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PEOPLE V BAUSING

This is an appeal from the decision * of the Regional Trial Court of Dapa, Surigao Del Norte, Branch XXXI, convicting
appellants of the crime of murder, the decretal portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, viewed in the light of the foregoing, the Court finds the accused JOVEN BAUSING and MANUEL
LOROSO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER qualified with treachery. There being no
aggravating circumstance and mitigating circumstance, the Court hereby sentences JOVEN BAUSING and
MANUEL LOROSO, to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA; to indemnify the heirs of the late
ALEXANDER MANTILLA, jointly and severally, the amount of Twelve Thousand Pesos (P12,000.00); without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; with the accessory penalties imposed by law and to pay the costs.
(Rollo, p. 66)

The facts, as summarized by the trial court, are as follows:

. . . last August 3, 1978, approximately 9:15 o'clock in the evening, the victim, Alexander Mantilla, as incumbent
Barangay Councilman and a Ronda Member of Barangay Consuelo, General Luna, Surigao Del Norte, while
performing his official duties, was at the billiard hall of accused Manuel Loroso, together with the following
persons, namely: Ruirino Crisologo, Domingo Teraytay, Estanislao Sunico, Aureliano Pacanor, Segundiano
Pacanor, Edisimo Minglana, Barangay Captain Rufo Bunga, Pepito Tokong, Juanito Tokong, Manuel Loroso,
Joven Bausing and Valentin Bausing.

There were two (2) billiard tables and on them the following persons were playing: Domingo Teraytay, Barangay
Captain Rufo Bunga, Juanito Tokong and Estanislao Sunico.

The billiard game was first interrupted when Domingo Teraytay and Manuel Loroso were grappling for the knife
which was protruding at the back pocket of the former, the knife was ultimately taken with the assistance of
Estanislao Sunico and Aureliano Pacanor. Manuel Loroso, as owner of the billiard hall, confiscated the knife in
order to prevent any trouble therein.

Thereafter, Valentin Bausing, sometimes called "Rodolfo", clattered the billiard balls which caused Alexander
Mantilla to admonish him to stop his act as he was not concerned with the game.

Without any word, accused Manuel Loroso who came from the back of Mantilla, held the hands of the latter while
being raised when all of a sudden, Joven Bausing appeared in the scene, with unsheathed sharp pointed bolo
(Exh. "A") which was hidden inside the umbrella (Exh. "B") thrust many times said bolo upon Mantilla. Mantilla
was released only by Loroso, after the victim was staggering unconsciously who later fell dead outside the billiard
hall. (Rollo, pp. 29-31)

Appellants Bausing and Loroso were then charged with murder with assault upon an agent of person in authority. Both
pleaded not guilty to the charge and after trial, the trial court rendered the judgment which appellants now seek to be
reversed.

During the trial, the prosecution established the guilt of appellants through the testimonies of Crisologo, Tokong, Teraytay
and Minglana, among others, who were all present at the billiard hall when the incident happened.

Crisologo testified that in the billiard hall, he saw Manuel Loroso and Domingo Teraytay grappling with each other for
possession of a knife. The others present in the hall tried to pacify the two and the knife was taken by Estanislao Sunico.
He also testified that he saw Valentin Bausing making trouble inside the billiard hall and was advised by the deceased
Alexander Mantilla to stop as he had nothing to do with the game. At this point, Manuel Loroso approached the deceased
from behind and took hold of the latter's hands, whereupon Joven Bausing ran towards them repeatedly thrusting a sharp
pointed bolo at the victim (Alexander Mantilla) who kicked his assailant in a futile attempt to defend himself. The victim
was hit below his left breast and right breast. Weakened and already down, appellant Joven Bausing again stabbed the
helpless victim on the mouth after which appellants Bausing and Loroso walked away (TSN, March 8, 1979, pp. 3-11;
Original Records, pp. 172-180).

The above testimony of Crisologo was corroborated in all material points by the testimonies of (1) Pepito Tokong who was
inside the billiard hall because of rain (TSN, April 25, 1979, pp. 3-12; Original Records, pp. 218-227); (2) Domingo
Teraytay who was also playing billiards (TSN, June 28, 1979, pp. 3-16; Original Records, pp. 250-263); and (3) Edisimo
Minglana who was also in the hall watching the billiard game (TSN, November 13, 1979, pp. 14-17; Original Records, pp.
232-245).

All of the above witnesses gave exactly the same version of the gruesome and merciless killing of Alexander Mantilla to
the effect that the deceased was only trying to stop Valentin Bausing from making trouble when Manuel Loroso
approached the deceased from behind, held both of the latter's hands, while the accused Joven Bausing, father of
Valentin, suddenly attacked Mantilla and stabbed the latter several times. As the victim staggered towards the door, he fell
flat on his face. Not satisfied with the injuries already inflicted by him, accused Bausing held the head of the fallen victim
and stabbed the latter on the armpit, hacked him at the left arm biceps, forearm and mouth.

In this appeal, appellants raise the following errors:

1. THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT APPELLANT MANUEL LOROSO HELD
ALEXANDER MANTILLA FROM THE BACK WHILE THE LATTER WAS BEING STABBED SEVERAL TIMES BY
APPELLANT JOVEN BAUSING, THAT APPELLANT MANUEL LOROSO AND JOVEN BAUSING CONSPIRED
IN KILLING ALEXANDER MANTILLA AND THAT APPELLANT MANUEL LOROSO'S DEFENSE IS ALIBI, THUS,
ERRED IN CONVICTING MANUEL LOROSO OF MURDER;

2. THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT EDERESA TOKONG'S TESTIMONY HAS BEEN
UNREBUTTED AND THEREFORE FATAL TO THE DEFENSE;

3. THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT BELIEVING APPELLANT JOVEN BAUSING'S DEFENSE THAT
HE WAS ACTING IN DEFENSE OF HIS SON, RODULFO BAUSING, AND IN HOLDING THAT HIS DEFENSE
LACKS THE QUANTUM OF PROOF REQUIRED BY LAW;

4. THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CRIME COMMITTED WAS QUALIFIED WITH
TREACHERY;

5. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT APPELLANT JOVEN BAUSING HAS TO BE CONVICTED, THE LOWER
COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING HIM OF MURDER AND NOT ONLY OF HOMICIDE AND IN NOT
APPRECIATING THE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE OF VOLUNTARY SURRENDER IN HIS FAVOR.
(Appellant's Brief, pp. 1-2; Rollo, p. 85 c-d)

Appellants' assignment of errors being interrelated, the same shall be addressed jointly.

Joven Bausing admitted the killing of the deceased but invokes the justifying circumstance of defense of a relative in a bid
to escape criminal liability. After a careful examination of the verdict rendered by the trial court, We find no compelling
reason to reverse the judgment of conviction.

In order that the justifying circumstance of defense of a relative may be properly invoked, the following requisites must
concur: (1) unlawful aggression; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) in case
the provocation was given by the person attacked, that the one making the defense had no part therein (Art. 11, par. 1 &
2, Revised Penal Code).

The first requisite is indispensable. There can be no self-defense unless it is proven that there had been unlawful
aggression on the part of the person injured or killed by the assailant. If there is no unlawful aggression, there is nothing to
prevent or repel (People vs. Malazzab, 160 SCRA 123 [1988]; Ortega v. Sandiganbayan [1990]). In addition, for unlawful
aggression to be appreciated, there must be an actual, sudden, unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, and not
merely a threatening or intimidating attitude (People v. Pasco, Jr., supra; People vs. Rey, 172 SCRA 149 [1989] and the
accused must present Proof of positively strong act of real aggression (Pacificar v. Court of Appeals 125 SCRA 716
[1983]; People v. Aquiatan, 123 SCRA 501 [1983]; People v. Aquino, 124 SCRA 835 [1983]). Unlawful aggression must
be such as to put in real peril the life or personal safety of the person defending himself or of a relative sought to be
defended and not an imagined threat.

In the case at bar, appellant Bausing's claim of unlawful aggression committed by the deceased has not been sufficiently
established to warrant the appreciation of defense of a relative as a justifying circumstance. All four prosecution witnesses
who were eyewitnesses to the killing of Mantilla testified categorically that no unlawful aggression was committed by the
deceased. The victim merely admonished Valentin Bausing, son of appellant Joven, to stop meddling with the game going
on. Appellant's claim of defense of his son cannot prevail over the positive testimonies of the eyewitnesses pointing
beyond reasonable doubt that he (appellant) was the aggressor who treacherously assaulted the deceased.
More importantly, appellant Bausing already admitted the killing of Mantilla. Having made the admission, it is thus
incumbent upon the accused to prove the justifying circumstance to the satisfaction of the court in order to be relieved of
any criminal liability. In such instances, the accused must proffer strong, clear and convincing evidence of self-defense
and depend not on the infirmity of the prosecution, for even if the latter was weak, the plea of self-defense cannot prosper
especially so where the accused himself has admitted the killing, as in the case at bar (People v. Bayocot, 174 SCRA 285
[1989]; People v. Masangkay, 157 SCRA 320 [1988]; People v. Abagon, 161 SCRA 255 [1988]; People v. Tesorero, 71
SCRA 579 [1976]; People v. Llamera, 51 SCRA 48 [1973]; People v. Bauden, 77 Phil. 105 [1946]; People v. Ansoyon, 75
Phil. 772 [1946]).

Appellant Loroso next contends that the trial court erred in holding that Ederesa Tokong's testimony has been unrebutted
and therefore fatal to the defense. Loroso argues that he has in fact testified as a sur-rebuttal witness and rebutted the
testimony of Tokong point by point.

The argument is devoid of merit and need not be discussed at length. What the trial court meant when it said that the
testimony of Tokong was unrebutted is the fact that appellant Lorozo failed to rebut the testimony of Tokong that after the
killing of Mantilla, said appellant slept in their (spouses Tokong's) house with bloodstains on his shirt and pair of trousers
and that the blanket and beddings used by him were also stained by blood. The trial court's pronouncement did not mean
that no sur-rebuttal witness was ever presented by the defense.

The nature, character, location and number of the wounds suffered by the deceased belie any supposition that the
deceased was the unlawful aggressor (People v. Marciales, 166 SCRA 436 [1988]). As reflected in the autopsy report and
the testimony of Dr. Prospero Tayco, the deceased suffered seventeen (17) incised wounds, including the "through and
through" incised wound of the heart, 21 inches long with entrance at the apex of the heart which is the primary cause of
death and massive blood loss secondary thereto, aside from the numerous abrasions and avulsions (Autopsy Report,
Exh. 15, Original Records). In contrast, both Valentin and Joven Bausing suffered no injury. The infliction of the 17
wounds on the deceased could only lead to the conclusion that Mantilla was the victim of aggression and not the unlawful
aggressor.

On the other hand, appellant Loroso faults the trial court for classifying his denial of participation in the killing of the
deceased as one of alibi. Appellant claims that he was busy pumping air into his petromax lamp lighting the billiard hall at
the time the incident occurred and ran away as soon as he saw blood after the second thrust by appellant Bausing.
Appellant's defense would therefore appear as a simple denial of his participation in the commission of the offense.

Appellant's unsubstantiated disclaimer of participation cannot be given any credence. Self-serving as it is, his denial of
participation in the commission of the crime cannot prevail over the forthright and positive testimonies by the prosecution
witnesses as they uniformly pointed to him as having held both hands of Mantilla from behind and raised them upwards
while Joven Bausing suddenly appeared on one side of Mantilla, unsheathed the bolo inside the umbrella he (Bausing)
was carrying and stabbed the victim continuously. Loroso released his hold of Mantilla only when the latter was already on
the verge of death as a result of the stab wounds inflicted by appellant Bausing. The weak denials of appellant cannot
prevail over the clear and positive testimonies of the eyewitnesses regarding his participation in the killing of the
deceased. (People v. Bocatcat, Sr., 188 SCRA 175 [1990]; People v. Delavin, 148 SCRA 25 [1987]; People v. Alcid, 135
SCRA 280 [1985]; People v. Tuscano, 137 SCRA 203 [1985]) for it is a settled rule that greater weight is given to the
positive identification of the accused by the prosecution witnesses than to the accused's plain denial of participation in the
commission of the crime (People vs. de Mesa, 188 SCRA 48 [1990]; citing People v. Canada, 144 SCRA 121 [1986];
People vs. Mostoles, Jr., 124 SCRA 906 [1983]).

That the killing of Alexander Mantilla is murder qualified by treachery is borne out by the records. The victim was not only
unarmed but was also deprived of every means to defend himself from the treacherous attack. Loroso held both hands of
the deceased victim while Joven Bausing suddenly appeared and started stabbing the victim. In People v. Mahusay (138
SCRA 452 [1985]), this Court ruled that there is treachery where the victim was held tightly by one of the accused before
his co-accused stabbed him, as in the case at bar. The appellants executed the crime in a manner that tended directly
and specially to ensure its execution without risk to themselves arising from the defense which the deceased might have
made (Art. 14, par. 16, Revised Penal Code; People v. Pacabes, 137 SCRA 158 [1985]).

The presence of conspiracy was inferred from the concerted acts of both the accused.1âwphi1 They both approached the
victim almost simultaneously. As one held the victim's hands tightly from behind and raised them upward, the other
delivered the fatal stabs which caused Mantilla's death. The manner by which Loroso held the victim's hands from behind
which clearly prevented the latter from defending himself and without which act the crime would not have been
accomplished, makes appellant Loroso a conspirator and a principal by indispensable cooperation (People v. Martinez,
127 SCRA 260 [1985]). Where the accused by their acts aimed at the same object, one performing one part and another
performing another part so as to complete it, with a view to the attainment of the same object, and their acts were
concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments,
the lower court was justified in concluding that the defendants were engaged in conspiracy wherein the act of one is the
act of all (People v. Manlolo, 169 SCRA 394 [1989]). Conspiracy can be inferred from and proven by the acts of the
accused themselves when said acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interests
(People v. Monadi, 97 Phil. 575 [1955]).

The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender invoked by Joven Bausing deserves scant consideration. While
appellant Bausing claims to have voluntarily surrendered to Pat. Arturo Esparrago of Surigao del Norte Police Station on
the night of the incident, records of the case show that appellants were in fact arrested on August 28, 1978 as per return
made by Station Commander Saturnino Plaza of General Luna, Surigao del Norte Police Force (Original Records, p. 7).
The mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender cannot be appreciated considering that the return of the warrant of
arrest showed that appellant was in fact arrested.

WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is hereby AFFIRMED with the modification as to the indemnification which is
hereby increased to P50,000.00.

SO ORDERED.

RUGAS V PEOPLE

DECISION
CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court as amended, of the Decision[1] of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 23419 (CR) affirming with modification the decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of
Romblon, Branch 81, in Criminal Case No. 2095.

The Antecedents

On December 11, 1997, the petitioner Alexander P. Rugas was charged with Frustrated Homicide in an Information,
the accusatory portion of which reads:

That on or about the 16th day of September 1997, at around 9:00 oclock in the evening, in barangay Taclobo, municipality
of San Fernando, province of Romblon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused,
with intent to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with a deadly weapon one
GERBERTO RAFOL, inflicting upon the latter critical injuries in different parts of his body, which ordinarily would cause
the death of said Gerberto D. Rafol, thus performing all the acts of execution which should have produced the felony of
homicide, as a consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of the
accused and that is by the timely and able medical assistance rendered to the victim which prevented his death.

Contrary to law.[3]

The petitioner was duly arraigned, assisted by counsel and entered a plea of not guilty.

The Case for the Prosecution

As synthesized by the trial court and adopted by the Court of Appeals, the prosecution was able to establish the
following:

At around 9:00 oclock in the evening of September 16, 1997, Herberto (or Gerberto) Rafol was conversing with Perla
Perez in the street fronting the house of Anda Romano in barangay Taclobo, San Fernando, Romblon, when the accused
Alexander P. Rugas, suddenly stabbed him at his left thigh. He faced him to know who stabbed him but the accused
stabbed him on his stomach. He ran and shouted for help. Somebody helped him in boarding him to a tricycle and he was
brought to the hospital at Cajidiocan where Dr. Fermin M. Fatalla operated on him and issued the medico-legal certificate,
dated September 25, 1977 (Exh. F) and he drew a sketch (Exh. G). Dr. Fatalla found a stab wound on the right upper
quadrant of the abdomen, 3 cms. in length and about 4 to 5 cms. in depth penetrating the abdominal cavity as well as the
right lobe of the liver. This was a fatal wound, involving as it did the liver, one of the vital organs of the body. The patient
could die of severe hemorrhage if no surgical operation was done. And he immediately operated the patient upon arrival
at the hospital. The second stab wound was 7.5 cms. in length located at the lower left quadrant or at the uppermost part
of the left lateral thigh. This was not a fatal wound. Both could have been caused by any sharp pointed or bladed
instrument like a knife. The first stab wound could have been inflicted with the assailant in front of the victim or at the right
side of the victim or somewhere obliquely to the right of the patient, using his right or left hand. The second stab wound
could have been inflicted with the assailant in front or could be on the left side of the victim, obliquely to the side of the
victim, which he could inflict if he comes from the rear or from the back of the victim using his right hand.

According to private complainant, he first saw the accused coming about twenty-five (25) meters from him. He directly
came to him and he did not know that he was holding a knife. He just came all of a sudden and he did not know he would
stab him. Before this incident, they did not quarrel and had no misunderstanding.

He spent a total of P25,390.00 as a result of these injuries he sustained. (Exhs. B, B-1 and B-2; Exhs. C, C-1 to C-41; and
Exhs. E-1 to E-10).[4]

The petitioner invoked self-defense. He testified that at about 9:00 a.m. on September 16, 1997, he was in the house
of his aunt at Barangay Taclobo, San Fernando, Romblon. His aunt had asked him to take care of her children. While he
was in the kitchen slicing lemon, he heard someone shouting outside the house: Get out those who are brave! He then
pocketed the knife he was using and went out of the house to find out what the commotion was all about.
Outside, the petitioner saw Crispulo Romano, Joval Rones and Herberto Rafol. Rafol was armed with a bolo. He
went out of the gate and asked Rafol, Why are you like that? Peeved, Rafol handed his bolo over to Rones and
approached the petitioner, kicking him on the left arm. The two then had a fistfight. When the petitioner saw Rones raise
his bolo, he pulled out the knife from his pocket to defend himself. Rafol also pulled out a knife of his own. The petitioner
then stabbed Rafol on the front portion of his body, and the latters knife fell to the ground.
The petitioner picked up his knife and stabbed Rafol anew. He then faced Rones, who ran away. The petitioner did not
notice where Romano had gone. He then fled from the scene of the crime and proceeded to the house of his aunt.
The petitioners testimony was corroborated in part by Jovy Vicente. He testified that at about 9:00 p.m. on
September 16, 1997, he was wheeling his bicycle on his way home. He passed by Rafol who was then conversing with
Perla Perez. He saw Rafol holding an empty bottle of gin and Romano holding a bolo. The two were already
inebriated. He saw the petitioner emerge from the gate of his aunts house and walk past him on his right side.
The petitioners aunt, Perla Perez, testified that she saw Rafol holding a bolo. When she saw the petitioner and Rafol
throwing stones at each other, she was so petrified that she frantically fled from the scene, her legs trembling. However,
she contradicted herself when she also testified that she saw Rafol hand over his bolo to Rones, and Rafol and the
petitioner boxing each other. Afraid, she fled from the scene. She did not witness the stabbing of Rafol by the petitioner.
The trial court, thereafter, rendered judgment convicting the petitioner of the crime charged and sentencing him to an
indeterminate penalty, appreciating against him the generic aggravating circumstance of treachery. The decretal portion of
the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused ALEXANDER P. RUGAS, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
Frustrated Homicide under the Information, dated December 11, 1997, and hereby sentences him to a prison term of not
less than 6 years and 1 day of prision correccional, as minimum, to 10 years and 1 day of prision mayor, as maximum,
with the accessories of the law, to pay Herberto Rafol the sum of P25,390.00 as and for actual expenses, without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.

The period of preventive imprisonment the accused had undergone shall be credited in his favor to its full extent in
accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended.[5]

The trial court declared that the petitioner failed to prove that he acted in self-defense when he stabbed the victim
twice on the left side of the body and on the uppermost portion of the left thigh. The petitioner likewise failed to surrender
to the police authorities and give a statement stating that he stabbed the victim in self-defense, and account for the knife
he used in stabbing the victim. The court also declared that the petitioners testimony and those of his witnesses
contradicted each other.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court with modifications, with the following
ratiocinations:

The defense proved that there was unlawful aggression on the part of the victim when he allegedly kicked the accused.
This is just the mere claim of the accused which is not corroborated by Mrs. Perez who testified that there was a fistfight
between the two. Perla Perez declared that the two had a fistfight because of the shout, the brave come out (tsn, Dec. 2,
1998, p. 7).Aside from this, when asked by the court if the accused was injured when he was kicked at the eyebrow, the
accused said no. Simply, this Court does not believe that the victim kicked the accused at the eyebrow. The accused was
apparently inconsistent, as the trial court observed in its ratiocination, is exemplified to wit: True, he claimed that Rafol
kicked him in his left arm before the alleged fistfight between him and Rafol (Alexander P. Rugas, Jr., on direct
examination, tsn, May 14, 1999, p. 6), yet he would point later to his eyebrow as sustaining no injury as a result of the kick
by Rafol (supra, on cross-examination, p. 10) likewise, when asked in what part of the body he stabbed Herberto Rafol of
the first time, he answered in front, with the accused waving his hand up and down (supra, p. 13), when actually it was
almost directly on the left side of the body of Rafol at the uppermost part of the left lateral thigh and certainly not in front
as demonstrated by the accused (please refer also to sketch G).

As questions were profounded (sic) on both the prosecutions and defenses witnesses, it can be traced that they knew
each other. If this is the case, it can be said therefore, that complainant knew that the one whom he claimed to be he was
talking with at the time was the aunt of the accused. Yet, the victim has no apprehension in his claim that he was called by
Mrs. Perla Perez. As this court went over the testimony of the prosecutions witnesses, it finds their testimony to be more
consistent and credible. Capole, another prosecutions witness, testified that he saw the accused with a knife running
towards the victim. The defense obviously tried to destroy the testimony of the said witness but this Court believes that it
failed.

While on the other hand, the defense witness Perla Perez answers were evasive and not responsive to the questions
profounded (sic) when cross-examination was undertaken on her. In her direct examination, she testified that she had a
companion Violeta Eling (tsn, Dec. 2, 1998, p. 3), they were near the street where the store was also near (supra, p. 4).
But when Alex went out to ask Why are you like that? allegedly to the victim, Perez declared that she was then alone. And
Yolanda was far (tsn, Dec. 2, 1998, p. 29). This court also notes Perez testimony at first that the victim broke a bottle of
gin but who later admitted that she did not see it but only overheard it from a certain Yolanda. But according to her,
Yolanda was far from her. This court doubts the credibility of this witness. Besides, she admitted she had not witnessed
anything except that she heard the shouting and thereafter left then.

Certainly, this court is not impressed with the theory of the accused that the victim, Rafol, was holding a bolo at the time
but handed it later allegedly to one Joval Rones. That at the course of the fistfight, complainant drew a knife while Joval
Rones was raising his hand holding the bolo. These two aggressors were armed if we are to believe the defense but
despite of that, accused with a mere knife and who was not ready for a fight if he is to be believed because he was slicing
a lemon at the kitchen then faced his aggressors without fear. Again, if we would take hook line and sinker the defenses
theory, there are three companions of the victim so that, there were four in all. Yet, it is surprising and contrary to human
nature and experience that accused never suffered even a slight injury. The physical facts in the instant case reveals that
accused did not act in self-defense.

In the present case, the defense claimed that the victim shouted while in the street Get out those who are brave. So that
accused got out and asked why are you like that? Then a fistfight ensued. We opine that accused herein voluntarily and
practically face a fight. The rule is when one agrees to engage in a fight, he cannot plead self-defense because there is no
unlawful aggression to speak of.

Also, we find application by analogy of an old ruling of the Supreme Court, which held as follows:

The court a quo rejected the claim of self-defense interposed by the appellant. We find that such plea cannot be availed of
because no unlawful aggression, so to speak, was committed by the deceased, Rodolfo Saldo, and Hernando Caunte
against the appellant. Appellants version of the incident was to the effect that he had come to the aid of Villafria at the
latters call when Villafria boxed Mariano Dioso and engaged the group of Dioso, Saldo and Caunte in a fight. In other
words, he voluntarily joined the fight, when he did not have to. He voluntarily exposed himself to the consequences of a
fight with his opponents. Granting arguendo that the first attack came from Dioso or Saldo or Caunte, yet same cannot be
considered an unlawful or unexpected aggression. The first attack which came from either is but an incident of the fight.
(People vs. Kruse, C.A., 64 O.G. 12632): (Reyes, Revised Penal Code on Crim. Law, 12 th Ed., 1981, p. 168)
(underscoring supplied)
Granting arguendo that the victim and his companion have had shouted, get out those who are brave, the accuseds name
was never mentioned or called out. The victim was then in the street but the accused went out from the house and asked
the victim why they were like that which only shows that he exposed himself to the consequences of a fight as explained
by the Supreme Court in the aforequoted ruling.[6]

In this case, the petitioner asserts that contrary to the findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals, he proved
that he acted in complete self-defense when he stabbed Rafol. Rones raised a hand that held a bolo and Rafol was
armed with a knife. They had a confederate in the person of Romano. He was alone against three adversaries, two of
whom were armed with lethal weapons, so he stabbed Rafol to defend himself. Rafol kicked him on the eyebrow and as a
consequence, he suffered disgrace and humiliation. The petitioner contends that Rafols act of kicking him without
justifiable cause can be considered as an unlawful aggression, citing the ruling of this Court in People v. Sabio.[7]
The petition has no merit.
First. The determination of the unlawful aggressors identity, as between the appellant or the victim, is a factual
issue.[8] In this case, the trial court ruled that the appellant, not the victim, was the unlawful aggressor, and that the
appellants evidence to prove his defense was incredible, thus:

The accused interposed, in effect, self-defense. There is no showing, however, that he voluntarily surrendered to the
authorities even on the barangay level. Neither did he inform any such authorities that he acted in self-defense. No police
statements whatever were executed by him or by any witness in his behalf. The knife he used was unaccounted for. While
the victim, Herberto Rafol, almost died due to one of his stab wounds the accused admittedly inflicted upon him, assailant
Alexander P. Rugas, Jr. was unable to exhibit even the slightest scratch on himself. True, he claimed that Rafol kicked
him on his left arm before the alleged fistfight between him and Rafol (Alexander P. Rugas, Jr., on direct examination, tsn,
May 14, 1999, p. 6), yet he would point later to his eyebrow as sustaining no injury as a result of the kick by Rafol
(supra on cross examination, p. 10); likewise, when asked in what part of the body he stabbed Herberto Rafol for the first
time, he answered in front, with the accused waving his hand up and down (supra, p. 13), when actually it was almost
directly on the left side of the body of Rafol at the uppermost part of the left lateral thigh and certainly not in front as
demonstrated by the accused (please refer also to the sketch, Exh. G).

These badges of guilt or circumstances coupled with the failure of the accused to prove self-defense which he invoked, in
effect, by clear and convincing evidenced are fatal to his defense.As the burden of proof is shifted on him, he must
consequently rely on the strength of his evidence and not on the weakness of that of the prosecution. (People vs. Edgar
Umadhay Travasas, et al., G.R. No. 119544, August 3, 1998, Kapunan, J.; Case Digests of Supreme Court Decisions,
August 3, 1998, Vol. 40, No. 2, p. 275). His version failed to convince as against that of the prosecution. His conviction
must follow.[9]

Case law has it that the findings of the trial court and its assessment and probative weight of the testimonies of
witnesses are accorded by the Court high respect, if not conclusive effect, especially when affirmed by the CA, and in the
absence of any justifiable reason to deviate from the said findings. This is in view of the trial courts unique advantage of
being able to monitor and observe at close range the deportment and conduct of witnesses as they testify. We have
reviewed the records and found no such justification to modify the trial courts findings.
Second. Like alibi, self-defense is inherently a weak defense which can be easily fabricated.[10] When the accused
interposes self-defense, he hereby admits having caused the injuries of the victim. The burden of proof then shifts on him
to prove, with clear and convincing evidence, the confluence of the essential requisites for such a defense, namely: (a)
unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (b) reasonable necessity of the means employed and to prevent or repel it;
(c) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. The accused must rely on the strength of his
own evidence and not on the prosecutions, for even if the latter is weak, it cannot be disbelieved after the accused has
admitted the killing.[11] In People v. Alfaro,[12] and People v. Camacho,[13] we held that the failure of the accused to account
for the presentation of the bladed weapon allegedly used by the victim is fatal to his plea of self-defense. In this case, the
appellant failed to account for the knife supposedly held by the victim and the bolo which the victim allegedly handed over
to Rones. He also failed to account for the knife he used in stabbing the victim and to surrender himself and the said knife
to the police authorities and to admit having stabbed the victim in self-defense.[14] Such failure rejects appellants claim of
self-defense.[15]
Third. The petitioners reliance on our ruling in People v. Sabio,[16] citing the ruling of the Supreme Court of Spain on
January 20, 1904, is misplaced. In that case, the Court ruled that a slap on the face is an unlawful aggression since the
face represents a person and his dignity. Slapping the face of a person is a serious personal attack; it is a physical
assault, coupled with a willful disgrace, nay, a defiance, of an individuals personality; and it may, therefore, be frequently
regarded as placing in real danger a persons dignity, rights and safety. In this case, there is no evidence that the victim
slapped the petitioner. The petitioner merely claimed that he was hit on his eyebrow which the trial court and the Court of
Appeals found to be baseless. This reliance on People v. Sabio to sustain the claim that the petitioner intended to defend
his honor, is inconsistent with his testimony that he stabbed the victim to defend himself from an imminent physical
assault when the latter pulled out a knife. This is also inconsistent with the fact that the victim was stabbed three times.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that treachery attended the commission of the crime and that
it was merely a generic aggravating and not a qualifying circumstance. As found by the trial court, the attack on the victim
was so sudden and unexpected that the victim had no time to prepare and defend himself. [17]However, such modifying
circumstance was not alleged in the Information as mandated by Section 8, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
Procedure.[18] Thus, treachery cannot be considered by the Court even as a generic aggravating circumstance. Although
the crime took place before the said Rule took effect, it should nevertheless be applied retroactively as it is favorable to
the appellant.[19]
Under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for homicide is reclusion temporal in its full range. The
penalty for frustrated homicide is one degree lower than reclusion temporal, or prision mayor, which has a range of from 6
years and one day to 12 years. From the penalty of prision mayor shall be taken the maximum of the indeterminate
penalty, taking into account the modifying circumstances attendant in the commission of the crime, if any. There being no
modifying circumstances in the instant case, the maximum of the indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the medium
period of prision mayor, which has a range of from eight years and one day to ten years. The minimum of the
indeterminate penalty shall be taken from the full range of the penalty not lower than prision mayor, which is prision
correccional, with a range of from six months and one day to six years.
The trial court failed to award moral and exemplary damages to the victim. The decision of the trial court shall, thus,
be modified. The appellant is ordered to pay P25,000.00 as moral damages[20] to the victim Herberto D. Rafol,
and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages,[21] conformably to current jurisprudence.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the Regional
Trial Court of Romblon, Branch 81, is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. Petitioner Alexander P. Rugas is found GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of frustrated homicide defined and penalized under Article 247 in relation to Article 6 of the
Revised Penal Code, and there being no modifying circumstance in the commission of the crime, is hereby sentenced to
suffer an indeterminate penalty of from six (6) years of prision correccional, as minimum, to ten (10) years of prision
mayor in its medium period, as maximum. The petitioner is hereby directed to pay to the victim Herberto D.
Rafol P25,000.00, as moral damages, and P25,000.00, as exemplary damages. Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V GENESO

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

Admitting she killed her husband, appellant anchors her prayer for acquittal on a novel theory -- the battered woman
syndrome (BWS), which allegedly constitutes self-defense. Under the proven facts, however, she is not entitled to
complete exoneration because there was no unlawful aggression -- no immediate and unexpected attack on her by her
batterer-husband at the time she shot him.
Absent unlawful aggression, there can be no self-defense, complete or incomplete.
But all is not lost. The severe beatings repeatedly inflicted on appellant constituted a form of cumulative provocation
that broke down her psychological resistance and self-control. This psychological paralysis she suffered diminished her
will power, thereby entitling her to the mitigating factor under paragraphs 9 and 10 of Article 13 of the Revised Penal
Code.
In addition, appellant should also be credited with the extenuating circumstance of having acted upon an impulse so
powerful as to have naturally produced passion and obfuscation. The acute battering she suffered that fatal night in the
hands of her batterer-spouse, in spite of the fact that she was eight months pregnant with their child, overwhelmed her
and put her in the aforesaid emotional and mental state, which overcame her reason and impelled her to vindicate her life
and her unborn childs.
Considering the presence of these two mitigating circumstances arising from BWS, as well as the benefits of the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, she may now apply for and be released from custody on parole, because she has already
served the minimum period of her penalty while under detention during the pendency of this case.
The Case

For automatic review before this Court is the September 25, 1998 Decision [1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Ormoc City (Branch 35) in Criminal Case No. 5016-0, finding Marivic Genosa guilty beyond reasonable doubt of parricide.
The decretal portion of the Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, after all the foregoing being duly considered, the Court finds the accused, Marivic Genosa y Isidro,
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Parricide as provided under Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code as
restored by Sec. 5, RA No. 7659, and after finding treachery as a generic aggravating circumstance and none of
mitigating circumstance, hereby sentences the accused with the penalty of DEATH.

The Court likewise penalizes the accused to pay the heirs of the deceased the sum of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00),
Philippine currency as indemnity and another sum of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00), Philippine currency as moral
damages.[2]

The Information[3] charged appellant with parricide as follows:

That on or about the 15th day of November 1995, at Barangay Bilwang, Municipality of Isabel, Province of Leyte,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, with treachery
and evident premeditation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, hit and wound one BEN
GENOSA, her legitimate husband, with the use of a hard deadly weapon, which the accused had provided herself for the
purpose, [causing] the following wounds, to wit:

Cadaveric spasm.

Body on the 2nd stage of decomposition.

Face, black, blownup & swollen w/ evident post-mortem lividity. Eyes protruding from its sockets and tongue
slightly protrudes out of the mouth.

Fracture, open, depressed, circular located at the occipital bone of the head, resulting [in] laceration of the brain,
spontaneous rupture of the blood vessels on the posterior surface of the brain, laceration of the dura and
meningeal vessels producing severe intracranial hemorrhage.

Blisters at both extrem[i]ties, anterior chest, posterior chest, trunk w/ shedding of the epidermis.

Abdomen distended w/ gas. Trunk bloated.

which caused his death.[4]


With the assistance of her counsel,[5] appellant pleaded not guilty during her arraignment on March 3, 1997. [6] In due
course, she was tried for and convicted of parricide.

The Facts

Version of the Prosecution

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) summarizes the prosecutions version of the facts in this wise:

Appellant and Ben Genosa were united in marriage on November 19, 1983 in Ormoc City. Thereafter, they lived with the
parents of Ben in their house at Isabel, Leyte. For a time, Bens younger brother, Alex, and his wife lived with them too.
Sometime in 1995, however, appellant and Ben rented from Steban Matiga a house at Barangay Bilwang, Isabel, Leyte
where they lived with their two children, namely: John Marben and Earl Pierre.
On November 15, 1995, Ben and Arturo Basobas went to a cockfight after receiving their salary. They each had two (2)
bottles of beer before heading home. Arturo would pass Bens house before reaching his. When they arrived at the house
of Ben, he found out that appellant had gone to Isabel, Leyte to look for him. Ben went inside his house, while Arturo went
to a store across it, waiting until 9:00 in the evening for the masiao runner to place a bet. Arturo did not see appellant
arrive but on his way home passing the side of the Genosas rented house, he heard her say I wont hesitate to kill you to
which Ben replied Why kill me when I am innocent? That was the last time Arturo saw Ben alive. Arturo also noticed that
since then, the Genosas rented house appeared uninhabited and was always closed.

