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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RESTITUTO CARANDANG, HENRY MILAN AND JACKMAN CHUA G.R. No.

175926 6 July 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: Facts: Henry Milan, Restituto Carandang and Jackman Chua were all inside the room of Milan when the team of Policemen arrived at the place where the alleged drug deal would take place. The door of the room was open but was suddenly closed by Milan when they were alerted of the presence of the police officers. When the police officers were finally able to break open said door, Carandang peppered them with bullets. PO2 Alonzo and SPO2 Red died instantly as a result while SPO1 Montecalvo was mortally wounded. Then, upon seeing their victims helplessly lying on the floor and seriously wounded, Chua ordered Milan to attack the police officers. Following the order, Milan rushed towards Montecalvo but the latter, however, was able to shoot him. The Trial court found Carandang, Milan and Chua guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of two counts of murder for the killing of SPO2 Wilfredo Pilar Red and PO2 Dionisio Alonzo and one count of frustrated murder qualified by treachery and acting in conspiracy with each other. The Court of Appeals affirmed the RTCs ruling that Carandang, Milan and Chua acted in conspiracy in the commission of the crimes charged. Thus, despite the established fact that it was Carandang who fired the gun which hit SPO2 Red, PO2 Alonzo and SPO1 Montecalvo, all three accused were held equally criminally responsible therefor. The trial court explained that Carandang, Milan and Chuas actuations showed that they acted in concert against the police officers. Milan and Chua argued that theres no direct evidence showing that they conspired with Carandang during the latters act of shooting the three victims. Whether or not there was conspiracy and treachery in the commission of the crime.

Issue:

Resolution: In People v. Sumalpong, the Court held that conspiracy may also be proven by other means:
Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Evidence need not establish the actual agreement among the conspirators showing a preconceived plan or motive for the commission of the crime. Proof of concerted action before, during and after the crime, which demonstrates their unity of design and objective, is sufficient. When conspiracy is established, the act of one is the act of all regardless of the degree of participation of each.

The conclusion that Milan and Chua conspired with Carandang was established by their acts (1) before Carandang shot the victims (Milans closing the door when the police officers introduced themselves, allowing Carandang to wait in ambush), and (2) after the shooting (Chuas directive to Milan to attack SPO1 Montecalvo and Milans following such instruction). Contrary to the suppositions of appellants, these facts are not meant to prove that Chua is a principal by inducement or that Milans act of attacking SPO1 Montecalvo was what made him a principal by direct participation. Instead, these facts are convincing circumstantial evidence of the unity of purpose in the minds of the three. As co-conspirators, all three are considered principals by direct participation. Neither can the rapid turn of events be considered to negate a finding of conspiracy. Unlike evident premeditation, there is no requirement for conspiracy to exist that there be a sufficient period of time to elapse to afford full opportunity for meditation and reflection. Instead, conspiracy arises on the very moment the plotters agree, expressly or impliedly, to commit the subject felony. As held by the trial court and the Court of Appeals, Milans act of closing the door facilitated the commission of the crime, allowing Carandang to wait in ambush. The sudden gunshots when the police officers pushed the door open illustrate the intention of appellants and Carandang to prevent any chance for the police officers to defend themselves. Treachery is thus present in the case at bar, as what is decisive for this qualifying circumstance is that the execution of the attack made it impossible for the victims to defend themselves or to retaliate.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

FRANCISCO IMSON y ADRIANO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 193003 13 July 2011 CARPIO, J.:

Facts:

PO1 Gerry Pajares, PO1 Noli Pineda, the confidential informant, and other policemen arrived at around 10:30 p.m. to the place where a buy bust operation was about to be conducted by reason of a report that accused Francisco Imson was selling shabu. Said buy bust operation was not undertaken because they saw Imson talking with Dayao. Thereafter, they saw Imson giving Rolando S. Dayao a transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance. Pajares approached the two men and introduced himself. He immediately apprehended Imson while Pineda ran after Dayao who tried to escape. The policemen confiscated two plastic sachets containing the suspected shabu. Imson and Dayao were brought to the Police Station where they executed their joint sworn statements and where the two plastic sachets were marked with RDS and FIA, the initials of the two. The two plastic sachets were examined and both tested positive for shabu. Two informations for illegal possession of dangerous drugs against Imson and Dayao were filed. In its Decision, the RTC found Imson and Dayao guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. When appealed, the Decision of the Court of Appeals affirmed the Decision of the RTC. Imson and Dayao filed a motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals denied said motion. Hence, the present petition. Whether or not the two plastic sachets containing shabu were inadmissible in evidence because the integrity of the chain of custody was impaired.

Issue:

Resolution: The failure of the policemen to make a physical inventory and to photograph the two plastic sachets containing shabu do not render the confiscated items inadmissible in evidence. Likewise, the failure of the policemen to mark the two plastic sachets containing shabu at the place of arrest does not render the confiscated items inadmissible in evidence. In People v. Resurreccion, the Court held that the failure of the policemen to immediately mark the confiscated items does not automatically impair the integrity of chain of custody. The Court held:
Jurisprudence tells us that the failure to immediately mark seized drugs will not automatically impair the integrity of chain of custody. The failure to strictly comply with Sec. 21(1), Art. II of RA 9165 does not necessarily render an accuseds arrest illegal or the items seized or confiscated from him inadmissible. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. To be able to create a first link in the chain of custody, then, what is required is that the marking be made in the presence of the accused and upon immediate confiscation. Immediate Confiscation has no exact definition. Thus, in People v. Gum-Oyen, testimony that included the marking of the seized items at the police station and in the presence of the accused was sufficient in showing compliance with the rules on chain of custody. Marking upon immediate confiscation contemplates even marking at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending team.

The presumption is that the policemen performed their official duties regularly. In order to overcome this presumption, Imson must show that there was bad faith or improper motive on the part of the policemen, or that the confiscated items were tampered. Imson failed to do so.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEL GASPAR y WILSON G.R. No. 192816 6 July 2011 CARPIO, J.:

Facts:

A buy-bust operation was conducted by reason of a text message that sale of shabu was in progress at the house of appellant Joel Gaspar (Gaspar). Upon reaching the house, the police officers saw Gaspar and Leomar San Antonio (San Antonio) just outside the door. After San Antonio left Gaspars house, the police officers stopped him and asked, Anong inabot sa iyo? San Antonio replied, Bakit? The police officers said, Pulis kami. San Antonio opened his hand and there was a sachet of shabu. The police officers immediately arrested San Antonio. PO1 Soreta, the poseur-buyer then approached Gaspar, who was already about to enter the house, and told him Joel paiskor naman ng dalawang piso. Gaspar went out and asked for payment. After receiving the amount of P200.00, Gaspar took out from his right pocket a small transparent plastic sachet and handed it to PO1 Soreta. PO1 Soreta introduced himself as a police officer and arrested and handcuffed Gaspar. The police officers recovered from Gaspars possession two other small transparent plastic sachets, as well as drug paraphernalia inside the house, which were in plain view from the widely open door. Gaspar and San Antonio were brought to the Police Station for investigation and filing of charges. The plastic sachets and drug paraphernalia recovered were appropriately marked and brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination. PO1 Soreta also executed an Affidavit of Arrest narrating the circumstances which led to Gaspars apprehension. Based on Chemistry Report the recovered sachets were found positive for Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride also known as shabu. Four separate Informations for different violations of RA 9165 were filed. Three informations were against Gaspar and one was against San Antonio. At the pre-trial conference, the prosecution and defense entered into stipulations of facts regarding the due execution and genuineness of the recovered items marked in evidence. During the trial, San Antonio did not appear. The prosecution presented the only witness: PO1 Soreta, the poseur-buyer in the buy-bust operation. In its Decision, the RTC found Gaspar and San Antonio guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of RA 9165. The RTC stated that given the presumption of regularity in the performance of the police officers official duty and absent any clear showing of bias, malice or ill-motive on the part of the prosecution witness, PO1 Soreta, the court gives credence to his testimony. The RTC added that the testimony of a single witness suffices to support a conviction if it is trustworthy and reliable. Gaspar was convicted of Illegal Sale of Shabu, Illegal Possession of Shabu and Possession of Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs. Leomar San Antonio was convicted of Illegal Possession of Shabu. The Court of Appeals affirmed with modification the Decision of the RTC. The CA found that the prosecution fully discharged its burden of establishing all the elements of the crimes charged. The CA stated that the prosecution was able to prove that the chain of custody of the seized prohibited drugs remained intact from the time the drugs were recovered until they were submitted to the PNP Crime Laboratory for testing. As a result, the integrity and evidentiary value of the drugs seized from Gaspar were duly proven not to have been compromised. The CA added that the corpus delicti and the other elements of the crimes charged were sufficiently established by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, the evidence presented by the prosecution prevails over the defense of frame-up alleged by Gaspar, which was not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. Whether or not the Court of Appeals Decision is contrary to facts, law and applicable jurisprudence.

Issue:

Resolution: The appeal lacks merit. In a successful prosecution for offenses involving the illegal sale of dangerous drugs under Section 5, Article II of RA 9165, the following elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer and seller, object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for it. What is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. All these elements were present. PO1 Soreta testified that he was the poseur-buyer in the buy-bust operation conducted and identified Gaspar as seller of the plastic sachet containing shabu in exchange for a consideration of P200.00. The sale was consummated after the exchange of buy-bust money and plastic sachet occurred. Under Section 11, Article II of RA 9165, the elements of the offense of illegal possession of dangerous drugs are: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. Here, all of these elements were duly proven. PO1 Soreta properly identified appellant as the one he transacted with in the buy-bust operation and later arrested after the sale took place. After being arrested in flagrante delicto, the police officers found in appellants possession two small transparent plastic sachets each containing 0.04 gram of shabu, a prohibited drug, which appellant was not authorized to possess.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JAIME GATLABAYAN Y BATARA G.R. No. 186467 13 July 2011 MENDOZA, J. A buy-bust operation was conducted on a basis of information from an asset that appellant Jaime Gatlabayan alias Pungay was rampantly selling illegal drugs. The composite team was composed of PO1 Jose Gordon Antonio, the poseur-buyer equipped with P100.00 bill buy-bust money where his initials JGA was written thereon, while PO1 Jiro and PO1 Albarico acted as members. Arriving at the place where the buy-bust operation took place, the civilian asset pointed appellant, who was standing under a Sampaloc tree to the team. PO1 Antonio, from a distance of 10 meters away from appellant alighted from the car while the rest of the composite team and the informer remained in the vehicle. Meanwhile, poseur-buyer PO1 Antonio walked towards appellant. Upon seeing PO1 Antonio, appellant asked if he wants to score, (which in local parlance means, if he wants to buy shabu) to which PO1 Antonio readily answered yes, and simultaneously handed to appellant the P100 marked money. In turn, appellant gave him a small plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected of shabu. Upon consummation of the sale, PO1 Antonio gave the pre-arranged signal of waiving his hand. Seeing this, police officers Jiro and Albarico rushed to the locus criminis and simultaneously introduced themselves as police officers. Then, PO1 Jiro directed appellant to empty his pocket and the P100.00 marked money fell on the ground. Thereafter, appellant was arrested and was apprised of his constitutional rights and was likewise informed of the crime he committed. Appellant was brought to the nearby police station for investigation. Subsequently, the plastic sachet sold by appellant to poseur-buyer PO1 Antonio was subjected to a laboratory examination and was found that the subject crystalline substance is positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Consequently, appellant was charged for violation of Section 5, Paragraph 1, Article II of R.A. 9165 or for Illegal Sale of Dangerous Drugs. During the trial, the parties agreed to stipulate on the testimonies of prosecution witnesses. The RTC rendered its judgment rejecting the defense of frame-up proffered by the accused and declared that the same fell flat in the face of the affirmative testimony of prosecution witnesses, PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro III, who categorically and forthrightly testified that he was caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu. The trial court ruled that the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties in favor of the police operatives had not been overturned in the absence of clear showing that they had been impelled by any ill motive to falsely testify against him for such serious crime. It added that the alleged inconsistencies in the testimonies of the police officers pertained to inconsequential or collateral matters which did not impair their credibility. The CA affirmed the conviction of the accused on the basis of the testimony of PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro, III which it found credible and sufficient to sustain a conviction. The accused is of the stance that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He assails the prosecution evidence for its failure to establish the proper chain of custody of the shabu allegedly seized from him. The OSG, on the other hand, maintains that the testimonies of PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro III were credible and sufficient to convict. It insists that the culpability of the accused for the crime of illegal sale of shabu was proven beyond reasonable doubt. Whether or not sufficient evidence exists to support the conviction of the accused for illegal sale of dangerous drugs.

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: Jurisprudence has firmly entrenched that in prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the following essential elements must be established: (1) the transaction or sale took place; (2) the corpus delicti or the illicit drug was presented as evidence; and (3) the buyer and seller were identified. Implicit in all these is the need for proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the confiscated prohibited or regulated drug as evidence. The narcotic substance itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to sustain a judgment of conviction. It is therefore of prime importance that the identity of the dangerous drug be likewise established beyond reasonable doubt. Otherwise stated, it must be proven with exactitude that the substance bought during the buy-bust operation is the same substance offered in evidence before the court. Thus, every fact necessary to constitute the offense must be established. The chain of custody requirement ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. In People v. Kamad, the Court enumerated the links that the prosecution must establish in the chain of custody in a buybust situation to be as follows: first, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; second, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; third, the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized by the forensic chemist to the court. While the identities of the seller and the buyer and the consummation of the transaction involving the sale of illegal have been proven, the Court, nonetheless, finds the prosecution evidence to be deficient for failure to adequately show the essential links in the chain of custody. The testimony of PO1 Antonio clearly lacked specifics on how the confiscated shabu was handled immediately after the arrest of the accused. The prosecution evidence failed to identify the police investigator to who the buy-bust team turned over the seized item, the person who marked the sachet, how the same was done, and who

witnessed the marking. Neither was there any evidence adduced to show how the seized shabu was handled, stored and safeguarded pending its offer as evidence in court. In view of the foregoing loopholes in the evidence adduced against the accused as well as the gaps in the chain of custody, it can be reasonably concluded that the prosecution failed to convincingly establish the identity and integrity of the dangerous drug. The prosecution failed to fully prove the elements of the crime charged creating reasonable doubt on his criminal liability. All told, the corpus delecti in this case is not legally extant. In sustaining the conviction, the courts a quo relied on the evidentiary presumption that official duties have been regularly performed. Admittedly, the defense did not adduce evidence showing that PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro III had any ill motive to falsify their testimony. Nonetheless, the flagrant procedural lapses the police officers committed in handling the allegedly confiscated shabu in violation of the chain of custody requirement effectively negate the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties. Any taint of irregularity affects the whole performance and should make the presumption unavailable. It must be emphasized that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED. The Decision dated July 29, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 02221 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE for failure of the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of appellant Jaime Gatlabayan y Batara who is accordingly hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged against him and ordered immediately RELEASED from custody, unless he is being held for some other lawful cause.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROLANDO LAYLO y CEPRES G.R. No. 192235 6 July 2011 CARPIO, J.

Facts:

In the afternoon of 17 December 2005, PO1 Reyes and PO1 Pastor, both wearing civilian clothes, were conducting antidrug surveillance operations. While they were in front of a sari-sari store at around 5:40 p.m., appellant Rolando Laylo (Laylo) and his live-in partner, Melitona Ritwal (Ritwal), approached them and asked, Gusto mong umiskor ng shabu? PO1 Reyes replied, Bakit mayroon kaba? Laylo then brought out two plastic bags containing shabu and told the police officers, Dos (P200.00) ang isa. Upon hearing this, the police officers introduced themselves as cops. PO1 Reyes immediately arrested Laylo. Ritwal, on the other, tried to get away but PO1 Pastor caught up with her. PO1 Pastor then frisked Ritwal and found another sachet of shabu in a SIM card case which Ritwal was carrying. PO1 Reyes and PO1 Pastor marked the three plastic sachets of shabu recovered from Laylo and Ritwal and forwarded them to the NP Crime Laboratory for forensic testing. The specimens are found positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a dangerous drug. The police officers charged Laylo for attempted sale of illegal drugs and used the two plastic sachets containing shabu as basis while Ritwal was charged for possession of illegal drugs using as basis the third sachet containing 0.02 grams of shabu. Two separate Informations against appellant Laylo and Ritwal were filed. The RTC found Laylo and Ritwal guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violations of RA 9165. The RTC gave credence to the testimonies of the police officers, who were presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner. The RTC stated that Reyes and Pastor were straightforward and candid in their testimonies and unshaken by cross-examination. Their testimonies were unflawed by inconsistencies or contradictions in their material points. The RTC added that the denial of appellant Laylo is weak and self-serving and his allegation of planting of evidence or frame-up can be easily concocted. Thus, Laylos defense cannot be given credence over the positive and clear testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. Laylo filed an appeal with the CA. Laylo imputed that the RTC gravely erred in convicting him despite the prosecution witness fabricated acounts, that his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt and that the apprehending officers failed to preserve the integrity of the alleges seized shabu. The CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. Whether or not the Court of Appeals gravely erred in affirming the Decision of RTC in convicting appellant of attempted sale of dangerous drugs.

Issue:

Resolution: The appeal lacks merit. The elements necessary for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs are: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment. Section 26(b), Article II of RA 9165 provides:
Section 26. Attempt or Conspiracy. Any attempt or conspiracy to commit the following unlawful acts shall be penalized by the same penalty prescribed for the commission of the same as provided under this Act: xxx (b) Sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical; x x x

Appellant intended to sell shabu and commenced by overt acts the commission of the intended crime by showing the substance to PO1 Reyes and PO1 Pastor. The sale was aborted when the police officers identified themselves and placed appellant and Ritwal under arrest. The plastic sachets were presented in court as evidence of corpus delicti. Thus, the elements of the crime charged were sufficiently established by evidence. In People v. de Guzman, We have ruled that peddlers of illicit drugs have been known, with ever increasing casualness and recklessness, to offer and sell their wares for the right price to anybody, be they strangers or not. What matters is not the existing familiarity between the buyer and the seller, or the time and venue of the sale, but the fact of agreement as well as the act constituting the sale and delivery of the prohibited drugs.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN v. ULDARICO P. ANDUTAN, JR., G.R. No. 164679 27July 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

Uldarico Andutan was formerly the Deputy Director of the One-Stop Shop Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center of the Department of Finance (DOF). Pursuant to a Memorandum issued by then Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora directing all non-career officials or those occupying political positions to vacate their positions Andutan resigned from the DOF. After a year, Andutan, together with some other was criminally charged by the Fact Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) of the Ombudsman with Estafa through Falsification of Public Documents, and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. 3019). As government employees, Andutan, with Belicena and Malonzo were likewise administratively charged of Grave Misconduct, Dishonesty, Falsification of Official Documents and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. The criminal and administrative charges arose from anomalies in the illegal transfer of Tax Credit Certificates (TCCs) to Steel Asia, among others. The FFIB found that Steel Asia fraudulently obtained TCCs worth P242,433,534.00. The FFIB concluded that Belicena, Malonzo and Andutan in their respective capacities irregularly approved the issuance of the TCCs to several garment/textile companies and allowing their subsequent illegal transfer to Steel Asia. The Ombudsman found the respondents guilty of Gross Neglect of Duty. Having been separated from the service, Andutan was imposed the penalty of forfeiture of all leaves, retirement and other benefits and privileges, and perpetual disqualification from reinstatement and/or reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government owned and controlled agencies or corporations. The CA reverses the decision of the Ombudsmans. It ruled that the Ombudsman should not have considered the administrative complaints because: first, Section 20 of R.A. 6770 provides that the Ombudsman may not conduct the necessary investigation of any administrative act or omission complained of if it believes that x x x [t]he complaint was filed after one year from the occurrence of the act or omission complained of; and second, the administrative case was filed after Andutans forced resignation. The Ombudsman submits, first, that contrary to the CAs findings, administrative offenses do not prescribe after one year from their commission, and second, that in cases of capital administrative offenses, resignation or optional retirement cannot render administrative proceedings moot and academic, since accessory penalties such as perpetual disqualification and the forfeiture of retirement benefits may still be imposed. 1. Does Section 20(5) of R.A. 6770 prohibit the Ombudsman from conducting an administrative investigation a year after the act was committed? 2. Does Andutans resignation render moot the administrative case filed against him? 3. Assuming that the administrative case is not moot, are the Ombudsmans findings supported by substantial evidence?

Issues:

Resolution: The provisions of Section 20(5) are merely directory. Section 20 of R.A. 6770 does not prohibit the Ombudsman from conducting an administrative investigation after the lapse of one year, reckoned from the time the alleged act was committed. Without doubt, even if the administrative case was filed beyond the one year period stated in Section 20(5), the Ombudsman was well within its discretion to conduct the administrative investigation. However, while the Ombudsman is not precluded by Section 20(5) of R.A. 6770 from conducting the investigation, the Ombudsman can no longer institute an administrative case against Andutan because the latter was not a public servant at the time the case was filed. If a public servants resignation is not a bar to his administrative investigation, prosecution and adjudication, any official even if he has been separated from the service for a long time may still be subject to the disciplinary authority of his superiors, ad infinitum. Likewise, if the act committed by the public official is indeed inimical to the interests of the State, other legal mechanisms are available to redress the same. Since Andutan is no longer the proper subject of an administrative complaint, we find no reason to delve on the Ombudsmans factual findings.
Mona Liza D. Antonio

RUPERTO A. AMBIL, JR., v. SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 175457 ALEXANDRINO R. APELADO, SR. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 175482 6 July 2011 VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Facts:

Petitioner Ruperto A. Ambil, Jr. was the Governor of Eastern Samar when he directed the transfer of then Mayor Francisco Adalims detention to his home upon the advice of the latters lawyers. Adalim was accused in a criminal case of murder and so was arrested. Ambil cites poor security in the provincial jail as the primary reason for taking personal custody of Adalim considering that the latter would be in the company of inmates who were put away by his sister Atty. Juliana A. Adalim-White who is the District Public Attorney, and guards identified with his political opponents. White sought the alternative custody of Gov. Ambil, Jr. after Provincial Warden and herein petitioner Alexandrino Apelado, Sr. failed to guarantee the mayors safety. Adalim stayed at Ambil, Jr.s residence for almost three months before he posted bail after the charge against him was downgraded to homicide. Petitioner Apelado, Sr. was the Provincial Jail Warden of Eastern Samar. Apelado and SPO3 Felipe Balano arrested Mayor Adalim. Allegedly, Atty. White was contesting the legality of Mayor Adalims arrest and arguing with the jail guards against booking him for detention. At the provincial jail, petitioner was confronted by Atty. White who informed him that he was under the governor, in the latters capacity as a provincial jailer. Petitioner claims that it is for this reason that he submitted to the governors order to relinquish custody of Adalim. He further described the physical condition of the jail to be dilapidated and undermanned. According to him, only two guards were incharge of looking after 50 inmates. There were two cells in the jail, each housing 25 inmates, while an isolation cell of 10 square meters was unserviceable at the time. Also, there were several nipa huts within the perimeter for use during conjugal visits. The Sandiganbayan promulgated the assailed Decision finding petitioners guilty of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. The court ruled that in moving Adalim to a private residence, petitioners have conspired to accord him unwarranted benefits in the form of more comfortable quarters with access to television and other privileges that other detainees do not enjoy. It stressed that under the Rules, no person under detention by legal process shall be released or transferred except upon order of the court or when he is admitted to bail. Whether or not Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 applies to the case which is not pecuniary in nature so that the Sandiganbayan could take cognizance on it.

Issues:

Resolution: In Mejorada v. Sandiganbayan it was held that a prosecution for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law will lie regardless of whether or not the accused public officer is charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. In order to hold a person liable under this provision, the following elements must concur: (1) the accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; (2) he must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and (3) his action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government, or gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions. Petitioners are public officers discharging official functions. The second element describes the three ways by which a violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 may be committed, that is, through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. Petitioners displayed manifest partiality and evident bad faith in transferring the detention of Mayor Adalim to petitioner Ambil, Jr.s house. Likewise amply established beyond reasonable doubt is the third element of the crime; the act constituting the offense consist of either (1) causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or (2) giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge by the accused of his official, administrative or judicial functions. Such benefit was extended to Adalim. The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over petitioner Ambil, Jr. is beyond question. The same is true as regards petitioner Apelado, Sr. As to him, a Certification from the Provincial Government Department Head of the HRMO shows that his position as Provincial Warden is classified as Salary Grade 22. Nonetheless, it is only when none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher shall exclusive jurisdiction be vested in the lower courts. Here, petitioner Apelado, Sr. was charged as a co-principal with Governor Ambil, Jr., over whose position the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction. Accordingly, he was correctly tried jointly with said public officer in the proper court which had exclusive original jurisdiction over them the Sandiganbayan. Conspiracy was sufficiently demonstrated by petitioner Apelado, Sr.s willful cooperation in executing petitioner Ambil, Jr.s order to move Adalim from jail, despite the absence of a court order. Petitioner Apelado, Sr., a law graduate, cannot hide behind the cloak of ignorance of the law. The Rule requiring a court order to transfer a person under detention by legal process is elementary. Truth be told, even petitioner governor who is unschooled in the intricacies of the law expressed reservations on his power to transfer Adalim. All said, the concerted acts of petitioners Ambil, Jr. and Apelado, Sr. resulting in the violation charged, makes them equally responsible as conspirators.
Mona Liza D. Antonio

JOJIT GARINGARAO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 192760 20 July 2011 CARPIO, J.:

Facts:

AAA, 16 years old, was brought to the Virgen Milagrosa Medical Center by her father BBB and mother CCC due to fever and abdominal pain. Dr. George Morante (Dr. Morante), the attending physician, recommended that AAA be confined at the hospital for further observation. AAA was admitted at the hospital and confined at a private room where she and her parents stayed for the night. The following day, BBB left the hospital to process his daughters Medicare papers. CCC also left the hospital that same morning to attend to their store leaving AAA alone in her room. When BBB returned to the hospital, AAA told him that she wanted to go home. Dr. Morante advised against it but due to AAAs insistence, he allowed AAA to be discharged. When AAA and her parents arrived at their house, AAA cried and told her parents that Garingarao sexually abused her. They all went back to the hospital and reported the incident to Dr. Morante. They inquired from the nurses station and learned that Garingarao was the nurse on duty on that day. The City Prosecutor filed an Information against Garingarao for acts of lasciviousness in relation to R.A. 7610. During the trial, AAA testified that on 29 October 2003, between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., Garingarao, entered her room and on the pretext of examining her lifted AAAs bra and touched her left breast. That for 15 to 30 minutes Garingarao left the room and came back with a stethoscope. Garingarao told AAA that he would examine her again so he lifted AAAs shirt, pressed the stethoscope to her stomach and touched her two nipples. Garingarao then lifted AAAs pajama and underwear and pressed the lower part of her abdomen then slid his finger inside AAAs private part. AAA instinctively crossed her legs and again asked Garingarao what he was doing. She asked him to stop and informed him she had her monthly period. Garingarao ignored AAA and continued to insert his finger inside her private part. Garingarao only stopped when he saw that AAA really had her monthly period. He went inside the bathroom of the private room, washed his hands, applied alcohol and left. The trial court found Garingarao guilty as charged. The trial court gave credence to the testimony of AAA over Garingaraos denial. It ruled that Garingarao was positively identified by AAA as the person who entered her room, touched her breasts and inserted his finger into her private part. It also found that the prosecution was able to establish that BBB and CCC were not in the room when Garingarao went inside. It ruled that it was illogical for BBB to convince his daughter to fabricate a story of sexual abuse just to get even at Garingarao over a heated argument. In its Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts decision with modifications. It ruled that while Garingarao was charged for acts of lasciviousness in relation to RA 7610, he should be convicted under R.A. 7610 because AAA was 16 years old when the crime was committed. The Court of Appeals ruled that under Section 5(b) of R.A. 7610, the offender shall be charged with rape or lascivious conduct under the Revised Penal Code (RPC) only if the victim is below 12 years old; otherwise, the provisions of R.A. 7610 shall prevail. Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in affirming with modifications the trial courts decision.

Issue:

Resolution: The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of R.A. 7610 are the following: 1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; 2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and 3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age. Under Section 32, Article XIII of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 7610, lascivious conduct is defined as follows: [T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with the intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person. A child is deemed subject to other sexual abuse when the child is the victim of lascivious conduct under the coercion or influence of any adult. In lascivious conduct under the coercion or influence of any adult, there must be some form of compulsion equivalent to intimidation which subdues the free exercise of the offended partys free will. In this case, the prosecution established that Garingarao touched AAAs breasts and inserted his finger into her private part for his sexual gratification. Moreover, it was proved that Garingarao coerced AAA into submitting to his lascivious acts by pretending that he was examining her. Garingarao insists that he should not be convicted of violation of R.A. 7610 because the incident happened only once and that the single incident would not suffice to hold him liable under R.A. 7610. Garingaraos argument has no legal basis. The Court has already ruled that it is inconsequential that sexual abuse under R.A. 7610 occurred only once. Section 3(b) of R.A. 7610 provides that the abuse may be habitual or not. Hence, the fact that the offense occurred only once is enough to hold Garingarao liable for acts of lasciviousness under RA 7610.
Mona Liza D. Antonio

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALLEN UDTOJAN MANTALABA G.R. No. 186227 20 July 2011 PERALTA, J. Facts: A buy-bust operation was conducted based on a report from an informer that a certain Allen Mantalaba, 17 years old at the time, was selling shabu. The buy-bust team was composed of PO1 Randy Pajo, PO1 Eric Simon and two poseur-buyers who were provided with two pieces of P100 marked bills to be used in the purchase. Arriving at the place for the buy-bust Operation, the two poseur-buyers approached Allen who was sitting at a corner and said to be in the act of selling shabu. PO1 Pajo saw the poseur-buyers and appellant talking to each other. Afterwards, the appellant handed a sachet of shabu to one of the poseur-buyers and the latter gave the marked money to the appellant. The poseur-buyers went back to the police officers and told them that the transaction has been completed. Police officers Pajo and Simon rushed to the place and handcuffed the appellant as he was leaving the place. The police officers, still in the area of operation and in the presence of barangay officials Richard S. Tandoy and Gresilda B. Tumala, searched the appellant and found a big sachet of shabu. PO1 Simon also pointed to the barangay officials the marked money, two pieces of P100 bill, thrown by the appellant on the ground. After the operation, and in the presence of the same barangay officials, the police officers made an inventory of the items recovered from the appellant which are: (1) one big sachet of shabu which they marked as RMP-1-10-01-03; (2) one small sachet of shabu which they marked as RMP 2-10-01-03; and (3) two (2) pieces of one hundred pesos marked money and a fifty peso (P50) bill. Thereafter, a letter-request was prepared by Inspector Ferdinand B. Dacillo for the laboratory examination of the two (2) sachets containing a crystalline substance, ultra-violet examination on the person of the appellant as well as the two (2) pieces of one hundred pesos marked money. The request was brought by PO1 Pajo and personally received by Police Inspector Virginia Sison-Gucor, Forensic Chemical Officer of the Regional Crime Laboratory Office XII Butuan City, who immediately conducted the examination. The laboratory examination revealed that the appellant tested positive for the presence of bright orange ultra-violet fluorescent powder; and the crystalline substance contained in two sachets, separately marked as RMP-1-10-01-03 and RMP-2-10-01-03, were positively identified as methamphetamine hydrochloride. Two separate Informations were filed before the RTC against appellant for violation of Sections 5 and 11 of RA 9165. In its Omnibus Judgment dated September 14, 2005, the RTC found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense charged, the dispositive portion of which, reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds accused Allen Mantalaba y Udtojan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt in Criminal Case No. 10250 for selling shabu, a dangerous drug, as defined and penalized under Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. As provided for in Sec. 98 of R.A. 9165, where the offender is a minor, the penalty for acts punishable by life imprisonment to death shall be reclusion perpetua to death. As such, Allen Mantalaba y Udtojan is hereby sentenced to RECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00). In Criminal Case No. 10251, the Court likewise finds accused Allen Mantalaba y Udtojan GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for illegally possessing shabu, a dangerous drug, weighing 0.6131 gram as defined and penalized under Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and accused being a minor at the time of the commission of the offense, after applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, he is accordingly sentenced to six (6) years and one (1) day, as minimum, to eight (8) years, as maximum of prision mayor and to pay a fine of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000.00). SO ORDERED.

The CA affirmed in toto the decision of the RTC. Thus, the present appeal. Issue: Whether or not the guilt of the appellant is proven beyond reasonable doubt and whether said appellant is entitled to suspension of sentence.

Resolution: A buy-bust operation is a legally effective and proven procedure, sanctioned by law, for apprehending drug peddlers and distributors. It is often utilized by law enforcers for the purpose of trapping and capturing lawbreakers in the execution of their nefarious activities.What determines if there was, indeed, a sale of dangerous drugs in a buy-bust operation is proof of the concurrence of all the elements of the offense, to wit: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefore. It was well established that the elements have been satisfactorily met. The seller and the poseur-buyer were properly identified. The subject dangerous drug, as well as the marked money used, was also satisfactorily presented. The testimony was also clear as to the manner in which the buy-bust operation was conducted. As an incident to the lawful arrest, the arresting officer had the authority to search the person of the appellant and appellant was caught in possession of 0.6131 grams of shabu. In illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the elements are: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. The marking of the confiscated item which is the most crucial in the chain of custody was complied with. The appellant was seventeen (17) years old when the buy-bust operation took place or when the said offense was committed, but was no longer a minor at the time of the promulgation of the RTC's Decision. It must be noted that RA 9344 took effect on May 20, 2006, while the RTC promulgated its decision on this case on September 14, 2005, when said appellant was no longer a minor. The RTC did not suspend the sentence in accordance with Article 192 of P.D. 603, The

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Child and Youth Welfare Code and Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC, the Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law, the laws that were applicable at the time of the promulgation of judgment, because the imposable penalty for violation of Section 5 of RA 9165 is life imprisonment to death. In People v. Sarcia (Gr.R. No. 169641, September 10, 2009, 599 SCRA 20), it was held that while Section 38 of RA 9344 provides that suspension of sentence can still be applied even if the child in conflict with the law is already eighteen (18) years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt, Section 40 of the same law limits the said suspension of sentence until the child reaches the maximum age of 21. Hence, the appellant, who is now beyond the age of twenty-one (21) years can no longer avail of the provisions of Sections 38 and 40 of RA 9344 as to his suspension of sentence, because such is already moot and academic. The privileged mitigating circumstance of minority was appreciated in fixing the penalty. WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 31, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00240-MIN, affirming the Omnibus Judgment dated September 14, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, Butuan City in Criminal Case No. 10250 and Criminal Case No. 10251, finding appellant Allen Udtojan Mantalaba, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Sections 5 and 11, Article II of RA 9165 is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the penalty that should be imposed on appellant's conviction of violation of Section 5 of RA 9165, is six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, and fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as maximum.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. IRENO BONAAGUA y BERCE G.R. No. 188897 June 6, 2011 PERALTA, J.

Facts:

In 1998, AAA and her mother left their house in Quezon to spend the Christmas with accused-appellant in Las Pias City. They stayed in the house of a certain Lola Jean, the godmother in the wedding of her parents, at Sta. Cecilia Subdivision, Las Pias City. AAA was inside a room lying in bed one afternoon while her younger brothers were playing outside the house and her mother was not home. Accused-appellant entered the room. He approached her, rolled her shirt upward, and removed her shorts and panty. She tried to resist by putting her clothes back on, but her fathers strength prevailed. Thereafter, accused-appellant touched and caressed her breasts. He licked her vagina then inserted his finger into it. In the evening of the same day, the accused-appellant raped AAA again in the same manner and under the same circumstances. AAA did not tell her mother that she was raped because accused-appellant threatened to kill her mother by placing the latters body in a drum and have it cemented if she would report the incidents. She returned to Quezon with her mother before the end of the Christmas season. In December 1999, AAA was raped by accused-appellant for the third time when he went to Quezon. In December 2000, AAA and her mother spent the Yuletide season with accused-appellant in Las Pias City. In a single day, AAA was raped for the fourth and fifth time. While spending the afternoon inside her fathers room at the car-wash station, he removed her shorts and panty then proceeded to touch and insert his finger into her vagina. Accused-appellant repeated the same sexual assault shortly thereafter. AAA again did not report these incidents for fear that her mother would be killed and cemented inside a drum. On January 26, 2001, AAA complained of severe abdominal pain which prompted her mother to take her to Gregg Hospital in Sariaya, Quezon. AAA was transferred to the Quezon Memorial Hospital in Lucena City where Dr. Melissa De Leon performed on her a physical examination. The results revealed that there was a healed superficial laceration at the 9oclock position on the hymen of AAA. This medical finding forced AAA to reveal to her mother all the incidents of rape committed by accused-appellant. After being discharged from the hospital, AAAs mother took her to the Police Headquarters of Sariaya, Quezon to file a complaint for rape against accused-appellant. AAAs mother also took her to the office of the NBI in Legaspi City where she executed a sworn statement against accused-appellant. The RTC, after finding the evidence for the prosecution overwhelming against the accuseds defense of denial and alibi, rendered a Decision convicting Ireno with four counts of Rape. Aggrieved, Ireno appealed the Decision before the CA but said court affirmed the decision of the RTC with modifications on the imposable penalty. The CA found Ireno guilty of the crime of Rape Through Sexual Assault and also guilty of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness under Section 5 (b) of R.A. No. 7610. Whether or not the CA erred in finding the accused-appellant guilty of the crime of rape despite the prosecutions failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Issue:

Resolution: To determine the innocence or guilt of the accused in rape cases, the courts are guided by three well-entrenched principles: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) considering that in the nature of things, only two persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. The prosecution has indubitably established that Ireno was the one who sexually assaulted AAA. AAA categorically narrated that Ireno sexually abused her on several occasions and even threatened AAA that he would kill her mother if she would report the incidents. The medical findings of Dr. Melissa De Leon did not refute AAAs testimony of defilement, but instead bolstered her claim. The same conclusion was also arrived at by the CA, to wit:
While the medico-legal findings showed a single healed superficial laceration on the hymen of AAA, Dr. De Leon clarified that it is not impossible for a hymen to sustain only one laceration despite the fact that a finger had been inserted into the vagina on several accounts. This situation may arise depending on the force extended into the vagina and on whether or not the hymen of the victim is membranous or firm and thick. A membranous hymen is easily lacerated; thus, when a force is exerted into it on several occasions, several lacerations may occur. On the other hand, a thick and firm hymen is not easily lacerated; a force exerted into it on several occasions may cause only one laceration. According to Dr. De Leon, AAA has thick and firm hymen and this may explain why it has only one laceration despite her claim that accused-appellant inserted his finger inside her vagina several times.

Before an accused can be convicted of child abuse through lascivious conduct committed against a minor below 12 years of age, the requisites for acts of lasciviousness under Article 336 of the RPC must be met in addition to the requisites for sexual abuse under Section 5 of R.A. No. 7610. Acts of Lasciviousness, as defined in Article 336 of the RPC, has the following elements: 1. That the offender commits any act of lasciviousness or lewdness;

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That it is done under any of the following circumstances: a. By using force or intimidation; or b. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or c. When the offended party is under 12 years of age; and 3. That the offended party is another person of either sex.[41] In addition, the following elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article III of R.A. No. 7610 must be established: 1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct. 2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse. 3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18 years of age. Corollarilly, Section 2 (h) of the rules and regulations of R.A. No. 7610 defines Lascivious conduct as:
[T]he intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person.

2.

Undeniably, all the afore-stated elements are present.. Ireno committed lascivious acts against AAA by touching her breasts and licking her vagina and the lascivious or lewd acts were committed against AAA, who was 8 years old at the time as established by her birth certificate. Thus, the CA correctly found Ireno guilty of the crime of Acts of Lasciviousness under Section 5 (b) of R.A. No. 7610. It must be emphasized, however, that like in the crime of rape whereby the slightest penetration of the male organ or even its slightest contact with the outer lip or the labia majora of the vagina already consummates the crime, in like manner, if the tongue, in an act of cunnilingus, touches the outer lip of the vagina, the act should also be considered as already consummating the crime of rape through sexual assault, not the crime of acts of lasciviousness. Notwithstanding, in the present case, such logical interpretation could not be applied. It must be pointed out that the victim testified that Ireno only touched her private part and licked it, but did not insert his finger in her vagina. This testimony of the victim, however, is open to various interpretation, since it cannot be identified what specific part of the vagina was defiled by Ireno. Thus, in conformity with the principle that the guilt of an accused must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, the statement cannot be the basis for convicting Ireno with the crime of rape through sexual assault. Ireno is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Rape Through Sexual Assault in Criminal Case Nos. 03-0254, 03-0256, and 03-0257 and Acts of Lasciviousness in Criminal Case No. 03-0255. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated March 31, 2009 in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03133, is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

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ELVIRA LATEO y ELEAZAR, FRANCISCO ELCA y ARCAS, and BARTOLOME BALDEMOR y MADRIGAL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 161651 8 June 2011 NACHURA, J.:

Facts:

Sometime in 1994, petitioners Elvira Lateo [Lateo] and Francisco Elca [Elca] proposed that Eleonor Lucero [Lucero] finance the titling of the 122 hectares of land located in Muntinlupa allegedly owned by Elca as the sole heir of Gregorio Elca. Title to the property had not been transferred to Elcas name because of a certain discrepancy between the Deed of Sale and TCT No. 77730. Elca offered to assign to Lucero 70 hectares of said land. She was then introduced to petitioner Bartolome Baldemor [Baldemor], Orlando Lalota and Nolasco de Guzman. Lucero released to petitioners about P4.7 million in staggered amounts. Elca told Lucero that certain portions of the property will first be put in the name of Lateo and would later be assigned to her. Lucero was given a Deed of Sale. Elca likewise executed an irrevocable Special Power of Attorney in favor of Lucero. Later, she was presented certified true copies of three titles, TCT Nos. 195550, 195551 and 195552 issued by the Register of Deeds of Makati City in the name of Lateo covering approximately twenty-seven hectares of Plan A-7 of the Mutinlupa Estate. However, when Lucero verified with the Registry of Deeds of Makati, she discovered that the aforesaid titles of the property were actually registered in the names of Marc Oliver R. Singson, Mary Jeanne S. Go and Feliza C. Torrigoza. Lucero confronted petitioners and demanded from them the return of the money. She was told that they did not have any money to return. They instead offered a five hectare property identified as Lot 10140 of Plan Sgs 04213-000441 located at Bacoor, Cavite allegedly owned by Elca. Elca, however, demanded an additionalP2 million for the transfer of title. When Lucero verified with the Land Management Bureau (LMB), she discovered that Elca only had a pending application for the sales patent over a four-hectare area of the subject land. These misrepresentations prompted her to file a complaint with the Task Force Kamagong, PACC, Manila. The task force conducted an entrapment at Furosato Restaurant. Petitioners were apprehended in possession of marked 100-peso bills amounting to P100,000.00, supposedly in exchange for the Deed of Assignment prepared by Lucero for their transaction. After trial, the RTC rendered a decision dated March 17, 1998, viz.:
xxx The representations made by Francisco Elca that he owns the property in Bacoor, Cavite, his having offered the same again to the complainant in lieu of the aborted deal in the Muntinlupa property their constant follow-up of complainants decision over the matter convincing the complainant to accept the offer and their persona[l] presence at the place of entrapment and their receipt of the P100,000.00 marked money which they even counted one after the other, thus making all of them positive of the presence of fluorescent powder. Those among others indicate strongly that all three accused Francisco Elca, Elvira Lateo and Bartolome Baldemor attempted to deceive and defraud complainant Eleanor Lucero.

The Court found all accused Francisco Elca, Elvira Lateo and Bartolome Baldemor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of attempted Estafa. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but the RTC denied it. The CA sustained petitioners conviction, although with modification as to the penalty imposed. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration, but their motion also suffered the same fate, as the CA denied it. Issue: Whether or not the conviction of petitioners lacked factual and legal basis.

Resolution: In every prosecution for estafa under Article 315(2)(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the following elements must be present: (1) that there must be a false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means; (2) that such false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud; (3) that the offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means, that is, he was induced to part with his money or property because of the false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means; (4) that as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage. Elca did not own 14 hectares in Bacoor, Cavite. He merely had an inchoate right over the Bacoor property, derived from his Application to Purchase Friar Lands, which covered only 7 hectares. Elcas application was later amended to cover only 4 hectares, in view of the protest by Alfredo Salenga (Salenga). Clearly, Elca was in no position to transfer ownership of the 5-hectare Bacoor property at the time petitioners offered it to Lucero. Indubitably, petitioners parody that Elca owned 14 hectares in Bacoor, Cavite, and was offering a 5-hectare portion of it, in substitution of the Muntinlupa property, and demanding an additional P2,000,000.00 from Lucero, constituted fraud and deceit. Undoubtedly, petitioners commenced the commission of the crime of estafa but they failed to perform all the acts of execution which would produce the crime, not by reason of their own spontaneous desistance but because of their apprehension by the authorities before they could obtain the amount. Since only the intent to cause damage and not the damage itself had been shown, the RTC and the CA correctly convicted petitioners of attempted estafa. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 23240 are AFFIRMED. Petitioners Elvira Lateo, Francisco Elca, and Bartolome Baldemor are found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of attempted estafa, and are hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of four (4) months of arresto mayor. SO ORDERED.
Mona Liza D. Antonio

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. DOLORES OCDEN G.R. No. 173198 June 1, 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Facts:

Accussed-appellant, Dolores Ocden, during the period of May-December 1998 recruited and promised employment as factory workers in Italy to several persons including but not limited to the following: JEFFRIES C. GOLIDAN, HOWARD C. GOLIDAN, KAREN M. SIMEON, JEAN S. MAXIMO, NORMA PEDRO, MARYLYN MANA-A, RIZALINA FERRER, and MILAN DARING without having first secured the necessary license or authority from the Department of Labor and Employment. In connection to the promised employment, Ocden required that the applicants submit their bio-data and passports, to pay the placement fees and undergo medical examination. She herself accompanied said applicants to Zamora Medical Clinic in Manila for their medical examinations, for which each of the applicants paid medical fees. In preparation for their flight to Italy, Ferrer, Jennilyn and Alipio proceeded to Manila where they were introduced by Ocden to Erlinda Ramos (Ramos). Ocden and Ramos accompanied them to the airport where they took a flight to Zamboanga. Ocden explained that they would be transported to Malaysia where their visa application for Italy would be processed. Sensing that they were being fooled, Ferrer and Jennilyn decided to get a refund of their money, but Ocden was nowhere to be found. Ferrer would later learn from the Baguio office of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) that Ocden was not a licensed recruiter. Jeffries and Howard with other applicants were supposed to leave for Italy in December 1998 were stranded in Zamboanga until January 1999. Jeffries called Golidan informing her of their situation. Golidan went to Ocdens residence where the latters husband gave Golidan P23,000.00 which the latter could use to fetch the applicants, including Jeffries and Howard, who were stranded in Zamboanga. Golidan traveled to Manila with Mana-a and Dao-as. When they saw each other, Golidan informed Ocden regarding the P23,000.00 which the latters husband gave to her. Ocden begged Golidan to give her the money because she needed it badly. Of the P23,000.00, Golidan retained P10,000.00, Dao-as received P3,000.00, and Ocden got the rest. Jeffries was able to return to Manila on January 16, 1999. Howard and five other applicants, accompanied by Ocden, also arrived in Manila five days later. Golidan and her sons ask for a refund of the money they had paid to Ocden who was able to return only P50,000.00. Thus, out of the total amount of P140,000.00 Golidan and her sons paid to Ocden, they were only able to get back the sum of P60,000.00. After all that had happened, Golidan and her sons went to the Baguio office of the POEA, where they discovered that Ocden was not a licensed recruiter. Ocden was charged for illegal recruitment in large scale and with six counts of estafa. The RTC rendered a Decision finding Ocden guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of illegal recruitment in large scale and three counts of estafa. The appellate court in its Decision affirmed Ocdens conviction but modified the penalties imposed upon her for the three counts of estafa.

Issue: Whether or not the RTC erred in convicting accused-appellant of Illegal Recruitment Committed in Large Scale and Estafa. Resolution: Theres nothing on record that would justify a reversal of Ocdens conviction. Article 13, paragraph (b) of the Labor Code defines and enumerates the acts which constitute recruitment and placement: (b) Recruitment and placement refers to any act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising for advertising for employment locally or abroad, whether for profit or not: Provided, That any person or entity which, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. It is well-settled that to prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that appellant gave complainants the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send complainants abroad for work such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed. As testified to by Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidan, Ocden gave such an impression through the following acts: (1) Ocden informed Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidan about the job opportunity in Italy and the list of necessary requirements for application; (2) Ocden required Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidans sons, Jeffries and Howard, to attend the seminar conducted by Ramos at Ocdens house in Baguio City; (3) Ocden received the job applications, pictures, bio-data, passports, and the certificates of previous employment (which was also issued by Ocden upon payment of P500.00), of Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidans sons, Jeffries and Howard; (4) Ocden personally accompanied Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidans sons, Jeffries and Howard, for their medical examinations in Manila; (5) Ocden received money paid as placement fees by Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidans sons, Jeffries and Howard, and even issued receipts for the same; and (6) Ocden assured Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidans sons, Jeffries and Howard, that they would be deployed to Italy. It is not necessary for the prosecution to present a certification that Ocden is a non-licensee or non-holder of authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment and placement of workers. Section 6 of Republic Act No. 8042 enumerates particular acts which would constitute illegal recruitment whether committed by any person, whether a non-licensee, non-holder, licensee or holder of authority. Among such acts, under Section 6(m) of Republic Act No. 8042, is the [f]ailure to reimburse expenses incurred by the worker in connection with his documentation and processing for purposes of deployment, in cases where the deployment does not actually take place without the workers fault.

