concerned. He argued that All these clearly show that the merits of the cases and the petition for bail were heard
since the pending incident was the petition for bail with respect to the killing of simultaneously and appellant acquiesced thereto. Moreover, appellant's right to
Chapman, any testimony relative to the two (2) other charges in which bail were present additional evidence was not abridged by the trial court. On the contrary, the
recommended was irrelevant. records disclose that the trial court afforded the defense fair opportunity to adduce
After arguments, the defense suggested that if the prosecution would present Leino its evidence. It took the defense almost one and a half years to submit its evidence.
to testify on all three (3) charges, it should wait until after accused's arraingment on The defense presented more than twenty (20) witnesses and several documentary
August 14, 1991. 208 The prosecution agreed on the condition that there shall be trial evidence. It was only after the trial court rendered a decision against appellant that
on the merits and, at the same time, hearing on the petition for bail. Defense counsel he filed a motion for new
agreed. 209 trial, 212 through his new counsel, Atty. Gatmaytan, Jr. For the first time, he alleged
As agreed upon, accused was arraigned and the prosecution presented Jussi Leino as that the joint decision of the cases, both on the merits and on the petition for bail,
its first witness to testify on all three (3) cases. No objection was made by the was irregular for he was not given a chance to present further evidence to
defense. 210 corroborate his alibi. We note that in his motion for new trial, 213 appellant did not
Subsequent proceedings likewise disprove appellant's insistence that the hearings even identify his alleged additional witnesses and the substance of their testimonies.
conducted by the trial court were limited to the petition for bail, viz: Nor was it shown that he could not have produced these evidence at the trial with
1. The prosecution presented all their witnesses and documentary reasonable diligence. Appellant's motion was a patent ploy to delay the decision on
evidence relative to the shooting incident, including evidence in his cases. His motion was properly denied by the trial court.
support of the claim for damages. These witnesses were extensively IN VIEW WHEREOF, we hereby AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATIONS the Decision of the trial
cross-examined by the defense counsels. The defense never court, dated December 22, 1992, thus:
objected that evidence on damages would be unnecessary if its

52
(1) In Criminal Case No. 91-4605, finding accused Claudio J.
Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Homicide for the shooting of Roland John Chapman, and sentencing
said accused to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of
eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum to
fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion
temporal as maximum, and to pay the heirs of the said deceased
the following amounts: Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as
indemnity for the victim's death; and, One Million (P1,000,000.00)
pesos as moral damages.
(2) In Criminal Case No. 91-4606, finding accused Claudio J.
Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Murder, qualified by treachery, for the shooting of Maureen
Navarro Hultman, and sentencing him to suffer imprisonment
of reclusion perpetua, and to pay the heirs of the said deceased the
following amounts: Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) pesos as indemnity
for her death; Two Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Four
Hundred Sixty-One Pesos and Eighty-Three Centavos
(P2,350,461.83) as actual damages; Five Hundred Sixty-Four
Thousand Fourty-Two Pesos and Fifty-Seven Centavos
(P564,042.57) for loss of earning capacity of said deceased; One
Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) as moral damages; and Two Million
(P2,000,000.00) pesos as exemplary damages.
(3) In Criminal Case No. 91-4807, finding accused Claudio J.
Teehankee, Jr., guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Frustrated Murder, qualified by treachery, for the shooting of Jussi
Olavi Leino, and sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty
of eight (8) years of prision mayor as minimum, to fourteen (14)
years and eight (8) months of reclusion temporal as maximum, and
to pay the said offended party the following amounts: (P30,000.00)
pesos as Thirty Thousand (P30,000.00) pesos as indemnity for his
injuries; One Hundred Eighteen Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Nine
pesos and Eighty-Four Centavos (P118,369.84) and equivalent in
Philippine Pesos of U.S.$55,600.00, both as actual damages; One
Million (P1,000,000.00) pesos as moral damages; and, Two Million
(P2,000,000.00) pesos as exemplary damages.
(4) In all three cases, ordering said accused to pay each of the three
(3) offended parties the sum of One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00;
or a total of Three Million [P3,000,000.00] pesos] for attorney's fees
and expenses of litigation; and
(5) To pay the costs in all three (3) cases.
SO ORDERED.

53
G.R. Nos. 108280-83 November 16, 1995 asked the leaders for their permit. No permit could be produced. Colonel Dula Torres
ROMEO SISON, NILO PACADAR, JOEL TAN, RICHARD DE LOS SANTOS, and JOSELITO thereupon gave them ten minutes to disperse. The loyalist leaders asked for thirty
TAMAYO, petitioners, minutes but this was refused. Atty. Lozano turned towards his group and said
vs. "Gulpihin ninyo ang lahat ng mga Cory infiltrators." Atty. Nuega added "Sige, sige
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. gulpihin ninyo!" The police then pushed the crowd, and used tear gas and truncheons
G.R. Nos. 114931-33 November 16, 1995 to disperse them. The loyalists scampered away but some of them fought back and
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, threw stones at the police. Eventually, the crowd fled towards Maria Orosa Street and
vs. the situation later stabilized.1
ANNIE FERRER, accused, ROMEO SISON, NILO PACADAR, JOEL TAN, RICHARD DE LOS At about 4:00 p.m., a small group of loyalists converged at the Chinese Garden, Phase
SANTOS, and JOSELITO TAMAYO, accused-appellants. III of the Luneta. There, they saw Annie Ferrer, a popular movie starlet and supporter
of President Marcos, jogging around the fountain. They approached her and informed
PUNO, J.: her of their dispersal and Annie Ferrer angrily ordered them "Gulpihin ninyo and mga
The case before us occurred at a time of great political polarization in the aftermath Cory hecklers!" Then she continued jogging around the fountain chanting "Marcos pa
of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. This was the time when the newly-installed government rin, Marcos pa rin, Pabalikin si Marcos, Pabalikin si Marcos, Bugbugin ang mga
of President Corazon C. Aquino was being openly challenged in rallies, nakadilaw!" The loyalists replied "Bugbugin!" A few minutes later, Annie Ferrer was
demonstrations and other public fora by "Marcos loyalists," supporters of deposed arrested by the police. Somebody then shouted "Kailangang gumanti, tayo ngayon!" A
President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Tension and animosity between the two (2) groups commotion ensued and Renato Banculo, a cigarette vendor, saw the loyalists
sometimes broke into violence. On July 27, 1986, it resulted in the murder of Stephen attacking persons in yellow, the color of the "Coryistas." Renato took off his yellow
Salcedo, a known "Coryista." shirt.2 He then saw a man wearing a yellow t-shirt being chased by a group of persons
From August to October 1986, several informations were filed in court against eleven shouting "Iyan, habulin iyan. Cory iyan!" The man in the yellow t-shirt was Salcedo
persons identified as Marcos loyalists charging them with the murder of Salcedo. and his pursuers appeared to be Marcos loyalists. They caught Salcedo and boxed and
Criminal Case No. 86-47322 was filed against Raul Billosos y de Leon and Gerry Nery y kicked and mauled him. Salcedo tried to extricate himself from the group but they
Babazon; Criminal Case No. 86-47617 against Romeo Sison y Mejia, Nilo Pacadar y again pounced on him and pummelled him with fist blows and kicks hitting him on
Abe and Joel Tan y Mostero; Criminal Case No. 86-47790 against Richard de los Santos various parts of his body. Banculo saw Ranulfo Sumilang, an electrician at the Luneta,
y Arambulo; Criminal Case No. 86-48538 against Joselito Tamayo y Ortia; and Criminal rush to Salcedo's aid. Sumilang tried to pacify the maulers so he could extricate
Case No. 86-48931 against Rolando Fernandez y Mandapat. Also filed were Criminal Salcedo from them. But the maulers pursued Salcedo unrelentingly, boxing him with
Cases Nos. 86-49007 and 86-49008 against Oliver Lozano and Benjamin Nuega as well stones in their fists. Somebody gave Sumilang a loyalist tag which Sumilang showed to
as Annie Ferrer charging them as accomplices to the murder of Salcedo. Salcedo's attackers. They backed off for a while and Sumilang was able to tow Salcedo
The cases were consolidated and raffled to the Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIX, away from them. But accused Raul Billosos emerged from behind Sumilang as
Manila. All of the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and trial ensued another man boxed Salcedo on the head. Accused Richard de los Santos also boxed
accordingly. The prosecution presented twelve witnesses, including two Salcedo twice on the head and kicked him even as he was already fallen.3Salcedo
eyewitnesses, Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato Banculo, and the police officers who tried to stand but accused Joel Tan boxed him on the left side of his head and
were at the Luneta at the time of the incident. In support of their testimonies, the ear.4 Accused Nilo Pacadar punched Salcedo on his nape, shouting: "Iyan, Cory Iyan.
prosecution likewise presented documentary evidence consisting of newspaper Patayin!"5 Sumilang tried to pacify Pacadar but the latter lunged at the victim again.
accounts of the incident and various photographs taken during the mauling. Accused Joselito Tamayo boxed Salcedo on the left jaw and kicked him as he once
The prosecution established that on July 27, 1986, a rally was scheduled to be held at more fell. Banculo saw accused Romeo Sison trip Salcedo and kick him on the head,
the Luneta by the Marcos loyalists. Earlier, they applied for a permit to hold the rally and when he tried to stand, Sison repeatedly boxed him.6 Sumilang saw accused
but their application was denied by the authorities. Despite this setback, three Gerry Neri approach the victim but did not notice what he did.7
thousand of them gathered at the Rizal Monument of the Luneta at 2:30 in the Salcedo somehow managed to get away from his attackers and wipe off the blood
afternoon of the scheduled day. Led by Oliver Lozano and Benjamin Nuega, both from his face. He sat on some cement steps8 and then tried to flee towards Roxas
members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the loyalists started an impromptu boulevard to the sanctuary of the Rizal Monument but accused Joel Tan and Nilo
singing contest, recited prayers and delivered speeches in between. Colonel Edgar Pacadar pursued him, mauling Sumilang in the process. Salcedo pleaded for his life
Dula Torres, then Deputy Superintendent of the Western Police District, arrived and

