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G.R. No. 173793. December 4, 2007.* PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. CONRADO M. GLINO, accused-appellant.

Witnesses; The matter of assigning values to the testimonies of witnesses is best left to the discretion of the trial judge.As this Court has reiterated often enough, the matter of assigning values to the testimonies of witnesses is best left to the discretion of the trial judge. In People v. Quijada, 259 SCRA 191 (1996), the Court aptly held: Settled is the rule that the factual findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of witnesses, are accorded great weight and respect. For, the trial court has the advantage of observing the witnesses through the different indicators of truthfulness or falsehood, such as the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply; or the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the sincere or the flippant or sneering tone, the heat, the calmness, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, the carriage and mien. Criminal Law; Murder; Conspiracy; There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it, and proof of the agreement need not rest on direct evidenceproof that accused acted in concert, each of them doing his part to fulfill the common design to kill the victim will suffice to support a conviction.Even assuming, for the nonce, that it was Marvin Baloes who inflicted the fatal stab, accused-appellant cannot escape culpability. Their obvious conspiracy is borne by the records. There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. Proof of the agreement need not rest on direct evidence. It may be inferred from the conduct of accused indicating a common understanding among them with respect to the commission of the offense. It is not necessary to show that two or more persons met together and entered into an explicit agreement setting out the details of an unlawful scheme or the details by which an illegal objective is to be carried out. Proof that accused acted in concert, each of them doing his part to fulfill the common design to kill the victim will suffice to support a conviction. In conspiracy, it matters not who among the accused actually killed the victim. The act of one is the act of all; hence, it is not necessary that all the participants deliver the fatal blow. Tersely put, each of the accused will be deemed equally guilty of the crime committed. Same; Same; Alibis and Denials; Time and again, the Supreme Court has ruled that denial is the weakest of all defensesit easily crumbles in the face of positive identification by accused as the perpetrator of the crime.We sustain the RTC and the CAs rejection of accused-appellants defense founded on denial. Time and again, this Court has ruled that denial is the weakest of all defenses. It easily crumbles in the face of positive identification by accused as the perpetrator of the crime. Here, no less than two eyewitnesses in Villaruel and victim Virginia positively and categorically named Glino as one of the Boji couples assailants. Their identification of accused-appellant was unwavering, made in a simple and straightforward manner. Corollarily, they had no ill motive to testify falsely against Glino. Upon the other hand, other than his bare denial, no corroborating evidence was put forth to substantiate accused-appellants disparate account of the incident. Same; Murder; Aggravating Circumstances; Treachery; The essence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by the assailant on an unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend himself; There is treachery even if the victim had a verbal exchange with accused and his companion where the assault was sudden, swift and unexpected.That treachery or alevosia was present is incontrovertible. The essence of this qualifying circumstance is the sudden and unexpected

attack by the assailant on an unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend himself. It is employed to ensure the commission of the crime without the concomitant risk to the aggressor. The rule is well-settled in this jurisdiction that treachery may still be appreciated even though the victim was forewarned of danger to his person. What is decisive is that the attack was executed in a manner that the victim was rendered defenseless and unable to retaliate. Concededly, victim Domingo was caught unaware that an attack was forthcoming. Although he had a verbal exchange with accused-appellant and Baloes, the assault was sudden, swift and unexpected. All of the passengers inside the jeepney, including Domingo, thought all along that the tension had ceased and that Glino and Baloes were about to alight. Domingo was overpowered by accused-appellant Glino and Baloes, who took turns in stabbing the hapless victim. By all indications, Domingo was without opportunity to evade the knife thrusts, defend himself, or retaliate. In sum, the finding of treachery stands on solid legal footing. Same; Same; Rudiments of Proving Intent to Kill in Crimes against Persons; An essential element of murder and homicide, whether in their consummated, frustrated or attempted stage, is intent of the offenders to kill the victim immediately before or simultaneously with the infliction of injuries.An essential element of murder and homicide, whether in their consummated, frustrated or attempted stage, is intent of the offenders to kill the victim immediately before or simultaneously with the infliction of injuries. Intent to kill is a specific intent which the prosecution must prove by direct or circumstantial evidence, while general criminal intent is presumed from the commission of a felony by dolo. In People v. Delim, the Court had occasion to explain the rudiments of proving intent to kill in crimes against persons. It may consist in: (1) the means used by the malefactors; (2) the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by the victim; (3) the conduct of the malefactors before, at the time of, or immediately after the killing of the victim; (4) the circumstances under which the crime was committed; and (5) the motives of accused. If the victim dies as a result of a deliberate act of the malefactors, intent to kill is presumed. Same; Same; Physical Injuries; Right to be Informed; An accused may be convicted of slight, less serious or serious physical injuries in a prosecution for homicide or murder, inasmuch as the infliction of physical injuries could lead to any of the latter offenses when carried out to its utmost degree despite the fact that an essential requisite of the crime of homicide or murderintent to killis not required in a prosecution for physical injuries. Although the indictment was for attempted murder, a finding of guilt for the lesser offense of less serious physical injuries is tenable, considering that the latter offense is necessarily included in the former. The essential ingredients of physical injuries constitute and form part of those constituting the felony of murder. Simply put, an accused may be convicted of slight, less serious or serious physical injuries in a prosecution for homicide or murder, inasmuch as the infliction of physical injuries could lead to any of the latter offenses when carried out to its utmost degree despite the fact that an essential requisite of the crime of homicide or murderintent to killis not required in a prosecution for physical injuries. Penalties; Indeterminate Sentence Law; The Indeterminate Sentence Law is not applicable when the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, or where the maximum term of imprisonment is less than one year.The Indeterminate Sentence Law finds no application in both cases. The rule is well-entrenched in this jurisdiction that the law is not applicable when the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Likewise, the law does not apply to those whose maximum term of imprisonment is less than one year. APPEAL from a decision of the Court of Appeals. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Public Attorneys Office for accused-appellant. REYES, J.: BEWARE of drunk passengers. They pose danger to life and limb. Merely talking to them or telling them to sit properly can be fatal, as what happened to one of two victims in the case at bar. The present law prohibits and punishes only drunk driving. There is no law banning a drunk person from riding a public vehicle, or the latters driver from allowing a person who appears to be drunk to board a public conveyance. A drunk passenger or one under the influence of liquor or drug poses a veritable peril to the other passengers. He is prone to react irrationally and violently, due to lack or diminution of self-control. Senseless loss of lives and physical harm can be avoided, and the riding public duly protected, if the potential danger posed by drunk passengers can be addressed properly. It is the duty of the court, whenever it has knowledge of any act which it may deem proper to repress and which is not punishable by law, to report to the Chief Executive, through the Department of Justice, the reasons which induce the court to believe that said act should be made the subject of legislation.3 We leave it to the authorities concerned to do the needful as they see fit. MAG-INGAT sa mga lasing na pasahero. Silay mapanganib. Ang kausapin o sabihan lamang sila na umupo nang maayos ay maaari mong ikasawi. Ganito ang sinapit ng isa sa dalawang biktima sa kasong ito. Ang kasalukuyang batas ay nagbabawal at nagpaparusa lamang sa pagmamaneho ng lasing. Walang batas na nagbabawal sa taong lasing na sumakay sa pampublikong sasakyan, o sa drayber na payagan ang taong sa kilos ay lasing na sumakay sa pampublikong sasakyan. Ang pasaherong lasing o sino man na nasa impluwensya ng alak o droga ay may dalang panganib sa ibang pasahero. Malamang na sila ay kumilos nang walang katwiran o manakit dahil sa kabawasan ng pagwawari o pagpipigil sa sarili. Maiiwasan ang walang kabuluhang pagkitil ng buhay at pagkapinsala, at ang mga namamasahe ay mapangangalagaan laban sa panganib, kung itoy mabibigyan ng karampatang lunas. Tungkulin ng hukuman, kung alam nito na ang isang gawa ay marapat supilin at hindi pa ipinagbabawal ng batas, na ipagbigay-alam sa Pangulo, sa pamamagitan ng Kagawaran ng Katarungan, ang mga dahilan na pinaniniwalaan ng hukuman kung bakit ang nasabing gawa ay dapat maging layon ng pagsasabatas. Ipinapaubaya namin sa kinauukulang maykapangyarihan kung ano ang dapat gawin. Before the Court is an appeal under Rule 124, Section 13(c)4 of the 2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended by A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC, from the Judgment5 of the Court of Appeals (CA) affirming in toto the Decision6 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Las Pias City, Metro Manila, convicting accused-appellant Conrado Glino of murder and attempted murder for the senseless killing of Domingo Boji and the stabbing of his wife, Virginia Boji. The Facts On November 15, 1998, at around 7:20 p.m., in Moonwalk, Las Pias City, husband and wife Domingo and Virginia Boji hailed a passenger jeepney bound for Alabang-Zapote Road. The couple sat on the two remaining vacant seats on opposing rows of the jeepney. Virginia seated herself on the vehicles left side while Domingo occupied the vacant seat at the right row. Moments later, the woman seated next to Virginia alighted. Accused-appellant Conrado Glino took her place. He was reeking of liquor. As the jeepney ran its normal route, Virginia noticed accused-appellant inching closer to her. His head eventually found its way on Virginias shoulder. Irked, Virginia sought accused-appellants attention and asked him to sit

