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February 2013 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Procedure

1. REVISED PENAL CODE Conspiracy; joint purpose and design. Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode, method, and manner in which the offense was perpetrated; orinferred from the acts of the accused when those acts point to a joint purpose and design, concerted action, and community of interests.Proof of a previous agreement and decision to commit the crime is not essential, but the fact that the malefactors acted in unison pursuant to the same objective suffices. In this case, the prosecution decisively established a community of criminal design among Alvarico, Reyes, and appellant Pondivida. While there is no evidence of any previous agreement among the assailants to commit the crime, their concerted acts before, during and after the incident establish a joint purpose and intent to kill. As attested to by accused-appellant, they all went to the intended victims house bearing firearms. Accused-appellant himself knocked on the door. After failing to locate Udoy and Bagsik, and discovering that Gener was the latters brother, they then engaged in a lengthy conversation, as they circled around a nearby well outside the house.Accused even admitted to shouting the name Bagsik over and over.They all asked Gener to step outside and speak withthem. Upon his refusal, appellant Pondivida, together with Alvarico, entered the house through an upstairs window. Alvarico fired at George who was at the stairs. Reyes, from his vantage point at the front door, also shot at George.After fleeing the scene, appellant Pondivida admitted that he met with Alvarico in Novaliches. Alvarico gave him money, and the latter thereafter boarded a bus headed to Olongapo City. Their acts together were indicative of a common purpose, which was murder. People of the Philippines v. John Alvin Pondivida, G.R. No. 188969, February 27, 2013. Conspiracy; elements. Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit the felony. Proof of the actual agreement to commit the crime need not be direct because conspiracy may be implied or inferred from their acts. Here, accused PO2 Valdez cannot avoid criminal responsibility for the fatal shooting by co-accused Edwin of Ferdinand and Joselito. Both accused were convincingly shown to have acted in concert to achieve a common purpose of assaulting their unarmed victims with their guns. Their acting in concert was manifest not only from their going together to the betting station on board a single motorcycle, but also from their joint attack that PO2 Valdez commenced by firing successive shots at Moises and immediately followed by Edwins shooting of Ferdinand and Joselito one after the other. It was also significant that they fled together on board the same motorcycle as soon as they had achieved their common purpose. To be a conspirator, one did not have to participate in every detail of the execution; neither did he have to know the exact part performed by his co-conspirator in the execution of the criminal acts. Accordingly, the existence of the conspiracy between PO2 Valdez and Edwin was properly inferred and proved through their acts that were indicative of their common purpose and community of interest. People of the Philippines v. PO2 Eduardo Valdez and Edwin Valdez, G.R. No. 175602, February 13, 2013. Murder; elements. To hold the accused liable for murder, the prosecution must prove that: (1) a person was killed; (2) the accused killed him; (3) the killing was attended by any of the qualifying circumstances mentioned in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code; and (4) the killing is neither parricide nor infanticide. All elements were established beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution in the present case. First, it is undisputed that Emmanuel died from a gunshot wound sustained on October 10, 2005. Second, Jaymart was positively identified by eyewitness Edwin as the one who shot and killed Emmanuel. Although Jaymart attempts to attack Edwins credibility, it was not lost upon the Supreme Court that the lower courts gave full faith and credence to Edwins testimony. Third, the killing of Emmanuel was attended by treachery. There is treachery when the attack against an unarmed victim is so sudden that he had clearly no inkling of what the assailant was about to do. In this case, Emmanuel was sitting down before a table, busily writing, when Jaymart came up behind him and, without warning, shot him at the back of the head. Evidently, Emmanuel, who was unarmed and unaware, had no opportunity at all to defend himself. And finally, the killing of Emmanuel constitutes neither parricide nor infanticide. All told, the prosecution proved beyond reasonable

doubt that Jaymart was responsible for the murder of Emmanuel. People of the Philippines v. Mark Joseph R. Zapuiz, G.R. No. 199713, February 20, 2013. Estafa; syndicated estafa; elements. The elements of syndicated estafa are: (a) estafa or other forms of swindling as defined in Article 315 and 316 of the Revised Penal Code is committed; (b) the estafa or swindling is committed by a syndicate of five or more persons; and (c) defraudation results in the misappropriation of moneys contributed by stockholders, or members of rural banks, cooperatives, samahang nayon(s), or farmers associations or of funds solicited by corporations/associations from the general public. In other words, only those who formed and manage associations that receive contributions from the general public who misappropriated the contributions can commit syndicated estafa. Gilbert Guy, et al, however, are not in any way related either by employment or ownership to Asia United Bank (AUB). They are outsiders who, by their cunning moves were able to defraud an association, which is the AUB. They had not been managers or owners of AUB who used the bank to defraud the public depositors. The present petition involves an estafa case filed by a commercialbank as the offended party against the accused who, as clients, defrauded the bank. Therefore, the Supreme Court ruled that the accused should only be charged for simple estafa. Rafael H. Galvez and Katherine L. Guy v. Asia United Bank/Asia United Bank v. Gilbert, et al./Gilbert Guy, et al v. Asia Untied Bank, G.R. Nos. 187919/G.R. No. 187979/G.R. No. 188030, February 20, 2013. Homicide; intent to kill. The intent to kill, as an essential element of homicide at whatever stage, may be before or simultaneous with the infliction of injuries. The evidence to prove intent to kill may consist of, inter alia, the means used; the nature, location and number of wounds sustained by the victim; and the conduct of the malefactors before, at the time of, or immediately after the killing of the victim. Accuseds intent to kill was simultaneous with the infliction of injuries. Using a gun, he shot the victim in the chest. Despite a bloodied right upper torso, the latter still managed to run towards his house to ask for help. Nonetheless, accused continued to shoot at the victim three more times, albeit unsuccessfully. These belie the absence of petitioners intent to kill the victim.Edmundo Escamilla y Jugo v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 188551, February 27, 2013. Rape; elements of statutory rape; carnal knowledge of a female without her consent is the essence of statutory rape. The elements of statutory rape are that: (a) the victim is a female under 12 years or is demented; and (b) the offender has carnal knowledge of the victim. Considering that the essence of statutory rape is carnal knowledge of a female without her consent, neither the use of force, threat or intimidation on the female, nor the females deprivation of reason or being otherwise unconscious, nor the employment on the female of fraudulent machinations or grave abuse of authority is necessary to commit statutory rape. People of the Philippines v. Tomas Teodoro y Angeles, G.R. No. 175876, February 20, 2013 Rape; elements of statutory rape; full penile penetration of the females genitalia is not required. Full penile penetration of the females genitalia is not likewise required, because carnal knowledge is simply the act of a man having sexual bodily connections with a woman. The Supreme Court here declared that the findings of the lower courts on the commission of the two counts of statutory rape by Teodoro were well founded. AAAs recollections given in court when she was only eight years old disclosed an unbroken and consistent narration of her ordeals at his hands. She revealed details that no child of her very tender age could have invented or concocted. The only rational and natural conclusion to be made by any objective arbiter is to accord the fullest credence to her.People of the Philippines v. Tomas Teodoro y Angeles, G.R. No. 175876, February 20, 2013 Self-defense; elements. To successfully claim self-defense, the accused must satisfactorily prove the concurrence of the elements of self-defense. Under Article 11 of the Revised Penal Code, any person who acts in defense of his person or rights does not incur any criminal liability provided that the following circumstances concur: (1) unlawful aggression; (2) reasonable necessity of the means employed to prevent or repel it; and (3) lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person defending himself.The most important among all the elements is unlawful aggression. 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. Simon A. Flores v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 181354, February 27, 2013. Self-defense; elements; burden of evidence is shifted to the accused. Generally, the burden lies upon the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt rather than upon the accused that he was in fact innocent. If the accused, however, admits killing the victim, but pleads self-defense,the burden of evidence is shifted to him to prove such defense by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence that excludes