On November 16, 1995, appellant asked Erlinda Paderog, her close friend and neighbor living about fifty (50) meters from
her house, to look after her pig because she was going to Cebu for a pregnancy check-up. Appellant likewise asked
Erlinda to sell her motorcycle to their neighbor Ronnie Dayandayan who unfortunately had no money to buy it.

That same day, about 12:15 in the afternoon, Joseph Valida was waiting for a bus going to Ormoc when he saw appellant
going out of their house with her two kids in tow, each one carrying a bag, locking the gate and taking her children to the
waiting area where he was. Joseph lived about fifty (50) meters behind the Genosas rented house. Joseph, appellant and
her children rode the same bus to Ormoc. They had no conversation as Joseph noticed that appellant did not want to talk
to him.

On November 18, 1995, the neighbors of Steban Matiga told him about the foul odor emanating from his house being
rented by Ben and appellant. Steban went there to find out the cause of the stench but the house was locked from the
inside. Since he did not have a duplicate key with him, Steban destroyed the gate padlock with a borrowed steel saw. He
was able to get inside through the kitchen door but only after destroying a window to reach a hook that locked it. Alone,
Steban went inside the unlocked bedroom where the offensive smell was coming from. There, he saw the lifeless body of
Ben lying on his side on the bed covered with a blanket. He was only in his briefs with injuries at the back of his head.
Seeing this, Steban went out of the house and sent word to the mother of Ben about his sons misfortune. Later that day,
Iluminada Genosa, the mother of Ben, identified the dead body as that of [her] son.

Meanwhile, in the morning of the same day, SPO3 Leo Acodesin, then assigned at the police station at Isabel, Leyte,
received a report regarding the foul smell at the Genosas rented house. Together with SPO1 Millares, SPO1 Colon, and
Dr. Refelina Cerillo, SPO3 Acodesin proceeded to the house and went inside the bedroom where they found the dead
body of Ben lying on his side wrapped with a bedsheet. There was blood at the nape of Ben who only had his briefs on.
SPO3 Acodesin found in one corner at the side of an aparador a metal pipe about two (2) meters from where Ben was,
leaning against a wall. The metal pipe measured three (3) feet and six (6) inches long with a diameter of one and half (1
1/2) inches. It had an open end without a stop valve with a red stain at one end. The bedroom was not in disarray.

About 10:00 that same morning, the cadaver of Ben, because of its stench, had to be taken outside at the back of the
house before the postmortem examination was conducted by Dr. Cerillo in the presence of the police. A municipal health
officer at Isabel, Leyte responsible for medico-legal cases, Dr. Cerillo found that Ben had been dead for two to three days
and his body was already decomposing. The postmortem examination of Dr. Cerillo yielded the findings quoted in the
Information for parricide later filed against appellant. She concluded that the cause of Bens death was cardiopulmonary
arrest secondary to severe intracranial hemorrhage due to a depressed fracture of the occipital [bone].

Appellant admitted killing Ben. She testified that going home after work on November 15, 1995, she got worried that
her husband who was not home yet might have gone gambling since it was a payday. With her cousin Ecel Arao,
appellant went to look for Ben at the marketplace and taverns at Isabel, Leyte but did not find him there. They found Ben
drunk upon their return at the Genosas house. Ecel went home despite appellants request for her to sleep in their house.

Then, Ben purportedly nagged appellant for following him, even challenging her to a fight. She allegedly ignored him and
instead attended to their children who were doing their homework. Apparently disappointed with her reaction, Ben
switched off the light and, with the use of a chopping knife, cut the television antenna or wire to keep her from watching
television. According to appellant, Ben was about to attack her so she ran to the bedroom, but he got hold of her hands
and whirled her around. She fell on the side of the bed and screamed for help. Ben left. At this point, appellant
packed his clothes because she wanted him to leave. Seeing his packed clothes upon his return home, Ben allegedly flew
into a rage, dragged appellant outside of the bedroom towards a drawer holding her by the neck, and told her You might
as well be killed so nobody would nag me. Appellant testified that she was aware that there was a gun inside the drawer
but since Ben did not have the key to it, he got a three-inch long blade cutter from his wallet. She however, smashed the
arm of Ben with a pipe, causing him to drop the blade and his wallet. Appellant then smashed Ben at his nape with the
pipe as he was about to pick up the blade and his wallet. She thereafter ran inside the bedroom.
Appellant, however, insisted that she ended the life of her husband by shooting him. She supposedly distorted the drawer
where the gun was and shot Ben. He did not die on the spot, though, but in the bedroom. [7] (Citations omitted)

Version of the Defense

Appellant relates her version of the facts in this manner:

1. Marivic and Ben Genosa were allegedly married on November 19, 1983. Prior to her marriage, Marivic had graduated
from San Carlos, Cebu City, obtaining a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and was working, at
the time of her husbands death, as a Secretary to the Port Managers in Ormoc City. The couple had three (3) children:
John Marben, Earl Pierre and Marie Bianca.

2. Marivic and Ben had known each other since elementary school; they were neighbors in Bilwang; they were
classmates; and they were third degree cousins. Both sets of parents were against their relationship, but Ben was
persistent and tried to stop other suitors from courting her. Their closeness developed as he was her constant partner at
fiestas.

3. After their marriage, they lived first in the home of Bens parents, together with Bens brother, Alex, in Isabel, Leyte. In
the first year of marriage, Marivic and Ben lived happily. But apparently, soon thereafter, the couple would quarrel often
and their fights would become violent.

4. Bens brother, Alex, testified for the prosecution that he could not remember when Ben and Marivic married. He said
that when Ben and Marivic quarreled, generally when Ben would come home drunk, Marivic would inflict injuries on him.
He said that in one incident in 1993 he saw Marivic holding a kitchen knife after Ben had shouted for help as his left hand
was covered with blood. Marivic left the house but after a week, she returned apparently having asked for Bens
forgiveness. In another incident in May 22, 1994, early morning, Alex and his father apparently rushed to Bens aid again
and saw blood from Bens forehead and Marivic holding an empty bottle. Ben and Marivic reconciled after Marivic had
apparently again asked for Bens forgiveness.

Mrs. Iluminada Genosa, Marivics mother-in-law, testified too, saying that Ben and Marivic married in 1986 or 1985 more
or less here in Fatima, Ormoc City. She said as the marriage went along, Marivic became already very demanding. Mrs.
Iluminada Genosa said that after the birth of Marivics two sons, there were three (3) misunderstandings. The first was
when Marivic stabbed Ben with a table knife through his left arm; the second incident was on November 15, 1994, when
Marivic struck Ben on the forehead using a sharp instrument until the eye was also affected. It was wounded and also the
ear and her husband went to Ben to help; and the third incident was in 1995 when the couple had already transferred to
the house in Bilwang and she saw that Bens hand was plastered as the bone cracked.

Both mother and son claimed they brought Ben to a Pasar clinic for medical intervention.

5. Arturo Basobas, a co-worker of Ben, testified that on November 15, 1995 After we collected our salary, we went to the
cock-fighting place of ISCO. They stayed there for three (3) hours, after which they went to Uniloks and drank beer
allegedly only two (2) bottles each. After drinking they bought barbeque and went to the Genosa residence. Marivic was
not there. He stayed a while talking with Ben, after which he went across the road to wait for the runner and the usher of
the masiao game because during that time, the hearing on masiao numbers was rampant. I was waiting for the ushers
and runners so that I can place my bet. On his way home at about 9:00 in the evening, he heard the Genosas arguing.
They were quarreling loudly. Outside their house was one Fredo who is used by Ben to feed his fighting cocks. Basobas
testimony on the root of the quarrel, conveniently overheard by him was Marivic saying I will never hesitate to kill you,
whilst Ben replied Why kill me when I am innocent. Basobas thought they were joking.

He did not hear them quarreling while he was across the road from the Genosa residence. Basobas admitted that he and
Ben were always at the cockpits every Saturday and Sunday. He claims that he once told Ben before when he was
stricken with a bottle by Marivic Genosa that he should leave her and that Ben would always take her back after she
would leave him so many times.

Basobas could not remember when Marivic had hit Ben, but it was a long time that they had been quarreling. He said Ben
even had a wound on the right forehead. He had known the couple for only one (1) year.
6. Marivic testified that after the first year of marriage, Ben became cruel to her and was a habitual drinker. She said he
provoked her, he would slap her, sometimes he would pin her down on the bed, and sometimes beat her.

These incidents happened several times and she would often run home to her parents, but Ben would follow her and seek
her out, promising to change and would ask for her forgiveness. She said after she would be beaten, she would seek
medical help from Dr. Dino Caing, Dr. Lucero and Dra. Cerillo. These doctors would enter the injuries inflicted upon her by
Ben into their reports. Marivic said Ben would beat her or quarrel with her every time he was drunk, at least three times a
week.

7. In her defense, witnesses who were not so closely related to Marivic, testified as to the abuse and violence she
received at the hands of Ben.

7.1. Mr. Joe Barrientos, a fisherman, who was a [neighbor] of the Genosas, testified that on November 15, 1995, he
overheard a quarrel between Ben and Marivic. Marivic was shouting for help and through the open jalousies, he saw the
spouses grappling with each other. Ben had Marivic in a choke hold. He did not do anything, but had come voluntarily to
testify. (Please note this was the same night as that testified to by Arturo Busabos.[8])

7.2. Mr. Junnie Barrientos, also a fisherman, and the brother of Mr. Joe Barrientos, testified that he heard his neighbor
Marivic shouting on the night of November 15, 1995. He peeped through the window of his hut which is located beside the
Genosa house and saw the spouses grappling with each other then Ben Genosa was holding with his both hands the
neck of the accused, Marivic Genosa. He said after a while, Marivic was able to extricate he[r]self and enter the room of
the children. After that, he went back to work as he was to go fishing that evening. He returned at 8:00 the next morning.
(Again, please note that this was the same night as that testified to by Arturo Basobas).

7.3. Mr. Teodoro Sarabia was a former neighbor of the Genosas while they were living in Isabel, Leyte. His house was
located about fifty (50) meters from theirs. Marivic is his niece and he knew them to be living together for 13 or 14 years.
He said the couple was always quarreling. Marivic confided in him that Ben would pawn items and then would use the
money to gamble. One time, he went to their house and they were quarreling. Ben was so angry, but would be pacified if
somebody would come. He testified that while Ben was alive he used to gamble and when he became drunk, he would go
to our house and he will say, Teody because that was what he used to call me, mokimas ta, which means lets go and look
for a whore. Mr. Sarabia further testified that Ben would box his wife and I would see bruises and one time she ran to me,
I noticed a wound (the witness pointed to his right breast) as according to her a knife was stricken to her. Mr. Sarabia also
said that once he saw Ben had been injured too. He said he voluntarily testified only that morning.

7.4. Miss Ecel Arano, an 18-year old student, who is a cousin of Marivic, testified that in the afternoon of November 15,
1995, Marivic went to her house and asked her help to look for Ben. They searched in the market place, several taverns
and some other places, but could not find him. She accompanied Marivic home. Marivic wanted her to sleep with her in
the Genosa house because she might be battered by her husband. When they got to the Genosa house at about 7:00 in
the evening, Miss Arano said that her husband was already there and was drunk. Miss Arano knew he was drunk
because of his staggering walking and I can also detect his face. Marivic entered the house and she heard them quarrel
noisily. (Again, please note that this is the same night as that testified to by Arturo Basobas) Miss Arano testified that this
was not the first time Marivic had asked her to sleep in the house as Marivic would be afraid every time her husband
would come home drunk. At one time when she did sleep over, she was awakened at 10:00 in the evening when Ben
arrived because the couple were very noisy in the sala and I had heard something was broken like a vase. She said
Marivic ran into her room and they locked the door. When Ben couldnt get in he got a chair and a knife and showed us the
knife through the window grill and he scared us. She said that Marivic shouted for help, but no one came. On cross-
examination, she said that when she left Marivics house on November 15, 1995, the couple were still quarreling.

7.5. Dr. Dino Caing, a physician testified that he and Marivic were co-employees at PHILPHOS, Isabel, Leyte. Marivic was
his patient many times and had also received treatment from other doctors. Dr. Caing testified that from July 6, 1989 until
November 9, 1995, there were six (6) episodes of physical injuries inflicted upon Marivic. These injuries were reported in
his Out-Patient Chart at the PHILPHOS Hospital. The prosecution admitted the qualifications of Dr. Caing and considered
him an expert witness.

xxxxxxxxx

Dr. Caings clinical history of the tension headache and hypertention of Marivic on twenty-three (23) separate
occasions was marked at Exhibits 2 and 2-B. The OPD Chart of Marivic at the Philphos Clinic which reflected all the
consultations made by Marivic and the six (6) incidents of physical injuries reported was marked as Exhibit 3.
On cross-examination, Dr. Caing said that he is not a psychiatrist, he could not say whether the injuries were directly
related to the crime committed. He said it is only a psychiatrist who is qualified to examine the psychological make-up of
the patient, whether she is capable of committing a crime or not.

7.6 Mr. Panfilo Tero, the barangay captain in the place where the Genosas resided, testified that about two (2) months
before Ben died, Marivic went to his office past 8:00 in the evening. She sought his help to settle or confront the Genosa
couple who were experiencing family troubles. He told Marivic to return in the morning, but he did not hear from her again
and assumed that they might have settled with each other or they might have forgiven with each other.

xxxxxxxxx

Marivic said she did not provoke her husband when she got home that night it was her husband who began the
provocation. Marivic said she was frightened that her husband would hurt her and she wanted to make sure she would
deliver her baby safely. In fact, Marivic had to be admitted later at the Rizal Medical Centre as she was suffering from
eclampsia and hypertension, and the baby was born prematurely on December 1, 1995.

Marivic testified that during her marriage she had tried to leave her husband at least five (5) times, but that Ben would
always follow her and they would reconcile. Marivic said that the reason why Ben was violent and abusive towards her
that night was because he was crazy about his recent girlfriend, Lulu x x x Rubillos.

On cross-examination, Marivic insisted she shot Ben with a gun; she said that he died in the bedroom; that their quarrels
could be heard by anyone passing their house; that Basobas lied in his testimony; that she left for Manila the next day,
November 16, 1995; that she did not bother anyone in Manila, rented herself a room, and got herself a job as a field
researcher under the alias Marvelous Isidro; she did not tell anyone that she was leaving Leyte, she just wanted to have a
safe delivery of her baby; and that she was arrested in San Pablo, Laguna.

Answering questions from the Court, Marivic said that she threw the gun away; that she did not know what happened to
the pipe she used to smash him once; that she was wounded by Ben on her wrist with the bolo; and that two (2) hours
after she was whirled by Ben, he kicked her ass and dragged her towards the drawer when he saw that she had packed
his things.

9. The body of Ben Genosa was found on November 18, 1995 after an investigation was made of the foul odor emitting
from the Genosa residence. This fact was testified to by all the prosecution witnesses and some defense witnesses during
the trial.

10. Dra. Refelina Y. Cerillo, a physician, was the Municipal Health Officer of Isabel, Leyte at the time of the incident, and
among her responsibilities as such was to take charge of all medico-legal cases, such as the examination of cadavers and
the autopsy of cadavers. Dra. Cerillo is not a forensic pathologist. She merely took the medical board exams and passed
in 1986. She was called by the police to go to the Genosa residence and when she got there, she saw some police officer
and neighbor around. She saw Ben Genosa, covered by a blanket, lying in a semi-prone position with his back to the
door. He was wearing only a brief.

xxxxxxxxx

Dra. Cerillo said that there is only one injury and that is the injury involving the skeletal area of the head which she
described as a fracture. And that based on her examination, Ben had been dead 2 or 3 days. Dra. Cerillo did not testify as
to what caused his death.

Dra. Cerillo was not cross-examined by defense counsel.

11. The Information, dated November 14, 1996, filed against Marivic Genosa charged her with the crime of PARRICIDE
committed with intent to kill, with treachery and evidence premeditation, x x x wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack,
assault, hit and wound x x x her legitimate husband, with the use of a hard deadly weapon x x x which caused his death.

12. Trial took place on 7 and 14 April 1997, 14 May 1997, 21 July 1997, 17, 22 and 23 September 1997, 12 November
1997, 15 and 16 December 1997, 22 May 1998, and 5 and 6 August 1998.

13. On 23 September 1998, or only fifty (50) days from the day of the last trial date, the Hon. Fortunito L. Madrona,
Presiding Judge, RTC-Branch 35, Ormoc City, rendered a JUDGMENT finding Marivic guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of parricide, and further found treachery as an aggravating circumstance, thus sentencing her to the ultimate
penalty of DEATH.

14. The case was elevated to this Honorable Court upon automatic review and, under date of 24 January 2000, Marivics
trial lawyer, Atty. Gil Marvel P. Tabucanon, filed a Motion to Withdraw as counsel, attaching thereto, as a precautionary
measure, two (2) drafts of Appellants Briefs he had prepared for Marivic which, for reasons of her own, were not
conformed to by her.

The Honorable Court allowed the withdrawal of Atty. Tabucanon and permitted the entry of appearance of undersigned
counsel.

15. Without the knowledge of counsel, Marivic Genosa wrote a letter dated 20 January 2000, to the Chief Justice,
coursing the same through Atty. Teresita G. Dimaisip, Deputy Clerk of Court of Chief Judicial Records Office, wherein she
submitted her Brief without counsels to the Court.

This letter was stamp-received by the Honorable Court on 4 February 2000.

16. In the meantime, under date of 17 February 2000, and stamp-received by the Honorable Court on 19 February 2000,
undersigned counsel filed an URGENT OMNIBUS MOTION praying that the Honorable Court allow the exhumation of
Ben Genosa and the re-examination of the cause of his death; allow the examination of Marivic Genosa by qualified
psychologists and psychiatrists to determine her state of mind at the time she killed her husband; and finally, to allow a
partial re-opening of the case a quo to take the testimony of said psychologists and psychiatrists.

Attached to the URGENT OMNIBUS MOTION was a letter of Dr. Raquel Fortun, then the only qualified forensic
pathologist in the country, who opined that the description of the death wound (as culled from the post-mortem findings,
Exhibit A) is more akin to a gunshot wound than a beating with a lead pipe.

17. In a RESOLUTION dated 29 September 2000, the Honorable Court partly granted Marivics URGENT OMNIBUS
MOTION and remanded the case to the trial court for the reception of expert psychological and/or psychiatric opinion on
the battered woman syndrome plea, within ninety (90) days from notice, and, thereafter to forthwith report to this Court the
proceedings taken, together with the copies of the TSN and relevant documentary evidence, if any, submitted.

18. On 15 January 2001, Dra. Natividad A. Dayan appeared and testified before the Hon. Fortunito L. Madrona, RTC-
Branch 35, Ormoc City.

Immediately before Dra. Dayan was sworn, the Court a quo asked if she had interviewed Marivic Genosa. Dra. Dayan
informed the Court that interviews were done at the Penal Institution in 1999, but that the clinical interviews and
psychological assessment were done at her clinic.

Dra. Dayan testified that she has been a clinical psychologist for twenty (20) years with her own private clinic and
connected presently to the De La Salle University as a professor. Before this, she was the Head of the Psychology
Department of the Assumption College; a member of the faculty of Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University and St.
Josephs College; and was the counseling psychologist of the National Defense College. She has an AB in Psychology
from the University of the Philippines, a Master of Arts in Clinical [Counseling], Psychology from the Ateneo, and a PhD
from the U.P. She was the past president of the Psychological Association of the Philippines and is a member of the
American Psychological Association. She is the secretary of the International Council of Psychologists from about 68
countries; a member of the Forensic Psychology Association; and a member of the ASEAN [Counseling] Association. She
is actively involved with the Philippine Judicial Academy, recently lecturing on the socio-demographic and psychological
profile of families involved in domestic violence and nullity cases. She was with the Davide Commission doing research
about Military Psychology. She has written a book entitled Energy Global Psychology (together with Drs. Allan Tan and
Allan Bernardo). The Genosa case is the first time she has testified as an expert on battered women as this is the first
case of that nature.

Dra. Dayan testified that for the research she conducted, on the socio-demographic and psychological profile of families
involved in domestic violence, and nullity cases, she looked at about 500 cases over a period of ten (10) years and
discovered that there are lots of variables that cause all of this marital conflicts, from domestic violence to infidelity, to
psychiatric disorder.

Dra. Dayan described domestic violence to comprise of a lot of incidents of psychological abuse, verbal abuse, and
emotional abuse to physical abuse and also sexual abuse.
xxxxxxxxx

Dra. Dayan testified that in her studies, the battered woman usually has a very low opinion of herself. She has a self-
defeating and self-sacrificing characteristics. x x x they usually think very lowly of themselves and so when the violence
would happen, they usually think that they provoke it, that they were the one who precipitated the violence, they provoke
their spouse to be physically, verbally and even sexually abusive to them. Dra. Dayan said that usually a battered x x x
comes from a dysfunctional family or from broken homes.

Dra. Dayan said that the batterer, just like the battered woman, also has a very low opinion of himself. But then emerges
to have superiority complex and it comes out as being very arrogant, very hostile, very aggressive and very angry. They
also had (sic) a very low tolerance for frustrations. A lot of times they are involved in vices like gambling, drinking and
drugs. And they become violent. The batterer also usually comes from a dysfunctional family which over-pampers them
and makes them feel entitled to do anything. Also, they see often how their parents abused each other so there is a lot of
modeling of aggression in the family.

Dra. Dayan testified that there are a lot of reasons why a battered woman does not leave her husband: poverty, self-
blame and guilt that she provoked the violence, the cycle itself which makes her hope her husband will change, the belief
in her obligations to keep the family intact at all costs for the sake of the children.

xxxxxxxxx

Dra. Dayan said that abused wives react differently to the violence: some leave the house, or lock themselves in another
room, or sometimes try to fight back triggering physical violence on both of them. She said that in a normal marital
relationship, abuses also happen, but these are not consistent, not chronic, are not happening day in [and] day out. In an
abnormal marital relationship, the abuse occurs day in and day out, is long lasting and even would cause hospitalization
on the victim and even death on the victim.

xxxxxxxxx

Dra. Dayan said that as a result of the battery of psychological tests she administered, it was her opinion that Marivic fits
the profile of a battered woman because inspite of her feeling of self-confidence which we can see at times there are
really feeling (sic) of loss, such feelings of humiliation which she sees herself as damaged and as a broken person. And at
the same time she still has the imprint of all the abuses that she had experienced in the past.

xxxxxxxxx

Dra. Dayan said Marivic thought of herself as a loving wife and did not even consider filing for nullity or legal separation
inspite of the abuses. It was at the time of the tragedy that Marivic then thought of herself as a victim.

xxxxxxxxx

19. On 9 February 2001, Dr. Alfredo Pajarillo, a physician, who has since passed away, appeared and testified before
RTC-Branch 35, Ormoc City.

Dr. Pajarillo was a Diplomate of the Philippine Board of Psychiatry; a Fellow of the Philippine Board of Psychiatry and a
Fellow of the Philippine Psychiatry Association. He was in the practice of psychiatry for thirty-eight (38) years. Prior to
being in private practice, he was connected with the Veterans Memorial Medical Centre where he gained his training on
psychiatry and neurology. After that, he was called to active duty in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, assigned to the
V. Luna Medical Center for twenty six (26) years. Prior to his retirement from government service, he obtained the rank of
Brigadier General. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Santo Tomas. He was also a member of the
World Association of Military Surgeons; the Quezon City Medical Society; the Cagayan Medical Society; and the
Philippine Association of Military Surgeons.

He authored The Comparative Analysis of Nervous Breakdown in the Philippine Military Academy from the Period 1954
1978 which was presented twice in international congresses. He also authored The Mental Health of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines 2000, which was likewise published internationally and locally. He had a medical textbook published on the
use of Prasepam on a Parke-Davis grant; was the first to use Enanthate (siquiline), on an E.R. Squibb grant; and he
published the use of the drug Zopiclom in 1985-86.
Dr. Pajarillo explained that psychiatry deals with the functional disorder of the mind and neurology deals with the ailment
of the brain and spinal cord enlarged. Psychology, on the other hand, is a bachelor degree and a doctorate degree; while
one has to finish medicine to become a specialist in psychiatry.

Even only in his 7th year as a resident in V. Luna Medical Centre, Dr. Pajarillo had already encountered a suit involving
violent family relations, and testified in a case in 1964. In the Armed Forces of the Philippines, violent family disputes
abound, and he has seen probably ten to twenty thousand cases. In those days, the primordial intention of therapy was
reconciliation. As a result of his experience with domestic violence cases, he became a consultant of the Battered Woman
Office in Quezon City under Atty. Nenita Deproza.

As such consultant, he had seen around forty (40) cases of severe domestic violence, where there is physical abuse:
such as slapping, pushing, verbal abuse, battering and boxing a woman even to an unconscious state such that the
woman is sometimes confined. The affliction of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder depends on the vulnerability of the victim.
Dr. Pajarillo said that if the victim is not very healthy, perhaps one episode of violence may induce the disorder; if the
psychological stamina and physiologic constitutional stamina of the victim is stronger, it will take more repetitive trauma to
precipitate the post-traumatic stress disorder and this x x x is very dangerous.

In psychiatry, the post-traumatic stress disorder is incorporated under the anxiety neurosis or neurologic anxcietism. It is
produced by overwhelming brutality, trauma.

xxxxxxxxx

Dr. Pajarillo explained that with neurotic anxiety, the victim relives the beating or trauma as if it were real, although she is
not actually being beaten at that time. She thinks of nothing but the suffering.

xxxxxxxxx

A woman who suffers battery has a tendency to become neurotic, her emotional tone is unstable, and she is irritable and
restless. She tends to become hard-headed and persistent. She has higher sensitivity and her self-world is damaged.

Dr. Pajarillo said that an abnormal family background relates to an individuals illness, such as the deprivation of the
continuous care and love of the parents. As to the batterer, he normally internalizes what is around him within the
environment. And it becomes his own personality. He is very competitive; he is aiming high all the time; he is so macho;
he shows his strong faade but in it there are doubts in himself and prone to act without thinking.

xxxxxxxxx

Dr. Pajarillo emphasized that even though without the presence of the precipator (sic) or the one who administered the
battering, that re-experiencing of the trauma occurred (sic) because the individual cannot control it. It will just come up in
her mind or in his mind.

xxxxxxxxx

Dr. Pajarillo said that a woman suffering post traumatic stress disorder try to defend themselves, and primarily with knives.
Usually pointed weapons or any weapon that is available in the immediate surrounding or in a hospital x x x because that
abound in the household. He said a victim resorts to weapons when she has reached the lowest rock bottom of her life
and there is no other recourse left on her but to act decisively.

xxxxxxxxx

Dr. Pajarillo testified that he met Marivic Genosa in his office in an interview he conducted for two (2) hours and
seventeen (17) minutes. He used the psychological evaluation and social case studies as a help in forming his diagnosis.
He came out with a Psychiatric Report, dated 22 January 2001.

xxxxxxxxx

On cross-examination by the private prosecutor, Dr. Pajarillo said that at the time she killed her husband Marivicc mental
condition was that she was re-experiencing the trauma. He said that we are trying to explain scientifically that the re-
experiencing of the trauma is not controlled by Marivic. It will just come in flashes and probably at that point in time that
things happened when the re-experiencing of the trauma flashed in her mind. At the time he interviewed Marivic she was
more subdued, she was not super alert anymore x x x she is mentally stress (sic) because of the predicament she is
involved.

xxxxxxxxx

20. No rebuttal evidence or testimony was presented by either the private or the public prosecutor. Thus, in accord with
the Resolution of this Honorable Court, the records of the partially re-opened trial a quo were elevated.[9]

Ruling of the Trial Court

Finding the proffered theory of self-defense untenable, the RTC gave credence to the prosecution evidence that
appellant had killed the deceased while he was in bed sleeping. Further, the trial court appreciated the generic
aggravating circumstance of treachery, because Ben Genosa was supposedly defenseless when he was killed -- lying in
bed asleep when Marivic smashed him with a pipe at the back of his head.
The capital penalty having been imposed, the case was elevated to this Court for automatic review.

Supervening Circumstances

On February 19, 2000, appellant filed an Urgent Omnibus Motion praying that this Court allow (1) the exhumation of
Ben Genosa and the reexamination of the cause of his death; (2) the examination of appellant by qualified psychologists
and psychiatrists to determine her state of mind at the time she had killed her spouse; and (3) the inclusion of the said
experts reports in the records of the case for purposes of the automatic review or, in the alternative, a partial reopening of
the case for the lower court to admit the experts testimonies.
On September 29, 2000, this Court issued a Resolution granting in part appellants Motion, remanding the case to the
trial court for the reception of expert psychological and/or psychiatric opinion on the battered woman syndrome plea; and
requiring the lower court to report thereafter to this Court the proceedings taken as well as to submit copies of the TSN
and additional evidence, if any.
Acting on the Courts Resolution, the trial judge authorized the examination of Marivic by two clinical psychologists,
Drs. Natividad Dayan[10] and Alfredo Pajarillo,[11]supposedly experts on domestic violence. Their testimonies, along with
their documentary evidence, were then presented to and admitted by the lower court before finally being submitted to this
Court to form part of the records of the case.[12]

The Issues

Appellant assigns the following alleged errors of the trial court for this Courts consideration:

1. The trial court gravely erred in promulgating an obviously hasty decision without reflecting on the evidence adduced as
to self-defense.

2. The trial court gravely erred in finding as a fact that Ben and Marivic Genosa were legally married and that she was
therefore liable for parricide.

3. The trial court gravely erred finding the cause of death to be by beating with a pipe.

4. The trial court gravely erred in ignoring and disregarding evidence adduced from impartial and unbiased witnesses that
Ben Genosa was a drunk, a gambler, a womanizer and wife-beater; and further gravely erred in concluding that Ben
Genosa was a battered husband.

5. The trial court gravely erred in not requiring testimony from the children of Marivic Genosa.
6. The trial court gravely erred in concluding that Marivics flight to Manila and her subsequent apologies were indicia of
guilt, instead of a clear attempt to save the life of her unborn child.

7. The trial court gravely erred in concluding that there was an aggravating circumstance of treachery.

8. The trial court gravely erred in refusing to re-evaluate the traditional elements in determining the existence of self-
defense and defense of foetus in this case, thereby erroneously convicting Marivic Genosa of the crime of parricide and
condemning her to the ultimate penalty of death.[13]

In the main, the following are the essential legal issues: (1) whether appellant acted in self-defense and in defense of
her fetus; and (2) whether treachery attended the killing of Ben Genosa.

The Courts Ruling

The appeal is partly meritorious.

Collateral Factual Issues

The first six assigned errors raised by appellant are factual in nature, if not collateral to the resolution of the principal
issues. As consistently held by this Court, the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies
are entitled to a high degree of respect and will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that the trial
judge gravely abused his discretion or overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied material facts or circumstances of weight
and substance that could affect the outcome of the case.[14]
In appellants first six assigned items, we find no grave abuse of discretion, reversible error or misappreciation of
material facts that would reverse or modify the trial courts disposition of the case. In any event, we will now briefly dispose
of these alleged errors of the trial court.
First, we do not agree that the lower court promulgated an obviously hasty decision without reflecting on the
evidence adduced as to self-defense. We note that in his 17-page Decision, Judge Fortunito L. Madrona summarized the
testimonies of both the prosecution and the defense witnesses and -- on the basis of those and of the documentary
evidence on record -- made his evaluation, findings and conclusions. He wrote a 3-page discourse assessing the
testimony and the self-defense theory of the accused. While she, or even this Court, may not agree with the trial judges
conclusions, we cannot peremptorily conclude, absent substantial evidence, that he failed to reflect on the evidence
presented.
Neither do we find the appealed Decision to have been made in an obviously hasty manner. The Information had
been filed with the lower court on November 14, 1996. Thereafter, trial began and at least 13 hearings were held for over
a year. It took the trial judge about two months from the conclusion of trial to promulgate his judgment. That he conducted
the trial and resolved the case with dispatch should not be taken against him, much less used to condemn him for being
unduly hasty. If at all, the dispatch with which he handled the case should be lauded. In any case, we find his actions in
substantial compliance with his constitutional obligation.[15]
Second, the lower court did not err in finding as a fact that Ben Genosa and appellant had been legally married,
despite the non-presentation of their marriage contract. In People v. Malabago,[16] this Court held:

The key element in parricide is the relationship of the offender with the victim. In the case of parricide of a spouse, the
best proof of the relationship between the accused and the deceased is the marriage certificate. In the absence of a
marriage certificate, however, oral evidence of the fact of marriage may be considered by the trial court if such proof is not
objected to.

Two of the prosecution witnesses -- namely, the mother and the brother of appellants deceased spouse -- attested in
court that Ben had been married to Marivic. [17]The defense raised no objection to these testimonies. Moreover, during her
direct examination, appellant herself made a judicial admission of her marriage to Ben. [18]Axiomatic is the rule that a
judicial admission is conclusive upon the party making it, except only when there is a showing that (1) the admission was
made through a palpable mistake, or (2) no admission was in fact made. [19] Other than merely attacking the non-
presentation of the marriage contract, the defense offered no proof that the admission made by appellant in court as to the
fact of her marriage to the deceased was made through a palpable mistake.
Third, under the circumstances of this case, the specific or direct cause of Bens death -- whether by a gunshot or by
beating with a pipe -- has no legal consequence. As the Court elucidated in its September 29, 2000 Resolution,
[c]onsidering that the appellant has admitted the fact of killing her husband and the acts of hitting his nape with a metal
pipe and of shooting him at the back of his head, the Court believes that exhumation is unnecessary, if not immaterial, to
determine which of said acts actually caused the victims death. Determining which of these admitted acts caused the
death is not dispositive of the guilt or defense of appellant.
Fourth, we cannot fault the trial court for not fully appreciating evidence that Ben was a drunk, gambler, womanizer and
wife-beater. Until this case came to us for automatic review, appellant had not raised the novel defense of battered woman
syndrome, for which such evidence may have been relevant. Her theory of self-defense was then the crucial issue before the
trial court. As will be discussed shortly, the legal requisites of self-defense under prevailing jurisprudence ostensibly appear
inconsistent with the surrounding facts that led to the death of the victim. Hence, his personal character, especially his past
behavior, did not constitute vital evidence at the time.
Fifth, the trial court surely committed no error in not requiring testimony from appellants children. As correctly
elucidated by the solicitor general, all criminal actions are prosecuted under the direction and control of the public
prosecutor, in whom lies the discretion to determine which witnesses and evidence are necessary to present. [20]As the
former further points out, neither the trial court nor the prosecution prevented appellant from presenting her children as
witnesses. Thus, she cannot now fault the lower court for not requiring them to testify.
Finally, merely collateral or corroborative is the matter of whether the flight of Marivic to Manila and her subsequent
apologies to her brother-in-law are indicia of her guilt or are attempts to save the life of her unborn child. Any reversible
error as to the trial courts appreciation of these circumstances has little bearing on the final resolution of the case.