properly, citing adequate space. Accused-appellant angrily replied, Oh, kung ayaw mong may katabi, bumaba ka, at magtaxi ka! Virginia decided to ignore his snide remarks. She then turned her back on him. Accused-appellant, however, persisted in violating Virginias personal space, leaning on the latters shoulders. It was at this point that Domingo decided to tell Glino to sit properly. Accused-appellant arrogantly retorted, Anong pakialam mo? Domingo reasoned out that he is Virginias husband. Domingo further said, Kasi lalasing-lasing ka, hindi mo naman kaya! Marvin Baloes, who, it turned out, was Glinos equally drunk companion, cursed Domingo. Baloes then provokingly asked the latter, Anong gusto mo? Domingo replied, Wala akong sinabing masama. After the heated verbal tussle, accused-appellant and Baloes appeared to have calmed down, confining themselves to whispering to one another. When the jeepney approached Casimiro Village, Baloes turned to the driver and told him that he and Glino were about to alight. As the jeepney ground to a halt, Baloes unexpectedly drew an improvised knife and stabbed Domingo iN the chest. Accusedappellant then unfolded a 29-inch Batangas knife (balisong) and joined Baloes in stabbing Domingo. Surprised and shocked at the sudden attack, Domingo failed to offer any form of resistance to the duos vicious assault. In all, Domingo sustained nine stab wounds throughout his body. Virginia tried vainly to shield Domingo from his assailants. She tightly embraced Domingo. Virginias efforts, however, all went for naught as accused-appellant Glino and Baloes were unrelenting. When the senseless assault ceased, Virginia found herself bloodied from incised wounds in her fingers. The other passengers of the jeepney scampered for the nearest exit immediately after the first blow was struck. Some of them had to resort to jumping from the vehicles window to avoid harms way. Accused-appellant Glino and Baloes attempted to flee the scene of the crime and ran towards Camella Center. Baloes, however, fell down to the ground due to intoxication. Glino, unmindful of his companion, was able to run a distance of 45 meters before he was apprehended by traffic enforcers Alvin Cristobal and Ruben Ramirez. The two traffic aides, who were the first to respond to the crime scene, caught sight of the slow-moving jeepney and of the passengers jumping off it. With the help of a concerned motorist, they were able to pin Baloes and Glino to the ground. They later turned the two suspects over to the police, who arrived shortly thereafter. Subsequently, Virginia and Domingo were brought to the University of Perpetual Help, Rizal Medical Center in Las Pias City. Domingo was, however, pronounced dead after a few minutes. Domingos chest wound proved mortal. On November 18, 1998, accused-appellant Glino and Baloes were indicted for murder for the death of Domingo Boji and attempted murder for the stabbing of Virginia Boji. The accusatory part of the Information for murder reads: Criminal Case No. 98-1310: That on or about the 15th day of November 1998, in the City of Las Pias, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together and both of them mutually helping and aiding each other, with intent to kill by means of treachery and evident premeditation and without any justifiable cause, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and stab with bladed weapons one Domingo Boji y Daza, suddenly and without warning hitting him on the different parts of his body, thereby inflicting upon him serious and mortal stab wounds which directly caused his death. CONTRARY TO LAW. The indictment for attempted murder bears the following accusation: Criminal Case No. 98-1311:

That on or about the 15th day of November 1998, in the City of Las Pias, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together, acting in common accord and mutually helping and aiding each other, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, and without any justifiable cause, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, and stab with bladed weapons one Virginia Boji y Revillas, suddenly and without warning, thereby commencing the commission of murder directly by overt acts but did not perform all the acts of execution which would produce the crime of murder as a consequence by reason of some cause or accident other than their own spontaneous desistance, that is, because the injury inflicted to Virginia Boji y Revillas was not sufficient to cause her death. CONTRARY TO LAW. On June 15, 1999, accused Marvin Baloes succumbed to cardio-pulmonary arrest while on detention. Consequently, his name was dropped from the information. Pre-trial commenced with respect only to accused-appellant Glino. Thereafter, trial ensued. The Peoples evidence, which essayed the foregoing facts, was principally supplied by Enrique Villaruel, Virginia Boji, SPO2 Wilfredo Dalawangbayan and Alvin Cristobal. Villaruel testified that he was a co-passenger of the spouses Boji in the jeepney where the gruesome stabbing incident took place. Villaruel was then on his way home to Anabu I, Cavite. He witnessed the crime as it unfolded. According to him, accused-appellant Glino and Baloes both stabbed Domingo; that accused-appellant was armed with a Batangas knife while Baloes used an improvised knife; that the improvised knife was left on the floor of the jeepney as accused-appellant and Baloes fled the scene of the crime. Virginia narrated that she distinctly saw Baloes stab Domingo in the chest area. Glino was blocking her path, preventing her from giving aid to her husband. When Domingo was about to fall down from where he was seated, she embraced him. As she was holding Domingo, a knife was thrusted into her, wounding her in the hands. On cross-examination, she disclosed she did not see who between accused-appellant and Baloes caused her wounds; that she saw accused-appellant Glino stab her husband; that they met accused-appellant and Baloes only in the jeepney. SPO2 Dalawangbayan testified that he was the investigator assigned to handle the case involving accused-appellant and Baloes. The two suspects were turned over to him by traffic aides Cristobal and Ramirez. Likewise turned over to him was a bladed weapon, a 12inch improvised knife, confiscated from the person of Baloes. At the hospital, he found Domingo in critical condition. He later learned that the victim expired shortly after his visit. Virginia suffered from incised wounds in her right hand. After concluding his investigation, he prepared a report. Cristobal narrated that he is a traffic aide assigned at the Casimiro and BF Resort intersection in Las Pias City. On the night in question, he noticed a slow-moving passenger jeepney creeping onto the sidewalk. Moments later, the jeepneys passengers were jumping out of its windows. Suspecting a robbery, he and his partner Ramirez immediately gave chase. A man with bloodied clothes, later identified as Baloes, ran away from the vehicle but fell to the ground shortly after. Another man, accused-appellant Glino, was able to run for more than five minutes before they caught up with him. He and Ramirez later executed a Pinagsamang Sinumpaang Salaysay. Upon the other hand, the trial court summed up accused-appellants defense, anchored on plain denial, in the following tenor: The evidence for the defense consists mainly of the lone testimony of accused Conrado Glino, who testified that he is the same accused in this case for murder. He did not know the other accused Marvin Baloes prior to November 15, 1998 whom he knew only at the UI for the first time. On November 15, 1998, at around 7:20 in the evening, he was inside the

passenger jeepney which he boarded at Equitable, Las Pias City near Moonwalk to go home at Imus, Cavite. He did not have any companion. He rode on a passenger jeep bound to Zapote. He could not recall the number of people inside the jeepney because the seats were all occupied. He occupied the right side seat of the driver at the middle of the seat on the right side. Then he saw the victim was stabbed by accused Baloes. He knew the name of Baloes while they were detained at the UI. He did not know who was stabbed. The stabbing took place between the areas of Casimiro and Uniwide. The person stabbed died. He was there watching while the person was being stabbed by Baloes who was seated also at the right side inside the jeep but seated at the rear most portion of the jeep. The person stabbed seated at the left seat inside the jeep and seating also at the rear portion of the jeep. Baloes stabbed the person in his body, started at the chest, stomach and other parts of the body. He did not know how many times Baloes stabbed the victim. There was an argument between Baloes and the wife of the victim prior to the stabbing incident. They had an argument for a short period of time which he did not know what it was about. They were at the vicinity near Uniwide when the argument started. He would not know how long the argument lasted and would not recall the statements of the lady. He said they were having an argument because the lady seating beside Baloes and after that lady was only a passenger away from him. Victim said to Baloes while pointing his finger Tumigil ka dyan, susuntukin kita. Then Baloes suddenly drew a bladed weapon and stabbed him. Together with other passengers, they alighted from the vehicle because he was afraid. He waited for another passenger jeep so he could go home. He was not able to go home because he was arrested by the police. He could not estimate how many minutes lapsed after he was able to go down that jeep when he was arrested as he had no wrist watch, but that was for a short period of time. Ramirez, the not so tall police officer, arrested them and they were brought to the UI after he and Baloes were immediately handcuffed using only 1 handcuff. Baloes hurriedly went down and ran away after the incident, going back towards Moonwalk. He was not arrested at the same place where Baloes was arrested. He denied the testimony of Mrs. Boji that he and Baloes had an argument inside the jeepney they were riding regarding some space and requested that he move a bit which caused the commotion resulting to this incident. While they were having an argument, he was seated inside the jeep and he just looked at them. He denied having argued with Mrs. Boji and said that none argued with him. He knows that Baloes died already (TSN, 1 September 2004). On cross-examination, he declared that his complete name is Conrado Montes Glino. Her mothers name is Juliana Montes Glino. He denied knowing the middle name of co-accused Marvin, Montes Baloes. Shown a copy of the Information where it appeared that the middle name of Marvin Baloes is also Montes, he agreed that the middle name is Montes. His place of residence is Malagasan 1st, Imus, Cavite. Baloes did not tell him while they were under the custody of the police that he is also a resident of Malagasan 1st, Imus, Cavite. He did not ask Baloes where he was from while they were together at the UI. But he admitted that on November 15, 1998, at around 7:20 in the evening, he and Baloes were on board one and the same jeepney bound for Zapote; that while the jeep was near Uniwide Metro Mall, there was an untoward incident that took place inside the jeep; that in that incident, a certain Domingo Boji was stabbed to death. He did not know that Virginia Boji was also stabbed and wounded. He would not know how many the passengers were in that jeepney as he failed to count, but there were many passengers. Both seats at the back were occupied by passengers, but he did not notice if the seat in front of the jeepney was also occupied. There was a commotion when Domingo was stabbed. He immediately alighted the vehicle because he was afraid and waited for another jeepney to transfer to another bound to Zapote. He admitted that among the passengers, only he and Baloes were arrested by the police officers because he was pointed to by the witness as the assailant of Domingo Boji. Until the time of hearing, no one among the jeepney passengers were arrested for the death of Domingo and injury inflicted to Virginia Boji. His co-accused, in this case, Marvin Baloes is

already dead. He has no other co-accused except Baloes. He came to know her before she took the witness stand and positively identified him as the assailant. When he was arrested by the police officers, he shouted why they arrested him and the police said that he had to go with them and just explain at the police precinct. He did not resist when the police officers arrested him. He was forced to go with them because they handcuffed him. He was waiting for a ride as he would transfer to another jeepney in going home. It was PO Ramirez who arrested him. He did not file a case against Ramirez for arresting him without a valid reason because he was at the detention cell nor seek for help in filing a case against Ramirez because he did not know how as that was the first time he had a case. He had plan to file the case against Ramirez who brought him at the UI before PO1 Dalawangbayan. They were not investigated nor interrogated. He stayed at the UI for one week, then he was transferred at the Las Pias City jail. He told the police investigator, PO1 Dalawangbayan, that it was Baloes who stabbed and killed Domingo Boji but that was not included in the incident. PO1 Dalawangbayan did not do anything when he told him that he was not included in the stabbing incident because the one who was talking only was Virginia Boji. He did not ask PO1 Dalawangbayan to enter his statement in the blotter. Before he was transferred to the city jail of Las Pias City, he was brought to the City Prosecutors Office for inquest (TSN, 22 September 2004). RTC and CA Dispositions On November 22, 2004, the RTC handed down a judgment of conviction, disposing as follows: WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered finding accused Conrado M. Glino GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Murder and Attempted Murder and hereby sentenced as follows: 1. In Criminal Case No. 98-1310, to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua and its accessory penalty and indemnify the heirs of Domingo Boji y Daza the sum of P50,000.00; 2. Criminal Case No. 98-1311, to suffer an indeterminate prison term of 4 years and 2 months of prision correccional medium as minimum, to 8 years and 1 day of prision mayor medium as maximum and to suffer the accessory penalty provided for by law and pay Virginia Boji y Revillas the sum of P101,549.00 actual damages and the sum of P100,000.00 moral damages; 3. And to pay the costs in both cases. Accused-appellant elevated his conviction to the CA by way of an intermediate review, conformably with the ruling in People v. Mateo.34 On May 26, 2006, the CA affirmed the RTC judgment in full. The fallo of the CA decision reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed decision dated November 22, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 275, Las Pias City in Criminal Cases Nos. 98-1310 and 981311 is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. Issues Undaunted, accused-appellant interposed the present recourse. On September 13, 2006, We resolved to require the parties to submit their respective supplemental briefs, if they so desired, within thirty (30) days from notice. In a Manifestation dated November 13, 2006, the Office of the Solicitor General, for plaintiff-appellee, opted to dispense with the filing of a supplemental brief. Accusedappellant, through the Public Attorneys Office, hoists the same lone error he raised before the appellate court, viz.: THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RENDERING A VERDICT OF CONVICTION DESPITE THE PRIVATE COMPLAINANTS ADMISSION THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DID NOT STAB HER HUSBAND AND THAT SHE DID NOT SEE THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT STABBED HER. In his supplemental brief, accused-appellant contends that the identity of the assailant was