any vestige of criminal aggression on his part. In this case, Flores does not dispute that he perpetrated the killing of Jesus by shooting him with an M16 armalite rifle. To justify his shooting of Jesus, he invoked selfdefense. By interposing self-defense, Flores, in effect, admits the authorship of the crime. Thus, it was incumbent upon him to prove that the killing was legally justified under the circumstances. Simon A. Flores v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 181354, February 27, 2013. Self-Defense; elements; number of gunshot wounds on victim negative unlawful aggression. In this case, Flores failed to discharge his burden. The Supreme Court agreed with the Sandiganbayans assessment of the credibility of witnesses and the probative value of evidence on record. As noted by the Sandiganbayan, the defense evidence, both testimonial and documentary, were crowded with flaws which raised serious doubt as to its credibility. Furthermore, granting for the sake of argument that unlawful aggression was initially staged by Jesus, the same ceased to exist when Jesus was first shot on the shoulder and fell to the ground. At that point, the perceived threat to Flores life was no longer attendant. The latter had no reason to pump more bullets on Jesus abdomen and buttocks. Indeed, the nature and number of the gunshot wounds inflicted upon Jesus further negate the claim of self-defense by the accused. Records show that Jesus suffered four (4) gunshot wounds in the different parts of his body. According to Dr. Ruben Escueta, who performed the autopsy on the victim, the latter died of massive intra-abdominal hemorrhage due to laceration of the liver. If there was any truth to Flores claim that he merely acted in self-defense, his first shot on Jesus shoulder, which already caused the latter to fall on the ground, would have been sufficient to repel the attack allegedly initiated by the latter. But Flores continued shooting Jesus. Considering the number of gunshot wounds sustained by the victim, the Supreme Court found it difficult to believe that Flores acted to defend himself to preserve his own life. Simon A. Flores v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 181354, February 27, 2013. 2. SPECIAL PENAL LAWS Alibi; physical impossibility must be proved. For Jaymarts alibi to prosper, he must prove that not only was he somewhere else when Emmanuel was killed, but also that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the appellant was when the rime transpired and the place where it was committed, as well as the facility of access between the two places. Where there is the least chance for the accused to be present at the crime scene, the defense of alibi must fail. Although Jaymart claimed that he was in Divisoria from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on October 10, 2005, Jaymart himself admitted that it would only take a five-minute tricycle ride to get from Divisoria to Parola, where Emmanuel was shot. People of the Philippines v. Mark Joseph R. Zapuiz, G.R. No. 199713, February 20, 2013. Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; offenses under section 3(e) of R.A. 3019. Braza challenges the sufficiency of the allegations in the second information because there is no indication of any actual and quantifiable injury suffered by the government. He then argues that the facts under the second information are inadequate to support a valid indictment for violation of section 3(e) of R.A. 3019. In a catena of cases, the Supreme Court (SC) has held that there are two (2) ways by which a public official violates section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 in the performance of his functions, namely: (1) by causing undue injury to any party, including the Government; or (2) by giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.The accused may be charged under either mode or under both. The disjunctive term or connotes that either act qualifies as a violation of section 3(e) of R.A. 3019.In other words, the presence of one would suffice for conviction. It must be emphasized that Braza was indicted for violation of section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 under the second mode. To be found guilty under the second mode,it suffices that the accused has given unjustified favor or benefit to another, in the exercise of his official,administrative and judicial functions. The element of damage is not required for violation of section 3(e) under the second mode.In the case at bench, the second information alleged, in substance, that accused public officers and employees, discharging official or administrative function, together with Braza, confederated and conspired to give FABMIK Construction and Equipment Supply Company, Inc. unwarranted benefit or preference by awarding to it Contract J.D. No. 06H00050 through manifest partiality or evident bad faith, without the conduct of a public bidding and compliance with the requirement for qualification contrary to the provisions of R.A. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. Settled is the rule that private persons, when acting in conspiracy with public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the pertinent offenses under section 3 of R.A. 3019. Considering that all the elements of the offense of violation of section 3(e) were alleged in the second information, the SC

found the same to be sufficient in form and substance to sustain a conviction. Isabelo A. Braza v. The Honorable Sandiganbayan (1st Division), G.R. No. 195032, February 20, 2013. Appeals; an appeal taken by one or more of several accused applicable to those who did not appeal if the judgment of the appellate court is favorable to them. Based on section 11(a), Rule 122 of theRules of Court, accused Edwin cannot be barred from seeking the application to him of the downgrading of the crimes committed (and the resultant lighter penalties) despite the finality of his convictions for three counts of murder due to his withdrawal of his appeal. The downgrading of the crimes committed would definitely be favorable to him. Worth pointing out is that to deny to him the benefit of the lessened criminal responsibilities would be highly unfair, considering that the Supreme Court had found the two accused to have acted in concert in their deadly assault against the victims, warranting their equal liability under the principle of conspiracy. Moreover, the benefits of the said provision extended to all the accused, regardless of whether they appealed or not. People of the Philippines v. PO2 Eduardo Valdez and Edwin Valdez, G.R. No. 175602, February 13, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; buy-bust operations; distinction between entrapment and instigation. A buy-bust operation has been recognized in this jurisdiction as a legitimate form of entrapment of the culprit. It is distinct from instigation, in that the accused who is otherwise not predisposed to commit the crime is enticed or lured or talked into committing the crime. While entrapment is legal, instigation is not. In entrapment, prior surveillance is not necessary to render a buy-bust operation legitimate, especially when the buy-bust team is accompanied to the target area by the informant. Also, the presentation of an informant as a witness is not regarded as indispensable to the success of a prosecution of a drug-dealing accused in view of the need to protect the informant from the retaliation of the culprit arrested through his efforts. Only when the testimony of the informant is considered absolutely essential in obtaining the conviction of the culprit should the need to protect his security be disregarded. Here, the police officer, who acted as a poseur-buyer, asked the accused if he could buy shabu, and the latter, in turn, quickly transacted with the former, receiving the marked bill from the police officer and turning over the sachet of shabu he took from his pocket. The accused was shown to have been ready to sell the shabu without much prodding from the police officer. There is no question that the idea to commit the crime originated from the mind of the accused. Also, the informants testimony as a witness against the accused would only be corroborative of the sufficient testimony of the police officer as the poseurbuyer; hence, such testimony was unnecessary. People of the Philippines v. Noel Bartolome y Bajo, G.R. No. 191726, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody; buy-bust operations. The chain of custody of the seized drugs in a buy-bust operation is sufficiently established when there is proof of the following: 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 from the forensic chemist to the court. The failure of the police officers to make an inventory report and to photograph the drugs seized from Linda and Elizabeth, as required by Article II, section 21, paragraph 1 of R.A. 9165, are not automatically fatal to the prosecutions case, as it was able to trace and prove the chain of custody of the same. People of the Philippines v. Linda Alviz y Yatco and Elizabeth Dela Vega y Bautista, G.R. No. 177158, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody; procedure. The buy-bust team in this case did not observe the procedures laid down in section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9165. They did not conduct a physical inventory and no photograph of the confiscated item was taken in the presence of the accused-appellant, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official. In fact, the prosecution failed to present an accomplished Certificate of Inventory. Further, the circumstances obtaining from the time the buy-bust team was organized until the chain of custody commenced were riddled with procedural lapses and inconsistencies between the testimony and the documents presented as evidence in court so much so that even assuming, that the physical inventory contemplated in R.A. 9165 subsumes the marking of the items itself, the belated marking of the seized items at the police station sans the required presence of the accused and the witnesses enumerated under section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9165, and absent a justifiable ground to stand on, cannot be considered a minor deviation from the procedures prescribed by the law. There being a gross, systematic, or deliberate disregard of the procedural safeguards the presumption of regularity in the

