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FIRSTDIVISION

[G.R.Nos.13381517.March22,2001]

PEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,plaintiffappellee,vs.EDGARDOLIADyBEIGARandJUNVALDERAMA
yCASPE,accusedappellants.
DECISION
KAPUNAN,J.:

OnthenightofFebruary28,1996,ataround7:00intheevening,LydiaCuencawasdrivingherTamarawFXalongCommonwealth
Avenue,QuezonCity.ImmediatelybehindtheFXinhisownvehiclewasLydiashusbandManuel.SeatedbesideManuelinthecarwasthe
lattersemployee,LarryBuseron.ManuelandLarryhadjustcomefromthestoreandwereonaconvoywithLydiaontheirwayhome.
UponreachingthecornerofDonEnriqueSubdivisionandCommonwealthAvenue,LydiamadeafullstoptomakeaUturn.Three(3)
menthenapproachedhervehicle,bangingonthedoortoforceittoopen.Unsuccessful,themanontheleftofthevehiclepulledoutagun
andpulledthetrigger,hittingoneofthewindowsaswellasLydiasleftshoulder.Oneofthemenalsoshottheothersideofthevehiclebutit
hitManuelscarinstead.StillunabletoopentheFXsdoor,oneofthemenbrokethewindowoftherightdoorusingthebuttofagun.
Finallysucceeding,themenboardedthevehicle.Manuelheardanothershotwhichhithiswifesnape.Manuelbumpedtherearofthe
FX,hopingtostartletheculprits.ThebumpdidnotstartlethemasManuelhoped.ThemenspedoffaboardtheFX,headingnorthwith
Lydia.Thewholeincidenttookaroundfive(5)toten(10)minutes.
ManuelgotoutofthecarandtriedtopursuetheFX.LarryBuseronalsowantedtohelpbutcouldnotgetoutofthecar,whichwas
locked.ManuelwentbacktohiscartofollowtheFX.Alas,hiscarbrokedown.ManuelorderedLarrytogobacktotheirstore,presumably
ownedbyManuel,andgethelp.Manuelforhispartrushedtoanotherstorearoundahundredmetersawayalsotoaskforhelp.Thepeople
inthestorewenttothepolicestationtoreporttheholdup.ManuelwenthometogetanothercarandcatchupwiththeFX.
Inthemeantime,Larrydidnotfindanyoneintheirstoresohewenttothepolicestationbyhimself.Apoliceofficertoldhimthatthey
wouldhavetotalktoMr.Cuenca.Larrysaidhewouldlookforhim.
LarryreturnedtothesceneofthecrimebutdidnotfindManuelthere.Larrywaitedandlookedafterthecar.Afterseveralminutes,
ManuelarrivedandinstructedLarrytowatchoverthevehicle.HeinformedLarrythatMrs.CuencawasatIlangIlangStreet.
Meanwhile at Police Station 6, Commonwealth Avenue, the desk officer, SPO Bernarte, received a telephone call from a concerned
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citizen informing them that a robberyholdup was in progress along Commonwealth Avenue. The desk officer immediately dispatched
SPO4RaulEspejon,SPO1RicardoInamac,SPO2FaustinoandSPO1Diaz.Beforetheycouldleavethepolicestation,however,theiroffice
receivedanotherreportfromBatasanHillsBarangayCaptainArturoIsonregardingthesameincident.
The police thus proceeded to Commonwealth Avenue and IlangIlang Street where they saw the victim, Lydia Cuenca, lying on the
frontdooroftheTamarawFX.SPO4DiazandSPO1Faustinobroughtthevictimtothehospitalwhiletherestoftheforceproceededtothe
TransWorld Compound along Filinvest Road, about 400 yards from IlangIlang Street. A security guard as well as members of the
barangaycommandoinformedthemthatthethreesuspectswereinthecompound.
Upon approaching the suspects, the police were met with a barrage of gunfire.The police returned fire. The exchange lasted a few
minutes until one of the suspects, a certain Baeng, was hit. Baeng sprawled to the ground, still holding his .38 calibre paltik. Accused
appellants,whowerehidingbehindthebananaplants,thensurrenderedtothepolice.
