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People v.

Pagalasan
GR No. 131926 & 138991
(June 18, 2003)
FAC!:
Spouses George and Desiree Lim have 3 children; one of them is 10 year old
Christopher. n Septem!er "# 1$$"# their maid %as in their &itchen %hen
someone &noc&ed. She opened the door thin&ing that it %as 'ernando Corte(#
their security guard. )nstead# " mas&ed men armed %ith handguns and
grenades !arged in. 'ernando %as %ith them %ith his arms tied !ehind his
!ac&. *he men as&ed the maid to &noc& at the !edroom %here the family
%as. ne of the men %as left in the sala %hile the 3 others %ent into the
!edroom and informed the Lims that no!ody %ill get hurt if they are given
%hat they %ant. *hey too& money and valua!les. *hey gave Desiree a note
and too& %ith them George and Christopher. ne of the men as&ed George
for the &ey to his +issan car and they as&ed George and his son to occupy the
!ac&seat of the car. , of the men sat on either side of the Lims and one
occupied the passenger seat !eside the driver. -fter a!out 1. minutes at
Sitio*upi# the 3 men alighted %ith Christopher and George %as transferred to
the front seat !eside the driver. /e %as told that he %ill !e !rought to
0aasim.
*he police %ere informed of %hat happened. *hey esta!lished a mo!ile
chec&point. 1hen the driver of the +issan sa% the chec&point 30 meters
ahead# he stopped removed his mas& and told George not ma&e any false
move. *he police 2uestioned them. George told them that his name is -l!ert
Lim for fear of the driver# 0ichael 3agalasan. *he police noticed that George
is trem!ling. *hey got 3agalasan out of the car and George identi4ed himself.
*hey sa% a handgun and grenade %hen they searched the car. *hey %ere
ta&en to the police station %here the security guard %as !eing investigated.
n Sept .# 1$$"# in his e5tra6udicial confession# 0ichael said that he %ith 3
others# -ladin# 'erdinand 7a muslim8 and 9ong 7resident of 3uro& )slam8
&idnapped the Lims upon the order of -ladin:s !rother# ;onnie Ca!alo. 7+ote:
/e %ithdre% this confession saying he %as forced and intimidated into
ma&ing it and he %as not provided %ith counsel of his o%n choice during
custodial investigation8. 9ecause of this confession# farmer /ad6i-ladin
0alang Ca!alo# ;onie3untuan and 'ernando <ui(on %ere arrested and
detained at Camp 'ermin Lira 9arrac&s# General Santos City.
*he follo%ing day# the Lim=s received a letter# supposedly> from the
&idnappers# ordering the release of 0ichael and ;onnie 3untuan# for they are
said to !e innocent# and as&ing for 30 pesos for the release of Christopher.
*hree days after# the Lim=s received another letter signed !y 0u!ara& )) or ,
7same sign as the note given !y the mas&ed men8. )t says that they don:t
%ant the military to !e involved neither to pre6udice innocent people. *hey
demanded the release of ;onnie 3utuan in 3 days or their son %ould not !e
released alive. *hen# the morning of the follo%ing day# Christopher %as
rescued !y police %ithout any ransom !eing paid. 7/o% and %here? )t didn:t
say8
D@'@+S@
1. 'ernando Corte(# the security guard# said he %as %ashing the car %hen the
incident too& place. *he gate %as surrounded !y 10 foot %all and the gate
%as loc&ed. /e %as shoc&ed %hen " mas&ed men# armed %ith handguns#
suddenly arrived. *hey po&ed their guns at him# maltreated him# and tied his
hands !ehind his !ac&. *he mas&ed men &noc&ed at the door of the house
and %hen the housemaid AulitaSarno opened it# the men dragged 'erdinand
to%ards the entrance# to ma&e it appear that he %as the one &noc&ing. *he
mas&ed men then !arged into the sala and tied Aulita:s hands. 'erdinand
claimed he never met any of the &idnappers !efore Septem!er "# 1$$". /e
%as pu((led %hy he %as !eing implicated in the case.
,. 0ichael 3agalasan# he is simply a conductor of his uncle:s 6eepney and made
his living out of it. n the evening of Septem!er "# 1$$"# at a!out $:00 p.m.#
he %as in their house. /is friend 9ong arrived# and invited him for a stroll and
to accompany the latter to get his motorcycle. 0ichael agreed. *hey too& a
tricycle and arrived at the Billa Consuelo Su!division. 0ichael %as surprised
%hen the tricycle stopped near the gate of the Lim residence and mas&ed
men suddenly appeared# po&ing their guns at him. 9ong Ced# leaving 0ichael
alone to fend for himself. *he mas&ed men ordered 0ichael to drive a car#
and %arned him that if he refused# he %ould !e &illed. 0omentarily# one of
the men emerged from the house# %ith George Lim in to%. George gave the
&ey to his +issan car to one of the &idnappers# %ho in turn handed it over to
0ichael. *he men forced George and his son Christopher to !oard the car.
'ather and son %ere seated !et%een t%o mas&ed men. -fraid for his life#
0ichael %as forced to drive the car %ith one of the &idnappers pointing a gun
at him# seated to his right at the passenger:s side. *he &idnappers ordered
0ichael to drive the car to%ards the direction of 9arangay Ligaya.
*hree of the men alighted# !ringing Christopher %ith them. 0ichael
then pleaded to George to !ring him 4rst to *am!ler# %here the 6eepney of his
uncle %as par&ed. 0ichael %anted to sleep there instead of going home.
George agreed# and drove the car himself through 9arangay 0a&ar. George
told 0ichael that they had to travel along @spina roadinstead of the regular
road !ecause they might encounter policemen# and Christopher might !e
&illed !y the &idnappers. /o%ever# the car had to stop at the intersection of
the national high%ay %hen George sa% the policemen and their mo!ile police
car par&ed at the intersection. 0ichael %as then arrested !y the police#
!lindfolded# and !rought to the mo!ile car %here he %as also !eaten. /is
head %as !anged against the sides of the mo!ile car. -nd then he made his
e5tra6udicial confession.
)+)*)-L ;DL)+G ' */@ ;*C