performance of official duties is overturned. People of the Philippines v. Jose Alex Secreto y Villanueva, G.R. No. 198115, February 27, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; chain and custody; requirements; cases where non-observance may be excused. Although it appears that the buy-bust team did not literally observe all the requirements under section 21, Article II of R.A. 9165, like photographing the confiscated drugs in the presence of the accused, of a representative from the media and from the Department of Justice, and of any elected public official who should be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy of it, the same may be excused because the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized shabu was preserved. Immediately upon the arrest of the accused, Police Officer Paras marked the plastic sachet containing the shabu with the accuseds initials of NBB. Thereafter, Paras brought the sachet and the contents to the ADSOU, where his superior officer, Insp. Cruz, prepared and signed the request for the laboratory examination of the contents of the marked sachet. P02 De Ocampo handcarried the request and the evidence to the PNP Crime Laboratory. SPO 1 Bugabuga of that office recorded the delivery of the request and the marked sachet, which were all received by Chemist Dela Rosa. In turn, Chemist Dela Rosa examined the contents of the marked sachet, and executed Physical Sciences Report No. D-1 03 8-03 confirming that the marked sachet contained 0.06 gram of shabu. In this regard, the accused did not deny that Paras and Chemist Dela Rosa affirmed the sequence of custody of the shabu during the trial. The Supreme Court ruled that this chain of custody of the shabu was firm and unbroken. People of the Philippines v. Noel Bartolome y Bajo, G.R. No. 191726, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody; substantial compliance may be sanctioned. Defense suggests that the non-marking of the seized illegal drug at the place where the same was confiscated is enough to exonerate the accused-appellant. The reason is that this allegedly places in doubt the authenticity of the drug delivered to the crime laboratory for examination. However, the Supreme Court found that the prosecution has properly established the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit at least from the time it came into possession of the police officers, during its testing in the laboratory to determine its composition and up to the time it was offered in evidence. The function of the chain of custody requirement is to ensure that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved, so much so that unnecessary doubts as to the identity of the evidence are removed. As long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending police officers, substantial compliance with the procedure to establish a chain of custody is sanctioned. People of the Philippines v. Saiben Langcua y Daimla, G.R. No. 190343, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody; integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items should be preserved. Failure to strictly comply with section 21 of R.A. 9165, which outlines the procedure on the chain of custody of confiscated, seized, or surrendered dangerous drugs, will not render an arrest illegal or the items seized from the accused inadmissible in evidence. What is crucial is that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved for they will be used in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. In the case at bar, the Supreme Court found that the prosecution was able to establish that the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated illegal drugs had been maintained. P/Insp. Salazar, who was one of the apprehending officers, marked the seized items in front of accused Manalao and the other apprehending officers. P/Insp. Salazar, who was also the investigating officer, thereafter signed a request for the laboratory examination of the seized drugs, which was received by Forensic Chemist Mag-abo, together with the items enumerated therein. She then testified in open court on how her examination confirmed that the seized items, which she submitted in court, tested positive forshabu. Besides, unless there is a showing of bad faith, ill will, or proof that the evidence has been tampered or meddled with, the presumptions that the integrity of such evidence had been preserved and that the police officers who handled the seized drugs had discharged their duties properly and with regularity remain. The burden to overcome such presumptions lies on Manalao, and the Supreme Court found that he failed to do so. People of the Philippines v. Malik Manalao y Alauya, G.R. No. 187496, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal possession of dangerous drugs; elements. When prosecuting an illegal possession of dangerous drugs case, the following elements must be established: (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 drug. Mere possession of a prohibited drug, without legal authority, is punishable under R.A. 9165. Since accused Manalao failed to adduce any evidence showing that he had legal authority to possess the seized drugs, then he was correctly charged with its illegal possession. The Supreme Court has time and again looked upon the defense of denial

with disfavor for being easily fabricated. Since accused failed to give anything more than his bare assertions, his defense of denial must necessarily be rejected. People of the Philippines v. Malik Manalao y Alauya, G.R. No. 187496, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal possession of dangerous drugs; elements. In prosecuting cases for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the prosecution must establish the following elements: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object, which is identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. The above elements were all duly established by the prosecution. After De Jesus was validly arrested for the illegal sale of drugs, he was searched and frisked, pursuant to section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, or the provision on searches incident to lawful arrest. Upon such search, De Jesus was found to be in possession of eight heatsealed sachets of shabu, an item identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug. De Jesus failed to show that he had authority to possess them. Moreover, mere possession of a prohibited drug constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in the absence of satisfactory explanation.People of the Philippines v. Victor De Jesus y Garcia, G.R. No. 198794, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal possession of dangerous drugs; elements. To prosecute illegal possession of dangerous drugs, there must be a showing that (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. As an incident to the arrest, Galido was ordered to empty his pockets which led to the confiscation of another plastic sachet containing illegal drugs. The defense presented no evidence to prove that the possession was authorized by law, the defense being non-possession or denial of possession. However, such denial cannot prevail over the positive identification made by the police officials.For the defense position to prosper, the defense must adduce clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that government officials have performed their duties ina regular and proper manner. Galido failed to present any evidence that the police officials were distrustful in their performance of duties. He even testified that prior to the arrest; he did not have any quarrel or misunderstanding with the police officers nor was he acquainted with any reason that they carried a grudge against him. Thus, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the lower courts convicting Galido of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. People of the Philippines v. James Galido y Noble,G.R. No. 192231, February 13, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal possession of dangerous drugs; elements; admissibility of evidence. In a prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the following facts must be proven with moral certainty: (1) that the accused is in possession of the object identified as prohibited or regulated drug; (2) that such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) that the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. Accused concedes that frisking passengers at the airport is a standard procedure but assails the conduct of Soriano and PO1 Trota-Bartolome in singling him out by making him stretch out his arms and empty his pockets. He believes such meticulous search was unnecessary because, as Soriano himself testified, there was no beep sound when petitioner walked past through the metal detector and hence nothing suspicious was indicated by that initial security check. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that prosecution has satisfactorily established that airport security officers found in the person of accused the marijuana fruiting tops, an illegal substance, contained in rolled paper sticks during the final security check at the airports pre-departure area. Accuseds reluctance to show the contents of his short pants pocket after the friskers hand felt the rolled papers containing marijuana, and his nervous demeanor aroused the suspicion of the arresting officers that he was indeed carrying an item or material subject to confiscation by the said authorities. The search of the contents of petitioners short pants pockets being a valid search pursuant to routine airport security procedure, the illegal substance (marijuana) seized from him was therefore admissible in evidence. Don Djowel Sales y Abalahin v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 191023, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of dangerous drugs; elements. The elements necessary to successfully prosecute an illegal sale of drugs case are (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. The prosecution must establish that the illegal sale of the dangerous drugs actually took place together with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the dangerous drugs seized in evidence. In this case, the prosecution was able to establish the above elements. Accused Manalao was positively identified by PO1 Solarta, who knew him even before the operation, as the one who sold the seized shabu subject of this case to the poseur-buyer. Manalao was caught in flagrante delicto in the entrapment operation conducted by the PNP of Tubod, Lanao del Norte.

Moreover, the corpus delicti of the crime was also established with certainty and conclusiveness. People of the Philippines v. Malik Manalao y Alauya, G.R. No. 187496, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of dangerous drugs; illegal possession of dangerous drugs; elements. As found by the lower courts, the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt the elements of illegal sale of dangerous drugs: (1) the accused sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another and (2) knew that what was sold and delivered was a prohibited drug;and illegal possession of dangerous drugs: (1) the accused is in possession of the object identified as a prohibited or regulatory drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drugs. Manifest on record is thatthe buybust transaction between the police operatives and Diwa was unequivocally established by the prosecution, and it was so found by both lower courts. After being identified by the informant, Diwa was approached by PO3 Galvez for the purchase of marijuana.Diwa, after ascertaining the quantity to be purchased and accepting the marked money from PO3 Galvez, handed him a portion of marijuana from the bunch wrapped in newspaper, contained in the yellow SM Supermarket plastic bag. The contents thereof were sent to the Physical Sciences Division, and after examination, confirmed to be marijuana, a dangerous drug. People of the Philippines v. Magsalin Diwa y Gutierrez, G.R. No. 194253, February 27,2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of shabu. To establish the crime of illegal sale of shabu, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the identity of the object and the consideration of the sale; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and of the payment for the thing. It simply requires the consummation of the selling transaction, which happens at the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. If a police officer goes through the operation as a buyer, the crime is consummated when the police officer makes an offer to buy that is accepted by the accused, and there is an ensuing exchange between them involving the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the police officer. Should the accused raise the defense of frame-up and extortion, the same must be established with clear and convincing evidence because the fact that frame-up and extortion could be easily concocted renders such defenses hard to believe. In this case, the accused merely put up self-serving denials. If indeed the accused was merely a victim of frame-up and extortion, there was no reason for him and his brother not to have formally charged the police officers with the severely penalized offense of planting of evidence under section 2915 of R.A. 9165 and extortion. Therefore, the Supreme Court rendered the defenses of frame-up and extortion implausible. People of the Philippines v. Noel Bartolome y Bajo,G.R. No. 191726, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of drugs; elements. What is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of the corpus delicti. The commission of illegal sale merely consummates the selling transaction, which happens the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. As long as the police officer went through the operation as a buyer, whose offer was accepted by seller, followed by the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the former, the crime is already consummated. In this case, the prosecution has adequately proven all the elements constituting sale of illegal drug. This is evident from the testimony of PO1 Domingo, who identified in open court the white crystalline substance contained in the plastic sachet as the one handed by Langcua to him during the buy-bust operation. The substance yielded positive result for methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug, as evidenced by the Chemistry Report given by PSI Cayabyab. People of the Philippines v. SaibenLangcua y Daimla, G.R. No. 190343, February 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody. Section 21(1) of R.A. 9165 provides the procedure to be followed in the seizure and custody of dangerous drugs. This procedure underscores the value of preserving the integrity of the confiscated, seized, or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, instruments, paraphernalia and laboratory equipment. It puts into focus the essentiality of the confiscated articles as thecorpus delicti that the State must establish during the trial, as a means of avoiding the commission of abuses by the lawmen in their enforcement of the laws against illegal drug trade. In this case, the members of the buy-bust team substantially complied with the requirements. To shield the operation from suspicion, they first saw to the certification of the buy-bust bill by the Office of the City Prosecutor of Iligan City pursuant to their then standard operating procedure. After arresting Tapere, they lost no time in bringing him and the confiscated sachets (marked and identified as AT-1 to AT-4, inclusive) to the PDEA office, where Team Leader SPO2 Englatiera immediately prepared and signed the request for laboratory examination. Due to the lateness of the hour, PO1 Margaja, another member of the team, brought the request and the sachets to the PNP Crime Laboratory on the next day, and the request and the

