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Dear students of the law:

For Saturday, December 10, discussions will cover the following:


1. Anti-Piracy and Anti- Highway Robbery Law of 1974 (P.D. No. 532)
1. Definition of terms
2. Punishable acts
3. Compare with Revised Penal Code, Arts. 122 to 123; 306 to 307
4. Cases:
a. People vs. Catantan, G.R. No. 118075, September 5, 1997
b. People vs. Tulin, G.R. No. 111709, August 30, 2001
c.

People vs. Puno, G.R. No. 97471, February 17, 1993

d. People vs. Mendoza, G.R. No. 104461, February 23, 1996


2. New Anti-Carnapping Law of the Philippines (R.A. No. 10883)
1. Definition of terms
2. Punishable acts
3. Compare with Revised Penal Code, Art. 310
4. Cases:
a. People vs. Nocum, G.R. No. 179041, April 1, 2013
b. People vs. Lagat, G.R. No. 187044, September 14, 2011
c.

People vs. Asamuddin, G.R. No. 213913, September 2, 2015

d. People vs. Bustinera, G. R. No. 148233, June 8, 2004


e. People vs. Santos, G.R. No. 127500, June 8, 2000

GPS.

RESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 532 August 8, 1974


ANTI-PIRACY AND ANTI-HIGHWAY ROBBERY LAW OF 1974
WHEREAS, reports from law-enforcement agencies reveal that lawless elements are still committing acts of
depredations upon the persons and properties of innocent and defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place
to another, thereby distributing the peace, order and tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and social
progress of the people;
WHEREAS, such acts of depredations constitute either piracy or highway robbery/brigandage which are among
the highest forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries; and,
WHEREAS, it is imperative that said lawless elements be discouraged from perpetrating such acts of
depredations by imposing heavy penalty on the offenders, with the end in view of eliminating all obstacles to the
economic, social, educational and community progress of the people;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in
me by the Constitution and pursuant to proclamation No. 1081, dated September 21, 1972 and No. 1104, dated
January 17, 1973 and General Order No. 1, dated September 22, 1972, do hereby order and decree as part of the
law of the land the following:
Section 1. Title. This Decree shall be known as the Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974.
Section 2. Definition of Terms. The following terms shall mean and be understood, as follows:
a. Philippine Waters. It shall refer to all bodies of water, such as but not limited to, seas, gulfs, bays
around, between and connecting each of the Islands of the Philippine Archipelago, irrespective of its
depth, breadth, length or dimension, and all other waters belonging to the Philippines by historic or legal
title, including territorial sea, the sea-bed, the insular shelves, and other submarine areas over which the
Philippines has sovereignty or jurisdiction.
b. Vessel. Any vessel or watercraft used for transport of passengers and cargo from one place to another
through Philippine Waters. It shall include all kinds and types of vessels or boats used in fishing.
c. Philippine Highway. It shall refer to any road, street, passage, highway and bridges or other parts
thereof, or railway or railroad within the Philippines used by persons, or vehicles, or locomotives or trains
for the movement or circulation of persons or transportation of goods, articles, or property or both.
d. Piracy. Any attack upon or seizure of any vessel, or the taking away of the whole or part thereof or its
cargo, equipment, or the personal belongings of its complement or passengers, irrespective of the value
thereof, by means of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things, committed by any
person, including a passenger or member of the complement of said vessel, in Philippine waters, shall be
considered as piracy. The offenders shall be considered as pirates and punished as hereinafter provided.
e. Highway Robbery/Brigandage. The seizure of any person for ransom, extortion or other unlawful
purposes, or the taking away of the property of another by means of violence against or intimidation of
person or force upon things of other unlawful means, committed by any person on any Philippine
Highway.
Section 3. Penalties. Any person who commits piracy or highway robbery/brigandage as herein defined, shall,
upon conviction by competents court be punished by:

a. Piracy. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods shall be imposed. If
physical injuries or other crimes are committed as a result or on the occasion thereof, the penalty of
reclusion perpetua shall be imposed. If rape, murder or homicide is committed as a result or on the
occasion of piracy, or when the offenders abandoned the victims without means of saving themselves, or
when the seizure is accomplished by firing upon or boarding a vessel, the mandatory penalty of death
shall be imposed.
b. Highway Robbery/Brigandage. The penalty of reclusion temporal in its minimum period shall be
imposed. If physical injuries or other crimes are committed during or on the occasion of the commission of
robbery or brigandage, the penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium and maximum periods shall be
imposed. If kidnapping for ransom or extortion, or murder or homicide, or rape is committed as a result or
on the occasion thereof, the penalty of death shall be imposed.
Section 4. Aiding pirates or highway robbers/brigands or abetting piracy or highway robbery/brigandage. Any
person who knowingly and in any manner aids or protects pirates or highway robbers/brigands, such as giving
them information about the movement of police or other peace officers of the government, or acquires or receives
property taken by such pirates or brigands or in any manner derives any benefit therefrom; or any person who
directly or indirectly abets the commission of piracy or highway robbery or brigandage, shall be considered as an
accomplice of the principal offenders and be punished in accordance with the Rules prescribed by the Revised
Penal Code.
It shall be presumed that any person who does any of the acts provided in this Section has performed knowingly,
unless the contrary is proven.
Section 5. Repealing Clause. Pertinent portions of Act No. 3815, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code;
and all laws, decrees, or orders or instructions, or parts thereof, insofar as they are inconsistent with this Decree
are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 6. Effectivity. This Decree shall take effect upon approval.
Done in the City of Manila, this 8th day of August, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-four.

REVISED PENAL CODE


Section Three. - Piracy and mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine waters
Article 122. Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas. - The penalty of reclusion temporal shall be inflicted
upon any person who, on the high seas, shall attack or seize a vessel or, not being a member of its complement
nor a passenger, shall seize the whole or part of the cargo of said vessel, its equipment, or personal belongings of
its complement or passengers.
The same penalty shall be inflicted in case of mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine waters.
Article 123. Qualified piracy. - The penalty of reclusion temporal to death shall be imposed upon those who
commit any of the crimes referred to in the preceding article, under any of the following circumstances:
1. Whenever they have seized a vessel by boarding or firing upon the same;
2. Whenever the pirates have abandoned their victims without means of saving themselves; or
3. Whenever the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, physical injuries or rape.

G.R. No. 118075 September 5, 1997


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
EMILIANO CATANTAN y TAYONG, accused-appellant.
EMILIANO CATANTAN and JOSE MACVEN URSAL alias "Bimbo" were charged with violation of PD No.
532 otherwise known as the Anti-Piracy and Highway Robbery Law of 1974 for having on 27 June 1993,
while armed with a firearm and a bladed weapon, acting in conspiracy with one another, by means of
violence and intimidation, wilfully and feloniously attacked, assaulted and inflicted physical injuries on
Eugene Pilapil and Juan Pilapil Jr. who were then fishing in the seawaters of Tabogon, Cebu, and seized
their fishing boat, to their damage and prejudice. 1
The Regional Trial Court of Cebu, after trial, found both accused Emiliano Catantan y Tayong and Jose
Macven Ursal alias "Bimbo" guilty of the crime charged and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua. 2 Of
the duo only Emiliano Catantan appealed.
In his appeal, accused Catantan contends that the trial court erred in convicting him of piracy as the facts
proved only constitute grave coercion defined in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code and not piracy under
PD No. 532.
The evidence for the prosecution is that at 3:00 o'clock in the morning of 27 June 1993, the Pilapil
brothers Eugene, 21, and Juan Jr., 18, were fishing in the sea some 3 kilometers away from the shores of
Tabogon, Cebu. Suddenly, another boat caught up with them. One of them, later identified as the accused
Emiliano Catantan, bearded the pump boat of the Pilapils and leveled his gun at Eugene. With his gun,
Catantan struck Eugene on the left cheekbone and ordered him and Juan Jr. to " dapa." 3 Then Catantan
told Ursal to follow him to the pumpboat of the Pilapils. There they hogtied Eugene, forced him to lie
down at the bottom of the boat, covered him with a tarpaulin up to his neck, stepped on him and ordered
Juan Jr. to ferry them to Daan Tabogon. They left behind the other pumpboat which the accused had
earlier used together with its passengers one of whom was visibly tied.
Noting that they were already far out into the sea, Eugene reminded Catantan that they were now offcourse but Catantan told Eugene to keep quiet or he would be killed. Later, the engine conked out and
Juan Jr. was directed to row the boat. Eugene asked to be set free so he could help but was not allowed;
he was threatened with bodily harm instead.
Meanwhile Juan Jr. managed to fix the engine, but as they went farther out into the open sea the engine
stalled again. This time Eugene was allowed to assist his brother. Eugene's hands were set free but his
legs were tied to the outrigger. At the point of a tres cantos 4 held by Ursal, Eugene helped row the boat.
As they passed the shoreline of Nipa, they saw another boat. Catantan asked whose boat that was and
the Pilapils told him that it was operated by a certain Juanito and that its engine was new. Upon learning
this, Catantan ordered the Pilapil brothers to approach the boat cautioning them however not to move or
say anything.
On the pretext that they were buying fish Catantan boarded the "new" pumpboat. Once aboard he ordered
the operator Juanito to take them to Mungaz, another town of Cebu. When Juanito tried to beg-off by

saying that he would still pull up his net and harvest his catch, Catantan drew his revolver and said, "You
choose between the two, or I will kill you." 5 Juanito, obviously terrified, immediately obeyed and Ursal
hopped in from the other pumpboat and joined Catantan.
But, as Ursal was transferring to the "new" pumpboat, its outrigger caught the front part of the pumpboat
of the Pilapils so he kicked hard its prow; it broke. The jolt threw Eugene into the sea and he landed on
the water headlong. Juan Jr. then untied his brother's legs and the two swam together clinging to their
boat. Fortunately another pumpboat passed by and towed them safely ashore.
Section 2, par. (d), of PD No. 532, defines piracy as "any attack upon or seizure of any vessel, or the
taking away of the whole or part thereof or its cargo, equipment, or the personal belongings of the
complement or passengers, irrespective of the value thereof, by means of violence against or
intimidation of persons or force upon things, committed by any person, including a passenger or member
of the complement of said vessel, in Philippine waters, shall be considered as piracy . The offenders shall
be considered as pirates and punished as hereinafter provided." And a vessel is construed in Sec. 2, par.
(b), of the same decree as "any vessel or watercraft used for transport of passengers and cargo from one
place to another through Philippine waters. It shall include all kinds and types of vessels or boats used in
fishing (emphasis supplied).
On the other hand, grave coercion as defined in Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code is committed by "any
person who, without authority of law, shall, by means of violence, prevent another from doing something
not prohibited by law, or compel him to do something against his will, whether it be right or wrong."
Accused-appellant argues that in order that piracy may be committed it is essential that there be an attack
on or seizure of a vessel. He claims that he and his companion did not attack or seize the fishing boat of
the Pilapil brothers by using force or intimidation but merely boarded the boat, and it was only when they
were already on board that they used force to compel the Pilapils to take them to some other place.
Appellant also insists that he and Ursal had no intention of permanently taking possession or depriving
complainants of their boat. As a matter of fact, when they saw another pumpboat they ordered the
brothers right away to approach that boat so they could leave the Pilapils behind in their boat.
Accordingly, appellant claims, he simply committed grave coercion and not piracy.
We do not agree. Under the definition of piracy in PD No. 532 as well as grave coercion as penalized in
Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code, this case falls squarely within the purview of piracy. While it may be
true that Eugene and Juan Jr. were compelled to go elsewhere other than their place of destination, such
compulsion was obviously part of the act of seizing their boat. The testimony of Eugene, one of the
victims, shows that the appellant actually seized the vessel through force and intimidation. The direct
testimony of Eugene is significant and enlightening
Q: Now, while you and your younger brother were fishing at the seawaters
of Tabogon at that time, was there anything unusual that happened?
A: Yes.
Q: Will you please tell the Court what that was?
A: While we were fishing at Tabogon another pumpboat arrived and the
passengers of that pumpboat boarded our pumpboat.
Q: Now, that pumpboat which you said approached you, how many were
riding in that pumpboat?
A: Four.

Q: When you said the passengers of that pumpboat boarded your


pumpboat, how did they do that?
A: They approached somewhat
pumpboat(emphasis supplied).

suddenly

and

came

aboard

the

Q: How many suddenly came aboard your pumpboat?


A: Only one.
Q: What did that person do when he came aboard your pumpboat?
A: When he boarded our pumpboat he aimed his revolver at us (emphasis
supplied).
Q: By the way, when he aimed his revolver to you, did he say anything to
you?
xxx xxx xxx
A: He said, "dapa," which means lie down (emphasis supplied).
COURT:
Q: To whom did he aim that revolver?
A: He aimed the revolver on me.
TRIAL PROS. ECHAVEZ:
Q: What else did he do?
A: Then he ordered his companion to come aboard the pumpboat.
Q: What did he do with his revolver?
A: He struck my face with the revolver, hitting the lower portion of my left
eye.
Q: Now, after you were struck with the revolver, what did these persons
do?
A: We were ordered to take them to a certain place.
Q: To what place did he order you to go?
A: To Daan Tabogon. 6
To sustain the defense and convert this case of piracy into one of grave coercion would be to ignore the
fact that a fishing vessel cruising in Philippine waters was seized by the accused by means of violence
against or intimidation of persons. As Eugene Pilapil testified, the accused suddenly approached them
and boarded their pumpboat and Catantan aimed his revolver at them as he ordered complaining witness

Eugene Pilapil to "dapa" or lie down with face downwards, and then struck his face with a revolver, hitting
the lower portion of his left eye, after which, Catantan told his victims at gun point to take them to Daan
Tabogon.
The incident happened at 3:00 o'clock in the morning. The sudden appearance of another pumpboat with
four passengers, all strangers to them, easily intimidated the Pilapil brothers that they were impelled to
submit in complete surrender to the marauders. The moment Catantan jumped into the other pumpboat
he had full control of his victims. The sight of a drawn revolver in his hand drove them to submission.
Hence the issuance of PD No. 532 designed to avert situations like the case at bar and discourage and
prevent piracy in Philippine waters. Thus we cite the succeeding "whereas" clauses of the decree
Whereas, reports from law-enforcement agencies reveal that lawless elements are still
committing acts of depredations upon the persons and properties of innocent and
defenseless inhabitants who travel from one place to another, thereby disturbing the
peace, order and tranquility of the nation and stunting the economic and social progress
of the people;
Whereas, such acts of depredations constitute either piracy or highway
robbery/brigandage which are among the highest forms of lawlessness condemned by the
penal statutes of all countries; and,
Whereas, it is imperative that said lawless elements be discouraged from perpetrating
such acts of depredations by imposing heavy penalty on the offenders, with the end in
view of eliminating all obstacle to the economic, social, educational and community
progress of the people.
The Pilapil brothers are mere fisherfolk whose only means of livelihood is fishing in sea waters. They
brave the natural elements and contend with the unknown forces of the sea to bring home a bountiful
harvest. It is on these small fishermen that the townspeople depend for the daily bread. To impede their
livelihood would be to deprive them of their very subsistence, and the likes of the accused within the
purview of PD No. 532 are the obstacle to the "economic, social, educational and community progress of
the people." Had it not been for the chance passing of another pumpboat, the fate of the Pilapil brothers,
left alone helpless in a floundering, meandering outrigger with a broken prow and a conked-out engine in
open sea, could not be ascertained.
While appellant insists that he and Ursal had no intention of depriving the Pilapils permanently of their
boat, proof of which they left behind the brothers with their boat, the truth is, Catantan and Ursal
abandoned the Pilapils only because their pumpboat broke down and it was necessary to transfer to
another pumpboat that would take them back to their lair. Unfortunately for the pirates their "new"
pumpboat ran out of gas so they were apprehended by the police soon after the Pilapils reported the
matter to the local authorities.
The fact that the revolver used by the appellant to seize the boat was not produced in evidence cannot
exculpate him from the crime. The fact remains, and we state it again, that Catantan and his co-accused
Ursal seized through force and intimidation the pumpboat of the Pilapils while the latter were fishing in
Philippine waters.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the conviction of accusedappellant EMILIANO CATANTAN y TAYONG for the crime of piracy penalized under PD No. 532 and
sentencing him accordingly to reclusion perpetua, is AFFIRMED. Costs against accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.