First Legal Issue:


Self-Defense and Defense of a Fetus

Appellant admits killing Ben Genosa but, to avoid criminal liability, invokes self-defense and/or defense of her unborn
child. When the accused admits killing the victim, it is incumbent upon her to prove any claimed justifying circumstance by
clear and convincing evidence.[21] Well-settled is the rule that in criminal cases, self-defense (and similarly, defense of a
stranger or third person) shifts the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defense. [22]

The Battered Woman Syndrome

In claiming self-defense, appellant raises the novel theory of the battered woman syndrome. While new in Philippine
jurisprudence, the concept has been recognized in foreign jurisdictions as a form of self-defense or, at the least,
incomplete self-defense.[23] By appreciating evidence that a victim or defendant is afflicted with the syndrome, foreign
courts convey their understanding of the justifiably fearful state of mind of a person who has been cyclically abused and
controlled over a period of time.[24]
A battered woman has been defined as a woman who is repeatedly subjected to any forceful physical or
psychological behavior by a man in order to coerce her to do something he wants her to do without concern for her rights.
Battered women include wives or women in any form of intimate relationship with men. Furthermore, in order to be
classified as a battered woman, the couple must go through the battering cycle at least twice. Any woman may find herself
in an abusive relationship with a man once. If it occurs a second time, and she remains in the situation, she is defined as
a battered woman.[25]
Battered women exhibit common personality traits, such as low self-esteem, traditional beliefs about the home, the
family and the female sex role; emotional dependence upon the dominant male; the tendency to accept responsibility for
the batterers actions; and false hopes that the relationship will improve. [26]
More graphically, the battered woman syndrome is characterized by the so-called cycle of violence,[27] which has
three phases: (1) the tension-building phase; (2) the acute battering incident; and (3) the tranquil, loving (or, at least,
nonviolent) phase.[28]
During the tension-building phase, minor battering occurs -- it could be verbal or slight physical abuse or another
form of hostile behavior. The woman usually tries to pacify the batterer through a show of kind, nurturing behavior; or by
simply staying out of his way. What actually happens is that she allows herself to be abused in ways that, to her, are
comparatively minor. All she wants is to prevent the escalation of the violence exhibited by the batterer. This wish,
however, proves to be double-edged, because her placatory and passive behavior legitimizes his belief that he has the
right to abuse her in the first place.
However, the techniques adopted by the woman in her effort to placate him are not usually successful, and the
verbal and/or physical abuse worsens. Each partner senses the imminent loss of control and the growing tension and
despair. Exhausted from the persistent stress, the battered woman soon withdraws emotionally. But the more she
becomes emotionally unavailable, the more the batterer becomes angry, oppressive and abusive. Often, at some
unpredictable point, the violence spirals out of control and leads to an acute battering incident. [29]
The acute battering incident is said to be characterized by brutality, destructiveness and, sometimes, death. The
battered woman deems this incident as unpredictable, yet also inevitable. During this phase, she has no control; only the
batterer may put an end to the violence. Its nature can be as unpredictable as the time of its explosion, and so are his
reasons for ending it. The battered woman usually realizes that she cannot reason with him, and that resistance would
only exacerbate her condition.
At this stage, she has a sense of detachment from the attack and the terrible pain, although she may later clearly
remember every detail. Her apparent passivity in the face of acute violence may be rationalized thus: the batterer is
almost always much stronger physically, and she knows from her past painful experience that it is futile to fight back.
Acute battering incidents are often very savage and out of control, such that innocent bystanders or intervenors are likely
to get hurt.[30]
The final phase of the cycle of violence begins when the acute battering incident ends. During this tranquil period,
the couple experience profound relief. On the one hand, the batterer may show a tender and nurturing behavior towards
his partner. He knows that he has been viciously cruel and tries to make up for it, begging for her forgiveness and
promising never to beat her again. On the other hand, the battered woman also tries to convince herself that the battery
will never happen again; that her partner will change for the better; and that this good, gentle and caring man is the real
person whom she loves.
A battered woman usually believes that she is the sole anchor of the emotional stability of the batterer. Sensing his
isolation and despair, she feels responsible for his well-being. The truth, though, is that the chances of his reforming, or
seeking or receiving professional help, are very slim, especially if she remains with him. Generally, only after she leaves
him does he seek professional help as a way of getting her back. Yet, it is in this phase of remorseful reconciliation that
she is most thoroughly tormented psychologically.
The illusion of absolute interdependency is well-entrenched in a battered womans psyche. In this phase, she and her
batterer are indeed emotionally dependent on each other -- she for his nurturant behavior, he for her forgiveness.
Underneath this miserable cycle of tension, violence and forgiveness, each partner may believe that it is better to die than
to be separated. Neither one may really feel independent, capable of functioning without the other. [31]

History of Abuse
in the Present Case

To show the history of violence inflicted upon appellant, the defense presented several witnesses. She herself
described her heart-rending experience as follows:
ATTY. TABUCANON
Q How did you describe your marriage with Ben Genosa?
A In the first year, I lived with him happily but in the subsequent year he was cruel to me and a behavior of
habitual drinker.
Q You said that in the subsequent year of your marriage, your husband was abusive to you and cruel. In what
way was this abusive and cruelty manifested to you?
A He always provoke me in everything, he always slap me and sometimes he pinned me down on the bed and
sometimes beat me.
Q How many times did this happen?
A Several times already.
Q What did you do when these things happen to you?
A I went away to my mother and I ran to my father and we separate each other.
Q What was the action of Ben Genosa towards you leaving home?
A He is following me, after that he sought after me.
Q What will happen when he follow you?
A He said he changed, he asked for forgiveness and I was convinced and after that I go to him and he said
sorry.
Q During those times that you were the recipient of such cruelty and abusive behavior by your husband, were
you able to see a doctor?
A Yes, sir.
Q Who are these doctors?
A The company physician, Dr. Dino Caing, Dr. Lucero and Dra. Cerillo.

xxxxxxxxx

Q You said that you saw a doctor in relation to your injuries?


A Yes, sir.
Q Who inflicted these injuries?
A Of course my husband.
Q You mean Ben Genosa?
A Yes, sir.

xxxxxxxxx

[Court] /to the witness


Q How frequent was the alleged cruelty that you said?
A Everytime he got drunk.
Q No, from the time that you said the cruelty or the infliction of injury inflicted on your occurred, after your
marriage, from that time on, how frequent was the occurrence?
A Everytime he got drunk.
Q Is it daily, weekly, monthly or how many times in a month or in a week?
A Three times a week.
Q Do you mean three times a week he would beat you?
A Not necessarily that he would beat me but sometimes he will just quarrel me. [32]
Referring to his Out-Patient Chart[33] on Marivic Genosa at the Philphos Hospital, Dr. Dino D. Caing bolstered her
foregoing testimony on chronic battery in this manner:
Q So, do you have a summary of those six (6) incidents which are found in the chart of your clinic?
A Yes, sir.
Q Who prepared the list of six (6) incidents, Doctor?
A I did.
Q Will you please read the physical findings together with the dates for the record.
A 1. May 12, 1990 - physical findings are as follows: Hematoma (R) lower eyelid and redness of eye. Attending
physician: Dr. Lucero;
2. March 10, 1992 - Contusion-Hematoma (L) lower arbital area, pain and contusion (R) breast. Attending
physician: Dr. Canora;
3. March 26, 1993 - Abrasion, Furuncle (L) Axilla;
4. August 1, 1994 - Pain, mastitis (L) breast, 2o to trauma. Attending physician: Dr. Caing;
5. April 17, 1995 - Trauma, tenderness (R) Shoulder. Attending physician: Dr. Canora; and
6. June 5, 1995 - Swelling Abrasion (L) leg, multiple contusion Pregnancy. Attending physician: Dr. Canora.
Q Among the findings, there were two (2) incidents wherein you were the attending physician, is that correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you actually physical examine the accused?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, going to your finding no. 3 where you were the one who attended the patient. What do you mean by
abrasion furuncle left axilla?
A Abrasion is a skin wound usually when it comes in contact with something rough substance if force is applied.
Q What is meant by furuncle axilla?
A It is secondary of the light infection over the abrasion.
Q What is meant by pain mastitis secondary to trauma?
A So, in this 4th episode of physical injuries there is an inflammation of left breast. So, [pain] meaning there is
tenderness. When your breast is traumatized, there is tenderness pain.
Q So, these are objective physical injuries. Doctor?

xxxxxxxxx

Q Were you able to talk with the patient?


A Yes, sir.
Q What did she tell you?
A As a doctor-patient relationship, we need to know the cause of these injuries. And she told me that it was
done to her by her husband.
Q You mean, Ben Genosa?
A Yes, sir.

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ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q By the way Doctor, were you able to physical examine the accused sometime in the month of November,
1995 when this incident happened?
A As per record, yes.
Q What was the date?
A It was on November 6, 1995.
Q So, did you actually see the accused physically?
A Yes, sir.
Q On November 6, 1995, will you please tell this Honorable Court, was the patient pregnant?
A Yes, sir.
Q Being a doctor, can you more engage at what stage of pregnancy was she?
A Eight (8) months pregnant.
Q So in other words, it was an advance stage of pregnancy?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was your November 6, 1995 examination, was it an examination about her pregnancy or for some other
findings?
A No, she was admitted for hypertension headache which complicates her pregnancy.
Q When you said admitted, meaning she was confined?
A Yes, sir.
Q For how many days?
A One day.
Q Where?
A At PHILPHOS Hospital.

xxxxxxxxx

Q Lets go back to the clinical history of Marivic Genosa. You said that you were able to examine her personally
on November 6, 1995 and she was 8 months pregnant.
What is this all about?
A Because she has this problem of tension headache secondary to hypertension and I think I have a record
here, also the same period from 1989 to 1995, she had a consultation for twenty-three (23) times.
Q For what?
A Tension headache.
Q Can we say that specially during the latter consultation, that the patient had hypertension?
A The patient definitely had hypertension. It was refractory to our treatment. She does not response when the
medication was given to her, because tension headache is more or less stress related and emotional in
nature.
Q What did you deduce of tension headache when you said is emotional in nature?
A From what I deduced as part of our physical examination of the patient is the family history in line of giving the
root cause of what is causing this disease. So, from the moment you ask to the patient all comes from the
domestic problem.
Q You mean problem in her household?
A Probably.
Q Can family trouble cause elevation of blood pressure, Doctor?
A Yes, if it is emotionally related and stressful it can cause increases in hypertension which is unfortunately
does not response to the medication.
Q In November 6, 1995, the date of the incident, did you take the blood pressure of the accused?
A On November 6, 1995 consultation, the blood pressure was 180/120.
Q Is this considered hypertension?
A Yes, sir, severe.
Q Considering that she was 8 months pregnant, you mean this is dangerous level of blood pressure?
A It was dangerous to the child or to the fetus. [34]
Another defense witness, Teodoro Sarabia, a former neighbor of the Genosas in Isabel, Leyte, testified that he had
seen the couple quarreling several times; and that on some occasions Marivic would run to him with bruises, confiding
that the injuries were inflicted upon her by Ben.[35]
Ecel Arano also testified[36] that for a number of times she had been asked by Marivic to sleep at the Genosa house,
because the latter feared that Ben would come home drunk and hurt her. On one occasion that Ecel did sleep over, she
was awakened about ten oclock at night, because the couple were very noisy and I heard something was broken like a
vase. Then Marivic came running into Ecels room and locked the door. Ben showed up by the window grill atop a chair,
scaring them with a knife.
On the afternoon of November 15, 1995, Marivic again asked her help -- this time to find Ben -- but they were unable
to. They returned to the Genosa home, where they found him already drunk. Again afraid that he might hurt her, Marivic
asked her to sleep at their house. Seeing his state of drunkenness, Ecel hesitated; and when she heard the couple start
arguing, she decided to leave.
On that same night that culminated in the death of Ben Genosa, at least three other witnesses saw or heard the
couple quarreling.[37] Marivic relates in detail the following backdrop of the fateful night when life was snuffed out of him,
showing in the process a vivid picture of his cruelty towards her:
ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q Please tell this Court, can you recall the incident in November 15, 1995 in the evening?
A Whole morning and in the afternoon, I was in the office working then after office hours, I boarded the service
bus and went to Bilwang. When I reached Bilwang, I immediately asked my son, where was his father, then
my second child said, he was not home yet. I was worried because that was payday, I was anticipating that
he was gambling. So while waiting for him, my eldest son arrived from school, I prepared dinner for my
children.
Q This is evening of November 15, 1995?
A Yes, sir.
Q What time did Ben Genosa arrive?
A When he arrived, I was not there, I was in Isabel looking for him.
Q So when he arrived you were in Isabel looking for him?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you come back to your house?
A Yes, sir.
Q By the way, where was your conjugal residence situated this time?
A Bilwang.
Q Is this your house or you are renting?
A Renting.
Q What time were you able to come back in your residence at Bilwang?
A I went back around almost 8:00 oclock.
Q What happened when you arrived in your residence?
A When I arrived home with my cousin Ecel whom I requested to sleep with me at that time because I had fears
that he was again drunk and I was worried that he would again beat me so I requested my cousin to sleep
with me, but she resisted because she had fears that the same thing will happen again last year.
Q Who was this cousin of yours who you requested to sleep with you?
A Ecel Arao, the one who testified.
Q Did Ecel sleep with you in your house on that evening?
A No, because she expressed fears, she said her father would not allow her because of Ben.
Q During this period November 15, 1995, were you pregnant?
A Yes, 8 months.
Q How advance was your pregnancy?
A Eight (8) months.
Q Was the baby subsequently born?
A Yes, sir.
Q Whats the name of the baby you were carrying at that time?
A Marie Bianca.
Q What time were you able to meet personally your husband?
A Yes, sir.
Q What time?
A When I arrived home, he was there already in his usual behavior.
Q Will you tell this Court what was his disposition?
A He was drunk again, he was yelling in his usual unruly behavior.
Q What was he yelling all about?
A His usual attitude when he got drunk.
Q You said that when you arrived, he was drunk and yelling at you? What else did he do if any?
A He is nagging at me for following him and he dared me to quarrel him.
Q What was the cause of his nagging or quarreling at you if you know?
A He was angry at me because I was following x x x him, looking for him. I was just worried he might be overly
drunk and he would beat me again.
Q You said that he was yelling at you, what else, did he do to you if any?
A He was nagging at me at that time and I just ignore him because I want to avoid trouble for fear that he will
beat me again. Perhaps he was disappointed because I just ignore him of his provocation and he switch off
the light and I said to him, why did you switch off the light when the children were there. At that time I was
also attending to my children who were doing their assignments. He was angry with me for not answering
his challenge, so he went to the kitchen and [got] a bolo and cut the antenna wire to stop me from watching
television.
Q What did he do with the bolo?
A He cut the antenna wire to keep me from watching T.V.
Q What else happened after he cut the wire?
A He switch off the light and the children were shouting because they were scared and he was already holding
the bolo.
Q How do you described this bolo?
A 1 1/2 feet.
Q What was the bolo used for usually?
A For chopping meat.
Q You said the children were scared, what else happened as Ben was carrying that bolo?
A He was about to attack me so I run to the room.
Q What do you mean that he was about to attack you?
A When I attempt to run he held my hands and he whirled me and I fell to the bedside.
Q So when he whirled you, what happened to you?
A I screamed for help and then he left.
Q You said earlier that he whirled you and you fell on the bedside?
A Yes, sir.
Q You screamed for help and he left, do you know where he was going?
A Outside perhaps to drink more.
Q When he left what did you do in that particular time?
A I packed all his clothes.
Q What was your reason in packing his clothes?
A I wanted him to leave us.
Q During this time, where were your children, what were their reactions?
A After a couple of hours, he went back again and he got angry with me for packing his clothes, then he
dragged me again of the bedroom holding my neck.
Q You said that when Ben came back to your house, he dragged you? How did he drag you?
COURT INTERPRETER:
The witness demonstrated to the Court by using her right hand flexed forcibly in her front neck)
A And he dragged me towards the door backward.
ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q Where did he bring you?
A Outside the bedroom and he wanted to get something and then he kept on shouting at me that you might as
well be killed so there will be nobody to nag me.
Q So you said that he dragged you towards the drawer?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is there in the drawer?
A I was aware that it was a gun.
COURT INTERPRETER:
(At this juncture the witness started crying).
ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q Were you actually brought to the drawer?
A Yes, sir.
Q What happened when you were brought to that drawer?
A He dragged me towards the drawer and he was about to open the drawer but he could not open it because he
did not have the key then he pulled his wallet which contained a blade about 3 inches long and I was aware
that he was going to kill me and I smashed his arm and then the wallet and the blade fell. The one he used
to open the drawer I saw, it was a pipe about that long, and when he was about to pick-up the wallet and
the blade, I smashed him then I ran to the other room, and on that very moment everything on my mind
was to pity on myself, then the feeling I had on that very moment was the same when I was admitted in
PHILPHOS Clinic, I was about to vomit.
COURT INTERPRETER:
(The witness at this juncture is crying intensely).

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ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q Talking of drawer, is this drawer outside your room?
A Outside.
Q In what part of the house?
A Dining.
Q Where were the children during that time?
A My children were already asleep.
Q You mean they were inside the room?
A Yes, sir.
Q You said that he dropped the blade, for the record will you please describe this blade about 3 inches long,
how does it look like?
A Three (3) inches long and 1/2 inch wide.
Q Is it a flexible blade?
A Its a cutter.
Q How do you describe the blade, is it sharp both edges?
A Yes, because he once used it to me.
Q How did he do it?
A He wanted to cut my throat.
Q With the same blade?
A Yes, sir, that was the object used when he intimidate me. [38]
In addition, Dra. Natividad Dayan was called by the RTC to testify as an expert witness to assist it in understanding
the psyche of a battered person. She had met with Marivic Genosa for five sessions totaling about seventeen hours.
Based on their talks, the former briefly related the latters ordeal to the court a quo as follows:
Q: What can you say, that you found Marivic as a battered wife? Could you in laymans term describe to this
Court what her life was like as said to you?
A: What I remember happened then was it was more than ten years, that she was suffering emotional anguish.
There were a lot of instances of abuses, to emotional abuse, to verbal abuse and to physical abuse. The
husband had a very meager income, she was the one who was practically the bread earner of the family.
The husband was involved in a lot of vices, going out with barkadas, drinking, even womanizing being
involved in cockfight and going home very angry and which will trigger a lot of physical abuse. She also had
the experience a lot of taunting from the husband for the reason that the husband even accused her of
infidelity, the husband was saying that the child she was carrying was not his own. So she was very angry,
she was at the same time very depressed because she was also aware, almost like living in purgatory or
even hell when it was happening day in and day out. [39]
In cross-examining Dra. Dayan, the public prosecutor not merely elicited, but wittingly or unwittingly put forward,
additional supporting evidence as shown below:
Q In your first encounter with the appellant in this case in 1999, where you talked to her about three hours, what
was the most relevant information did you gather?
A The most relevant information was the tragedy that happened. The most important information were
escalating abuses that she had experienced during her marital life.
Q Before you met her in 1999 for three hours, we presume that you already knew of the facts of the case or at
least you have substantial knowledge of the facts of the case?
A I believe I had an idea of the case, but I do not know whether I can consider them as substantial.

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Q Did you gather an information from Marivic that on the side of her husband they were fond of battering their
wives?
A I also heard that from her?
Q You heard that from her?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you ask for a complete example who are the relatives of her husband that were fond of battering their
wives?
A What I remember that there were brothers of her husband who are also battering their wives.
Q Did she not inform you that there was an instance that she stayed in a hotel in Ormoc where her husband
followed her and battered [her] several times in that room?
A She told me about that.
Q Did she inform you in what hotel in Ormoc?
A Sir, I could not remember but I was told that she was battered in that room.
Q Several times in that room?
A Yes, sir. What I remember was that there is no problem about being battered, it really happened.
Q Being an expert witness, our jurisprudence is not complete on saying this matter. I think that is the first time
that we have this in the Philippines, what is your opinion?
A Sir, my opinion is, she is really a battered wife and in this kind happened, it was really a self-defense. I also
believe that there had been provocation and I also believe that she became a disordered person. She had
to suffer anxiety reaction because of all the battering that happened and so she became an abnormal
person who had lost shes not during the time and that is why it happened because of all the physical
battering, emotional battering, all the psychological abuses that she had experienced from her husband.
Q I do believe that she is a battered wife. Was she extremely battered?
A Sir, it is an extreme form of battering. Yes.[40]
Parenthetically, the credibility of appellant was demonstrated as follows:
Q And you also said that you administered [the] objective personality test, what x x x [is this] all about?
A The objective personality test is the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory. The purpose of that test is to find out
about the lying prone[ne]ss of the person.
Q What do you mean by that?
A Meaning, am I dealing with a client who is telling me the truth, or is she someone who can exaggerate or x x x
[will] tell a lie[?]
Q And what did you discover on the basis of this objective personality test?
A She was a person who passed the honesty test. Meaning she is a person that I can trust. That the data that
Im gathering from her are the truth.[41]
The other expert witness presented by the defense, Dr. Alfredo Pajarillo, testified on his Psychiatric Report, [42] which
was based on his interview and examination of Marivic Genosa. The Report said that during the first three years of her
marriage to Ben, everything looked good -- the atmosphere was fine, normal and happy -- until Ben started to be attracted
to other girls and was also enticed in[to] gambling[,] especially cockfighting. x x x. At the same time Ben was often joining
his barkada in drinking sprees.
The drinking sprees of Ben greatly changed the attitude he showed toward his family, particularly to his wife. The
Report continued: At first, it was verbal and emotional abuses but as time passed, he became physically abusive. Marivic
claimed that the viciousness of her husband was progressive every time he got drunk. It was a painful ordeal Marivic had
to anticipate whenever she suspected that her husband went for a drinking [spree]. They had been married for twelve
years[;] and practically more than eight years, she was battered and maltreated relentlessly and mercilessly by her
husband whenever he was drunk.
Marivic sought the help of her mother-in-law, but her efforts were in vain. Further quoting from the Report, [s]he also
sought the advice and help of close relatives and well-meaning friends in spite of her feeling ashamed of what was
happening to her. But incessant battering became more and more frequent and more severe. x x x.[43]
From the totality of evidence presented, there is indeed no doubt in the Courts mind that Appellant Marivic Genosa
was a severely abused person.

Effect of Battery on Appellant

Because of the recurring cycles of violence experienced by the abused woman, her state of mind metamorphoses. In
determining her state of mind, we cannot rely merely on the judgment of an ordinary, reasonable person who is evaluating
the events immediately surrounding the incident. A Canadian court has aptly pointed out that expert evidence on the
psychological effect of battering on wives and common law partners are both relevant and necessary. How can the mental
state of the appellant be appreciated without it? The average member of the public may ask: Why would a woman put up
with this kind of treatment? Why should she continue to live with such a man? How could she love a partner who beat her
to the point of requiring hospitalization? We would expect the woman to pack her bags and go. Where is her self-respect?
Why does she not cut loose and make a new life for herself? Such is the reaction of the average person confronted with
the so-called battered wife syndrome.[44]
To understand the syndrome properly, however, ones viewpoint should not be drawn from that of an ordinary,
reasonable person. What goes on in the mind of a person who has been subjected to repeated, severe beatings may not
be consistent with -- nay, comprehensible to -- those who have not been through a similar experience. Expert opinion is
essential to clarify and refute common myths and misconceptions about battered women.[45]
The theory of BWS formulated by Lenore Walker, as well as her research on domestic violence, has had a significant
impact in the United States and the United Kingdom on the treatment and prosecution of cases, in which a battered
woman is charged with the killing of her violent partner. The psychologist explains that the cyclical nature of the violence
inflicted upon the battered woman immobilizes the latters ability to act decisively in her own interests, making her feel
trapped in the relationship with no means of escape.[46] In her years of research, Dr. Walker found that the abuse often
escalates at the point of separation and battered women are in greater danger of dying then. [47]
Corroborating these research findings, Dra. Dayan said that the battered woman usually has a very low opinion of
herself. She has x x x self-defeating and self-sacrificing characteristics. x x x [W]hen the violence would happen, they
usually think that they provoke[d] it, that they were the one[s] who precipitated the violence[; that] they provoke[d] their
spouse to be physically, verbally and even sexually abusive to them. [48]
According to Dra. Dayan, there are a lot of reasons why a battered woman does not readily leave an abusive partner
-- poverty, self-blame and guilt arising from the latters belief that she provoked the violence, that she has an obligation to
keep the family intact at all cost for the sake of their children, and that she is the only hope for her spouse to change. [49]
The testimony of another expert witness, Dr. Pajarillo, is also helpful. He had previously testified in suits involving
violent family relations, having evaluated probably ten to twenty thousand violent family disputes within the Armed Forces
of the Philippines, wherein such cases abounded. As a result of his experience with domestic violence cases, he became
a consultant of the Battered Woman Office in Quezon City. As such, he got involved in about forty (40) cases of severe
domestic violence, in which the physical abuse on the woman would sometimes even lead to her loss of
consciousness.[50]
Dr. Pajarillo explained that overwhelming brutality, trauma could result in posttraumatic stress disorder, a form of
anxiety neurosis or neurologic anxietism.[51] After being repeatedly and severely abused, battered persons may believe
that they are essentially helpless, lacking power to change their situation. x x x [A]cute battering incidents can have the
effect of stimulating the development of coping responses to the trauma at the expense of the victims ability to muster an
active response to try to escape further trauma. Furthermore, x x x the victim ceases to believe that anything she can do
will have a predictable positive effect.[52]
A study[53] conducted by Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, found that even if a
person has control over a situation, but believes that she does not, she will be more likely to respond to that situation with
coping responses rather than trying to escape. He said that it was the cognitive aspect -- the individuals thoughts -- that
proved all-important. He referred to this phenomenon as learned helplessness. [T]he truth or facts of a situation turn out to
be less important than the individuals set of beliefs or perceptions concerning the situation. Battered women dont attempt
to leave the battering situation, even when it may seem to outsiders that escape is possible, because they cannot predict
their own safety; they believe that nothing they or anyone else does will alter their terrible circumstances. [54]
Thus, just as the battered woman believes that she is somehow responsible for the violent behavior of her partner,
she also believes that he is capable of killing her, and that there is no escape. [55] Battered women feel unsafe, suffer from
pervasive anxiety, and usually fail to leave the relationship. [56] Unless a shelter is available, she stays with her husband,
not only because she typically lacks a means of self-support, but also because she fears that if she leaves she would be
found and hurt even more.[57]
In the instant case, we meticulously scoured the records for specific evidence establishing that appellant, due to the
repeated abuse she had suffered from her spouse over a long period of time, became afflicted with the battered woman
syndrome. We, however, failed to find sufficient evidence that would support such a conclusion. More specifically, we
failed to find ample evidence that would confirm the presence of the essential characteristics of BWS.
The defense fell short of proving all three phases of the cycle of violence supposedly characterizing the relationship
of Ben and Marivic Genosa. No doubt there were acute battering incidents. In relating to the court a quo how the fatal
incident that led to the death of Ben started, Marivic perfectly described the tension-building phase of the cycle. She was
able to explain in adequate detail the typical characteristics of this stage. However, that single incident does not prove the
existence of the syndrome. In other words, she failed to prove that in at least another battering episode in the past, she
had gone through a similar pattern.
How did the tension between the partners usually arise or build up prior to acute battering? How did Marivic normally
respond to Bens relatively minor abuses? What means did she employ to try to prevent the situation from developing into
the next (more violent) stage?
Neither did appellant proffer sufficient evidence in regard to the third phase of the cycle. She simply mentioned that
she would usually run away to her mothers or fathers house; [58] that Ben would seek her out, ask for her forgiveness and
promise to change; and that believing his words, she would return to their common abode.
Did she ever feel that she provoked the violent incidents between her and her spouse? Did she believe that she was
the only hope for Ben to reform? And that she was the sole support of his emotional stability and well-being? Conversely,
how dependent was she on him? Did she feel helpless and trapped in their relationship? Did both of them regard death as
preferable to separation?
In sum, the defense failed to elicit from appellant herself her factual experiences and thoughts that would clearly and
fully demonstrate the essential characteristics of the syndrome.
The Court appreciates the ratiocinations given by the expert witnesses for the defense. Indeed, they were able to
explain fully, albeit merely theoretically and scientifically, how the personality of the battered woman usually evolved or
deteriorated as a result of repeated and severe beatings inflicted upon her by her partner or spouse. They corroborated
each others testimonies, which were culled from their numerous studies of hundreds of actual cases. However, they failed
to present in court the factual experiences and thoughts that appellant had related to them -- if at all -- based on which
they concluded that she had BWS.
We emphasize that in criminal cases, all the elements of a modifying circumstance must be proven in order to be
appreciated. To repeat, the records lack supporting evidence that would establish all the essentials of the battered woman
syndrome as manifested specifically in the case of the Genosas.

BWS as Self-Defense

In any event, the existence of the syndrome in a relationship does not in itself establish the legal right of the woman
to kill her abusive partner. Evidence must still be considered in the context of self-defense.[59]
From the expert opinions discussed earlier, the Court reckons further that crucial to the BWS defense is the state of
mind of the battered woman at the time of the offense[60] -- she must have actually feared imminent harm from her batterer
and honestly believed in the need to kill him in order to save her life.
Settled in our jurisprudence, however, is the rule that the one who resorts to self-defense must face a real threat on
ones life; and the peril sought to be avoided must be imminent and actual, not merely imaginary.[61] Thus, the Revised
Penal Code provides the following requisites and effect of self-defense:[62]

Art. 11. Justifying circumstances. -- The following do not incur any criminal liability:

1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following circumstances concur;

First. Unlawful aggression;


Second. Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it;
Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.

Unlawful aggression is the most essential element of self-defense.[63] It presupposes actual, sudden and unexpected
attack -- or an imminent danger thereof -- on the life or safety of a person.[64] In the present case, however, according to
the testimony of Marivic herself, there was a sufficient time interval between the unlawful aggression of Ben and her fatal
attack upon him. She had already been able to withdraw from his violent behavior and escape to their childrens bedroom.
During that time, he apparently ceased his attack and went to bed. The reality or even the imminence of the danger he
posed had ended altogether. He was no longer in a position that presented an actual threat on her life or safety.
Had Ben still been awaiting Marivic when she came out of their childrens bedroom -- and based on past violent
incidents, there was a great probability that he would still have pursued her and inflicted graver harm -- then, the
imminence of the real threat upon her life would not have ceased yet. Where the brutalized person is already suffering
from BWS, further evidence of actual physical assault at the time of the killing is not required. Incidents of domestic
battery usually have a predictable pattern. To require the battered person to await an obvious, deadly attack before she
can defend her life would amount to sentencing her to murder by installment.[65] Still, impending danger (based on the
conduct of the victim in previous battering episodes) prior to the defendants use of deadly force must be shown.
Threatening behavior or communication can satisfy the required imminence of danger. [66] Considering such circumstances
and the existence of BWS, self-defense may be appreciated.
We reiterate the principle that aggression, if not continuous, does not warrant self-defense.[67] In the absence of such
aggression, there can be no self-defense -- complete or incomplete -- on the part of the victim.[68] Thus, Marivics killing of
Ben was not completely justified under the circumstances.

Mitigating Circumstances Present

In any event, all is not lost for appellant. While she did not raise any other modifying circumstances that would alter
her penalty, we deem it proper to evaluate and appreciate in her favor circumstances that mitigate her criminal liability. It
is a hornbook doctrine that an appeal in a criminal case opens it wholly for review on any issue, including that which has
not been raised by the parties.[69]
From several psychological tests she had administered to Marivic, Dra. Dayan, in her Psychological Evaluation
Report dated November 29, 2000, opined as follows:

This is a classic case of a Battered Woman Syndrome. The repeated battering Marivic experienced with her husband
constitutes a form of [cumulative] provocation which broke down her psychological resistance and natural self-control. It is
very clear that she developed heightened sensitivity to sight of impending danger her husband posed continuously.
Marivic truly experienced at the hands of her abuser husband a state of psychological paralysis which can only be ended
by an act of violence on her part. [70]

Dr. Pajarillo corroborates the findings of Dra. Dayan. He explained that the effect of repetitious pain taking,
repetitious battering, [and] repetitious maltreatment as well as the severity and the prolonged administration of the
battering is posttraumatic stress disorder.[71] Expounding thereon, he said:
Q What causes the trauma, Mr. Witness?
A What causes the trauma is probably the repetitious battering. Second, the severity of the battering. Third, the
prolonged administration of battering or the prolonged commission of the battering and the psychological
and constitutional stamina of the victim and another one is the public and social support available to the
victim. If nobody is interceding, the more she will go to that disorder....

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Q You referred a while ago to severity. What are the qualifications in terms of severity of the postraumatic stress
disorder, Dr. Pajarillo?
A The severity is the most severe continuously to trig[g]er this post[t]raumatic stress disorder is injury to the
head, banging of the head like that. It is usually the very very severe stimulus that precipitate this
post[t]raumatic stress disorder. Others are suffocating the victim like holding a pillow on the face,
strangulating the individual, suffocating the individual, and boxing the individual. In this situation therefore,
the victim is heightened to painful stimulus, like for example she is pregnant, she is very susceptible
because the woman will not only protect herself, she is also to protect the fetus. So the anxiety is
heightened to the end [sic] degree.
Q But in terms of the gravity of the disorder, Mr. Witness, how do you classify?
A We classify the disorder as [acute], or chronic or delayed or [a]typical.
Q Can you please describe this pre[-]classification you called delayed or [atypical]?
A The acute is the one that usually require only one battering and the individual will manifest now a severe
emotional instability, higher irritability remorse, restlessness, and fear and probably in most [acute] cases
the first thing will be happened to the individual will be thinking of suicide.
Q And in chronic cases, Mr. Witness?
A The chronic cases is this repetitious battering, repetitious maltreatment, any prolonged, it is longer than six (6)
months. The [acute] is only the first day to six (6) months. After this six (6) months you become chronic. It is
stated in the book specifically that after six (6) months is chronic. The [a]typical one is the repetitious
battering but the individual who is abnormal and then become normal. This is how you get neurosis from
neurotic personality of these cases of post[t]raumatic stress disorder. [72]
Answering the questions propounded by the trial judge, the expert witness clarified further:
Q But just the same[,] neurosis especially on battered woman syndrome x x x affects x x x his or her mental
capacity?
A Yes, your Honor.
Q As you were saying[,] it x x x obfuscated her rationality?
A Of course obfuscated.[73]
In sum, the cyclical nature and the severity of the violence inflicted upon appellant resulted in cumulative provocation
which broke down her psychological resistance and natural self-control, psychological paralysis, and difficulty in
concentrating or impairment of memory.
Based on the explanations of the expert witnesses, such manifestations were analogous to an illness that diminished
the exercise by appellant of her will power without, however, depriving her of consciousness of her acts. There was, thus,
a resulting diminution of her freedom of action, intelligence or intent. Pursuant to paragraphs 9 [74] and 10[75] of Article 13 of
the Revised Penal Code, this circumstance should be taken in her favor and considered as a mitigating factor. [76]
In addition, we also find in favor of appellant the extenuating circumstance of having acted upon an impulse so
powerful as to have naturally produced passion and obfuscation. It has been held that this state of mind is present when a
crime is committed as a result of an uncontrollable burst of passion provoked by prior unjust or improper acts or by a
legitimate stimulus so powerful as to overcome reason.[77] To appreciate this circumstance, the following requisites should
concur: (1) there is an act, both unlawful and sufficient to produce such a condition of mind; and (2) this act is not far
removed from the commission of the crime by a considerable length of time, during which the accused might recover her
normal equanimity.[78]
Here, an acute battering incident, wherein Ben Genosa was the unlawful aggressor, preceded his being killed by
Marivic. He had further threatened to kill her while dragging her by the neck towards a cabinet in which he had kept a gun.
It should also be recalled that she was eight months pregnant at the time. The attempt on her life was likewise on that of
her fetus.[79] His abusive and violent acts, an aggression which was directed at the lives of both Marivic and her unborn
child, naturally produced passion and obfuscation overcoming her reason. Even though she was able to retreat to a
separate room, her emotional and mental state continued. According to her, she felt her blood pressure rise; she was
filled with feelings of self-pity and of fear that she and her baby were about to die. In a fit of indignation, she pried open the
cabinet drawer where Ben kept a gun, then she took the weapon and used it to shoot him.
The confluence of these events brings us to the conclusion that there was no considerable period of time within
which Marivic could have recovered her normal equanimity. Helpful is Dr. Pajarillos testimony [80] that with neurotic anxiety
-- a psychological effect on a victim of overwhelming brutality [or] trauma -- the victim relives the beating or trauma as if it
were real, although she is not actually being beaten at the time. She cannot control re-experiencing the whole thing, the
most vicious and the trauma that she suffered. She thinks of nothing but the suffering. Such reliving which is beyond the
control of a person under similar circumstances, must have been what Marivic experienced during the brief time interval
and prevented her from recovering her normal equanimity. Accordingly, she should further be credited with the mitigating
circumstance of passion and obfuscation.
It should be clarified that these two circumstances -- psychological paralysis as well as passion and obfuscation -- did
not arise from the same set of facts.
On the one hand, the first circumstance arose from the cyclical nature and the severity of the battery inflicted by the
batterer-spouse upon appellant. That is, the repeated beatings over a period of time resulted in her psychological
paralysis, which was analogous to an illness diminishing the exercise of her will power without depriving her of
consciousness of her acts.
The second circumstance, on the other hand, resulted from the violent aggression he had inflicted on her prior to the
killing. That the incident occurred when she was eight months pregnant with their child was deemed by her as an attempt
not only on her life, but likewise on that of their unborn child. Such perception naturally produced passion and obfuscation
on her part.

