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People of the Philippines v.

Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 1 of 12

Republic of the Philippines


National Capital Judicial Region
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
Branch [N+1]
Quezon City

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES Crim. Case No.


Plaintiff, 1234

-versus-

KUMA,
Accused.
x-------------------------------------
---------x

TRIAL MEMORANDUM

The Accused, KUMA, through undersigned counsel,


unto this Honorable Court, respectfully submits his Trial
Memorandum, as follows:

Prefatory Statement

For the time-honored rule is that it is the


lesser evil to set a hundred guilty men free than to
have one innocent person languish in prison. 1

-Supreme Court of the Philippines En Banc

This maxim firmed by the Supreme Court in numerous


decisions plainly shows the dread, nay injustice, of wrongly
blaming and punishing a man for a crime that he did not
commit. This grave mistake that will be committed by the
entirety of our State against A in finding him guilty of the
crime of Slight Illegal Detention is what this Trial
Memorandum seeks to avoid.

Narration of Events

1. At the dawn of the year 2007, the chapel of the I in


Barangay B, L City was showered upon by stones
thrown by private complainant C. W1, a deaconess of
the I, reported that incident to the barangay officials
later that morning.
1
People v. Decierdo, G.R. No. L-46956, May 7, 1987, 149 SCRA 496, 512.
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 2 of 12

2. The confrontation at the barangay was set at around


3:00 PM. It was presided by W2, then a barangay
kagawad of B. The parties met at the barangay hall,
with C on the one hand, and the I, as represented by
W3, on the other. Other I members were at the
meeting, including A.

3. The face-off did not take long as C complained of


having a hangover from last nights drinking. He got
angry and banged the barangay logbook hard on the
table. He even said Papatayin kita! to W3. His
actuations prompted the presiding barangay officer to
postpone the meeting.

4. The attendees of the confrontation, including A, went


on their separate ways. A immediately headed home to
Barangay N, L City where he entertained some guests.
He stayed at his residence for the night. A brother in
the faith notified A of another stoning incident involving
the church and its premises after the barangay
confrontation but A thought of it as the same as the
first occurrence and thus dismissed it as such. The
church and appurtenant structures in the I compound
were damaged.

5. A series of litigation then ensued. The I instituted


criminal cases against several culprits, including C, for
the damages it incurred due to the pelting of stones to
its properties. This resulted in the filing of a case for
Grave Threats against C and Malicious Mischief against
his companions.

6. In retaliation, C filed a complaint for Slight Illegal


Detention and Qualified Trespass to Dwelling against
several I members, including W3, W1 and A. The Office
of the City Prosecutor (OCP) dismissed the Qualified
Trespass to Dwelling charge. The same office moved for
the withdrawal of the Information for Slight Illegal
Detention against A that was filed before Branch N+2 of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of L City. The said court
dismissed the case on November 14, 2007.2

7. On September 20, 2007, 9 months from the New Year


stone-pelting incident and nearly 2 months before the
dismissal of the first Slight Illegal Detention case
2
Records of Criminal Case No. 1234, 139. [hereinafter Records]
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 3 of 12

against A, C and his wife C2 lodged a Letter-Complaint


to the OCP that ripened to the present case. 3

Sole Issue

Should Kuma be held guilty of the crime of Attempted


Robbery defined under Art. 299 of the Revised Penal Code?

Arguments

For the reasons that will be discussed below, A must be


acquitted from the charge of Slight Illegal Detention leveled
against him. The Prosecution failed to establish with moral
certainty the requisites of the crime charged against him.
This is true especially regarding their unconvincing claim
that A illegally detained C. Only moral certainty is required,
or that degree of proof which produces conviction in an
unprejudiced mind for a judgment of conviction. 4 Otherwise,
absent said degree of proof, as in this case, the court is
constrained to acquit the accused.

I. Insufficiency of
evidence to prove
illegal detention
committed by A and
to link him to the
crime charged

1. The essential elements of Slight Illegal Detention are:


first, that the offender is a private individual; second,
that said offender kidnaps or detains another, or in any
other manner deprives the latter of his or her liberty;
third, that such detention is illegal; and lastly, that the
crime is committed without the attendance of any of
the circumstances enumerated under Article 267 of the
Revised Penal Code on Serious Illegal Detention.5

2. The Prosecution utterly failed to establish beyond


reasonable doubt that A had any participation in the
alleged illegal detention of C.