n cto!er 1E# 1$$"# %ith Case +o. 110F,
)nformation is 4led in ;*C for violation of 3D 1GFF 7&idnapping %ith ransom8
against 0ichael 76udgment: Sept. ,"# ,00EH for failure of the prosecution to
prove the accusation against the accused 0ichael 3agalasan !eyond
reasona!le dou!t# he is here!y ac2uitted of the crime charged.8

n +ovem!er 3# 1$$"# %ith Case +o. 110$G


0ichael# ;onnie Ca!alo# -ladinCa!alo# 'erdinand Corte(# a certain Aohn Doe
identi4ed as 'ernando# and 3eter Doe %ere charged %ith &idnapping for
ransom in an )nformation in ;*C 76udgment: the accused 0ichael 3agalasan is
here!y found guilty of the crime of &idnapping for ransom

"ssue#
1+ there is a conspiracy committed !et%een 3agalasan and his cohorts
7-rticle G of the ;3C8
1+ 3agalasan is guilty of &idnapping George and Christopher Lim under
-rticle ,FE of the ;evised 3enal Code 7main issue8
$%&'#
Ies# conspiracy !et%een the accused and his cohorts e5ists
Ies. /e is guilty of &idnapping 7%ith no ransom8 under -rticle ,FE and guilty
of slight illegal detention of George under -rticle ,FG of the ;evised 3enal
Code.
RA"(#
(n )onsp*+a),#
*here is conspiracy %hen t%o or more persons agree to commit a felony and
decide to commit it. Conspiracy as a mode of incurring criminal lia!ility must
!e proven separately from and %ith the same 2uantum of proof as the crime
itself. Conspiracy need not !e proven !y direct evidence. -fter all# secrecy
and concealment are essential features of a successful conspiracy. Settled as
a rule of la% is that the conspiracy continues until the o!6ect is attained#
unless in the meantime the conspirator a!andons the conspiracy or is
arrested. *he loner a conspiracy is deemed to continue# the greater the
chances that additional persons %ill !e found to have 6oined it.
@ach conspirator is lia!le is lia!le for everything that is done !y his
confederates %hich follo%s incidentally in the e5ecution of a common design
as one of its pro!a!le and natural conse2uence even though it %as not
intended as part of the original design.
)n this case# the collective# concerted and synchroni(ed sets of 3agalasan
%ith his three cohorts !efore# during and after the &idnapping constitute
concrete proof that he and his companions conspired %ith each other to
attain a common o!6ective; to &idnap George and Christopher and detain
them illegally. 3agalasan %as a principal !y his direct participation in the
&idnapping of the t%o victims.
Gu*l-, o. /*0napp*ng#
1. Fo+ C1+*s-op1e+ 7-rticle ,FE 3aragraph "# &idnapping8: 3agalasan and
others conspired to &idnap George and Christopher and detained them
illegally !ut prosecution failed to prove that they intended to e5tort ransom.
7see the 3 letters !elo%8. f the 3 letters only the second letter is as&ing for
ransom and it is not signed !y 0D9-;-J )) or ,. )t is possi!le that it did not
come from the &idnappers or others are acting independently to !ene4t from
the situation. @ven if the letter as&ing for ransom came from the &idnappers#
3agalasan:s conspiracy %ith them already ended at the time of his arrest.
*here is no proof that %hat is contained in the second and third letters is %ith
the &no%ledge and concurrence of 3agalasan.
,. Fo+ Geo+ge 7-rticle ,FG# slight illegal detention8: George had !een
&idnapped and detained illegally !y the appellant and his allies# !ut only for
less than a day. George regained his freedom after the appellant had !een
arrested at the intersection of the national high%ay and @spina ;oad. *here is
no evidence that the appellant and his allies &idnapped George for the
purpose of e5torting ransom for his release. *here is li&e%ise no evidence
that they inCicted any serious physical in6uries on George# or simulated pu!lic
authority# or threatened to &ill him. 'urthermore# there is noevidence that the
appellant and his allies intended to detain the victim for more than three
days. *he appellant is not entitled to the privileged mitigating circumstance
under the second paragraph of -rticle ,FG of the ;evised 3enal Code !ecause
he did not voluntarily release George %ithin three days from the &idnapping.