54
exclaiming "Maawa na kayo sa akin. Tulungan ninyo ako." He cried: "Pulis, pulis. Wala the Luneta waiting for some pictures to be developed at that time. 15 He claimed to
bang pulis?"9 be afflicted with hernia impairing his mobility; he cannot run normally nor do things
The mauling resumed at the Rizal Monument and continued along Roxas Boulevard forcefully. 16 Richard de los Santos admits he was at the Luneta at the time of the
until Salcedo collapsed and lost consciousness. Sumilang flagged down a van and with mauling but denies hitting Salcedo. 17 He said that he merely watched the mauling
the help of a traffic officer, brought Salcedo to the Medical Center Manila but he was which explains why his face appeared in some of the photographs. 18 Unlike the other
refused admission. So they took him to the Philippine General Hospital where he died accused, Nilo Pacadar admits that he is a Marcos loyalist and a member of the Ako'y
upon arrival. Pilipino Movement and that he attended the rally on that fateful day. According to
Salcedo died of "hemorrhage, intracranial traumatic." He sustained various him, he saw Salcedo being mauled and like Richard de los Santos, merely viewed the
contusions, abrasions, lacerated wounds and skull fractures as revealed in the incident. 19 His face was in the pictures because he shouted to the maulers to stop
following post-mortem findings: hitting Salcedo. 20 Joel Tan also testified that he tried to pacify the maulers because
Cyanosis, lips, and nailbeds. he pitied Salcedo. The maulers however ignored him. 21
Contused-abrasions: 6.0 x 2.5 cm., and 3.0 x 2.4 cm., frontal region, The other accused, specifically Attys. Lozano and Nuega and Annie Ferrer opted not
right side; 6.8 x 4.2 cm., frontal region, left side; 5.0 x 4.0 cm., right to testify in their defense.
cheek; 5.0 x 3.5 cm., face, left side; 3.5 x 2.0 cm., nose; 4.0 x 2.1 cm., On December 16, 1988, the trial court rendered a decision finding Romeo Sison, Nilo
left ear, pinna; 5.0 x 4.0 cm. left suprascapular region; 6.0 x 2.8 cm., Pacadar, Joel Tan, Richard de los Santos and Joselito Tamayo guilty as principals in the
right elbow. crime of murder qualified by treachery and sentenced them to 14 years 10 months
Abrasions: 4.0 x 2.0 cm., left elbow; 2.0 x 1.5 cm., right knee. and 20 days of reclusion temporal as minimum to 20 years of reclusion temporal as
Lacerated wounds: 2.2 cm., over the left eyebrow; 1.0 cm., upper maximum. Annie Ferrer was likewise convicted as an accomplice. The court, however,
lip. found that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the other accused and thus
Hematoma, scalp; frontal region, both sides; left parietal region; acquitted Raul Billosos, Gerry Nery, Rolando Fernandez, Oliver Lozano and Benjamin
right temporal region; occipital region, right side. Nuega. The dispositive portion of the decision reads as follows:
Fractures, skull; occipital bone, right side; right posterior cranial WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered in the aforementioned
fossa; right anterior cranial fossa. cases as follows:
Hemorrhage, subdural, extensive. 1. In "People versus Raul Billosos and Gerry Nery," Criminal Case No.
Other visceral organs, congested. 86-47322, the Court finds that the Prosecution failed to prove the
Stomach, about 1/2 filled with grayish brown food materials and guilt of the two (2) Accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crime
fluid.10 charged and hereby acquits them of said charge;
The mauling of Salcedo was witnessed by bystanders and several press people, both 2. In "People versus Romeo Sison, et al.," Criminal Case No. 86-
local and foreign. The press took pictures and a video of the event which became 47617, the Court finds the Accused Romeo Sison, Nilo Pacadar and
front-page news the following day, capturing national and international attention. Joel Tan, guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as principals for the crime
This prompted President Aquino to order the Capital Regional Command and the of Murder, defined in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and,
Western Police District to investigate the incident. A reward of ten thousand pesos there being no other mitigating or aggravating circumstances,
(P10,000.00) was put up by Brigadier General Alfredo Lim, then Police Chief, for hereby imposes on each of them an indeterminate penalty of from
persons who could give information leading to the arrest of the killers. 11Several FOURTEEN (14)YEARS, TEN (10) MONTHS and TWENTY (20) DAYS,
persons, including Ranulfo Sumilang and Renato Banculo, cooperated with the police, of Reclusion Temporal, as minimum, to TWENTY (20) DAYS,
and on the basis of their identification, several persons, including the accused, were of Reclusion Temporal, as minimum, to TWENTY (20) YEARS
apprehended and investigated. of Reclusion Temporal, as Maximum;
For their defense, the principal accused denied their participation in the mauling of 3. In "People versus Richard de los Santos," Criminal Case No. 86-
the victim and offered their respective alibis. Accused Joselito Tamayo testified that 47790, the Court finds the Accused Richard de los Santos guilty
he was not in any of the photographs presented by the prosecution 12 because on July beyond reasonable doubt as principal for the crime of Murder
27, 1986, he was in his house in Quezon City.13 Gerry Neri claimed that he was at the defined in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and, there being no
Luneta Theater at the time of the other extenuating circumstances, the Court hereby imposes on him
incident. 14 Romeo Sison, a commercial photographer, was allegedly at his office near an indeterminate penalty of from FOURTEEN (14) YEARS, TEN (10)

55
MONTHS and TWENTY (20) DAYS of Reclusion Temporal, as The Petition for Bail of the Accused Rolando Fernandez has become
Minimum, to TWENTY (20) YEARS of Reclusion Temporal as moot and academic. The Petition for Bail of the Accused Joel Tan,
Maximum; Romeo Sison and Joselito Tamayo is denied for lack of merit.
4. In "People versus Joselito Tamayo," Criminal Case No. 86- The bail bonds posted by the Accused Oliver Lozano and Benjamin
48538 the Court finds the Accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt Nuega are hereby cancelled. 22
as principal, for the crime of "Murder" defined in Article 248 of the On appeal, the Court of Appeals 23 on December 28, 1992, modified the decision of
Revised Penal Code and hereby imposes on him an indeterminate the trial court by acquitting Annie Ferrer but increasing the penalty of the rest of the
penalty of from FOURTEEN (14) YEARS, TEN (10) MONTHS and accused, except for Joselito Tamayo, to reclusion perpetua. The appellate court found
TWENTY (20) DAYS of Reclusion Temporal, as Minimum, to TWENTY them guilty of murder qualified by abuse of superior strength, but convicted Joselito
(20) YEARS of Reclusion Temporal, as Maximum; Tamayo of homicide because the information against him did not allege the said
5. In "People versus Rolando Fernandez," Criminal Case No. 86- qualifying circumstance. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
4893l, the Court finds that the Prosecution failed to prove the guilt PREMISES CONSIDERED, the decision appealed from is hereby
of the Accused for the crime charged beyond reasonable doubt and MODIFIED as follows:
hereby acquits him of said charge; 1. Accused-appellants Romeo Sison y Mejia, Nilo Pacadar y Abe, Joel
6. In "People versus Oliver Lozano, et al.," Criminal Case No. 86- Tan y Mostero and Richard de los Santos are hereby found GUILTY
49007, the Court finds that the Prosecution failed to prove the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of Murder and are each hereby
of the Accused beyond reasonable doubt for the crime charged and sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua;
hereby acquits them of said charge; 2. Accused-appellant Joselito Tamayo y Oria is hereby found GUILTY
7. In "People versus Annie Ferrer," Criminal Case No. 86-49008, the beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide with the generic
Court finds the said Accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength and, as a
accomplice to the crime of Murder under Article 18 in relation to consequence, an indeterminate penalty of TWELVE (12) YEARS
Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and hereby imposes on her an of prision mayor as Minimum to TWENTY (20) YEARS of reclusion
indeterminate penalty of NINE (9) YEARS and FOUR (4) MONTHS temporal as Maximum is hereby imposed upon him;
of Prision Mayor, as Minimum to TWELVE (12) YEARS, FIVE (5) 3. Accused-appellant Annie Ferrer is hereby ACQUITTED of being an
MONTHS and ELEVEN (11) DAYS of Reclusion Temporal, as accomplice to the crime of Murder.
Maximum. CONSIDERING that the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua has been
The Accused Romeo Sison, Nilo Pacadar, Richard de los Santos, Joel imposed in the instant consolidated cases, the said cases are now
Tan, Joselito Tamayo and Annie Ferrer are hereby ordered to pay, hereby certified to the Honorable Supreme Court for review. 24
jointly and severally, to the heirs of Stephen Salcedo the total Petitioners filed G.R. Nos. 108280-83 under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court
amount of P74,000.00 as actual damages and the amount of inasmuch as Joselito Tamayo was not sentenced to reclusion perpetua. G.R. Nos.
P30,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages, and one-half (1/2) of 114931-33 was certified to us for automatic review of the decision of the Court of
the costs of suit. Appeals against the four accused-appellants sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
The period during which the Accused Nilo Pacadar, Romeo Sison, Before this court, accused-appellants assign the following errors:
Joel Tan, Richard de los Santos and Joselito Tamayo had been under I
detention during the pendency of these cases shall be credited to THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT
them provided that they agreed in writing to abide by and comply NOTED THAT THE ACCUSED FAILED TO CITE ANYTHING ON RECORD
strictly with the rules and regulations of the City Jail. TO SUPPORT THEIR AVERMENT THAT THERE WERE NO WITNESSES
The Warden of the City Jail of Manila is hereby ordered to release WHO HAVE COME FORWARD TO IDENTIFY THE PERSONS
the Accused Gerry Nery, Raul Billosos and Rolando Fernandez from RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF STEPHEN SALCEDO.
the City Jail unless they are being detained for another cause or II
charge. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING
CREDENCE TO THE UNRELIABLE, DOUBTFUL, SUSPICIOUS AND