3
Records, 3, 139. The Letter-Complaint that initiated the instant case was
dated September 20, 2007 and not September 30, 2007.
4
People v. Leonardo, G.R. No. 133109, May 31, 2000, 332 SCRA 717, 729.
5
Rev. Pen. Code, Art. 268 in relation to Art. 267. LUIS B. REYES, THE REVISED
PENAL CODE CRIMINAL LAW BOOK TWO 585 (17th ed. 2008).
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 4 of 12

3. The only evidence implicating A in the commission of


the alleged offense is Cs testimony that he saw A in
the church at the time he was detained and that the
latter participated in mauling him.6

4. However, this claim that he saw A is of doubtful


credence. It must be recalled that he earlier testified
that his abductors hit him in the eye and used tear gas
against him:

[Pros. R]
Q: Mr. Witness, I am just curious, why is that
you can only feel it at that time, what was
your condition at that time?

[The Witness]
A: At that time there is still no floor that
house of ours has no flooring it is only
gravel, so, I can feel it when they dragged
me.

[Pros. R]
Q: My question was, Mr. Witness, what is
your condition because you cannot see or
tell us directly because your answer is that
you can feel it.

[The Witness]
A: I cannot any more see because the gun
that hit me hit my left eye while my other
eye was tear gas.7 (Italics supplied.)

The result of these aggressions against him was that he


cannot any more see.8 It takes time before the effect
of tear gas wanes,9 and it is inconceivable that he
already regained full use of his vision by the time that

6
Testimony of C, TSN, February 4, 2011, pp. 25-27.
7
Testimony of C, TSN, February 4, 2011, pp. 14, 18-19.
8
Testimony of C, TSN, February 4, 2011, pp. 14, 18-19.
9
Temporary blindness may persist for about 30 minutes, depending on the
type of tear gas used. OMEGA Foundation, Crowd Control Technologies (An
appraisal of technologies for political control), European Parliament,
Directorate General for Research, Directorate A, The STOA Programme (June
2000) xxii. PDF downloadable from
<http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/stoa/2000/168394/D
G-4-STOA_ET(2000)168394_EN(PAR02).pdf>. Last accessed: September 15,
2014. Atkinson, James M., Advanced Chemical Weapons, Granite Island
Group, 17, 22, 25, 28. PDF downloadable from <
http://www.tscm.com/advchemw2.pdf>. Last accessed: September 15, 2014.
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 5 of 12

he was allegedly manhandled to and beaten inside the


church. The I locale in B is just a few meters away from
his house.

5. Likewise, inconsistencies in the complaint-affidavit of C


and his testimony during direct examination reveal that
he merely concocted stories to pin down the accused A.
In paragraph 5 of his Complaint-Affidavit10 dated 4
March 2007, he said:

5. While I was sleeping inside or (sic) house


at about 3:00 oclock in the afternoon of
January 1, 2007, I was awakened by two
armed men who forcibly and bodily brought
me out of our house. xxx (emphasis
supplied)

6. Yet, in his testimony during direct examination 11, this is


what he has to say:

xxx xxx xxx

PROS. R:

Q: And while there at the house after coming


from barangay hall you said you sleep, what
happened next if any?

THE WITNESS:

A: After a few minutes somebody went inside


our house whom I do not recognize.

PROS. R:

Q: How many persons you said you do not


identify?

THE WITNESS:

A: Three (3) persons.(emphasis supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

10
Complaint-Affidavit of C dated March 4, 2007, Page 12 of the Records
11
Testimony of C, TSN, February 4, 2011, p. 10
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 6 of 12

7. This glaring inconsistency, even more so that it is


but natural for someone to remember this
miniscule detail in a life-threatening event, yet
C cannot even get his numbers right, is an indication
that he was merely making up stories.

8. It cannot be denied that A was not present when the


Five (5) John Does allegedly took C from his house
and brought him inside the I chapel. Thus, the
prosecution would like the Honorable Court to believe
that A induced these men to commit the illegal
detention against C.