PEOPLE V. ROGER TULIN


FACTS: MT Tabangao is a cargo vessel owned by PNOC. It was sailing near the coast of Mindoro loaded with
barrels of kerosene, gasoline, and diesel oil with a total value of 40.4M. The vessel was suddenly boarded by 7
fully armed pirates (accused in the case Emilio Changco, Cecilio Changco, Tulin, Loyola, Infante, etc.). they
detained and took control of the vessel. The name MT Tabangao and the PNOC logo were painted over with
black. Then it was painted with the name Galilee. The ship crew was forced to sail to Singapore.
In Singapore, the ship was awaiting another vessel that did not arrive. Instead, the ship went back to Batangas
Philippines and remained at sea. Days later, it went back to Singapore. This time, another vessel called the Navi
Pride anchored beside it. Another accused, Cheong San Hiong, supervised the Navis crew and received the
cargo on board MT Tabangao/Galilee. After the transfer of goods were completed, MT Tabangao/Galilee went
back to the Philippines and the original crew members were released by the pirates in batches. The crew was
ordered not to tell authorities of what happened.
The chief engineer of the crew, however, reported the incident to the coast guard. Afterwards, a series of arrests
were effected in different places. An information charging the accused with qualified piracy or violation of the PD
532 Piracy in the Philippine Waters was filed against the accused.
As it turns out, Navi Pride captain, Hiong, was employed with Navi Marine Services ( a Singaporean firm, I think).
Before the seizure of the MT Tabangon, Navi Marine was dealing for the first time with Paul Gan, a Singaporean
broker who offered to sell bunker oil to the former. When the transaction pushed through, Hiong was assigned to
supervise a ship to ship transfer. He was told that the Galilee would be making the transfer, so Navi Pride shipsided with Galilee and the transfer was effected. Paul Gan received the payment. Upon arrival in Singapore,
Hiong was asked again to transact another transfer of oil. The same procedure was followed. Hiong then went to
the Philippines to arrange another transfer with Changco the pirates head. This was how Hiong was arrested by
the NBI agents.
All the accused put up denials and alibis. The trial court, with ROMEO CALLEJO deciding, ruled that the accused
were all guilty.
ISSUE: w/n the accused are guilty of qualified piracy YES!
RULING: [only the important part for crim] Hiong argues that he cannot be convicted under PD 532 or Art 122 of
the RPC as amended, since both laws punish piracy committed in Philippine waters. Hiong also contends that the
court never acquired jurisdiction over him since the crime was committed outside Philippine waters.

Art. 122 of the RPC (piracy in general and mutiny in the high seas) provided that piracy must be committed in the
high seas by any person not a member of its complement nor a passenger thereof. It was amended by RA 7659,
which broadened the law to include offenses committed in Philippine waters. PD 532 on the other hand, embraces
any person, including a passenger or member of the complement of said vessel in the Philippine waters.
Passenger or not, member of the complement or not, any person is covered by the law. No conflict exists among
the mentioned laws, they exist harmoniously as separate laws.
As regards the contention that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of accused-appellant
Hiong since the crime was committed outside Philippinewaters, suffice it to state that unquestionably, the attack
on and seizure of "M/T Tabangao" (renamed "M/T Galilee" by the pirates) and its cargo were committed in
Philippine waters, although the captive vessel was later brought by the pirates to Singapore where its cargo was
off-loaded, transferred, and sold. And such transfer was done under accused-appellant Hiong's direct supervision.
Although Presidential Decree No. 532 requires that the attack and seizure of the vessel and its cargo be
committed in Philippine waters, the disposition by the pirates of the vessel and its cargo is still deemed part of the
act of piracy, hence, the same need not be committed in Philippine waters.
Moreover, piracy falls under Title One of Book Two of the Revised Penal Code. As such, it is an exception to the
rule on territoriality in criminal law. The same principle applies even if Hiong, in the instant case, were charged,
not with a violation of qualified piracy under the penal code but under a special law, Presidential Decree No. 532
which penalizes piracy in Philippine waters. Verily, Presidential Decree No. 532 should be applied with more force
here since its purpose is precisely to discourage and prevent piracy in Philippine waters (People v. Catantan, 278
SCRA 761 [1997]). The attack on and the seizure of MT Tabangao and its cargo were committed in Philippine
waters, although the captive vessel was later brought by the pirates to Singapore, where its cargo was off-loaded,
transferred and sold. Such transfer was done under Hiongs supervision. Although the disposition by the
pirates of the vessel and its cargo was not done in Philippine waters, it is still deemed part of the same
act. Piracy falls under Title 1 of Book 2 of the RPC. It is an exception to the rule on territoriality in criminal
law.
The same principle applies to the case, even if Hiong is charged with violation of a special penal law,
instead of the RPC. Regardless of the law penalizing piracy, it remains to be a reprehensible crime against
the whole world.

PEOPLE VS ISABELO PUNO Y GUEVARRA


Facts: Isabelo Puno is the driver of Mr. Socorro. While Mr. Socorro was allegedly in Davao for a local election,
Isabelo arrived at Mrs. Socorros bakeshop to tell her that her own driver had to go to Pampanga for an
emergency.
Hence, Isabelo will take his place. Isabelo was driving the Mercedes Benz to bring Mrs. Socorro home Suddenly,
accused Enrique Amurao (nephew of Isabelo) boarded the car beside Isabelo and poked a gun at Mrs. Socorro.
An initial P7K was taken from her which was in her bag. They demanded P100K more. The whole time, the gun
was pointed at Mrs. Socorros neck. They then asked her to issue a check.
After drafting 3 checks (2 checks for P30K and 1 check for P40K). Isabelo kept on driving the car until Mrs.
Socorro jumped out and then ran. Both Isabelo and Enrique were caught the next day when they were trying to
encash the checks they took. An information of kidnapping for ransom was filed. Defense argues that it should be
simple robbery under Art294 of the RPC.
TC: guilty of violation of PD532 (Anti Pirac and Anti Highway Robbery Law of 1974). SolGen agrees with this
based on the observation that PD532 modified art267 of the RPB.
Issue: What crime was committed? Robbery under Art.294!
Held: The rule in crim law is that the motive and specific intent of the accused in perpetrating the acts complained
of are invaluable aids at arriving at a correct determination of the crime for which said accused should be held
liable.
Thus, if murder was committed in furtherance of rebellion then rebellion absorbs murder. Whereas, if murder was
committed because the accused has his own personal motive, rebellion and murder would constitute separate
offenses.
In this case, there is no showing that the accused had any motive other than to extort money under the
compulsion of threats or intimidation. This was admitted when Isabelo admitted to Mrs. Socorro that he needed
money because he had an ulcer and that he tried getting advances from the office to no avail.
For the crime of kidnapping to exist, the rule is that there must be an actual intent to deprive the offended party of
her liberty. This is different from the situation wherein the restraint of freedom was only incidental to the
commission of another offense which was primarily intended by the offenders. Thus, as early as US vs Ancheta, it
was held that, even if the victims were detained or forcibly taken but the primary and ultimate purpose was to kill

them, the incidental deprivation of liberty does not constitute kidnapping or serious illegal detention. In this case,
the testimonies of the accused show that they had no intention to deprive Mrs. Socorro of her liberty.
There was no ransom either. Ransom is the money, price or consideration paid or demanded for redemption of a
captured person or payment for release from captivity. Here, the complainant readily gave the case and checks
when demanded from her at gun point. Thesewere merely amounts involuntarily surrendered by Mrs. Socorro on
the occasion of the robbery. Thus, while the crime committed was indeed robbery, it is not the highway robbery
under PD532.
Contrary to what the SolGen postulates, PD532 does not modify Art267 (Kidnapping and serious illegal
detention). Instead, what it modifies is Art306 and 307 on Brigandage. This is clear from the fact that under the
PD, highway robbery is synonymously used with brigandage.
This is in fact consistent with the SCs earlier rulings that highway robbers and brigands are synonymous.
Brigandage is indiscriminate highway robbery (formation of a band by more than 3armed persons for the purpose
of committing robbery in the highway, or kidnapping persons for the purpose of extortion or to obtain ransom or for
any other purpose to be attained by means of force and violence, they shall be deemed highway robbers or
brigands --- art.306.) whereas, if the purpose is only a particular robbery, then the crime is only robbery.
Note also that PD532 punishes an act as brigandage or highway robbery only when it is perpetrated against any
person/s indiscriminately (meaning: they dont choose who they will rob. Anyone will do. Whereas clause of
PD532 says, committed upon the persons and properties of innocent and defenceless inhabitants who travel
from one place to another) as compared to acts of robbery wherein the victim is predetermined --- as in this case.
It is true that PD532 introduced some changes to Art306 and 307 of the RPC: increase of penalties; PD does not
require that there be at least 4armed persons forming a band of robbers; the presumption that accused are
brigands if they use unlicensed firearms has been removed in the decree. BUT, one thing has remained
unchanged and that is the definition of brigandage in the code and in the PD --- acts are committed not against a
specific victim but against any and potential victim on the highway.
Further, it is an absurd argument of the TC that just because the robbery was committed on the highway it is
already covered by the PD. Thus, the crime committed here is simple robbery. Accused have acted in conspiracy
as shown by their acts. Abuse of confidence also applied with no mitigating circumstance. No procedural obstacle
to convict even if information was kidnapping for ransom because simple robbery is necessarily included in
kidnapping with ransom.

G.R. No. 104461

February 23, 1996

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
ROMEO MENDOZA y REYES and JAIME REJALI y LINA, defendants-appellants.
DECISION
The main question answered in this case is whether the accused should be convicted of highway robbery with
homicide punishable under Presidential Decree No. 532, or of robbery with homicide under Article 294 of the
Revised Penal Code.
Appellants Romeo Mendoza and Jaime Rejali were charged on June 17, 1991 before the Regional Trial Court in
Pasig, Metro Manila (Branch 156) of the crime of "ROBBERY HOLD-UP (sic) with HOMICIDE (P.D. No. 532, AntiPiracy and Anti-Highwat (sic) Robbery Law of 1974)" 1 in an Information which reads as follows:
That on or about the 29th day of May 1991, in the municipality of San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines, a
place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court the above-named accused, armed with gun and
knives, conspiring and confederating together with one alias Jack whose true identity and present
whereabouts is still unknown, and mutually helping and aiding one another with intent to gain and by
means of force, violence and intimidation, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, rob
and divest one Glory Oropeo of cash money amounting to P30.00, while the said victim was aboard a
passenger jeep, cruising along Aurora Blvd., San Juan, Metro Manila, which is a Philippine Highway, to
the damage and prejudice of the owner thereof, in the aforementioned amount of P30.00; that on the
occasion of said robbery (hold-up) and for the purpose of enabling them to take, rob and carry away
personal belongings of all passengers in pursuance of their criminal act said accused, did then and there
wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously attack, assault and employ personal violence upon the passengers (sic)
of said passenger jeep, one Ramilyn Zulueta by then and there hitting her head with a gun and kicked
(sic) her out of the passenger jeep which caused her to fall in (sic) the pavement hitting her head on the
ground, thereby inflicting upon the latter mortal injuries which directly caused her death, while Ma. Grace

Zulueta, punching her face and hitting her head with a gun, as a result of which said Ma. Grace Zulueta
sustained physical injuries which required medical attendance for a period of less than nine (9) days and
incapacitated her from performing her customary labor for the same period of time.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The records show that both accused were assisted by their counsel de oficio, Atty. Fernando Fernandez of the
Public Attorney's Office (PAO), when they pleaded not guilty to the charge upon arraignment on August 9, 1991.
Evidence for the Prosecution
The prosecution thereafter established that on May 29, 1991, at about 9:00 in the evening, 17-year-old Ma. Grace
Zulueta and her elder sister, Ma. Ramilyn, were on their way home from their grandparents' house in Altura Ext.,
Sta. Mesa, Manila. They boarded a passenger jeepney bound for Cubao via Aurora Blvd. The jeepney was fully
loaded with the driver, his wife and two children on the front seat and eight passengers on each of the two parallel
back seats. 2
The Zulueta sisters were seated near the rear entrance of the jeepney 3 with accused Romeo Mendoza seated
beside Grace. 4 It was through Mendoza that Grace handed over their fare to the driver as the jeepney passed by
the SM complex. 5 Glory Oropeo (or Lory Europeo 6 ), who boarded the same jeepney near the Stop and Shop
Supermarket, was seated behind the driver. Accused Jaime Rejali was beside Glory while their companion named
Jack, who has remained at large, was seated across her. 7
When the jeepney reached the dark portion of Aurora Blvd. in San Juan, Metro Manila, near St. Paul's College,
just after the bridge and before Broadway Centrum, someone announced a hold-up. 8 Both Mendoza and Rejali
had guns while Jack was armed with a knife. It was Rejali who fired his gun. 9 Jack told the Zulueta sisters that
they would "bring" the sisters along. As the accused appeared drunk, the sisters ignored them. However, a male
passenger jumped off the jeepney and a commotion ensued. Perplexed ("naguluhan") by this turn of events, the
accused held Ramilyn who started kicking, trying to extricate herself from their grasp. This prompted Mendoza to
hit her on the head with his gun. He boxed and kicked her, causing Ramilyn to fall out of the jeepney into the
street where she rolled. 10
Mendoza then held Grace by her right arm. As she struggled, Grace shouted, "bitawan mo ako, bitawan mo ako,"
in an attempt to call the attention of the drivers of the other vehicles on the road. One of the accused hit Grace on
the head with a gun causing her to lose consciousness. 11 (She finally came to at the St. Luke's Hospital; she was
confined there up to June 7, 1991. 12) While all this was happening, Rejali poked his gun at the other
passengers. 13
From Glory, the accused were able to get the amount of P30.00. She handed it to the holdupper seated in front of
her. When the commotion took place, the driver slowed down the jeepney but the holduppers told him to keep on
moving. One of them ordered the driver to proceed to J. Ruiz St. and make several turns until, when they reached
Paterno, the culprits alighted and made their escape. 14
Ramon Zulueta, the father of Grace and Ramilyn, learned about the incident from his other daughter, Joralyn, who
was informed that Grace was at the St. Luke's Hospital. Grace, who was then a student employed at the Pizza
Hut for P3,000.00 a month, was confined in said hospital from May 30 to June 7, 1991 for head trauma; she had
contusions and hematomas on the left temporal region and on the right occipito-parietal and anterior temporal
regions, and abrasions on the supra orbital area as well as elbow. 15 Ramon Zulueta spent around P19,000.00 for
Grace's hospitalization. 16
Upon learning from Grace that Ramilyn had been with her, Ramon Zulueta surmised that she might have been
brought to the hospital nearer the place of the incident, the UERM hospital. When he got there, he learned that

Ramilyn, 21 years old and a computer management student, had already died of severe, traumatic head
injuries. 17 The Zulueta family spent around P15,000.00 for her interment. 18
Two days after the incident, Ramon Zulueta was informed that the jeepney driver and his wife had "surrendered"
to the police station in San Juan. The following day, he went there but the driver was not around. He gave a
statement to the police. 19
By fluke of fate, it was Grace herself who brought about the apprehension of Mendoza. On the morning of June
12, 1991, Grace saw Mendoza selling ice cream along Altura St. She noticed Mendoza staring at her. When she
stared back, Mendoza lowered his gaze and left immediately. That same afternoon, she saw him again.
Considering her poor eyesight, she was instructed by her cousin to buy ice cream from Mendoza so that she
could get near enough to be sure if he was indeed one of the holduppers. When she approached and asked
Mendoza, "Mama, kilala kita?", he could not look her in the eyes and seemed confused. Certain now that he was
one of the holduppers, Grace announced to her brother and the other people present that Mendoza was one of
the holduppers. Mendoza tried to make a run for it, but the people gave chase and overtook him. 20
Mendoza was brought to the police station where he was identified by Grace in a line-up. 21 Rejali was
apprehended that same night by police operatives. According to SPO1 Dalmacio Luces, Lucia Salinas, the wife of
Jeepney driver Virgilio Salinas, described one of the suspects to the NBI cartographer who came out with a
sketch of his face. 22 However, Luces failed to get a statement from Lucia. 23
Evidence for the Defense
Appellants interposed denial and alibi as defenses. Both of them admitted knowing each other as they were
working as ice cream vendors at the Ana Maria Ice Cream Factory in 1045 Balic-balic, Sampaloc, Manila where
they also lodged in rooms provided by their employer. Mendoza, 28 years old, swore that on that fateful day, he
sold ice cream from 8:30 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m. From the factory, he went as far as V. Mapa St., passing under
the bridge near the Stop and Shop Supermarket. By 5:30 in the afternoon, he was back at the factory. He spent
the night of May 29, 1991 in his living quarters at the factory taking care of his child as his wife was pregnant. 24
For his part, 27-year-old Rejali testified that he also sold ice cream on the date in question, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00
p.m., along E. Tuazon St. near Balic-balic. He claimed that he had not gone to San Juan as he did not even know
where San Juan was, being new in the vicinity. Once back in the factory, he prepared ice cream for sale the next
day. Then he rested in his room. 25
Myrna Balderama, who also stayed in the living quarters within the same ice cream factory, corroborated the
testimonies of the two accused. According to her, she saw Mendoza enter the compound in the afternoon of May
29, 1991. From outside her room, she could see Mendoza's room; on the night in question, she saw him taking
care of his child. As to Rejali, she knew that he did not leave the premises that evening as she had a conversation
with him up to 10:00 p.m. while he was preparing ice cream. 26
On March 10, 1992, the trial court
follows:

27

rendered the Decision subject of this appeal. Its dispositive portion reads as

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds both accused ROMEO MENDOZA y REYES and
JAIME REJALI y LINA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Presidential Decree No.
532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974) and hereby sentences each of them to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua with all its accessory penalties, to indemnify the heirs of Ramilyn
Zulueta in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00), to pay the sum of P23,673.35 by way
of reimbursement of the hospitalization, burial and other related expenses for Ramilyn Zulueta and the
further sum of P30,000.00 by way of moral and exemplary damages; to pay Glory Oropeo the sum of
P30.00 by way of reparation of the stolen cash money; to pay Ma. Grace Zulueta the sum of P6,400.00 by
way of reimbursement of her hospitalization expenses, all without subsidiary imprisonment in case of
insolvency and to pay the costs.