Second Legal Issue:


Treachery
There is treachery when one commits any of the crimes against persons by employing means, methods or forms in
the execution thereof without risk to oneself arising from the defense that the offended party might make.[81] In order to
qualify an act as treacherous, the circumstances invoked must be proven as indubitably as the killing itself; they cannot be
deduced from mere inferences, or conjectures, which have no place in the appreciation of evidence. [82] Because of the
gravity of the resulting offense, treachery must be proved as conclusively as the killing itself. [83]
Ruling that treachery was present in the instant case, the trial court imposed the penalty of death upon appellant. It
inferred this qualifying circumstances merely from the fact that the lifeless body of Ben had been found lying in bed with
an open, depressed, circular fracture located at the back of his head. As to exactly how and when he had been fatally
attacked, however, the prosecution failed to establish indubitably. Only the following testimony of appellant leads us to the
events surrounding his death:
Q You said that when Ben came back to your house, he dragged you? How did he drag you?
COURT:
The witness demonstrated to the Court by using her right hand flexed forcibly in her front neck)
A And he dragged me towards the door backward.
ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q Where did he bring you?
A Outside the bedroom and he wanted to get something and then he kept on shouting at me that you might as
well be killed so there will be nobody to nag me
Q So you said that he dragged you towards the drawer?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is there in the drawer?
A I was aware that it was a gun.
COURT INTERPRETER
(At this juncture the witness started crying)
ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q Were you actually brought to the drawer?
A Yes, sir.
Q What happened when you were brought to that drawer?
A He dragged me towards the drawer and he was about to open the drawer but he could not open it because he
did not have the key then he pulled his wallet which contained a blade about 3 inches long and I was aware
that he was going to kill me and I smashed his arm and then the wallet and the blade fell. The one he used
to open the drawer I saw, it was a pipe about that long, and when he was about to pick-up the wallet and
the blade, I smashed him then I ran to the other room, and on that very moment everything on my mind
was to pity on myself, then the feeling I had on that very moment was the same when I was admitted in
PHILPHOS Clinic, I was about to vomit.
COURT INTERPRETER
(The witness at this juncture is crying intensely).

xxxxxxxxx

Q You said that he dropped the blade, for the record will you please describe this blade about 3 inches long,
how does it look like?
A Three (3) inches long and inch wide.
Q It is a flexible blade?
A Its a cutter.
Q How do you describe the blade, is it sharp both edges?
A Yes, because he once used it to me.
Q How did he do it?
A He wanted to cut my throat.
Q With the same blade?
A Yes, sir, that was the object used when he intimidate me.

xxxxxxxxx

ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q You said that this blade fell from his grip, is it correct?
A Yes, because I smashed him.
Q What happened?
A Ben tried to pick-up the wallet and the blade, I pick-up the pipe and I smashed him and I ran to the other
room.
Q What else happened?
A When I was in the other room, I felt the same thing like what happened before when I was admitted in
PHILPHOS Clinic, I was about to vomit. I know my blood pressure was raised. I was frightened I was about
to die because of my blood pressure.
COURT INTERPRETER:
(Upon the answer of the witness getting the pipe and smashed him, the witness at the same time pointed at the
back of her neck or the nape).
ATTY. TABUCANON:
Q You said you went to the room, what else happened?
A Considering all the physical sufferings that Ive been through with him, I took pity on myself and I felt I was
about to die also because of my blood pressure and the baby, so I got that gun and I shot him.
COURT
/to Atty. Tabucanon
Q You shot him?
A Yes, I distorted the drawer.[84]
The above testimony is insufficient to establish the presence of treachery. There is no showing of the victims position
relative to appellants at the time of the shooting. Besides, equally axiomatic is the rule that when a killing is preceded by
an argument or a quarrel, treachery cannot be appreciated as a qualifying circumstance, because the deceased may be
said to have been forewarned and to have anticipated aggression from the assailant. [85]
Moreover, in order to appreciate alevosia, the method of assault adopted by the aggressor must have been
consciously and deliberately chosen for the specific purpose of accomplishing the unlawful act without risk from any
defense that might be put up by the party attacked. [86] There is no showing, though, that the present appellant intentionally
chose a specific means of successfully attacking her husband without any risk to herself from any retaliatory act that he
might make. To the contrary, it appears that the thought of using the gun occurred to her only at about the same moment
when she decided to kill her batterer-spouse. In the absence of any convincing proof that she consciously and deliberately
employed the method by which she committed the crime in order to ensure its execution, this Court resolves the doubt in
her favor.[87]

Proper Penalty

The penalty for parricide imposed by Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion perpetua to death. Since two
mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance have been found to have attended the commission of the
offense, the penalty shall be lowered by one (1) degree, pursuant to Article 64 of paragraph 5 [88] of the same Code.[89] The
penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period is imposable, considering that two mitigating circumstances are to be
taken into account in reducing the penalty by one degree, and no other modifying circumstances were shown to have
attended the commission of the offense.[90] Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum of the penalty shall be
within the range of that which is next lower in degree -- prision mayor -- and the maximum shall be within the range of the
medium period of reclusion temporal.
Considering all the circumstances of the instant case, we deem it just and proper to impose the penalty of prision
mayor in its minimum period, or six (6) years and one (1) day in prison as minimum; to reclusion temporal in its medium
period, or 14 years 8 months and 1 day as maximum. Noting that appellant has already served the minimum period, she
may now apply for and be released from detention on parole.[91]

Epilogue

Being a novel concept in our jurisprudence, the battered woman syndrome was neither easy nor simple to analyze
and recognize vis--vis the given set of facts in the present case. The Court agonized on how to apply the theory as a
modern-day reality. It took great effort beyond the normal manner in which decisions are made -- on the basis of existing
law and jurisprudence applicable to the proven facts. To give a just and proper resolution of the case, it endeavored to
take a good look at studies conducted here and abroad in order to understand the intricacies of the syndrome and the
distinct personality of the chronically abused person. Certainly, the Court has learned much. And definitely, the solicitor
general and appellants counsel, Atty. Katrina Legarda, have helped it in such learning process.
While our hearts empathize with recurrently battered persons, we can only work within the limits of law, jurisprudence
and given facts. We cannot make or invent them. Neither can we amend the Revised Penal Code. Only Congress, in its
wisdom, may do so.
The Court, however, is not discounting the possibility of self-defense arising from the battered woman syndrome. We
now sum up our main points. First, each of the phases of the cycle of violence must be proven to have characterized at
least two battering episodes between the appellant and her intimate partner. Second, the final acute battering episode
preceding the killing of the batterer must have produced in the battered persons mind an actual fear of an imminent harm
from her batterer and an honest belief that she needed to use force in order to save her life. Third, at the time of the
killing, the batterer must have posed probable -- not necessarily immediate and actual -- grave harm to the accused,
based on the history of violence perpetrated by the former against the latter. Taken altogether, these circumstances could
satisfy the requisites of self-defense. Under the existing facts of the present case, however, not all of these elements were
duly established.
WHEREFORE, the conviction of Appellant Marivic Genosa for parricide is hereby AFFIRMED. However, there being
two (2) mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance attending her commission of the offense, her penalty
is REDUCED to six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum; to 14 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion
temporal as maximum.
Inasmuch as appellant has been detained for more than the minimum penalty hereby imposed upon her, the director of the
Bureau of Corrections may immediately RELEASEher from custody upon due determination that she is eligible for parole,
unless she is being held for some other lawful cause. Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V ESTRADA

This is an automatic review of the death penalty imposed on accused-appellant by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44,
Dagupan City in Criminal Case No. 94-00860-D.[1]We nullify the proceedings in the court a quo and remand the case for
proper disposition.
In an Information dated December 29, 1994, accused-appellant Roberto Estrada y Lopez was charged with the crime
of murder for the killing of one Rogelio P. Mararac, a security guard. The Information reads:

That on or about the 27th day of December 1994 in the City of Dagupan, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, ROBERTO ESTRADA Y LOPEZ, being then armed with a butchers knife,
with intent to kill one ROGELIO P. MARARAC with treachery and committed in a holy place of worship, did then and
there, wilfully, unlawfully and criminally, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the latter by stabbing him, hitting
him on vital parts of his body with the said weapon, thereby causing his death shortly thereafter due to Cardiorespiratory
Arrest, Massive Intrathoracic Hemorrhage, Stab Wound as per Autopsy Report and Certificate of Death both issued by Dr.
Tomas G. Cornel, Assistant City Health Officer, this City, to the damage and prejudice of the legal heirs of said deceased
ROGELIO P. MARARAC in the amount of not less than FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), Philippine currency,
and other consequential damages.

Contrary to Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.

Dagupan City, Philippines, December 29, 1994.[2]


At the arraignment on January 6, 1995, accused-appellants counsel, the Public Attorneys Office, filed an Urgent Motion to
Suspend Arraignment and to Commit Accused to Psychiatric Ward at Baguio General Hospital. It was alleged that
accused-appellant could not properly and intelligently enter a plea because he was suffering from a mental defect; that
before the commission of the crime, he was confined at the psychiatric ward of the Baguio General Hospital in Baguio
City. He prayed for the suspension of his arraignment and the issuance of an order confining him at the said hospital. [3]
The motion was opposed by the City Prosecutor. The trial court, motu proprio, propounded several questions on accused-
appellant. Finding that the questions were understood and answered by him intelligently, the court denied the motion that
same day.[4]
The arraignment proceeded and a plea of not guilty was entered by the court on accused-appellants behalf.[5]
The prosecution presented four (4) witnesses, namely: (1) Dr. Tomas Cornel, the Assistant Health Officer of
Dagupan City who issued the death certificate and conducted the autopsy on the victim; (2) Crisanto Santillan, an
eyewitness to the incident; (3) SPO1 Conrado Francisco, one of the policemen who apprehended accused-appellant; and
(4) Rosalinda Sobremonte, the victims sister. The prosecution established the following facts:
In the morning of December 27, 1994, at the St. Johns Cathedral, Dagupan City, the sacrament of confirmation was being
performed by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Dagupan City on the children of Dagupan. The cathedral was filled with more
than a thousand people. At 11:00 A.M., nearing the close of the rites, the Bishop went down the altar to give his final
blessing to the children in the front rows. While the Bishop was giving his blessing, a man from the crowd went up and
walked towards the center of the altar. He stopped beside the Bishops chair, turned around and, in full view of the
Catholic faithful, sat on the Bishops chair. The man was accused-appellant.Crisanto Santillan, who was assisting the
Bishop at the rites, saw accused-appellant. Santillan approached accused-appellant and requested him to vacate the
Bishops chair. Gripping the chairs armrest, accused-appellant replied in Pangasinese: No matter what will happen, I will
not move out! Hearing this, Santillan moved away.[6]

Some of the churchgoers summoned Rogelio Mararac, the security guard at the cathedral. Mararac went near accused-
appellant and told him to vacate the Bishops chair. Accused-appellant stared intensely at the guard. Mararac grabbed his
nightstick and used it to tap accused-appellants hand on the armrest. Appellant did not budge.Again, Mararac tapped the
latters hand. Still no reaction. Mararac was about to strike again when suddenly accused-appellant drew a knife from his
back, lunged at Mararac and stabbed him, hitting him below his left throat. Mararac fell. Accused-appellant went over the
victim and tried to stab him again but Mararac parried his thrust.Accused-appellant looked up and around him. He got up,
went to the microphone and shouted: Anggapuy nayan dia! (No one can beat me here!). He returned to the Bishops chair
and sat on it again. Mararac, wounded and bleeding, slowly dragged himself down the altar.[7]

Meanwhile, SPO1 Conrado Francisco, who was directing traffic outside, received a report of a commotion inside the
cathedral. Rushing to the cathedral, SPO1 Francisco saw a man, accused-appellant, with red stains on his shirt and a
knife in one hand sitting on a chair at the center of the altar. He ran to accused-appellant and advised him to drop the
knife. Accused-appellant obeyed. He dropped the knife and raised his hands. Thereupon, Chief Inspector Wendy Rosario,
Deputy Police Chief, Dagupan City, who was attending the confirmation rites at the Cathedral, went near accused-
appellant to pick up the knife. Suddenly, accused-appellant embraced Chief Inspector Rosario and the two wrestled with
each other. Chief Inspector Rosario was able to subdue accused-appellant. The police came and when they frisked
appellant, they found a leather scabbard tucked around his waist. [8] He was brought to the police station and placed in jail.
In the meantime, Mararac, the security guard, was brought to the hospital where he expired a few minutes upon
arrival. He died of cardio-respiratory arrest, massive, intra-thoracic hemorrhage, stab wound.[9] He was found to have
sustained two (2) stab wounds: one just below the left throat and the other on the left arm. The autopsy reported the
following findings:

EXTERNAL FINDINGS

1. Stab wound, along the parasternal line, level of the 2nd intercostal space, left, 1 x 1 penetrating. The edge of
one side of the wound is sharp and pointed.
2. Stab wound, antero-lateral aspect, distal 3rd, arm, left, x x . The edge of one side of the wound is sharp and
pointed.

INTERNAL FINDINGS

Massive intrathoracic, left, hemorrhage with perforation of the upper and lower lobe of the left lung. The left pulmonary
blood vessel was severely cut.[10]

After the prosecution rested its case, accused-appellant, with leave of court, filed a Demurrer to Evidence. He claimed that
the prosecution failed to prove the crime of murder because there was no evidence of the qualifying circumstance of
treachery; that there was unlawful aggression by the victim when he tapped accused-appellants hand with his nightstick;
and that accused-appellant did not have sufficient ability to calculate his defensive acts because he was of unsound
mind.[11]

The Demurrer to Evidence was opposed by the public prosecutor. He alleged that the accused pretended to be weak,
tame and of unsound mind; that after he made the first stab, he furiously continued stabbing and slashing the victim to
finish him off undeterred by the fact that he was in a holy place where a religious ceremony was being conducted; and the
plea of unsound mind had already been ruled upon by the trial court in its order of January 6, 1995. [12]
On February 21, 1995, a letter was sent by Inspector Wilfredo F. Valdez, Jail Warden of Dagupan City to the trial
court. Inspector Valdez requested the court to allow accused-appellant, who was confined at the city jail, to be treated at
the Baguio General Hospital to determine whether he should remain in jail or be transferred to some other institution. The
other prisoners were allegedly not comfortable with appellant because he had been exhibiting unusual behavior. He tried
to climb up the jail roof so he could escape and see his family.[13]

As ordered by the trial court, the public prosecutor filed a Comment to the jail wardens letter. He reiterated that the mental
condition of accused-appellant to stand trial had already been determined; unless a competent government agency
certifies otherwise, the trial should proceed; and the city jail warden was not the proper person to determine whether
accused-appellant was mentally ill or not.[14]

In an order dated August 21, 1995, the trial court denied the Demurrer to Evidence.[15] Accused-appellant moved for
reconsideration.

While the motion for reconsideration was pending, on February 26, 1996, counsel for accused-appellant filed a Motion to
Confine Accused for Physical, Mental and Psychiatric Examination. Appellants counsel informed the court that accused-
appellant had been exhibiting abnormal behavior for the past weeks; he would shout at the top of his voice and cause
panic among the jail inmates and personnel; that appellant had not been eating and sleeping; that his co-inmates had
been complaining of not getting enough sleep for fear of being attacked by him while asleep; that once, while they were
sleeping, appellant took out all his personal effects and waste matter and burned them inside the cell which again caused
panic among the inmates. Appellants counsel prayed that his client be confined at the National Center for Mental Health in
Manila or at the Baguio General Hospital.[16] Attached to the motion were two (2) letters. One, dated February 19, 1996,
was from Inspector Pedrito Llopis, Jail Warden, Dagupan City, addressed to the trial court judge informing him of
appellants irrational behavior and seeking the issuance of a court order for the immediate psychiatric and mental
examination of accused-appellant.[17] The second letter, dated February 21, 1996, was addressed to Inspector Llopis from
the Bukang Liwayway Association, an association of inmates in the Dagupan City Jail. The letter, signed by the president,
secretary and adviser of said association, informed the jail warden of appellants unusual behavior and requested that
immediate action be taken against him to avoid future violent incidents in the jail. [18]

On September 18, 1996, the trial court denied reconsideration of the order denying the Demurrer to Evidence. The court
ordered accused-appellant to present his evidence on October 15, 1996.[19]

Accused-appellant did not take the witness stand. Instead, his counsel presented the testimony of Dr. Maria Soledad
Gawidan,[20] a resident physician in the Department of Psychiatry at the Baguio General Hospital, and accused-appellants
medical and clinical records at the said hospital.[21] Dr. Gawidan testified that appellant had been confined at the BGH
from February 18, 1993 to February 22, 1993 and that he suffered from Schizophrenic Psychosis, Paranoid
Typeschizophrenia, paranoid, chronic, paranoid type;[22] and after four (4) days of confinement, he was discharged in
improved physical and mental condition.[23] The medical and clinical records consisted of the following: (1) letter of Dr.
Alfredo Sy, Municipal Health Officer, Calasiao, Pangasinan to Dr. Jesus del Prado, Director, BGH referring accused-
appellant for admission and treatment after a relapse of his violent behavior; [24] (2) the clinical cover sheet of appellant at
the BGH;[25] (3) the consent slip of appellants wife voluntarily entrusting appellant to the BGH; [26] (4) the Patients
Record;[27] (5) the Consent for Discharge signed by appellants wife; [28] (6) the Summary and Discharges of
appellant;[29] (7) appellants clinical case history; [30] (8) the admitting notes;[31] (9) Physicians Order Form;[32] (10) the
Treatment Form/ medication sheet;[33] and (11) Nurses Notes.[34]
The trial court rendered a decision on June 23, 1997. It upheld the prosecution evidence and found accused-
appellant guilty of the crime charged and thereby sentenced him to death, viz:

WHEREFORE, the court finds accused Roberto Estrada y Lopez guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder
and in view of the presence of the aggravating circumstance of cruelty which is not offset by any mitigating circumstance,
the accused is sentenced to suffer the Death Penalty and to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the amount of
P50,000.00.

The accused is ordered to pay the sum of P18,870.00 representing actual expenses and P100,000.00 as moral damages.

SO ORDERED.[35]
In this appeal, accused-appellant assigns the following errors:
I

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN FINDING ACCUSED-APPELLANT GUILTY OF THE CRIME CHARGED,
DESPITE CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE ON RECORD, SUPPORTING HIS PLEA OF INSANITY.

II
THE LOWER COURT LIKEWISE ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE STABBING TO DEATH OF ROGELIO MARARAC
WAS ATTENDED WITH TREACHERY AND AGGRAVATED BY CRUELTY, GRANTING ARGUENDO THAT ACCUSED-
APPELLANTS PLEA OF INSANITY CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AN EXEMPTING CIRCUMSTANCE.[36]

The basic principle in our criminal law is that a person is criminally liable for a felony committed by him. [37] Under the
classical theory on which our penal code is mainly based, the basis of criminal liability is human free will. [38] Man is
essentially a moral creature with an absolutely free will to choose between good and evil.[39] When he commits a felonious
or criminal act (delito doloso), the act is presumed to have been done voluntarily,[40] i.e., with freedom, intelligence and
intent.[41] Man, therefore, should be adjudged or held accountable for wrongful acts so long as free will appears
unimpaired.[42]

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the law presumes that every person is of sound mind[43] and that all acts are
voluntary.[44] The moral and legal presumption under our law is that freedom and intelligence constitute the normal
condition of a person.[45] This presumption, however, may be overthrown by other factors; and one of these is insanity
which exempts the actor from criminal liability.[46]
The Revised Penal Code in Article 12 (1) provides:

ART. 12. Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability.The following are exempt from criminal liability:

1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval.

When the imbecile or an insane person has committed an act which the law defines as a felony (delito), the court
shall order his confinement in one of the hospitals or asylums established for persons thus afflicted, which he shall
not be permitted to leave without first obtaining the permission of the same court.

An insane person is exempt from criminal liability unless he has acted during a lucid interval. If the court therefore finds
the accused insane when the alleged crime was committed, he shall be acquitted but the court shall order his confinement
in a hospital or asylum for treatment until he may be released without danger. An acquittal of the accused does not result
in his outright release, but rather in a verdict which is followed by commitment of the accused to a mental institution.[47]

In the eyes of the law, insanity exists when there is a complete deprivation of intelligence in committing the act. Mere
abnormality of the mental faculties will not exclude imputability.[48] The accused must be so insane as to be incapable of
entertaining a criminal intent.[49] He must be deprived of reason and act without the least discernment because there is a
complete absence of the power to discern or a total deprivation of freedom of the will. [50]

Since the presumption is always in favor of sanity, he who invokes insanity as an exempting circumstance must prove it
by clear and positive evidence.[51] And the evidence on this point must refer to the time preceding the act under
prosecution or to the very moment of its execution.[52]
To ascertain a persons mental condition at the time of the act, it is permissible to receive evidence of the condition of his
mind within a reasonable period both before and after that time.[53] Direct testimony is not required.[54] Neither are specific
acts of derangement essential to establish insanity as a defense. [55] Circumstantial evidence, if clear and convincing,
suffices; for the unfathomable mind can only be known by overt acts. A persons thoughts, motives, and emotions may be
evaluated only by outward acts to determine whether these conform to the practice of people of sound mind. [56]

In the case at bar, there is no direct proof that accused-appellant was afflicted with insanity at the time he killed Mararac.
The absence of direct proof, nevertheless, does not entirely discount the probability that appellant was not of sound mind
at that time. From the affidavit of Crisanto Santillan[57] attached to the Information, there are certain circumstances that
should have placed the trial court on notice that appellant may not have been in full possession of his mental faculties
when he attacked Mararac. It was highly unusual for a sane person to go up to the altar and sit on the Bishops chair while
the Bishop was administering the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation to children in a jampacked cathedral. It goes against
normal and ordinary behavior for appellant, without sufficient provocation from the security guard, to stab the latter at the
altar, during sacramental rites and in front of all the Catholic faithful to witness. Appellant did not flee, or at least attempt to
flee after the stabbing. He nonchalantly approached the microphone and, over the public address system, uttered words
to the faithful which no rational person would have made. He then returned to the Bishops chair and sat there as if nothing
happened.
Accused-appellants history of mental illness was brought to the courts attention on the day of the arraignment.
Counsel for accused-appellant moved for suspension of the arraignment on the ground that his client could not properly
and intelligently enter a plea due to his mental condition. The Motion for Suspension is authorized under Section 12, Rule
116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides:

Sec. 12. Suspension of arraignment.The arraignment shall be suspended, if at the time thereof:

(a) The accused appears to be suffering from an unsound mental condition which effectively renders him unable to fully
understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently thereto. In such case, the court shall order his mental
examination and, if necessary, his confinement for such purpose.

(b) x x x.

The arraignment of an accused shall be suspended if at the time thereof he appears to be suffering from an unsound
mental condition of such nature as to render him unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead
intelligently thereto. Under these circumstances, the court must suspend the proceedings and order the mental
examination of the accused, and if confinement be necessary for examination, order such confinement and examination. If
the accused is not in full possession of his mental faculties at the time he is informed at the arraignment of the nature and
cause of the accusation against him, the process is itself a felo de se, for he can neither comprehend the full import of the
charge nor can he give an intelligent plea thereto.[58]
The question of suspending the arraignment lies within the discretion of the trial court. [59]And the test to determine
whether the proceedings will be suspended depends on the question of whether the accused, even with the assistance of
counsel, would have a fair trial. This rule was laid down as early as 1917, thus:
In passing on the question of the propriety of suspending the proceedings against an accused person on the ground of
present insanity, the judges should bear in mind that not every aberration of the mind or exhibition of mental deficiency is
sufficient to justify such suspension. The test is to be found in the question whether the accused would have a fair
trial, with the assistance which the law secures or gives; and it is obvious that under a system of procedure like ours
where every accused person has legal counsel, it is not necessary to be so particular as it used to be in England where
the accused had no advocate but himself.[60] In the American jurisdiction, the issue of the accuseds present insanity or
insanity at the time of the court proceedings is separate and distinct from his criminal responsibility at the time of
commission of the act. The defense of insanity in a criminal trial concerns the defendants mental condition at the time of
the crimes commission. Present insanity is commonly referred to as competency to stand trial [61] and relates to the
appropriateness of conducting the criminal proceeding in light of the defendants present inability to participate
meaningfully and effectively.[62] In competency cases, the accused may have been sane or insane during the commission
of the offense which relates to a determination of his guilt. However, if he is found incompetent to stand trial, the trial is
simply postponed until such time as he may be found competent. Incompetency to stand trial is not a defense; it merely
postpones the trial.[63]

In determining a defendants competency to stand trial, the test is whether he has the capacity to comprehend his position,
understand the nature and object of the proceedings against him, to conduct his defense in a rational manner, and to
cooperate, communicate with, and assist his counsel to the end that any available defense may be interposed. [64] This test
is prescribed by state law but it exists generally as a statutory recognition of the rule at common law. [65] Thus:
[I]t is not enough for the x x x judge to find that the defendant [is] oriented to time and place, and [has] some recollection
of events, but that the test must be whether he has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable
degree of rational understandingand whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings
against him.[66]

There are two distinct matters to be determined under this test: (1) whether the defendant is sufficiently coherent to
provide his counsel with information necessary or relevant to constructing a defense; and (2) whether he is able to
comprehend the significance of the trial and his relation to it. [67] The first requisite is the relation between the defendant
and his counsel such that the defendant must be able to confer coherently with his counsel. The second is the relation of
the defendant vis-a-vis the court proceedings, i.e., that he must have a rational as well as a factual understanding of the
proceedings.[68]

The rule barring trial or sentence of an insane person is for the protection of the accused, rather than of the public. [69] It
has been held that it is inhuman to require an accused disabled by act of God to make a just defense for his life or
liberty.[70] To put a legally incompetent person on trial or to convict and sentence him is a violation of the constitutional
rights to a fair trial[71] and due process of law;[72] and this has several reasons underlying it.[73] For one, the accuracy of the
proceedings may not be assured, as an incompetent defendant who cannot comprehend the proceedings may not
appreciate what information is relevant to the proof of his innocence. Moreover, he is not in a position to exercise many of
the rights afforded a defendant in a criminal case, e.g., the right to effectively consult with counsel, the right to testify in his
own behalf, and the right to confront opposing witnesses, which rights are safeguards for the accuracy of the trial result.
Second, the fairness of the proceedings may be questioned, as there are certain basic decisions in the course of a
criminal proceeding which a defendant is expected to make for himself, and one of these is his plea. Third, the dignity of
the proceedings may be disrupted, for an incompetent defendant is likely to conduct himself in the courtroom in a manner
which may destroy the decorum of the court. Even if the defendant remains passive, his lack of comprehension
fundamentally impairs the functioning of the trial process. A criminal proceeding is essentially an adversarial proceeding. If
the defendant is not a conscious and intelligent participant, the adjudication loses its character as a reasoned interaction
between an individual and his community and becomes an invective against an insensible object. Fourth, it is important
that the defendant knows why he is being punished, a comprehension which is greatly dependent upon his understanding
of what occurs at trial. An incompetent defendant may not realize the moral reprehensibility of his conduct. The societal
goal of institutionalized retribution may be frustrated when the force of the state is brought to bear against one who cannot
comprehend its significance.[74]

The determination of whether a sanity investigation or hearing should be ordered rests generally in the discretion of the
trial court.[75] Mere allegation of insanity is insufficient. There must be evidence or circumstances that raise a reasonable
doubt[76] or a bona fide doubt[77] as to defendants competence to stand trial. Among the factors a judge may consider is
evidence of the defendants irrational behavior, history of mental illness or behavioral abnormalities, previous confinement
for mental disturbance, demeanor of the defendant, and psychiatric or even lay testimony bearing on the issue of
competency in a particular case.[78]
In the case at bar, when accused-appellant moved for suspension of the arraignment on the ground of accuseds
mental condition, the trial court denied the motion after finding that the questions propounded on appellant were
intelligently answered by him. The court declared::
xxx

It should be noted that when this case was called, the Presiding Judge asked questions on the accused, and he (accused)
answered intelligently. As a matter of fact, when asked where he was born, he answered, in Tayug.

The accused could answer intelligently. He could understand the questions asked of him.

WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the Urgent Motion to Suspend Arraignment and to Commit Accused to Psychiatric Ward
at Baguio General Hospital, is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.[79]
The fact that accused-appellant was able to answer the questions asked by the trial court is not conclusive evidence that
he was competent enough to stand trial and assist in his defense. Section 12, Rule 116 speaks of an unsound mental
condition that effectively renders [the accused] unable to fully understand the charge against him and to plead intelligently
thereto. It is not clear whether accused-appellant was of such sound mind as to fully understand the charge against him. It
is also not certain whether his plea was made intelligently. The plea of not guilty was not made by accused-appellant but
by the trial court because of his refusal to plead.[80]
The trial court took it solely upon itself to determine the sanity of accused-appellant. The trial judge is not a
psychiatrist or psychologist or some other expert equipped with the specialized knowledge of determining the state of a
persons mental health. To determine the accused-appellants competency to stand trial, the court, in the instant case,
should have at least ordered the examination of accused-appellant, especially in the light of the latters history of mental
illness.
If the medical history was not enough to create a reasonable doubt in the judges mind of accused-appellants competency
to stand trial, subsequent events should have done so. One month after the prosecution rested its case, the Jail Warden
of Dagupan City wrote the trial judge informing him of accused-appellants unusual behavior and requesting that he be
examined at the hospital to determine whether he should remain in jail or be placed in some other institution. The trial
judge ignored this letter. One year later, accused-appellants counsel filed a Motion to Confine Accused for Physical,
Mental and Psychiatric Examination. Attached to this motion was a second letter by the new Jail Warden of Dagupan City
accompanied by a letter-complaint of the members of the Bukang Liwayway Association of the city jail. Despite the two (2)
attached letters,[81] the judge ignored the Motion to Confine Accused for Physical, Mental and Psychiatric Examination.
The records are barren of any order disposing of the said motion. The trial court instead ordered accused-appellant to
present his evidence.[82]
Dr. Gawidan testified that the illness of accused-appellant, i.e., schizophrenia, paranoid type, is a lifetime illness and that
this requires maintenance medication to avoid relapses.[83] After accused-appellant was discharged on February 22, 1993,
he never returned to the hospital, not even for a check-up.[84]
Accused-appellant did not take the witness stand. His counsel manifested that accused-appellant was waiving the right to
testify in his own behalf because he was suffering from mental illness.[85] This manifestation was made in open court more
than two (2) years after the crime, and still, the claim of mental illness was ignored by the trial court. And despite all the
overwhelming indications of accused-appellants state of mind, the judge persisted in his personal assessment and never
even considered subjecting accused-appellant to a medical examination. To top it all, the judge found appellant guilty and
sentenced him to death!
Section 12, Rule 116 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure speaks of a mental examination. [86] The human mind is an
entity, and understanding it is not purely an intellectual process but depends to a large degree upon emotional and
psychological appreciation.[87] Thus, an intelligent determination of an accuseds capacity for rational understanding ought
to rest on a deeper and more comprehensive diagnosis of his mental condition than laymen can make through
observation of his overt behavior. Once a medical or psychiatric diagnosis is made, then can the legal question of
incompetency be determined by the trial court. By this time, the accuseds abilities may be measured against the specific
demands a trial will make upon him.[88]
If the mental examination on accused-appellant had been promptly and properly made, it may have served a dual
purpose[89] by determining both his competency to stand trial and his sanity at the time of the offense. In some Philippine
cases, the medical and clinical findings of insanity made immediately after the commission of the crime served as one of
the bases for the acquittal of the accused.[90] The crime in the instant case was committed way back in December 1994,
almost six (6) years ago. At this late hour, a medical finding alone may make it impossible for us to evaluate appellants
mental condition at the time of the crimes commission for him to avail of the exempting circumstance of
insanity.[91] Nonetheless, under the present circumstances, accused-appellants competence to stand trial must be
properly ascertained to enable him to participate in his trial meaningfully.
By depriving appellant of a mental examination, the trial court effectively deprived appellant of a fair trial. The trial courts
negligence was a violation of the basic requirements of due process; and for this reason, the proceedings before the said
court must be nullified. In People v. Serafica,[92] we ordered that the joint decision of the trial court be vacated and the
cases remanded to the court a quo for proper proceeding. The accused, who was charged with two (2) counts of murder
and one (1) count of frustrated murder, entered a plea of guilty to all three charges and was sentenced to death. We found
that the accuseds plea was not an unconditional admission of guilt because he was not in full possession of his mental
faculties when he killed the victim; and thereby ordered that he be subjected to the necessary medical examination to
determine his degree of insanity at the time of commission of the crime.[93]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44, Dagupan City in Criminal Case No. 94-
00860-D convicting accused-appellant Roberto Estrada and sentencing him to death is vacated and the case is remanded
to the court a quo for the conduct of a proper mental examination on accused-appellant, a determination of his
competency to stand trial, and for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V TIBON

DECISION
VELASCO, JR., J.:
Parricide is the most terrible and unnatural of crimes.[1]

It is said that, in Romulus time, there was no penalty for parricide because it was considered a crime too evil ever to be
committed. While parricide in those days referred to the murder of ones own parent or ascendant, the killing of ones own
offspring, which the terms modern meaning now includes, is equally horrendous and deserving of the stiffest penalty.

This is an appeal from the February 25, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01406,
which affirmed the August 2, 2005 Decision in Criminal Case Nos. 98-169605-06 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 26 in Manila. The RTC found accused-appellant Honorio Tibon guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of
parricide.

The Facts

Two Informations charged Tibon of the following:

Criminal Case No. 98-169605

That on or about the 12th day of December, 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill, attack, assault and use personal
violence upon the person of one KEEN GIST TIBON Y SUMINGIT, 3 years of age and his legitimate son,
by then and there stabbing him several times on the chest with a bladed weapon, thereby inflicting upon
the said KEEN GIST TIBON Y SUMINGIT stab wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of his
death thereafter.

Criminal Case No. 98-169606

That on or about the 12th day of December, 1998, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill, attack, assault and use personal
violence upon the person of one REGUEL ALBERT TIBON Y SUMINGIT, 2 years of age and his
legitimate son, by then and there stabbing him several times on the chest with a bladed weapon, thereby
inflicting upon the said REGUEL ALBERT TIBON Y SUMINGIT stab wounds which were the direct and
immediate cause of his death thereafter.

At his arraignment, Tibon entered a plea of not guilty. A trial on the merits ensued.

The prosecution presented witnesses Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Jose M. Bagkus; Francisco Abella Abello, Jr.,
Tibons neighbor; Medico-Legal Officer Dr. Emmanuel Aranas of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory; Gina
Sumingit, Tibons common-law wife and mother of the two victims; and Renato Tibon, brother of Tibon. Tibon was the sole
witness for the defense.