sachets were received in due course. Sr. Police Insp. Jabonillo of the PNP Crime Laboratory subjected the sachets to examination, and confirmed the presence in all of them of methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. She also gave the weights of the contents of the four sachets in her Chemistry Report No. D083-02 dated September 4, 2002. Her report was approved by her superior, Police Supt. Sabong of the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory. Based on all the foregoing, there was a conscious effort exerted by the buy-bust team to ensure the proper incrimination of Tapere. People of the Philippines v. Arnold Tapere y Polpol, G.R. No. 178065, February 20, 2013 Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of dangerous drugs; elements. To establish the crime of illegal sale of shabu as defined and punished under section 5, Article II of R.A. 9165, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt the following: (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the identity of the object and the consideration of the sale; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and of the payment for the thing. The commission of the offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, requires simply the consummation of the selling transaction, which happens at the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. In short, the Prosecution must show that the transaction or sale actually took place, and present in court the thing sold as evidence of the corpus delicti. People of the Philippines v. Arnold Tapere y Polpol, G.R. No. 178065, February 20, 2013 Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of dangerous drugs; elements. In the case at bar, the State has conclusively established the concurrence of the foregoing elements of illegal sale of dangerous drugs. Firstly, the members of the buy-bust team identified Tapere as the person with whom Salgado had contracted on the purchase of the shabu. Secondly, the subject of the sale was one plastic sachet of shabu that the PNP Crime Laboratory later on confirmed in due course to contain methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. It is of no consequence that three other sachets of shabu recovered from Taperes possession at the time of his arrest were also presented as evidence during the trial, or that the Prosecution failed to specify which of the four sachets was the sachet involved in the transaction between him and Salgado because what is decisive is that one of the four sachets was definitely the subject of the transaction between Tapere and the poseur buyer. Thirdly, the consideration of the sale was P100.00, and the actual payment of that amount through the P100.00 bill bearing serial number YU859011 covered by the public prosecutors certification ensured the identification of it as the consideration. And, fourthly, the Prosecutions witnesses fully described the details of the consummated sale of shabu between Tapere as seller and Salgado as buyer. People of the Philippines v. Arnold Tapere y Polpol, G.R. No. 178065, February 20, 2013 3. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Alibi. Alibi is an inherently weak defense because it is easy to fabricate and highly unreliable. To merit approbation, the accused must adduce clear and convincing evidence that he was in a place other than the situscriminis at the time the crime was committed, such that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime when it was committed. Since alibi is a weak defensefor being easily fabricated, it cannot prevail over and is worthless in the face of the positive identification by a credible witness that an accused perpetrated the crime. In this case, the accused did not introduce any evidence other than his own testimony where he presented an alibi, i.e., that he was in another place, with his cousin, when the incident happened. But the accused did not even present his cousin to buttress this claim. Moreover, he in fact admitted that he had visited the dwelling of the victim in the morning on the day the crime was committed. Hence, the Supreme Court affirmed his conviction for the crime of rape. People of the Philippines v. Jonathan Uto Veloso y Rama, G.R. No. 188849, February 13, 2013. Alibi; requisites; when it can succeed as a defense over positive identification. In order for alibi to prosper, petitioner must establish by clear and convincing evidence that, first, he was in another place at the time of the offense; and, second, it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. The alibi of the accused was that he was at home asleep with his wife when the victim was shot. However, his wifes testimony did not show that he was indeed at home when the crime happened. At the most, it only establishes that he was at home before and after the shooting. Accused also failed to prove the physical impossibility of his being at the scene of the crime at the time in question. His alibi that he was at home actually bolsters the prosecutions claim that he was the shooter, because it placed him just a few steps away from the scene of the crime, which was in front of his house, when the victim was shot. Physical impossibility refers to the distance between the place where the accused was when the crime transpired and the place where it was committed, as

well as the facility of access between the two places. Edmundo Escamilla y Jugo v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 188551, February 27, 2013. Circumstantial evidence; when sufficient for conviction. Circumstantial evidence is defined asthat evidence that indirectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact-finder draws from the evidence established.It is sufficient for conviction if: [a] there is more than one (1) circumstance; [b] the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and [c] the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt.To uphold a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, it is essential that the circumstantial evidence presented must constitute an unbroken chain which leads one to a fair and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of the others, as the guilty person. The test to determine whether or not the circumstantial evidence on record is sufficient to convict the accused is that the series of circumstances duly proved must be consistent with each other and that each and every circumstance must be consistent with the accuseds guilt and inconsistent with the accuseds innocence. Contrary to Abulencias contention in his brief,there are numerous circumstances sufficient to prove his participation in the crime, to wit: [a] it was established that Lamsen was an active participant to the crime; [b] Lamsen and Abulencia both admitted they were together in the vicinity of the crime scene when it happened;[c] his car with plate number PEW 781 was subjected to a flash alarm in connection with the crime;[d] Abulencia admitted he was driving his car when the flash alarm was raised;and [e] the dents and bluish green streaks of paint found on Sys jeep matched the dents and scratches found on Abulencias car.The combination of the aforementioned circumstances forms an unbroken chain which irrefragably points to Abulencia as among the perpetrators of the crime.People of the Philippines v. P/Supt. Artemio E. Lamsen, et al, G.R. No. 198338, February 20, 2013. Credibility of witnesses; positive identification of the accused prevails over denial. The Supreme Court held that a categorical and consistently positive identification of the accused, without any showing of ill motive on the part of the eyewitnesses, prevails over denial. In this case, the identity of the assailant was proved with moral certainty by the prosecution, which presented three witnesses the victim Mendol, Velasco, and Garcelazo who all positively identified Escamilla as the shooter. All the three witnesses were unswerving in their testimonies and none of them had any ulterior motive to testify against him. Edmundo Escamilla y Jugo v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 188551, February 27, 2013. Credibility of witnesses; inconsistencies on minor matters strengthen the credibility of witnesses. Accused Elizabeth harps on the purported contradictions and improbabilities in the testimonies of PO2 Ibasco and SPO4 Reburiano, specifically, as to: (1) the composition of the buy-bust team; (2) the existence of a preoperation report and coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA); and (3) the markings made by PO2 Ibasco on the sachet of shabu. The Supreme Court (SC) was not swayed and thus ruled that the inconsistencies adverted to by Elizabeth are trivial and insignificant and refer only to minor details. Time and again, the SC has ruled that inconsistencies on minor and trivial matters only serve to strengthen rather than weaken the credibility of witnesses for they erase the suspicion of rehearsed testimony. Furthermore, the SC cannot expect the testimonies of different witnesses to be completely identical and to coincide with each other since they have different impressions and recollections of the incident. Hence, it is only natural that their testimonies are at variance on some minor details. Indeed, in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, what is material is the proof that the accused peddled illicit drugs, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti, both of which were satisfactorily complied with by the prosecution in this case. People of the Philippines v. Linda Alviz y Yatco and Elizabeth Dela Vega y Bautista, G.R. No. 177158, February 6, 2013. Credibility of witnesses; minor inconsistencies do not negate eyewitnesses positive identification. Minor inconsistencies in the narration of witnesses do not detract from their essential credibility as long as their testimony on the whole is coherent and intrinsically believable. Inaccuracies may in fact suggest that the witnesses are telling the truth and have not been rehearsed. Witnesses are not expected to remember every single detail of an incident with perfect or total recall. The witnesses testimonies need only to corroborate one another on material details surrounding the actual commission of the crime.In this case, the inconsistencies in the recollection of facts of PO1 Domingo, PO3 Nicolas and P/I Rosqueta regarding the street where the accused came from, the position of the motorcycle as well as the operational condition of the cellular phone, are not material elements in establishing an illegal sale of dangerous drug. It is not irregular for police officers to have inconsistent statements in the narration of details of the buy-bust operation, as indeed the inconsistency can indicate truthfulness. What is important is for them to recount the material facts constituting sale of