In the service of their sentence, the accused shall be credited in full with the period of their preventive
imprisonment.
SO ORDERED.
In this appeal, appellants fault the trial court for giving credence to the "inconsistent, conflicting and contradictory
testimonies" of prosecution witnesses Grace Zulueta and Glory Oropeo and for convicting them of the crime
charged "despite the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt." 28
Although not directly raised by the appellants, we find upon a thorough scrutiny of the facts that there is yet
another question which is of concern to the bar and the bench: are the facts attendant to this case constitutive of
the crime of highway robbery with homicide under Pres. Decree No. 532 or of the felony of robbery with homicide
under Art. 294 of the Revised Penal Code?
The Court's Ruling
This appeal hinges primarily on the issue of credibility of witnesses. As this Court has ruled in innumerable cases,
the trial court is best equipped to make the assessment on said issue and therefore, its factual findings are
generally not disturbed on appeal unless the court a quo is perceived to have overlooked, misunderstood or
misinterpreted certain facts or circumstances of weight, which, if properly considered, would affect the result of the
case and warrant a reversal of the decision involved. 29 We do not find in the instant case any such reason to
depart from said general principle. Nevertheless, in the interest of substantial justice, we shall confront the issues
raised herein by the appellants.
Appellants allege the following "inconsistent" testimonies of the prosecution eyewitnesses: (a) Grace testified that
it was Rejali who shouted "hold-up", pulled out a gun and fired, in contradiction to Glory's testimony that the man
in front of her, referring to Jack, announced the hold-up, and (b) at the direct examination, Grace pointed out that
she was struck behind her right ear but during cross-examination, she said that she was hit on the left ear.
The first inconsistency may be attributed to the difference in the relative positions of Grace and Glory inside the
jeepney. Grace was seated near the rear entrance of the jeepney while Glory was behind the driver. Because
Grace was far from both Jack and Rejali who were seated near Glory, this could have affected her perception of
who announced the hold-up. At any rate, such disparity in their testimonies does not at all derail the sufficiently
established fact that both appellants herein participated in the hold-up. As regards the injuries sustained by Grace,
the certificate issued by her attending physician, Dr. Sosepatro Aguila, states that she sustained injuries
on both sides of the head 30, clearly showing no "contradictions" in her testimony with respect to where she was
hit.
Be that as it may, these "inconsistencies" or "contradictions" are minor ones which do not have any material
bearing on the culpability of the appellants as they do not in any way refute their positive identification by the two
eyewitnesses as the perpetrators of the holdup. 31 On the contrary, they reflect the truthfulness of the testimonies
of Grace and Glory. As this Court said in People vs. Retuta 32:
The discrepancy signifies that the two witnesses did not deliberately pervert the truth in their narrations.
The discordance; in their testimonies on minor matters heightens their credibility and shows that their
testimonies were not coached or rehearsed (People v. Doria, 55 SCRA 425). As this Honorable Court held
in People v. Agudu, 137 SCRA 516 to wit:
"However, the variance, if any, is on a minor detail which would not destroy the effectiveness of
their testimony. We cannot expect absolute uniformity in every detail because witnesses react
differently to what they see and hear, depending upon their situation and state of mind. Complete
uniformity in details is a badge of untruthfulness. The light contradictions, on the other hand,
strengthens the sincerity of the testimony of the witnesses."

Thus, far from evidence of falsehood, the minor inconsistency between the testimonies could justifiably be
regarded as a demonstration of their good faith.
The strongest part of the defense arguments concerns the identification of the appellants as the perpetrators of
the crime considering the lighting condition inside the jeepney. Appellants believed that they could not have been
recognized because both Grace and Glory admitted that the place was dark, and so surmised that it would have
been darker inside the jeepney because the eyewitnesses failed to point out the source of light
therein. 33However, in trying to prove their allegation, appellants unwittingly brought out details via Grace's
testimony which demolish their surmise. Thus:
Q.

Despite the darkness, you were able to identify the gun?

A.
I did not say it was completely dark. I said in the jeepney it was quite lighted. I said it was dark
outside but in the jeepney, it was quite lighted. 34 (Emphasis supplied.)
It seems, moreover, that appellants only quoted portions of the testimonies of Grace and Glory to suit their
purpose. Had the appellants been candid enough, they would have retained portions of the same testimonies
evidencing that it was the place where the jeepney was passing through that was dark but, inside the jeepney, it
was "medium light". Grace had testified on cross-examination as follows:
Q.

Will you mention again the exact location of the alleged incident?

A.

I am not familiar with the streets, sir. It was after a bridge. After UERM, sir.

Q.

What was the condition of the place at that time?

A.

It was moderately dark. Quite lighted. Medium.

Q.

How about inside the passenger jeepney? Was it lighted?

A.

Medium, sir. Since it was dark, you cannot have a complete light there.

Q.

It was quite dark?

A.

Yes, sir. 35

For her part, Glory testified on cross-examination in this wise:


Q.
up?

Madam witness, will you mention again the exact location where you said you were allegedly held

A.

San Juan, H. Lozada and J. Ruiz St., sir.

Q.

What was the condition of that place at that time?

A.

It was dark because it was already nighttime.

Q.

You mean the exact place where you were held-up is a dark place?

A.

Yes, sir. 36 (Emphasis supplied.)

Visibility is an important factor in the identification of a criminal offender. However, its relative weight and
significance depends largely on the attending circumstances and the discretion of the trial court. 37 Another
overriding consideration is the fact that the most natural reaction of victims of violence is to see the appearance of
the perpetrator of the crime and observe the manner in which the crime was being committed. 38
In the case before us, Grace's unrebutted testimony is that the jeepney was "quite lighted . . . medium". Even
granting that the light was dim as most jeepneys have colored or low-wattage bulbs for the passenger area, the
added illumination from the headlights of passing vehicles traveling the busy Aurora Boulevard would have been
sufficient to permit positive identification of the appellants. 39 Moreover, identification of the appellants as the holduppers was facilitated by their physical proximity to the said eyewitnesses. Grace was seated beside appellant
Mendoza while Glory was beside Rejali. That Grace had poor eyesight does not affect her positive identification of
Mendoza because she was wearing her eyeglasses when the hold-up took place. 40 As stated above, because
they were victims of violence, both Grace and Glory must have had the appellants' features indelibly imprinted in
their minds.
In light of the positive identification of the appellants as the perpetrators of the crime, their alibis are
worthless. 41Moreover, the defense failed to meet the requisites for alibi to be considered as a valid defense. It is
not enough that the appellants were somewhere else when the crime transpired. They must likewise duly
establish that they were so far away that it was not physically possible for them to be present at the crime scene
or its immediate vicinity at or about the time of its commission. 42 Balic-balic in Sampaloc, Manila and Aurora
Boulevard in San Juan, Metro Manila are not very distant from each other considering the numerous public
transportation facilities plying between said places.
But, while there is proof beyond reasonable doubt to lay culpability on the appellants for the killing of Ma. Ramilyn
Zulueta, the physical injuries sustained by her sister Grace and the asportation of Glory Oropeo's thirty pesos, we
do not agree with the trial court that the crime committed by appellants is covered by P.D. No. 532.
In its Decision, the trial court curtly said:
The Court finds all the elements of the offense charged, namely, intent to gain, unlawful taking of property
of another, (the P30.00 of Glory Oropeo) violence against or intimidation of any person, on a Philippine
Highway and death of Ramilyn Zulueta and physical injuries upon Ma. Grace Zulueta, (Section 2, par. 3
and Section 3, par. b, Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974, Pres. Decree No. 532) have
been duly proved in the instant case.
Highway Robbery or Robbery with Homicide?
Conviction under P.D. No. 532 requires not only the above elements mentioned by the court a quo. Highway
robbery or brigandage is defined by Section 2 of said decree as follows:
e. Highway Robbery/Brigandage. The seizure of any person for ransom, extortion or other unlawful
purposes, or the taking away of the property of another by means of violence against or intimidation of
person or force upon things or other unlawful means, committed by any person on any Philippine
highway.
In People vs. Puno 43, this Court, speaking through the learned Mr. Justice Florenz D. Regalado, explained the
purpose of brigandage as follows:
In fine, the purpose of brigandage is inter alia, indiscriminate highway robbery. If the purpose is only a
particular robbery, the crime is only robbery, or robbery in band if there are at least four armed
participants. (citing U.S. vs. Feliciano, 3 Phil. 422 [1904].) . . .

. . . Presidential Decree No. 532 punishes as highway robbery or brigandage only acts of robbery
perpetrated by outlaws indiscriminately against any person or persons on Philippine highways as defined
therein, and not acts of robbery committed against only a predetermined or particular victim, . . .
Consistent with the above, to obtain a conviction for highway robbery, the prosecution should have proven that the
accused, in the instant case, were organized for the purpose of committing robbery indiscriminately. There,
however, was a total absence of such proof. There was also no evidence of any previous attempts at similar
robberies by the accused to show the "indiscriminate" commission thereof.
Incidentally, it would be relevant to add that the number of perpetrators is no longer an essential element of the
crime of brigandage as defined by P.D. No. 532. Mr. Justice Regalado explained this in Puno:
True, Presidential Decree No. 532 did introduce amendments to Articles 306 and 307 of the Revised
Penal Code by increasing the penalties, albeit limiting its applicability to the offenses stated therein when
committed on the highways and without prejudice to the liability for such acts if committed. Furthermore,
the decree does not require that there be at least four armed persons forming a band of robbers; and the
presumption in the Code that said accused are brigands if they use unlicensed firearms no longer obtains
under the decree. . . .44
Under the old doctrine, brigandage was committed by a "cuadrilla" 45 or by "more than three armed persons" per
the definition of brigands in Article 306 of the Revised Penal Code. 46
Even before the Puno holding, however, there had been cases 47 where less than four offenders were held guilty
of highway robbery under P.D. No. 532, which just strengthens the view that the number of offenders is not an
essential element in the crime of highway robbery. 48
It is possible that since Aurora Boulevard is a high way within the purview of P.D. No. 532, 49 the prosecutors
deemed it proper to charge appellants with violation of said decree. In this regard, the Puno ruling is enlightening.
This Court held:
. . . (i)t would be absurd to adopt a literal interpretation that any unlawful taking of property committed on
our highways would be covered thereby. It is an elementary rule of statutory construction that the spirit or
intent of the law should not be subordinated to the letter thereof. Trite as it may appear, we have perforce
to stress the elementary caveat that he who considers merely the letter of an instrument goes but skin
deep into its meaning, and the fundamental rule that criminal justice inclines in favor of the milder form of
liability in case of doubt.
If the mere fact that the offense charged was committed on a highway would be the determinant for the
application of Presidential Decree No. 532, it would not be far-fetched to expect mischievous, if not
absurd, effects on the corpus of our substantive criminal law. While we eschew resort to a reductio ad
absurdumline of reasoning, we apprehend that the aforestated theory adopted by the trial court falls far
short of the desideratum in the interpretation of laws, that is, to avoid absurdities and conflicts. For, if a
motor vehicle, either stationary or moving on a highway, is forcibly taken at gunpoint by the accused who
happened to take a fancy thereto, would the location of the vehicle at the time of the unlawful taking
necessarily put the offense within the ambit of Presidential Decree No. 533, thus rendering nugatory the
categorical provisions of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972? And, if the scenario is one where the subject
matter of the unlawful asportation is large cattle which are incidentally being herded along and traversing
the same highway and are impulsively set upon by the accused, should we apply Presidential Decree No.
532 and completely disregard the explicit prescriptions in the Anti-Cattle Rustling Law of 1974? 50
Hence, in charging a crime under P.D. No. 532, it is important to consider whether or not the very purpose for
which the law was promulgated has been transgressed. Citing the "whereas clauses" of P.D. No. 532 51 in Puno,
the Court said:

Indeed, it is hard to conceive of how a single act of robbery against a particular person chosen by the
accused as their specific victim could be considered as committed on the "innocent and defenseless
inhabitants who travel from one place to another," and which single act of depredation would be capable
of "stunting the economic and social progress of the people" as to be considered "among the highest
forms of lawlessness condemned by the penal statutes of all countries," and would accordingly constitute
an obstacle "to the economic, social, educational and community progress of the people," such that said
isolated act would constitute the highway robbery or brigandage contemplated and punished in said
decree. This would be an exaggeration bordering on the ridiculous. 52
Petty robbery in public transport vehicles (with or without personal violence and death) committed against the
middle and lower economic classes of society is as reprehensible as (if not more so than) large-scale robbery
committed against the economically well-heeled. Nonetheless, the law must be interpreted not only to bring forth
its aim and spirit but also in light of the basic principle that all doubts are to be resolved liberally in favor of the
accused. As such, appellants may not be held liable under P.D. No. 532 but only under the provisions of the
Revised Penal Code.
In the interpretation of an information, what controls is not the designation but the description of the offense
charged. 53 Considering the allegations of the aforequoted Information, appellants herein should be liable for the
special complex crime of robbery with homicide under Art. 294 of the Revised Penal Code, robbery having been
duly established beyond reasonable doubt by the asportation of thirty pesos from Glory Oropeo. It is immaterial
that Ramilyn Zulueta's death was accidental because it was produced by reason or on the occasion of the
robbery. 54 The physical injuries inflicted upon Grace Zulueta during the commission of the crime are absorbed in
the crime of robbery with homicide. 55
Conspiracy was duly proven by the coordinated actions of the appellants and their companion 56 of depriving
Glory of her money and injuring both Ramilyn and Grace which resulted in Ramilyn's accidental death. Since both
appellants took part in the robbery, they shall be liable for the complex crime of robbery with homicide in the
absence of proof that they endeavored to prevent the accidental killing of Ramilyn. 57 In view of the prohibition
against the imposition of the death penalty when the crime was committed, the penalty of reclusion perpetua was
then the single and indivisible penalty for robbery with homicide. It shall be imposed on each of the appellants
regardless of the mitigating and aggravating circumstances attending the commission of the crime. 58
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Metro Manila (Branch 156) in Crim. Case No.
87218 is hereby MODIFIED. Appellants Romeo Mendoza y Reyes and Jaime Rejali y Lina are hereby found
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide and accordingly, each of
them is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The other portions of the trial court's
decision, including the monetary awards imposed against them, are AFFIRMED. Costs against appellants.
SO ORDERED.

REVISED PENAL CODE


Chapter Three

THEFT
Art. 310. Qualified theft. The crime of theft shall be punished by the penalties next higher by two degrees than
those respectively specified in the next preceding article, if committed by a domestic servant, or with grave abuse
of confidence, or if the property stolen 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 if property is taken on the occasion
of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic erruption, or any other calamity, vehicular accident or civil disturbance. (As
amended by R.A. 120 and B.P. Blg. 71. May 1, 1980).

G.R. No. 179041

April 1, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
ARNEL NOCUM,* REY JOHNNY RAMOS, CARLOS JUN POSADAS, PANDAO POLING PANGANDAG (all at

large), Accused,
REYNALDO MALLARI, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
This is an appeal from the January 31, 2007 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No.
00930, which dismissed the appeal of appellant Reynaldo Mallari (Mallari) and affirmed with modification the
December 15, 2003 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 276, Muntinlupa City in Criminal Case
No. 00-551 finding Mallari guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of carnapping with homicide.
Factual Antecedents
On May 25, 2000, an Information3 was filed charging Mallari and co-accused Arne! Nocum (Nocum ), Rey Johnny
Ramos (Ramos), Carlos Jun Posadas (Posadas) and Pandao Poling Pangandag alias Rex Pangandag
(Pangandag) with violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 6539, otherwise known as the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972,
as amended by RA 7659.4 The accusatory portion of the Information reads:
That on or about September 12, 1998 in Muntinlupa City, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable
Court, the above-named accused conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, with intent to gain
for themselves and without the consent of the owner, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take
and carry away one motor vehicle more particularly described as follows:
Make/Type

:-

Toyota Tamaraw FX

Motor No.

:-

7K-0157101

Chassis No.

:-

KF52-011609

Plate No.