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Since illegal recruitment under Section 6(m) can be committed by any person, even by a licensed recruiter, a certification on whether Ocden had a license to recruit or not, is inconsequential. Ocden committed illegal recruitment as described in said provision by receiving placement fees from Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidans two sons, Jeffries and Howard, evidenced by receipts Ocden herself issued; and failing to reimburse/refund to Mana-a, Ferrer, and Golidans two sons the amounts they had paid when they were not able to leave for Italy, through no fault of their own. Under the last paragraph of Section 6, Republic Act No. 8042, illegal recruitment shall be considered an offense involving economic sabotage if committed in a large scale, that is, committed against three or more persons individually or as a group. Even though only Ferrer and Golidan testified as to Ocdens failure to reimburse the placements fees paid when the deployment did not take place, their testimonies already established the fact of non-reimbursement as to three persons, namely, Ferrer and Golidans two sons, Jeffries and Howard. We are likewise affirming the conviction of Ocden for the crime of estafa. The very same evidence proving Ocdens liability for illegal recruitment also established her liability for estafa. It is settled that a person may be charged and convicted separately of illegal recruitment under Republic Act No. 8042 in relation to the Labor Code, and estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. The elements of estafa are: (a) that the accused defrauded another by abuse of confidence or by means of deceit, and (b) that damage or prejudice capable of pecuniary estimation is caused to the offended party or third person. Both these elements are present in the instant case. Ocden represented to Ferrer, Golidan, and Golidans two sons, Jeffries and Howard, that she could provide them with overseas jobs. Convinced by Ocden, Ferrer, Golidan, and Golidans sons paid substantial amounts as placement fees to her. Ferrer and Golidans sons were never able to leave for Italy, instead, they ended up in Zamboanga, where, Ocden claimed, it would be easier to have their visas to Italy processed. Despite the fact that Golidans sons, Jeffries and Howard, were stranded in Zamboanga for almost a month, Ocden still assured them and their mother that they would be able to leave for Italy. There is definitely deceit on the part of Ocden and damage on the part of Ferrer and Golidans sons, thus, justifying Ocdens conviction for. WHEREFORE, the instant appeal of accused-appellant Dolores Ocden is DENIED. The Decision dated April 21, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00044 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.

Mona Liza D. Antonio

16

MARK CLEMENTE Y MARTINEZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. NO. 194367 15 June 2011 VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Facts:

This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals which denied petitioners appeal. The petitioner, Martinez, was charged with violation of Article 168 of the Revised Penal Code. The petitioner gave a fake P 500.00 bill to Francis de la Cruz to buy a bottle of soft drink from the Manila City Jail bakery but was refused because it was found out that it was fake. So, Francis de la Cruz reported the matter to jail officers. Consequently, the jail guards conducted a surprise inspection and found out 23 more fake 500 bills in the wallet of the accused. The defense of the accused was the defense of frame up. After trial, the RTC found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The RTC gave credence to the prosecution's witnesses in finding that the counterfeit money were discovered in petitioner's possession during a surprise inspection, and that the possibility that the counterfeit money were planted to incriminate petitioner was almost nil considering the number of pieces involved. As to the elements of the crime, the RTC held that the fact that the P500.00 bills found in petitioners possession were forgeries was confirmed by the certification issued by the Cash Department of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. On appeal before the CA, petitioner argued that the RTC erred in finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Article 168 of the RPC. Petitioner contended that one of the elements of the crime which is intent to use the counterfeit bills was not established because the informant Francis dela Cruz did not take the witness stand. Whether all the elements of the crime of Illegal possession and use of false treasury or bank note in this case are present?

Issue:

Resolution: Petitioner Mark Clemente y Martinez alias Emmanuel Dino is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime of Illegal possession and use of false bank notes defined and penalized under Article 168 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The elements of the crime charged for violation of said law are: (1) that any treasury or bank note or certificate or other obligation and security payable to bearer, or any instrument payable to order or other document of credit not payable to bearer is forged or falsified by another person; (2) that the offender knows that any of the said instruments is forged or falsified; and (3) that he either used or possessed with intent to use any of such forged or falsified instruments. In this case, the prosecution failed to show that petitioner used the counterfeit money or that he intended to use the counterfeit bills. Francis dela Cruz, to whom petitioner supposedly gave the fake P500.00 bill to buy soft drinks, was not presented in court. According to the jail officers, they were only informed by Francis dela Cruz that petitioner asked the latter to buy soft drinks at the Manila City jail bakery using a fake P500.00 bill. In short, the jail officers did not have personal knowledge that petitioner asked Francis dela Cruz use the P500.00 bill. Their account, however, is hearsay and not based on the personal knowledge. In this case, the non-presentation of the informant as witness weakens the prosecution's evidence since he was the only one who had knowledge of the act which manifested petitioner's intent to use a counterfeit bill. The prosecution had every opportunity to present Francis dela Cruz as its witness, if in fact such person existed, but it did not present him. Hence, the trial court did not have before it evidence of an essential element of the crime.

Eric S. Parilla

17

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. URBAN SALCEDO, ET AL G.R NO. 186523 22 June 2011 PERALTA, J.:

Facts:

This is a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals about kidnapping case of Abu Sayyaf Group of Shiela Tabunag, Reina Malonzo, Ediborah Yap and Joel Guillo. In Criminal Case No. 3537-1129, for the kidnapping of Joel Guillo, accused-appellants were sentenced to reclusion perpetua; in Criminal Case No. 3608-1164, for the kidnapping of Reina Malonzo, they were sentenced to Death; in Criminal Case No. 3611-1165, for the kidnapping of Sheila Tabuag, they were sentenced to Death; and in Criminal Case No. 3674-1187, for the kidnapping of Ediborah Yap, they were also sentenced to Death. In the Brief for Accused-Appellants filed with the CA, it was argued that the prosecutions evidence was insufficient to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It was further averred that some of the accused-appellants were merely forced to join the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) for fear for their lives and those of their relatives, while four (4) of them, namely, Wahid Salcedo, Magarni Hapilon Iblong, Nadzmer Mandangan and Kamar Jaafar, were supposedly minors at the time the alleged kidnapping took place; hence, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9344 (otherwise known as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006), should apply to said accused-appellants. It was then prayed that accused-appellants Nadzmer Isnani Madangan, Magarni Hapilon Iblong, Wahid Salcedo, Kamar Jaafar, Abdulajid Ngaya, Lidjalon Sakandal and Sonny Asali be acquitted, while the sentence for the rest of the accused-appellants be reduced to reclusion perpetua. Whether to change the penalty imposed because the State had not been able to prove accused-appellants' guilt beyond reasonable doubt and that the defense failed to adduce proof of minority of the four accused-appellants.

Issue:

Resolution: The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Records reveal that the prosecution witnesses were unwavering in their account of how accused-appellants worked together to abduct and guard their kidnapped victims, fight-off military forces who were searching and trying to rescue said victims, and how ransom was demanded and paid. The prosecution likewise presented two former members of the ASG who testified that they were part of the group that reinforced the kidnappers and helped guard the hostages. They both identified accused-appellants as their former comrades. In the face of all that evidence, the only defense accused-appellants could muster are denial and alibi, and for accused-appellants Iblong, Mandangan, Salcedo and Jaafar, their alleged minority. Accused-appellants' proffered defense are sorely wanting when pitted against the prosecutions evidence. It is established jurisprudence that denial and alibi cannot prevail over the witnesses' positive identification of the accused-appellants. The detention of the hostages lasted for several months and they were transferred from one place to another, being always on the move for several days. Thus, in this case, for accusedappellants' alibi to prosper, they are required to prove their whereabouts for all those months. This they were not able to do, making the defense of alibi absolutely unavailing.

Eric S. Parilla

18

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALBERTO ANTICAMARA Y CABILLO, ET AL. G.R NO. 178771 8 June 2011 PERALTA, J.:

Facts: This is an appeal of the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court's judgment finding appellants Fernando Calaguas Fernandez (Lando) and Alberto Cabillo Anticamara (Al) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Murder and of the crime of Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention. About the early morning of May 7, 2002, in Sitio Rosalia, Brgy. San Bartolome, Municipality of Rosales, Province of Pangasinan, Lando and Al, being then armed with a hand gun, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with intent to kill, with treachery, evident premeditation and superior strength, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take Sulpacio Abad, driver of the Estrellas, hog tied him, brought to a secluded place, shoot and bury in a shallow grave. In his defense, Lando denied having committed the crimes charged and interposed alibi as a defense. He claims that at the time of the incident on May 7, 2002, he was in Barangay Maligaya, San Miguel, Tarlac, with his family. He denied ever going to the Estrella farm in Sitio Rosalia, Barangay San Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan. Al claimed that he acted as a lookout and was tasked to report to his companions if any person or vehicle would approach the house of the Estrellas. He said that he was forced to follow what was ordered of him and did not report the matter to the police because he was threatened to be killed, including the members of his family who were in Cebu. Issue: Are the appellants guilty of murder and kidnapping and serious illegal detention?

Resolution: The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00556 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. For Murder: The trial court found that although there was no direct eyewitness in the killing of Sulpacio in the early morning of May 7, 2002 at Sitio Rosalia, Barangay San Bartolome, Rosales, Pangasinan, the prosecution adduced sufficient circumstantial evidence to establish with moral certainty the identities and guilt of the perpetrators of the crime. Moreover, there was a conspiracy between the perpetrators and the defense of denial was not given weight since there was a positive identification of the accused by the witness, AAA. As to the defense of alibi, aside from the testimony of appellant Lando that he was in Tarlac at the time of the incident, the defense was unable to show that it was physically impossible for Lando to be at the scene of the crime. Basic is the rule that for alibi to prosper, the accused must prove that he was somewhere else when the crime was committed and that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime. For Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention: The Court finds appellant Lando guilty of the special complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with rape. The crime of kidnapping was proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. Appellants Lando and Al, both private individuals, forcibly took AAA, a female, away from the house of the Estrellas and held her captive against her will. Thereafter, appellant Lando brought AAA to his house in San Miguel Tarlac, whereby she was deprived of her liberty for almost one month. It is settled that the crime of serious illegal detention consists not only of placing a person in an enclosure, but also in detaining him or depriving him in any manner of his liberty. The crime of rape was also established by the prosecution. Appellant Lando succeeded in having carnal knowledge of AAA through the use of threat and intimidation. AAA testified that on May 9, 2002, appellant Lando brought her to a hotel to hide her from Fred and Bert, who intended to kill her. Appellant Lando told her to follow his orders, otherwise, he will give her to Fred and Bert. While in the hotel, appellant Lando raped her.

Eric S. Parilla

19

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EFREN PATELAN LAMBARTE ET AL G.R NO. 182918 6 June 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

At about 6:00 p.m. of September 22, 2004, Eulalia Garcia was tending her sari-sari store along the National Highway in San Eugenio, Aringay, La Union when the appellant and Lamberte came to borrow her gas lamp. She noticed that both were drunk and armed. They said they were looking for a bullet that fell on the ground. After finding the bullet, she asked them where they were going and they answered, We are going to kill the doctor. The two then waited under a mango tree. Shortly thereafter, the victim, on board a truck, passed by Garcias store on the way to his poultry farm. The appellant and Lamberte followed on foot. Ten minutes later, Garcia heard two gunshots coming from the direction of the poultry farm. It appears that the victim arrived at his poultry farm at around 7:00 p.m. to deliver medicines and bread to his workers, Alvin Manolong, Crispino Yaranon and Ferrer Anasario. After the delivery, the victim instructed the workers to resume their work. The workers then proceeded to Building 1 and left the victim standing beside his truck near Building 5. Subsequently, the workers heard gunfire coming from the victims direction. Manolong went down to investigate. On hearing a second shot, Manolong ran towards the parked truck and saw the victim lying on the ground with a gunshot wound in his stomach. Manolong called his companions, yelling that the victim had been shot. Both the Regional trial Court and the Court of Appeals found the perpetrators guilty. Whether the qualifying, aggravating and mitigating circumstances were properly appreciated or not?

Issue:

Resolution: The testimonies of the prosecution witnesses clearly prove that a conspiracy existed in the commission of the crime. Garcia testified that the appellant and Lamberte had the common design of killing the victim. The fact that each one was armed with a firearm shows that they acted with the singular purpose of killing the victim. Both accused threatened workers Manolong, Yaranon and Anasario with harm should they tell anyone that they (accused) killed the victim. Under these facts, it does not matter who actually shot the victim because of the conspiracy that existed. In conspiracy, the act of one is the act of all; each of the accused is equally guilty of the crime committed. The CA correctly appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery as the victim was shot at the back. However, the CA misappreciated the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation. For evident premeditation to be appreciated, there must be proof, as clear as the evidence of the crime itself, of (1) the time when the offender determined to commit the crime; (2) an act manifestly indicating that the accused clung to his determination; and (3) a sufficient lapse of time between determination and execution to allow himself time to reflect upon the consequences of his act. Moreover, the CA erred in crediting the appellant with the mitigating circumstance of intoxication simply because Garcia testified that the accused were both drunk. In this case, there is no convincing proof of the nature and effect of the appellants intoxication. The mitigating circumstance of intoxication cannot be appreciated in the appellants favor merely on the testimony of a prosecution witness that he was drunk during the incident. The penalty for murder is reclusion perpetua to death under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. Since neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstances attended the commission of the felony, the proper imposable penalty on the appellant is reclusion perpetua.

Eric S. Parilla

20

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSEPH MOSTRALES Y ABAD G.R NO. 184925 15 June 2011 MENDOZA, J.:

Facts:

On April 18, 2002, the accused Joseph Mostrales, Diosdado Santos, Ronnie Tan conspiring and confederating together with @ JOHN-JOHN, @ KUMANDER AGUILA, @ KUMANDER KIDLAT AND TEN (10) JOHN DOES, kidnapped MA. ANGELA VINA DEE PINEDA and threatening to kill her if the ransom amounting to eleven million pesos will not be given to them. Upon arraignment on July 30, 2002, Joseph Mostrales (Mostrales) pleaded not guilty to the charge. Both his co-accused, Diosdado Santos (Santos) and Ronnie Tan (Tan), remained at-large as of the date of promulgation of the CA Decision.The Regional Trial Court found the accused guilty and was sentenced to suffer Death. Moreover, he was ordered to pay eleven million pesos for the unrecovered ransom money, two million pesos for moral damages, and P268,093.37 as compensatory damages. On the other hand, the decision of the Court of Appeals is they affirmed with the Regional Trial Courts decision with modifications of lowering the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole. Whether all the elements of kidnapping are present in this case?

Issue:

Resolution: The Supreme Court AFFIRMED the decision of the Court of Appeals with the sole MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages to private complainant and her parents is increased to P200,000.00. In this case, the prosecution was able to prove all the elements of kidnapping: (1) The offender is a private individual; not either of the parents of the victim or a public officer who has a duty under the law to detain a person; (2) He kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (3) The act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (4) In the commission of the offense, any of the following circumstances is present: (a) the kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three days; (b) it is committed by simulating public authority; (c) any serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained or threats to kill him are made or (d) the person kidnapped or detained is a minor, female or a public official. Moreover, as the CA emphatically stated, the defense of alibi may not be successfully invoked where the identity of the assailant has been established by the witnesses. The accused failed to sufficiently prove that it was physically impossible for him to have been present at the place where the crime was committed. The accused himself testified that if traffic was light, it would only take three to four hours to commute from Umingan, Pangasinan to Manila. Travel time may even be reduced significantly to less than three hours if one would travel using a private vehicle. Thus, as the CA concluded, it was physically possible for the accused to have been at the scene of the crime in Mandaluyong City in the early hours of November 12, 2001, and in Umingan, Pangasinan on the same day before noon.

Eric S. Parilla

21

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANGELITO ESQUIBEL Y JESUS G.R NO. 192465 8 June 2011 CARPIO, J.:

Facts:

On February 7, 2003 in Manila, Angelito Esquibel y Jesus stabbed and hit CLARK BALOLOY y TACSAGON thereby inflicting upon the latter a stab wound on the abdomen which was the direct and immediate cause of his death thereafter. The accused pleaded not guilty and asserted self defense. The prosecution and the defense presented two different versions of the facts and witnesses. In its Decision dated 24 October 2007, the RTC found Esquibel guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder qualified by treachery. The RTC accorded full faith and credence to the testimony of Gaboy and disregarded Esquibels claim of self-defense. The RTC stated that the qualifying circumstance of treachery was duly established by direct and positive evidence. Gaboy, the eyewitness, convincingly narrated the details and circumstances of how Baloloy was killed, showing that Esquibel knowingly chose the mode of attack to insure the accomplishment of the crime without risk to himself. The RTC further stated that Esquibels version of self-defense was self-serving and cannot be given credence over the positive and credible testimony of Gaboy. The accused filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals, however, affimed the decision of the Regional Trial Court stating that they found no cogent reason to depart from the rule that matters concerning the credibility of the witnesses in criminal cases are left to the sound discretion of the trial court. Since the trial court is in the best position to assess and observe the witness demeanor, conduct and attitude under a grueling examination, the trial courts assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight. The CA stated that Gaboys testimony was consistent, unwavering and straightforward. Esquibels defense that there were alleged inconsistencies in Gaboys testimony are trivial and insignificant and do not contravene Gaboys testimony that she directly witnessed Esquibel stabbing Baloloy. Whether treachery as a qualifying circumstance is present in the case?

Issue:

Resolution: The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack on an unsuspecting victim by the perpetrator of the crime, depriving the victim of any chance to defend himself or repel the aggression, thus, insuring its commission without risk to the aggressor and without any provocation on the part of the victim. The sudden attack by Esquibel with a bladed weapon, with Baloloys back against him, was undoubtedly treacherous. Baloloy was washing his hands outside his house when Esquibel appeared out of nowhere and stabbed him. Baloloy was unprepared and had no means to put up a defense. Such aggression insured the commission of the crime without risk on Esquibel. The Supreme Court agreed with the decision of the lower courts with modifications on the amounts of civil indemnity, temperate damages, and exemplary damages are increased to P75,000, P25,000, and P30,000, respectively.

Eric S. Parilla

22

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JONIE DOMINGUEZ G.R NO. 191065 13 June 2011 SERENO, J.:

Facts:

Jonie Dominguez, the accused, molested his grandnieces AAA and BBB, by means of force, violence and intimidation, while armed with a knife. AAA and BBB chose to stay silent about the instances of rape, until their mother accidentally discovered the commission of the crimes from the accused himself. Overhearing Dominguez in one of his drinking sessions, boasting that the children's vaginas were already wide, she confronted her daughters and asked them about the remark. The children reluctantly confided to her what had happened. As a result, the girls were brought to a doctor for examination and found AAAs hymen intact, but did not discount the fact that the child could have been molested. In contrast, BBB was found to have old hymenal lacerations. According to their testimonies, the accused had employed trickery so that either AAA or BBB would be left alone with him and thereafter raped, with threats of harm to her person or her family. Accused-appellant argues that the prosecutors evidence was doubtful.The charges against him, he says, were just fabricated, since the parents of the victims had an axe to grind against him. He claims that he had loaned an amount to the victims aunt, who is the sister of the victims father. When he demanded the return of the money, the victims parents got mad at him. He insinuates that these ill feelings were the reason why he was falsely charged by AAA and BBB. Another point being raised by the accused-appellant concerns the consistency of AAA's testimony. He argues that the inconsistencies in her testimony taint her credibility. In effect, he claims that since rape is a traumatic event for the victim, there was no way AAA could have forgotten or been mistaken about it, including its place of occurrence, had rape really happened. Specifically, the accused is arguing that since AAA mentioned two places -- their house and the back of the school her testimony was not credible. Whether elements of rape are present at this case?

Issue:

Resolution: The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Rape is committed: 1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: a) Through force, threat, or intimidation; b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and d)When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present. 2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person. Before and after the violations, the intimidation took the form of threats that the victims family would be killed by the accused. The accused also employed trickery and took advantage of his authority over his grandnieces. Under these circumstances, the accused was able to have carnal knowledge of BBB and commit a series of sexual assaults against both her and AAA. The two incidents of rape against AAA happened before she reached 12 years of age, she being 9 and 10 then. For those incidents, proof of threats, force or intimidation, is not necessary. Contrary to the claim of the prosecution, the accuseds relationship to the victims cannot be considered as an aggravating circumstance. For relationship to aggravate or qualify the crime of rape committed against a minor, the accused must be a relative of the victim within the third civil degree. As a brother of the victim's paternal grandmother, he is but a relative within the fourth civil degree. This relationship cannot qualify the crime as to merit the punishment of reclusion perpetua to death under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code as amended. Thus, the rape of BBB by means of carnal knowledge was simple rape, and the amount of civil indemnity should be decreased from P75,000 to P50,000. With respect to the manner of rape committed against AAA twice and against BBB six times, which was rape by digital insertion, jurisprudence from 2001 up to the present yields the information that the prevailing amount awarded as civil indemnity to victims of simple rape committed by means other than penile insertion is P30,000.

Eric S. Parilla

23

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FELICIANO SAYSOT CIAS G.R NO.194379 1 June 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.:

Facts:

On April , 2000 the accused Feliciano Cias forced and intimidated by holding a scythe AAA and removed her underwear while resting inside the house with her child and while AAAs husband was away. Cias, with the assistance of his counsel, was arraigned, and he pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. During the trial, the prosecution offered the testimonies of the private complainant; Dr. Stephen S. Estacion (Dr. Estacion), who conducted the medico-legal examination on AAA; and Senior Police Officer 3 Georgen Barot Sefe (SPO3 Sefe). On the other hand, the defense presented as witnesses accused Cias and his wife, Felina Cias. Whether the decision of the Court of Appeals is correct or not?

Issue:

Resolution: In determining the guilt or innocence of the accused in rape cases, the Court is guided by the following principles: an accusation of rape can be made with facility and while the accusation is difficult to prove, it is even more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove the charge; (2) considering that, in the nature of things, only two persons are usually involved in the crime of rape, the testimony of the complainant should be scrutinized with great caution; and (3) the evidence of the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merit, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Inasmuch as the crime of rape is essentially committed in relative isolation or even secrecy, it is usually only the victim who can testify with regard to the fact of the forced sexual intercourse. Therefore, in a prosecution for rape, the credibility of the victim is almost always the single and most important issue to deal with. Thus, if the victims testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused can justifiably be convicted on the basis of this testimony; otherwise, the accused should be acquitted of the crime. More importantly, appellate courts do not disturb the findings of the trial courts with regard to the assessment of the credibility of witnesses. The reason for this is that trial courts have the unique opportunity to observe the witnesses first hand and note their demeanor, conduct and attitude under grilling examination. The exceptions to this rule are when the trial courts findings of facts and conclusions are not supported by the evidence on record, or when certain facts of substance and value, likely to change the outcome of the case, have been overlooked by the trial court, or when the assailed decision is based on a misapprehension of facts. However, the Supreme Court finds none of these exceptions present in the instant case.

Eric S. Parilla

24

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CARLO DUMADAG Y ROMIO G.R NO.176740 22 June 2011 DEL CASTILLO, J.: AAA, a young barrio lass, 16 years of age at the time she testified on February 21, 2000, declared that in the early morning of December 25, 1998, she was on her way home after hearing the midnight mass at BBB, CCC, DDD. She was a little bit behind Thelma, Carlos and Clarence, all surnamed Dumadag. All of a sudden, appellant approached her from behind and poked a Batangas knife on her threatening to stab her if she shouts. He pulled her towards the house of Joel Boyet Ursulum (Boyet). Once inside, she was forced to remove her pants and panty because of fear. Appellant also removed his pants and brief and pushed her on a bamboo bed. Pointing the knife at the left portion of her abdomen, appellant ordered her to hold his penis against her vagina. Appellant succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her. After appellant was through, they stayed inside the house until six oclock in the morning of December 25, 1998. All this time, appellant continued to hold the knife. Pleading that she be allowed to go home, appellant finally let her go after threatening to kill her if she reports the incident to her parents. AAA decided not to disclose what transpired because of fear. Nevertheless, AAAs uncle, EEE learned from appellant himself that the latter had sexual intercourse with her. Her uncle relayed the information to her father who confronted her about the incident. After confirming the same from AAA, they decided to report the matter to the police where she was investigated and her sworn statement taken. However, the accused claimed that it was voluntary and without the use of force since they were lovers. To support his claim that AAA was his girlfriend, appellant presented Boyet and Nieves Irish Oandasan (Nieves Irish) who both corroborated his sweetheart defense. Whether the sexual congress between appellant and the private complainant was done through force and intimidation or was voluntary and consensual.

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: The gravamen of the offense of rape is sexual intercourse with a woman against her will or without her consent. On the basis of the records, the Supreme Court finds AAA candidly and categorically recounted the manner appellant threatened her and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her against her will. AAA consistently testified that while she was on her way home after hearing the midnight mass on December 24, 1998, appellant suddenly and unexpectedly grabbed her, placed his right hand around her neck and poked a knife at the left portion of her abdomen, threatening to kill her if she shouts. He made her walk towards the house of Boyet where she was forced to lie on a bed and with the knife aimed at her side succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her. The failure of AAA to flee despite opportunity does not necessarily deviate from natural human conduct. It bears emphasis that human reactions vary and are unpredictable when facing a shocking and horrifying experience such as sexual assault. There is no uniform behavior expected of victims after being raped. The fact that there is no evidence of resistance on the part of AAA does not cloud her credibility. The failure of a victim to physically resist does not negate rape when intimidation is exercised upon [her] and the latter submits herself, against her will, to the rapists assault because of fear for life and physical safety. In this case, AAA was dragged by appellant with a knife pointed on her neck and warned not to shout or to reveal the incident to anyone or else she would be killed. That warning was instilled in AAAs mind such that even when appellant was just holding his weapon after the intercourse, she did not attempt to flee. The intimidations made by the appellant are sufficient since it instilled fear in her mind that if she would not submit to his bestial demands, something bad would befall her. Appellants claim that they are lovers is untenable. Besides, even if it were true that appellant and AAA were sweethearts, this fact does not necessarily negate rape. Definitely, a man cannot demand sexual gratification from a fiance and worse, employ violence upon her on the pretext of love. Love is not a license for lust.

Eric S. Parilla

25

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LUCRESIO ESPINA G.R NO.183564 29 June 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

On December 7, 1997, AAA attended a benefit dance together with her stepmother and stepsister. When she went out to find her friends, her father, the accused, called her and said that there is an errand for her. When they were in the dark place, the accused ordered AAA to remove her pants and underwear and inserted his private part on her vagina. After the said event, the accused ordered her to change clothes and went back to the benefit dance. The stepsister notice that AAA has hard time of climbing the stairs and so, she said it to her mother and the mother checked AAA and found out that her private part was bleeding. They went to the clinic for check up and medico legal. The prosecution charged the appellant before the RTC with the crime of rape. The appellant denied the charge against him and claimed that he had a drinking session with his friends at the house of Melanio Velasco on the day of the incident. According to him, he fell asleep on a grassy area and woke up at 8:00 a.m. of the next day. The RTC found the appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified rape, and sentenced him to suffer the death penalty. It also ordered the appellant to pay the victim P50,000.00 as civil indemnity and P50,000.00 as moral damages. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC judgment, with the following modifications: (1) the penalty of death is reduced to reclusion perpetua; (2) the amount of civil indemnity is increased to P75,000.00; (3) the amount of moral damages is increased to P75,000.00; and (4) the appellant is further ordered to pay the victim P25,000.00 as exemplary damages. Whether the accused is guilty of rape or statutory rape?

Issue:

Resolution: For a charge of rape to prosper under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the prosecution must prove that (1) the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; and (2) he accomplished such act through force, threat or intimidation, when she was deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or when she was under 12 years of age or was demented. Sexual intercourse with a girl below 12 years old is statutory rape. In this type of rape, force and intimidation are immaterial; the only subject of inquiry is the age of the woman and whether carnal knowledge took place. In her testimony dated May 19, 1999, AAA positively identified the appellant as the one who raped her. Her testimony was clear and straightforward; she was consistent in her recollection of the details of her sexual abuse. In addition, her testimony was corroborated by the medical findings of Dr. Cerillo. Under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, the death penalty shall be imposed when the victim is below 18 years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim. As earlier stated, the parties stipulated during the pre-trial that AAA was 11 years old at the time of the commission of the crime. The parties likewise stipulated that AAA is the appellants legitimate daughter. During trial, AAA, BBB and the appellant testified to this fact. The Supreme Court however, cannot impose the death penalty in view of R.A. No. 9346, signed into law on June 24, 2006. Pursuant to this law, the Supreme Court affirm the CAs reduction of the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua, with the modification, however, that the appellant shall not be eligible for parole.

Eric S. Parilla

26

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ITO PINIC G.R. No. 186395 June 8, 2011 Perez, J.

Facts:

In three (3) separate Informations all dated 12 December 2001 filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Ito Pinic was accused of the crime of RAPE of one AAA, a seven (7) year old girl, allegedly committed on or about the month of April 2001, in the municipality of xxx, province of xxx. During pre-trial, the parties stipulated, among others, that AAA was only seven (7) years old during the incident of April 2001; and that Ito Pinic and Lito Pinic are one and the same person. AAA testified on trial that the rape happened sometime in April 2001, when Ito Pinic, accused, summoned her inside the house of Victorio Pinic a.k.a. Balulang. The accused inserted his penis into her vagina and withdrew it for three (3) times. After the act, appellant sent her home and warned her not to tell anyone of the incident. Sometime in the same month of April 2001, AAA complained to her father FFF that her anus was painful. When her mother MMM examined her, she confided that she was raped by appellant. AAA submitted herself to a physical examination and was issued a Medico-Legal Certificate showing that she has old hymenal lacerations at 10:00 oclock and 2:00 oclock positions. Dr. Jomelyn Bolompo, her attending physician, testified that the lacerations could have been caused by any object bigger than the hymenal opening like a penis or a finger. On the other hand, appellant denied the accusations against him and claimed that nobody could enter the house of Balulang because the windows and the doors are padlocked. On 22 December 2006, RTC convicted the appellant of the crime of rape in Criminal Case No. 730-T. But he was acquitted in Criminal Case Nos. 731-T and 732-T, his guilt not proven beyond reasonable doubt. Appellant elevated the case to the Court of Appeals on 31 January 2007. On 6 May 2008, the Court of Appeals promulgated its decision by dismissing the appeal for lack of merit. The accused appealed to the Supreme Court. Invoking the three (3) well-entrenched principles that guide the court in the determination of the guilt of an accused in the crime of rape which are (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape in which only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense, appellant maintains that the sole testimony of AAA should not be made the basis for his conviction.

Issue:

Resolution: The Supreme Court upholds the conviction of appellant in Criminal Case No. 730-T. A man commits rape by having carnal knowledge of a child under twelve (12) years of age even in the absence of any of the following circumstances: (a) through force, threat or intimidation; (b) when the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or (c) by means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority. Owing to the manner of the commission of rape, the sole testimony of the victim may be sufficient to convict the accused so long as the court finds the testimony credible, natural, convincing and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. More so, when the testimony is supported by the medico-legal findings of the examining physician. The Court of Appeals added that the Office of the Solicitor General correctly argued that the young age of AAA at the time she was defiled did not lessen her credibility inasmuch as she was able to relate her ordeal clearly and consistently.
Fely Jane R. Reyes

27

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BENJAMIN PADILLA Y UNTALAN G.R. No. 182917 June 8, 2011 Leonardo-De Castro, J.

Facts:

On March 12, 2001, accused-appellant was charged with three (3) counts of rape under three separate Informations. AAA testified that the date of her birth was February 28, 1989. Since September 1999, when her mother, BBB, went to work abroad, AAA had been living in their house in XXX with the accused-appellant; CCC, her older brother; DDD, her younger brother; and EEE, her younger sister. AAA recounted that the first rape occurred in November 1999 at around seven oclock in the morning. While changing her clothes at the second floor of their house as she was about to go to school, the accused, armed with a bolo, came in and pushed her on the floor. He threatened to kill her if she shouts. He then proceeded to remove AAAs short pants and panty, went on top of AAA and inserted his penis into her vagina. After the act, the accused put on his brief and shorts and went to the market. At that time, CCC was already working at the Asingan market as a helper, while DDD and EEE were outside the house. As to the alleged second rape, AAA related that the same incident happened on the evening of January 13, 2001 when she was at the upper floor of their house while she was changing her clothes before going to bed and her siblings CCC, DDD and EEE were already sleeping downstairs. The third incident of rape allegedly took place on January 14, 2001, at dawn as AAA slept at the ground floor of their house. CCC was already in the market, while DDD and EEE were sleeping at a distance of around two meters from AAA. The accusedappellant woke up AAA and whispered to her not to shout or he would kill her. He then removed her shorts and panty and proceeded to rape her again. Thereafter, the accused-appellant left. AAA said that at noontime on January 14, 2001, she and her younger siblings went to the house of her aunt, FFF and reported the incidents of rape. They then waited for AAAs grandmother, GGG, and the latter accompanied AAA to the police station. SPO2 Badua recorded the report in the police blotter and advised GGG that AAA should undergo medical examination. On that same day, they went to the hospital and AAA underwent a medical examination conducted by Dr. Noemie Taganas. Dr. Taganas said that there was a swelling of the nipples, the labia majora, labia minora and the clitoris of AAA. Moreover, Dr. Taganas stated that the hymen of AAA showed incomplete and old healed lacerations at 12 oclock, 3 oclock, 6 oclock and 9 oclock positions. The hymen was lacerated only halfway. Dr. Taganas concluded that the physical virginity of AAA was already lost. CCC, her older brother testified for the defense and related that he did not remember any unusual incident that happened in the evening on the month of January 2001. Further, the accused denied the allegations against him. On October 3, 2002, Dr. Taganas again testified, stating that she conducted another physical examination of AAA on September 27, 2002 and the internal findings arrived at were the same as those obtained from the previous examination. On September 3, 2004, the RTC rendered its Decision, finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three (3) counts of rape. Accused-appellant appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeals. On November 15, 2007, the appellate court issued the assailed Decision, likewise pronouncing the guilt of the accused-appellant. The accused elevated the case to the Supreme Court. The accused-appellant avers that his testimony that he was working at the Asingan market as a kargador during the time the alleged rapes were committed should have given weight as it was attested by CCC. The accused-appellant argues that, although the defense of alibi is weak, the prosecution is not released from its burden to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. He avers that the prosecution evidence must always rely on its own strength and not by the weakness of the evidence adduced by the defense. The prosecution failed to prove that (1) there had been carnal knowledge of AAA by the accused-appellant; and (2) the same was achieved through force and intimidation upon AAA or because the latter was deprived of reason or was otherwise unconscious. Hence, the accused-appellant claims that the presumption of innocence in his favor should be upheld.

Issue:

Resolution: The Supreme Court affirms the rulings of the Court of Appeals and the RTC that the guilt of the accused-appellant of the crime of rape was indeed established beyond reasonable doubt. In the prosecution of statutory rape cases, force, intimidation and physical evidence of injury are not relevant considerations; the only subject of inquiry is the age of the woman and whether carnal knowledge took place. The law presumes that the victim does not and cannot have a will of her own on account of her tender years; the childs consent is immaterial because of her presumed incapacity to discern good from evil. The testimony of AAA that the accused-appellant had sexual intercourse with her was also corroborated by the medical findings of Dr. Taganas that AAA was no longer physically a virgin. Testimonies of child-victims are normally given full weight and credit, since when a woman, more so if she is a minor, says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been committed. Youth and immaturity are generally badges of truth and sincerity.Thus, the Court rules that the element of carnal knowledge of AAA by the accused-appellant was sufficiently proven in each of the three (3) counts of rape in this case. The accused-appellant cannot likewise rely on his defense of alibi to disprove the testimony of AAA. Verily, denial and alibi are inherently weak defenses and constitute self-serving negative evidence, which cannot be accorded greater evidentiary weight than the positive declaration of a credible witness. Fely Jane R. Reyes

28

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDUARDO DAHILIG Y AGARAN G.R. No. 187083 June 13, 2011 Mendoza, J.

Facts:

On December 17, 2000, at around 4:00 oclock in the morning, AAA moved to the floor from her and her fellow helpers bed as it was hot and humid. While on the floor, she felt someone touching her and later found out it was the accused. She tried to resist his advances, but he succeeded in pinning her down with his weight and he told her not to move. She shouted for help from Roxanne but to no avail because the latter was sound asleep. Eventually, the accused was able to remove her shirt, shorts and undergarments and afterwards was able to get on top of her. Then, he forced his penis into her vagina which caused her pain. After he was done with her, he returned to his quarters on the third floor. The following day, AAA angrily confronted the accused and asked him why he did such an act against her. He reacted by getting all his belongings and immediately left their employers house. AAA then informed her employer what the accused did to her. Their employer immediately assisted her in filing a case against him. When the accused was arrested, he offered to marry AAA. His offer, however, was rejected because AAA was determined to seek justice for the ordeal she suffered in his hands. A few days after the incident, AAA was medically examined. The medico-legal examination disclosed that there was a healing laceration in her hymen although no spermatozoa were found. It was also stated in the medico-legal report that AAA could have lost her virginity on or about December 17, 2000. Accused denied having raped AAA and according to him, the sexual intercourse was consensual as she was then his girlfriend. He related that he came to know AAA sometime in July 2000 and after a month of courtship, they became sweethearts. On the day of the incident, he was very tired and decided to lie down on the floor where AAA and Roxanne were sleeping. AAA noticed him and moved beside him. At around 4:00 oclock in the morning, they made love. At around 8:00 oclock of that same morning, the accused was fetched by her sister to attend a birthday party. When he returned at around 5:00 oclock in the afternoon, AAA and Roxanne were quarrelling about their love making. The latter threatened to report the incident to their employer and Roxanne threatened to stab both of them. This prompted him to flee by taking his personal belongings and leaving their employers premises. AAA wanted to join him but he told her that he would just return for her. Accused went to Bulacan and stayed there for two (2) months. He then proceeded to Ilocos where he requested his grandfather and mother to fetch AAA because he wanted to marry her. She, however, refused to go with the two insisting that he personally fetch her. Three weeks later, the accused returned to Manila together with his mother and grandfather to fetch AAA but again they failed. Instead, their employer sought the help of the police who invited him to the station to discuss the intended marriage. He was given two weeks to settle this matter. AAA said that she needed to call her parents first. In the meantime, he was allowed to go home to Ilocos. Subsequently, he received a call from their employer, telling him that her parents had already arrived in Manila. He could not, however, go to Manila because he had no money for transportation. Sometime thereafter, he received a subpoena from the Office of the Prosecutor informing him that he had been charged with the crime of rape against AAA. For lack of funds, he was also not able to attend the hearings at the prosecutors office either. Finally, after several months, he was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued against him. RTC convicted the accused because, AAA never wavered in her assertion that the accused sexually molested her against her will. According to the trial court, her narration bore the earmarks of truth and was consistent throughout. As to his sweetheart defense, the accused failed to prove it by clear and convincing evidence. Bolstering AAAs story was the medico-legal finding that there was a deep-healing laceration which was consistent with the charge that she had been raped. On appeal, the CA affirmed the findings of fact of the RTC but clarified that the crime charged should have been Child Abuse as defined and penalized in Sec. 5 (b) of R.A. No. 7610, otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. Its conclusion was based on the fact that the complainant was a minor, being 16 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense and, as such, was a child subject of sexual abuse. R.A. No. 7610 defines children as persons below eighteen years of age or those unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of her age. Considering that AAA was 16 years old at the time of the commission of the crime, having been born on August 17, 1984 and the accused had admitted having sexual intercourse with her, all the elements of child abuse were present. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court. As elucidated by the RTC and the CA in their respective decisions, all the elements of both child abuse and statutory rape are present, then should the accused be charged with both crimes? If not, then what crime should the accused be charged with?

Issue:

Resolution: Under Section 5(b), Article III of RA 7610 in relation to RA 8353, if the victim of sexual abuse is below 12 years of age, the offender should not be prosecuted for sexual abuse but for statutory rape under Article 266-A(1)(d) of the Revised Penal Code and penalized with reclusion perpetua. On the other hand, if the victim is 12 years or older, the offender should be charged with either sexual abuse under Section 5(b) of RA 7610 or rape under Article 266-A (except paragraph 1[d]) of the Revised Penal Code. However, the offender cannot be accused of both crimes for the same act because his right against double jeopardy will be prejudiced. A person cannot be subjected twice to criminal liability for a single criminal act. Likewise, rape cannot be complexed with a violation of Section 5(b) of RA 7610. Under Section 48 of the Revised

29

Penal Code (on complex crimes), a felony under the Revised Penal Code (such as rape) cannot be complexed with an offense penalized by a special law. Accordingly, the accused can indeed be charged with either Rape or Child Abuse and be convicted therefor. Considering, however, that the information correctly charged the accused with rape in violation of Article 266-A par. 1 in relation to Article 266-B, 1st par. of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. No. 8353. The Court sets aside the October 29, 2008 CA decision and reinstates the July 19, 2005 RTC Decision.

Fely Jane R. Reyes

30

EFREN ALVAREZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 192591 June 29, 2011 Villamar, Jr., J.

Facts:

Petitioner Efren L. Alvarez, at the time of the subject transaction, was the Mayor of the Municipality (now Science City) of Muoz, Nueva Ecija. On April 15, 1996, the SB passed a resolution authorizing petitioner to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with API for the construction of the Wag-Wag Shopping Mall being API the lone bidder for the project. Consequently, on September 12, 1996, petitioner signed the MOA with API, represented by its President Jesus V. Garcia, for the construction of the Wag-Wag Shopping Mall under the BOT scheme whereby API undertook to finish the construction within 730 calendar days. On February 14, 1997, the groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site. Thereafter, API proceeded with excavation on the area (3-meter deep) and a billboard was put up informing the public about the project and its contractor. However, no mall was constructed as API stopped work within just a few months. On August 10, 2006, petitioner was charged before the Sandiganbayan taking advantage of his official position and while in the discharge of his official or administrative functions, and committing the offense in relation to his office, acting with evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence or manifest partiality did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally give the Australian-Professional Incorporated (API) unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to the damage and prejudice of the public service. Petitioner testified that instead of the municipal government borrowing money from GSIS to finance the project, it opted to agree with API for the construction of the mall under the Build-Operate-Transfer arrangement because it will not entail government funds. On November 16, 2009, the Sandiganbayan rendered judgment convicting the petitioner after finding that: (1) petitioner railroaded the project; (2) there was no competitive bidding; (3) the contractor was totally unqualified to undertake the project; and (4) the provisions of the BOT law and relevant rules and regulations were disregarded and not followed. The Sandiganbayan likewise denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. Hence, the petition with the Supreme Court. Whether or not the Honorable Sandiganbayan failed to observe the requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt in convicting the Accused-Petitioner. Whether or not the Honorable Sandiganbayan utterly failed to appreciate that there was no damage on the then Municipality of Muoz as contemplated by law, to warrant the conviction of the Accused-Petitioner.

Issues:

Resolution: The Supreme Court denied the petition and affirms the decision of the Sandigangbayan. To be convicted under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, the following elements must be established: 1. The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; 2. He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence; and 3. That his action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions. In this case, the information alleged that while being a public official and in the discharge of his official functions and taking advantage of such position, petitioner acting with evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence or manifest partiality unlawfully gave API unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference by awarding to it the contract for the construction of the Wag-Wag Shopping Mall under the BOT scheme despite the fact that it was not a licensed contractor and does not have the experience and financial qualifications to undertake such costly project, among others, to the damage and prejudice of the public service. Further, even if the Municipality of Muoz did not disburse any money and the buildings demolished on the site of construction have been found to be a nuisance and declared structurally unsafe the use of the disjunctive word or connotes that either act of (a) causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government; and (b) giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference, qualifies as a violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. The use of the disjunctive or connotes that the two modes need not be present at the same time. In other words, the presence of one would suffice for conviction. The term undue injury in the context of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act punishing the act of causing undue injury to any party, has a meaning akin to that civil law concept of actual damage. Actual damage, in the context of these definitions, is akin to that in civil law. Hence, damages of P4.8M awarded by the Sandiganbayan, was found proper and justified. Had the requirement of performance security been complied with, there is no dispute that the Municipality of Muoz would have been entitled to the forfeiture of performance security when API defaulted on its obligation to execute the construction contract, at the very least in an amount equivalent to 2% of the total project cost of P240M.
Fely Jane R. Reyes

31

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. GARRY DELA CRUZ Y DELA CRUZ G.R. No. 185717 June 8, 2011 Velasco, Jr., J.

Facts:

After conducting surveillance for a week, the Station Drug Enforcement Unit in La Loma, Quezon City planned a buy-bust operation against a certain Garry who was in the Barangay Watch List. The operation was coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). On May 29, 2003, at around 9:00 a.m., the stations Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Police Inspector Oliver Villanueva (P/Insp. Villanueva), gave a briefing on the buy-bust operation. Police Officer 2 Edcel Ibasco (PO2 Ibasco) was designated as poseur-buyer, while PO1 Roderick Valencia (PO1 Valencia), PO1 Alfredo Mabutol, and PO2 Ronald Pascual were assigned as back-up operatives. Their informant attended the briefing. Thereafter, the buy-bust team proceeded to Biak-naBato corner Mauban Streets, Quezon City and arrived there at around 9:30 a.m. The operation led to the arrest of Garry De La Cruz y Dela Cruz. The accused was brought to the station and was turned over to the desk officer on duty, along with the substance in the sachet bought from him and the recovered buy-bust money. Consequently, the substance inside the sachet believed to be shabu was sent to and examined by a Philippine National Police forensic chemist, Engr. Leonard Jabonillo (Engr. Jabonillo). The laboratory result confirmed that the substance was positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. The accused denied selling shabu to PO2 Ibasco. In short, the accused used the defense of denial and alleged a frame-up by the arresting officers. On February 8, 2007, the RTC rendered its Decision finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense charged. Aggrieved, accused appealed his conviction before the CA. On June 30, 2008, the appellate court rendered the appealed decision, wholly affirming the findings of the RTC and the conviction of appellant uphelding the findings of the trial court that the essential elements required for the conviction of an accused for violation of Sec. 5, Art. II of RA 9165 was present in the case. Hence, the appeal to the Supreme Court. Accused-appellant argues that, first, the prosecution has not proved his commission of the crime charged for the following irregularities: (1) the arresting officers did not coordinate with the PDEA, as required under Sec. 86 of RA 9165; (2) no physical inventory was conducted and photograph taken of the alleged seized drug in the presence of public officials, as required by Sec. 21 of RA 9165; and (3) the chain of custody was not duly proved by the prosecution. And second, his denial is worthy of credence upon corroboration by the credible witnesses presented by the defense.

Issue:

Resolution: For the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs to prosper, the following elements must be proved: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and its payment. What is material is the proof that the transaction actually took place, coupled with the presentation before the court of the corpus delicti. In determining the credibility of prosecution witnesses regarding the conduct of buy-bust operations it is the duty of the prosecution to present a complete picture detailing the buy-bust operationfrom the initial contact between the poseurbuyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug subject of sale. The manner by which the initial contact was made, the offer to purchase the drug, the payment of the buy-bust money, and the delivery of the illegal drug must be the subject of strict scrutiny by the courts to insure that law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense. The defense of frame-up in drug cases requires strong and convincing evidence because of the presumption that the law enforcement agencies acted in the regular performance of their official duties. Nonetheless, such a defense may be given credence when there is sufficient evidence or proof making it to be very plausible or true. The accused-appellants defenses of denial and frame-up are credible given the circumstances of the case. Indeed, jurisprudence has established that the defense of denial assumes significance only when the prosecutions evidence is such that it does not prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, as in the instant case. At the very least, there is reasonable doubt that there was a buy-bust operation conducted and that accused-appellant sold the seized shabu. After all, a criminal conviction rests on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution and not on the weakness of the defense. Moreover, the prosecution failed to sufficiently prove the requisite chain of custody of the seized specimen. It is essential that the prohibited drug confiscated or recovered from the suspect is the very same substance offered in court as exhibit; and that the identity of said drug be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. Considering the multifarious irregularities and non-compliance with the chain of custody, the Supreme Court acquitted the accused for the crime charged on basis of reasonable doubt.

Fely Jane R. Reyes

32

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MADS SALUDIN MANTAWIL, MAGID MAMANTA AND ABDULLAH TOMONDOG G.R. No. 188319 June 8, 2011 Villarama, Jr., J.

Facts:

On June 2, 1999 at around 10:00 in the morning, the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) buy-bust operations team composed of P/Supt. John Lopez (Lopez), Bisnar, Sayson, Gonzales and other PAOCTF operatives, conducted a briefing to discuss a buy-bust operation with a confidential informant. The confidential informant revealed that he was able to confirm a drug deal with a drug dealer named Mads Ali for 1 kilos of shabu worth P900,000.00. The deal would be consummated at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila near Museong Pambata between two to three oclock that afternoon. They then proceeded to the designated place to implement the buy-bust operation arriving thereat around 1:45 p.m. Bisnar was to act as the poseur-buyer, Sayson the arresting officer, and Gonzales the back-up poseur-buyer. The execution for the entrapment operation led to the arrest of MADS SALUDIN MANTAWIL a.k.a. MADS ALI, MAGID MAMANTA and ABDULLAH TOMONDOG. After apprising appellants of their constitutional rights, the buy-bust team brought appellants separately to Camp Crame. Mamanta was transported by Gonzales while Sayson transported Tomondog. Bisnar, for his part, transported the confiscated shabu and Mantawil. At Camp Crame, Sayson and Gonzales witnessed Bisnar mark the seized shabu. Bisnar also filled up a corresponding Receipt for Property Seized datedJune 2, 1999, which appellants refused to sign. Bisnar and his team likewise executed a Joint Affidavit of Arrest and prepared the Booking Sheet and Arrest Report of the appellants. Thereafter, P/Supt. Lopez issued a request for laboratory examination of the confiscated shabu. Gonzales delivered the request to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory at 6:55 p.m. with the confiscated shabu. At the PNP Crime Laboratory, P/Insp. Ma. Luisa David, Forensic Chemist I, conducted a quantitative and qualitative examination of the specimen. The Initial Laboratory Report, as well as the Final Report, showed that the white crystalline substance, weighing 1,316.5 grams, tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. On the other hand, the appellants, testifying on their own behalf, denied the charges and claimed that they were framed-up by the policemen. The RTC found the appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 15, Article III of R.A. No. 6425, as amended. Aggrieved, appellants filed a notice of appeal to the CA. However, the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. The matter was then elevated to Supreme Court for review. Is the failure of the arresting officers to immediately mark the seized item after its seizure sufficient to create reasonable doubt as the first link in the custodial chain was not established. Moreover, the arresting officers failed to photograph and make a physical inventory of the seized item immediately in the presence of the appellants pursuant to Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3, Series of 1979 amending Board Regulation No. 7, Series of 1974.

Issue:

Resolution: The Supreme Court affirm the verdict with respect to appellants Mantawil and Mamanta, but find reasonable doubt as to the guilt of Tomondog. In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drug, what is crucial is the identity of the buyer and seller, the object and its consideration, the delivery of the thing sold, and the payment for it. Implicit in these cases is first and foremost the identity and existence, coupled with the presentation to the court of the traded prohibited substance, this object evidence being an integral part of the corpus delicti of the crime of possession or selling of regulated/prohibited drug. There can be no such crime when nagging doubts persist on whether the specimen submitted for examination and presented in court was what was recovered from, or sold by, the accused. Essential, therefore, in appropriate cases is that the identity of the prohibited drug be established with moral certainty. The chain of custody requirement, set forth in Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3, Series of 1979, performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. However, as to Tomondog, the Court entertains nagging doubts as to his guilt considering that his participation to the transaction was not established.

Fely Jane R. Reyes

33

RUEL AMPATUAN Alias RUEL v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 183676 June 22, 2011 Perez, J.