SPO4EspejonimmediatelyapprehendedaccusedappellantJunValderamaanddisarmedhimofhis.38calibrepaltikrevolver.Healso
recoveredBaengsgun.
SPO1 Inamac arrested the other accusedappellant, Edgardo Liad, and confiscated the latters firearm, likewise a .38 paltik revolver.
SPO1Inamacalsorecoveredthevictimsjewelryandwallet,whichwaspointedtobyLiad.Thevictimsbagwaswedgedinthetrunkofa
bananaplant.ThepolicebroughttheaccusedappellantstothepolicestationwhileBaeng,whowasgaspingforbreath,wasrushedtothe
FairviewHospital.
Back at Commonwealth Avenue, Manuel came upon his wifes FX at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and IlangIlang Street,
abandonedandbloody.Ahordeofpeoplemilledaroundthevehicle.Manuelaskedthemwherethevictimwasandapoliceofficerinformed
him that she was rushed to the Fairview Hospital.Manuel proceeded to the hospital and arrived there only to find his wife of 30 years
alreadydead.Shewas53.
Suddenly,awoundedpersonaccompaniedbyapoliceofficerarrivedatthehospital.Manuelrecognizedhimasoneoftheholduppers.
Heaskedoneofthepoliceofficerswhatthemansnamewas.Thepoliceofficerstoldhimthat,perreferencetothemansID,themansname
wasBaeng.Five(5)toten(10)minuteslater,Baeng,too,breathedhislast.
Manuel headed to the police station where he recognized the two other persons who accosted his wife in police custody. A police
officershowedManuelthearticlestheyrecoveredfromtheperpetrators,includingLydiasblueshoulderbag,cashamountingtomorethan
P15,000.00,piecesofjewelry,bankbooks,callingcards,ATMcardsandotherpersonalitems.
Dr.AlvinDavid,MedicoLegalOfficeroftheNationalBureauofInvestigation(NBI),conductedanautopsyonthevictimsremains.
From the examination, Dr. David concluded that a gunshot wound was the victims cause of death. He found two gunshot wounds, one
locatedattheposteriorchestatthebackofthevictimandthesecondonthevictimsleftarm.Thesecondgunshotwoundexhibitedanarea
oftattooing,leadingDr.Davidtodeducethatthemuzzleofthegunmusthavebeenlessthan36inchesfromthevictim.Bothwoundswere
fatal.Dr.DavidsfindingsareembodiedinAutopsyReportNo.N9642.[1]
ElmerNelsonPiedad,alsooftheNBI,conductedaballisticexaminationonthetwo(2)bulletsrecoveredbyDr.Davidonthevictims
body.HisfindingsandconclusionsarecontainedinReportNo.FID123922996(N96458)datedMarch6,1996:
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1.TodeterminethecaliberandtypeoffirearmfromwhichtheevidencebulletsmarkedLD1andLD2werefired.

xxx
a.Evidence marked LD1 is a deformed caliber .38 lead bullet and was fired through the barrel of a caliber .38 firearm with riflings
twistingtotheright.
b.Evidence marked LD2 is deformed caliber .38 copper coated lead bullet and was fired from a caliber .38 firearm.Nodetermination
couldbemadeastothetypeoffirearmfromwhichitwasfiredduetoitsdeformedandscratchedconditions.
2.ComparativeexaminationsmadebetweentheevidencebulletsmarkedLD1andLD2revealedthatevidencebulletmarkedLD2doesnot
possess sufficient individual characteristics markings that could be used as basis for a definite identification due to its deformed and
scratchedconditions.[2]

AccusedappellantsEdgarLiadandJunValderamaweresubsequentlychargedbeforetheRegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCitywith
RobberywithHomicide,definedandpunishedbyArticle293oftheRevisedPenalCode,asamended,inrelationtoArticle294thereof.The
informationinCriminalCaseNo.Q9665118reads:
Thatonoraboutthe28thdayofFebruary,1996,inQuezonCity,Philippines,theabovenamedaccused,withintenttokill,didthenand
there,wilfully,unlawfully,andfeloniouslyassault,attackandemploypersonalviolenceuponthepersonofLYDIADYCUENCAinthe
followingmanner,towit:onthedateandintheplaceaforementionedwhilehereinvictimwasdrivingherTamarawFXbearingplateNo.