dangerous drug such as the exchange of the illegal drug for buy-bust money and identification of the buyer, seller and illegal drug in court as the object of the sale. The three witnesses corroborated each other on material points which added to the confidence placed on their testimonies. People of the Philippines v. SaibenLangcua y Daimla, G.R. No. 190343, February 6, 2013. Credibility of witnesses; trial courts assessment accorded great respect. The trial judge is the one who hears the testimony of the witnesses presented firsthand and sees their demeanor and body language. The trial judge, therefore, can better determine if the witnesses are telling the truth being in the ideal position to weigh conflicting testimonies. Here, the accused raised on appeal the trivial inconsistencies in the testimony of the rape victim. However, the Supreme Court (SC) gave weight to the trial courts observation of the demeanor of the victim when she testified. The SC affirmed the Regional Trial Court in specifically noting that the testimony of the victim during the trial was straightforward, candid, clear and consistent; that she was not moved nor cowed by the peroration of the cross-examiner; that her answers were direct and concise; that she was unmoved by the slings and arrows of her misfortune; that she was bold, determined and credible; and that the defense never broke her, in fact her answers enhanced her will to correct a wrong, her quest for the protective mantle of the law and her passion to punish the accused. The SC thus affirmed his conviction for the crime of rape. People of the Philippines v. Jonathan Uto Veloso y Rama, G.R. No. 188849, February 13, 2013. Extrajudicial confession; binding only on the confessant; exceptions. A review of the records show that the only direct material evidence against Salapuddin is the confession made by Ikram. While the confession is arguably relevant, this is not the evidence competent to establish the probability that Salapuddin participated in the commission of the crime. On the contrary, as pointed out by the Secretary of Justice, this cannot be considered against Salapuddin on account of the principle ofres inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet. Clearly thus, an extrajudicial confession is binding only on the confessant. It cannot be admitted against his or her co-accused and is considered as hearsay against them.The exception provided under section 30, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court to the rule allowing the admission of a conspirator requires the prior establishment of the conspiracy by evidence other than the confession. In this case, there is a dearth of proof demonstrating the participation of Salapuddin in a conspiracy to set off a bomb in the Batasan grounds and thereby kill Congressman Akbar. Not one of the other persons arrested and subjected to custodial investigation professed that Salapuddin was involved in the plan to set off a bomb in the Batasan grounds. Instead, the investigating prosecutors did no more than to rely on Salapuddins association with these persons to conclude that he was a participant in the conspiracy. The Supreme Court, however, has previously stressed that mere association with the principals by direct participation, without more, does not suffice. Relationship, association and companionship do not prove conspiracy. Salapuddins complicity to the crime, if this be the case, cannot be anchored on his relationship, if any, with the arrested persons or his ownership of the place where they allegedly stayed while in Manila. It must be shown that the person concerned has performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity. In fact, mere knowledge, acquiescence or approval of the act, without the cooperation or approval to cooperate, is not sufficient to prove conspiracy. Gerry A. Salapuddin v. The Court of Appeals, Gov. Jum Akbar, and Nor-Rhama J. Indanan, G.R. No. 184681, February 25, 2013. Information; sufficiency of allegations in the information. The real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the information, or from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, which are mere conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. Every element of the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his defense. The presumption is that the accused has no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense. People of the Philippines v. PO2 Eduardo Valdez and Edwin Valdez, G.R. No. 175602, February 13, 2013. Information; sufficiency of allegations in the information. The averments of the informations to the effect that the two accused with intent to kill, qualified with treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength did x x x assault, attack and employ personal violence upon the victims by then and there shooting [them] with a gun, hitting [them] on various parts of their bodies which [were] the direct and immediate cause of [their] death[s] did not sufficiently set forth the facts and circumstances describing how treachery

attended each of the killings. The use of the gun as an instrument to kill was not per se treachery, for there are other instruments that could serve the same lethal purpose. Nor did the use of the term treachery constitute a sufficient averment, for that term, standing alone, was nothing but a conclusion of law, not an averment of a fact. People of the Philippines v. PO2 Eduardo Valdez and Edwin Valdez, G.R. No. 175602, February 13, 2013. Lawful warrantless arrests; evidence gathered in flagrante delicto admissible. There is little credence in accused Elizabeths assertion that she and co-accused Linda were mere victims of a frame-up. There is absolute lack of evidence that the members of the buy-bust team were stirred by illicit motive or had improperly performed their duties in arresting Linda and Elizabeth. Both Linda and Elizabeth admitted that they did not know the police officers prior to their arrest. Hence, there could not have been any bad blood between them and said police officers. As a result of the finding that a buy-bust operation actually took place and that Linda and Elizabeth were apprehended in flagrante delicto, the evidence gathered and presented by the prosecution on the occasion of their lawful arrest without warrant cannot be deemed as the fruits of a poisonous tree, but are admissible and competent proof of their guilt. People of the Philippines v. Linda Alviz y Yatco and Elizabeth Dela Vega y Bautista, G.R. No. 177158, February 6, 2013. Motion to re-open case for reception of further evidence; motion for new trial. Section 1 of Rule 121 of the Rules of Court provides that a new trial may only be granted by the court on motion of the accused, or motu proprio with the consent of the accused [a]t any time before a judgment of conviction becomes final. In this case, petitioners judgment of conviction already became final and executory on 26 July 2007 the date on which the decision of the Supreme Court denying the petition and affirming the ruling of the Court of Appeals was recorded in the Book of Entries of Judgments. Thus, pleas for the remand of this case to the trial court for the conduct of a new trial may no longer be entertained. The rationale for this rule is that fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice necessitate that, at the risk of occasional errors, the judgment or orders of courts should attain finality at some definite time fixed by law. Otherwise, there would be no end to litigation. Reynante Tadeja, et al v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 145336, February 20, 2013. Newly-discovered evidence. Newly discovered evidence refers to that which (a) is discovered after trial; (b) could not have been discovered and produced at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable diligence; (c) is material, not merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching; and (d) is of such weight that it would probably change the judgment if admitted. The most important requisite is that the evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial even with reasonable diligence; hence, the term newly discovered. In this case, the confession of Plaridel, the witness whose testimony was sought to be introduced as newly discovered evidence, does not meet this requisite. He participated in the trial before the Regional Trial Court and even gave testimony as to his defense. It was only after he and the petitioners had been convicted by the trial court that he absconded. Thus, the contention that his confession could not have been obtained during trial does not hold water. ReynanteTadeja, et al v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 145336, February 20, 2013. Prejudicial questions; violations of B.P. 22. The rescission of a contract of sale is not a prejudicial question that will warrant the suspension of the criminal proceedings commenced to prosecute the buyer for violations of the Bouncing Checks Law (B.P. 22) arising from the dishonor of the checks the buyer issued in connection with the sale. The violation of B.P. 22 requires the concurrence of the following elements, namely: (1) the making, drawing, and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuerthat at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment;and (3) the subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.The issue in the criminal actions upon the violations of B.P. 22 is therefore whether or not Reyes issued the dishonoured checks knowing them to be without funds upon presentment. On the other hand, the issue in the civil action for rescission is whether or not the breach in the fulfilment of Advanced Foundations obligation warranted the rescission of the conditional sale. If, after trial on the merits in the civil action, Advanced Foundation would be found to have committed material breach as to warrant the rescission of the contract, such result would not necessarily mean that Reyes would be absolved of the criminal responsibility for issuing the dishonored checks because, as the aforementioned elements show, he already committed the violations upon the dishonor of the checks that he had issued at a time when the conditional sale was still fully binding upon the parties. His obligation to fund the checks or to make