Facts:

On 13 October 1997, at around 10:00 a.m., police operatives PO1 Arnel Micabalo (PO1 Micabalo) and PO2 Francisco S. Caslib (PO2 Caslib) together with around fifteen (15) to sixteen (16) police members belonging from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Compound in Tagum City and Panabo Police Station were given a briefing by their team leader, a certain SPO1 Derrayal, regarding a buy-bust operation they would later conduct that day against a certain suspected drug pusher by the name of Totong Ibrahim (Ibrahim) who lives near the Coca-Cola warehouse at Barangay Cagangohan, Panabo City, Davao del Norte. The buy-bust operation was conducted at around 1:00 p.m. of the same day. Police officers PO1 Micabalo and PO2 Caslib, prepared marked money in the amount of P500.00 and went to the house of Ibrahim posing as buyers. The rest of the team positioned themselves at the grassy area nearby awaiting for the pre-arranged signal from PO1 Micabalo and PO2 Caslib. The policemen saw the accused-appellant Ruel Ampatuan (Mr. Ampatuan) and his wife Linda, at the gate of the fence. They talked to the couple and pretended to buy for a party, marijuana worth P500.00. The couple told them to wait outside the fence and then went inside the house. Several minutes later, the couple came out with another man identified as Maguid Lumna (Lumna). Mr. Ampatuan asked for the payment. The poseur-buyers handed the marked money to Mr. Ampatuan, who in turn handed it to his wife, Linda. Mr. Ampatuan then showed the police officers the marijuana contained in one pack. This was placed inside a black bag and given to the poseur-buyers. When the signal was made, the rest of the police officers proceeded to the scene. The couple and Lumna were arrested and brought to the Panabo Police Station. On 23 October 1997, the confiscated object was turned over by the Panabo Police Station to Forensic Chemist Noemi Austero (Austero) of the PNP Crime Laboratory of Davao City. Upon examination, the sample yielded positive result for the presence of marijuana. The total weight of the confiscated specimen as testified by Austero was approximately 1.3 kilos. Ampatuan testified that he and his companions were merely visitors of Arlene. Nevertheless, the police officers insisted that he owned the samples and the black bag and they were eventually brought to the police station. On 31 January 2002, the trial court found Mr. Ampatuan guilty but acquitted Linda and Lumna of the offense charged for reasons of reasonable doubt. On appeal, the Court of Appeals agreed with the judgment of the trial court. Hence, the Petition for Review on Certiorari. Whether or not the conclusions drawn by the lower courts leaning on the guilt of petitioner beyond reasonable doubt are correct.

Issue:

Resolution: In a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the following elements must be proven: (1) that the transaction or sale took place; (2) that the corpus delicti or the illicit drug was presented as evidence; and (3) that the buyer and seller were identified. The presence of these elements is sufficient to support the trial courts finding of appellants guilt. What is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the prohibited or regulated drug. The delivery of the contraband to the poseur-buyer and the receipt of the marked money consummate the buy-bust transaction between the entrapping officers and the accused. The presentation in court of the corpus delicti the body or substance of the crime establishes the fact that a crime has actually been committed. Further, the testimonies of the police officers who conducted the buy-bust are generally accorded full faith and credit, in view of the presumption of regularity in the performance of public duties. Hence, when lined against an unsubstantiated denial or claim of frame-up, the testimony of the officers who caught the accused red-handed is given more weight and usually prevails. In order to overcome the presumption of regularity, there must be clear and convincing evidence that the police officers did not properly perform their duties or that they were prompted with ill-motive. Therefore, the appeal is denied and the decision of the CA is affirmed.

Fely Jane R. Reyes

34

DOMINGO M. ULEP, PETITIONER v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 183849 June 11, 2011 Abad, J.

Facts:

The Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Ilocos Norte charged the accused Domingo Ulep with aggravated illegal possession of shabu before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City, Branch 13. PO2 Elizer Tuzon and SPO3 Rogelio Labutong testified that on the morning of May 8, 2005, acting on a report that Ulep boughtshabu at a certain Maria Karen Cacayorins house at Mckinley Street, Barangay 13, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, the Chief Police Inspector dispatched the two officers to the place. When they were about 30 meters from Cacayorins house, the officers saw Ulep walking on the street with a plastic sachet in his hand. The officers approached and seized from Ulep two plastic sachets of what appeared to be shabu. They arrested and brought him to the police station where they turned over the seized sachets to SPO2 Ramon Butay. In turn, the latter turned over the articles to the Ilocos Norte Provincial Crime Laboratory Office where a forensic chemical officer found them to contain shabu. Ulep testified that he was in Barangay 13 on the morning of May 8, 2005 to claim a package that his mother sent from abroad through an aunt. But his aunt had gone to Manila without leaving the package. While Ulep was waiting on the road to get a ride home, officer Tuzon and a certain Monmel Corpuz approached him in their motorbikes and took him near the Mobile Video Center where Tuzon frisked him, saying that they suspected him of coming from Cacayorins house. Ulep denied this. When officer Tuzon failed to get anything from Ulep, he eventually let him go. As Ulep started to walk away, he heard Corpuz, who was then crossing Mckinley Street, shout at Tuzon to get his attention. Ulep saw Corpuz waving a plastic sachet in his right hand. After talking to Corpuz, Tuzon approached Ulep, saying that the thing they got belonged to him. Tuzon apprehended Ulep and brought him to the police station. On July 14, 2006 the RTC rendered a decision in the case, finding Ulep guilty of the crime charged. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) rendered judgment dated July 18, 2008, affirming the RTCs decision. The matter were elevated to the Supreme Court. 1. Whether or not the CA erred in giving credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses given certain inconsistencies in them; 2. Whether or not the CA erred in not excluding the evidence of the seized shabu on the ground of the prosecutions failure to prove the chain of custody over the same; and 3. Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the RTCs judgment of conviction.

Issue:

Resolution: The inconsistencies of the testimonies of the police officers are irreconcilable and could not possibly be the result of mere memory lapses. They bear the signs of poor fabrication. Further, since custody and possession of the drugs usually change from the time they are seized to the time they are presented in court, it is indispensable that the drugs be placed in a sealed plastic container and marked on the cover. In this way there is assurance that the drugs would reach the crime laboratory analyst in the same condition it was seized from the accused. But it did not happen in the present case. Also, the officers in this case could not even agree as to who made the required marking, then it would be difficult for the Court to rest easy that the specimens presented before the trial court were the same specimens seized from Ulep. These lapses cast a serious doubt on the authenticity of the corpus delicti, warranting acquittal on reasonable doubt. Hence, the Supreme Court grants the petition and acquits the accused-appellant Domingo Ulep on the ground of reasonable doubt.

Fely Jane R. Reyes

35

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARNEL BENTACAN NAVARRETE G.R. No. 185211 June 6, 2011 Carpio Morales, J.

Facts:

After conducting a quick surveillance operation to ascertain the veracity of a report made by a confidential agent/informant on March 12, 2005 about appellants alleged drug-related activities, a team composed of SPO1 Willard Selibio (SPO1 Selibio), Elmer Abelgas (SPO1 Abelgas) and PO2 Rene Labiaga (PO2 Labiaga), all members of the PNP assigned at Police Station 6, Cebu City together with the informant, proceeded at 4:15 p.m. to Magsaysay St., Barangay Suba, Cebu City to conduct a buy-bust operation against appellant. When the entrapment operation was executed, Arnel Bentacan Navarrete was arrested. Recovered from him was the marked money. With the seized items, the team members brought appellant to the Cebu City Police Station where P/Supt. Antonio Lao Obenza prepared a memorandum dated March 12, 2005 addressed to the Regional Chief of the PNP Crime Laboratory in Cebu City requesting for a laboratory examination of the substance contained in the plastic sachet. The team members subsequently executed a Joint Affidavit subscribed and sworn to on March 14, 2005 recounting the details of the operation leading to appellants arrest. Upon receipt of the letter-request and the plastic sachet also on March 12, 2005 at 5:20 p.m., Inspector Salinas, Forensic Chemical Officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory Office 7 in Cebu City, conducted a laboratory examination of the sachets contents and concluded that the specimen gave positive result for the presence of Methylamphetamine hydrochloride The appellant claimed that the charge against him was fabricated. By Decision of March 28, 2006, the trial court found appellant guilty as charged. The Court of Appeals, by decision of April 22, 2008 affirmed the decision of the trial court. The accused appealed to the Supreme Court. Is the failure of the apprehending team to conduct a physical inventory and photograph of the seized drug fatal to sustain a conviction? Further, even the basics of the outlined procedure in the custody of seized drugs were not observed by the apprehending officers.

Issue:

Resolution: Non-compliance by the apprehending/buy-bust team with Section 21 is not fatal as long as there is justifiable ground therefor, and as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized items, are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. Its non-compliance will not render an accused's arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. The apprehending team in the present case has not, however, shown any justifiable ground to exempt it from complying with the legal requirements. To impose benediction on such shoddy police work, absent exempting circumstances, would only spawn further abuses. The unjustified failure of the police officers to show that the integrity of the object evidence-shabu was properly preserved negates the presumption of regularity accorded to acts undertaken by police officers in the pursuit of their official duties. Also, the apprehending police officers were gravely remiss in complying with the statutory requirements imposed under Section 21. Therefore, the accused is acquitted for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Fely Jane R. Reyes

36

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CHITO GRATIL Y GUELAS [G.R. No. 182236] 22 June 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Facts:

A buy bust operation was formed by /Insp. Nolasco Cortez in the presence of SPO2 Manglo, SPO2 Welmer Antonio, and PO1 Roger Molino after a confidential informant informed them about the alleged illegal drug activity one Chito Gratil who is a resident of 765 Agno Bataan, Malate, Manila. SPO2 Manglo was designated as poseur buyer and was given a P500 bill the serial number of which he took and which he also marked with his initial on the side of the face of the person on the bill and also a dot on the nose. SPO2 Manglo and the confidential informant proceeded to the house of accused Chito Gratil. The informant entered the house of accused Gratil while SPO2 Manglo waited outside. When the informant emerged from the house, they proceeded to McDonald's at Harrison Plaza. After about 5 or 10 minutes, or at around noontime, accused Gratil arrived at the McDonald's Harrison Plaza and talked to the confidential informant. Accused Gratil instructed the confidential informant to go to Gratil's house at 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon as he would be going to Bulacan. After the meeting at McDonald's Harrison Plaza, SPO2 Manglo and the informant returned to the Central Narcotics Office and reported to P/Insp. Cortez. That afternoon, the confidential informant introduced SPO2 Manglo as the buyer of the 400 grams of Shabu to accused Gratil, the accused then left to get the stuff after 10 minutes the accsed handed over a white plastic bag with a mecury label which contains 4 heat sealed plastic bags containing crystalline subsatance. After accused gratil receive the money and before he could even count it, Spo2 Manglo introduced himself as a Narcom and called for back up. Accused Gratil was arrested for selling shabu to a poseur buyer. To identify the shabu that he purchased from the accused, SPO2 Manglo placed his initials on the plastic bags and after which the letter request for laboratory examination was prepared. The specimens were immediately forwarded to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination on the same day. On the other hand, accused Gratil and Imelda Redolvina testified for the defense. Apellant said he was forcibly abducted while on his way to a cousin's house and was later thrown inside a vehicle where he was beaten up and threatened with execution before he was brought to the police station. In short, appellant insists that he was a victim of frame-up. While Imelda Redolvina said that There were people shouting and running towards them. After the first group of people passed by her, she saw Chito Gratil collared and held by the police. The three policemen who were with accused Gratil were in white T-shirts and dark pants and brought him to a vehicle. Appellant pleaded "not guilty" to the charge leveled against him. In its Decision dated September 25, 2003, the trial court convicted appellant of violation of Section 15, Article III in relation to Section 21, Article I of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended. On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in its Decision dated October 15, 2007 affirmed the ruling of the trial court but modified the incorrect reference to Section 21, Article I in the dispositive portion of the trial court decision. Whether the prosecution fails to establish the identity of the prohibited drugs since the proper procedure for taking custody of the seized prohibited drugs was not faithfully followed.

Issue:

Resolution: No. In prosecutions involving the illegal sale of drugs, what is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the prohibited or regulated drug as evidence. For conviction of the crime of illegal sale of prohibited or regulated drugs, the following elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for it. The proof of the shabu transaction was established by prosecution witness Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 William Manglo, the poseur-buyer, who made a positive identification of the appellant as the one who gave him the "Mercury Drug" bag and to whom he gave the marked money during the buy-bust operation. The failure to conduct an inventory and to photograph the confiscated items in the manner prescribed under the said provision of law applicable at the time of appellant's arrest and which is now incorporated as Section 21(1) of Republic Act No. 9165 (The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) that repealed Republic Act No. 6425 cannot be used as a ground for appellant's exoneration from the charge against him. Notwithstanding the minor lapse in procedure committed by the police officers in the handling of the illegal drugs taken from appellant, the identity and integrity of the evidence was never put into serious doubt in the course of the proceedings of this case. In fact, SPO2 Manglo categorically testified that the confiscated plastic sachets of "shabu" were marked, turned- over to the police headquarters for investigation, and subjected to laboratory examination. In response to the accusation leveled against him, appellant only managed to set up the defense of bare denial. According to his version of the story, appellant maintains that he was forcibly abducted while on his way to a cousin's house and was later thrown inside a vehicle where he was beaten up and threatened with execution before he was brought to the police station. In short, appellant insists that he was a victim of frame-up. As we have time and again held, the defense of denial or frame-up, like alibi, has been invariably viewed with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and is a common defense in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Charges of extortion and frame-up are frequently made in this jurisdiction. Courts are, thus, cautious in dealing with such accusations, which are quite difficult to prove in light of the presumption of regularity in the performance of the police

37

officers' duties. To substantiate such defense, which can be easily concocted, the evidence must be clear and convincing and should show that the members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper motive or were not properly performing their duty. Otherwise, the police officers' testimonies on the operation deserve full faith and credit. In the case at bar, no clear and convincing evidence to support the defense of frame-up was put forward by appellant. Neither was there any imputation or proof of ill motive on the part of the arresting police officers. Even the testimony of defense witness Imelda Revoldina failed to establish any irregularity in the conduct of the apprehending police officers in this case. In fact, her neutral testimony that she saw the police officers hold the collar of appellant while leading him into a vehicle tended to support the prosecution's assertion that appellant was arrested in plain view as a consequence of his act of selling illegal drugs. As appellant failed to show any reversible error on the part of the lower courts in the resolution of this case, his conviction must be upheld. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated October 15, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02338 is hereby AFFIRMED.
Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

38

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANUEL CRUZ Y CRUZ [G.R. No. 187047] 15 June 2011 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

On 23 February 2005, at around 1:30 p.m., A male informant came in with an information that a certain alias Maning was engaged in selling illegal drugs at Sitio de Asis, Barangay San Martin de Porres, Paranaque City. SPO2 Millari immediately relayed such information to Police Chief Inspector Tito M. Oraya Chief of DAID-SOT. P/Chief Insp. Oraya then directed PO2 Gallano, to verify the said information. PO2 Gallano acceded by making telephone calls to the people he knew in Sitio de Asis, Barangay San Martin de Porres, Paranaque City. PO2 Gallano asked each of them if they knew a certain alias Maning to which all positively responded and disclosed that alias Maning was, indeed, involved in the illegal sale of drugs in their place. A buy-bust operation against alias Maning was planned and a team was formed composed of: PO2 Gallano, who was designated as the poseur-buyer; Oraya then gave four (4) pieces of P500.00 peso bills amounting to P2,000.00 to PO2 Gallano as buy-bust money, which the latter marked with "JG,". The pre-arranged signal of the buy-bust team was a missed call from PO2 Gallano to PO2 Boiser. At around 5:00 p.m., the buy-bust team, together with the male informant, proceeded to the target area. PO2 Gallano was introduce by the male informant to the accused as a security guard in need of shabu for his personal use. Alias Maning then asked for PO2 Gallano's money and the latter handed to the former the marked money consisting of four (4) pieces of P500.00 peso bills amounting to P2,000.00. In exchange thereto, alias Maning gave PO2 Gallano one piece plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance equivalent to the money the latter gave to the former. Immediately thereafter, PO2 Gallano gave a missed call to PO2 Boiser. Thereafter, appellant was brought to the office of DAID-SOT, Southern Police District, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila, for investigation and proper documentation. alias Maning was later on identified to be Manuel Cruz y Cruz. A request for the drug testing of the appellant and for the laboratory examination of the two (2) plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance seized from him were likewise made. The said two (2) plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance were subsequently brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory in Camp Crame, Quezon City, for examination. The examination conducted thereon yielded positive result to the tests for the presence of methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a dangerous drug. On the other hand, the Apellant claimed that he was just waiting for his turn to use the comfort room after arriving at his workplace. When he was arrested and handcuffed for his alleged refusal to cooperate and to give them "tong." He was then pulled outside and was forcefully boarded inside a vehicle. He was, thereafter, brought to Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila, and was detained thereat for the alleged recovery of shabu in his possession. The following day, he was brought to the Paranaque City Hall for inquest. The fiscal informed him that he was charged with the illegal sale of shabu. He was later on detained at the Paranaque City Jail. The trial court, convinced on the merits of the prosecution's case, rendered a Decision dated 22 September 2006 finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt in Criminal Case No. 05-0254 for the crime of illegal sale of shabu, a dangerous drug, in violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P500,000.00. The trial court, however, ordered the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 05-0255 for the crime of illegal possession of shabu, a dangerous drug, in violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, elucidating that appellant's possession of small quantity of shabu can be considered as part and parcel of his nefarious trade. Appellant appealed the aforesaid trial court's Decision to the Court of Appeals via Notice of Appeal. After a thorough study of the records, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision dated 23 September 2008, affirming in toto appellant's conviction for violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. Whether or not the trial court gravely erred in not finding the appellants search and arrest as illegal. Whether or not the trial court gravely erred in convicting the appellant of the crime charges despite the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Whether the penalty imposed under Art. II, sec. 5 of R.A 9165 shall take effect after the effectivity of R.A 9346

Issue:

Resolution: Jurisprudence clearly set the essential elements to be established in the prosecution for illegal sale of shabu, viz: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor. Succinctly, the delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller of the marked money successfully consummates the buy-bust transaction. What is material, therefore, is the proof that the transaction or sale transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. In this case, the prosecution successfully established the aforesaid elements beyond moral certainty. To note, appellant was caught in flagrante delicto delivering one piece plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance weighing 1.53 grams to PO2 Gallano, the poseur-buyer, for a consideration of P2,000.00. The white crystalline substance contained in the said one piece plastic sachet handed by appellant to PO2 Gallano was later on confirmed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu per Chemistry Report No. D-143-05 dated 24 February 2005 issued by the PNP Crime Laboratory. During trial, PO2 Gallano positively identified appellant as the same person who sold and handed him the one piece plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance, proven to be shabu, in exchange for P2,000.00. When

39

the said one piece plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance confirmed to be shabu was presented in court, PO2 Gallano identified it to be the same object sold to him by appellant because of the markings found thereon, i.e., "NG-1230205," which he, himself, has written at the place where appellant was arrested. PO2 Gallano similarly identified in court the recovered buy-bust money from appellant consisting of four (4) pieces of P500 peso bills amounting to P2,000.00 with markings "JG," representing the initials of Jose Gentiles, the Chief of the District Intelligence and Investigation Branch. More so, the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and the documentary evidence offered in court gave a detailed picture of the series of events that transpired in the afternoon of 23 February 2005 in Sitio de Asis, Barangay San Martin de Porres, Paraaque City, leading to the consummation of the transaction, i.e., illegal sale of shabu. The prosecution vividly showed how PO2 Gallano, the poseur-buyer, was introduced by their male informant to appellant as a security guard in need of shabu for his personal use. The same was followed by a query from the appellant as to how much shabu PO2 Gallano would buy. Appellant subsequently asked for PO2 Gallano's money. The latter then handed to the former the marked money consisting of four (4) pieces of P500.00 peso bills amounting to P2,000.00. In exchange thereto, appellant gave PO2 Gallano one piece plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance equivalent to the money the latter gave to the former. With the foregoing, it is crystal clear that the sale transaction of illicit drug between the poseur-buyer and the appellant was successfully consummated. Accordingly, whatever doubt in connection with appellant's culpability can no longer be questioned after being caught in a buy-bust operation conducted by the police operatives of the DAID-SOT, Southern Police District, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila. On the legality of appellant's warrantless arrest, it bears stressing that he was arrested in an entrapment operation where he was caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu. An arrest made after an entrapment operation does not require a warrant inasmuch as it is considered a valid warrantless arrest pursuant to Rule 113, Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court which specifically provides that: SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; This Court held that neither law nor jurisprudence requires the presentation of any of the money used in a buy-bust operation, much less is it required that the boodle money be marked. The only elements necessary to consummate the crime is proof that the illicit transaction took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as evidence. Both elements were satisfactorily proven in the present case. There is also no rule that requires the police to use only marked money in buy-bust operations. This Court has in fact ruled that failure to use marked money or to present it in evidence is not material since the sale cannot be essentially disproved by the absence thereof. Its non-presentation does not create a hiatus in the prosecution's evidence for as long as the sale of the illegal drugs is adequately established and the substance itself is presented before the court. Given the foregoing, it is with more reason that failure to previously record in the police blotter the marked money used in the buy-bust operation will neither affect nor paralyze the cause of the prosecution considering that, in this case, the poseur-buyer testified and the seized shabu was presented in evidence. As to penalty. The penalty for the illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, is explicitly provided for in Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, viz: SEC. 5. Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. - The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broke in any of such transactions. It is clear from the foregoing provision that the sale of any dangerous drug, like shabu, regardless of its quantity and purity, carries with it the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000.00 to P10,000,000.00. In view, however, of the effectivity of Republic Act No. 9346, the imposition of the supreme penalty of death has been proscribed. Accordingly, the penalty applicable to appellant shall only be life imprisonment and fine without eligibility for parole. This Court, therefore, sustains the penalty of imprisonment and fine imposed upon appellant by the lower courts. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02603 dated 23 September 2008, finding herein appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt in violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 is hereby AFFIRMED.

Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LORIE VILLAHERMOSA Y LECO [G.R. No. 186465] 01 June 2011 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

On or about 5:00 P.m of October 31, 2002. PDEA receive an information that one Tomboy was engaged in the rampant selling of illegal drugs inside the Manila Cemetery. A buy-bust operation was formed with Silverio and PO2 Tizon as the poseur-buyer and arresting officer, respectively, while the rest of the buy-bust team will serve as back-up. Their prearranged signal would be the taking off of Silverio's hat. The buy-bust money consisting of four pieces of P100 peso bills was also prepared with markings "ASSJR" placed thereon by Silverio. After the briefing, at around 6:20 p.m. of 31 October 2002, the buy-bust team headed on to the target area, Manila South Cemetery in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Makati City. Upon arrival, Silverio already spotted appellant beside a store located inside the Manila South Cemetery. Silverio immediately approached appellant in a casual manner and asked her if she has shabu the appellant answered and asked how much will he buy. Silverio, handed to appellant the amount of P400.00, After the consummation of the sale, Silverio then took off of his hat. PO2 Tizon subsequently approached appellant. The other members of the buy-bust team followed thereafter. PO2 Tizon then introduced himself to appellant as PDEA officer and subsequently effected her arrest for selling prohibited drugs. PO2 Tizon then recovered from appellant six (6) more small plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance, the buy-bust money consisting of four pieces of P100.00 peso bills amounting to P400.00 and the following drug paraphernalia that were inside the plastic bag appellant was carrying at the time of her arrest, to wit: 14 pieces of unused transparent plastic sachets, three disposable lighters, an improvised tooter and five strips of aluminum foil. Afterwards, appellant was brought to MADAC Cluster 3 Office at the barangay hall of Barangay Sta. Cruz, Makati City, for investigation. The items recovered from appellant were all marked by PO2 Tizon at the MADAC Cluster 3 Office. After all the items seized from appellant were marked, a video of the same was taken by Jose Quibro and Susan Enriquez, both of whom were cameraman and reporter, respectively, of GMA-7. Appellant was, thereafter, brought by the members of the buy-bust team to the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Crame for drug testing, as well as for physical and medical examinations. PO2 Tizon, on the other hand, brought the seized items also to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination. After a meticulous evaluation of all the documentary, as well as testimonial evidence offered by both parties, the trial court concluded that the prosecution has sufficiently proven all the elements of the offenses charged against appellant. Thus, in its Decision dated 3 October 2006, the trial court held appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Sections 5, 11 and 12, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. Appellant appealed the aforesaid 3 October 2006 Decision of the trial court to the Court of Appeals via Notice of Appeal. The Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision dated 23 April 2008, affirming in toto appellant's conviction for violation of Sections 5, 11 and 12, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. Whether the trial court gravely erred in convicting the [appellant] of the crimes charged notwithstanding the failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Whether Inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony will diminish the witnesses' credibility.

Issue:

Resolution: Essentially, in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu in this case, the following elements must concur: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and the consideration of the sale; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. The commission of the offense of illegal sale of prohibited drugs requires merely the consummation of the selling transaction, which happens the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. Thus, what is material to a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is proof that the illicit transaction took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as evidence. Beyond cavil, the prosecution clearly established beyond reasonable doubt appellant's guilt for the offense of illegal sale of shabu, a dangerous drug, in violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. In a prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, e.g., shabu, on the other hand, it must be shown that: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or an object identified to be a prohibited or a regulated drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. These circumstances of illegal possession are obtaining in the present case. Thus, appellant's guilt for the crime of illegal possession of shabu, a dangerous drug, in clear violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, has also been duly proven by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. In the same vein, it cannot be denied that on the occasion of her arrest for having been caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu, a plastic bag was also recovered in her possession containing the following drug paraphernalia, to wit: 14 pieces of unused transparent plastic sachets, three disposable lighters, an improvised tooter and five strips of aluminum foil. Possession of the same was in clear violation of Section 12, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. It bears stressing that violation of Section 12, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 was already consummated the moment appellant was found in possession of the said articles without the necessary license or prescription. What is primordial is the proof of the illegal drugs and paraphernalia recovered from the petitioner.

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Appellant's contention that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, particularly PO2 Tizon and P/Sr. Insp. Walin, should not be given any weight or credit since their testimonies were replete with inconsistencies, this Court finds the same to be not well-founded. The inconsistencies referred to by appellant in the testimonies of PO2 Tizon and P/Sr. Insp. Walin, were: (1) as to when they received the information regarding the alleged selling of shabu by appellant inside the Manila South Cemetery; and (2) whether surveillance was conducted prior to the actual buy-bust operation against appellant. PO2 Tizon testified that they received the information regarding appellant's illegal activity, i.e., selling of shabu inside the Manila South Cemetery, on 31 October 2002. P/Sr. Insp. Walin, on the other hand, stated that their office received such information three days before 31 October 2002. P/Sr. Insp. Walin likewise claimed that they conducted surveillance against appellant but, PO2 Tizon denied the same. As the Court of Appeals had observed, the aforesaid inconsistencies are more apparent than real. Such inconsistencies are merely trivial, minor and immaterial. They refer only to irrelevant and collateral matters, which have nothing to do with the elements of the crime. It has been established that where the inconsistency is not an essential element of the crime, such inconsistency is insignificant and cannot have any bearing on the essential fact testified to. Inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony referring to minor details and not upon the basic aspect of the crime do not diminish the witnesses' credibility. More so, an inconsistency, which has nothing to do with the elements of a crime, is not a ground to reverse a conviction. Moreover, there is no requirement that prior surveillance should be conducted before a buy-bust operation can be undertaken. Prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of an entrapment or a buy-bust operation, there being no fixed or textbook method for conducting one. It is enough that the elements of the crime are proven by credible witnesses and other pieces of evidence. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 02598 dated 23 April 2008 finding herein appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Sections 5, 11 and 12, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 is hereby AFFIRMED.

Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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SANTIAGO PAERA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES [G.R. No. 181626] 30 May 2011 CARPIO, J.: Santiago Paera is the Punong Baranngay of Barangay Mampas in which he allocated his constituents the use of communal water coming from a communal tank by limiting distribution to the residents of Mampas, Bacong. The tank sits on a land located in the neighboring barangay and owned by complainant Vicente Darong, father of complainant Indalecio Darong. Indalecio continued drawing water from the tank. And on 7 April 1999, petitioner reminded Indalecio of the water distribution scheme and cut Indalecios access. The following day, Paera inspected the tank after constituents complained of water supply interruption. Paera then discovered a tap from the main line which he promptly disconnected. It was at this point when Indalecio arrived. Paera without any warning, picked-up his bolo and charged towards Indalecio,. Indalecio ran for safety, passing along the way his wife, Diosetea Darong who had followed him to the water tank. Upon seeing petitioner, Diosetea inquired what was happening but when paera saw her, he also threatened her making diosta ran for safety in the nearby house of a relative. Unable to pursue Diosetea, petitioner turned his attention back to Indalecio. As petitioner chased Indalecio, he passed Vicente, and, recognizing the latter, repeatedly thrust his bolo towards him. According to petitioner, however, it was Indalecio who threatened him with a bolo, angrily inquiring why petitioner had severed his water connection. This left petitioner with no choice but to take a defensive stance using the borrowed bolo, prompting Indalecio to scamper. Petitioner was the defenses lone witness. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court found petitioner guilty as charged, ordering petitioner to serve time and pay fine for each of the three counts. The MCTC rejected petitioners defense of denial as "selfserving and uncorroborated." Petitioner appealed to the RTC, reiterating his defense of denial. The RTC affirmed the MCTC, sustaining the latters finding on petitioners motive. The RTC similarly found unconvincing petitioners denial in light of the "clear, direct, and consistent" testimonies of the Darongs and other prosecution witnesses. Petitioner now concedes his liability but only for a single count of the "continued complex crime" of Grave Threats. Petitioner claims he is innocent of the charges for having acted in defense of the property of strangers and in lawful performance of duty, justifying circumstances under paragraphs 3 and 5, Article 11 of the RPC. Whether petitioner is guilty of three counts of Grave Threats. Whether the Justifying Circumstance of defense of a stranger and in the fulfillment of a duty should be given weight.

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: To limit his liability to one count of Grave Threats, petitioner tries to fit the facts of the case to the concept of "continued crime" (delito continuado) which envisages a single crime committed through a series of acts arising from one criminal intent or resolution. These threats were consummated as soon as Indalecio, Diosetea, and Vicente heard petitioner utter his threatening remarks. Having spoken the threats at different points in time to these three individuals, albeit in rapid succession, petitioner incurred three separate criminal liabilities. There is likewise no merit in petitioners claim of having acted to "defend and protect the water rights of his constituents" in the lawful exercise of his office as punong barangay. The defense of stranger rule under paragraph 3, Article 11 of the RPC, which negates criminal liability of anyone who acts in the defense of the person or rights of a stranger, provided that the first and second requisites mentioned in the first circumstance of this article are present and that the person defending be not induced by revenge, resentment or other evil motive. Requires proof of (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) absence of evil motives such as revenge and resentment. None of these requisites obtain here. Not one of the Darongs committed acts of aggression against third parties rights when petitioner successively threatened them with bodily harm. Indeed, all of them were performing ordinary, peaceful acts Indalecio was standing near the water tank, Diosetea was walking towards Indalecio and Vicente was standing in the vegetable garden a few meters away. With the element of unlawful aggression absent, inquiry on the reasonableness of the means petitioner used to prevent or repel it is rendered irrelevant. As for the third requisite, the records more than support the conclusion that petitioner acted with resentment, borne out of the Darongs repeated refusal to follow his water distribution scheme, causing him to lose perspective and angrily threaten the Darongs with bodily harm. Lastly, the justifying circumstance of fulfillment of duty or exercise of office under the 5th paragraph of Article 11 of the RPC lies upon proof that the offense committed was the necessary consequence of the due performance of duty or the lawful exercise of office. Arguably, petitioner acted in the performance of his duty to "ensure delivery of basic services" when he barred the Darongs access to the communal water tank. Nevertheless, petitioner exceeded the bounds of his office when he successively chased the Darongs with a bladed weapon, threatening harm on their persons, for violating his order. A number of options constituting lawful and due discharge of his office lay before and his resort to any of them would have spared him from criminal liability. His failure to do so places his actions outside of the ambit of criminally immune official conduct. Petitioner ought to know that no amount of concern for the delivery of services justifies use by local elective officials of violence or threats of violence. WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition.
Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANTONIO SABELLA Y BRAGAIS [G.R. No. 183092] 30 May 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

On the evening of Sept. 28, 1998, Apellant stab one Prudencio Labides with the use of Bolo known as palas and during the arraignment he pleaded not guilty and interposed self defense at the pre trial, According to him he was sleeping and was awakened by someone trying to break into his house who later on attacked him with a piece of rounded wood but he parried and hit him with what he think was a nightstick but only to find out after hitting him that it was a bolo. After labides left he immediately surrendered himself to the authorities with the bolo. On the other hand, when Romulo was walking home after talking to Labides he was hit by the appellant and was threatened so he went to rest beside a banana plant where he saw appellant stab Labides in the abdomen then stabbed him at the back the second time around. Veldeflor and Duro helped Labides to board in the tricycle when they saw appellant still holding his bolo, they brought Labides at Laurencios house where Labides identified the one who stabbed him. Labides was declared dead on arrival and has 2 wounds one in the abdomen and at the back. Whether the justifying circumstance of self defense should be given weight

Issue:

Resolution: When an accused admits killing the victim but invokes self-defense to escape criminal liability, the accused assumes the burden to establish his plea by credible, clear and convincing evidence; otherwise, conviction would follow from his admission that he killed the victim. To escape liability, one who admits killing another in the name of self-defense bears the burden of proving: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person claiming self-defense. The most important element in self-defense is unlawful aggression - there can be no self-defense unless the victim first committed unlawful aggression against the person who resorted to self-defense. Unlawful aggression presupposes an actual, sudden and unexpected attack or imminent danger thereof, not just a threatening or intimidating attitude. In this case, the appellant miserably failed to prove unlawful aggression on the part of Labides. As both the RTC and the CA observed, there was no evidence to support the appellant's claim that Labides broke into his home by destroying the door. Nor was there any evidence that Labides tried to attack him with a piece of wood. The appellant himself admitted that he did not sustain any injury due to the incident.In contrast, the physical evidence belies the appellant's claim of selfdefense. The number, location and severity of the hack wounds the appellant inflicted on Labides all indicate an intention to kill, and not merely wound or defend. Furthermore, Dr. Atanacio's postmortem findings are consistent with Competente's eyewitness account, and are further corroborated by Labides' ante-mortem statement to Paterno Laurenio less than an hour after the stabbing. The totality of this evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt that the aggressor was in fact the appellant and not Labides. WHEREFORE, the March 4, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 01958 is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellant Antonio Sabella y Bragais is found guilty of murder as defined and penalized in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Prudencio Labides P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as temperate damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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CLAY & FEATHER INTERNATIONAL, INC., RAUL O. ARAMBULO, AND ADAM E. JIMENEZ III v. ALEXANDER T. LICHAYTOO AND CLIFFORD T. LICHAYTOO [G.R. No. 193105] 30 May 2011 NACHURA, J.:

Facts:

Both the petitioners and the respondents are stockholders and incorporators of CLAY & FEATHER INTERNATIONAL, INC., which is a domestic corporation engaged In the business of marketing guns and ammunitions. Petitioners owns 50% of the share of stocks of CFII the remaining 50% is owned by the respondents. Petitioners charged respondents before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati with the crime of five (5) counts of Qualified Theft. Petitioners alleged that sometime on February 2006 to November 2007, the respondents took several firearms that is owned by CFII without the knowledge and consent of the corporation and its stockholders. On the other hand, the respondents argued that there is no basis for the petitioners to charge them with Qualified Theft as the subject firearms were purchased by them, and were, in fact, already paid in full. They averred that since CFII does not maintain a Euro bank account, all foreign exchange payments for the company's purchases of guns and ammunitions were deposited in respondents' Euro bank accounts with Hongkong and Shanghai Bank. On May 9, 2008, petitioners filed a reply-affidavit, refuting the arguments of respondents. They admitted that CFII does not have a Euro bank account in its name, and that the corporation uses the Euro bank accounts of respondents to send payments in Euros to their suppliers. However, petitioners stressed that respondents cannot claim ownership of the funds, which were sent to the suppliers of the firearms, since the foreign currency (Euro) was purchased from currency dealers using CFII funds generated from its corporate funds and orders paid in advance by its customers. The Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City issued a Resolution for the crime of Qualified Theft be DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence. Petitioners filed a petition for review before the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Justice. On June 2, 2009, Petition was GRANTED and the Resolution of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati dated July 7, 2008 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. A respondent filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied in a resolution dated August 20, 2009. Respondents then filed a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the CA. On February 26, 2010, the CA rendered a Decision Whether the CA committed reversible error in ordering the dismissal of the information for 5 counts of Qualified Theft against respondents.

Issue:

Resolution: We rule in favor of petitioners. Probable cause, for purposes of filing a criminal information, has been defined as such facts as are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and that respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. Probable cause is meant such set of facts and circumstances, which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that the offense charged in the Information, or any offense included therein, has been committed by the person sought to be arrested. In determining probable cause, the average person weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of the rules of evidence of which he has no technical knowledge. He relies on common sense. A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that, more likely than not, a crime has been committed and that it was committed by the accused. Probable cause demands more than bare suspicion, but it requires less than evidence that would justify a conviction. A finding of probable cause does not require an inquiry as to whether there is sufficient evidence to secure a conviction. It is enough that the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged. The term does not mean "actual and positive cause" nor does it import absolute certainty. It is merely based on opinion and reasonable belief. A trial is intended precisely for the reception of prosecution evidence in support of the charge. The court is tasked to determine guilt beyond reasonable doubt based on the evidence presented by the parties at a trial on the merits. Theft is qualified under Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code under the following circumstances: (1) if the theft is committed by a domestic servant; (2) if the theft is committed with grave abuse of confidence; (3) if the property stolen is a (a) motor vehicle, (b) mail matter, or (c) large cattle; (4) if the property stolen consists of coconuts taken from the premises of a plantation; (5) if the property is fish taken from a fishpond or fishery; or (6) if property is taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident, or civil disturbance. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated February 26, 2010 and the Resolution dated July 21, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 111007 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Resolution of the Secretary of Justice dated June 2, 2009 is hereby REINSTATED.
Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EDGARDO OGARTE Y OCOB [G.R. No. 182690] 30 May 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Facts:

AAA filed two complaints for Rape against her father, Ogarte. According to her the first instance of rape happened in the evening of Nov. 1, 1996 at their kitchen at around 10:00 P.M. after raping her, Ogarte threatened to kill her if she told her mother or anyone else of what happened. She was again raped at around 9:00 in the morning after her mother asked her to help her father gather some firewood in the wooded area near their house. On December 5, 1996 when her mother asked her to help her father to gather woods, AAA believing she would again be violated revealed to her mother what happened on Nov. 1 and 3, 1996. When Ogarte learned about her telling her mother about those incident out of anger he was about to stab her but was stopped by her mother, AAA then was asked by her mother to just keep quiet. On March 20, 1997 AAA told her grandmother BBB about her ordeal in the hands of her father and on April 2, 1997 AAA and BBB went to NBI and executed the sworn affidavits which were used as basis to file charges against Ogarte. Ogarte on the other hand denied raping her own daughter on Nov. 1, 1996 as it was impossible for him to pull her daughter who was sleeping at the farthest side of the room and on Nov. 3, 1996 he was plowing his farm all day long, he also presented people that will testify that he was a good person. He believes that AAA filed the charges against him as revenge after he and his wife slapped her sometime on Feb 1997. On March 9, 2000, the RTC found Ogarte guilty as charged in both criminal cases and imposed on him the supreme penalty of death for each count of rape. In an effort to escape the penalty of death, as imposed by Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code when the crime of simple rape is qualified, Ogarte claims that the courts below erred in appreciating AAA's minority as a qualifying circumstance, because it was never duly proven by the prosecution. Whether the minority of AAA was not duly proven by the prosecution. Whether uncorroborated testimony with inconsistencies should be given weight.

Issue:

Resolution: We disagree. The qualifying circumstances of age and relationship were not only properly alleged in the information but were also duly established by the prosecution during the trial of the cases against Ogarte. Records show that AAA submitted a certification from the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Labason, Zamboanga del Norte that her birth records appear in its Register of Births and that her date of birth is listed as "June 24, 1980." Under the above guidelines in establishing the victim's age, this certification qualifies as an authentic document. Moreover, Ogarte himself admitted, not only on cross examination, but also to his own counsel during his direct examination, that AAA is his eldest child and was 16 years old on November 1, 1996. Again, this Court is compelled to repeat the well-entrenched rule that the trial court's evaluation of the credibility of the witnesses is entitled to the highest respect absent a showing that it overlooked, misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance that would affect the result of the case. This is because the trial court is deemed to be in a better position to decide the question of credibility, since it had the opportunity to observe the witnesses' manner of testifying, their furtive glances, calmness, sighs and the scant or full realization of their oath. Since there are usually only two witnesses in rape cases, it is also a settled rule that rape may be proven by the lone uncorroborated testimony of the offended victim, as long as her testimony is clear, positive, and probable. The RTC and the Court of Appeals were correct in disregarding Ogarte's defenses. This Court has uniformly held, time and again, that both "denial and alibi are among the weakest, if not the weakest, defenses in criminal prosecution." It is well-settled that denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is a self-serving assertion that deserves no weight in law. As we have established that AAA was a credible witness, her clear, positive, and probable, uncorroborated testimony is enough to convict Ogarte of the crime of rape.The RTC was "convinced, without reservation" in AAA's credibility especially since her testimony was "clear, straightforward, credible and truthful." We also agree with the RTC's assessment that the ill motive Ogarte imputed on his daughter is baseless and concocted only to escape liability. The RTC was correct in imposing upon Ogarte the penalty of death as it found Ogarte guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two counts of qualified rape, AAA being Ogarte's 16-year-old daughter when the rapes were committed. However, although under the Death Penalty Law, the crime of qualified rape is punishable by death, Republic Act No. 9346, which took effect on June 24, 2006, prohibits the imposition of the death penalty. Under this Act, the proper penalty to be imposed upon Ogarte in lieu of the death penalty is reclusion perpetua, without eligibility for parole.Civil indemnity ex delicto is mandatory upon a finding of the fact of rape. Moral damages are automatically awarded without need of further proof, because it is assumed that a rape victim has actually suffered moral injuries entitling the victim to such award. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 00100, is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Accused-appellant Edgardo Ogarte y Ocob is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of QUALIFIED RAPE in Criminal Case No. L-0043 and Criminal Case No. L-0044 and sentenced to reclusion perpetua, in lieu of death, without eligibility for parole, for each count of rape. He is ordered to pay the victim AAA Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) as civil indemnity, Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) as moral damages and Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00) as exemplary damages, for each count of rape, ALL with interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of finality of this judgment. No costs.
Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERNESTO MERCADO [G.R. No. 189847] 30 May 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

AAA is the fifth child of the appellant and BBB. According to her the first instance of rape happened sometime in 2000, At around 8:00 a.m. while she was doing her assignment and the appellant entered the room. AAA also recalled that at around 2:00 p.m. of July 26, 2000, while BBB was at the market and AAA's siblings were at their aunt's house, the appellant again sexually abused her. Sometime in 2003, when AAA was again raped by the appellant in the banana grove According to AAA, the appellant sexually abused her five (5) times from 2000 to 2003. The appellant denied the charges against him, and claimed that his brother was the one who raped AAA. He also argued that AAA's testimony is unreliable due to the inconsistencies in the dates when the rapes were committed. Whether the date of the commission of Rape is an essential element.

Issue:

Resolution: No. It is settled that the findings of facts and assessment of credibility of witnesses are matters best left to the trial court which had the unique opportunity to observe the demeanor of the witnesses and was in the best position to discern whether they were telling the truth. At any rate, the date of the commission of the rape is not an essential element of the crime of rape, for the gravamen of the offense is carnal knowledge of a woman. The discrepancies in the actual dates the rapes took place are not serious errors warranting a reversal of the appellant's conviction. What is decisive in a rape charge is the victim's positive identification of the accused as the malefactor. The appellant's denial must also crumble in light of AAA's positive testimony. We have consistently held that positive identification of the accused, when categorical and consistent and without any showing of ill motive of the part of the eyewitness testifying, should prevail over the mere denial of the appellant whose testimony is not substantiated by clear and convincing evidence. We also do not find merit in the appellant's contention that his brother (now deceased) was the one who had raped AAA. The appellant did not present any evidence to substantiate this claim. The Proper Indemnities The award of civil indemnity to the rape victim is mandatory upon a finding that rape took place. Moral damages, on the other hand, are awarded to rape victims without need of proof other than the fact of rape under the assumption that the victim suffered moral injuries from the experience she underwent. Considering that the death penalty was not imposed due to the prosecution's failure to prove the minority of the victim, we reduce the amounts of civil indemnity and moral damages from P75,000.00 to P50,000.00, respectively, for each count. We also increase the amount of exemplary damages from P25,000.00 to P30,000.00 in accordance with current jurisprudence. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby AFFIRM the July 14, 2009 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 03120 with the following MODIFICATIONS: 1. The awards of civil indemnity and moral damages is REDUCED from P75,000.00 to P50,000.00, respectively, for each count; and 2. Exemplary damages is INCREASED from P25,000.00 to P30,000.00 for each count.
Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARIELITO ALIVIO Y OLIVEROS AND ERNESTO DELA VEGA Y CABBAROBIAS [G.R. No. 177771] 30 May 2011 BRION, J.: On May 20, 2003, at around 9:30 P.M. After the Pasig city police receive an information about one Ariel who was selling illegal drugs in Bagong Ilog, Pasig City .They immediately buy-bust team was immediately formed. The buy-bust money, which consisted of two (2) 100 peso bills, was prepared and marked with the symbol, "3L." PO2 Lemuel Lagunay Laro was designated to act as the poseur-buyer. The asset went to the house of Ariel. PO2 Laro and the asset met Ariel. The asset introduced PO2 Laro to Ariel who was later on identified as Alivio. The asset told Alivio that they wanted to buy shabu. Alivio asked how much they wanted to buy the asset replied that it it should be worth 200 pesos and asked if they can use it there. The two were ushered into the second floor of the house where they saw dela Vega seated in front of a table with drug paraphernalia. PO2 Laro gave the maked money, Alivio handed the shabu after the exchange Po2 Laro introduced himself as an officer and arrested alivio while the asset made the signal for the buy-bust team to enter the house. The buy-bust team took Alivio, Dela Vega and the confiscated items to the police station for investigation. Afterwards, the confiscated items were taken by PO1 Mapula to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination. The two (2) plastic sachets tested positive for shabu. On the other hand the appellants denied the allegations and anchored the defense that they were framed-up. They denied selling shabu and claimed that they were together that night drinking at the second floor of Alivio's residence. They claimed that five (5) men suddenly barged in on them looking for a person named "Bon-bon." When they replied that neither of them was Bon-bon, the policemen frisked and arrested them. The policemen took from the appellants their earnings for that day and the P5,000.00 cash they found in the house. Alivio added that he cannot sell shabu to PO2 Laro as he knows him to be an officer. Alivio claimed that he was a former driver of Atty. Nelson Fajardo whom he used to accompany to the police station where PO2 Laro was assigned. On February 28, 2005, the RTC convicted the appellants of all charges laid. The RTC relied on the presumption of regularity in the buy-bust operation and the lack of improper motive on the part of the police officers. The RTC rejected the proferred denial and frame-up as defenses as they are inherently easy to concoct, and found that the prosecution sufficiently established all the elements of the crimes charged and the identity of the appellants as perpetrators. The appellants appealed to the CA. On November 30, 2006, the CA affirmed the RTC decision. The CA took into account the consistent testimonies of the prosecution witnesses to support the presumption that the police officers regularly performed the buy-bust operation. The CA likewise ruled that the appellants failed to substantiate their defenses. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding the appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of the provision of R.A No. 9165.