not firmly established. The evidence, he argues, points to Baloes, who died even before the trial began, as the perpetrator of Domingos killing and Virginias stabbing. In the alternative, accused-appellant submits that he is guilty of homicide and attempted homicide only, not murder and attempted murder, due to the absence of the qualifying circumstance of treachery. Our Ruling We first tackle the conviction for murder. Positive Identification Accused-appellant makes capital of Virginias identification of Baloes as the person who stabbed her husband, Domingo. According to him, the trial court gravely erred in rejecting his defense that he was an innocent bystander. He insists he was not acquainted with Baloes. They met each other only when they were both tagged by the police as the persons responsible for the melee. We are unconvinced. The witnesses for the People were consistent in the identification of accused-appellant as one of two assailants who mortally stabbed Domingo. Villaruel, a key eyewitness for the prosecution, testified thus: Q: Mr. Witness, at about seven-twenty in the evening of November 15, 1998, do you remember where you were then? A: Yes, Sir. Q: Where were you at that time? A: I was at the corner of Angela Village in Alabang, Zapote Road waiting for a ride. Q: While you are waiting there, waiting for a ride at the said place, do you remember what happened next, if any? A: So when I was able to take a ride a jeepney in the road going to Baclaran, that is the time that I witness the incident. Q: And then, by the way, where were you going at that time, Mr. Witness? A: I was on my way going on at Anabu I, Cavite. Q: Mr. Witness, after you took a ride in a passenger jeepney going to on your way home, do you remember what happened next, if any? A: When I boarded the jeepney, the jeepney has no vacancy, so I just hang-on at the back of the jeepney. Q: And then, what else happened after that, if you remember? A: When we are already traveled a short distance, one of the passenger alighted, sitted (sic) on the left side. Q: And, what happened next, after you are able to take a sit inside the passenger jeepney. After one of the passenger alighted? A: After a while, another passenger alighted on the right seat of the jeepney.

Q: What else happened after another passenger alighted from the said jeepney? A: And then, that is the time that I noticed that the two male persons moved closely to the woman, who is sitted in front of me. Q: And then, what happened next, after you noticed two men moved closely to a woman, in front of yours? A: One of the male passengers, who moved closely to the woman, little bit lay down his head on the shoulder of the woman. Q: And, what the woman do after this male passenger lay down his head on the shoulder of the woman? A: I saw that the woman is avoiding the male passenger, and one of my seatmates on my right side spoke and asked the male passenger to sit properly. Q: And what did this male passenger do after the man sitted before you told him to sit properly? A: He answered and said ANONG PAKIALAM MO! Q: And what was the reaction of the man sitted beside you, when the male passenger said ANONG PAKIALAM MO!? A: And that, and he answered that because that woman were you lying is my wife. Q: And what did the male passenger do after the said man introduced himself as the husband of the female passenger? A: NAGMURA PO. Q: What else happened after the male passenger coursed him? A: And then the other male passenger who moved closely to the woman told that KASI, LALASING-LASING KA HINDI MO NAMAN KAYA. Q: And what else happened after that? A: The man sitted beside me thought that it was already okay, but it is not, because the two male persons, who moved closely to the woman, were companions, were together and one of them asked to alight from the vehicle. Q: And what happened next after one of the two male persons, who moved closely to the woman, told to alight? A: Now, we thought that they are going to alight from the vehicle but when they stood up, they talked to one another and suddenly stabbed the male passenger, sitted beside me. Q: Who among these two male passengers stabbed the man sitted beside you? A: The one who stabbed is the one who pacified the incident that happened before and the

second stabbed was made by the other male passenger. Q: How many times did these two male passengers stabbed the man, who was sitted beside you? A: I cannot count but I know it is many times. Villaruels account of the incident dovetails significantly with that of Virginia: Q: Madam Witness, at about seven-twenty in the evening of November 15, 1998, do you remember where you were then? A: Yes, Sir. Q: Where were you at that time? A: We were at Moonwalk. Q: You said we, who are your companions at that time? A: My husband, Sir. Q: Who is your husband? A: Domingo Boji, Sir. Q: Why were you there at the said place during that particular date and time with your husband? A: We bought fish. Q: And, after you bought fish, do you remember what happened next, if any? A: And then after that my husband stopped a jeepney bound to Alabang Zapote. Q: What happened next, after your husband stopped a passenger jeepney bound for Zapote? A: Then we boarded a jeepney, with one vacant seat on the right and one on the left. Q: And where did you seat when you boarded a passenger jeepney? A: On the left side, Sir. Q: And how about your husband, where did he seat? A: On the right side, Sir. Q: And then, while you were then on board of the said passenger jeepney, at that time, do you remember what happened next, if any? A: While we are on board of the jeepney and the jeepney is on motion, seated on my right side is a lady. Q: And how about on your left side, do you know who was sitting?

A: A lady also, Sir. Q: And what else happened after that? A: And then, after a while, the lady on my right side alighted. Q: And then, what happened next, after the lady sitting on your right side alighted from the jeepney? A: Suddenly, who is drunk get near to me. Q: And how did you come to know that this man, who went near beside you, was drunk? A: Because he smells liquor. Q: And then what happened next after this man, you claimed drunk, seated beside you? A: And then he leaned on my shoulder. Q: And what did you do after this man on your shoulder? A: I asked him to move away, considering that there is still a space. Q: And what was the reaction of this man? A: He got mad at me and he said OH, KUNG AYAW MONG MAY KATABI, BUMABA KA, AT MAGTAXI KA. Q: And what did you do after this man got mad at you and ordered you to alight from the said jeepney? A: So I turned my back to him. Q: And what happened next after you turned your back to him? A: And again he leaned on my shoulder. Q: What happened next after this man leaned again on your shoulder? A: And he was accosted by my husband. Q: How did your husband accosted this man? A: My husband asked him to sit properly, and he said that I am his wife. Q: And what was the reaction of this man? A: His companion got mad. Q: Where was the companion of the drunk man seated, who got angry? A: Beside the man, who is drunk.

Q: And then what else happened? Court: This man, who was leaning on your shoulder, and the man, who got mad, was seated side by side? A: Yes, Your Honor. Q: What did this companion of the man, seated beside you, tell you, if any? A: He answered my husband and asked what do you want. Q: And what was the reply of your husband? A: My husband answered I did not say anything wrong. Q: What was the reply of this companion of the man seated beside you? A: None, Sir. Q: What else happened, while you were there on board of the said passenger jeepney? A: While we are still on board on the jeepney approaching the place of Casimiro Village, and the jeepney moves slowly, the companion of this drunk man asked thedriver to stop because they will alight. Q: And then what happened after that, after the companion of this drunk man ordered the driver to stop? A: When this man asked his companion, the drunk man, to alight from the vehicle, and I am seated, while I am looking down and I noticed, I looked to them they are going to alight the vehicle I noticed that they suddenly stabbed my husband. And the two persons announced HOLDAP ITO. And when I look to them, I saw that they stabbed my husband. Court Interpreter: As the witness demonstrating while it seems that she was stabbed on the downward thrust and the husband was stabbed on the chest. Q: Who are these man, you are referring to, who stabbed your husband? A: The one who died already, Marvin. Q: Who was this Marvin, the one seated beside you or the companion of the drunk man? A: The other man, Sir. Q: Did you notice how many times Marvin stabbed your husband? A: When I look again, I noticed that only once because the knife is still on the chest of my husband. Court:

Where was your husband seated in relation to your seat? A: In front of me, Your Honor, on the other side. Q: And what did you do when you saw Marvin stabbed your husband? A: None, Sir, I am just looking to nothing. Q: And after Marvin stabbed your husband, do you remember what happened next, if any? A: Because Conrado is blocking me, he is in front of me, it seems that they are gambling to a knife to one another. Q: And then, what else happened after that? A: And then, when I looked at them again, I saw that my husband seems to fall from where he was seated, so I embraced, then another stab came in hit my hands.39 As this Court has reiterated often enough, the matter of assigning values to the testimonies of witnesses is best left to the discretion of the trial judge.40 In People v. Quijada,41 the Court aptly held: Settled is the rule that the factual findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of witnesses, are accorded great weight and respect. For, the trial court has the advantage of observing the witnesses through the different indicators of truthfulness or false-hood, such as the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer or the forthright tone of a ready reply; or the furtive glance, the blush of conscious shame, the hesitation, the sincere or the flippant or sneering tone, the heat, the calmness, the yawn, the sigh, the candor or lack of it, the scant or full realization of the solemnity of an oath, the carriage and mien. The doctrine was reiterated with greater firmness in the ponencia of now Chief Justice Reynato Puno in People v. Ave: x x x It is an established rule that when it comes to credibility of witnesses, appellate courts generally do not overturn the findings of trial courts. The latter are in a best position to ascertain and measure the sincerity and spontaneity of witnesses through their actual observation of the witnesses manner of testifying, demeanor, and behavior in court. x x x Verily, compared to appellate magistrates who merely deal and contend with the cold and inanimate pages of the transcript of stenographic notes and the original records brought before them, the trial judge confronts the victim or his heirs, the accused and their respective witnesses. He personally observes their conduct, demeanor and deportment while responding to the questions propounded by both the prosecutor and defense counsel. Moreover, it is also the trial judge who has the opportunity to pose clarificatory questions to the parties. Elsewise stated, when a trial judge makes his findings as to the issue of credibility, such findings, especially if affirmed by the CA, bear great weight, at times even finality, on the Court.43 We see no cogent reason to depart from these settled doctrines. Conspiracy Even assuming, for the nonce, that it was Marvin Baloes who inflicted the fatal stab, accused-appellant cannot escape culpability. Their obvious conspiracy is borne by the records. There is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. Proof of the agreement need not rest on direct evidence. It may be inferred from the conduct of accused indicating a common understanding among them with respect to the commission of the offense. It is not necessary to show that two or more persons met together and entered into an