TPD522,cruisingCommonwealthAvenuenearcor.DonEnriqueHeights,Brgy.HolySpirit,thisCity,accusedpursuanttotheir
conspiracy,flaggeddownthevictimsvehiclebutwhenthelatterrefusedtoopenhercar,accusedarmedwithhandgunsfiredtwosuccessive
shotsatthewindshield,hittingthesaidvictim,causinghertosustainseriousandmortalwoundswhichwastheimmediatecauseofher
untimelydeaththatimmediatelythereafter,accusedboardedthesaidvehicleanduponreachingIlangIlangSt.,Brgy.BatasanHills,this
City,abandonedthesaidcarafterwhichtheytook,robbedandcarriedawaycashmoneyintheamountofP15,090.00andvaluableitemsall
valuedintheamountofP170,000.00PhilippineCurrency,belongingtoLYDIADYCUENCA,allinthetotalamountofP185,090.00tothe
damageandprejudiceoftheheirsofsaidLYDIADYCUENCA.[3]
AccusedappellantswerealsochargedinthesamecourtwithonecounteachofIllegalPossessionofFirearm,definedandpunishedby
Section1ofPresidentialDecreeNo.1866,[4]asamended.InCriminalCaseNo.Q9665119againstaccusedappellantEdgardoLiad,the
informationalleged:
Thatonoraboutthe28thdayofFebruary1996inQuezonCity,Philippines,thesaidaccusedwithoutanyauthorityoflaw,didthenand
therewilfully,unlawfullyandknowinglyhaveinhis/herpossessionandunderhis/hercustodyandcontrolone(1)caliber.38paltiksnob
noserevolver,withoutserialnumber,loadedwithtwo(2)spentshellandthree(3)liveammunitionswithoutfirsthavingsecuredthe
necessarylicense/permitissuedbytheproperauthorities.[5]
InCriminalCaseNo.Q9665120,theinformationchargedaccusedappellantJunValderamaasfollows:
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Thatonoraboutthe28thdayofFebruary1996inQuezonCity,Philippines,thesaidaccusedwithoutanyauthorityoflaw,didthenand
therewilfully,unlawfullyandknowinglyhaveinhis/herpossessionandunderhis/hercustodyandcontrolone(1)caliber.38paltik
Revolverwithoutserialnumber,loadedwithtwo(2)spentshellsandthree(3)liveammunitions,withoutfirsthavingsecuredthenecessary
license/permitissuedbytheproperauthorities.[6]
Uponarraignment,accusedappellantspleadednotguiltytoalltheabovecharges.
Theprosecutionpresented,amongotherevidence,thetestimoniesofManuelCuenca,[7]SPO4RaulEspejon,[8]PO3RudyPeralta,[9]
LarryBuseron,[10]SPO1RicardoInamac,[11]Dr.AlvinDavid[12]andElmerNelsonPiedad,[13]fromwhichtheforegoingnarrationoffacts
wasculled.ThedeceasedssonManuel,Jr.wasalsopresentedtoprovethecivilliabilityofaccusedappellants.[14]
Accusedappellantsoffereddenialastheirdefense.
AccusedappellantJunValderama,23,married,avendorofgarlicandotherspices,andaresidentofDiliman,QuezonCity,claimed
thatonFebruary28,1996,hewasinBatasanHillssellinghiswares.Ataround5:00p.m.,Valderamawaspassingbyacompound,thename
ofwhichhecouldnotrecall.Henoticedmanypeopleinfrontofthecompound.Suddenly,apoliceofficeraccostedhim.Thepoliceofficer
friskedhimandaskedhimwherehelived.ValderamasaidthathelivedinDiliman.ThepoliceofficeralsoaskedValderamawherehecame
from.Valderamarepliedthathehadjustfinishedvendinghisgoods.