arrangements for them with the drawee bank should not be tied up to the future event of extinguishment of the obligation under the contract of sale through rescission. Indeed, under B.P. 22, the mere issuance of a worthless check was already the offense in itself. Under such circumstances, the criminal proceedings for the violation of B.P. 22 could proceed despite the pendency of the civil action for rescission of the conditional sale. Teodoro A. Reyes v. Ettore Rossi,G.R. No. 159823, February 18, 2013. Preliminary investigation; probable cause; courts cannot directly decide matters over which discretionary authority has been delegated to the executive department. The Supreme Court (SC) in this case cited Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) v. Tobias III, where it stressed that a preliminary investigation for the purpose of determining the existence of probable cause is not part of a trial. At a preliminary investigation, the investigating prosecutor or the Secretary of Justice only determines whether the act or omission complained of constitutes the offense charged.There is no definitive standard by which probable cause is determinedexcept to consider the attendant conditions; the existence of probable cause depends upon the finding of the public prosecutor conducting the examination, who is called upon not to disregard the facts presented, and to ensure that his finding should not run counter to the clear dictates of reason. Here, the SC found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals when it rendered its Decision dated January 11, 2011. There is ample evidence on record to support the said decision. To name one, the accountants who were part of the Inspection Team sent by Tan to Coastal Highpoint Ventures, Inc. (CHVI), executed a Joint Affidavit stating that the documents made available to them for inspection were limited. Further, they claimed that on the day of the inspection, they brought a portable photocopying machine to CHVIs premises but they were not allowed to use the same. The offense punishable under section 74, in relation to section 144 of the Corporation Code, for which Chiu was indicted, requires the unjustified disallowance or refusal by a suspect, of a stockholders written request to examine or copy excerpts of a corporations books or minutes. The absence of any ascribed ill motives on the part of the aforementioned accountants to make statements adverse or unfavorable to Chiu lends credibility to their declarations. Besides, as the SC ruled in Metrobank, in a preliminary investigation, the prosecutor is bound to determine merely the existence of probable cause that a crime has been committed and that the accused has committed the same. The rules do not require that a prosecutor has moral certainty of the guilt of a person for the latter to be indicted for an offense after the conduct of a preliminary investigation. Further, the SC has repeatedly ruled that the determination of probable cause, for purposes of preliminary investigation, is an executive function. Such determination should be free from the courts interference save only in exceptional cases where the Department of Justice gravely abuses its discretion in the issuance of its orders or resolutions. Loreli Lim Po v. Department of the Justice, et al/Antonio ng Chiu v. Court of Appeals, et al, G.R. Nos. 195198 & G.R. No. 197098, February 11, 2013. Sandiganbayan; original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. P.D. 1606, as amended by R.A. 7975 and R.A. 8249,vests the Sandiganbayan with original exclusive jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases instituted pursuant to and in connection with Executive Orders 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in 1986 by then President Corazon C. Aquino. Executive Order 1 refers to cases of recovery and sequestration of ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcoses, their relatives, subordinates, and close associates, directly or through nominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or by using their powers, authority, influence, connections or relationships. Executive Order 2 states that the ill-gotten wealth includes assets and properties in the form of estates and real properties in the Philippines and abroad. Executive Orders 14 and 14-A pertain to the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases relative to the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies. The amended complaint filed by the Republic to implead Asian Bank prays for reversion, reconveyance, reconstitution, accounting and damages. In other words, the Republic would recover ill-gotten wealth, by virtue of which the properties in question cameunder sequestration and are now, for that reason, in custodia legis. Although the Republic has not imputed any responsibility to Asian Bank for the illegal accumulation of wealth by the original defendants, or has not averred that Asian Bank was a business associate, dummy, nominee, or agent of the Marcoses, the allegation in its amended complaint in Civil Case No. 0004 that Asian Bank acted with bad faith for ignoring the sequestration of the properties as ill-gotten wealth has made the cause of action against Asian Bank incidental or necessarily connected to the cause of action against the original defendants. Consequently, the Sandiganbayan has original exclusive jurisdiction over the claim against Asian Bank, for the Supreme Court has ruled in Presidential Commission on Good Government v. Sandiganbayan, that the Sandiganbayan has original and exclusive jurisdiction not only over

principal causes of action involving recovery of ill-gotten wealth, but also over all incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to such cases. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, as successor-in-interest of Asian Bank Corporation v. Hon. Edilberto G. Sandoval, et al, G.R. No. 169677, February 18, 2013. Warrantless arrests; flagrante delicto arrest; standard of probable cause. A valid warrantless arrest which justifies a subsequent search is one that is carried out under the parameters of section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court which requires that the apprehending officer must have been spurred by probable cause to arrest a person caught in flagrante delicto. To be sure, the term probable cause has been understood to mean a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious mans belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. Records show that PO2 Soque arrested accused Ramon for allegedly violating section 844 of the Manila City Ordinance regarding Breaches of the Peace. The Supreme Court (SC) held that the act of shouting in a thickly-populated place, with many people conversing with each other on the street, would not constitute any of the acts punishable under section 844 of the Manila City Ordinance. Ramon was not making or assisting in any riot, affray, disorder, disturbance, or breach of the peace; he was not assaulting, beating or using personal violence upon another; and, the words he allegedly shouted Putang ina mo! Limang daan na ba ito? are not slanderous, threatening or abusive, and thus, could not have tended to disturb the peace or excite a riot considering that at the time of the incident, Balingkit Street was still teeming with people and alive with activity. Further, it bears stressing that no one present at the place of arrest ever complained that Ramons shouting disturbed the public. On the contrary, a disinterested member of the community (a certain Rosemarie Escobal) even testified that Ramon was merely standing in front of the store of a certain MangRomy when a man in civilian clothes, later identified as PO2 Soque, approached Ramon, immediately handcuffed and took him away. In its totality, the SC observed that these facts and circumstances could not have engendered a wellfounded belief that any breach of the peace had been committed by Ramon at the time that his warrantless arrest was effected. All told, no probable cause existed to justify Ramons warrantless arrest. Ramon Martinez y Goco/Ramon Goco y Martinez v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 198694, February 13, 2013.

March 2013 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Criminal Law and Procedure
1. REVISED PENAL CODE Rape; medical examination of victim not indispensable to prove rape. An inconclusive medical report does not negate the finding that the accused (Penilla) raped AAA. A medical examination of the victim is not indispensable in a prosecution for rape inasmuch as the victims testimony alone, if credible, is sufficient to convict the accused of the crime. In fact, a doctors certificate is merely corroborative in character and not an indispensable requirement in proving the commission of rape. People of the Philippines v. Gilbert Penilla y Francia, G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013. Rape; moral character of the victim is immaterial. Accused Penillas insistence that he was then a virile young man of twenty-three years, lusted after by a separated and older woman, loses significance in light of the dictum that in rape cases, the moral character of the victim is immaterial. Rape may be committed not only against single women and children but also against those who are married, middle-aged, separated, or pregnant. Even a prostitute may be a victim of rape. Correlatively and more importantly, the libidinousness of the victim here, AAA, which is not accepted as a common attribute, should have been proven outside of the incident on the midnight of 22 October 1999. People of the Philippines v. Gilbert Penilla y Francia, G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013. Rape; when absence of physical resistance unavailing as a defense. Accused-appellant makes much of the fact that AAA did not cry for help given that the area where they lived was densely populated, the houses thereat were literally only divided by thin walls, and any commotion could easily be heard. Penilla likewise points out that AAA did not put up a fight. In this regard, Penilla asseverates that the prosecutions story was silent on any physical struggle suggestive of rape. The Supreme Court found no credence in Penillas arguments. People of the Philippines v. Gilbert Penilla y Francia, G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013. Rape; when absence of physical resistance unavailing as a defense. Physical resistance need not be established in rape when threats and intimidation are employed, and the victim submits herself to her attacker because of fear. Failure to shout or offer tenacious resistance does not make voluntary the victims submission to the perpetrators lust. Besides, physical resistance is not the sole test to determine whether a woman involuntarily succumbed to the lust of an accused; it is not an essential element of rape. Rape victims react differently. Some may offer strong resistance while others may be too intimidated to offer any resistance at all. The use of a weapon, by itself, is strongly suggestive of force or at least intimidation, and threatening the victim with a knife, much more poking it at her, as in this case, is sufficient to bring her into submission. Thus, the law does not impose upon the private complainant the burden of proving resistance. People of the Philippines v. Gilbert Penilla y Francia, G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013. Rape; when the delay of the victim in reporting the commission of rape unavailing as a defense.Relying on a tired defense, Penilla insists that AAA belatedly reported to the barangay authorities that she had been raped. For Penilla, this delay belies her cry of rape. The Supreme Court disagreed. Indeed, jurisprudence is replete with holdings that delay in revealing the commission of a crime such as rape does not necessarily render such charge unworthy of belief. This is because the victim may choose to keep quiet rather than expose her defilement to the cruelty of public scrutiny. Only when the delay is unreasonable or unexplained may it work to discredit the complainant. People of the Philippines v. Gilbert Penilla y Francia, G.R. No. 189324, March 20, 2013. Qualified Theft; determination of imposable penalty. Perusal of the records of this case would show that the trial court imposed the penalty as prescribed in Article 310 (Qualified Theft) which is two degrees higher than those specified in Article 309 (Penalties for Theft). The Supreme Court held that this is erroneous considering that the penalty prescribed in Article 310 would apply only if the theft was committed under any the following circumstances: a) by a domestic servant, or with grave abuse of confidence, or b) if the stolen property is motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle, or consists of coconuts taken from the premises of the plantation or fish taken from a fishpond or fishery, or c) if the property is taken on the occasion of fire,

earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance. None of these circumstances is present in the instant case. Thus, the proper imposable penalty should be that which is prescribed under Article 309. In this case, the amount of the timber involved is P57,012.00. Since the amount exceeds P22,000.00, the penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods should be imposed in its maximum period plus an additional one (1) year for each additional P10,000 pesos in excess of P22,000.00 or three more years. Thus, the correct imposable maximum penalty is anywhere between eleven (11) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of prision mayor to thirteen (13) years of reclusion temporal. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum penalty is one degree lower than that prescribed by the law. In this case, the minimum penalty should be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods, which is anywhere between two (2) years, four (4) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. Efren S. Almuete v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 179611, March 12, 2013 2. SPECIAL PENAL LAWS Anti-Money Laundering Act; freeze order cannot be issued for an indefinite period. The Court of Appeals (CA), via its September 20, 2005 resolution, extended the freeze order over the Ligots various bank accounts and personal properties until after all the appropriate proceedings and/or investigations being conducted are terminated. By its very terms, the CA resolution effectively bars the Ligots from using any of the property covered by the freeze order until after an eventual civil forfeiture proceeding is concluded in their favor and after they shall have been adjudged not guilty of the crimes they are suspected of committing. These periods of extension are way beyond the intent and purposes of a freeze order which is intended solely as an interim relief; the civil and criminal trial courts can very well handle the disposition of properties related to a forfeiture case or to a crime charged and need not rely on the interim relief that the appellate court issued as a guarantee against loss of property while the government is preparing its full case. The term of the CAs extension, too, borders on inflicting a punishment to the Ligots in violation of their constitutionally protected right to be presumed innocent because the unreasonable denial of their property comes before final conviction. Ret. Lt. Gen. Jacinto C. Ligot, et al v. Republic of the Philippines represented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, G.R. No. 176944, March 6, 2013. Anti-Money Laundering Act; freeze order cannot be made effective for more than six months unless extended by the court upon motion of the Republic. A freeze order is both a preservatory and preemptive remedy and meant to have a temporary effect; it was never intended to supplant or replace the actual forfeiture cases where the provisional remedy which means, the remedy is an adjunct of or an incident to the main action of asking for the issuance of an asset preservation order from the court where the petition is filed is precisely available. Thus, as a rule, the effectivity of a freeze order may be extended by the CA for a period not exceeding six months. Before or upon the lapse of this period, ideally, the Republic should have already filed a case for civil forfeiture against the property owner with the proper courts and accordingly secure an asset preservation order or it should have filed the necessary information. Otherwise, the property owner should already be able to fully enjoy his property without any legal process affecting it. However, should it become completely necessary for the Republic to further extend the duration of the freeze order, it should file the necessary motion before the expiration of the six-month period and explain the reason or reasons for its failure to file an appropriate case and justify the period of extension sought. The freeze order should remain effective prior to the resolution by the CA, which must resolve this kind of motion for extension with reasonable dispatch. Ret. Lt. Gen. Jacinto C. Ligot, et al v. Republic of the Philippines represented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, G.R. No. 176944, March 6, 2013. Anti-Money Laundering Act; requisites for issuance of freeze order. Based on section 10 of R.A. 9160, as amended by R.A. 9194, there are only two requisites for the issuance of a freeze order: (1) the application ex parte by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and (2) the determination of probable cause by the Court of Appeals (CA). Ret. Lt. Gen. Jacinto C. Ligot, et al v. Republic of the Philippines represented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, G.R. No. 176944, March 6, 2013. Anti-Money Laundering Act; requisites for issuance of freeze order. The probable cause required for the issuance of a freeze order refers to such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet, prudent or cautious man to believe that an unlawful activity and/or a money laundering offense is about to be, is being or has been committed and that the account or any monetary instrument or property subject thereof sought to be frozen is in any way related to said unlawful activity and/or money laundering offense. In other

words, in resolving the issue of whether probable cause exists, the CAs statutorily-guided determinations focus is not on the probable commission of an unlawful activity (or money laundering) that the Office of the Ombudsman has already determined to exist, but on whether the bank accounts, assets, or other monetary instruments sought to be frozen are in any way related to any of the illegal activities enumerated under R.A. 9160, as amended. Otherwise stated, probable cause refers to the sufficiency of the relation between an unlawful activity and the property or monetary instrument which is the focal point of section 10 of RA No. 9160, as amended. Ret. Lt. Gen. Jacinto C. Ligot, et alv. Republic of the Philippines represented by the AntiMoney Laundering Council, G.R. No. 176944, March 6, 2013. Anti-Money Laundering Act; requisites for issuance of freeze order. From AMLCs verified allegations in its ex parte application and the Ombudsmans complaint, it can be gleaned that Lt. Gen. Ligot himself admitted that his income came from his salary as an officer of the AFP. Yet, the Ombudsmans investigation revealed that the bank accounts, investments and properties in the name of Lt. Gen. Ligot and his family amount to more than P54,000,000.00. Since these assets are grossly disproportionate to Lt. Gen. Ligots income, as well as the lack of any evidence that the Ligots have other sources of income, the CA properly found that probable cause exists that these funds have been illegally acquired. Ret. Lt. Gen. Jacinto C. Ligot, et al v. Republic of the Philippines represented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, G.R. No. 176944, March 6, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of shabu; elements. To secure a conviction for illegal sale of shabu, the prosecution must prove the presence of the following essential elements: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing. It is necessary to establish that the transaction or sale actually took place, and to bring to the court the corpus delicti as evidence. PO1 Bernardo gave a detailed account of the transaction commencing from the introduction made by the confidential informant between him, as the poseur-buyer, and accused-appellants to the time the sale was consummated until the latter were arrested and several additional plastic sachets containing white crystalline substances, which later tested for shabu, were found in their possession six from Zenaida and one from Myrna. That the sale actually took place and that several sachets were recovered from the accused-appellants were clear from the testimony of PO1 Bernardo in court. The credibility of PO1 Bernardo was put to test on cross-examination but his statements were consistent all throughout that the Supreme Court was convinced that his testimony, supported by evidence, was reliable. People of the Philippines v. Zenaida Soriano y Usi, and Myrna Samonte y Hiolen, G.R. No. 189843, March 20, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of dangerous drugs; elements. The only elements necessary to consummate the crime of illegal sale of 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. In buy-bust operations, the delivery of the contraband to the poseur-buyer and the sellers receipt of the marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction between the entrapping officers and the accused. Unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper motive or were not properly performing their duty, their testimonies on the operation deserve faith and credit. The Supreme Court has held that when police officers have no motive to testify falsely against the accused, courts are inclined to uphold the presumption of regularity accorded to them in the performance of their official duties. People of the Philippines v. Judge Rafael R. Lagos, et al, G.R. No. 184658, March 6, 2013 Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of dangerous drugs; elements. In the present case, there is no contention that the members of AIDSOTF who conducted the buy-bust operation were motivated by ill will or malice. Neither was there evidence adduced to show that they neglected to perform their duties properly. Hence, their testimonies as to the conduct of the buy-bust operation deserve full faith and credence. Respondent judge harps on the fact that it was the CI who had personal knowledge of the identity of the seller, the initial offer to purchase the ecstasy pills, and the subsequent acceptance of the offer. It is clear from the testimonies of PO2 Frando and the other arresting officers that they conducted the buy-bust operation based on the information from the CI. However, the arrest was made, not on the basis of that information, but of the actual buy-bust operation, in which respondents were caught in flagrante delicto engaged in the illegal sale of dangerous drugs. Due to the investigative work of the AIDSOTF members, the illegal sale was consummated in their presence, and the elements of the sale the identity of the sellers, the delivery of the drugs, and the payment therefor were confirmed. That the CI initially provided this information or tip does not negate the subsequent consummation of the illegal sale. People of the Philippines v. Judge Rafael R. Lagos, et al, G.R. No. 184658, March 6, 2013