explicit agreement setting out the details of an unlawful scheme or the details by which an illegal objective is to be carried out. Proof that accused acted in concert, each of them doing his part to fulfill the common design to kill the victim will suffice to support a conviction.45 In conspiracy, it matters not who among the accused actually killed the victim. The act of one is the act of all; hence, it is not necessary that all the participants deliver the fatal blow. Tersely put, each of the accused will be deemed equally guilty of the crime committed. The acts of accused-appellant Glino and Baloes before, during and after the killing of Domingo are indicative of a joint purpose, concerted action and concurrence of sentiment. In her testimony before the trial court, Virginia categorically narrated that while Baloes was stabbing Domingo, accusedappellant Glino was blocking her path, effectively preventingher from rendering aid to her husband.47 Accused-appellant later joined Baloes in stabbing Domingo with a Batangas knife. Lame Denial Too, we sustain the RTC and the CAs rejection of accusedappellants defense founded on denial. Time and again, this Court has ruled that denial is the weakest of all defenses. It easily crumbles in the face of positive identification by accused as the perpetrator of the crime.49 Here, no less than two eyewitnesses in Villaruel and victim Virginia positively and categorically named Glino as one of the Boji couples assailants. Their identification of accused-appellant was unwavering, made in a simple and straightforward manner. Corollarily, they had no ill motive to testify falsely against Glino.50 Upon the other hand, other than his bare denial, no corroborating evidence was put forth to substantiate accusedappellants disparate account of the incident. Treachery Accused-appellant next argues that he should be made liable for homicide only. He claims treachery did not attend the killing of Domingo. That treachery or alevosia was present is incontrovertible. The essence of this qualifying circumstance is the sudden and unexpected attack by the assailant on an unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend himself. It is employed to ensure the commission of the crime without the concomitant risk to the aggressor. The rule is wellsettled in this jurisdiction that treachery may still be appreciated even though the victim was forewarned of danger to his person. What is decisive is that the attack was executed in a manner that the victim was rendered defenseless and unable to retaliate. Concededly, victim Domingo was caught unaware that an attack was forthcoming. Although he had a verbal exchange with accused-appellant and Baloes, the assault was sudden, swift and unexpected. All of the passengers inside the jeepney, including Domingo, thought all along that the tension had ceased and that Glino and Baloes were about to alight. Domingo was overpowered by accused-appellant Glino and Baloes, who took turns in stabbing the hapless victim. By all indications, Domingo was without opportunity to evade the knife thrusts, defend himself, or retaliate. In sum, the finding of treachery stands on solid legal footing. No Attempted Murder But Less Serious Physical Injuries We now proceed to calibrate accused-appellants liability for the incised wounds sustained by Virginia. Both the trial court and the appellate court found Glino liable for attempted murder. The RTC and the CA are in agreement that there was intent to kill Virginia as well. An essential element of murder and homicide, whether in their consummated, frustrated or

attempted stage, is intent of the offenders to kill the victim immediately before or simultaneously with the infliction of injuries. Intent to kill is a specific intent which the prosecution must prove by direct or circumstantial evidence, while general criminal intent is presumed from the commission of a felony by dolo.54 In People v. Delim,55 the Court had occasion to explain the rudiments of proving intent to kill in crimes against persons. It may consist in: (1) the means used by the malefactors; (2) the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by the victim; (3) the conduct of the malefactors before, at the time of, or immediately after the killing of the victim; (4) the circumstances under which the crime was committed; and (5) the motives of accused. If the victim dies as a result of a deliberate act of the malefactors, intent to kill is presumed. In the case under review, intent to kill Virginia is betrayed by the conduct of accusedappellant and his co-assailant Baloes before, at the time of, and immediately after the commission of the crime. In her testimony before the trial court, Virginia disclosed that she was shocked and was initially unable to come to Domingos succor as the first blow was struck; that as Domingo was about to fall down from where he was seated, she embraced him; that she tried to shield him from further attacks; that when the assault ceased, her finger was gushing with blood. If the assailants also intended to kill her, they could have easily stabbed her in any vital part of her body. They did not. The nature and location of her wound militates against the finding of their intent to kill. According to the physician whoexamined her immediately after the incident, Virginia suffered from an incised wound measuring 2.5 centimeters by 0.2 centimeter in her fifth digit, right hand.58 Gleaned from the foregoing, it is crystal-clear that the wound on Virginia was inflicted during her attempt to shield Domingo from accused-appellants and Baloes knife thrusts. It bears stressing that Virginia embraced Domingo while the assault upon him was at its peak. Evidently, the wound was inflicted while she was in that position. The wound required medical attendance, and rendered Virginia incapable of labor, for a period of ten (10) to thirty (30) days.59 Clearly, accused-appellant Glino should be held liable for less serious physical injuries only, and not attempted murder. Although the indictment was for attempted murder, a finding of guilt for the lesser offense of less serious physical injuries is tenable, considering that the latter offense is necessarily included in the former. The essential ingredients of physical injuries constitute and form part of those constituting the felony of murder. Simply put, an accused may be convicted of slight, less serious or serious physical injuries in a prosecution for homicide or murder, inasmuch as the infliction of physical injuries could lead to any of the latter offenses when carried out to its utmost degree despite the fact that an essential requisite of the crime of homicide or murder intent to killis not required in a prosecution for physical injuries. Penalties Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, penalizes murder in this wise: Article 248. Murder.Any person who, not falling within the provision of Article 246, shall kill another, shall be guilty of Murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death if committed with any of the following attendant circumstances: 1. With treachery, taking advantage of superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing means to weaken the defense, or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity; There being no averment of mitigating nor aggravating circumstance63 that attended the killing of Domingo, the proper imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua, pursuant to Article 63(2) of the RPC. On the other hand, Article 265 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes less serious physical injuries in the following manner: Article 265. Less serious physical injuries.Any person who shall inflict upon another

physical injuries not described in the preceding articles but which shall incapacitate the offended party for labor for ten days or more, or shall require medical attendance for the same period, shall be guilty of less serious physical injuries and shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor. Again, absent any appreciable mitigating or aggravating circumstance, the penalty of arresto mayor (1 month and 1 day to 6 months) should be imposed in its medium period (between 2 months and 1 day to 4 months). The Indeterminate Sentence Law finds no application in both cases. The rule is wellentrenched in this jurisdiction that the law is not applicable when the penalty imposed is death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Likewise, the law does not apply to those whose maximum term of imprisonment is less than one year. Damages We have arrived at the award of damages. When death results due to a crime, the heirs of the victim are entitled to the following damages: (1) civil indemnity; (2) actual or compensatory damages; (3) moral damages; (4) exemplary damages; and (5) temperate damages.66 Civil indemnity is mandatory and granted to the heirs of the murder victim without need of further proof.67 Under current jurisprudence, the award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto is in order. We sustain the award of actual damages in the amount of P101,549.00. The heirs of the victim Domingo were able to prove during the trial, with proper receipts, that they incurred the said expense. The trial court and the CA, however, blundered a bit in awarding P100,000.00 as moral damages. Prevailing jurisprudence dictates that in murder, an award of moral damages in the amount of P50,000.00 is sufficient.68 For the less serious physical injuries inflicted on Virginia Boji, moral damages in the sum of P10,000.00 is warranted.69 The heirs of the victim Domingo Boji are likewise entitled to an additional award of P25,000.00 by way of exemplary damages since the People clearly established treachery in the prosecution for murder.70 Exemplary damages in the amount of P10,000.00 should also be awarded to Virginia Boji in the separate conviction for less serious physical injuries.71 When a crime is committed with an aggravating circumstance, either qualifying or generic, an award of exemplary damages is justified under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code.72 WHEREFORE, the appealed judgment is MODIFIED in that, in Criminal Case No. 98-1310, accused-appellant Conrado Glino is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Murder for the killing of Domingo Boji and is hereby sentenced to reclusion perpetua with its accessory penalties. He is ordered to indemnify the heirs of the victim in the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P101,549.00 as actual damages, P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as exemplary damages. In Criminal Case No. 98-1311, accused-appellant is likewise found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Less Serious Physical Injuries for wounding Virginia Boji and he is sentenced to suffer the straight penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor, and to pay the victim the sums of P10,000.00 as moral damages and another P10,000.00 by way of exemplary damages. SO ORDERED. Ynares-Santiago (Chairperson), Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales** and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur. Judgment modified. [People vs. Glino, 539 SCRA 432(2007)]

Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManila EN BANC G.R. No. L-19069 October 29, 1968

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.AMADEO PERALTA, ET AL., defendants, ANDRES FACTORA, LEONARDO DOSAL, ANGEL PARUMOG, AMADEO PERALTA, FLORENCIO LUNA and GERVASIO LARITA, defendants-review. Assistant Solicitors General Vicente A. Torres and Antonio Ibarra for plaintiff-appellee.J. R. Nuguid for defendants-review. PER CURIAM: In the decision in criminal case 7705 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal,subject of the present automatic review, Amadeo Peralta, Andres Factora, Leonardo Dosal, Angel Parumog, Gervasio Larita and Florencio Luna (six among the twenty-two defendants1 charged therein with multiple murder) were pronounced guilty, and all sentenced to death, to indemnify jointly and severally the heirs of each of the victims, namely, Jose Carriego, Eugenio Barbosa and Santos Cruz, in the sum of P6,000, and each to pay his corresponding share of the costs. The information recites: That on or about the 16th day of February, 1958, in the municipality of Muntinglupa, province of Rizal, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, who are convicts confined in the New Bilibid Prisons by virtue of final judgments, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping and aiding one another, with evident premeditation and treachery, all armed with deadly weapons, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kill Jose Carriego, Eugenio Barbosa and Santos Cruz, also convicts confined in the same institution, by hitting, stabbing and striking them with ice picks, clubs and other improvised weapons, pointed and/or sharpened, thereby inflicting upon the victims multiple serious injuries which directly caused their deaths. That the aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism is present in the commission of the crime in that the crime was committed after the accused have been convicted by final judgments and while they are serving the said judgments in the New Bilibid Prisons. Contrary to law with the following aggravating circumstances: 1. That the crime was committed with insult to public authorities; 2. That the crime was committed by a band; 3. That the crime was committed by armed men or persons who insure or afford impunity;