9. However, the allegation that A induced the Five (5)


John Does who forcibly took C from his residence is
likewise baseless. This assertion crumbles on the fact
that witness C2 categorically denied that she saw force
and induce the armed men who took C from their house
against the latters will:

ATTY. Z:

Q: You did not see JA, W3, JJ, A. and W1 force


and induce these five armed members of the
I to enter your house?

THE WITNESS:

A: I did not.

THE COURT:

Q: Why did you say so?

THE WITNESS:

A: Because New Year, I know that they were


active at the chapel.12 (Italics supplied.)

This is in direct contradiction to her statement in her


Complaint-Affidavit that forms as a foundation of the
charge against A:

5. That I executed this Complaint-Affidavit


to attest to the truth of the foregoing
allegations and to prove that JA, W3, JJ, A,
12
Testimony of C2, TSN, August 13, 2010, pp. 52-55.
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 7 of 12

and W1, who by their moral ascendancy,


forced and induced the other five (5) armed
members of the I to unlawfully enter our
house without our consent and against our
will and thereby commit violence against me
and my husband.13

As supposed presence in the place where the alleged


detention took place was mere conjecture borne out
merely by C2s belief that he was an active member of
the I as seen in her testimony in open court earlier
quoted.14

10. And significantly, these accusations against A are


clearly rebutted by his candid testimony that he was
not at the I church of B when C was purportedly hurt
and deprived of his liberty. He was in his home when
the alleged crime was committed.

11. Taken altogether, the conclusion is inevitable that


A was absent at the time when and the place where the
alleged illegal confinement of C occurred. A neither
joined the Five (5) John Does in depriving C of his
liberty nor persuaded them in doing so.

II. The prosecution


failed to prove the
existence of
conspiracy between
A and the Five (5)
John Does

1. At the outset, the theory of the prosecution is that A


was acting in conspiracy with the Five (5) John Does
in committing that crime of slight illegal detention
against C.

2. In fact, the whole case of the prosecution is built upon


this allegation of conspiracy, hence the Information
reads:

That on or about January 1, 2007 at around


3:00 oclock in the afternoon at Barangay B, L
City, A Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, Five (5) John Does
13
Paragraph 5, Complaint-Affidavit of C2 dated September 21, 2007.
14
Testimony of C2, TSN, August 13, 2010, p. 55.
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 8 of 12

and A, conspiring and confederating


with each other in pursuance of a common
purpose, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously deprive C of his
liberty by forcibly detaining him without
cause and against his will at the I compound
located in Brgy. B, L City, for not more than
three (3) hours, to the damage and prejudice
of C. (emphasis supplied)

3. However, no evidence has been presented by the


prosecution that there exists a conspiracy
between A and the Five (5) John Does. He was
never present when C was allegedly taken from his
house. In contrast, A has candidly testified that he went
home after the meeting in the barangay and was never
at the I chapel when the alleged mauling of C took
place.

4. The prosecution anchors its theory of conspiracy on one


single allegation from C that A was one of the persons
who mauled him when he was brought inside the I
chapel, hence:
xxx xxx xxx

PROS. R:

Q: You said that you were brought inside the


chapel by the three (3) unidentified three (3)
persons, what happened next after that?

THE WITNESS:

A: While they were stoning the church of the I, I


was also being mauled.

PROS. R:

Q: Who was mauling you Mr. Witness?

THE WITNESS:

A: I recognized him to be one of those who are


mauling me.

(Witness pointed to the accused)


People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 9 of 12

xxx xxx xxx

5. It would seem that the prosecutions standard for


determining conspiracy is that one must just be present
in the scene of the crime and commit some overt act,
even if unrelated to the crime, and he or she may be
deemed a co-conspirator.

6. Law and jurisprudence cannot be any more clear on this


matter: conspiracy cannot be presumed. Thus, the
Supreme Court said:

Well-settled is the rule that the existence of


conspiracy cannot be presumed. Quite the
contrary, the evidence for it must be
shown beyond reasonable doubt. As this
Court has repeatedly stated, criminal
conspiracy must be founded on facts, not on
mere surmises or conjectures. Prior agreement
or assent is usually inferred from the acts of
the accused showing concerted action,
common design and objective, actual
cooperation, and concurrence of sentiments or
community of interests. Mere presence at
the scene of the crime or even
knowledge of the plan or acquiescence
thereto are not sufficient grounds to hold
a person liable as a conspirator. Therefore,
the task in every case is to determine whether
the particular acts established by the requisite
quantum of proof reasonably yield that
inference.15(emphasis supplied)

7. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that A was indeed


in the I chapel at that time and participated in mauling
C, will that prove conspiracy to commit slight illegal
detention? The answer is a resounding no.