FromthesearchconductedonValderama,thepoliceofficerrecoveredafanknifefromValderamas pocket. Valderama explained in
courtthathecarriedtheknifeforselfdefensesinceheusuallypassesbythesquattersarea.Hesaidthathedidnotintendtousetheknifefor
anythingthatisnotgood.ThepoliceofficerthenhandcuffedValderamatothetricycleparkednearby,andtoldhimtowaitthere.According
tothepoliceofficer,theywerewaitingforapersoninsidethecompound.Fromthepoliceofficersuniform,Valderamawasabletoidentify
theofficerasEspejon.
About(30)thirtyminuteslater,Valderamaheardtwo(2)loudgunshotsandanotheronenotsoloudcomingfromthecompound,which
wasaboutthirty(30)metersaway.Afterawhile,thepolicecameoutthecompounddraggingEdgardoLiad.ThepolicebroughtLiadtothe
tricyclewhereValderamawashandcuffed.TheyunlockedthehandcuffsfromthetricycleandplaceditonLiadsuchthatValderamaand
Liadwerecuffedtogether.TheaccusedappellantswerethenbroughttothepolicestationinPrecinct6.
ValderamawasplacedinadetentioncellwhileLiadwasbroughttoanotherroom.Twentyminuteslater,thepolicetookValderamaout
ofthecellandbroughttothesameroomwhereLiadwastaken.Thelatterwasplacedinthedetentioncell.
Valderama claimed that while in the room the police tried to force him to admit that he was a participant in the holdup in
Commonwealth Avenue. Valderama denied the accusation, angering the four (4) police officers, all of who were not in uniform. They
mauled and tortured him.When Valderama could no longer endure the beating, he finally admitted the crime. It was only then that the
officersstoppedtorturinghim.
In court, Valderama averred that he was not provided the services of counsel at the time he was forced to admit the police officers
accusations.HedeniedhavinganythingtodowiththekillingofLydiaCuenca.Itwasnottruethathecarriedapaltikrevolver.[15]
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AccusedappellantEdgardoLiad,26,alaborerandaresidentof194SaintAndrewStreet,BarangayHolySpirit,QuezonCity,admitted
hispresenceatthecrimescenebutdeniedanyparticipationtherein.
Heclaimedthatataround2:00intheafternoonofFebruary28,1996,hewaswatchingTVathomewhenhesawhisbrotherinlaw
FelixFortezatogetherwiththelattersfriend,LiberatoQuintoa.QuintoawasLiadsneighborfromtheprovince,whomhehadnotseensince
1992.
Liadaskedthetwotobringhimtoamoviesincetheyhadjustreceivedtheirsalaries.FortezaandQuintoaagreedtoLiadsrequestbut
Fortezasaidthattheyhadtopassbytheofficetogethispay.FortezaworkedasasecurityguardinCapitalAutoSupply,abusinessowned
andmanagedbyManuelCuenca.
Thethreeleftthehouse,tookatricyclethenabus.FortezaleftthetwoinacarinderiaalongCommonwealthAvenueandproceededto
hisemployersoffice.Whenhecameback,hetoldthemthattheywouldhavetowaitalittlelongersincehisemployerwasnotyetthere.
Lessthananhourlater,Liadscompanionssuddenlyblockedawhitecarinthemiddleofthestreet.Liadremainedinthecarinderia.Forteza
andQuintoa,whobothcarriedfirearms,shotatthevehicle.QuintoaenteredthevehicleandtookthedriversseatwhileFortezasatbeside
him.Onceinside,thetwocalledLiadandtoldhimtoboardthevehicle.Shockedandconfused,Liaddidashewastoldandsathimselfat
therightsidebehindthefrontseat.Liaddidnotflee,thinkingthatpeopleinthecarenderiawouldpointtohimbecausetheyknewthathe
wasQuintoaandFertozascompanion.
ThethreethendroveawayandleftthecaratthecornerofIlangIlangStreetandCommonwealthAvenue.
FortezaandQuintoathenalightedthevehicleandtoldLiadtodothesame.Liadrefused,however,soQuintoapokedagunathim.He
threatened,IfyouwillnotalightIamgoingtoshootyou.LiaddidnotknowwhattodoorwheretogosohejustfollowedQuintoa.Hedid
notknowwhereFortezawent.