:-

PXT- 143

Color

:-

Med. Grey Net

valued at more or less Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000.00) to the damage and prejudice of its owner,
Lourdes Eleccion, in the aforestated amount and in the course of the commission thereof, Erico Medel, the driver
of the said vehicle, was killed.
CONTRARY TO LAW.5
When the case was called for arraignment on November 10, 2000, only Mallari appeared as his co-accused
remain at-large. He pleaded "not guilty" to the charge. 6 Thereafter, trial ensued.
The Prosecution's Version
The prosecutions lone witness was Chris Mahilac (Mahilac), a self-confessed member of "FX gang," a syndicate
notorious for carjacking Toyota FX vehicles. The modus operandi of the gang is to carnap Toyota FX vehicles,
transport them to Mindanao, and have them registered and sold to prospective buyers there. Together with Mallari
and several others, Mahilac was previously charged with carnapping 7 before the RTC of Paraaque City but was
later on discharged to be a state witness. 8 Consequently, Mahilac was placed under the Witness Protection
Program of the Department of Justice (DOJ).9
Mahilac testified that the "FX gang" was active in Metro Manila and Mindanao. 10 Nocum led the syndicates
criminal activities in Metro Manila while Pangandag, who was the head of the Land Transportation Office in Lanao
Del Norte,11 led the Mindanao operations.12 Ramos, Posadas and Mallari were members of the gang.13
On September 6, 1998, while in Calamba, Laguna, Mahilac received a call from Nocum 14 informing him of
Pangandags arrival in Manila on September 12, 1998. 15 Subsequently, Mahilac, Nocum, Pangandag, Ramos,
Posadas and Mallari met in Chowking fastfood restaurant in Poblacion, Muntinlupa City.16 During the said

meeting, Pangandag demanded that their group deliver two Toyota FX vehicles to him in Lanao Del Norte by
Monday or Tuesday of the following week.17 Nocum agreed and gave Mallari P20,000.00 for operating expenses.
Mahilac received P3,500.00 and was instructed to meet the group in Cagayan de Oro City.18
As the group was departing from the restaurant, a Toyota FX taxi with plate number PXT-143 passed-by. 19 Mallari
flagged it down, talked to the driver, and boarded the same together with Ramos and Posadas. 20 They proceeded
south.21
On September 14, 1998, Mahilac arrived in Cagayan de Oro City and proceeded to McDonalds Restaurant on
Limketkai Street.22 Mallari, Ramos and Posadas arrived at around 4:14 p.m. on board the same Toyota FX taxi
that Mallari flagged down in Muntinlupa City.23 They agreed to proceed to Iligan City en route to Tubod, Lanao del
Norte, where said vehicle was to be delivered to Pangandag. 24 Mallari told Mahilac not to board the said vehicle
because its back portion reeked of the dried blood of the FX taxi driver, Erico Medel (Medel), who was stabbed
to death while resisting the group. 25 Mallari also informed Mahilac that Medels corpse was dumped somewhere in
Atimonan, Quezon.26 Mahilac thus took a taxi to Iligan City.27
Upon their arrival in Iligan City, Pangandag instructed them to take the vehicle to his residence in Tubod, Lanao
del Norte.28 They arrived at Pangandags residence and were given P250,000.00 as consideration for the
vehicle.29 Mahilac received P20,000.00 as his share.
The gang continued to engage in this nefarious activity until Mahilacs arrest by law enforcement officers. 30
In the meantime, on September 27, 1999, a cadaver in advance state of decomposition was found along Zigzag
Road, Barangay Malinao Ilaya, Atimonan, Quezon. It was interred in the municipal cemetery of Atimonan, Quezon
but was later on exhumed for identification. 31 Based on the four extracted teeth and a piece of white "FILA"
shoe,32 the mother and the wife of the victim positively identified the cadaver to be that of Medel.
Appellant's Version
Mallari denied any knowledge of the carnapping incident. 33 He also denied knowing Nocum, Ramos and
Posadas.34 He testified that he was with his wife and two children in their home in Tunasan, Muntinlupa City at the
time the alleged carnapping occurred. 35 He claimed that on June 25, 1999, four men in civilian clothes came to his
house and forced him to board a van 36 where he was blindfolded. He was then taken to Camp Crame, Quezon
City.37
According to Mallari, Mahilac was his employer. 38 He was unaware of Mahilacs reason for implicating him in the
case.39
Mallari further testified that while in detention, he was made to sign a document which he cannot remember. 40 He
was taken to the DOJ and told that his case would be studied if he signs a document the contents of which were
duly explained to him.41 Should he not sign the same, he will be charged immediately with carnapping with
homicide.42 He therefore decided to sign the documents without the assistance of a lawyer, but continued to be
detained in Camp Crame, Quezon City.43
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On December 15, 2003, the RTC rendered its Decision 44 finding Mallari guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
carnapping with homicide. The trial court ruled that the testimony of Mahilac that Mallari participated in the theft of
the FX taxi and the killing of its driver, Medel, cannot be negated by Mallaris denial and uncorroborated alibi. It
also found that the commission of the crime was a result of a planned operation with Mallari and all the accused
doing their assigned tasks to ensure the consummation of their common criminal objective. 45
The trial court further held that Mahilac would not have known about the killing of Medel if he had not been
informed by Mallari. He had no reason to falsely accuse Mallari and even implicated himself by: (1) admitting his
presence during the planned theft of the FX taxi; (2) admitting his presence in Cagayan De Oro City together with

Mallari; (3) directing Mallari and his co-accused to proceed with him to Pangandag in Lanao Del Norte; and (4)
receiving the sum of P20,000.00 as his share in the criminal operation.
The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, Accused Reynaldo Mallari is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of
CARNAPPING WITH HOMICIDE and is hereby sentenced to die by lethal injection.
The Jail Warden of Muntinlupa City is hereby directed to bring Reynaldo Mallari to the New Bilibid Prison where
he may serve his sentence. It Is SO ORDERED.46
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On January 31, 2007, the CA rendered its Decision 47 affirming with modification the ruling of the trial court. The
appellate court held that Mahilacs positive identification of Mallari as a member of the "FX gang" and his
participation in the theft of the FX taxi and killing of its driver, Medel, sufficiently established his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The discovery of the remains of Medel in the vicinity mentioned by Mallari
to Mahilac also gave credence to the latters testimony.
The CA further held that the trial courts determination on the credibility of Mahilac must be given great respect
and, as a rule, will not be reversed on appeal in the absence of cogent reason. The CA also found no ill-motive on
the part of Mahilac to testify falsely against Mallari.
According to the CA, the fact that the prosecution presented Mahilac as its sole witness is of no moment. His
positive and credible testimony is sufficient to convict Mallari, 48 whose defense of denial and alibi cannot prevail
over the straightforward testimony of the former.49
However, the CA modified the penalty from death to reclusion perpetua pursuant to RA 9346 50 which prohibited
the imposition of the death penalty.51
The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED. The assailed December 15, 2003
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City, Branch 276, in Criminal Case No. 00-551, is hereby
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that the death penalty imposed is reduced to reclusion perpetua, pursuant to
Republic Act No. 9346, which did away with the imposition of death penalty. SO ORDERED. 52
Mallari filed a Notice of Appeal. 53 On October 15, 2007,54 we accepted the appeal and notified the parties to file
their supplemental briefs. However, Mallari opted not to file a supplemental brief in the absence of new issues to
be raised. For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General manifested that it is likewise adopting the Appellees Brief
it filed with the CA as its Supplemental Brief.55
The Assignment of Errors
The errors assigned in the Appellants Brief are as follows:
I. THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT HAS BEEN PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT DESPITE THE LACK OF
MATERIAL EVIDENCE TO JUSTIFY HIS CONVICTION; and
II. GRANTING WITHOUT ADMITTING THAT THE ACCUSED- APPELLANT COMMITTED THE CRIME
CHARGED, THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN IMPOSING THE SUPREME PENALTY OF
DEATH DESPITE THE LACK OF EVIDENCE OTHER THAN THE MERE ALLEGATION BY THE LONE
PROSECUTION WITNESS CHRIS MAHILAC THAT THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT PARTICIPATED IN
THE KILLING OF ERIC MEDEL.56

Mallari assails the credibility of Mahilac. He contends that as a state witness under the Witness Protection
Program of the DOJ, Mahilac would implicate just any person as his cohort to justify his inclusion in the
program.57 Mallari also argues that the evidence of the prosecution is not sufficient to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.58
On the other hand, the prosecution maintains that the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to convict
Mallari.59Finally, the prosecution sought civil indemnity and moral damages of P50,000.00 each.60
Our Ruling
The appeal is unmeritorious.
Carnapping defined; Burden of the prosecution in a case for Carnapping with Homicide.
Section 2 of RA 6539 defines carnapping as "the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to
another without the latters consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force
upon things." The crime of carnapping with homicide is punishable under Section 14 61 of the said law, as
amended by Section 20 of RA 7659. To prove the special complex crime of carnapping with homicide, there must
be proof not only of the essential elements of carnapping, but also that it was the original criminal design of the
culprit and the killing was perpetrated "in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion
thereof." Thus, the prosecution in this case has the burden of proving that: (1) Mallari took the Toyota FX taxi; (2)
his original criminal design was carnapping; (3) he killed the driver, Medel; and (4) the killing was perpetrated "in
the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof." 62
The trial and appellate courts held that the prosecution was able to discharge its burden of proving that Mallari
was guilty beyond reasonable doubt of carnapping with homicide. These courts ruled that Mallari stole the FX taxi
driven by Medel after he agreed to illegally supply his co-accused with this type of vehicle. The trial and appellate
courts found that Mallari killed Medel in the course of the commission of the carnapping.
We find no reason to deviate from these courts evaluation as to Mallaris culpability.
The crime of carnapping with homicide, as well as the identity of Mallari as one of the perpetrators of the
crime, is duly established by circumstantial evidence.
The culpability of Mallari for the complex crime of carnapping with homicide is duly established by the confluence
of circumstantial evidence. Mahilac testified that he was present when Mallari and his co-accused, all members of
the "FX Gang," gathered in Muntinlupa City to plan and conspire to steal vehicles and sell them to unscrupulous
buyers in Mindanao. Immediately after said meeting, Mahilac saw Mallari hail the FX taxi driven by Medel, talk to
him, board it together with two other conspirators, and head south towards the direction of Quezon province. A
few days later, Mallari and his companions met Mahilac in Cagayan De Oro City on board the same FX taxi they
rode in Muntinlupa City. All these show that Mallaris original criminal design was to carnap the taxi and that he
accomplished his purpose without the consent of its owner. In addition, when the vehicle was brought to Cagayan
de Oro City, its driver, Medel, was no longer with them. The vehicle also reeked of dried human blood. Upon
inquiry by Mahilac, Mallari admitted that the dried blood belonged to Medel who had to be killed for resisting the
group. Mallari also told him that Medels body was dumped along Zigzag Road in Atimonan, Quezon. Mallari and
his co-accused received P250,000.00 upon delivery of the FX taxi to its final destination. These prove that Medel
was killed in the course of the commission of the carnapping.
The identity of Medel as the driver of the taxi was established by his mother and wife who both stated that he was
the driver of the taxi on the day it was stolen by Mallari and his co-conspirators. 63 The two later on identified his
corpse when it was discovered in the same vicinity which Mallari told Mahilac to be the place where they dumped
the dead body of Medel.64
In fine, all the elements of the special complex crime of carnapping with homicide, as well as the identity of Mallari
as one of the perpetrators of the crime, were all proved beyond reasonable doubt. The foregoing circumstances
inevitably lead to the lone, fair and reasonable conclusion that Mallari participated in stealing the FX taxi driven by
Medel and in killing him.

Mallaris defense of alibi deserves no credence.


Mallaris claim that he was helping his wife with household chores at the time the crime was committed does not
deserve credence. This defense of alibi cannot prevail over the testimony of Mahilac which, taken in its entirety,
leads to the reasonable conclusion that Mallari participated in the commission of the crime.
Moreover, alibi is inherently weak, unreliable, and can be easily fabricated. 65 Hence, it must be supported by
credible corroboration from disinterested witnesses, and if not, is fatal to the accused. 66 Here, Mallari could have
presented evidence to support his alibi, but oddly, he did not. Thus, such a defense fails.
The Penalty
Under the last clause of Section 14 of the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 as amended by Section 20 of RA 7659, the
penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall be imposed when the owner or driver of the vehicle is killed in the
course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof. 67 In this case, the trial court considered as
aggravating circumstance the commission of the offense by a member of an organized or syndicated crime group
under Article 62 of the RPC as amended by RA 765968 and, hence, imposed upon Mallari the death penalty.
However, under Rule 110, Section 8 of the Rules of Court, all aggravating and qualifying circumstances must be
alleged in the Information. This new rule took effect on December 1, 2000, but applies retroactively to pending
cases since it is favorable to the appellant. 69 Here, there is no allegation in the Information that Mallari was a
member of a syndicate or that he and his companions "had formed part of a group organized for the general
purpose of committing crimes for gain, which is the essence of a syndicated or organized crime group." 70 Hence,
the same cannot be appreciated as an aggravating circumstance against Mallari. Thus, in consonance with Article
63(2) of the RPC, which provides that in the absence of any aggravating circumstance in the commission of the
offense, the lesser penalty shall be applied. Mallari must, therefore, suffer the lesser penalty of reclusion
perpetua.71 Mallari is also not eligible for parole pursuant to Section 372 of RA 9346.
The Damages
For the killing of Medel, we award to his heirs the amount of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity pursuant to prevailing
jurisprudence.73 Said heirs are also entitled to an award of moral damages in the sum of P50,000.00 as in all
cases of murder and homicide, without need of allegation and proof other than the death of the victim. 74 We
cannot, however, award actual damages due to the absence of receipts to substantiate the expenses incurred for
Medels funeral. The rule is that only duly receipted expenses can be the basis of actual damages. 75"Nonetheless,
under Article 2224 of the Civil Code, temperate damages may be recovered as it cannot be denied that the heirs
of the victim suffered pecuniary loss although the exact amount was not proved." 76 We therefore award the sum
of P25,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu of actual damages to the heirs of Medel.. "In addition, and in
conformity with current policy, we also impose on all the monetary awards for damages an interest at the legal
rate of 6o/o from date of finality of this Decision until fully paid." 77
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00930
finding appellant Reynaldo Mallari guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special complex crime of carnapping
with homicide is AFFIRMED with the following modifications: ( 1) appellant Reynaldo Mallari is sentenced to suffer
the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole; and, (2) appellant Reynaldo Mallari is ordered to pay
the heirs of Erico Medel the amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, P25,000.00
as temperate damages in lieu of actual damages, and interest on all these damages assessed at the legal rate of
6% from date of finality of this Decision until fully paid.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 187044

September 14, 2011

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


vs.
RENATO LAGAT Y GAWAN A.K.A. RENAT GAWAN AND JAMES PALALAY Y VILLAROSA, AccusedAppellants.
This appeal was filed by accused-appellants Renato Lagat y Gawan (Lagat), also known as Renat Gawan, and
James Palalay y Villarosa (Palalay) to challenge the Court of Appeals October 8, 2008 Decision 1 in CA-G.R. CR.H.C. No. 02869, for affirming with modification the March 19, 2007 Decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 21, Santiago City, wherein they were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Qualified Carnapping in
Criminal Case No. 21-4949.
Accused-appellants Lagat and Palalay were charged with the crime of Carnapping as defined under Section 2
and penalized under Section 143 of Republic Act No. 6539. The accusatory portion of the Information, 4 reads:
That on or about the 12th day of April 2005, at Santiago City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring, conniving with each other, and mutually helping one
another and with intent to gain and without the consent of the owner thereof, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
and feloniously take, steal and carry away one (1) unit YASUKI tricycle bearing Engine No. 161FMJ41535420 and
Motor No. LX8PCK0034D002243 then driven and owned by JOSE BIAG, valued at P 70,000.00, to the damage
and prejudice of the owner thereof.
That in the course of the commission of carnapping, or on occasion thereof, the above-named accused,
conspiring, conniving confederating and helping each other, and with intent to kill, did then and there assault,
attack and wound the said JOSE BIAG with sharp and pointed instrument directing blows against the vital parts of
the body of the latter thereby inflicting upon him multiple stab and hacking wounds which directly caused the
death of the said JOSE BIAG.
Lagat pleaded not guilty upon arraignment on June 16, 2005. 5 Palalay, on the other hand, did not enter any plea;
hence, a plea of not guilty was entered by the RTC for him. 6
On August 1, 2005, both accused proposed to plead guilty to a lesser offense. 7 In their plea-bargaining
proposal,8 they asked that they be allowed to plead guilty to the crime of Homicide under Article 249 of the
Revised Penal Code and that the mitigating circumstances of plea of guilty and/or no intention to commit so grave
a wrong be considered in their favor. They also asked that damages be fixed at P 120,000.00. This proposal was
rejected9 by the prosecution; thus, the pre-trial conference proceeded. The pre-trial Order contained the following
facts as admitted by the parties:
1. That the cadaver of Jose Biag was recovered along Angadanan and Sn. Guillermo road by members of
the police together with Barangay Captain Heherson Dulay and Chief Tanod Rumbaoa, Sr.
2. That the two accused were arrested in possession of palay allegedly stolen in Alicia, Isabela.
3. That the cause of death of Jose Biag was multiple stab and hack wounds as described in the Autopsy
Report and death certificate which shall be submitted during trial. 10
After the pre-trial conference, trial on the merits ensued.
The prosecution first presented Florida Biag (Florida), the wife of the victim Jose Biag (Biag), to testify on the
circumstances leading to Biags disappearance and the discovery of his body, the recovery of Biags tricycle, and
the expenses she incurred and the income she had lost as a result of her husbands death. Florida testified that
her husband was a farmer, a barangay tanod, and a tricycle driver. 11 On April 12, 2005, at around two oclock in
the morning, her husband left to operate his tricycle for public use. It was around 11:00 a.m. of April 13, 2005,
when news reached her that their tricycle was with the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the Municipality of