56
INCONCLUSIVE TESTIMONIES OF PROSECUTION WITNESS RANULFO witness stand, he mistakenly identified a detention prisoner in another case
SUMILANG. as accused Rolando Fernandez. 27 Ranulfo Sumilang was evasive and
III unresponsive prompting the trial court to reprimand him several times. 28
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS LIKEWISE ERRED IN FINDING There is no proof that Banculo or Sumilang testified because of the reward
THE ACCUSED GUILTY WHEN THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE TO PROVE announced by General Lim, much less that both or either of them ever received such
THAT ANY OF THE ACCUSED CARRIED A HARD AND BLUNT reward from the government. On the contrary, the evidence shows that Sumilang
INSTRUMENT, THE ADMITTED CAUSE OF THE HEMORRHAGE reported the incident to the police and submitted his sworn statement immediately
RESULTING IN THE DEATH OF THE DECEASED. two hours after the mauling, even before announcement of any reward. 29 He
IV informed the police that he would cooperate with them and identify Salcedo's
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING assailants if he saw them again. 30
THAT THERE EXISTS CONSPIRACY AMONG THE PRINCIPAL ACCUSED. The fact that Banculo executed three sworn statements does not make them and his
V testimony incredible. The sworn statements were made to identify more suspects
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING who were apprehended during the investigation of Salcedo's death. 31
THAT THE CRIME COMMITTED IS MURDER AND NOT DEATH The records show that Sumilang was admonished several times by the trial court on
(HOMICIDE) CAUSED IN A TUMULTUOUS AFFRAY. 25 the witness stand for being argumentative and evasive. 32 This is not enough reason
In their additional brief, appellants contend that: to reject Sumilang's testimony for he did not exhibit this undesirable conduct all
I throughout his testimony. On the whole, his testimony was correctly given credence
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN REACHING by the trial court despite his evasiveness at some instances. Except for compelling
A CONCLUSION OF FACT UTILIZING SPECULATIONS, SURMISES, reasons, we cannot disturb the way trial courts calibrate the credence of witnesses
NON-SEQUITUR CONCLUSIONS, AND EVEN THE DISPUTED DECISION considering their visual view of the demeanor of witnesses when on the witness
OF THE TRIAL COURT, TO UPHOLD THE VALIDITY OF THE VERY SAME stand. As trial courts, they can best appreciate the verbal and non-verbal dimensions
JUDGMENT, ALL CONTRARY TO THE RULES OF EVIDENCE. of a witness' testimony.
II Banculo's mistake in identifying another person as one of the accused does not make
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ADMITTING him an entirely untrustworthy witness. 33 It does not make his whole testimony a
EXHIBITS "D", "G", "O", "P", "V", TO "V-48", "W" TO "W-13", ALL OF falsity. An honest mistake is not inconsistent with a truthful testimony. Perfect
WHICH WERE NOT PROPERLY IDENTIFIED. testimonies cannot be expected from persons with imperfect senses. In the court's
III discretion, therefore, the testimony of a witness can be believed as to some facts but
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN disbelieved with respect to the others. 34
CONCLUDING THAT CONSPIRACY EXISTED IN THE CASE AT BAR We sustain the appellate and trial courts' findings that the witnesses' testimonies
DISREGARDING ALTOGETHER THE SETTLED JURISPRUDENCE ON THE corroborate each other on all important and relevant details of the principal
MATTER. occurrence. Their positive identification of all petitioners jibe with each other and
IV their narration of the events are supported by the medical and documentary
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING evidence on record.
THAT THE CRIME COMMITTED WAS MURDER, NOT DEATH Dr. Roberto Garcia, the medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation,
(HOMICIDE) IN TUMULTUOUS AFFRAY SIDESTEPPING IN THE testified that the victim had various wounds on his body which could have been
PROCESS THE FACTUAL GROUNDS SURROUNDING THE INCIDENT. 26 inflicted by pressure from more than one hard object. 35 The contusions and abrasions
Appellants mainly claim that the Court of Appeals erred in sustaining the found could have been caused by punches, kicks and blows from rough stones. 36 The
testimonies of the two in prosecution eyewitnesses, Ranulfo Sumilang and fatal injury of intracranial hemorrhage was a result of fractures in Salcedo's skull
Renato Banculo, because they are unreliable, doubtful and do not deserve which may have been caused by contact with a hard and blunt object such as
any credence. According to them, the testimonies of these two witnesses are fistblows, kicks and a blunt wooden instrument. 37
suspect because they surfaced only after a reward was announced by Appellants do not deny that Salcedo was mauled, kicked and punched. Sumilang in
General Lim. Renato Banculo even submitted three sworn statements to the fact testified that Salcedo was pummeled by his assailants with stones in their
police geared at providing a new or improved version of the incident. On the hands. 38

57
Appellants also contend that although the appellate court correctly disregarded Atty. Lazaro appeared at the third hearing and interposed a continuing objection to
Exhibits "D," "G," and "P," it erroneously gave evidentiary weight to Exhibits "O," "V," their admissibility. 57
"V-1" to "V-48," "W," "W-1" to "W-13." 39 Exhibit "O" is the Joint Affidavit of Pat. The objection of Atty. Lazaro to the admissibility of the photographs is anchored on
Flores and Pat. Bautista, the police intelligence-operatives who witnessed the rally the fact that the person who took the same was not presented to identify them. We
and subsequent dispersal operation. Pat. Flores properly identified Exhibit "O" as his rule that the use of these photographs by some of the accused to show their alleged
sworn statement and in fact gave testimony corroborating the contents non-participation in the crime is an admission of the exactness and accuracy thereof.
thereof. 40 Besides, the Joint Affidavit merely reiterates what the other prosecution That the photographs are faithful representations of the mauling incident was
witnesses testified to. Identification by Pat. Bautista is a surplusage. If appellants affirmed when appellants Richard de los Santos, Nilo Pacadar and Joel Tan identified
wanted to impeach the said affidavit, they should have placed Pat. Flores on the themselves therein and gave reasons for their presence thereat. 58
witness stand. An analysis of the photographs vis-a-vis the accused's testimonies reveal that only
Exhibits "V," "V-1" to "V-48" are photographs taken of the victim as he was being three of the appellants, namely, Richard de los Santos, Nilo Pacadar and Joel Tan
mauled at the Luneta — starting from a grassy portion to the pavement at the Rizal could be readily seen in various belligerent poses lunging or hovering behind or over
Monument and along Roxas Boulevard, 41 — as he was being chased by his the victim. 59 Appellant Romeo Sison appears only once and he, although afflicted
assailants 42 and as he sat pleading with his assailants. 43 Exhibits "W", "W-1" to "W- with hernia is shown merely running after the
13" are photographs of Salcedo and the mauling published in local newspapers and victim. 60Appellant Joselito Tamayo was not identified in any of the pictures. The
magazines such as the Philippine Star, 44 Mr. and Ms. Magazine, 45 Philippine Daily absence of the two appellants in the photographs does not exculpate them. The
Inquirer, 46 and the Malaya. 47 The admissibility of these photographs is being photographs did not capture the entire sequence of the killing of Salcedo but only
questioned by appellants for lack of proper identification by the person or persons segments thereof. While the pictures did not record Sison and Tamayo hitting
who took the same. Salcedo, they were unequivocally identified by Sumilang and
The rule in this jurisdiction is that photographs, when presented in evidence, must be Banculo61Appellants' denials and alibis cannot overcome their eyeball identification.
identified by the photographer as to its production and testified as to the Appellants claim that the lower courts erred in finding the existence of conspiracy
circumstances under which they were produced. 48 The value of this kind of evidence among the principal accused and in convicting them of murder qualified by abuse of
lies in its being a correct representation or reproduction of the original, 49 and its superior strength, not death in tumultuous affray.
admissibility is determined by its accuracy in portraying the scene at the time of the Death in a tumultuous affray is defined in Article 251 of the Revised Penal code as
crime. 50 The photographer, however, is not the only witness who can identify the follows:
pictures he has taken. 51 The correctness of the photograph as a faithful Art. 251. Death caused in a tumultuous affray. — When, while
representation of the object portrayed can be proved prima facie, either by the several persons, not composing groups organized for the common
testimony of the person who made it or by other competent witnesses, after which purpose of assaulting and attacking each other reciprocally, quarrel
the court can admit it subject to impeachment as to its accuracy. 52Photographs, and assault each other in a confused and tumultuous manner, and
therefore, can be identified by the photographer or by any other competent witness in the course of the affray someone is killed, and it cannot be
who can testify to its exactness and accuracy. 53 ascertained who actually killed the deceased, but the person or
This court notes that when the prosecution offered the photographs as part of its persons who inflicted serious physical injuries can be identified,
evidence, appellants, through counsel Atty. Alfredo Lazaro, Jr. objected to their such person or persons shall be punished by prison mayor.
admissibility for lack of proper identification. 54 However, when the accused If it cannot be determined who inflicted the serious physical injuries
presented their evidence, Atty. Winlove Dumayas, counsel for accused Joselito on the deceased, the penalty ofprision correccional in its medium
Tamayo and Gerry Neri used Exhibits "V", "V-1" to "V-48" to prove that his clients and maximum periods shall be imposed upon all those who shall
were not in any of the pictures and therefore could not have participated in the have used violence upon the person of the victim.
mauling of the victim. 55 The photographs were adopted by appellant Joselito Tamayo For this article to apply, it must be established that: (1) there be several
and accused Gerry Neri as part of the defense exhibits. And at this hearing, Atty. persons; (2) that they did not compose groups organized for the common
Dumayas represented all the other accused per understanding with their respective purpose of assaulting and attacking each other reciprocally; (3) these several
counsels, including Atty. Lazaro, who were absent. At subsequent hearings, the persons quarrelled and assaulted one another in a confused and tumultuous
prosecution used the photographs to cross-examine all the accused who took the manner; (4) someone was killed in the course of the affray; (5) it cannot be
witness stand. 56 No objection was made by counsel for any of the accused, not until ascertained who actually killed the deceased; and (6) that the person or