AlongIlangIlangStreetwasasquattersarea.QuintoaclimbedintothecompoundfollowedbyLiad.PeoplewerechasingQuintoaand
Liad, and Quintoa fired once at them.Liad asked Quintoa why they did it.Quintoa told him not to ask too many questions. Marines in
civilianclothesthenarrivedandaskedQuintoaandLiad,whowerecrouching,tosurrender.Quintoafinallystoodupbut,afraid,Liaddid
not.Liadheardshotsandtriedtolielow.
Uponhearingcallsforhimtosurrender,Liadslowlyshowedthathewasunarmed.Hetoldthemnottofireandthathedidnothavea
gun.TheMarinesarrestedLiadandthepolicearrived.TheytookLiadfromtheMarineswhileQuintoa,alsoknownasBaeng,wasbrought
tothehospital.AsforForteza,Liadsaidhedidnotseehimagain.
Liad corroborated his coaccuseds denial. He claimed that the first time he met his fellow accused was while he (Liad) was at the
compound. By then, Valderama was already handcuffed. Valderama purportedly had no part in the incident that transpired on
CommonwealthAvenue.[16]
On rebuttal, Manuel Cuenca refuted Jun Valderamas allegation that he (Valderama) was not at the scene of the crime. Manuel
categoricallydeclaredthathesawhimandLiadthere.HefurtherstatedthatFelixFortezawasnotatthecrimescenewhenthetragedytook
place.
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On March 2, 1998, the RTC rendered a decision convicting accusedappellants of robbery with homicide and illegal possession of
firearm,thus:
WHEREFORE,PREMISESCONSIDERED,judgmentisherebyrenderedfindingtheaccusedJunValderamaandEdgardoLiadguilty
beyondreasonabledoubtasprincipalsbydirectparticipationofthecrimeofrobberywithhomicidedefinedandpenalizedunderArticle294
oftheRevisedPenalCodeasamendedbyRepublicActNo.7659andherebysentenceseachofthemtosufferthepenaltyofreclusion
perpetuaand,jointlyandseverally,toindemnifytheheirsofLydiaCuencatheamountofP50,000.00forherdeath,funeralexpensesinthe
amountofP615,415.00andmoraldamagesintheamountofP50,000.00,pluscosts.
AccusedValderamaandLiad,arelikewisefoundguiltybeyondreasonabledoubtofillegalpossessionoffirearmsasdefinedandpenalized
underSection1ofPresidentialDecreeNo.1866,asamendedbyRepublicActNo.8294,andherebysentenceseachofthemtosufferthe
penaltyoffour(4)years,nine(9)monthsandeleven(11)daystofive(5)years,four(4)monthsandtwenty(20)daysofprisioncorrectional
[sic].
SOORDERED.[17]
AccusedappellantsthusturntothisCourt,contendingthat:
I

THETRIALCOURTGRAVELYERREDINRULINGTHATBOTHACCUSEDAPPELLANTSWERECOCONSPIRATORSOF
DECEASEDBAENGANDFELIXFORTEZA.
II

THETRIALCOURTGRAVELYERREDINCONVICTINGBOTHACCUSEDAPPELLANTSFORVIOLATIONOFP.D.1866,
ASAMENDEDBYREPUBLICACTNO.8294.[18]
TheCourtfindsmeritinthesecondassignederrorbutnotinthefirst.
Accusedappellantssubmitthattheywerenotpartoftheconspiracyinthecrimeperpetratedagainstthedeceased.TheyurgetheCourt
togivecredencetotheirrespectiveaccountsnegatinganyparticipationintherobberyanddeathofLydiaCuenca.