Dangerous Drugs Act; presentation of an informant not required for the prosecution of drug cases.Respondent Judge Lagos erred in requiring the testimony of the CI. Respondent judge based his ruling on a 2004 case, People v. Ong, the facts of which purportedly mirror those of the present case. However, the Supreme Court (SC) held that there is no basis for this conclusion, as Ong involved a conviction based on the lone testimony of one apprehending officer, Senior Police Officer (SPO1) Gonzales. The SC found then that SPO1 Gonzales was merely the deliveryman, while the CI was the one who acted as the poseur-buyer. In this case, one of the witnesses, PO2 Frando, was a buy-bust team member who also acted as the poseur-buyer. He participated in the actual sale transaction. His testimony was a first-hand account of what transpired during the buy-bust and thus stemmed from his personal knowledge of the arrest in flagrante delicto. Requiring the CI to testify is an added imposition that runs contrary to jurisprudential doctrine, since the SC has long established that the presentation of an informant is not a requisite for the prosecution of drug cases. The testimony of the CI is not indispensable, since it would be merely corroborative of and cumulative with that of the poseur-buyer who was presented in court, and who testified on the facts and circumstances of the sale and delivery of the prohibited drug. Informants are usually not presented in court because of the need to hide their identities and preserve their invaluable services to the police. Except when the accused vehemently denies selling prohibited drugs and there are material inconsistencies in the testimonies of the arresting officers, or there are reasons to believe that the officers had motives to falsely testify against the accused, or that it was the informant who acted as the poseur-buyer, the informants testimony may be dispensed with, as it will merely be corroborative of the apprehending officers eyewitness accounts. In the present case, the fact of the illegal sale has already been established by testimonies of the members of the buy-bust team. Judge Lagos need not have characterized the CIs testimony as indispensable to the prosecutions case. People of the Philippines v. Judge Rafael R. Lagos, et al, G.R. No. 184658, March 6, 2013 Dangerous Drugs Act; failure of the police to strictly comply with chain of custody rule excused where integrity and evidentiary value of the drugs seized are preserved. As regards the failure of the police to strictly comply with the provisions on chain of custody under section 21 of R.A. 9165, it is settled that the failure to strictly follow the directives of this section is not fatal and will not necessarily render the items confiscated from an accused 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. In the present case, the succession of events established by evidence shows that the items seized were the same items tested and subsequently identified and testified to in court. Thus, the Supreme Court held that the integrity and evidentiary value of the drugs seized from the petitioner were not compromised. Moreover, the police officers explained during trial the reason for their failure to strictly comply with section 21 of R.A. 9165. Benedicto Marquez y Rayos v. People of the Philippines,G.R. No. 197207, March 13, 2013. Dangerous Drugs Act; liberal application of chain of custody rule observed where school personnel took initial custody of dangerous drugs. The antecedents of this case involve a unique feature in the sense that the person who had initial custody of the dangerous drugs was not a police officer or agent, but a guidance counselor a person who was not expected to be familiar with the niceties of the procedures required of law enforcers in the initial handling of the confiscated evidence. Contrary to the petitioners claim, Bagongons failure to mark the seized sachets should not in any way weaken the prosecutions case, more so since she was able to prove that she was also the person who handed the seized sachets to the police when the latter arrived. Drug peddling in schools is prevalent; the scenario attending this case is likely to be repeated many times. To impose on teachers and other school personnel the observance of the same procedure required of law enforcers (like marking) processes that are unfamiliar to them is to set a dangerous precedent that may eventually lead to the acquittal of many drug peddlers. The evidentiary value of the seized specimen remains intact as long as the school personnel who had initial contact with the drug/s was able to establish that the evidence had not been tampered with when he handed it to the police, as in this case. Benedicto Marquez y Rayos v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 197207, March 13, 2013. 3. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Circumstantial evidence; when circumstantial evidence sufficient for conviction. Under section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction when the concurrence of the following factors obtain: (a) there is more than one circumstance; (b) the facts from which the inferences are

derived have been proven; and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as would prove the crime beyond reasonable doubt. These circumstances and facts must be absolutely incompatible with any reasonable hypothesis propounding the innocence of the accused. People of the Philippines v. Gerald Soriano alias Pedro, G.R. No. 191271, March 13, 2013. Circumstantial evidence; when circumstantial evidence sufficient for conviction. In the case at bar, the prosecution failed to establish the existence of an unbroken chain of circumstances that lead to no other logical conclusion but the guilt of the accused. The only circumstances cited to implicate the accused in the crime are the following: (a) he passed through the shortcut to Wao around 3:00 p.m. on 31 December 1998; (b) Vicky did not see anyone else use that road from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on that day; and (c) the soiled garments confiscated from him were identified to have been the same ones he was wearing then. To an unprejudiced mind, the fact that Soriano was the only one whom Vicky saw pass through the shortcut to Wao from 3:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m. does not logically lead to any conclusion regarding his participation in the raping and killing of AAA. It is a mere conjecture that can be refuted by other equally conceivable and rational inferences. The circumstances presented by the prosecution do not form a solid and cohesive narrative that proves with moral certainty its contention that accused perpetrated said heinous acts. People of the Philippines v. Gerald Soriano alias Pedro, G.R. No. 191271, March 13, 2013. Credibility of Witness; factual findings of the trial court are accorded great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. The Supreme Court (SC) in this case found no cogent reason to disturb the factual findings of the lower courts. It is well-settled that factual findings of the trial court, especially on the credibility of the rape victim, are accorded great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. After a careful review, the SC was convinced that the testimony of AAA positively identifying Pielago as the one who molested her is worthy of belief. The clear, consistent and spontaneous testimony of AAA unrelentingly established that Pielago inserted his right hands forefinger into her vagina and anus while she and her younger brother, CCC, were in his custody. Being a child of tender years, her failure to resist or struggle while Pielago molested her would all the more prove how she felt intimidated by her Kuya. Mike Alvin Pielago y Ros v.People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 202020, March 13, 2013 Criminal Information; what controls is not the title of the information or the designation of the offense but the actual facts recited in the information. It is well-settled that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused is entitled to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him. In this respect, the designation in the information of the specific statute violated is imperative to avoid surprise on the accused and to afford him the opportunity to prepare his defense accordingly. In the instant case, the designation of the offense in the information against Pielago was changed from the crime of acts of lasciviousness in relation to section 5(b) of R.A. 7610 to the crime of rape by sexual assault penalized under Article 266-A(2) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by R.A. 8353. It cannot be said, however, that his right to be properly informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him was violated. The information was worded as follows: x x x commit an act of lasciviousness upon the person of [AAA], a minor being four (4) years old, by kissing the vagina and inserting one of his fingers to the vagina of AAA, x x x. Indeed, in order to obtain a conviction for rape by sexual assault, it is essential for the prosecution to establish the elements that constitute such crime. Article 266-A(2) of the Revised Penal Code explicitly provides that the gravamen of the crime of rape by sexual assault which is the insertion of the penis into another persons mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into another persons genital or anal orifice. In the instant case, this element is clearly present when AAA straightforwardly testified in court that Pielago inserted his forefinger in her vagina and anus. Jurisprudence has it that testimonies of child-victims are given full weight and credit, since when a woman or a girl-child says that she has been raped, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape was indeed committed. Thus, AAAs unrelenting narration of what transpired, accompanied by her categorical identification of Pielago as the malefactor, established the case for the prosecution. Mike Alvin Pielago y Ros v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 202020, March 13, 2013