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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES COURT OF APPEALS MANILA PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-appzellee, - versus JOSE S. MANIAKIN, Accused-appellant.

X---------------------------------X APPELLEES BRIEF Plaintiff-appellee People of the Philippines, through counsel, to this Honorable Court respectfully alleges: PREFATORY STATEMENT The Defendant-Appellants Brief dated 10 December 2008 utterly fails to raise new issues and convincing evidence for this Honorable Court to reverse the Decision1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City dated 30 November 2008. Hence, the appeal lacks merit. I.COUNTER-STATEMENT OF FACTS C.A. G.R. CV-No. 123456

WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused Jose S. Maniakin, Luis K. Samanero and Roel B. Ligalig GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of Robbery with rape, committed with the use of a deadly weapon and with aggravating circumstances of dwelling, nighttime, and treachery, without any mitigating circumstance to offset the same. Considering that there was conspiracy among the accused, they are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of DEATH and its accessory penalties xxx.

The Statement of Facts in Defendant-Appellants Brief contains inaccuracies, which need to be rectified, lest this Honorable Court will be misled. In paragraph 1.07 of his statement of facts, accused-appellant states that he is not related in any way to the other accused.2 the records show that the other accused were former co-workers of accused-appellant in So-Go Construction Supply, Inc. located 370 meters away from the crime scene.3 In paragraph 1.11, accused-appellant states that the medical examination report shows no evidence of rape.4 the medical examination report on 01 December 2007 at 10:30 am proves that there was presence of healed laceration on the hymen of private complainant and she was positive for spermatozoa. 5 Besides, the medical examination is not an indispensable requirement in the crime of Robbery with rape. Hence, its absence would not prove that no rape took place. In paragraph 1.14, accused-appellant states that none of the stolen items were recovered when they were arrested. 6 Indeed, none of them was found. However, a Tambunting Pawnshop receipt for a pledge ring dated 17 November 2007 and P10, 850.00 in cash were recovered.7 clearly, these are proceeds of the robbery.7 II. STATEMENT OF ISSUES
2 3

CA rollo, p.15. Records, p.111. 4 CA rollo, p.18. 5 Exhibit A, records, p.201. 6 CA rollo, p.20. 7 Id. at,30.

In his appeal to this Honorable Court, the accused-appellant assigns specifically the following alleged errors of the trial court:
1. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL WEIGHT AND TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE PRIVATE

CREDENCE

COMPLAINANT; 2. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED INFINDING THE ACCUSED-

APPELLANT GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT OF THE CRIME CHARGED; 3. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS

CONSPIRACY AMONG THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS; 4. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT THE

ACCUSED-APPELLANT CONSPIRED WITH THE OTHER ACCUSED IN COMMITTING THE CRIME CHARGED;

5.

THE

TRIAL

COURT

ERRED

IN

OUTRIGHTLY

DISREGARDING ACCUSED-APPELLANTS DEFENSE OF ALIBI AND DENIAL, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE SAME IS CREDIBLE AND WAS CORROBORATED BY ANOTHER WTNESS; 6. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN APPRECIATING AGAINST

THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT THE DWELLING, NIGHTTIME, AND TREACHERY; 7. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-

APPELLANT AND IMPOSING UPON HIM THE SUPREME PENALTY OF DEATH, AND IN NOT ACQUITTING HIM OF THE CRIME CHARGED, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE PROSECUTIONS EVIDENCE AGAINST ACCUSED APPELLANT FAILED TO STAND THE CRUCIBLE TEST OF REASONABLE DOUBT TO OVERTHROW THE CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE; AND

8.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN IMPOSING THE PENALTY OF

DEATH AGAINST THE APPELLANT.8

The accused appellant further asserts that private complainant was only able to identify the accused in jail based on the suggestion of the policemen.9 Accused-appellant also claims that private

complainant has the propensity to lie since she executed no less than five sworn statements, which were inconsistent.10 At this juncture, point by point, the plaintiff-appellee will tender its fortified rebuttal. However, a more concise statement of issues can be presented as follows:
1. Whether conspiracy has been established among the accused

in committing the crime of Robbery with Rape under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code. 2. Whether the prosecutions evidence is sufficient to warrant a conviction of the accused-appellant for the crime charged beyond reasonable doubt. a. Could the testimonies of the private complainant

be given full faith and credit despite her identification of the accused-appellant based on the suggestion of the policemen? b. Is the inconsistency in the sworn statement of the complainant sufficient to discredit her

private

testimonies?

