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PEOPLE evidence the crime as charged and to prove the guilt of the accused beyond
reasonable doubt and, therefore, the case should be dismissed instead of being
 Zaldivar and Jeanette Artajo (Artajo) were charged with Estafa pursuant to a tried anew or re-opened for further proceedings. Finally, she contends that the
complaint filed by respondent Mamerto Dumasis (Dumasis) before the RTC, RTC's Order dated November 18, 2005 directing the conduct of another pre-
which was initially raffled to Branch 33. Pre-trial conference was held by the trial or re-opening of the case violates her right not to be prosecuted and tried
trial court and a Pre-Trial Order was issued on the same date, February 15, twice on the same information against her.
2005. Zaldivar and her co-accused Artajo were then arraigned and both
pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. Issue: WON the dismissal of the case (instead of being tried anew) is proper – NO!
 During the trial of the case, the prosecution presented Alma Dumasis and Delia
Surmieda as witnesses, and both identified their respective affidavits, which  The CA was correct in ruling that Zaldivar's contention that the prosecution
constituted their direct testimonies. Zaldivar's counsel, Atty. Salvador failed to establish by competent and admissible evidence of the crime charged
Cabaluna, opted not to cross-examine the witnesses, while Artajo's counsel is best left to the sound judgment of the trial court. Zaldivar should be
was deemed to have waived his right to cross-examine in view of his absence reminded of the rule that "the presence or absence of the elements of the crime
despite notice. is evidentiary in nature and is a matter of defense that may be passed upon
 Dumasis, by himself and without the consent or acquiescence of the public after a full-blown trial on the merits." Unless Zaldivar files a demurrer to the
prosecutor subsequently filed a Motion for Inhibition against Judge Virgilio evidence presented by the prosecution, she cannot enjoin the trial court to
Patag, which was granted by the latter. Hence, the case was re-raffled to terminate the case on the ground of the prosecution's alleged failure to
Branch 23, presided by Judge Edgardo Catilo (Judge Catilo). The RTC issued an establish and prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The validity and merits
Order, denying the admission of the prosecution's exhibits. The trial court also of the prosecution's accusations, or Zaldivar's defense for that matter, as well
nullified and set aside the previous proceedings conducted and set the case as admissibility of testimonies and evidence, are better ventilated during trial
anew for pre-trial conference. proper.
 Zaldivar then filed a Motion to Declare Prosecution's Case Terminated, which  The CA, likewise, correctly found grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
was denied by the RTC. Zaldivar filed MR – denied pa rin. Hence, Zaldivar filed trial court when it nullified the proceedings previously conducted and ordered
Certiorari under Rule 65 with the CA. the CA found strong and compelling anew a pre-trial of the case. Note that one of the main reasons presented by
reasons to review the findings of the trial court presided by Judge Catilo, and Judge Catilo in nullifying the pre-trial proceedings was that the proceedings
set aside its Orders. conducted after the pre-trial conference did not comply with the prescribed
 The CA dismissed Zaldivar's theory that the prosecution failed to prove by procedure in the presentation of witnesses. But as propounded by the CA, and
competent and admissible evidence the crime as charged in view of the even the OSG who appeared for Judge Catilo, what the trial court should have
prosecution's act of merely presenting the affidavits of its witnesses in lieu of done to correct any "perceived" procedural lapses committed during the
giving their testimonies in open court. The CA ruled that such conclusion is presentation of the prosecution's evidence was to recall the prosecution's
best left to the sound judgment of the trial court and that the prosecution witnesses and have them identify the exhibits mentioned in their respective
presented its evidence in a manner that it deems fit over which neither affidavits. This is explicitly allowed by the rules, specifically Section 9, Rule 132
Zaldivar nor the trial judge has no control. of the ROC.
 The CA also ruled that Judge Catilo grossly abused the exercise of his discretion  Another reason adduced by the trial court in nullifying the pre-trial
and judgment when he nullified the pre-trial proceedings taken before Branch proceedings was that "[t]he pre-trial order of February 15, 2005 did not
33 and ordered the conduct of a new pre-trial. According to the CA, the trial contain x x x matters ought to be the subject matter of a pre-trial conference
court's order is tantamount to ordering a new trial or re-opening of the case to under Sec. 1, Rule 118 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure."
the prejudice of the rights of the accused. Moreover, the CA stated that instead  In this case, there is nothing on record that will show any disregard of the rule.
of calling for a new pre-trial, Judge Catilo could recall witnesses as provided for Pieces of evidence were marked, objections thereto were raised, issues were
in Section 9, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. Unsatisfied, (kasi gusto niya identified, no admissions on factual matters were arrived at, and trial dates
dismissal) Zaldivar filed MR – denied. Hence, this petition were set. As found by the CA, "[a] close scrutiny of the Pre-Trial Conference
 Zaldivar points out that the denial of the admission of exhibits of the Order dated February 15, 2005, would show that there was due compliance
prosecution upon timely and sustained objections of the accused has the effect with the Rules relative to the conduct of pre-trial, x x x Verily, there is nothing
of terminating the case of the prosecution for failure to adduce competent and in the pre-trial order which calls for its nullification as the same clearly
admissible evidence during the trial proper. Moreover, she argues that the complies with the Rules." And while the Court recognizes the trial court's zeal
prosecution has lamentably failed to establish by competent and admissible in ensuring compliance with the rules, it cannot, however, simply set aside the
proceedings that have been previously duly conducted, without treading on