TheCourtfindsthattheprosecutionestablishedbeyondreasonabledoubttheexistenceofaconspiracybetweenaccusedappellantsand
the deceased Liberato Quintoa, also known as Baeng. In conspiracy, direct proof of a previous agreement to commit a crime is not
necessary.Itmaybededucedfromthemodeandmannerbywhichtheoffensewasperpetrated,orinferredfromtheactsoftheaccused
themselveswhensuchpointtoajointpurposeanddesign,concertedactionandcommunityofinterest.[19]Conspiracymaybeinferredfrom
theconductoftheaccusedbefore,duringorafterthecommissionofthecrime.[20]
Thefollowingcircumstancesimmediatelybefore,duringandaftertherobberyindubitablyshowthattheperpetratorswereoneintheir
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purposetorobLydiaCuenca:(1)Three(3)menblockedtheTamarawFXandbangedonthedoor[21](2)Oneofthemenshotthedoorof
thevehicle,hittingLydiaCuenca[22](3)AnotheralsofiredhisgunbuthitManuelCuencascarinstead[23](4)OnemansmashedtheFXs
windowtogainentrytotheFX[24](5)ThethreementhenrodethevehicletoIlangIlangStreet[25]and(6)Thereafter,allofthemalighted
theFXandfledinthesamedirectiontotheTransWorldCompound.[26]
ManuelCuencapositivelyidentifiedbothaccusedappellantsasamongtheparticipantstothecrime.Herecognizedthematthepolice
station[27]andpointedattheminopencourt.[28]Onrebuttal,hestatedwithoutanyhintofhesitation:
Q.Mr.Witness,accusedJunValderamatestifiedthatonthedatewhenthecrimewascommitted,hewasneverpresentatthesceneofthecrime,
whatcanyousaytothat?
A.Itisnottrue,sir.
Q.Why?
A.BecauseIsawthem.
Q.Wheredidyouseethem?
A.Theyheldupmywifeandevenkilledmywife.
Q.Wheredidthishappen?
A.AlongCommonwealthAvenuecornerDonEnriqueHeights.
Q.Howfarwereyouwhenthecrimewasbeingcommitted?
A.Iwasfollowingthem.
Q.Yourwifewasinthecaraheadofyouandyouwereattheback?
A.Yes,sir,Iwasattheback.
Q.Mr.Cuenca,Mr.Liadalsotestifiedthatheneverparticipatedinthecommissionoftheoffenseonthatunfaithfulnight.Whatcanyousayto
that?
A.Itisnottrue,sir.
Q.Why?
A.BecauseIsawthem,theywerethree.
Q.Canyoustillremembertheirfacesifyoucanseethemagain?
A.Yes,sir.
Q.Kindlylookaroundiftheaccusedarehere.
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A.Yes,sir.(WitnesspointingtoapersonsittingonthesecondrowwhoidentifiedhimselfasJunValderamaandwitnesspointedtoanotherperson
sittingonthefirstrowwhoidentifiedhimselfasEdgardoLiad.)[29]

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Q.FelixFortezawasnotatthesceneofthecrimeatthetimeoftheincident?
A.Isawonlythree.
Q.Yousawonlythree,JunValderama,EdgardoLiadandBaeng?
A.Yes,sir.[30]

ThetestimonyofManuelCuencaidentifyingaccusedappellantsasamongtheperpetratorsoftherobberydeservesgreatweight. The
absenceofevidencetoshowanyimpropermotivewhyheshouldtestifyfalselyagainstaccusedappellantsandimplicatetheminsucha
grave crime indicates that there is no such motive and that his testimony is worthy of full faith and credit.[31] Accusedappellants self
servingdenialscannotprevailoverManuelCuencaspositiveidentification.Inweighingcontradictorydeclarationsandstatements,greater
weightmustgenerallybegiventothepositivetestimonyoftheprosecutionwitnessesthantothedenialsofthedefendants.[32]
The testimonies of SPO4 Espejon[33] and SPO1 Inamac[34] that the police engaged in a gunfight in the TransWorld Brokers
Compound where accusedappellants were holed up and thereafter confiscated paltiks from accusedappellants bolsters the testimony of
ManuelCuencathattheyindeedparticipatedintherobberyofLydiaCuenca.AccordingtoSPO1Inamac,Liadevenpointedtohimwhere
thevictimsbagwas.[35]
Incidentally, we cannot give much credence to accusedappellant Valderamas claim that the police merely picked him out from the
crowd,handcuffedhimtoatricycle,torturedhimsohewouldadmittothecrime,inshort,framehimforrobberywithhomicide.When