58
persons who inflicted serious physical injuries or who used violence can be them, a concerted effort to bring about the death of Salcedo. Where a conspiracy
identified.62 existed and is proved, a showing as to who among the conspirators inflicted the fatal
A tumultuous affray takes place when a quarrel occurs between several persons and wound is not required to sustain a conviction. 67 Each of the conspirators is liable for
they engage in a confused and tumultuous affray, in the course of which some person all acts of the others regardless of the intent and character of their participation,
is killed or wounded and the author thereof cannot be ascertained. 63 because the act of one is the act of all. 68
The quarrel in the instant case, if it can be called a quarrel, was between one distinct The trial court awarded the heirs of Salcedo P74,000.00 as actual damages,
group and one individual. Confusion may have occurred because of the police P30,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages, and one half of the costs of the suit. At
dispersal of the rallyists, but this confusion subsided eventually after the loyalists fled the time he died on July 27, 1986, Salcedo was twenty three years old and was set to
to Maria Orosa Street. It was only a while later after said dispersal that one distinct leave on August 4, 1986 for employment in Saudi Arabia. 69 The reckless disregard for
group identified as loyalists picked on one defenseless individual and attacked him such a young person's life and the anguish wrought on his widow and three small
repeatedly, taking turns in inflicting punches, kicks and blows on him. There was no children, 70 warrant an increase in moral damages from P30,000.00 to P100,000.00.
confusion and tumultuous quarrel or affray, nor was there a reciprocal aggression at The indemnity of P50,000.00 must also be awarded for the death of the victim.71
this stage of the incident.64 IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed and modified as
As the lower courts found, the victim's assailants were numerous by as much as fifty follows:
in number65 and were armed with stones with which they hit the victim. They took 1. Accused-appellants Romeo Sison, Nilo Pacadar, Joel Tan and
advantage of their superior strength and excessive force and frustrated any attempt Richard de los Santos are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
by Salcedo to escape and free himself. They followed Salcedo from the Chinese Murder without any aggravating or mitigating circumstance and are
Garden to the Rizal Monument several meters away and hit him mercilessly even each hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua;
when he was already fallen on the ground. There was a time when Salcedo was able 2. Accused-appellant Joselito Tamayo is found GUILTY beyond
to get up, prop himself against the pavement and wipe off the blood from his face. reasonable doubt of the crime of Homicide with the generic
But his attackers continued to pursue him relentlessly. Salcedo could not defend aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength and, as a
himself nor could he find means to defend himself. Sumilang tried to save him from consequence, he is sentenced to an indeterminate penalty of
his assailants but they continued beating him, hitting Sumilang in the process. Salcedo TWELVE (12) YEARS of prision mayor as minimum to TWENTY (20)
pleaded for mercy but they ignored his pleas until he finally lost consciousness. The YEARS of reclusion temporal as maximum;
deliberate and prolonged use of superior strength on a defenseless victim qualifies 3. All accused-appellants are hereby ordered to pay jointly and
the killing to murder. severally the heirs of Stephen Salcedo the following amounts:
Treachery as a qualifying circumstance cannot be appreciated in the instant case. (a) P74,000.00 as actual damages;
There is no proof that the attack on Salcedo was deliberately and consciously chosen (b) P100,000.00 as moral damages; and
to ensure the assailants' safety from any defense the victim could have made. True, (c) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of the
the attack on Salcedo was sudden and unexpected but it was apparently because of victim.
the fact that he was wearing a yellow t-shirt or because he allegedly flashed the Costs against accused-appellants.
"Laban" sign against the rallyists, taunting them into mauling him. As the appellate SO ORDERED.
court well found, Salcedo had the opportunity to sense the temper of the rallyists and
run away from them but he, unfortunately, was overtaken by them. The essence of
treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack without the slightest provocation on
the part of the person being attacked. 66
The qualifying circumstance of evident premeditation was alleged in the information
against Joselito Tamayo. Evident premeditation cannot be appreciated in this case
because the attack against Salcedo was sudden and spontaneous, spurred by the
raging animosity against the so-called "Coryistas." It was not preceded by cool
thought and reflection.
We find however the existence of a conspiracy among appellants. At the time they
were committing the crime, their actions impliedly showed a unity of purpose among

59
GLORIA PILAR S. AGUIRRE vs 1980, Larry, then two years and nine months of age, formally became the ward of
SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF respondent Pedro Aguirre and his spouse Lourdes Aguirre by virtue of an Affidavit of
JUSTICE, MICHELINA S. AGUIRRE- Consent to Legal Guardianship executed in their favor by Sister Mary Concepta
OLONDRIZ, PEDRO B. AGUIRRE, DR. Bellosillo, Superior of the Heart of Mary Villa. On 19 June 1986, the Aguirre spouses
JUVIDO AGATEP and DR. MARISSA B. guardianship of Larry was legalized when the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3 of
PASCUAL, Balanga, Bataan, duly appointed them as joint co-guardians over the person and
Respondents. property of Larry.
As Larry was growing up, the Aguirre spouses and their children noticed that
his developmental milestones were remarkably delayed. His cognitive and physical
In this petition for review on certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, growth did not appear normal in that at age 3 to 4 years, Larry could only crawl on his
as amended, petitioner Gloria Pilar S. Aguirre (Gloria Aguirre) seeks the reversal of the tummy like a frog x x x;[8] he did not utter his first word until he was three years of
21 July 2005 Decision[2] and 5 December 2005 Resolution,[3] both of the Court of age; did not speak in sentences until his sixth year; and only learned to stand up and
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 88370, entitled Gloria Pilar S. Aguirre v. Secretary of the walk after he turned five years old. At age six, the Aguirre spouses first enrolled Larry
Department of Justice, Michelina S. Aguirre-Olondriz, Dr. Juvido Agatep, Dra. Marissa at the Colegio de San Agustin, Dasmarias Village, but the child experienced significant
B. Pascual, Pedro B. Aguirre and John and Jane Does. learning difficulties there. In 1989, at age eleven, Larry was taken to specialists for
neurological and psychological evaluations. The psychological evaluation[9] done on
The Court of Appeals found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Larry revealed the latter to be suffering from a mild mental deficiency. [10] Consequent
Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) when the latter issued the twin thereto, the Aguirre spouses transferred Larry to St. John Ma. Vianney, an educational
resolutions dated 11 February 2004[4] and 12 November 2004,[5] respectively, which in institution for special children.
turn affirmed the 8 January 2003 Resolution[6] of the Office of the City Prosecutor
(OCP) of Quezon City. In November of 2001, respondent Dr. Agatep, a urologist/surgeon, was
approached concerning the intention to have Larry, then 24 years of age,
The Assistant City Prosecutor for the OCP of Quezon City recommended the vasectomized. Prior to performing the procedure on the intended patient,
dismissal of the criminal complaint, docketed as I.S. No. 02-12466, for violation of respondent Dr. Agatep required that Larry be evaluated by a psychiatrist in order to
Articles 172 (Falsification by Private Individuals and Use of Falsified Documents) and confirm and validate whether or not the former could validly give his consent to the
262 (Mutilation), both of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Republic Act No. 7610, medical procedure on account of his mental deficiency.
otherwise known as Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, for insufficiency
of evidence. In view of the required psychiatric clearance, Larry was brought to
respondent Dr. Pascual, a psychiatrist, for evaluation. In a psychiatric report dated 21
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by petitioner Gloria Aguirre against January 2002, respondent Dr. Pascual made the following recommendation:
respondents Pedro B. Aguirre (Pedro Aguirre), Michelina S. Aguirre-Olondriz
(Olondriz), Dr. Juvido Agatep (Dr. Agatep), Dr. Marissa B. Pascual (Dr. Pascual) and [T]he responsibility of decision making may be given to his parent or
several John/Jane Does for falsification, mutilation and child abuse. guardian.[11]

The antecedents of the present petition are:


the full text of which reads
Laureano Larry Aguirre[7] used to be a charge of the Heart of Mary Villa, a
child caring agency run by the Good Shepherd Sisters and licensed by the Department PSYCHIATRY REPORT
of Social Work and Development (DSWD). Sometime in 1978, respondent Pedro 21 January 2002
Aguirre; the latters spouse, Lourdes S. Aguirre (Lourdes Aguirre); and their four
daughters, who included petitioner Gloria Aguirre and respondent Olondriz, came to GENERAL DATA
know Larry, who was then just over a year old. The Aguirres would have Larry spend a
few days at their home and then return him to the orphanage thereafter. In June