the rights of both the prosecution and the defense who did not raise any GARAYBLAS vs ONG
objection to the pre-trial proceedings. Pre-trial is a procedural device intended Section 3, Rule 118 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides as follows:
to clarify and limit the basic issues between the parties and to take the trial of
cases out of the realm of surprise and maneuvering. Its chief objective is to Sec. 3. Non-appearance at Pre-Trial Conference. - If the counsel for the accused or
simplify, abbreviate and expedite or dispense with the trial. In this case, this the prosecutor does not appear at the pre-trial conference and does not offer an
purpose was clearly subverted when the trial court hastily set aside the pre- acceptable excuse for his lack of cooperation, the court may impose proper
trial proceedings and its results. Absent any palpable explanation as to why sanctions or penalties.
and how said proceedings were conducted in violation of the rules and thus
should be set aside, the Court sustains the CA's finding that the trial court Pursuant to the foregoing provision, the court may sanction or penalize counsel for
committed grave abuse of discretion in nullifying the previous proceedings the accused if the following concur: (1) counsel does not appear at the pre-trial
and setting the case anew for pre-trial. conference AND (2) counsel does not offer an acceptable excuse. There is no cavil
 Sec. 9, Rule 132. Recalling witnesses - After the examination of a witness by that petitioners failed to appear at the pre-trial conference in Davao City on April
both sides has been concluded, the witness cannot be recalled without leave of 27, 2006. The crux of the matter in this case then is, did petitioners present an
court. The court will grant or withhold leave in its discretion as the interest of acceptable or valid excuse for said non-appearance?
justice may require.
 The trial court may even grant the parties the opportunity to adduce additional The SB 4th Division already said it believed Atty. Garayblas' claim that a day before
evidence bearing upon the main issue in question, for strict observance of the the scheculed pre-trial conference in Davao City, she started suffering from
order of trial or trial procedure under the rules depends upon the hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypertension, and she felt the symptoms
circumstance obtaining in each case at the discretion of the trial judge thereof until the day of the pre-trial itself. This incapacitated her from traveling to
Davao City to appear at the proceedings. Note that symptoms of hypertension
include confusion, ear noise or buzzing, fatigue, headache, irregular heartbeat, and
vision changes.[12] As for hyperglycemia, a person suffering therefrom
experiences headaches, increased thirst, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision,
frequent urinating, and fatigue, among others.[13] Verily, the Court can understand
that a person suffering from confusion, difficulty in concentrating, blurred vision,
fatigue, and others, would be hard put to attend a hearing, much less have the
clarity of mind to think or worry about finding another lawyer to substitute for her.
Indeed, it would not be reasonable to expect her to have been able to make the
necessary arrangements for another lawyer to attend in her stead.