During trial, the following facts were established:

Accused-appellant and his common-law wife Gina Sumingit (Gina) lived together as husband and wife since
1994. They had two children, Keen Gist (KenKen) and Reguel Albert (Reguel).[2] They lived with accused-appellants
parents and siblings on the third floor of a rented house in C.M. Recto, Manila.[3]Due to financial difficulties, Gina went
to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper, leaving accused-appellant with custody of their two children. [4] After some
time, accused-appellant heard from his sister who was also working in Hong Kong that Gina was having an affair with
another man. After the revelation, he was spotted drinking a lot and was seen hitting his two children.[5]

On the night of December 12, 1998, at around 11:30 p.m., accused-appellants mother[6] and his siblings, among them
Zernan and Leilani, went to accused-appellants room. They saw accused-appellant with KenKen and Reguel. The two
children appeared lifeless and bore wounds on their bodies. When accused-appellant realized that his mother and siblings
had seen his two children lying on the floor, accused-appellant stabbed himself on the chest with a kitchen knife, to the
shouts of horror of his mother and siblings. He tried to end his life by jumping out the window of their house.[7] Accused-
appellant sustained a head injury from his fall but he and his two children, KenKen ande Reguel, were rushed
to Mary Johnston Hospital by his siblings Renato and Leilani and some of their neighbors. Once at the hospital, accused-
appellant received treatment for his injuries. The two children, however, could no longer be revived. [8]

Gina called long distance on December 13, 2008 and asked about KenKen and Reguel. When told about the stabbing
incident, she immediately flew back to Manila the next day.[9]
Dr. Aranas acted on a written request from the Western Police District (WPD) Homicide Division and the
Certificates of Identity and Consent for Autopsy signed by KenKen and Reguels aunt Leilani Tibon. His examination of the
victims cadavers showed that Reguel, who was attacked while facing the assailant, sustained abrasions on the forehead,
cheeks, and chin and five (5) stab wounds, four (4) of which were caused by a sharp bladed instrument and fatal. The
doctor further observed that for a two-year old to be attacked so violently, the killer must have been extremely angry. [10]

The body of three-year old KenKen sustained three (3) stab wounds on the left side of the chest, which were likewise
fatal, as these pierced his heart and left lung.[11]
WPD Police Investigator SPO3 Bagkus interviewed Tibon while he was undergoing treatment from stab wounds on the
chest and head injuries under police security at the Jose Reyes Medical Center. After being informed by SPO3 Bagkus of
his constitutional rights, Tibon confided that he was despondent and voluntarily admitted to stabbing KenKen and
Reguel.[12] Tibons sister Leilani, likewise, told SPO3 Bagkus that Tibon was responsible for the killings. [13]

Gina confronted Tibon at the hospital where he was confined. She said the latter confessed to stabbing their children and
begged for her forgiveness. She added that he even wrote a letter again the next year asking to be forgiven. Supported by
receipts, she claimed that she spent PhP 173,000 for the wake and funeral of her two children. When asked if she could
quantify the damage caused to her in terms of money, she said it was for PhP 500,000.[14]

Tibon denied the charges against him and raised insanity as defense. He said that he could not recall what happened on
the night he allegedly stabbed his two children. He also could not remember being taken to the hospital. He said he was
only informed by his siblings that he had killed KenKen and Reguel, causing him to jump off the window of their house. [15]
The Ruling of the Trial Court
The RTC found for the prosecution. It gave full faith and credit to the witnesses who testified against Tibon. In contrast,
Tibons testimony was found unworthy of belief. In spite of his defense of insanity, the trial court noted that he was in full
control of his faculties before, during, and after he attacked his two children. The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision
reads:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, accused HONORIO TIBON y DENISO is found GUILTY


beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of two (2) counts of Parricide, and sentencing him in each case to
suffer the extreme penalty of DEATH and to pay the heirs of the victims KEEN GIST TIBON and REGUEL
ALBERT TIBON P75,000.00 each as civil indemnity.[16]

The Ruling of the Appellate Court

On appeal, the CA affirmed the findings of the RTC and found that the defense did not overcome the presumption of
sanity. The appellate court stressed that evidence of insanity after the commission of an offense may be accorded weight
only if there is also proof of abnormal behavior immediately before or simultaneous to the commission of the crime. It
reduced the penalty meted to Tibon to reclusion perpetua.

The fallo of the CA decision states:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the 2 August 2005 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila
(Branch 26) in Criminal Case No. 98-169605-06 finding accused-appellant Honorio Tibon y Deiso guilty
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of parricide on two (2) counts, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION
as to penalty.Pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346, the penalty of death imposed upon accused-appellant is
reduced to reclusion perpetua, without eligibility for parole.

SO ORDERED.[17]

Tibon maintains his innocence on appeal to this Court.

On August 3, 2009, this Court notified the parties that they may submit supplemental briefs if they so desired. The parties
manifested their willingness to submit the case on the basis of the records already submitted.

The Issue

WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THE EXEMPTING
CIRCUMSTANCE OF INSANITY IN FAVOR OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLLANT.

The Ruling of this Court

Tibon argues that the exempting circumstance of insanity was established, therefore overthrowing the
presumption of sanity. Combined with Tibons testimony, Tibons medical record with the National Center for Mental Health
(NCMH) and his strange behavior allegedly show an unstable mind deprived of intelligence. That he had no recollection of
the stabbing incident is further proof of his insanity. His criminal act of stabbing his children was, thus, involuntary.
The People, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, on the other hand, rebuts the argument of Tibon
by asserting that his mental state, as ascertained by the NCMH, referred to his condition to stand trial and not his mental
state before and during the commission of the crimes with which he was charged. Furthermore, Tibons non-recollection of
the stabbing incident does not prove his insanity and amounts merely to a general denial. The People argues that,
contrary to the requirements on establishing insanity, Tibon was unable to present any competent witness who could
explain his mental condition. Lastly, the reduction of civil indemnity from PhP 75,000 to PhP 50,000 is recommended,
since the crimes were not attended by any aggravating circumstances.

We affirm Tibons conviction.

The Revised Penal Code defines parricide as follows:

Art. 246. Parricide. Any person who shall kill his father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate,
or any of his ascendants, or descendants, or his spouse, shall be guilty of parricide and shall be punished
by the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death.

Parricide is committed when: (1) a person is killed; (2) the deceased is killed by the accused; (3) the deceased is the
father, mother, or child, whether legitimate or illegitimate, or a legitimate other ascendant or other descendant, or the
legitimate spouse of the accused.[18]

This appeal admits that parricide has indeed been committed. The defense, however, banks on Tibons insanity to exempt
him from punishment.

The defense has unsatisfactorily shown that Tibon was insane when he stabbed his two young sons. Article 12 of the
Code states:

Circumstances which exempt from criminal liability. The following are exempt from criminal liability:

1. An imbecile or an insane person, unless the latter has acted during a lucid interval. x x x

The aforementioned circumstances are not easily available to an accused as a successful defense. Insanity is the
exception rather than the rule in the human condition.[19] While Art. 12(1) of the Revised Penal Code provides that an
imbecile or insane person is exempt from criminal liability, unless that person has acted during a lucid interval, the
presumption, under Art. 800 of the Civil Code, is that every human is sane. Anyone who pleads the exempting
circumstance of insanity bears the burden of proving it [20] with clear and convincing evidence.[21] It is in the nature of
confession and avoidance. An accused invoking insanity admits to have committed the crime but claims that he or she is
not guilty because of insanity. The testimony or proof of an accused's insanity must, however, relate to the time
immediately preceding or coetaneous with the commission of the offense with which he is charged. [22] We agree with the
Solicitor General that the mental records Tibon wishes to support his defense with are inapplicable to the theory he
espouses. The NCMH records of his mental health only pertain to his ability to stand trial and not to his mental state
immediately before or during the commission of the crimes.
The change in Tibons behavior was triggered by jealousy. He acted out of jealous rage at the thought of his wife
having an affair overseas. Uncontrolled jealousy and anger are not equivalent to insanity. Nor is being despondent, as
Tibon said he was when interviewed by the police. There is a vast difference between a genuinely insane person and one
who has worked himself up into such a frenzy of anger that he fails to use reason or good judgment in what he
does.[23] We reiterate jurisprudence which has established that only when there is a complete deprivation of intelligence at
the time of the commission of the crime should the exempting circumstance of insanity be considered.[24]

It is apt to recall People v. Ocfemia[25] where this Court ruled that the professed inability of the accused to recall events
before and after the stabbing incident, as in the instant case, does not necessarily indicate an aberrant mind but is more
indicative of a concocted excuse to exculpate himself. It is simply too convenient for Tibon to claim that he could not
remember anything rather than face the consequences of his terrible deed.

The requirements for a finding of insanity have not been met by the defense. As the appellate court noted, Tibons unusual
behavior prior to and after he committed parricide do not meet the stringent standards on an insanity plea as required by
this Court. The presumption of sanity has not been overcome. In contrast, the prosecution, as found by the lower courts,
sufficiently established evidence that Tibon voluntarily killed his two children on the night of December 12, 1998. On this
matter, We find no reason to reverse the findings of fact made by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

A final word. Parricide is differentiated from murder and homicide by the relationship between the killer and his or her
victim. Even without the attendant circumstances qualifying homicide to murder, the law punishes those found guilty of
parricide with reclusion perpetua to death, prior to the enactment of Republic Act No. (RA) 9346 (An Act Prohibiting the
Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines). The commission of parricide is punished more severely than homicide
since human beings are expected to love and support those who are closest to them. The extreme response of killing
someone of ones own flesh and blood is indeed unnatural and tragic. Tibon must thus be handed down the harshest
penalty for his crimes against his innocent children.

Penalty Imposed

In view of RA 9346, the appellate court correctly modified the sentence of Tibon to reclusion perpetua.

Pecuniary Liability

When death occurs due to a crime, the following damages may be awarded: (1) civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of
the victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; and (5) temperate
damages.[26]

The Solicitor General recommended the reduction of civil indemnity from PhP75,000 to PhP50,000. However, recent
jurisprudence pegs civil indemnity in the amount of PhP75,000, [27] which is automatically granted to the offended party, or
his/her heirs in case of the formers death, without need of further evidence other than the fact of the commission
of murder, homicide, parricide and rape.[28] People v. Regalario[29] has explained that the said award is not dependent on
the actual imposition of the death penalty but on the fact that qualifying circumstances warranting the imposition of the
death penalty attended the commission of the offense.
According to Art. 2199 of the Civil Code, one is entitled to adequate compensation for pecuniary loss suffered by him that
is duly proved. This compensation is termed actual damages. The party seeking actual damages must produce competent
proof or the best evidence obtainable, such as receipts, to justify an award therefor. [30] We note that the trial court failed to
award actual damages in spite of the presentation of receipts showing wake and funeral expenses (Exhibits R, R-1, R-2,
R-4, and R-5) amounting to PhP173,000. We therefore grant said amount.

Moral damages are also in order. Even in the absence of any allegation and proof of the heirs emotional suffering, it has
been recognized that the loss of a loved one to a violent death brings emotional pain and anguish, [31] more so in this case
where two young children were brutally killed while their mother was away. The award of PhP75,000.00 is proper
pursuant to established jurisprudence holding that where the imposable penalty is death but reduced to reclusion
perpetuapursuant to RA 9346, the award of moral damages should be increased from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00. [32]
Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence, the trial court should have made accused-appellant account for PhP30,000
as exemplary damages on account of relationship, a qualifying circumstance, which was alleged and proved, in the crime
of parricide.[33]

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01406 convicting
accused-appellant Honorio Tibon y Deiso of parricide is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused-appellant
should pay the heir of the victims:

(1) Civil indemnity of PhP 75,000 for each victim;


(2) Actual damages of PhP 173,000;
(3) Moral damages of PhP 75,000 for each victim; and
(4) Exemplary damages of PhP 30,000 for each victim.

SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V LAO-AS

DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:

On appeal is the decision[1] dated May 29, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 22, in Criminal Case
No. 2303-M-91, convicting Felixberto Lao-as for murder, imposing upon him the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and
ordering him to pay the victims heirs indemnity in the amount of P50,000.00 with 6% interest from the time of filing the
information with the trial court.[2]
The information against appellant dated November 19, 1991 alleged:

That on or about the 25th day of December, 1988, in the municipality of Marilao, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and
within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, with intent to kill one Leonardo Bastuten, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength and treachery,
attack, assault, stab with a bladed instrument and use personal violence on the said Leonardo Bastuten, hitting the latter
on his body, thereby causing him stab wounds which directly caused his death.
Contrary to law. [3]

The facts of the case, as summarized by the Office of the Solicitor General and which we find supported by the
records, are as follows:

On December 24, 1998, the victim Leonardo Bastuten invited appellant, Armando Ramirez, Demetrio Candelisas[4] and a
certain Lanchiola to his house in Tabing Ilog, Marilao, Bulacan to celebrate Christmas. Bastuten and the four persons he
invited are from Bacolod City (tsn, Nov. 16, 1994, pp. 4, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13).

The drinking inside the compound of the Bastuten started at about 4:00 in the afternoon of December 24, 1988 and ended
at 5:00 in the morning of Christmas day. The group consumed about 4 to 5 big bottles of Tanduay ESQ.

Bastuten himself did not join the drinking. (tsn, Nov. 16, 1994, pp. 12-14). At about 10:00 in the evening of December 24,
1988, he went to sleep, while his guests continued drinking. At about 5:00 oclock in the morning, Bastuten woke up and
went outside his house. Bastuten talked with Armando Ramirez and told him that he still wanted to sleep (tsn, Nov. 16,
1994, pp. 14, 15).

At about 5:30 in the morning, Bastuten went again downstairs but this time he did not talk with Ramirez. Bastuten did not
do anything. Appellant who was then drunk and without saying a word, got a knife from his left sock and stabbed
Bastuten. Appellant was about to stab Bastuten for the second time but Ramirez, who was only two feet away was able to
parry the thrust.The left thumb of Ramirez was wounded. Ramirez was not aware of any reason why appellant stabbed
the victim. After stabbing the victim, appellant ran away (tsn, Nov. 16, 1994, pp. 5-11, 15-18).

Demetrio Candalisas, a friend of the victim, was in the victims house taking a rest. He heard the victim shout and say
pare, nasaksak ako. He asked the victim who stabbed him and the victim told him that it was appellant. He brought the
victim to the hospital. At the hospital, the victim told him to inform his (the victims) parents (tsn, March 21, 1995, pp. 5-
10).[5]

Bastutens wife, Concepcion, failed to talk with her husband, who soon could no longer speak. He succumbed to
septicemia and reversible shocks due to the stab wounds on December 27, 1988.
Upon arraignment of the charge against him, appellant pleaded not guilty. [6] In the course of trial, the following
witnesses were presented by the prosecution: (1) Concepcion Bastuten, [7] the wife of the victim; (2) Armando Ramirez, an
alleged eyewitness to the stabbing incident; and (3) Demetrio Candilosas, who brought the victim to the hospital and
allegedly heard him declare that he had been stabbed by appellant. [8]
For its part, the defense presented the following witnesses: (1) Appellant, who testified on his behalf, and (2)
Bienvenido Porlaje, who testified that he saw the victim and appellant having a fight, with the former holding a knife.[9]
On May 29, 1996, the trial court convicted appellant of the crime of murder, disposing as follows:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:

1) finding the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder as penalized under Art. 247,
Revised Penal Code and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua;
2) accused is ordered to pay the following amount to the heirs of Leonardo Bastuten:
(a) P50,000.00 for the life of the victim Leonardo Bastuten with 6% interest on all amount due from the filing
of the information on November 29, 1991 until said amounts have been fully paid.

SO ORDERED. [10]

In his appeal, appellant now claims that the trial court erred
1. IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED OF THE CRIME OF MURDER.
2. IN NOT GIVING CREDIT TO THE ESTABLISHED FACT THAT THERE IS NO EYEWITNESS TO THE
KILLING AND THAT THERE WAS NO CRIMINAL INTENT ESTABLISHED AGAINST THE APPELLANT.[11]
In his brief, appellant contends that no one witnessed the stabbing of the victim. Hence, he argues that his culpability
was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. At the same time, appellant also asserts that there was a fight between him
and the victim, wherein he defended himself but did not stab the victim. [12]
For the State, the Office of the Solicitor General avers that: (1) appellant was identified by a prosecution witness as
the assailant; (2) the victims utterance to Demetrio Candilosas that he was stabbed by appellant is admissible as part of
the res gestae, if not a dying declaration; (3) the flight of appellant after the incident is indicative of his guilt; (4) there was
no improper motive on the part of the prosecution witnesses when they testified against appellant; and (5) appellant in
effect admitted stabbing and wounding the victim.
At issue is whether or not the witnesses testimonies were credible and sufficient to establish the guilt of appellant
beyond reasonable doubt.
To begin with, we had to peruse closely the records of the case. Appellants claim that no one witnessed the stabbing
incident is belied by the records. Prosecution witness Armando Ramirez testified under oath that it was appellant who
inflicted the fatal wound with a balisong which had been concealed in appellants left sock. [13] This witness categorically
stated that he was about two feet from the victim and appellant. [14] After the stabbing, the witness saw appellant run
away.[15] Worthy of note, no one directly contradicted the testimony of Ramirez.
Ramirez was an unbiased witness, without any improper motive to falsely testify for or against anyone. Both
appellant and Ramirez testified that they were friends. [16] Given the circumstances, Ramirez testimony is entitled to full
faith and credit. [17]
Furthermore, prosecution witness Demetrio Candilosas testified on trial that as the victim staggered into his house,
he declared that he had been stabbed. When asked who had stabbed him, the victim identified appellant as the
culprit. [18] While the direct examination of Candilosas was not subjected to cross-examination, it is nonetheless admissible
in evidence as counsel for appellant waived cross-examination of this witness. [19]
While Candilosas himself did not see the actual stabbing, the victims revelation to him of the name of appellant as
the assailant could be considered as a dying declaration. Such ante mortem statement is evidence of the highest order
because at the threshold of death, all thoughts of fabricating lies are stilled. [20] The utterance of a victim made
immediately after sustaining serious injuries may be considered the incident speaking through the victim.[21] It is entitled to
the highest credence.
Even if arguendo said declaration is not admitted as a dying declaration, it is still admissible as part of the res
gestae, since it was made shortly after a startling occurrence and under the influence thereof. Under the circumstances,
the victim evidently had no opportunity to contrive[22] his statement beforehand.
Appellant claims self-defense but at the same time denies involvement in the fatal stabbing. His illogical stance that
he did not stab the victim does not faze his vigorous assertion that he was merely defending his own life and limb. He
adds that the prosecution has failed to establish any ill motive nor intent to commit a crime. However, he also insists that
he only tried to grab from the victim the knife that eventually killed him. [23]
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the posture of the accused is a mlange of defenses: accident, self-defense
and unawareness that a mortal wound had been inflicted upon the victim, each of which are mutually exclusive. Accident
presupposes lack of intention to stab the victim, while self-defense presumes voluntariness, induced only by
necessity.[24] As to his defense of accident, according to the prosecution, a person who accidentally injures another does
not perceive any aggression that must be repelled by force. A person who says he stabbed another person accidentally or
in self-defense cannot at the same time pretend he did not know he had stabbed the other. [25]
Appellants claim of lack of motive, however, does not preclude his conviction. It is judicial knowledge that persons
have been killed or assaulted for no reason at all.[26] Besides, proof of motive in a criminal case becomes relevant and
essential only when the identity of an assailant is in question. [27] This, in our view, is not so in the present case, since
Armando Ramirez positively identified appellant as the malefactor.
The testimony of defense witness, Bienvenido Porlaje, does not fortify appellants allegation of innocence. Porlaje
testified that on the night of December 25, 1988, he joined a drinking session with one Badong, Armando (Ramirez),
Bulldog, Danny, Leonardo (Bastuten) and the appellant. He heard a commotion inside the victims house and went inside
to investigate, only to find appellant and the victim fighting. Appellant was holding a knife. Thereafter, he saw him run
away from the house. According to Porlaje, appellant went inside the house of the victim to awaken the latter so as to
continue their drinking spree.[28]
On cross-examination, however, Porlaje retracted his earlier statement that he was part of the drinking group,
claiming instead that he was just a neighbor of the victim. When asked who among the group present went inside the
house of the victim, he first answered that he did not know any of them. When pressed for an answer, he finally said that
Ramirez went inside the house.[29] These contradictions, inconsistencies and incongruities in Porlajes testimony merely
undermine appellants defense.
The trial court found that the stabbing of the victim was attended by treachery. Appellant stabbed the victim just as
the latter descended from his house. According to witness Ramirez, there was no previous altercation between the victim
and appellant. Appellant had concealed the balisong in one of his socks prior to the stabbing.[30] The victim could not have
anticipated that appellant would attack him. He had just awakened after sleeping late on Christmas eve. Clearly, the
attack on the victim was carried out with alevosia. There is treachery or alevosiawhen the attack on an unarmed victim
who has not given the slightest provocation is sudden, unexpected, and without warning. [31] Even in a case where the
victim was stabbed in the front part of his body, we have ruled that such frontal attack is treacherous when it is sudden
and unexpected, and the victim is unarmed.[32]
In the present case, however, we find that dwelling is not a generic aggravating circumstance. Ramirez witnessed the
stabbing incident outside the victims house, while Demetrio Candilosas testified that the victim staggered into his own
house after he had been stabbed.[33] Hence, the crime did not occur inside the victims dwelling. In addition, the presence
of the aggravating circumstance of dwelling was not alleged in the information.[34]
As to the appropriate penalty, the attendance of treachery has qualified appellants offense to murder, and without
aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the penalty of reclusion perpetua has been properly imposed.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 22, dated May 29, 1996, in
Criminal Case No. 2303-M-91 is AFFIRMED. Appellant Felixberto Lao-as is declared GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt
for the MURDER of Leonardo Bastuten. Appellant is sentenced to RECLUSION PERPETUA and ordered to pay the heirs
of Leonardo Bastuten the amount of P50,000.00 as death indemnity with 6% interest from the filing of the information on
November 29, 1991 until fully paid. Costs against appellant.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V OYANIB

DECISION
PARDO, J.:

Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza appeals from the joint decision [1] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 02, Iligan
City finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide and parricide and sentencing him to an indeterminate
penalty[2] of six (6) months one day (1) to six (6) years of prision correccional as minimum to six (6) years one (1) day to
eight (8) years of prision mayor as maximum,[3] and to pay P50,000.00 civil indemnity and the costs for the death of Jesus
Esquierdo, and to reclusion perpetua, to pay P50,000.00 and the costs for the death of his wife, Tita T. Oyanib.[4]
On September 11, 1995, Iligan City Prosecutor Ulysses V. Lagcao filed with the Regional Trial Court, Iligan City two
(2) separate informations charging accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza with murder and parricide, as follows:

Criminal Case No. 6012

That on or about September 4, 1995, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the said accused, armed with a deadly weapon to wit: a hunting knife about six inches long and with intent to kill and
evident premeditation and by means of treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault,
stab and wound one Jesus Esquierdo, thereby inflicting upon him the following physical injuries, to wit:

Cardiorespiratory arrest

Hypovolemic shock irreversible

Multiple organ injury

Multiple stab wound chest & abdomen

and as a result thereof the said Jesus Esquierdo died.

Contrary to and in violation of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code with the aggravating circumstances (sic) of evident
premeditation.[5]

Criminal Case No. 6018


That on or about September 4, 1995, in the City of Iligan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court,
the said accused, having conceived and (sic) deliberate intent to kill his wife Tita Oyanib, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously and with evident premeditation, attack, assault, stab and wound his wife, as a result of said
attack, the said Tita Oyanib died.

Contrary to and in violation of Article 246 of the Revised Penal Code. [6]

The prosecutor recommended no bail for the temporary liberty of accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza in both cases.
On September 11, 1995, accused voluntarily surrendered to the police authorities[7] and was immediately detained at
the Iligan City Jail.[8]
On January 17, 1996, the trial court arraigned accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza by reading the informations
against him and translating them into the Visayan dialect.[9] He pleaded not guilty to both charges.
As the two (2) cases arose from the same set of facts, the trial court conducted a joint trial.
Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza (hereafter Manolito) and Tita T. Oyanib (hereafter Tita) were married on
February 3, 1979[10] and had two (2) children, Desilor and Julius. They lived in Purok 1, Tambacan, Iligan City.
In 1994, due to marital differences, Manolito and Tita separated, with Manolito keeping custody of their two (2)
children. Tita rented a room at the second floor of the house of Edgardo Lladas (hereafter Edgardo), not far from the place
where her family lived.
At about 9:30 in the evening of September 4, 1995, while Edgardo and his family were watching TV at
the sala located at the ground floor of their house at Purok 3-A, Tambacan, Iligan City, they heard a commotion coming
from the second floor rented by Tita. The commotion and the noise lasted for quite some time. When it died down,
Edgardo went upstairs to check.[11]
Upstairs, Edgardo saw Tita wearing a duster, bloodied and sprawled on the floor. He saw Manolito stabbing Jesus
Esquierdo (hereafter Jesus) while sitting on the latters stomach. Jesus was wearing a pair of long black pants. When
Edgardo asked Manolito what he was doing, accused told Edgardo not to interfere.
Thereafter, Edgardo left the house and called the police. Meanwhile, the neighbors brought Tita to the hospital. She
died on the way to the hospital.[12]
SPO3 Eduard Tubil, police investigator, General Investigation Office, Iligan City Police Command, Precinct I,
Poblacion, Iligan City said that at about 9:00 in the evening of September 4, 1995, while he was on duty, he received an
information regarding a stabbing incident at the Llagas residence at Purok 3-A, Tambacan, Iligan City.[13]
At the crime scene, SPO3 Tubil saw the lifeless body of Jesus lying face up with several stab wounds in different
parts of the body. Jesus was clad in t-shirt and long pants. From the crime scene, he recovered a knife. Afterwards, he
went to Dr. Uy Hospital to check on Tita; he was informed that she was dead. Manolito was the suspect in the killing
of Jesus and Tita.[14]The incident was recorded in the police blotter as Entry No. 137138. [15]
On September 5, 1995, Dr. Leonardo A. Labanon, Medico-Legal Officer, Iligan City examined the bodies of Jesus
and Tita.[16] Jesus sustained multiple stab wounds, and those inflicted in the right and left chests and stomach were
fatal.[17] The cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest, hypovolemic shock irreversible, multiple organ injury and
multiple stab wound chest and abdomen.[18]
Likewise, Tita sustained several stab wounds, with the fatal wounds inflicted in the left chest and right side of the
abdomen. The cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest, hypovolemic shock and multiple stab wound. [19]
As heretofore stated, in 1994, following a series of arguments, Manolito and Tita decided to live separately. Manolito
retained custody of their two (2) children. Immediately after the separation, Tita stayed at her friend Merlyns house for two
(2) months. Afterwards, she transferred to the Lladas residence, located at Purok 3, G. Tambacan, Iligan City, and rented
the second floor.[20] The rented space consisted mainly of a sala with one adjoining room. It was arranged in a manner
that if one enters the main entrance door, one is immediately led to the sala and from the sala, directly to the door of the
adjoining room.
Despite their separation, Manolito tried to win Tita back and exerted all efforts towards reconciliation for the sake of
the children. However, Tita was very reluctant to reconcile with Manolito. [21] In fact, she was very open about her
relationship with other men and would flaunt it in front of Manolito. One time, he chanced upon his wife and her paramour,
Jesus, in a very intimate situation by the hanging bridge at Brgy. Tambacan, Iligan City. [22] Manolito confronted Tita and
Jesus about this. He censured his wife and reminded her that she was still his wife. They just ignored him; they even
threatened to kill him.[23]
In the evening of September 4, 1995, after supper, his daughter Desilor handed Manolito a letter from the Iligan City
National High School. The letter mentioned that his son Julius failed in two (2) subjects and invited his parents to a
meeting at the school. Because he had work from 8:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon the next day, Manolito
went to Titas house to ask her to attend the school meeting in his behalf.[24]
Upon reaching Titas rented place, he heard sounds of romance (kissing) coming from the inside. He pried open the
door lock using a hunting knife. He caught his wife Tita and Jesus having sexual intercourse. Jesus was on top of Tita and
his pants were down to his knees.
Upon seeing him, Jesus kicked Manolito in the cheek. Manolito immediately stabbed Jesus. Though Jesus was 59 in
height and weighed about 70 kg., the suddenness of the assault caused him to lose his balance and fall down. Manolito
took advantage of this opportunity and stabbed Jesus in the stomach. Tita left the room upon seeing Manolito, only to
come back armed with a Tanduay bottle. She hit Manolito in the head, while at the same time shouting kill him Jake, kill
him Jake.[25]
In the commotion, Manolito stabbed Jesus, hitting him in the abdomen. Jesus fell down and Manolito stabbed him
again. Meanwhile, Tita stabbed Manolito in the arm with the broken Tanduay bottle. This angered Manolito and he
stabbed Tita in the left breast. He stabbed her three (3) more times in different parts of her body. Tita fell near the lifeless
body of her paramour. It was at this point that Edgardo, the owner of the house Tita was renting, appeared from the
ground floor and inquired about what had happened. Manolito told Edgardo not to interfere because he had nothing to do
with it.
Thereafter, Manolito left the house of Edgardo and went to Kilumco, Camague, Iligan City and stayed at the wake of
his friends neighbor. He threw away the knife he used in stabbing his wife and her paramour. At around 4:00 in the
morning of the following day, he went to Camague Highway to catch a bus for Lentogan, Aurora, Zamboanga. While in
Lentogan, he heard over radio DXIC that there was a call for him to surrender. He heeded the call and gave himself up to
the police authorities in Precinct 2, Nonocan, Iligan City. [26]
When asked why he was carrying a knife when he went to his wifes place, Manolito said that he brought it for self-
defense. Prior to the incident, he received threats from his wife and her paramour, Jesus, that they would kill him so they
could live together.[27]
After trial, on May 26, 1997, the trial court promulgated a joint decision finding accused guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crimes charged. The dispositive portion reads:

WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing findings and pronouncements and having carefully observed the demeanor of
witnesses, this Court hereby declares accused MANOLITO OYANIB y Mendoza GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
crime of Homicide (Crim. Case No. II-6012) and Parricide (Crim. Case No. II-6018) and appreciating the two (2) mitigating
circumstances of passion or obfuscation and voluntary surrender without any aggravating circumstances to consider, this
Court sentences accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza to suffer an imprisonment as follows:

1) In Criminal Case No. II-6012:

To an Indeterminate Penalty ranging from SIX (6) MONTHS ONE (1) DAY to SIX (6) YEARS as Minimum to Six (6)
YEARS ONE (1) DAY to EIGHT (8) YEARS as Maximum; to indemnify heirs of Jesus Esquierdo the sum of P50,000.00
as civil indemnity, and to pay the costs.

2) In Criminal Case No. II-6018:

To RECLUSION PERPETUA pursuant to Republic Act No. 7659; to indemnify heirs of his wife P50,000.00 as civil
indemnity and to pay the costs.

It is likewise ordered that the aforesaid imprisonment is subject to the forty (40) years limitation prescribed in Article 70 of
the Revised Penal Code.

Accused is likewise entitled to full credit of his preventive imprisonment.

SO ORDERED.

Iligan City, Philippines, May 26, 1997.

MAXIMO B. RATUNIL
Presiding Judge[28]

On June 17, 1997, accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza interposed an appeal from the joint decision of the trial court
to the Supreme Court.[29]
Accused admitted the killings. He argued that he killed them both under the exceptional circumstances provided in
Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. He raised several errors allegedly committed by the trial court, which boiled down
to the basic issue of whether accused is entitled to the exceptional privilege under Article 247 of the Revised Penal
Code.[30] He questioned the trial courts appreciation of the facts and the evidence, contending that it ignored and
overlooked vital pieces of physical evidence material to the defense of the accused, like the photograph of the lifeless
body of Jesus. Accused contends that the photograph graphically showed that Jesus pants were wide open, unzipped
and unbuttoned, revealing that he was not wearing any underwear, lending credence to his defense that he caught his
wife and her paramour in the act of sexual intercourse. On the other hand, the Solicitor General submitted that accused-
appellant failed to discharge the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that he killed the victims under the
exceptional circumstances contemplated in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. Hence, the trial court did not err in
denying him the exempting privilege under the Article.[31]
We find the appeal meritorious.
At the outset, accused admitted killing his wife and her paramour. He invoked Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code
as an absolutory and an exempting cause. An absolutory cause is present where the act committed is a crime but for
reasons of public policy and sentiment there is no penalty imposed. [32]
Having admitted the killing, it is incumbent upon accused to prove the exempting circumstances to the satisfaction of
the court in order to be relieved of any criminal liability. Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code prescribes the following
essential elements for such a defense: (1) that a legally married person surprises his spouse in the act of committing
sexual intercourse with another person; (2) that he kills any of them or both of them in the act or immediately thereafter;
and (3) that he has not promoted or facilitated the prostitution of his wife (or daughter) or that he or she has not consented
to the infidelity of the other spouse.[33] Accused must prove these elements by clear and convincing evidence, otherwise
his defense would be untenable. The death caused must be the proximate result of the outrage overwhelming the
accused after chancing upon his spouse in the act of infidelity. Simply put, the killing by the husband of his wife must
concur with her flagrant adultery.[34]
There is no question that the first element is present in the case at bar. The crucial fact that accused must
convincingly prove to the court is that he killed his wife and her paramour in the act of sexual intercourse or immediately
thereafter.
After an assiduous analysis of the evidence presented and the testimonies of the witnesses, we find accused to have
acted within the circumstances contemplated in Article 247 of the Revised Penal Code. Admittedly, accused-appellant
surprised his wife and her lover in the act of sexual intercourse.
To the mind of the court, what actually happened was that accused chanced upon Jesus at the place of his wife. He
saw his wife and Jesus in the act of having sexual intercourse.Blinded by jealousy and outrage, accused stabbed Jesus
who fought off and kicked the accused. He vented his anger on his wife when she reacted, not in defense of him, but in
support of Jesus. Hence, he stabbed his wife as well several times. Accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza surrendered to
the police when a call for him to surrender was made.
The law imposes very stringent requirements before affording the offended spouse the opportunity to avail himself of
Article 247, Revised Penal Code. As the Court put it in People v. Wagas:[35]

The vindication of a Mans honor is justified because of the scandal an unfaithful wife creates; the law is strict on this,
authorizing as it does, a man to chastise her, even with death. But killing the errant spouse as a purification is so severe
as that it can only be justified when the unfaithful spouse is caught in flagrante delicto; and it must be resorted to only with
great caution so much so that the law requires that it be inflicted only during the sexual intercourse or immediately
thereafter.

WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 02, Iligan City in
Criminal Cases Nos. II-6012 and II-6018. The Court sentences accused Manolito Oyanib y Mendoza to two (2) years and
four (4) months of destierro.[36] He shall not be permitted to enter Iligan City, nor within a radius of one hundred (100)
kilometers from Iligan City.[37]
Costs de oficio.
SO ORDERED.
PEOPLE V LAGRANA

The accused, Carlo LAGRANA, appeals from the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Oriental Mindoro (Calapan),
Branch 39, convicting him, as principal, of Murder. sentencing him to reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the heirs of the
deceased, Benito Adarlo, in the amount of P8,000.00.

The other accused, Frangeline SALAZAR, who was found guilty as an accomplice and sentenced to suffer an
indeterminate penalty, did not appeal. 1

The evidence for the prosecution discloses that at around 8:00 P.M. on 3 December 1981, Benito Adarlo (the Victim, for
short) was seated along the road near the store of Eladio de Villa in Dao, Naujan Oriental Mindoro, with the accused
SALAZAR. The latter was holding one of the Victim's right arm under the armpit. While thus positioned, LAGRANA, who is
an uncle of SALAZAR, arrived. LAGRANA focused the lighted flashlight he was then carrying at the face of the Victim and
forthwith hit the latter on the head with a piece of wood ("kakawati"). about one meter in length. As a result, the Victim fell
face downward, unconscious. He never regained consciousness until he died in the provincial hospital on 6 December
1981.