4. That use of superior strength or means was employed to weaken the defense; 5. That as a means to the commission of the crime doors and windows have been broken; 6. That means was employed which add ignominy to the natural effects of the act; 7. That the crime was committed where public authorities were engaged in the discharge of their duties. Upon motion of the provincial fiscal before trial, the lower court dismissed the charge against one of the accused2 for lack of evidence. After the prosecution had rested its case, the charges against six of the accused3 were dismissed for failure of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case against them. One of the defendants died4 during the pendency of the case. After trial, the court a quo acquitted eight5 of the remaining defendants. As early as in 1956, a great number of inmates confined in the national penitentiary at Muntinglupa arrayed themselves into two warring gangs, the "Sigue-Sigue" and the "OXO", the former composed predominantly of Tagalog inmates, the latter comprised mainly of prisoners from the Visayas and Mindanao. Since then the prison compound has been rocked time and time again by bloody riots resulting in the death of many of their members and suspected sympathizers. In an effort to avert violent clashes between the contending groups, prison officials segrerated known members of the "Sigue-Sigue" from those of the "OXO". Building 1 housed "Sigue-Sigue" members, while a majority of the prisoners confined in Bldg. 4 belonged to the "OXO". Even in Bldg. 4, which is composed of four brigades, namely, 4-A and 4-B (upper floor) and 4-C and 4-D (first floor), inmates from Visayas and Mindanao, from whom the "OXO" drew most of its members, were confined in 4-A. It was at about 7:00 a.m. on February 16, 1958, while the inmates of the penitentiary were preparing to attend Sunday mass, that a fight between two rival members of the "SigueSigue" and "OXO" gangs occurred in the plaza where the prisoners were assembled, causing a big commotion. The fight was, however, quelled, and those involved were led away for investigation, while the rest of the prisoners were ordered to return to their respective quarters. Hardly had conditions returned to normal when a riot broke out in Bldg. 1, a known lair of the "Sigue-Sigue". The inmates thereof tried to invade Bldg. 4, where many members and sympathizers of the "OXO" gang were confined. The timely arrival of the guards forced the invading inmates to retreat and return to Bldg. 1. Moments later, another riot erupted in Bldg. 4, as the inmates of brigade 4-A destroyed the lock of their door and then rampaged from one brigade to another. The invading prisoners from 4-A, mostly "OXO" members and sympathizers, clubbed and stabbed to death Jose Carriego, an inmate of 4-B. Afterwards, they forcibly opened the door of 4-C and killed two more inmates, namely, Eugenio Barbosa and Santos Cruz. The three victims sustained injuries which swiftly resulted in their death before they could be brought to the hospital. Jose Carriego: (a) lacerated wound on the lower lip, 5 cm. in length and 3 cm.in depth; (b) contusion and hematoma of the back of the neck, about 2 inches in diameter; and (c) five punctured wounds in the chest, penetrating the lungs. Cause of death: internal hemorrhage from multiple fatal wounds in the chest.

Eugenio Barbosa: (a) lacerated wound in the occipital region, 3 inches in length and 1 cm. in depth; (b) two penetrating wounds in the abdomen, puncturing the intestines; (c) lacerated wounds on the right oxilla, 3 cm. in length and 2 cm. in depth; and (d) several bruises at the right and left lower extremities. Cause of death: shock, secondary to internal hermorrhage in the abdomen. Santos Cruz: (a) lacerated wound on the head, 2 inches in length; (b) fractured skull; (c) wound on the upper lip cutting the lip in two; (d) seven punctured wounds in the chest, two of which were penetrating; (e) hematoma on the right hand; and (f) three punctured wounds on the left hand. Cause of death: fractured skull. Romeo Pineda, an inmate and first quarter-in-charge of brigade 4-B, testified that while he was taking his breakfast with Jose Carriego, who was at the time the representative of the prisoners confined in 4-B to the inmate carcel, he "suddenly heard commotion" near the door of their brigade; that his fellow prisoners started shouting "pinapasok na tayo," as the invading inmates from brigade 4-A stampeded into 4-B; that he and Carriego took hold of their clubs and stood at the end of the passageway; that he saw Carriego surrender his club to Andres Factora, an "OXO" member from 4-A; that as Carriego started to walk away, Factora clubbed Carriego on the nape causing the latter to fall; that Factora turned up the face of his fallen victim and struck him again in the face; that while Carriego was in this prostrate position, Amadeo Peralta and Leonardo Dosal, companions of Factora, repeatedly stabbed him. The testimony of Pineda was corroborated in all its material points by Juanito Marayoc and Avelino Sauza, both inmates of 4-B. These two prosecution witnesses identified Factora, Peralta and Dosal as the assailants of Carriego. From 4-B, the invading inmates of 4-A went down and forcibly entered 4-C. According to Oscar Fontillas, an inmate of 4-C, he saw the prisoners from 4-A rushing toward their brigade; that among the invading inmates who forced open the door of 4-C, with help from the inside provided by Visayan prisoners confined in 4-C, were Factora, Dosal, Angel Parumog, Gervacio Larita, Ernesto Fernandez and Jose Tariman; that he saw Factora, Larita and Fernandez kill Barbosa, while the rest of their companies instructed the Visayans to leave their cell and ordered the "Manila boys" (Tagalogs) to remain. Antonio Pabarlan, another inmate of 4-C, declared that he saw Peralta stab Barbosa, as Dosal, Larita, Florencio Luna, Parumog and Factora clubbed the hapless victim. Another inmate of 4-C, Jose Halili, not only corroborated the testimony of Fontillas and Pabarlan but as well added grim details. He declared that while Barbosa was trying to hide under a cot, he was beaten and stabbed to death by Dosal, Parumog, Factora and Fernandez, with Luna, Larita, Pedro Cogol and Eilel Tugaya standing guard, armed with clubs and sharp instruments, in readiness to repel any intervention from the Tagalog inmates. Carlos Espino, also confined in 4-C, declared that he saw Parumog, Peralta Factora and Larita assault and kill Barbosa. The same witnesses for the prosecution testifies that after killing Barbosa, the invading "OXO" members and sympathizers proceeded to hunt for Santos Cruz, another Tagalog like Carriego and Barbosa. Halili testified, that he saw Peralta, Larita, Cogol and Tugaya take Santos Cruz to 4-A from 4-C; that Santos Cruz knelt down and pleaded for his life, saying, "Maawa kayo sa akin. Marami akong anak;" that Luna and Peralta were unmoved as they stabbed Santos Cruz to death. Pabarlan declared that after the death of Barbosa, Santos Cruz was brought to 4-A by the invading inmates but Cruz was able to slip back to his cell only to be recaptured by Factora, Dosal and Luna and brought to near the fire escape where he was clubbed and stabbed to death by Parumog, Dosal, Factora and Peralta. Fontillas and

Espino corroborated the declarations of Halili and Pabarlan with respect to the killing of Santos Cruz, and both mentioned Larita as one of the assailants of Cruz. The trial judge summarized the evidence for the prosecution, thus: "... it clearly appears that the three killings in question were an offshoot of the rivalry between the two organizations. All those who were killed, namely, Barbosa, Carriego and Santos Cruz, were Tagalogs and well known as members if not sympathizers of the Sigue Sigue, while the accused so charged with their killing were mostly members if not sympathizers of the Oxo organization. These three killings were sparked by the commotion that happened in the plaza between 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning, while the prisoners were preparing to go the mass ... It was evident that the clash that occurred in the plaza produced a chain reaction among the members and followers of the two organizations. The inmates of Building No. 1, known lair of the Sigue Sigues bolted the door of their cells and tried to invade Building No. 4 where a big number of the Oxo members and their sympathizers were confined, but, however, were forced to retreat by the timely arrival of the guards who sent them back to their building. When the members of the Oxo in Building No. 4 learned about this, they went on a rampage looking for members of the Sigue Sigue or their sympathizers who were confined with them in the same building. As the evidence of the prosecution shows, the accused who were confined in Brigade 4-A of Building No. 4 led the attack. They destroyed the lock of their dormitories and with the help of their companions succeeded in bolting the door of the different brigades, and once they succeeded in bolting the doors of the different brigades, they went inside and tried to segregate the Tagalogs from their group; that as soon as they discovered their enemies they clubbed and stabbed them to death ... Admitting that he was one among several who killed Jose Carriego, Peralta nevertheless claims self-defense. He testified that on the morning of the riot he was attacked by Carriego and Juan Estrella near the door of 4-A while he was returning to his brigade from the chapel with some companions; that Carriego clubbed him on the head; that he was able to parry the second blow of Carriego and then succeeded in squeezing Carriego's head with his hands; that forthwith he whipped out an improvised ice pick and stabbed Carriego several times; that when he (Peralta) was already dizzy due to the head wound he sustained from the clubbing, Carriego managed to slip away; that he then became unconscious, and when he regained consciousness he found himself on a tarima with his head bandaged. Peralta's declarations do not inspire belief. The impressive array of prosecution witnesses who saw him actively participate in the killing of the three victims pointed to him as the aggressor, not the aggrieved. Pineda, Marayoc and Sauza positively identified him as one of the assailants of Carriego. Contrary to the pretensions of Peralta, Carriego an alleged "Sigue-Sigue" member, would not have attacked him, knowing fully well that Building No. 4 was an "OXO" lair where the "Sigue-Sigue" members were outnumbered. Anent the killing of Barbosa and Santos Cruz, Peralta failed to offer any explicit defense to rebut the inculpatory declarations of prosecution witnesses Pabarlan and Espino who saw him participate in the killing of Barbosa and those of Halili, Fontillas and Espino who identified him as one of the murderers of Santos Cruz. For his part, Leonardo Dosal stated that he killed Santos Cruz, but also claims self-defense in exculpation. He declared that Santos Cruz, Jose Carriego, Juanita Espino, Carlos Espino and Oscar Fontillas invaded 4-A where he was confined; that a free-for-all forthwith ensued; that he then heard Santos Cruz call Carlos Espino, and advise the latter to go away as "I will be the one to kill that person (Dosal);" that with a sharp instrument, Cruz hit him on the