Consider, further, the importance of having counsel who is the most well-versed on
the facts of the case, to be the one attending a pre-trial conference. In Bayas v.
Sandiganbayan,[14] the Court expounded on the role of lawyers in pre-trials, to wit:

Pre-trial is meant to simplify, if not fully dispose of, the case at its early stage. x x x .

x x x during pre-trial, attorneys must make a full disclosure of their positions as to

what the real issues of the trial would be. They should not be allowed to embarrass
or inconvenience the court or injure the opposing litigant by their careless
preparation for a case; or by their failure to raise relevant issues at the outset of a
trial x x x[15]

This being so, it is not quite prudent to send in a new lawyer, who has not had
ample time to fully familiarize himself or herself with the facts and issues involved
in the case, to attend a pre-trial conference. Sending to the pre-trial conference a
new lawyer who is not very knowledgeable about the case would most probably
lead to such careless preparation which the Court abhors.

power is intended as a safeguard not for the judges but for the functions they
Moreover, respondents do not refute Atty. Garayblas' claim that before the pre-trial exercise. Thus, judges have, time and again, been enjoined to exercise their
conference, she had never been absent for a hearing before the SB 4th Division. contempt power judiciously, sparingly, with utmost restraint and with the end in
This circumstance should be taken in her favor, as it shows that she is not in the view of utilizing the same for correction and preservation of the dignity of the
habit of feigning illness to deliberately delay the proceedings. court, not for retaliation or vindication. x x x[18]

However, Atty. Garayblas should have at least sent word to the SB 4th Division and Petitioner Atty. De la Cruz has presented a valid and acceptable excuse, for which
to her co-counsel, Atty. De la Cruz, when she began feeling the symptoms of he should not be found liable under Section 3, Rule 118 of the Revised Rules of
hypertension and hyperglycemia, that she would be unable to attend said pre-trial Criminal Procedure. On the other hand, petitioner Atty. Garayblas showed some
conference. This would have been the courteous thing to do. lapse in judgment, not to mention discourteous behavior, in not informing the SB
4th Division at the earliest possible time of her illness and inability to attend said
With regard to Atty. De la Cruz, his non-appearance at the pre-trial conference was pre-trial conference.
also excusable. There were hearings for their client's case in two separate divisions
of the Sandiganbayan on the very same date in two distant locations. To ensure
representation for their client at the hearings in both divisions of the
Sandiganbayan, petitioners agreed that Atty. De la Cruz would attend the one
before the Second division, while Atty. Garayblas would attend the one before the
SB 4th Division in Davao City. It appears that Atty. De la Cruz was not fully apprised
of the fact that his co-counsel would not be able to attend the pre-trial conference.
It is understandable why Atty. De la Cruz could not have abandoned the hearing
before the Second Division so he could attend the pre-trial in Davao City. It was
already too late in the day for Atty. De la Cruz to change plans and to notify the
Second Division that he would be absent so he could attend the pre-trial in Davao
City instead of the hearing at the Second Division.

The Court finds respondents' directive for petitioners to pay part of the travel
expenses of court personnel in holding the hearing in Davao City to be
unwarranted. There is nothing on record to show that the proceedings were being
held in Davao City mainly because of the cases being handled by petitioners. In fact,
the SB 4th Division does not deny Atty. Garayblas' asseveration that the
cancellation of the hearing on April 27, 2006 in Davao City was caused not only by
her and her co-counsel's failure to attend the pre-trial, but also because of all the
other accused's failure to submit their respective pre-trial briefs. The Minutes of the
Session held on April 27, 2006,[16] also shows that hearings/arraignment of the
accused in Criminal Cases Nos. 25144 and 25143 (which are cases different from
the ones being handled by petitioners) were held on that day for the Davao City
sessions of the SB 4th Division. Hence, the SB 4th Division's time and effort in
holding sessions in Davao City were not entirely wasted due to petitioners' inability
to attend the pre-trial conference.