Alicia and that her husband had figured in an accident. After learning of the incident, Florida sought the help of
their Barangay (Brgy.) Captain, Heherson Dulay, who immediately left for Angadanan without her. At around 2:00
p.m., Brgy. Captain Dulay informed12 Florida of what had happened to her husband. 13 Florida then presented in
court the receipts14 evidencing the expenses she had incurred for her husbands wake and funeral and for the
repair of their tricycle, which was recovered with missing parts. She also testified as to the income Biag was
earning as a farmer, a tanod, and a tricycle driver, and claimed that his death had caused her sleepless nights. 15
The second witness for the prosecution was the Chief Tanod of Barangay Rizal, Poe Rumbaoa, Sr. (Rumbaoa).
He testified that on April 13, 2005, after he and Brgy. Captain Dulay received Floridas report, they immediately
went to the Alicia Police Station, wherein they found Biags tricycle. The PNP of Alicia showed them the
identification card recovered in the tricycle and told them that the tricycle was used in stealing palay from a store
in Angadanan, Isabela that belonged to a certain Jimmy Esteban (Esteban). Rumbaoa and Brgy. Captain Dulay
were also told that the owner of the tricycle was killed and dumped along the Angadanan and San Guillermo
Road. They were thereafter shown the two suspects and the place where Biags body was dumped. Rumbaoa
said that he was able to identify the body as Biags, which was almost unrecognizable because it was bloated all
over, only because Biag had a mark on his right shoulder, which Rumbaoa knew of. 16
Police Officer 2 (PO2) Arthur Salvador, a member of the PNP in Alicia, took the witness stand next. He testified
that on April 13, 2005, he was on duty along with other colleagues at the Alicia PNP Station, when they received a
report from Esteban that the cavans of palay stolen from him were seen at Alice Palay Buying Station in Alicia,
Isabela, in a tricycle commandeered by two unidentified male persons. PO2 Salvador said that upon receipt of this
report, their Chief of Police composed a team, which included him, PO2 Bernard Ignacio, and PO2 Nathan Abuan,
to verify the veracity of the report. At Alice Palay Buying Station, they saw the tricycle described to them by their
chief, with the cavans of palay, and the two accused, Lagat and Palalay. PO2 Salvador averred that he and his
team were about to approach the tricycle when the two accused "scampered" 17 to different directions. After
"collaring" the two accused, they brought them to the Alicia PNP Station together with the tricycle and its contents.
PO2 Salvador asseverated that when they reached the station, they asked the two accused if they had any
papers to show for both the tricycle and the palay, to which the two accused did not answer. They allegedly kept
silent even after they were informed of their rights not only to remain as such, but also to have counsel, either of
their own choosing, or to be assigned to them if they cannot afford one. PO2 Salvador then continued that when
they unloaded the tricycle, they discovered bloodstains inside and outside the sidecar. He also personally found a
wallet containing the tricycles Certificate of Registration and Official Receipt 18 issued by the Land Transportation
Office in the name of Jose Biag. When they asked the two accused about their discoveries, Lagat and Palalay
voluntarily answered that the name in the papers is that of the owner of the tricycle, whom they killed and dumped
along Angadanan and San Guillermo Road, when they carnapped his tricyle. PO2 Salvador alleged that upon
hearing this revelation, they again informed Lagat and Palalay that anything they say would be used against them,
and that they had a right to counsel. Thereafter, they coordinated with the PNP of Angadanan Police Station, and
together with the two accused, they proceeded to Angadanan-San Guillermo Road, where they found Biags body
in a ravine just after the bridge near the road.19
The prosecutions last witness, PO2 Ignacio corroborated PO2 Salvadors testimony on the events that led them
to the tricycle, the palay, the two accused, and the body of Biag. He also confirmed PO2 Salvadors claim that
they had informed the two accused of their rights but the latter just ignored them; hence, they continued with their
investigation.20 PO2 Ignacio added that the two accused also told them how they killed Biag, to wit:
A- They rented a tricycle from Santiago to Alicia but they proceeded to Angadanan. And upon arrival at the site,
they poked a knife to the driver and the driver ran away. They chased him and stabbed him, sir. 21
Upon cross-examination, PO2 Ignacio averred that they were not able to recover the murder weapon despite
diligent efforts to look for it and that they had questioned the people at Alice Palay Buying Station and were told
that the two accused had no other companion. PO2 Ignacio also admitted that while they informed Lagat and
Palalay of their constitutional rights, the two were never assisted by counsel at any time during the custodial
investigation.22

The prosecution also submitted the Post-Mortem Autopsy Report 23 on Biag of Dr. Edgar Romanchito P. Bayang,
the Assistant City Health and Medico-Legal Officer of Santiago City. The Report showed that Biag was likely killed
between 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. of April 12, 2004, and that he had sustained three stab wounds, an incise
wound, two hack wounds and an "avulsion of the skin extending towards the abdomen." 24
After the prosecution rested its case, the accused filed a Motion to Dismiss on Demurrer to Evidence 25 without
leave of court26 on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Lagat and
Palalay averred that their constitutional rights on custodial investigation were grossly violated as they were
interrogated for hours without counsel, relatives, or any disinterested third person to assist them. Moreover, the
admissions they allegedly made were not supported by documentary evidence. Palalay further claimed that
Rumbaoas testimony showed that he had a "swelling above his right eye" and "a knife wound in his left arm,"
which suggests that he was maltreated while under police custody.27
The accused also claimed that the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution was not sufficient to
convict them. They averred that aside from the alleged admissions they had made, the prosecution had nothing
else: they had no object evidence for the bloodstains allegedly found in the tricycle; the murder weapon was never
found; and no eyewitness aside from the police officers was presented to show that they were in possession of
the tricycle at the time they were arrested. Lagat and Palalay argued that the prosecution failed to establish an
unbroken chain of events that showed their guilt beyond reasonable doubt, thus, they were entitled to enjoy the
constitutional presumption of innocence absent proof that they were guilty beyond reasonable doubt. 28
As the accused filed their Demurrer to Evidence without leave of court, they in effect waived their right to present
evidence, and submitted the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence for the prosecution. 29
On March 19, 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE in the light of the foregoing considerations the Court finds the accused Renato Lagat y Gawan and
James Palalay y Villarosa GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of qualified carnapping and hereby sentences each
of them to the penalty of reclusion perpetua. They are also ORDERED TO PAY Florida Biag the sum of Twelve
thousand three hundred pesos (P 12,300.00) as actual damages plus Fifty thousand pesos (P 50,000.00) for
death indemnity and another Fifty thousand pesos (P 50,000.00) for moral damages.30
After evaluating the evidence the prosecution presented, the RTC agreed with the accused that their rights were
violated during their custodial investigation as they had no counsel to assist them. Thus, whatever admissions
they had made, whether voluntarily or not, could not be used against them and were inadmissible in evidence. 31
However, the RTC held that despite the absence of an eyewitness, the prosecution was able to establish enough
circumstantial evidence to prove that Lagat and Palalay committed the crime, to wit:
1. The accused were caught by the Alicia PNP in possession of Biags tricycle, loaded with stolen palay;
2. The accused ran immediately when they saw the Alicia PNP approaching them;
3. The Alicia PNP found bloodstains on the tricycle and Biags wallet with documents to prove that Biag
owned the tricycle;
4. The Alicia PNP contacted the PNP of Santiago City to inquire about a Jose Biag, and this was how the
barangay officials of Santiago City and Florida found out that Biags tricycle was with the Alicia PNP;
5. Biag left early morning on April 12, 2005 and never returned home;
6. The accused themselves led the Alicia PNP and Barangay Captain Dulay and Rumbaoa to where they
dumped Biags body.32

The RTC convicted Lagat and Palalay of the crime of carnapping, qualified by the killing of Biag, which, according
to the RTC, appeared to have been done in the course of the carnapping. 33
Lagat and Palalay asked the RTC to reconsider its Decision on the grounds that it erred in giving full credence to
the testimonies of the prosecutions witnesses and in relying on the circumstantial evidence presented by the
prosecution.34
On May 29, 2007, the RTC denied35 this motion, holding that the testimonies of the witnesses were credible and
supported by the attending facts and circumstances, and that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to
convict the accused.
Lagat and Palalay went36 to the Court of Appeals, asserting that their guilt was not established beyond reasonable
doubt.37 They averred that circumstantial evidence, to be sufficient for a judgment of conviction, "must exclude
each and every hypothesis consistent with innocence," 38 which was allegedly not the case in their situation. They
elaborated on why the circumstantial evidence the RTC enumerated could not be taken against them:
1. The accuseds possession of the tricycle cannot prove that they killed its owner;
2. Their act of fleeing may be due to the stolen palay (which is not the subject of this case), and not the
tricycle;
3. No evidence was given that would link the bloodstains found in the tricycle to Biag himself. They could
have easily been Palalays, who was shown to have a knife wound; and
4. The accuseds act of pointing to the police and the barangay officials the ravine where Biags body was
dumped was part of their interrogation without counsel, which the RTC itself declared as inadmissible in
evidence.39
On October 8, 2008, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision with the following dispositive portion:
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated March 19, 2007 of the RTC, Branch 21, Santiago City, in Criminal Case No.
21-4949, is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that accused-appellants Renato Lagat y Gawan and James
Palalay y Villarosa are ordered to pay to private complainant the increased amount of P 14,900.00 as actual
damages.40
In affirming the conviction of the accused, the Court of Appeals held that the elements of carnapping were all
present in this case. The Court of Appeals pointed out that Lagat and Palalay were in possession of the missing
tricycle when they were apprehended by the Alicia PNP. Moreover, they failed to offer any explanation as to how
they came to be in possession of the tricycle. The Court of Appeals also agreed with the RTC that whatever
confession or admission the Alicia PNP extracted out of the accused could not be used in evidence for having
been done without the assistance of counsel. The Court of Appeals nonetheless affirmed the RTCs judgment as it
was "convinced" that the following circumstantial evidence supported the conviction of the accused for qualified
carnapping:
1. Biag and his tricycle went missing on April 12, 2005;
2. Lagat and Palalay were found in unauthorized possession of the tricycle on April 13, 2005;
3. The Alicia PNP, upon inspection of the tricycle, found traces of blood inside it, together with the original
receipt and certificate of registration of the vehicle in the name of Jose Biag;
4. Palalay had a stab wound on his left arm when the Alicia PNP presented him and Lagat to Brgy. Capt.
Dulay and prosecution witness Rumbaoa;

5. Biag bore five (5) hack wounds on his body when the Alicia PNP recovered his corpse in a ravine; and
6. Lagat and Palalay failed to account for their possession of the bloodstained tricycle immediately after
their arrest.41
The accused are now before us with the same lone assignment of error they posited before the Court of Appeals,
to wit:
THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANTS GUILTY OF THE CRIME
CHARGED DESPITE FAILURE OF THE PROSECUTION TO ESTABLISH HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT.42
Ruling of the Court
Lagat and Palalay have been charged and convicted of the crime of qualified carnapping under Republic Act. No.
653943 or the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972. Section 2 of the Act defines "carnapping" and "motor vehicle" as
follows:
"Carnapping" is the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another without the latters consent,
or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things.
"Motor vehicle" is any vehicle propelled by any power other than muscular power using the public highways, but
excepting road rollers, trolley cars, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn mowers, bulldozers, graders, fork-lifts,
amphibian trucks, and cranes if not used on public highways, vehicles, which run only on rails or tracks, and
tractors, trailers and traction engines of all kinds used exclusively for agricultural purposes. Trailers having any
number of wheels, when propelled or intended to be propelled by attachment to a motor vehicle, shall be
classified as separate motor vehicle with no power rating. 44
The elements of carnapping as defined and penalized under the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 are the following:
1. That there is an actual taking of the vehicle;
2. That the vehicle belongs to a person other than the offender himself;
3. That the taking is without the consent of the owner thereof; or that the taking was committed by means
of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things; and
4. That the offender intends to gain from the taking of the vehicle. 45
The records of this case show that all the elements of carnapping are present and were proven during trial.
The tricycle, which was definitively ascertained to belong to Biag, as evidenced by the registration papers, was
found in Lagat and Palalays possession. Aside from this, the prosecution was also able to establish that Lagat
and Palalay fled the scene when the Alicia PNP tried to approach them at the palay buying station. To top it all,
Lagat and Palalay failed to give any reason why they had Biags tricycle. Their unexplained possession raises the
presumption that they were responsible for the unlawful taking of the tricycle. Section 3(j), Rule 131 of the Rules
of Court states that:
[A] person found in possession of a thing taken in the doing of a recent wrongful act is the taker and the doer of
the whole act; otherwise, that thing which a person possesses, or exercises acts of ownership over, are owned by
him.

In Litton Mills, Inc. v. Sales, 46 we said that for such presumption to arise, it must be proven that: (a) the property
was stolen; (b) it was committed recently; (c) that the stolen property was found in the possession of the accused;
and (d) the accused is unable to explain his possession satisfactorily.47 As mentioned above, all these were
proven by the prosecution during trial. Thus, it is presumed that Lagat and Palalay had unlawfully taken Biags
tricycle. In People v. Bustinera,48 this Court defined "unlawful taking," as follows:
Unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is the taking of the motor vehicle without the consent of the owner, or by
means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things; it is deemed complete from
the moment the offender gains possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the same. 49
Lagat and Palalays intent to gain from the carnapped tricycle was also proven as they were caught in a palay
buying station, on board the stolen tricycle, which they obviously used to transport the cavans of palay they had
stolen and were going to sell at the station. In Bustinera, we elucidated on the concept of "intent to gain" and said:
Intent to gain or animus lucrandi is an internal act, presumed from the unlawful taking of the motor vehicle. Actual
gain is irrelevant as the important consideration is the intent to gain. The term "gain" is not merely limited to
pecuniary benefit but also includes the benefit which in any other sense may be derived or expected from the act
which is performed. Thus, the mere use of the thing which was taken without the owners consent constitutes
gain.50
Having established that the elements of carnapping are present in this case, we now go to the argument of the
two accused that they cannot be convicted based on the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.
Under Section 4, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court, circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction if:
(a) There is more than one circumstance;
(b) The facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and
(c) The combination of all the circumstances results in a moral certainty that the accused, to the exclusion
of all others, is the one who has committed the crime.
In People v. Mansueto,51 we said:
Circumstantial evidence is that evidence which proves a fact or series of facts from which the facts in issue may
be established by inference. Such evidence is founded on experience and observed facts and coincidences
establishing a connection between the known and proven facts and the facts sought to be proved. 52
Hence, to justify a conviction based on circumstantial evidence, the combination of circumstances must be
interwoven in such a way as to leave no reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused. 53
A careful and exhaustive examination of the evidence presented, excluding those that are inadmissible, show that
the circumstantial evidence, when viewed as a whole, effectively establishes the guilt of Lagat and Palalay
beyond reasonable doubt. We considered the following pieces of evidence as convincing:
First, Lagat and Palalay were found in possession of the tricycle the same day that it, together with its owner Biag,
was reported missing.
Second, Lagat and Palalay were found at a palay buying station, with the stolen tricycle packed with cavans of
palay allegedly stolen in Alicia, Isabela.
Third, Lagat and Palalay who were then on board the tricycle, jumped and ran the moment they saw the Alicia
PNP approaching them.