head and then on the nose; that as Cruz was about to hit him again, he got hold of his ice pick and stabbed Cruz repeatedly until the latter fell. Dosal's avowal is clearly belied by the positive testimonies of Pabarlan, Halili and Espino who saw him participate in the killing of Santos Cruz. If it is true that Dosal killed Santos Cruz in self-defense when the latter together with his companions supposedly invaded Dosal's brigade (4-A), why is it that the body of Santos Cruz was found at the fire escape near the pasillo between 4-C and 4-D of the first floor of Bldg. 1 instead of in 4-A which is located in the upper floor? Moreover, Dosal failed to explain why he was seen in 4-C, which he does not deny, since he was an inmate of 4-A where he was allegedly attacked. With respect to the murder of Carriego and Barbosa with which Dosal was also charged, he did not offer any evidence in his behalf. Hence, the testimonies of Pineda, Marayoc and Sauza identifying him as one of the killers of Carriego and those of Pabarlan, Halili and Espino implicating him in the death of Santos Cruz, stand unrebutted. Andres Factora declared that he clubbed Carriego and Santos Cruz under compulsion of his co-accused who threatened to kill him if he disobeyed their order; that he did not hit Barbosa anymore because the latter was already dead; that it was his co-accused who actually killed the three victims. Again, the declarations of the prosecution witnesses, which were accorded full credence by the trial court, expose the guilt of Factora beyond reasonable doubt. In fact, according to Pineda, whose testimony was corroborated by Marayoc, it was Factora who started the mass assault by clubbing Carriego treacherously. Fontillas, Halili, Pabarlan and Espino pointed to Factora as one of the killers of Barbosa, while at least three prosecution witnesses, namely, Pabarlan, Fontillas and Espino, saw Factora participate in the slaying of Santos Cruz. The active participation of Factora in the killing, which is clear index of voluntariness, thus negates his claim of compulsion and fear allegedly engendered by his co-accused. Angel Parumog, Gervasio Larita and Florencio Luna take refuge in the exculpatory device of alibi. Parumog testified that he did not participate in the killing of the three inmates because he stayed during that entire hapless day in the office of the trustees for investigation after the fight in the plaza; that he was implicated in the killing by the prosecution witnesses because of his refusal to accede to their request to testify against his co-accused; that he is not a Visayan but a Tagalog from Nueva Ecija. Larita claims that he did not know about the killing until he was informed that three inmates had died; that on the day in question he was brought to the police trustee brigade for investigation after the incident in the plaza; that he was escorted back to his brigade only in the afternoon. Luna likewise disclaims any knowledge of the killing and asserts that for the entire duration of the riot he remained in his cell (brigade 4-A). The alibis of Parumog, Larita and Luna merit no credence when set against the positive testimonies of prosecution witness identifying them as participants in the killing of Barbosa and Santos Cruz. Pabarlan, Espino and Fontillas declared that Larita was one of the killers of Barbosa; Espino and Fontillas declared that they saw Larita kill Santos Cruz; Pabarlan, Halili and Espino testified that they saw Parumog participate in the murder of Barbosa; Espino, Fontillas and Pabarlan stated that Parumog took part in the killing of Santos Cruz. Pabarlan and Halili declared that Luna participated in the fatal assault on Barbosa and Santos Cruz. The alibis of the accused are thus sufficiently overcome by strong evidence to the contrary. The defense of alibi is generally weak since it is easy to concoct. For this reason, courts view it with no small amount of caution, and accept it only when proved by positive, clear and satisfactory evidence.6 In the case at bar, if Parumog and Larita were really confined in

the police trustee brigade for investigation on the day of the incident, there should have been a record of the alleged investigation. But none was presented. The testimony of Luna that throughout the riot he stayed in his cell is quite unnatural. He claims that he did not even help his cellmates barricade their brigade with tarimas in order to delay if not prevent the entry of the invading inmates. According to him, he "just waited in one corner." The rule is settled that the defense of alibi is worthless in the face of positive identification by prosecution witnesses pointing to the accused as particeps criminis.7 Moreover, the defense of alibi is an issue of fact the resolution of which depends almost entirely on the credibility of witnesses who seek to establish it. In this respect the relative weight which the trial judge accords to the testimony of the witnesses must, unless patently inconsistent without evidence on record, be accepted.8 In the case at bar, the trial court, in dismissing the alibis of Parumog, Larita and Luna, said that "their mere denial cannot prevail over the positive testimony of the witnesses who saw them participate directly in the execution of the conspiracyto kill Barbosa, Carriego and Santos Cruz."

The essential issue that next confronts us is whether conspiracy attended the commission of the murders. The resolution of this issue is of marked importance because upon it depends the quantity and quality of the penalties that must be imposed upon each of the appellants. For this purpose, it is not amiss to briefly restate the doctrine on conspiracy, with particular emphasis on the facets relating to its nature, the quantum of proof required, the scope and extent of the criminal liability of the conspirators, and the penalties imposable by mandate of applicable law. Doctrine. A conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.9 Generally, conspiracy is not a crime except when the law specifically provides a penalty therefor as in treason,10 rebellion11 and sedition.12 The crime of conspiracy known to the common law is not an indictable offense in the Philippines.13 An agreement to commit a crime is a reprehensible act from the viewpoint of morality, but as long as the conspirators do not perform overt acts in furtherance of their malevolent design, the sovereignty of the State is not outraged and the tranquility of the public remains undisturbed. However, when in resolute execution of a common scheme, a felony is committed by two or more malefactors, the existence of a conspiracy assumes pivotal importance in the determination of the liability of the perpetrators. In stressing the significance of conspiracy in criminal law, this Court in U.S. vs. Infante and Barreto14 opined that While it is true that the penalties cannot be imposed for the mere act of conspiring to commit a crime unless the statute specifically prescribes a penalty therefor, nevertheless the existence of a conspiracy to commit a crime is in many cases a fact of vital importance, when considered together with the other evidence of record, in establishing the existence, of the consummated crime and its commission by the conspirators. Once an express or implied conspiracy is proved, all of the conspirators are liable as coprincipals regardless of the extent and character of their respective active participation in the commission of the crime or crimes perpetrated in furtherance of the conspiracy because in contemplation of law the act of one is the act of all.15 The foregoing rule is anchored on the sound principle that "when two or more persons unite to accomplish a

criminal object, whether through the physical volition of one, or all, proceeding severally or collectively, each individual whose evil will actively contributes to the wrong-doing is in law responsible for the whole, the same as though performed by himself alone."16 Although it is axiomatic that no one is liable for acts other than his own, "when two or more persons agree or conspire to commit a crime, each is responsible for all the acts of the others, done in furtherance of the agreement or conspiracy."17 The imposition of collective liability upon the conspirators is clearly explained in one case18 where this Court held that ... it is impossible to graduate the separate liability of each (conspirator) without taking into consideration the close and inseparable relation of each of them with the criminal act, for the commission of which they all acted by common agreement ... The crime must therefore in view of the solidarity of the act and intent which existed between the ... accused, be regarded as the act of the band or party created by them, and they are all equally responsible ... Verily, the moment it is established that the malefactors conspired and confederated in the commission of the felony proved, collective liability of the accused conspirators attaches by reason of the conspiracy, and the court shall not speculate nor even investigate as to the actual degree of participation of each of the perpetrators present at the scene of the crime. Of course, as to any conspirator who was remote from the situs of aggression, he could be drawn within the enveloping ambit of the conspiracy if it be proved that through his moral ascendancy over the rest of the conspirators the latter were moved or impelled to carry out the conspiracy. In fine, the convergence of the wills of the conspirators in the scheming and execution of the crime amply justifies the imputation to all of them the act of any one of them. It is in this light that conspiracy is generally viewed not as a separate indictable offense, but a rule for collectivizing criminal liability. The ensnaring nature of conspiracy is projected in bold relief in the cases of malversation and rape committed in furtherance of a common design. The crime of malversation is generally committed by an accountable public officer who misappropriates public funds or public property under his trust.19 However, in the classic case of People vs. Ponte20 this Court unequivocally held that a janitor and five municipal policemen, all of whom were not accountable public officers, who conspired and aided a municipal treasurer in the malversation of public funds under the latter's custody, were principally liable with the said municipal treasurer for the crime of malversation. By reason of conspiracy, the felonious act of the accountable public officer was imputable to his coconspirators, although the latter were not similarly situated with the former in relation to the object of the crime committed. Furthermore, in the words of Groizard, "the private party does not act independently from the public officer; rather, he knows that the funds of which he wishes to get possession are in the latter's charge, and instead of trying to abstract them by circumventing the other's vigilance he resorts to corruption, and in the officer's unfaithfulness seeks and finds the most reprehensible means of accomplishing a deed which by having a public officer as its moral instrument assumes the character of a social crime."21 In an earlier case22 a non-accountable officer of the Philippine Constabulary who conspired with his superior, a military supply officer, in the malversation of public funds was adjudged guilty as co-principal in the crime of malversation, although it was not alleged, and in fact it clearly appeared, that the funds misappropriated were not in his custody but were under the trust of his superior, an accountable public officer.

In rape, a conspirator is guilty not only of the sexual assault he personally commits but also of the separate and distinct crimes of rape perpetrated by his co-conspirators. He may have had carnal knowledge of the offended woman only once but his liability includes that pertaining to all the rapes committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. Thus, in People vs. Villa,23 this Court held that ... from the acts performed by the defendants front the time they arrived at Consolacion's house to the consummation of the offense of rape on her person by each and everyone of them, it clearly appears that they conspired together to rape their victim, and therefore each one is responsible not only for the rape committed personally by him, but also that committed by the others, because each sexual intercourse had, through force, by each one of the defendants with the offended was consummated separately and independently from that had by the others, for which each and every one is also responsible because of the conspiracy. The rule enunciated in People vs. Villa was reiterated in People vs. Quitain24 where the appellant Teofilo Anchita was convicted of forcible abduction with double rape for having conspired and cooperated in the sexual assault of the aggrieved woman, although he himself did not actually rape the victim. This Court observed: We have no doubt all in all that Teofilo Anchita took part in the sexual assault ... the accused inserted his fingers in the woman's organ, and widened it. Whether he acted out of lewdness or to help his brother-in-law consummate the act, is immaterial; it was both maybe. Yet, surely, by his conduct, this prisoner conspired and cooperated, and is guilty. With respect to robbery in band, the law presumes the attendance of conspiracy so much so that "any member of a band who is present at the commission of a robbery by the band, shall be punished as principal of any of the assaults committed by the band, unless it be shown that he attempted to prevent the same."25 In this instance, conspiracy need not be proved, as long as the existence of a band is clearly established. Nevertheless, the liability of a member of the band for the assaults committed by his group is likewise anchored on the rule that the act of one is the act of all. Proof of conspiracy. While conspiracy to commit a crime must be established by positive evidence,26 direct proof is not essential to show conspiracy.27 Since by it nature, conspiracy is planned in utmost secrecy, it can seldom be proved by direct evidence.28 Consequently, competent and convincing circumstantial evidence will suffice to establish conspiracy. According to People vs. Cabrera,29 conspiracies are generally proved by a number of indefinite acts, conditions, and circumstances which vary according to the purposes to be accomplished. If it be proved that the defendants pursued by their acts the same object, one performing one part and another another part of the same, so as to complete it, with a view to the attainment of the same object, one will be justified in the conclusion that they were engaged in a conspiracy to effect the object." Or as elucidated in People vs. Carbonel30 the presence of the concurrence of minds which is involved in conspiracy may be inferred from "proofs of facts and circumstances which, taken together, apparently indicate that they are merely parts of some complete whole. If it is proved that two or more persons aimed by their acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful object, each doing a part so that their acts, though apparently independent, were in fact connected and cooperative, indicating a closeness of personal association and a concurrence of sentiment, a conspiracy may be inferred though no actual meeting among to concert means is proved ..." In two recent cases,31 this Court ruled that where the acts of the accused, collectively and individually, clearly demonstrate the existence of a common design toward

the accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident. Conspiracy presupposes the existence of a preconceived plan or agreement; however, establish conspiracy, "it is not essential that there be proof as to previous agreement commit a crime, it being sufficient that the malefactors committed shall have acted concert pursuant to the same objective."32 Hence, conspiracy is proved if there convincing evidence to sustain a finding that the malefactors committed an offense furtherance of a common objective pursued in concert. to to in is in