60
LAUREANO AGUIRRE, 24 years old, male, high school graduate of St. music. He could perform activities of daily living without assistance
John [Marie Vianney], was referred for psychiatric evaluation to except that he still needs supervision in taking a bath. He cannot
determine competency to give consent for vasectomy. prepare his own meal and never allowed to go out and run errands
alone. He does not have friends and it is only his adoptive family
CLINICAL SUMMARY whom he has significant relationships. He claims that he once had a
girlfriend when he was in high school who was more like a best
Larry was adopted at age 3 from an orphanage and prenatal history friend to him. He never had sexual relations. He has learned to
is not known to the adoptive family except that abortion was smoke and drink alcohol few years ago through his cousins and the
attempted. Developmental milestones were noted to be drivers. There is no history of abuse of alcohol or any prohibited
delayed. He started to walk and speak in single word at around age substances.
5. He was enrolled in Colegio de San Agustin at age 6 where he
showed significant learning difficulties that he had to repeat 1 st and MEDICAL STATUS EXAMINATION
4th grades. A consult was done in 1989 when he was 11 years
old. Neurological findings and EEG results were not normal and he The applicant was appropriately dressed. He was cooperative and
was given Tecretol and Encephabol by his neurologist. Psychological he had intermittent eye contact. Speech was spontaneous, soft, and
evaluation revealed mild to moderate mental retardation, special relevant. He responded to questions in single words or simple
education training was advised and thus, he was transferred to St. sentences. He was anxious specially at the start of the interview,
John Marie Vianney. He finished his elementary and secondary with full affect appropriate to mood and thought content. There
education in the said school. He was later enrolled in a vocational was no apparent thought or perceptual disturbance. No
course at Don Bosco which he was unable to continue. There has suicidal/homicidal thoughts elicited. He was oriented to time, place
been no reported behavioral problems in school and he gets along and person. He has intact remote and recent memory. He could do
relatively well with his teachers and some of his classmates. simple calculation. He could write his name and read simple
words. His human figure was comparable to a 7-8 year old. He
Larry grew up with a very supportive adoptive family. He is the demonstrated fair judgment and poor insight. He had fair impulse
youngest in the family of four sisters. Currently, his adoptive control.
parents are already old and have medical problem and thus, they
could no longer monitor and take care of him like before. His PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS
adoptive mother has Bipolar Mood Disorder and used to physically
maltreat him. A year ago, he had an episode of dizziness, vomiting Psychological tests done on March 6, 1990 (Dr. Lourdes Ledesma)
and headaches after he was hit by his adoptive mother. Consult was and on August 4, 2000 (Dr. Ma. Teresa Gustilo-Villaosor)
done in Makati Medical Center and several tests were done, results consistently revealed mild to moderate mental deficiency.
of which were consistent with his developmental problem. There
was no evidence of acute insults. The family subsequently decided SIGNIFICANT LABORATORY EXAMS RESULTS
that he should stay with one of his sisters to avoid similar incident
and the possibility that he would retaliate although he has never CT scan done 09 January 2001 showed nonspecific right deep
hurt anybody. There has been no episode of violent outburst or parietal subcortical malacia. No localized mass lesion in the brain.
aggressive behavior. He would often keep to himself when sad,
angry or frustrated. MRI done on 10 January 2001 showed bilateral parietal x x x volume
loss, encephalomalacia, gliosis and ulegyria consistent with sequela
He is currently employed in the company of his sister and given of postnatal or neonatal infarcts.Ex-vacuo dilatation of the atria of
assignment to do some photocopying, usually in the mornings. He lateral ventricles associated thinned posterior half of the corpus
enjoys playing billiards and basketball with his nephews and, he callosum.
spends most of his leisure time watching TV and listening to

61
ASSESSMENT AND RECOMMENDATION Michelina Aguirre-Olondriz and/or Pedro B. Aguirre, actually
scouted, prospected, facilitated, solicited and/or procured the
Axis I None medical services of respondents Dra. Pascual and Dr. Agatep vis--vis
Axis II Mental Retardation, mild to moderate type the intended mutilation via bilateral vasectomy of my common law
Axis III None brother Larry Aguirre subject hereof.
Axis IV None at present
Axis V Current GAF = 50-60 xxxx

Larrys mental deficiency could be associated with possible 4. Sometime in March 2002, however, the Heart of Mary Villa of the
perinatal insults, which is consistent with the neuroimaging Good Shepherd Sisters was furnished a copy of respondent Dra.
findings. Mental retardation associated with neurological problems Pascuals Psychiatry Report dated 21 January 2004 by the DSWD, in
usually has poorer prognosis. Larry is very much dependent on his which my common law brother Larry was falsely and maliciously
family for his needs, adaptive functioning, direction and in making declared incompetent and incapable of purportedly giving his own
major life decisions. At his capacity, he may never understand the consent to the MUTILATION VIA BILATERAL VASECTOMY intended
nature, the foreseeable risks and benefits, and consequences of the to be performed on him by all the respondents.
procedure (vasectomy) that his family wants for his
protection. Thus, the responsibility of decision making may be given xxxx
to his parent or guardian.
6. Based on the foregoing charade and false pretenses invariably
Marissa B. Pascual, M.D. committed by all of the respondents in conspiracy with each other,
Psychiatrist[12] on 31 January 2002, my common law brother Larry Aguirre,
although of legal age but conspiratorially caused to be declared by
respondents to be mentally deficient and incompetent to give
Considering the above recommendation, respondent Pedro Aguirres written consent to his BILATERAL VASECTOMY, was then intentionally,
consent was deemed sufficient in order to proceed with the conduct of the unlawfully, maliciously, feloniously and/or criminally placed
vasectomy. Hence, on 31 January 2002, respondent Dr. Agatep performed a bilateral thereafter under surgery for MUTILATION VIA BILATERAL
vasectomy on Larry. VASECTOMY x x x, EVEN WITHOUT ANY AUTHORIZATION ORDER
from the GUARDIANSHIP COURT, nor personal consent of Larry
On 11 June 2002, petitioner Gloria Aguirre, respondent Pedro Aguirres eldest Aguirre himself.
child, instituted a criminal complaint for the violation of the Revised Penal Code,
particularly Articles 172 and 262, both in relation to Republic Act No. 7610 against
respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep, Dr. Pascual and several John/Jane In addition to the above, the complaint included therein an allegation that
Does before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City.
v. x x x without a PRIOR medical examination,
The Complaint Affidavit,[13] docketed as I.S. No. 02-12466, contained the professional interview of nor verification
following allegations: and consultation with my mother,
Lourdes Sabino-Aguirre, respondent Dra.
2. x x x Dr. Agatep and Dra. Pascual were (sic) medical Pascual baselessly, fraudulently and with
practitioners specializing in urology and psychiatry respectively; obvious intent to defame and malign her
while respondent Pedro B. Aguirre is my father; Michelina S. reputation and honor, and worse, that of
Aguirre-Olondriz is my sister, and the victim Laureano Larry Aguirre our Sabido family, falsely concluded and
xxx is my common law brother. JOHN and JANE DOES were the diagnosed, via her falsified Psychiatry
persons who, acting upon the apparent instructions of respondents Report, that my mother Lourdes Sabido-

62
Aguirre purportedly suffers from
BIPOLAR MOOD DISORDER x x x. 13. x x x the Complaint does not even state what alleged
participation was falsified or the portion of the
psychiatric report that allegedly states that
To answer petitioner Gloria Aguirres accusations against them, respondents someone participated when in fact that person
Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr. Pascual submitted their respective did not so participate.
Counter-Affidavits.
xxxx
In her defense,[14] respondent Olondriz denied that she prospected, scouted,
facilitated, solicited and/or procured any false statement, mutilated or abused her 15. Again, I had no participation in the preparation of the
common-law brother, Larry Aguirre. Further, she countered that: report of Dr. Pascual x x x.

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


through a vasectomy procedure, there is nothing
in the Complaint which explains how the 17. x x x the Complaint does not dispute that he (Larry) is
vasectomy amounts to a mutilation. mentally deficient or incompetent to give consent.

xxxx xxxx

5. In any case, as I did not perform the vasectomy, I can 19. x x x I verified that the effect of a vasectomy operation
state with complete confidence that I did not was explained to him (Larry) by both respondent
participate in any way in the alleged mutilation. doctors.

6. Neither did I procure or solicit the services of the 20. x x x I accompanied Larry and obeyed my father on the
physician who performed the vasectomy, Dr. belief that my father continues to be the legal
Juvido Agatep x x x. It was my father, Pedro guardian of Larry. I know of no one else who
Aguirre, Larrys guardian, who obtained his asserts to be his legal guardian x x x.[15]
services. I merely acted upon his instructions and
accompanied my brother to the physician,
respondents Dra. Marissa B. Pascual x x x. Alleging the same statement of facts and defenses, respondent Pedro
Aguirre argues against his complicity in the crime of mutilation as charged and asserts
xxxx that:

10. Neither does the Complaint explain in what manner the 5. In any case, as I did not perform the vasectomy, I can state with
Complainant is authorized or has any standing to complete confidence that I did not participate in any way in
declare that Larrys consent was not obtained. the alleged mutilation.[16]
Complainant is not the guardian or relative of
Larry. While she argues that Larrys consent should Nevertheless, he maintains that the vasectomy performed on Larry does not in any
have been obtained the Complaint does not way amount to mutilation, as the latters reproductive organ is still completely
dispute the psychiatrists findings about Larrys intact.[17] In any case, respondent Pedro Aguirre explains that the procedure
inability to give consent. performed is reversible through another procedure called Vasovasostomy, to wit:

xxxx

63
8. I understand that vasectomy is reversible through a procedure
called Vasovasostomy. I can also state with confidence that (b) x x x I scheduled Larry for consultative interview x x x wherein I
the procedure enables men who have undergone a painstakingly explained what vasectomy is and the consequences
vasectomy to sire a child. Hence, no permanent damage thereof; but finding signs of mental deficiency, x x x I advised his
was caused by the procedure. relatives and his nurse who accompanied him to have Larry
examined by a psychiatrist who could properly determine whether
or not Larry x x x can really give his consent, thus I required them to
Respondent Pedro Aguirre challenges the charge of falsification in the secure first a psychiatric evaluation and clearance prior to the
complaint, to wit: contemplated procedure.