Fourth, Lagat and Palalay could not explain to the Alicia PNP why they were in possession of Biags tricycle.
Fifth, Biags wallet and his tricycles registration papers were found in the tricycle upon its inspection by the Alicia
PNP.
Sixth, Biags body bore hack wounds as evidenced by the post-mortem autopsy done on him, while his tricycle
had traces of blood in it.
The foregoing circumstantial evidence only leads to the conclusion that Lagat and Palalay conspired to kill Biag in
order to steal his tricycle. Direct proof that the two accused conspired is not essential as it may be inferred from
their conduct before, during, and after their commission of the crime that they acted with a common purpose and
design.54 The pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution are consistent with one another and the only
rational proposition that can be drawn therefrom is that the accused are guilty of killing Biag to carnap his tricycle.
When a person is killed or raped in the course of or on the occasion of the carnapping, the crime of carnapping is
qualified and the penalty is increased pursuant to Section 14 of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended:
Section 14. Penalty for Carnapping. Any person who is found guilty of carnapping, as this term is defined in
Section Two of this Act, shall, irrespective of the value of motor vehicle taken, be punished by imprisonment for
not less than fourteen years and eight months and not more than seventeen years and four months, when the
carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon things; and by imprisonment for
not less than seventeen years and four months and not more than thirty years, when the carnapping is committed
by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things; and the penalty of reclusion
perpetua to death shall be imposed when the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed or
raped in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof. (As amended by R.A. No.
7659.) (Emphasis ours)
As there was no aggravating circumstance attendant in the commission of the crime, the RTC properly imposed
the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
In conformity with prevailing jurisprudence, we affirm the award of P 50,000.00 as civil indemnity ex delicto for the
death of Jose Biag and P 50,000.00 as moral damages for the proven mental suffering of his wife as a result of
his untimely death. However, when actual damages proven by receipts during trial amount to less
than P25,000.00, as in this case, the award of temperate damages for P 25,000.00 is justified in lieu of actual
damages of a lesser amount. 55 Thus, an award of P 25,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu of the amount
of P 14,900.00 that the Court of Appeals awarded as actual damages is proper in this case.
Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals failed to consider that under Article 2206 of the Civil Code, the accused
are also jointly and severally liable for the loss of the earning capacity of Biag and such indemnity should be paid
to his heirs.56 In People v. Jadap,57 this Court said:
As a rule, documentary evidence should be presented to substantiate the claim for damages for loss of earning
capacity. By way of exception, damages for loss of earning capacity may be awarded despite the absence of
documentary evidence when (1) the deceased is self-employed and earning less than the minimum wage under
current labor laws, in which case judicial notice may be taken of the fact that in the deceased's line of work no
documentary evidence is available; or (2) the deceased is employed as a daily wage worker earning less than the
minimum wage under current labor laws. In this case, no documentary evidence was presented to prove the claim
of the victims heirs for damages by reason of loss of earning capacity. However, the victims father testified that at
the time of his sons death, he was only 20 years old and was working as a mason with a monthly income
of P3,000.00. We find the fathers testimony sufficient to justify the award of damages for loss of earning
capacity.58

Biags widow, Florida, testified that Biag worked as a farmer, tanod, and tricycle driver, and that his income
amounted to P 40,000.00 per cropping season as a farmer, P 2,000.00 per month as a tanod, and P 300.00 per
day as a tricycle driver. However, since the prosecution failed to present any document pertaining to Biags
appointment as a tanod, or that he actually worked as a farmer, we shall consider only his earnings as a tricycle
driver. According to the death certificate 59 submitted by the prosecution, Biag was 56 years old at the time of his
death.1wphi1
The amount of damages recoverable for the loss of earning capacity of the deceased is based on two factors: 1)
the number of years on the basis of which the damages shall be computed; and 2) the rate at which the losses
sustained by the heirs of the deceased should be fixed. The first factor is based on the formula (2/3 x 80 age of
the deceased at the time of his death = life expectancy) which is adopted from the American Expectancy Table of
Mortality.60 Net income is computed by deducting from the amount of the victims gross income the amount of his
living expenses. As there is no proof of Biags living expenses, the net income is estimated to be 50% of the gross
annual income.61 Thus, the loss of earning capacity of the deceased is computed as follows:
Net Earning Capacity = life expectancy x [gross annual income living expenses] 62
= 2/3 [80-age at time of death] x [gross annual income - 50% of gross annual income]
= 2/3 [80-56] x [P 109,500.00 - P 54,750.00]
= 16 x P 54,750.00
= P 876,000.00
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM with MODIFICATION the October 8, 2008 decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CR.-H.C. No. 02869. Accused-appellants Renato Lagat y Gawan and James Palalay y Villarosa are found
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of QUALIFIED CARNAPPING and are sentenced to suffer the
penalty of reclusion perpetua. They are hereby ORDERED to pay the heirs of the victim Jose Biag the following:
(a) P 50,000.00 as civil indemnity; (b) P 50,000.00 as moral damages; (c) P 25,000.00 as temperate damages;
(d) P 876,000.00 as loss of earning capacity; and (e) interest on all damages awarded at the rate of 6% per
annum from the date of finality of this judgment.
SO ORDERED.

Carnapping; elements. The elements of carnapping as defined and penalized under the Anti-Carnapping Act of
1972 are the following: (1) That there is an actual taking of the vehicle; (2) That the vehicle belongs to a person
other than the offender himself; (3) That the taking is without the consent of the owner thereof; or that the taking
was committed by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things; and (4)
That the offender intends to gain from the taking of the vehicle. The records of this case show that all the
elements of carnapping are present and were proven during trial. The tricycle, which was definitively ascertained
to belong to Biag, as evidenced by the registration papers, was found in Lagat and Palalays possession. Aside
from this, the prosecution was also able to establish that Lagat and Palalay fled the scene when the Alicia PNP
tried to approach them at the palay buying station. To top it all, Lagat and Palalay failed to give any reason why
they had Biags tricycle. Their unexplained possession raises the presumption that they were responsible for the
unlawful taking of the tricycle. Lagat and Palalays intent to gain from the carnapped tricycle was also proven as
they were caught in a palay buying station, on board the stolen tricycle, which they obviously used to transport the
cavans of palay they had stolen and were going to sell at the station. People of the Philippines v. Renato Lagat y
Gawan, a.k.a. Renato Gawan and James Palalay y Villarosa, G.R. No. 187044, September 14, 2011.

THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 213913, September 02, 2015
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. JULKIPLI ASAMUDDIN Y SALAPUDIN A.K.A."JUL"
AND "REY", Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
On appeal is the Decision1 dated May 22, 2014 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 05870,
which affirmed with modification the Decision 2 dated October 15, 2012 of the Regional Trial Comt (RTC) of
Mandaluyong City, Branch 212, in the consolidated Criminal Case Nos. MC08-11421 and MC08-11422.
The consolidated cases for violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6539, the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972, as
amended, and Qualified Theft were filed on January 16, 2008 against accused Julkipli Asamuddin ySalapudin
(appellant). The accusatory portions of the Informations alleged as follow:
Criminal Case No. MCOS-11421:
For Violation of R.A. No. 6539
That on or about the 11th day of July 2007, in the City of Mandaluyong, Philippines, a place within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, with intent to gain, without the knowledge and consent of the
owner thereof, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, ste[a]l and carry away a motorcycle,
Honda XRM with plate no. UU-9142 amounting to P49,000.00 belonging to EMELINA GLORIA Y UMAL[I] without
the latter's consent, to the damage and prejudice of the latter in the aforementioned sum ofP49,000.00.

CONTRARY TO LAW
Criminal Case No. MCOS-11422:
For Qualified Theft
That on or about the 11th day of July 2007, in the City of Mandaluyong, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being then employed as a messenger of E. Gloria's Money
Changer owned by Emelina Gloria y Umali, with grave abuse of confidence and taking advantage of the trust
reposed upon him, with intent to gain, without the knowledge and consent of the owner thereof, did then and
there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, steal and carry away cash money of various denominations
P800,000.00, Yen 660,000.00, Pounds 50.00, Dirham 530.00, Brunei Dollar 100.00 and Singapore Dollar 467.00
with an aggregate amount of P1,077,995.00, to the damage and prejudice of the complainant in the
aforementioned amount of P1,077,995.00.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The criminal cases were temporarily archived, but were revived with the arrest of appellant in Zamboanga City on
February 25, 2009.
Assisted by a counsel de oficio at his arraignment on August 19, 2009, appellant pleaded "Not Guilty" to both
charges.5
In the ensuing trial, the prosecution presented Emelina Gloria y Umali (Emelina), proprietor of E. Gloria Money
Changer where appellant works as a messenger; and fmee Gerbon 6 (Imee), domestic helper of Emelina. Among
the documentary evidence presented by the prosecution were (1) the list of currencies Emelina entrusted to
appellant that fateful day of July 11, 2007 (Exhibit "F" 7); and (2) Sales Invoice Retail No. 16607 (Exhibit "I" 8),
Official Receipt (Exhibit "J''9), and certification (Exhibit "K"10), all issued by Triumph JT Marketing Corporation,
which show that the Honda XRM motorcycle with plate number UU-9142 was purchased by Emelina's husband.
The defense presented appellant as its sole witness. He denied the charges against him.
THE FACTS
Emelina hired appellant as messenger in E. Gloria Money Changer, Mandaluyong City, sometime in 2006, with
the main function of delivering local or foreign currencies to clients or other money changers. 11 Assigned to
appellant to be used in the performance of his work is a blue Honda XRM motorcycle with plate number UU-9142.
At 12:30 in the afternoon of July 11, 2007, Emelina handed to appellant the cash amount of P800,000.00, and
various foreign denominations consisting of 66 pieces of lapad, 13 50 pounds, 530 dirhams, 467 Singaporean
dollars, and 100 Brunei dollars,14 with a peso value of P277,995.00.15 She instructed appellant to bring the
currencies to her friend Rina Rosalial, a money changer in Mabini, Manila. 16 After receiving the monies from
Emelina, appellant left aboard his service motorcycle on his way to Manila.
Imee, the domestic helper of Emelina, was then inside E. Gloria Money Changer, and saw Emelina hand to
appellant currencies of various denominations,18 and as appellant left his service motorcycle.
By 1:30 p.m. of the same day, Emelina received a call from Rina Rosalial informing her that appellant has yet to
arrive in her shop.20 Emelina's calls to the cellular phones of appellant and his wife were at naught, 21 prompting
her to lodge a complaint against appellant at the Philippine National Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection
Group (PNP-CIDG), Camp Crame.22
In August 2007, the blue Honda XRM motorcycle with plate number UU-9142 was found abandoned in Silang,
Cavite, and was returned to Emelina.23

Appellant vehemently denied asporting currency totaling P1,077,995.00, and the subject motorcycle. He admitted
working as a Messenger/Runner at the E. Gloria Money Changer starting October 2006 but he resigned from his
job on July 10, 2007. Appellant asserted that the money he received from Emelina on July 11, 2007 was his last
salary for the period July 1 to 10, 2007. His family's return to Zamboanga City on September 7, 2007 was due to
the high cost of living in Metro Manila which he could no longer afford. 24
Relying on the categorical and straightforward testimony of Emelina, and rejecting the defense of denial advanced
by appellant, the RTC rendered a guilty verdict in both criminal cases, thus:
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the court finds the accused JULKIPILI ASAMUDDIN Y
SALAPUDIN @ ''Jul" and "Rey" GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of Republic Act No. 6539 (AntiCarnapping Act of 1972)[,] as amended[,] and he is hereby sentenced to an indeterminate imprisonment of
fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months, as minimum, to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months, as maximum.
Likewise[,] the court finds JULKIPLI ASAMUDDIN Y SALAPUDIN @ "Jul"@ "Rey" GUILTY beyond reasonable
doubt of Qualified Theft and he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua but with all the
accessories of the penalty imposed under Article 40 of the Revised Penal Code. Accused is also condemned to
pay the offended party, EMELINA GLORIA Y UMALI[,] the sum of Php1,877,995.00, as actual damages
representing the total amount of the money entrusted to him by the said offended party.
Further, let a Commitment Order be issued for the transfer of accused JULKlPLI ASAMUDDIN Y
SALAPUDIN @ "Jul" @ "Rey" from Mandaluyong City Jail to the BBureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa City.
SO ORDERED.25
On November 6, 2012, appellant timely tiled his Notice of Appeal. 26 The consolidated cases were subsequently
elevated to the CA, and was docketed as CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 05870. Before the CA, appellant ascribed to the
RTC the following errors:
I.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN DISREGARDING [APPELLANT'S] TESTIMONY.
II.
THE COURT A QUO GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING [APPELLANT] OF QUALIFIED THEFT AND
CARNAPPING DESPITE THE PROSECUTION'S FAILURE TO OVERTHROW THE CONSTITUTIONAL
PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE IN HIS FAVOR.27
In the Decision dated May 22, 2014, the appellate court dismissed the appeal but modified appellant's civil liability
in Criminal Case No. MC08-11422 by reducing the awarded actual damages from P1,877,995.00 to
P1,077,995.00.28 The appellate court emphasized that the amount alleged in the Information for Qualified Theft,
and established by Exhibit "F" was only PI,077,995.00. 29
Appellant perfected his appeal to this Court with the timely filing of a Notice of Appeal on June 16, 2014. 30 The
Solicitor General and appellant separately manifested to adopt their respective briefs filed before the CA as their
supplemental briefs.31
The main issue for resolution is whether the CA correctly affirmed the conviction of the appellant for Qualified
Theft and Carnapping.
The Court rules in the affirmative and finds the appeal without merit.
Appellant primarily assails the testimony of Emelina to be inadequate to anchor his conviction for the crimes
charged. Branding Emelina's testimony to be self-serving, unsubstantiated, and uncorroborated by documentary
and credible testimonial evidence, appellant asserted that no credible proof was presented by the prosecution to
establish that he actually received from Emelina the subject peso and foreign currencies and that he used and
unlawfully took away the service motorcycle.

When the credibility of the witness is in issue, the settled rule is that the trial court's assessment thereof is
accorded great weight by appellate courts absent any showing that the trial court overlooked certain matters
which, if taken into consideration, would have materially affected the outcome of the case. 32 And where the trial
court's findings have been affirmed by the CA, these are generally binding and conclusive upon this Court. 33 The
determination of the credibility of witnesses is best left to the trial court judge because of his untrammeled
opportunity to observe directly the demeanor of a witness on the stand and, thus, to determine whether he or she
is telling the truth.34After a circumspect scrutiny of the records of the case, we find no reason to modify, alter or
reverse the factual finding of the lower court and affirmed by the CA that in the afternoon of July 11, 2007,
appellant received money from Emelina; used his service motorcycle; and disappeared with the money and the
motorcycle.
Moreover, appellant failed to establish the alleged ill-motive of Emelina in implicating him in the present case. No
evidence was presented to show that the business of Emelina incurred losses that needed to be concealed from
her business partners. Absent any improper motive to falsely testify against the appellant, Emelina's declarations
are worthy of full faith and credence.35 In like manner, Imee's employment as the domestic servant of Emelina is
not a ground to disregard her testimony. Relationship alone is not enough reason to discredit and label Imee's
testimony as biased and unworthy of credence. It is settled that the witness' relationship to the victim does not
automatically affect the veracity of his or her testimony.36
We now resolve the criminal liability of the appellant for the unlawful taking of the service motorcycle, and the
peso and foreign currencies amounting to a total of P1,077,995.00
.
I. Criminal Case No. MCOS-11421 (For Violation of R.A. No. 6539)
The elements of Carnapping as defined under Section 2 of R.A. No. 6539, as amended, are:
(1) the taking of a motor vehicle which belongs to another;
(2) the taking is without the consent of the owner or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons or by
using force upon things; and
(3) the taking is done with intent to gain.37
All these elements were established by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.
Exhibits "I"38 "J"39 and "K",40 proved that the blue Honda XRM motorcycle with plate number UU-9142 used as a
service vehicle by appellant was acquired from Triumph JT Marketing Corporation by Manolito, Emelina's spouse,
establishing the first element.
It is the second element that the appellant claimed was not proven because the prosecution's evidence failed to
show that he took the motorcycle without the consent of Emelina. Indeed, Emelina herself tasked the appellant to
proceed to Mabini, Manila, and permitted him to use the service motorcycle.
Unlawful taking, or apoderamiento, is the taking of the motor vehicle without the consent of the owner, or by
means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things; it is deemed complete from
the moment the offender gains possession of the thing, even if he has no opportunity to dispose of the
same.41 In Roque v. People,42 the Court ruled that qualified theft may be committed even when the personal
property is in the lawful possession of the accused prior to the commission of the felony. The concept of unlawful
taking in theft, robbery and carnapping being the same, 43the holding in Roque v. People44 equally applies to
carnapping. Henee, in People v. Bustinera,45 appellant, who was hired as taxi driver, was found guilty of
carnapping under R.A. No. 6539 after he failed to return the Daewoo Racer taxi assigned to him by the cab
company where he was employed.
In the present case, the Solicitor General aptly argued that appellant's failure to return the motorcycle to Emelina
after his working hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 46 constitutes "unlawful taking". Emelina lodged a complaint