8. Following the logic of the prosecution, if indeed there


was community of criminal design between the Five (5)
John Does and A, why then are the other persons
present in the I chapel at that time not charged with
slight illegal detention? The only logical explanation
that the Accused can think of is that the allegations
against him were merely tailored-fit to enable the

15
People v. Tolentino, et al., G.R. No. 139179, April 3, 2002
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 10 of 12

prosecution to include him in the Information for slight


illegal detention.

9. Quite interestingly, these allegedly Five (5) John Does


remain phantoms as of date. And as shown above, the
unity in criminal design was not substantiated by facts
but remain as a product of mere speculation. This falls
short of the quantum of evidence required to establish
conspiracy, which is proof beyond reasonable doubt. 16
Therefore, the acts of these armed phantoms cannot be
imputed to A.

10. Indeed, the prosecution has miserably failed to


prove conspiracy, not even an implied one, between the
Five (5) John Does and A.

III. Case filed only as


leverage against A
and the I

1. It must be stressed that the instant case is based on


the same allegations as that of Criminal Case No. 2345
for Slight Illegal Detention lodged before Branch N of L
City RTC. The OCP moved for the withdrawal of the
Information pursuant to the Department of Justices
Resolution on the Petition for Review of I.S. No. 2007-
N+3 & N+4. Said court eventually dismissed the case. 17

2. C initiated the filing of the original complaint after the


lapse of two months from the alleged commission of the
crime against him. This was after the I instituted the
filing of a case for Grave Threats against C. The private
complainants offered no explanation for the delay they
incurred in filing the original complaint, and even the
long time it took for them to start the instant case. This
unexplained sluggishness in prosecuting ones
purported claim was already seen by the Supreme
Court as giving the impression that the case was filed
merely as leverage against the adverse party. 18

IV. Defense was able to


prove that A was not
present at the scene
16
Quidet v. People, G.R. No. 170289, April 8, 2010, 618 SCRA 1, 10.
17
Consolidated Pre-Trial Order dated February 4, 2010, A. 8-10, found in
Records, 139.
18
Chan v. Go, A.C. No. 7547, September 4, 2009, 598 SCRA 145, 154-155.
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 11 of 12

where the crime was


allegedly committed and
that C only filed the case
as a leverage

1. While the prosecutions evidence failed to establish that


A acted in conspiracy with the Five (5) John Does, his
testimony and that of his witnesses proved that he did
not commit the crime charged and was in fact not
present during its alleged commission.

2. W119 and A himself both testified that A went home


after the confrontation in the barangay hall. It will be
recalled that the confrontation did not last long because
it has to be terminated when C started complaining and
threatening the group of A. C even threatened to kill
witness W3.20

3. A himself candidly testified in open court that he


immediately went home after the confrontation in the
barangay. While his defense is that of an alibi, it has
been corroborated by other witnesses and must be
believed over the inconsistent statements of the
prosecutions witnesses.

4. And as discussed above, it would seem that the filing of


cases against A is borne of the desire of C to seek
leverage against the charges brought by As group for
the stoning of the I chapel committed by C and his
cohorts.

V. Prosecution failed to
overcome presumption of
innocence in favor of A

1. All told, the prosecutions evidence against A has


utterly failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.

2. The burden of proof to overcome the presumption of


innocence of A lies with the prosecution, and for that, it
has overwhelmingly failed.

3. Settled is the rule that the prosecution must rest on its


own merits and must not rely on the weakness of the
19
Testimony of W1, TSN, November 6, 2013, p. 13
20
Testimony of W3, TSN, July 24, 2013 p. 6
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 12 of 12

defense21. In fact, if the prosecution fails to meet the


required quantum of evidence, the defense may
logically not even present evidence on its behalf. In
which case, the presumption of innocence shall prevail
and, hence, the accused shall be acquitted.