The autopsy findings disclosed the cause of death as "shock secondary to severe intracranial hemorrhage secondary to
skull fracture secondary to head trauma." 2

The Victim's brother, Nestor Adarlo, who was nearby, ran to the succor of his brother only to be challenged by LAGRANA.
Nestor, however, ignored the challenge and carried his brother to their house, which was not too distant from the scene of
the incident.

In addition to Nestor, another eyewitness to the incident was Pio Sigalat, who happened also to be on his way to the store
of Eladio de Villa, behind LAGRANA, at a distance of about five (5) meters. Sigalat saw LAGRANA carrying a flashlight
and a piece of wood and ultimately hitting the Victim on the head.

LAGRANA and SALAZAR were summoned by the police authorities the following morning of 4 December 1981 for
investigation, but were initially released.

Subsequently, however, they were both charged with Murder. Trial proceeded only against LAGRANA initially, while
SALAZAR stood trial only after his arrest in 1983.

LAGRANA invoked self defense claiming that the Victim, who was then drunk, chased him with a knife for which reason
he hit the Victim with a piece of "kakawati" when the latter thrust the knife at him.

SALAZAR, for his part, claimed that he and the Victim drank liquor before the incident and that, because the Victim was
challenging him, he left the latter behind as he was afraid. Continuing, he recounted that the following morning when
informed by his mother that policemen were looking for him, he and LAGRANA went to the police station to report but that
they were both sent home.

The Trial Court gave no credence to the defense of either accused and convicted LAGRANA as principal and SALAZAR,
as accomplice of Murder, with the qualifying circumstance of treachery, unattended by any generic aggravating or
mitigating circumstance. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:

ACCORDINGLY, the Court finds accused Carlo Lagrana and Frangeline Salazar guilty beyond
reasonable doubt, as principal and accomplice, respectively, of the crime of Murder, punishable with
reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death, as regards the principal, under Article 248 in relation
to Article 46 of the Revised Penal Code, and with prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion
temporal in its medium period, as regards the accomplice, under Article 248 in relation to Article 52 of the
said code. Considering that there is neither generic aggravating nor mitigating circumstance, the penalty
should be imposed in its medium period. The Indeterminate Sentence Law is not applicable to accused
Carlo Lagrana, considering the penalty imposable on him, but applicable to accused Frangeline Salazar.
Accused Carlo Lagrana, as principal, is hereby sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua (life imprisonment),
together with the accessory penalties provided for by law, while accused Frangeline Salazar, as
accomplice, is sentenced to suffer imprisonment of SIX (6) YEARS, ONE (1) MONTH and ELEVEN (11)
DAYS of prision mayor, as minimum, to TWELVE (12) YEARS, FIVE (5) MONTHS and ELEVEN (11)
DAYS of reclusion temporal, as maximum, together with the accessory penalties provided for by law Both
accused are ordered to indemnify the legal heirs of the deceased Benito Adarlo in the amount of
P12,000.00, by way of actual damages, P8,000.00 to be paid by accused Carlo Lagrana and P4,000.00
by Frangeline Salazar, the same to be enforced in accordance with the provisions of Article 110 of the
Revised Penal Code, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs.

The accused shall be credited with the full term of their preventive imprisonment, if they have any to their
credit, pursuant to the provisions of Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act
No. 6127, provided that the accused shall have agreed to abide with the disciplinary rules imposed upon
convicted prisoners, otherwise, they shall be entitled to only four-fifths (4/5) of the preventive
imprisonment. 3

Only LAGRANA has appealed, who does not question his conviction nor the characterization of the crime, but merely
raises as the lone assignment of error that

The Court erred in brushing aside the litigating circumstance of voluntary surrender and imposing upon
accused-appellants penalties that are over and above those that they deserve.

Indeed, LAGRANA's guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. Two credible prosecution eyewitnesses identified
him as the main culprit. His plea of self-defense, uncorroborated as it is, fails to overcome the clear and direct testimony
of these witnesses. The crime is Murder, attended by treachery, considering the method by which LAGRANA attacked the
Victim without risk to himself arising from any defense which the Victim might have made.

The evidence on record does not support voluntary surrender, as contended. As aptly pointed out by the Trial Court:

Although both accused reported to the police authorities the following day after the commission of the
crime, it was not for the purpose of submitting themselves unconditionally. Accused Carlo LAGRANA
claimed self-defense when interrogated, while accused Frangeline Salazar did not give any statement,
either verbal or written.

Accused did not go to the police authorities to surrender but merely to report the incident. Indeed, they
never evinced any desire to own the responsibility for the killing of the deceased (People vs. Regales, 6
SCRA 830).

Indeed, wanting in this case are the following requisites for voluntary surrender to be considered mitigating:

A surrender to be voluntary must be spontaneous, showing the intent of the accused to submit himself
unconditionally to the authorities, either (1) because he acknowledges his guilt, or (2) because lie wishes
to save them the trouble and expenses necessarily incurred in his search and capture. 4

WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed, with the modification that LAGRANA shall indemnify the
heirs of the decease, Benito Adario, in the amount of P20,000.00 with costs.

SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V AMAZAN

DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:

This is an appeal from the decision,[1] dated July 8, 1998, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44, Masbate, finding
accused-appellants Jerito Amazan, Jaime Amazan, and Danilo Villegas guilty of murder, and each of the latter two of
attempted homicide and sentencing them accordingly.
The informations against accused-appellants alleged:

Crim. Case No. 8494:

The undersigned 2nd Asst. Provincial Prosecutor accuses JERITO AMAZAN, JAIME AMAZAN AND DANILO VILLEGAS
of San Vicente, Dimasalang, Masbate of the crime of Murder, committed as follows:

That on or about April 27, 1997, in the evening thereof, at Barangay San Vicente, Municipality of Dimasalang, Province of
Masbate, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused confederating together
and helping one another, with intent to kill, evident premeditation, treachery, superiority of strength and taking advantage
of nighttime, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and hack with bolos Artemio Arma,
hitting him on the head, thereby inflicting wounds, which caused his death.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

Masbate, Masbate, August 5, 1997.[2]

Crim. Case No. 8496:

The undersigned 2nd Asst. Provincial Prosecutor accuses JAIME AMAZAN of San Vicente, Dimasalang, Masbate of the
crime of Frustrated Murder, committed as follows:

That on or about April 27, 1997, in the evening thereof at Barangay San Vicente, Municipality of Dimasalang, Province of
Masbate, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, evident
premeditation, treachery and superiority of strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault
and hack with a bolo Amparo Arma, hitting him (sic) on the left face, thus performing all the acts of execution which would
have produced the crime of Murder as a consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes
independent of the will of the accused, that is, by the timely and able medical attendance rendered to said Amparo Arma,
which prevented her death.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

Masbate, Masbate, August 5, 1997.[3]

Crim. Case No. 8497:

The undersigned 2nd Asst. Provincial Prosecutor accuses DANILO VILLEGAS of San Vicente, Dimasalang, Masbate of
the crime of Frustrated Murder, committed as follows:

That on or about April 27, 1997, in the evening thereof at Barangay San Vicente, Municipality of Dimasalang, Province of
Masbate, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to kill, evident
premeditation and treachery, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and hack with a bolo
Antonio Arma, hitting him on the left face and arm, thus performing all the acts of execution which would have produced
the crime of Murder, as a consequence, but nevertheless did not produce it by reason of causes independent of the will of
the accused, that is, the timely and able medical attendance rendered to said Antonio Arma, which prevented his death.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

Masbate, Masbate, August 5, 1997.[4]

Upon arraignment, accused-appellants pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, whereupon joint trial of the
three cases ensued.[5]
The prosecution presented three witnesses, namely, Alberto Arma,[6] Amparo Arma,[7] and Antonio Arma.[8] Their
testimonies established the following:
Alberto Arma, then 14 years old and son of the deceased Artemio Arma, testified that, at 7 oclock in the evening of
April 27, 1997, he and his father, Artemio, went to their farm to graze their carabao. [9] The farm is about 30 meters from
their house.[10] As Artemio was tethering their carabao to a coconut tree, he was struck on the head with a bolo by
accused-appellant Jerito Amazan, a nephew of Amparo Arma, Artemios wife. Artemio then turned around, and was
stabbed by Jaime Amazan, Jeritos younger brother. Alberto, who was at that time about five meters away, cried for
help.[11] His mother, Amparo Arma, rushed from their house, accompanied by her daughter-in-law, Lorna. She saw
accused-appellants Jerito and Jaime Amazan and Danilo Villegas, a neighbor, all armed with bolos, training their
flashlights on the body of Artemio Arma. She asked Jerito what happened to her husband but, instead of receiving an
answer, she was hacked on the face with a bolo by Jaime.[12]
Amparo, Alberto, and Lorna ran towards their house. On the way they met Antonio, Amparos other son. The three
(Amparo, Alberto, and Antonio) then went to the place where Artemio lay dead. But as he was trying to help his father,
Antonio was struck with a bolo on the face and left hand by Danilo Villegas. Then accused-appellants ran away.[13]
Amparo and Antonio brought the body of Artemio to their house. It was later brought by Barangay Captain Danilo
Almocera to Dr. Ernesto L. Tamayo for autopsy. On the other hand, Amparo and Antonio proceeded to the hospital of Dr.
Alfonso H. Alino at Poblacion, Dimasalang, Masbate for treatment of their wounds. [14]
Amparo Arma and her son Antonio suffered injuries which are described in the medical certificates (Exhs. D and E,
respectively) issued by Dr. Alino, as follows:

April 29, 1997

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

This is to certify that Amparo Arma came to me on April 27, 1997 at 9:30 P.M. for treatment of stab wound on the left face,
seven inches long and one inch deep extending from the left ear across the left face close to the left side of the nose.

This wound can heal in (for) a period of two weeks unless complication occurs. The patient is confined in the hospital
since April 27, 1997 up to this date of issuing the medical certificate.

April 30, 1997

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

This is to certify that Antonio Arma came to me for treatment of stab wounds on the left face six inches from the left ear
down to the left chin and from the left ear down to the left neck 1 1/2 deep. Then another wound on the dorsum of the left
hand 4 long and 2 deep. These wounds can heal in (for) a period of two weeks to three weeks unless complication
occurs.

The patient was confined on the 27th of April till the 29th of April. This certification is issued on request of the patient for
whatever purpose this may serve.[15]

Dr. Alino testified that Amparos wound was not fatal. With regard to Antonios wounds, he opined that had medical
assistance not been extended to Antonio, his wounds would have caused his death. However, on cross-examination, Dr.
Alino admitted that when Amparo and Antonio arrived at the hospital at around 9:30 p.m. on April 27, 1997, [16] their
wounds were no longer bleeding. He also opined that the wounds which Amparo and Antonio sustained could have been
caused by a sharp instrument or a bolo. [17]
On the other hand, Dr. Ernesto L. Tamayo of the Office of the Municipal Health Officer of Dimasalang, Masbate, who
conducted a postmortem examination on the body of Artemio Arma, issued a medico-legal report (Exh. G) containing the
following findings:

FINDINGS:

= Hacking wound, 5 inches in length, with fructure (sic) of the affected area, parieto-occipital area, left;

= Hacking wound, measuring 4 1/2 inches in length, also with fracture of the affected area, parieto-occipital area, rt.

= Longitudinal contusion, 3 inches in length, abdomen, left.[18]

Dr. Tamayo testified that the first two wounds on the head were fatal. Both sides of the skull were fractured and there
was massive bleeding in both wounds. He was of the opinion that the two wounds were caused by a sharp-edged
instrument, such as a bolo. As to the third injury, Dr. Tamayo opined that this could have been caused by a blunt
instrument, i.e., a stone or a piece of wood. It is also possible that the three injuries were caused by two or more persons
since the first two injuries were caused by a sharp instrument, while the last was caused by a blunt instrument. [19]
The prosecution witnesses disclosed that the probable motive for the killing of Artemio was Jaimes jealousy, because
he suspected Artemio of having an affair with his wife.[20]
The defense gave a different version of the events. Jaime Amazan testified that at 6:30 in the evening of April 27,
1997, he and his brother, Jerito Amazan, gathered tuba and afterward went to the house of Jerito near the boundary of
the land of Hermogenes Apues and Amparo Arma. A short time thereafter, Jaime went out to defecate at the farm of the
Armas, a little distant from Jeritos house. Before he could do so, however, he saw Amparo, Antonio, Artemio, and Alberto
Arma, who were armed with bolos and pieces of wood, coming. He claimed that Artemio and Antonio tried to hit him with
their bolos.[21]
When Jerito Amazan saw his brother Jaime being attacked, he got his bolo and tried to help him. Artemio turned to
him and tried to strike him with his bolo, but Jerito was able to parry the blow. At that point, Jaime grabbed Artemios
hands, thus enabling Jerito to hit Artemio on the head with his bolo. Artemio dropped his bolo to the ground. Jaime picked
it up and used it against Antonio. When Alberto Arma saw that his father and brother had been wounded, he ran
away. Amparo tried to hit Jerito with a piece of wood, but the latter was also able to evade the blow and hit her with his
bolo. Antonio and Amparo then ran away.[22]
Jerito helped his wounded brother Jaime to his house and went to Danilo Villegas house to ask for help. [23] Danilo
Villegas claimed he was then asleep after gathering coconuts. His wife and three children were with him. He said Jerito
came to ask for help in bringing his brother to the hospital. With Danilos help, Jaime was taken to the hospital of Dr. Alino
for treatment.[24]
Jerito Amazan then went to the police station and surrendered. [25] Jaime also surrendered to the police after being
confined in the hospital for four days and reported that he had wounded Antonio Rama.[26]
As proof of Jaimes injuries and subsequent confinement, the defense presented the medical certificate (Exh. 1)
issued by Dr. Alino, dated July 11, 1997, which contains the following:

July 11, 1997

TO WHOM THIS MAY CONCERN:

This is to certify that Jaime Amazan was confined in the hospital for treatment of stab wounds on the right shoulder; right
forearm below the right elbow, at lateral and on the right leg below to right knee, posterior, on April 27, 1997 at around
9:00 oclock in the evening and discharged on April 30, 1997.

The patient was jailed and treatment was continued outside.[27]

Dr. Alino testified that the wounds were not fatal, although they were serious. He opined that, if untreated, these
wounds could have caused Jaime to bleed to death. He could also have been exposed to tetanus and other severe
complications.[28]
Danilo Villegas was invited by the police for interrogation at the police station and subsequently detained.[29] Warrants
for the arrest of accused-appellants were issued by the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dimasalang on May 9, 1997. [30]
The defense also presented Barangay Captain Daniel Almocera. He testified that at around 7 oclock in the evening
of April 27, 1997, he received at home a report of a stabbing incident involving the Armas. He therefore went to the Arma
residence with two barangay tanods and found Artemio Arma already dead. Seeing that Amparo and Antonio had been
wounded, he had them taken to the hospital for treatment. He was informed by Amparos daughter-in-law that it was Jerito
Amazan who caused their injuries. The next morning, he went to the site of the incident and found scattered bloodstains
on the ground. The place was near the houses of Jerito Amazan and Hermogenes Apues. Upon further investigation, it
was disclosed that the land belonged to the victim Artemio Arma. [31]
The defense also presented Hermogenes Apues to establish the exact location of the incident. Apues testified that
he had been a resident of San Vicente, Dimasalang, Masbate since birth. He knew accused-appellants and the
victims. Artemio Arma was, in fact, a relative of his first wife.[32]
On July 8, 1998, the trial court rendered its decision, the dispositive part of which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this court finds:


1. In Criminal Case No. 8494, accused Jerito Amazan, Jaime Amazan and Danilo Villegas GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt of the crime of MURDER for the killing of Artemio Arma without the presence of any aggravating circumstance, said
accused are sentenced to RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay the heirs of Artemio Arma the sum of P50,000.00 as
indemnity for the loss of life of the latter.

2. In Criminal Case No. 8496, accused Jaime Amazan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of ATTEMPTED
HOMICIDE for the wounding of Amparo Arma with the presence of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender
credited in his favor, said accused is hereby sentenced to a straight penalty of ONE (1) YEAR imprisonment.

3. In Criminal Case No. 8497, accused Danilo Villegas GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of ATTEMPTED
HOMICIDE for the wounding of Antonio Arma, said accused is hereby sentenced to a straight penalty of ONE (1) YEAR
and TEN (10) MONTHS imprisonment.

Finally, the Provincial Warden of Masbate is hereby directed to ship to the New National Penitentiary at Muntinlupa City
the above-named accused within thirty (30) days from the finality of this decision and to report to this court immediately
his compliance thereon.

IT IS SO ORDERED.[33]

Hence, this appeal. Accused-appellants raised the following assignment of errors:


I

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN GIVING WEIGHT AND CREDENCE TO THE TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION
WITNESSES.

II

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE QUALIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE OF TREACHERY
WAS ATTENDANT IN THE COMMISSION OF THE CRIME CHARGED.

III

THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT CONSPIRACY EXISTED BETWEEN JERITO AMAZAN,
JAIME AMAZAN AND DANILO VILLEGAS IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 8494.

IV

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING THE DEFENSE INTERPOSED BY ACCUSED-APPELLANT
JERITO AMAZAN.

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT JAIME AMAZAN FOR THE
CRIME OF ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 8496 HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.

VI

THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT DANILO VILLEGAS FOR ATTEMPTED
HOMICIDE IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 8497.

First. In their first, fifth, and sixth assignment of errors, accused-appellants raise questions concerning the credibility
of the prosecution witnesses. They allege contradictions and inconsistencies in the witnesses testimonies, as follows:

A. Inconsistencies in testimony.

(1) Alberto Armas confused testimony:


(a) as to who between the brothers Amazan hacked Artemio twice; and

(b) that the killing of his father occurred prior to April 27, 1997, while the hacking of his brother and mother took place on
April 27, 1997;

(2) Albertos admission on cross-examination that some of his statements were not true; and

(3) The alleged contradiction between Albertos testimony that Amparo was hacked on the trail by Jaime, and Amparos
testimony that she was hacked by Jaime while she was asking Jerito what happened to her husband.

B. Contradictions between sworn statements and testimony in open court.

(1) The inconsistency between Amparos sworn statement that when she arrived at the farm she was hacked by Jaime on
the face, and her testimony that Jaime hacked her while she was asking Jerito what happened to her husband;

(2) The inconsistency between Antonios sworn statement where he claimed that he was hacked by Danilo Villegas while
he was embracing his father, and his testimony in open court that he was hacked while he was standing near his father.

To begin with, the evaluation of the credibility of witnesses by the trial court will not be disturbed on appeal unless it
is shown that it overlooked certain facts or circumstances of substance that, if considered, could have affected the results
of the case.[34] Inconsistencies as to minor details and collateral matters do not affect the credibility of the witnesses nor
the veracity or weight of their testimonies. Such minor inconsistencies may even serve to strengthen their credibility as
they negate any suspicion that the testimonies have been rehearsed. [35]
A. In Albertos case, the alleged inconsistencies in his testimony can be explained by his age, his inexperience with
court proceedings, and the relative darkness of the place at the time of the occurrence of the incident. Alberto was only 14
years old and finished only the sixth grade.[36] When he testified in court, he was only about 15 years of age. This Court
has recognized that even the most candid of witnesses commit mistakes and make confused and inconsistent
statements. This is especially true with young witnesses who could be overwhelmed by the atmosphere of the
courtroom. Hence, there is more reason to accord them an ample space for inaccuracy.[37] In this case, Alberto in fact
cried during his direct examination. When asked on cross-examination why he cried, he answered he was nervous.[38] His
answers to the defense counsels questions actually reflected his nervousness when he confusedly answered that his
father was killed before April 27, 1997, while his brother and mother were hacked on April 27, 1997. This was obviously
not true, as the records of the case show.
Albertos failure to state categorically which of the Amazan brothers hit Artemio twice can be easily explained. At 7
oclock in the evening of April 27, 1997, in Brgy. San Vicente, Dimasalang, Masbate, the place was nearly pitch dark as
the sun had already set at 5:58 p.m. and the moon did not shine until 10:00 p.m. [39] In fact, accused-appellants used
flashlights in attacking the victims. The place was surrounded with corn plants and coconut trees, about 15 feet
high.[40] Furthermore, considering the suddenness and violence of the attack, it is understandable why Alberto failed to
perceive clearly what was happening around him as to enable him to keep track of the Amazans individual actions.
Albertos statement that some parts of his testimony were not true was due to his failure to understand the questions
interposed by the defense counsel. This is evident in the following portion of his testimony:
Q. Were you able to understand your answer when you were asked by the defense counsel, that while you are
testifying, you feel nervous because you are not telling the truth, and your answer is yes, sir where you able to
pathom (sic) or understand your answer?
A. I did not understand.
Q. Meaning, you were not able to understand the question asked by the defense counsel?
A. Yes, sir.[41]
No sane witness would admit that he was nervous because he was not telling the truth.
With regard to Amparos testimony, the contradictions pointed out by accused-appellants are more apparent than
real. Amparos and Albertos testimonies, which accused-appellants claim are contradictory, are as follows:
Amparos testimony:
Q. After that, what happened next? When you arrived there?
A. I was asking Jerito as to what happened to my husband, suddenly, Jaime Amazan approached me and hacked me.
(TSN, p. 5, April 13, 1998)
Albertos testimony:
Q. When you shouted for help to your mother what happened next?
A. My mother was hacked by Jaime when they met at the trail.
(TSN, p. 12, March 17, 1998)[42]
There is really no contradiction between the two testimonies. Amparo and Albertos testimonies are consistent that
Jaime Amazan had hacked Amparo. Amparo merely added more details to her narration, which is understandable since
she was the one who asked Jerito what was going on. Alberto did not contradict his mothers claim that she was asking
Jerito what happened when she was struck by Jaime with a bolo.
B. With respect to the contradictions between the sworn statements and the testimonies in court of Amparo and
Antonio, it has been observed that such inconsistencies are oftentimes due to the fact that affidavits are generally not
prepared by the affiants themselves but by others, like police investigators, and are only signed by the affiants. [43]
In any event, the witnesses should have been shown their prior inconsistent statements and given a chance to
explain themselves, as required by Rule 132, 13. This was not done in this case. The witnesses were never confronted
during the trial with the alleged inconsistencies between their affidavits and their testimonies and asked to explain them. It
is only now on appeal that the question is raised.
Moreover, Antonio was not the only one who identified Danilo Villegas as his assailant. Rather, both Amparo and
Alberto Arma also testified to the same thing, claiming that they saw Danilo Villegas hack Antonio. [44] Antonios seeming
uncertainty only reflects his shock at seeing his father lying dead on the ground.
Second. Accused-appellants contend that the suddenness of the attack against Artemio Arma alone does not
constitute treachery. There must be evidence that the mode of attack was consciously adopted by them to make it
impossible or difficult for the victim to defend himself. Moreover, accused-appellants maintain that the attack was
frontal. Hence, the deceased Artemio had a fair warning of the impending attack.
There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against person, employing means, methods, or
forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from
the defense which the offended party might make.[45] For treachery to be considered, two elements must concur: (1) the
employment of means of execution that gives the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate; and (2)
the means of execution were deliberately or consciously adopted. [46]
In the case at bar, Artemio had no warning of the impending attack. Accused-appellants assertion that the attack was
frontal is belied by the report of Dr. Tamayo which shows that the deceased sustained two (2) head wounds at the parieto-
occipital area, right and left. In other words, the wounds were inflicted on the upper back part of the skull, indicating that
the attack was made from behind. In addition, according to Alberto, Jerito did not draw his bolo until he was near
Artemio. Then he hit Artemio on the head.[47] The first wound was fatal.[48] It rendered the victim helpless against the
subsequent attacks of accused-appellants.
Third. Accused-appellants allege that there is no evidence of any conspiracy among them but that each one acted
independently of the others. They claim that the prosecution failed to produce evidence indicating a common criminal
purpose.
Accused-appellants contention has no merit. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement
concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. [49] In determining the existence of conspiracy, it is not
necessary to show that all the conspirators actually hit and killed the victim. What is important is that all participants
performed specific acts with such closeness and coordination as to indicate a common purpose or design to bring about
the death of the victim.[50] The agreement may be deduced from the manner in which the offense was committed. [51]
In this case, all of accused-appellants came together at the place where Artemio was tethering his carabao; the three
were present at the time of the attack on Artemio; they were all armed; none of them made any effort to stop the attack on
the deceased; and all three of them fled together after attaining their purpose.
In fact, both Jerito and Jaime participated in the assault on Artemio. On the other hand, Danilo Villegas participation
in the conspiracy was shown by the fact that, after Artemio had fallen on the ground, he checked to ensure that Artemio
was really dead.[52] Moreover, Villegas turned to Antonio when he saw the latter coming to the aid of his father.
Fourth. Accused-appellants insist that it was the victim and the members of his family who were guilty of
aggression. According to accused-appellants, when Jerito saw his brother Jaime being attacked, Jerito only tried to help
him. But he was met by Artemio who tried to hit him with a bolo. When Artemio tried to strike Jerito again, Jaime caught
Artemios hands.This enabled Jerito to strike Artemio with his bolo. As a result, Artemio dropped his bolo on the ground.
Jaime then picked it up and used it against Antonio and Amparo.
We think the trial court correctly rejected accused-appellants version. For the justifying circumstance of defense of
relative to be credited in favor of an accused, the following requisites must be proven: (1) unlawful aggression; (2)
reasonable necessity of the means employed to repel it; and (3) in case the provocation was given by the person
attacked, the one making the defense had no part therein. [53] The burden is on the accused to prove these elements of
self-defense or defense of relative.[54]
Here, none of these requisites has been proven by accused-appellants. First, Jeritos claim that he was attacked by
Artemio and that it was his defensive action of hitting him frontally which caused Artemios injuries is contrary to the
evidence which shows that Artemio suffered wounds at the upper back portion of his head, indicating that the latter was
attacked from behind. Second, no reason has been shown why the Armas should attack accused-appellants. Accused-
appellants have been neighbors of the victim and the prosecution witnesses for years.Amparo Arma is in fact the aunt of
the Amazans, and Alberto and Antonio are their cousins. Third, the seriousness of the wounds sustained by the Armas,
compared to the minor injuries suffered by Jaime, makes it improbable that the former were the aggressors. That one of
accused-appellants (Jaime Amazan) suffered some injuries which were not fatal only indicates that one or some of the
victims fought back.
Fifth. The information in Crim. Case No. 8494 (for murder) alleged the presence of the aggravating circumstances of
evident premeditation, abuse of superior strength, and nighttime.In Crim. Case No. 8496 and 8497 (for frustrated murder),
the informations alleged the presence of evident premeditation and treachery. In addition, in Crim. Case No. 8496, the
information alleged the aggravating circumstance of abuse of superior strength.
In all three cases, the lower court correctly ruled that there was no aggravating circumstance of evident
premeditation. Indeed, there is no evidence showing (a) the time when accused-appellants determined to commit the
crime; (b) acts manifestly indicating that they had clung to their determination; and (c) a sufficient lapse of time between
the determination and the execution to allow them opportunity to reflect upon the consequences of their acts and to allow
their conscience to overcome the resolution of their will.[55]
With respect to the allegation of abuse of superior strength in Crim. Case No. 8494, this circumstance cannot be
appreciated because it is deemed absorbed in treachery,[56] which is present in this case.
In Crim. Case No. 8496, however, the trial court erred in not appreciating the aggravating circumstance of abuse of
superior strength against accused-appellant Jaime Amazan. In United States v. Consuelo,[57] it was held that when a man
attacks an unarmed and defenseless woman, it constitutes taking advantage of superior strength. This circumstance is
clearly shown in the present case by the fact that, without any warning, Jaime attacked Amparo, who was unarmed, as
she came to find out what had happened to her husband.
On the other hand, the aggravating circumstance of nighttime cannot be appreciated since there is no evidence to
show that nighttime was deliberately sought by accused-appellants to facilitate the commission of the crime or prevent its
discovery or evade capture or facilitate their escape. [58]
The trial court also correctly credited Jerito and Jaime Amazan with the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender. Jerito Amazan surrendered to the police authorities right after he had brought Jaime Amazan to the
hospital.[59] The latter (Jaime Amazan) himself surrendered to the police four days later. [60] Although Jaime admitted that
he surrendered because of fear of reprisal, this fact should not be taken against him for, as the Court has held in another
case,[61] this circumstance does not detract from the spontaneity of the surrender, nor does it alter the fact that, by giving
himself up, he has saved the State the time and trouble of searching for him until arrested.
Under Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code, murder is punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. In view of the
absence of any other aggravating circumstance and the presence of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender of
Jerito and Jaime Amazan, the trial court correctly found them guilty of murder in Crim. Case No. 8494 and imposed on
them the penalty of reclusion perpetua[62] in accordance with Art. 63 of the Revised Penal Code.
The trial court also correctly found Danilo Villegas guilty of murder in Crim. Case No. 8494 and imposed on him the
penalty of reclusion perpetua in accordance with Art. 63 of the Revised Penal Code, there being no other aggravating and
mitigating circumstances present.[63]
We hold, however, that it was error for the trial court to convict Jaime of attempted homicide in Crim. Case No. 8496
for inflicting injuries on Amparo. As the crime was committed with abuse of superior strength, the crime committed is
attempted murder, in accordance with Art. 248 of the Revised Penal Code. Dr. Alino testified that Amparos injuries were
not fatal.In fact, she only went to the hospital for treatment at 9:30 p.m. of April 27, 1997, two hours after she sustained
her injuries, which were no longer bleeding when Dr. Alino treated them. [64]But the fact that Jaime hit Amparo on the face
with a bolo shows that his intent was not only to injure but to kill.
The penalty lower by two degrees than that prescribed by law for the consummated felony shall be imposed upon the
principals in an attempt to commit a felony.[65] The trial court imposed a straight penalty of one (1) year imprisonment on
Jaime Amazan.[66] This penalty should be modified. In accordance with the Indeterminate Sentence Law and Art. 64 of the
Revised Penal Code, the minimum of the indeterminate penalty should be anywhere within the range of prision
correccional, while the maximum should be prision mayor minimum, considering the absence of any aggravating
circumstances and the presence of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary surrender.
In Criminal Case No. 8497, the trial court correctly found Danilo Villegas guilty of attempted homicide for the injuries
inflicted on Antonio Arma. Antonios injuries were not fatal, as can be gleaned from Dr. Alinos testimony that Antonios
wounds were no longer bleeding when he arrived at the hospital. [67] But the fact that Danilo hacked Antonio on the face
shows that his intent was to kill and not merely to injure.
The trial court erred in imposing on Danilo Villegas a straight penalty of imprisonment for one (1) year and ten (10)
months. In accordance with the Indeterminate Sentence Law and Art. 64 of the Revised Penal Code, the minimum of the
penalty should be within the range of arresto mayor and the maximum should be prision correccional medium, in view of
the absence of any aggravating and mitigating circumstances.
The trial court also correctly awarded the heirs of Artemio Arma the sum of P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of
Artemio Arma.[68] However, in line with our recent rulings, the heirs of the victim are also entitled to an additional amount
of P50,000.00 as moral damages.[69]
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 44, Masbate, is MODIFIED as follows:

(1) In Criminal Case No. 8494, accused Jerito Amazan and Jaime Amazan are found guilty of murder and, taking into
account the absence of any aggravating circumstance and the presence of the mitigating circumstance of voluntary
surrender, are hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua for the killing of Artemio Arma;

(2) In Criminal Case No. 8496, accused-appellant Jaime Amazan is found guilty of attempted murder and is hereby
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty the minimum of which is two (2) years and four (4) months of prision
correccional minimum and the maximum of which is eight (8) years of prision mayor minimum.

(3) In Criminal Case No. 8497, accused-appellant Danilo Villegas is found guilty of attempted homicide and is hereby
sentenced to an indeterminate penalty the minimum of which is four (4) months of arresto mayor medium and the
maximum of which is four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium.

(4) Accused-appellants Jerito Amazan, Jaime Amazan and Danilo Villegas are ordered to pay the heirs of the victim
Artemio Arma the additional amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages.

In all other respects the appealed decision is AFFIRMED.


SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V LATAG

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

As a rule, the precise time of the commission of the rape need not be alleged in the complaint. Although appellant is
guilty of rape, the death penalty imposed by the trial court should nonetheless be reduced to reclusion perpetua, because
the Information failed to allege his relationship with the victim.

The Case

For automatic review before this Court is the May 10, 1999 Decision [1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lipa City
(Branch 12) in Criminal Case No. 0460-97, finding Avelino Latag y Dita guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape. The
decretal portion of the Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, x x x.

xxxxxxxxx

Anent Crim. Case No. 0460-97, the Court finds Avelino Latag y Dita alias Pauto guilty beyond reasonable doubt, as
principal, of the crime of Rape, as defined and penalized under Article 335, par. 3 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by Republic Act. No. 7659 and sentences him to suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH [and] to pay the costs of
this suit. In addition, he is also ordered to indemnify Stephanie Sarmiento and/or her heirs the sum of P75,000.00, to pay
the amount of P10,000.00, as moral damages, pursuant to Article 2219(3) of the Civil Code and the sum of P5,000.00, as
exemplary damages pursuant to Article 2229 of the same Code, in order that this case may serve as an object lesson to
the public that no uncle may ever again deprive his niece of the right to grow up and discover the wonder of womanhood
in the normal way.[2]

Appellant was charged with two counts of rape, one in the criminal Complaint filed by Charen May L. Sarmiento and
in another, by Stephanie L. Sarmiento. The Complaints, both dated June 24, 1997 and docketed as Criminal Case Nos.
0458-97 and 0460-97, respectively, read as follows:

Criminal Case No. 0458-97

That on or about the 5th day of April, 1997 in the evening, at Sitio Santol, Barangay Nangkaan,[3] Municipality of
Mataasnakahoy,[4] Province of Batangas, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named
accused, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously lie with and have carnal
knowledge of the said twelve (12) year-old girl, Charen May Sarmiento y Latag, against her will and consent. [5]

Criminal Case No. 0460-97

That sometime in the month of April, 1997, at Sitio Santol, Barangay Nagkaan, Municipality of Mataasnakahoy, Province
of Batangas, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, by means of force
and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously lie with and have carnal knowledge of the said ten
(10) year-old girl, Stephanie Sarmiento y Latag, against her will and consent.[6]

During his arraignment on August 27, 1997,[7] appellant, with the assistance of his counsel,[8] pleaded not guilty to
both charges. After trial in due course, the court a quo rendered the assailed decision.

The Facts
Version of the Prosecution

In its Brief, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) presents the prosecutions version of the facts in the following
manner:

Stephanie L. Sarmiento was born in Manila to the Spouses Virgilio and Babylita Latag Sarmiento. Stephanie and her
brothers and sisters lived with their parents in Paco, Manila until they transferred to Sitio Santol, Brgy. Nangkaan, Mataas
na Kahoy, Batangas in their maternal grandparents house. In June 1996, the Spouses Sarmiento left all their children at
said house as Virgilio had to attend to his occupation as a taxi driver in Manila.

In April, 1997, at nigh[t]time, appellant Avelino Latag raped Stephanie. Stephanie at that time was only ten (10) years
old. On that night of April, 1997, Stephanie was sleeping with her brothers and sisters, Charen May (12), Daisy (4),
Regienalyn (3), Jandie (1) and Jenevecher (7), and their Tiya Nancy (10) and Tiyo Ronaldo (11) at the second floor of the
house. While Stephanie was sleeping, appellant removed her short pants and panty which roused her from sleep. After
appellant removed his short pants and briefs, he placed himself on top of her and inserted his penis into her vagina.

Stephanie tried to resist by removing his penis from her vagina, but when she tried to remove it, appellant would box
her. She felt pain in her vagina when appellant succeeded in inserting his penis into her vagina. She was not able to shout
because everytime she would attempt to do so, appellant would slap her. Appellant stayed on top of her for about one (1)
minute. While she was being abused, her grandparents, brothers and sisters, and her aunt and uncle, were sound
asleep. After raping her, appellant went back to the lower portion of the house where he normally slept. Stephanie was
able to recognize appellant Avelino Latag because of the lighted kerosene lamp placed on top of the cabinet at the place
she had been sleeping.