For the foregoing reasons, the Court deems imposing a fine on petitioners and
ordering them to answer part of the court personnels' travel expenses to be too
harsh. In Inonog v. Ibay,[17] the Court reiterated that:

The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts so as to preserve order
in judicial proceedings as well as to uphold the administration of justice. The courts
must exercise the power of contempt for purposes that are impersonal because that

COURT ADMINISTRATOR vs DOLORES ESPANOL They should be rational and realistic in calendaring cases. Only a sufficient number
The 1987 Constitution mandates trial judges to dispose of the court’s business should be calendared in order to permit them to hear all the cases scheduled.12
promptly and to decide cases and matters within three (3) months from the filing of Hence, unless the docket of the court requires otherwise, not more than four cases
the last pleading, brief or memorandum.6 In the disposition of cases, members of daily should be scheduled for trial.13 A continuous and physical inventory of cases
the bench have always been exhorted to observe strict adherence to the foregoing on a monthly basis is also recommended, so that they would be aware of the status
rule to prevent delay, a major culprit in the erosion of public faith and confidence in of each case.
our justice system.
With the assistance of the clerk of court, a checklist should be prepared, indicating
In the evolvement of public perception of the judiciary, there can be no more the steps to be taken to keep cases moving.14 While decision-writing is a matter of
conclusive empirical influence than the prompt and proper disposition of cases.7 personal style, judges are well-advised to prepare concise but complete as well as
Hence, a clear failure to comply with the reglementary period is regarded as correct and clear decisions, orders or resolutions.15 With a table or calendar
inexcusable gross inefficiency.8 The speedy disposition of cases by judges is indicating the cases submitted for decision, they should note the exact day, month
unequivocally directed by Canon 6 of the Code of Judicial Ethics: and year when the 90-day period is to expire.

"He should be prompt in disposing of all matters submitted to him, remembering Prompt disposition of the court’s business is attained through proper and efficient
that justice delayed is often justice denied." court management. Judges would be remiss in their duty and responsibility as court
managers if they fail to adopt an efficient system of record management.16
This Court is aware of the predicament that plagues respondent, as well as most
other trial judges in the country. The problem of case inputs grossly exceeding case At times, circumstances beyond their control result in the accumulation of ripe
outputs may be traced to several factors, the most prevalent of which are the large cases to a daunting number, making it humanly impossible for them to comply with
number of cases filed, indiscriminate grant of continuances to litigants, inefficient the constitutionally mandated 90-day period. In such instances, all that they should
case flow management by judges, and unrealistic management of the calendar of do is write a request for extension from the Supreme Court, stating therein their
cases. reasons for the delay.17 Such administrative requirement finds basis in the 1987
To solve these problems, this Court has, in several instances, advised judges to
follow certain guidelines to facilitate speedy case disposition.9 Among these This Court has further directed members of the bench to call the attention of the
measures is the discouragement of continuances, except for exceptional reasons. To OCA "when the situation requires remedies beyond the control or capability of the
enforce due diligence in the dispatch of judicial business without arbitrarily or judges."
unreasonably forcing cases to trial when counsels are unprepared, judges should
endeavor to hold them to a proper appreciation of their duties to the public, as well "10.3 The reduction of case loads would be an efficacious design to strengthen
as to their own clients and to the adverse party.10 public confidence in the Courts. All efforts should be exerted so that case disposals
should exceed case inputs. Whenever obstacles present themselves which delay
In criminal cases, pretrial is mandatory because, at the outset, litigation is case disposition, the Presiding Judge should immediately call the attention of the
abbreviated by the identification of contentious issues. In civil cases, judges are also Supreme Court through the Court Administrator when the situation requires
required to take advantage of the pretrial conference to arrive at settlements and remedies beyond the control or capability of the judges."19
compromises between the parties, to ask the latter to explore the possibility of
submitting their cases to any of the alternative modes of dispute resolution, and at In his recommendation, DCA Perez made the following observation:
least to reduce and limit the issues for trial. Judges are further directed to
implement and observe strictly the provisions of Section 2 of Rule 119, providing "At the very least, Judge Español should have requested for an extension of time
for a continuous day-to-day trial as far as practicable until termination.11 once she knew that she could not comply with the prescribed ninety (90) day
period to render judgment. In doing so, she would have been able to apprise
The work of magistrates is multifarious. They do not only hear cases and write litigants as to the status of the case and the reason for the delay, if any. It would
decisions in the seclusion of their chambers; equally important, they act also as have shown that she minded the deadlines.
administrators. Their administrative efficiency may well define the justice they
dispense. "While Judge Español professes her human limitations coupled with the disposition
of the election cases which allegedly demand priority, the same cannot exculpate
her for non-compliance with the mandates of the law and the rules."