14. x x x I did not make it appear that any person participated in any (c) On January 21, 2002, I was furnished a copy of a psychiatric
act or proceeding when that person did not in fact report prepared by Dr. Marissa Pascual x x x. In her said report, Dr.
participate x x x. Pascual found Larry to suffer from mental retardation, mild to
moderate type and further stated that at his capacity, he may never
xxxx understand the nature, the foreseeable risks and benefits and
consequences of the procedure (vasectomy) x x x, thus the
16. x x x I had no participation in the preparation of the report of responsibility of decision making may be given to his parent or
Dra. Pascual. She arrived at her report independently, guardian x x x.
using her own professional judgment x x x.
(d) x x x I was likewise furnished a copy of an affidavit executed by
xxxx Pedro Aguirre stating that he was the legal guardian of Larry x x x
Pedro Aguirre gave his consent to vasectomize Larry x x x.
31. What I cannot understand about Petitas Complaint is how Larry
is argued to be legally a child under the definition of one (e) Only then, specifically January 31, 2002, vasectomy was
law but nonetheless and simultaneously argued to be performed with utmost care and diligence.[19]
capacitated to give his consent as fully as an adult.[18]
In defense against the charge of falsification and mutilation, respondent Dr.
Agatep argued that subject complaint should be dismissed for the following reasons:
Respondent Pedro Aguirre further clarifies that co-guardianship over Larry
had been granted to himself and his wife, Lourdes Aguirre, way back on 19 June 1. The complainant has no legal personality to file this case. As
1986 by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 3 of Balanga, Bataan. Respondent Pedro mentioned above, she is only a common law sister of Larry who has
Aguirre contends that being one of the legal guardians, consequently, parental a legal guardian in the person of Pedro Aguirre, one of the herein
authority over Larry is vested in him. But assuming for the sake of argument that respondents x x x.
Larry does have the capacity to make the decision concerning his vasectomy,
respondent Pedro Aguirre argues that petitioner Gloria Aguirre has no legal 2. x x x [t]he allegations in the complaint clearly centers on the
personality to institute the subject criminal complaint, for only Larry would have the condition of complainants mother, Lourdes Aguirre, her reputation,
right to do so. and miserably fails to implicate the degree of participation of herein
respondent. x x x
Just as the two preceding respondents did, respondent Dr. Agatep also
disputed the allegations of facts stated in the Complaint. Adopting the allegations of xxxx
his co-respondents insofar as they were material to the charges against him, he
vehemently denied failing to inform Larry of the intended procedure. In his counter- (b) Falsification. x x x I strongly aver that this felony does not apply
statement of facts he averred that: to me since it clearly gives reference to co-respondent, Dr. Marissa

64
Pascuals Psychiatry Report, dated January 21, 2002, in relation with 8. I had no participation in the surgery performed on Larry Aguirre
her field of profession, an expert opinion. I do not have any except to render an opinion on his capacity to give informed
participation in the preparation of said report, x x x neither did I consent to the vasectomy x x x.
utilized (sic) the same in any proceedings to the damage to another.
x x x I also deny using a falsified document x x x. 9. Without admitting the merits of the complaint, I submit that
complainants are not the proper persons to subscribe to the same
(c) Mutilation. x x x Vasectomy does not in anyway equate to as they are not the offended party, peace officer or other public
castration and what is touched in vasectomy is not considered an officer charged with the enforcement of the law violated x x x. [21]
organ in the context of law and medicine, it is quite remote from
the penis x x x.
The Assistant City Prosecutor held that the circumstances attendant to the
(d) Child Abuse. x x x the complaint-affidavit is very vague in case did not amount to the crime of falsification. He held that
specifying the applicability of said law. It merely avers that Laureano
Larry Aguirre is a child, and alleges his father, Pedro Aguirre, has [T]he claim of the complainant that the Psychiatric Report was
parental authority over him x x x.[20] falsified, because consent was not given by Larry Aguirre to the
vasectomy and/or he was not consulted on said operation does not
constitute falsification. It would have been different if it was stated
Similarly, respondent Dr. Pascual denied the criminal charges of falsification in the report that consent was obtained from Larry Aguirre or that it
and mutilation imputed to her. She stands by the contents of the assailed Psychiatric was written therein that he was consulted on the vasectomy,
Report, justifying it thus: because that would mean that it was made to appear in the report
that Larry Aguirre participated in the act or proceeding by giving his
x x x My opinion of Larry Aguirres mental status was based on my consent or was consulted on the matter when in truth and in fact,
own personal observations, his responses during my interview of he did not participate. Or if not, the entry would have been an
him, the results of the two (2) psychological tests conducted by untruthful statement. But that is not the case. Precisely (sic) the
clinical psychologists, the results of laboratory tests, including a CT report was made to determine whether Larry Aguirre could give his
Scan and MRI, and his personal and family history which I obtained consent to his intended vasectomy. Be that as it may, the matter of
from his sister, Michelina Aguirre-Olondriz x x x. Larrys consent having obtained or not may nor be an issue after all,
because complainants (sic) herself alleged that Larrys mental
5. x x x the reference in my report concerning Mrs. Lourdes Aguirre condition is that of a child, who can not give consent. Based on the
is not a statement of my opinion of Mrs. Aguirres mental status, x x foregoing consideration, no falsification can be established under
x. Rather, it is part of the patients personal and family history as the circumstances.[22]
conveyed to me by Mrs. Aguirre-Olondriz.

6. x x x An expression of my opinion, especially of an expert opinion, Even the statement in the Psychiatric Report of respondent Dr. Pascual that
cannot give rise to a charge for falsification. A contrary opinion by Lourdes Aguirre had Bipolar Mood Disorder cannot be considered falsification since
another expert only means that the experts differ, and does not
necessarily reflect on the truth or falsity of either opinion x x x. The report did not state that Lourdes Aguirre was in fact personally
interviewed by respondent Dr. Pascual and that the latter
7. x x x I never stated that I examined Mrs. Aguirre, because I never concluded that Lourdes Aguirre has Bipolar Mood Disorder. The
did x x x. report merely quoted other sources of information with respect to
the condition of Lourdes Aguirre, in the same manner that the fact
that Lourdes Aguirre was physically abusing Larry Aguirre was also
not of Dra. Pascual personal knowledge. But the fact that Dra.

65
Pascual cited finding, which is not of her own personal knowledge in may, motu proprio, dismiss outright the petition if there is no
her report does not mean that she committed falsification in the showing of any reversible error in the questioned resolution or finds
process. Her sources may be wrong and may affect the veracity of the same to be patently without merit.
her report, but for as long as she has not alleged therein that she
personally diagnosed Lourdes Aguirre, which allegation would not We carefully examined the petition and its attachments
then be true, she cannot be charged of falsification. Therefore, it and found no error that would justify a reversal of the assailed
goes without saying that if the author of the report is not guilty, resolution which is in accord with the law and evidenced (sic) on the
then with more reason the other respondents are not liable. [23] matter.[29]

Respecting the charge of mutilation, the Assistant City Prosecutor also held Petitioner Gloria Aguirres Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied
that the facts alleged did not amount to the crime of mutilation as defined and with finality by the DOJ in another Resolution dated 12 November 2004.
penalized under Article 262 of the Revised Penal Code, i.e., [t]he vasectomy operation
did not in any way deprived (sic) Larry of his reproductive organ, which is still very Resolute in her belief, petitioner Gloria Aguirre went to the Court of Appeals
much part of his physical self. He ratiocinated that: by means of a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, as amended.
While the operation renders him the inability (sic) to procreate, the
operation is reversible and therefore, cannot be the permanent On 21 July 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision dismissing
damage contemplated under Article 262 of the Revised Penal petitioner Gloria Aguirres recourse for lack of merit.
Code.[24]
The fallo of the assailed decision reads:

The Assistant City Prosecutor,[25] in a Resolution[26] dated 8 January 2003, WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is
found no probable cause to hold respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and hereby DENIED DUE COURSE and accordingly DISMISSED for lack of
Dr. Pascual liable for the complaint of falsification and mutilation, more specifically, merit. Consequently, the assailed Resolutions dated February 11,
the violation of Articles 172 and 262 of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Republic 2004 and November 12, 2004 of the Secretary of Justice in I.S. No.
Act No. 7610. Accordingly, the Assistant City Prosecutor recommended the dismissal 02-12466 are hereby AFFIRMED.[30]
of petitioner Gloria Aguirres complaint for insufficiency of evidence. The dispositive
portion of the resolution reads:
Petitioner Gloria Aguirres motion for reconsideration proved futile as it was
WHEREFORE, it is recommended that the above-entitled denied by the appellate court in a Resolution dated 5 December 2005.
case be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.[27]
Hence, the present petition filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as
amended, premised on the following arguments:
On 18 February 2003, petitioner Gloria Aguirre appealed the foregoing
resolution to the Secretary of the DOJ by means of a Petition for Review. [28] I.