After the incident, Stephanie reported the incident to her older sister, Charen May. The sisters reported the incident to
their maternal grandparents but they did not believe the children.

Stephanie and Charen May submitted themselves to a medical examination on May 8, 1997 at
the Lipa City District Hospital before Dr. Alex Agato. Upon internal examination of Stephanie, Dr. Agato found her vaginal
opening inflamed and admitted the 5th digit of his examining finger, right hand, with difficulty up to 2 cms. in depth. Dr.
Agato also noted that the hymen was absent, which was not natural, and its absence was due to penetration of an object,
probably a finger or a penis. Dr. Agato also found that the vaginal opening could be seen and not coopted, something
unusual for a ten (10) year-old girl because normally for her age, the vaginal opening can hardly be seen. Dr. Agato
issued a medico-legal certificate in favor of Stephanie Sarmiento dated May 8, 1997 and concluded that she was no
longer a virgin.[9] (Citations omitted)

Version of the Defense

On the other hand, the version of the defense is as follows:

Enrique Latag averred that Stephanie Sarmiento is his granddaughter, while Avelino Latag is his son. Stephanie and her
sister Charen Mae arrived in their house sometime in the month of June and lived with him at Nagkaraan,
Mataasnakahoy, Batangas for almost one (1) year. He was the one who supported them.

He came to know for the first time that his two (2) sons Yolito and Avelino Latag were charged with rape when Avelino
was apprehended. Stephanie did not complain to him regarding the alleged rape committed by his sons. During the trial of
these cases, he talked to Stephanie regarding the filing of these cases, but the latter just kept quiet.

On the month of April 1997, his son Avelino lived at the house of his kumpare because he was working with the latters
son.

Avelino Latag denied the allegation that he raped Stephanie Sarmiento sometime in the month of April 1997. He was
then living in the house of the kumpare of his father.

He claimed that Stephanie is his niece, being the daughter of his sister. Stephanie, together with her brothers and sisters,
arrived in their house at Nagkaan, Mataasnakahoy, Batangas in order to reside thereat. There are seven (7) children of
her sister. When Stephanie and her brothers and sisters lived at Barangay Nangkaan, their father likewise lived at the
house of his uncle Rogelio Tipan at Mataas Na Lupa. Whenever his brother-in-law would be scolded by his uncle, he
would sleep in their house. His brother-in-law was staying in the house of his uncle because their house is very small.

While his nieces and nephews were living in their house, he lived at the house of the kumpare of his father near the
lakeshore at [S]itio Santol. He started living at the house of the kumpare of his father in February 1996 up to May
1997. He was then working with his fathers kumpare in a construction. During the entire period of his stay at the house of
his fathers kumpare, there was no occasion that he sleeps in their own house. It was always late in the evening when they
came from work, so he did not have time to go home and sleep in their house.

His brother-in-law had mauled his sister many times. The last time that his sister was mauled by his brother-in-law was on
April 1997 in their house. He and his brother Yolito were then present, so they helped each other in likewise mauling their
brother-in-law.[10] (Citations omitted)

Ruling of the Trial Court

For insufficiency of evidence, the trial court acquitted appellant of the rape of Charen May. However, it found him
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of raping Stephanie.The lower court held that he had sexually assaulted Stephanie during
one night in April 1997.
The trial court, after carefully evaluating and observing the conduct and demeanor of Stephanie on the witness stand,
found her credible. It gave weight and credence to her candid and sincere testimony because, aside from being clear and
positive, it was devoid of any artificiality and infused with truth and sincerity. The court a quo found it unthinkable that a
10-year-old child would fabricate such a serious charge as rape against her own uncle and consequently expose herself
to the humiliation and embarrassment of a medical examination and a public trial.
Discarding the denial and alibi proffered by appellant, the trial court held that these defenses were inherently weak
and could not prevail over the positive and credible testimony of the victim. Appellant palpably failed to show that it was
physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission.
Hence, this automatic review before us.[11]

The Issues

Appellant raises the following errors for our consideration:


I.

The trial court gravely erred in not considering the Information in Criminal Case No. 0460-97 insufficient to support a
judgment of conviction for failure of the prosecution to state the precise date of the commission of the alleged rape, it
being an essential element of the crime charged.

II.

The trial court gravely erred in imposing the penalty of death upon accused-appellant despite failure of the prosecution to
allege in the information the relationship between the victim and accused-appellant on the assumption that he is guilty of
the crime charged.[12]

The Courts Ruling

We affirm the conviction of appellant for the crime of rape, but reduce the penalty to reclusion perpetua for the failure
of the Complaint to allege his relationship with the victim.

First Issue:
Date of Commission

Appellant contends that Section 6[13] of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court requires that the approximate time of the
commission of the offense must be stated in the complaint or information. According to him, this requirement was not
followed in the instant case. He contends that since the sexual act in a crime of rape must be proved to have been
committed during a precise date and time, the Complaint against him should have been considered fatally defective and,
thus, void. He further argues that the doctrine laid down in United States v. Javier Dichao[14] applies to this
case. In Dichao, we held that the allegation in the Complaint regarding the date and time of the rape was too indefinite to
give the accused therein an opportunity to prepare his defense. In such a situation, the alibi of the accused would never
be able to prosper.
Citing Ilo v. Court of Appeals,[15] appellant herein argues further that any evidence presented by the prosecution
cannot cure this alleged fatal defect, as his right to be informed of the nature of the offense charged against him would be
jeopardized. As the accused, his constitutionally protected right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him would be violated.
We find his arguments bereft of merit. Although the Complaint alleged that the crime was committed sometime in the
month of April, 1997, the trial court did not err in convicting him of rape.
First, the precise time or date of the commission of an offense need not be alleged in the complaint or information,
unless it is an essential element of the crime charged. [16] In rape, it is not.[17] Section 11 of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court
provides:
SEC. 11. Date of the commission of the offense. It is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the precise
date the offense was committed except when it is a material ingredient of the offense. The offense may be alleged to have
been committed on a date as near as possible to the actual date of its commission.

Furthermore, People v. Gianan[18] explained as follows:

It is settled that the time of the commission of the rape is not an element thereof, as this crime is defined in Art. 335 of the
Revised Penal Code. The gravamen of the crime is the fact of carnal knowledge under any of the circumstances
enumerated therein, i.e., (1) by using force or intimidation; (2) when the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise
unconscious; and (3) when the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented. In accordance with Rule 110, 11, as
long as it alleges that the offense was committed at any time as near to the actual date at which the offense was
committed, an information is sufficient. x x x.

xxxxxxxxx

Indeed, this Court has held that the allegations that rapes were committed, before and until October 15, 1994, sometime
in the year 1991 and the days thereafter, and on or about and sometime in the year 1998 constitute sufficient compliance
with Rule 110, 11. In any event, even if the information failed to allege with certainty the time of the commission of the
rapes, the defect, if any, was cured by the evidence presented during the trial and any objections based on this ground
must be deemed waived as a result of accused-appellants failure to object before arraignment. Accused-appellants
remedy was to move either for a bill of particulars of for the quashal of the information on the ground that it does not
conform substantially to the prescribed form.[19]

The rationale for Section 6 of Rule 110 of the Rules of Court is to inform the accused of the nature and cause of the
accusation.[20] This right has not been violated in the present case. Appellants counsel took an active part in the trial by
cross-examining the prosecution witnesses and presenting evidence for the defense. It is now too late in the day for
appellant to claim that the Complaint was defective. Furthermore, the defense never objected to the presentation of the
prosecution evidence proving that the offense had been committed in April 1997. It has not been shown that the
testimony of the victim (to the effect that she had been raped during that month) caught appellant by surprise and thus
made it difficult for him to defend himself properly.
Moreover, the Complaint states all the facts that, with sufficient definiteness and clarity, would fully apprise him of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him, in compliance with his constitutional right to be so informed.
Second, appellants reliance on Dichao is misplaced. The ruling of the Court therein is not applicable to the present
case due to differences in the factual scenarios. In People v. Magbanua,[21] we ruled:

x x x A careful study of the Dichao case reveals that what was questioned therein was an order of the trial court sustaining
a demurrer to an information on the ground that it failed to substantially conform to the prescribed form when it did not
allege the time of the commission of the offense with definiteness. The information therein stated that the sexual
intercourse occurred [o]n or about and during the interval between October, 1910, to August, 1912, which statement of
time the Court described as x x x so indefinite and uncertain that it does not give the accused the information required
by law x x x and the x x x opportunity to prepare his defense x x x. The lower court in allowing the demurrer authorized
the dismissal of the case against the accused herein. The Court upheld the order of the trial court. x x x.[22]

The accused in Dichao submitted, within the prescribed time, a Motion to quash the Information. In the present case,
however, no such motion was ever filed by appellant before the trial court. As he never raised any objection to the
sufficiency of the Complaint, he is thus deemed to have waived whatever formal defect it had. [23]
To repeat, the Complaint alleges that the rape was committed sometime in the month of April, 1997. This is a period
that displays definiteness and certainty, unlike in Dichao in which the time of the commission of the crime, as stated in the
Information, was too indefinite -- on or about and during the interval between October, 1910, to August, 1912. Two years
was too long an interval that it was extremely difficult for the accused to plead alibi as a defense. Thus, the Court was
impelled in that case to declare thus:

In the case before us the statement of the time when the crime is alleged to have been committed is so indefinite and
uncertain that it does not give the accused the information required by law. To allege in an information that the accused
committed rape on a certain girl between October, 1910, and August, 1912, is too indefinite to give the accused an
opportunity to prepare his defense, and that indefiniteness is not cured by setting out the date when a child was born as a
result of such crime. x x x.[24]
Third, appellant did not raise before the trial court any objection to the alleged insufficiency of the
Complaint. Consequently, he is deemed to have waived whatever objections he had, and he cannot now seek affirmative
relief.[25]
Objections as to matters of form or substance in the complaint or information cannot be made for the first time on
appeal.[26] The remedy available, which appellant did not pursue before the RTC, was to move either for a bill of
particulars[27] in order to be properly informed of the exact date of the alleged rape; or for the quashal [28] of the Complaint
on the ground that it did not conform substantially to the prescribed form.

Second Issue:
Relationship

Appellant contends that the trial court erred in appreciating his relationship with Stephanie as a qualifying
circumstance and consequently imposing upon him the death penalty. Since his being her uncle was not alleged in the
Complaint, the relationship should not have been used by the trial court to qualify the crime.
We agree.
It must be noted that the rape was committed prior to the effectivity of RA No. 8353, otherwise known as The Anti-
Rape Law of 1997. Applicable then is the old provision -- Section 11 of RA No. 7659, amending Article 335 of the Revised
Penal Code -- which states in part:

SEC. 11. Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

Art. 335. When and how rape is committed.

xxxxxxxxx

The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following attendant
circumstances:

1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, stepparent, guardian,
relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law-spouse of the parent of the victim.

Indeed, the death penalty cannot be imposed upon the perpetrator, if his relationship with the victim is not duly
alleged in the complaint or information.[29] If the offender is merely a relation -- not a parent, ascendant, step-parent,
guardian, or common law spouse of the mother of the victim -- the specific relationship must be alleged in the
information, i.e., that he is a relative by consanguinity or affinity [as the case may be] within the third civil degree. [30] Both
minority and actual relationship must be alleged and proved; if not, a conviction for rape in its qualified form will be
barred.[31] In the present case, while the minority of the victim was properly alleged in the Complaint, her relationship with
appellant was not specifically stated therein.
We are convinced that appellant raped the complainant. We do not doubt the trial courts assessment of the evidence
or appellants culpability for the crime charged.
It is doctrinal that the competence and the credibility of witnesses are best determined by the trial court because of its
unique opportunity to observe their deportment while testifying. [32] Likewise, well-settled is the rule that when a woman --
more so when she is a minor -- says she has been raped, she says in effect all that is required to prove the
ravishment.[33] Binding and conclusive on this Court are the trial courts factual findings, absent any arbitrariness or
oversight of facts or circumstances of weight and substance.[34] In the present case, the court a quo gave more credence
to the positive testimony of the victim, and we find no reason to set aside its factual findings.
The victim testified how appellant had defiled her on that fateful night:
Q Will you please tell us how Avelino Latag rape[d] you?
A He raped me in the evening of April 1997, sir.
Q In what exact place in your house were you raped by Avelino Latag?
A At the place where he was lying down, sir.
xxxxxxxxx
Q Now, you said that you were raped by this Avelino Latag, will you please tell the court how he [did it to] you?
A He undressed me, thereafter he also remove[d] his clothes, after that he inserted his private organ to my
private organ, sir.
Q By the way who undressed you?
A Avelino Latag, sir.
xxxxxxxxx
Q After removing your short and panty and after Avelino Latag also removed his short and brief what else did he
do, if any?
A He inserted his private organ into my private organ, sir.
Q Will you please tell the Honorable Court the position of Avelino Latag in relation to you when he inserted his
private organ into your private organ?
A He laid me down and he also lie[d] down, sir.
Q Where was he, was he on top of you while inserting his private part to your private part?
A Yes[,] sir.
Q What were you doing while he was on top of you and inserting his private part into your vagina?
A I was removing it and whenever I was removing it he boxed me, sir.
Q You said that you were removing something whenever you removed it you were being boxed by Avelino
Latag[,] what was that something that you were removing?
A His private organ which was inserted into my private organ, sir.
xxxxxxxxx
Q How did you come to know that it was inserted into your private part?
A Because I felt pain, sir.
Q What was the cause of that [pain]?
A The inside of my vagina was painful, sir.
Q Why was it painful?
A I felt pain because he inserted his private organ into my private organ, sir.
Q How long did Avelino Latag stay on top of you and inserted his private part into your private part?
A Only one (1) minute, sir.
Q Did you not shout when he stayed on top of you and inserted his private part into your private part?
A No, sir.
Q Why?
A Whenever I shout[ed] he slapped me, sir.[35]

Civil Liability

We likewise modify the civil liability imposed by the RTC upon appellant. In line with prevailing jurisprudence, the
amount of P75,000 indemnity ex delicto should be reduced to P50,000[36] because he is guilty only of simple, not qualified,
rape. The amount of P75,000 is awarded as indemnity ex delicto only if the crime of rape is qualified by any of the
circumstances under which the death penalty is authorized by applicable laws. [37]
On other hand, the award of P10,000 as moral damages should be increased to P50,000.[38] Likewise, the increase
of the amount of exemplary damages from P5,000 to P25,000[39] is proper, even if the relationship of appellant with the
victim was not alleged in the Complaint. Since the prosecution was able to give, during the trial, ample proof of their
relationship, this civil liability has sufficient basis.[40]
WHEREFORE, the May 10, 1999 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lipa City, Branch 12, finding
appellant guilty of qualified rape, is MODIFIED. He is found GUILTY of SIMPLE RAPE only and is hereby sentenced to
suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Furthermore, he is ordered to pay the victim indemnity ex delictoof P50,000,
moral damages of P50,000 and exemplary damages of P25,000. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V SUDOY

This case is about the ruthless assassination of Saturnino Quiambao by a Huk liquidation
squad.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The prosecution's evidence shows that at about six-thirty in the evening of January 30, 1970 more than ten armed men,
reputed to be Huks, entered Barrio San Vicente (Paitan), Magalang, Pampanga. There, they met Juan Guintu, a fifty-two-
year old farmer who had come from the town. They asked him whether there were "army people" in the places where he
had passed. He replied in the negative. They ordered him to accompany them to the house of Saturnino
Quiambao.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On arriving at the yard of Quiambao's house, some of the men, peeped through the hole in the wall of the house. A
member of the group directed Guintu to call Quiambao. When Quiambao came out of the bedroom, one of the men told
him: "Cong Atong, don't be afraid. I am Fidel." Quiambao returned to the bedroom. His wife, Nieves Garcia went to the
sala. Fidel told her: "Ate, do not be afraid. We are with you." Fidel asked her to open the door. When Nieves Garcia
opened the door, three armed men rushed inside the sala and called Quiambao. Guintu also went inside the
house.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The three men identified themselves as Commanders Berting, Fidel and Eddie (Edison Sudoy). Marina Quiambao, a
seventeen-year-old daughter of Quiambao (who had finished the sixth grade), was also in the sala of the house. She saw
and heard the three men telling her mother their identities. Quiambao was near the cupboard lighting a cigarette. One of
the men tapped him on the shoulder. After some conversation, which was punctuated with laughter, one of the men
requested Quiambao to help them look for Policarpio Gonzales, the barrio captain. The three commanders, accompanied
by Quiambao and Guintu left the house. Sudoy's arm was around Quiambao's
shoulder.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On the street they met Emiterio Gonzales, a forty-four-year old resident of the barrio, who was on his way to return a
piece of rope (guyod) to the house of the barrio captain, who is his uncle (his father's brother). One of the armed men
collared Emiterio and asked him to lead them to the barrio captain's house. The men also told him to go with them to the
mountains. He was frightened. He knew that the men were killers.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

When they reached the barrio captain's house, the men deployed near the kitchen and in front of the house. Emiterio
called his uncle. A son of the barrio captain opened the door and informed the men that the barrio captain was not at
home. When the door was opened, the light from the house illumined the face of Edison Sudoy who was standing on
Emiterio's right, next to the man who was holding Emiterio by his shirt collar. Sudoy's features were stamped in Emiterio's
memory.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The armed men directed Emiterio to lead them to the house of Eulogio Gonzales which was about forty meters away.
Eulogio is the nephew of Emiterio. He called for Eulogio. The latter was not in his house. Then, the armed men, with
Guintu, Emiterio and Quiambao, proceeded to the school. On the street, in front of the school, Sudoy and his companions
shot Quiambao who was only five meters away from Emiterio Gonzales. About thirty shots were fired. When the shooting
was perpetrated, it was as if a streak of lightning flashed upon the scene.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
After shooting Quiambao, the armed men set fire to the barracks which were being constructed as quarters for the
soldiers to be stationed in the barrio. They left Emiterio in the shed where his carabao was tethered. They told him that if
he squealed he would be killed. They went to the brook and headed for the
mountains.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Quiambao was killed because he had joined the Barrio Self-Defense Unit (BSDU) an anti-Huk organization. Emiterio
Gonzales was well-acquainted with Quiambao because they lived in the same
barrio.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Doctor Rosauro Alejandrino, the municipal health officer, conducted an autopsy of the victim's body. He found that the
thirty-nine-year old Quiambao sustained twenty-two wounds. He noted that eight hundred and three hundred cubic
centimeters of blood had accumulated in the victim's chest and abdominal cavities, respectively. Death was attributable to
"shock, internal hemorrhage, secondary to the" twenty-two wounds. He found three bullets in the victim's body. (Exh. A).
There were about twenty entrance wounds and fifteen wounds of exit.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

On March 30, 1970 Sudoy, while on board an El Transit bus, was arrested by Magalang policemen and BSDU members.
Perto Valenzuela, the bus driver, with whom Sudoy used to work as a conductor, who happened to be a passenger in the
same bus, informed a policeman that Sudoy was the brother of a Hukbo.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

On April 1, 1970 the Magalang chief of police filed a complaint for murder against Sudoy, Commander Berting, "HMB
Fidel" and some unknown person designated as Does. The complaint was based on the sworn statements of Marina G.
Quiambao and Emiterio Gonzales. *

Sudoy waived the second stage of the preliminary investigation. The case was remanded to the Court at First Instance. A
district state prosecutor filed in the Circuit Criminal Court at San Fernando, Pampanga an information for murder against
Sudoy. After trial, the lower court found him guilty of murder, sentenced him to reclusion perpetua and ordered him to pay
the heirs of Saturnino Quiambao the sum of twelve thousand pesos and an additional amount of twenty thousand pesos
as moral and exemplary damages (Criminal Case No. CCC-V-113 (70).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

In this appeal Edison Sudoy contends that the trial court erred in not giving credence to his alibi, in believing the
testimonies of Marina Quiambao and Emiterio Gonzales and in finding him guilty of
murder.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Sudoy a twenty-two-year old unmarried laborer, a resident of Barrio San Antonio, Arayat, Pampanga, testified that he
worked as a helper in the Dycayo Grocery at Angeles City from September 12, 1969, to March 30, 1970, when he got sick
(that was also the date when he was arrested). Prior to his grocery job or from February, 1968 to September, 1969 he
worked as a conductor of El Transit in its route covering Angeles City, Magalang, Arayat and other places in
Pampanga.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On January 30, 1970, when Quiambao was liquidated, Sudoy was allegedly in the grocery where he worked from six
o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock in the evening. He slept in the grocery. Florencio Dycayo, the owner of the grocery,
Carlito Bautista and Icasiano Garcia, the co-workers of Sudoy in the grocery, corroborated his alibi. However, Dycaco
admitted that he did not keep any record of his employees. He did not have any payroll. He did not make any Social
Security contributions.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Bautista, who, like Sudoy, was twenty-two years old and hailed from Barrio San Antonio, Arayat, cockily testified that
Sudoy started working in the grocery on September 12, 1969. He could not tell when he himself started working in the
grocery. He declared that he had been working in the grocery "for almost a year" prior to August 5, 1970, when he
testified. But he could not "really remember" the exact date when he commenced to work in the grocery. A moment later,
he declared that he started working on May 15, 1969. That would mean that he had already worked in the grocery for over
a year at the time when he testified. He could not explain why he remembered that on January 30, 1970 Sudoy worked in
the grocery but he could not remember the more recent date when Sudoy was
arrested.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Bautista said that Sudoy was a cane-gatherer before working in the grocery. The truth is that he was a bus conductor.
Bautista said that when he talked with Sudoy in jail after his arrest, it did not occur to him (Bautista) to tell the police that
Sudoy was in Angeles City on January 30, 1970.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Florencio Dycayo testified that on January 30, 1970 he had in his grocery an employee named Rudy who, according to
him was Sudoy. He admitted that he did not know the full name of his employees. Icasiano Garcia declared that Sudoy
was known in the grocery as Eddie.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

After Sudoy's arrest on March 30th, he was allegedly boxed by policemen and BSDU members on the second floor of the
municipal building of Magalang. He was maltreated on five occasions. He had to secure medical treatment for his injuries.
The policemen and BSDU members kept on asking him about the whereabouts of his brother, Cornelio, who was a Huk
("No carin ya ing capatad?). He told his tormentors that he did not know the whereabouts of his older
brother.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

He was brought to Barrio Paitan (San Vicente). At the confrontation between him and Marina Quiambao, the latter
allegedly said that "he was not the one" ("aliwa ya yan"). Emiterio Gonzales told Marina to point to Sudoy as the one who
killed her father. Marina again said that Sudoy "was not the one".chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

On the return trip to the poblacion of Magalang, his guards told him to jump from the jeep. He replied: "If you want to kill
me, kill me here." He surmised that if he would jump out of the jeep, he would be killed and then the BSDU members
would make it appear that he was killed while trying to escape.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Sudoy admitted that he did not know any reason why Marina Quiambao and Emiterio Gonzales implicated him in the
killing of Quiambao.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

We agree with the trial court that Sudoy's alibi cannot be sustained. He was positively identified by Marina Quiambao as
the Huk commander who was sitting near the kerosene lamp in her parent's house sometime before her father left the
house and was killed near the school. Emiterio Gonzales fingered him as the armed person standing on his right when the
son of Policarpio Gonzales opened the door of his father's house and the light from the kerosene lamp revealed Sudoy's
physiognomy to Emiterio. He was certain that Sudoy was among the armed men who pitilessly snuffed out Quiambao's
life by means of a fusillade.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Appellant's counsel assails the credibility of Emiterio because he failed to identify Sudoy's companions. Emiterio declared
that because of the darkness of the night, he could not see the faces of the other armed men. Some of their faces were
covered. They were not natives of Barrio San Vicente. Marina Quiambao remembered Sudoy's face because he sat near
the kerosene lamp while he was in her parent's house.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

The charge against Sudoy is murder qualified by evident premeditation and treachery. Evident premeditation was not
proven. Treachery (alevosia) attended the killing. Sudoy and his confederates resorted to a mode of execution which
insured the consummation of the killing without any risk to themselves arising from any defense which Quiambao could
have made. The unarmed victim was in no position to have made any defense. He was summarily executed by gunfire.
(U.S. vs. Vitug, 17 Phil. 1; People vs. Manabat, 82 Phil. 471; People vs. Sawit, 100 Phil.
507).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

Treachery absorbed nocturnity, abuse of superiority, band and aid of armed men. While there may be instances where
any of these circumstances may be treated independently of treachery, yet, under the facts of the instant case, they
formed part of the treacherous mode of attack (U.S. vs. Abelinde, 1 Phil. 568; U.S. vs. Larion, 2 Phil. 476; People vs.
Magsilang, 82 Phil. 271; People vs Umali, 96 Phil. 185).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

There being no mitigating circumstances, the penalty for murder was correctly imposed by the trial court in its medium
period, which is reclusion perpetua (Arts. 64[l] and 248, Revised Penal Code.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library

The trial court's judgment is affirmed with costs against the appellant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library

SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V ORTIZ

DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:

This is an appeal[1] from the April 29, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA), [2] in CA-G.R. CR No. 31164, affirming
the June 7, 2007 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Manila (RTC) which found accused Pedro Ortiz, Jr.,
guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder for the killing of one Loreto Cruz.

Accused Pedro Ortiz, Jr., along with his nephew, Jojo Ortiz, was charged with murder for the killing of Loreto Cruz
in two (2) consolidated cases before the Regional Trial Court, Manila, Branch 18. The accusatory portions of the two (2)
Informations read:

Criminal Case No. 03-215663


(People v. Jojo Ortiz y Quitada)

That on or about June 22, 2003, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring
and confederating with one another whose true name, identity and present whereabouts are still unknown
and mutually helping each other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill,
qualified by treachery and evident premeditation, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the
person of one LORETO CRUZ Y CRUZ, by then and there suddenly shooting the latter with a .38
revolver bearing Serial No. 47970 with trademarks Armscor on the right cheek, thereby inflicting upon
said LORETO CRUZ Y Cruz mortal gunshot wound which was the direct and immediate cause of his
death thereafter.

Contrary to law.

Criminal Case No. 03-219216


(People v. Pedro Ortiz)

That on or about June 22, 2003, in the City of Manila, Philippines the said accused conspiring and
confederating with one JOJO ORTIZ Y GUTABA, who was already charged with the same offense before
the Regional Trial Court of Manila docketed as Criminal Case No. 03-215663, and mutually helping each
other, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with intent to kill, qualified by treachery and
evident premeditation, attack, assault and use personal violence upon the person of one LORETO CRUZ
Y CRUZ, by then and there suddenly shooting the latter with a .38 caliber revolver bearing Serial No.
47970 with trademarks Armscor on the right cheek, thereby inflicting upon said LORETO CRUZ Y CRUZ,
a mortal gunshot wound which was the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter.

Contrary to law.[3]

As culled from the evidentiary records, it appears that on June 22, 2003, between 9:00 and 10:00 oclock in the
evening, Loreto Cruz, an Executive Officer of Barangay 597, Zone 59, Guadalcanal St., Sta. Mesa, Manila, together with
Barangay Tanod Angelito de Guzman and Kagawad Gil Bactol, was watching television inside the barangay hall. Without
anyone noticing him, accused Pedro Ortiz, Jr. entered the hall and called out, Ex-O! When Loreto Cruz turned, the
accused shot him with a .38 caliber revolver. The bullet hit the left side of his face. Upon realizing what happened, Tanod
de Guzman tried to wrest the gun from the accused. In their struggle, another shot was fired hitting a table
nearby. Kagawad Villena then grabbed the accused who called out for his nephew, Jojo Ortiz.Responding to his call, Jojo,
with a samurai, uttered, Bitiwan mo yan, para wala tayong problema. Kagawad Villena let go of the accused. Wasting no
time, the accused and his nephew fled from the scene. Thereafter, Loreto Cruz was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes
Hospital where he expired. The accused and his nephew, Jojo, were later apprehended and criminally charged with
murder.

Although the accused pleaded not guilty during the arraignment, he admitted killing Loreto Cruz in the course of
the trial because he was not satisfied with the way the victim dealt with his sons case. According to the accused, his sons
were merely playing kara y kruz but were detained for illegal drug use. As the Executive Officer, the victim promised that
his sons would be released from detention after three to four months. Five months passed and his sons remained in jail.
On his part, Jojo Ortiz denied any participation in the commission of the crime and only admitted the fact that he helped
his uncle when he saw him being grabbed by the barangay officials.

On June 7, 2007, the RTC found the accused guilty of the crime charged but acquitted co-accused Jojo
Ortiz.[4] The RTC did not consider evident premeditation but appreciated treachery as a qualifying circumstance because
of the manner by which the killing was executed. It wrote: the victim was killed frontally and in a sudden and unexpected
manner. Although, accused Pedro Ortiz narrated that he shot the victim after the latter sneered at him, the nature and
location of the wound and the manner of the shooting deprived the victim opportunity to put up a defense. [5]

In acquitting Jojo Ortiz, the RTC ruled that Pedro Ortiz shot the victim alone. The killing was carried out without
the participation of Jojo Ortiz who did not personally hit or harm the victim. Nothing in the testimonies conveyed a
coordinated action, concerted purpose or community of design to commit the criminal act.[6] Thus, the decretal portion of
the RTC Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the court finds accused Pedro Ortiz guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder. He
is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay the heirs of Loreto Cruz the amounts
of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. Accused Jojo Ortiz is acquitted of
the crime charged.

SO ORDERED.[7]

The accused appealed to the Court of Appeals and assigned the following errors:

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN APPRECIATING THE QUALIFYING


CIRCUMSTANCE OF TREACHERY

II

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-


APPELLANT OF MURDER.[8]

The accused argued that the RTC erred in appreciating the element of treachery as an aggravating circumstance. He
insisted that the victim knew all along that there was a threat to his life but chose to ignore it. [9] He likewise stressed that
the presence of three Barangay tanods outside the barangay hall did not render Loreto Cruz totally defenseless from any
possible attack against his life.[10]

In its Brief,[11] the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) countered that there was treachery because of the suddenness of
the attack while the victim was watching television. It wrote: Even if Cruz was aware of the accuseds threat against him,
the suddenness of the attack deprived him of any real chance to defend himself or to retaliate. The weapon used and the
nature of the injury inflicted, which pertained to the lone gunshot fatally wounding the victim, clearly shows that accused
deliberately and consciously adopted the particular mode of attack to ensure the commission of the offense with
impunity.[12] The OSG likewise prayed that exemplary and temperate damages be added to the award of damages. [13]

On April 29, 2009, the Court of Appeals agreed that there was treachery and affirmed the ruling. It pointed out that the
accused, with a firearm in hand, barged into the Barangay hall, called out Ex-O, and suddenly shot the victim at close
range, evident of his intent to ensure the success of his attack with no risk to himself. The CA also added that while it is
true that the accused called Loreto Cruz Ex-O as he shot the latter, he did so only to make sure that the person he would
shoot was his intended target and not to afford his victim a chance to defend himself.[14]

Hence, this appeal.

The only issue before this Court is whether or not the accused employed treachery or alevosia so as to qualify the
killing of one Loreto Cruz to murder.

The Court rules in the affirmative.

Article 14, paragraph 16 of the Revised Penal Code provides that there is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes
against the person, employing means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its
execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. The essence of treachery is the
sudden and unexpected attack by the aggressors on unsuspecting victims, depriving the latter of any real chance to
defend themselves, thereby ensuring its commission without risk to the aggressors, and without the slightest provocation
on the part of the victims.[15]

In this case, the accused purposely sought the unsuspecting victim with intent to inflict a mortal wound on him. He
shouted Ex-O just in time for the victim to turn towards his line of fire. When the victim faced him, the accused instantly
pulled the trigger hitting him on the left side of his face. The way it was executed made it impossible for the victim to
respond or defend himself. He just had no opportunity to repel the sudden attack, rendering him completely helpless.

The accused argues that there could not have been any treachery because the victim knew the threat to his
life. The Court has consistently held that treachery can still be appreciated even though the victim was forewarned of the
danger[16] because what is decisive is that the attack was executed in a manner that the victim was rendered defenseless
and unable to retaliate.[17] In this case, although it is true that the victim knew that the accused had a grudge against him,
he never had any inkling that he would actually be attacked that night. In fact, records reveal that the victim was
preoccupied with watching television with his back turned against the accused when the latter suddenly barged into the
barangay hall. Accused, moreover, used a firearm to easily neutralize the victim, which was undeniably a swift and
effective way to achieve his purpose. Lastly, but significantly, the accused aimed for the face of the victim ensuring that
the bullet would penetrate it and damage his brain.

It is likewise true that the victim was with two other barangay officials at the time of the shooting. It should be emphasized
though that these two barangay officials were also watching television and were also caught by surprise. The accused
had already shot the victim before they could even react.

These acts are distinctly indicative of the treacherous means employed by the accused to guarantee the consummation of
his criminal plan. Thus, as treachery attended the killing of Loreto Cruz, such circumstance qualified the killing as murder,
punishable under paragraph 1 of Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. [18]

When death results due to a crime, recovery of these awards are allowed: (1) civil indemnity ex delicto for the death of the
victim; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; (5) attorney's fees and
expenses of litigation; and (6) interest, in proper cases. [19]

The RTC only awarded P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and another P50,000.00 as moral damages. The Court deems it
proper to award exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00 following precedents.[20] Under Article 2230 of the Civil Code,
exemplary damages may be awarded in criminal cases when the crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances,
in this case, treachery. This is intended to serve as deterrent to serious wrongdoings and as vindication of undue sufferings and
wanton invasion of the rights of an injured, or as a punishment for those guilty of outrageous conduct. The imposition of exemplary
damages is also justified under Article 2229 of the Civil Code in order to set an example for the public good.[21]

The Court likewise grants P25,000.00 as temperate damages in keeping with current jurisprudence allowing it where the
funeral and burial expenses spent for the victim cannot be fully substantiated or there is no proof of actual damages.[22]

WHEREFORE, the April 29, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31164 is
hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the accused is further ordered to pay P30,000.00 as exemplary damages
and P25,000.00 as temperate damages.

SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V MARINO

It has been consistently held that when a woman, especially one who is the daughter of the accused, cries rape, she has,
in effect, said all that is necessary to establish that rape was committed against her.1 However, does this principle still hold
true if the victim cannot recall how the alleged rape was committed as she was asleep and never woke up throughout the
incident? We answer in the negative.
On April 28, 1997, accused-appellant Ramon Mariño y Mina was charged with the crime of rape before the Regional Trial
Court of Romblon, Branch 81. The information reads:

That on or about the 6th day of March, 1997, at around 12:00 midnight, in [B[arangay Agtongo, [M]unicipality of
Romblon, [P]rovince of Romblon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously had carnal knowledge of his daughter EMILY
MARIÑO, a fourteen year old girl, against her will.1âwphi1.nêt

Contrary to law.2

Upon his arraignment, on July 8, 1997, accused-appellant, assisted by counsel, pleaded not guilty to the offense charged.

The version of the prosecution is primarily anchored on the testimonies of Emily Mariño, the victim, and Ramil Mariño, the
victim's brother.