policeofficershavenomotivefortestifyingfalselyagainsttheaccused,courtsareinclinedtoupholdthepresumptionofregularityinthe
performanceoftheirduties.[36]
ItistruethatneitherManuelCuencanorLarryBuseronspecifiedeachindividualperpetratorslocationinreferencetothevehicleor
theirparticularacts.Nevertheless,whereconspiracyisshown,thepreciseextentofparticipationofeachaccusedinthecrimeissecondary
andtheactofonemaybeimputedtoalltheconspirators.[37]
The trial court, therefore, did not err in convicting accusedappellants of robbery with homicide. Whenever homicide has been
committedasaconsequenceorontheoccasionoftherobbery,allthosewhotookpartasprincipalsintherobberywillalsobeheldguiltyas
principalsforthespecialcomplexcrimeofrobberywithhomicide,althoughtheydidnotactuallytakepartinthehomicide.[38]
Withrespecttoaccusedappellantscivilliability,thetrialcourtcorrectlyawardedtheheirsofLydiaCuencatheamountofP50,000.00
asindemnityforthevictimsdeath[39]andP50,000.00asmoraldamages.[40]
The trial court also adjudicated P615,415.00 for funeral expenses. The trial court did not present in its decision its computation to
justify such amount, although it did refer to Exhibits G, H and I. Exhibit G is a receipt from La Funeraria Paz for funeral expenses
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amountingtoP290,000.00.ExhibitHisareceiptfromHeavensGateMemorialGardens,Inc.forP5,665.00asintermentfeeandP550.00
forthegravestone.
Exhibit I, on the other hand, is a Deed of Sale dated 10 July 1996 showing that Heavens Gate Memorial Gardens sold to Manuel
CuencaaJuniorFamilyEstateconsistingof24lotsforthesumofP217,200.00.Thepriceofonelot,therefore,wouldcostonlyP9,050.00
(P217,200.00dividedby24lots).
AddinguptheexpensesevidencedbyExhibitsG,HandI,wearriveatthefollowingamount:
Funeralexpenses(ExhibitG)P290,000.00
Intermentandgravestone6,215.00
Cemeterylot9,050.00

TotalfuneralandburialexpensesP305,265.00
Thedecisionofthetrialcourtisthusmodifiedaccordingly.
Accusedappellantsalsocontendthatthetrialcourterredinholdingthemliableforillegalpossessionoffirearm,apositionsharedby
theSolicitorGeneral.
Incasesinvolvingillegalpossessionoffirearm,therequisiteelementsare:(a)theexistenceofthesubjectfirearmand(b)thefactthat
theaccusedwhoownedorpossessedthefirearmdoesnothavethecorrespondinglicenseorpermittopossess.Thelatterisanegativefact
thatconstitutesanessentialingredientoftheoffenseofillegalpossession,anditisthedutyoftheprosecutionnotonlytoallegeitbutalso
toproveitbeyondreasonabledoubt.[41]TheCourtagreeswithaccusedappellantsandtheSolicitorGeneralthattheprosecutioninthiscase
failedtoprovethesecondelement.
Thetrialcourtneverthelessjustifiedaccusedappellantsconvictionforillegalpossessionoffirearm,thus:
Asregardsthechargesofillegalpossessionoffirearms,theCourtfindstheaccusedValderamaandLiadguiltyhereof.Theprosecutiondid
nothavetoprovethattheydidnothavelicenseorauthoritytopossessfirearmbecausethefirearmswerePaltikorhomemade.Inthecaseof
Peoplevs.Ramos,222SCRA557,theSupremeCourtruled:
Sinceapaltikisahomemadegun,itisillegallymanufacturedandcannotbeissuedalicenseorpermit,andhenceitisnolongernecessaryto
provethatitisunlicensed.[42]
The trial court clearly misread People vs. Ramos. The trial courts rationale was precisely the contention that the Court rejected in
Ramos:
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WedonotagreewiththecontentionoftheSolicitorGeneralthatsinceapaltikisahomemadegun,isillegallymanufacturedasrecognized
inPeoplevs.Fajardo,andcannotbeissuedalicenseorpermit,itisnolongernecessarytoprovethatitisunlicensed.Thisappearstobe,at
firstblush,averylogicalproposition.Wecannot,however,yieldtoitbecauseFajardodidnotsaythatpaltikscaninnocasebeissueda
licenseorapermit,andthatproofthatafirearmisapaltikdispenseswithproofthatitisunlicensed.