8 9

CA rollo, p.40. Id. at 41. 10 Id. at 42.

c.

Would the accused-appellants alibi and denial

weaken the credibility of the private complainant in the identification of the former? 3. Whether the aggravating circumstances of dwelling,

nighttime, and treachery attended the commission of the crime.


4. Whether the imposition of the supreme penalty of death to

accused-appellant is proper under Articles 63 and 294 of the Revised Penal Code. III. ARGUMENTS 1. Whether conspiracy has been established among the accused in committing the crime of Robbery with Rape under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code. The Court a quo did not so err in upholding the existence of conspiracy among the accused. The accusatory portion of the Information11 filed before the RTC of Quezon City dated 02 January 2008 reads
That on or about November 16, 2007, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, armed with a knife and gun, conspiring and confedaerating together, mutually aiding And assisting with one another, forced open the red CRV owned by Wanda S. Rivera, and by means of violence against or intimidation of persons that is, at gun point, took, stole and carried away the following items: xxx, that on the occasion of the commission of the above offense, said
11

Records, p.7.

accused by virtue of their conspiracy, by means of force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, have carnal knowledge of the said Wanda S. Rivera, a 22-year old woman against her will.

Although not all of the accused took part in the rape, all of them are still liable as principals in the crime of Robbery with Rape. The Court, in People v. Mendoza, reiterated that
Whenever a rape is committed as a consequence, or on occasion of robbery, all those who took part therein are liable as principals of the crime of rape, although not all of them took part in the rape the conspiracy to rob is all that is needed to be proven to punish them all as principals.12

Conspiracy is no doubt sufficiently proven. The ruling on the case of People v. Verceles applies:
Once conspiracy has been established between the accused in the commission of the crime of robbery, they would all be equally culpable for the rape committed by one of them on the occasion of robbery, unless any of them proves that he endeavored to prevent the other from committing the rape.13

In the case at bar, no evidence was shown to prove that the other accused attempted to prevent Jose Maniakin from having carnal knowledge with private complainant. In fact, while Jose Maniakin was raping the private complainant at gunpoint, the other accused were cheering on him.14

12 13

People v. Mendoza, G.R. No. 123186, 09 July 1998, 292 SCRA 168 People v. Verceles, G.R. No. 130650, 10 September 2002, 388 SCRA 515 14 Records, p.16

From the foregoing, it is clear that all of the accused are liable for the crime charged since conspiracy among them is proven. 2. Whether the prosecutions evidence is sufficient to warrant a conviction of the accused-appellant for the crime charged beyond reasonable doubt. The issue at hand involves a question of credibility. It is well entrenched in this jurisdiction that factual findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled to the highest respect and will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any clear showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance that would have affected the result of the case. Having seen and heard the witnesses themselves and observed their behavior and manner of testifying, the trial judge was in a better position to determine their credibility.15 After a thorough scrutiny of the records of the case at bar, it is clear that the trial court did not err in giving full faith and credit to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. a. Could the testimonies of the private complainant be given full faith and credit despite her identification of the accused-appellant based on the suggestion of the policemen? The court a quo did not so err when it accorded full faith and credence to the positive identification of the accused.
In People v .Clidoro, the Supreme Court pronounced that

15

People v. Clidoro, G.R. No. 143004, 09 April 2003.