In a Resolution dated 11 February 2004, Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS, GRAVE AND
Zuo, for the Secretary of the DOJ, dismissed the petition. In resolving said appeal, the REVERSIBLE ERRORS OF LAW WHEN IT CONCLUDED, BASED
Chief State Prosecutor held that: PURPORTEDLY ON THE INTERNET WHICH RUNS AMUCK WITH OUR
SYSTEM OF THE RULE OF LAW AND THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD,
Under Section 12, in relation to Section 7, of Department THAT BILATERAL VASECTOMY IS PURPORTEDLY 100% REVERSIBLE
Circular No. 70 dated July 3, 2000, the Secretary of Justice

66
BY A FUTURE MEDICAL PROCEDURE HENCE NOT AMOUNTING TO beyond the province of this certiorari petition. Out task is confined
MUTILATION, X X X; AND to the issue of whether or not the Secretary of Justice and the
Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City committed grave abuse
xxxx of discretion in their determining the existence or absence of
II. probable cause for filing criminal cases
for falsification and mutilation under Articles 172 (2) and 262 of
WORSE, THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE, SERIOUS the Revised Penal Code.[33]
AND REVERSIBLE ERRORS OF LAW WHEN IT REFUSED TO DIRECT
THE INDICTMENT OF THE PRIVATE RESPONDENTS FOR MUTILATION
AND FALSIFICATION DESPITE THE EXISTENCE OF SUFFICIENT Petitioner Gloria Aguirre, however, contends that the Court of Appeals and
PROBABLE CAUSE THEREFOR X X X.[31] the DOJ failed to appreciate several important facts: 1) that bilateral vasectomy
conducted on petitioners brother, Larry Aguirre, was admitted [34]; 2) that the
procedure caused the perpetual destruction of Larrys reproductive organs of
The foregoing issues notwithstanding, the more proper issue for this Courts generation or conception;[35] 3) that the bilateral vasectomy was intentional and
consideration is, given the facts of the case, whether or not the Court of Appeals deliberate to deprive Larry forever of his reproductive organ and his capacity to
erred in ruling that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to procreate; and 4) that respondents, in conspiracy with one another, made not only
lack or excess of jurisdiction when the latter affirmed the public prosecutors finding one but two (2) untruthful statements, and not mere inaccuracies when they made it
of lack of probable cause for respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and Dr. appear in the psychiatry report[36] that a) Larrys consent was obtained or at the very
Pascual to stand trial for the criminal complaints of falsification and mutilation in least that the latter was informed of the intended vasectomy; and b) that Lourdes
relation to Republic Act No. 7610. Aguirre was likewise interviewed and evaluated. Paradoxically, however, petitioner
Gloria Aguirre does not in any way state that she, instead of respondent Pedro
In ruling that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion amounting to Aguirre, has guardianship over the person of Larry. She only insists that respondents
lack or excess of jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals explained that: should have obtained Larrys consent prior to the conduct of the bilateral vasectomy.

Evidently, the controversy lies in the permanency of In contrast, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), for public respondent
sterilization as a result of a vasectomy operation, and the chances DOJ, argues that the conduct of preliminary investigation to determine the existence
of restoring fertility with a reversal surgery x x x. of probable cause for the purpose of filing (an) information is the function of the
public prosecutor.[37] More importantly, the element[s] of castration or mutilation of
We sustain the DOJ in ruling that the bilateral vasectomy an organ necessary for generation is completely absent as he was not deprived of any
performed on Larry does not constitute mutilation even if organ necessary for reproduction, much less the destruction of such organ. [38]
intentionally and purposely done to prevent him from siring a child.
Likewise, in support of the decision of the Court of Appeals, respondents
xxxx Pedro Aguirre and Olondriz assert that, fundamentally, petitioner Gloria Aguirre has
no standing to file the complaint, as she has not shown any injury to her person or
Sterilization is to be distinguished from castration: in the latter act asserted any relationship with Larry other than being his common law sister; further,
the reproductive capacity is permanently removed or damaged.[32] that she cannot prosecute the present case, as she has not been authorized by law to
file said complaint, not being the offended party, a peace officer or a public officer
charged with the enforcement of the law. Accordingly, respondents Pedro Aguirre
It then concluded that: and Olondriz posit that they, together with the other respondents Dr. Agatep and Dr.
Pascual, may not be charged with, prosecuted for and ultimately convicted of: 1)
The matter of legal liability, other than criminal, which mutilation x x x since the bilateral vasectomy conducted on Larry does not involve
private respondents may have incurred for the alleged absence of a castration or amputation of an organ necessary for reproduction as the twin elements
valid consent to the vasectomy performed on Larry, is certainly of the crime of mutilation x x x are absent[39]; and 2) falsification x x x since the acts

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allegedly constituting falsification involve matters of medical opinion and not matters criminal information where he is not convinced that he has evidence to prop up the
of fact,[40] and that petitioner Gloria Aguirre failed to prove damage to herself or to averments thereof, or that the evidence at hand points to a different conclusion.
any other person.
Put simply, public prosecutors under the DOJ have a wide range of
Respondent Dr. Agatep, in the same vein, stresses that vasectomy is not discretion, the discretion of whether, what and whom to charge, the exercise of
mutilation. He elucidates that vasectomy is merely the excision of the vas deferens, which depends on a smorgasbord of factors which are best appreciated by (public)
the duct in testis which transport semen[41]; that it is the penis and the testis that prosecutors.[48] And this Court has consistently adhered to the policy of non-
make up the male reproductive organ and not the vas deferens; and additionally interference in the conduct of preliminary investigations, and to leave to the
argues that for the crime of mutilation to be accomplished, Article 262 of the Revised investigating prosecutor sufficient latitude of discretion in the determination of what
Penal Code necessitates that there be intentional total or partial deprivation of some constitutes sufficient evidence as will establish probable cause for the filing of an
essential organ for reproduction. Tubes, seminal ducts, vas deferens or prostatic information against the supposed offender.[49]
urethra not being organs, respondent Dr. Agatep concludes, therefore, that
vasectomy does not correspond to mutilation. But this is not to discount the possibility of the commission of abuses on the
part of the prosecutor. It is entirely possible that the investigating prosecutor may
Anent the charge of falsification of a private document, respondent Dr. erroneously exercise the discretion lodged in him by law. This, however, does not
Agatep asseverates that he never took part in disclosing any information, data or render his act amenable to correction and annulment by the extraordinary remedy
facts as contained in the contentious Psychiatric Report. of certiorari, absent any showing of grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of
jurisdiction.[50]
For her part, respondent Dr. Pascual insists that the assailed Psychiatry
Report was the result of her independent exercise of professional judgment. Rightly Prescinding from the above, the courts duty in an appropriate case,
or wrongly, (she) diagnosed Larry Aguirre to be incapable of giving consent, based on therefore, is confined to a determination of whether the assailed executive
interviews made by the psychiatrist on Larry Aguirre and persons who interacted with determination of probable cause was done without or in excess of jurisdiction
him.[42] And supposing that said report is flawed, it is, at most, an erroneous medical resulting from a grave abuse of discretion. For courts of law to grant the
diagnosis. extraordinary writ of certiorari, so as to justify the reversal of the finding of whether
or not there exists probable cause to file an information, the one seeking the writ
The petition has no merit. must be able to establish that the investigating prosecutor exercised his power in an
arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must
Probable cause has been defined as the existence of such facts and be patent and gross as would amount to an evasion or to a unilateral refusal to
circumstances as would excite belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law. Grave abuse of
the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged was guilty of the crime for discretion is not enough.[51] Excess of jurisdiction signifies that he had jurisdiction over
which he was prosecuted.[43] The term does not mean actual and positive cause nor the case but has transcended the same or acted without authority. [52]
does it import absolute certainty.[44] It is merely based on opinion and reasonable
belief;[45] that is, the belief that the act or omission complained of constitutes the Applying the foregoing disquisition to the present petition, the reasons of
offense charged. A finding of probable cause merely binds over the suspect to stand the Assistant City Prosecutor in dismissing the criminal complaints for falsification and
trial. It is not a pronouncement of guilt.[46] mutilation, as affirmed by the DOJ, is determinative of whether or not he committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
The executive department of the government is accountable for the
prosecution of crimes, its principal obligation being the faithful execution of the laws In ruling the way he did that no probable cause for falsification and
of the land. A necessary component of the power to execute the laws is the right to mutilation exists - the Assistant City Prosecutor deliberated on the factual and legal
prosecute their violators,[47] the responsibility of which is thrust upon the DOJ. Hence, milieu of the case. He found that there was no sufficient evidence to establish a prima
the determination of whether or not probable cause exists to warrant the facie case for the crimes complained of as defined and punished under Articles 172,
prosecution in court of an accused is consigned and entrusted to the DOJ. And by the paragraph 2, and 262 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Republic Act No. 7610,
nature of his office, a public prosecutor is under no compulsion to file a particular respectively. Concerning the crime of falsification of a private document, the

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Assistant City Prosecutor reasoned that the circumstances attendant to the case did
not amount to the crime complained of, that is, the lack of consent by Larry Aguirre Art. 171. x x x shall falsify a document by committing any of
before he was vasectomized; or the fact that the latter was not consulted. The lack of the following acts:
the two preceding attendant facts do not in any way amount to falsification, absent
the contention that it was made to appear in the assailed report that said consent 1. Counterfeiting or imitating any handwriting, signature,
was obtained. That would have been an untruthful statement. Neither does the fact or rubric;
that the Psychiatric Report state that Lourdes Aguirre has Bipolar Mood Disorder by
the same token amount to falsification because said report does not put forward that 2. Causing it to appear that persons have participated in
such finding arose after an examination of the concerned patient. Apropos the charge any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate;
of mutilation, he reasoned that though the vasectomy rendered Larry unable to
procreate, it was not the permanent damage contemplated under the pertinent 3. Attributing to persons who have participated in an act or
provision of the penal code. proceeding statements other than those in fact made by them;