As we have stated in Maquiran v. Lopez,20 a heavy case load may excuse the failure
of judges to decide cases within the reglementary period, but not their failure to
request an extension of time within which to decide them on time.

In her letter dated September 1, 2004, respondent aired her frustrations over
matters that allegedly "deter the achievement of a super-efficient court"; among
these was "the lack of materials, equipment and supplies." In her own words, she
had to "use her own funds to provide air conditioning units in the courtroom,
computer and cleaning materials and supplies, repairs of the courtroom and
providing for an additional storage space for court records."21

Her concern over lack of adequate materials and supplies is not unique to her;
presently, the Court is trying to address it. Unfortunately, her initiative in
personally acting on the problem, while commendable, cannot completely absolve
her from her administrative liability in this case. It can however mitigate the
penalty to be imposed.

As amended, Section 9 (1) of Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court classifies undue
delay in rendering a decision as a less serious charge. As such, under Section 11 (b)
of the same Rule, this offense is punishable by suspension from office without
salary and other benefits for not less one (1) but not more than three (3) months, or
a fine of more than ₱10,000 but not exceeding ₱20,000.

We close this Decision with a final exhortation. The magistracy is a very exacting
and demanding vocation. Judges are expected to embody "four character traits:
integrity, independence, intelligence and industry." Moreover, in the performance
of their tasks, they must exhibit "four work habits; namely, excellence, ethics,
effectiveness and expeditiousness."22 Only those who patiently cultivate these four
character traits and four work habits can succeed in journeying through the
straight and narrow judicial path.