Liability of conspirators. A time-honored rule in the corpus of our jurisprudence is that once conspiracy is proved, all of the conspirators who acted in furtherance of the common design are liable as co-principals.33 This rule of collective criminal liability emanates from the ensnaring nature of conspiracy. The concerted action of the conspirators in consummating their common purpose is a patent display of their evil partnership, and for the consequences of such criminal enterprise they must be held solidarity liable. However, in order to hold an accused guilty as co-principal by reason of conspiracy, it must be established that he performed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, either by actively participating in the actual commission of the crime, or by lending moral assistance to his co-conspirators by being present at the scene of the crime, or by exerting moral ascendancy over the rest of the conspirators as to move them to executing the conspiracy. The difference between an accused who is a principal under any of the three categories enumerated in Art. 17 of the Revised Penal Code and a co-conspirator who is also a principal is that while the former's criminal liability is limited to his own acts, as a general rule, the latter's responsibility includes the acts of his fellow conspirators. In People vs. Izon, et al.,34 this Court acquitted appellant Francisco Robles, Jr., who was convicted by the trial court of robbery with homicide as a conspirator, on the ground that although he may have been present when the conspiracy to rob was proposed and made, "Robles uttered not a word either of approval or disapproval. There are authorities to the effect that mere presence at the discussion of a conspiracy, even approval of it, without any active participation in the same, is not enough for purposes of conviction." In a more recent case,35this Court, in exonerating one of the appellants, said: There is ample and positive evidence on record that appellant Jose Guico was absent not only from the second meeting but likewise from the robbery itself. To be sure, not even the decision under appeal determined otherwise. Consequently, even if Guico's participation in the first meeting sufficiently involved him with the conspiracy (as he was the one who explained the location of the house to be robbed in relation to the surrounding streets and the points thereof through which entrance and exit should be effected), such participation and involvement, however, would be inadequate to render him criminally liable as a conspirator. Conspiracy alone, without the execution of its purpose, is not a crime punishable by law, except in special instances (Article 8, Revised Penal Code) which, however, do not include robbery. Imposition of multiple penalties where conspirators commit more than one offense. Since in conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all, then, perforce, each of the conspirators is liable for all of the crimes committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. Consequently, if the conspirators commit three separate and distinct crimes of murder in effecting their common design and purpose, each of them is guilty of three murders and shall suffer the corresponding penalty for each offense. Thus in People vs. Masin,36 this Court held:

... it being alleged in the information that three crimes were committed not simultaneously indeed but successively, inasmuch as there was, at least, solution of continuity between each other, the accused (seven in all) should be held responsible for said crimes. This court holds that the crimes are murder ... In view of all these circumstances and of the frequently reiterated doctrine that once conspiracy is proven each and every one of the conspirators must answer for the acts of the others, provided said acts are the result of the common plan or purpose ... it would seem evident that the penalty that should be imposed upon each of the appellants for each of their crimes should be the same, and this is the death penalty ... (emphasis supplied). In the aforesaid case, however, the projected imposition of three death penalties upon each of the conspirators for the three murders committed was not carried out due to the lack of the then requisite unanimity in the imposition of the capital penalty. In another case,37 this Court, after finding that conspiracy attended the commission of eleven murders, said through Mr. Justice Tuason: Some members of this Court opine that the proper penalty is death, under the circumstances of the case, but they fall short of the required number for the imposition of this punishment. The sentence consequently is reclusion perpetua; but each appellant is guilty of as many crimes of murder as there were deaths (eleven) and should be sentenced to life imprisonment for each crime, although this may be a useless formality for in no case can imprisonment exceed forty years. (Emphasis supplied.) In People vs. Masani,38 the decision of the trial court imposing only one life imprisonment for each of the accused was modified by this Court on appeal on the ground that "inasmuch as their (the conspirators') combined attack resulted in the killing of three persons, they should be sentenced to suffer said penalty (reclusion perpetua) for each of the three victims (crimes)." (Emphasis supplied.) It is significant to note that in the abovementioned cases, this Court consistently stressed that once conspiracy is ascertained, the culpability of the conspirators is not only solidary (all co-principals) but also multiple in relation to the number of felonies committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. It can also be said that had there been a unanimous Court in the Masin and Macaso cases, multiple death penalties would have been imposed upon all the conspirators. Legality and practicality of imposing multiple death penalties upon conspirators. An accused who was charged with three distinct crimes of murder in a single information was sentenced to two death penalties for two murders,39 and another accused to thirteen (13) separate death penalties for the 13 killings he perpetrated.40 Therefore there appears to be no legal reason why conspirators may not be sentenced to multiple death penalties corresponding to the nature and number of crimes they commit in furtherance of a conspiracy. Since it is the settled rule that once conspiracy is established, the act of one conspirator is attributable to all, then each conspirator must be held liable for each of the felonious acts committed as a result of the conspiracy, regardless of the nature and severity of the appropriate penalties prescribed by law. The rule on the imposition of multiple penalties where the accused is found guilty of two or more separate and distinct crimes charged in one information, the accused not having interposed any objection to the multiplicity of the charges, was enunciated in the leading case of U.S. vs. Balaba,41 thus: Upon conviction of two or more offenses charged in the

complaint or information, the prescribed penalties for each and all of such offenses may be imposed, to be executed in conformity with the provisions of article 87 of the Penal Code [now article 70 of the Revised Penal Code]. In other words, all the penalties corresponding to the several violations of law should be imposed. Conviction for multiple felonies demands the imposition of multiple penalties. The two conceptual exceptions to the foregoing rule, are the complex crime under article 48 of the Revised Penal Code and the special complex crime (like robbery with homicide). Anent an ordinary complex crime falling under article 48, regardless of the multiplicity of offenses committed, there is only one imposable penalty the penalty for the most serious offense applied in its maximum period. Similarly, in special complex crimes, there is but a single penalty prescribed by law notwithstanding the number of separate felonies committed. For instance, in the special complex crime of robbery with hommicide the imposible penalty is reclusion perpetua to death42 irrespective of the number of homicides perpetrated by reason or on occasion of the robbery. In Balaba, the information charged the accused with triple murder. The accused went to trial without objection to the said information which charged him with more than one offense. The trial court found the accused guilty of two murders and one homicide but it imposed only one death penalty. In its review en consulta, this Court modified the judgment by imposing separate penalties for each of the three offenses committed. The Court, thru Mr. Justice Carson (with Mr. Justice Malcolm dissenting with respect to the imposition of two death penalties), held: The trial judge was erroneously of the opinion that the prescribed penalties for the offenses of which the accused was convicted should be imposed in accord with the provisions of article 89 of the Penal Code. That article is only applicable to cases wherein a single act constitutes two or more crimes, or when one offense is a necessary means for committing the other. (U.S. vs. Ferrer, 1 Phil. Rep., 56) It becomes our duty, therefore, to determine what penalty or penalties should have been imposed upon the accused upon conviction of the accused of three separate felonies charged in the information. There can be no reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the convict of two separate crimes of asesinato (murder) marked with the generic aggravating circumstances mentioned in the decision of the trial judge ... It follows that the death penalty must and should be imposed for each of these offenses ... Unless the accused should be acquitted hereafter on appeal of one or both the asesinatos with which he is charged in the information, it would seem to be a useless formality to impose separate penalties for each of the offenses of which he was convicted, in view of the nature of the principal penalty; but having in mind the possibility that the Chief Executive may deem it proper to grant a pardon for one or more of the offenses without taking action on the others; and having in mind also the express provisions of the above cited article 87 of the Penal Code, we deem it proper to modify the judgment entered in the court below by substituting for the penalty imposed by the trial judge under the provisions of article 89 of the Code, the death penalty prescribed by law for each of the two separate asesinatos of which he stands convicted, and the penalty of 14 years, 8 months and 1 day of reclusion temporal (for the separate crime of homicide) ... these separate penalties to be executed in accord with the provisions of article 87 of the Penal Code. (Emphasis supplied.)