We agree. Grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of 4. Making untruthful statements in a narration of facts;
jurisdiction on the part of the DOJ and the Assistant City Prosecutor was not shown in
the present case. 5. Altering true dates;

In the present petition, respondents Pedro Aguirre, Olondriz, Dr. Agatep and 6. Making any alteration or intercalation in a genuine
Dr. Pascual are charged with violating Articles 172 and 262 of the Revised Penal Code, document which changes its meaning;
in relation to Republic Act No. 7610. Article 172, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal
Code, defines the crime of falsification of a private document, viz 7. Issuing in an authenticated form a document purporting
to be a copy of an original document when no such original exists,
Art. 172. Falsification by private individuals and use of or including in such copy a statement contrary to, or different from,
falsified documents. The penalty of prision correccional in its that of the genuine original; or
medium and maximum periods and a fine of not more than 5,000
pesos shall be imposed upon: 8. Intercalating any instrument or note relative to the
issuance thereof in a protocol, registry, or official book.
xxxx

2. Any person who, to the damage of a third party, or with vis--vis the much criticized Psychiatric Report, shows that the acts complained of do
the intent to cause such damage, shall in any private document not in any manner, by whatever stretch of the imagination, fall under any of the eight
commit any of the acts of falsification enumerated in the next (8) enumerated acts constituting the offense of falsification.
preceding article.
In order to properly address the issue presented by petitioner Gloria Aguirre,
it is necessary that we discuss the elements of the crime of falsification of private
Petitioner Gloria Aguirre charges respondents with falsification of a private document document under the Revised Penal Code, a crime which all the respondents have
for conspiring with one another in keeping Larry in the dark about the foregoing been accused of perpetrating. The elements of said crime under paragraph 2 of
(vasectomy) as the same was concealed from him by the respondents x x x, [53] as well Article 172 of our penal code are as follows: 1) that the offender committed any acts
as for falsely concluding and diagnosing Lourdes Aguirre to be suffering from Bipolar of falsification, except those in par. 7, enumerated in Article 171; 2) that the
Mood Disorder. falsification was committed in any private document; and 3) that the falsification
caused damage to a third party or at least the falsification was committed with intent
A scrutiny, however, of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code which defines to cause such damage. Under Article 171, paragraph 2, a person may commit
the acts constitutive of falsification, that is falsification of a private document by causing it to appear in a document that a

69
person or persons participated in an act or proceeding, when such person or persons As to the charge of mutilation, Art. 262 of the Revised Penal Code defines
did not in fact so participate in the act or proceeding. On the other hand, falsification the crime as
under par. 3 of the same article is perpetrated by a person or persons who,
participating in an act or proceeding, made statements in that act or proceeding and Art. 262. Mutilation. The penalty of reclusion
the offender, in making a document, attributed to such person or persons temporal to reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person
statements other than those in fact made by such person or persons. And the crime who shall intentionally mutilate another by depriving him, either
defined under paragraph 4 thereof is committed when 1) the offender makes in a totally or partially, of some essential organ for reproduction.
document statements in a narration of facts; 2) he has a legal obligation to disclose
the truth of the facts narrated by him; 3) the facts narrated by the offender are Any other intentional mutilation shall be punished
absolutely false; and 4) the perversion of truth in the narration of facts was made by prision mayor in its medium and maximum periods.
with the wrongful intent of injuring a third person.

Applying the above-stated elements of the crime to the case at bar, in order A straightforward scrutiny of the above provision shows that the
that respondent Dr. Pascual, and the rest acting in conspiracy with her, to have elements[55] of mutilation under the first paragraph of Art. 262 of the Revised Penal
committed the crime of falsification under par. 3 and 4 of Article 171 of the Revised Code to be 1) that there be a castration, that is, mutilation of organs necessary for
Penal Code, it is essential that that there be prima facie evidence to show that she generation; and 2) that the mutilation is caused purposely and deliberately, that is, to
had caused it to appear that Larry gave his consent to be vasectomized or at the very deprive the offended party of some essential organ for reproduction. According to
least, that the proposed medical procedure was explained to Larry. But in the assailed the public prosecutor, the facts alleged did not amount to the crime of mutilation as
report, no such thing was done. Lest it be forgotten, the reason for having Larry defined and penalized above, i.e., [t]he vasectomy operation did not in any way
psychiatrically evaluated was precisely to ascertain whether or not he can validly deprived (sic) Larry of his reproductive organ, which is still very much part of his
consent with impunity to the proposed vasectomy, and not to obtain his consent to it physical self. Petitioner Gloria Aguirre, however, would want this Court to make a
or to oblige respondent Dr. Pascual to explain to him what the import of the medical ruling that bilateral vasectomy constitutes the crime of mutilation.
procedure was. Further, that Larrys consent to be vasectomized was not obtained by
the psychiatrist was of no moment, because nowhere is it stated in said report that This we cannot do, for such an interpretation would be contrary to the
such assent was obtained. At any rate, petitioner Gloria Aguirre contradicts her very intentions of the framers of our penal code.
own allegations when she persists in the contention that Larry has the mental age of
a child; hence, he was legally incapable of validly consenting to the procedure. A fitting riposte to the issue at hand lies in United States v. Esparcia,[56] in
which this Court had the occasion to shed light on the implication of the term
In the matter of the supposed incorrect diagnosis of Lourdes Aguirre, with mutilation. Therein we said that:
regard to paragraph 2 of Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code, we quote with
approval the succinct statements of the Assistant City Prosecutor: The sole point which it is desirable to discuss is whether or
not the crime committed is that defined and penalized by article
[T]he fact that Dra. Pascual cited finding, which is not of her own 414 of the Penal Code. The English translation of this article reads:
personal knowledge in her report does not mean that she "Any person who shall intentionally castrate another shall suffer a
committed falsification in the process. Her sources may be wrong penalty ranging from reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua." The
and may affect the veracity of her report, but for as long as she has Spanish text, which should govern, uses the word "castrare,"
not alleged therein that she personally diagnosed Lourdes Aguirre, inadequately translated into English as "castrate." The word
which allegation would not then be true, she cannot be charged of "capar," which is synonymous of "castrar," is defined in the Royal
falsification. Therefore, it goes without saying that if the author of Academic Dictionary as the destruction of the organs of generation
the report is not guilty, then with more reason the other or conception. Clearly it is the intention of the law to punish any
respondents are not liable.[54] person who shall intentionally deprived another of any organ
necessary for reproduction. An applicable construction is that of
Viada in the following language:

70
"At the head of these crimes, according to their order of sufficient evidence to explain why the Assistant City Prosecutor and the DOJ ruled the
gravity, is the mutilation known by the name of 'castration' which way they did. Verily, We agree with the Court of Appeals that the writ of certiorari is
consists of the amputation of whatever organ is necessary for unavailing; hence, should not be issued.
generation. The law could not fail to punish with the utmost
severity such a crime, which, although not destroying life, deprives a It is once more apropos to pointedly apply the Courts general policy of non-
person of the means to transmit it. But bear in mind that according interference in the conduct of preliminary investigations. As it has been oft said, the
to this article in order for 'castration' to exist, it is indispensable that Supreme Court cannot order the prosecution of a person against whom the
the 'castration' be made purposely. The law does not look only to prosecutor does not find sufficient evidence to support at least a prima
the result but also to the intention of the act. Consequently, if by facie case.[62] The courts try and absolve or convict the accused but, as a rule, have no
reason of an injury or attack, a person is deprived of the organs of part in the initial decision to prosecute him.[63] The possible exception to this rule is
generation, the act, although voluntary, not being intentional to where there is an unmistakable showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
that end, it would not come under the provisions of this article, but lack or excess of jurisdiction that will justify judicial intrusion into the precincts of the
under No. 2 of article 431." (Viada, Codigo Penal, vol. 3, p. 70. See to executive. But that is not the case herein.
same effect, 4 Groizard, Codigo Penal, p. 525.)
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of
merit. The assailed 21 July 2005 Decision and 5 December 2005Resolution, both of the
Thus, the question is, does vasectomy deprive a man, totally or partially, of Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 88370 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against
some essential organ of reproduction? We answer in the negative. petitioner Gloria Aguirre.
SO ORDERED.
In the male sterilization procedure of vasectomy, the tubular passage, called n
the vas deferens, through which the sperm (cells) are transported from the testicle to
the urethra where they combine with the seminal fluid to form the ejaculant, is
divided and the cut ends merely tied.[57] That part, which is cut, that is, the vas
deferens, is merely a passageway that is part of the duct system of the male
reproductive organs. The vas deferens is not an organ, i.e., a highly organized unit of
structure, having a defined function in a multicellular organism and consisting of a
range of tissues.[58] Be that as it may, even assuming arguendo that the tubular
passage can be considered an organ, the cutting of the vas deferens does not divest
or deny a man of any essential organ of reproduction for the simple reason that it
does not entail the taking away of a part or portion of the male reproductive
system. The cut ends, after they have been tied, are then dropped back into the
incision.[59]

Though undeniably, vasectomy denies a man his power of reproduction,


such procedure does not deprive him, either totally or partially, of some essential
organ for reproduction. Notably, the ordinary usage of the term mutilation is the
deprivation of a limb or essential part (of the body), [60] with the operative expression
being deprivation. In the same manner, the word castration is defined as the removal
of the testies or ovaries.[61] Such being the case in this present petition, the bilateral
vasectomy done on Larry could not have amounted to the crime of mutilation as
defined and punished under Article 262, paragraph 1, of the Revised Penal Code. And
no criminal culpability could be foisted on to respondent Dr. Agatep, the urologist
who performed the procedure, much less the other respondents. Thus, we find

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