People v Sunga After Lansang, Sunga took turn to have sexual intercourse with Jocelyn as Lansang
G.R. No. 126029 and one who was not known to Locil and whom the latter described as one who has
March 27, 2003 "chinky" or "narrow eyes," later identified to be Pascua, kept Jocelyn pinned down
by her hands.
Pascua too subsequently had carnal knowledge of Jocelyn who all along struggled
That on or about June 29, 1994 in the afternoon Rey Sunga, Ramil Lansang, against her malefactors.
Inocencio Pascua, Jr., and Lito Octac as principals, and Locil Cui alias Ginalyn Cuyos
as accomplice by means of force, violence and intimidation, to wit: by pinning down After Pascua satisfied his lust, Sunga, with a sharp bladed weapon, stabbed the
one JOCELYN TAN, a minor, fifteen (15) years of age, succeeded in having carnal abdomen of the motionless Jocelyn, drawing her to rise to a sitting position and
knowledge of her against her will and without her consent; that on the occasion of clutch her abdomen. Sunga then passed on the bladed weapon to Lansang who
said rape and to enable them to conceal the commission of the crime, the herein smashed Jocelyn's head with an irregularly shaped stone, causing her to fall to the
accused in furtherance of the conspiracy together with LOCIL CUI, a minor, acting ground lifeless. Locil, who witnessed everything, was then pulled by the lesbian and
with discernment and who cooperated in the execution of the offense as led back into the tricycle where they awaited Lansang, Sunga and Pascua to ride
ACCOMPLICE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, taking with them. All five thereafter headed back to Puerto Princesa City proper, leaving
advantage of their superior number and strength, with intent to kill, treacherously Jocelyn's body behind.
attack, assault, and use personal violence upon JOCELYN TAN by repeatedly
stabbing and smashing a stone on her head, thereby inflicting upon her mortal When the five reached the Mendoza Park where Locil alighted, she heard the voice
wounds and multiple fractures on her skull which were the direct cause of her of someone from inside the tricycle warning her to keep mum about the incident,
death shortly thereafter. otherwise something would also happen to her. Locil then repaired to her boarding
house. Until she was arrested following the discovery on July 12, 1994 of Jocelyn's
On October 18, 1994 a motion to discharge accused Locil Cui (Locil) to be a state corpse, she did not report the incident to anyone."
witness, averring therein that the legal requisites for her discharge had been
complied with, and submitting her sworn statement which detailed how her co- Upon the other hand, all the accused proffered alibi.
accused carried out the crime.
Accused-appellant Sunga, who had previously been convicted for robbery with
Her version of the facts is as follows: homicide, denied having anything to do with the rape and killing of Jocelyn. He
branded as false the testimony of Locil whom he claimed is a prostitute and a pimp
"At about 2:00 p. m. of June 29, 1994, Locil boarded a tricycle bearing the marking and was always seen loitering at Mendoza Park. Through a sworn statement, he
"Ryan-Ryan" from the Social Security System (SSS) Office in Puerto Princesa City. averred that: He, Octa and Jun returned to Irawan, took Jocelyn's corpse and
Already on board the tricycle was a lesbian who had a birthmark on the right side dumped it at a coffee plantation in Jacana Road; and that he did not take part in the
of the face and who invited Locil for a joy ride.13 Upon instruction of the lesbian, rape or killing of Jocelyn but merely joined the group due to Lansang's promise to
the tricycle driver, whom she did not know but whom she later identified and who give him P500.00.
answered to the name Rey Sunga (Sunga), repaired to the Mendoza Park.
DECISION OF LOWER COURTS: (1) RTC: By decision of March 7, 1996, the trial
At the Mendoza Park, the lesbian alighted and spoke to Jocelyn Tan, the victim, who court convicted Sunga and Lansang as principals of the crime of Rape with
was dressed in a PINS uniform. The lesbian, together with Jocelyn, then joined Locil Homicide and sentenced each to suffer the penalty of DEATH, and Pascua as
aboard the tricycle which was already driven by Inocencio Pascua (Pascua) vice principal in the crime of Rape. While the others are acquitted and Locil is
Sunga who had in the meantime left. Still aboard the tricycle, the four of them discharged as state witness.
proceeded to and reached Barangay Irawan, Puerto Princesa City and on reaching a
forested area, Jocelyn was met by Sunga who held her and by Ramil Lansang Automatic review by SC.
(Lansang) who wrapped his arm around her waist as they dragged her to a nearby
"buho" clumps. There, Jocelyn was made to lie down. Her skirt was raised and her ISSUES:
panty was taken off by Lansang. As she lay face up with both her hands held by (1) Whether the discharge by the lower court of Locil Cui as a state witness is in
Sunga and Pascua, Lansang stripped naked, placed himself on top of Jocelyn, accordance with law; and
inserted his penis into her vagina and "seemed to be pumping."
(2) Whether the guilt of appellants has been proven beyond reasonable doubt

But -- Who can trust one who, in her early teens, gets pregnant, flees home and
(3) Is Sunga's sworn statement admissible as evidence? stays in a boarding house albeit she has no visible means of income to pay therefor,
and carries an alias name to evade being traced by her mother and aunt?
The accused were acquitted. (2) NO, see items 1 and 2.

