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176864 December 14, 2010 Facts: On June 30, 1991 Estrellita Vizconde and her daughters Carmela, nineteen years old, and Jennifer, seven, were brutally slain at their home in Parañaque City. Following an intense investigation, the police arrested a group of suspects, some of whom gave detailed confessions. But the trial court smelled a frame-up and eventually ordered them discharged. Thus, the identities of the real perpetrators remained a mystery especially to the public whose interests were aroused by the gripping details of what everybody referred to as the Vizconde massacre. Four years later in 1995, the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI announced that it had solved the crime. It presented star-witness Jessica M. Alfaro, one of its informers, who claimed that she witnessed the crime. She pointed to accused Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, Antonio ³Tony Boy´ Lejano, Artemio ³Dong´ Ventura, Michael A. Gatchalian, Hospicio ³Pyke´ Fernandez, Peter Estrada, Miguel ³Ging´ Rodriguez, and Joey Filart as the culprits. She also tagged accused police officer, Gerardo Biong, as an accessory after the fact. Relying primarily on Alfaro's testimony, on August 10, 1995 the public prosecutors filed an information for rape with homicide against Webb, et al The Regional Trial Court of Parañaque City found Webb guilty despite his strong alibi where he claimed that he was then across the ocean in the United States of America. He presented the testimonies of witnesses as well as documentary and object evidence to prove this. But impressed by Alfaro¶s detailed narration of the crime and the events surrounding it, the trial court found a credible witness in her. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court¶s decision On April 20, 2010, as a result of its initial deliberation in this case, the Court issued a Resolution granting the request of Webb to submit for DNA analysis the semen specimen taken from Carmela¶s cadaver, which specimen was then believed still under the safekeeping of the NBI. Unfortunately, on April 27, 2010 the NBI informed the Court that it no longer has custody of the specimen, the same having been turned over to the trial court. The trial record shows, however, that the specimen was not among the object evidence that the prosecution offered in evidence in the case. This outcome prompted accused Webb to file an urgent motion to acquit on the ground that the government¶s failure to preserve such vital evidence has resulted in the denial of his right to due process Issues: 1) Whet her or not t he Court s houl d acquit hi m outr ight, gi ven t he gover nment ¶s failur e t o p r o d u c e t h e s e m e n s p e c i m e n t h a t t h e N B I f o u n d o n C a r m e l a ¶ s c a d a v e r , t h u s depriving him of evidence that would prove his innocence
c. at t he t i me s he r eveal ed her st or y. If.2) Whet her or not Alfar o¶s t es t i mony as eyewit nes s. ´ a stool pigeon. However. Gat chalian. the country did not yet have the technology for conducting the test. their badge of excellent investigative work. b. neither Webb nor his co-accused brought up the matter of preserving the specimen in the meantime. wor ki ng f or t he NBI as an ³as s et. 2) No. Alfaro had to adjust her testimony to take into account that darkened garage light. one who earned her living by fraternizing with criminals so she could squeal on them to her NBI handlers. Webb ha d no r eas on t o s mas h her front door to get to see her. the Court would have been able to determine that Alfaro committed perjury in saying that he did. they gave her all the preparations she needed for t he job of becomi ng a fair ly good s ubst it ut e wit nes s . Indeed. a. on examination. Rodr iguez. After claiming that they had solved the crime of the decade. 3 ) W h e t h e r o r n o t We b b p r e s e n t e d s u f f i c i e n t e v i d e n c e t o p r o v e h i s a libi a nd r eb ut Alfaro¶s testimony that he led the others in committing the crime Held: 1) No. obviously. F er na ndez. She is not reliable. It is a story made to fit in with the crime scene although robbery was supposedly not the reason Webb and his companions entered that house. then he did not rape Carmela. It would not be enough to acquit Webb. and no Philippine precedent had as yet recognized its admissibility as evidence. As poi nt ed out . b. spilling the contents. Her st or y was t hat Webb was Car mela¶s boyfr iend. Estra da. Webb and his fr i ends di d not ha ve anyt hi ng t o do in a dar kened gara ge. c. T hey s uppos edl y knew i n adva nce t hat Car mela left t he door s t o t he kit chen open for them. And t his is not pur e s peculat ion. the DNA of the subject specimen does not belong to Webb. the NBI people had a stake in making her sound credible and. des cr ibi ng t he cr i me and ident if yi ngWebb. She had to live a life of lies to get rewards that would pay for her subsistence and vices. S he was t heir ³ dar ling´ of an as s et. a. and t wo ot her s as t he persons who committed it. t he idea of keepi ng t he s peci men s ecur e even aft er t he tr ial cour t rejected the motion for DNA testing did not come up. Why would Ventura rummage a bag on the table for the front-door key. Thus. is entitled to belief. Alfaro was the NBI¶s star witness. when they had already gotten into the house. when Webb raised the DNA issue. It is that simple. d. Cons equent l y. e. L ejano. S he was. the rule governing DNA evidence did not yet exist.