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: We find no reversible error committed by the RTC and the CA in convicting the appellants of the crimes charged. The existence of the buy-bust operation Prosecutions involving illegal drugs depend largely on the credibility of the police officers who conducted the buy-bust operation. Thus, we generally defer to the assessment on this point by the trial court as it had the opportunity to directly observe the witnesses, their demeanor, and their credibility on the witness stand. Our independent examination of the records shows no compelling reason to depart from this rule. First, the lower courts found the testimonies of PO2 Laro and SPO3 Matias consistent, positive and straightforward. These testimonies were corroborated by PO1 Mapula who testified that the appellants were apprehended through a buy-bust operation. Second, the records reveal the lack of improper motive on the part of the buy-bust team. Appellant Alivio even admitted that he had no idea why the police officers filed the present case against him. Alivio also denied police extortion. Third, the appellants' failure to file cases against the buy-bust team for planting evidence undoubtedly supports the prosecution's theory that the appellants were arrested because they were caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu. Fourth, the following documentary evidence presented by the prosecution corroborates the existence of an actual buy-bust operation: (a) The Pre-Opns Reports, made part of the records, showed that anti-narcotics operations were conducted on May 20, 2003 against one "Ariel" who was "allegedly involved in selling/trading of dangerous drugs." (b) The existence of the buy-bust money, bearing the marking "3L," was presented during the trial as part of PO2 Laro's testimony. According to PO2 Laro, the marking stood for his initials which he placed on the buy-bust money for easy identification. (c) The Affidavits of Arrest by PO2 Laro and SPO3 Matias executed immediately after the arrest of the appellants showed that the arrests were made pursuant to a buy-bust operation. Familiarity The defense failed to sufficiently prove the alleged familiarity of appellant Alivio with PO2 Laro. The testimony of

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defense witness Atty. Fajardo failed to give out specific details on the dates and occasions when he supposedly talked to PO2 Laro in the presence of Alivio. Moreover, the evidence also shows a time gap between Alivio's employment with Atty. Fajardo (from 2000 to 2001) and the occurrence of the buy-bust operation (in 2003). As against these sketchy claims, PO2 Laro testified that Alivio failed to recognize him during the buy-bust operation. The defenses of Denial and Frame-up The appellants merely denied the buy-bust sale and their possession of the shabu and the drug paraphernalia. They claimed that they were framed by the police who took their earnings and forcibly took them to the police station. In light of the positive and credible testimony and the concrete evidence showing the existence of the buy-bust operation, these defenses are unworthy of belief. Dela Vega's injuries alone cannot rebut the consistent evidence that the appellants were arrested pursuant to a buy-bust operation. We particularly note in this regard that the participating policemen denied that they previously knew the appellants and those they entertained ulterior or illicit motives to frame them. The Proper Penalties On the illegal sale of shabu (Criminal Case No. 12450-D), the appellants were caught and arrested for selling .06 gram of shabu. The RTC and the CA correctly imposed the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P500,000.00 against the appellants, in accordance with Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 which punishes illegal sale of shabu with the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00). On the illegal possession of shabu (Criminal Case No. 12451-D), dela Vega was caught in possession of .10 gram of shabu and was meted the penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and to pay a fine of P300,000.00. Section 11, paragraph 2(3), Article II of R.A. No. 9165. Thus, we sustain the penalties the RTC and the CA imposed as these are within the range provided by law Lastly, illegal possession of drug paraphernalia (Criminal Case No. 12452-D) is punished under Section 12, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 that provides a penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years, and a fine ranging from Ten thousand pesos (PP10,000.00) to Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00). We thus uphold the penalty of imprisonment of six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and a fine of P10,000.00 that the RTC and the CA imposed on Alivio. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we AFFIRM the decision, dated November 30, 2006, of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR-H.C. No. 01138 which, in turn, affirmed the decision, dated February 28, 2005, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 70, Pasig City, in Criminal Case Nos. 12450-52-D.
Candida Dorothy Suerte D. Bumanglag

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. AIDA MARQUEZ G.R. No. 181440 April 13, 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: That on or about the 6th day of September, 1998, in the City of Makati, the accused Aida Marquez, being entrusted with the custody of a minor, JUSTINE BERNADETTE C. MERANO, a three (3) month old baby girl, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously deliberately fail to restore the latter to her parent, CAROLINA CUNANAN y MERANO. According to the complainant, Carolina Cunanan Merano (Merano), she met Marquez at the beauty parlor where she was working as a beautician. Merano confessed to easily trusting Marquez because aside from her observation that Marquez was close to her employers, Marquez was also nice to her and her co-employees, and was always giving them food and tip. On September 6, 1998, after a trip to a beach in Laguna, Marquez allegedly borrowed Meranos then three-month old daughter Justine Bernadette C. Merano (Justine) to buy her some clothes, milk and food. Merano said she agreed because it was not unusual for Marquez to bring Justine some things whenever she came to the parlor. When Marquez failed to return Justine in the afternoon as promised, Merano went to her employers house to ask them for Marquezs address. However, Merano said that her employers just assured her that Justine will be returned to her soon. Merano averred that she searched for her daughter but her efforts were unsuccessful until she received a call from Marquez on November 11, 1998. During that call, Marquez allegedly told Merano that she will return Justine to Merano the following day and that she was not able to do so because her own son was sick and was confined at the hospital. Marquez also allegedly asked Merano for Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for the expenses that she incurred while Justine was with her. When the supposed return of Justine did not happen, Merano claimed that she went to Marquezs house, using the sketch that she got from her employers driver, but Marquez was not home. Upon talking to Marquezs maid, Merano learned that Justine was there for only a couple of days. Merano left a note for Marquez telling her that she will file a case against Marquez if Justine is not returned to her. Merano afterwards went to see then Mayor Alfredo Lim to ask for his help. Merano said that Mayor Lim referred her to Inspector Eleazar of San Pedro, Laguna, who assigned two police officers to accompany her to Marquezs house. When Merano did not find Justine in Marquezs house, she went back to Inspector Eleazar who told her to come back the following day to confront Marquez whom he will call. Merano came back the next day as instructed but Marquez did not show up. On November 17, 1998, Merano gave her sworn statement to the police and filed a complaint against Marquez. On February 11, 1999, Marquez allegedly called Merano up again to tell her to pick up her daughter at Modesto Castillos (Castillo) house in Tiaong, Quezon. The following day, Merano, accompanied by Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Diosdado Fernandez and SPO4 Rapal, went to the house of Castillo in Quezon. Merano claimed that Castillo told her that Marquez sold Justine to him and his wife and that they gave Marquez Sixty Thousand Pesos (P60,000.00) supposedly for Merano who was asking for money. Castillo even gave Merano a photocopy of the handwritten Kasunduan dated May 17, 1998, wherein Merano purportedly gave Justine to the Castillo spouses.[12] The Castillos asked Merano not to take Justine as they had grown to love her but Merano refused. However, she was still not able to take Justine home with her because the police advised her to go through the proper process as the Castillos might fight for their right to retain custody of Justine. Merano then learned from Castillo that in an effort to legalize the adoption of Justine, the Castillos turned over custody of Justine to the Reception and Study Center for Children of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. To defend herself, Marquez proffered her own version of what had happened during her testimony. Marquez said that she had only formally met Merano on September 6, 1998 although she had known of her for some time already because Merano worked as a beautician at the beauty parlor of Marquezs financier in her real estate business. Marquez alleged that on that day, Merano offered Justine to her for adoption. Marquez told Merano that she was not interested but she could refer her to her friend Modesto Castillo (Castillo). That very same night, while Marquez was taking care of her son who was then confined at the Makati Medical Center, Merano allegedly proceeded to Marquezs house in Laguna and left Justine with Marquezs maid. The following day, while Marquez was at the hospital again, Castillo, accompanied by his mother, went to Marquezs house to pick up Justine. Since Marquez was out, she instructed her maid not to give Justine to Castillo for fear of possible problems. However, she still found Justine gone upon her return home that evening. Marquez allegedly learned of the encounter between the Castillos and Merano when a San Pedro police officer called Marquez to tell her that Merano, accompanied by two police officers, went to Castillos house to get Justine. This was confirmed by Castillo who also called Marquez and told her that Merano offered Justine to him for adoption. SPO2 Fernandez, one of the police officers who accompanied Merano to Castillos house in February 1999, was presented by the defense to prove that he was a witness to the execution of a document wherein Merano gave up her right to Justine to the Castillo spouses. Fernandez said that on February 12, 1999, he and SPO4 Rapal accompanied Merano to the house of Castillo where Justine was allegedly being kept. When they arrived at Castillos house, where they found baby Justine, Merano and Castillo talked and after sometime, they arrived at an agreement regarding Justines adoption. SPO2 Fernandez averred that he, Castillo, Merano and SPO4 Rapal left Castillos house to go to a lawyer near Castillos house. After the agreement was put into writing, they all signed the document, entitled Kasunduan sa Pagtalikod sa Karapatan at Pagpapa-ampon sa Isang Anak, with Castillo and Merano as parties to the agreement, and SPO2 Fernandez

Facts:

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and SPO4 Rapal as witnesses. SPO2 Fernandez claimed that he was surprised that Merano gave up Justine for adoption when they supposedly went there to get Justine back. On January 21, 2004, the RTC found Marquez guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged, KIDNAPPING AND FAILURE TO RETURN A MINOR under Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act. No. 18. Issue: Whether or not the trial court erred in convicting the accused-appelant.

Resolution: The Revised Penal Code considers it a crime when a person who has been entrusted with the custody of a minor later on deliberately fails to return said minor to his parent or guardian. This may be found in Article 270, which reads: Art. 270. Kidnapping and failure to return a minor. The penalty of reclusion perpetua shall be imposed upon any person who, being entrusted with the custody of a minor person, shall deliberately fail to restore the latter to his parents or guardians. This crime has two essential elements: 1. The offender is entrusted with the custody of a minor person; and 2. The offender deliberately fails to restore the said minor to his parents or guardians It is clear from the records of the case that Marquez was entrusted with the custody of Justine. Whether this is due to Meranos version of Marquez borrowing Justine for the day, or due to Marquezs version that Merano left Justine at her house, it is undeniable that in both versions, Marquez agreed to the arrangement, i.e., to temporarily take custody of Justine. It does not matter, for the first element to be present, how long said custody lasted as it cannot be denied that Marquez was the one entrusted with the custody of the minor Justine. Thus, the first element of the crime is satisfied. As to the second element, neither party disputes that on September 6, 1998, the custody of Justine was transferred or entrusted to Marquez. Whether this lasted for months or only for a couple of days, the fact remains that Marquez had, at one point in time, physical and actual custody of Justine. Marquezs deliberate failure to return Justine, a minor at that time, when demanded to do so by the latters mother, shows that the second element is likewise undoubtedly present in this case. Marquezs insistence on Meranos alleged desire and intention to have Justine adopted cannot exonerate her because it has no bearing on her deliberate failure to return Justine to Merano. If it were true that Marquez merely facilitated Justines adoption, then there was no more need for Merano to contact Marquez and vice-versa, since Merano, as Marquez claimed, had direct access to Castillo. The evidence shows, however, that Merano desperately searched for a way to communicate with Marquez. As testified to by both Merano and Marquez, Marquez frequented the beauty parlor where Merano worked in, and yet, curiously, Marquez was nowhere to be found after September 6, 1998. It took Marquez more than two months before communicating with Merano again, after she supposedly facilitated the adoption of Justine. WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated August 29, 2007 in CA-G.R. CR. HC No. 00467 finding Aida Marquez GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of KIDNAPPING AND FAILURE TO RETURN A MINOR under Article 270 of the Revised Penal Code is hereby AFFIRMED. No Costs. SO ORDERED.
Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

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JOSE TUBOLA JR. v. SANDIGANBAYAN AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 154042 April 11, 2011 CARPIO MORALES, J.:

FACTS: Jose Tubola Jr. was the cashier of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA)-Aganan, Sta. Barbara River Irrigation System in IloiloCity. On November 8, 1982, Commission on Audit (COA) State Auditing Examiners Yvonne Gotera (Gotera) and Theresita Cajita (Cajita) conducted an audit examination of petitioners account which indicated a shortage of P93,051.88. Gotera and Cajita thus sent a letter of demand dated November 23, 1982 to petitioner directing him to account for the shortage. Petitioner refused to receive the letter, however, hence, Gotera and Cajita sent it by registered mail. Petitioner was thereupon charged of committing malversation of public funds before the Sandiganbayan to which he pleaded not guilty. By the account of Gotera, the lone witness for the prosecution, petitioner had an account balance of P30,162.46 prior to June 25, 1982; that from June 25 to November 8, 1982, the date petitioners account was audited, his cash collections totaledP347,995.64; that his remittances from June 25 to November 8, 1982 totaled P285,105.41; and that the total collections less total remittances amounted to P93,051.88 as of November 8, 1982. Still by Goteras account, the audit team found in petitioners drawer vales/chits or promissory notes or receivables signed by NIA employees involving the total amount of P79,044.51. Petitioner, who claimed that he was assigned as cashier since 1978 and was also in charge of payment of salaries of more than 2,000 field employees in the NIA Jalaur Project, declared that his task of keeping the collected irrigation fees was temporarily assigned to Editha Valeria (Valeria) upon instruction of his superior, Regional Director Manuel Hicao, for he (petitioner) was also handling the payroll of around 2,000 employees. Petitioner further declared that no accounting of the collected fees was undertaken since he trusted Valeria, who directly remitted them to the bank, after he signed the statement of collection without reading the contents thereof. Petitioner presented vales and chits involving the total amount of P115,661.66 representing loans extended by Valeria to certain NIA employees and even COA auditors. And he identified chits and vales dated 1975 to 1981 inclusive representing loans extended prior to the audit period. By Decision of December 7, 2000, the Sandiganbayan convicted petitioner as charged. Issue: Whether or not Sandiganbayan correctly convicted accused-appellant.

Resolution: The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public fund or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal uses. The elements of malversation of public funds are thus: 1 that the offender is a public officer; 2.that he had the custody or control of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office; 3.that those funds or property were public funds or property for which he was accountable; and 4.that he appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to take them. All the above-mentioned elements are here present. Petitioner was a public officer he occupied the position of cashier at the NIA. By reason of his position, he was tasked to regularly handle irrigation fees, which are indubitably public funds pertaining to the NIA, and to remit them to the depositary bank. As established by the prosecution, petitioner was the one who remitted irrigation fees collected from June 25, 1982 to October 31, 1983 inclusive, so that even if the Court were to credit petitioners allegation that Valeria had actually taken over his function of collecting the irrigation fees, the collections were still, in fact by his admission, turned over to him. In fact, petitioners admission that his signature was required before remitting the irrigation fees to the depositary bank reinforces the fact that he had complete control and custody thereof. As to the element of misappropriation, indeed petitioner failed to rebut the legal presumption that he had misappropriated the fees to his personal use, his disclaimer being self-serving. Why, indeed, Valeria, whom petitioner had pointed to as having full responsibility for the collections, including their deposit to the bank, covered by the audit period, was never presented to corroborate his claim dents his defense as does his failure to present the Regional Director or a certification from him for the same purpose. As for petitioners explanation that the unaccounted fees were extended as loans to employees as evidenced by vales and chits found in his drawer which involved a total of P79,044.51, it fails. If this claim were true, petitioner could have at least promptly collected them, and/or offered the testimonies of the employees-obligors to prove good faith on his part. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RONALDO SALUDO G.R. No. 178406 April 6, 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Facts:

The real name of the rape victim in this case is withheld. Instead, fictitious initials are used to represent her. Also, the personal circumstances of the victim or any other information tending to establish or compromise her identity, as well as those of her immediate family or household members are not disclosed in this decision. In this regard, the herein rape victim is referred to as AAA. Ronaldo Saludo,in four separate Informations dated August 14, 1995, was charged with four counts of rape committed against AAA on April 10, April 26, May 19, and June 21, 1995. AAA, whose parents have been separated for a long time. Her father left them for Manila bringing with him her two sisters. From that time on her mother, three years old sister [BBB], and herself, live in a small hut. The siding of their hut is made of nipa shingles and anyone could easily have access inside the hut. That last April 10, 1995 at around 9:00 p.m., she and [BBB] were left in their hut. Her mother was in a nearby chapel having a pabasa, as it was a Holy Monday. She slept in one side of their hut while [BBB] slept on the other side. She was awakened when she felt someone entered their hut. It was accused Ronaldo Saludo at a distance of around five meters away from where she was. Immediately after seeing the accused already standing inside their hut, she also stood up, and shouted Putang ina mo, anong ginagawa mo sa aming bahay? Accused approached her and closed her mouth with his hand. Complainant pushed the accused but the latter poke a balisong knife at her. There and then, Ronaldo Saludo took off her shorts and panty. Then accused placed himself on top of her, tried hard to insert his organs to hers. Ultimately, accused succeeded in raping her. Ronaldo Saludo threatened her that she and her mother would be killed, if she would tell to anybody what have transpired. After he uttered his threat to her, Ronaldo Saludo left the place. On the very same evening her mother returned home from the chapel. She did not tell her what had happened because of the threat that she and her mother would be killed. [AAA] underwent sexual experiences against her will with the use of force and intimidation, not once but three more times. The exact sequence of the startling events happened again on April 26, May 19 and June 21, 1995, in the hands of Ronaldo Saludo everytime her mother is in Manila transporting bananas. Despite those horrifying sexual experiences, complainant continued to attend her classes at the x x x National High School. She did not inform anybody what had happened to her. Neither, did she tell her teachers nor close friends and classmates that she was sexually abused by the accused. She was so much afraid that accused would make good his threat to kill her and her family. On July 7, 1995 there is a good reason for her mother to be suspicious as her abdomen is becoming bigger and bigger. And so, [AAA] confronted her mother and told her Inay, kung ako ay magsasabi sa iyo, huwag mo akong bugbugin sapagkat ako ay buntis at ang nakabuntis sa akin ay si Ronaldo Saludo. She also informed her mother regarding the threat of the accused to kill them if she would divulge what had happened to them. The following day, July 8, 1995 they finally decided to transfer their residence from x x x in order to escape from the accused as he might make good his threat. With such decision, [AAA] had to quit schooling. On July 16, 1995 [AAA] voluntarily subjected herself to the medical examination. Dr. Jose G. Palomaria, in his medico-legal report confirmed that AAA had sexual activities. The accused presented alibi and denial as defense and presented some witnesses. The RTC, however, convicted the accused with the crime charged, penalizing him RECLUSION PERPETUA, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Hence, a Supreme Court appeal. 1. Whether or not the Trial Court erred in not rejecting the private complainants testimony; 2. Whether or not the Trial court erred in giving full faith and credence to the private complainants testimony considering she did not offer any tenacious offer resistance and considering the fact that there was delay in reporting of the alleged crime; 3. Whether or not the Trial Court erred in convicting the accussed-appellant.

Issues:

Resolution: When the credibility of the witnesses is at issue, appellate courts will not disturb the findings of the trial court, the latter being in a better position to decide the question, having heard the witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial unless certain facts of substance and value had been overlooked which, if considered, might affect the results of the case. The underlying reason for this principle has been explained as follows: Having the opportunity to observe them, the trial judge is able to detect that sometimes thin line between fact and prevarication that will determine the guilt of the accused. That line may not be discernible from a mere reading of the impersonal record by the reviewing court. The record will not reveal those tell-tale signs that will affirm the truth or expose the contrivance, like the angry flush of an insisted assertion or the sudden pallor of a discovered lie or the tremulous mutter of a reluctant answer of the forthright tone of a ready reply. The record will not show if the eyes have darted in evasion or looked down in confession or gazed steadily with a serenity that has nothing to distort or conceal. The record will not show if tears were shed in anger, or in

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shame or in remembered pain, or in feigned innocence. Only the judge trying the case can see all these on the basis of his observations arrive at an informed and reasoned verdict. 1) We disagree. Physical resistance need not be established in rape when threats and intimidation are employed and the victim submits herself to the embrace of her rapist because of fear. As we have ruled in People v. Bayan [I]t must be emphasized that force as an element of rape need not be irresistible; it need but be present, and so long as it brings about the desired result, all considerations of whether it was more or less irresistible is beside the point. So must it likewise be for intimidation which is addressed to the mind of the victim and is therefore subjective. Intimidation must be viewed in the light of the victims perception and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime and not by any hard and fast rule; it is therefore enough that it produces fear -- fear that if the victim does not yield to the bestial demands of the accused, something would happen to her at that moment or even thereafter as when she is threatened with death if she reports the incident. Intimidation includes the moral kind as the fear caused by threatening the girl with a knife or pistol. And when such intimidation exists and the victim is cowed into submission as a result thereof, thereby rendering resistance futile, it would be extremely unreasonable, to say the least, to expect the victim to resist with all her might and strength. If resistance would nevertheless be futile because of continuing intimidation, then offering none at all would not mean consent to the assault so as to make the victims participation in the sexual act voluntary. 2) Accused-appellant merely raised denial and alibi as his defenses. We have oft pronounced that both denial and alibi are inherently weak defenses which cannot prevail over the positive and credible testimony of the prosecution witness that the accused committed the crime. Thus, as between a categorical testimony which has a ring of truth on one hand, and a mere denial and alibi on the other, the former is generally held to prevail. [42] As the Court of Appeals pointed out: Private complainant, in open court, positively identified accused-appellant as the assailant in these four (4) rape incidents. Such a categorical and positive identification of an accused, without any showing of ill-motive on the part of the witness testifying on the matter, prevails over alibi and denial, which are negative and self-serving evidence undeserving of real weight in law. Fundamental is the rule in evidence that alibi is the weakest of all defenses, because it is easy to concoct and difficult to disprove. For it to prosper, it is not enough for the accused to prove that they were somewhere else when the crime was committed; they must likewise demonstrate that it was physically impossible for them to have been at the scene of the crime at the time.

WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DENIED and the Decision dated February 24, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01553 is AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION that the accused-appellant Ronaldo Saludo is additionally ordered to pay the victim AAA the amount of P30,000.00 exemplary damages for each of the four (4) counts of rape. SO ORDERED.
Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REYNALDO OLESCO G.R. No. 174861 April 11, 2011 DEL CASTILLO, J.: Facts: In rape, the sweetheart defense must be proven by compelling evidence: first, that the accused and the victim were lovers; and, second, that she consented to the alleged sexual relations. The second is as important as the first, because this Court has held often enough that love is not a license for lust. The real name of the rape victim in this case is withheld. Instead, fictitious initials are used to represent her. Also, the personal circumstances of the victim or any other information tending to establish or compromise her identity, as well as those of her immediate family or household members are not disclosed in this decision. In this regard, the herein rape victim is referred to as AAA. On October 17, 2001, at around 10:00 oclock in the evening, AAA, accompanied x x x her cousin in going out of DDD in BBB. On her way back home, AAA passed by a bakery where Olesco was working. Thereafter, somebody pulled her and covered her mouth with a hanky which caused her to be unconscious. When she regained consciousness at around 11:00 oclock p.m., AAA found herself naked beside Olesco inside a room located near the bakery. Her whole body ached, especially her cheeks, tummy and her private part. AAA then slapped the accused three times and asked him why he raped her. Olesco answered that he would kill her should she report the incident to the police. After a while, accused told her to go home. She dressed up immediately and went home running. When she arrived home, AAA told her cousin EEE about what happened. After two (2) days, AAA reported the incident to the barangay. The barangay officials asked her the whereabouts of the accused which she did not know then as she saw the accused only once and knows him only by face since at that time, she was just a week old in DDD. AAA explained that she was able to report the incident to the barangay officials two days after it happened since when she woke up in the morning of October 18, 2001, it was already 9:00 oclock a.m. and she could not stand as her whole body ached. Thereafter, the barangay officials referred the matter to the police. An investigation was subsequently conducted. Thereafter, AAA was referred to the Philippine National Police Crime Division, Camp Crame, Quezon City, for medico-legal examination. The Doctor who examined her confirmed that she had a sexual activity for the past 10 days. Olesco denied the accusations against him and put up Sweet heart defense as his defense. The Trial Court convicted the accused of the crime charged and sentenced him RECLUSION PERPETUA. Issue: Whether or not the Trial Court erred in convicting the accused.

Resolution: In finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape, the RTC noted that AAA positively identified appellant as the malefactor; that appellant failed to rebut the testimony of the victim or impute ill-motive on her part; and that AAAs testimony was brief, clear, and straightforward and supported by the medical findings. Moreover, the RTC observed that appellants sweetheart defense lacked sufficient and convincing proof; neither was it substantiated by any documentary and/or other evidence like mementos, love letters, notes, pictures and the like. Worse, appellant did not present his employer or any of his co-workers to corroborate his claim that he and AAA were sweethearts and that AAA used to frequent his place. The RTC also held that assuming AAA and appellant were sweethearts, it does not serve as license or justification to commit rape. In any event, the claim is inconsequential since it is well-settled that being sweethearts does not negate the commission of rape because such fact does not give appellant license to have sexual intercourse against her will, and will not exonerate him from the criminal charge of rape. Being sweethearts does not prove consent to the sexual act. Thus, having failed to satisfactorily establish that AAA voluntarily consented to engage in sexual intercourse with him, the said act constitutes rape on the part of the appellant. Finally, we note that AAA lost no time in reporting the incident to her cousin who in turn immediately relayed the same to the barangay officials which resulted in the arrest of the appellant. On the other hand, appellant failed to rebut AAAs testimony that prior to the incident she saw appellant only once considering that AAA was new to the place, having stayed thereat for only a week before the rape. Even appellant could not ascribe any ill will on the part of AAA. More significantly, appellant did not present his employer or any of his co-workers who could supposedly corroborate his claim that he only talked with AAA on the night of October 17, 2001. WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED.
Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ANDREW ROBLE G.R. No. 192188 April 11, 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.: The Prosecutions Version of Facts On March 12, 2003, at around 5:30 p.m., PO3 Matias Casas (PO3 Casas) received information through a telephone call regarding the illegal drug activities of a certain Jojo Roble in Looc, Danao City. Coordination was then made with the Special Operations Group (SOG) and a buy-bust team was formed composed of PO3 Casas, PO2 Laurel, the SOG and the mayor of DanaoCity, Mayor Ramonito Durano (Mayor Durano).[14] A briefing was conducted where several pieces of marked 100-peso bills were handed to the poseur-buyer, Abner Banzon Cuizon (Cuizon), by PO3 Casas. At 6:30 p.m., the team proceeded to the reported area. PO3 Casas, PO2 Laurel and Cuizon were aboard a tricycle while the rest of the team were with Mayor Durano. The tricycle was parked on the side of a road where Cuizon alighted and walked to a nearby store, leaving PO3 Casas and PO2 Laurel inside the tricycle. At this time, the tricycle was parked seven (7) meters away from the said store while the group of Mayor Durano was about thirty (30) meters away. PO2 Laurel saw Cuizon approach a person and hand him money in exchange for plastic sachets. Upon seeing Cuizon scratch his head, which was the pre-arranged signal, the policemen approached to arrest Jojo but he was able to flee from the scene.PO3 Casas and PO2 Laurel signaled the rest of the team for assistance but all of them could not locate Jojo. Meanwhile, Cuizon gave the sachets to PO3 Casas when they approached to arrest Jojo. PO3 Casas, in turn, gave them to the investigator, Senior Police Officer 3 Edgar Awe (SPO3 Awe). Thereafter, a request for laboratory examination was made and submitted to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory in Camp Sotero Cabahug, Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City. After examination, Medical Technologist Mendoza issued Chemistry Report No. D-459-2003, which stated that the two (2) plastic sachets contained methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Version of the Defense In contrast, Roble interposes the defenses of denial and alibi. He testified that from March 11, 2003 to June 14, 2003, he was in Babatngon, Leyte working, to avoid a frame-up by his enemy. Specifically, on March 12, 2003 at around 2:00 p.m., he went to his cousin, Danilo Roble, to ask him to accompany him to Wantai Piggery, owned by Nicomedes Alde (Alde), where he would apply as a worker on the recommendation of his uncle, Atty. Santiago Maravilles (Atty. Maravilles). Alde told him to come back and bring his bio-data with picture and that he would start working on March 17, 2003. He worked there until May 31, 2003 and was not able to return home until June 14, 2003. In support of his claim, he presented a Barangay Certification issued by the Barangay Captain, affidavits of Alde and Danilo Roble, vouchers sighed by Alde, and the endorsement letter of Atty. Maravilles. Roble further testified that the poseur-buyer, Cuizon, is his enemy in Danao City. Robles girlfriend, Leny Tiango (Tiango), informed him that Cuizon would frame him in a buy-bust operation because Tiango is also the girlfriend of Cuizon. The Trial Court convicted the accused for violating Sec. 5, Art. 11, of R.A. 9165 and, therefore, sentences him to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT. Whether or not the trial court correctly convicted the accused-appellant.

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: The Supreme Court REVERSED and SET ASIDE the judgment against the accused. It is hornbook doctrine that the evaluation of the trial court of the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies is entitled to great weight and is generally not disturbed upon appeal. However, such rule does not apply when the trial court has overlooked, misapprehended, or misapplied any fact of weight or substance. In the instant case, circumstances are present that, when properly appreciated, would warrant the acquittal of accused-appellant. In the crime of sale of dangerous drugs, the prosecution must be able to successfully prove the following elements: (1) identities of the buyer and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. Similarly, it is essential that the transaction or sale be proved to have actually taken place coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. Corpus delicti means the actual commission by someone of the particular crime charged. In the instant case, the prosecution has failed to prove all the elements of the crime with moral certainty. A careful perusal of the testimony of PO2 Laurel readily reveals that there is serious doubt as to the identity of the seller. In his testimony, PO2 Laurel stated that when the transaction took place at 6:30 p.m., he was inside a parked tricycle located seven (7) meters away from where the transaction took place. Significantly the transaction occurred behind a store and not along the road. Add to this the fact that it happened at dusk, making it harder to see. Considering all these, it is, therefore, highly improbable that PO2 Laurel actually saw accused-appellant. In fact, he testified that the poseur-buyer approached a certain person and that he only assumed it was accused-appellant to whom the poseur-buyer was talking. Clearly, PO2 Laurels testimony cannot establish with moral certainty the identity of the seller. It baffles this Court why the prosecution did not present the poseur-buyer as he would be the best person to identify the identity of the seller. No justifiable reason was submitted as to why Cuizons testimony could not be presented.
Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

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PRESIDENTIAL AD-HAVOC FACT FINDING COMMITTEE ON BEHEST LOANS, ETC. v. HONORABLE ANIANO A. DESIERTO AS AMBUDSMAN G.R. No. 135715 April 13, 2011 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

Respondents Mohammad Ali Dimaporo, Abdullah Dimaporo, and Amer Dianalan, were stockholders and officers of the Mindanao Coconut Oil Mills (MINCOCO), a domestic corporation established in 1974,[2] while respondents Panfilo O. Domingo, Conrado S. Reyes, Enrique M. Herboza, and Ricardo Sunga, were then officers of the National Investment and Development Corporation (NIDC). On 10 May 1976, MINCOCO applied for a Guarantee Loan Accommodation with the NIDC for the amount of approximatelyP30, 400,000.00, which the NIDCs Board of Directors approved on 23 June 1976. The guarantee loan was, however, both undercapitalized and under-collateralized because MINCOCOs paid capital then was only P7,000,000.00 and its assets worth is P7,000,000.00. This notwithstanding, MINCOCO further obtained additional Guarantee Loan Accommodations from NIDC in the amount ofP13,647,600.00 and P7,000,000.00, respectively. When MINCOCOs mortgage liens were about to be foreclosed by the government banks due its outstanding obligations, Eduardo Cojuangco issued a memorandum dated 18 July 1983, bearing the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos (President Marcos) marginal note, disallowing the foreclosure of MINCOCOs properties. The government banks were not able to recover any amount from MINCOCO and President Marcos marginal note was construed by the NIDC to have effectively released MINCOCO, including its owners, from all of its financial liabilities. The above mentioned transactions, were, however, discovered only in 1992 after then President Fidel V. Ramos (President Ramos), in an effort to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the late President Marcos, his family, and cronies, issued Administrative Order No. 13 creating the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans (the Committee), with the Chairman of the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) as the Committees head. The Committee was directed, inter alia, to inventory all behest loans, and identify the lenders and borrowers, including the principal officers and stockholders of the borrowing firms, as well as the persons responsible for the granting of loans or who influenced the grant thereof. Subsequently, then President Ramos issued Memorandum Order No. 61 outlining the criteria which may be utilized as a frame of reference in determining a behest loan, viz: a. It is under-collateralized; b. The borrower corporation is undercapitalized; c. Direct or indirect endorsement by high government officials like presence of marginal note; d. Stockholders, officers or agents of the borrower corporation are identified as cronies; e. Deviation of use of loan proceeds from the purpose intended; f. Use of corporate layering; g. Non-feasibility of the project for which financing is being sought; h.Extraordinary speed in which the loan release was made. The Committee found that twenty-one (21) corporations, including MINCOCO, obtained behest loans. It claimed that the fact that MINCOCO was under-collateralized and undercapitalized; that its officers were identified as cronies; that the late President Marcos had marginal note, effectively waiving the governments right to foreclose MINCOCOs mortgage liens; and, that the Guarantee Loan Accommodation were approved in an extraordinary speed of one month, bore badges of behest loans. Subsequently, the Committee filed with the Ombudsman a sworn complaint against MINCOCOs Officers and NIDCs Board of Directors for violation of Section 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended. By Resolution dated 9 July 1998, the Ombudsman motu prorio dismissed the complaint on the grounds that, first, there was insufficient evidence to warrant the indictment of the persons charged; and, second, the alleged offenses had prescribed.The Ombudsman explained: Being undercapitalized, standing alone is meaningless. The approval of the loans/guarantees was still based on sound lending practice, otherwise, MINCOCO would have been disqualified from obtaining the same. If MINCOCOs equity was more than the amount of the loans, there was no need for it to obtain the latter. Anent the claim that Mohammad Ali Dimaporo was a crony of the late President Marcos, no evidence was adduced to prove the same, hence, remains a bare allegation. On the issue that the notation by President Marcos in the Memorandum of July 18, 1983 is a behest order, suffice it to state that these marginal notes, if they meant endorsement as defined under Memorandum Order No. 61, endorsed the recommendation regarding the mortgage liens of the government banks of the Mothballed Coconut Oil Mills and not the approval/grant of the loans/guarantees in 1976. It is in effect approved the release of the liabilities of the former owners of coconut oil mills, one of which was MINCOCO, but not the acquisition of the said loans/guarantees.

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Issue:

For the perpetration of the acts being complained of, the respondents are charged of violations of Sections 3(e) and (g) of Republic Act No. 3019. The instant case however, according to the Ambudsman, will no longer prosper for the offenses have already prescribed. Whether or not the criminal aspect of the case has already prescribed.

Resolution: In resolving the issue of prescription, the following shall be considered: (1) the period of prescription for the offense charged; (2) the time the period of prescription started to run; and (3) the time the prescriptive period was interrupted. While we sustain the Ombudsmans contention that the prescriptive period for the crime charged herein is 10 years and not 15 years, we are not persuaded that in this specific case, the prescriptive period began to run in 1976, when the loans were transacted. The time as to when the prescriptive period starts to run for crimes committed under Republic Act No. 3019, a special law, is covered by Act No. 3326,[28] Section 2 of which provides that: Section 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not known at the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and punishment. The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting double jeopardy. Generally, the prescriptive period shall commence to run on the day the crime is committed. That an aggrieved person entitled to an action has no knowledge of his right to sue or of the facts out of which his right arises, does not prevent the running of the prescriptive period. An exception to this rule is the blameless ignorance doctrine, incorporated in Section 2 of Act No. 3326. Under this doctrine, the statute of limitations runs only upon discovery of the fact of the invasion of a right which will support a cause of action. In other words, the courts would decline to apply the statute of limitations where the plaintiff does not know or has no reasonable means of knowing the existence of a cause of action. It was in this accord that the Court confronted the question on the running of the prescriptive period in People v. Duque which became the cornerstone of our 1999 Decision in Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto (G.R. No. 130149), and the subsequent cases which Ombudsman Desierto dismissed, emphatically, on the ground of prescription too. Thus, we held in a catena of cases, that if the violation of the special law was not known at the time of its commission, the prescription begins to run only from the discovery thereof, i.e., discovery of the unlawful nature of the constitutive act or acts. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Ombudsman is hereby ORDERED to: 1. DISMISS the complaint against deceased respondent Conrado S. Reyes; 2. REQUIRE the counsels of respondents Panfilo O. Domingo and Mohammad Ali Dimaporo to submit proof of their deaths; and 3. FILE with the Sandiganbayan the necessary Information against respondents Abdullah Dimaporo, Amer Dianalan, Enrique M. Herboza, and Ricardo Sunga. SO ORDERED.

Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPINES v. NGANO SUGAN G.R. No. 192789 March 23, 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

At around 6:45 p.m. of February 8, 1998, Gaga, Saligo, Ngano Sugan, Nga Ben Latam and one alias Francing, all armed with guns, entered Fortunato Delos Reyes residence in Purok Roxas 1, Lamsugod, Surallah, South Cotabato, and declared a hold up. Kamison and Cosme Latam stayed outside and acted as lookouts. Once inside, the armed men ordered Fortunato, his wife Thelma Delos Reyes, and their son Nestor Delos Reyes, to drop to the floor. The armed men inquired from them where the money and other valuables were hidden; thereafter, they took cash amounting to P10,000.00, personal belongings worth P5,000.00, and an air gun valued at P2,800.00. Ngano then brought Nestor outside the house, and shot him. Reggie Delos Reyes, another son of Fortunato and Thelma, ran to his parents house when he heard the gunshot. When he arrived, Kamison and Cosme pointed a knife and a gun at him, respectively, and told him not to enter the house. Reggie then heard Nestor shout that he had been hit. Thereafter, all the seven (7) armed men left. Reggie rushed Nestor to the hospital, but the latter died due to multiple gunshot wounds. The prosecution charged the appellants and their companions with the special complex crime of robbery with homicide before the RTC. Gaga, Saligo and Kamison all pleaded not guilty to the charge upon arraignment. Ngano, Nga Ben and alias Francing remain at large. Cosme died on July 23, 2000 while under detention. The RTC, in its Decision of September 25, 2008, found the appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide committed by a band, and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Whether or not the Trial Court correctly convicted the accused.

Issue:

Resolution: The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction with modification. There is robbery with homicide when a homicide is committed either by reason, or on occasion, of the robbery. To sustain a conviction for robbery with homicide, the prosecution must prove the following elements: (1) the taking of personal property belonging to another; (2) with intent to gain; (3) with the use of violence or intimidation against a person; and (4) on the occasion or by reason of the robbery, the crime of homicide, as used in its generic sense, was committed. A conviction requires certitude that the robbery is the main purpose and objective of the malefactor and the killing is merely incidental to the robbery. The intent to rob must precede the taking of human life but the killing may occur before, during or after the robbery. In the present case, no doubt exists, based on the appellants and their companions actions that their overriding intention was to rob Fortunatos house. The following facts are established and undisputed: the armed men entered Fortunatos house and ordered its occupants to drop to the ground; they asked for the location of the money and other valuables. While it was undisputed that only Ngano shot Nestor, the lower courts correctly found the appellants liable for robbery with homicide. Case law establishes that whenever homicide has been committed by reason of or on the occasion of the robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals of robbery with homicide although they did not take part in the homicide, unless it appears that they sought to prevent the killing. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it. Conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime which indubitably point to and are indicative of a joint purpose, concert of action and community of interest. For conspiracy to exist, it is not required that there be an agreement for an appreciable period prior to the occurrence of the offense; it is sufficient that at the time of its commission, the malefactors had the same purpose and were united in its execution. In the present case, the appellants and their companions clearly acted in conspiracy in committing the special complex crime charged. To recall, Gaga, Saligo, Ngano, Nga Ben and alias Francing entered Fortunatos house, while Kamison and Cosme acted as lookouts. While his companions were robbing the house, Ngano brought Nestor outside and shot him. Reggie rushed to the scene, but Kamison and Cosme prevented him from entering the house by pointing a knife and a gun at him, respectively. Thereafter, all the seven (7) armed men fled together. We, however, point out that the lower courts found the appellants guilty of robbery with homicide committed by a band. This is an erroneous denomination of the crime committed, as there is no crime of robbery with homicide committed by a band. If robbery with homicide is committed by a band, the indictable offense would still be denominated as robbery with homicide under Article 294(1) of the Revised Penal Code. The element of band would be appreciated as an ordinary aggravating circumstance. Under Article 294(1) of the Revised Penal Code, the crime of robbery with homicide carries the penalty of reclusion perpetuato death. Considering the presence of the aggravating circumstance of commission by a band, the proper imposable penalty would have been death, conformably with Article 63, paragraph 1 of the Penal Code. In view, however, of the enactment on June 24, 2006of Republic Act No. 9346 which prohibits the imposition of the death penalty in the Philippines, the lower courts correctly imposed on the appellants the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

59

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALLAN GABRINO G.R. No. 189981 March 9, 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.:

Facts:

That on or about the 30th day of December, 1993 in the Municipality of La Paz, Province of Leyte, Philippines the accused Allan Gabrino, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and wound JOSEPH BALANO with the use of bladed weapon locally known as pisaw which said accused had purposely provided himself, thereby causing and inflicting upon the said JOSEPH BALANO wounds on his body which caused his death shortly thereafter. Bartolome, the first witness, narrated that on December 30, 1993, he visited his uncle, Gorgonio Berones (Gorgonio) in Barangay Mag-aso, La Paz, Leyte with the deceased Balano. Upon arrival at the house of his uncle, he noticed that a certain Jom-jom and his friends, including the accused, were having a drinking session. Thirty minutes later, Jom-jom and his group left the vicinity. Bartolome and Balano stayed for less than an hour at the house of Bartolomes uncle, and left thereafter. On their way home, however, somebody suddenly sprang out from behind the coconut tree and stabbed Balano. As there was a bright moonlight at the time, and because of the two-arms-length distance between them, Bartolome easily recognized the assailant to be the accused. He even testified that he tried to calm the accused down. Bartolome further stated that he saw the accused stab Balano once, after which Balano ran away while being pursued by the accused. He stated that he asked the people for help in transporting Balano to the hospital but the latter died on the way there. The second witness, Ismael, testified that on December 30, 1993, he was in Barangay Mag-aso, La Paz, Leyte, working with Balano for the processing of copra of Guadalupe Balano. That night, he stayed at the house of Bartolome in the same barangay. He stated that while he was already at Bartolomes house at about 10:30 in the evening, he could not sleep yet as Bartolome and Balano were still out of the house looking for a helper. He, therefore, decided to go out of the house and upon going outside, he saw the accused suddenly stab Balano once with a pisao (small bolo or knife). Fearing for his life, Ismael instantly went back to Bartolomes house. The accused narrated that on December 30, 1993 at 5 oclock in the afternoon, he was at the house of Gorgonio having a conversation with Leny Berones and Luna Berones. After an hour had passed, Gorgonio arrived with Nestor, Tap-ing, Balano and a certain Eddie who all came from the fiesta in Barangay Siwala. The accused stated that he went outside of the house to urinate when Tap-ing threw a stone at him, which hit him on the forehead and caused him to fall down. And when he saw Balano rushing towards him with an ice pick, he immediately stabbed him and then ran away The Trial Court convicted accused Allan Gabrino. In finding for the prosecution and convicting the accused of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), the RTC gave credence to the testimonies of the witnesses of the prosecution. The RTC found that treachery was employed by the accused in killing Balano. Whether or not the Trial Court erred in convicting the accussed-appellant Allan Gabrino.

Issue:

Resolution: We have held time and again that the trial courts assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight, sometimes even with finality. As We have reiterated in the recent People v. Combate, where there is no showing that the trial court overlooked or misinterpreted some material facts or that it gravely abused its discretion, then We do not disturb and interfere with its assessment of the facts and the credibility of the witnesses. This is clearly because the judge in the trial court was the one who personally heard the accused and the witnesses, and observed their demeanor as well as the manner in which they testified during trial. Accordingly, the trial court, or more particularly, the RTC in this case, is in a better position to assess and weigh the evidence presented during trial. In the present case, in giving weight to the prosecutions testimonies, there is not a slight indication that the RTC acted with grave abuse of discretion, or that it overlooked any material fact. In fact, no allegation to that effect ever came from the defense. There is, therefore, no reason to disturb the findings of fact made by the RTC and its assessment of the credibility of the witnesses. To reiterate this time-honored doctrine and well-entrenched principle, We quote from People v. Robert Dinglasan, thus: In the matter of credibility of witnesses, we reiterate the familiar and well-entrenched rule that the factual findings of the trial court should be respected. The judge a quo was in a better position to pass judgment on the credibility of witnesses, having personally heard them when they testified and observed their deportment and manner of testifying. It is doctrinally settled that the evaluation of the testimony of the witnesses by the trial court is received on appeal with the highest respect, because it had the direct opportunity to observe the witnesses on the stand and detect if they were telling the truth. This assessment is binding upon the appellate court in the absence of a clear showing that it was reached arbitrarily or that the trial court had plainly overlooked certain facts of substance or value that if considered might affect the result of the case.

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WHEREFORE, finding the accused, Allan Gabrino, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER, this Court hereby sentences accused to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA and is ordered to indemnify the heirs of the late Joseph Balano the sum of PhP 50,000 as civil indemnity, PhP 50,000 as moral damages, PhP 30,000 as exemplary damages, and interest on all damages at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of judgment until fully paid. SO ORDERED.
Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

61

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALEX PALING G.R. No. 185390 March 16, 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.:

Facts:

In the evening of July 1, 1996, Richard, Jojo Paling (Jojo), and Rolly Talagtag (Rolly) were in the house of Paling in SitioMahayag, Pres. Roxas, Cotabato watching television. At around 9:15 p.m., the group left the said house and decided to proceed to the other house of Paling situated in the latters farm at Brgy. Greenhills. This is where the three usually sleep at night. En route, Jojo and Rolly, along with the victim, Walter Nolasco (Walter), were invited by Paling, Ernie, and Barangay Kagawad Rene Mondejar to a drinking spree at the house of the latter. Jojo, Rolly, and Walter accepted the invitation, while Richard just waited for them outside the house of Paling. About 15 minutes later, Richard went back to his companions and told them that they had to go home since they still have to go to school the following morning. The three acceded, but Ernie convinced Walter to stay with them a little longer. Thus, Richard, Jojo, and Rolly went ahead, while Walter stayed behind. At around 10:00 p.m., Francisco, the uncle-in-law of Walter, was roused from his sleep by the barking of his dogs. When he went out to find out why the dogs were barking, he saw Vilbar and Ernie walking beside Walter. They were heading towards Brgy. Greenhills where Palings farmhouse was located. At around 10:30 p.m. that same night, Richard, who was already asleep in the farmhouse of Paling, was awakened when he heard Jeniline PalingBernesto, the daughter of Paling, shout, Kill him in a distance. Dont kill him here, kill him away from here. When Richard went outside to find out what was happening, he saw Paling, Vilbar, and Ernie assaulting Walter. Vilbar was holding Walter, while Paling and Ernie were stabbing him. After Walter was killed, the three accused warned Richard not to speak about it to anyone; otherwise, they would also kill him. Thereafter, the three left, bringing with them the cadaver of Walter. Incidentally, Francisco also recounted that about 30 minutes after he first saw Walter in the company of Vilbar and Ernie heading towards Brgy. Greenhills, he was awakened again by the barking of the dogs. When he checked again, he saw Vilbar and Ernie running. But this time, he did not see Walter with them. The following day, July 2, 1996, at 10:00 a.m., Walters cadaver was found in the farm of one Jonathan Policarpio. The Trial Court convicted them with crime as defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. The Court A Quo Rendered Judgment Solely On The Testimony Of The Lone (Eye) Witness Richard Nolasco Which Was Misappreciated By The Judge Who Inherited This Case From The Former Presiding Judge Who Tried And Heard This Case From Its Inception To Its Termination.

Issue:

Resolution: The fact that the judge who rendered judgment was not the one who heard the witnesses does not adversely affect the validity of conviction Paling alleges that since the judge who penned the appealed decision is different from the judge who heard the testimonies of the witnesses, the former was in no position to observe their demeanor diligently. We disagree. The fact that the trial judge who rendered judgment was not the one who had the occasion to observe the demeanor of the witnesses during trial but merely relied on the records of the case does not render the judgment erroneous, especially where the evidence on record is sufficient to support its conclusion. Citing People v. Competente, this Court held in People v. Alfredo:
The circumstance that the Judge who rendered the judgment was not the one who heard the witnesses, does not detract from the validity of the verdict of conviction. Even a cursory perusal of the Decision would show that it was based on the evidence presented during trial and that it was carefully studied, with testimonies on direct and cross examination as well as questions from the Court carefully passed upon.

Further, it is not unusual for a judge who did not try a case in its entirety to decide it on the basis of the records on hand. This is because the judge can rely on the transcripts of stenographic notes and calibrate the testimonies of witnesses in accordance with their conformity to common experience, knowledge and observation of ordinary men. Such reliance does not violate substantive and procedural due process of law. Considering that, in the instant case, the transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the trial were extant and complete, there was no impediment for the judge to decide the case. In convicting Paling, the trial and appellate courts appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery. In addition, the RTC appreciated the aggravating circumstance of evident premeditation. We disagree. The killing of Walter was neither attended by treachery nor evident premeditation. In this regard, it is worth noting that qualifying circumstances cannot be presumed, but must be established by clear and convincing evidence as conclusively as the killing itself. To prove treachery, the following must be clearly established: (1) the employment of such means of execution as would give the person attacked no opportunity for self-defense and retaliation; and (2) the deliberate and conscious adoption of the means of execution. The essence of treachery is the sudden and unexpected attack by the aggressor on the unsuspecting victim, depriving the latter of any real chance to defend oneself, ensuring the attack without risk to the aggressor, and without the slightest provocation on the part of the victim. WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED.
Jaime A. Lao, Jr.

62

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARIANITO TERIAPIL Y QUINAWAYAN G.R. NO. 191361 02 March 2011 ABAD, J.:

This case is about the alleged attendance of the qualifying circumstance of treachery in connection with a killing that occurred shortly after one group charged another with cheating in bet. Facts: The public prosecutor charged the accused Marianito Q. Teriapil and Ricardo P. Balonga of murder attended by treachery and evident premeditation before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City in Criminal Case C-69686. Trial took place only with respect to Teriapil because Balonga died of cardio respiratory arrest while in detention. The prosecution evidence shows that at around 11:00 a.m. of November 29, 2003 in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City, two groups of men engaged in a pigeon race. One group consisted of the victim Joel Montero, Ramil Rama, Randy Conje, and Eduardo Arevalo, collectively referred to as the Montero group. The other group consisted of the accused Teriapil and Balonga. The latter approached the Montero group and challenged it to a pigeon race. When the Montero group lost, it thought that accused Teriapil and Balonga cheated them. Losing no time, the Montero group went to look for the two to get back their bet money of P450.00. But pillboxes met them. Nonoy, a brother of the accused Balonga, threw the pillboxes. For his part, accused Teriapil shot Montero with a pen gun or "paltik." Montero was rushed to a hospital but he was dead on arrival. Accused Teriapil denied killing Montero. He testified that he was at home at the time of the shooting. The defense did not offer any proof of impossibility of Teriapil's presence at the crime scene. On August 3, 2007 the RTC found accused Teriapil guilty of murder and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The RTC also ordered him to pay P50,000.00 as indemnity to the victim's heirs and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages. Since accused Teriapil shot Montero while the latter was in a position where he could not defend himself, the RTC appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery against the accused. The RTC held, however, that the prosecution failed to prove the elements of evident premeditation: 1) the time when the offender decided to commit the crime; 2) an act indicating that he clung to his decision; and 3) sufficient lapse of time between his decision to commit the crime and its execution to allow for reflection on the consequences of the act he had decided on. Accused Teriapil appealed to the CA. On September 30, 2009 the CA affirmed the RTC Decision with modifications. It reduced the exemplary damages to P25,000.00, deleted the award of indemnity, but in its place directed accused Teriapil to pay P25,000.00 as temperate damages to the victim's heirs. 1. Whether or not the CA erred in finding that accused Teriapil killed Montero with the attendant qualifying circumstance of treachery as to make him liable for murder; and 2. Whether or not the CA erred in giving credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses.