against appellant with the PNP-CIDG for the loss of the service motorcycle 47 confirming that appellant's continued
possession thereof is without her authority.
The subsequent recovery of the stolen motorcycle will not preclude the presence of the thirdelement. Actual gain
is irrelevant as the important consideration is the intent to gain or animus lucrandi.48 Intent to gain is an internal
act presumed from the unlawful taking49 of the motor vehicle which the appellant failed to overcome with evidence
to the contrary. Verily, the mere use of the thing unlawfully taken constitutes gain. 50
Appellant is thus guilty of the crime of carnapping under R.A. No. 6539.
II. Criminal Case No. MCOS-11422 (For Qualified Theft)
Appellant asserted that he cannot be convicted of Qualified Theft because his employment as messenger did not
create a fiduciary relationship that will qualify the crime of theft. He also insisted that Exhibit "F" is self-serving and
is incompetent to establish the amount of money handed to him by Emelina.
For the successful prosecution for Qualified Theft committed with grave abuse of confidence, the prosecution
must establish beyond reasonable doubt the following elements: (1) taking of personal property; (2) that the said
property belongs to another; (3) that the said taking be done with intent to gain; (4) that it be done without the
owner's consent; (5) that it be accomplished without the use of violence or intimidation against persons, nor of
force upon things; and (6) that it be done with grave abuse of confidence. 51
All these elements are present in the instant case. Emelina positively and credibly testified that she entrusted to
appellant the amount of P800,000.00 and foreign currencies valued at P277,995.00. Instead of delivering the
money to the designated money changer as directed by Emelina, appellant breached the trust reposed in him and
disappeared with the cash bills.
We agree with the RTC and the CA that a fiduciary relationship between appellant and Emelina, his employer,
existed contrary to the assertion of appellant.
In Candelaria v. People,52 petitioner Candelaria was the driver of the truck loaded with liters of diesel fuel for
delivery to a customer. Instead of delivering the fuel, petitioner Candelaria disappeared together with the truck and
its cargo. With the recovery of the truck, petitioner Candelaria was convicted of Qualified Theft for the lost fuel.
Here, the function of the appellant as a messenger of the E. Gloria Money Changer is to deliver amounts of
money, both peso and foreign currency, to the clients or to exchange the currency with another money changer.
Emelina routinely entrusts to appellant, on a daily basis, various amounts of money from P50,000.00 to
P500,000.0053 without requiring the latter to acknowledge receipt thereof. Emelina testified that she does not have
proof that he handed to appellant P800,000.00 and various foreign currency on July 11, 2007 because of her total
trust and high degree of confidence on appellant ("tiwalaan lang po"). 54 This exhibited the trust and confidence of
Emelina to the appellant which he exploited to enrich himself to the damage and prejudice of the former.
The straightforward and credible testimony55 of Emelina is adequate to establish the exact amount of money
handed to appellant. She could not have forgotten about the denominations given to appellant as the same is
subject of her transaction with a money changer in Mabini, Manila, and she counted 56the same before handing it
to appellant. Thus, the testimony of Emelina sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt that she delivered to
appellant monies valued in the total amount of P1,077,995.00.
APPELLANT'S DEFENSE
The lame defense of denial is all that appellant could offer against the prosecution evidence. Denial is a negative
and self-serving evidence that requires to be substantiated by clear and convincing evidence of non culpability to
merit credibility.57 Otherwise, it will not overcome the testimony of the prosecution witness/es who testified on
affirmative matters.58 Except for the testimonial assertion of appellant in the present case, no credible
corroborating evidence was presented by the defense to bolster his denial. Emelina's positive assertions that she
handed to appellant the money to be delivered to a money changer in Mabini, Manila, and that he did not return
the service motorcycle, prevail over the denial of the appellant. Appellant's admission59 that he was at E. Gloria
Money Changer shop in the morning of July 11, 2007 further served to bolster the testimony of Emelina.

In the face of the overwhelming and positive evidence against the appellant, even if his return to Zamboanga City
is disregarded as an indication of his guilty conscience, his conviction should still be sustained. Unfortunately for
appellant, there is no case law holding non-flight as an indication or as conclusive proof of innocence. 60
THE PENALTIES
The RTC, as affirmed by the CA, correctly imposed in Criminal Case No. MCOS-11421 (for carnapping) the
penalty of 14 years and 8 months, as minimum, to 17 years and 4 months, as maximum, which is within the range
of the imposable penalty under Section 14 of R.A. No. 6539:
SEC. 14. Penalty for Carnapping. Any person who is found guilty of carnapping, as this term is defined in Section
Two of this Act, shall, irrespective of the value of motor vehicle taken, be punished by imprisonment for not less
than fourteen years and eight months and not more than seventeen years and four months, when the
carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon things x x x.
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Further, appellant was correctly meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua for Qualified Theft in Criminal Case No.
MCOS-11422. Article 309 of the Revised Penal Code reads:
ART. 309. Penalties. - Any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:
1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than
12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos; but if the value of the thing stolen exceeds the latter amount,
the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one. prescribed in this paragraph, and one year tor each
additional ten thousand pesos, but the total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty
years. In such cases, and in connection with the accessory penalties which may be imposed and for the purpose
of the other provisions of this Code, the penalty shall be termed prision mayor or reclusion temporal, as the case
may be. (Emphasis supplied)
The basic penalty when the value of the stolen item exceeded P22,000.00 is the maximum period of the penalty
of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods which is 8 years, 8 months and 1 day to 10 years of prision
mayor. To determine the additional years of imprisonment, the difference after deducting P22,000.00 shall be
divided by P10,000.00, disregarding any amount less than P10,000.00. The amount of cash stolen by appellant is
P1,077,995.00. Thus, 105 years 61 shall be added to the basic penalty. However, the penalty for Simple Theft
cannot go beyond 20 years of reclusion temporal, and such will be the sentence of appellant if he committed
Simple
Theft.
The penalty for Qualified Theft is two degrees higher under Article 310 62 of the Revised Penal Code, thus
appellant was correctly sentenced to reclusion perpetua. However, appellant is disqualified under R.A. No.
9346,63 in relation to Resolution No. 24-4-1064 to avail the benefits of parole.
WHEREFORE, the present appeal is DISMISSED. The appealed Decision dated May 22, 2014 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 05870 is AFFIRMED and UPHELD.65
With costs against the accused-appellant.
SO ORDERED.

People v. Luisito Bustinera


G. R. No. 148233. June 8, 2004
FACTS:
ESC Transport hired Luisito Bustinera as a taxi driver. It was agreed that appellant would drive the taxi from 6:00
a.m. to 11:00 p.m., after which he would return it to ESC Transport's garage and remit the boundary fee in the
amount of P780.00 per day. On December 25,1996, appellant admittedly reported for work and drove the taxi, but
he did not return it on the same day as he was supposed to. The owner of ESC reported the taxi stolen.
On January 9, 1997, Bustinera's wife went to ESC Transport and revealed that the taxi had been abandoned.
ESC was able to recovered. The trial court found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of qualified theft.
HELD:
Bustinera was convicted of qualified theft under Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended for the
unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. However, Article 310 has been modified, with respect to certain vehicles, by
Republic Act No. 6539, as amended, otherwise known as "AN ACT PREVENTING AND PENALIZING
CARNAPPING. "When statutes are in pari materia or when they relate to the same person or thing, or to the
same class of persons or things, or cover the same specific or particular subject matter, or have the same
purpose or object, the rule dictates that they should be construed together. The elements of the crime of theft as
provided for in Article 308 of the Revised Penal Code are: (1) that there be taking of personal property; (2) that
said property belongs to another; (3) that the taking be done with intent to gain; (4) that the taking be done without
the consent of the owner; and (5) that the taking be accomplished without the use of violence against or

intimidation of persons or force upon things. Theft is qualified when any of the following circumstances is present:
(1) the theft is committed by a domestic servant; (2) the theft is committed with grave abuse of confidence; (3) the
property stolen is either a motor vehicle, mail matter or large cattle; (4) the property stolen consists of coconuts
taken from the premises of a plantation; (5) the property stolen is fish taken from a fish pond or fishery; and (6) the
property was taken on the occasion of fire, earthquake, typhoon, volcanic eruption, or any other calamity,
vehicular accident or civil disturbance. On the other hand, Section 2 of Republic Act No.6539, as amended
defines "car napping" as "the taking, with intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another without the latter's
consent, or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things." The elements
of car napping are thus: (1) the taking of a motor vehicle which belongs to another; (2) the taking is without the
consent of the owner or by means of violence against or intimidation of persons or by using force upon things; and
(3) the taking is done with intent to gain. Car napping is essentially the robbery or theft of a motorized vehicle, the
concept of unlawful taking in theft, robbery and car napping being the same. From the foregoing, since appellant
is being accused of the unlawful taking of a Daewoo sedan, it is the anti-car napping law and not the provisions of
qualified theft which would apply.

Carnapping
The unlawful taking of motor vehicles is now covered by the anti-carnapping law and not by the provisions on
qualified theft or robbery. (People vs Bustinera, G. R. No. 148233, June 8, 2004)
May qualified theft or robbery of motor vehicle still be committed despite the anti-carnapping law?
It is to be noted, however, that while the anti-carnapping law penalizes the unlawful taking of motor vehicles, it
excepts from its coverage certain vehicles such as roadrollers, trolleys, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn mowers,
amphibian trucks and cranes if not used on public highways, vehicles which run only on rails and tracks, and
tractors, trailers and tractor engines of all kinds and used exclusively for agricultural purposes. By implication, the
theft or robbery of the foregoing vehicles would be covered by Article 310 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended and the provisions on robbery, respectively. (People vs Bustinera, G. R. No. 148233, June 8, 2004)
People v. Bustinera
June 8, 2004
Facts:
Cipriano is a taxi operator. He hired Bustinera in 1996 as a taxi driver and assigned to him a Daewoo
sedan. On December 25, 1996, Bustinera reported for work and drove the taxi but failed to return the car on the
same day. The following day, Cipriano went to Bustineras house but did not find the taxi nor Bustinera there. He
reported the missing taxi to the police thereafter.
On January 9, 1997, Bustineras wife met Cipriano and told him that the taxi was abandoned in Lagro.
Cipriano was able to recover the taxi.
Bustinera alleges that he failed to return the taxi because he was still short on boundary fee. He also
alleges that he returned the taxi on January 5 and he signed the logbook. Moreover, he said that he was able to
remit a total of P4,500 as payment for the boundary fee.
He further alleges that Cipriano took his drivers license as he still had a balance. With Bustinera unable
to drive and pay the debt, his wife started to work as a maid for Cipriano from February to March 1997 after which
he was able to pay off the debt and the license was returned.

Issues:
(1) WON conviction for crime of qualified theft proper
(2) WON intent to gain present
Held / Ratio:
Judgment set aside; Guilty of carnapping
(1) No. Accused was convicted of qualified theft under Art. 310. However, said article has been modified with
respect to certain vehicles by RA 6539 (Anti Carnapping Law). When statutes are in pare materia or cover the
same subject matter, the rule dictates that they should be construed together that effect may be given to the
provisions of each. However, when they are irreconcilable, the latter law shall prevail as it is the latter
expression of legislative will.
The elements of carnapping under RA 6539 are: (1) taking of vehicle of another, (2) it is without consent or by
means of violence / intimidation of person or force on things, and (3) intent to gain. Essentially, carnapping is
theft / robbery of a motorized vehicle. RA 6539 does not cover vehicles like trolleys, lawn mowers, amphibian
trucks roadrollers, trolleys, street-sweepers, sprinklers, lawn mowers, amphibian trucks and cranes if not used
on public highways, vehicles which run only on rails and tracks, and tractors, trailers and tractor engines of all
kinds and used exclusively for agricultural purposes.
Despite designation of qualified theft in the information, the accused may still be convicted for carnapping as
the facts, not the designation, alleged in the information determine the real nature of the crime.
(2) Animus lucrandi is an internal act and is presumed from the unlawful taking. Actual gain is irrelevant. Gain is
not limited to financial gain. The mere use of a thing constitutes gain. Even if the taking is temporary, intent to
gain is evident if he derives utility, satisfaction, enjoyment and pleasure.
The Court cannot believe accuseds bare assertions. He was not able to produce any documentary evidence
to prove that he signed the logbook or that he remitted P4,500.
The RTC erred in the penalty as RA 6539 provides for its own penalties. The RPC cannot be given suppletory
effect. Penalty is reduced from reclusion perpetua to the indeterminate sentence of fourteen (14) years and eight
(8) Months to seventeen (17) years and four (4) months.

G.R. No. 127500

June 8, 2000

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NOEL SANTOS y CRISPINO and FELICIANO FUNCION alias JON-JON, accused, NOEL SANTOS y
CRISPINO, accused-appellant.
Before us is an appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 117, 1 convicting
accused-appellant of violation of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended, also known as the Anti-Carnapping Act, and
sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua, on the basis of an Information the accusatory portion of
which reads:
That on or about the 18th day of June, 1995, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, conspiring and confederating together
and mutually helping one another, with intent to gain, and by means of violence employed against RUEL
VALENTINO MORALES, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take and drive away from
the latter a Toyota Tamaraw, bearing Plate No. UAM 540, Engine No. 2-C 2928663 and Chassis No.
CF50-0012454 valued at P387,000.00 and belonging to TEODULO NATIVIDAD y DELA CRUZ, to the
damage and prejudice of said owner in the amount of P387,000.00; that as a result of the violence

employed on the person of RUEL VALENTINO MORALES, the latter sustained injuries which caused his
death.2
The above Information, which named as accused Noel Santos and one John Doe, was amended on July 31, 1995
to cancel the designation of John Doe and substitute in its place the name of Feliciano Funcion, alias Jon-jon.3 Up
to the time of the rendition of the assailed decision, however, accused Funcion remained at large.
The prosecution presented ten witnesses during trial, consisting of the apprehending and investigating officers of
the Pasay City and Magalang, Pampanga police stations, the medico-legal officer, and the family and friends of
the victim. Also submitted in evidence were the articles recovered at the scene of the crime, including the murder
weapon and personal belongings of both the victim and accused-appellant.
PO3 Alfredo Galang was manning the traffic at the intersection in Dolores, Magalang, Pampanga at around 2:30
in the morning of June 19, 1995 when he noticed an "overspeeding" Toyota Tamaraw FX. He signaled for the
vehicle to pull over to the side of the road, approached the vehicle then asked the driver for his license. The driver,
who turned out to be accused-at-large Jon-jon Funcion, handed him an expired driver's license without plastic
cover issued in the name of the victim, Ruel Morales. 4 Observing that the driver and his companion, herein
accused-appellant, were acting suspiciously, PO3 Galang asked them to turn on the lights inside the vehicle, to
which accused-appellant complied. He then borrowed the key to the rear door of the FX from the driver. While
PO3 Galang was opening the rear door, the driver fled unpursued towards a nearby sugarcane field. The rear
portion of the FX, as PO3 Galang found out shortly thereafter, contained the dead body of victim Ruel Morales
wrapped in the seat cover and curtains of the vehicle.
This account was corroborated by Ernesto Gonzales, one of two traffic aides then stationed at the traffic outpost
in Dolores, Magalang, Pampanga, and who assisted PO3 Galang in the inspection of the FX and the
apprehension of accused-appellant.
PO3 Galang took custody of accused-appellant, who all throughout the incident remained seated in the front
passenger seat of the FX. He called a funeral parlor to collect the corpse, brought the FX and accused-appellant
to the Magalang police station, and immediately executed an affidavit of arrest 5 against accused-appellant.
The next day, accused-appellant was brought by one SPO2 Nuqui of the Magalang police station to the Pasay
City police station and indorsed to the officer on duty, SPO2 Renato Guzman. It was SPO2 Guzman who
interviewed accused-appellant, who in turn denied responsibility for the death of Morales and pointed all the
blame at accused-at-large Jon-jon Funcion.
Also delivered to the Pasay City police were an autopsy report of the body of the victim, a gray Toyota Tamaraw
FX with Plate No. UAM 540, and the items recovered therein. SPO1 Manuel Abenoja, the evidence custodian of
the Pasay City police station, identified in open court the articles recovered from inside the FX, namely: a
deformed and blood-stained kitchen knife, a stone measuring about 3 to 4 inches across, a Certificate of
Registration pertaining to the Toyota Tamaraw FX issued in the name of Teodulo C. Natividad, a pair of checkered
short pants, a wrist watch, a brown scapular necklace, two leather wallets, a PCIBank card in the name of Ruel
Valentine Morales, a Makati Public Safety Office badge, three pictures of Ruel Morales, a pair of denim long
pants, a leather belt, three pairs of shoes, and assorted identification papers in the name of Ruel Morales. 6
Dr. Ma. Lourdes Natividad, rural health physician of Magalang, Pampanga, conducted the postmortemexamination of the body of the victim. Based on her findings, the cause of death was hemorrhage as a
result of the victim's fractured skull. Dr. Natividad testified to the presence of the following injuries on the victim's
body: fracture of the frontonasal bone (between the victim's eyes 7); multiple lacerations, incisions and hematoma
on the face and arms, abrasions on the face and lower extremities, and ligature extending horizontally from right
to left and covering almost two-thirds of the neck. 8 In her testimony, the doctor stated that the fracture between the
victim's eyes and the contusions were likely caused by a blunt instrument, while the lacerated and incised wounds
were inflicted by a sharp instrument. The ligature across the neck could have been caused by strangling with a
rope.9
Three of the victim's friends who last saw him alive were also presented as prosecution witnesses. Elizalde
Claridad declared that at around 11:00 in the evening of June 18, 1995, he was drinking with his friends at the