Emily is the eldest child among the six children of accused-appellant and Edita Mariño.3 She was fourteen (14) years old
and a Grade V or Grade VI student when she was allegedly sexually ravished. At around 10:00 p.m. of May 6, 1997, she
was in their house and was about to go to sleep beside her younger siblings when accused-appellant approached her and
asked if he could sleep beside her.4 She refused. Angered by her refusal, accused-appellant kicked her.5 Accused-
appellant then returned to his bed while Emily to sleep beside her siblings 6 on the floor of their house.7 Accused-
appellant's wife was not then around because she was staying in the Municipality of Romblon during weekdays as a
helper in the house of a certain Rene Fajilagutan.8

When Emily awoke at around 3:00 a.m., she was surprised to see that she was no longer on the floor but already lying on
her parents' bed.9 She felt her whole body ache and her vagina was painful, wet and sticky. 10Dumbfounded, she looked
around and saw accused-appellant wrapped in a blanket and lying on the floor. 11Thereupon, accused-appellant told her:
"Madasok lang da gapaindi pa." (It already entered but still you refused or It is just being inserted but still you
refuse).12 Realizing that she was violated during her sleep, Emily cried. 13 She recalled that it was already the third time
that her father raped her; once when she was in grade III and again when she was in Grade V. 14

Emily went back to sleep and got out of bed at around 5 a.m. to prepare breakfast.15 Accused-appellant was no longer
around at that time since he went to work.16 After finishing breakfast, she and three of her siblings, including Ramil, then
eleven years old, proceeded to school.17 On their way to school, Ramil told Emily of what he witnesses the previous
night.18 He recounted that at around midnight, he woke up to urinate.19 After relieving himself, he tried to sleep again but
could not.20 It was at this point when he saw accused-appellant lift Emily from the floor and lay her on the bed.21 Accused-
appellant next opened the skirt of Emily and took off her dress and her panty. 22Thereafter, accused-appellant took off his
brief, held his penis and inserted it into the vagina of Emily, making pumping motions.23 Accused-appellant then stood up,
put back the clothes of Emily as well as his own clothes.24

After lunch break, Emily decided to skip her afternoon classes to report the incident to her mother. 25 At around 3 p.m., she
left for the town of Romblon to see her mother.26 Emily told her of the reprehensible act committed by her father.27 Her
mother got angry and commented that accused-appellant is stupid and mindless.28 Her mother instructed her to stay in
Romblon while she proceeded to their house to confront accused-appellant.29 Emily spent the night at her grandaunt's
house in Bagtasan.30 The following day, she was brought by her mother to the police station where she filed a complaint
for rape against accused-appellant.31 Thereafter, they proceeded to the hospital where Dr. Victorio Benedicto, the Rural
Health Physician, examined her.32

Dr. Benedicto testified that after examining Emily, he issued a medico-legal certificate where he noted that the victim's
vagina easily admitted a thumb; that it had scars at 2, 5 and 7 o'clock positions; and that the victim suffered no external
physical injuries.33 She opined that a hard object could have previously penetrated Emily's vagina and that she was no
longer a virgin.34

The prosecution also presented Teodino Martinez, the Provincial Warden of Romblon, who declared that accused-
appellant was incarcerated in the provincial jail during the pendency of this case. 35 He was, however, able to escape on
April 26, 1997. On that day, a group of Seventh Day Adventists conducted a bible study at the provincial jail. 36 As the
group was leaving the premises of the provincial jail, accused-appellant surreptitiously mingled with them pretending to be
one of them and, thus, was able to evade the prison guards.37 For three days, the jail authorities searched for accused-
appellant. On April 29, 1997, he was surrendered to the authorities by his two (2) brothers, Editho and Raymundo
Mariño.38 Martinez conducted an investigation surrounding accused-appellant's escape. Accused-appellant told him that
the reason why he left the jail was to look for his wife to ask for forgiveness. 39
On the other hand, the defense had a totally different account of what transpired.

On March 6, 1997, accused-appellant went home from work.40 He found his children at home except his eldest, Emily,
who had already gone out of their house.41 Emily was used to going out to watch betamax movies in other people's
houses or attend overnight dances and parties,42 sometimes sleeping in her friend's house and would return the following
day.43 Knowing that Emily would not come home that evening, accused-appellant, after checking on his other children
who were already sleeping, retired to bed at around 8:30 p.m.44 He woke up at 6:00 a.m. the following day, prepared
breakfast for his children and proceeded to work.45 Later on, he was informed by his neighbor, Ben Mindoro, that Emily
returned to their house at around 8:00 a.m. that day and did not go to school. 46

To refute the testimony of Ramil Mariño, the defense put to the witness stand Raymundo Mariño (accused-appellant's
brother), Noemi Selosa (the wife of Raymundo Mariño), and Valentina Mindoro (accused-appellant's aunt).

Noemi Selosa testified that on March 10, 1997, she accompanied Edita Mariño and Ramil Mariño to the police
station.47 Ramil Mariño gave his statement before the police investigator with regard to what he witnessed on the night of
March 6, 1997.48 When Ramil finished giving his statement, the investigator noted that his story did not tally with the
account previously given by Emily to the police that she was raped by accused-appellant.49 Instead, Ramil told the police
that he did not see his father rape Emily. Because of this, Edita Mariño instructed Ramil Mariño to tell the police that he
saw accused-appellant take off the shorts of Emily and rape her. She was able to convince her son that if he would do
what he was told, "his father could be released from jail."50 She also warned him that if he did not follow what she told him,
she would not let him eat.51 Ramil Mariño complied with her mother's instructions. 52

Raymundo Mariño testified that in the afternoon of March 10, 1997, Ramil Mariño, his nephew, went to his house after
giving his statement at the police station.53 When Ramil saw his uncle, he cried and hugged him.54 Raymundo Mariño
asked what was wrong55 and Ramil Mariño said that his mother forced him to tell the police that his father raped Emily.
She also assured him that if he made that story to the police, his father would be released from jail.56

Valentina Mindoro told the court that she lives in the house of Raymundo Mariño and Noemi Selosa. 57 In the afternoon of
March 10, 1997, Ramil Mariño arrived in their house crying.58 He approached his uncle, Raymundo Mariño, and asked
him why his father had not yet been released from jail as he (the father) was not at fault. 59 It was then that Ramil Mariño
admitted that he was coached by his mother to testify against his father. 60

In its Decision, dated December 12, 1997, the trial court found accused-appellant guilty of raping his daughter and
sentenced him to suffer the supreme penalty of death. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, this Court finds the accused RAMON MARIÑO Y MINA GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the
heinous crime of Rape under the aforequoted Information, dated April 14, 1997, and hereby sentences him to
suffer the supreme penalty of DEATH. He is ordered to pay the victim, his daughter Emily Mariño, the sum of
P50,000.00 as civil indemnity without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs. 61

Hence, this appeal where accused-appellant raises the following as his lone assignment of error:

THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING ACCUSED-APPELLANT OF THE CRIME CHARGED IN THE
INFORMATION DESPITE INSUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.62

In finding accused-appellant guilty, the trial court considered the alleged statement made by accused-appellant: "Madasok
lang da gapaindi ka pa" (It already entered but still you refused or It is just being inserted but still you refuse), as an
admission that he raped his daughter. We do not agree.

An admission under Section 26, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court63 applies to statements made by an accused which
directly or impliedly point towards an acknowledgement of guilt for the crime charged. 64

In order that an admission may be appreciated against the accused, the statement must have been clear and unequivocal
such that a reasonable construction of the same would lead to an acknowledgement of the fact sought to be
proven.65 Being merely an inference, an admission, standing alone, is insufficient to authorize a conviction unless backed
up by some other proof which would show the culpability of the accused. 66
We agree with the finding of the trial court that accused-appellant's statement: "Madasok lang da gapaindi a pa" (It
already entered but still you refused or It is just being inserted, but still you refused,) 67 is an admission under Section 26 of
Rule 130. However, would this admission, standing alone, create an inference that accused-appellant raped his
daughter68 in that he was able to actually penetrate her vagina with his sex organ? For one thing, there was no mention at
all that what was inserted was accused-appellant's sex organ. Neither was there an indication that the insertion was made
into her sex organ.

While the victim claims that she was raped, she admittedly did not awake during the entire length of the episode when she
was being undressed and her panty removed, when her legs were spread, when his body was pressed against hers,
when his penis entered into her private parts and when accused-appellant was doing pumping motions into her vagina. In
recalling the events that transpired on March 6, 1997, Emily testified:

Q Now, at about 10:00 o'clock in the evening, do you recall what happened to you?

A Yes, sir.

Q What happened?

A My father said, can I sleep beside you?

Q When he said those words, where were you?

A At the side, beside my younger siblings.

Q Now, what happened after that?

A I said, I don't want to sleep with you.

Q Because you did not want to sleep with your father, what happened?

A My father got angry.

Q When he became angry with you, when he got angry, what happened?

A He counted one (1) up to three (3)

Q Up to three (3)?

A Yes, sir.

Q When he counted, what did you do?

A I remained in the place where I was sleeping and I kept quiet.

Q When you remained in the place where you were lying and you kept quiet, what happened?

A He approached me and kicked me on my feet.

Q Will you please demonstrate before this Honorable Court what part of your body was hit?

A Here, sir (Witness is pointing to her right lower leg).

Q When you were hit by this kick of your father, what did you do?

A I still kept quiet and he returned to his bed and when he returned again I ran towards the center where my
siblings were lying.
Q When he returned again, what did he do, what happened?

A He said, why would you not let me sleep beside you, there's nothing wrong with it, you are my child.

Q When he told you that, what happened?

A I kept quiet on my place and I did not answer him.

Q What did you do after that?

A There I felt asleep beside my siblings.

Q And what time did you wake that evening?

A When I woke up it was already 3:00 o'clock in the morning.

Q Where were you lying when you woke up at about 3:00 o'clock that early morning?

A I was already on bed.

Q When you woke up on bed, what did you feel if you felt any?

A My whole body was aching and my vagina was also aching and wet and sticky.

Q At 3:00 o'clock, did you see where your father was?

A Yes, sir.

Q Where?

A On his bed.

PROS. ROCERO:

Your Honor, the witness did not say bed, she said sa kanyang higa-an.

COURT:

Answer.

A I saw father where he was sleeping.

xxx

Q Miss Mariño, aside from asking you for him to sleep with you the night of March 6, 1997 you do not know
any other things that your father did to you?

A No more.

Q That your father raped you that evening of March 6 or in the night of March 6, 1997, you only got that
information from your brother?

A And I also came to know about it because at 3:00 early in the morning, he said, "madasok lang da gapaindi
pa" meaning, it already entered but still you refused".

Q This was stated by your father at 3:00 o'clock in the morning?


A Yes, sir.

Q And so, if not for the statement of your father, you do not know about it?

A Yes, sir.

Q And so, the actual incident that happened you do not know because you were asleep?

A Yes, sir.

Q And what do you understand by rape? Do you understand what is rape?

A Yes, sir.

Q What is rape?

A Raping the girls.

Q What do you mean by ginagahasa?

A Used.

Q What is ginagamit?

A Had sexual intercourse.

Q And you only came to know that you were raped by your father, from whom?

A From Ramil, and I also came to know about it because he was the only one there and he had raped me
before.

Q You are talking of the time when you were Grade III?

A Yes, sir.

Q When did Ramil tell you that you were raped by your father?

A The following morning.

Q What time?

A In my estimate it was already 6:30 o'clock.

Q 6:30 o'clock in the morning of March 7?

A Yes, sir, it was March 7 because the incident happened March 6 and if it is already 12:00 o'clock past it was
already March 7.

Q And that was the only time that you came to know about it?

A What?

Q That you were raped by your father?

A Because before when I was studying in Grade III he raped me and when I was studying in Grade V he raped
me again.
Q But we were talking of raped on March 6, 1997, without the information given to you by Ramil Mariño at 6:30
o'clock in the morning of March 7, 1997 you really do not know what happened to you?

A No, sir.

Q What do you mean by saying "no, yes sir"?

A Yes, sir.

Q And you are sure about that?

A Yes, sir.69

It is clear from her testimony that she was not aware of what happened between the time she fell asleep until she woke up
in the bed of her parents. Her conclusion that she was raped by accused-appellant was only deduced from the latter's
statement "Madasok lang da gapaindi ka pa."

Be that as it may, her testimony adequately establishes the fact that on that fateful night, her father did something to her
which made her whole body ache and her most private part feel wet and sticky. Possibly, it was rape, if his penis
penetrated her vagina. Possibly it could only be acts of lasciviousness if the penetration or insertion was caused by
another object like accused-appellant's fingers. The probing fingers could have involuntarily produced a wet and sticky
feeling on the part of the victim by the stimulation of her private parts. Whether victim's body ached, it cannot be
reasonably ascertained if she was telling the truth or simply exaggerating. The facts at hand would more persuasively
support the theory that the offense committed by accused-appellant was acts of lasciviousness.70Foremost is that Emily
was not awakened by the molestation of his father. Unlike in rape where the perpetrator would normally place his weight
atop his victim, penetrate his organ into her vagina and make thrusting motions which would readily awaken the victim if
sleeping, where only the finger of the assailant or some other object is inserted into the victim's private parts, which is less
obtrusive, there is the possibility of the victim not awaking throughout the act.

Indeed, it is perplexing that the victim would remain asleep as she was being undressed, intruded into and subjected to a
push and pull movement made on her private parts. There is no pretense that she was drugged or otherwise rendered
unconscious to facilitate the alleged rape. The case of People vs. Corcina71 cited by the Solicitor General to support his
claim that carnal knowledge is possible with a woman without her knowledge due to deep slumber, is not on all fours with
the factual circumstances of the present case. In Corcina, the victim was a married woman who already had a daughter
and, as such, accustomed to sexual intercourse.72 The victim in the said case awoke in the middle of the rape since she
felt the weight of a man on top of her.73 In the present case, Emily was totally unaware of her being raped.

The testimony of prosecution witness, Ramil Mariño, on what transpired between the time that the victim slept on the floor
until she woke up on the bed of her parents, leaves much to be desired. The trial court did not give much credence to it,
being incoherent. This was shown when Ramil Mariño was recalled to the witness stand as the prosecution's rebuttal
witness in view of his uncle Raymundo Mariño's earlier testimony that Ramil was coached by his mother to testify against
his father. Judge Placido Marquez had to conduct a very lengthy clarificatory examination of this witness in order to
determine if he really understood the statements he was making. Towards the end of the Judge's examination, he made
the following observations:

COURT:

The truth to this Court I will be frank with you there is a ring of truth to your statement that your
mother told you to say to the police station that you saw your father doing this things like
pumping motion on Emily telling you so that your father will be released from jail it is the Court's
perception. You may not understand this because you are too young but we have to tell you this
but maybe after your college graduation you can read the transcript and this Court told you this
that you see Ramil the mother your mother might be using your love for your father see so that
you would be manipulated to tell the police what he did so that your father will be released
because you love your father. That is all Ramil, I am not sure if you understand. Most likely you
must understand. For the record at least.74

Furthermore, the defense counsel's cross-examination of Ramil Mariño during rebuttal reveals why the testimony of this
eyewitness was discounted by the trial court. Although already 11 years old, he did not know what the word "year" means.
He did not know that his birthday, or Christmas day comes once in a year. When asked what are the months and the year,
he could only give eight (8), mentioning December ahead of October. Thus:

ATTY. MADRONA ON ADDITIONAL CROSS EXAMINATION:

x x x

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q You are now 11 years old Mr. Mariño?

PROS. SY:

10.

COURT:

11.

A Yes, sir.

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q And what is your birthday?

A January 6, 1986.

Q So that you were 1 year old on January 6, 1987, correct?

PROS. SY:

No. Is not as simple as it seem. We don't know whether he knows how to compute.

ATTY. MADRONA:

That is the question.

PROS. SY:

Why don't we asked him on January 6, 1987, what is your age?

COURT:

Clarify. Your satisfy.

ATTY. MADRONA:

Yes, we will satisfy.

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q On January 6, 1987, how old were you?

A I was 10.

PROS. SY:
That is what I said before and I am saying it now that this little boy from Alas does not know what is a
year.

ATTY. MADRONA:

No. The question was only a span of one (1) year. And yet the … he must have heard 1987, Your Honor.

COURT:

Let us asked him, clarify.

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q Do you know the difference between 86 and 87?

A No, sir.

PROS. SY:

Your Honor please, why don't we asked the witness directly how many months a year and what are the
month in the year. What does he understand by a year.

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q You have gone to school. Have you finished Grade 3?

A No, sir.

COURT:

Q You are still going to school?

A Still going to school.

Q What school?

A In Alad.

Q Alad Elementary school?

A Lamao Elementary school.

Q Grade 3?

A Yes, Your Honor.

Q So, you are now absent?

A Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q Now, do you know what is a month from January to December?

A Yes, sir.
Q Please tell us?

A Enero, February, March, May, July, August, December, October, no more.

PROS. SY:

It is now very obvious, Your Honor, as we have said earlier he does not know.

ATTY. MADRONA:

Now, Your Honor, we will asked one question and we will leave the matter to the Court.

Q Do you know your birthday only comes once a year?

PROS. SY:

He only blew his candle once a year. It does not prove, Your Honor that this witness does not know what
year and month by asking him whether his birthday happens once a year he might relate that his birthday
happens blowing candle over a cake once a year.

COURT:

Answer.

A I don't know.

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q How about Christmas, do you know that christmas comes once a year also.

PROS. SY.

What is the point? Does he understand what is a year and how many months a year when he cannot
mention a month and a year he could only count 8 months and it is not in the order …

COURT:

Answer.

A No, sir.

ATTY. MADRONA continuing:

Q How about the birthdays of your brothers and sisters, you also know that it comes once a year also?

PROS. SY:

If he cannot understand his own birthday much more the birthdays of his brother and sister.

COURT:

Answer.

A No, sir.

ATTY. MADRONA:
We are though with the witness, Your Honor.75

Based on the foregoing, it is evident why the trial court doubted the testimony of the prosecution's sole eyewitness. Due to
his inability to comprehend simple questions, Judge Marquez correctly entertained the thought that Ramil Mariño might
not have witnessed the alleged rape committed on March 6, 1997 but was only coaxed by his mother into testifying
against his father. Thus, the trial court's appreciation of this witness' testimony is reflected in its decision:

xxx. The testimony of Ramil Mariño is no longer needed because "(t)ruth is established not by the number of
witnesses but by the quality of their testimonies" and "the lone testimony of the victim in the crime of rape if
credible is sufficient to sustain a conviction." It is axiomatic that "witnesses are to be weighed, not numbered." For
"after all, there is no law which requires that the testimony of a single witness needs corroboration except when
the law so expressly requires."76

On the other hand, Dr. Victorio Benedicto testified that Emily was no longer a virgin at the time he conducted the medico-
legal examination since her vagina easily admitted the introduction of a thumb. There were no fresh lacerations on the
victim's vagina but only scars at 2, 5 and 7 o'clock positions. The absence of fresh lacerations renders doubtful the
prosecution's assertion that Emily was raped on March 6, 1997. The medico-legal findings indicating old scars in her
vagina tend to buttress the claim of Emily that she was raped by her father when she was 8 years old. Unfortunately, this
incident is not included in the information.

What has been established is that an object was inserted into her vagina which resulted in her having felt pain and that
she noticed to be wet and sticky after she found herself on his parents' bed alongside accused-appellant who blurted out
"(M)adasok lang da gapaindi a pa."77 What was inserted into her vagina could be accused-appellant's finger or another
object not necessarily his penis; hence, what was committed was the crime of acts of lasciviousness.

This crime was not alleged in the information against accused-appellant. Nevertheless, an accused may be convicted of a
lesser crime than that with which he is charged if such lesser offense is necessarily included in the one charged. 78

Considering that the crime of acts of lasciviousness or abusos dishonestos is necessarily included in rape, the accused
who is charged with latter crime may be convicted with the former. 79

The alternative circumstance of relationship under Article 1580 of the Revised Penal Code should be appreciated against
accused-appellant. In crimes of chastity such as rape and acts of lasciviousness, relationship is considered as
aggravating.81 It was expressly alleged in the information and duly proven during trial that the offended party is the
daughter of accused-appellant; hence, relationship aggravates the offense committed by accused-appellant.

The felony of acts of lasciviousness is punishable by prision correccional.82 There being one aggravating circumstance
(relationship), the penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period shall be imposed upon appellant.83

Under Section 1 of Art. No. 1403, the Court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the minimum of
which shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for the
offense, arresto mayor in this case. The maximum term of the indeterminate sentence shall be that which, in view of the
attending circumstances, could be properly imposed under the rules of the Code, which we have previously determined to
be prision correccional in its maximum period.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appealed decision is MODIFIED in that accused-appellant RAMON MARIÑO
Y MINA is found GUILTY of the crime of ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS and sentenced to suffer the indeterminate
sentence of 6 months of arresto mayor as minimum to 6 years of prision correccional as maximum and the amount of
P10,000.00 as moral damages.1âwphi1.nêt

SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V ESOY

DECISION

VILLARAMA, JR., J.:


The present appeal assails the Decision[1] dated April 30, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. HC-CR No.

02701 affirming the February 27, 2007 Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 54, convicting

appellants of the crime of robbery with homicide.

In an Information[3] dated February 2, 2001, appellants Jonjie Esoy y Hungoy (Esoy), Rolando Ciano y Soledad

(Ciano), and Roger Bolalacao y Dadivas (Bolalacao) were charged as follows:

That on or about January 18, 2001, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and
confederating together and helping one another, with intent to gain and by means of force, violence
against and intimidation, that is, by boarding a passenger jeepney pretending to be paying passengers,
suddenly pulling out their deadly bladed weapons, stabbing on the chest one LORENZO CORO Y
BARREDO, a paying passenger, and grabbing his cellphone worth P7,000.00, Philippine currency, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob and carry away the said cellphone of Lorenzo
B. Coro against his will, to the damage and prejudice of the latter in the same sum as aforesaid; that by
reason and on the occasion of the said robbery the said Lorenzo B. Coro, sustained fatal stab wounds
which were the direct cause of his death immediately thereafter.

CONTRARY TO LAW.

At the arraignment, appellants pleaded not guilty.[4] Trial thereafter ensued. The prosecution presented three (3) witnesses:

Andrea Pabalan, SPO1 Raul Olavario and Medico-Legal Officer Dr. Filemon C. Porciuncula. Taken altogether, the evidence for

the prosecution established the following facts:

On January 18, 2001, around 8:00 p.m., the victim Lorenzo Coro and Andrea Pabalan (Pabalan), rode a jeepney bound

for Buendia Avenue at Taft Avenue corner T.M. Kalaw Street in Manila. Upon reaching Taft Avenue corner Pedro Gil

Street, Ermita, Manila, appellants boarded the jeepney. Bolalacao sat beside the victim while Esoy and Ciano sat on the

opposite side. Pabalan noticed that Esoy and Ciano were staring at all the passengers. Feeling apprehensive, she moved

beside the victim and whispered to him that she did not like the way the two (2) were staring at them. Esoy and Ciano also

seemed to be high on drugs, so she told the victim not to look at them. When she again looked at Esoy and Ciano, the

two (2) suddenly drew out their balisongs and swung the same at them. In the ensuing commotion, the other passengers

including appellants alighted from the jeepney. When Pabalan told the victim that they should go down, she saw the

victims bloodied chest. She then shouted for help and that they be taken to the hospital. The jeepney driver, however, told

them to alight from the vehicle. Fearing that the victim might run out of blood, she told him that they should go down. The

victim then told her that his cellular phone was snatched and asked her where appellants fled. Pabalan just insisted that

they alight from the vehicle and not to worry about his cellular phone. Upon alighting from the jeepney, the victim fell down

after a few steps. But with the help of two (2) motorcyclists, they were able to hail an FX taxi and the victim was

immediately brought to the nearby Philippine General Hospital (PGH) where he was operated on. Unfortunately, however,

the victim died at 11:00 p.m. that same night.


On January 19, 2001, around 2:00 a.m., SPO1 Raul Olavario, Police Investigator of the Homicide Division of the Western

Police District (WPD), Manila, received information from retired Police Inspector Cesar Diokno about a stabbing victim

who expired at the PGH. SPO1 Olavario then proceeded at the PGH to investigate. The hospital guard told him about

the robbery with homicide that occurred on January 18, 2001 inside a passenger jeepney along Taft Avenue. At that time,

Pabalan had already left the hospital but she went to SPO1 Olavarios office later in the morning the same day to give her

sworn statement and the description of the assailants.

Several days after, or on January 31, 2001, Pabalan informed SPO1 Olavario that she saw the three (3) appellants inside

the WPD jail and positively identified them as the assailants.

PNP Crime Laboratory Police Senior Inspector and Medico-Legal Officer Dr. Filemon C. Porciuncula testified on the

autopsy he performed on the cadaver of the victim and the Medico-Legal Report No. M-0208-01[5] he submitted. The

autopsy revealed that the victim sustained a stab wound and multiple abrasions on the right knee.

Appellants, for their part, denied any involvement in the robbery-homicide incident. They claimed that they were at their

workplace in Bacood, Sta. Mesa, Manila, when the incident happened. Both Ciano and Esoy testified that they started

working at 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. of January 18, 2001. They rested for a while and resumed working with intermittent

rests until five (5) oclock the following morning of January 19, 2001. As to Bolalacao, he claimed to be working from 7:00

a.m. of January 18, 2001 up to 5:00 a.m. the following morning of January 19, 2001.

Lauro Dela Cruz, supervisor of appellants, was called to testify to corroborate appellants defense. Though Dela Cruz

recognized the faces of the appellants as among those who have worked under him, he could not categorically state that

they were at the workplace at the times and dates they specified because he was not there all the time and he does not

keep time records.

On February 27, 2007, the trial court rendered a Decision finding appellants guilty of the crime of robbery with homicide,

as follows:

WHEREFORE, finding accused Jonjie Esoy y Hungoy, Rolando Ciano y Soledad, and Roger Bolalacao y
Dadivas all GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the complex crime of Robbery with Homicide
defined and penalized under Articles 293 and 294 (1) of the Revised Penal Code, as recently amended
by Republic Act No. 9346, the aforenamed accused are each sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion
Perpetua and shall indemnify the heirs of Lorenzo Coro in the amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand
(P150,000.00) Pesos as actual and compensatory damages and the further sum of Seventy-Five
Thousand (P75,000.00) Pesos as moral damages.

SO ORDERED.[6]

On April 30, 2008, the Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the RTC decision as follows:
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 54, Manila is
AFFIRMED. The trial courts award of civil liability is hereby MODIFIED. Appellants JONJIE ESOY y
HUNGOY, ROLANDO CIANO y SOLEDAD and ROGER BOLALACAO y DADIVAS are each ordered to
pay the heirs of Lorenzo Coro the following sums: (a) One Hundred Fifty Thousand (P150,000.00) as
actual damages; (b) Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) ex delicto; and (c) Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P50,000.00) as moral damages.

SO ORDERED.[7]

Hence, this appeal.

On February 18, 2009, the Court directed the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs if they

desire.[8] Both appellants[9] and the Solicitor General,[10] however, manifested that they are dispensing with the filing of a

supplemental brief as their positions have already been assiduously discussed before the appellate court. Thus, the errors

raised in appellants Brief[11] dated July 24, 2007 are now deemed adopted in this present appeal. Appellants raise the

following errors:

I.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS ALTHOUGH
THEIR IDENTITIES AS THE PERPETRATORS WERE NOT ESTABLISHED BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.

II.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING SCANT CONSIDERATION TO THE EVIDENCE
PRESENTED BY THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS WHICH IS MORE CREDIBLE THAN THAT OF THE
PROSECUTIONS.

III.
ASSUMING THAT THE APPELLANTS ARE GUILTY, THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN
CONVICTING THEM OF ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT
ROBBERY WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

IV.
THE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT CONSPIRACY EXISTED BETWEEN AND
AMONG THE ALLEGED PERPETRATORS.

V.
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN AWARDING ACTUAL AND MORAL DAMAGES
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THERE WAS NO BASIS FOR ITS GRANT.[12]

Essentially, the issue for our resolution is whether the guilt of the appellants for the crime of robbery with homicide

has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Appellants contend that their identities as perpetrators of the crime were not established beyond reasonable doubt. They

argue that even if at the time of the incident there were many light posts along Taft Avenue, the same cannot produce

enough illumination inside the vehicle to allow Pabalan to see clearly the faces of the assailants. The small bulb inside the

jeepney simply cannot be considered as sufficient source of light to enable Pabalan to identify and remember the facial

features of a total stranger. Further, several days had passed before Pabalan made the identification during the police
line-up and thus, it was impossible for her to have easily remembered the faces of the assailants whom she supposedly

saw on only one (1) occasion.

We are not persuaded.

As narrated by Pabalan, two (2) of the appellants Esoy and Ciano sat infront of them while the other, Bolalacao,

sat beside the victim. Considering the limited space inside a passenger jeepney, the faces of appellants can be easily

seen by Pabalan in close range. Moreover, it is of no moment that the inside of a jeepney was only illuminated by a small

bulb. The said kind of light has already been held by the Court as enough lighting for identification

purposes.[13]Considering also the busy thoroughfare of Taft Avenue, Ermita, light emanating from the headlights of

passing vehicles can contribute sufficient illumination[14]to enable Pabalan to identify appellants. We have held that when

conditions of visibility are favorable, and the witness does not appear to be biased, as in the instant case, her assertion as

to the identity of the malefactors should normally be accepted.[15]

Furthermore, the reliability of Pabalans memory should not be doubted by the mere fact that identification of the
appellants at the police line-up happened several days after the incident. It is known that the most natural reaction of a
witness to a crime is to strive to look at the appearance of the perpetrator and to observe the manner in which the offense is
perpetrated.[16] Most often the face of the assailant and body movements thereof, create a lasting impression which cannot
be easily erased from a witnesss memory.[17] Experience dictates that precisely because of the unusual acts of violence
committed right before their eyes, eyewitnesses can remember with a high degree of reliability the identity of criminals at any
given time.[18]

As to appellants defense of alibi, it cannot prevail over the positive identification of appellants as the perpetrators
of the crime, especially in the face of categorical statements coming from a credible witness who has no ill motives in
testifying.[19] Pabalans testimony was straightforward and though she became emotional during the middle part of her
testimony, she remained consistent all through out even on cross-examination. Appellants have also not shown any
reason for Pabalan to testify falsely against them.

To establish alibi, an accused must prove (a) that he was present at another place at the time the crime was

perpetrated, and (b) that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. Physical impossibility refers

to the distance between the place where the accused was when the crime transpired and the place where it was

committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places.[20] Here, appellants failed to satisfy the said

requisites, especially the second. The crime happened along Taft Avenue, Ermita, while appellants claimed to be in their

workplace in Bacood, Sta. Mesa, at that time. The distance between Ermita and Sta. Mesa cannot be said as too far that it

was physically impossible for appellants not to be at Ermita, the scene of the crime. Even the testimony of their immediate
supervisor did not help in establishing their defense since Dela Cruz could not categorically state that appellants were at

the workplace at the time and date the crime was committed.

Appellants next argue that (1) no evidence was presented by the prosecution establishing that personal property

was taken from the victim except for the hearsay allegation of Pabalan; and (2) no witness testified that the victim or

Pabalan actually saw one (1) of the appellants take something from the victim. The contentions, however, are likewise

without merit.

The pertinent portion of Pabalans testimony is hereunder quoted verbatim:

Witness:
q What about Lorenzo Coro, do you know before this just at the moment you had this jeepney ride, do
you know if he had a cellular phone?
a Yes, sir, it was clipped on the right side of his waist.

Court:

Clipped at the?

Court Interpreter:

Right side of the waist.

Fiscal Carisma:
(continuing)

q Try to recall, Madam Witness, what else, if any, did you see at the moment that these two (2) male
persons who were seated in front of you motioned to the point that they drew out their balisong
and lunged the same towards you and any other direction. What else, if any, did you see in
relation to Lorenzo Coro?

Witness:
(continuing)

a After the commotion, when I was about to alight from the jeep, he told me that my cellular phone
was snatched. I told him lets go. He asked me where did they run? I told him not to bother
about that and lets go to the hospital.[21] [Emphasis and underscoring supplied.]

Though Pabalans testimony as to the victims utterance that his cellular phone was taken is only hearsay, the testimony is

considered an exception to the hearsay rule, the victims spontaneous utterance being part of res gestae.

Res gestae refers to those exclamations and statements made by either the participants, the victim or spectator to a crime
immediately before, during or immediately after the commission of the crime, when the circumstances are such that the
statements were made as a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by excitement of the occasion and there was no
opportunity for the declarant to deliberate and to fabricate a false statement.[22] In the instant case, all the elements of res
gestae are sufficiently established insofar as the aforequoted spontaneous utterance is concerned: (1) the principal act (res
gestae) the robbery and stabbing of the victim is a startling occurrence; (2) the statements were made before the declarant
had time to contrive or devise, that is, within minutes after the victim was stabbed and his cellular phone was snatched; and
(3) the statement concerns the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances his cellular phone was
stolen during the startling occurrence. The testimony being an exception to the hearsay rule, the trial court did not err in
admitting the same.

Appellants also dispute the finding of conspiracy among them. They contend that the mere fact that they boarded

the jeepney at the same time does not necessarily mean that they acted in conspiracy. Again, we are unconvinced.

Conspiracy may be deduced from the acts of the appellants before, during, and after the commission of the crime

which are indicative of a joint purpose, concerted action, and concurrence of sentiments.[23] All three (3) appellants boarded the

jeepney at the same time. Two (2) strategically sat infront of the victim and Pabalan while the other sat beside the victim. A few

moments later, two (2) of the appellants (Esoy and Ciano) suddenly drew out their balisongs and swung the same at Pabalan

and the victim. In the ensuing commotion, the victims cellular phone was snatched and he was stabbed in the process. The

appellants then hurriedly alighted from the jeepney at the same time. Their original and principal intention was undoubtedly to

stage a robbery with the use of violence. As conspiracy had been established among appellants, all of them are liable as co-

principals regardless of the manner and extent of their participation since, in point of law, the act of one (1) is the act of all.

Lastly, appellants challenge the award of actual damages claiming it was not proven for failure to present any

documentary evidence particularly the proof of funeral expenses.

The argument is without merit.

Article 2199 of the Civil Code is clear:

ART. 2199. Except as provided by law or by stipulation, one is entitled to an adequate compensation
only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved. Such compensation is referred to as
actual or compensatory damages. [Emphasis and underscoring supplied.]

The defense has stipulated during the trial that the victims family incurred P150,000 for funeral expenses, to wit:

Fiscal Carisma:

The wife of the deceased is here, your Honor. Anyway, she will only testify on the civil liability. To
abbreviate the proceedings, may we respectfully stipulate from the counsel for the accused that
should all the accused be found guilty by the honorable court, the civil liability be fixed, it
representing actual expenses for the burial expenses of Lorenzo Coro to P150,000.00.

Atty. Fontanilla:

We object to the manifestation, your Honor.

Fiscal Carisma:
Should the accused be found guilty.

Atty. Fontanilla:

We dont stipulate, your Honor.

Fiscal Carisma:

Thats why I am stating that should all the accused be found guilty. So, we rather prove the actual
expenses.

Court:

q Anyway, how many days was the wake of the deceased?

Witness:

a Ten (10) days, your Honor.

Court:

q Where was the funeral held?

Witness:

a We brought the body at the province at the house of my mother, your Honor.

Atty. Fontanilla:

Your Honor, with the premise that they spent for the burial and funeral, I think we can stipulate in
the amount of ---

Fiscal Carisma:

P150,000.00

Atty. Fontanilla:

More or less, yes, we stipulate, your Honor.

Fiscal Carisma:

Thank you. So, we will no longer be presenting the witness.[24] [Emphasis and underscoring
supplied.]

Hence, the requirement of proof in Article 2199 for the recovery of actual and compensatory damages can be dispensed

with having been stipulated by the defense during trial.

As to the other civil liabilities, we uphold the appellate courts award of the moral damages of P50,000 and civil indemnity

of P50,000 in line with prevailing jurisprudence.[25]

The penalty imposed is likewise proper. The special complex crime of robbery with homicide is punished under

Article 294 (as amended by Republic Act No. 7659) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, by reclusion perpetua to

death. Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, states that when the law prescribes a penalty consisting of two
(2) indivisible penalties, and the crime is neither attended by mitigating nor aggravating circumstances, the lesser penalty

shall be imposed. Considering that no modifying circumstance attended the commission of the crime, the RTC correctly

sentenced the appellants to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

WHEREFORE, the April 30, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. HC-CR No. 02701

is AFFIRMED in toto.

With costs against the accused-appellants.

SO ORDERED.