Issues:

Resolution: One. Agreeing with the prosecution, the CA held that treachery attended accused Teriapil's shooting of Montero since the latter was inside his house at that time. This mode of attack, claimed the CA, rendered Montero incapable of defending himself. True, an assailant uses treachery when he suddenly and unexpectedly attacks his unsuspecting victim and denies him any real chance to defend himself. By this, the assailant ensures the success of his attack with no risk to his person. In numerous cases, however, the Court held that the idea of treachery does not apply when the killing is not premeditated or when the accused did not deliberately choose the means he employed for committing the crime. Two. Accused Teriapil assails the inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses that impaired their supposed positive identification of him. But those inconsistencies, mainly about the number and types of ammunitions used, do not depart from the core theory of the prosecution. The Court believes that the witnesses referred to were present during the clash between the two groups and were proximate to where Teriapil shot Montero. Moreover, the incident happened at 11:00 in the morning which made it easy for the witnesses to identify Teriapil. WHEREFORE, the Court MODIFIES the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. 03046 dated September 30, 2009 and FINDS the accused Marianito Teriapil y Quinawayan guilty beyond reasonable doubt of homicide and SENTENCES him to suffer the penalty of 6 years and 1 day of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal as maximum. The Court ORDERS him to pay Joel Montero's heirs P75,000.00 as civil indemnity, P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P75,000.00 as temperate damages.
Adeliza A. Arizabal

63

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROLLY SORIAGA Y STO. DOMINGO G.R. No. 191392 14 March 2011 MENDOZA, J.:

Facts:

This is an appeal from the November 27 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 03108, which affirmed the finding of guilt by the Regional Trial Court, Makati City, Branch 64 (RTC), in Criminal Case No. 034031, convicting accused Rolly Soriaga (Soriaga) of Violation of Section 5, Article II, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165. The Information filed against him reads: That on or about the 15th day of October, 2003, in the City of Makati, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, Rolly Soriaga, without being authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, distribute and transport Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, weighing zero point zero five (0.05) gram, which is a dangerous drug, in consideration of one hundred (P100.00) pesos, in violation of the above-cited law. Soriaga was also indicted for illegal use of dangerous drugs under Section 15, Article II, also of R.A. No. 9165. On July 14, 2007, the RTC rendered a decision acquitting Soriaga of this charge of illegal use of dangerous drugs but finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegally selling dangerous drugs. On appeal, the CA affirmed in toto the July 14, 2007 Decision of the RTC. 1. Whether or not the trial court erred in rendering a verdict of conviction despite the prosecutions failure to prove the guilt of the accused-appellant beyond reasonable doubt. 2. Whether or not the buy bust team failed to comply with the requisites of Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 and its implementing rules requiring the immediate inventory and photograph of the items seized in the buy-bust operation. 3. Whether or not the trial court erred in rendering a judgment of conviction despite the prosecutions failure to establish the chain of custody of the alleged shabu.

Issues:

Resolution: "A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment whereby ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreakers in the execution of their criminal plan. In this jurisdiction, the operation is legal and has been proved to be an effective method of apprehending drug peddlers, provided due regard to constitutional and legal safeguards is undertaken." First of all, what is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of prohibited or dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, plus the presentation of the corpus delicti as evidence. Thus, the elements essential to the crime of illegal sale of prohibited or dangerous drugs are: (i) the accused sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another; and (ii) he knew that what he had sold and delivered was a prohibited drug. Absent any proof of motive to falsely charge an accused of such a grave offense, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and the findings of the trial court with respect to the credibility of witnesses shall prevail over his bare allegation. On the issue of non-compliance with the prescribed procedures in the inventory of seized drugs, the rule is that it does not render an accused's arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. The requirements under R.A. No. 9165 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are not inflexible. What is essential is "the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused." Thus, in the case of People v. Domado, it was written: From the point of view of jurisprudence, we are not beating any new path by holding that the failure to undertake the required photography and immediate marking of seized items may be excused by the unique circumstances of a case. In the cases of People v. Rusiana, People v. Hernandez, and People v. Gum-Oyen, the apprehending team marked the confiscated items at the police station and not at the place of seizure. Nevertheless, we sustained the conviction because the evidence showed that the integrity and evidentiary value of the items seized had been preserved. To reiterate what we have held in past cases, we are not always looking for the strict step-bystep adherence to the procedural requirements; what is important is to ensure the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. We succinctly explained this in People v. Del Monte when we held:
We would like to add that non-compliance with Section 21 of said law, particularly the making of the inventory and the photographing of the drugs confiscated and/or seized, will not render the drugs inadmissible in evidence. Under Section 3 of Rule 128 of the Rules of Court, evidence is admissible when it is relevant to the issue and is not excluded by the law or these rules. For evidence to be inadmissible, there should be a law or rule which forbids its reception. If there is no such law or rule, the evidence must be admitted subject only to the evidentiary weight that will be accorded it by the courts.

We do not find any provision or statement in said law or in any rule that will bring about the non-admissibility of the confiscated and/or seized drugs due to non-compliance with Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165. The issue therefore, if there is non-compliance with said section, is not of admissibility, but of weight evidentiary merit or probative value to be given the evidence. The weight to be given by the courts on said evidence depends on the circumstances obtaining in each case.With the foregoing, the Court agrees with the RTC and the CA that the chain of custody was unbroken thereby ensuring the integrity of the corpus delicti. Necessarily, the conviction of Soriaga must be sustained. WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED.
Adeliza A. Arizabal

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. BERTHA PRESAS Y TOLENTINO G.R. NO. 182525 02 MARCH 2011 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

There were two separate Informations filed before the RTC. In Criminal Case No. 03-2795, appellant was accused of illegal sale of shabu which reads: That on or about the 30th day of July 2003, in the City of Makati, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, that appellant Bertha Presas y Tolentino, without being authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell[,] distribute and transport, weighing zero point zero six (0.06) gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu), which is a dangerous drug, in violation of the above-cited law. In Criminal Case No. 03-2796, appellant was charged with illegal possession of shabu allegedly committed as follows: That on or about the 30th day of July 2003, in the City of Makati, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not lawfully authorized to possess or otherwise use any dangerous drug and without the corresponding license or prescription, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, direct custody and control weighing zero point zero seven (0.07) gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu), which is a dangerous drug, in violation of the above-cited law. On arraignment, appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges. Thus, a joint trial of the two (2) cases thereafter ensued. After trial, the RTC rendered a decision finding appellant guilty of violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 in Criminal Case No. 03-2795 and sentencing her to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500,000.00. She was however acquitted of the charge for violation of Section 11, Article II of Republic Act. No. 9165 in Criminal Case No. 03-2796, for insufficiency of evidence. The trial court found the prosecution's evidence as sufficient to prove the elements for illegal sale of shabu. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the RTC. The Court of Appeals vouched for the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and rejected appellant's defense of denial, holding the same as inherently weak. 1. Whether or not a surveillance was conducted prior to the buy-bust operation. 2. Whether or not there is non-presentation of the forensic chemist to corroborate the alleged findings that the substance examined was found positive for shabu 3. Whether or not the MADAC operatives performed their duties in such a way that certain regulations providing for the chain of custody of seized drugs were not followed

Issues:

Resolution: One. On the contrary, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) maintains that appellant's guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution was able to prove that appellant was arrested in a buy-bust operation and she was positively identified as the person who sold the illegal drugs to the poseur-buyer. The OSG justifies the alleged inconsistencies in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses as being minor or trivial which did not detract from the fact that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto as a result of the buy-bust operation. Two. Appellant harps on the non-presentation of the forensic chemist thereby rendering the laboratory findings as hearsay evidence. The Court of Appeals correctly pointed out that appellant agreed to dispense with the testimony of the forensic chemist, as stipulated in the Pre-Trial Order, thus:
Appellant cannot contend that the non-presentation of the Forensic Chemist was fatal to the prosecution's case. A perusal of the records of the instant case clearly reveals that the Pre-trial Order dated 9 September 2003 issued by the court a quo was regular on its face. In fact, the defense counsel and appellant herself had affixed their respective signatures on the Minutes thereof. As such, the stipulations therein are valid and binding between the parties and become judicial admissions of the facts so stipulated.

Assuming arguendo that there is no stipulation of facts, the non-presentation of the forensic chemist is not fatal to the prosecution's case. In People v. Quebral,[18] this Court explained: The corpus delicti in dangerous drugs cases constitutes the dangerous drug itself. This means that proof beyond doubt of the identity of the prohibited drug is essential. Besides, corpus delicti has nothing to do with the testimony of the laboratory analyst. In fact, this Court has ruled that the report of an official forensic chemist regarding a recovered prohibited drug enjoys the presumption of regularity in its preparation. Corollarily, under Section 44 of Rule 130, Revised Rules of Court, entries in official records made in the performance of official duty are prima facie evidence of the facts they state. Three. Appellant contends that the prosecution failed to prove the crucial link in the chain of custody of shabu when the MADAC operatives failed to observe the procedure regarding the custody of seized drugs. Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 provides for the custody and disposition of the confiscated illegal drugs, to wit: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof;

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This rule was elaborated in Section 21(a), Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9165, viz: The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. The failure of the prosecution to show that the police officers conducted the required physical inventory and photograph of the evidence confiscated pursuant to said guidelines, does not automatically render accused's arrest illegal or the items seized from him inadmissible. A proviso was added in the implementing rules that "non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items." The same provision also states that it must still be shown that there exists justifiable grounds and proof that the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence have been preserved. In this case, the failure on the part of the MADAC operatives to take photographs and make an inventory of the drugs seized from the appellant was not fatal because the prosecution was able to preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the said illegal drugs. The concurrence of all elements of the illegal sale of shabu was proven by the prosecution. The chain of custody did not appear to be broken. The recovery and handling of the seized drugs were satisfactorily established. This was done in the presence of appellant and the other operatives, and while in the crime scene. The seized items were then brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination on the same day. Both prosecution witnesses were able to identify and explain said markings in court. Based on the foregoing, it has been established by proof beyond reasonable doubt that appellants sold shabu. WHEREFORE, the decision is hereby AFFIRMED.

Adeliza A. Arizabal

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. REYNALD DELA CRUZ Y LIBANTOCIA G.R. NO. 177324 30 March 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Facts:

Reynald dela Cruz y Libantocia (Dela Cruz) was charged with violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, in an Information which reads: That on or about the 30th day of March 2003, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, not being authorized by law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any dangerous drug, did the (sic) and there willfully and unlawfully sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute or act as broker in the said transaction, 0.20 (ZERO POINT TWENTY) gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. During arraignment, Dela Cruz, assisted by his counsel de parte, entered a plea of not guilty. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. After trial, the RTC promulgated its Decision dated September 7, 2005 finding the accused guilty as charged. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads: ACCORDINGLY, judgment is rendered finding the accused REYNALD DELA CRUZ y Libantocia GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section 5 of R.A. 9165 (for drug sale) as charged, and he is hereby sentenced to spend time in jail by way of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine of P500,000.00 Dela Cruz appealed to the Court of Appeals, which, in a Decision dated January 22, 2007, affirmed the findings and conclusion of the RTC. 1. Whether or not the prosecution failed to fully substantiate the identity of the corpus delicti of the crime 2. Whether or not the chain of custody of the shabu sold raise doubts on the identity of the drugs presented before the RTC during the trial

Issues:

Resolution: One. Jurisprudence clearly sets the essential elements to be established in the prosecution of illegal sale of shabu as follows: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. The delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller of the marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction. In the case at bar, all these elements were proven. First, there was meeting of the minds between the buyer and the seller. PO2 Ocampo, the poseur-buyer, was willing to buy shabu from [Dela Cruz]. Second, there was consideration for the sale, the parties having agreed upon the amount of P200.00. Third, Dela Cruz handed over to the poseur-buyer a plastic sachet containing shabu, the subject of the sale. The positive identification of Dela Cruz by poseur-buyer as the one who peddled the shabu clearly established the illicit sale, as the poseur-buyer is the best witness to the transaction. Two. Section 21, paragraph 1 of Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 instructs the apprehending authorities on the proper procedure they should follow immediately after seizure and confiscation of dangerous drugs: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. Section 21(a), Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9165 expounds on the procedure, thus: (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. In People v. Naquita, we expressly declared that non-compliance with Section 21 of Republic Act No. 9165 does not render an accused's arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. Dela Cruz did not present any evidence at all to substantiate his allegation that the integrity and evidentiary value of the shabu presented as evidence at his trial had been compromised at some point. To the contrary, records show that there had been substantial compliance with the prescribed procedure.

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We note further that the defense raised its objection and questioned the integrity of the shabu allegedly seized from Dela Cruz only on appeal. Failure to raise this issue during trial is fatal to the case of the defense. We explained in People v. Sta. Maria that: The law excuses non-compliance under justifiable grounds. However, whatever justifiable grounds may excuse the police officers involved in the buy-bust operation in this case from complying with Section 21 will remain unknown, because appellant did not question during trial the safekeeping of the items seized from him. Indeed, the police officers' alleged violations of Sections 21 and 86 of Republic Act No. 9165 were not raised before the trial court but were instead raised for the first time on appeal. In no instance did appellant least intimate at the trial court that there were lapses in the safekeeping of seized items that affected their integrity and evidentiary value. Objection to evidence cannot be raised for the first time on appeal; when a party desires the court to reject the evidence offered, he must so state in the form of objection. Without such objection he cannot raise the question for the first time on appeal. The RTC and the Court of Appeals, in convicting Dela Cruz for the illegal sale of regulated or prohibited drugs, gave full faith and credence to the evidence presented by the prosecution. In a prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Law, a case becomes a contest of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies. When it comes to credibility, the trial court's assessment deserves great weight, and is even conclusive and binding, if not tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of weight and influence. The reason is obvious. Having the full opportunity to observe directly the witnesses' deportment and manner of testifying, the trial court is in a better position than the appellate court to evaluate testimonial evidence properly. The rule finds an even more stringent application where the said findings are sustained by the Court of Appeals. Dela Cruz's denial of the charges and claim of frame-up are inherently weak defenses. In drug cases, entrapment is a normal police technique to catch the culprit in flagrante delicto. On the other hand, denial and frame-up are the usual defenses set up by the accused. Affirmative statements are given greater weight than mere denials. We are not unaware that in some instances law enforcers resort to the practice of planting evidence to extract information or even to harass civilians. However, frame-up is a defense that has been invariably viewed by the Court with disfavor as it can be easily concocted, hence, commonly used as a standard line of defense in most prosecutions arising from violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. We realize the disastrous consequences on the enforcement of law and order, not to mention the well-being of society, if the courts, solely on the basis of the police officers' alleged rotten reputation, accept in every instance this form of defense which can be so easily fabricated. It is precisely for this reason that the legal presumption that official duty has been regularly performed exists. Bare denials cannot prevail over the positive identification by PO2 Ocampo of Dela Cruz as the person who sold him the shabu. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is DENIED. The Decision dated January 22, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01579 is AFFIRMED.

Adeliza A. Arizabal

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PAULINO S. ASILO, JR., v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND SPOUSES VISITACION AND CESAR C. BOMBASI G.R. Nos. 159017-18 09 March 2011 VICTORIA BUETA VDA. DE COMENDADOR, IN REPRESENTATION OF DEMETRIO T. COMENDADOR, v. VISITACION C. BOMBASI AND CESAR C. BOMBASI G.R. No. 159059 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

At bench are appeals by certiorari from the Decision of the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan; (1) finding Demetrio T. Comendador (Mayor Comendador) and Paulino S. Asilo, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019; (2) dismissing the cases against accused Alberto S. Angeles; (3) ordering the defendants Municipality of Nagcarlan, Laguna, Demetrio T. Comendador and Paulino S. Asilo, Jr. to pay the plaintiffs now respondents Visitacion C. Bombasi (Visitacion) and Cesar C. Bombasi damages; and (4) dismissing the cases against the spouses Alida and Teddy Coroza and Benita and Isagani Coronado. On March 15, 1978, Private Respondent Visitacion's late mother Marciana Vda. De Coronado (Vda. De Coronado) and the Municipality of Nagcarlan, Laguna (represented by the then Municipal Mayor Crisostomo P. Manalang) entered into a lease contract whereby the Municipality allowed the use and enjoyment of property comprising of a lot and a store located at the corner of Coronado and E. Fernandez Sts. at Poblacion, Nagcarlan, Laguna, in favor of the respondent's mother for a period of twenty (20) years beginning on 15 March 1978 until 15 March 1998, extendible for another 20 years. Visitacion took over the store when her mother died sometime in 1984. From then on up to January 1993, Visitacion secured the yearly Mayor's permits. When a fire razed the public market of Nagcarlan in 1986, Visitacion requested an inspection on May 15, 1986 to District Engineer Marcelino B. Gorospe of the then Ministry of Public Works and Highways, Regional Office No. IV-A. Engineer Gorospe found that the store of Visitacion remained intact and stood strong. Thus, the store of Visitacion continued to operate after the fire until 15 October 1993. On 3 September 1993, Visitacion wrote a reply letter to Mayor Comendador saying that: (1) the lease contract was still existing and legally binding; (2) she was willing to vacate the store as long as same place and area would be given to her in the new public market; and (3) in case her proposals are not acceptable to Mayor Comendador, for the latter to just file an unlawful detainer case against her pursuant to Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 156. On 19 August 1994, Visitacion, together with her husband Cesar Bombasi (Spouses Bombasi) filed with the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City, Laguna a Civil Case for damages with preliminary injunction against the Municipality of Nagcarlan, Laguna, Mayor Demetrio T. Comendador, Paulino S. Asilo, Jr., and Alberto S. Angeles. The complaint was soon after amended to include the Spouses Benita and Isagani Coronado and Spouses Alida and Teddy Coroza as formal defendants because they were then the occupants of the contested area. Spouses Bombasi, thereafter, filed a criminal complaint against Mayor Comendador, Asilo and Angeles for violation of Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 otherwise known as the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act" before the Office of the Ombudsman. On 22 February 1996, an Information against Mayor Comendador, Asilo and Angeles was filed. Upon their arraignments, all the accused entered their separate pleas of "Not Guilty." During the pendency of the case, Alberto S. Angeles died on 16 November 1997. Accordingly, the counsel of Angeles filed a motion to drop accused Angeles. On 22 September 1999, the Third Division of Sandiganbayan issued an Order DISMISSING the case against Angeles. The germane portion of the Order reads: In view of the submission of the death certificate of accused/defendant Alberto S. Angeles, and there being no objection on the part of the Public Prosecutor, cases against deceased accused/defendant Angeles only, are hereby DISMISSED. Whether or not there was an error of judgment when Asilo complied and implemented the order of his superior, Mayor Comendador Whether or not the public officer have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross negligence in order to sustain conviction under Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or "The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act," that caused undue injury to the spouses, Bombasi

Issues:

Resolution: One. The Court further explained that the invocation of compliance with an order of a superior is of no moment for the "demolition [order] cannot be described as having the semblance of legality inasmuch as it was issued without the authority and therefore the same was patently illegal." Two. Liability f accused officials are provided in Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 wherein: In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:

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Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. The elements of the offense are as follows: (1) that the accused are public officers or private persons charged in conspiracy with them; (2) that said public officers commit the prohibited acts during the performance of their official duties or in relation to their public positions; (3) that they caused undue injury to any party, whether the Government or a private party; (4) OR that such injury is caused by giving unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to the other party; and (5) that the public officers have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. It is undisputable that the first two requisites of the criminal offense were present at the time of the commission of the complained acts and that, as to the remaining elements, there is sufficient amount of evidence to establish that there was an undue injury suffered on the part of the Spouses Bombasi and that the public officials concerned acted with evident bad faith when they performed the demolition of the market stall. It is evident from the records, as correctly observed by the Sandiganbayan, that Asilo and Mayor Comendador as accused below did not deny that there was indeed damage caused the Spouses Bombasi on account of the demolition. We affirm the finding that:Clearly, the demolition of plaintiff's store was carried out without a court order, and notwithstanding a restraining order which the plaintiff was able to obtain. The demolition was done in the exercise of official duties which apparently was attended by evident bad faith, manifest partiality or gross inexcusable negligence as there is nothing in the two (2) resolutions which gave the herein accused the authority to demolish plaintiff's store. "Evident bad faith" connotes not only bad judgment but also palpably and patently fraudulent and dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will. It contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or with some motive or self-interest or ill will or for ulterior purposes. WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DENIED.

Adeliza A. Arizabal

70

PAULINO S. ASILO, JR. v. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and Spouses VISITACION AND CESAR C. BOMBASI G.R. Nos. 159017-18 VICTORIA BUETA VDA. DE COMENDADOR, IN REPRESENTATION OF DEMETRIO T. COMENDADOR v. VISITACION C. BOMBASI AND CESAR C. BOMBASI G.R. No. 159059 9 March 2011 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

Sometime in 1978, Private Respondent Visitacion's late mother Marciana Vda. De Coronado (Vda. De Coronado) and the Municipality of Nagcarlan, Laguna (represented by the then Municipal Mayor Crisostomo P. Manalang) entered into a lease contract whereby the Municipality allowed the use and enjoyment of property comprising of a lot and a store, in favor of the respondent's mother for a period of twenty (20) years beginning on March 15, 1978 until March 15, 1998, extendible for another 20 years. The lease contract provided that the late Vda. De Coronado could build a firewall on her rented property which must be at least as high as the store; and in case of modification of the public market, she or her heir/s would be given preferential rights. Visitacion took over the store when her mother died. Sometime in 1986, a fire razed the public market of Nagcarlan. Upon Visitacion's request for inspection, District Engineer Marcelino B. Gorospe found that the store of Visitacion remained intact and stood strong. This finding of Engineer Gorospe was contested by the Municipality of Nagcarlan. The store of Visitacion continued to operate after the fire. Visitacion received a letter from Mayor Comendador directing her to demolish her store within five (5) days from notice. Visitacion wrote a reply letter to Mayor Comendador saying that the lease contract was still existing and legally binding. She was willing to vacate the store as long as same place and area would be given to her in the new public market. In case her proposals are not acceptable to Mayor Comendador, for the latter to just file an unlawful detainer case against him. Mayor Comendador relying on the strength of Sangguniang Bayan Resolution Nos. 183 and 156 authorized the demolition of the store with Asilo and Angeles supervising the work. Visitacion, together with her husband Cesar Bombasi (Spouses Bombasi) filed with the Regional Trial Court of San Pablo City, Laguna a Civil Case for damages with preliminary injunction against the Municipality of Nagcarlan, Laguna, Mayor Demetrio T. Comendador, Paulino S. Asilo, Jr., and Alberto S. Angeles. The complaint was soon after amended to include the Spouses Benita and Isagani Coronado and Spouses Alida and Teddy Coroza as formal defendants because they were then the occupants of the contested area. Spouses Bombasi, thereafter, filed a criminal complaint against Mayor Comendador, Asilo and Angeles for violation of Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 otherwise known as the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act." Upon their arraignments, all the accused entered their separate pleas of "Not Guilty." The Sandiganbayan rendered a decision in Criminal Case No. 23267, the court finds accused Demetrio T. Comendador and Paulino S. Asilo, Jr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act. No. 3019 as amended. The order of the court dismissed the cases against the accused Alberto S. Angeles, who died on November 16, 1997 is hereby reiterated. In Civil Case No. 4064, Demetrio T. Comendador and Paulino S. Asilo, Jr. are hereby ordered jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff. The defendant spouses Alida and Teddy Coroza , the complaint against them is dismissed, likewise the complaint against defendant spouses Benita and Isagani Coronado is dismissed. The prayer for injunctive relief is denied, the same having become moot and academic. The compulsory counterclaim of defendant Comendador is likewise denied for lack of merit. Petitioner Asilo argues that in order to sustain conviction under Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or "The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act," the public officer must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross negligence. He also contended that he and his co-accused acted in good faith in the demolition of the market and, thereby, no liability was incurred. Petitioner Victoria also argues that the death of Mayor Comendador prior to the promulgation of the decision extinguishedNOT ONLY Mayor Comendador's criminal liability but also his civil liability. She also asserted good faith on the part of the accused public officials when they performed the demolition of the market stall. Lastly, she contended that assumingarguendo that there was indeed liability on the part of the accused public officials, the actual amount of damages being claimed by the Spouses Bombasi has no basis and was not duly substantiated. 1. Whether or not that the accused were guilty of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 319. 2. Whether or not in view of the death of Alberto S. Angeles his civil liability is extinguished. 3. Whether or not in view of the death of Demetrio T. Comendador his civil liability is extinguished.

Issues:

Resolution: We agree with the prosecution. Death of Mayor Comendador during the pendency of the case could have extinguished the civil liability if the same arose directly from the crime committed. However, in this case, the civil liability is based on another source of obligation, the law on human relations.

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We must, however, correct the amount of damages awarded to the Spouses Bombasi. To seek recovery of actual damages, it is necessary to prove the actual amount of loss with a reasonable degree of certainty, premised upon competent proof and on the best evidence obtainable. In this case, the Court finds that the only evidence presented to prove the actual damages incurred was the itemized list of damaged and lost items prepared by Engineer Cabrega, an engineer commissioned by the Spouses Bombasi to estimate the costs. WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is DENIED. Accordingly, the Decision of the Sandiganbayan dated 28 April 2003 is hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. The Court affirms the decision finding the accused Paulino S. Asilo, Jr. and Demetrio T. Comendador guilty of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019. We declare the finality of the dismissal of both the criminal and civil cases against Alberto S. Angeles as the same was not appealed. In view of the death of Demetrio T. Comendador pending trial, his criminal liability is extinguished; but his civil liability survives. The Municipality of Nagcarlan, Paulino Asilo and Demetrio T. Comendador, as substituted by Victoria Bueta Vda. De Comendador, are hereby declared solidarily liable to the Spouses Bombasi for temperate damages in the amount of P200,000.00 and moral damages in the amount of P100,000.00.

Jifford D. Rosqueta

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LYZAH SY FRANCO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES [G.R. No. 171328] STEVE BESARIO, PETITIONER v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES [G.R. NO. 171335 ] 16 February 2011 DEL CASTILLO, J.:

Facts:

Sometime in 1998, Franco went to the house of Lourdes and offered to assist her in purchasing a used car. Franco introduced herself as Assistant Administrative Coordinator of Final Access Marketing which was engaged in the sale and financing of second-hand and repossessed vehicles. Franco gave her calling card after their conversation. Lourdes was interested in the offer of Franco since she and her husband were actually looking for a used car for their taxicab operation. She therefore contacted Franco to take up her offer. Franco and Lourdes went to a showroom where Lourdes immediately chose a blue Mazda 323 car with Plate No. PVB No. 999 from those that were on display. Franco went to the house of Lourdes and presented a sales proposal. She was with Besario and Rule, whom she introduced as her superiors. Rule then made a presentation on the Mazda 323 car informing Lourdes that she can buy it for P130,000.00 with a downpayment of P80,000.00 and the balance to be paid in 12 equal monthly installments. Lourdes agreed to pay the downpayment the following day. Rule ordered Franco to sign the sales proposal as sales executive. Lourdes also signed the document. Rule then issued a receipt and instructed Franco and Besario to give it to Lourdes after receiving her downpayment upon their return on the next day. Franco and Besario returned to the house of Lourdes to collect the downpayment of P80,000.00. Besario received and counted the money and handed it to Franco. After counting the money, Franco returned the same to Besario, who put it inside the bag he was carrying. They gave to Lourdes the receipt that was signed by Rule. They assured her that the car would be delivered in three days.The car, was not delivered as promised. When the car was still undelivered, Lourdes sought the aid of "HoyGising," a television show that broadcasts grievances of people against fraudulent schemes. During a visit to the show's office, Lourdes learned that 12 other persons were victimized by the group of petitioners. She met Erlinda Acosta (Erlinda) who was one of the alleged victims of petitioners and same issue that she experienced. The Regional Trial Court rendered its decision finding petitioners guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa under Article 315, par. 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code. The Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision that affirmed with modification the decision of the trial court. Hence, petitioners filed separate petitions for review on certiorari assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals contends that "the Court of Appeals decided the case on a mistaken inference and [misappreciation] of facts bordering on speculations, surmises or conjectures. Whether or not that petitioners were guilty on the crime of estafa

Issue:

Resolution: The conviction of Franco and Besario for conspiring to commit estafa against Lourdes must therefore stand. The prosecution satisfactorily established their participation in the scheme to defraud Lourdes, their acts were not isolated from but related to a plot to deceive her. The prosecution likewise proved beyond reasonable doubt that the well-planned swindling scheme of Franco and Besario resulted to estafa. Evidently, petitioners' actions were in relation to the attainment of a common objective. They had vital roles in the nefarious scheme to sell a vehicle that they knew would never be delivered, but for which they obtained a substantial sum of money from Lourdes. Having established the existence of a conspiracy between Franco and Besario, the prosecution proceeded to present evidence to prove that the acts of the petitioners constituted estafa. WHEREFORE, the petitions for review on certiorari are DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 27414 which affirmed with modification the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 52, in Criminal Case No. 99-173688 convicting petitioners Lyzah Sy Franco and Steve Besario of the crime of estafa is AFFIRMED with further modification that the indeterminate prison term imposed on each of the petitioners is four (4) years and two (2) months ofprision correccional as minimum to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal as maximum.

Jifford d. Rosqueta

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DIONISIO LOPEZ y ABERASTURI v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and SALVADOR G. ESCALANTE JR. G.R. No. 172203 14 February 2011 DEL CASTILLO, J.:

Facts:

That on or about the early part of November 2002 in the City of Cadiz, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the herein accused did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously with intent to impeach the integrity, reputation and putting to public ridicule and dishonor the offended party MAYOR SALVADOR G. ESCALANTE, JR., City Mayor of Cadiz City and with malice and intent to injure and expose the said offended party to public hatred, contempt and ridicule put up billboards/signboards at the fence of Cadiz Hotel, Villena Street, Cadiz City and at Gustilo Boulevard, Cadiz City, which billboards/signboards read as follows: CADIZ FOREVER ______________ NEVERthereby deliberately titillating the curiosity of and drawing extraordinary attention from the residents of Cadiz City and passers-by over what would be placed before the word NEVER. Later on November 15, 2002, accused affixed the nickname of the herein private complainant BADING and the name of the City of SAGAY before the word NEVER thus making the billboard appear as follows: CADIZ FOREVER BADING AND SAGAY NEVER For which the words in the signboards/billboards were obviously calculated to induce the readers/passers-by to suppose and understand that something fishy was going on, therefore maliciously impeaching the honesty, virtue and reputation of Mayor Salvador G. Escalante, Jr., and hence were highly libelous, offensive and defamatory to the good name, character and reputation of the offended party and his office and that the said billboards/signboards were read by thousands if not hundred[s] of thousands of persons, which caused damage and prejudice to the offended party by way of moral damages in the amount [of]P5,000,000.00 as moral damages. Upon arraignment on May 8, 2003, petitioner, as accused, entered a plea of not guilty. During the pre-trial, the parties stipulated, among others, on the identity of the accused, that the private complainant is the incumbent City Mayor of Cadiz City and is popularly known by the nickname Bading and that the petitioner calls the private complainant Bading. The private respondent saw billboards with the printed phrase CADIZ FOREVER with a blank space before the word NEVER directly under said phrase. He became intrigued and wondered on what the message conveyed since it was incomplete. The private respondent received a phone call relating that the blank space preceding the word NEVER was filled up with the added words BADING AND SAGAY. The next day, he saw the billboards with the phrase CADIZ FOREVER BADING AND SAGAY NEVER printed in full. Reacting and feeling that he was being maligned and dishonored with the printed phrase and of being a tuta of Sagay, private respondent, after consultation with the City Legal Officer, caused the filing of a complaint for libel against petitioner. He claimed that the incident resulted in mental anguish and sleepless nights for him and his family. He thus prayed for damages. Jude Martin Jaropillo (Jude) is a licensing officer of the Permit and License Division of Cadiz City. He was able to read the message on the billboards. He wondered what fault the person alluded therein has done as the message is so negative. He felt that the message is an insult to the mayor since it creates a negative impression, as if he was being rejected by the people of Cadiz City. He claimed that he was giving his testimony voluntarily and he was not being rewarded, coerced or forced by anybody. Nenita Bermeo (Nenita), a retired government employee of Cadiz City. She heard the petitioner shouting Bading, Bading, Never, Never. She and the tricycle drivers drinking coffee were told by petitioner You watch out I will add larger billboards. When she went around Cadiz City, she saw larger billboards with the phrase CADIZ FOREVER BADING AND SAGAY NEVER, thus confirming what petitioner had said. With the message, she felt as if the people were trying to disown the private respondent. According to her, petitioner has an ax to grind against the mayor. Like Jude, she was not also forced or rewarded in giving her testimony. Bernardita Villaceran (Bernardita) also found the message unpleasant because Mayor Escalante is an honorable and dignified resident of Cadiz City. According to her, the message is an insult not only to the person of the mayor but also to the people of Cadiz City. Petitioner admitted having placed all the billboards because he is aware of all the things happening around Cadiz City. He mentioned BADING because he was not in conformity with the many things the mayor had done in Cadiz City. He insisted that he has no intention whatsoever of referring to Bading as the Tuta of Sagay. He contended that it was private respondent who referred to Bading as Tuta of Sagay. He further maintained that his personal belief and expression was that he will never love Bading and Sagay. He concluded that the message in the billboards is just a wake-up call for Cadiz City. The Regional Trial Court rendered judgment convicting petitioner of libel. The petitioner appealed to the Decision of the Regional Trial Court to the Court of Appeals. Petitioner then filed his Motion for Reconsideration, which the appellate court denied his motion. Thus, he elevated the case to the Supreme Court a petition for review on certiorari. Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of the crime of libel.

Issue:

Resolution: We ought to reverse the CA ruling.

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Indeed, the CA affirmed the factual findings of the RTC that all the elements of the crime of libel are present in this case. Thus, following the general rule, we are precluded from making further evaluation of the factual antecedents of the case. However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that both lower courts have greatly misapprehended the facts in arriving at their unanimous conclusion. Hence, we are constrained to apply one of the exceptions when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts instead of the general rule. In criminal prosecutions, fundamental is the requirement that the elemental acts constituting the offense be established with moral certainty as this is the critical and only requisite to a finding of guilt. In this case, contrary to the conclusion of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court, the prosecution failed to prove that the controversial phrase CADIZ FOREVER, BADING AND SAGAY NEVER imputes derogatory remarks on private respondents character, reputation and integrity. In this light, any discussion on the issue of malice is rendered moot. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals dated August 31, 2005 in CAG.R. CR No. 28175 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the petitioner is ACQUITTED of the crime charged.

Jifford D. Rosqueta

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RUEL TUY GR. No. 179476 9 February 2011 BERSAMIN, J.: Facts: That on or about 4:00 oclock in the afternoon of October 11, 2001 at Bani, Tinambac, Camarines Sur, the said accused with intent to kill and while armed with firearms and a bolo and with conspiracy between and among themselves, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and harm one Orlando Barrameda thereby inflicting mortal wounds on the different part of his body which caused his instantaneous death, to the damage of his heirs in such amount as maybe duly proven in court. Attendant during the commission of the crime is treachery because the accused took advantage of their superior strength, with arms and employed means, methods or forms in the execution thereof which tend directly and specially to insure its execution, without risk to himself arising from the defense which the offended party might make. The offended party was at the time of the crime the incumbent barangay captain of the place where the incident happened.Upon arraignment, the accused-appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued. Severino Barrameda (Severino), the son of the victim, declared that he had witnessed the Salcedos shooting and Tuy hacking his father. The medico-legal evidence presented through Dr. Salvador Betito, Jr. (Betito), who had conducted the autopsy, established that the victim had sustained five hack wounds and two gunshot wounds. Betito concluded that the cause of death was rapid external and internal hemorrhage secondary to multiple gunshot wounds and hack wounds. Tuy denied his participation in the crime and claimed that he was processing copra at the time of the killing in Sitio Olango, Brgy. Bani Tinambac, Camarines Sur. His brother Ramil Tuy corroborated him. The Regional Trial Court rendered its decision convicting Tuy of murder, and archiving the case as against the Salcedos. The RTC based its judgment on the eyewitness testimony of Severino and on the testimony of Dr. Betito. The petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals and contended that he was not the one who killed the victim. The Court of Appeals rejected the petitioners defenses of denial and alibi, the CA affirmed the conviction. Therefore, he elevated the case to the Supreme Court, that the CA committed reversible error in affirming his conviction. Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is guilty of the crime of murder

Resolution: We affirm the decision of the CA. Firstly, the findings of the RTC are accorded the highest degree of respect, especially if adopted and confirmed by the CA, because of the first-hand opportunity of the trial judge to observe the demeanor of the witnesses when they testified at trial; such findings are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal unless there is clear misapprehension of facts. Here, there was no showing that the RTC and the CA erred in appreciating the worth of Severinos eyewitness testimony. Secondly, the CA and the RTC rejected the alibi of Tuy. We agree with their rejection. To begin with, his absence from the scene of the murder was not firmly established considering that he admitted that he could navigate the distance between Brgy. Olango (where he was supposed to be) and Brgy.Bani (where the crime was committed) in an hour by paddle boat and in less than that time by motorized banca. Also, eyewitness Severino positively identified him as having hacked his father.The failure of Tuy to prove the physical impossibility of his presence at the crime scene negated his alibi. And, thirdly, the medico-legal evidence indicating that the victim sustained several hack wounds entirely corroborated Severinos recollection on the hacking. On the civil liability, we increase the civil indemnity and the moral damages from P50,000.00 to P75,000.00, andadd exemplary damages of P30,000.00 in order to accord with current jurisprudence to the effect that damages in such amounts are granted whenever the accused is adjudged guilty of a crime covered by Republic Act No. 7659 like murder. WHEREFORE, the Court affirms the decision promulgated on April 25, 2007 finding RUEL TUY guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder, subject to the modification that the civil indemnity is P75,000.00; the moral damages isP75,000.00; and the exemplary damages is P30,000.00.

Jifford D. Rosqueta

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALVIN DEL ROSARIO [G.R. No. 189580] 9 February, 2011 NACHURA, J.:

Facts:

Sometime in 2004,the accused, armed with a knife, with intent to kill and taking advantage of night time, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, attack, assault and stab oneEDWIN GELUA thereby inflicting upon him mortal wounds on the stomach which caused his death, to the damage and prejudice of his legal heirs. When arraigned, appellant pleaded not guilty. The prosecution presented four (4) witnesses, namely: Angelita Gelua (Angelita), Edwin Gelua's (Edwin's) wife; Dr. Andrew A. de Castro (Dr. De Castro), Edwin's attending physician; Salvador Gelua (Salvador); and Ruel Garlan (Ruel). Angelita testified that Edwin had a drinking spree with Salvador and Samson Gepiga at their home in Barangay G. del Pilar, Bulan, Sorsogon. At some point during the said spree, Edwin went out of the house to answer the call of nature. Angelita was standing by the main door while Edwin urinated when appellant suddenly appeared and stabbed Edwin with a machete. She immediately brought Edwin to Bulan Municipal Hospital; and then transferred him to Sorsogon Provincial Hospital, where Edwin died. Dr. De Castro found the cause of death as "cardio-respiratory arrest, stab wound, and hypovolemic shock Dr. De Castro opined that, based on the location of the stab wound, the victim was in front of the assailant - face to face with the latter when attacked. However, it was also possible that the assailant was at the back of the victim by "hitting the anterior part from behind holding the patient." Salvador corroborated the testimony of Angelita. He testified that he was having a drinking spree with Edwin at the latter's house. Edwin went out of the house to urinate. Moments later, he heard Edwin shouting, crying for help. He rushed outside and saw Edwin holding his stomach, apparently stabbed. He saw appellant holding a knife and who ran away upon seeing him. They hurriedly brought Edwin to the hospital. Ruel, on the other hand, stated that Angelita informed him of the stabbing incident. He went to the house of appellant after the incident. Initially, appellant denied that he stabbed Edwin; later, however, appellant admitted that he was Edwin's assailant, and surrendered to him the bladed weapon which was allegedly used in the stabbing. He then brought appellant to the Bulan Police Station. The accused invoked his constitutional right to remain silent. He refused to present any witness in support of his denial, despite numerous opportunities given him. He decided to simply forego with the presentation of his evidence. The Regional Trial Court convicted the appellant of the crime of murder. He appealed to the Court of Appeals and filed a brief in the appellate court. Appellant Alvin Del Rosario argued before the CA that he should not be convicted of the crime of murder based on the unreliable witnesses and failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The CA rejected this contention and affirmed the judgment conviction IN TOTO. Appellant is now before the Supreme Court submitted for resolution the same matters argued before the CA. Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime of murder

Issue:

Resolution: In this case, we find no reason to depart from this rule. Appellant failed to convince us that the RTC and the CA overlooked certain facts and circumstances which, if considered, might affect the result of the case.The witnesses for the People - Angelita and Salvador - were consistent in the identification of appellant as Edwin's assailant. Appellant was directly identified by these witnesses as the one who stabbed and killed Edwin. As to actual damages, the official receipts that Angelita presented showed expenses that amounted to P17,258.00. However, we have held that when actual damages proven by receipts amount to less than P25,000.00, the award of temperate damages amounting to P25,000.00 is justified, in lieu of actual damages for a lesser amount. This is based on the sound reasoning that it would be anomalous and unfair to the heirs of the victim who tried but succeeded only in proving actual damages of less than P25,000.00. They would be in a worse situation than another who might have presented no receipts at all, but is entitled to P25,000.00 temperate damages. Thus, considering that expenses in the amount of P17,258.00 were proven by Edwin's heirs, an award of P25,000.00 as temperate damages, in lieu of this lesser amount of actual damages, is proper. Likewise, we include an award of exemplary damages in favor of the heirs of Edwin. An aggravating circumstance, whether ordinary or qualifying, should entitle the offended party to an award of exemplary damages within the unbridled meaning of Article 2230 of the Civil Code. The award of P30,000.00 as exemplary damages is, therefore, proper under current jurisprudence. WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 03020 is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. Appellant Alvin del Rosario is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt ofMURDER, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Appellant is also ordered to pay the heirs of Edwin Gelua the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as temperate damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
Jifford D. Rosqueta

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. CHARLIE ABAO Y CAARES [G.R. No. 188323] 21February 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

Sometime in 2005, the accused, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, attack, assault and hack one CESAR CABASE y SAN JUAQUIN, with a bolo causing him to sustain fatal wounds on the different parts of his body and head which caused his instantaneous death, to the damage and prejudice of his heirs as shall be proven in court.The appellant pleaded not guilty. In the trial that followed, an eyewitness, the victim's wife Richelda Madera Cabase, testified on the details of the crime. The victim (Cesar Cabase) was asleep in the room of their hut, together with his youngest daughter (Criselda) and grandson. The room was illuminated by an outside kerosene lamp. While Richelda was about to join her sleeping family, the appellant suddenly barged into the room, focused a flashlight on the victim, and began hacking him with a bolo. Out of fear, Richelda retreated to a corner of the room while embracing her grandson. The appellant thereafter focused his flashlight on Richelda, but Criselda started crying. At that point, the appellant left. The appellant, interposing the defense of alibi, claimed that he was asleep at the night of the killing at the farm of Antonio Almediere, about 300 meters away from the scene of the crime. The Regional Trial Court convicted the appellant of the crime of murder mainly based on the eyewitness testimony of the victim's wife, Richelda. The CA affirmed the judgment of the RTC but deleted the award of temperate damages, finding that only P5,000.00 must be awarded as actual damages since only this amount was proven through receipts. Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime of murder

Issue:

Resolution: We affirm the appellant's guilt. We find no reason to disturb the findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA. The eyewitness account of the victim's wife is worthy of belief as it was a straight forward account consistent with the presented physical evidence. The witness had no reason to falsify and she was only interested in having the real killer punished; no motive affecting her credibility was ever imputed against her. On the other hand, the appellant failed to show by convincing evidence that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime during its commission; he was only a short 300 meters away. Treachery qualified the killing to murder as the victim was asleep at the time of the assault; the victim could not have possibly defended himself against his assailant. Since neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstances attended the commission of the felony, the lower courts properly imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua. While we affirm the CA's factual findings and the imprisonment imposed, we find it necessary to modify the civil liability of the appellant. Since the receipted expenses of the victim's family was less than P25,000.00, temperate damages should have been awarded in lieu of actual damages. With the finding of the qualifying circumstance of treachery, exemplary damages, too, of P30,000.00 should have been awarded. WHEREFORE, the November 20, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03060 is herebyAFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. CHARLIE ABAO Y CAARES is found guilty of murder, as defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and is sentenced to reclusion perpetua. He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Cesar Cabase P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as temperate damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
Jifford D. Rosqueta

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HERMINIANO MARZAN Y OLONAN [G.R. No. 189294,] 21 February, 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

Sometime in 1996, while farmer Samuel Basalio was gathering grasses near a creek in Sitio Valdez, Barangay Romualdez, he saw from about 40 meters away, the appellant and eight-year old Joseph Sarmiento (victim) walking towards the creek. About 20 minutes later, Basalio saw the appellant walking alone from the creek going towards the rice field. When the appellant saw Basalio, he stared at him with a "dagger" look, and returned to the creek. Kagawad Dominador Regino saw the appellant who told him that he was going to General Santos City. Later that morning, Elizabeth Sarmiento, the mother of the victim asked for assistance to look for her missing son. Eventually, Officer-InChargeBarangay Captain Amado Tomas was informed about the missing child. Amado went to Makar Port with the victim's uncle (Antonio Delfinado) after receiving a report that the missing child could be there with the appellant. At the port, Amado sought the assistance of the maritime police in looking for the appellant. The appellant was indeed at the port but ran upon seeing them. The maritime police gave chase and caught him. Meanwhile, the body of the victim was found at the creek. A postmortem examination revealed that the victim died from strangulation. Antonio testified that he spent P10,000.00 for the victim's funeral and burial, but failed to present any receipt. The appellant denied the charge against him. While admitting that he was with the victim, he claimed that the victim asked permission to go to the barangay proper of Romualdez and he allowed him to go. The Regional Trial Court convicted the appellant of murder . The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the RTC but modified the appellant's civil liability by awarding P50,000.00 as moral damages and P25,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu of actual damages.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime of murder Resolution: We affirm the conviction of the appellant. In convicting the accused, the RTC enumerated no less than eight pieces of circumstantial evidence against the appellant. After due consideration, we are satisfied that the evidence adduced against the appellant constitute an unbroken chain that could only lead to the conclusion that the appellant was the perpetrator of the crime. Significantly, this is not the first case where we convicted the accused on a similar set of facts and based solely on circumstantial evidence. In People v. Raymundo Corfin, we upheld the conviction of the accused based on evidence showing that: (1) the accused was the last person seen with the victim; (2) the accused and the victim were seen together near a dry creek; (3) the accused was seen leaving the place alone; and (4) the body of the victim was later found in the dry creek. The lower court's error in considering and imposing the penalty was in its failure to appreciate the full civil liability of the appellant. Since the killing of the victim was attended by treachery, his heirs are additionally entitled to exemplary damages in the amount of P30,000.00. WHEREFORE, the May 27, 2008 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC. No. 00123 is hereby AFFIRMEDwith MODIFICATION. Appellant Herminiano Marzan y Olonan is found guilty of murder as defined and penalized in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and is sentenced to reclusion perpetua. He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Joseph Sarmiento P50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00 as temperate damages, and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
Jifford D. Rosqueta

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMEO ANDRES G.R. No. 189281 23 February,2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

Sometime in 1990, Manuel Pomicpic was standing at the balcony of his house near the corner of the National Highway and the Municipal Road of Bacolod. It was a moonlit night, and the electric light at the ceiling of a nearby house also illuminated the area. From the balcony, he saw the victim, Vicente Pabalay, standing in front of the waiting shed along the National Highway. He also saw the appellant and Edgardo Gedo Cruz, on board a motorcycle, stop in front of the victim. The appellant said, Vicente sakay sa motor kay ako ka nga ihatud (Vicente ride on the motorcycle and I will bring you to where youre going). The victim declined the appellants offer, walked away and crossed the national highway. While Edgardo remained on the motorcycle, the appellant alighted and followed the victim. Upon reaching the other side of the national highway, the victim stopped. As he turned around, the appellant shot him several times. The victim fell on the ground while the appellant simply turned around and fled towards the municipal road. The wounded victim stood up and sought help from the nearby house of Nida Pomicpic. Nida, who was awakened by the gunshots, saw the victim through her window and heard him shout Help, Martin, Andres. Nida told her husband Olimpio to go and get the local Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF). When Olimpio returned minutes later with the CHDF members, Nida opened their front door. They saw the victim sitting on the floor of their foyer, bleeding from his shoulder, abdomen and thigh. Roger Paracale, the CHDF team leader, asked the victim Dong, who shot you?; the latter replied that it was the appellant who shot him. The victim was then brought to the Mercy Community Hospital. When Dr. Daniel Rigor performed an exploratory laparatomy on the victim on May 31, 1990, he found the victims small intestine severed and his liver injured by 9 gunshot wounds. The victim died 10 hours later. The appellant, interposing alibi, claimed that he was at PC Camp in Kolambugan together with his fellow policemen on the night of the killing; they were not allowed to leave the camp because the replacement commanding officer was expected that day. The RTC found the appellant guilty of murder. The CA affirmed the judgment of the RTC, giving full respect to the RTC's assessment of the testimonies. However, it deleted the award of nominal damages and awarded P25,000 as temperate damages. Whether or not the accused is guilty of the crime of murder

Issue:

Resolution: We affirm the appellants conviction. We find no reason to disturb the findings of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA. The records are replete with evidence establishing the appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The eyewitness account of Manuel Pomicpic, supported by the victims statement, is more plausible than the appellant's alibi. Both the RTC and the CA correctly appreciated the qualifying circumstance of treachery; although the attack on the victim was frontal, it was deliberate, sudden and unexpected, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no opportunity to resist or to defend himself The appellant was correctly sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua since there was no aggravating circumstance attending the commission of the crime. To conform to recent jurisprudence, however, we increase the awarded exemplary damages from P25,000.00 toP30,000.00. WHEREFORE, the March 25, 2009 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00205-MIN is hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Appellant Romeo Anches is found guilty of murder, as defined and penalized in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Vicente Pabalay P50,000 as civil indemnity ex delicto,P50,000 as moral damages, P25,000 as temperate damages, and P30,000 as exemplary damages.