The doctrine in Balaba was reiterated in U.S. vs. Jamad43 where a unanimous Court, speaking again thru Mr. Justice Carson (with Mr. Justice Malcolm concurring in the result in view of the Balaba ruling), opined: For all the offenses of which the accused were convicted in the court below, the trial judge imposed the death penalty, that is to say the penalty prescribed for the most serious crime committed, in its maximum degree, and for this purpose made use of the provisions of article 89 of the Penal Code [now article 48 of the Revised Penal Code]. But as indicated in the case of the United States vs. Balaba, recently decided wherein the controlling facts were substantially similar to those in the case at bar, "all of the penalties corresponding to the several violations of law" should have been imposed under the express provisions of article 87 [now engrafted in article 70 of the Revised Penal Code] and under the ruling in that case, the trial court erred in applying the provision of article 89 of the code. We conclude that the judgment entered in the court below should be reversed, ... and that the following separate penalties should be imposed upon him [the accused Jamad], to be executed in accordance with article 87 of the Penal Code: (1) The penalty of death for the parricide of his wife Aring; (2) the penalty of life imprisonment for the murder of Labonete; (3) the penalty of life imprisonment for the murder of Torres; (4) the penalty of 12 years and one day of cadena temporal for the frustrated murder of Taclind ... The doctrine in Balaba was reechoed in People vs. Guzman,44 which applied the pertinent provisions of the Revised Penal Code, where this Court, after finding the accused liable as co-principals because they acted in conspiracy, proceeded to stress that where an "information charges the defendants with the commission of several crimes of murder and frustrated murder, as they failed to object to the multiplicity of the charges made in the information, they can be found guilty thereof and sentenced accordingly for as many crimes the information charges them, provided that they are duly established and proved by the evidence on record." (Emphasis supplied.) The legal and statutory justification advanced by the majority in Balaba for imposing all the penalties (two deaths and one life imprisonment) corresponding to the offense charged and proved was article 87 of the old Penal Code which provided: When a person is found guilty of two or more felonies or misdemeanors, all the penalties corresponding to the several violations of law shall be imposed, the same to be simultaneously served, if possible, according to the nature and effects of such penalties. in relation to article 88 of the old Code which read: When all or any of the penalties corresponding to the several violations of the law can not be simultaneously executed, the following rules shall be observed with regard thereto: 1. In the imposition of the penalties, the order of their respective severity shall be followed so that they may be executed successively or as nearly as may be possible, should a pardon have been granted as to the penalty or penalties first imposed, or should they have been served out. The essence and language, with some alterations in form and in the words used by reason of style, of the above-cited provisions have been preserved in article 70 of the Revised Penal Code which is the product of the merger of articles 87 and 88 of the old Penal Code. Article 70 provides:

When the culprit has to serve two or more penalties, he shall serve them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit; otherwise, the following rules shall be observed: In the imposition of the penalties, the order of their respective severity shall be followed so that they may be executed successively or as nearly as may be possible, should a pardon have been granted as to the penalty or penalties first imposed, or should they have been served out. Although article 70 does not specifically command, as the former article 87 clearly did, that "all the penalties corresponding to the several violations of law shall be imposed," it is unmistakable, however, that article 70 presupposes that courts have the power to impose multiple penalties, which multiple penal sanctions should be served either simultaneously or successively. This presumption of the existence of judicial power to impose all the penalties corresponding to the number and nature of the offenses charged and proved is manifest in the opening sentence of article 70: "When the culprit has to serve two or more penalties, he shall serve them simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit ..." (Emphasis supplied.) Obviously, the two or more penalties which the culprit has to serve are those legally imposed by the proper court. Another reference to the said judicial prerogative is found in the second paragraph of article 70 which provides that "in the imposition of the penalties, the order of their respective severity shall be followed ..." Even without the authority provided by article 70, courts can still impose as many penalties as there are separate and distinct offenses committed, since for every individual crime committed, a corresponding penalty is prescribed by law. Each single crime is an outrage against the State for which the latter, thru the courts ofjustice, has the power to impose the appropriate penal sanctions. With respect to the imposition of multiple death penalties, there is no statutory prohibition or jurisprudential injunction against it. On the contrary, article 70 of the Revised Penal Code presumes that courts have the power to mete out multiple penalties without distinction as to the nature and severity of the penalties. Moreover, our jurisprudence supports the imposition of multiple death penalties as initially advocated in Balaba and thunderously reechoed in Salazar where the accused was sentenced on appeal to thirteen (13) death penalties. Significantly, the Court in Balaba imposed upon the single accused mixed multiple penalties of two deaths and one life imprisonment. The imposition of multiple death penalties is decried by some as a useless formality, an exercise in futility. It is contended, undeniably enough, that a death convict like all mortals, has only one life to forfeit. And because of this physiological and biological attribute of man, it is reasoned that the imposition of multiple death penalties is impractical and futile because after the service of one capital penalty, the execution of the rest of the death penalties will naturally be rendered impossible. The foregoing opposition to the multiple imposition of death penalties suffers from four basic flaws: (1) it fails to consider the legality of imposing multiple capital penalties; (2) it fails to distinguish between imposition of penalty and service of sentence; (3) it ignores the fact that multiple death sentences could be served simultaneously; and (4) it overlooks the practical merits of imposing multiple death penalties. The imposition of a penalty and the service of sentence are two distinct, though related, concepts. The imposition of the proper penalty or penalties is determined by the nature, gravity and number of offenses charged and, proved, whereas service of sentence is determined by the severity and character of the penalty or penalties imposed. In the imposition of the proper penalty or penalties, the court does not concern itself with the

possibility or practicality of the service of the sentence, since actual service is a contingency subject to varied factors like successful escape of the convict, grant of executive clemency or natural death of the prisoner. All that go into the imposition of the proper penalty or penalties, to reiterate, are the nature, gravity and number of the offenses charged and proved and the corresponding penalties prescribed by law. Multiple death penalties are not impossible to serve because they will have to be executed simultaneously. A cursory reading of article 70 will show that there are only two modes of serving two or more (multiple) penalties: simultaneously or successively. The first rule is that two or more penalties shall be served simultaneously if the nature of the penalties will so permit. In the case of multiple capital penalties, the nature of said penal sanctions does not only permit but actually necessitates simultaneous service. The imposition of multiple death penalties, far from being a useless formality, has practical importance. The sentencing of an accused to several capital penalties is an indelible badge of his extreme criminal perversity, which may not be accurately projected by the imposition of only one death sentence irrespective of the number of capital felonies for which he is liable. Showing thus the reprehensible character of the convict in its real dimensions, the possibility of a grant of executive clemency is justifiably reduced in no small measure. Hence, the imposition of multiple death penalties could effectively serve as a deterrent to an improvident grant of pardon or commutation. Faced with the utter delinquency of such a convict, the proper penitentiary authorities would exercise judicious restraint in recommending clemency or leniency in his behalf. Granting, however, that the Chief Executive, in the exercise of his constitutional power to pardon (one of the presidential prerogatives which is almost absolute) deems it proper to commute the multiple death penalties to multiple life imprisonments, then the practical effect is that the convict has to serve the maximum of forty (40) years of multiple life sentences. If only one death penalty is imposed, and then is commuted to life imprisonment, the convict will have to serve a maximum of only thirty years corresponding to a single life sentence. Reverting now to the case at bar, it is our considered view that the trial court correctly ruled that conspiracy attended the commission of the murders. We quote with approval the following incisive observations of the court a quo in this respect: Although, there is no direct evidence of conspiracy, the Court can safely say that there are several circumstances to show that the crime committed by the accused was planned. The following circumstances show beyond any doubt the acts of conspiracy: First, all those who were killed, Barbosa, Santos Cruz and Carriego, were Tagalogs. Although there were many Tagalogs like them confined in Building 4, these three were singled out and killed thereby showing that their killing has been planned. Second, the accused were all armed with improvised weapons showing that they really prepared for the occasion. Third, the accused accomplished the killing with team work precision going from one brigade to another and attacking the same men whom they have previously marked for liquidation and lastly, almost the same people took part in the killing of Carriego, Barbosa and Santos Cruz. It is also important to note that all the accused were inmates of brigade 4-A; that all were from either the Visayas or Mindanao except Peralta who is from Masbate and Parumog who hails from Nueva Ecija; that all were either "OXO" members or sympathizers; and that all the victims were members of the "Sigue-Sigue" gang.

The evidence on record proves beyond peradventure that the accused acted in concert from the moment they bolted their common brigade, up until the time they killed their last victim, Santos Cruz. While it is true that Parumog, Larita and Luna did not participate in the actual killing of Carriego, nonetheless, as co-conspirators they are equally guilty and collectively liable for in conspiracy the act of one is the act of all. It is not indispensable that a co-conspirator should take a direct part in every act and should know the part which the others have to perform. Conspiracy is the common design to commit a felony; it is not participation in all the details of the execution of the crime. All those who in one way or another help and cooperate in the consummation of a felony previously planned are coprincipals.45 Hence, all of the six accused are guilty of the slaughter of Carriego, Barbosa and Santos Cruz each is guilty of three separate and distinct crimes of murder. We cannot agree, however, with the trial court that evident premeditation was also present. The facts on record and the established jurisprudence on the matter do not support the conclusion of the court a quo that evident premeditation "is always present and inherent in every conspiracy." Evident premeditation is not inherent in conspiracy as the absence of the former does not necessarily negate the existence of the latter.46 Unlike in evident premeditation where a sufficient period of time must elapse to afford full opportunity for meditation and reflection for the perpetrator to deliberate on the consequences of his intended deed, conspiracy arises at the very instant the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the felony and forthwith decide to commit it.47 This view finds added support in People vs. Custodia,48 wherein this Court stated: Under normal conditions, where the act of conspiracy is directly established, with proof of the attendant deliberation and selection of the method, time and means of executing the crime, the existence of evident premeditation can be taken for granted. In the case before us, however, no such evidence exists; the conspiracy is merely inferred from the acts of the accused in the perpetration of the crime. There is no proof how and when the plan to kill Melanio Balancio was hatched, or what time elapsed before it was carried out; we are, therefore, unable to determine if the appellants enjoyed "sufficient time between its inception and its fulfillment dispassionately to consider and accept the consequences." (cf. People vs. Bangug, 52 Phil. 91.) In other words, there is no showing of the opportunity of reflection and the persistence in the criminal intent that characterize the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation (People vs. Mendoza, 91 Phil. 58; People vs. Iturriaga, 47 Off. Gaz., [Supp to No. 12] 166; People vs. Lesada 70 Phil., 525.) Not a single extenuating circumstance could be appreciated in favor of any of the six accused, as they did neither allege nor prove any. In view of the attendance of the special aggravating circumstance of quasi-recidivism, as all of the six accused at the time of the commission of the offenses were serving sentences49 in the New Bilibid Prison at Muntinlupa by virtue of convictions by final judgments the penalty for each offense must be imposed in its maximum period, which is the mandate of the first paragraph of article 160 of the Revised Penal Code. Viada observes, in apposition, that the severe penalty imposed on a quasi-recidivist is justified because of his perversity and incorrigibility.50 ACCORDINGLY, the judgment a quo is hereby modified as follows: Amadeo Peralta, Andres Factora, Leonardo Dosal, Angel Parumog, Gervasio Larita and Florencio Luna are each pronounced guilty of three separate and distinct crimes of murder, and are each sentenced to three death penalties; all of them shall, jointly and severally, indemnify the heirs of each of the three deceased victims in the sum of P12,000;51 each will pay one-sixth of the costs.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles, Fernando and Capistrano, JJ., concur.Zaldivar, J., is on leave.