corner of Lim and M. Reyes Streets in Makati City when Ruel Morales drove by in a Toyota Tamaraw FX. Morales
called to him and asked that he accompany him in looking for his (Morales's) brother, Hoppy. Morales was
wearing a T-shirt, shorts, slippers and a lady's Rolex wrist watch with gemstones. They drove around Barangay
Bangkal in Makati then proceeded to Padi's Point, a restaurant-bar at Pasay Road, also in Makati; unable to
locate the brother, Morales dropped him off at the corner of Lim and M. Reyes Streets and drove back to Pasay
Road. The next time he saw Morales was the next day, when they fetched his body in the morgue in Pampanga.
Meanwhile, Arnie Bordeos testified that on the night of June 18, 1995, between 10:00 to 11:00, he saw Ruel
Morales in a Toyota Tamaraw FX along M. Reyes and General Luna Streets in Makati conversing with two
persons by the side of the road. Earlier to this conversation, these two persons approached him and his friends
and talked to them in a drunken and rude manner. One of them, whom he identified as herein accused-appellant,
even bragged that he was the nephew of a city mayor. He then saw Morales opening the passenger doors to let
the two persons in, then Morales drove away with the two on board. Leo Soriba, who was with Arnie Bordeos at
the time, corroborated this account.
Teodulo Natividad testified that he was the owner of the Toyota Tamaraw FX where the victim's body was found.
He stated that on June 18, 1995 he lent the FX to the victim, Ruel Morales, who was a good friend of his and who
often borrowed the FX from him. The vehicle was recovered and restored to him by the Pasay City police. It had a
dent on the roof and the seat covers and curtains were missing, but it was in otherwise good condition. 10
Antonio Morales, Jr. presented receipts covering the expenses incurred by his family for the wake and burial of his
brother. The total costs reflected in the receipts amounted to P56,319.30. He also stated that his brother worked
as an entertainer in Japan, earning US$1,000.00 a month. 11 He was, however, unable to submit documentary
evidence to support this.
In contrast to the ten witnesses presented by the prosecution, defense presented as its sole witness accusedappellant himself. In his version of the story, accused-appellant was at the Malvar Sports Complex in Bangkal,
Makati City on June 18, 1995 at around 10:00 in the evening. He was playing darts with accused-at-large Jon-jon
Funcion and two other friends, when Jon-jon told them that he was in need of money as he needed to go to Tarlac
to see his girlfriend. Because no one among them could lend him money, Jon-jon asked accused-appellant to
accompany him to the house of one Councilor Ferdie Eusebio from whom he intended to borrow money. Upon
reaching Eusebio's house, however, Jon-jon decided against it because it was already late at night and it seemed
as if the occupants of the house were already asleep. They returned to the Malvar Sports Complex where one of
their friends, Jeffrey Abigabel, suggested they try borrowing money from his friend, Joel. Jon-jon left with Funcion
to go to Joel, but they returned shortly after. Jeffrey then said he was going home, and as Jeffrey was walking
away from them a Toyota Tamaraw FX stopped beside him. Accused-appellant saw Jeffrey converse with the
driver of the FX, then Jeffrey went on his way and the FX went towards Mabolo Street. Accused-appellant then
said that Jon-jon asked him who the driver of the FX was, but he answered that he did not know. Then Jon-jon left
towards the direction of Mabolo Street, saying "didiskarte raw siya ng pera." 12
At this point, accused-appellant decided to go home. While walking along Macabolos Street he met the FX, being
driven by Jon-jon, which stopped beside him. The person on the front passenger seat opened his window, and he
observed that the person was "gay". Jon-jon asked him where he was going, and when he said he was on his way
home, he and the "gay" passenger invited him to ride with them and that they will drop him off at his house. He
identified the passenger as "Sharon", or the victim Ruel Morales in the instant case. Accused-appellant accepted
the offer and boarded the FX.
However, instead of dropping him off at his house in Malibay, Pasay City, Jon-jon drove to PICC, where they
parked in a dark area where the trees screened off the light of the electric lamps. Jon-jon then asked accusedappellant to step out of the FX, saying that he and "Sharon" had matters to discuss. He consented, walking about
8 meters away from the vehicle. Because it was dark, he could not see the interior of the FX but he observed that
it was "umuuga", or rocking lightly, for about 10 to 15 minutes. He came to the conclusion that the two were
having sex.
Then Jon-jon called him and alighted from the middle right-side door of the FX. When accused-appellant
approached, Jon-jon placed his right arm on the right shoulder of accused-appellant, and the latter noticed from
the open car door that someone was lying inside the FX. He asked Jon-jon what happened and he reportedly

replied, "Don't ask anymore, you might be the next one." 13 Then he felt something poke him sharply on the neck,
and Jon-jon said in an angry voice, "Just follow what I instructed (sic), if not, I will kill you." 14 Jon-jon then told him
to remove the seat covers of the FX and as he did so, Jon-jon went behind him leveling the knife on accusedappellant's neck with one hand while holding to the waistband of accused-appellant' pants with the other. 15 Jonjon made him cover the dead body, with the seat covers; then Jon-jon tied both of accused-appellant's hands
behind his back, took his wallet and made him sit on the front passenger seat of the FX. He then placed a seat
belt around him, locked the door at his side, started the engine and drove to Buendia Avenue and north to
Pampanga. All the while Jon-jon reportedly threatened to kill him if he attempted to escape or to alert anyone,
such as the toll booth personnel, of what was happening. 16 Throughout his testimony, which ran the course of
four hearings, accused-appellant insisted that he had no opportunity to escape and that he was overcome by fear
of accused-at-large Jon-jon Funcion.
When they were accosted at the intersection in Dolores, Magalang, Pampanga, accused-appellant testified to the
following chain of events: Jon-jon pulled over to the side of the road, unfastened the seat belt around accusedappellant, untied accused-appellant's hands, threw something at the back of the vehicle, turned on the light, told
accused-appellant to remove his (accused-appellant's) sweatshirt, wore the sweatshirt to cover the blood stains
on his arms, turned off the light, threatened him some more, took money from accused-appellant's wallet, then
alighted. 17 All of this presumably transpired during the interim that it took for PO3 Galang, who was at a distance
of about 30 meters away, 18 to approach the FX.
At some point in his testimony, accused-appellant said that while the policeman and Jon-jon were talking, he
called to one of the traffic aides and said that there was a dead body at the back of the car. 19 This, however, was
not in the testimony of Ernesto Gonzales, one of the traffic aides present at the time.
After Jon-jon Funcion fled and the police officer found the dead body at the back of the FX, they approached
accused-appellant who remained seated at the front passenger seat and led him to the nearby police outpost. He
was then brought to a police station where he was placed under investigation.
The trial court viewed with disbelief the version of accused-appellant. In its decision rendered on October 25,
1996, it declared:
The Court believes that Jon-jon alone could not inflict all the wounds on Morales alias Sharon which
caused his death. So that the claim of Santos that he had no participation in the killing of Morales is not
credible. Santos himself testified that his friend Jon-jon was in need of money as he was to go to his
girlfriend in Tarlac. When they were not able to borrow money from Councilor Eusebio, Morales came
along and invited them to PICC. Morales alias Sharon being a gay wanted to use Jon-jon and Santos who
were teenagers. While there is no direct evidence in the killing of Morales, the presumption is that the
person found in the unexplained possession of the stolen effects is the author of the aggression and
death of the victim and the robbery committed on him. (People vs. Prado, G.R. No. 95260, March 8,
1996) At the time they were committing the crime, their action impliedly showed a unity of purpose
between them and a concerted effort to bring about the death of Morales. (People vs. Ferrer, et. al., G.R.
Nos. 114931-33, November 16, 1995) 20
Thus, the trial court made a finding of implied conspiracy and meted out a judgment of conviction. The dispositive
portion of the assailed decision is quoted as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds the accused Noel Santos y Crispino GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Republic Act No. 6539, as amended (Anti-Carnapping Act).
There being no aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the Court sentences him to the penalty
of reclusion perpetua; to indemnify the heirs of Ruel Valentino Morales in the amount of P50,000.00; the
amount of P56,319.30 as damages, and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED. 21
On appeal, accused-appellant assigns the following errors:

1. The trial court gravely erred in finding that Noel Santos is guilty of violating Republic Act No. 6539, as
amended (the "Anti-Carnapping Act"), considering that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of Noel
Santos beyond reasonable doubt.
1a. The trial court gravely erred in finding that there was conspiracy between Funcion and Noel
Santos, and that their actions showed unity of purpose and a concerted effort to bring about the
death of victim Morales.
1b. The trial court gravely erred in finding that Noel Santos participated in the forcible taking of
the Tamaraw FX and the killing of victim Morales.
1c. The trial court erred in finding that Funcion alone could not inflict all the wounds victim
Morales sustained.
2. The trial court gravely erred in finding that the prosecution was able to sufficiently establish the
presence of Noel Santos in the vehicle when the crime was committed by Funcion.
2a. The trial court gravely erred in finding Noel Santos guilty based on a presumption that the person
found in the unexplained possession of the stolen effects is the author of the aggression and death of the
victim and of the robbery committed on him, considering that Noel Santos was able to fully explain his
presence in said vehicle where the body of the victim Morales was found. 22
Every criminal conviction requires of the prosecution to prove two things: the fact of the crime, i.e., the presence
of all the elements of the crime for which the accused stands charged, and the fact that the accused is the
perpetrator of the crime. In the instant case we find the prosecution unable to discharge on both aspects, leaving
us with no option but to acquit on reasonable doubt.
"Carnapping", as defined by Republic Act No. 6539, or the Anti-Carnapping Act, as amended, is the taking, with
intent to gain, of a motor vehicle belonging to another without the latter's consent, or by means of violence against
or intimidation of persons, or by using force upon things. 23 By the amendment in Section 20 of Republic Act No.
7659, Section 14 of the Anti-Carnapping Act now reads:
Sec. 14. Penalty for Carnapping. Any person found guilty of carnapping, as this term is defined in
Section Two of this Act, shall, irrespective of the value of the motor vehicle taken, be punished by
imprisonment for not less than fourteen years and eight months and not more that seventeen years and
four months, when the carnapping is committed without violence or intimidation of persons, or force upon
things, and by imprisonment for not less than seventeen years and four months and not more than thirty
years, what the carnapping is committed by means of violence or intimidation of any person, or force
upon things; and the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death shall; be imposed when the owner, driver or
occupant of the carnapped motor vehicle is killed or raped in the course of the commission of the
carnapping or on the occasion thereof. (Emphasis supplied)
On the last clause, three amendments have been made to the original Section 14 of the Anti-Carnapping Act: (1)
the change of the penalty from life imprisonment to reclusion perpetua, (2) the inclusion of rape, and (3) the
change of the phrase "in the commission of the carnapping" to "in the course of the commission of the carnapping
or on the occasion thereof." 24 This third amendment makes clear the intention of the law to make the offense a
special complex crime, by way of analogy vis-a-vis paragraphs 1 to 4 of the Revised Penal Code on robbery with
violence against or intimidation of persons. 25 Thus, under the last clause of Section 14 of the Anti-Carnapping Act,
the prosecution not only has to prove the essential requisites of carnapping and of the homicide or murder of Ruel
Morales 26 but more importantly, it must show that the original criminal design of the culprit was carnapping and
that the killing was perpetrated "in the course of the commission of the carnapping or on the occasion thereof."
Needless to say, where the elements of carnapping are not proved, the provisions of the Anti-Carnapping Act
would cease to be applicable and the homicide or murder (if proven) would be punishable under the Revised
Penal Code.
In the herein case, we find the charge of carnapping unsubstantiated for failure of the prosecution to prove an
unlawful taking. The application of the presumption that a person found in possession of the personal effects

belonging to a person robbed or killed is considered the author of the aggression, the death of the person, as well
as the robbery committed, has been invariably limited to cases where such possession is either unexplained or
that the proffered explanation is rendered implausible in view of independent evidence inconsistent thereto. 27The
rebuttal of such presumption, invariably employed in cases of robbery and theft under the Revised Penal Code,
validly applies to a case of carnapping, for indeed the concept of unlawful taking in theft, robbery and carnapping
is the same, and had it not been for the enactment of the Anti-Carnapping Act, the unlawful taking of a motor
vehicle would certainly fall within the purview of either theft or robbery. 28
However incriminating the circumstances of accused-appellant were having been apprehended in an
"overspeeding" Toyota Tamaraw FX, which later turned out to be owned by the victim's friend, and where the
victim's body and a blood-stained knife were found he did in fact set up a defense of duress on which, as the
records plainly show, he had been subjected to exhaustive cross-examination by the prosecution. During crossexamination, accused-appellant adhered to his version of the story, insisting that his presence in the FX was for
no reason other than as a captive of accused-at-large.1awphi1 While we are not prepared to say that the
explanation of accused-appellant is seamless, the point we want to make at this juncture is that once an
explanation is offered for the possession of the stolen effects, the presumption arising from unexplained
possession may not anymore be invoked and the burden shifts once more to the prosecution to produce evidence
that would render the defense of accused improbable. On this burden we find the prosecution in the instant case
unable to discharge.
The carnapping not being duly proved, the killing of Ruel Morales may not be treated as an incident of
carnapping. Nonetheless, even under the provisions of homicide and murder under the Revised Penal Code, we
find that the guilt of accused-appellant was not established beyond reasonable doubt.
The trial court itself admits that there is no direct evidence indicating the guilt of accused-appellant for the killing of
Ruel Morales. Following are the circumstantial evidence relied upon for his conviction: first, accused-appellant
was in the Toyota Tamaraw FX containing the victim's body and a blood-stained knife; second, the FX was caught
"overspeeding" at 2:30 in the morning at a provincial intersection, and the occupants were acting suspiciously;
third, earlier accused-appellant was seen with accused-at-large in Pasay City, appearing drunk and behaving
rudely; and fourth, he was seen with accused-at-large boarding an FX being driven by the victim, the same FX
where the victim's body was subsequently found.
For circumstantial evidence to convict, the Rules of Court require that: (1) there is more than one circumstance;
(2) the facts from which the inferences are derived are proven; and (3) the combination of all the circumstances is
such as to produce a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. 29 On the latter, decided cases expound that the
circumstancial evidence presented and proved must constitute an unbroken chain which leads to one fair and
reasonable conclusion pointing to accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the guilty person. 30
The circumstances abovementioned do not lead to an inference exclusively consistent with the guilt of accusedappellant. Quite to the contrary, we observe that while the arresting officer was preoccupied with opening the rear
door of the FX, at which time accused-at-large took the opportunity to flee, accused-appellant remained seated on
the front passenger seat, a behavior quite uncommon for a guilty man faced with the inevitability of arrest.
Although no one corroborated accused-appellant's allegation that he volunteered the information that there was a
dead body at the back of the car, his demeanor all throughout the search of the FX and during his arrest was, to
say the least, not inconsistent with the hypothesis of innocence. He did not resist arrest, and during his testimony
he did not waver in insisting that it was accused-at-large alone who was responsible for the crime.
Thus, even if we accept as credible all the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, it does not rule out the
probability of accused-appellant's story that it was accused-at-large who killed Morales then threatened him at
knife-point having taken place, for there were no eyewitnesses to the killing itself, and all the prosecution was
able to show were the events before and after the killing of Morales.
A situation as this calls for the application of the equipoise rule, which requires that where the inculpatory
circumstances are capable of two inferences, one of which is consistent with the presumption of innocence and
the other compatible with a finding of guilt, the court must acquit the accused because the evidence does not fulfill
the test of moral certainty and therefore is insufficient to support a judgment of conviction. 31

Our ruling to acquit does not hold a corollary upholding of the credibility of the testimony of accused-appellant.
The basis of the acquittal is reasonable doubt, which simply means that the evidence of the prosecution was not
sufficient to sustain the guilt of accused-appellant beyond the point of moral certainty. Proof beyond reasonable
doubt, however, is a burden particular to the prosecution and does not apply to exculpatory facts as may be raised
by the defense; the accused is not required to establish matters in mitigation or defense beyond a reasonable
doubt, nor is he required to establish the truth of such matters by a preponderance of the evidence, or even to a
reasonable probability. 32 An acquittal based on reasonable doubt will prosper even though the accused's
innocence may be doubted, 33 for a criminal conviction rests on the strength of the evidence of the prosecution
and not on the weakness of the defense. 34
Having resolved against the individual culpability of accused-appellant in this manner, the theory of implied
conspiracy of the trial court must likewise fail.
WHEREFORE, the decision in Criminal Case No. 95-7258 of Branch 117 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City
is hereby REVERSED. Accused-appellant Noel Santos y Crispino is ACQUITTED on the ground that his guilt has
not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. His immediate release from detention is hereby ordered, unless other
lawful and valid grounds for his further detention exist. No costs.
SO ORDERED.