[I]t is the most natural reaction for victims of criminal violence to strive to ascertain the appearance of their attackers and observe the manner in which the crime was committed. Most often, the face and body movements of the assailants create a lasting impression on the victim's minds which cannot be easily erased from their memory. Likewise, appellant failed to show that the prosecution witnesses were prompted by any ill motive to falsely testify or wrongfully accuse him of so grave a crime. In the absence of any evidence to show that the witness was actuated by any improper motive, his identification of the appellant as the author of the crime shall be given full faith and credit.16

Appellant's contention that his identification was merely suggested by the police is without basis. The private complainant positively identified the accused-appellant although she did not know his name when she reported the incident. In People v. Dinamling, the Court held that witnesses need not know the names of the accused as long as they recognized their faces. What is important is that the witnesses are positive as to the perpetrators' physical identification from their own personal knowledge.17 Jurisprudence recognizes that victims of criminal violence have a penchant for seeing the faces and features of their attackers and remembering them. Accused-appellants failed to establish any ill motive that impelled the prosecution witnesses to falsely accuse them of committing the crime. Thus, where there is no evidence to show any dubious reason or improper motive why a prosecution witness
16 17

Id. People v .Dinamling, G.R. No. 134605, 12 March 2002.

would testify falsely against an accused or falsely implicate him in a heinous crime, the testimony is worthy of full faith and credit.18 b. Is the inconsistency in the sworn statement of the private complainant sufficient to discredit her testimonies? The Court a quo did not so err in upholding the credibility of the private complainant. The Court, in People v. Sadang, considers the inconsistencies referred to by the defense as basis to discredit the witness testimony are de minimus which are not sufficient to blur or cast doubt on her straightforward attestations, and such inconsistencies must rather be viewed as adding credence and veracity to the spontaneity of her testimony.19 The supposedly inconsistent statements given by the private complainant are clearly susceptible of coagmentation as to what actually transpired that evening. The fact that the private complainant fails to bring up a particular detail of the incident, especially when she testifies on different occasions, does not per se undermine her credibility. The nature and difference of the proceedings involved and the questions propounded therein as would or would not succeed in eliciting the details desired are only some of the factors to be considered. Moreover, what is controlling is the consistency of the witness in relating the significant and indispensable components of the principal occurrence. The Court held that a few discrepancies and
18 19

Id. People v. Sadang, G.R. No. 105378, 27 June 1994.

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inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses referring to minor details, and not in actuality touching upon the basic aspects of the whys and wherefores of the crime, do not impair their credibility. The circumstances cited by appellants do not, at all, indicate fabrication and falsehoods.20 In People v. Soriano, the Supreme Court highlights the nonimpairment of the credibility of witnesses because of certain contradictory statements:
Those discrepancies involve minor details and do not impair the recognition of the appellant by the victims as one of the four malefactors who committed the rape and the robbery. The most candid witnesses sometimes make mistakes and fall into apparently confused and inconsistent statements, which however, should not affect their credibility.21

Therefore, despite the minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the private complainant and the prosecution witnesses, which were inconsequential to discuss singly one by one, it is believable on its entirety as a coherent narration of what actually transpired during the commission of the crime. c. Would the accused-appellants alibi and denial weaken the credibility of the private complainant in the identification of the former? The Court a quo did not so err in rejecting the accusedappellants alibi.
20 21

Id. People v. Soriano, G.R. No. L-32244, 24 June 1983.

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The Court, in People v. Clidoro, maintains that alibi and denial are the weakest defenses. Basic is the rule that alibi is easily concocted and cannot prevail over the victim's positive identification of her offender. Weak as it is, alibi becomes more ineffectual when appellant failed to demonstrate that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene when it was committed.22 All the accused denied the charges, claiming that they did not know each other. Accused Jose Maniakin claimed that he could not have been at the scene of the crime because he was reviewing for in his house at Manggahan, Fairview, Quezon City he was enrolled in a Technical School in Fairview. Accused Luis Samanero claimed that he was taking care of his sick mother who was confined at the Philippine General Hospital. According to accused Roel Ligalig, he slept early on the night in question at his house somewhere in Cubao.23 The preceding defense of alibi is inherently weak and cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused-appellants as the offenders. Besides, to establish alibi the accused must show that it was physically impossible for them to be at the locus criminis or its immediate vicinity when the crime was perpetrated.24

22 23

Supra note 15. Records, p.22. 24 Supra note 17.