TheaboverulingwasreiteratedinPeoplevs.Evangelista,[43]Mallarivs.CourtofAppeals,[44]Peoplevs.DeVera,Sr.,[45]andPeople
vs.Dorimon,[46]andPeoplevs.P02RodelSamonte.[47]
WHEREFORE,thedecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourtofQuezonCityisherebyMODIFIEDasfollows:
InCriminalCaseNo.Q9665118,accusedappellantsEdgardoLiadyBeigarandJunValderamayCaspeareherebyfoundGUILTY
beyondreasonabledoubtofRobberywithHomicideandaresentencedtoeachsufferthepenaltyofreclusionperpetua.Accusedappellants
areorderedtopayinsolidumtheheirsofthedeceasedLydiaCuencatheamountofP50,000.00asindemnityforherdeath,P50,000.00as
moraldamagesandP305,265.00asfuneralandburialexpenses.
In Criminal Case Nos. Q9665119 and Q9665120 for illegal possession of firearm, accusedappellants are ACQUITTED for
insufficiencyofevidence.
SOORDERED.
Davide,Jr.,C.J.(Chairman),Puno,Pardo,andYnaresSantiago,JJ.,concur.
[1]ExhibitE.
[2]ExhibitW5.
[3]Records,p.2.
[4]CodifyingtheLawsonIllegal/UnlawfulPossession,Manufacture,Dealingin,AcquisitionorDisposition,ofFirearms,AmmunitionorExplosivesorInstruments
UsedintheManufactureofFirearms,AmmunitionorExplosives,andImposingStifferPenaltiesforCertainViolationsThereofandforRelevantPurposes.
[5]Id.,at4.
[6]Id.,at6.
[7]TSN,August7,1996TSN,August13,1996.
[8]TSN,August15,1996TSN,September17,1996.
[9]TSN,September16,1996.
[10]TSN,September17,1996.
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[11]TSN,September18,1996.
[12]TSN,October21,1996.
[13]TSN,December18,1996.
[14]TSN,August13,1996
[15]TSN,July15,1997TSN,July16,1997.
[16]TSN,September19,1997TSN,November24,1997.
[17]Records,pp.158159.
[18]Rollo,p.51.
[19]Peoplevs.Pulusan,290SCRA353(1998).
[20]Peoplevs.Balang,236SCRA474(1994).
[21]TSN,August7,1996,p.7TSN,September17,1996,p.9.
[22]Id.,at8.
[23]Id.
[24]Id.TSN,September17,1996,p.10.
[25]Id.,at11,TSN,August15,1996,p.14.
[26]TSN,August15,1996,p.6.
[27]TSN,August7,1996,p.13TSN,August13,1996,pp.67.
[28]Id.,at14.
[29]TSN,January21,1998,pp.35.Underscoringsupplied.
[30]Id.,at7.
[31]Peoplevs.Sandoval,254SCRA436(1996).
[32]Peoplevs.Guiamil,277SCRA658(1997).

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[33]TSN,August15,1996,p.9.
[34]TSN,September18,1996,p.9.
[35]Id.,at29.
[36]Peoplevs.Guiamil,supra.
[37]Peoplevs.Pulusan,supra.
[38]Peoplevs.Cerveto,315SCRA611(1999)Peoplevs.Nang,289SCRA16(1998)Peoplevs.Guiamil,supraPeoplevs.Sandoval,supra.
[39]SeeCivilCode,Art.2206inrelationtocurrentjurisprudence,e.g.,Peoplevs.Cerveto,supraPeoplevs.Merino,321SCRA199(1999).
[40]Art.2219.Moraldamagesmayberecoveredinthefollowingandanalogouscases:
(1)Acriminaloffenseresultinginphysicalinjuriesxxx.(CivilCod)
SeealsoPeoplevs.Merino,supra.
[41]Peoplevs.Dorimon,321SCRA43(1999)Mallarivs.CourtofAppeals,265SCRA456(1996).
[42]Records,p.158.
[43]256SCRA611(1996).
[44]Supra.
[45]308SCRA75(1999).
[46]Supra.
[47]G.R.No.126048,September29,2000.

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