But. We just saw each other ina disco one month ago and you told me then that you will kill me. confir med t his t o be a col d fact. And if Webb hanged ar ound wit h her. us ing her gas. he woul d s ur el y be s een wit h her. the accused in this case g. oft en a r is ing fr om a des ir e t o quickl y finis h t he job of deci di ng a cas e. He must guard agai nst s l i p p i n g i n t o hast y conclus i on. exclaiming: ³How can I forget your face. But. i. A pos it ive declar at ion fr om a wit nes s t hat he sa w t heaccused commit the crime should not automatically cancel out theaccused¶s claim that he did not do it. s oj our n d. So why would she agree to act as Webb¶s mes s enger. tryi ng t o wi n her favors. she ran berserk. t o br ing his mes sage t o Car mela at her home. what motivated Alfaro to stick it out the whole night with Webb and his friends? h. Mor e inexplicably. T her e was s uffici ent evi dence. Sacag ui ng of t he NBI. Det ails of U. a. a Congr es s ma n¶s s on. Alfaro¶s dope supplier. her e. T he travel pr eparat ions b.above. slapping andkicking Michael. Why the trial court and the Court of Appeals failed to see this is mystifying.he was not Miguel Rodriguez. Not all denials a nd alibis s houl d be r egar ded as fabr icat ed. t hat woul d be news a mong her cir cl e of fr iends if not ar ound t own. T he s econd i mmi grat ion checks e. And this would all the more be so if they had become sweethearts. T he t wo i mmi grat ion checks c. ii. P os it ive Ident ificat ion i. a lawyer and a ranki ng official. A ju dge must keep an op en mi nd. init ially s us pect ed t o be Alfar o¶s Miguel Rodriguez and showed him to Alfaro at the NBI office. A lying witness can make as positivean identification as a truthful witness can. Alfar o¶s trailing Car mela t o s py on her unfait hful nes s t o Webb di d not ma ke s ens e since she was on limited errand. as a critical witness. court ed t he young Car mela. She named Miguel ³Ging´ Rodriguez as one of the c u l p r i t s i n t h e V i z c o n d e killi ngs . he can have no ot her def ens e but denial and alibi. a relationthat Alfaro tried to project with her testimony 3) Yes . if t he accus ed is tr uly innocent. . Indeed. none of her fr iends or even t hos e who knew eit her of t hem ca me for war d t o affir m t his.´ As it turned out. If Webb. introduced her for the first time in her life to Webb and his friends in a parking lot by a mall. But when t he NBI found a certain Micha el Rodr iguez. a dr ug dependent fr om t he Bicuta n Rehabilitat i on Cent er. Ventura. f. Alfaro had to provide a r e a s o n f o r We b b t o f r e a k o u t a n d d e c i d e t o c o m e w i t h h i s f r i e n d s a n d h a r m Carmela.S. Alibi vs .
not inherently contrived iv. Gat chalian. Witness¶ story of what she personally saw must be believable. that had his name on them? ii. Alfaro¶s testimony will not hold together.S. T h e p os i t i v e i d e nt i f i c a t i o n of t h e of f e n d er mu s t c o m e f r o m a credible witness. if the Court accepts the proposition that Webb was in the U. not onl y wit hr es pect t o hi m. officially filed in the Philippines and at the airport in the U. Rodriguez.S. Estra da. to commit the crime in the Philippines and then return there? 4) Effect of Webb¶s alibi to others a.For. We b b ¶ s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i s t h e a n c h o r o f A l f a r o ¶ s s t o r y. but als o wit h r es pect t o Lejano. I mmigrat i on¶s r ecor d s ys t em t hos e t wo dates in its record of his travels as well as the dates when he supposedly departed in secret from the U. t h e e v i d e n c e against the others must necessarily fall. Webb¶s document ed alibi alt oget her i mpeaches Alfar o's t est i mony.S. Alfar o had pr ior acces s t o t he det ails that t he i nves t igat or s knew of t hecase. c .S. b. and Biong. Docu ment ed Al i bi i. How coul d Webb fix wit h t he U.iii. when the crime took place. Wit h ou t . How could Webb fix a foreign airlines¶ passenger manifest. 2. Criteria for positive identification 1. i t . F er nandez. She took advantage of her familiarity with these details f.