(1) NO. In light of the weak evidence for the prosecution, the defense of alibi as well as of
denial by appellants is accorded credence, for it is precisely when the prosecution's
Requisites: case is weak that the defense of alibi assumes importance and becomes crucial in
1. the discharge must be with the consent of the accused sought to be a state negating criminal liability.
witness; - YES
In fine, regardless of the probative weight of appellants' alibi, the prosecution still
2. his testimony is absolutely necessary; - YES has the onus of proving the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of the accused and
cannot rely on the weakness of the defense evidence. The prosecution having failed
Based on Locil's sworn statement, she was the only person who saw what to discharge its burden, appellants' presumed innocence remains and must thus be
happened to Jocelyn. Her testimony was thus indispensable. acquitted.

3. No other direct evidence is available for the proper prosecution of the offense (3) NO.
committed except his testimony; - YES
From the testimony of SPO2 Janoras, it can be gathered that Atty. Rocamora
4. His testimony can be substantially corroborated in its material points; - NO (Sunga's counse during custodial investigation) did not, if at all, fully apprise Sunga
of his rights and options prior to giving his (Sunga's) admission. Evidently, Atty.
a. As for the rest of the prosecution evidence, it fails to corroborate Locil's Rocamora, without more, merely acted to facilitate the taking of the admission from
testimony. The declarations of other witnesses can in no way enhance the Sunga.
veracity of the essential, material aspects of Locil's account for they relate
--- not to the crime itself but to events THEREAFTER. Any information or admission given by a person while in custody which may
appear harmless or innocuous at the time without the competent assistance of an
An exhaustive review of the transcript of stenographic notes of Locil's independent counsel must be struck down as inadmissible. Even if the confession
testimony reveals, however, that the manner by which she related it was contains a grain of truth or even if it had been voluntarily given, if it was made
punctuated with marks of tentativeness, uncertainty and indecisiveness without the assistance of counsel, it is inadmissible.
which the trial court unfortunately failed to take note of in its decision on
review. The right to counsel involves more than just the presence of a lawyer in the
courtroom or the mere propounding of standard questions and objections; rather it
b. To recapitulate, Locil claimed that on June 29, 1994 she boarded a means an efficient and decisive legal assistance and not a simple perfunctory
tricycle bearing a lesbian who invited her for a joyride, proceeded to the representation.
Mendoza Park and picked up Jocelyn, whom she was not acquainted with,
then brought by the same tricycle to Irawan where the latter was raped RATIO:
and brutally murdered. In other words, she wanted to convey that she was
deliberately brought by appellants with them on June 29, 1994 to the (1) The sole, uncorroborated testimony of an accused who turned state witness
place where they were to carry out, which they did, their abominable acts may suffice to convict his co-accused if it is given unhesitatingly and in a
against Jocelyn. This strikes this Court as improbable if not bizarre. straightforward manner and is full of details which by their nature could not have
been the result of deliberate afterthought; otherwise, it needs corroboration the
5. He does not appear to be the most guilty; and. - YES presence or lack of which may ultimately decide the cause of the prosecution and
the fate of the accused.
6. He has not at any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude. -
-YES (2) The rule in this jurisdiction is that the testimony of a self-confessed accomplice
or co-conspirator imputing the blame to or implicating his co-accused cannot, by

itself and without corroboration, be regarded as proof to a moral certainty that the
latter committed or participated in the commission of the crime. The testimony
must be substantially corroborated in its material points by unimpeachable
testimony and strong circumstances and must be to such an extent that its
trustworthiness becomes manifest.

a. Was Locil's testimony corroborated in its material points by the

prosecution's other evidence? - NO

b. If in the affirmative, was the corroborative evidence unimpeachable

testimony and strong circumstances to such an extent that Locil's
trustworthiness becomes manifest? - NO

In the appreciation of circumstantial evidence, there must be at least two

proven circumstances which in complete sequence lead to no other logical
conclusion than that of the guilt of the accused. [This was not present in
this case]


(1) Custodial investigation is the stage "where the police investigation is no longer a
general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular
suspect taken into custody by the police who carry out a process of interrogation
that lends itself to elicit incriminating statements.