4. Thus, for failure of the prosecution to prove his


guilt beyond reasonable doubt, As acquittal is in
order.

Reliefs

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully


prayed of this Honorable Court that the Accused KUMA be
ACQUITTED of the crime of Attempted Robbery, the instant
case against him be DISMISSED.

Other reliefs just or equitable under the circumstances


are likewise prayed for.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED.

Quezon City, 5 March 2017.

LAW FIRM
Address
Tel No.: 3456789

By:

LAWYER1
Roll of Attorneys No. 12345
PTR No. 0987654/QC/ [date]
IBP Lifetime No. 23456
Admitted to the bar xxxxx

LAWYER2
Roll of Attorneys No. 23456
PTR No. 9876543/QC/[date]
IBP No. 34567/QC/[date]
MCLE No. XX-xxxxxx; [date]

21
People v. Jorge, 231 SCRA 693, 700 (1994)
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 13 of 12

Copy furnished:

Office of the City Prosecutor


Quezon City

The members of the church In God We Trust


Quezon City

The Branch Clerk of Court


RTC Branch N
Quezon City

Greetings:
Kindly submit this Trial Memorandum for the kind consideration
of this Honorable Court.

EXPLANATION
The filing and service of this Trial Memorandum is being done by
registered mail due to lack of sufficient personnel to effect personal
filing and service.
LAWYER2

Roronoa Zoro is a minister of the gospel in the In God We Trust, a religious corporation
duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In God We Trust has a
chapel of mixed materials in UP Campus, Quezon City. It is built almost next to the
narrow two-way street with a niggardly four-foot clearance from its door to the road. On
March 15, 2015, Minister Zoro went to their local congregation in UP Campus to
officiate a worship service. As he arrived at the place with almost no time to spare before
the start of the gathering, he hurriedly parked his 2005 Toyota Corolla Altis on the road
almost in front of the chapel and very near the driveway of Bartholomew Kuma, an
adjoining lot owner.

Upon returning from his weekly grocery ritual in the UP Shopping Center, and while
already having a very strong urge to answer the call of nature, Kuma, to his utmost ire,
arrived in front of his house having a difficult time in parking his Nissan Super Safari in
his driveway because of the already-parked vehicle of Min. Zoro. He thus quickly leapt
from his SUV and went to the comfort room, deciding to deal with his parking problem
later.

Kuma then emerged from his house triumphant on his internal struggle, only to be
reminded that he has not parked his shiny SUV yet. This is not the first time that Min.
Zoro parked on the same spot, making it difficult for Kuma to enter or leave his
driveway. Frustrated, and after determining that he can park his Super Safari scratch-free
only after moving Min. Zoros vehicle, he angrily charged to the chapel of the In God We
Trust, uttering, Ministro Zoro! Akin na ang susi ng sasakyan mo! Napakalaki mong
istorbo! Walang respeto! Walang modo! Akin na ang susi!

Finding the doorknob of the chapel locked, Kuma punched a hole out of the plywood
wall of the chapel and unlocked the doorknob. He threw open the door and demanded
People of the Philippines v. Kuma
Crim. Case No. 1234
Trial Memorandum
Page 14 of 12

that Min. Zoro hand to him the Altis key. Min. Zoro and the members of the In God We
Trust then present were shocked by Kumas actuations. It took a few more seconds before
some members of the congregation subdued Kuma and restrained him from proceeding
further towards Min. Zoro.

The members of the church brought Kuma to the police station and are determined to file
the necessary criminal charges against him. The inquest prosecutor then present, the
intelligent and gorgeous Nico Robin, conducted the investigation and she had three
possible charges against Kuma floating in her big brain.

B. For students with numbers 11-21 in the class list:


Pros. Nico Robin found probable cause to charge Kuma with the crime of Attempted
Robbery defined under Art. 299 of the Revised Penal Code before the QC RTC.
o ODD: prepare a trial memorandum for the PROSECUTION; and
o EVEN: make a trial memorandum for the ACCUSED.

Bonus: Can you think of any other offense with which Bartholomew Kuma could
be charged? Explain briefly with reasons.