Jifford D. Rosqueta

80

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROBERTO LOPEZ Y CABAL G.R. NO. 188902 16 February 2011 CARPIO, J.:

Facts:

Roberto Lopez y Cabal (Lopez) pleaded not guilty upon arraignment. During the trial, prosecution witness Leo Acibar (Acibar) testified that on 31st of July 2006 at about 8:30 a.m., he saw Prudencio Melendres (Melendres) buying cigarettes from a store when Lopez suddenly appeared and shot Melendres behind with a caliber .38 revolver, hitting him on the right side of the head. Acibar added that Lopez again shot Melendres on the chest and on the lower abdomen. Lopez then fled from the scene. Acibar immediately reported the incident to the barangay authorities. For the defense, Lopez maintained his innocence and claim that he was working on Jaime Domingos (Domingo) house on 31 July 2006.Maritess Padilla (Padilla) also testified that she saw two hooded men with guns tucked in their waist draw their guns and shoot Melendres. Padilla said the first assailant was dark-skinned and stood about five feet five inches, while the second assailant was only about four feet eleven inches. Padilla stated that Lopez was not one of the assailants and that she would be able to identify the assailants if she saw them again. Furthermore, Ma. Liberty Francisco Melendres (Liberty), Melendres wife, testified as to the civil liability of Lopez. Liberty presented receipts to show that she spent P33, 000 for the burial and the internment and P7, 500 for the wake. She also presented a certification from the Tanod Publishing, Inc., Melendres employer, as to his salary range, honoraria and transportation allowance. She also sought to recover moral damages. The trial court rendered its decision finding Lopez guilty of murder and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The trial court also ordered Lopez to pay the heirs of Melendres as follows: P50, 000 as death indemnity, P50, 000 as moral damages, P40, 000 as actual damages and P7, 570 per month for six month as lost of income. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals with modification respect to the award of loss of earning capacity. Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in awarding of monetary damages

Issue:

Resolution: The 12 May 2009 decision of the Court of Appeals finding accused-appellant Roberto Lopez y Cabal guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder with the modification that Roberto Lopez y Cabal is ordered to pay the heirs of Prudencio Melendres the amount of P974, 220 for loss of earning capacity. However, the rule is that documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate a claim for loss of earning capacity. In this case, Liberty presented a certification from Tanod Publishing which showed that Melendres was a photo correspondent for Tanod Newspaper and that his monthly salary ranges from P1, 780 to P3, 570 on per story basis. Liberty presented another certification from Tanod Publishing which showed that Melendres received the total amount of P24, 990 representing payment of the honoraria and transportation allowance from 1 January to 31 July 2006. Thus, Melendres net earning capacity can be derived from two sources: (1) his monthly salary and (2) his honorarium and transportation allowance. Loss of earning capacity is computed as follows: Net Earning Capacity = Life expectancy x Gross Annual Income Living Expenses = [2/3 (80-age at death)] x GAI (50% of GAI] = [2/3 (80-41)] x P74, 940 P34, 470 = [2/3 (39)] x P37, 470 =26 x P37, 470 Net Earning Capacity = P974, 220

Lyn R. Corpuz

81

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPNES v. BARANGAY CAPTAIN TONY TOMAS, SR., BENEDICTO DOCTOR, AND NESTOR GATCHALIAN G.R. NO. 192251 16 February 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.:

Facts:

The RTC found accused Tony Tomas, Sr. (Tomas, Sr.), Benedicto Doctor (Doctor), and Nestor Gatchalian (Gatchalian) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of murder. In an information for the crime of murder was filed on 21 July 2006 against, the three accused were indicted for the crime of murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). The above-named accused with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and shot several times one Estrella Doctor Casco which caused her instantaneous death. Upon arraignment on 14 September 2006, the three accused pleaded not guilty. The three accused Tony Tomas, Sr., Benedicto Doctor and Nestor Gatchalian guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of murder and hereby sentences each of them suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. 1. Whether or not the testimonies of prosecution witnesses were credible. 2. Whether or not the qualifying circumstance of treachery was present and there is conspiracy to commit murder.

Issues:

Resolution:1. Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible in itself. The trial court found more credible the testimony of the prosecution witnesses Liezl and Angelita, who narrated in a straightforward and candid manner what transpired that fateful night of 19 July 2006. Furthermore, denial and alibi are inherently weak defenses and constitute self-serving negative evidence that cannot be accorded greater evidentiary weight than the positive declaration of credible witnesses. 2. There is a treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against persons, employing means, method or forms which tend directly and especially to ensure its execution, without risk to the offender, arising from the defense that the offended party might make. The essence of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected way, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape. Thus, frontal attack can be treacherous when it is sudden and unexpected and the victim is unarmed. Moreover, for treachery to be appreciated, it must be present and seen by the witness right at the inception of the attack. To reiterate, as quoted above, while the party of Estrella was walking, accused-appellants suddenly appeared from the side of the road. Without uttering any word, Tomas, Sr. drew his gun and shot Estrella twice, while Doctor simultaneously poked a gun at Angelita and Damiana. And when Estrella already fell down, Tomas, Sr. shot her thrice more perhaps to ensure her death. Then accused-appellants fled. It is, thus, clear that the shooting of Estrella by Tomas, Sr. was done with treachery. The nefarious act was done in a few moments, it was unexpected as it was sudden. The act of Doctor in immobilizing Angelita and Damiana in those brief moments afforded and ensured accused-appellants impunity from the unarmed Estrella and her three similarly unarmed companions. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. It may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence consisting of acts, words or conduct of the alleged conspirators before, during and after the commission of the felony to achieve a common design or purpose. It has been duly established that Doctors contemporaneous act was made in furtherance of the common purpose of killing Estrella and ensuring impunity from act. Indeed, Doctors cooperation in the shooting of Estrella ensured its accomplishment and their successful escape from the crime scene. Doctor is, thus, equally guilty and liable for the murder of Estrella on account of conspiracy. It also appears that Gatchalian is a party to the conspiracy as found by the courts a quo. Gatchalian appeared in the company of Tomas, Sr. and Doctor. He also fled together with them. However, Gatchalian was unarmed and did not say anything or commit any overt act to externally manifest his cooperation with the shooting of Estrella. On the other hand. Gatchalian never attempted to stop the shooting, which tends to show that he was aware of the plan and intent to kill Estrella or, at the very least, that he acquiesced to the shooting of Estrella. The court finds accused Tony Tomas, Sr. and Benedicto Doctor guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of murder and hereby sentences each of them suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. It also finds accused Nestor Gatchalian guilty beyond reasonable doubt as an accomplice to the offense of murder and with the application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor, as minimum, to 17 years and four (4) months of Reclusion Temporal, as maximum. Likewise, all of the said accused are hereby ordered to pay jointly the heirs of the victim, the following; P 50, 0000.00 as civil indemnity; P 50, 0000.00 as moral damages; P 30, 0000.00 as exemplary damages; P 385, 416.33 and another amount of USD 2, 182.78 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time of its payment as actual damages; and amount of USD 368, 000 or its equivalent in Philippine pesos at the time for loss of income of the victim.

Lyn R. Corpuz

82

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ARNOLD PELIS G.R. NO. 189328 21 February 2011 BRION, J.: That on or about the 19th day of February 2004, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring together, and mutually helping each other, with intent to kill qualified by evident premeditation and treachery and abuse of superior strength, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and employ personal violence upon the person of Rolando Juan y San Diego by then and there stabbing him with the use of bladed weapon, thereby inflicting upon him serious and grave wounds which were the direct and immediate cause of his untimely death, to the damage and the prejudice of the heirs of Rolando Juan y San Diego. Is the alibi of the accused a valid defense?

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: No. An eyewitness, Mario Makahilig, testified on the details of the crime. At about 10:00 p.m. of 19 th of February 2004, the victim Rolando Jaun, was sitting with some companions inside the Top 40 Videoke Bar located in Zabarte Road, Novaliches, Quezon City, when the appellant and Entura came and, acting together and using knives, stabbed the victim. The appellant stabbed the victim once in the abdomen, while Entura stabbed the victims upper left chest. The appellant and Entura then fled from the crime scene. The victims companions rushed him to a nearby hospital where he died the next day. The trial court found that the positive testimony of prosecution eyewitness Mario Makahilig, where categorical, consistent and not attended by any showing of ill-motive to falsely testify against the appellant, prevails over alibi and denial. The RTC correctly appreciated conspiracy since the simultaneous acts of the accused during the stabbing disclosed a unity of objective. Treachery qualified killing to murder. Although frontal, the attack was unexpected, and the unarmed victim was in no position to repel attack. The trial court finds it is necessary to modify the civil liability of the appellant to include exemplary damages. Since the killing of the victim was attended by treachery, his heirs are entitled to exemplary damages. The decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed with modification, appellant Arnold Pelis is found guilty of murder, as defined and penalized under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of Recluson Perpetua. He is further ordered to pay the heirs of Rolando Juan y San Diego P 50, 000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto, P 30, 000.00 as actual damages, P 50, 000.00 as moral damages, and P 30, 000.00 as exemplary damages.

Lyn R. Corpuz

83

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE N. MEDIADO G.R. NO. 169871 02 February 2011 BERSAMIN, J.: Facts: At around 9:00 a. m. on 20th day of March 1997, Jimmy was having a conversation with Rodolfo Mediado (Rodolfo) at the dancing hall located in Pulang Daga, Balatan, Camarines Sur. He was around 35 meters away from Lilia, his wife, who was at a meeting of the Mr. and Mrs. Club in the barangay hall. At that moment, Lilia witnessed Jose emerge from behind Jimmy and hack Jimmy twice on the head with a bolo. She next saw Jose move to Jimmys left side and continue hacking him although he had already fallen to the ground. Jose fled, but Juan Clorado (Clorado), a former barangay kagawad, ran after him. Upon catching up, Clorado seized and took the bolo from Jose, and brought Jose to the PNP Station in Balatan, Camarines Sur. Lilia believed that Jose fatally assaulted Jimmy for fear that he would report to the police authorities that Jose had attacked one Vicente Paraatal during the town fiesta two days earlier. Jose confessed to killing Jimmy but claimed that he did so only to defend himself and his father (Rodolfo). Jose related that he had passed by the barangay hall on his way to work, and had observed Jimmy punch Rodolfo and hit him with a stone; that Jimmy then picked up a stone and threw it at him (Jose); that to fend off attack, he (Jose) unsheathed his bolo and hacked accompanied until he fell to the ground; and that he remained in the place for ten minutes and later yielded to Clorado who accompanied him to the police station where he surrendered to Police Office Ramon Maumay. As stated, both the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals rejected Joses claim of self-defense and defense of a relative, and found that treachery was employed by Jose when he attacked Jimmy from behind. This was affirmed by the CA. Issue: 1. Whether or not petitioner acted in self-defense and defense of a relative. 2. Whether or not treachery is attendant

Resolution: 1. The RTC and the CA correctly rejected Joses claim of self-defense and defense of a relative because he did not substantiate it wit clear and convincing proof. Under the Revised Penal Code delineates the standards for self-defense and defense of a relative in Article 11, viz: Article 11. Justifying circumstances. The following do not incur any criminal liability: 1. Anyone who acts in defense of his person or rights, provided that the following circumstance concur: First. Unlawful aggression; Second Reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; Third. Lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself. 2. Anyone who acts in defense of the person or rights of his spouse, ascendants, descendants, or legitimate, natural or adopted brothers or sisters, or his relatives by affinity in the same degrees and those by consanguinity within the fourth civil degree, provided that the first and second requisites prescribed in the next preceding circumstance are present, and the further requisite, in case the provocation was given by the person attacked, that the one making defense had no part therein. It is also notable that unlawful aggression is the condition of the sine qua non for the justifying circumstances of selfdefense and defense of a relative. There can be no self-defense unless the victim committed unlawful aggression against the person who resorted to self-defense. As the CA pointed out, however, Jose did not support his claim that Jimmy had committed aggression by punching Rodolfo and by throwing stones at him and his father. In fact, he and his father were not able to identify any weapon used by Jimmy aside from the stone that he supposedly picked up from the ground. The nature, number and gravity of Jimmys wounds spoke not of defense on the part of Jose but of a criminal intent to kill Jimmy. 2. The post-mortem examination disclosed that Jimmy had sustained a total of seven wounds: two incised wounds and five hack wounds. Three of the hack wounds were inflicted on Jimmys neck, one of which fatally extended to and cut the trachea, esophagus, and the carotid and jugular vessels that supplied blood to the heart and brain. Dr. Moll Lee, the medicolegal expert, opined at the trial that the injuries were possibly sustained by Jimmy from the assailant who was behind him and while he was already down. This opinion was consistent with Lilias testimony to the effect that Jose had attacked Jimmy from behind as well as when Jimmy was already lying on the ground. It is thereby ensured that the killing would be without risk and would deny to Jimmy any opportunity to defend himself. The essence of treachery is that the attack is deliberate and without warning, done in a swift and unexpected way, affording the hapless, unarmed and unsuspecting victim no chance to resist or escape. The Court affirms the decision promulgated subject to the modification that Jose n. Mediado is ordere to indemnify the heirs of Jimmy Llorin in the amounts of P 75, 000.00 as civil indemnity; P 75, 000.00 as moral damages; P 30, 000.00 as exemplary damages; and P 25, 000.00 as temperate damages.

Lyn R. Corpuz

84

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. AVELINO FELAN G.R. NO. 176631 02 February 2011 BERSAMIN, J.: The prosecution that at about 10:00 p. m. on 12th February 1995, the accused roused his daughter AAA, the complainant, then 14 years old, from sleep inside their house; told her not to be afraid; that he removed her panty, spread her legs, and went on top of her; that she resisted but he overpowered her; that he inserted his penis into her vagina and made pumping movements until he satisfied himself; that she cried due to vaginal pain; that she left the house and stayed with her friends, who advised her to report the rape to Mrs. Charito Aris, a social worker of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Ormoc City; that Mrs. Aris later brought her to the police station for reporting of the rape, and then Dr. Gloria Esmero Pastor, City Health Officer of Ormoc City, for medical examination; that Dr. Pastor found that AAAs hymen was torn; and that Dr. Pastor concluded that the hymen laceration could be caused by sexual intercourse. The accused denied the accusation, branding it as the fabrication of AAA out of anger at him for not giving her basic needs and for admonishing her to stop using illegal drugs. Is the denial of the accused valid? Whether or not the testimony of the victim were credible.

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: The law applicable is Article 335 of the Revise Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, which provides: Article 335. When and how rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: 1. By using force or intimidation; 2. When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and 3. When the woman is under twelve years of age is demented. The State competently and sufficiently established these elements beyond reasonable doubt. AAA rendered a complete and credible narration of her ordeal at the hands of the accused, whom she positively identified. In a prosecution for rape, the accused may be convicted solely on the basis of the testimony of the victim that is credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things, as in this case. Here, the victims testimony was even corroborated on material points by the testimonies of Mrs. Aris and Dr. Pastor as well as by the documentary evidences adduced. 1. No. The denial of the accused, being worthless, was properly disregarded. It was both self-serving and uncorroborated. It could not, therefore, overcome the positive declaration against the accused and positive identification of the accused by AAA, whose good motive to impute such a heinous act to her own father was not disproved or refuted. The RTC and the Court of Appeals consider being highly inconceivable for a daughter like AAA to impute against her own father a crime as serious and despicable as incest rape, unless the imputation was the plain truth. In fact, it takes a certain amount of psychological depravity for a young woman to concoct a story which would put her own father to jail for the rest of his remaining life and drag the rest of the family including herself to a lifetime shame. 2. The attempt to discredit AAA on the ground of her being a user of illegal drugs and of her having engaged in the prostitution deserved no consideration. First of all, AAAs use of illegal drugs and engaging in the prostitution, even if true, did not destroy her credibility as a witness or negate the rape. Indeed, the Court has ruled that the victims moral character was immaterial in the prosecution and conviction of an accused for rape. There being absolutely no nexus between it and the odious deed committed. Moreover, even a prostitute or a woman of loose morals could fall victim of rape, for she could still refuse a mans lustful advances. The Court of Appeals pronounced the accused liable for simple rape and properly punished him with Reclusion Perpetua. Under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of Republic Act No. 7659, supra, rape is qualified and punished by death if it is alleged and proved that the victim was a minor during the commission of the crime and that the offender was her parent. Moreover, prevailing jurisprudence affirm the Court of appeals ruling that AAA was entitled to P 50, 0000.00 as civil indemnity, and P 50, 000.00 as moral damages, without need of any pleading and proof.. Similarly was the CAs grant of P 25, 000.00 as exemplary damages.

Lyn R. Corpuz

85

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EVILIO MILAGROSA G.R. NO. 188108 21 February 2011 BRION, J: On 3rd day of March 2004, at around 7:00 in the morning, in the Province of Quezon, 16-year old AAA was alone in their house and had just finished washing the dishes when a person (later identified as Evilio Milagrosa) came. Evilio grabbed AAA and forcibly carried her to a grassy area outside the house. AAA struggled but Evilio, who was stronger, prevailed. She was also frightened when she noticed a balisong tucked at Evilios waist. Evilio removed AAAs clothes, inserted his penis into her vagina, thereby consummating sexual intercourse with AAA. Evilio thereafter left, cautioning AAA no to tell anyone about the incident. Evilio was charged with the crime of rape. He argues that he could not have carried AAA to the grassy area as she insisted; it was 7:00 in the morning and the neighbors would have heard her screams. Finaly, he raise alibi as his defense stating that he was in Camp Crame at that time. The prosecution presented AAA as its sole witness. AAA testified that she had known Evilio for a long time as he was a friend of her father. She added that their house is in an isolated place; from there, she cannot even see the house of their nearest neighbor. The RTC found AAAs testimony credible, and convicted Evilio of the crime of rape. 1. Whether or not appellants guilt for the crime of rape has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. 2. Is the alibi of the accused valid?

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: 1. The Court of Appeals ruled that the prosecution successfully proved beyond reasonable doubt the appellants guilt. It found that the positive and competent testimony of AAA was enough to convict Evilio. The CA also reasoned that it was not altogether impossible for Evilio to forcibly carry AAA to the grassy area. Evilio, although 55 years old, was not old or weak; he was then still working as a carpenter. A carpenters job is physical and Evilio had the required physical strength to overpower a 16-year old girl. The CA, thus, affirmed the findings of the lower court. It is well settled that an accused may be convicted of rape based solely on the testimony of the victim, as long as she is competent and credible. 2. No. The defense of alibi, presented with no corroborating evidence, also deserves scant consideration. In this regards no record or any witness attesting to the presence of the accused at Camp Crame at the time of the incident, was ever presented. Between the positive and straightforward testimony of AAA and Evilios defense of alibi, the victims testimony deserves great evidentiary weight. The Court of Appeals decision is hereby affirmed with modification and award exemplary damages in the amount P 30, 000.00 on account of the moral corruption, perversity and wickedness of the accused, who is 55 years old, in sexually assaulting 16-year old girl.

Lyn R. Corpuz

86

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. PORFERIO MASAGCA, JR. Y PADILLA G.R. NO. 184922 23 FEBRUARY 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

The appellant (a widower) and four of his children (including the private complainant AAA) lived in Barangay Sto. Domingo, Virac, Catanduanes. At around seven oclock in the evening of September 10, 2000, after his other children had left to watch a TV program, the appellant laid down beside his daughter AAA, removed her blanket, and held her right hand. He, thereafter, removed her short pants and underwear, laid on top of her, and inserted his penis into her vagina for about one minute. Throughout the incident, AAA did not say anything as the appellant threatened to hit her on the mouth if she would make any noise. On October 6, 2001, the appellant and his children this time reside at his parents home in Barangay J.M. Alberto (Poniton), Virac, Catanduanes. At around ten oclock in the evening, AAA was awakened by her fathers arrival. He removed her shorts and underwear as he lowered his own shorts and underwear to his knees, and managed to insert at least inch of his penis into her vagina for one minute. AAAs struggle proved fruitless as he tightly held her right hand. Again, he threatened to hit her on the mouth if she reported the incident to anyone. AAAs experience with her father was repeated on October 14, 2001, at around ten oclock in the evening in the same house. AAA recalled that her father again inserted his penis into her vagina for one minute and moved his buttocks. She struggled, but her father was far stronger. This time, the appellant did not say anything to her. Seven days later, AAA revealed her ordeals to her aunt (the appellants sister). This disclosure led to charges against the appellant for three (3) counts of rape. 1. Are the alibi and denial of the accused are valid? 2. Whether or not the accused committed rape. 3. Whether or not the prosecution proved the accused guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Issue:

Resolution: 1. No. The appellants defenses of denial (for the October 6 and 14, 2001 incidents) and alibi (from the September 10, 2000 incident) cannot prevail over AAAs testimony that she had been raped and her positive identification of the appellant as her rapist. Denial and alibi are the weakest of all defenses because they are easy to concoct and fabricate. To be believed, denial must be supported by a strong evidence of innocence; otherwise, it is regarded as purely self-serving. Alibi, on the other hand, is rejected when the prosecution sufficiently establishes the identify of the accused. The facts in this case do not present any exceptional circumstance warranting a deviation from these established rules. 2. Yes. Under the Revised Penal Code, Article 266-A. Rape. When and How Committed. Rape is committed: (1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: a.) Through force, threat, or intimidation; The prosecution successfully established the elements of rape. AAA positively identified the appellant as her rapist. In rape cases, the accused may be convicted solely on the testimony of the victim, provided it is credible, convincing, and consistent with human nature and the normal course of things. Furthermore, in the examination of the records shows no indication that AAAs testimony is in a suspicious light. 3. The CA affirmed the RTC Judgment. It ruled that as AAA was a child victimized by her own father, her testimony should be given full weight and credit, more so since it was categorical, straightforward and corroborated by the findings of a medico-legal officer. It held that the lack of contusions on AAAs body did not negate rape; the fact that the appellant is AAAs father who exercised moral ascendancy over her substituted for actual violence. It observed that lust is no respecter of time and place; hence, rape could be committed even in the bedroom of the appellants parents. Moreover, the prosecution firmly established that AAA was under eighteen (18) years of age when the rape incidents occurred, having been born on September 15, 1987. The prosecution likewise proved and the defense admitted that the appellant is AAAs father. The proper penalty for each three (3) counts of such qualified rape would be death were it not for Republic Act No. 9346 which reduced the death penalty to reclusion perpetua. The Court of Appeals affirms subject to the following modifications: 1. The award of P 50, 000.00 as moral damages is increased to P 75, 000.00; 2. The award of P 25, 000.00 as exemplary damages is increased to P 30, 000.00; and 3. The award of P75, 000.00 as civil indemnity for each count.

Lyn R. Corpuz

87

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALEX CONDES Y GUANZON G.R. NO. 187077 23 February 2011 MENDOZA, J.:

Facts:

This is an appeal from the July 31, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00926, which affirmed the July 21, 2003 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 34, Calamba City (RTC), in Criminal Case No. 7383-2000-C, finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed against AAA. Accused Alex Condes y Guanzon (accused) was charged with the crime of rape in an Information dated February 23, 2000. That on or about February 14, 1999 at Brgy. Bitin, Municipality of Bay, Province of Laguna and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused while conveniently armed with a bolo through force, violence and intimidation and with lewd design, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have carnal relation with one AAA, a fourteen (14) year old minor, against her will and consent, to her damage and prejudice. Whether or not the trial court gravely erred in failing to consider the motive behind the filing of the instant case against the accused-appellant.

Issue:

Resolution: In the disposition and review of rape cases, the Court is guided by three settled principles: First, an accusation for rape can be made with facility and it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the accused, though innocent, to disprove; Second, in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and Third, the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. Corollary to the above principles is the rule that the credibility of the victim is always the single most important issue in the prosecution of a rape case. Conviction or acquittal in a rape case more often than not depends almost entirely on the credibility of the complainants testimony because, by the very nature of this crime, it is usually the victim alone who can testify as to its occurrence. Finally, the Court finding the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape committed against AAA. More so, the Court sustains the two courts below in imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua on the accused. The applicable provisions of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 8353 (effective October 22, 1997), covering the crime of Rape are Articles 266-A and 266-B which provide: Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. Rape is committed: 1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: a. Through force, threat or intimidation; Article 266-B. Penalties. - Rape under paragraph 1 of the next preceding article shall be punished by reclusion perpetua. Whenever the rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death. The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the following aggravating/qualifying circumstances: When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common law spouse of the parent of the victim.

Lyn R. Corpuz

88

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOEY TORIAGA [G.R. No. 177145, February 09, 2011] BERSAMIN, J.:

Facts:

Toriaga was no trivial stranger to AAA and her family. Her father was Toriaga's close friend and "drinking buddy," and CCC, AAA's aunt, regarded Toriaga as a trusted employee in her balut selling business. CCC even furnished Toriaga a sleeping area inside her house. At the time material to this case, AAA was a 13-year old lass. On November 26, 1995 at around 7:00 PM, while AAA was alone in keeping watch of CCCs house, Toriaga returned drunk to CCCs house. However, raped and stabbed her back with an icepick. AAA survived by pretending to be dead until Toriaga escaped from the crime scene. Two separate information was filed against Toriaga for rape and frustrated Homicide. Initially, the RTC consolidated the two cases, and Toriaga pleaded not guilty to both charges. In view of his intervening conviction for frustrated homicide, however, only the charge for rape remained. RTC found Toriaga guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Rape and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment of reclusion perpetua and all the accessory penalties attached thererto. Toriaga appealed his case and changed his defense of denial and alibi for the first time to the affirmative defense of consensual sexual intercourse with AAA, whom he insisted had undressed herself freely and did not shout when the incident was taking place. He contended that he was liable only for qualified seduction because he was a domestic within the contemplation of the law. CA rejected his contentions and affirmed the conviction for rape. Toriaga appealed to the Supreme Court. Toriaga's main argument of consensual sexual intercourse rested on the failure of AAA to shout during the rape and on her failure to escape when he momentarily left her and while he was busy undressing himself. He insisted that the proximity of the houses in the neighborhood should have emboldened her to put up some resistance had the sexual encounter been forced. Her demeanor was inconsistent with that of an ordinary Filipina whose instincts dictated that she summoned every ounce of her strength and courage to thwart any attempt to defile her virtue.

Issue/s: Whether or not Toriaga's main argument of consensual sexual intercourse rested on the failure of AAA to shout during the rape and on her failure to escape when he momentarily left her and while he was busy undressing himself is proper. Whether or not CAs rejection of Toriaga's contention of being liable only for qualified seduction was correct. Resolution: The defense of consensual sexual intercourse, like the sweetheart defense, demands corroboration. Yet, Toriaga offered no corroboration, thereby exposing his belatedly offered defense as a self-serving after-thought resorted to after his original defenses of denial and alibi had failed to ensure his acquittal by the CA. Thus, his new defense deserved scant consideration. The physical evidence spoke more vividly than the testimony of the victim, whose multiple injuries confirmed the use of brutal force and violence in her rape. Also, the multiple stab wounds she sustained negated his claim of consensual sexual intercourse. The CA's rejection of Toriaga's contention of being liable only for qualified seduction was correct. Indeed, the information did not allege the presence of the elements of qualified seduction, to wit: (a) that AAA was a virgin; (b) that she was over 12 and under 18 years of age; (c) that he had sexual intercourse with her; and (d) that there was abuse of authority, or of confidence, or of relationship.

Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

89

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JOSE GALVEZ Y BLANCA [G.R. No. 181827, February 02, 2011] LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Facts:

In the direct examination on March 31, 2003, private complainant testified that she was born on August 22, 1988. Accused whom [she] identified in Court is her grandfather, the father of her mother. On June 21, 2002 at around 12:00 o'clock midnight, she was in their house at Barangay Peri, Sta. Lucia, Angat, Bulacan sleeping with her siblings, accused, her grandmother Damiana, who is the mother of her father, and her grandfather Popeng, who is the father of her father. Her mother lives in Masbate, while her father works in Manila and comes home only on week-ends. While she was sleeping, accused crawled beside her and inserted his penis in her vagina. She pushed the accused but he threatened her with a knife which he poked at her side. He told her not to tell anyone. After inserting his penis in her vagina, [he] touched her breasts. She told the pastor of her church about the incident sometime in June during a church service. She and her pastor thereafter went to the police station to give her statement, which she identified in Court. She testified that this was the first time that accused raped her. Continuing her direct-examination on February 8, 2004, private complainant testified that the June 21, 2002 incident was not the first time that the accused raped her. She could not, however, remember the dates these incidents were committed against her by the accused. She remembers that accused raped her many times, the first time of which was when she was twelve (12) years old. This incident happened in Pacific, Angat, Bulacan at their residence. At this incident, accused inserted his penis in her vagina. This happened in the bedroom of their house while her three (3) siblings were playing outside the house. Accused did not say anything to her before the incident. She resisted with no avail. She reported this incident to her aunt Gloria in 2002 when she was already thirteen (13) years old. It took her three (3) years before she reported the incident because her grandfather told her not to tell anyone about what happened or else he will kill her. After this incident when she was twelve (12) years old, he again raped her sometime in 2002. Aside from the incidents when she was twelve (12) years old, and on June 21, 2002, she was thirteen (13) years old when she was raped again in their house in Peri, Sta. Lucia, Angat, Bulacan. As to how this rape happened, she stated that [it is] "the same", i.e., he inserted his penis in her vagina. Her grandfather raped her many times, almost every day since she was thirteen (13) years old up to when she was fourteen (14) years old. Even so, she only reported the incident to her aunt in 2002 because she could not bear what accused [w]as doing to her. At that time, aside from accused and her three (3) siblings, her other grandparents and her aunt Gloria were living with her. Her father was then working in Meycauayan, Bulacan while her mother is in Masbate. Aside from her aunt Gloria, she also reported the incident to her pastor, Imelda Loyola. She was with her aunt and pastor when she reported the incident to the police. Continuing her direct examination on February 24, 2005, she testified that after reporting the incident to the police, they went to the doctor for examination. She identified accused in court. Whether or not the incestuous rape of minor is the result of the conviction of the accused.

Issue:

Resolution: The trial court, which had the opportunity to observe both AAA and accused-appellant directly and to test their credibility by their demeanour on the witness stand, was completely persuaded by the above testimony of AAA as regards the events of June 21, 2002. Other than the fact that we give great weight to the findings of fact of the trial court, an independent reading of said testimony compels us to conclude that AAA's version is indeed worthy of credence especially when compared to the bare denial of accused-appellant who did not even offer an alibi. As observed by the Court of Appeals, AAA's testimony is "unflinching and resolute" and "passes the test of credibility nary any indication whatsoever of a concocted testimony. Furthermore, it is almost clinch to add that "[c]ourts usually give credence to the testimony of a girl who is a victim of sexual assault, particularly if it constitutes incestuous rape because, normally, no person would be willing to undergo the humiliation of a public trial and to testify on the details of her ordeal were it not to condemn an injustice. Accused-appellant likewise attacks AAA's credibility on the ground that the physical evidence presented yielded no proof of external signs of physical injuries, implying that this negates the contention that AAA was raped. We disagree. The shallow healed laceration at 9:00 o'clock position on complainant's hymen, presented in the testimony of Dr. Viray, is in fact convincing physical evidence of the rape, especially considering the age of AAA and the fact that accused-appellant used a knife to threaten her. More importantly, even if we assume for the sake of argument that AAA did not put up a struggle against accused-appellant, we have consistently held that actual force or intimidation need not be employed in incestuous rape of a minor. Thus, in the case at bar, we find that the moral and physical dominion of the ascendant is sufficient to take the place of actual force or intimidation. We therefore affirm the conviction of accused-appellant. Consistent with prevailing jurisprudence on qualified rape, we also affirm the modification made by the Court of Appeals to the trial court's Decision as regards the civil indemnity and moral damages that should be granted to AAA in the amount of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) each. Established jurisprudence, however, further warrant that we increase the award of exemplary damages from Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) to Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000.00).
Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

90

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JERWIN QUINTAL Y BEO, VICENTE BONGAT Y TARIMAN, et al [G.R. No. 184170, February 02, 2011] PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

On 2 May 2001, appellant Vicente, together with 15-year old Jerwin Quintal y Beo (Jerwin), 16-year old Felipe Quintal y Abarquez (Felipe) and Larry Panti y Jimenez (Larry) were charged in an Information for Rape allegedly committed as follows: That on or about August 29, 2002, at around 9:30 o'clock in the evening, in barangay [XXX, municipality of Virac, province of Catanduanes, Philippines, jurisdiction of the Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another for a common purpose, with force and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously lie and succeeded in having carnal knowledge of [AAA], minor 16 years of age, against her will and without her consent. That the crime of rape was committed with an aggravating circumstance of minority, the fact that [AAA] is a minor 16 years of age when she was raped by the herein-named four (4) accused.

ISSUE: Whether or not Vicente Bongat yTarimanis acquitted for the crime of rape? Resolution: This Court cannot disregard this nagging doubt with respect to the credibility of AAA's testimony, the inconsistencies in the testimonies of the barangay tanod and barangay kagawad, the purported confession put into writing and signed by all the accused; and the subsequent incidents relating to the case. First, AAA testified that she does not personally know Jerwin and Felipe. However, when the two allegedly invited her to go with them to a party, she readily accepted the invitation and in fact, went with them. Moreover, AAA was seen playing cards with Jerwin and his group in the wake, as testified by Maria, Felipe, Jerwin and Federico. Second, AAA recounted that the nipa hut where she was brought by the accused was very dark. And yet, AAA readily identified Vicente and Larry inside the hut, as two of those who raped her. Incidentally, it was unclear how AAA was able to identify Vicente and Larry because she was never asked, not by the prosecution nor the defense, on how she came to know the two accused. Third, the medical certificate only contained one finding, that there was a "round-the-clock abrasion in the labia minora." This is not at all conclusive nor corroborative to support the charge of rape. At most, this indicates that AAA had sexual intercourse. We find the medical finding lacking in relation to the testimony of AAA on how she was ravished by four men. Although a medical examination is not an indispensable element in a prosecution of rape, it could have corroborated an otherwise vague and dubious testimony of the victim. Fourth, BBB allegedly went to the Barangay Kagawad and the Tanod, who happens to be her cousin, to report the rape incidents. However, when Fernando and Eddie testified, they claimed that they were initially informed by BBB about a marriage proposal by Jerwin's parents. It was only during the meeting that they learned about the alleged rape. Fifth, to fuel further suspicion as to whether a rape incident actually transpired, BBB never bothered to ask AAA about the whole incident.[39] She accepted AAA's testimony hook, line and sinker. In the same breadth, it can be recalled that Eddie, the Barangay Tanod, testified that BBB dictated to him what was written in the yellow paper which contained the supposed admissions of rape by the accused. Eddie did not appear to have asked or interrogated the accused about the incident. Likewise, Dr. Tatad merely examined AAA's private parts on the basis of her claim that she was raped. Sixth, in an unusual twist, records show that AAA was seen visiting Jerwin in jail for at least six (6) times. These incidents are documented in a logbook presented in court by the defense and which was not refuted by the prosecution. The combination of all these circumstances are more than sufficient to create a reasonable doubt as to whether first, rape was actually committed and second, whether the accused were the perpetrators. WHEREFORE, appellant Vicente Bongat y TARIMAN is ACQUITTED based on reasonable doubt. He is ordered RELEASED unless he is being detained for some other lawful cause.

Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

91

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ALEX CONDES Y GUANZON [G.R. No. 187077, February 23, 2011] MENDOZA, J.:

Facts:

On the eve[ning] of February 14, 1999, the 14-year old victim, AAA, was left alone with her stepfather, appellant Alex Condes, at their house in Brgy. Bitin, Laguna. She was cleaning the upstairs area of the house, when appellant entered the room, pointed a bolo at her neck, and warned her not to shout. He pulled her down to the floor, removed her clothes, and when she tried to push him away - subdued her with a threat of a cut from his bolo. Appellant removed his own garments, positioned himself on top of his stepdaughter, and succeeded in inserting his penis into the victim. He made push and pull movement for about ten minutes. The pain the victim felt in her sex organ was excruciating. After satisfying himself, appellant wiped his sex organ. Threatening to kill her brothers and sister, he made AAA promise not to tell anyone about the incident. She kept the unpalatable promise until December 30, 1999, when appellant tried to rape her again. Determined to obtain justice, the victim called her aunt in San Pablo City and disclosed the revolting incident. After she was examined by Dr. Joselito Rodrigo, she was no doubt was raped. The RTC rendered its judgment convicting the accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of simple rape. It rejected the defenses of denial and alibi proffered by the accused stating that said defenses fell flat in the face of the testimony of AAA on her harrowing ordeal in the hands of the accused. It found her testimony to be credible, natural, convincing, consistent with human nature, and in the normal course of events.The lower court, however, ruled that the accused can only be convicted of simple rape and not in its qualified form. It reasoned out that while the prosecution was able to establish the aggravating/qualifying circumstances of minority and relationship which would warrant the imposition of death penalty under Article 266-B of the Revised Penal Code, the circumstance of stepfather-daughter relationship was not alleged in the information.

Issues/s: Whether or not the filing of the dependant of the crime of rape to the accused is a result of an ill motive. Whether or not the Court of Appeals decision regarding on the penalty imposed is correct. Resolution: AAA's failure to immediately report to anyone what she had suffered in the hands of her stepfather does not vitiate the integrity of her claim. Apparently, the accused succeeded in instilling fear upon her young mind when he threatened to kill her and her siblings should she say a word about the incident. Thus, paralyzed by the fear that he would make good his threats, she remained silent and only broke it when he tried to repeat the sexual assault. The subsequent attack brought her silence to the breaking point and forced her to come out in the open to prevent and avoid further assaults. Delay in reporting an incident of rape is not an indication of a fabricated charge. Neither does it necessarily cast doubt on the credibility of the complainant. Any insinuation of ill motive on the part of AAA in the filing of the rape case against her stepfather does not merit any consideration. It is highly improbable that she would concoct a sordid tale of sexual abuse against the accused, whom she called "Papa," simply because she was reproved or censured for her irresponsible ways and was afraid that he would punish her for getting pregnant by her boyfriend. Parental punishment is not enough reason for a young girl to falsely accuse her stepfather of a crime so grave as rape. Reverence and respect for the elders are two values deeply ingrained in Filipino children. Granting AAA indeed resented his stepfather, the Court does not necessarily cast doubt on AAA's credibility as witness. Motives, such as those arising from family feuds, resentment, or revenge, have not prevented the Court from giving, if proper, full credence to the testimony of minor complainants who remained steadfast throughout their direct and crossexamination. After all, ill motive is never an essential element of a crime. It becomes irrelevant and of no significance where there are affirmative, nay, categorical declarations towards the culpability of the accused for the felony. Wellentrenched is the doctrine which is founded on reason and experience that when the victim testifies that she has been raped, and her testimony is credible, such testimony may be the sole basis of conviction. In this case, there could not have been a more powerful testament to the truth than her public outpouring of her unspoken grief. 2) When the accused commits rape with the use of a deadly weapon, the penalty is the range of two indivisible penalties of reclusion perpetua to death. In this connection, Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code provides that when the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties and there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the commission of the deed, the lesser penalty shall be applied. The Court also sustains the monetary awards granted by the RTC and the CA in favor of AAA, except for the exemplary damages which is increased from P25,000.00 to P30,000.00 in line with our ruling in People v. Gilbert Castroand earlier cases.
Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

92

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FABIAN G. ROMERO [G.R. No. 181041, February 23, 2011] BRION, J.:

Facts:

On the evening of September 5, 2004, Joanna Pasaoa, a Grade 2 student, saw her friend, AAA, walking towards the appellant's house. Joanna followed AAA to the appellant's house, and saw her and the appellant watching television together. Thereafter, the appellant instructed Joanna to buy a bottle of Red Horse beer. Joanna handed the bottle of beer to the appellant when she returned, and then went home. After a while, Joanna decided to go back to the appellant's house to pickup AAA. When she was about four (4) meters away from the appellant's house, she saw the appellant outside his house repeatedly stabbing AAA. Joanna ran away and reported the incident to her mother. At around 8:00 p.m. of the same day, BBB, AAA's father, went to his brother-in-law, CCC, and asked the latter to help him search for AAA. When they passed by the appellant's place, they saw the appellant pouring liquid into a fire. They approached the appellant, but the latter fled towards his house. BBB and CCC inspected what the appellant was burning, and saw partially burnt grasses and clothes. Thereafter, they saw AAA's lifeless body covered with grass, one (1) meter away from the fire. AAA's body was half-naked and partially burnt; it also bore multiple stab wounds. CCC lifted AAA's body, while BBB stayed and shouted invectives at the appellant. Thereafter, the townspeople and barangay officials arrived and surrounded the appellant's house. Soon after, the police came and arrested the appellant. The prosecution charged the appellant before the RTC with the special complex crime of rape with homicide. The appellant denied the charges against him, and claimed that he was drinking with his buddies until 8:30 p.m. on September 5, 2004.

Issue/s: Whether or not the accused committed the special complex crime of rape with homicide. Resolution: In the present case, no one witnessed AAA being raped. Nonetheless, the following circumstances form a solid and unbroken chain of events that leads us to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant had raped the victim: first, AAA and the appellant were seen watching television together at the latter's house; second, AAA's half-naked, partially burnt and lifeless body was seen outside the appellant's house, one (1) meter away from where the appellant had been seen burning clothes; third, AAA's legs were spread apart, and the labia of her private part was gaping when her body was found; fourth, Dr. Jesus Arturo De Vera, the Municipal Health Officer of Calasiao, Pangasinan, testified that AAA had hymenal lacerations at 4, 7 and 10 o'clock positions, and anal lacerations at 7 and 10 o'clock positions; fifth, Dr. De Vera stated that AAA's anal and hymenal lacerations could have been caused by a hard object like an erect penis; sixth, NerigoDaciego, the Medico-Legal Officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, saw positive signs of anal and vaginal penetrations on AAA; and finally, Daciego testified that AAA had been raped when she was still alive due to the presence of amucosal erosion on her anal and vaginal tissues. These circumstances, taken together, lead to no other conclusion than that the appellant, to the exclusion of others, had raped AAA. The prosecution likewise established that the appellant had killed AAA. Joanna positively identified the appellant as the person who repeatedly stabbed AAA. The lower courts found her testimony convincing and credible. We have no reason to doubt Joanna's identification of the appellant, as the records show that she was merely four (4) meters away from the incident and that the area was illuminated by a light coming from the appellant's house. The defense likewise did not impute any ill motive on her part to falsely testify against the appellant. At any rate, findings of the trial court pertaining to the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect; the trial court has the distinct opportunity of viewing the demeanor of the witnesses as they testify, and of judging - based on its firsthand observation - whether their witnesses are telling the truth. Joanna's testimony was also corroborated by Dr. De Vera and Daciego who both stated that the victim suffered, among others, 29 stab wounds. We do not find the appellant's uncorroborated alibi and denial believable as they contradict the testimonial and physical evidence presented by the prosecution. Alibi and denial necessarily fail when there is positive evidence of the physical presence of the accused at the crime scene, as in this case. While correct in all the above respects, the CA committed an overreach in the award of exemplary damages. Pursuant to prevailing jurisprudence, we have to reduce this award from P100,000.00 to P50,000.00

Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

93

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RONALDO MORALES Y FLORES ALIAS "RONNIE," AND RODOLFO FLORES Y MANGYAN ALIAS "RODING." [G.R. No. 188608, February 09 : 2011] PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

PO1 Buenafe positioned himself inside a vehicle, which was parked five (5) meters away from the target house. PO1 Alano and the informant was approached by a man who identified himself as Roding, and the latter invited them to go inside the house where they were met by Ronnie. The informant then ordered one (1) kilo of marijuana from Ronnie for P3,000.00. Ronnie ordered Roding to get the money from PO1 Alano while he went inside a room. A few seconds later, Ronnie went out of the room and handed PO1 Alano a green transparent plastic bag containing two (2) brown folded envelopes, the contents of which are bricks of dried marijuana. Immediately after verifying the contents as marijuana, PO1 Alano introduced himself as a police officer and arrested Ronnie. Roding was able to go out of the house but he was later on arrested by PO1 Buenafe, who responded to the scene when he noticed a commotion outside the target house. The boodle money was seized from Roding. Appellants were brought to the South Metro Narcotics District Office in Fort Bonifacio. While at the police station, PO1 Alano placed his initials on each of the brown envelopes containing the marijuana before bringing it to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory. Police Senior Inspector Grace Eustaquio examined the specimens brought to her and she prepared Physical Sciences Report No. D-2350-98 confirming that the specimens were found positive for marijuana.

Issue/s: 1) Whether or not inconsistencies in the testimonies of the Police officers with respect to the time they conducted the surveillance to discredit the persecution witnesses. 2) Whether or not the failure to establish chain of custody of the marijuana will result to the impairment of the evidences. Resolution: 1) The inconsistencies or contradictions pointed by appellants relating to the time of surveillance are not material to establish the elements of the crime committed. They are certainly not sufficient to overturn their conviction. Time and again, this Court has ruled that the witnesses' testimonies need only to corroborate one another on material details surrounding the actual commission of the crime. This Court likewise sustains the findings of the trial court on the credibility of these prosecution witnesses. In cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs Law, appellate courts tend to rely heavily on the trial court's assessment of the credibility of witnesses, because the latter had the unique opportunity, denied to the appellate courts, to observe the witnesses and to note their demeanor, conduct, and attitude under direct and cross-examination. Hence, its factual findings are accorded great respect, even finality, absent any showing that certain facts of weight and substance bearing on the elements of the crime have been overlooked, misapprehended, or misapplied. 2) In People v. Resurreccion, this Court reiterates that failure to immediately mark seized drugs will not automatically impair the integrity of chain of custody as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items have been preserved, as these would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. The prosecution indeed sufficiently proved that that the chain of custody of the marijuana was never broken from the time PO1 Alano received the marijuana from Ronnie up to the moment it was presented in court as evidence

Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

94

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROSELLE SANTIAGO Y PABALINAS [G.R. No. 191061, February 09, 2011] ABAD, J.:

Facts:

PO1 Voltaire Esguerra (Esguerra) testified that on April 4, 2005, they received information that Roselle was selling illegal drugs at her house at Pipit Extension,Barangay Rizal, Makati City. Esguerra conducted a test buy and received from her one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet that presumably contained shabu. When he returned to his office, Esguerra marked the sachet with "@ Tisay" then sent it to the laboratory for testing. Before receiving the results of the test buy, an asset told the police that Roselle was going to leave her house, prompting Esguerra's team to conduct a buy-bust operation. Esguerra met Roselle again and told her that it was he who bought shabu from her earlier that day. She thus let him enter the front yard of her house where he told her that he wanted to buy another pack for P300.00. Roselle took his marked money and entered the house. While waiting and looking in, Esguerra spotted two women inside using shabu with the asset by their side, apparently waiting for his turn. Subsequently, Roselle returned with one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet presumably containing shabu. Upon receipt of the sachet, Esguerrasignaled his team. They arrested Roselle and appraised her of her rights. Esguerra immediately marked the sachet with "RPS". After returning to the station, he turned over Roselle and the seized sachet to the investigator. When the contents of the first and second sachets (with "@ Tisay" and "RPS" markings) were examined, these were confirmed to be Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu). A confirmatory test also found Roselle positive for the use of shabu.

Issue/s: 1) Whether or not the police conducted a valid arrest in Roselle's case. 2) Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the RTC's finding that the prosecution evidence established her guilt of the offense charged beyond reasonable doubt. Resolution: 1) Roselle claims that the police did not make a valid arrest in her case since they arrested her without proper warrant and did not apprise her of the rights of a person taken into custody as the Constitution and R.A. 7438 provide. But Roselle raised this issue only during appeal, not before she was arraigned. For this reason, she should be deemed to have waived any question as to the legality of her arrest. 2)Since the seized substance was heat-sealed in plastic sachet and properly marked by the officer who seized the same, it would have also been sufficient, despite intervening changes in its custody and possession, if the prosecution had presented the forensic chemist to attest to the fact a) that the sachet of substance was handed to him for examination in the same condition that Esguerra last held it: still heat-sealed, marked, and not tampered with; b) that he (the chemist) opened the sachet and examined its content; c) that he afterwards resealed the sachet and what is left of its content and placed his own marking on the cover; and d) that the specimen remained in the same condition when it is being presented in court. In this way, the court would have been assured of the integrity of the specimen as presented before it. If the finding of the chemist is challenged, there may be opportunity for the court to require a retest so long as sufficient remnants of the same are left. What is more, the prosecution failed to account for the whereabouts of the seized specimen after the crime laboratory conducted its tests. This omission is fatal since the chain of custody should be established from the time the seized drugs were confiscated and eventually marked until the same is presented during trial. The Court finds it difficult to sustain the conviction of Roselle for violation of Section 5. The presumption of her innocence of the charge must prevail and acquits the accused Roselle Santiago y Pabalinas of the charge against her for the crime.

Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

95

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MANUEL PALOMA Y ESPINOSA [G.R. No. 178544, February 23 : 2011] ABAD, J.:

FACTS: Paloma, the accused, standing beside a man and a woman. PO1 Pealosa and the informant approached them; PO2 Amigo, the witness, stood as back-up some 15 meters away. From where he stood, he saw PO1 Pealosa talking to Paloma. Momentarily, PO1 Pealosa waved his hand, signifying that he had made the purchase. On seeing the pre-arranged signal, PO2 Amigo approached and arrested Paloma; PO1 Pealosa for his part arrested Paloma's companions, later on identified as NorielBamba (Bamba) and Angie Grotel (Grotel). PO2 Amigo recovered from Paloma's pants pocket a plastic sachet with a white crystalline substance and the marked P100.00 bill. After the police officers informed Paloma, Bamba, and Grotel of their rights during custodial investigation, they brought them to the police station and turned them over to the desk officer. The arresting officers also turned over the three sachets of suspected shabu that they seized. According to PO2 Amigo, two of these sachets were those that PO1 Pealosa bought from Paloma. The police eventually let Bamba and Grotel go for the reason that the police officers found no illegal drugs in their possession. In his defense, Paloma denied that such a buy-bust operation took place. He claimed that at the time of the alleged buybust, he was with his 80-year-old mother at their house on Pacomara Street, taking a nap. Suddenly, five armed men in civilian clothes barged into the house and woke him up. Two of them held him by the arms while the others searched the house. Although the men found nothing, they handcuffed him and brought him to the police station. On June 10, 2005 the RTC found Paloma guilty beyond reasonable doubt in Criminal Case Q-03-116898 of the crime charged and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500,000.00. The Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. HC CR 01289 affirmed the RTC's ruling in toto. Issue/s: Wether or not the CA erred in finding that the prosecution succeeded in proving beyond reasonable doubt that Paloma sold prohibited drugs to PO1 Pealosa. Resolution: To prove the crime of illegal sale of drugs under Section 5, Article II of R.A. 9165, the prosecution is required to prove (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller as well as the object and consideration of the sale; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment given for the same. Further, the prosecution must present in court evidence of corpus delicti. Under the "objective" test set by the Court in People v. Doria, the prosecution must clearly and adequately show the details of the purported sale, namely, the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment of the consideration, and, finally, the accused's delivery of the illegal drug to the buyer, whether the latter be the informant alone or the police officer. This proof is essential to ensure that law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit the offense. All that PO2 Amigo could say was that PO1 Pealosa and the informant approached Paloma, talked to him, and then PO1 Pealosa made the pre-arranged signal that the sale had been consummated. Since he was standing at a great distance during the purported buy-bust, PO2 Amigo could not provide the details of the offer to buy the drug and the acceptance of that offer. Indeed, he did not seePaloma take money from PO1 Pealosa nor Pealosa take delivery of the prohibited substance from Paloma. While law enforcers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties, this presumption is disputable by contrary proof and cannot prevail over the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent. The totality of the evidence presented in this case does not support Paloma's conviction for violation of Section 5, Article II of R.A. 9165, since the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of the offense. The Court acquits the accused Manuel Paloma y Espio of the crime of which he is charged on the ground of reasonable doubt.

Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROMEO DANSICO Y MONAY A.K.A. "LAMYAK" AND AUGUSTO CUADRA Y ENRIQUEZ [G.R. No. 178060, February 23, 2011] BRION, J.:

Facts:

On September 7, 1998, the buy-bust team went to May-Anao, Tigaon where they briefed the local Tigaon Police at their station of the impending buy-bust operation. The buy-bust team afterwards proceeded to the nipa hut owned by appellant Dansico. Paz and the confidential informant met with the appellants; the confidential informant informed the appellants that Paz wanted to buy P5,000.00 worth of marijuana. Paz handed the buy-bust money to the appellants who left in a motorcycle to get the marijuana. After three hours, more or less, the appellants returned with a brick, allegedly marijuana, wrapped in a newspaper. Appellant Dansico took the brick from appellant Cuadra and gave it to Paz. At this point, Paz gave the pre-arranged signal for P/Insp. Vargas and the buy-bust team to approach. The team immediately apprehended appellant Dansico, while appellant Cuadra resisted by throwing stones at and grappling with P/Insp. Vargas. Paz turned the seized marijuana to P/Insp. Vargas and the group proceeded to the Tigaon Police Station. The arrest of the appellants, the recovery of the suspected marijuana and the confiscation of the appellants' motorcycle were entered in the police blotter of the Tigaon Police Station. Afterwards, the buy-bust team (with the appellants in tow and with the confiscated items) proceeded to the NARGROUP Office where P/Insp. Vargas prepared a booking sheet and the arrest report. The confiscated brick of marijuana was placed inside a plastic bag and marked "07 September 1998 WPD" to indicate the date of the buy-bust. The plastic bag was initialed by P/Insp. Vargas and Paz.P/Insp. Vargas also conducted an initial field test which confirmed the confiscated item to be marijuana. Afterwards, P/Insp. Vargas submitted the confiscated marijuana to the Crime Laboratory for further laboratory examination. As borne by the mark stamped on the request of P/Insp. Vargas, the submitted marijuana was received by the receiving clerk of the Crime Laboratory.The confiscated marijuana was turned over by the receiving clerk to P/Sr. Insp. Ma. Julieta Razonable who then conducted the laboratory tests which subsequently confirmed that the submitted specimen was marijuana. P/Sr. Insp. Razonable reduced her findings to writing under Chemistry Report No. D-104-98. After the examination, P/Sr. Insp. Razonable placed the marijuana inside a plastic bag and sealed it with tape. In court, P/Sr. Insp. Razonable presented the marijuana by unsealing the plastic bag. She identified the marijuana by the markings she previously made.

Issue/s: The appellants seek their acquittal based on the following arguments. First, the two (2) elements of the crime - the sale and delivery of the marijuana, and the knowledge of the sale of marijuana - were not established in evidence. Second, the evidence failed to establish the existence of the buy-bust operation; for the first time on appeal, the appellants argue that they were instigated into selling marijuana. The other arguments relate to the disregard by the lower courts of the defenses of denial and frame-up, and the claim of police extortion raised by the appellants. Resolution: We find no reversible error committed by the RTC and the CA in appreciating the presented evidence and, therefore, deny the petition for lack of merit. First, The convict an accused of illegal sale of marijuana, the prosecution must establish these essential elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment. All these elements were duly proven during the trial. The fact that an actual buy-bust operation took place involving the appellants is supported not only by the testimonies of Paz (as the poseur-buyer) and P/Insp. Vargas, but also by the presented documentary evidence consisting of (a) the photocopy of the serial numbers of the marked money used in the buy-bust operation, (b) the Tigaon Police Station police blotter showing the arrest of the appellants on September 7, 1998 and the cause of their arrest by the group of P/Insp. Vargas, (c) the booking sheet and arrest report against the appellants prepared by P/Insp. Vargas, and (d) the Joint Affidavit of Arrest executed by P/Insp. Vargas and Eduardo Buenavente, another civilian volunteer. Second, the testimonies of Paz and P/Insp. Vargas on the buy-bust operation and the identities of the appellants as the sellers of the marijuana were positive and straightforward; they were consistent with one another with respect to the events that transpired before, during, and after the buy-bust operation that led to the appellants' arrest. We consider, too, the testimonies of Paz and P/Insp. Vargas to be in accord with the physical evidence showing in detail the process undertaken by P/Insp. Vargas and the police officers immediately after the appellants' arrest and the confiscation of the marijuana. We also take into account that no improper motive was ever successfully established showing why the buy-bust team would falsely accuse the appellants. Third, the defenses of denial, frame-up, and police extortion only become weighty when inconsistencies and improbabilities cast doubt on the credibility of the prosecution evidence. We do not see these inconsistencies and improbabilities in the presented evidence. Besides, the failure of the appellants to file appropriate criminal and administrative cases against the concerned police officers in light of their allegations highly indicates that the appellants' claims are mere concocted afterthoughts.

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Fourth, the records show that the defenses of denial, frame-up, and police extortion were even contradicted by the appellants' own conduct during the appeal to the CA. By raising instigation as a defense, the appellants effectively admitted that they sold marijuana; they only now question the circumstances of the sale, with the claim that they were led into it by the police. Fifth, the evidence on record belies that the appellants were instigated to sell marijuana. Instigation means luring the accused into a crime that he, otherwise, had no intention to commit, in order to prosecute him. On the other hand, entrapment is the employment of ways and means in order to trap or capture a lawbreaker. Instigation presupposes that the criminal intent to commit an offense originated from the inducer and not the accused who had no intention to commit the crime and would not have committed it were it not for the initiatives by the inducer. In entrapment, the criminal intent or design to commit the offense charged originates in the mind of the accused; the law enforcement officials merely facilitate the apprehension of the criminal by employing ruses and schemes. In instigation, the law enforcers act as active coprincipals. Instigation leads to the acquittal of the accused, while entrapment does not bar prosecution and conviction.
Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MICHAEL ANDRES Y TRINIDAD [G.R. No. 193184, February 07, 2011] MENDOZA, J.:

Facts:

When the appellant Michael Andres arrived, he approached PO2 Talaue and the informant. After a short conversation, accused-appellant asked the poseur-buyer how much he was going to purchase, to which PO2 Talaue replied, "isanglibo lang." After the police officer showed accused-appellant the money, the latter took the shabu from his pocket and handed it to PO2 Talaue. Upon receiving one piece of transparent plastic sachet containing the suspected shabu, PO2 Talaue gave the pre-arranged signal and his back-up, SPO2 Flores, approached them and frisked accused-appellant. As a result of the buybust operation, SPO2 Flores recovered the buy-bust money consisting of two one hundred peso bills with Serial Nos. BT766967 and JF988321 and one plastic sachet of shabu which was marked by PO2 Talaue with GCT-03-25-03 "B." On the other hand, the shabu, object of the sale, was also marked by PO2 Talaue with his initials and date of the arrest with additional marking "A." After his arrest, accused-appellant was brought to the office of the Barangay Chairperson to whom the alleged confiscated shabu was shown. When accused-appellant was brought to their headquarters, the necessary requests for dusting of ultraviolet, medical examination and drug-testing were made. As stipulated during the pre-trial conference, Forensic Chemist May Andrea A. Bonifacio conducted a qualitative examination of the seized items and gave POSITIVE result to the tests for the presence of Methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug.

Issue/s: Whether or not the Court of Appelas was correct in ruling that the accused Michael Andres y Trinidad is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Violating Section 5 and 11, Art.II of Republic Act.No. 9165. Resolution: For the successful prosecution of offenses involving the illegal sale of drugs under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, the following elements must be proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, object and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. In the case at bench, there is no doubt that the prosecution successfully established all the elements of illegal sale of drugs prohibited under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165. The records show that Andres was caught in flagrante delicto selling a dangerous drug, methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, to PO2 Talaue on March 25, 2003 in the vicinity of Poblacion, Valenzuela City. The Court gives full faith and credence to the testimonies of the police officers and upholds the presumption of regularity in the apprehending officers' performance of official duty. It is a settled rule that in cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers, for they are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, Andres failed to present clear and convincing evidence to overturn the presumption that the arresting officers regularly performed their duties. Except for his bare allegations, there is no solid proof whatsoever to support his claim that the police officers were impelled by improper motives to testify against him. Hence, the veracity of their testimonies is beyond question. The Court agrees with the CA that Andres did not raise this as an issue in the trial court. Andres only made a general statement in his appeal brief without specifically stating what procedural requirements were not complied with by the apprehending police officers. The stipulations entered into by the parties during the pre-trial conference disprove his claim that the procedural requirements of Section 21, Paragraph 1 of Article II of R.A. No. 9165 were not complied with by the police officers. The stipulations show that the chain of custody of the confiscated drugs was preserved.

Bonifacio A. Acacio Jr.

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VAN D. LUSPO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 188487 SUPT. ARTURO H. MONTANO and MARGARITA TUGAOEN v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 188541 C/INSP. SALVADOR C. DURAN, SR v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 188556 February 14, 2011 Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura

Facts:

Acting on a report of the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding disbursement irregularities for combat, clothing, and individual equipment (CCIE) in Regions VII and VIII, North Capital Command (CAPCOM), the Philippine National Police-General Headquarters (PNP-GHQ), through the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), conducted an investigation of several officers of the PNP and of a private individual. The investigation report disclosed that, on August 11, 1992, the Office of the Directorate for Comptrollership (ODC) issued two (2) Advices of Sub-Allotment (ASAs), (001-500-138-92 SN 4361 and 001-500-139-92 SN 4362), each amounting to Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00), purportedly for the purchase of CCIE for the North CAPCOM. The ASAs were approved "FOR THE CHIEF [Director General Cesar Nazareno (Nazareno)], PNP" by Director Guillermo Domondon (Domondon), Chief Director of ODC, and signed for him by Police Superintendent Van Luspo (Luspo), Chief, Fiscal Division, Budget and Fiscal Services of the ODC. The ASAs were issued without an approved personnel program from the Directorate for Personnel. The checks were all dated August 12, 1992 and payable respectively to DI-BEN Trading, MT Enterprises, J-MOS Enterprises, and Triple 888 Enterprises, each to receive 25 checks. All enterprises were owned and operated by Margarita Tugaoen (Tugaoen), who collected the proceeds of the checks from the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Cubao Branch, on August 12, 13, and 14, 1992. In a sworn statement dated March 5, 1993 taken by Insp. Felicidad Ramos, a member of the investigating committee, Tugaoen admitted that she did not deliver any CCIE in exchange for the P10 million worth of checks, because the amount was allegedly intended as payment for the previously accumulated debts of the PNP. The nondelivery was confirmed by P/CInsp. Isaias Braga (Braga), Chief Logistics Officer, North CAPCOM, and Rolando Flores, Supply Accountable Officer, North CAPCOM. Both declared that, while they received CCIE in 1992, the same came from the PNP Logistics Command and not from Tugaoen, and that the value of the items they received was just P5,900,778.80 and had no relation at all to the P10 million CCIE purchase under investigation. Their statements were corroborated by P/Supt. Jesus Arceo, Chief of the Supply Center of PNP Logistics Command. On the basis of the foregoing findings, the investigating team recommended that appropriate complaints be filed against Nazareno, Domondon, Montano, Tugaoen, and Pedro Sistoza (Director Sistoza), Regional Director, North CAPCOM. No reasonable ground was found to implicate Duran in the anomalous transaction, but he was still impleaded in the lettercomplaint subsequently filed before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (OMBAFP)9 (now OMB-Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices [MOLEO]) because he was a cosignatory to the 100 checks. On January 26, 1994, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) approved the resolution of the OMB-AFP, with the modification that the proper offense to be charged was violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, for only one (1) count. The OSP also cleared Director Sistoza from any participation in the anomalous deal.Thusly, the accusatory portion of the Information filed with the Sandiganbayan reads: That in or about August 1992, and for sometime subsequent thereto, in Quezon City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named public officers, namely: Cesar P. Nazareno, being then the Director General; Guillermo T. Domondon, Director for Comptrollership; Van D. Luspo, Chief, Fiscal Services and Budget Division; Arturo H. Montano, Chief Comptroller, North Capcom and Salvador C. Duran, Sr., Chief, Regional Finance Services Unit (RFSU), North Capcom, all of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while in the performance of their respective official and administrative functions as such, acting with evident bad faith and manifest partiality, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, together with private accused Margarita B. Tugaoen, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally cause undue injury to the government (PNP), by causing the preparation, issuance, release and payment, without supporting documents, of TEN MILLION PESOS (P10,000,000.00) to DI-BEN TRADING, MT ENTERPRISES, J-MOS ENTERPRISES and TRIPLE 888 ENTERPRISES, all owned and operated by accused Margarita B. Tugaoen, purportedly for the purchase of combat, clothing and individual equipment (CCIE) for use of North Capcom personnel, to which no actual delivery of said CCIE items were ever effected by accused supplier Margarita B. Tugaoen, thereby giving unwarranted benefits to the latter accused, to the damage and prejudice of the Philippine government in the total amount of TEN MILLION (P10,000,000.00) PESOS, Philippine Currency. After numerous postponements caused by supervening procedural incidents, Nazareno, Domondon, Luspo, Montano, and Tugaoen were finally arraigned on October 12, 2001. They individually entered a "not guilty" plea. Duran refused to make any plea during his arraignment on October 26, 2001 hence, a "not guilty" plea was entered for him. During pre-trial, all accused agreed to the following stipulation of facts:

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1. That except for accused Margarita Tugaoen, all the accused are public officers at the time stated in the Information; 2. That on August 11, 1992, the Office of the Directorate for Comptrollership of the PNP, issued two (2) Advices of Sub-Allotment (ASAs) in favor of the North CAPCOM in the amount of Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00) each, making a total of TEN MILLION [PESOS] (P10,000,000.00) for payment of Combat, Clothing, and Individual Equipment (CCIE) of PNP personnel. At the trial, the prosecution presented the following witnesses: 1) Evangeline Candia (Candia), Chief District Inspectorate of the Western Police District, and a member of the committee formed by the PNP to investigate the CCIE anomaly; 2) Felicidad Ramos, also a member of the PNP investigating committee and the one who took the sworn statement of Tugaoen during the investigation proceedings; 3) Romulo Tuscano, Supply Accountable Officer of the PNP; 4) Rafael Jayme, Acting Deputy Inspector General at the Office of the Inspector General of the PNP at the time material in the Information; 5) Emmanuel Barcena, executive employee of the Philippine Clearing House (PCH); 6) Atty. Ismael Andrew Pantua Isip, lawyer of UCPB; and 7) Ma. Cristina Sagritalo-Fortuna, Branch Operations Officer of UCPB, Cubao Branch. The foregoing witnesses testimonies, together with documentary pieces of evidence marked as Exhibits "A" to "H-4," sought to establish that Nazareno, Domondon, Luspo, Duran, and Montano acted with evident bad faith and manifest partiality when they failed to observe the logistic requirement of North CAPCOM prior to the preparation of the 2 ASAs; and that they violated GHQ-AFP Circular No. 8 issued on January 25, 1985 when they failed to make any budget proposal relative to the purchase of CCIE for North CAPCOM in 1992. GHQ-AFP Circular No. 8 mandates that the yearly funding requirement of combat clothing should be included in the budget proposals of the concerned unit. The prosecution further endeavored to prove that the vouchers and related documents pertaining to the procurement of the P10 million worth of CCIE did not pass the office of Abelardo Madridejo, Chief Accountant, North CAPCOM.18 State Auditor Erlinda Cargo of the COA for PNP North CAPCOM also certified that, as of March 23, 1993, the direct payment voucher amounting to P10 million intended for the purchase of CCIE was not liquidated because the records thereof were not forwarded to the COA. In a sworn statement executed during the investigation conducted by PNP-GHQ, Montano declared that the checks relative to the P10-million ASAs were delivered to Tugaoen who, in turn, acknowledged receipt thereof in her own sworn statement executed before Candia during the investigations conducted by PNP. Tugaoen likewise admitted that she did not deliver CCIE in exchange for the value of the checks because they were intended to cover the previously accumulated debts of the PNP. On December 16, 2004, the accused filed, upon leave of court, a Consolidated Motion for Demurrer to Evidence, arguing in the main the inadmissibility, under the best evidence rule, of the photocopies of the ASAs, the 100 checks, the original printout of the full master list and detail list of the checks from the PHC, and the bank statement prepared by the UCPB, respectively docketed as Exhibits A to A-1, C to C-27, C-28 to C-29c, H to H-4. Issues: In G.R. No. 188487, In Luspos case (errors to Sandiganbayan): Whether or not the Sandiganbayans finding that the petitioner was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of violation of Section 3 of R.A. No. 3019 was not supported with evidence on record and erred in denying petitioners motion for reconsideration of its January 19, 2009 decision. Whether or not the prosecution has not presented evidence which could overcome the petitioners presumption of innocence. In G.R. No. 188541, Montano and Tugaoens case (grounds for their exoneration): Whether or not the Sandiganbayan gravely erred and gravely abused its discretion in holding that the petitioners are duty-bound to prove that there were deliveries of CCIE despite the prosecutions allegation in the information that there was no delivery of CCIE items. Whether or not the Sandiganbayan gravely erred and gravely abused its discretion I admitting in evidence and in giving the mere Xerox copies of the checks. Whether or not the Sandiganbayan gravely erred and gravely abused its discretion in ordering petitioners jointly and severally liable with Luspo and Duran to indemnify the PNP or the government. In G.R. No. 188556, Durans case, the Sandiganbayan in this manner: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan gravely erred in ruling that petitioner was in conspiracy with his co-accused. Whether or not the Sandiganbayan gravely erred in not adhering to the findings of the PNP investigating committee, which found no probable cause against petitioner. Whether or not the Sandiganbayan gravely erred in finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating R.A. no. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-graft and Corruption.

Resolution: No. Petitioners were found by the Sandiganbayan to have violated Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, which provides, as follows:
Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful : (e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality,

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evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.

In Cabrera v. Sandiganbayan,47 we explained that there are two ways for a public official to violate this provision in the performance of his functions, namely: (a) by causing undue injury to any party, including the government; or (b) by giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference. In that case, we enumerated the essential elements of the offense, viz.:
1. The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial, or official functions; 2. He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence; and 3. His action caused undue injury to any party, including the government, or gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference in the discharge of his functions.

Evident bad faith and manifest partiality are imputed to Luspo, Duran, and Montano when they caused the preparation, issuance, release, and payment of P10,000,000.00, without supporting documents, to DI-BEN Trading, MT Enterprises, JMOS Enterprises, and Triple 888 Enterprises, all owned and operated by Tugaoen. Generally, factual findings of the anti-graft court are conclusive upon the Supreme Court, except where: (1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise and conjectures; (2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts and the findings of fact of the Sandiganbayan are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by evidence on record. The Sandiganbayan ruled that these pieces of evidence debunked the prosecutions allegation that the ASAs were charged against Personal Services Fund without the necessary realignment authority from the DBM. As such, the court negated Domondons culpability for the crime charged. We see no reason to treat Luspo differently because the authority delegated by Nazareno to Domondon inevitably passed down to the latters sub-delegate, Luspo. In general, national government agencies (NGAs), such as the PNP, receive their yearly budgetary allocation from the DBM through an Advice of Allotment. The amount represented therein is, in turn, distributed/sub-allocated by NGAs to their support units or departments through the issuance of an ASA (also known as Sub-Allotment Advice). In the PNP, the power to sub-allocate the agencys funds is vested by R.A. 6975 in the PNP Chief, viz.: Sec. 26. Powers, Functions and Term of Office of the PNP Chief. The command and direction of the PNP shall be vested in the Chief of the PNP who shall have the power to direct and control tactical as well as strategic movements, deployment, placement, utilization of the PNP or any of its units and personnel, including its equipment, facilities and other resources.55 (Emphasis supplied.) In addition, the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual classifies combat clothing under the category of "personal services fund." The prosecution alleged that Luspo failed to observe the logistic requirements of North CAPCOM in 1992 when he signed and issued the ASAs. To buttress this claim, Exhibits "F-15" to "F-16-E" were submitted. The finding of the Sandiganbayan that the ASAs were issued over and above the approved P6,000,000.00 CCIE budget for calendar year 1992 was not supported by evidence on record. The prosecution did not present any document showing the PNP or the North CAPCOMs budgetary program for 1992. Under Section 106 of P.D. No. 1445, an accountable officer who acts under the direction of a superior officer in paying out or disposing of funds is not exempt from liability unless he notified the superior officer in writing of the illegality of the payment or disposition. Duran made no such notification. Instead, he disregarded all disbursement, auditing, and accounting policies, effectively facilitating the illegal transaction. He did not require the submission of a procurement contract, a certificate of requisition, or vouchers before drawing and signing the checks. He merely mechanically affixed his signature when he was supposed to act with discernment. As the Chief of the Regional Finance Service Unit of the North CAPCOM, he was an accountable officer and had control and supervision over the funds of the command against which the checks were drawn. The penalty for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 is "imprisonment for not less than six years and one month nor more than fifteen years, and perpetual disqualification from public office."80 Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law, if the offense is punishable by a special law, as in the present case, an indeterminate penalty shall be imposed on the accused, the maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by the law, and the minimum not less than the minimum prescribed therein. There being no aggravating and mitigating circumstances in this case, the Sandiganbayan correctly imposed the indeterminate prison term of six (6) years and one (1) month, as minimum, to ten (10) years and one (1) day, as maximum, with perpetual disqualification from public office. Duran, Montano, and Tugaoen shall be solidarily liable for the restitution of the P10,000,00.00 that they defrauded from the funds of the PNP. An offense as a general rule causes two (2) classes of injuries - the first is the social injury produced by the criminal act which is sought to be repaired through the imposition of the corresponding penalty, and the second is the personal injury caused to the victim of the crime, which injury is sought to be compensated through indemnity, which is civil in nature. WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the conviction of Salvador Duran, Sr., Arturo Montano, and Margarita Tugaoen in Sandiganbayan Criminal Case No. 20192 is affirmed. The conviction of Van Luspo in Criminal Case No. 20192 is reversed and set aside, and he is acquitted. The bailbond posted for his provisional liberty is cancelled. Salvador Duran, Sr., Arturo Montano, and Margarita Tugaoen are further ordered to jointly and severally indemnify the Philippine National Police of Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00).
Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

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FRAGANTE v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 182521 February 9, 2011 Antonio T. Carpio

Facts:

In ten (10) Informations filed on 14 July 1998, appellant was charged with nine (9) counts of acts of lasciviousness and one (1) count of rape all committed against his own minor daughter AAA. The Informations read: CRIMINAL CASE NO. 98-651 for Violation of Art. 336 of the RPC, as amended, in relation to Section 5(b), Art. III of R.A. 7610, committed as follows: That in between the period of April-May 1993, in Paraaque, Metro Manila, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, by taking advantage of his then ten (10) year old biological daughter, [AAA], and with lewd designs, did then willfully, unlawfully and feloniously fondled the breast of [AAA]. CRIMINAL CASE NO. 98 654 for Violation of Art. 336 of the RPC, as amended, in relation to Section 5(b), Art. III of R.A. 7610, committed as follows: That sometime in between the period of October to December 1993 at Shaolin Chinese Restaurant located at Sucat Road, Paraaque, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, by taking advantage of his then eleven (11) year old biological daughter, [AAA], and with lewd designs, did then willfully, unlawfully and feloniously fondled and sucked the breasts of [AAA], and thereafter touched the vagina of said minor-victim. CRIMINAL CASE NO. 98 656 for Violation of Art. 336 of the RPC, as amended, in relation to Section 5(b), Art. III of R.A. 7610, committed as follows: That sometime in between the period commencing in January 1994 to August 1994, in Paraaque, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, by taking advantage of his then eleven (11) year old biological daughter, [AAA], and with lewd designs, did then willfully, unlawfully and feloniously touched and sucked the breasts of [AAA], licked her vagina and inserted his finger into the private part of said minor-victim. CRIMINAL CASE NO. 98 657 for Violation of Art. 336 of the RPC, as amended, in relation to Section 5(b), Art. III of R.A. 7610, committed as follows: That sometime in between the period commencing in August 1994 until September 1995, in Paraaque, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, by taking advantage of his then twelve (12) year old biological daughter, [AAA], and with lewd designs, did then willfully, unlawfully and feloniously touched and sucked the breasts of [AAA], licked her vagina and inserted his finger into the private part of said minor-victim. CRIMINAL CASE NO. 98 658 for Violation of Art. 336 of the RPC, as amended, in relation to Section 5(b), Art. III of R.A. 7610, committed as follows: That sometime in September 1997, in Paraaque, Metro Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, abovenamed accused, by taking advantage of his then fifteen (15) year old biological daughter, [AAA], and with lewd designs, did then willfully, unlawfully and feloniously touched and sucked the breasts of [AAA], licked her vagina and inserted his finger into the private part of said minor-victim. Ernesto A. Fragante (Ernesto hereafter) married CCC on October 6, 1975, in Sta. Cruz Manila, and such marriage was ratified on December 7, 1995 celebrated in San Sebastian Parish Church. That union, produced three offsprings. [AAA], the victim herein, is their third child. She was born on August 23, 1982. Sometime in April 1993 to May 1993, three or four months before her eleventh (11) birthday, [AAA] woke up one early morning to prepare for the driving lessons which her father Ernesto, promised to teach them that day. [AAA] was the first to wake up. She was in her room when her father entered and lay on her bed. He then asked [AAA] to lie beside him to which [AAA] obeyed. While lying beside her, Ernesto was talking to her about a lot of things, and as he talked he started to fondle her breast and suck her nipples. The sole issue in this case is whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming appellant's conviction for nine (9) counts of acts of lasciviousness and one (1) count of rape.

Issue:

Resolution: The court sustain appellant's conviction for seven (7) counts of acts of lasciviousness and one (1) count of rape. The court acquit appellant for two (2) counts of acts of lasciviousness on the ground of reasonable doubt. Appellant contends that the Court of Appeals erred in convicting him for the crime of rape since the prosecution failed to overthrow the presumption of innocence. Appellant alleges that (1) AAA's testimony was full of inconsistencies and improbabilities which cast serious doubts on the truthfulness of her account; (2) the medical findings do not support the charge of rape; (3) AAA's delayed reporting of the incident renders the charges dubious; and (4) AAA and her mother harbored a grudge against appellant. The court is not persuaded. The prosecution sufficiently established appellant's guilt beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape. In this case, AAA's testimony clearly showed how appellant took advantage of his relationship with and his moral ascendancy over his minor daughter when he had carnal knowledge of her. As found by the Court of Appeals, appellant instilled fear on AAA's mind every time he sexually molested her, thus:

103

[AAA] also admitted that after accused-appellant has started sexually molesting her until she was raped, she was so frightened of him. In fact she could not tell her mother of her ordeal, mindful of the serious threats on her life and of the chaos it would cause their family. The court likewise find appellant's claim that the medical findings do not support the charge of rape untenable. Aside from AAA's positive, straightforward, and credible testimony, the prosecution presented the medical certificate issued by Dr. Bernadette Madrid and the latter's testimony which corroborate AAA's claim that appellant raped her. Appellant argues that the Court of Appeals erred in convicting him for nine counts of acts of lasciviousness since the prosecution failed to establish with particularity the date of the commission of the offense. Appellant contends that AAA's testimony was a "sweeping generalization of the crimes committed." According to appellant, AAA's statement "that the said acts were allegedly committed so many times on certain occasions is clearly inadequate and grossly insufficient" to sustain a conviction. Appellant was charged with violation of Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, in relation to Section 5(b), Article III of Republic Act No. 7610. WHEREFORE, the court AFFIRM the 28 September 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 01980 with MODIFICATIONS. They find appellant Ernesto Fragante y Ayuda: 1. GUILTY of RAPE in Criminal Case No. 98-660. He is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole and ordered to pay AAA P75,000 as civil indemnity, P75,000 as moral damages, and P30,000 as exemplary damages. 2. GUILTY of ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS in Criminal Case Nos. 98-657 and 98-659, with relationship as an aggravating circumstance. He is sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay AAA (1) moral damages of P15,000; (2) a fine of P15,000; (3) civil indemnity of P20,000; and (4) exemplary damages of P15,000 for each count. 3. GUILTY of ACTS OF LASCIVIOUSNESS in Criminal Case Nos. 98-651, 98-653, 98-654, 98-655, and 98-656, with relationship as an aggravating circumstance. He is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of 12 years and 1 day of reclusion temporal as minimum to 17 years of reclusion temporal as maximum and ordered to pay AAA (1) moral damages.

Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

104

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, v. KHADAFFY JANJALANI, et, al. G.R. No. 188314 January 10, 2011 Maria Lourdes P. A. SERENO

Facts:

On 14 February 2005, an RRCG bus was plying its usual southbound route, from its Navotas bus terminal towards its Alabang bus terminal via Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). Around 6:30 to 7:30 in the evening, while they were about to move out of the Guadalupe-EDSA southbound bus stop, the bus conductor noticed two men running after the bus. The two insisted on getting on the bus, so the conductor obliged and let them in. According to Elmer Andales, the bus conductor, he immediately became wary of the two men, because, even if they got on the bus together, the two sat away from each other one sat two seats behind the driver, while the other sat at the back of the bus. At the time, there were only 15 passengers inside the bus. He also noticed that the eyes of one of the men were reddish. When he approached the person near the driver and asked him whether he was paying for two passengers, the latter looked dumb struck by the question. He then stuttered and said he was paying for two and gave PhP20. Andales grew more concerned when the other man seated at the back also paid for both passengers. At this point, Andales said he became more certain that the two were up to no good, and that there might be a holdup. Afterwards, Andales said he became more suspicious because both men kept on asking him if the bus was going to stop at Ayala Avenue. The witness also noticed that the man at the back appeared to be slouching, with his legs stretched out in front of him and his arms hanging out and hidden from view as if he was tinkering with something. When Andales would get near the man, the latter would glare at him. Andales admitted, however, that he did not report the suspicious characters to the police. As soon as the bus reached the stoplight at the corner of Ayala Avenue and EDSA, the two men insisted on getting off the bus. According to Andales, the bus driver initially did not want to let them off the bus, because a Makati ordinance prohibited unloading anywhere except at designated bus stops. Eventually, the bus driver gave in and allowed the two passengers to alight. The two immediately got off the bus and ran towards Ayala Avenue. Moments after, Andales felt an explosion. He then saw fire quickly engulfing the bus. He ran out of the bus towards a nearby mall. After a while, he went back to where the bus was. He saw their bus passengers either lying on the ground or looking traumatized. A few hours after, he made a statement before the Makati Police Station narrating the whole incident. The prosecution presented documents furnished by the Department of Justice, confirming that shortly before the explosion, the spokesperson of the Abu Sayyaf Group Abu Solaiman announced over radio station DZBB that the group had a Valentines Day "gift" for former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. After the bombing, he again went on radio and warned of more bomb attacks. As stipulated during pretrial, accused Trinidad gave ABS-CBN News Network an exclusive interview some time after the incident, confessing his participation in the Valentines Day bombing incident. In another exclusive interview on the network, accused Baharan likewise admitted his role in the bombing incident. Finally, accused Asali gave a television interview, confessing that he had supplied the explosive devices for the 14 February 2005 bombing. The bus conductor identified the accused Baharan and Trinidad, and confirmed that they were the two men who had entered the RRCG bus on the evening of 14 February. Members of the Abu Sayyaf Group namely Khaddafy Janjalani, Gamal B. Baharan, Angelo Trinidad, Gappal Bannah Asali, Jainal Asali, Rohmat Abdurrohim a.k.a. Abu Jackie or Zaky, and other "John" and "Jane Does" were then charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder. Only Baharan, Trinidad, Asali, and Rohmat were arrested, while the other accused remain at-large. Whether or not the trial court gravely erred in accepting accused-appellants plea of guilt despite insufficiency of searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of the said plea. Whether or not the trial court gravely erred in finding that the guilt of accused-appellants for the crimes charged had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Issues:

Resolution: Yes. Accused-appellants Baharan and Trinidad argue that the trial court did not conduct a searching inquiry after they had changed their plea from "not guilty" to "guilty." Yes. In People v. Oden, the Court declared that even if the requirement of conducting a searching inquiry was not complied with, "the manner by which the plea of guilt is made loses much of great significance where the conviction can be based on independent evidence proving the commission by the person accused of the offense charged." In the light of the foregoing evidence, the Court upholds the finding of guilt against Rohmat. Article 17 of the Revised Penal Code reads: Art. 17. Principals. The following are considered principals: 1. Those who take a direct part in the execution of the act 2. Those who directly force or induce others to commit it 3. Those who cooperate in the commission of the offense by another act without which it would not have been accomplished

105

Accused Rohmat is criminally responsible under the second paragraph, or the provision on "principal by inducement." The instructions and training he had given Asali on how to make bombs coupled with their careful planning and persistent attempts to bomb different areas in Metro Manila and Rohmats confirmation that Trinidad would be getting TNT from Asali as part of their mission prove the finding that Rohmats co-inducement was the determining cause of the commission of the crime. Such "command or advice was of such nature that, without it, the crime would not have materialized. The Court also affirms the finding of the existence of conspiracy involving accused Baharan, Trinidad, and Rohmat. Conspiracy was clearly established from the "collective acts of the accused-appellants before, during and after the commission of the crime." As correctly declared by the trial court in its Omnibus Decision: While said conspiracy involving the four malefactors has not been expressly admitted by accused Baharan, Angelo Trinidad, and Rohmat, more specifically with respect to the latters participation in the commission of the crimes, nonetheless it has been established by virtue of the aforementioned evidence, which established the existence of the conspiracy itself and the indispensable participation of accused Rohmat in seeing to it that the conspirators criminal design would be realized. It is well-established that conspiracy may be inferred from the acts of the accused, which clearly manifests a concurrence of wills, a common intent or design to commit a crime (People v. Lenantud, 352 SCRA 544). Hence, where acts of the accused collectively and individually demonstrate the existence of a common design towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful purpose, conspiracy is evident and all the perpetrators will be held liable as principals (People v. Ellado, 353 SCRA 643). In People v. Geronimo, the Court pronounced that it would be justified in concluding that the defendants therein were engaged in a conspiracy "when the defendants by their acts aimed at the same object, one performing one part and the other performing another part so as to complete it, with a view to the attainment of the same object; and their acts, though apparently independent, were in fact concerted and cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments." WHEREFORE, the Petition is denied. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, as affirmed with modification by the Court of Appeals, is affirmed.

Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

106

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. NELIDA DEQUINA, et al, G.R. No. 177570 January 19, 2011 LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:

Facts:

Accused-appellants Nelida D. Dequina , Joselito J. Jundoc , and Nora C. Jingabo were charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 27, with Violations of Section 4, in relation to Section 21, paragraphs (e-l), (f), (m), and (o) of Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659. The accusatory portion of the Amended Information reads: That on or about September 29, 1999, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, conspiring and confederating together and helping one another, not being authorized by law to sell, deliver, transport or give away to another any prohibited drug, did and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly sell, or offer for sale, deliver or transport marijuana dried flowering tops with total weight of thirty two thousand nine hundred ninety five (32,995) grams which is a prohibited drug. Police Officer III Wilfredo Masanggue testified that at about 6:00 a.m., of September 29, 1999, he and SPO1 Anthony Blanco were instructed by their superior, Chief Inspector Romulo Sapitula to proceed at the corner of Juan Luna and Raxabago Sts., Tondo, Manila, where, according to the report given by the informant, three persons a male and two female[s] would be coming from Baguio City to deliver unknown quantity of marijuana. In no time, they arrived at the designated place and parked their mobile patrol car along Juan Luna Street, facing the northern direction just near the corner of Raxabago Street. At the western Police District Headquarters at United Nations Avenue, they turned over the three accused together with the bags to PO3 Eduardo Pama, a police investigator of the district Anti-Narcotics Unit for investigation. During the investigation, it was discovered that each of the three black travelling bags confiscated from the three accused contained eleven bricks of marijuana. In connection with the incident, he and SPO1 Blanco executed the Joint Affidavit of Apprehension dated September 30, 1999. For the defense, only the accused-appellants took the witness stand. The RTC recapitulated the testimonies of the accusedappellants, thus: Accused Nelida Dequina testified that she became an orphan at a tender age. With the help of her aunt, she was able to pursue her studies. She was a consistent scholar from elementary until college. While in the third year of her Accountancy course, she encountered severe financial difficulties. She stopped schooling and worked instead. Soon, she had a relationship with a man with whom she begot a child. The relationship did not last. Not long after, she had a relationship with another man. This time she begot her second child named Samantha. Whether or not the Court erred in finding the accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt for illegal transport of marijuana. Whether or not the Court gravely erred in admitting in evidence the seized items from the accused-appellant despite the fact that they were seized in violation of their constitutional rights against illegal search and seizure.

Issues:

Resolution: No. The accused-appellants were charged with and convicted of the offense of illegal transport of marijuana, defined and penalized under Section 4 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended, which provides: SEC. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions. No. The People counters that accused-appellants arrests were lawful as they were then actually committing a crime. Since accused-appellants were lawfully arrested, the resulting warrantless search of their persons and belongings was also valid. In addition, accused-appellants did not refute that they were indeed transporting prohibited drugs when they were arrested and, instead, alleged as defenses that Dequina acted under the impulse of uncontrollable fear, and Jundoc and Jingabo were merely accommodating a trusted childhood friend. The Decision dated August 16, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01431, which affirmed the Decision dated October 30, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 27, in Criminal Case No. 99-177383, finding accused-appellants GUILTY of the crime of illegal transport of marijuana and sentencing them to reclusion perpetua, and to pay a fine of P500,000.00 each, is affirmed. Costs against accused-appellants.

Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

107

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. HEMIANO DE JESUS and RODELO MORALES G.R. No. 186528 January 26, 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.

Facts:

The accused were charged with the crime of Murder before the RTC in Lipa City, Batangas, in an Information dated October 8, 1992, which reads as follows: That on or about the 9th day of July, 1992, at about 9:00 oclock in the evening, in Barangay Libato, Municipality of San Juan, Province of Batangas, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, both armed with [a] small bolo (gulukan), conspiring and confederating together, acting in common accord and mutually helping each other, with intent to kill, with treachery and evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength and without any justifiable cause, did then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault, hack and stab with the said small bolo one Armando Arasula y de Torres, suddenly and without warning, thereby inflicting upon the latter physical injuries on the different parts of his body which caused his instantaneous death. The prosecution presented as its eyewitness Santiago Arasula, the younger brother of the victim, Armando Arasula. The prosecution and the defense agreed to stipulate on the testimony of Dr. Elizabeth Sario and the existence of the postmortem findings and certificate of death made by her. Dr. Sario concluded that the cause of death was cardio-respiratory arrest, secondary to stab wounds. Santiago stated that his brother Armando lived in the house of their mother in Barangay Libato, San Juan, Batangas, which was more or less 10 meters from his own house. Santiago testified that, on the evening of July 9, 1992, he, Armando, and the two accused had been drinking at the birthday party of a certain Alejandro Hornillo, but he left earlier than the others. Later, when Santiago was already at home with his wife and children, he heard Armando shouting, "Mother, Mother, I was stabbed by Hemiano and Rodelo!" Santiago then ran towards his brother, and saw him lying on the ground, with the accused still stabbing him with a gulukan (small bolo). He ordered the two to stop, whereupon they ran away, heading north. When Santiago reached his brother, he found that Armando was already dead. Morales testified that at the time of the killing, he was in his house, not far from the house of the victim, around 20 armslengths, as per his reckoning.32 There is, thus, the possibility of him being physically present at the place of the crime; indeed, as per his testimony, he was in the immediate vicinity. He presented no corroborating evidence to show that he was elsewhere at the time of the killing, nor did he present any witnesses to his whereabouts. There is only his word that he was not there, against Santiagos credible testimony. The case was raised to the CA and docketed as CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 02493. In their appeal, accused-appellants attempted to cast doubt upon the testimony of Santiago Arasula, claiming that the witness identification of the accused lacked credibility, considering the circumstances that the area was dark and that Santiago was the only one to respond to the alleged cries for help of the victim. They also attempted to show that the version of events posited by accused-appellant de Jesus was more credible, that the killing was done in self-defense. Accused-appellants further argued that, assuming arguendo that they committed the act of killing Armando Arasula, the trial court erred in appreciating the qualifying circumstance of superior strength. Whether or not the defense of alibi by the accussed-appellant Morales will proper.

Issue:

Resolution:No. Appellants denial and alibi are not worthy of belief. It is an oft-quoted doctrine that positive identification prevails over denial and alibi. Alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime. Furthermore, for the defense of alibi to prosper, appellant must establish that (a) he was in another place at the time of the commission of the offense; and (b) he was so far away that he could not have been physically present at the place of the crime, or its immediate vicinity, at the time of its commission. It is noted that the Court was informed of the death of accused-appellant Rodelo Morales on March 15, 2009 in an Indorsement dated November 16, 2009 from Police Chief Superintendent Renato C. Ramos of the Batangas Provincial Jail, with the attached certificate of death of accused-appellant Morales. Considering that accused-appellant Morales died before his conviction for murder had attained finality, his criminal as well as civil liabilities are extinguished, as per Art. 89(1) of the RPC.The final disposition of the case must reflect this as well.lawphi1 The CA Decision dated August 19, 2008 in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 02493 is affirmed with modification, as follows: (1) The case against accused-appellant Rodelo Morales is DISMISSED, as his criminal and civil liabilities are extinguished by reason of his death; and (2) Accused-appellant Hemiano de Jesus is sentenced to reclusion perpetua. He is ordered to pay PhP 75,000 as civil indemnity, PhP 75,000 as moral damages, PhP 30,000 as exemplary damages, and PhP 25,000 as temperate damages to the heirs of Armando Arasula, all with interest at the legal rate of six percent (6%) per annum from the finality of this Decision until fully paid.
Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

108

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERNESTO UYBOCO y RAMOS G.R. No. 178039 January 19, 2011 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

Appellant, along with now deceased Colonel Wilfredo Macias (Macias) and several John Does were charged in three separate Informations, which read as follow: In Criminal Case No. 93-130980: That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for sometime subsequent thereto in Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain the minor, JESON KEVIN DICHAVES, five (5) years old, against his will and consent, thus depriving him of his liberty, for the purpose of extorting ransom for his release, which after payment thereof in the amount of P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00 worth of assorted jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber Pistol with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P1,500,000.00) was divided by said accused between and/or among themselves to the damage and prejudice of the aforementioned victim/or his parents. In Criminal Case No. 93-132606: That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for sometime subsequent thereto in Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain the minor, JESON KIRBY DICHAVES, two (2) years old, against his will and consent, thus depriving him of his liberty, for the purpose of extorting ransom for his release, which after payment thereof in the amount of P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00 worth of assorted jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber Pistol with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P1,500,000.00) was divided by said accused between and/or among themselves to the damage and prejudice of the aforementioned victim/or his parents. In Criminal Case No. 93-132607: That in the morning of December 20, 1993 and for sometime subsequent thereto in Manila and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously kidnap, carry away and detain NIMFA CELIZ, against her will and consent, thus depriving her of liberty, for the purpose of extorting ransom for her release, which after payment thereof in the amount of P1,320,000.00 in cash and P175,000.00 worth of assorted jewelry, including a Colt .45 Caliber Pistol with SN 14836 or a total of ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P1,500,000.00) was divided by said accused between and/or among themselves to the damage and prejudice of the aforementioned victim. The prosecution presented the following witnesses: Nimfa Celiz (Nimfa), Jepson Dichaves (Jepson), Police Superintendent Gilbert Cruz (P/Supt. Cruz), Police Superintendent Mario Chan (P/Supt. Chan), Police Inspector Cesar Escandor (P/Insp. Escandor) and Carolina Alejo, whose version of facts are summarized as follows: At around 10:30 a.m. on 20 December 1993, Nimfa and her wards, siblings Jeson Kevin and Jeson Kirby Dichaves were riding in the Isuzu car of the Dichaves family, together with Yusan Dichaves (Yusan). Driver Pepito Acon (Acon) dropped off Yusan at Metrobank in Claro M. Recto Avenue, Manila. While waiting for Yusan, Acon drove along Bilibid Viejo, Sampaloc. When the vehicle passed by in front of San Sebastian Church, a stainless jeep with two men and one woman described as a tomboy on board, suddenly blocked its way. One of the men, who was in police uniform accosted Acon and accused him of hitting the son of a Presidential Security Group (PSG) General apparently with a stone when the vehicle ran over it. Acon denied the charges but he was transferred to the stainless jeep while the man in police uniform drove the Isuzu car. Whether appellants guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Issues:

Resolution: Yes. In order for the accused to be convicted of kidnapping and serious illegal detention under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, the prosecution is burdened to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of the crime, namely: (1) the offender is a private individual; (2) he kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his liberty; (3) the act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (4) in the commission of the offense any of the following circumstances is present: (a) the kidnapping or detention lasts for more than three days; (b) it is committed by simulating public authority; (c) serious physical injuries are inflicted upon the person kidnapped or detained or threats to kill him are made; or (d) the person kidnapped and kept in detained is a minor, the duration of his detention is immaterial. Likewise, if the victim is kidnapped and illegally detained for the purpose of extorting ransom, the duration of his detention is immaterial. The Decision dated 30 August 2002 in Criminal Case Nos. 93-130980, 93-132606, and 93-132607 RTC, Branch 18, Manila, finding Ernesto Uyboco y Ramos guilty of kidnapping for ransom, and the Decision dated 27 September 2006 of the Court of Appeals, affirming in toto the Decision of the RTC, are AFFIRMED.
Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

109

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ROGELIO DOLORIDO y ESTRADA G.R. No. 191721 January 12, 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.: The Avilas were hired laborers of the victim, Estose, tasked to harvest the coconuts in the latters farm in Cagdapao, Tago, Surigao del Sur. On May 9, 2006, while the Avilas were walking towards the coconut plantation at around 8:30 in the morning, they saw Dolorido standing near the coconut drier of Estose, appearing very angry. After some time, Dolorido proceeded to Rustica Doloridos coconut drier located a hundred meters away and hid behind a coconut tree. Moments later, they saw Estose on his way to his own coconut drier. When Estose passed by Rustica Doloridos coconut drier, they saw Dolorido suddenly hack Estose twice, resulting in wounds on his arms. When Estose tried to retreat, he fell down and it was then that Dolorido stabbed him on the left portion of his chest, which caused his death. Dolorido suddenly left the place. Doloridos defense, on the other hand, consisted of the story of self-defense: On the day of the death of the victim, Dolorido asked Estose why he was gathering Doloridos harvested coconuts. Estose just replied, So, what about it? and tried to unsheathe his bolo from its scabbard.[7][8] He denied the prosecutors claim that he hid behind a coconut tree and waited for Estose to come. Thereafter, Dolorido, accompanied by one Mario Jariol, voluntarily surrendered to the Tago Police Station. Upon seeing this, Dolorido drew his own bolo and stabbed Estose. When Estose tried to wrestle for the bolo, he sustained some wounds. Afterwards, while Dolorido was pointing the bolo at Estose, the latter suddenly lunged at Dolorido, causing Estose to hit the bolo with his own chest which resulted in his death. Whether or not the act of self-defense is present in the commission of the crime.

Facts:

Issue:

Resolution: No. Self-defense is absent. In order for self-defense to be successfully invoked, the following essential elements must be proved: (1) unlawful aggression on the part of the victim; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel such aggression; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person resorting to self-defense. A person who invokes self-defense has the burden of proof of proving all the elements. However, the most important among all the elements is the element of unlawful aggression. Unlawful aggression must be proved first in order for selfdefense to be successfully pleaded, whether complete or incomplete. As this Court said in People v. Catbagan, There can be no self-defense, whether complete or incomplete, unless the victim had committed unlawful aggression against the person who resorted to self-defense. The CA Decision in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00575-MIN finding accused-appellant Rogelio Dolorido y Estrada guilty of the crime charged is affirmed with modification. In addition to the sum of PhP 50,000 as civil indemnity, PhP 50,000 as moral damages, and PhP 25,000 as temperate damages, accused-appellant is likewise sentenced to pay the heirs of the victim the amount of PhP 30,000 as exemplary damages. Interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum on the civil indemnity and moral, temperate, and exemplary damages from the finality of this decision until fully paid shall likewise be paid by accused-appellant to the heirs of Daniel Estose.
Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

110

JAIME ALFEREZ v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and PINGPING CO G.R. No. 182301 January 31, 2011 NACHURA, J.:

Facts:

Petitioner Jaime Alferez purchased construction materials from Cebu ABC Sales Commercial. As payment for the goods, he issued three (3) checks for the total amount of P830,998.40. However, the checks were dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account. Petitioner was thus charged with three (3) counts of violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang (B.P. Blg.) 22 before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Cebu City. The cases were raffled to Branch 3 and docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 40985-R to 40987-R.[3][4] During the trial, the prosecution presented its lone witness, private complainant Pingping Co. Thereafter, the prosecution formally offered the following documentary evidence: Instead of presenting evidence, petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence on August 8, 2003, or approximately ten (10) months after the prosecution rested its case. Petitioner averred that the prosecution failed to show that he received the notice of dishonor or demand letter. Undaunted, petitioner elevated the matter to the CA via a petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Court. In the assailed Decision, the CA dismissed the petition for lack of merit. It sustained petitioners conviction as the elements of the crime had been sufficiently established. As to the service on petitioner of the notice of dishonor, the appellate court pointed out that petitioner did not testify, and that he did not object to the prosecutions evidence aimed at proving the fact of receipt of the notice of dishonor. Consequently, the registry receipt and the return card adequately show the fact of receipt. As to petitioners contention that he was denied his right to present evidence after the denial of his demurrer to evidence, the CA held that there was no such denial since it was merely the consequence of the filing of demurrer without leave of court. Finally, as to the imposition of the penalty of imprisonment instead of fine, the CA found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC since it was shown that petitioner acted in bad faith. Whether or not the Registry Receipt and Registry Return Receipt alone without presenting the person who mailed and/or served the demand letter is sufficient notice of dishonor as required by BP 22. Whether the filing of the Demurrer of Evidence without leave and denied by the trial court is a waiver of the right of the petitioner (the accused before the trial court) to present his evidence in support and to rebut the evidence of the respondent particularly with respect to the civil aspect of the case.

Issues:

Resolution: No. It is not enough for the prosecution to prove that a notice of dishonor was sent to the petitioner. It is also incumbent upon the prosecution to show that the drawer of the check received the said notice because the fact of service provided for in the law is reckoned from receipt of such notice of dishonor by the drawee of the check. In Suarez v. People, which is on all fours with the instant case, two Informations for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 were filed against petitioner therein. After the prosecution presented its evidence, petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence without leave of court on the ground that no notice of dishonor had been sent to and received by him. When the case reached this Court, we acquitted petitioner on reasonable doubt as there was insufficient proof that he received notice of dishonor. The Court explained that: The presumption arises when it is proved that the issuer had received this notice, and that within five banking days from its receipt, he failed to pay the amount of the check or to make arrangements for its payment. The full payment of the amount appearing in the check within five banking days from notice of dishonor is a complete defense. Accordingly, procedural due process requires that a notice of dishonor be sent to and received by the petitioner to afford the opportunity to avert prosecution under B.P. Blg. 22. The Court of Appeals Decision dated December 13, 2007 and Resolution dated March 4, 2008 in CA-G.R. CEB-CR No. 00300 are modified. Petitioner Jaime Alferez is acquitted on reasonable doubt of violation of B.P. Blg. 22. However, the civil liability imposed on petitioner is affirmed.

Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. LUIS PAJARIN y DELA CRUZ and EFREN PALLAYA y TUVIERA G.R. No. 190640 January 12, 2011 ABAD, J.:

Facts:

The City Prosecutor of Manila charged the accused Luis Pajarin and Efren Pallaya before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila in Criminal Cases 05-237756 and 05-237757 with violation of Section 5 in relation to Sections 26 and 11 (3) in relation to Section 13, respectively, of Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The prosecution presented PO2 Nestor Lehetemas, member of the buy-bust team and PO2 James Nolan Ibaez, the poseurbuyer. They testified that on June 1, 2005 at around 10:00 p.m., an informant arrived at their Station Anti-Illegal Drugs (SAID) with the report that drugs would be sold on P. Ocampo and Dominga Streets the next day at around 5:00 pm. As the poseur-buyer, PO2 Ibaez marked a P500.00 bill with SAID on top of its serial number. On June 2, 2005 the buy-bust team went to the site of the operation on board a Tamaraw FX which they parked near Dominga Street. The informant pointed to the two accused, Luis Pajarin and Efren Pallaya. They stood 10 to 20 steps away beside a red scooter. PO2 Ibaez and the informant approached them. After the informant introduced PO2 Ibaez as an interested buyer, the police officer bought shabu from the two, using the marked P 500.00 bill. Pajarin opened the compartment of the red scooter and took from it one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing a white crystalline substance. When Pallaya asked for the money, PO2 Ibaez handed it to him. Then Pajarin gave one plastic sachet containing the suspected shabu to the officer, who raised his right hand as a pre-arranged signal. PO2 Ibaez's companions immediately rushed to the group. PO2 Ibaez grabbed Pallaya. Pajarin tried to escape but PO2 Lehetemas got hold of him. The defense had a completely different version. Pajarin said that at around 2:00 p.m. of June 2, 2005 he was at Pallaya's house, repairing the latter's motor pump. As he left the house and got into the street, someone hit his helmet, grabbed him, and dragged him into a Tamaraw FX. They then brought him back to Pallaya's house where four police officers got in and brought Pallaya out with them after about three minutes. The officers brought the two accused to the police station where they were investigated. PO2 Ibaez showed Pajarin a plastic sachet which he supposedly recovered from Pajarin's scooter. Pajarin denied owning the sachet. It was a police officer who drove the scooter to the police station. On March 31, 2008 the RTC found both accused guilty of the crime charged and imposed on them the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P 500,000.00 in Criminal Case 05-237756. In Criminal Case 05-237757, the RTC sentenced Pajarin to suffer 12 years and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months of imprisonment and to pay a fine of P 300,000.00. The RTC absolved Pallaya of this second offense. Whether or not the CA erred in not excluding the evidence of the seized shabu on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove their integrity by establishing the chain of custody of the same until they got to the trial court; and Whether or not for this reason the CA erred in affirming their conviction.

Issues:

Resolution: Appellants chiefly argue that the police officers involved in the buy-bust operation failed to comply with Section 21 (a), Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9165, which requires them to take immediate inventory of and photograph the seized item in the presence of the accused or his representative or responsible third persons mentioned but always taking care that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized articles are preserved. The Court has held in numerous cases that the failure of the police to comply with the procedure laid down in R.A. 9165 would not render void the seizure of the prohibited substance for as long as the apprehending officers give justifiable reason for their imperfect conduct1cralaw and show that the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated items had not been compromised.2cralawredlaw Here, the prosecution failed to show that the substances allegedly seized from the accused were the same substances presented in court to prove their guilt. Usually, the seized article changes hands from the police officer who takes it from the accused, to the supervising officer at their station, to the messenger who brings them to the police crime laboratory, and then to the court where it is adduced as evidence. Since custody and possession change over time, it has been held indispensable that the officer who seized the article places it in a plastic container unless it is already in one, seals it if yet unsealed, and puts his marking on the cover. In this way there is assurance, upon inspection, that the substance reaches the laboratory in the same condition it was seized from the accused. 3cralawredlaw Here, the police officers did not mark the sealed plastic sachets to show that they were the same things they took from the accused. Rather, the marking on the items were done by the station investigator who would have no way of knowing that the substances were really seized from the accused. The marking of captured items immediately after they are seized from the accused is the starting point in the custodial link. This step is vital because succeeding handlers of the specimens will use the markings as reference. Failure to place such markings paves the way for swapping, planting, and contamination of the evidence.4cralaw These lapses seriously cast doubt on the authenticity of the corpus delicti, warranting acquittal on reasonable doubt.5cralawredlaw Further, as a rule, the police chemist who examines a seized substance should ordinarily testify that he received the seized article as marked, properly sealed and intact; that he resealed it after examination of the content; and that he placed his own marking on the same to ensure that it could not be tampered pending trial. In case the parties stipulate to dispense with the

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attendance of the police chemist, they should stipulate that the latter would have testified that he took the precautionary steps mentioned. Here, the record fails to show this. It is a serious concern that quite often the failure of the police to observe the rules governing buy-bust operations results in acquittals. Drug enforcement agencies should continually train their officers and agents to observe these rules and transfer out those who would not. The prosecutors conducting preliminary investigation should not file in court drugs cases where the sworn statements of the police officers, the report of the chemical analyst, and the object evidence do not show compliance with the same. And trial courts should order the case dismissed and the accused released from detention if on examination the supporting documents are wanting in this respect. They should not waste their precious time to useless exercise where the police and the prosecution fail to observe the rule of law especially in so serious offenses. WHEREFORE, the Court reverse and sets aside the decision of the Court of Appeals dated September 30, 2009 in CAG.R. CR-HC 03291 as well as the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 2, in Criminal Cases 05-237756 and 05-237757, and acquits the accused-appellants Luis Pajarin and Efren Pallaya on the ground of reasonable doubt. The Court orders their immediate release from custody unless they are being held for some other lawful cause.
Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. FRANCISCO MANLANGIT y TRESBALLES G.R. NO. 189806 January 12, 2011 VELASCO, JR., J.: On the 24th day of November 2003, in the City of Makati, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not being lawfully authorized by law, did then and there willfully and feloniously sell, give away, distribute and deliver zero point zero four (0.04) gram of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu), which is a dangerous drug. On December 11, 2003, another information was filed against Manlangit for breach of Sec. 15, Art. II of RA 9165, to wit: chanrob1esvirtwallawlibrary That sometime on or before or about the 24th day of November 2003, in the City of Makati, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, not being authorized by law to use dangerous drugs, and having been arrested and found positive for use of Methylamphetamine, after a confirmatory test, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously use Methylamphetamine, a dangerous drug in violation of the said law. On November 24, 2003, the Makati Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC) Cluster 4 office received information from an informant that a certain "Negro" was selling prohibited drugs along Col. Santos Street at Brgy. South Cembo, Makati City. The MADAC thereafter coordinated with the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSTOF) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to conduct a joint MADAC-police buy-bust operation. A team was assembled composed of several members of the different offices, among which Police Officer 2 Virginio Costa was designated as the team leader, with MADAC operative Wilfredo Serrano as the poseur-buyer and Roberto Bayona as his back-up. The team prepared buy-bust money for the operation, marking two (2) one hundred peso (PhP 100) bills with the initials "AAM." Manlangit denied that such buy-bust operation was conducted and claimed that the recovered shabuwas not from him. He claimed that he was pointed out by a certain Eli Ballesteros to Serrano and Bayona. Thereafter, he was allegedly detained at the Barangay Hall of Brgy. Pitogo. There, he was allegedly interrogated by Serrano as to the location of the shabu and its proceeds, as well as the identity of the drug pushers in the area. He also claimed that whenever he answered that he did not know what Serrano was talking about, he was boxed in the chest. Later on, he said that he was brought to Camp Crame for drug testing. On August 28, 2009, the CA rendered the decision which affirmed the RTC's Decision dated July 12, 2007. It ruled that contrary to accused-appellant's contention, prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of a buy-bust operation. The case was a valid example of a warrantless arrest, accused-appellant having been caught in flagrante delicto. The CA further stated that accused-appellant's unsubstantiated allegations are insufficient to show that the witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by improper motive, in this case the members of the buy-bust team; thus, their testimonies are entitled to full faith and credit. After examining the testimonies of the witnesses, the CA found them credible and found no reason to disturb the RTC's findings. Finally, the CA found that chain of evidence was not broken. Whether or not the Court gravely erred in convicting the accused-appellant despite the prosecution's failure to prove his built beyond reasonable doubt. Whether or not the Court gravely erred in finding that the procedure for the custody and control of prohibited drugs was complied with.

Facts:

Issues:

Resolution: No. Accused-appellant's guilt was proved beyond reasonable doubt. The first paragraph of Sec. 5 of RA 9165 punishes the act of selling dangerous drugs. It provides: chanrob1esvirtwallawlibrary Section 5. Sale , Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500, 000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10, 000, 000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell , trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions. No. The chain of custody of the seized drug was unbroken. Accused-appellant contends that the arresting officers did not comply with the requirements for the handling of seized dangerous drugs as provided for under Sec. 21(1) of RA 9165: chanrob1esvirtwallawlibrary Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment .The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner: chanrob1esvirtwallawlibrary (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were

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confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. Wherefore , the appeal is denied. The CA's August 28, 2009 Decision in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03273 is affirmed in toto.
Aurea Antonette T. Lucas

115

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERLINDA CAPUNO G.R No. 185715 19 January 2011 BRION, J.:

Facts:

The prosecution charged, tried, and convicted Erlinda Capuno in Regional Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal with violation of Sec. 5, Article II of R.A. 9165. Erlinda Capuno appealed the decision of RTC in the Court of Appeal (CA). The Court of Appeal affirmed and modified the decision of the RTC of San Mateo, Rizal that instead Erlinda Capuno was ordered to pay the amount of 500,000 php, and be sentenced. Erlinda Capuno brought her case to Supreme Court with the contention that the prosecution failed to present an unbroken chain of custody in the handling of seized specimen. On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters the argument of the police officers prevail over the appellants denial, more so since there was nothing on the record/s to show that they were motivated by any other evil than their desire to curb the vicious drug trade. Whether or not the prosecution failed to present the unbroken chain of custody in the handling of seized specimen.

Issue:

Resolution: The failure of the prosecution to present an unbroken chain of custody in handling the seized specimen gives rise to question the conviction of Erlinda Capuno in violating R.A. 9165. In section 21, paragraph 1, article II of R.A. 9165 requires the procedure on the seizure or illegal drugs which states: 1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. This procedure, however, was not shown to have been complied with by the members of the buy-bust team, and nothing on record suggests that they had extended reasonable efforts to comply with the said statutory requirement in handling the evidence. It was patent the deficiency of the exchange during the trial that it was clear in the following exchange that there was no physical inventory and photograph of the seized illegal drugs taken in the presence of Erlinda Capuno or her counsel, a representative from the media or DOJ, or an elective official. The chain of custody is deemed necessary to constitute that a crime was established and to ensure that doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Supreme Court ruled to REVERSE and SET ASIDE the May 27, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 30215. Appellant Erlinda Capuno y Tison was ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and ordered her immediately RELEASED from detention unless that she is confined for another lawful cause.

Kenneth Al Dave P. Domingo

116

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JAY LORENA G.R No. 184954 10 January 2011 VILLIARAMA, Jr., J.:

Facts:

In an information dated 10 July 2003, charged and convict Jay Lorena y Labag in violation of R.A. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002). It was appealed in the Court of Appeals and affirmed with modification the judging of RTC branch 25 in the city of Naga, which increased the fine of the appellant Jay Lorena to pay 500,000php instead of only 100,000php rendered by the RTC of Naga City. During pre-trial, the prosecution and defense stipulated on the following facts: 1. Identity of the accused. 2. That the arresting officers were organic members of the PNP Pasacao, Camarines Sur. 3. That the accused was within the premises of Pier Site, Sta. Rosa, Pasacao, Camarines Sur on February 9, 2003 at around 7:30 oclock (sic) in the evening. 4. That the accused knew a certain Iris Mae Cleofe. In question to the validity of the of his warrantless arrest, contending that none of the circumstances provided under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, which justify a warrantless arrest is present. He likewise points out that the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer coupled with the inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and their testimony to the effect that they did not see the sale itself, taint the credibility of the buybust operation. He adds that the lower court misapplied the presumption of regularity in the performance of official function, especially since the arresting officers failed to comply with the guidelines prescribed by the law regarding the custody and control of the seized drugs as mandated by Section 21, R.A. No. 9165. Whether or not the Court of Appeals gravely erred in not finding that the prosecution failed to prove the buy-bust teams compliance with the provision of sec. 21, R.A. 9165 and erred in finding the accused guilty despite the prosecutions failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Issue:

Resolution: In a prosecution for illegal sale of a prohibited drug under Section 5 of R.A. No. 9165, the prosecution must prove the following elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefore. All these require evidence that the sale transaction transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti, i.e., the body or substance of the crime that establishes that a crime has actually been committed, as shown by presenting the object of the illegal transaction. Further, considering the illegal drugs unique characteristic rendering it indistinct, not readily identifiable and easily open to tampering, alteration or substitution either by accident or otherwise, there is a need to comply strictly with procedure in its seizure and custody. Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 provides such procedure:
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.

In this case, there was no compliance with the inventory and photographing of the seized dangerous drug and marked money immediately after the buy-bust operation. It was held that such non-compliance does not necessarily render void and invalid the seizure of the dangerous drugs. There must, however, be justifiable grounds to warrant exception therefrom, and provided that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/s. While a perfect chain of custody is almost always impossible to achieve, an unbroken chain becomes indispensable and essential in the prosecution of drug cases owing to its susceptibility to alteration, tampering, contamination and even substitution and exchange. Hence, every link must be accounted for. Given the foregoing lapses committed by the apprehending officers, the saving clause cannot apply to the case at bar. Not only did the prosecution fail to offer any justifiable ground why the procedure required by law was not complied with, it was also unable to establish the chain of custody of the shabu allegedly taken from appellant. The obvious gaps in the chain of custody created a reasonable doubt as to whether the specimen seized from appellant was the same specimen brought to the crime laboratories and eventually offered in court as evidence. Without adequate proof of the corpus delicti, appellants conviction cannot stand. As a result of the irregularities and lapses in the chain of custody requirement which unfortunately the trial and appellate courts overlooked, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties cannot be used against appellant. It needs no elucidation that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty must be seen in the context of an existing rule of law or statute authorizing the performance of an act or duty or prescribing a procedure in the performance thereof. The presumption, in other words, obtains only where nothing in the records is suggestive of the fact that the law enforcers involved deviated from the standard conduct of official duty as provided for in the law. Otherwise, where the official act in question is irregular on its face, an adverse presumption arises as a matter of course. Wherefore Labag is acquitted.
Kenneth Al Dave P. Domingo

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. JACQUILI PAMBID G.R No. 192237 26 January 2011 VELASCO, Jr., J.:

Facts:

Jacquilin Pambid y Cortez was charge for the crime alleged in the information served to two crimes of selling illegal drugs, which states as: In Criminal Case No. Q-03-121145, the charge against Pambid stemmed from the following Information: That on or about the 18th day of September 2003, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, not being authorized by law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any dangerous drug, did, then and there, willfully and unlawfully sell, dispense, deliver, transport, distribute or act as broker in the said transaction, ZERO POINT FOURTEEN (0.14) gram of white crystalline substance containing Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. In Criminal Case No. Q-03-121146, the Information reads: That on or about the 18th day of September 2003, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, not being authorized by law to possess or use any dangerous drug, did, then and there, willfully, unlawfully and knowingly have in her/his/their possession and control, ZERO POINT ZERO EIGHT (0.08) gram of white crystalline substance containing Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City ruled that Pambid was guilty beyond reasonable doubt. On appeal to the CA, Pambid disputed the trial courts decision finding her guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the violations. She argued that the RTC erred in admitting the seized dangerous drugs as evidence, considering that no proper inventory was taken of the seized drugs and that there was a break in the chain of custody of the evidence. Further, she contended that the police officers failed to read her rights to her as mandated by the Constitution. But after due review in the decision of RTC, the CA denied the petition of Pambid and affirmed the decision of RTC. Whether or not there was an error in convicting Pambid despite the non-compliance of proper custody of the seized drugs.

Issue:

Resolution: Essentially, accused-appellant pegs almost all of her arguments on the fact that the police officers failed to properly mark, inventory, and photograph the prohibited items allegedly seized from her. She argues that as a result of this failure, there is doubt as to the identity and integrity of the drugs and that there was a break in the chain of custody of the evidence. It was held that such arguments cannot prosper. Evidently, the law itself lays down exceptions to its requirements. Thus, non-compliance is not fatal. It has been ruled time and again that non-compliance with Sec. 21 of the IRR does not make the items seized inadmissible. What is imperative is the preservation of the integrity and the evidential value of the seized items as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. It is clear that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized drugs were preserved. The Court, therefore, finds no reason to overturn the findings of the trial court that the drugs seized from accused-appellant were the same ones presented during trial. Accordingly, it is but logical to conclude that the chain of custody of the illicit drugs seized from accused-appellant remains unbroken, contrary to the assertions of accused-appellant. Likewise, the prosecution has established all the elements of the crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs in the same testimony of PO2 Collado. The elements are: (1) that the accused is in possession of the object identified as a prohibited or regulatory drug; (2) that such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) that the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. Wherefore, the appeal was denied. The CA Decision in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03400 finding accused-appellant Jacquiline Pambid y Cortez guilty of the crimes charged is affirmed in toto.

Kenneth Al Dave P. Domingo

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. MARK LESTER DELA ROSA G.R NO. 185166 26 January 2011 PEREZ, J.:

Facts:

In two separate Informations both dated 26 September 2006, appellant Mark Lester Dela Rosa y Suello was charged with violation of Sections 5 and 11, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, which were respectively docketed as Criminal Case No. 06-1870 and Criminal Case No. 06-1871. In which, was a violation of selling illegal drugs and illegal possession of marijuana. That, on 25 September 2006, SAID-SOTF (Special Anti Illegal Drug-Special Operation Task Force), Makati City, formed a team to conduct a buy-bust operation to verify if appellant was, indeed, involved in the illegal sale of marijuana in the above-mentioned place. The buy-bust team through one of its members, PO3 Lowaton, prepared a Pre-Operational Report/Coordination Sheet and sent the same to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). In response thereto, PDEA sent a Certificate of Coordination to confirm that the buy-bust team of SAID-SOTF, Makati City, had made the necessary coordination with their office in connection with the conduct of its anti-drug operations against appellant. After a complete coordination with PDEA, the briefing of the members of the buy-bust team followed, wherein PO3 Lowaton was designated as poseur-buyer. He was also given two Fifty Peso bills marked money in the total amount ofP100.00, bearing Serial Nos. FR 485129 and CY 532084, respectively, with markings ATS on the upper right portion of the serial number of each bill. Thereafter, the buy-bust team, together with the informant, proceeded to the target area in Kalayaan Avenue, BarangaySingkamas, Makati City. Upon arrival thereat, the buy-bust team waited for the appellant and soon after, the latter arrived after a few minutes. Subsequently, PO3 Lowaton and the informant walked towards the direction of the appellant. The informant then approached appellant and introduced to him PO3 Lowaton as someone interested in buying marijuana. Appellant asked PO3 Lowaton as to the amount of marijuana that he wanted to buy to which the latter replied that he would be buying P100.00 worth of marijuana. Appellant immediately took one plastic sachet of marijuana from his pocket that corresponds to the amount agreed upon and handed the same to PO3 Lowaton. The latter, in turn, handed the two marked Fifty Peso bills to appellant as payment for the purchased item. Upon the consummation of the sale, PO3 Lowaton executed their pre-arranged signal by holding appellants right hand. At this juncture, the other members of the buy-bust team who were in the vicinity of the target area came in to help PO3 Lowaton, who at that moment had already introduced himself as a police officer, in arresting appellant. Appellant was arrested at around3:15 p.m. PO3 Lowaton informed appellant of the cause of his arrest and of his constitutional rights. While frisking the appellant, however, PO3 Lowaton recovered from the former two more plastic sachets of marijuana. Subsequently, PO3 Lowaton marked the one plastic sachet of marijuana sold to him by appellant with his initials EBL. He likewise marked the two other plastic sachets of marijuana that he recovered from appellant as EBL1 and EBL-2. The seized items from appellant were also inventoried at the place where appellant was arrested and in his presence, as evidenced by an Acknowledgment Receipt dated 25 September 2006. After appellants arrest, he was brought to the office of SAID-SOTF, Makati City. The three plastic sachets of marijuana that has been previously marked were photographed and sent to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory for examination. The examination conducted on the aforesaid specimen, i.e., three plastic sachet of marijuana, yielded positive results to the tests for the presence of marijuana, a dangerous drug, as evidenced by a Physical Science Report No. D-659-06S. Also, after the completion of the buy-bust operation, an after operation report or the so-called Spot Report was prepared and sent to PDEA. On the hand, the defense (appellant), stated different version, that on that day, he was sleeping and awaken by 3 men who introduced to be a member of MADAC cooperative looking for such Richard. The 3 men told him that in peaceful way he shall go with them for investigation, when they arrived at the office whereabouts they asked him to reveal where to find Richard, by this question he replied I dont know that name and because of this, the investigators told him that they will file a case of illegal possession of marijuana which is a violation of R.A 9165 that they were carrying at he moment. After all evidence was presented by both parties, the appellant found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. In his appeal to the Court of Appeals, the CA after reviewing all facts presented, it was affirmed the decision of the RTC to convict the appellant and denied its petition. Whether or not the decision rendered a quo failed to overcome the presumption of innocence in favor of the appellant (accused).

Issue:

Resolution: In the case at bench, this Court is fully convinced that the prosecution has adequately and satisfactorily proved all the aforesaid elements of illegal sale of marijuana. Appellants contention that PO3 Lowatons testimony was not credible for no person in his right mind would boldly sell prohibited drugs in broad daylight and in a public place deserves scant consideration. This Court has consistently pronounced that drug pushers sell their prohibited articles to any prospective customer, be he a stranger or not, in private, as well as in public places, even in the daytime. Indeed, drug pushers have become increasingly daring, dangerous and, worse, openly defiant of the law. Hence, what matters is not the existing familiarity

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between the buyer and the seller or the time and venue of the sale, but the fact of agreement and the acts constituting sale and delivery of the prohibited drugs. Further, the record is bereft of any evidence that would show that appellant had the legal authority to possess the two plastic sachets of marijuana recovered from him. The Court held in a catena of cases that a mere possession of a regulated drug per se constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation of such possession the onus probandi is shifted to the accused, to explain the absence of knowledge or animus possidendi. It has been judicially settled that in buy-bust operations, the testimony of the police officers who apprehended the accused is usually accorded full faith and credit because of the presumption that they have performed their duties regularly. This presumption is overturned only if there is clear and convincing evidence that they were not properly performing their duty or that they were inspired by improper motive. The courts, nonetheless, are advised to take caution in applying the presumption of regularity. It should not by itself prevail over the presumption of innocence and the constitutionally-protected rights of the individual. The Court finds no reason to deviate from the factual findings of the trial court and the Court of Appeals. It was settled rule that factual findings of the trial courts, including their assessment of the witnesses credibility, are entitled to great weight and respect by this Court, particularly when the Court of Appeals affirm the findings. Trial courts are in the best position to assess the witnesses credibility and to appreciate their truthfulness, honesty and candor. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial and appellate court to convict the accussed for violation of illegal sale and illegal possession of marijuana as prohibited by R.A 9165.

Kenneth Al Dave P. Domingo

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. SEVILLANO DE LOS REYES G.R. No. 181039 31 January 2011 VILLIARAMA, Jr., J.:

Facts:

Sevillano delos Reyes was charged, tried, and convicted in an information served for two cases in violation of R.A 9165 for delivering a 5 folded foil containing shabu with a total weight of 0.04 grams and 0.80 grams. On October 16 2002, SPO1 Camilo Palisoc received a tip from an informant that the appellant was selling shabu, on that day they planned a by-bust operation, prepared all the requirements needed for such operation and preceded to the house of the appellant, there they found a sachet of shabu on the top of the appellants bed. It was examined by a chemist and positively to be shabu. The accused contends that it was an unlawful arrest because of forced opening his house and was only awaken by a hit in his shoulder a 45 cal. by a certain magie a civilian agent. After such cases filed against the appellant, the RTC rendered judgment to acquit the appellant of illegal possession of illegal drugs but convicted in case of illegal sale of prohibited drugs. The appellant instantly appealed to the Court of Appeals, the CA rendered judgment of affirming the decision of the lower court with modification and also invoked the doctrine in performing the regularity of the performance of duty. Whether or not his arrest was tainted with irregularity in the performance of their duties.

Issue:

Resolution: With crucial portions of the chain of custody not clearly accounted for, reasonable doubt is created as to the origins of theshabu presented in court. Lingering doubt exists whether the specimen seized from appellant was the specimen brought to the crime laboratory and eventually offered in court as evidence. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties cannot be availed of in this case to supply the missing links as the presumption is effectively negated by to the buy-bust teams failure to comply with Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 and to show that the integrity of the corpus delicti has been preserved. As a general rule, the testimonies of the police officers who apprehended the accused are accorded full faith and credit because of the presumption that they have performed their duties regularly. But when the performance of their duties is tainted with failure to comply with the procedure and guidelines prescribed, the presumption is effectively destroyed. While this regulation took effect on October 18, 2002 (or 2 days after the alleged commission of the crime charged), it is however useful in determining if the integrity of the evidence was preserved in the instant case. Here, the first link in the chain of custody starts with SPO1 Palisoc, the designated poseur-buyer, to whom appellant allegedly handed over the shabu contained in an aluminum foil. The second link is when SPO1 Palisoc marked the aluminum foil with SLD, then turned them over to PO2 Cabaluna. The third link is when PO2 Cabaluna delivered the specimen to the PNP Crime Laboratory Service 4, together with a request for examination signed by P/Sr. Insp. Perlado. Records show and parties stipulated that it was received by one PO1 Golfo, Jr. at the crime laboratory. The continuity of the chain, however, becomes unclear after the evidence reached the hands of PO1 Golfo, Jr. as the next part of the chain established by the prosecution already relates to the examination conducted by P/Insp. Huelgas, the forensic chemist. The records are bereft of any proof from whom P/Insp. Huelgas received the specimen she examined and where it was kept for safekeeping after the examination was conducted up to the time it was presented in court. For failure of the prosecution to prove the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt, acquittal is in order.

Kenneth Al Dave P. Domingo

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. EVANGELINE SOBANGEE G.R No. 186120 31 January 2011 VELASCO, Jr., J.:

Facts:

The Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of Makati City received an information that a certain VANGIE is engaged in selling prohibited drugs, afterwards SPO4 Mangulabnan contacted vangie with a mobile phone with a drug deal worth 150,000php, then they went to the place for a by-bust operation. An Information charged the appellant as follows: That on or about the 21st day of November, 2002, in the City of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without the necessary license or prescription and without being authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell, deliver and give away P150,000.00 worth of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu) weighing eighty seven point nineteen (87.19) grams and forty eight point seventy six (48.76) grams, a dangerous drug. It was denied by the accused that the version of the police officer is not true, because first in the fact, she has no mobile phone on that time they captured her, and she went to Rockwell to get money to a friend of her common law partner namely rolly. After trial, the RTC convicted Sobangee. The trial court was convinced that all the elements of the offense were established. It ruled that the requirements for a valid buy-bust operation were complied with. In contrast, the bare denials of Sobangee did not impress the trial court in the face of the testimonies of the prosecutions credible witnesses. The RTC ruled that they had the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions working in their favor. On appeal, Sobangee claimed that the RTC erred in finding her guilty beyond reasonable doubt. She claimed that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses suffered from major inconsistencies, such as: (1) the date the alleged informant came to the DEU office; (2) the time the buy-bust team left the office to conduct its operation; (3) the place that the team first went to before going to the buy-bust at Rockwell Center, Makati City; (4) the location of the operatives during the buy-bust operation; (5) the site where the illegal substances seized were marked; (6) the amount involved in the buy-bust; (7) the officer who informed Sobangee of her constitutional rights; and (8) the identity of the informant. She also cited as incredulous the claim that she conducted drug pushing activities via her mobile phone when the prosecution did not present the phone she allegedly used. On February 29, 2008, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. It ruled that all the elements of the offense charged were established by the prosecution. It deferred to the finding of the RTC on the credibility of the witnesses against Sobangee and dismissed her claim of inconsistencies in their testimonies as insignificant and immaterial. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of having violated Sec. 5, Art. II of Republic Act No. 9165.

Issue:

Resolution: The inconsistencies referred to are inconsequential. What is important is that the prosecution was able to establish the key elements needed for a conviction. In order to successfully prosecute an accused for illegal sale of drugs, the prosecution must be able to prove the following elements: (1) identities of the buyer and seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for it. The presentation of accused-appellants mobile phone is not essential to her conviction, as it is not an element of the offense of sale of illegal drugs. Contrary to the position of the defense, it is not a major piece of evidence, the nonpresentation of which would result in an acquittal. What is material to the prosecution of the illegal sale of dangerous drugs is proof that the transaction actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. The transaction between accused-appellant and the poseur-buyer and the presentation in court of the shabu seized from her were adequately established, as can be gleaned from the records. The court thus affirms the decision rendered by the RTC and CA. In affirming accused-appellants conviction, the court adheres to the general rule that unless some facts or circumstances of weight and influence have been overlooked or the significance of which has been misinterpreted by the trial court, this Court will defer to the findings of the trial court as to the credibility of witnesses. An examination of the records shows that none of the aforementioned exceptions exists in the instant case that would necessitate a reversal of judgment.

Kenneth Al Dave P. Domingo

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. RUFINO VICENTE, JR. G.R No. 188847 31 January 2011 VELASCO, Jr., J.:

Facts:

Rufino Vicente Jr. was charged, tried and convicted in violation of the provision of R.A 9165. It was alleged in the information that the District Anti-illegal Drugs of Southern Police District, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila was informed by an informant that there is an illegal activity in P. Mariano, St., Ususan, Taguig, Metro Manila. This information was first verified before performing such by-bust operation, and when the police officers who wend to verify saw the illegal activities of certain paks, they went back to the station and planned to operate by-bust operation, paks by means of exchange of the by-bust money and the shabu was arrested, and the seized drugs were confiscated and examined, but this contention of the police officers was denied by Vicente Jr., and contends that by certain Elisa Santos who saw what happened that they called Vicente as reden which was denied by Vicente and because of denial he was boxed and hit by gun of the three men who introduced to be a police officers. On September 7, 2006, the RTC pronounced Vicente, Jr. guilty of the crime charged. The RTC stated that the witnesses for the prosecution gave straightforward testimonies that clearly established the elements necessary for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs. On appeal, Vicente, Jr. averred that the trial court erred (1) in convicting him as the alleged seller of shabu since he was not the alleged Paks identified by the police informant as the peddler of shabu; (2) in convicting him based on the weakness of the defense and not on the strength of the prosecutions evidence; and (3) in finding that the arresting police officers regularly performed their duties despite non-compliance with procedural rules on drug buy-bust operations. Representing the People, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) countered that all the elements in the illegal sale of drugs were established. Vicente, Jr.s identity as the seller of shabu was established by the credible testimonies of PO2 Boiser and PO2 Lagos. Whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding accused-appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Issue:

Resolution: No clear and convincing evidence exists in the records to show that Vicente, Jr.s arresting officers were impelled by malicious or ill motives in bringing up trumped-up charges against him. Vicente, Jr. is convinced that Sec. 21 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9165 was not complied with, since the buy-bust team failed to present a pre-operation report and photographs of the seized items. He concludes that there is uncertainty as to the identity of the illegal drugs seized. He says that due to the buy-bust teams omissions, there is a lingering doubt as to whether the drugs that underwent laboratory examination were the same items allegedly seized from him. The Supreme Court ruled to affirm the decision rendered by the RTC and CA.

Kenneth Al Dave P. Domingo

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. ERLINDA CAPUNO Y TISON G.R. NO. 185715, 19 JANUARY 2011, BRION, J.

Facts:

We review the May 27, 2008 decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 30215, affirming with modification the April 3, 2006 decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 75, San Mateo, Rizal. The RTC decision found Erlinda Capuno y Tison (appellant) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal sale of shabu, under Section 5, Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The prosecution charged the appellant with violation of Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 before the RTC, under information that states: That on or about the 21st day of July 2002, in the Municipality of Rodriguez, Province of Rizal, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without being authorized by law, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly sell, deliver and give away to another, one (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of white crystalline substance weighing 0.04 gram which was found positive to the test for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug, and which substance produces a physiological action similar to amphetamine or other compound thereof providing similar physiological effects. The appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. The appellant denied that she had been selling illegal drugs. She explained that she consented to the search because she believed that the two persons who entered her house were policemen. Maria, the appellants daughter, corroborated her mothers testimony on material points, but stated that the two policemen did not search their house but merely looked around. The RTC, in its decision of April 3, 2006, convicted the appellant of the crime charged, and sentenced her to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years, ten (10) months and twenty (20) days. The RTC likewise ordered the appellant to pay a P100,000.00 fine. The appellant appealed to the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 30215. The CA, in its decision dated May 27, 2008, affirmed the RTC decision with the modification that the appellant be sentenced to life imprisonment, and that the amount of fine be increased to P500,000.00. Whether or not did the elements of paragraph 1, Section 21 of Article II of R.A. No. 9165 proved? Whether or not did the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of proving her guilt beyond reasonable doubt?

Issues:

Resolution: After due consideration, we resolve to acquit the appellant for the prosecutions failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the laws own starting perspective on the status of the accused in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The burden lies on the prosecution to overcome such presumption of innocence by presenting the quantum of evidence required. In so doing, the prosecution must rest on its own merits and must not rely on the weakness of the defense. And if the prosecution fails to meet the required amount of evidence, the defense may logically not even present evidence on its own behalf. In which case, the presumption prevails and the accused should necessarily be acquitted. The requirements of paragraph 1, Section 21 of Article II of R.A. No. 9165 In a prosecution for the illegal sale of a prohibited drug under Section 5 of R.A. No. 9165, the prosecution must prove the following elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. All these require evidence that the sale transaction transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti, i.e., the body or substance of the crime that establishes that a crime has actually been committed, as shown by presenting the object of the illegal transaction. To remove any doubt or uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug, evidence must definitely show that the illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal drug actually recovered from the appellant; otherwise, the prosecution for possession or for drug pushing under R.A. No. 9165 fails. The required procedure on the seizure and custody of drugs is embodied in Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, which states: 1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof[.] This procedure, however, was not shown to have been complied with by the members of the buy-bust team, and nothing on record suggests that they had extended reasonable efforts to comply with the said statutory requirement in handling the evidence. The deficiency is patent from the following exchanges at the trial: From the foregoing exchanges, it is clear that the apprehending team, upon confiscation of the drug, immediately brought the appellant and the seized specimen to the police station. No physical inventory and photograph of the seized items

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were taken in the presence of the appellant or her counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, and an elective official. We stress that PO1 Antonios testimony was corroborated by another member of the apprehending team, PO1 Jiro, who narrated that after arresting the appellant, they brought her and the seized item to the police station. At no time during PO1 Jiros testimony did he even intimate that they inventoried or photographed the confiscated item. A review of jurisprudence, even prior to the passage of R.A. No. 9165, shows that this Court did not hesitate to strike down convictions for failure to follow the proper procedure for the custody of confiscated dangerous drugs. Prior to R.A. No. 9165, the Court applied the procedure required by Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 3, Series of 1979, amending Board Regulation No. 7, Series of 1974. Section 1 of this Regulation requires the apprehending team, having initial custody and control of the seized drugs, to immediately inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused and/or his representatives, who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. The Court remained vigilant in ensuring that the prescribed procedures in the handling of the seized drugs were observed after the passage of R.A. No. 9165. In People v. Lorenzo, we acquitted the accused for failure of the buy-bust team to photograph and inventory the seized items. People v. Garcia likewise resulted in an acquittal because no physical inventory was ever made, and no photograph of the seized items was taken under the circumstances required by R.A. No. 9165. In Bondad, Jr. v. People, we also acquitted the accused for the failure of the police to conduct an inventory and to photograph the seized item, without justifiable grounds. We had the same rulings in People v. Gutierrez, People v. Denoman, People v. Partoza, People v. Robles, and People v. dela Cruz, where we emphasized the importance of complying with the required procedures under Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165. To be sure, Section 21(a), Article II of the IRR offers some flexibility in complying with the express requirements under paragraph 1, Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, i.e.,non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items[.] This saving clause, however, applies only where the prosecution recognized the procedural lapses, and, thereafter, explained the cited justifiable grounds, and when the prosecution established that the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence seized had been preserved. These conditions were not met in the present case, as the prosecution did not even attempt to offer any justification for its failure to follow the prescribed procedures in the handling of the seized items. Presumption of Regularity in the Performance of Official Duties In sustaining the appellants conviction, the CA also relied on the evidentiary presumption that official duties have been regularly performed. This presumption, it must be stressed, is not conclusive. It cannot, by itself, overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. Any taint of irregularity affects the whole performance and should make the presumption unavailable. The presumption, in other words, obtains only when nothing in the records suggests that the law enforcers involved deviated from the standard conduct of official duty as provided for in the law. But where the official act in question is irregular on its face, as in this case, an adverse presumption arises as a matter of course. As we explained in People v. Sanchez: While the Court is mindful that the law enforcers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties, this presumption cannot prevail over the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent and it cannot, by itself constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot be used as basis for affirming accused-appellants conviction because First, the presumption is precisely just that a mere presumption. Once challenged by evidence, as in this case, it cannot be regarded as binding truth. Second, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions cannot preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails if not overthrown by proof beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption also cannot prevail over positive averments concerning violations of the constitutional rights of the accused. In short, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt. All told, we find merit in the appellants claim that the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of proving her guilt beyond reasonable doubt, due to the unreliability of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and substantial gaps in the chain of custody, raising reasonable doubt on the authenticity of the corpus delicti. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby REVERSE and SET ASIDE the May 27, 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 30215. Appellant Erlinda Capuno y Tison is hereby ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. She is ordered immediately RELEASED from detention unless she is confined for another lawful cause.
Sam Ruadap

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ELENITA C. FAJARDO v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. NO. 190889 10 JANUARY 2011 NACHURA, J.

Facts:

Petitioner, Elenita Fajardo, and one Zaldy Valerio (Valerio) were charged with violation of P.D. No. 1866, as amended, before the RTC, Branch 5, Kalibo, Aklan, committed as follows: That on or about the 28th day of August, 2002, in the morning, in Barangay Andagao, Municipality of Kalibo, Province of Aklan, Republic of the Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, without authority of law, permit or license, did then and there, knowingly, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in their possession, custody and control two (2) receivers of caliber .45 pistol, [M]odel [No.] M1911A1 US with SN 763025 and Model [No.] M1911A1 US with defaced serial number, two (2) pieces short magazine of M16 Armalite rifle, thirty-five (35) pieces live M16 ammunition 5.56 caliber and fourteen (14) pieces live caliber .45 ammunition, which items were confiscated and recovered from their possession during a search conducted by members of the Provincial Intelligence Special Operation Group, Aklan Police Provincial Office, Kalibo, Aklan, by virtue of Search Warrant No. 01 (9) 03 issued by OIC Executive Judge Dean Telan of the Regional Trial Court of Aklan. When arraigned on March 25, 2004, both pleaded not guilty to the offense charged. During pre-trial, they agreed to the following stipulation of facts: 1. The search warrant subject of this case exists; 2. Accused Elenita Fajardo is the same person subject of the search warrant in this case who is a resident of Sampaguita Road, Park Homes, Andagao, Kalibo, Aklan; 3. Accused Zaldy Valerio was in the house of Elenita Fajardo in the evening of August 27, 2002 but does not live therein; 4. Both accused were not duly licensed firearm holders; 5. The search warrant was served in the house of accused Elenita Fajardo in the morning of August 28, 2002; and 6. The accused Elenita Fajardo and Valerio were not arrested immediately upon the arrival of the military personnel despite the fact that the latter allegedly saw them in possession of a firearm in the evening of August 27, 2002. As culled from the similar factual findings of the RTC and the CA, these are the chain of events that led to the filing of the information: In the evening of August 27, 2002, members of the Provincial Intelligence Special Operations Group (PISOG) were instructed by Provincial Director Police Superintendent Edgardo Mendoza (P/Supt. Mendoza) to respond to the complaint of concerned citizens residing on Ilang-Ilang and Sampaguita Roads, Park Homes III Subdivision, Barangay Andagao, Kalibo, Aklan, that armed men drinking liquor at the residence of petitioner were indiscriminately firing guns. Along with the members of the Aklan Police Provincial Office, the elements of the PISOG proceeded to the area. Upon arrival thereat, they noticed that several persons scampered and ran in different directions. The responding team saw Valerio holding two .45 caliber pistols. He fired shots at the policemen before entering the house of petitioner. Petitioner was seen tucking a .45 caliber handgun between her waist and the waistband of her shorts, after which, she entered the house and locked the main door. To prevent any violent commotion, the policemen desisted from entering petitioners house but, in order to deter Valerio from evading apprehension, they cordoned the perimeter of the house as they waited for further instructions from P/Supt. Mendoza. A few minutes later, petitioner went out of the house and negotiated for the pull-out of the police troops. No agreement materialized. At around 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. of August 28, 2002, Senior Police Officer 2 Clemencio Nava (SPO2 Nava), who was posted at the back portion of the house, saw Valerio emerge twice on top of the house and throw something. The discarded objects landed near the wall of petitioners house and inside the compound of a neighboring residence. SPO2 Nava, together with SPO1 Teodoro Neron and Jerome T. Vega (Vega), radio announcer/reporter of RMN DYKR, as witness, recovered the discarded objects, which turned out to be two (2) receivers of .45 caliber pistol, model no. M1911A1 US, with serial number (SN) 763025, and model no. M1911A1 US, with a defaced serial number. The recovered items were then surrendered to SPO1 Nathaniel A. Tan (SPO1 Tan), Group Investigator, who utilized them in applying for and obtaining a search warrant. The warrant was served on petitioner at 9:30 a.m. Together with a barangay captain, barangay kagawad, and members of the media, as witnesses, the police team proceeded to search petitioners house. The team found and was able to confiscate the following: 1. Two (2) pieces of Short Magazine of M16 Armalite Rifle; 2. Thirty five (35) pieces of live M16 ammos 5.56 Caliber; and 3. Fourteen (14) pieces of live ammos of Caliber 45 pistol. Since petitioner and Valerio failed to present any documents showing their authority to possess the confiscated firearms and the two recovered receivers, a criminal information for violation of P.D. No. 1866, as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8294, was filed against them.

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For their exoneration, petitioner and Valerio argued that the issuance of the search warrant was defective because the allegation contained in the application filed and signed by SPO1 Tan was not based on his personal knowledge. They quoted this pertinent portion of the application: That this application was founded on confidential information received by the Provincial Director, Police Supt. Edgardo Mendoza. They further asserted that the execution of the search warrant was infirm since petitioner, who was inside the house at the time of the search, was not asked to accompany the policemen as they explored the place, but was instead ordered to remain in the living room (sala). Petitioner disowned the confiscated items. She refused to sign the inventory/receipt prepared by the raiding team, because the items allegedly belonged to her brother, Benito Fajardo, a staff sergeant of the Philippine Army. Petitioner denied that she had a .45 caliber pistol tucked in her waistband when the raiding team arrived. She averred that such situation was implausible because she was wearing garterized shorts and a spaghetti-strapped hanging blouse. Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is acquitted and that the discovery of the two (2) receivers does not come within the purview of the plain view doctrine?

Resolution: The rule is that ownership is not an essential element of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. What the law requires is merely possession which includes not only actual physical possession but also constructive possession or the subjection of the thing to ones control and management. This has to be so if the manifest intent of the law is to be effective. The same evils, the same perils to public security, which the law penalizes exist whether the unlicensed holder of a prohibited weapon be its owner or a borrower. To accomplish the object of this law the proprietary concept of the possession can have no bearing whatsoever. But is the mere fact of physical or constructive possession sufficient to convict a person for unlawful possession of firearms or must there be an intent to possess to constitute a violation of the law? This query assumes significance since the offense of illegal possession of firearms is a malum prohibitum punished by a special law, in which case good faith and absence of criminal intent are not valid defenses. When the crime is punished by a special law, as a rule, intent to commit the crime is not necessary. It is sufficient that the offender has the intent to perpetrate the act prohibited by the special law. Intent to commit the crime and intent to perpetrate the act must be distinguished. A person may not have consciously intended to commit a crime; but he did intend to commit an act, and that act is, by the very nature of things, the crime itself. In the first (intent to commit the crime), there must be criminal intent; in the second (intent to perpetrate the act) it is enough that the prohibited act is done freely and consciously. In the present case, a distinction should be made between criminal intent and intent to possess. While mere possession, without criminal intent, is sufficient to convict a person for illegal possession of a firearm, it must still be shown that there was animus possidendi or an intent to possess on the part of the accused. Such intent to possess is, however, without regard to any other criminal or felonious intent which the accused may have harbored in possessing the firearm. Criminal intent here refers to the intention of the accused to commit an offense with the use of an unlicensed firearm. This is not important in convicting a person under Presidential Decree No. 1866. Hence, in order that one may be found guilty of a violation of the decree, it is sufficient that the accused had no authority or license to possess a firearm, and that he intended to possess the same, even if such possession was made in good faith and without criminal intent. Concomitantly, a temporary, incidental, casual, or harmless possession or control of a firearm cannot be considered a violation of a statute prohibiting the possession of this kind of weapon, such as Presidential Decree No. 1866. Thus, although there is physical or constructive possession, for as long as the animus possidendi is absent, there is no offense committed In the above case, the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt the elements of the crime. The subject receivers one with the markings United States Property and the other bearing Serial No. 763025 were duly presented to the court as Exhibits E and E-1, respectively. They were also identified by SPO2 Nava as the firearm parts he retrieved after Valerio discarded them his testimony was corroborated by DYKR radio announcer Vega, who witnessed the recovery of the receivers. Anent the lack of authority, SPO1 Tan testified that, upon verification, it was ascertained that Valerio is not a duly licensed/registered firearm holder of any type, kind, or caliber of firearms. To substantiate his statement, he submitted a certification to that effect and identified the same in court. The testimony of SPO1 Tan, or the certification, would suffice to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the February 10, 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED with respect to petitioner Elenita Fajardo y Castro, who is hereby ACQUITTED on the ground that her guilt was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Sam Ruadap

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES v. TERESITA TESSIE LAOGO G.R. No. 176264 January 10, 2011 VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Facts:

That in or about and during the months of May and June 2000, in the municipality of Bulacan, province of Bulacan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, knowing that they are nonlicensee or non-holder of authority from the Department of Labor to recruit and/or place workers in employment either locally or overseas, conspiring, confederating together and helping each other, did then and there wi[l]lfully, unlawfully and feloniously engage in illegal recruitment, placement or deployment activities for a fee, which they received from complainants Edith Bonifacio-Ulanday, Rogelio Enriquez y Buenavidez, Billy dela Cruz, Jr. y Fernandez, Dante Lopez y Enriquez, Teodulo dela Cruz y Mendoza, Edwin Enriquez y Panganiban and Gary Bustillos y de Guzman by recruiting and promising them job placement abroad, more particularly in Guam, which did not materialize, without first having secured the required license or authority from the Department of Labor and Employment. That the crime is committed in a large scale tantamount to economic sabotage as the aforementioned seven persons were [recruited] individually or as a group. Whether or not the accused Navarro and Laogo is guilty of the crime of illegal recruitment.

Issue:

Resolution: WHEREFORE, finding herein accused Teresita (Tessie) Laogo y Villamor guilty as principal beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale, she is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and pay a fine of P500,000.00 as imposed by law[;] to indemnify the private offended parties x x x actual damages, as follows: Teodulo dela Cruz P15,000.00, Billy dela Cruz P73,000.00, Dante Lopez P6,000.00, Rogelio Enriquez P3,000.00, and Edwin Enriquez P12,000.00[;] and to pay the costs of the proceedings. In the service of her sentence the said accused, a detention prisoner, shall be credited with the full time during which she had undergone preventive imprisonment, pursuant to the provisions of Art. 29 of the Revised Penal Code. Pending the actual apprehension of the other accused Susan Navarro, who is still at-large, on the strength of the warrant of arrest earlier issued, let the record be committed to the archives subject to recall and reinstatement, should circumstances so warrant for due prosecution against her of this case. Aggrieved, appellant brought the case on appeal, raising the same arguments she had raised at the CA. Recruitment and placement refers to the act of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring or procuring workers, and includes referrals, contract services, promising or advertising for employment, locally or abroad, whether for profit or not. When a person or entity, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment to two or more persons, that person or entity shall be deemed engaged in recruitment and placement. Article 38(a) of the Labor Code, as amended, specifies that recruitment activities undertaken by non-licensees or nonholders of authority are deemed illegal and punishable by law. And when the illegal recruitment is committed against three or more persons, individually or as a group, then it is deemed committed in large scale and carries with it stiffer penalties as the same is deemed a form of economic sabotage. But to prove illegal recruitment, it must be shown that the accused, without being duly authorized by law, gave complainants the distinct impression that he had the power or ability to send them abroad for work, such that the latter were convinced to part with their money in order to be employed. It is important that there must at least be a promise or offer of an employment from the person posing as a recruiter, whether locally or abroad. Here, both the trial court and the CA found that all the five complainants were promised to be sent abroad by Susan and herein appellant as cooks and assistant cooks. The follow up transactions between appellant and her victims were done inside the said travel agency. Moreover, all four receipts issued to the victims bear the name and logo of Laogo Travel Consultancy, with two of the said receipts personally signed by appellant herself. Indubitably, appellant and her co-accused acting together made complainants believe that they were transacting with a legitimate recruitment agency and that Laogo Travel Consultancy had the authority to recruit them and send them abroad for work when in truth and in fact it had none as certified by the POEA. any showing that the trial court and the CA overlooked or misappreciated certain significant facts and circumstances, which if properly considered, would change the result, we are bound by said findings. Appellants contention that she had to change the name of her travel agency to disassociate herself with Susans recruitment activities is too lame to deserve serious consideration. In light of the testimonies of the complainants that appellant with her co-accused promised them employment abroad, we find appellants act of closing Laogo Travel Consultancy and establishing a new one under her husbands name as just an afterthought, a belated decision which cannot undo the damage suffered by the private offended parties. It could indeed hardly be construed as a simple reaction of an innocent person, as it in fact smacks of a desperate attempt of a guilty individual to escape liability or to confuse and dishearten her victims. WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision dated July 31, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.C. No. 01664 is AFFIRMED in toto.
Sam Ruadap

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