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Thus, since the accused-appellants failed to adduce any evidence that it was physically impossible for them to be present at the place where the crime was committed at that time it happened, their alibis and denial would not weaken their identification by the private complainant.
3. Whether the aggravating circumstances of nighttime

attended the commission of the crime. The Court a quo did not so err in appreciating nocturnity as an aggravating circumstance present in the commission of the crime. For nocturnity to be appreciated, it must be shown that it facilitated the commission of the crime and that it was purposely sought for by the offender.25 In the case of People v. Soriano, appellant contends that
[N]octurnity should not be considered aggravating because robbery is a crime against property and flashlights were used. That contention is untenable. Nocturnity may be appreciated in robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons. The malefactors committed the crimes at midnight so that they would not be recognized and so that the darkness would afford them impunity to do whatever they liked. The result was that two of the four malefactors were not recognized by the victims. Only appellant Soriano and Marigmen, whom they had known even before the commission of the crimes, were recognized.26

In the case at bar, the accused had the knowledge that the place of the incident is a dimly lit area since they once worked in a
25
26

People v. Mendoza, supra note 12. People v. Soriano, supra note 21.

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construction supply company located near the place in question.27 They knew that it was the perfect place to accomplish their evil motive. Therefore, The trial court properly appreciated nocturnity as an aggravating circumstance in the commission of the crime.
4. Whether the imposition of the supreme penalty of death to

accused-appellant is proper under Articles 63 and 294 of the Revised Penal Code. The Court a quo did not so err in imposing death penalty to the accused. The law expressly provides:
ART. 294. Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons. Penalties. Any person guilty of robbery with the use of violence against or intimidation of any person shall suffer: 1. The penalty of from reclusion perpetua to death, when by reason or on occasion of the robbery, the crime of homicide shall have been committed; or when the robbery shall have been accompanied by rape or intentional mutilation or arson; x x x x28 ART. 63. Rules for the application of indivisible penalties. In all cases in which the law prescribes a single indivisible penalty, it shall be applied by the courts regardless of any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that may have attended the commission of the deed. In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties, the following rules shall be observed in the application thereof:
27 28

TSN, p. 77. Revised Penal Code, Art. 294.

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1. When in the commission of the deed there is present only one aggravating circumstance, the greater penalty shall be applied. x x x x29

Clearly, under Article 294 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, robbery with rape is penalized by reclusion perpetua to death. The penalty being a range consisting of two (2) indivisible penalties, the lesser penalty is applied when, pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, there are no mitigating or aggravating circumstance that are shown to be in attendance.30 Accused-appellant contends that dwelling, nighttime, and treachery cannot be appreciated in the case at bar and thus death penalty cannot be applied. Granting arguendo that dwelling and treachery are not proven, the imposition of the supreme penalty is still justified by the appreciation of nighttime in commission of the crime charged. IV. CONCLUSION Given the foregoing clear rules and jurisprudence on the matter, the contention of the accused-appellant that the trial court erred in convicting him of the crime charged undeniably does not hold water. It is apparent from the foregoing arguments sufficiently disproving the allegations of the accused-appellant that conspiracy exists among them. The prosecution evidence satisfactorily warrants conviction of the accused-appellant for the crime of Robbery with Rape beyond
29 30

Revised Penal Code, Art. 63. People v. Torres y Cervantes, G.R. No. 149557, 16 March 2004.

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reasonable doubt. The presence of the aggravating circumstance of nighttime makes the imposition of supreme penalty of death proper under Articles 63 and 294 of the Revised penal code. V. PRAYER WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that the Decision of the trial court dated 30 November 2008 finding the accused Jose S. Maniakin, Luis K. Samanero and Roel B. Ligalig GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of Robbery with rape, committed with the use of deadly weapon and with aggravating circumstance of nighttime be AFFIRMED. City of Manila; 28 March 2009. GERWIN A. PANGHULAN Counsel for the Plaintiff-Appellee Associate Solicitor Office of the Solicitor General 134 Amorsolo St. Legaspi Village, Makati City PTR 777777; 01-08-08 Manila IBP 7777777; 01-07-08 Manila

Copy furnished by registered mail: THE PRESIDING JUDGE Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 24 ATTY. WOODY WOODPECKER Counsel for plaintiffs-appellees Makati City